June 20, 2005

Rotation: Nostalgia 77

This week's soundtrack: The Garden by Nostalgia 77. Jazzy, funky, laid-back beats.

Makes me wish for a nyabinghi mountain solstice jam.

June 17, 2005

Poisoning Our Children

Read this. (You'll need to sit through a dumb advert to get to the article).

It's a story straight out of the most paranoid ravings -- government, big pharma, big money, secret meetings, coverup -- but this one's personal.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal [a mercury-based preservative], and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth, and 2-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck's vaccine programs, warned the company that 6-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, "especially when used on infants and children," noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. "The best way to go," he added, "is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives."

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this "cost consideration," Merck ignored Hilleman's warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received only three vaccinations -- for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of 22 immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines.

And, in case you trust your elected representatives to do anything other than line their nests at the expense of your children, there's this:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents -- including the Simpsonwood transcripts -- and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders.

Stinking corrupt liars, the pack of them.

June 16, 2005

Truth and Consequences

This afternoon, on the journey home, I was tuned in to Jay Severin's talk radio show... I heard him bashing on about some un-american Senator who dared compare American soldiers to Nazis.

Normally, I can just turn that stuff off, switch the channel, ignore the crap. But this is different. The full story is more subtle, and more important, than the right-wing hate machine would have you believe; and today I was more disgusted by their apologia than I've been in a long while.

As a counterpoint, go read billmon. And read the senator's full remarks (PDF).

Blog recommendation

Some of you should enjoy browsing John Cowan's weblog, if you don't already. He's an XML geek of the highest order, and also apparently the type of polymath you don't meet everyday. I can't follow even the half of his linguistic games.

He has some nice vignettes (The dangers of heuristic instantiation, about communications), and plenty of crunchy morsels (on the etymology of the oboe, the probability of being descended from Charlemagne and so on). Enjoy.


Please excuse the current domain name outage. D**s***s at clicknames didn't renew even though I paid them.

Meanwhile, my hosts file still works, so I can blog in isolation for a while.

June 15, 2005


Here's a tip if you're running Windows in a VMWare virtual machine, and Windows Update fails with error code 0x8024402C.

The troubleshooting guide is probably helpful for non-VMWare situations. But it seems that the update application (BITS?) can't connect out of the virtual machine.

My workaround was to install a Web proxy server in the virtual machine (I used FreeProxy, but there are plenty of alternatives); then to configure Internet Explorer in the virtual machine to use the local proxy: Tools --> Options --> Connections --> LAN Settings... --> "Use a proxy server...". (Screenshots: freeproxy, IE LAN settings)

Now I can keep all my VMs patched and up-to-date :-)