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November 2008

I.G.Y (International Geophysical Year) (What A Beautiful World) (1982)--Retrospective

Sometimes, when there is so much bad news, it helps to turn to music, and few songs are as upbeat as Donald Fagen's "I.G.Y."

The lead single from his bravura album "The Nightfly," this track continues Fagen's pop/jazz fusion vision, and the session players on it read like a who's who of LA heavies--along with NYC-based Valerie Simpson (of Ashford & Simpson). Contrary to what some critics said at the time, there is no cynicism here, the optimism is genuine, as Fagen was relating the way people felt during the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year.

To be sure, later events would permanently change the country's mood.

Check out my review.

Who says carbon dioxide is a pollutant, anyway?

While it might be a bit late to ask that question, the question is still valid. The original mission of environmental regulatory agencies with respect to air pollution was to identify and control obviously toxic substances, produced by industrial or mobile sources. Thus, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and a host of others can be unequivocally identified as "pollutants."

In the case of carbon dioxide, however, the brain trust has confounded cause and effect, and lie about both: They posit an effect--global warming--and assign without any proof a proximate cause, carbon dioxide. This argument is even weaker now, as global warming has recently morphed into "climate change," as the so-called data supporting warming keeps evaporating.

While carbon dioxide can never be toxic--strictly speaking it will act as a "simple asphyxiant" in high concentrations--it is essential for plant life, and is a waste metabolite of all animals.

The plain fact is that there is no science anywhere supporting the spurious notion that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. If it is, then so is oxygen, which itself becomes extremely dangerous at concentrations above 23%. At that concentration and above, many materials will either spontaneously combust, or burn much more readily than at normal conditions. Talk about real global warming! 

Fortunately, our current atmosphere is 21% oxygen.

Better not plant any more trees, or they might pollute the environment with oxygen!

Just when you think you've heard everything...

No, you really CAN'T make up this kind of stuff:

An Arkansas man has been sentenced to prison for fatally shooting a stylist who was taking too long to braid his hair. Thirty-year-old Kerry Rendall Wilson of Little Rock was sentenced Friday (November 21st) to 24 years for second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole in six years.

Wilson's lawyer says his client was high on marijuana dipped in formaldehyde when 39-year-old Henrietta Jones was killed in November 2007.

But the lawyer, Bill James, says one of the woman's sons actually killed her.

As to the "marijuana dipped in formaldehyde," this would have been formalin, an aqueous solution of formaldehyde (37%) usually with around 15% methanol. However, there are some who think that this might just be a ruse to cover PCP use.

I have a feeling that this perp won't be granted parole in six years.

Here's a shocker--Money influences health care policy

I recently interviewed infection control genius Dr. Lawrence Muscarella, and he related a few choice tidbits as to how the regulation of medical devices, including best practices that come out the so-called NGOs (non-governmental organizations), are heavily affected by MONEY.

I didn't name names in my HND piece that covered the interview, but anyone inside the industry will be able to fill in the blanks.

For those outside the industry, the names really don't matter that much:  The situation still stinks.

Does a high-fat diet promote Alzheimer's?

We are already aware of many of the bad things caused by a high fat diet....

  • cardiovascular disease
  • strokes
  • diabetes
  • various forms of cancer
  • liver disease
  • sleep problems
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • kidney conditions

Now, a research group from Quebec's Université Laval thinks that it can also be involved in Alzheimer's.

The team used sophisticated techniques to monitor certain brain proteins indicative of Alzheimer's, and fed groups of mice different diets. The high-fat mice showed greatly elevated levels of these proteins.

Check out my HND piece on this interesting work.

Still more from Jamie Goldstein's Injury Board posting

Jamie took out the long knives in her reply, and never did thank me for correcting her spelling.  She went off on the sort of tirade one might expect from PI lawyers, and I guess they speak that way even when they are not in court.

Here are some, uh, highlights...

Many people may feel these claims are frivolous and not worthwhile, but the reality here is that we believe Victoria's Secret broke the rules and they deserve to be held responsible for that, just as everyone else in society is when they break the rules.

Not sure how you get from "the reality here is.." to "we believe." Is reality defined as what Jamie believes?

I suppose though it's just some women's breasts and they should get over it. Stop complaining and overreacting, despite the fact that many of these signs are also signs of breast cancer. I guess the fear of not knowing for months on end what is causing these symptoms should not be a concern to them.

If the roles were reversed that this type of reaction was occurring to some men out there, I suspect your response would change. Just suppose for a moment that men were calling lawyers and filing lawsuits because they found out the brand of underwear they wear contains formaldehyde and for the past several months they have been suffering from blistering that has severe discharge, burning, itching and no doctor can diagnosis them. They have been on antibiotics, which seem to clear the infection until they stop using them and then it quickly returns. I bet you would stop for a minute and think that is awful.

These women deserve to have their claims investigated. They do not deserve to hear that their fear and pain is not important enough for our legal system.

I have no idea where the above came from, as my commentary simply referred to formaldehyde not being the likely culprit.

Check out the thread.

The blind leading the blind

Of course, the Victoria's Secret bra scare has made the Injury Board website, replete with junk science, and even high school style misspellings.

Plaintiff's lawyer Jamie G. Goldstein offers these words of wisdom...

Victoria's Secret continues to deny the use of formaldehyde in their bras, but the complaints of women experiencing these horrific side affects tells a different story. The women suffering from these symptoms have a right to take legal action against Victoria's Secret for putting a defective and dangerous product on the market that has caused them discomfort, harm, fear and in some cases, severe infections.

Note that Jamie assumes that BECAUSE side effects (not affects) are present, the culprit MUST be formaldehyde.

Does Jamie have a right to take legal action against her high school and college, for failing to teach her how to spell or think?

Here is the link to the Injury board posting, although my comments might be deleted, and she might correct her spelling.

Talking about the Victoria's Secret bras

I did a little talk radio last night with one of the best in the business--Marc Germain, previously known to LA talk radio fans as Mr. KABC and before that Mr. KFI.

Marc's format always assures spontaneity:  No screeners and mostly open topics, unless there is a guest.

We discussed all the formaldehyde hype, with an emphasis on the Victoria's Secret case.

I've posted my portion of the show here.  Internet Explorer tends to be more user friendly, as it streams the mp3 files, and thus will start playing them right away.  Firefox and others download first, but since this is a 33 meg file (around 25 minutes running time), be forewarned.

Unraveling the mysteries of pre-programmed cell death

Fish got to swim and birds got to fly, cells in your body got to die. (With apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II)

There are many reasons that cells need to be killed, and as you might suspect, cancer cells seem to be able to resist the kill commands. A group at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been doing some pretty fancy molecular biology to uncover the mechanism of BAX--the killer protein.

Research in this area is quite exciting, since killing of cancer cells could be promoted, and saving of such as heart and key nerve cells could also be stimulated.

Check out my HND piece on this research.