Friday, January 20, 2006
We said earlier that there is little evidence that Tamiflu can
stop a pandemic (WN 25 Nov 05)
A study published yesterday in the medical journal Lancet comes
to the same conclusion. However, according to the Wall Street
Journal, demand continues to soar as nations stockpile the drug.
The Defense Department has also stockpiled Tamiflu. Among those
profiting is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former
Chairman of Gilead Sciences, which owns the rights to Tamiflu.
A UCLA alumni group headed by a former campus Republican leader
is offering students up to $100 per class to keep tabs on radical
professors. It's not clear how the information is to be used.
When the new budget failed to meet soaring energy costs, the lab
planned to turn off the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider for 2006.
That's when James Simons, who is a board member of the
organization that operates Brookhaven, spearheaded an effort that
raised $13M privately to keep RHIC operating. Simons happens to
also be the billionaire founder of Renaissance Technologies, a
private investment firm. It's nice that there are rich people
willing to spend their money that way, but basic physics research
shouldn't have to rely on charity.
The Christmas Miracle in 2005 was Kitzmiller v. Dover School
Board (WN 23 Dec 05) . This
week, the El Tejon school system in rural California agreed to
halt the course on intelligent design at Frazier Mountain High
mentioned in last week's WN. The minister's wife who taught the
course said it all: "This is the class that the Lord wanted me to
teach." On Wednesday, the Dover decision was characterized by
the official Vatican newspaper as "correct." At the Discovery
Institute they may be worrying about structural unemployment.
The president of France is trying to convince Iranians that he
might use nuclear weapons to retaliate against terrorism. This
may be a poor strategy for dealing with Iran's strange president,
who is intent on building nuclear weapons of his own. President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a religious looney, seems to be anxious to
collect a martyr's reward in the next life.
Successful launch of the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto and the
return of comet dust by the brilliantly innovative Stardust space
capsule coincided with warnings from Mike Griffin that hard times
are coming for science. The Webb Space Telescope launch is
pushed out to at least 2013, leaving us blind to the heavens.