November 3, 2006
Cholera, Epidemiology & John Snow
Steven Shapin has an excellent essay and review of Steven Johnson's new book on John Snow and his founding of the discipline of epidemiology. Johnson's book is "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic -- and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World." Shapin's compelling review can be found HERE.
November 2, 2006
Statistics and Supreme Court Clerks
David Kaye and Joe Gastwirth consider whether the drop in the number of women law clerks at the Supreme Court is statistically significant. Their answer? Not based on the data available! See Here.
October 31, 2006
The Washington Post reports that "A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has rejected staff scientists' recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times in the past three years." See Article Here. According to government documents, the appointee, Julie MacDonald, a deputy assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife, "has repeatedly refused to go along with staff reports concluding that species such as the white-tailed prairie dog and the Gunnison sage grouse are at risk of extinction. Career officials and scientists urged the department to identify the species as either threatened or endangered." The article continues:
Hundreds of pages of records, obtained by environmental groups through the Freedom of Information Act, chronicle the long-running battle between MacDonald and Fish and Wildlife Service employees over decisions whether to safeguard plants and animals from oil and gas drilling, power lines, and real estate development, spiced by her mocking comments on their work and their frequently expressed resentment.
It appears that this situation is just one more in an agonizingly long list of instances in which the Bush administration ignores or distorts science in an effort to cater to its industry supporters.