Effect Measure

Archives for August, 2008

Obama takes a science test

The folks at ScienceDebate2008 pushed hard during the primaries to have the candidates address science policy. Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum from Scienceblogs The Intersection were among the leaders in this movement. They didn’t succeed in getting a debate then, but now with the field down to the finalists, they have received a response from…

Maybe it says “In God We Trust” on our currency, but it’s a financially risky strategy, as the “Christian-centered” Georgia-based Integrity Bank discovered as it came apart at the seams last week:

Spit happens

The daycare where my daughter’s 15 month old is a scholar-in-residence is closed this week so grandma (Mrs. R.) and grandpa (yours truly) have been filling in with the newborn and the older sib. It’s been a while and there were a lot of things we’d forgotten about. Like the fact that babies like to…

A new class of air pollutant?

I used to joke that the only plan the Bush administration had for dealing with air pollution was to put all the free radicals in jail. If you don’t know what a free radical is, it is a highly reactive form of a chemical, usually involving an unpaired electron. Radicals often are short lived intermediates…

Military biodefense labs try to look safe

Civilian scientists are still trying to get used to the hysterical nonsense around “biodefense” that the homeland security apparatchiks imposed as Act I. in their Security Theater, bullshit that included indicting an artist and a respected scientist for shipping a harmless bacterium (see here, here). Meanwhile the Army has claimed the only serious bioterror attack…

I have been severely critical (many posts among those here) of the Indonesian government’s irresponsible assertions of ownership of potentially pandemic pathogenic viruses isolated from their citizens. The question of Intellectual Property is a difficult one in many instances but when it comes to a public good involving a global scourge, some of the gray…

The McCain Women’s Clinic

It’s Presidential politics time, so here’s something to think about: the threat to the health of women. In my early medical career I spent some time running down to emergency rooms to meet women bleeding out from botched illegal abortions. That wasn’t so long ago, although most people have no idea what those days were…

Safe haven for teens

Both of our children and all three of our grandchildren were with us yesterday afternoon, which set me thinking about the Nebraska “safe haven” law. If you haven’t heard about it, Nebraska has just joined the other 49 states by enacting LB 157, a law that allows a parent to abandon an unwanted child at…

Occupied Palestine and mathematics

I belong to a number of professional societies and one of them is the American Mathematical Society. The September issue of one of their publications, the Notices, just arrived and I read with interest a statement by one of the world’s most distinguished mathematicians, Brown University’s David Mumford. While most members of the public have…

Was John McCain really getting into the religious weeds when he announced “we are all Georgians” and noting that Georgia was “one of the first nations on earth to convert to Christianity…it’s been part of the grand sweep that compromises Western civilization”? Or was it just an addled and clueless persona, yearning to breathe free?…