Corruption in Science News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on corruption in science
The endless adaptability of the human brain is summed up by the term "neuroplasticity". A few decades ago, scientists thought the brain was relatively fixed. It was also believed that different areas of the brain had their own specialities and didn't veer from these. Now we know that ... new neurons do grow. New neural pathways can be formed and, when disease or damage occurs in one part of the brain, cortical maps can be redrawn to make up for lost function. [Norman] Doidge, a Canadian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is the master of explaining how the brain's plasticity can be harnessed to improve the symptoms of brain-related disorders, ranging from stroke to autism. Doidge [identifies] stages of healing [the brain]: corrections of general cellular functions of the neurons and glia, neurostimulation, neuromodulation, neurorelaxation and neurodifferentiation and learning. The first stage [is] about restoring brain cell health. Doidge says that he has seen patients with depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder "make major progress by eliminating toxins and certain foods, such as sugar and grains, that they were sensitive to". Neurostimulation is when "dormant circuits in the hurt brain" are stimulated. This is followed by neuromodulation, where the brain is reset so that it's neither too excited nor too inhibited. Brain disorders often leave the person exhausted, so relaxation is an important part of recovery. Neurodifferentiation and learning is ... the stage when the brain does "what it does best" which is, apparently, "making fine distinctions".
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"People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?" said Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, who describes his device in the journal ACS Nano. "We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price - and we're doing it with waste. ... the leftover bast fibre - the inner bark - typically ends up as landfill. "You can do really interesting things with bio-waste. We've pretty much figured out the secret sauce of it," said Dr Mitlin. The trick is to tailor the right plant fibre to the right electrical device - according to their organic structure. "With banana peels, you can turn them into a dense block of carbon - we call it pseudo-graphite - and that's great for sodium ion batteries," he explained. "But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite - it makes sheets with high surface area - and that's very conducive to supercapacitors." Mitlin's peer-reviewed journal paper ranks the device "on par with or better than commercial graphene-based devices". "They work down to 0C and display some of the best power-energy combinations reported in the literature for any carbon. Fully assembled, their energy density is 12 Wh/kg, which can be achieved at a charge time less than six seconds. "Obviously hemp can't do all the things graphene can," Dr Mitlin concedes. "But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price – $500-1,000 a tonne."
Note: For more about the amazing properties of graphene, read this CNN News Article.
Look at the Department of Energy's 2012 budget request for the Livermore Lab and it becomes apparent that PR has an inverse relationship to budget. Some 89 percent of the funds are for nuclear weapons activities. Yet, more than 89 percent of the press releases showcase programs like renewable energy and science that receive less than 3 percent of the spending. This has caused many to believe that Livermore Lab is converting from nuclear weapons to civilian science. A major consequence of the chasm between public perception and where the money actually goes is that science at Livermore continues to exist on the margins - underfunded, understaffed and at the mercy of the 800-pound gorilla of the nuclear weapons budget. Consider the many benefits of transitioning Livermore from nuclear-weapons design to a "green lab," focused on nonpolluting energy development, climate research, basic sciences, nonproliferation and environmental cleanup. Livermore Lab is uniquely qualified to contribute in these areas. The lab already employs the right mix of physicists, other scientists, engineers, materials specialists, and support personnel for these undertakings.
Note: To learn more about how the public is being massively deceived around war and weapons spending, read what a top U.S. general had to say about this at this link.
The Pentagon's $50 million Minerva Research Initiative, named after the Roman goddess of wisdom and warriors, will fund social science research deemed crucial to national security. Initial proposals were due July 25, and the first grants are expected to be awarded by year's end. But the Network of Concerned Anthropologists ... said dependence on Pentagon funding could make universities an "instrument rather than a critic of war-making." In a May 28 letter to federal officials, the American Anthropological Association said that ... its members are "deeply concerned that funding such research through the Pentagon may pose a potential conflict of interest." David Price, an anthropologist at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Wash., and the author of a book on anthropological intelligence in World War II, [said] the Pentagon effort is flawed. "It sets up sort of a Soviet system, or top-down system," Price said. "If you look at the big picture, this will not make us smarter -- this will make us much more narrow. It will only look at problems Defense wants us to in a narrow way." Recently, the Army's Human Terrain System has embedded social scientists in military units in Iraq and Afghanistan with the aim of helping commanders understand local culture and customs. The project has drawn criticism from many academics. Two scholars have been killed. The Network of Concerned Anthropologists, which describes itself as an advocate for ethical anthropology, said the research topics could "contribute to creating more national and human insecurity by trafficking in the construction of . . . a connection between Islam and violence."
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Under pressure from the chemical industry, the Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed an outspoken scientist who chaired a federal panel responsible for helping the agency determine the dangers of a flame retardant widely used in electronic equipment. Toxicologist Deborah Rice was appointed chair of an EPA scientific panel reviewing the chemical a year ago. Federal records show that she was removed from the panel in August after the American Chemistry Council, the lobbying group for chemical manufacturers, complained to a top-ranking EPA official that she was biased. The chemical, a brominated compound known as deca, is [commonly] used in the plastic housings of television sets. Rice, an award-winning former EPA scientist ... has studied low doses of deca and reported neurological effects in lab animals. The EPA is in the process of deciding how much daily exposure to deca is safe - a decision, expected next month, that could determine whether it can still be used in consumer products. The role of the expert panel was to review and comment on the scientific evidence. Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group in Washington, said it was unprecedented for the EPA to remove an expert for expressing concerns about the potential dangers of a chemical. "It's a scary world if we create a precedent that says scientists involved in decision-making are perceived to be too biased," she said. In 2004, the EPA gave Rice and four colleagues an award for what it called "exceptionally high-quality research" for a study that linked lead exposure to premature puberty in girls.
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For the second time in two months, The Journal of the American Medical Association says it was misled by researchers who failed to reveal financial ties to drug companies. The latest incident, disclosed in letters to the editor and a correction in Wednesday's journal, involves a study showing that pregnant women who stop taking antidepressants risk slipping back into depression. Most of the 13 authors have financial ties to drug companies including antidepressant makers, but only two of them revealed their ties when the study was published in February.
Note: To understand how the drug companies manipulate results and even exert tremendous influence over the U.S. Congress, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
Some of Britain’s leading scientists have accused the BBC of “quackery” by misleading viewers in an attempt to exaggerate the power of alternative medicine. The criticisms centre on Alternative Medicine, a series broadcast on BBC2 in January. The key critics include two scientific advisers to the series: Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University; and George Lewith, director of the centre for the study of complementary medicine at Southampton University. Lewith, an expert on the effects of acupuncture, said in an interview yesterday: “The experiment was not groundbreaking; its results were sensationalised.” A [BBC] spokesman said yesterday: “We take these allegations very seriously and we strongly refute them. We used two scientific consultants for the series, Professor Ernst and Jack Tinker, dean emeritus of the Royal Society of Medicine, both of whom signed off the programme scripts. It seems extremely unusual that Professor Ernst should make these comments so long after the series has aired.” The spokesman said Tinker had indicated he remained happy with the tone and content of the films, stating: “Fellow medics at the Royal Society, including one eminent professor, said it was the best medical series they had seen on television.”
The idea that measuring the properties of one particle could instantaneously change the properties of another one (or a whole bunch) far away is strange to say the least. The team that pulled off the beryllium feat...hailed it as another step toward computers that would use quantum magic to perform calculations. But it also served as another demonstration of how weird the world really is according to the rules, known as quantum mechanics. Nary a week goes by that does not bring news of another feat of quantum trickery once only dreamed of in thought experiments: particles (or at least all their properties) being teleported across the room in a microscopic version of Star Trek beaming; electrical "cat" currents that circle a loop in opposite directions at the same time; more and more particles farther and farther apart bound together in Einstein's spooky embrace now known as "entanglement." At the University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers are planning an experiment in which a small mirror will be in two places at once. Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna said that he thought, "The world is not as real as we think.
Note: Consider also that top secret projects are generally at least 10 years in advance of anything reported in the news or scientific magazines. We can only imagine what these projects might be doing.
Just how far will corporate lobbyists go to tilt governmental decisions in their favor? Last fall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Clean Air Act does not require regulating carbon dioxide emissions that are heating up the planet at an unprecedented rate. It turns out that two of the jurists who helped decide the case -- Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg and Judge David B. Sentelle -- attended a six-day global warming seminar at Yellowstone National Park sponsored by a free-market foundation and featuring presentations from companies with a clear financial interest in limiting regulation. Exxon Mobil Corp. and other large businesses contribute to conservative think tanks to help "educate" federal judges through seminars like the one at Yellowstone. The Code of Conduct for federal judges does not prohibit attending such seminars -- as long as participation does not "cast reasonable doubt on the capacity to decide impartially issues that may come before them." Leaders of Congress and the federal courts seem to recognize that the federal judiciary ought to be out of bounds for lobbyists. Judges are appointed for life, and allowing insider access threatens the integrity of the one branch of government that should stand above politics. Court cases must be won by argument, not by influence, and that means putting a stop to judicial junkets that give one side of the debate an unfair advantage.
Steorn has now posted a slick, five-minute video that features interviews with company CEO Sean McCarthy as well as the company's marketing director. For more background, see our earlier discussion. The video's slick, and not too heavy on scientific detail. But it's worth checking out. It does begin to explain the company's motivations for choosing to issue a challenge in the Economist. McCarthy: "The first roadblock is science. With the academic community, it might take five to seven years before being able to get to a consensus position. As a business, that makes absolutely no sense." The video explains that a "quiet" campaign was plan A. The direct marketing approach currently being taken is Plan B. McCarthy: "The claim does rail against so much thinking from ordinary people. We have to fight public opinion, we have to fight the scientific community and we have to fight the energy industry. We couldn't pick a worse battleground."
Note: For lots more on the many who have developed similar discoveries and how they have been either bought out or shut down, click here.
Medical professionals who were involved in the Central Intelligence Agencyâ€™s interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization. Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.â€™s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other â€śenhancedâ€ť interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report ... published on [June 7] by Physicians for Human Rights. â€śThere was no therapeutic purpose or intent to monitor and collect this data,â€ť said Jonathan D. Moreno, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. â€śYou canâ€™t use people as laboratories.â€ť
Note: To read the full report from Physicians for Human Rights, "Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the â€Enhancedâ€™ Interrogation Program", click here.
Despite the protests of more than 50 scientists, including five Nobel laureates in chemistry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday approved use of a new, highly toxic fumigant, mainly for strawberry fields. The new pesticide, methyl iodide, is designed for growers, mainly in California and Florida, who need to replace methyl bromide, which has been banned under an international treaty because it damages the Earth's ozone layer. In a letter sent last month to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, 54 scientists, mostly chemists, warned that "pregnant women and the fetus, children, the elderly, farmworkers and other people living near application sites would be at serious risk." Methyl iodide is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that has caused thyroid tumors, neurological damage and miscarriages in lab animals. But EPA officials said Friday that they carefully evaluated the risks and decided to approve its use for one year, imposing restrictions such as buffer zones to protect farmworkers and neighbors. Growers, particularly those who grow strawberries and tomatoes, have been searching for 15 years for a new soil fumigant to replace methyl bromide. Fumigants are valuable to growers because they can be injected into the soil before planting to sterilize the field and kill a broad spectrum of insects and diseases without leaving residue on crops. But fumigants are among the most potentially dangerous pesticides in use today because the toxic gas can evaporate from the soil, exposing farmworkers and drifting into neighborhoods. Methyl iodide ... will be allowed on fields growing strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, ornamentals, turf, trees and vines.
Schizophrenia patients do as well, or perhaps even better, on older psychiatric drugs compared with newer and far costlier medications, according to a study published yesterday that overturns conventional wisdom about antipsychotic drugs, which cost the United States $10 billion a year. The results are causing consternation. The researchers who conducted the trial were so certain they would find exactly the opposite that they went back to make sure the research data had not been recorded backward. The study was requested by Britain's National Health Service to determine whether the newer drugs -- which can cost 10 times as much as the older ones -- are worth the difference in price. While the researchers had expected a difference of five points on a quality-of-life scale -- showing the newer drugs were better -- the study found that patients' quality of life was slightly better when they took the older drugs. There has been a surge in prescriptions of the newer antipsychotic drugs in recent years, including among children. In an editorial accompanying the British study, the lead researcher in the U.S. trial asked how an entire medical field could have been misled into thinking that the expensive drugs, such as Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel, were much better.
Note: Those who have read our two-page health cover-up summary know very well how the entire medical field could have been misled. For those who haven't seen it: http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
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