Effect Measure

Archives for March, 2008

Sony BMG caught pirating software

Record and movie companies want to turn file sharing into a moral issue — I think there are some moral issues here, although they fall on both sides — but in reality everyone knows it’s just about money and the fact that they have their hands on the levers of the legal system which they…

Trust is not transitive, as someone recently pointed out, when reporting on the airline pilot who carried a gun into the cockpit and then accidentally or negligently discharged it and blew a hole in the plane. We had every reason to trust the pilot to be able to fly a 747, but not necessarily to…

Homeland security is a priority for the Bush administration. I know that because they keep telling us. We have to take off our shoes and take out our identification getting on and off planes. Not just any identification, either. Official stuff. And crossing borders — any borders, even the border from Canada — now requires…

Let’s face it. The US education system sucks. The public school system was a great historical achievement, producing high literacy rates, but in the 21st century the US is increasingly at a competitive disadvantage compared to other industrial nations. Instead of investing more we are investing less while promoting privatization, a recipe for mediocrity. This…

Sweet dreams for the super paranoid

If you are so paranoid you have trouble sleeping, the Quantum Sleeper is just the thing for you. It’s a bed made to protect you from biological and chemical terrorist attacks, natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), kidnappers/stalkers and features bulletproof “saferoom” protection (hat tip Boingboing).

Marijuana mystery in Texas

I sometimes wonder if ordinary people in Texas are as stupid as many of the leaders they elect, but the evidence is that most aren’t. Take the west Texas jury who heard case of Tim Stevens of Amarillo, 53 years old, and suffering from HIV/AIDS. He also had a cyclical vomiting syndrome, for which he…

Hard on the heels of my semi-facetious prediction that bird flu would return to Germany because Germany had declared itself bird flu free, the Swiss announced an infected wild duck on the shores of Lake Sempach. Since this duck didn’t have a passport on him I am sure he never strayed over the nearby border…

The importance of research on beef jerky

I’ve eaten beef jerky on occasion and rather liked its spiciness. I’m not an aficionado, however, and didn’t know much about it. I did look at the Wikipedia article on beef jerky where you will find more than any sane person would want to know about the food aspects of the subject, but with the…

Egypt, chickens and Indonesia

Bird flu is a viral disease but its effects go beyond viral infection. An obvious but important fact. Consider Egypt. The first poultry cases in Egypt were only a little over two years ago, but the virus quickly took root there. The poultry infections were a harbinger of human infections, 18 that year (2006), 25…

Who’s your daddy?

The Reveres are crazy busy. So what do we do to keep this space from going dark? We put up posts like this one: Identigene is selling at-home DNA testing kits for paternity testing at drugstores across the country. The $30 kit includes swabs for the child, mother, and “alleged father,” consent forms, and a…