Effect Measure

Archives for May, 2008

A new way to skin the CAT (scan)

Many years ago — about 40 to be exact — I was working as the only medical doctor in a bioengineering research laboratory in a famous technological university. A lot of what was done there involved speech synthesis (one of the first reading machines for the blind using text to speech recognition) and also some…

The big climate change news isn’t that there is now a consensus that humans are mostly likely driving it. That’s not news at all, at least to anyone who isn’t paying attention or isn’t just mouthing Bush administration talking points. The big news is that the denier group just got significantly smaller because the Bush…

Earlier in the month there was a hilarious piece on Fox News (where else?) by hack lawyer turned hack commentator Steven Milloy trying to counter the extremely bad publicity one of his closest friends was getting. This close friend was a chemical, bisphenol A (BPA; see here and here) which just got panned by the…

Stories on the wires this weekend highlight a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggesting that some bird flu viruses are adapting to the human respiratory tract, thought to be a prelude to increased transmissibility and possibly ushering in a pandemic of influenza in humans. We need to…

IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices are killing American soldiers in Iraq. In Massachusetts people are dying from more prosaic things: auto accidents, heart attacks, homicides and suicides. IEDs aren’t on Death’s Menu in Massachusetts. So naturally the Bush-Chertoff Department of Homeland Security wants to protect Massachusetts citizens against IEDs:

Memorial Day, 2008

The fifth Memorial Day of the Iraq War. I have no words. I’ll give you this instead: Priscilla Herdman is singing this 1971 song by Eric Bogle. I feel like weeping. For the Reveres. Memorial Day, 2008.

Masters of War

Until the middle of the last century the main victims of war were combatants. Since World War II the main victims of war are innocent civilians. Not just “collateral damage” (the euphemism to hide war crimes). Now there are “weapon systems” designed to be indiscriminate in their effect. The most notorious are cluster bombs, explosive…

Whether in the name of all that’s decent or in the Name of God, Bring ‘em Home:

Bangladesh’s used car

Bangladesh now has its first confirmed human case of avian influenza. That’s news. Maybe: Bangladesh announced its first human case of bird flu on Friday in a 16-month-old baby boy, bringing the number of countries which have recorded human infections to 15. Avian Influenza has already spread through 47 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts and concerned…

If you aren’t in the business of figuring out if a chemical is a health hazard you might never have heard of the EPA’s IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System) database but suffice it to say it is a wealth of valuable information on the topic. Considered authoritative by many states and countries, its judgements have…