Nine lies about climate change

March 30, 2008

Pay attention. Take notes. But be sure you read it.  By a guy handled “Taavi,” at a LiveJournal site.

Pat Frank: When is your paper due out?


A public pain in the rear, and how to talk about it

March 30, 2008

Trying to keep the blog high school internet filter-friendly: Bob Sutton has a book about a rule of business he proposes: The No [pains in the rear] Rule. “No jerks allowed,” as the Nepali Times euphemistically put it.

How do you market a book with a mildly profane title? And how do you do it when the title is so apt, so perfect, that nothing else would work? Even the New York Times is struggling with this problem, since the book made the best-seller lists. And how do you do it when the normally-soporific FCC has started to complain about on-air profanity?

Will I get into trouble if I tell you the book is titled, The No Asshole Rule? Sutton wonders:

I appreciate the credit they are giving the book for raising awareness. But I am highly amused and slightly annoyed by The Times‘ persistent refusal to write the name of the book. When the book appeared on the best-seller list, they called it The No A******* Rule. My publisher had good fun goading them with the advertisement below The Times motto is “All the news Fit to Print,” but I guess that they still find the title offensive. I am accustomed to such silliness, as my essay over at Huffington reports — see part 1 and part 2. But I do wonder why, of all the major newspapers and magazines in the world, The Times continues to be most resistant to printing the title, or even a hint of it. This is the same publication that published many unsavory details from the Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and especially, Bill Clinton sex scandals. I also think it is pretty difficult for them to argue that they are violating generally accepted standards in the print media. Many newspapers do continue to call it something like The No Ahole Rule, but the name has been spelled out in respectable publications including the Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times, Fortune (including in a recent article giving kudos to Baird for having a no asshole rule), to BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and even Stanford Reports — the rather staid in-house publication at my own university. And major European newspapers like The Observer in England, La Monde in France, and Corriere Dela Sera in Rome printed the title (or related translations) with no fuss at all.

He’s right, of course. Students won’t blanche at hearing the word — they use worse, and would improve their language to come back to such a gentle profanity.

Guess who made the “No A—— Rule mention” rule.

The book’s subtitle is “Building a civilized workplace, and surviving one that isn’t.”

Sutton has a great idea. The book deserves to be read, and followed.

Teachers, have you ever worked in a school where this rule would not have improved the climate?


Debunking the Nigerian scam, with grace and compassion

March 30, 2008

This person should be a diplomat; when I am a fool, I hope someone will puncture my balloon with as much wit, grace and caring.

Oh, yeah — it’s another story about librarians, wouldn’t you know?


DDT and other poisons in the Great Lakes: Alma Conference update

March 30, 2008

Earlier this month, just before the conference at Alma College, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a draft report on toxic wastes found in the Great Lakes and other surrounding waters. Was it the pending conference that kicked the thing loose?

See the report at CDC’s site, here.

The Center for Public Integrity snagged a copy of the study earlier, and published it at their website. Some of us infer the hurdles for the report to be more the administration’s War on Science. But supression of a report is a lot easier if there are no copies circulating on the internet.

CDC had sat on the report for most of a year. After this interview of Chris Derosa, the report’s author appeared on CNN, and before the Alma Conference on DDT, CDC got a sudden change of heart and released the report.

Too few news reports came out of the conference. Let’s hope the proceedings will be available soon.

Logo from the CPI project on Great Lakes health

Logo from the Center for Public Interest project on Great Lakes area health, used at the release of the suppressed health report.


Dick Hussein Cheney. John Hussein McCain.

March 30, 2008

The Dallas Morning News bloggers reported from the Senate District 16 Democratic Convention (held yesterday):

Funniest thing I’ve seen all day:  Obama supporters wearing name tags co-opting Barack Obama’s middle name.

Things like:
“Bob Hussein Smith.”
“Janet Hussein Finklestein.”

Good Times.

Karen Brooks, at Moody Coliseum at Southern Methodist University, the site of the convention.

As blog reports go, the newspaper’s reporters got some snark, but the blog reports are remarkably bare of information.  The stories this morning are a bit better, but missing much.

My reports in a bit — if I can figure out how to download the Pentax photos to this computer.

Clinton’s challenges at our district (Royce West’s Senate District 23) picked up 22 delegates for Clinton.  That’s about 1% of those still standing after 9 hours of credentials wrangling.

Not worth it in District 23.  The Obama people spent the day converting a few Clinton delegates, but mostly making hard plans to dominate the state convention.  It became an 8-hour planning session for Democrats to win Texas, sure, but mainly for Obama to beat Clinton.   This was not from the Obama campaign, mind you, but spontaneous work by mostly first-time delegates.

My recollection is that four years ago we had about 600 people at this convention, and 400 two years ago.  More than 5,000 this year.  An increase of roughly 10 times in participation.

Is John Cornyn scared yet?


DDE-shortened lactation link

March 30, 2008

DDT does break down once released into the wild, and can do so rather quickly, DDT advocates love to point out. It’s part of the sleight-of-hand necessary to argue for DDT. Yes, DDT breaks down, but the first step is a breakdown to the more resilient and consequently more damaging substance known as DDE.

DDE mimics endocrine hormones in the wild and has been implicated in gender ambiguity in alligators, fish and amphibians. These animals feature underdeveloped male sex organs, are often hermaphroditic, and sometimes unable to breed. Endocrine mimics — not always DDE — are implicated in swelling the breasts of male mammals (humans are mammals, by the way), and shrinking testes in animals of all kinds.

Some studies suggest that something causes women’s ability to produce milk to nurse infants is significantly curtailed. A few studies suggest DDE is the culprit.

From a lawyer’s blog, I learned of a study in Mexico that showed no significant discernible link between DDE and the length of lactation (milk production). Something else appears to be injuring these women and their babies.

They conclude that the data from this relatively large study in a highly exposed area of Mexico did not support the hypothesis that exposure to DDE shortens length of lactation, and thus the association seen in women who previously breast-fed was likely attributed to a noncausal mechanism. Nonetheless, the authors note that DDT may have other potential adverse effects which are in need of study.

The blog post is written by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr., J.D., M.S., Chair of the Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley Environmental Practice Group.  The blog, Ear to the Ground, is new this month so far as I can tell — in this case it’s useful because it has a workable link to the full text of the article in Environmental Health Perspectives (in case you are, as I am, too lazy to get your own free subscription).

How will the DDT advocates spin this one? Look for pronouncements that DDT “absolutely has no effect on human lactation.” And look out for them — that’s not what this study says at all.


85 years old, counting the last days

March 30, 2008

I’m talking about Yankee Stadium, of course.

Great behind-the-scences, usually-not-seen tour in still photos and narration,from the New York Times, here.

In New York this summer? You rather owe it to your grandchildren to go see the stadium, don’t you?  Note this is the last year for Shea Stadium, too — better plan an extra day on that trip to the home office in Manhattan.

Confession:  I’ve never been inside the stadium.  Once, on a road trip to New York City, visiting a friend, Mark Wade, we parked in the shadow of the stadium.  Oops — somebody didn’t lock one door.  Two days in the City, parked in a tough neighborhood, with a door wide open, nothing happened to the car.  There’s some magic in that ballpark.

Yankee Stadium, from high above home plate

Yankee Stadium from high in back of home plate; photo from MLB Road Trip.com

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