BEAVER, W.Va. — U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials have finished their presentation at today’s briefing on the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, and they’re starting a question-and-answer session for the public gathered at an auditorium here at the mine academy outside Beckley.
The major new point from the briefing has already been covered by this post last night, about the finding that MSHA investigators discovered two different sets of books, an indication that Massey knew about some safety problems at the mine, but did not report them as required in fireboss books.
The bottom line from the meeting so far is that MSHA investigators found these safety failures by the mine operator that contributed to the disaster: Failure to properly rockdust the mine, failure to control float coal dust, failure to maintain water sprays on the longwall shearer, and an emphasis on coal production over safety precautions.
According to MSHA:
“This explosion could and should have been prevented by the mine operator.”
I think it’s bizarre that old guys are so very proud of themselves for reproducing, especially when the outcome is so iffy:
Older fathers made headlines several years ago when researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that a man over 40 is almost six times as likely as a man under 30 to father an autistic child. Since then, research has shown that a man’s chances of fathering offspring with schizophrenia double when he hits 40 and triple at age 50. The incidence of bipolarity, epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer also increases in children born to men approaching 40.
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There’s not much pure research left. Corporate donations influence everything, thanks to the concept that the federal government should only give money to bankers:
In an extraordinary move, a group of spine specialists are publicly repudiating the research of other experts that has backed the widespread use of a Medtronic bone growth product. In a series of reports published in a medical journal on Tuesday, the specialists called the research misleading and biased.
The repudiation, appearing in a full issue of The Spine Journal devoted to the topic, represents a watershed in the long-running debate over conflicts of interest for the sponsorship of scientific studies by makers of drugs and medical devices. It is extremely rare for researchers to publicly chastise colleagues, and editors of leading medical journals said they could not recall an instance in which a publication had dedicated an entire issue for such a singular purpose.
[...] Infuse is used in about a quarter of the estimated 432,000 spinal fusions performed in this country each year. The articles published on Tuesday charge that researchers with financial ties to Medtronic overstated Infuse’s benefits and vastly understated its risks by claiming there were none.
“It harms patients to have biased and corrupted research published,” five doctors wrote in a joint editorial that accompanied the reports. “It harms patients to have unaccountable special interests permeate medical research.”
You’d think voters would figure out that no matter how bad the Democrats are, they can’t hold a candle to the Republican anti-worker agenda:
More than half of New Jersey residents say they wouldn’t back Governor Chris Christie for a second term, disapproving of his choices on a range of policy and personal issues, from killing a commuter tunnel to using a state-police helicopter to attend his son’s baseball game.
Teachers, whose union Christie has targeted on tenure, pay and benefits, received a far higher favorable rating, 76 percent, than the first-term Republican himself, who had support from 43 percent, according to a Bloomberg New Jersey poll conducted June 20-23.
“Teachers I know got laid off because of him,” Fred Lavin, 61, a poll respondent from Toms River who is troubleshooter for an electronics company, said in a June 24 telephone interview. “He’s not in favor of the average working person.”
Okay, the no-hitter petered out in the sixth inning (he did hold them to two), but Cliff Lee did pitch his third consecutive shutout last night. Go Cliff!
This came out while I was away and I missed it, but I thought you should know an ex-spy says the Bush White House wanted the CIA to dig up dirt on Juan Cole:
WASHINGTON — A former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him.
Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.
In an interview, Mr. Carle said his supervisor at the National Intelligence Council told him in 2005 that White House officials wanted “to get” Professor Cole, and made clear that he wanted Mr. Carle to collect information about him, an effort Mr. Carle rebuffed. Months later, Mr. Carle said, he confronted a C.I.A. official after learning of another attempt to collect information about Professor Cole. Mr. Carle said he contended at the time that such actions would have been unlawful.
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Had a fascinating talk with Steve Volk about his new book “Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away The Unexplainable — And Couldn’t.” You can listen here, and learn how his look at how we react to the idea of the paranormal also tells us a lot about the political brain.