September 27, 2006The Deutsche Oper in Berlin on Monday cancelled a production of Mozart's “Idomeneo” because of fears of inciting Muslim protesters to violence. There was a lot of Sturm und Drang as a result. Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germans shouldn't “bow to fears of Islamic violence.”
If you're puzzled—no, it's not the opera itself that's a perceived problem (whew!). The avant-garde production of the opera includes Idomeneo—the lead character—pulling the bloody heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha from a sack. That's not a scene in the libretto, but was the...
September 27, 2006
A new study shows that mice that drink moderate amounts of wine everyday suffer from less memory loss and brain cell death. A huge body of evidence has shown that moderate alcohol consumption helps keep people heart-healthy, and CEI had sued for that positive information to appear on alcoholic beverage labels. Now moderate drinking seems to “slow Alzheimer's-like diseases.”
The happy mice were given Cabernet Sauvignon wine (really!), ethanol, or plain water— their equivalent of two glasses a day. The ones who did best on mazes were the red wine drinkers. Maybe they thought some Zinfandel was at the end of it.
September 26, 2006Wouldn't you think that a reader's letter correcting factual
errors in a newspaper article wouldn't be edited to delete the principal
correction? Well, that's not necessarily
the case, as my letter
today in the Washington Post's Health Section shows.
Seems the Post last week ran Q's
and A's on the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreaks related to spinach. Unfortunately for consumers, it gave some
incorrect information, namely:
“Since 1995, there have been 19 outbreaks of food-borne
illness caused by E. coli 0157: H7. All have involved lettuce or leafy greens.”
In correcting that, my original letter said: “According to
the Centers for Disease Control a major source of...
September 19, 2006Following up on Fred's
post, here's an even better headline: “Thai PM cancels U.N. speech after coup”
ran the headline in Reuters. It seems that the prime minister of Thailand was in New York at the United Nations, when word came about a coup by the military who took over the government in Bangkok. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra canceled
his speech scheduled for 7 p.m. before the General Assembly.
September 19, 2006Today the Senate
approved for the second time the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement, another in
the now lengthy list of
bilaterals. The Oman treaty also marks further outreach through
trade with Arabic countries that are considered friendly to the U.S. Earlier FTAs
were completed with Bahrain, Morocco, and Jordan. Increased trade and investment between the countries could result — and that would be good.
But already the protectionist veil of “national security”
interests was being spread by Sen. Byron Dorgan, who said in the floor debate that
the agreement with...
September 14, 2006Sometimes — but not often -- some companies hang in there if
they're convinced they are right. That seems
to be the case with Liberty Mutual Insurance, which is standing
up to — can it be — New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, as we
know, has brought CEOs and boards of Fortune 100 companies to their knees to
grovel. They have begged to sign huge
settlements, thrown respected company executives to the jackals at Justice, and
whispered non-“mea culpas” to the media, only to see their stock prices plummet
or their companies left in threads.
September 14, 2006New research
may help to explain why the term “risk” shouldn't automatically be applied to
new technologies, such as biotechnology. According to a University of Sussex research study, new technologies
should be evaluated on a continuum of categories — including risk, uncertainty,
ambiguity, and ignorance.
The article in Food Navigator about the new study also
quotes extensively from a
speech I gave this summer to the Institute of Food Technologists attacking
the use of the precautionary principle applied to biotechnology.
Greg Conko has written extensively on this topic here and here and...
August 15, 2006Guess what — a new poll shows that the Seven Dwarfs are better known in the U.S. than the Supreme Court Justices. According to the Reuters article, “Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices.”
The poll, conducted by Zogby International, also showed that 57 percent of Americans could name Harry Potter as the hero of J.K. Rowling's novels, but only 50 percent could identify the UK's prime minister as Tony Blair.
Is this a case of “rational ignorance,” as CEI's president Fred Smith describes it?
“People have few reasons to spend their time...