Friday, September 26, 2003
1. MAGNETIC THERAPY: HAVE WE GOT NEWS FOR YOU! IT DOESN'T WORK.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association last
week, "Effect of Magnetic vs Sham-Magnetic Insoles on Plantar
Heel Pain," reports that a randomized, double-blind, placebo
controlled trial of 101 adults diagnosed with plantar heel pain
found no significant difference in outcome between use of active
vs sham magnets. It was carried out by capable physicians from
the prestigious Mayo Clinic. They even got the right answer. So
what's the problem? The problem is the huge cost to society of
disproving claims for which there was no evidence to begin with.
Next we will learn that the Fish and Wildlife Service is funding
a study of New York sewers to look for alligators.
2. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: MORE NEWS! THEY DIDN'T FIND ANY.
The Iraq Survey Group of about 1,400 American and British weapons
experts and support personnel has been searching for four months.
Let's assume they work 40 hour weeks, that comes to just about
one million man hours. So far, the search did turn up one Iraqi
security officer who said he had worked on such a program, but
apparently that hot tip led to nothing. They're still looking.
3. CONGRESS KILLS TIA: MAYBE POINDEXTER CAN JOIN THE IRAQ SURVEY.
The 2004 defense appropriation bill that Congress sent to the
President yesterday prohibits R&D on the infamous Terrorism
Information Awareness Program, the surveillance program hatched
in the Pentagon by Adm. John Poindexter (WN 15 Aug 03). A critic
of TIA, Ron Wyden (D-OR) is quoted by the Washington Post saying
the bill means "Americans on American soil are not going to be
targets of TIA surveillance that would violate their privacy and
civil liberties." Poindexter resigned in August (WN
15 Aug 03).
4. PATRIOT ACT: ACLU FILES THE FIRST LEGAL CHALLENGE TO THE ACT.
"Hysterical" librarians (WN 19 Sep 03) are applauding the action
of the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six Arab and
Muslim community groups who believe they have been targeted under
the Act. Meanwhile, ACLU posters warn library patrons that
federal agents may be secretly viewing their records. According
to American Libraries magazine, over 150 libraries from around
the United States have signed up to receive the posters.
5. POLITICAL CLIMATE: ARCTIC WARMING BREAKS ICE SHELF IN TWO.
The largest ice shelf in the Northern Hemisphere has broken in
two, further evidence of warming in arctic reaches. Could this
latest sign of warming have been prevented if all nations had
adhered to the Kyoto Accord? No. It is more likely a result of
very long-term world climate patterns, researchers say.