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NIH told to retire most research chimpanzees

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 23:36 by Paul Jay in category: News


The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) should dismantle a decades-old colony of 360 chimpanzees, retiring all but 50 or so of the animals to a national sanctuary, the agency was told on 22 January in a long-awaited report.

The report, from a working group of external agency advisers, also counsels the NIH to end half of 22 biomedical and behavioural experiments, saying that they do not meet criteria established in a December 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.

“Clearly there is going to be a reduction in the use of chimpanzees in research,” says working group co-chair Kent Lloyd, associate dean for research at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis.

The report says that the NIH should begin planning the transfer of animals due for retirement to sanctuary housing “immediately”, and that a colony of about 50 animals is sufficient for future research. The report also sets high hurdles for chimp experiments, calling for the establishment of an independent committee that would vet individual study proposals after they have passed routine NIH scientific review. For cases in which the burden on the animals is high, the benefit to humans would have to be “very high” to pass muster with the committee, says Daniel Geschwind, the other co-chair of the working group and a geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Evidence grows for narcolepsy link to GSK swine flu shot

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 22:23 by Paul Jay in category: News


(Reuters) – Emelie Olsson is plagued by hallucinations and nightmares. When she wakes up, she’s often paralyzed, unable to breathe properly or call for help. During the day she can barely stay awake, and often misses school or having fun with friends. She is only 14, but at times she has wondered if her life is worth living.

Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009.

Finland, Norway, Ireland and France have seen spikes in narcolepsy cases, too, and people familiar with the results of a soon-to-be-published study in Britain have told Reuters it will show a similar pattern in children there.

Their fate, coping with an illness that all but destroys normal life, is developing into what the health official who coordinated Sweden’s vaccination campaign calls a “medical tragedy” that will demand rising scientific and medical attention.

Europe’s drugs regulator has ruled Pandemrix should no longer be used in people aged under 20. The chief medical officer at GSK’s vaccines division, Norman Begg, says his firm views the issue extremely seriously and is “absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this”, but adds there is not yet enough data or evidence to suggest a causal link.

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The Untouchables

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 20:37 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

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Yahoo, Dell Swell Netherlands’ $13 Trillion Tax Haven

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 18:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


Inside Reindert Dooves’s home, a 17th- century, three-story converted warehouse along the Zaan canal in suburban Amsterdam, a 21st-century Internet giant is avoiding taxes.

The bookkeeper’s home office doubles as the headquarters for a Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) offshore unit. Through this sun-filled, white- walled room, Yahoo has taken advantage of the law to quietly funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in global profits to island subsidiaries, cutting its worldwide tax bill.

The Yahoo arrangement illustrates that the Netherlands, in the heart of a continent better known for social welfare than corporate welfare, has emerged as one of the most important tax havens for multinational companies. Now, as a deficit-strapped Europe raises retirement ages and taxes on the working class, the Netherlands’ role as a $13 trillion relay station on the global tax-avoiding network is prompting a backlash.

The Dutch Parliament is scheduled to debate the fairness of its tax system today. Lawmakers from several parties, including members of the country’s governing coalition, say they want to remove a stain on the nation’s reputation.

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  1. IKEA, the sort-of biggest “charitable” organisation is also HQ’d in the Netherlands for similarly dubious reasons.

Surreal Satellite Images of Earth

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 18:04 by Paul Jay in category: Great Picture, News

lake-powell-landsat-satellite-imagae baghdad-iraq-landsat

Across four decades since 1972, Landsat satellites have continuously acquired space-based images of the Earth’s land surface, coastal shallows, and coral reefs. The Landsat Program, a joint effort of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was established to routinely gather land imagery from space. The result of this program is a long-term record of natural and human induced changes on the global landscape.

Each Landsat satellite images the Earth’s surface along the satellite’s ground track in a 185 kilometer-wide (115 mile-wide) swath as the satellite moves in a descending orbit (moving from north to south) over the sunlit side of the Earth. Each satellite crosses every point on the Earth at nearly the same time once every 16 or 18 days, depending on its altitude. Landsats 1, 2, and 3 orbited at an altitude of 920 kilometers (572 miles), circling the Earth every 103 minutes yielding repeat coverage every 18 days. Landsats 4, 5, and 7 were placed in orbit at 705 kilometers (438 miles) altitude, circling the Earth every 99 minutes, for a 16-day repeat cycle.

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is the next-generation Landsat satellite and is expected to be launched no earlier than February 11, 2013. This mission will ensure the continued acquisition and availability of Landsat-like data well beyond the duration of the current Landsat 5 and Landsat 7

The Landsat satellites have a spectral band range from visible green to near-infared. As to why the colours can seem a little funky in the images, check out this fantastic presentation that discusses how Landsat images are made and the important distinction between photographs and images, especially when it concerns satellite imagery.

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Justice is not Law, Law is Not Justice

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 3:53 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


A law is deserving of respect to the extent, and only to the extent, it is just.  A law which is not just deserves only the level of obedience one gives to any group or individual who says “do this, or I’ll hurt you.”

Long but worth reading. With a truly shocking graph.

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  1. “create an economy which gives poor people real jobs.”

    That, I fear, is the hard part.

  2. The author makes a few really, really good points. But the piece itself is under-cited, under-researched, and just plain not-well-argued.

    For example, I have reason to believe that prison-rape, while atrocious and preventable http://goo.gl/BC7X2, is more rare than we sometimes tend to think http://goo.gl/PzOwv. I also have reason to believe that defense attorneys advise their clients to not invoke their rights to a speedy trial because a long trial statistically benefits the defendant(episode of law and order:trial by jury :-P).

    There is reason to believe that there are “secret laws” in this country, but the author does not give any specifics as to what nature these “secret laws” might have. (An example might include the police trying to circumvent people’s rights unless people know their rights and invoke them. Additionally, our common law system is full of rights that can only be invoked in certain ways such as the need to say “I invoke my right to remain silent” in order to invoke your right to remain silent http://goo.gl/6XlzH or such as the need to stay calm and not flush your toilet if a policeman knocks on your door http://goo.gl/7Nf81.)

    No evidence is given that plead agreements hurt anyone. Plenty of rich people negotiate a plea agreements, and plenty of poor people go to trial. Defense attorneys don’t plea out, defendants do.

    Additionally, the author made no mention to HUGE problems in our system such as police manipulation of statistics http://goo.gl/tjxs; system of police bullying toward the public and in-house http://goo.gl/tjxs; .7% of the US population is behind bars–more than any country http://goo.gl/lV1D8; one in three young black males should expect to go to jail at some time in his life http://goo.gl/Ai4FO; huge racial bias in enforcement of marijuana possession laws http://goo.gl/yDy9U; huge racial bias in the law for cocaine possession regarding crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine in the past and today http://goo.gl/gmISJ; ridiculous misuse and overuse of non-lethal weapons by police http://goo.gl/eLbDl; criminalization of mental illness http://goo.gl/pFyCA; the use of what should be considered cruel punishment–solitary confinement http://goo.gl/73Ph4 and unusually lengthy sentences compared to the rest of the world http://goo.gl/jJRCk.

    There is an argument to be made here, and the author largely resorted to platitudes and unsupported implications without actually making the argument.

Parishioners disappointed about Cape Breton church closures

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 2:11 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News, Pastafarian News


Many parishioners are expressing their disappointment after hearing the news that seven Catholic churches will be closing in Cape Breton…

Three other Glace Bay-area churches and three on the Northside will also close their doors by June 2014 – the latest in a long string of Catholic Church closures in recent years.

According to the Diocese of Antigonish – which just finished paying off a multi-million dollar legal settlement – a declining population and fewer people attending Mass are to blame.

“It’s really difficult. I think people have a sense that their churches were given to them by their forbearers, that they were called to use these churches and serve them and protect them,” says Father Donald MacGillivray.

The sheep are waking up, apparently…the population had entirely too much forebearance, if I’m any judge. (The most recent ex-bishop of Antigonish was arrested at Ottawa airport with a laptop full of child pornography – and a passport full of recent stamps from SE Asian trips.)

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  1. Say, if only there were some way to get together and practice your religion without the Pope’s men…

  2. And young boys everywhere can sleep a little more soundly.

Files Show How Los Angeles Church Leaders Controlled Damage

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 0:36 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files.

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