Friday, June 09, 2006

First-ever cancer vaccine approved by FDA

The vaccine, Gardasil, blocks infection by two types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which account for about 70% of cervical cancer cases.
Gardasil also blocks infection by two other HPV types that cause about 90% of genital warts cases. Spread by skin-to-skin contact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the USA. More than 90% of cases clear up on their own, but persistent infection with certain HPV types causes virtually all cervical cancers.

Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites

From the fine folks that brought you the Total Terrorism Information Awareness program, another wickedly-named branch of the NSA, the Disruptive Technologies Office (formerly ARDA), is funding research into the usefulness of the Semantic Web for combing through and profiling the 80 million members of MySpace. [from]

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

CDC Defines all Women as "Pre-pregnant"

Not planning on getting pregnant? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t care. As far as it is concerned, if you are one of the 62 million U.S. women of childbearing age, you are pre-pregnant--a vessel. You are a future fetal incubator.
In April, the CDC issued a report detailing measures to be taken to intervene in the life, healthcare and behavior of all women, “from menarche [first occurrence of menstruation] to menopause … even if they do not intend to conceive.”
The CDC report calls for a radical shift in medical care so that at every point of interaction, women’s doctors are to stage “interventions” to make sure they are healthy and prepared to give birth. Want to take your newborn in for a checkup or your 8-year-old in for a high fever? Expect an “intervention” into your eating habits, weight and behavioral risk factors.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

GNC quits selling Robertson's protein shake

Despite Pat Robertson's assertion that he leg-pressed 2,000 pounds, the protein shake the religious broadcaster credits for this astounding feat will no longer be on store shelves.
The Christian Broadcasting Network recently posted a video on its Web site showing Robertson leg-pressing 1,000 pounds.
A version of the video posted on on May 25 has been viewed more than 11,000 times, according to the Web site.
According to a related news release, Robertson has leg-pressed 2,000 pounds. H e is 76 years old, and the current world record is 1,335 pounds.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mushroom cloud blast in Nevada delayed

The federal government on Friday indefinitely postponed a massive explosion that planners said would generate a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert and critics feared would spread radioactivity across the West.
Officials said delaying the non-nuclear explosion dubbed "Divine Strake" would allow time to answer legal and scientific questions about whether it would kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
"The previously announced date of no later than June 23 is no longer accurate," said Darwin Morgan, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration in North Las Vegas. "The experiment will be scheduled at a date later to be announced pending the legal action."
Anti-nuclear activists, an Indian tribe and Utah and Nevada congressional lawmakers have pressed the government to address safety concerns raised since James Tegnelia, director of the federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said the blast "is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons." He later retracted the statement, saying it was inaccurate.
A federal judge in Las Vegas let government lawyers on Friday withdraw a finding that there would be "no significant impact" from the blast without acknowledging any shortcomings alleged in a lawsuit filed by the Winnemucca Indian Colony and several Nevada and Utah "downwinders."

US Blocking International Deal on Fighting AIDS

The Bush administration, heavily influence by the Christian right, is blocking key proposals for a new United Nations package to combat AIDS worldwide over the next five years because of its opposition to the distribution of condoms and needle exchanges and references to prostitutes, drug addicts and homosexuals.
The United States is being supported by many Muslim countries, including Egypt, and various conservative African and Latin American nations. "There are a lot of unholy alliances all over the place," said a European official attending UN talks in New York last night.
Fraught negotiations were continuing to try to salvage as much of the package as possible. More than 140 nations are attending the UN summit in New York which began on Wednesday. The meeting is intended to update a 2001 declaration that provided the momentum for a worldwide campaign against AIDS. A new declaration is due to be agreed today.
Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, told the summit: "The world has been unconscionably slow in meeting one of the most vital aspects of the struggle: measures to fight the spread of AIDS among women and girls. These shortcomings are deadly."

U.S. to drop Geneva rule, officials say

The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
The decision culminates a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the defense officials acknowledged.

CBC Radio Available in Podcast Form

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is pumping out a pile of podcasts that have covered the importance of offensive comics to Art Spiegelman, 600 bands over 54 shows, Captain America versus the American government, Amy Sedaris and geekdom, the journey of young immigrants, French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut and Harper's publisher John MacArthur discussing Europe and America perspectives since 9/11, the after life, sex with monkeys, what radio producers do, the french word "corps", Bonnie Fuller's "The Joys of Much Too Much: Go For the Big Life — The Great Career, The Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You've Ever Wanted (Even If You're Afraid You Don't Have What It Takes)", Veteran Washington reporter Helen Thomas and some other bits & bobs.