Friday, September 29, 2006

Bill of Rights for Scientists and Engineers

Bill of Rights for Scientists and Engineers

Effective government depends on accurate, honest and timely advice from scientists and engineers. Science demands an open, transparent process of review and access to the best scholars from around the nation and the world. Mistakes dangerous to the nation’s welfare and security have been made when governments prevent scientists from presenting the best evidence and analysis. Americans should demand that all candidates support the following Bill of Rights:

  1. Federal policy shall be made using the best available science and analysis both from within the government and from the rest of society.
  2. The federal government shall never intentionally publish false or misleading scientific information nor post such material on federal websites.
  3. Scientists conducting research or analysis with federal funding shall be free to discuss and publish the results of unclassified research after a reasonable period of review without fear of intimidation or adverse personnel action.
  4. Federal employees reporting what they believe to be manipulation of federal research and analysis for political or ideological reasons should be free to bring this information to the attention of the public and shall be protected from intimidation, retribution or adverse personnel action by effective enforcement of Whistle Blower laws.
  5. No scientists should fear reprisals or intimidation because of the results of their research.
  6. Appointments to federal scientific advisory committees shall be based on the candidate’s scientific qualifications, not political affiliation or ideology.
  7. The federal government shall not support any science education program that includes instruction in concepts that are derived from ideology and not science.
  8. While scientists may elect to withhold methods or studies that might be misused there shall be no federal prohibition on publication of basic research results. Decisions made about blocking the release of information about specific applied research and technologies for reasons of national security shall be the result of a transparent process. Classification decisions shall be made by trained professionals using a clear set of published criteria and there shall be a clear process for challenging decisions and a process for remedying mistakes and abuses of the classification system.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Unwinding Bush

From The Atlantic October 2006


Unwinding Bush

How long will it take to fix his mistakes?

by Jonathan Rauch


H istory judges good presidents by what they do, bad ones by how long they take to undo. Although history hasn’t yet caught up with President George W. Bush, midterm elections are about to—and those are often a referendum on presidential performance. Now is therefore as good a time as any to jump to a conclusion: the question history will ask is whether Bush’s presidency was as bad as Richard Nixon’s or only as bad as Jimmy Carter’s.

Five years ago, with the ruins of the Twin Towers still smoking, many Americans—I should own that I was one of them—looked at Bush and thought they saw a Churchill, or at least a Truman: a leader fortuitously equipped for a difficult job at a critical moment. Bush’s partisans are still holding out for misunderestimated greatness, to be vindicated in the end. They think Bush will be to the war on jihadism what Truman was to the Cold War: the guy who established the course that will see the country through decades of peril.

To those disinclined to suspend judgment for fifty years, however, Bush’s course is looking less like a long road than a dead end. Even many conservatives have lost faith; in a recent interview with CBS News, no less a conservative luminary than William F. Buckley declared, “There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush.” For the disenchanted—again, including me—the relevant points of reference now are not Churchill or Truman but Nixon and Carter.

The URL for this page is

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gone for a week

So I'm gone for a week in Atlanta (sprawl and traffic jams at their worst) and come back to find out that Claire prefers to eat off Ellen's floors (apparently E married a mop-enabler) than her table yet also hates taking off her shoes, Madeline and Noey are now both into 4" spikes, there will soon be a massive posting of people's colons, perhaps even warrenting its own website (people with colons...gosh!), AR had a disturbing "birthday colonoscopy" message to Cuz Randolph, and our pope (who was a Nazi, suceeding a pope who faught Nazis) insulted all 1.3 Billion Muslims, much to my hate-filled, dead-to-me, fascist nephew's glee.

And, Le Cruset is on sale!

Gotta love email!

More about Atlanta to come.

Spinach from our CSA

Here's a message from Peter Seely, who owns Springdale Farms, our CSA.

Eat slow and local!

Greetings folks,

A few have asked us to comment on the recent outbreak of e-coli found in bagged spinach.

We cannot claim with 100% certainty that our produce is free from e-coli, (or any other potential toxin, for that matter). We never test our produce for those items (though I'd be very interested if someone were willing to pay to have those tests done). We also do not have enough knowledge of the e-coli virus to know exactly under what conditions it is most prevalent, and how it is spread, etc.

We do believe that our agricultural practices are much less likely to result in outbreaks like the current one as compared to the conventional practices, but more details than that are more than we can offer with any certitude.

We certainly will not hesitate at all before eating what we produce here on our farm, and are not worried about this particular outbreak. But we would like to keep abreast of information, as it comes available, as to how best to minimize the chances of introducing something toxic like e-coli into our vegetables, and would welcome additional comments, and references, if any of you come across information that you feel may be good for us to know about!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Busy week

It's going to be a busy week coming up.

Tuesday morning I fly to Atlanta. That afternoon I am meeting with some of our JE Edwards experts to try to figure out some of the inventory issues we are experiencing. Tuesday evening I am having dinner with Michelle E., our head of Payroll.

Wednesday through Friday is Advanced Products Training. The syllabus looks pretty good: a lot of chemistry and theory.

Wednesday night our group is going out to dinner. Thursday night I am going out with one of the engineers there, Joe S., who is also a UW ChE and worked briefly at my plant.

I return on Friday.

Saturday we go to Appleton to see Noey, then on to Green Bay. Sunday is our Packer game at Lambeau.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Unearthed pipeline is link to the past

Erik Larson, in The Devil In The White City discusses this pipeline.

It carried Waukesha County water to 1893 World's Fair

Posted: Sept. 3, 2006

Waukesha - The treasure, though buried just a few feet deep, took more than 100 years to discover.

A segment of a water pipeline that connected a water spring in Waukesha County with the 1893 World's Fair, also called the Chicago Columbian Exposition, was recently unearthed in Kenosha County.

The segment of the line was saved and sliced into three pieces before being sent to local historian John Schoenknecht. It will soon be donated to the Waukesha County Historical Society and Museum.

"In some ways it's priceless because there isn't a lot of it," Schoenknecht said.

Workers repairing stretches of roads in Kenosha County discovered the steel pipe in May. Each slice measured a little more than 6 inches in diameter and about 2 feet in length. Rusty and dented, the pipe certainly wasn't much to look at, and the workers considered scrapping the find. But a Kenosha County woman, who Schoenknecht said wished to remain anonymous, suspected the pieces of steel might be part of the pipeline and called him.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lincoln Chaffee & Dr Smith

I like Lincoln Chaffee (R) senator from Rhode Island. I do hope he loses, though, for purely political reasons. He has a curious resemblance to Dr. Smith from Lost In Space.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Abbie IV and Roger Williams

My stellar niece, Abbie Popa, is now a student at Brown University. (She has a sushi bar in her dorm!)

My sister and brother-in-law, Mel & Frank,brought her there this week: see it here. While there they snapped this photo of a monument to Roger Williams, one of my personal heroes.

Williams and his role in inculcating Freedom of Religion in American society are discussed at length in the excellent book The Godless Constitution by Kramnick & Moore.

An excellent article on the same topic by Brooke Allen can be found here.