4-23-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Call for Objective Standards

This caught me a little bit by surprise, although it shouldn't have. As a scientist whose own work has drawn from multiple disciplines, and who has had colleagues in (legitimate) departments with names like "Integrative Biology," the phrase, "Integrative Medicine" sounds quite respectable at first blush. Apparently, however, it is being used to give pseudoscience a respectable veneer in our medical schools.

[W]hat's going on at Maryland's medical school? UMM is home to one of the nation's premier "integrative medicine" programs, which promotes a wide range of questionable practices. Its clinical services include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Qi Gong
Although each of these has a different history, all of them are, well, nonsense.
Working to gain new insights through an interdisciplinary approach is legitimate science. Studying whether some folk medicine practice is beneficial and, if so, how, can be legitimate science. Pretending that superstition is the same thing as science, or that it can be integrated as is into actual science, is not legitimate science, and should not be called by such a misleading name.

I don't know whether ObamaCare covers things like acupuncture, but if government-run medical schools are teaching it, it sounds so me like it's just a matter of time before it does.

Weekend Reading

"Although the Obama administration stated that the IPAB would not ration medical care, its power to set payments to doctors and hospitals would give it de facto rationing power." -- Paul Hsieh, in "We Call It 'Rationing,' Obama Calls It 'Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board'" at PajamasMedia

"U.S. politicians must be cured of their deficit attention disorder." -- Richard Salsman, in "Phantom 'Federal Budget 'Cuts'" at Forbes

"Denial is similar to rationalization, in that you ignore crucial and relevant facts (like the effect on your health or finances) to 'arrive' at conclusions that conveniently 'feel right.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "The Danger of Excessive Behaviors" at DrHurd.com

"If an executive did knowingly offer false information to pump a stock, that would be the crime, and he would already be liable under anti-fraud laws." -- , Wendy Milling in "The Sheer Vacuity of Insider Trading Laws " at RealClear Markets

"[I]f you find yourself frustrated at rising gasoline prices, or rising electricity prices, or rising natural gas and heating oil prices, make sure you place plenty of blame on the environmentalists behind Earth Day; for decades they have found a reason to oppose every practical form of energy in the name of 'saving the planet.'" -- Alex Epstein in "Greens vs. Energy" at American Thinker

"And so as readers, sometimes against our previous beliefs, we side with her heroes and want to see them overcome their opponents." -- Debi Ghate in "Why Atlas Shrugged Changes Lives" at Pajamas Media

Congratulations and Thanks

Michael Hurd's column ends as follows:
Before I close, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the many, many readers who have commented on or otherwise responded to this column. In fact, you are reading the 300th article that I've had the pleasure of writing for The Delaware Wave! Time sure does fly when you're having fun.
Ignoring Hurd's political commentary, and assuming a pace of one column a week, this took only about six years. I'll take that (and, more important, the very last word quoted above) as a reminder of what is possible to a writer who learns how to work effectively.

Handicapping a Weak Field

Charles Krauthammer handicaps the weak Republican presidential field for 2012, but if his first few paragraphs are as far as Republican thinking goes, we are doomed to a second Obama term or, worse, a Republican who pays lip service to economic freedom, but is really a clone of Obama. We need someone who opposes Barack Obama, not someone who merely fails to repulse too many people who want to vote him out of office.

Actual Cash Value: 1/100th of a Cent

A email forwarded by my Mom comes with a picture and a comment:

I didn't realize it, but these coupons are good for one gallon of gas at most retailers. I have seen them around, but until recently never took advantage of them, I never realized their actual worth.

You probably have one or two just lying around somewhere, now is the time to use them before they lose their value and it's too late!!
The above title -- taken from the fine print on many coupons -- was my reaction. Just for fun, I decided to see how close or far off this was, in terms of real (i.e., gold-backed) currency. Before FDR, the dollar was fixed at 20.67 per ounce (28,349.52 mg) of gold. (Thus, a dollar was equivalent to 1371.53 mg gold.) As of this morning, it buys something like 22 mg. That is, today's dollar buys 16/1000th the amount of gold, or $0.016 in gold-backed dollars. Well, the dollar is still, apparently, worth more than 1/100th of what a cent used to be worth.

-- CAV

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