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Urban Bioterrorism Attack: Pernicious Tuberculosis

How do you fight an invisible danger?

In our ongoing series of conversations about Urban Bioterrorism, — we have been struck by several recent realities that confirm our policy of policing the Homeland is wide open to creative and pernicious exploitation of our febrile border defenses.

Our current policy for fighting terrorism on American soil isn’t working. We seek to only deter and then punish the body.

We log citizens and their behaviors while completely ignoring the reality that the most dangerous threats to health, freedom and liberty are microscopic and undetectable — and those dangers live inside people instead of being carried by people as recognizable weapons of mass destruction.

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Things We Have Lost

Today we live in perpetual moments of melancholia that now define our modern lives. We do not live in a state of regret, but we live with an ongoing consciousness of things we have lost. How do we handle the recognition that, over the last four years, so many precious things have been forever stolen from us?

We have lost our sense of sanctuary. There are no safe places. We cannot find protection in schools, mosques, churches, or even with each other. We have lost our right to privacy.

We walk the streets and we are watched. We enter public buildings and we are required to provide ID just to remain in the building.

We surveil our neighbors. People different from us — in color and tone and financial stature — are our silent enemies and are ripe for the reporting. We have lost our joy to depravity.

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Scholarly Journals Die a Proper Electronic Death

Electronic Research!The Christian Science Monitor recently reported the timely and appropriate death of elitist hardcopy scholarly journals — a welcome and deserved demise and here’s why:

For years, traditional “peer review” has come under fire. A jury of three experts, the peer reviewers, assess each article and recommend only those that they feel represent the most significant new work.

At many elite scientific journals, fewer than 10 percent of the articles submitted are accepted. Many of the rejected articles eventually travel down the “food chain” to be published in a plethora of less prestigious (and less noticed) specialty journals.

A year ago, the respected US journal Science was forced to retract two papers it had published about stem cells. The articles had been submitted by a South Korean team led by Hwang Woo-Suk.

Peer reviewers, as well as the editors, had failed to detect the fraud. In general, peer reviewers, themselves researchers pressed for time, don’t try to re-create experiments and rarely ask to see the raw data that supports a paper’s conclusions.

While peer review is expected to separate the wheat from the chaff, it’s “slow, expensive, profligate of academic time, highly subjective, prone to bias, easily abused, poor at detecting gross defects, and almost useless for detecting fraud,” summed up one critic in BMJ, the British medical journal, in 1997.

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Binding Bindi: How a Father Stings a Daughter

When “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died by being stung in the heart by a stingray, he left behind a wife, a young son, and a daughter named Bindi Sue. In the devastating aftermath of his death his fans are forced to deal with the public pimping of his 8-year-old daughter Bindi in the popular media in order, it seems, to perpetuate the family myth and to earn professional fortunes.


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Incarceration Nation and the Carceral Citizen

According to the annual report from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in every 32 American adults were doing hard time, were on probation or on parole last year.  2.2 million were incarcerated; 4.1 million were on probation; nearly 800,000 were on parole.

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