All of us come into the world designed by evolution to survive. Failing some rare mishap, we arrive equipped with immune systems ready to do battle with unfriendly biologic mischief makers. The wizards within us that enable this microscopic life-preserving enterprise reside in the nuclei of our 75-100 trillion cells. Just as millions of ‘0s’ […]
Scientists at the National Cancer Institute recognized the limitations of the mammography screening trial conducted during 1963-1969 by the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP-GNY). Those limits prevented the trial from supporting a widespread screening protocol for breast cancer among asymptomatic women of average risk. (See previous post, “Mammography’s Shadows, II: Numbers and […]
The notion that the things we create belong to us is not new; it dates back at least to 560, when Ireland’s King Diarrmait ruled against the monk Colmcille, who had secretly copied his mentor Finnian’s psalter. (Legend records Diarmait’s judgment as “To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs its copy.”) […]
Discussions of patent policy in the United States and elsewhere often overlook the fact that the original intent of issuing patents (not to be confused with sovereign-granted commercial privileges) was to encourage the disclosure and spread of novel devices to stimulate manufacturing and trade. The earliest patents (such as those awarded by the Republic […]
In a recent letter to the editor of the local newspaper a reader supports Mr. Romney’s assertion that 47% of the American public depends on federal benefits, and therefore undeserving of the presidential candidate’s concern. The letter writer then shares with us his pride at being part of the other 53%, Without mentioning national defense […]
Widely adopted personality tests and tests for creativity have become one of the most familiar examples of scientific positivism in the study of human psychology. By their nature, however, they cannot succeed at what they claim to do. A science of ‘creativity’ that excludes artistic and literary expression has much to do with a commercial society’s efforts to co-opt the full range of human experience, and very little to do with the qualities that make that experience the extraordinary and irreducible phenomenon that it is.
When hackers in 2009 obtained data and e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, they did more than light the tinder box of ‘global warming’ skepticism. The disclosed material also exposed a dismissive attitude shared by many scientists toward the public’s right to know the full results of research funded by public funds, an especially worrisome attitude when that research may influence important national and international policy decisions.