Friday, October 18, 2002
1. THE KIM IL JUNG BOMB: NORTH
KOREA FLAUNTS ITS CAPABILITY.
The U.S. is prepared to go to war with the Iraqis because they have an
unstable leader, and may have weapons of mass destruction. Is there another
country that fits that description? Yes, but it has no oil. Under a 1994
agreement, North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear weapons development
in exchange for proliferation- resistant nuclear power plants. Now, confronted
with new U.S. intelligence, North Korea responds with a sort of in-your-face
admission that not only has its program been going on in secret, they
have enough stuff to make nuclear weapons. And, like Iraq, it seems they've
been focusing on highly enriched uranium. On the other hand Kim Il Jung
never tried to kill Bush's dad..
2. PATENTLY ABSURD: THERE ARE A LOT
OF SCREWY PATENTS OUT THERE.
The standards have been too lax, and the Patent Office knows it. Patents
are reexamined in extreme cases, such as hydrinos (WN
6 Sep 02) and the motionless electromagnetic generator (WN
23 Aug 02), but it's rare. However, a provision in the Patent and
Trademark Office Authorization Act making it clear that it's never too
late to reexamine a patent if substantial new questions of patentability
are raised, should help (WN 6 Sep 02).
3. THEOLOGICAL GYNECOLOGY: PURGING SCIENCE
Every administration seeks to load advisory committees with like- minded
experts, but the practice seems to have reached a new level. In a particularly
controversial case, W. David Hager, an obstetrician-gynecologist who strongly
opposes abortions, has been asked to serve on the FDA panel that reviews
reproductive health drugs. Hager is the author of As Jesus Cared for Women,
in which he promotes the healing power of faith in Jesus.
4. CREATIONISM: OHIO PLAN IS NOT VERY
A committee of the Ohio Board of Education has recommended that science
classes emphasize both evolution and the debate over its validity. Individual
school districts would decide whether to include intelligent design in
the debate. The plan would imply that creationism in whatever guise is
a scientific alternative.
5. THE SNIPER: DO YOU TAKE THE STAIRS
INSTEAD OF THE ELEVATOR?
After all, people get killed when elevators fall. Oops, people also get
killed tripping on the stairs. Here in Washington, a local TV station
offered advice on how to bob and weave while filling your gas tank, and
some people have been driving miles out of town to fill up. Do they have
any idea what the fatality rate is on our roads? Others just stay home.
Maybe we should explain to people that you're as unlikely to be the sniper's
target as you are to be struck by a falling tree.