Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yet Another Reason Not to Smoke

Pesticides approved for use on tobacco farms turn up in cigarette smoke, a new study finds.

Three different chemicals were detected at levels about 10% of those measured on tobacco leaves before processing. They are suspected carcinogens but are also "endocrine disruptors" which affect hormonal processes including reproduction and fetal development.

Of course the usual disclaimers apply: there are no studies on the long-term effects of this exposure, yadda yadda.
But it can't be good.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

AT&T Sued for Cooperating with NSA

I find this story very compelling - it's like a fairy tale in the morass of ugliness that is current events and news these days.
A civil liberties organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for violation of privacy of its customers. The company allegedly cooperated with the NSA spy program recently admitted-to by President Bush.

You can find more details at the above links (including the title) or if you aren't registered with the New York Times, try this.

The whole thing hinges on documents kept by an AT&T employee in 2002.

As so often happens, seemingly inconsequential events come together years later to prove very consequential indeed. Add a healthy dose of paranoia - no longer an affliction but a sign of higher intelligence, in my opinion - and you are all set.

The civil liberties organizations may seem to be pains in the butt at times but they provide a crucial *check and balance* to potential institutional abuses. Opening things up to debate is the healthiest thing a society can ever do, and if it takes litigation to accomplish that, so be it.