Friday, April 19, 2002
1. ACUPUNCTURE: AN INCONCEIVABLE FERTILITY TREATMENT.
morning news story yesterday promised new hope to women having
difficulty getting pregnant. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM),
which goes back 4,000 years, was used to treat women undergoing
in vitro fertilization, which hasn't been around quite that long.
CNN interviewer Paula Zahn asked an acupuncturist how sticking
needles in the hands or feet, or just about anywhere it seemed,
could affect pregnancy? "It increases the flow of chi," the
acupuncturist explained. Even for Paula, that was a little short
on scientific precision, so she turned to a "fertility expert"
from NYU. "We're still looking for the science," he conceded,
"but this has been around for more than 3,000 years, so it must
work." Sure, about as well as astrology. The story was prompted
by a feeble German study that wasn't even single-blind. It was
published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in
Fertility and Sterility -- maybe in the "Sterility" category.
2. OIL: SENATE BLOCKS DRILLING IN ALASKA WILDLIFE REFUGE.
month ago, a move to slightly toughen automotive fuel-efficiency
standards was defeated by the same people that now claim we need
drilling in the wildlife refuge to promote "energy independence."
The more likely concern is voter reaction if the price of filling
up their SUVs keeps rising. From a strategic standpoint, it
would make perfect sense to increase oil imports from the Middle
East, while conserving the tiny domestic reserves we still have.
3. JASON: ELITE ADVISORY GROUP WILL GET A NEW PENTAGON SPONSOR.
It appears that Jason's split with DARPA involves irreconcilable
(WN 5 Apr 02).
But no one seems to think Jason will
remain unattached. According to Science and Government Report,
the new Department of Defense sponsor is expected to be Ron Sega,
Director of Defense Research and Engineering, "who has a broader
view of the technology base" than DARPA. But Steve Koonin, the
Jason chair is fretting over the slow pace of the takeover. The
customary April planning session has already been scrubbed.
4. LIE DETECTORS: HAS THE POLYGRAPH EVER UNCOVERED A SPY?
WN believes it has not
(WN 5 Apr 02).
If it has, the government has
never acknowledged the fact. The National Academy of Sciences is
conducting a scientific review of the validity and reliability of
polygraph testing. Its final report is due later this year. It
is widely expected that the report will expose the polygraph as
less than worthless. But beware, this is a powerful industry.
A National Research Council report, to be released
on Sunday, is expected to recommend the need for a deep
underground laboratory for neutrino studies. This is another
step in a lengthy peer review process, prior to site selection.