Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bush obstructs, speed doesn't kill--UPDATED 6.24.05

G8 meeting to discuss global warming and we're the bad guys again, oh, and speed limits don't do what you think they do.
June 23, 2005

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it's the facts I can't stand--To the Bush Administration, science is a mindset that keeps getting in the way of ideology. You see it in almost everything they do, but nowhere more impressively than in the issue of global warming. There no longer is any dispute in the scientific field: global warming is real. Most politicians reluctantly accept that, as painful as it may be, but not this administration and the disconnect is about to erupt again. In July, the G8 and major developing countries will meet and everyone but the U.S. is willing to stick to U.N. schemes to curb emissions of heat-trapping gasses, especially carbon dioxide. Because of opposition from the U.S., the chances of anything good happening are nil. Even Tony Blair of Britain, Bush’s sole major ally in the Iraq war and host of the meeting, understands the ramifications of doing nothing, and but he couldn’t get Bush to connect with reality. He understands that climatic change could doom species and push sea levels up by as much as a meter, which could be catastrophic. He calls it the most important issue humanity now faces. In a leaked document, it is clear that the U.S. objects to such wording as “our world is warming” and "We know that the increase is due in large part to human activity.” The U.S. Senate is to take up three pieces of legislation on the subject and almost anything useful they could do is likely to get vetoed, so they probably won’t do anything. There is a point at which incompetence becomes dangerous. This is the point.

autobahn It's either the Autobahn or I-95, Hans, and you can go as fast as you like--It makes sense: the higher the speed limit the more likely it is that people will get killed. Well, so much for making sense. That doesn’t appear to be true. A study to be published in the Review of Policy Research [not yet posted] could find no significant increase in fatalities per miles driven when federal speed limits were abolished and the states set the limits--usually higher than the feds. In some states, speed limits themselves were actually abolished and still that had no effect on overall fatality rates, according to Robert O. Yowell. The reason for the federal legislation was conservation, not safety, when they were enacted in the 1970s. In 1995, Congress let the states set their own. The trend in fatalities has been declining since, probably because cars are safer, the use of seat belts, the increase in the drinking age, and the improvement of roads. The Yowell study is not alone. Others have shown the same. One suspects that the chances of getting killed in a high-speed accident are higher, the higher the speed, but that clearly is not the only variable.

UPDATE--The FDA has approved the drug, BiDil (see here) for treatment of heart disease on black patients, the first racially targeted drug ever approved. Science defeats political correctness.

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