Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Salon.com Technology %7C Bio-stupid

Salon.com Technology %7C Bio-stupid

Alan Goldstein is a professor with professional understanding of agricultural biotechnology. He writes about his experience with the counter-culture folk demonstrating agains the recent BIO conference in San Francisco. He notes that "the protesters at a San Francisco biotech summit were scientifically illiterate and politically irrelevant." Unfortunately, I fear that they and their like are not politically irrelevant, giving credibility to aberations like the denial of food in Zimbabwe (because it might include GM corn), and unwillingness of the international donor community to fund biotech adequately to meet the needs of poor countries for improved cultivars.

Singapore returns to innovation as a motor for growth

Economist.com %7C Face value:

"SINGAPORE%2C one of the first Asian economies to be called a tiger%2C is roaring again. In the second quarter of this year its GDP was 12.5%25 higher than in the same period in 2003%97when%2C admittedly%2C SARS took its toll on an already lacklustre economy. The government is now forecasting growth this year of up to 9%25%2C perhaps second only to China in Asia. Much of this growth is due to manufacturing exports%2C above all of pharmaceuticals%97second-quarter output of which was 51%25 higher than a year earlier."

Economist.com %7C Spectrum policy

Economist.com %7C Spectrum policy:

"The old mindset%2C supported by over a century of technological experience and 70 years of regulatory habit%2C views spectrum%97the range of frequencies%2C or wavelengths%2C at which electromagnetic waves vibrate%97as a scarce resource that must be allocated by governments or bought and sold like property. The new school%2C pointing to cutting-edge technologies%2C says that spectrum is by nature abundant and that allocating%2C buying or selling parts of it will one day seem as illogical as%2C say%2C apportioning or selling sound waves to people who would like to have a conversation."

Monday, August 16, 2004

'Data Quality' Law Is Nemesis Of Regulation (washingtonpost.com)

'Data Quality' Law Is Nemesis Of Regulation (washingtonpost.com):

"The Data Quality Act -- written by an industry lobbyist and slipped into a giant appropriations bill in 2000 without congressional discussion or debate -- is just two sentences directing the OMB to ensure that all information disseminated by the federal government is reliable. But the Bush administration's interpretation of those two sentences could tip the balance in regulatory disputes that weigh the interests of consumers and businesses."

This is the second in a series of three articles in the Washington Post on regulation by the Bush Administration. This article suggests how concern for "the quality of information" has been perverted by political forces to reduce governmental regulation of environmental and health hazards.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a "New Warfare"-- Executive Summary. PDA Research Monograph 9, 18 February 2004. Carl Conetta

Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a "New Warfare" -- Executive Summary. PDA Research Monograph 9, 18 February 2004. Carl Conetta:

"US-led operations went far beyond the hunt for Al Qaeda to include two conventional wars whose objectives were regime change. By February 2004, neither war had yet produced a stable peace in the subject countries, but they had imposed more than 18,000 fatalities including perhaps 6,000 non-combatant deaths.(3) Based on historical experience, it is reasonable to assume that they additionally involved as many as 50,000 non-fatal casualties, both military and non-military. "

The point made in the article is that the U.S. government has chosen not to provide figures on casualties in countries it has attacked, feeling apparently that knowledge is not good for its democratic decision making.