Daily Deliberation #5
Corollary: celebrities always answer the question "Do you have any regrets?" with "No regrets". Are they lying? Is it possible to live life without having regrets?
If it quacks like the truth, you read it on the Daily Duck.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.
After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.
In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.
I think you are wrong about the telephone. Early adopters included the rich, but the real go-getters were doctors (who gained greatly in efficiency in the days of house calls) and dry-goods merchants. Not poor, but hardly to be counted among the overprivileged.
And cowboys. At the XIT, the world's biggest ranch, cowboys carried handsets in their saddlebags with magnetos. They would hook them to the barbwire and were able to shout simple messages back to the ranchhouse. The first mobile phones, and these were adopted at least as early as, if not earlier than, the installation of phones in mansions.
~ Harry Eagar
Glucagon is an important hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Produced by the pancreas, it is released when the glucose level in the blood is low (hypoglycemia), causing the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. The action of glucagon is thus opposite to that of insulin, which instructs the body's cells to take in glucose from the blood in times of satiation.
Atkins was by no means the first to get rich pushing a high-fat diet that restricted carbohydrates, but he popularized it to an extent that the American Medical Association considered it a potential threat to our health. The A.M.A. attacked Atkins’s diet as a ‘‘bizarre regimen’’ that advocated ‘‘an unlimited intake of saturated fats and cholesterol-rich foods,’’ and Atkins even had to defend his diet in Congressional hearings.
Thirty years later, America has become weirdly polarized on the subject of weight. On the one hand, we’ve been told with almost religious certainty by everyone from the surgeon general on down, and we have come to believe with almost religious certainty, that obesity is caused by the excessive consumption of fat, and that if we eat less fat we will lose weight and live longer. On the other, we have the ever-resilient message of Atkins and decades’ worth of best-selling diet books, including ‘‘The Zone,’’ ‘‘Sugar Busters’’ and ‘‘Protein Power’’ to name a few. All push some variation of what scientists would call the alternative hypothesis: it’s not the fat that makes us fat, but the carbohydrates, and if we eat less carbohydrates we will lose weight and live longer.
The perversity of this alternative hypothesis is that it identifies the cause of obesity as precisely those refined carbohydrates at the base of the famous Food Guide Pyramid—the pasta, rice and bread—that we are told should be the staple of our healthy low-fat diet, and then on the sugar or corn syrup in the soft drinks, fruit juices and sports drinks that we have taken to consuming in quantity if for no other reason than that they are fat free and so appear intrinsically healthy. While the low-fat-is-good-health dogma represents reality as we have come to know it, and the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in research trying to prove its worth, the low-carbohydrate message has been relegated to the realm of unscientific fantasy.
It was Ancel Keys, paradoxically, who introduced the low-fat-is-good-health dogma in the 50’s with his theory that dietary fat raises cholesterol levels and gives you heart disease. Over the next two decades, however, the scientific evidence supporting this theory remained stubbornly ambiguous. The case was eventually settled not by new science but by politics. It began in January 1977, when a Senate committee led by George McGovern published its ‘‘Dietary Goals for the United States,’’ advising that Americans significantly curb their fat intake to abate an epidemic of ‘‘killer diseases’’ supposedly sweeping the country. It peaked in late 1984, when the National Institutes of Health officially recommended that all Americans over the age of 2 eat less fat. By that time, fat had become ‘‘this greasy killer’’ in the memorable words of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the model American breakfast of eggs and bacon was well on its way to becoming a bowl of Special K with low-fat milk, a glass of orange juice and toast, hold the butter—a dubious feast of refined carbohydrates.
In the intervening years, the N.I.H. spent several hundred million dollars trying to demonstrate a connection between eating fat and getting heart disease and, despite what we might think, it failed. Five major studies revealed no such link. A sixth, however, costing well over $100 million alone, concluded that reducing cholesterol by drug therapy could prevent heart disease. The N.I.H. administrators then made a leap of faith. Basil Rifkind, who oversaw the relevant trials for the N.I.H., described their logic this way: they had failed to demonstrate at great expense that eating less fat had any health benefits. But if a cholesterol-lowering drug could prevent heart attacks, then a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet should do the same. ‘‘It’s an imperfect world,’’ Rifkind told me. ‘‘The data that would be definitive is ungettable, so you do your best with what is available.’’
Brazil may well be the most body-conscious society in the world, but that body has always been Brazil’s confident own — not a North American or European one.
For women here that has meant having a little more flesh, distributed differently to emphasize the bottom over the top, the contours of a guitar rather than an hourglass, and most certainly not a twig.
[That] was before the incursions of the Barbie aesthetic, celebrity models, satellite television and medical makeovers made it clear just how far some imported notions of beauty, desirability and health have encroached on Brazilian ideals once considered inviolate.
... Martha Rocha, a Miss Brazil from the mid-1950s. She finished second in the Miss Universe competition supposedly because her body was a bit too generous in the hips, buttocks and thighs, but since those characteristics were so highly valued [in Brazil], as suggested by cartoons and the popularity of the semi-pornographic drawings of Carlos Zéfiro that circulated, it was the rest of the world whose taste was questioned.
[Brazilian] Gisele Bündchen, the top model whose enormous international success has inspired the thousands of Brazilian girls who dream of emulating her to enroll in modeling schools and competitions. But very little about Ms. Bündchen’s body — tall and blond, rangy yet busty — connects her to her homeland and its traditional self-image.
Impeachment, which is now on everyone’s table except Nancy Pelosi’s...
Don't look to Congress for redress.
NANOBUBBLES DELIVER TARGETED CANCER DRUGS USING ULTRASOUND
A new targeted drug delivery method uses ultrasound to image tumors, while also releasing the drug from "nanobubbles" into the tumor.
Cancer drugs can be targeted to tumors by delivering them in packets of nanoparticles, then releasing them with ultrasound. But this approach can be difficult because it requires a way to image the tumor prior to treatment.
Natalya Rapoport, Ph.D., D.Sc., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and colleagues describe a new method of drug delivery that may address this problem. Their study appears in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Nanobubbles filled with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin were injected into mice. The bubbles accumulated in the tumors, where they combined to form larger "microbubbles." When exposed to ultrasound, the bubbles generated echoes, which made it possible to image the tumor. The sound energy from the ultrasound popped the bubbles, releasing the drug. In mice treated with this method, the nanobubbles were more effective at blocking tumor growth than other nanoparticle delivery methods.
"Microbubble formulations have been developed for combining ultrasonic tumor imaging and ultrasound-enhanced chemotherapeutic treatment," the authors write.
24 Die After Bus Plunges Off Mountain
By THIERRY BOINET, AP, with Associated Press Writer Ryan Lucas in Warsaw contributing
GRENOBLE, France (July 22) - A bus carrying Polish pilgrims from a holy site in the French Alps plunged off a steep mountain road, crashed into a river bed and burst into flames Sunday, killing 24 people, authorities said.
Another 20 people were seriously injured in the wreck, which occurred at about 9:30 a.m. [next to the La Romanche River in the French village of Vizille], not far from Grenoble, officials said. [...]
Buses have been prohibited from using the 5-mile stretch of road -- which has a 7 percent grade -- without a special permit since a similar accident in the 1970s, also involving pilgrims.
The bus involved in Sunday's crash pilgrims had no such permit, firefighters said. [...]
A handful of missing passengers may have been thrown out of the bus and into the river, firefighters said. Crews were searching the river by helicopter and boat.
The pilgrims were returning from the shrine of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, about 25 miles south of Grenoble.
The prefecture of the Isere region in southeastern France said 49 passengers, a driver and another person -- likely a second driver -- had been on board the bus.
Marcin Szklarski, president of the trip's organizer, Orlando Travel [...] said 50 people were on the bus: 47 pilgrims, two drivers and a guide. [...]
Nestled between Alpine peaks, the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is about 5905 feet above sea level. The complex was built on the site two local boys claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them in 1846. It has since become an important pilgrimage site, drawing Catholics from around the world.
The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week paints a bleak picture of Al Qaeda's renewed strength and determination to attack America. And a major part of the blame, US officials charge, lies with someone President Bush has described as a critical ally in the war on terror: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf.
Since 9/11, Washington has looked to President Musharraf to uproot Islamic extremism in South Asia. Nearly six years later, however, Pakistan is still a nuclear-armed crucible of jihadi culture, exporting terrorists and destabilizing its neighbors.
For too long, Washington has coddled the Pakistani general, turned a blind eye to his crushing of democracy, and read too much into his pro-West rhetoric. The US must change course. And there are signs it's about to. "There's no doubt that more aggressive steps need to be taken," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
After almost a decade under Mush-arraf's rule, Pakistan hasn't changed much. He has initiated reforms and revamped the economy. But where he was expected to do most, fighting Islamic extremism, Pakistan's record is most disappointing.
It was only when Pakistani-backed Afghan mujahideen or the Taliban ruled Kabul that Pakistan felt secure in its relations with Afghanistan. Pakistani generals counted on the "strategic depth" that their neighbor to the northwest would provide in a war against India.
These days, they see Afghanistan as an adversary. They are irked by Afghan President Hamid Karzai's strong ties to Delhi and the mushrooming of Indian consulates across Afghanistan. The territory that they "owned" until 9/11, thanks to the Taliban, is now at best neutral and at worst the playground of their arch rival, India. Pakistan does not view Afghanistan through the prism of the war on terror, but in the context of its own vulnerabilities in the competition for power and influence with India. That's why Islamabad has everything to gain by playing the Taliban card, giving its fighters and their Al Qaeda allies a lair in Pakistan's border region, to keep Kabul weak and southern Afghanistan free of Indian influence.
In dealing with Pakistan, Washington has preferred to see the logic of the war on terror as self-evident, not recognizing that even close allies will not cooperate if it does not serve their interests. It is only by addressing Pakistan's interests that Washington can secure greater cooperation from Islamabad.
Washington cannot give Pakistan the sphere of influence in southern Afghanistan that it desires to make sure it will not be encircled by India. However, Washington can give Pakistan greater interest in Afghanistan's stability than it has now by encouraging Kabul to include Pakistan's allies and clients in government; and more important, to finally recognize its international border with Pakistan.
Even the American left's netroots are getting tired of Cindy Sheehan. It's a shame it took them so long.
Sheehan, the epic narcissist who became the face of the anti-war movement, has been banned from posting any further entries on Daily Kos, arguably the most influential of all liberal blogs in the US.
The Kossacks have pulled the plug on Sheehan because of her threat to challenge the speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, for her congressional seat.
Sheehan has said she will decide on July 23 whether to go ahead with her attempt to oust Pelosi - who is, incidentally, about as liberal as congressional Democrats get - from her San Francisco district. "Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan recently proclaimed with her customary certitude.
As most people know, Sheehan came to prominence in summer 2005 when she set up camp outside President Bush's Texas ranch. She demanded to meet the president to discuss the death of her son, army specialist Casey Sheehan. He was killed in Iraq in April 2004.
It would be inhumane not to feel sympathy for Cindy Sheehan's loss. But it would also be softheaded to ignore the numerous inconsistencies, self-aggrandisements and missteps that have characterized her behaviour.
Sheehan's initial demands to meet Bush, and her escalating criticisms of him, had a peculiar genesis. Sheehan in fact had already met Bush before she rolled up to the ranch. Interviewed by a local newspaper after the early encounter, she restrained herself to rather mild criticisms of the war's conduct. Of Bush himself, she said he was "sincere" about wanting freedom for the Iraqi people. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss," she added.
That seems a rather circumspect judgment on a man she would later denounce as "the Fuhrer" and the biggest terrorist in the world.
Less than two months ago, Sheehan announced her "resignation" from the anti-war movement. "I am finished working in, or outside of this system," she wrote. She told the Associated Press: "When we come back, it definitely won't be with the peace movement with marches, with rallies and with protests."
Writing at Wired.com, Bruce Schneier makes a counterintuitive but fascinating argument that draws on an academic paper by Max Abrahms titled "Why Terrorism Does Not Work." As Schneier sums it up, people have a "cognitive bias" that leads them to an erroneous conclusion about the motives of terrorists:Because terrorism often results in the horrific deaths of innocents, we mistakenly infer that the horrific deaths of innocents is the primary motivation of the terrorist, and not the means to a different end. . . .
[Abrahms] analyzes the political motivations of 28 terrorist groups: the complete list of "foreign terrorist organizations" designated by the U.S. Department of State since 2001. He lists 42 policy objectives of those groups, and found that they only achieved them 7 percent of the time. . . . Terrorism is a pretty ineffective means of influencing policy. . . .
This theory explains, with a clarity I have never seen before, why so many people make the bizarre claim that al Qaeda terrorism--or Islamic terrorism in general--is "different": that while other terrorist groups might have policy objectives, al Qaeda's primary motivation is to kill us all. This is something we have heard from President Bush again and again--Abrams [sic] has a page of examples in the paper--and is a rhetorical staple in the debate. . . .
Since Bin Laden caused the death of a couple of thousand people in the 9/11 attacks, people assume that must have been his actual goal, and he's just giving lip service to what he claims are his goals. Even Bin Laden's actual objectives are ignored as people focus on the deaths, the destruction and the economic impact.
Perversely, Bush's misinterpretation of terrorists' motives actually helps prevent them from achieving their goals... [Emphasis added]
[No. Korea decides that the deal's as good as they're going to get]
By BO-MI LIM, Associated Press Writer
14 Jul 07
U.N. inspectors arrived in North Korea on Saturday to monitor the communist country's long-anticipated promise to scale back its nuclear weapons program, while the top U.S. nuclear envoy said he expected Pyongyang's reactor to be shut down in a matter of days.
An initial shipment of oil aid arrived hours earlier Saturday, in return for Pyongyang's pledge to close down its main nuclear reactor. The move would be the North's first step in nearly five years toward the de-nuclearization of the peninsula.
The 10-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was heading directly to Yongbyon, about 60 miles northeast of the capital, to begin monitoring the shutdown. [...]
[IAEA team chief Adel Tolba] said the team would stay in North Korea as long as needed to complete its work.
After years of tortuous negotiations and delays — during which the North argued its nuclear program was needed for self-defense — the reclusive communist regime said earlier this month that once it received the oil shipment, it would consider halting its reactor.
North Korea did not give any timetable for starting the shutdown but top U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said it would happen over the next few days.
"I think it's a matter of today, tomorrow, maybe Monday," Hill told reporters in the Japanese resort town of Hakone south of Tokyo.
Hill also said he expected the North to submit a list of its nuclear facilities within months, as was agreed to in February's round of talks.
"We expect the comprehensive list in a matter of several weeks, possibly several months," Hill said. [...]
Saturday's delivery was part of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil the North has been promised in exchange for shutting down the Yongbyon reactor. Pyongyang eventually will receive 1 million tons of oil for dismantling its nuclear program.
After the IAEA team installs monitoring equipment, personnel will remain at Yongbyon to ensure the reactor remains shut down, said a diplomat familiar with North Korea's file at the IAEA.
"The IAEA plans to have a permanent presence there, with some experts remaining at the site continuously," said the diplomat, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
North Korea agreed earlier this year to shut down its reactor and take other steps toward disarmament in exchange for the oil and other financial and political concessions in a deal with the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia...
Associated Press Writers Anita Chang in Beijing and Bo-Mi Lim in Seoul, South Korea contributed to this report.
Mandler notes that, from the late 1940s onwards, there was a steep decline in the traditional continental fascination with the English character, and, indeed, in home-grown analysis of it. We mattered less. The English, as well as foreigners, saw little to admire in themselves, and became increasingly confused about who we were. “Gentlemen” became unfashionable. The amateur spirit was perceived as having got Britain into the awful mess it had become by the 1960s. Mandler’s study pays insufficient attention to literary sources. One learns more about the English national character from Dickens and Trollope or, indeed, from any novelist, than from a study of this kind, which records various jokes, but fails to make any of its own. Just as Dickens contributed vastly to English self-perceptions in the 19th century, so Len Deighton’s 1960s spy thrillers vividly depicted the new Englishman’s contempt for the old one.
The expatriate Alan Pryce-Jones observed in 1968 that England was “an aquatinted country, full of very nice people, half asleep”. Mandler’s concluding pages portray a nation that has become deeply unsure of what it is, or wants to be. In the past half- century, most of this island’s inhabitants have become more concerned with personal than national identity. A 1963 poll for New Society showed that 73% of respondents thought that “individual happiness” was much more important than “national greatness”. I fancy that majority would increase in a similar poll taken today.
Even the nationalistic historian Arthur Bryant gave up, lamenting that “there is no unifying faith to bind us together”. In the late 1970s, the novelist Antonia Byatt without embarrassment applauded the virtues of multiculturalism: “I see our nation increasingly as a bright mosaic of little, unrelated patches.” Today, of course, we can see what dangerous tosh this was.
We perceive the threat not only to our social cohesion, but to our physical security, posed by an ideal of a nation in which nobody is required to display commitment to anything beyond self. If the age of John Bull, and that of Bulldog Drummond, is unlamented, we are learning by bitter experience that it is preferable to acknowledge almost any national character than none at all.
It is easy to mock our past ideal of identity, overwhelmingly defined by military achievement. Yet the replacement of the old national culture with one rooted only in personal self-fulfilment, in which the highest loyalties are offered to football teams, and new immigrants are permitted to live here as mere economic campers, is plainly a failure.
Swamped by the noise and heat I felt a disquiet at what I now realise was a relatively modest exhibition of American triumphal gloating. My response was to engage a colonel of the United States Air Force in conversation.
I told the colonel that I found the idea that he could kill me anywhere, anytime and under any circumstances unsettling. I mentioned that as a foreigner I found this less comforting than perhaps did the massed ranks of Americans at the air show. I pointed out that those of us who have disagreements with the United States assert our right to disagree, and to assert our own view of the world.
He said I was the first person he had ever met to say these things.
I asked him had he ever been abroad. He said no. We agreed that this probably explained it.
….at some point in the conversation the colonel mentioned a particular game of baseball. It is a game he umpired, and it took place one time in Sarajevo, in
‘But,’ I objected, ‘you said you had never been abroad.’
‘Hell no,’ he agreed, and then seeing my look of doubt he went on to explain. ‘By the time I got there, it was ours.’
The two right wing movements of the last thirty years have both been anti-conservative. Neo-liberalism's glorification of the market subverted community, locality, custom and tradition. Neo-conservatism's rabid idealism is an affront to the anti-idealistic pragmatism of old conservatism. Thus 'right wing' and 'conservative' can no longer be regarded as synonyms. In fact, they never should have been. It was commonplace for late Victorians and Edwardians to regard socialism as a conservative movement. And G.K.Chesterton defined his own high Toryism as the support of the working man against vested interests. It was probably when the Russian revolution polarised political debate that the idea of conservatism as an anti-working class movement was born. Conservatism is not a matter of any specific policies, but rather it is an attitude defined by realism and a reverence for custom and tradition.
London Bombers Sped to Glasgow, Authorities Say
By SERGE F. KOVALESKI and ALAN COWELL
Published July 6, 2007
The New York Times
HOUSTON, Scotland, July 5 — British investigators have concluded that the two men who carried out an attack at Glasgow’s international airport last Saturday had sped there after a failed attempt to bomb a nightclub in central London, a British security official said Thursday. [...]
A week after the intended bombings in London and Glasgow — with the potential to kill scores of late-night revelers and travelers — law enforcement officials say that the evidence emerging is that the two doctors were the main operatives, if not the leaders, of a network of other medical professionals. [...]
Much still remains unknown about the plot, including whether it was planned inside Britain, in Iraq or elsewhere. Altogether, eight suspects are in police custody in the
A British security official, who spoke anonymously under government rules, said investigators now believed that Dr. Abdulla and Dr. Ahmed had also tried to set off two car bombs in London a day before the fiery airport attack in Glasgow.
In the early hours of last Friday, the police discovered a silver green Mercedes outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London’s Haymarket. An ambulance crew saw what was thought to be smoke in the vehicle and called the police. A police officer removed a detonation device that used a cellphone, police officials said at the time. The Mercedes was packed with gasoline, gas canisters and nails.
A short time later, a second Mercedes laden with the same dangerous cargo was discovered in a “no parking” zone near Haymarket and towed away. Afterward, the police said that this vehicle, a navy blue Mercedes, had also been primed to explode but had failed to detonate, [for reasons that have not been made public...]
In the film, you mention anonymously helping the man who runs the biggest anti-Michael Moore Web site to pay some medical bills. Now that your assistance is no longer anonymous, have you had any further contact with him?
Yes, I called him before the first time we screened it at the film festival in Cannes and told him it was me. I didn't want him to be surprised by it.
A Challenge to Gene Theory, a Tougher Look at Biotech
By DENISE CARUSO
Published: July 1, 2007
The New York Times
[Last] month, a consortium of scientists published findings that challenge the traditional view of how genes function. The exhaustive four-year effort was organized by the United States National Human Genome Research Institute and carried out by 35 groups from 80 organizations around the world. To their surprise, researchers found that the human genome might not be a “tidy collection of independent genes” after all, with each sequence of DNA linked to a single function, such as a predisposition to diabetes or heart disease.
Instead, genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood. According to the institute, these findings will challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”
Biologists have recorded these network effects for many years in other organisms. But in the world of science, discoveries often do not become part of mainstream thought until they are linked to humans.
With that link now in place, the report is likely to have repercussions far beyond the laboratory. The presumption that genes operate independently has been institutionalized since 1976, when the first biotech company was founded. In fact, it is the economic and regulatory foundation on which the entire biotechnology industry is built.
Innovation begets risk, almost by definition. When something is truly new, only so much can be predicted about how it will play out. [...]
For example, antibiotics were once considered miracle drugs that, for the first time in history, greatly reduced the probability that people would die from common bacterial infections. But doctors did not yet know that the genetic material responsible for conferring antibiotic resistance moves easily between different species of bacteria. Overprescribing antibiotics for virtually every ailment has given rise to “superbugs” that are now virtually unkillable.
The principle that gave rise to the biotech industry promised benefits that were equally compelling. Known as the Central Dogma of molecular biology, it stated that each gene in living organisms, from humans to bacteria, carries the information needed to construct one protein.
Proteins are the cogs and the motors that drive the function of cells and, ultimately, organisms. In the 1960s, scientists discovered that a gene that produces one type of protein in one organism would produce a remarkably similar protein in another. The similarity between the insulin produced by humans and by pigs is what once made pig insulin a life-saving treatment for diabetics. [...]
“The genome is enormously complex, and the only thing we can say about it with certainty is how much more we have left to learn,” wrote Barbara A. Caulfield, executive vice president and general counsel at the biotech pioneer Affymetrix, in a 2002 article on Law.com called “Why We Hate Gene Patents.”
“We’re learning that many diseases are caused not by the action of single genes, but by the interplay among multiple genes,” Ms. Caulfield said. She noted that just before she wrote her article, “scientists announced that they had decoded the genetic structures of one of the most virulent forms of malaria and that it may involve interactions among as many as 500 genes.” [...]
“Both theory and experience confirm the extraordinary predictability and safety of gene-splicing technology and its products,” said Dr. Henry I. Miller, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who represented the pro-biotech position. Dr. Miller was the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the Food and Drug Administration, and presided over the approval of the first biotech food in
A 2004 editorial in the journal Nature Genetics beseeched academic and corporate researchers to start releasing their proprietary data to reviewers, so it might receive the kind of scrutiny required of credible science.
ACCORDING to [Jack Heinemann, a professor of molecular biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and director of its Center for Integrated Research in Biosafety], many biotech companies already conduct detailed genetic studies of their products that profile the expression of proteins and other elements. But they are not required to report most of this data to regulators, so they do not. Thus vast stores of important research information sit idle...
Denise Caruso is executive director of the Hybrid Vigor Institute, which studies collaborative problem-solving.
The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God's judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops.
One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.
While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation's decision to ignore biblical teaching.
The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not just a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence.
"This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way," he said. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused."
The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman empire as a result of its immorality.
"We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate," he said.
"In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as 'the beast', which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want," he said, adding that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage.
"The sexual orientation regulations [which give greater rights to gays] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."
He expressed his sympathy for those who have been hit by the weather, but said that the problem with "environmental judgment is that it is indiscriminate".
The West is also being punished for the way that it has exploited poorer nations in its pursuit of economic gain. "It has set up dominant economic structures that are built on greed and that keep other nations in a situation of dependence. The principle of God's judgment on nations that have exploited other nations is all there in the Bible," he said.
He urged people to respond to the latest floods by turning away from a lifestyle of greed to instead live thinking of the consequences of their actions.