Friday, September 22, 2006
Eighteen years ago, WN said, "the polygraph can't tell a lie from
the sex act," (WN 4 Mar 88) .
It still can't, but Monday, the Office of the Inspector General
of the the Justice Department released a 20-page report on the
use of the polygraph by the Justice Department. The polygraph is
used slightly less as an investigative tool (recall it failed to
expose the Green River killer). But it is used increasingly to
screen employees (recall it missed CIA super-mole Aldrich Ames,
and has never uncovered a single spy). Meanwhile, brain research
became the hottest frontier after physicists developed fMRI brain
scanning, revealing what really goes on in our heads. The report
never mentions all the unrefuted science showing the polygraph is
worse than useless. Nor does it mention fMRI research advances.
An article in the September issue of Seed magazine reports that
the Deep Space Climate Observatory, built to measure Earth's
albedo, is not entirely dead yet. It will remain in its box
"until the political winds send it to its rightful place at L1."
Waiting for the problem to solve itself after we exhaust fossil
fuel reserves has a significant downside. So who's waiting?
California is suing six automakers for environmental damage from
auto emissions. The British Royal Society charged that Exxon
funds groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute to spread
misleading information about climate change. Sir Richard Branson
says billions of dollars in his profits from Virgin companies
will be invested in alternative energy, and a lot of billionaires
in Forbes list of the world's richest people are investing in the
same thing. Ford and Chevrolet are sinking under the weight of
the SUV gas hogs they turn out (unfortunately, it's their workers
who will pay the price). All this from higher gas prices? Let's
shoot for $4 gas. But not everyone gets the message. A GM
spokesman sought to counter California's suit by pointing out
that GM is working on hydrogen-powered vehicles. Sigh!
Actually, I wasn't there. I only know what I heard on the news.
People chanting "Death to the Pope!" didn't do much for their
cause, whatever that is. It seems the Pope had quoted some 14th
century Byzantine Emperor about the Prophet's command to spread
the faith by the sword. If so, he might have added a little
balance. In the 16th century, Francisco Pizarro, with the help
of smallpox, conquered the Inca Empire, while Hernan Cortes, with
the same ally, conquered the mighty Aztecs. They reportedly
invoked the name of Santiago Matamoros ("St James the Moor-
killer") as they went into battle. People did bad things.