Effect Measure

Archives for October, 2007

Poisons by the barrel full.

Pesticides are one of the few kinds of chemicals specially designed to kill living things that we intentionally put into our environment in high volume. A large class of pesticides are the organophosphates (OPs), agents that affect the normal process of nerve impulse transmission. What we call pests are one kind of organism they can…

I am a strong supporter of privacy and civil liberties. But I confess I don’t get the opposition to this rule, just promulgated by FDA on an expedited basis, without going through public comment:

500 terror suspects identified yesterday

And today, too. So they’re keeping a list, but unlike Santa Claus they’re not checking it twice. Or even once. The list is the US government’s terrorist watch list that today — like yesterday and the day before and tomorrow — grew by over 500 names. The terrorists are either being created at record rates…

Telling a cell to make an eye

Some of the best moments in a scientist’s life come when things don’t go as planned. Or rather, when the world tells you something you never suspected and weren’t even looking for. Ah, those lucky folks at the University of Warwick:

Bruce Schneier, the security guru at Wired’s Danger Room blog, reminds us of something important: It’s not true that no one worries about terrorists attacking chemical plants, it’s just that our politics seem to leave us unable to deal with the threat. (Wired)

How is a dog like a bird?

If you’ve heard of the disease distemper it may be because you had to get your dog vaccinated against it. Dog or canine distemper is caused by a measles-like virus, Canine Distemper Virus, but it doesn’t just affect dogs. It is capable of jumping to other species and wiped out about 10% of the world’s…

Senator Craig isn’t alone

Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig continues to wage his lonely and courageous effort to clear himself from charge his “wide stance” toilet habits led to the unjust accusation he was actually engaged in soliciting sex from a man in the next stall (who turned out to be an undercover police officer staked out in a…

A Jewish website has an interesting critique of the new popularity of the current spate of books on atheism (I refuse to call it the New Atheism; there’s nothing new, different or unusual about it except that a lot of people are reading it). The argument is this: the “militancy” of the new books is…

Puffer fish: your last meal?

Puffer fish are notorious. Considerable delicacy in Japan (a taste adopted by some non-Japanese Foodies), they come with a side of risk: some puffer fish have the potent lethal toxins tetrodotoxin and/or saxitoxin, neurotoxins more than 1000 times the lethal potency of cyanide:

America up close and from a distance

On Monday President Bush asked for another $46 billion dollars to send down the rat hole of his Iraq and Afghanistan debacles. That makes just about $200 billion dollars for this fiscal year. Two hundred billion dollars. Congress has already ponied up almost half a trillion dollars. Half a trillion. Trillion. A dollar bill is…