Monday, August 20, 2012

Observations From the Back Row


According to Jon Entine, after a series of stumbles and scandals, the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to oversee the most cutting edge sectors of the medical industry, medical device and genetic screening tests, is under increasing scrutiny.

The Food and Drug Administration and its Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is reeling.  In mid July, the New York Times accused the FDA of creating a massive e-mail surveillance program designed to net junior scientists and other critics who complained the agency was too-quick to approve medical devices that the employees maintained posed unacceptable health risks.  The Times’ story generated national headlines with its sympathetic portrayal of harassed scientists risking their careers to protect the public interest. But new revelations suggest the Time’s slanted the story by leaving out critical context. It appears that dissident employees are involved in what could be seen as an ambulance chasing shakedown scheme to profit from their allegations. In December 2009, while these “aggrieved” reviewers were publicly lobbying the FDA and Congress to crack down on scanning devices, they had secretly filed a whistleblower lawsuit against these very same manufacturers that if successful could make them multi-millionaires.

Andrew Buncombe joins Mumbai's hardy army of 44 pest controllers with the task of exterminating the city’s 88 million rats

There is something of a swagger about Vilas Ubhare when he sets about killing a rat.
His stick comes down fast, the rat is dispatched and then in a fluid, unbroken motion Mr Ubhare hooks his toe under the rodent’s tail, flips the corpse into the air and catches it neatly in a sack. It is like watching a footballer perform tricks in the park.  Mr. Ubhare is among a 44-strong team that represents the frontline in the battle against an estimated 88m rats besieging India’s largest metropolis. Every night he and his colleagues endure filthy conditions and the risk of disease to kill rats with nothing more than a metal-tipped stick and a torch. Should they fail to meet their quota of 30 rodents by the time the sun comes up, they have 24 hours to make up the shortfall or lose a day’s pay……Yet some activists want to stop the rat killers. Earlier this summer, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body that advises the government, wrote to the BMC asking them to stop clubbing the rats and instead catch them and euthanise them humanely.

The formal process to get a plant or animal listed as an endangered species has become too bureaucratic for many environmental groups that are instead taking the government to court in the hopes of convincing a judge to force the listing……determination on whether the critter will be listed, although critics say there is little evidence it is actually in danger of extinction….When environmentalists threatened to sue the government to force the listing of the sand dune lizard in Texas, oil and gas companies voluntarily entered into conservation agreements this year with private landowners to avoid onerous government restrictions they said would cripple the economy.  “As far as I am concerned, it is Godzilla,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Paterson. “It’s the biggest threat facing the oil business in memory.”It’s not just conventional energy development that faces threats from endangered species. Alternative energy projects, including wind farms, also are threatened by potential listings.“Horizon Wind Energy proposed a 300-megawatt-capacity wind farm in an area of Wyoming considered sage grouse habitat,” the report said. “But this proposal was met with opposition from (WildEarth Guardians), the American Bird Conservancy, and other environmental groups, forcing Horizon Wind Energy to indefinitely suspend its plans for the wind farm.”

By Mary Grabar, The Dissident Professor

It's campaign season, and when it comes to smears, it seems anything goes.  But professors should know better.  Three of them at Washington College (with the aid of two student assistants), though, made a stretch in implying that Paul Ryan is a Black Panther.  Really.  You've heard of the New Math.  Welcome to the New service to Obama's re-election.

Busted! Leaked emails snag global-warming alarmists

'Skeptics will be all over us – the world is really cooling' - While NASA climate alarmist James Hansen insists record summer heat and drought are caused by man-made global warming, leaked internal emails from just three summers ago reveal that he and his colleagues expressed alarm that the planet was inexplicably … cooling.....In an Oct. 12, 2009, email to Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, fellow warming alarmist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., asked, “Where the heck is global warming?” ....“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t.”.....Ignoring the record-breaking 2009 cooling period, Hansen recently argued that the evidence for human-made global warming is “overwhelming.” “We can say with high confidence that such extreme anomalies would not have occurred in the absence of global warming,” he said. Left unexplained, however, is the 2009 cooling anomaly.


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