Fourth-grade science project casts doubt on `therapeutic touch' (3/31/98) "A study conducted by a 9-year-old girl for a science project and published in a distinguished medical journal concludes that 'therapeutic touch,' in which a healer supposedly manipulates a patient's energy field, is bunk." Click here for the study abstract.
0.08% Blood Alcohol Debate (3/31/98) The debate over whether to establish a national "drunk driving" standard of 0.08% blood alcohol content heats up. Here's a link to the American Beverage Institute's excellent overview.
Excellent Global Warming Home Page (3/31/98) If you're interested in global warming, don't miss this page!
Regulatory Robber Barons (3/31/98) This article is not about science but it's got a great closing sentence.
The Week That Was March 23-March 29, 1998 (3/31/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
World Health Day - Safe Motherhood (3/31/98) What's the minimum requirement for declaring a fact?
Lights, Camera... Policy? (3/30/98) "Maybe Washington thought it could hitch a free ride from the Oscars. Last week a parade of stars began streaming to Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of various causes. We wish politicians would ponder rolling up the red carpet for a change."
Radioactive Waste: Yucca Mountain May Be Unstable For Permanent Repository, Study Finds (3/30/98) Of all the good reasons not to bury nuclear waste under Nevada's Yucca Mountain, will a 2 millimeter-per-year streching of the Earth's crust in the Yucca Mountain area doom the planned nuclear waste repository?
Where's the Beef? (3/30/98) Find out who will win the National Anxiety Center's "Chicken Little Awards."
Gore's Concern About Earth (3/28/98) Who's upside down?
Can Initials Affect Life Span? (3/28/98) Only with a little random chance, bias and wishful thinking!
The Week That Was March 16-March 22, 1998 (3/26/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Stars rally to support NIH (3/26/98) Nature (March 26, 1998) reports "Hollywood was again enlisted last week to advance the medical research cause, with actors Christopher Reeve and Mary Tyler Moore appearing at a rally on Capitol Hill. The actors, a dozen politicians and other supporters of [NIH] repeated a call to Congress to double the budget of the $13.6 billion agency in the next five years. Reeve, who was paralysed in a riding accident in 1995, said that the U.S. is at the point of being able to buy cures and therapies once thought impossible. "What if the money isn't there?" he asked. The Senate Budget Committee, which sets the limits within which funding committees must draft their spending bills, last week approved a 1999 budget that includes an 11 per cent boost in NIH funding, to $15.1 billion." If we spend 11 percent more on NIH, do we get an 11 percent improvement in public health or an 11 percent increase in bureaucracy? Shouldn't we examine what we get from NIH before throwing more money in its direction?
German Greens soften views on biotech as power edges closer? (3/26/98) Nature (March 19, 1998) reports that "Sensing a possible electoral victory in Germany's federal elections in September, which could result in a coalition government with the Social Democrat Party (SPD), the Greens have relaxed their critical approach to biotechnology and genetic engineering. At the same time, German scientists are reacting cautiously to reports that, if such a coalition were to come to power, the Greens might choose the science ministry as one of the three ministries they would run (the other two being the foreign and the environment ministries)." Everyone who believes the Greens are going to become science- and technology-friendly, stand on your head!
Baying at the Earth (3/26/98) Pat Michaels on Al Gore's "propaganda satellite."
Kill Endangered Species Reform (3/26/98) I like this editorial from Investor's Business Daily on nuking the Endangered Species Act and starting over--except the editors got it wrong about the DDT ban having much to do with the resurgence of the bald eagle. Contrary to popular belief, the bald eagle was hunted to near extinction in the first half of the century. When hunting was banned, eagle populations increased.
Fighting Racism: EPA'S New Role? (3/25/98) Agency Probes Plant Permit In Name Of 'Justice.'
Health Panel Calls Attack On Milk From rBST-Treated Cows an Unwarranted Distortion of Science (3/25/98) Samuel Epstein's at it again.
U.S. to Release Analysis Showing Smoking Costs $130 Billion a Year (3/25/98) But find out what this report omits.
How long will Carol Browner stay at EPA? (3/24/98) According to a reliable inside source, EPA administrator Carol Browner plans on remaining at EPA through President Clinton's second term, after which time she hopes to become the first Secretary of the Environment in the Gore administration. So given the ineptitude of the Republican Congress in dealing with Browner and the junk science issue, we can look forward to many more years of EPA (and Department of the Environment?) junk science to come.
Time To Overthrow The Radonistas (3/24/98) Here's Mike Fumento on the latest radon study.
Medical Privacy Should Not Mean "Secret" Science (3/24/98) The scope of the American College of Epidemiology's principles concerning privacy of medical records should be narrowed.
Implants on the Auction Block (3/21/98) The Washington Post "gets it" on breast implants and junk science.
National Weather Service Fails to Provide Tornado Warning (3/20/98) The National Weather Service failed to provide warnings about a tornado in Georgia that killed thirteen. But although the National Weather Service can't tell us what type of weather we're having now, we can be assured that it can predict global warming 100 years from now? Maybe we should nail down the immediate forecast first. How about spending taxpayer dollars on protecting existing taxpayers?
Firms Not Liable in Secondhand Smoke Death (3/20/98) A more complete account than the Associated Press story below.
Secondhand Smoke Cleared in Jury Trial (3/19/98) "The tobacco industry is not liable in the cancer death of a nonsmoking nurse exposed to secondhand smoke at a veteran's hospital, a jury decided Thursday."
The Week That Was March 9-March 15, 1998 (3/19/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Global-warming and vector-borne disease in temperate regions and at high altitude (3/19/98) A CDC scientist sets the record straight.
Validity of Self-reported Data (3/19/98) A major problem with epidemiologic data is reliability. Often, the raw data used in studies is "self-reported"--i.e., claimed by study subjects without being verified by the researchers. A new study of almost 66,000 relatively well-educated and health conscious adults reports that self-reported cancer incidence was accurate only 75 percent of the time. One can only imagine how inaccurate are self-reports of body weight, dietary intake and the like. [Source: American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;147:556-562].
Lessons From the Tobacco Wars Edify Nutrition War Tactics (3/18/98) Check out the article "Burger Eaters: McDonald's Made Me Do It" below (from 3/17/98) and then read this article from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The food police are already gearing up for Coca-Cola and McDonald's! Are we to have federally mandated exercise?
Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer (3/18/98) A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (March 18, 1998) reports that 50 mg daily of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) reduced the rate of prostate cancer by 32 percent in a study of 29,133 Finnish smokers. But before you rush out to buy vitamin E supplements keep in mind that: (1) the reported decrease in prostate cancer rate is a weak epidemiologic association (i.e., less than 50 percent) and is not reliable; (2) the study involved only smokers and smokers generally have poorer health profiles than nonsmokers; and (3) even if vitamin E reduces the prostate cancer rate in a population, it may have no effect on you as an individual--i.e., you may be one of those in the population who still gets prostate cancer.
Leaking Silicone from Breast Implants? (3/17/98) Here's the silicone breast implant activist group Command Trust Network's press release on a new study about leaking silicone breast implants. But there are two things to keep in mind: This study reports nothing new and the problem with this experimental data is that all epidemiologic studies to date have shown no relation between systemic disease and breast implants of any type. So it appears that considerable effort has been expended in defining the pathophysiological mechanism of a disease that does not exist. [Source: Ed Uthman, MD
, Pathologist, Houston/Richmond, TX on the HealthFraud listserver].
Burger eaters: McDonald's made me do it (3/17/98) "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame seed bun -- appetizing promo or recipe for disaster?"
Beer Hops May Help Prevent Cancer (3/17/98) Just in time for St. Patty's Day...this Bud's for cancer prevention? Of course, no mention was made of green beer!
Obesity, Health Services Use, and Health Care Costs (3/17/98) The basis for the state attorneys general lawsuits against the tobacco industry is that smoking increases health care costs. This study says that annual health care costs for the obese are 25 percent to 44 percent higher than for the nonobese. So will the state attorneys general next go after Ben & Jerry's? McDonald's and Burger King? Coca-Cola?
A Possible Leap Forward on Amphibian Abnormalities (3/17/98) First, it was chemicals. But researchers lacked evidence. Then it was ozone depletion. That theory vanished into thin air. Now it's vitamin A. Maybe frog deformity researchers should look before they leap.
Tennessee Governor Talks of Revolt on EPA Rules (3/15/98) Tennessee Gov. Donald Sundquist says his state should treat the proposed air quality requirements like American revolutionaries treated British tea in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and "dump in the harbor the data that's questionable... We don't have any problem with complying with the law... When [EPA behaves] the way a government should behave, then we'll do it." So where do we sign up?
Smokescreen (3/14/98) The World Health Organization is showing signs of allowing politics to get in the way of the truth.
Smoking Out Bad Science (3/14/98) A Wall Street Journal --European Edition op-ed on the controversy over the new secondhand smoke study.
Next Brochure Draft Slated for April: Food Industry Group Faults Risk Information (3/13/98) EPA prepares to distribute a brochure scaring consumers about pesticides in food.
New Data Shows Asteroid Will Miss Earth, NASA Aays (3/13/98) Although the one-day scare is over, asteroid mania will probably remain for a while.
Dietary Salt and Mortality (3/13/98) Another false alarm from our (un)esteemed public health researchers. This time it's salt in food. Click here for the Associated Press story. Click here for the Lancet study.
More on the Pheromone Study (3/13/98) Check out Mitch Alderman's back-of- the-envelope analysis of the Nature pheromone study (reported below, 3/12/98).
Headaches from Cellular Telephones: Are They Real and What Are the Implications? (3/12/98) I get headaches when I bang my car phone against my head after reading data-impaired articles like this.
Human Pheromones (3/12/98) Here are Washington Post and New York Times articles about the new pheromone study published in Nature. Highlights (lowlights?) of this converage include the Post's headline that this one study of 20 women and their menstrual periods "proves" that people respond to others' odors. Most priceless is the claim of a Harvard researcher that "...people may want to rethink their heavy use of soaps and perfumes... It may be... that the constant washing away or covering up of these sweaty social signals account for some of the loneliness or depression in modern society." Hey... stop washing with soap and I guarantee you'll be alone!
Large Vehicles Are the Solution, Not the Problem (3/12/98) "If you listen to journalists, you'd think sport-utility vehicles were more dangerous than Saddam Hussein." Here's the venerable Sam Kazman to set them straight.
The Week That Was March 2-March 8, 1998 (3/12/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
EPA Increase for Climate Change Program Jeopardized by Kyoto Opposition, Lewis Says (3/12/98) So keep that oppostiion coming!
UN Defends Dangers of Passive Smoke (3/10/98) The World Health Organization shifts into spin-control mode.
Experts Debate Climate-Disease Link (3/10/98) I think they mean an expert debated a hysteric.
WHO Study on Secondhand Smoke (3/9/98) Here's a report of a new secondhand smoke study that doesn't link secondhand smoke to lung cancer. This is a developing story...
Here is Rep. Peterson's "Dear Colleague" Letter on Global Warming (3/9/98) Rep. John Peterson's "Dear Colleague" letter that begins "It has come to my attention that an as yet unpublished, unpeer-reviewed scientific paper claiming to have found an error in the global satellite temperature measurements has been circulated to the Administration--and possibly leaked to the press--for the purpose of putting pressure on Congress to endorse provisions of the Global Climate Treaty..."
Cholesterol screening is not worth while (3/6/98) Just because high cholesterol levels are associated with increased heart disease rates doesn't necessarily mean that high cholesterol will lead to heart disease. Correlation does not equate to causation.
The Week That Was February 23-March 1, 1998 (3/5/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Coming Soon: The Trampoline Police (3/2/98) There is no doubt that trampolines are dangerous and children should be supervised while using them. But this researcher says home use of trampolines by children and the sale of trampolines for recreational use should be banned. Hasn't this researcher overstepped his bounds? Do researchers do science or set public policy?
Researchers Find Difference in Gays (3/2/98) You won't believe your ears!
U.S. Asthma Rate Doubles (3/2/98) Asthma rates continue to diverge with air pollution levels.
Follow-up on Secondhand Smoke and Asthma in Kids (3/2/98) A recent study claimed in young children exposed to secondhand smoke, about 50 percent of the asthma cases are attributable to secondhand smoke. After I critiqued the study, Harvard's Ellis Neufeld tried to intimidate the TASSC board into repudiating my critique (See below "Harvard Physician Tries to Intimidate TASSC Board (2/24/98)". Now an article in the British Medical Journal (February 21, 1998) titled "ABC of Allergies: the Epidemiology of Allergic Disease" comes to the Junkman's defense. The article states: (1) "More than 80 percent of asthma exacerbations in children are of viral origin. This epidemiological observation equates well with most clinical experience..." and (2) "Smoking is an important risk factor for bronchial hyperreactivity--a feature of asthma--but its association with asthma remains uncertain." As I said earlier, adults shouldn't smoke in front of children--but junk science isn't necessary to make this point.
Scientists Cast Doubts on Dolly (2/28/98) The latest on the Is-Dolly-just-like-cold-fusion controversy.
Slippery claims about salamanders (2/27/98) A Mike Gough op-ed on the deformed amphibian hysteria.
Bad science only makes bad laws (2/27/98) An Ellen Goodman op-ed.
Paying Up For Global Warming (2/27/98) President Clinton wants to spend billions on global warming projects.
Prawns/Shrimp Farming: AAAS Symposium Report (2/26/98) Fun facts to know-and-tell.
Tap Water and Miscarriage (2/26/98) About two weeks ago, researchers reported that tap water consumption was associated with miscarriage. No one could critique their studies at the time because the studies hadn't yet been released. Now I know why they held their press conference before the studies were published. Click here for the editorial accompanying the studies, which lays them out for what they are--junk science. If you still want to read the two studies click here for one and here for the other.
Air Pollution and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Disease (2/25/98) Michael Lebowitz and Joel Schwartz go at it in dueling letters to the editor of Epidemiology.
Reg Reformers Learn To Crawl Before They Walk (2/25/98) Regulatory reform is beginning to heat up again.
Court Grants Summary Judgment for Dow Agrosciences in Dursban Suit (2/25/98) Another victory in the junk science wars.
The Week That Was February 16-22, 1998 (2/25/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
A View of the New Radon Report (2/24/98) Last week, the National Research Council released the latest report on radon. Here's what a member of the Texas Radiation Advisory Board thinks of it. Click here for the executve summary of the NRC report known as "BEIR VI."
Media Bias in Action (2/24/98) Former ABC correspondent Bob Zelnick says his views on Vice President Gore's environmental positions led to his demise at the network.
One Thousand Kids Per Day?(2/24/98) A letter to the Medical Association of Georgia from a Georgia health care provider.
Harvard Physician Tries to Intimidate TASSC Board (2/24/98) Real-life skullduggery! Click here for a letter in which Harvard's Ellis Neufeld tries to get the TASSC Advisory Board to repudiate an editorial on this page. Click here for the Junkman's response. Click here for the Junk Science Home Page piece in question. And click here for the article on Neufeld's own study previously "savaged" by the Junkman.
Brain Shrinkage More Rapid in Men Than in Women (2/24/98) While I think they're jumping the gun here a bit (actually a lot!), could this be why more junk science comes from men than women?
Just in case you were worrying...don't! (2/24/98) In 1989 and 1990, two ecologic (i.e., demographic) studies from the U.K. linked residential radon with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. But a new case-control study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (February 18, 1998) failed to confirm the prior hypothesis. And yes, I know, this is simply another case of junk science debunking junk science...
Risk Factors for Mortality (2/24/98) In this recent letter to the Associated Press medical editor, I wrote that mortality is a complex event. Here's a new study that sheds some light on this complexity.
Very Low Fat Diets May Harm Some People (2/21/98) Look for the quote from the chairman of the American Heart Association's nutrition committee acknowledging that epidemiologic studies can't predict risk for individuals.
Dolly the Sheep was a Clone, Edinburgh Scientist Maintains (2/21/98) Dolly's "dad" responds... but not very convincingly.
Radon: Beating a Dead Horse (2/18/98) The radon alarmists hold a press conference to say as many as 21,800 die annually of radon-induced lung cancer. Unfortunately, no body of epidemiology supports this body count. It is simply the product of numerous and compounded, unsubstantiated assumptions and extrapolations--already discussed elsewhere on this page.
Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer? (2/19/98) Click here for an article on the meta-analysis attempting to make this link. Click here for my view.
Studies Doubt Sunscreens Stop a Cancer (2/18/98) Burned again?
The Week That Was February 9-15, 1998 (2/18/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Judge Backs Use of Neutral Experts (2/17/98) Supreme Court Justice Breyer's comments at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Man Who Cloned Sheep May Try Again (2/17/98) The best way to ward off accusations of junk science.
Walk, Dont' Run (2/15/98) The Associated Press runs with a story on walking.
Reassessing Kyoto Agreement, Scientists See Little Environmental Advantage (2/14/98) Even the enviros don't think the Kyoto Accord will accomplish anything.
Apocalypse Maybe (2/14/98) Another op-ed about Julian Simon.
Water Coincidence? (2/12/98) EPA proposes labeling for tap water on the same day as a new study linking tap water to miscarriage is trumpeted. I won't critique the study until I get a copy of it. (But these studies linking tap water to health problems tend to be junk!) In the meantime, click here for the AP report on the study.
Frogs and Fungicides (2/12/98) Pay attention to the last paragraph of this Reuters story. Should the publication in question be renamed the New Junk Scientist? Thanks to Dave Cagnolatti for the story.
MOG: States, EPA Colluded on NOx Rule (2/12/98) Hillary's worried about the right-wing conspiracy. But how about this one?
After 2 Years of Market Tests, Olestra Products Going National (2/11/98) Here's a news article on what's happening with the new fat substitute Olestra. Beware, though. The article opens up with an anecdote about Olestra allegedly causing digestive problems in a child. But scientific studies, to date, report no increase in digestive problems, including one recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Also, the article gives the impression that Olestra prevents absorption of vitamins. But Olestra has been engineered not to do this. For more information on the product, visit the manufacturer's product information page.
Malthus, Watch Out (2/11/98) Julian Simon, wager of intellectual war on environmetnalists, dies.
An Empty Uniform (2/11/98) Do we really need a Surgeon General? Read this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Mike Gough and Steve Milloy.
Coffee Culprit in Cot Death (2/11/98) This press release from the Archives of Disease in Childhood announces a study reporting that heavy caffeine intake during pregnancy increases the risk of SIDS by 100 percent. The researchers theorize that caffeine has a stimulant effect on infants in utero. When this stimulant is removed "the baby's respiratory drive may be inadequate to withstand infection or other stressors." I dunno... sounds like their theory really implicates the unidentified "infection" and "other stressors"--not caffeine.
The Right to Research (2/11/98) A "news" article on the data access issue. Do researchers have the right to hide their data? Is "secret science" acceptable?
Swedish Breast Implant Study (2/10/98) A new study finds no association between silicone breast implants and connective tissue disease. Click here for the abstract. Click here for the accompanying editorial.
Dire Warnings About Obesity Rely on a Slippery Statistic (2/10/98) A great Wall Street Journal article about a bogus body count!
Biological Archaeology (2/10/98) Two "finds" in the news this week. Click here for the isolation of the 1918 flu virus from a frozen corpse in Alaska. Click here for news on the oldest known HIV infection.
The Week That Was February 1-8, 1998 (2/10/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Flu Outbreaks at Epidemic Levels (2/10/98) In case you didn't already know. Now that's a public health problem.
France Has More Early Deaths Than Britain (2/10/98) More evidence of the French paradox?
Ethics Flew the Koop? (2/5/98) In August 1994, President Clinton granted former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop a waiver for burial at Arlington Cemetery--about the same time that Koop agreed to shill for the White House's plan to bureaucratize the nation's health care system. Koop needs a waiver because he does not qualify for burial at Arlington--an honor reserved for long-serving and highly-decorated military heroes. Koop has no military service. Isn't it nice to know that the former Surgeon General was willing to sell out public health for a burial plot? (Note: On February 5, 1998, Koop ceded his Arlington rights.)
The Regulatory Hydra (2/5/98) An Investor's Business Daily op-ed on the costs of federal regulation.
Bomb Fallout and Thyroid Cancer: Statistical Sheep in Real Wolves' Clothing (2/5/98) Thanks to Russ Brown for this analysis.
Laxatives and Cancer (2/5/98) Last year the FDA forced the laxative Ex-Lax--the most effective over-the-counter laxative product--off the shelves because of some animal studies. Click here for the abstract of a new study of humans (not animals) that contradicts the FDA action.
Federal Activities on MCS (2/5/98) Stay up-to-date with federal government activities on multiple chemical sensitivity with this press release from an MCS advocacy group.
Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes? (2/4/98) Last year, researchers claimed to have cloned the sheep known as "Dolly." This event created quite a stir over the prospects of human cloning. Click here for a letter from scientists who now question whether the "cloning" actually occurred. Click here for a related news article.
EPA Budget for Sound Science (2/4/98) In its proposed budget released this week, the EPA's line item for "sound science" (whatever that is at EPA!) is taking a hit, down from $404 million to $367 million. The budget for the (junk science) line item "Emerging Risk Issues" is increasing from $48 million to $55 million. Emerging risk issues includes the endocrine disrupters issue and something called the "One Atmosphere Program"--research into the reputed "toxic soup of chemicals" that is our atmosphere.
Of Apples and Alar (Cont'd) (2/4/98) A continuation of the recent debate in the Washington Post on alar. If you missed the start, check below for the January 15, 1998 article titled "Ever-vigilant Enviros."
Advisory Panel Draft Report Proposes Screening Six Mixtures, Some Polymers (2/4/98) The testing of potential "endocrine disrupters" is moving ahead. But shouldn't a public health problem be identified first?
Secondhand Smoke and Asthma in Kids (2/4/98) Adults shouldn't smoke around children. But you don't need junk science to make the point.
Whole Hog for Whole Math (2/3/98) A Wall Street Journal op-ed spotlighting a problem with science/math education.
Groups Blast Hospital Association for Taking Advice From Pro-Incineration Consultant (2/3/98) That headline from BNA's Daily Environment Report would be more accurate if it read "Enviros Blast Hospital Association for Taking Advice From Incineration Expert." And what's wrong with that? Exactly who should the hospital association consult?
Environmental Working Group Terrorism (1/29/98) Click here for the latest scare from the Environmental Whacko Group. Click here for some balance.
Entering the Century of the Environment: A New Social Contract for Science (1/29/98) From Science magazine, this article should be subtitled "A New Social Contract on Science."
Frog Deformities (1/29/98) A letter to the editor of Science magazine on the frog deformities controversy.
If the Climate Changes, It May Do So Fast, New Data Show (1/28/98) Check out this quote from this New York Times article: "The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks," said Dr. Wallace Broecker, of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who was one of the first to raise the alarm about abrupt climate change. "We don't know whether it's going to pay attention to the pokes. But if it does, it might rise up and do something we don't like." The climate is an "angry beast?" This is science-talk?!
Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims, Finds No Exposure, Contamination Evidence (1/28/98) Another junk science-fueled lawsuit bites the dust!
State High Court Denies Review of Case Arguing Toxic Warning Law Unconstitutional (1/28/98) California's statutory junk science -- also known as Proposition 65 -- survives a legal challenge.
The Week That Was January 19-25, 1998 (1/27/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
EPA Denies Industry Petition to Remove Phosphoric Acid from Toxics Release List (1/26/98) While reading this article, keep a couple of things in mind. Phosphoric acid is a generally-recognized-as-safe food additive. It's in every can of soda. Yet EPA insists on keeping phosphoric acid listed on the "Toxics Release Inventory." And while EPA maintains that industrial discharges of phosphoric acid contribute to eutrophication of waterways, the agency does not have even one example of where this has occurred.
Racial Health Gap Continues, Studies Say (1/26/98) Click here for the New York Times article. But what's the big surprise? Consider the EPA's racist regulation. Click here for an article describing how EPA is taking asthma inhalers away from poor children. Click here for an article describing how EPA is ignoring a potential major cause of asthma for inner city children. Click here for an article describing how the EPA is taking money out of the pockets out of poor blacks.
Science Triumphant? Not So Fast (1/25/98) Click here for the New York Times op-ed that set off this fury of letters to the editor.
Northeast states con EPA to shift blame for failure to control air pollution (1/24/98) Does li'l ol' West Virginny PO-llute the EN-tire Northeast?
Ironies grown in Kyoto (1/24/98) Fred Singer opines on the Kyoto Accord.
No Easy Fix For Kyoto Mandates (1/24/98) Al Gore (near-future president?) claims the global warming treaty can be implemented painlessly with the help of technology. But is this so?
CalPIRG Tries to Scare Californians About Pesticides in Schools (1/22/98) Click here for the CalPIRG report. Click here for the response by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Bunk Bed Safety Bunko (1/22/98) The Consumer Product Safety Commission goes after bunk beds. But how much of a hazard are they? Are we becoming the "Nanny States of America?"
A Few Drinks A Day Can Add Years To Life, Studies Show (1/22/98) Here's to your health!
Cancer is a disease of aging (1/22/98) So says the National Cancer Institute. Here's a pie chart.
Parlez-vous junk science? (1/21/98) Greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft have had a negligible impact on atmospheric pollution and climate change, and little evidence is available to suggest this will change according to a new report on the enironmental impact of aviation released on January 14, 1998 by the French Academy of Sciences. But don't get me wrong. I don't disagree with the study's conclusions (except to the extent they assume that human-influenced global warming is occurring). But this is a clear-cut example of why the Europeans were so strongly for the Kyoto Accord. It's about economic competitiveness. And the Europeans, by issuing this report, hope they can extricate Airbus Industrie -- the lucrative European consortium that manufacturers commerical airliners -- from global warming hysteria. Oui, je parle junk science.
The Missing Lynx (1/21/98) When is an endangered species not really an endangered species?
Spurious Precision? Meta-analysis of Observational Studies (1/21/98) Used by EPA to convict secondhand smoke of causing lung cancer, meta-analysis is subject to misuse. Here's a good article from the British Medical Journal about its use.
New Study Contradicts Link Between Outdoor Air and Asthma. A new study in the British Medical Journal concludes that climate, diet and outdoor environment are not the main determinants of asthma prevalence. Click here for the abstract. Now tell me again why the EPA issued new outdoor air quality standards that will cost us in excess of $100 billion per year?
Cloning Research (1/21/98) Cloning has nothing to do with junk science, but it is a fascinating topic. This Washington Post article reports the FDA intends to regulate cloning research. But this Wall Street Journal editorial suggests that would-be regulators tread gently.
The Week That Was January 12-19, 1998 (1/21/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Dietary Regulation the Next Fed Fad (1/21/98) An op-ed from the one-and-only Jacob Sullum.
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/20/98) Is the public health bureaucracy prepared for an influenza epidemic/pandemic?
Junk Science Offers Competitive Advantage (1/20/98) Take a page from the hazardous waste incineration industry playbook and make junk science work for your business, too.
Reporting on Science (1/18/98) This letter-to-the-editor of the New York Times lays out problem of science and the media pretty well. But the author is wrong that government-funded science doesn't suffer the same need for attention-grabbing headlines. After all, headlines create political pressure that's relieved by spending taxpayer money.
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/18/98) The DNA is sequenced and the Mainland is ruled out as a source... or is it?
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/17/98) The flu spreads to ducks and geese.
New Research Shakes Theory Of Life on Mars (1/17/98) I thought the life-on-Mars business was overblown from the beginning. The more they look at that rock, the more it becomes just a rock. Click here for my original take on the Mars rock. Click here for a subsequent update.
Public Policy Group Says Bureaucracy Puts Public Health at Risk (1/16/98) Bill Clinton and Republicans in Congress want to increase the NIH budget. Let's make sure we're getting our money's worth first.
Chicken Little Gets the Flu (1/16/98) Michael Fumento's take on the Hong Kong flu.
Extending Cells' Life (1/15/98) I'm as excited as anyone about the prospect that scientists have figured out a way to extend cell life. The potential for this technology is tremendous. But I'm just a little suspicious that this particular result has been somewhat oversold. After all, science-by-press conference is often junk science. Benefits from the technology are more than five years away. In the meantime, the only people who will profit are Geron shareholders who saw their stock value increase 45 percent today alone.
General Motors Sells Out on Global Warming (1/15/98) Here's the press release announcing that General Motors will be playing footsie with the World Resources Institute on global warming. What's next? Bill Gates weds Janet Reno? More seriously, expect GM (and other car companies) to cave completely on global warming, passing along the increased costs to consumers. Is this "race-to-the-bottom" behavior what made America a great country?
Ever-vigilant Enviros (1/15/98) In a moment of lucidity on January 5, 1998, the Washington Post briefly mentioned in an editorial that the alar scare was unfounded. One week later, the Post published a letter-to-the-editor from enviro-hysterics Philip Landrigan and David Rall that alar was, in fact, dangerous. What Phil and Dave left out was that alar was only dangerous to the laboratory mice who were fed alar in amounts tens of thousands of times higher than humans would ever ingest.
Weather and Politics (1/15/98) An Investor's Business Daily editorial on NOAA's efforts to paint 1997 as the warmest year on record.
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/15/98) A couple news items and the flu's toll to date.
The Week That Was January 5-12, 1998 (1/15/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Dr. S. Fred Singer Writes the Washington Post (1/15/98) A few facts on how hot 1997 was.
Urban Heat-Island Effect (1/14/98) After correcting for the urban heat-island effect, the years around 1940 emerge as the warmest this century. But don't take my word for it. Check out the graph in the Science and Environmental Policy Project's recent press release on whether 1997 was the warmest year on record.
Against Nature (1/14/98) Check out this transcription of the recent British television program Against Nature. It exposes the absence of scientific rigor behind global warming; contrasts densely populated, industrialized First World countries (much hated by the Greens), which have clean air, clean water and long life expectancies, with sparsely populated, largely pre-industrial countries (much loved by the Greens), which have polluted water, terrible air and far shorter life expectancies; exposes the myth of overpopulation and points to the barbarism and racism of environmentalist plans to reduce population levels in the Third World; and identifies environmentalism as the new enemy of science, taking over from religion. It argues that Green scaremongering about genetics and fertility has led to valuable scientific research being stopped.
Yet Another Startling Obesity Study (1/13/98) For the second time in 1998, a study says obesity is not a great risk for premature death. No significant increase in risk of premature death was observed for those moderately overweight. A doubling of the risk of premature death was noted only in those grossly overweight (a risk still less than hitherto assumed!). [Source: American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;147:42-48.] For prior articles, check out the following stories listed below: "The Fat's in the Fire, Again (1/11/98);" "Medical Journal Editors Courageous in Controversial Obesity Editorial (1/7/98);" and "Obesity and Premature Mortality (1/1/98)."
Secondhand Smoke and Progression to Atherosclerosis (1/13/98) More secondhand smoke piling-on.
Unprotected Logic? (1/13/98) (1/3/98) An Australian study of the sexual behavior of homosexual men reports that those who were HIV positive were more likely than others to have unprotected anal sex. The explanation is that HIV positive men sought out positive partners for unprotected sex. But, as the report points out, this is faulty rationale because the men run the risk of infection with a different strain of HIV or (re)infection with drug resistant strains of HIV. [Source: AIDS Care 1997;9:637-649].
Meta-analysis: Bias in Location and Selection of Studies (1/13/98) Meta-analysis is the statistical technique used most notably by EPA to cook up its risk assessment of secondhand smoke. Here's a British Medical Journal article on some of the problems that plague meta-analysis.
Malnutrition: An Invisible Crisis (1/13/98) (1/3/98) The 1998 United Nations Children's Fund report titled "State of the World's Children" says that malnutrition is implicated in more than half of all deaths in children worldwide. [Source: British Medical Journal 1998;316:8 (January 3, 1998)]. I wonder how many kids could be fed if the U.N. spent its money on feeding children instead of cooking up the bogus problem of global warming?
The Fat's in the Fire, Again (1/11/98) The New York Times' Gina Kolata covers the current obesity controversy.
Really "Risky" Times (1/11/98) Nationally syndicated columnist George Will on risk.
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/11/98) A new snippet from the ProMed server.
Was 1997 the Hottest Year on Record? (1/10/98) That's what they're saying at NOAA. But did they ignore the urban heat-island effect? And Dr. S. Fred Singer says the satellite temperature data shows 1997 was a rather cool year. Click here for a revealing press release from Singer's Science and Environmental Policy Project. Click here for a hack-job by Joby Warrick of The Washington Post. Click here for the AP's hack job.
Hong Kong Flu Update (1/10/98) News snippets from the ProMed server.
Diet-Pill Litigation Finds Courts Frowning on Mass Settlements (1/9/98) Are junk science-fueled class action lawsuits an endangered species?
Medical Journal Editors Courageous in Controversial Obesity Editorial (1/7/98) In this press release, former surgeon general C. Everett Koop attacked New England Journal of Medicine editors Jerome Kassirer and Marcia Angell. In this press release, TASSC comes to their defense.
New Saccharin Study (1/7/98) A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (January 7, 1998) reports that nonhuman primates (monkeys) fed 5-10 times the allowable daily intake of saccharin for humans did not develop urinary tract cancer. Ironically, this study follows a National Toxicology Program panel's refusal to delist saccharin as a carcinogen. Does the NTP panel know something we don't? Nah... they just can't admit they've been wrong about saccharin all along.
Fish Consumption and Sudden Cardiac Death (1/7/98) This Harvard study says that eating fish once a week reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death. But hold on. The accompanying editorial says the study "does not provide clear cut answers." Go with the skeptics.
How DNA-repair Pathways May Affect Cancer Risk (1/6/98) Here's one possible explanation for why "less than 20 percent of cigarette smokers develop lung cancer."
Specialist Links Brain Tumors to Mobile Phones (1/6/98) In 1982, the rate of brain tumors among Australian males was 6.4 per 100,000; for females it was 4.0 per 100,000. A decade later the rates increased by about 50 percent to 9.6 per 100,000 for males and 6.5 per 100,000 for females. And in a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia, cancer "specialist" Andrew Davidson "conjectured" that the rise was attributable to the increase in mobile phone use during the 1980s. But it is fundamental that correlations aren't causation. If they were then the rise could also be attributed to the increase in use of personal computers. To take a line from the Foster's Lager commercials, is this Australian for "junk science?"
The Week That Was December 29, 1997-January 3, 1998 (1/6/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Hong Kong Flu Update III (1/4/98) The May 1997 contingency plans for the Hong Kong flu.
Concerns Regarding Announced Anthrax Vaccinations: Lack of Demonstrated Safety and Efficacy (1/4/98) Should U.S. troops be vaccinated against anthrax?
Hong Kong Flu Update II (1/4/98) Another person gets the flu and the chicken slaughter is botched.
A Pittance for Malaria (1/4/98) Al Gore is worried about an alleged global warming-induced epidemic of malaria 50 years from now. Earth to Ozone Al...
Why Hong Kong's `Bird Flu' Signals a Serious Threat (1/4/98) We don't know for sure whether the Hong Kong flu is a serious threat, but this article is a good primer on the flu.
You don't have to be too smart to be a CEO (1/3/98) In the US Airways in-flight magazine Attaché (December 1997), Chairman and CEO Stephen M. Wolf offered an essay about global warming titled "Global Portent." He (or one of his staff) wrote "If there is an increase of six degrees in average temperatures -- the upper range currently projected for the next century -- 'the heat alone in North American cities... will result in an excess of deaths, especially in elderly people who do not adapt well to severe warmth.'" Excuse me, but... has this guy ever been to South Florida, where (as the old joke goes) the average height is six-feet-under? I know US Airways flies to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Maybe he ought to check out an early-bird dinner in Hallandale.
Michele Rokke's Undercover Life For Animal Rights (1/3/98) Read this Washington Post article for the depths to which one extremist organization (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) goes to advance its cause. Doesn't PETA's dishonesty only underscore the bankruptcy of its ideas?
Hong Kong Flu Update I (1/3/98) Hysteria and a little skullduggery? Click here for an update from the Hong Kong Department of Health. Click here for a comment by Colorado State microbiologist Charles H. Calisher on the hysteria aspect. Click here for news that Chinese authorities "failed to report" (or covered up?) the deaths from the disease of 1.7 million chickens in February/March 1997.
Obesity and Premature Mortality (1/1/98) A new study challenges conventional wisdom on the relationship between obesity and premature death. Click here for the study's (understated) abstract. Click here for Gina Kolata's New York Times article explaining the new controversy. Click here for the accompanying New England Journal of Medicine editorial. And click here for the Junkman's insight on how this study exposes the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the U.S. public health establishment.