Daily Archives: July 12, 2006

Microchip Under Patients’ Skin Can Aid Doctors


A microchip that is made to be implanted into a person’s arm is so small that it is almost lost on a penny.

A time will come when implantation is mandatory
“Verichip gives them peace of mind that, if they’re unconscious, they’ll be taken care of. And even if they’re not unconscious, it saves time.”And time is of the essence in the emergency room. An estimated 98,000 people die in the hospital each year, just waiting to be identified and to receive treatment, Philbin said. However, some people are worried that Verichip has the potential for abuse, namely invasion of privacy. Activist organizations such as the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have spoken out against Verichip, especially against the possibility of adding GPS capabilities to its microchips. In an interview with National Public Radio reporter Scott Horsley, clearinghouse founder and director Beth Givens expressed concerns that the element of choice with Verichip may eventually be taken away, and a time will come when implantation is mandatory, creating a Big Brother society.


Health-care chips could get under your skin
It seems like something out of an X Files script – a person’s health-care information encoded into a tiny chip and implanted beneath the skin – but it’s no script, says one health ethicist. “No, it’s not conspiracy theorist. This is a proposal that hospitals have put forward. There’s a company that supplies implantable chips that would be used for a patient if they were unconscious, which would link to their medical record in a way that would allow them to be treated without anyone being there to tell the doctors what was wrong,” said Dr. Ian Kerr. “It’s like a MedicAlert bracelet on steroids.”


RFID Exposed: The Naked Truth About the Future of Retail
This sci-fi cyborg idea is very lucrative for companies like VeriChip, which makes implantable tags for humans. They service companies such as Cincinnati-based CityWatcher.com, a video-surveillance business that requires employees to implant a VeriChip tag into their arms to access high-security areas. Despite sounding like a far-fetched idea from Orwell’s 1984, “taggers” like Sklar view these embedded chips as simply another technology to make their lives easier. By injecting themselves with chips, taggers are showing the world just how huge RFID has become — and it’s about more than two-dollar piercings and password banks.


Big win for tobacco in Florida case


In a huge victory for the tobacco industry, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate a $US145 billion punitive damages award against major cigarette makers found liable for selling a dangerous product. The decision lifted one of the biggest financial clouds over tobacco companies and sent their stocks up sharply.


Victory for cigarette makers
A US court has backed a decision to overturn a ruling that awarded $145 billion in damages against cigarette makers who had been found liable for selling a dangerous product. The Florida supreme court upheld the key part of a ruling from the appeals court three years ago that overturned the punitive damages. The court said the award was “clearly excessive” and would “result in an unlawful crippling of the defendant companies”. Tobacco companies’ stocks rose sharply following the ruling.


US stocks in a smoking rise
US stocks were up Thursday with tobacco stocks leading the way, after Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that cigarette makers did not have to pay 145 billion dollars in punitive damages to Florida smokers. The Florida Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower appeals court that the record 145-billion-dollar award handed down by a jury in Miami six years ago to Florida’s 700,000 smokers was “grossly excessive.”


Smoking increases blindness risk

Cigarette smoking increased the risk of the most common cause of blindness among the elderly, but eating fish protected against it, a study published yesterday claimed. The study from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston found that those who smoked had nearly a two-fold increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, compared to those who had never smoked. Reformed smokers were also at risk. However, the study also found that those who ate more fish, including smokers, were less likely to develop the disease. –


Fish Oil, Quitting Smoking, May Help Save Eyesight
To help save your vision as you age, you may want to give fish oil the thumbs up and cigarettes the thumbs down.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — the leading cause of age-related vision loss — is nearly twice as common in elderly smokers as nonsmokers. And seniors who eat fish at least twice weekly are almost half as likely to have AMD than those who eat fish less than once a week.


Eating fish seems to protect against macular degeneration
Two new studies give one more reason to eat a diet rich in fish: prevention of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in old age. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon are already known to help the heart and brain stay healthy. The new studies, appearing Monday in the Archives of Ophthalmology, add to evidence that fish eaters also protect their eyes.


Gulf war veteran charged with murder after uncle’s family found shot dead

A depressed Gulf war veteran who contacted a helpline after leaving the army was charged last night with shooting four of his family dead at point-blank range. David Bradley, who lost regimental colleagues when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown apart by an American jet in the first Gulf war, is accused of murdering his uncle, aunt and two of their sons following an alleged family row at their home in Newcastle on Saturday night.


DoD Investigator Claims Neo-Nazis Infiltrating US Military

Neo-Nazis and hate groups are infiltrating the US military in order to get first-class combat training and specialized training in demolitions, intelligence, and other aspects of warfare, according to a civil-rights group. Reports also indicate that black and Hispanic gangs are active within the armed forces. The Southern Poverty Law Center requested that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward racist groups in the military. Mark Potok, director of the center’s Intelligence Project, said, “Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives.”


Army relaxes its standards to fill ranks
Critics say push to meet quotas may let unstable recruits join up
Pentagon officials announced Monday that the Army has managed to achieve its latest recruiting goals, while admitting that they have lowered some standards that had been set to ensure the quality of the force. But as the military continues investigations into alleged atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Iraq, some experts worry that the Army, stretched thin by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and under pressure to fill its ranks, might be signing up soldiers who should not be in the service.


Australian Population group calls for one-child policy

Today is World Population Day, and the group Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) says it is time the problem of global overpopulation was dealt with. The world’s population is currently about 6.5 billion, and is expected to pass 9 billion by the middle of the century. SPA says a humane policy of one-child families worldwide is urgently needed, along with sustainable resource consumption.

China’s Population Control Program Plagued by Abuse Allegations, Gender Imbalance
Analysts say China’s population would have hit 1.6 billion people today instead of the actual 1.3 billion if it were not for the Communist government’s Planned Birth policy implemented since 1979. However, as effective as the policy has been, It remains controversial – raising enormous human rights questions in the way it is carried out.
The policy generally restricts couples in urban areas to one child. Rural dwellers, Muslims and members of other ethnic minorities are allowed two or three.

China Activist Against Forced Abortions Will be Put on Trial Next Week 
An activist who has been arrested, beaten and had his family detained in their home for bringing international attention to a local city’s campaign of forced abortions is scheduled to be on trial next week. Chen Guangcheng will be tried on Monday on trumped up charges of destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic. Chen, a blind attorney, got in trouble with local officials last year when he exposed the nightmare events of forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi in interviews with Time Magazine and the Washington Post.

Bush denies slack in bin Laden hunt

“The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our Number one priority and we will not rest until we find him!”

– GW Bush, September 13, 2001

 “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

– GW Bush, March 13, 2002

The hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is still on, the US president has said. George Bush on Friday denied that the CIA had closed a unit dedicated to the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader because the hunt had become less important. “We got a lot of assets looking for Osama bin Laden,” Bush said during a news conference. “It’s a matter of time, unless we stop looking.”