Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oh, God No!

Beer drinkers beware: 4 percent of U.S. hops crop burns. Not only tragic, but this may cause rioting in the streets if the beer supply is cut. If people can't drink away their feelings about high gas prices because beer prices are too high. . . well, this could lead to a situation that shakes this nation to its very core.

There will be a moment of silence as soon as the sun dips below the yardarm.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Want to get freaked out?

These Human medical experiments occurred right here in the U.S. Here's a sample:
(1896) Dr. Arthur Wentworth turns 29 children at Boston's Children's Hospital into human guinea pigs when he performs spinal taps on them, just to test whether the procedure is harmful (Sharav).

(1943) In order to "study the effect of frigid temperature on mental disorders," researchers at University of Cincinnati Hospital keep 16 mentally disabled patients in refrigerated cabinets for 120 hours at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (Sharav).

(1967) Continuing on his Dow Chemical Company-sponsored dioxin study without the company's knowledge or consent, University of Pennsylvania Professor Albert Kligman increases the dosage of dioxin he applies to 10 prisoners' skin to 7,500 micrograms, 468 times the dosage Dow official Gerald K. Rowe had authorized him to administer. As a result, the prisoners experience acne lesions that develop into inflammatory pustules and papules (Kaye).
[. . . ]
The U.S. Army pays Professor Kligman to apply skin-blistering chemicals to Holmesburg Prison inmates' faces and backs, so as to, in Professor Kligman's words, "learn how the skin protects itself against chronic assault from toxic chemicals, the so-called hardening process," information which would have both offensive and defensive applications for the U.S. military (Kaye).
[. . . ]
Professor Kligman develops Retin-A as an acne cream (and eventually a wrinkle cream), turning him into a multi-millionaire (Kaye).

(1953 - 1957) Eleven patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are injected with uranium as part of the Manhattan Project (Sharav).

(1951 - 1952) Researchers withhold insulin from diabetic patients for up to two days in order to observe the effects of diabetes; some test subjects go into diabetic comas (Goliszek).

(1955 - 1957) In order to learn how cold weather affects human physiology, researchers give a total of 200 doses of iodine-131, a radioactive tracer that concentrates almost immediately in the thyroid gland, to 85 healthy Eskimos and 17 Athapascan Indians living in Alaska. They study the tracer within the body by blood, thyroid tissue, urine and saliva samples from the test subjects. Due to the language barrier, no one tells the test subjects what is being done to them, so there is no informed consent (Goliszek).
Here's my favorite (for lack of a better word) if only for its "what the hell" factor:
(1919 - 1922) Researchers perform testicular transplant experiments on inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California, inserting the testicles of recently executed inmates and goats into the abdomens and scrotums of living prisoners (Greger).
There's plenty more, including some of the .gov's Greatest Hits, like Tuskegee, MKULTRA, and the CDC vs. gay men. Whenever I read things like this, I just get a warm fuzzy feeling all over regarding doctors, the government, and my fellow man in general.

Parental Apathy

Children left behind. . . by their parents. This is the kind of stuff that makes me bang my head into walls:
[School officials] sent letters to parents in English and Spanish, notifying them that under the federal No Child Left Behind act of 2001, their children were eligible for free tutoring.

Parents, the letters said, could choose from a list of state-approved tutoring companies. The district, the letters said, would spend up to roughly $1,000 and tutoring would be provided by private companies such as Catapult Online or PLATO Learning.

More than 650 families were eligible. A few parents called with questions, but when the sign-up period concluded, "none of our families took us up on that," said Cynthia Davis, a district coordinator.
Wait, what? Students aren't doing well. Federal dollars (from the much-derided No Child Left Behind Act) are made available to parents of those students in the form of free tutoring. NONE of the parents took advantage of the program. I could understand (maybe) if the parents weren't made aware of the program, but they were. The article cites Colorado educators stating that the low response to the program has to do with things such as notification letters being "confusing or filled with technical jargon" and lack of transportation to extra-curricular programs. I understand the latter; parents have to work or take care of other children. What I can't understand is the former: if you can't understand something you get from your child's school, why can't you request clarification from the school? I can also understand if some parents don't take the offer of free tutoring when their children are already involved in another after-school program, but NO parents signed up for the program in the school district?

That's just (a)pathetic.

Technical Difficulties

Don't you hate it when you're gone for the weekend, return home, and find that your cable tv/internet is out? Yeah, so do I. Posting to resume as normal now that everything's fixed.