Author Archives: wpress2013

pretty much everyone wants this nuclear power plant to keep running, yet…

The Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant in upstate NY has a pretty solid record of safe and cheap operation. Everyone likes it. The locals (unlike in some other area) consider it a good neighbor, it provides a hefty chunk of CO2 free electricity, it’s reliable.

To quote Forbes magazine:
“Almost every constituency and politician involved says they really don’t want the plant to close, including the utility itself,the local community, the Governor of New York, the New York Representatives,the New York Senatorsand the Obama Administration.
“So why can’t something be worked out?”


“Shaken Baby Syndrome” is finally getting the slapdown it deserves

Note that this refers to the _very questionable_ marginal cases which have had junk science behind criminal charges and convictions.
[NY Times]
Shaken baby syndrome has been a recognized diagnosis for several decades, though many medical professionals now prefer the term abusive head trauma. It is defined by a constellation of symptoms known as the triad: brain swelling, bleeding on the surface of the brain and bleeding behind the eyes. For years, those three symptoms by themselves were uniformly accepted as evidence that a crime had been committed, even in the absence of bruises, broken bones or other signs of abuse. While many doctors, maybe most, still swear by the diagnosis, a growing number have lost faith. Not that they doubt that some babies have been abused. But these skeptics assert that factors other than shaking, and having nothing to do with criminal behavior, may sometimes explain the triad.

Intel drops its sponsorships of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search

The NY Times reports that:

Intel to End Sponsorship of Science Talent Search

San Francisco – Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, is dropping its longtime support of the most prestigious science and mathematics competition for American high school students.”
you just can’t be sure of anything these days.

Those claims that the NYC Subway is filled with Killer Bacteria? Not so fast…

[Wash Post]
In February, you may recall, a much-hyped study examined bacteria found
across the New York City subway system. The study found that many of the
species were previously unknown to science (which is cool, but not
surprising) and that some of them were potentially dangerous: microbes
associated with the bubonic plague and anthrax, for example.

After push back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the researchers have
added a correction to their study. Their data collection was just fine — so
they’re not retracting their study — but they admit that their
interpretations may have been a bit speculative in nature, and that the
media’s interpretation of those interpretations got a little out of control.

That huge increase in autism rates? Not so fast, RFK..

For the past decade or three the reported autism rates have been going up and up and up. This has led to The Cult Of R-F-K Jr. and Jenny McCarthy, with their vaccine -> autism claims. Which far, far, too many people follow.

A group of academic statisticians took the time to chart out the recent historical claimed huge rise in autism and compare it to… the rates of numerous other childhood (so-called) disorders.

Money quote:
“The research team noted more than three times the number of cases of autism in 2010 as compared to 2000; however, nearly 65 percent of this increase could be accounted for by a reduction in the number of individuals classified in the intellectual disability category in the IDEA data. The diagnostic reclassification of individuals from the category of intellectual disability to the category of autism accounts for a large proportion of the change, which varied depending on the age of the children. The researchers estimate that, for 8 year-olds, approximately 59 percent of the observed increase in autism is accounted for by reclassification, but by age 15 reclassification accounts for as much as 97 percent of the increase in autism.”

In other words, and assuming (yes, I know…) that their analysis is valid, there ain’t no there, there, in regards to autism increase.


Hey, hey, R-F-K. How many kids did you kill today?

Robert F. Kennedy jr. does a lot of work for the “environmental movement”. Some of it is even good and thoughtful. Some of it. As the line from Star Trek’s “A piece of the action” had it, “a very small, very miniscule, piece”.
He’s also a major anti-vaxxer, right up there with Jenny McCarthy.
And now… he’s lost the NY Times. Well, at least a NYTimes op-ed:
[NYT op ed]
California, Camelot and Vaccines

If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.
Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.
Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.
It was important, he said, that we meet.
If we did, he said, he could correct me.
My error?
I had disparaged the alarmists who claim a connection between vaccines and
autism and fill parents with needless fears about immunizing their children.

The War on Salt is generating a new generation of Al Capones

from the Free Beacon:
Kids Create Salt Black Markets in Cafeterias Due to Michelle Obama’s Lunch Rules

During a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R., Ind.), a school administrator told Congress of the “unintended consequences” of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

“Perhaps the most colorful example in my district is that students have been caught bringing–and even selling–salt, pepper, and sugar in school to add taste to perceived bland and tasteless cafeteria food,” said John S. Payne, the president of Blackford County School Board of Trustees in Hartford City, Indiana.