Friday, July 9, 2004
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: AUSTRALIA DECIDES STAR WARS II IS GOOD ONYA.
Australia, for whatever reason, wants in on the Star Wars missile shield. WN interviewed Poco Curante, a famed ICBM Hunter, who has been picked to head the Australian program. "Crikey! I wish you knockers would just give it a burl! Look at this ICBM; isn't she byoooootiful?!" he exclaimed, gesticulating wildly. "Picture some drongo in North Korea decides to lob a nuke dingo our way. No worries! All we have to do is deploy the kill vehicle and that'll give it the flick, and Bob's your uncle." Informed that the missile defense is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike, Poco fumed. "Won't you stickybeaks shove off? It's London to a brick that it'll work! It's fair dinkum. She'll be right. She's a bonzer system. That Bush bloke told us so."
2. JUNK SCIENCE: DID JOHN EDWARDS USE IT TO AMASS HIS FORTUNE?
For twenty years John Edwards worked as a highly successful trial lawyer representing those he refers to as "regular people" in personal injury cases. A WorldNetDaily article this week says he "financed his political career by winning legal cases based on junk science," cerebral palsy cases in particular. Increasingly, medical science is exonerating doctors in cerebral palsy. The question is: what did Edwards know and when did he know it? Two studies in 2003, according to WorldNetDaily, undermined Edwards premise. But by then he had been in the Senate for four years.
3. POLITICAL SCIENCE: UCS PROTESTS AN ADMINISTRATION LITMUS TEST
The Union of Concerned Scientists persists in accusing the Bush administration of manipulating science to further its political agenda (WN 20 Feb 04). In a press release yesterday, they contend that nominees to scientific advisory panels have been questioned about whether they voted for Bush. John Marburger, the president's science advisor, brands the UCS accusations "wrong and misleading". Among the "notable achievements" of the Bush Administration, Marburger includes the hydrogen fuel technology initiative, and "a new vision for space exploration to the Moon and Mars." Sure, and the most "notable achievement" of What's New is a new vision of winning a Pulitzer Prize.
4. ETHICS: NIH SCIENTISTS CUT BIG OUTSIDE DEALS WITHOUT APPROVAL.
How does an agency deal with a doubling of its budget in only five years? It's not easy. At NIH they did it by looking the other way. Researchers recruited from private companies maintained lucrative collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, without seeking agency approval as required by federal rules. An investigation by the House of Representatives is expanding into 15 other agencies.
Paul Gresser contributed to this week's issue of What's New.