Posted by: fireweaver | October 2, 2007

truthyness in reporting

the associated press went on a lil fact-digging session through the federal select agent boo-boo reports and came up with a pile of SCARY! FACTS! about bsl3/4 research, and how it’s all one colossal accident JUST WAITING! to happen. sigh. it’s this sort of stuff that scares my mom, ya’ll, so if we can just tone it down to perhaps some fair & unbiased report instead of scaremongering sensationalist crap, i’d be mighty appreciative. to wit:

1. an incident at a certain lab in rockville, MD, named in the report totally fails to mention that there is **zero** evidence of bird flu transmission through animal bites.

2. as far as the implied procedural screw up wherein the guy in fort collins apparently promptly cleaned up a spill when he found broken vials -wearing his lab coat & using tweezers instead of haring off to jump into the biocontainment suit…RSSEV is a **tick borne** virus, not an airborne one at all.

3. the lab worker who managed to acquire brucellosis at work? you have to acquire that from animals, there’s no human-to-human transmission, so she’s not exactly going to be typhoid mary for her neighborhood.

4. some talking head says

“The risk that a killer agent could be set loose in the general population is real”

and the article up-front mentions the “over 100 accidents and missing shipments”…yet nowhere does it mention that APPARENTLY OUR SAFETY PRACTICES ARE WORKING OUT, SINCE WE’RE NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF A SELF-INFLICTED OUTBREAK HERE.

sorry, just sayin’. now, all you guys with the broken pipes, yeah, that needs to be fixed up. and for the love of god, people, if you inoculate yourself with brucellosis, go to the damn hospital (oh, WAIT.  she DID.  huh).  and we all know that attempting to hide stuff from the feds is a bad bad plan that will only bite you in the butt later.

but come on news guys.  what are you trying to stir up?  the idea that we need to close all these labs?  i think not.  apart from the public outcry about ‘being prepared for the terrorists’ kind of junk, ebola/flu/etc/etc/etc are all still harming/killing plenty of people worldwide.  we’re not doing this research because we’re thrill-seeking Xtreme sports wackos, we’re doing this for very real and worthwhile purposes.  so, geez, man, stop freaking my mom out.



  1. The American culture/public/media *hates* science. It’s big bad and scary, and so obviously evil (just watch Sci-Fi to figure that one out). Add in the mix that the American Taliban is currently running this country and you bet your honey-roasted buns that you’ll see these reports regularly.

    Now excuse me, I haven’t managed to actually dropped dead from all of the Fugu/TTX that we play with, so I must be doing something wrong. I’ll go take care of that right away.

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