Solid research on controlling malaria

October 20, 2008

Looking for other things, I stumbled into two research journal articles on the fight against malaria.  Neither calls for a return to broadcast spraying of DDT; neither claims the ban on agricultural use of DDT had any significant effect on the rise of malaria.

Both are loaded with serious research that exposes DDT advocates as charlatans.

First:  from Clinical Microbiology Reviews, October 2002, p. 564-594, Vol. 15, No. 4
0893-8512/02/$04.00+0; DOI: 10.1128/CMR.15.4.564-594.2002. “Evolutionary and Historical Aspects of the Burden of Malaria,” by Richard Carter and Kamini N. Mendis:

SUMMARY:  Malaria is among the oldest of diseases. In one form or another, it has infected and affected our ancestors since long before the origin of the human line. During our recent evolution, its influence has probably been greater than that of any other infectious agent. Here we attempt to trace the forms and impacts of malaria from a distant past through historical times to the present. In the last sections, we review the current burdens of malaria across the world and discuss present-day approaches to its management. Only by following, or attempting to follow, malaria throughout its evolution and history can we understand its character and so be better prepared for our future management of this ancient ill.

Second, from Joel G. Bremen, Martin S. Alilio, and Anne Mills, “Conquering the Intolerable Burden of Malaria:  What’s New, What’s Needed:  A Summary,” Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 71(2 suppl), 2004, pp. 1-15 (The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygeine).

High school kids, there are the sources you need for your papers on the fight against malaria.

NCSE’s new web design

October 20, 2008

Visited the website for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) lately?

NCSE redesigned the website — it looks great!

NCSE is the only group in America — which means it may be the only group in the world — that stands for science education so stoutly, especially with regard to the teaching of evolution.

Arrayed against much more munificently funded “ministries” of many stripes, against the oddball but money-rich Discovery Institute, NCSE is the only organization that stands to defend the teaching of the hard science of evolution in America’s schools.

Particularly in times like these, when forces of darkness mass to assault science education, we need NCSE.  Go check out their website.

And, teachers:  Bookmark that site. It’s one of the verifiable, good sites you can point your students to for any research project.  Click on the logo to see.

Obama “most liberal,” McCain “most absent”

October 20, 2008

Anyone who has staffed Congress knows the various ratings of the votes of Members of Congress are most often skewed by the organizations that make them.  They pluck a dozen votes out of several hundred cast by a member in a year, to claim that special dozen can tell the character, or value, or liberalness or conservativeness of the member.

So when campaign surrogates claim that one of the candidates is “the most” whatever, it need be taken with a few grains of salt.

Presidential campaigns can wreak havoc on a members voting record — heck, reelection campaigns can do the same — because candidate forums and primary election dates almost always conflict with the work of Congress.  A candidate for president might be lucky to make even the major votes.

Obama missed several key votes, but got enough in to get rated.  According to one rating, by National Journal, Obama is “the most” liberal U.S. senator.  In today’s U.S. Senate, that’s not really saying much, since moderate Republicans have gone extinct there, and most of the liberal lions of the Democrats are at least retired, if not dead.

Listening to the Sunday talk shows today, I wondered why McCain’s people, always anxious to brand Obama as “most liberal,” don’t point to McCain’s own ranking.  Why not show the differences between the two on the issues, where it counts, in the votes?

So I checked.  John McCain missed more than half the votes in most areas rated by National Journal, and so could not be ranked. It looks worse when you look at the company McCain keeps in the “unranked” category.

Three senators do not have scores for 2007 because they missed more than half of the rated votes in an issue area: John McCain, R-Ariz., who was running for president; Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who was recuperating from a brain hemorrhage and returned to work on September 5, 2007; Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., who died on June 4, 2007; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who was appointed to succeed Thomas on June 22, 2007.

John McCain:  Most absent.

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