DDT conference: Safe or not? Who will report?

March 12, 2008

March 14 beckons from the near horizon. A group of scientists and policy wonks will gather at Alma College, in Alma, Michigan, to look at the issues of DDT and health. This is the first major conference of its kind since the POPs Treaty, at least.

Logo for Kenaga DDT Conference, Alma College, 2008

Controversy again swirls around DDT, with a large industry campaign again after the reputation of Rachel Carson just the same as in 1963 — though Ms. Carson has been dead since 1964. The disinformation campaign also impugns environmentalists, health care workers (especially if they’ve ever worked for the World Health Organization), Al Gore (there is no rationale), and when the minions think they can get away with it, it impugns bed nets and stagnant pool draining.

This public relations campaign against Rachel Carson enjoys a great deal of success. Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn, who seems never to have met an insult to a scientist he couldn’t use, successfully stopped the U.S. Senate from passing a bill naming a post office in honor of Rachel Carson, one of Coburn’s greatest legislative achievements. Several people in Congress, including Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop, were similarly hornswoggled.

This conference could put real, accurate information in front of the public.

Are my expectations way too high? I hope reporting from this conference might inject sanity, comity, humility and courtesy back into the discussions of how to treat malaria, and whether DDT should ever be used.

Associated Press? Reuters? New York Times? Chicago Tribune? Detroit News, or Detroit Free Press? Lansing State Journal?

Who will report from the conference?

I hope major news outlets will have reporters there.


600,000 visits

March 12, 2008

Passed it an hour ago. This is what P. Z. Myers gets every day, but it’s new for the Bathtub.

Now, I wonder what has to happen to get some of these visitors to turn the page to some of the more substantive posts?

State of museums

March 12, 2008

Teachers: Run out to your local Starbucks, or newsstand if you’re luckier, and get today’s New York Times. Check out the special section on museums.

Science, arts and social studies teachers especially, go look. What local museums are you overlooking? Which museums should you plan a long-distance trip to see?

Duncanville ISD teachers sometimes require “field experience” for students, including visits to local museums. I doubt we’d have gotten our kids into the African American Museum otherwise; I think too few kids bother with the Frontiers of Flight Museum (or the C. R. Smith Museum closer to DFW Airport), and I know way too few bother with the Jack Harbin Museum of Scouting, a great shining gem obscured by its working class, Scout camp location and the proximity of the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas.

Our family plans to visit Lucy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science this weekend. I had a great time with Abe in Springfield last month, courtesy of the Bill of Rights Institute and the Liberty Fund (and I have not written about it, bad boy that I am).

The Times’s section makes me lust for Star Trek™-style transporters that take a whole classroom of kids, cheaply, to see the real stuff.  Be sure to check out the on-line videos and slide shows, too.

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