May 2008 Monthly Archive

May 29, 2008

The New Yorker Writes About Power



With authority.



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May 29, 2008

Law Says To Science, "You're Kidding Me, Right? "


The $253M Vioxx verdict against Merck is overturned.

(It was actually only a reduced $26M verdict, but since the media didn't highlight that fact when Merck lost, I'm following in kind.)

Meanwhile, A New Jersey court removed a $9M punitive damages award in another case, and upheld another Merck verdict in another case.

The court found no evidence that Vioxx caused a fatal cardiac embolus, because-- surprise-- there isn't any evidence.  At best we have an association, not causation, and it may be that the Vioxx itself has nothing at all to do with death.  (Though I realize that the law accepts association as evidence.)

The score is now Merck 11, plaintiff's attorneys 3.

Question: well, what are they supposed to do when there's some evidence that a drug poses a health risk?  Ignore it?

Answer:  who is they?  There isn't supposed to be a they at all.  (There it is again, the steady creep of social democracy, sister of narcissism.)  There's a chemical, it exists, doctors are supposed to know when to use it appropriately.  Not to mention it may later be discovered to have additional value (aspirin, thorazine, thalidomide, etc.) 

When you create a body to decide for doctors whether a drug is worth the risk, then you are saying you do not trust doctors to make this assessment.  Therefore, you do not need doctors at all, you need flowcharts.

Unfortunately, I'll admit, they might be right.



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May 22, 2008

What's Wrong With Research In Psychiatry?



Apart from the high fives, bravado, and binge alcoholism.


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May 14, 2008

I DO NOT CENSOR COMMENTS, MY DAMN SPAM FILTER DOES


That said, someone hates me, fairly I guess, and I respond, not exactly, but worth reading.


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May 12, 2008

"My daughter deserved to die for falling in love"


Really?  Was that the reason?





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May 8, 2008

Cookie Monster Becomes Aware


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An article from McSweeney's (I know, I know) called, Cookie Monster Searches Deep Within Himself, And Asks: Is Me Really Monster?

While humorous though predictable, I did catch a reply on Metafilter which, in my opinion, borders on genius:

They are all monsters, that's the point. The show is for children, don't forget. They are monsters the kids don't have to fear. The show's message for kids was "We know you're sometimes afraid of monsters, but not all monsters are bad.

Sometimes monsters can be cute and cuddly and quirky and funny. Elmo's a monster and he has such a cute giggle!. These are the good monsters.

Not like the monster sitting next to you on the sofa, watching the TV. Not like the monster WHO TOLD YOU FOR THE LAST TIME TO STOP CRYING.

Not like the monsters who kick your toys and curse under their breath. Not like the monsters who say you stole their youth and take pills because YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRAZY. Not like the monsters who meet strange men at the door and leave you home alone. Not like the monsters who hit with their hands, or their words. Not like the monsters who come into your room at night stinking of whiskey and sweat, with madness in their eyes and a belt in their hands.

On Sesame Street, the monsters have not HAD ENOUGH, and they aren't doing it FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Your monsters are not brought to you by the number 4 or the letter M. Your monsters don't want you to come and play, they want you to LEAVE THEM ALONE.

Cookie monster is safe, and so are Elmo and the Count. Even Oscar and Bert are your friends even if they are bit grouchy or fussy. Your monsters think our monsters are harmless.

To them.

Your monsters bought you a Tickle-Me Elmo doll, didn't they? They bought it to JUST SHUT YOU UP ALREADY. So they let you play with Elmo and make him laugh and giggle. But Elmo doesn't just laugh and giggle. Elmo loves you, and he listens.

And he records.

And soon, Elmo is going to tell you exactly what to do.


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May 7, 2008

First Person Account Of The Milgram Experiment


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An article written by one of the test subjects in the Milgram experiments, and his explanation for why it happened the way it did.

He's wrong.



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May 3, 2008

Oh, Please, What Do Europeans Know About Psychiatry?


I mean, like, don't they have seven month vacations over there?  And state sponsored affairs?


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