Friday, May 13, 2005
1. VOODOO MEDICINE: TAI SOPHIA AND PENN MED FORM A PARTNERSHIP.
Tai who? What's going on with the great Ivy League med schools? A study at Columbia claimed to show that the prayers of complete strangers halfway around the world increased pregnancy rates of fertility patients, who were not even aware of being prayed for. The study was revealed to be fraudulent. Somebody had to tell them this? (WN 03 Dec 04) Harvard too has been embarrassed by ties to the wacky world of alternative medicine. Now, the oldest medical school in the nation, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is pandering to the public's obsession with mystical healing. Medical and nursing students at Penn will be able to earn a master's degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) from Tai Sophia Institute. Tai Sophia began teaching acupuncture 30 years ago, but has since expanded into other "medical arts" that don't work. Two weeks ago, Tai Sophia sponsored a Deepak Chopra conference (WN 09 Oct 98). Wayne Jonas, author of Healing with Homeopathy, is on the Board of Trustees.
2. ACUPUNCTURE: OR MAYBE YOU COULD JUST EAT A JALAPENO PEPPER.
JAMA, May 4, reports a randomized, controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of acupuncture with sham acupuncture in treating migraine. There were 302 patients in the study. Acupuncture is widely touted for treating migraine, but in 12 sessions over 8 weeks, sham acupuncture, in which the needles are inserted in the "wrong" points, was just as effective as inserting them in the "correct" points. This should greatly simplify the training of acupuncture specialists. Just stick the damn needles anywhere.
3. NASA: GRIFFIN SAYS WE CAN'T DO EVERYTHING, AND HE'LL PROVE IT.
The good news is that NASA is working on a shuttle mission to fix Hubble. Then we finish the space station and build a replacement for the shuttle. And then - oops, that's it. We're out of money. We can keep an astronaut or two going in circles until we're ready to go back to the Moon, though I can't remember why it is we want to go back there. It means we'll have to give up the Space Interferometry and Terrestrial Planet Finder missions, the top missions looking for signs of extra-solar life.
4. PROLIFERATION: MAYBE THE N. KOREAN ARMY IS DIGGING LATRINES.
After the weapons-of-mass-destruction fiasco in Iraq, warnings from intelligence agencies are harder to take seriously. It may be that Kim Jong Il, like Saddam, just wants to look dangerous. "Dig a few tunnels. If that doesn't do it, pull the fuel rods."
5. LOS ALAMOS: NANOS STEPS DOWN AND KUCKUCK IS INTERIM DIRECTOR.
I can remember when the low turnover rate at Los Alamos was a matter of concern. Making a former admiral Director solved that.