Thursday, September 14, 2006
LETTER TOMORROW IN THE SCOTTISH DAILY MAIL
This letter is largely the one on radiation hormesis (the evidence that, except in high doses, radioactivity actually improves health) which is shown in my November 04 archive & which I have been trying to get published, in any form, on dead trees ever since.
This was mentioned in a recent BBC Horizon which I thought might make it no longer an un-subject & sent it out to most serious Scottish & UK newspapers & yesterday got a call from the Mail that they wanted a photo as it was going to be the lead letter. It may be cynical to note that the BBC's belated mention of some of the undeniable facts proving hormesis follows the government's decision that nuclear is no longer an "unattractive option".
The Scottish Mail have now repeatedly published letters which I had considered extremely controversial (on Yugoslavia & the Milosevic murder) & which other newspapers, with whom I have a track record of publication declined to touch. It may well be that they are strongly influenced by the desire that their Scottish edition has letters overwhelmingly from Scotland but they (& the Morning Star) have shown a degree of liberal free thinking noticeably absent from the entirety of the rest.
I will put in the letter as an addendum but only on Saturday after it has been published.
With a recent Horizon episode (13th July) on the pointed failure of radiation released at Chernobyl to produce a 10s of thousands of deaths predicted & indeed the possible benefit of low & intermediate level radiation (an effect known as hormesis) perhaps your readers would be interested in an even more clear cut case.They also gave it a sizeable headline & my photo.
In 1983 a group of 180 apartment buildings was completed in Taiwan. Somebody had made a serious mistake. They had mixed into the concrete a considerable amount of highly radioactive cobalt 60. This meant that ultimately 10,000 people lived in buildings for from 9 to 20 years so radioactive that they received an average of 74 mSv of radiation per year in 1983, declining thereafter as cobalt 60 has a half life of 5 ½ years. This compares with a rate of 0.5 mSv above background which is the normal maximum exposure for radiation workers & total of 15 mSv maximum safe limit for land fit for habitation according to US government standards. According to the linear no threshold (LNT) theory currently in use world-wide for assessing nuclear risks there is no lower limit to the level at which radioactivity kills (hence the term "no threshold") & this, inhabited for a decade & a half before the radioactivity was traced & measured, should be the site of a truly massive cancer death rate. It isn't.
A thorough & methodical tracing of all the 4,000 families by a team led by W. L Chen of Taiwan's Director of Medical Radiation Technology of Taiwan's National Yang-Ming University (the full report is available in English on http://www.jpands.org/vol9no1/chen.pdf ) has resulted in an unequivocal & spectacular result. Cancer rates in that highly radioactive building are down to 3.6% of prevailing Taiwanese rates.
For many years there has been an unfashionable alternative to the LNT theory called hormesis. This is an effect, long observed in plants & cultures, whereby intermediate level radioactivity actually improves health. Nonetheless, such has been our fear of all things nuclear that the LNT theory has been absolutely accepted despite the fact that there has NEVER been any actual evidence for it. This study, however, is so detailed, has such well-defined boundary conditions & in proving a reduction in cancers of 96.4% has such a clear result that there can no longer be any intellectual doubt whatsoever. Radioactivity, up to 50mSv, is good for us.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
For 10 years, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has been assembling data on the 40,000 civilians who disappeared in the wars that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Its archaeologists help to locate burial sites and assist in exhumation. Then Katzmarzyk and other forensic anthropologists work with molecular biologists to apply state-of-the-art techniques to reassociate and identify remains. It is a daunting assignment: The bodies, mostly men of about the same age, have been buried for years. Decomposing pieces of one person could be spread into five different graves and commingled with other parts.The figure of 40,000 missing civilains clearly is limited to missing Moslems which very strongly suggests that there has been no attempt to check these bodies against the relatives of local Serbs who are 2missing". I sent the following letter to scirntific american & will add an addendum & link if they publish it. since SA have rather a reputation for not publishing letters from global warming sceptics even where they point out indisputable factual inaccuracies I suspect they may take a similarly politically correct but scientifically incorrect attitude here.
The quest to identify victims began in 1992, when the United Nations asked forensic adviser William Haglund and a team from Physicians for Human Rights to investigate a mass grave in Croatia. Four years later they returned to document war crimes in the Srebrenica region and collect data to match missing people with exhumed bodies there. Early on, families resisted, insisting their relatives were alive, Haglund recalls. The investigators had to build trust and, before asking for a blood sample, have a potential identity in hand. But that led to delays in collecting DNA for shipment overseas and lots of mistaken probable identifications. In massacre situations, up to 40 percent of circumstantial matches turn out to be wrong, according to one recent study in Kosovo.
Furthermore, the original investigation's primary purpose was prosecution, not identification. The G7 Summit nations voted in 1996 to fund an international laboratory that would focus on the missing and could analyze DNA on-site. Many were skeptical, though, that the newly formed ICMP would succeed. "This was based on a sincere concern that the DNA-identification program could create expectations on the part of families and would be unable to deliver," recalls Eric Stover, who directs the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and was on the forensic team in Croatia. Now, he says, the ICMP's work has become a blueprint for similar efforts elsewhere.
Progress was indeed slow until six years ago, when the ICMP shifted to blind DNA matching. Now, instead of starting with family interviews and anthropological forensics, scientists begin with genetic analysis of the remains. Technicians painstakingly recover whatever DNA they can from a bone, then compare 16 markers against a database of DNA profiles from 80,000 survivors who lost a family member during the war. "We're now at our highest efficiency ever," says ICMP forensics director Tom Parsons. In early July, just after its 10th anniversary, the ICMP identified its 10,000th person. Parsons expects results to soon reach 5,000 a year.
Your report on the search, using DNA, for the identity of the bodies recovered from Bosnia seems to show a lack of rigour which is unlikely to persuade those who believe that what is going on is a perversion of science to fit a story of good Moslems & evil Serbs which the media have promoted for years.
I was particularly concerned that what has been advertised as a DNA search instead turns out to be based not on identifying the whole DNA of the victim with that of parents but merely finding "16 markers" in common.
This proves nothing. Out of 10s of thousands of DNA links it is a certainty that I & any member of your staff will share many more markers, though we live on different continents.. Indeed we will share that many with any chimpanzee. Since, despite opinions on both sides, the Moslems of Bosnia are not largely Turkish immigrants but drawn from the historic population such markers are bound to repeat extensively. This process should be the start of a DNA search not the end of it, allowing the researchers to identify individuals to whom a full DNA examination would be worthwhile. If somebody's DNA has not been fitted in full to either their own body samples or their parent's they cannot be said to have been positively identified.
I note also that, in discussing the bodies found around Srebrenica, there was no mention of checking the DNA of local Serbs against the "16 points" of comparison. It is a matter of record that the Moslem militia of Srebrenica had, prior to the Serbs attack, been responsible for the genocide of thousands (3,800 have been identified) of civilians from surrounding villages. This was attested to not only by the local Serbian administration, but also, under oath at the Milosevic "trial", by General Marillon, the ranking NATO officer present at the time. Since the bodies under examination were not found in the "mass graves" identified at the time of the alleged massacre of this Moslem militia (they were empty) but close to the villages where the militia under their commander Nasir Oric engaged in his genocide, surely the default position would be to check the DNA of surviving Serbian family members first, yet, despite descriptions of interviews with Moslem families, this goes unmentioned.
The article mentions the slow pace of identification until this dubious process of identification was introduced . This must leave the suspicion that the bodies are actually the otherwise undiscovered bodies of Serb civilians & that far from being an impartial scientific examination what is going on is an attempt to use the name of science to airbrush the genocide of 3,800 Serb civilians & justify NATO's support of the anti-Yugoslav side (all of whom had leaders who, perhaps coincidentally, served Hitler as well as NATO). The fact that one of the directors of the western funded laboratory is Wim Kok, who was PM of the Netherlands at the time when Dutch troops had officially disarmed Mr Oric's troops & were officially manning a cease fire zone around Srebrenica at the when Oric's troops were regularly raiding local villages & shooting, & to be fair beheading their populations. This must strain Mr Kok's ability to oversee an impartial investigation.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
SHOWCASE TECHNOLOGY FOR SCOTLAND - £5 TO £100 MILLION
18) Give a £20 million X-Prize for the first Scots probe soft landing on an asteroid.
19) Build an automated monorail from Glasgow Airport to Paisley Gilnmour St station thus providing speedy access to both Glasgow Central & Prestwick Airport. An offer to quote for this at about £20 million has already been made by Ultra but the Scottish Executive have decided that they would rather have a conventional rail link direct to Central at £200 million. The reason given being that since their option
would avoid transferring from one system to another it is worth the extra money.
20) Fully automate Glasgow's Underground. Docklands Light Rail is able to work without drivers & running such a system is very easily within the capacity of modern computer systems. Such systems are even being considered for running road traffic which involves many orders of magnitude more decisions. A fully automated system would be able would allow many more carriages to run & 24 hour running because not limited by driver availability. It would thus also have considerably higher carrying capacity & lower running costs.
21) Build a Glasgow monorail. Minimum from Central to Queen St, maximum - from Buchanan St opposite Queen St on up to Sauchiehall St out to the west end, Byres Rd & either Partick station, or along Gt Western Rd toAnniesland or to Maryhill shopping centre.
Up to £100 million
22) Make a 5 hour DVD of Scotland's history. Hire somebody, not part of Scotland's small media, probably from Discovery Channel, to put it together, print up 200 million (at 10p a shot), give it out in Scots newagents & post 1 to every household in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealnd & the USA. Produce a permanent online
library of Scots history articles & programmes acceesible free & with links provided on the DVD.
23) Automate the Glasgow-Edinburgh train on the lines previously discussed with the Glasgow Underground. While the computerisation should still be fairly cheap, in some ways cheaper because rolling stock which cannot be updated could still be transferred to other lines, an impractical operation on the Underground. However if the trains are to be run on the basis of single carriages roughly once a minute some redesigning of platforms would be required. This would not be as fast as a bullet train but, because carriages would leave every minute rather than every 15 it would save an average of 7 minutes. Unlike the Bullet Train it would still be able to stop at Falkirk & Haymarket from which half of current journeys either start or en(alternately only some carriages need do so allowing through carriages to cut times further). It could also be easily linked to Turnhouse Airport by a connecting line. In practice, a much cheaper 24 hour automated system should carry many more people between Glasgow & Edinburgh than a bullet train.
24) Build an automated overhead monorail from the far side of the Forth Rail Bridge to Prince's St in Edinburgh. Use the fact that the rail bridge was, because of the Tay Bridge disaster, a heavily overengineered structure & should be easily able to bear the load of a monorail above the rail tracks. An overhead monorail into Edinburgh would not be subject to traffic jams as trolleys are & have the same cost savings as other automated rail.
25) Provide an automated walkway from Turnhouse airport to stations on both adjoining lines or, if the Glasgow/Edinburgh link is built build a loop to the main terminal.
Monday, September 11, 2006
A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.
Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate -- and quickly.
An elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there, now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck".
What are the facts? Again and again and again -- what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" -- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
Everybody lies about sex.
Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful -- just stupid.)