News — At The Edge — 11/23
U.S. is developing an anti-science orientation — environment, health, medicine, child detention, climate change — and today’s children will pay a staggering price for it.
“[A] change long sought by conservatives…to stifle reliance on research into the harmful effects of pollution…[in] Regulatory Science rule…[started] when then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt pushed for [it]….
[Rule] allows the EPA to consider only studies where the underlying data is made available…[thus] would restrict the use of research that includes sensitive personal data and hamstring the agency’s ability to protect Americans from toxic chemicals, air pollution and…could prevent the use of…landmark research, which showed a stark association between long-term exposure to air pollution and…premature death….
Pruitt’s successor, Andrew Wheeler…intends to move forward…[but] insisted that the proposal would not apply retroactively…[and] protects confidential personal information….[and] working to finalize the measure before the end of President Trump’s first term, overriding the opposition from science and public health groups….
’This proposal has nothing to do with science…[wanting] politicians, not scientists, to evaluate the evidence of harm to the public’…[and] to exclude certain types of public health studies…[or] adequately identified a problem in need of solving.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/11/12/epa-pushes-ahead-with-effort-restrict-science-it-uses-craft-regulations/
“Nuremberg Code…stemmed from the horrors…in Nazi Germany…set new standards for human experimentation and…global commitment to ‘Never Again’….
[Yet] weaponization of science continues…in the face of increasing government impunity and fails to create an enforceable response…[as] scientists are continuously being hired to weaponize their disciplines…[like] illegal drug testing on prisoners…torture practices…and the hiring of scientists to produce sarin gas…to name just a few….
[But] global health and scientific communities have yet to create any formal mechanisms for accountability…[and] without international law that expressly names weaponization of science and medicine broadening the understanding and scope of violations of crimes against humanity and other war crimes…the legal community is limited in its capacity to take to take meaningful action against…international norms….
[So] science and global health communities must take on a larger role in building infrastructure and mechanisms necessary to collect important data and build effective policy to counter the use of science as a weapon…[and] push for policies and programs that could address these issues in real time such as…
Biosecurity Engagement Program, a program…’to work with governments, scientists, and other stakeholders to build sustainable capacity for biosecurity, biosafety, disease surveillance, and cooperative scientific research’…to educate, track and inform institutions on implementation of best practice, track abuses of science, and inform policy to address these crimes….
With the way geopolitics continues to limit our traditional mechanisms of justice and accountability, science seems to be one of our only — and best — ammunition against the weaponization of science and scientists.” https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-need-for-a-nuremberg-code-for-the-21st-century/
What Truthiness and Post-Fact Era Means
Seriously, the present fiasco feels like we have a gun pointed to our collective head. Does anyone really want more of…
“[Only] two American organizations are responsible for 54% of anti-vaccination ads on Facebook…[targeting] women and parents of young children…[with] carefully craft their messages to avoid…violation of Facebook’s new ad terms….
In contrast, pro-vaccination ads come from 83 healthcare organizations, and they do get removed due to violation of Facebook’s terms….
This shows just how easy it is to spread misinformation on Facebook, and how imperfect…[its] moderation mechanisms are.” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/13/majority-antivaxx-vaccine-ads-facebook-funded-by-two-organizations-study
“[Expect] climate change will ‘define the health of an entire generation’…with a heightened risk of low birth weight and neonatal death and…potential lung problems, asthma attacks and insect-borne diseases.
Older adults would see increasing vulnerability from extreme heat…[says] 100 experts from global institutions, including the World Health Organization and World Bank….
[W]e know that action on climate change is going to inevitably reduce health care costs’…[with] health savings from renewable energy policy in the Rust Belt region exceeded the policy cost by 34%….
[I]f the current emissions trajectory continues, then children…will face billions of dollars in health-related costs throughout their lives….
[Most] frustrated that the scientifically vetted issues of climate change were being reduced to political currency….
[Solutions] include putting a price on carbon emissions, transitioning to cleaner transportation fuels, and boosting spending on adaptation in health and health care….‘We just need to act before it’s too late.’” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/children-are-particularly-vulnerable-to-climate-changes-health-impacts/
Our Human Stain
Beyond accumulated scientific knowledge. art and magical technological artifacts, we humans remain primates with…
“[U.S. has] more than 100,000 in immigration-related custody…[and] violates international law….
Worldwide more than 7 million people under age 18 are held in jails and police custody, including 330,000 in immigration detention centers….
Children should only be detained as…last resort and for the shortest time possible…[and] separating children, as…done by [Trump]…from their parents…is absolutely prohibited by the Convention on the Rights of the Child….[and] ratified major international treaties such as those guaranteeing civil and political rights and banning torture, but [U.S.]…only country not to have ratified the pact on the rights of children….
[Still] separating infants from families only in order to deter irregular migration from Central America…constitutes inhuman treatment, and that is absolutely prohibited by the two treaties’….
[U.S.] detains an average of 60 out of every 100,000 children in its justice system or immigration-related custody…the world’s highest rate, followed by…Bolivia, Botswana and Sri Lanka…[versus] an average of five per 100,000 in Western Europe and 14–15 in Canada….
Even if some of these children had been child soldiers…they should be mainly treated as victims…[to] be rehabilitated and reintegrated in society.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-rights-child-idUSKBN1XS1PC
“International Institute of Finance (IIF)…[says] global debt surged by $7.5 trillion in the first six months of 2019….[and] the overall number hit $250.9 trillion…and will exceed $255 trillion by the end of 2019.
‘China and the U.S. accounted for over 60% of the increase…[and] a big concern for investors….
Record-low interest rates make it extremely easy for corporates and sovereigns to borrow more…[but] with diminishing scope for further monetary easing in many…countries with high levels of government debt….
International Monetary Fund (IMF)…escalated its warnings about high levels of risky corporate debt…[with] around $19 trillion…at risk of default in the event of another global economic downturn….
[IIF] states that global government debt will top $70 trillion in 2019, up from $65.7 trillion in 2018, driven…surge in U.S. federal debt….
For mature markets, the rise has mainly been in general government debt (up $17 trillion to over $52 trillion). However, for emerging markets the bulk of the rise has been in non-financial corporate debt (up $20 trillion to over $30 trillion)’….
The global bond markets increased from $87 trillion in 2009 to over $115 trillion in mid-2019…mostly seen in the government bond market — which now make up 47% of global bond markets compared to 40% in 2009…[but] safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasurys have been very crowded lately as investors rush to safer assets amid uncertainty due to Brexit, a global growth slowdown and President Donald Trump’s impeachment.” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/15/global-debt-surged-to-a-record-250-trillion-in-the-first-half-of-2019-led-by-the-us-and-china.html
“[Clearly] country’s authoritarian government has long-term plans and is taking steps toward becoming a global leader in space exploration…with 39 launch attempts [in 2018]…the United States (29 flights) and Russia (20)…
 the country has launched 27 orbital missions, followed by Russia (19), and the United States (16)….[SpaceX] launched a record 21 missions last year but…[only] 11 rockets in 2019.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/china-takes-commanding-lead-in-annual-orbital-launches/
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