Friday, May 05, 2006

Junk Science Revealed, and Other Stories

Scienceblog.com has a nice little post about the war on science.  There are a couple of particularly good links.  One link goes to an article that gives examples of the use of the term "sound science" as a propaganda ploy.
"Sound science is whatever somebody likes," Kennedy said. "It's essentially a politically useful term, but it doesn't have any normative meaning whatsoever. My science is sound science, and the science of my enemies is junk science."

In other science news, CIDRAP reports on the federal plan for management of a bird flu epidemic:
The White House today released a lengthy new plan describing how the government intends to cope with an influenza pandemic, but officials continued to stress their standard message that states and communities will have to rely mainly on themselves in that situation, with the federal government in an advisory role.
I don't think many people in the post-Katrina USA ever thought otherwise.  
"Local communities will have to address the medical and non-medical effects of the pandemic with available resources," the document says. "This means that it is essential for communities, tribes, states, and regions to have plans in place to support the full spectrum of their needs over the course of weeks or months, and for the Federal Government to provide clear guidance on the manner in which these needs can be met."
I am happy that they notice that tribes, in particular will have to be self-sufficient.  At least the federal government has not totally forgotten how badly Native Americans were affected by the diseases brought by settlers.  On the other hand (LA Times; free registration required)...
But in a budget-cutting proposal that has set off protests and indignation among Indians from Los Angeles to New York and several smaller cities in between, the Bush administration has proposed eliminating funds for these clinics, which served about 106,000 Indians last year.
I guess that just proves their point about self-reliance.

Speaking of threatened populations, National Geographic has a photo gallery of some of the species that have been added to the list of threatened species.  The list includes polar bears and hippos, for the first time.