Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fatima and the Nazis

My mind tends to meander a lot.  One of the exes said once that, had she not seen me sit and read a book to the exclusion of everything else around me, she would have bet I was ADD.  What I've just described  has both advantages and disadvantages, but perhaps another time.  Point is, about a week ago, a remembrance of something I read or saw popped up.  For no apparent reason.  (I'll go with synchronicity, myself.)  What I had seen was a story about an ethical, if not downright moral conundrum.

During WWII, the Nazis did absolutely horrific medical "experiments".  We would call them "torture".  Thing is, they accumulated quite a bit of data about human performance in what could only be described as extremely hostile conditions.  The one that sticks in my mind had to do with hypothermia, basically tossing people into ice water to see how long they would live. The conundrum arose after the war.  All of this data became available, but many scientists and doctors were hesitant or unwilling to use it, because of how it was obtained.  Those opposed found it repugnant to use data that was "tainted" by the horrific manner in with it was obtained.

As an IT guy, I view data by itself, as neutral, neither good nor bad.  When enough data is collected, it becomes information, and can eventually lead to understanding.  It is true that many medical advances are made as a result of wounded and injured soldiers in battle.  Field medicine propagates to the E. R.  and to other medical specialties.  The circumstances surrounding this data collection is hardly different in the level of horrors from that of the Nazi's manner of developing their data.

There is the obvious difference in circumstance - our wounded have put themselves in harm's way voluntarily for almost the last  40 years.  And they do it with some level of informed consent.  By enlisting in one of our branches of service, they are made aware (or at least have been told) that they could easily find themselves in harm's way.  The Nazis used slaves as their subjects.  The subjects were coerced.  Morally, there is no comparison between the two scenarios.

And the data is still useful.  It can be used to save lives.  So, do we ignore it, because of it's provenance, or do we hold our noses at the stench of it's origin, and go ahead?

"Baruch Cohen,a Californian lawyer and Holocaust researcher, argues that ‘although use of the Nazi data might benefit some lives, a larger bioethical problem arises. By conferring a scientific martyrdom on the victims, it would tend to make them our retrospective guinea pigs, and we, their retrospective torturers.’’[1]

Cohen goes on to say:
"Absolute censorship of the Nazi data does not seem proper, especially when the secrets of saving lives may lie solely in its contents. Society must decide on its use by correctly understanding the exact benefits to be gained. When the value of the Nazi data is of great value to humanity, then the morally appropriate policy would be to utilize the data, while explicitly condemning the atrocities. But the data should not be used just with a single disclaimer. To further justify its use, the scientific validity of the experiment must be clear; there must be no other alternative source from which to gain that information, and the capacity to save lives must be evident.
Once a decision to use the data has been made, experts suggest that it must not be included as ordinary scientific research, just to be cited and placed in a medical journal. I agree with author Robert J. Lifton who suggested that citation of the data must contain a thorough expose' of exactly what tortures and atrocities were committed for that experiment. Citations of the Nazi data must be accompanied with the author's condemnation of the data as a lesson in horror and as a moral aberration in medical science. The author who chooses to use the Nazi data must be prepared to expose the Nazi doctors' immoral experiments as medical evil, never to be repeated." [2]
So, with appropriate care and citation, the data may be used ethically.  Now, what about Fatima?

"The essence of the Fatima message concerns conversion from sin and a return to God, and involves reparation for one’s own sins and the sins of others, as well as the offering up of one’s daily sufferings and trials. There was also a focus on prayer and the Eucharist at Fatima, and particularly the rosary, as well as the Five First Saturdays devotion, which involves Confession, Holy Communion, the rosary and meditation, for five consecutive months with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady (for more details visit" [3]

The key phrase for my purposes is "...reparation for one’s own sins and the sins of others...".  No one but themselves can know the state of soul and mind of the doctors (and others) who performed these tortures.  But, I think that if they are willing and able to accept it, using their data for a good cause could be redemptive for them.

A tool is just a tool, and data is a tool.  They quality of the results of it's use depend entirely upon the intention of the person wielding the tool.  A gun can be used to commit a crime, or stop one.  Data can be used to harm or endanger someone, or it can be used to educate, illuminate, enlighten, or even save a life.

I felt that a couple of citations were in order:

[1]  Bogod, David. "The Nazi Hypothermia Experiments: Forbidden Data?", Anaesthesia,
       Volume 59 Issue 12 Page 1155, December 2004.
[2] (accessed 6-30-2012)
     (accessed 6-30-2012)

Friday, June 29, 2012


Ballpark.   Out of.

I wrote the following to a poster over at Anchoress' who said:

“ 'It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.'
But maybe it *is* their job to protect me from other people’s political choices. I didn’t vote for Obama."

Did you actually READ Anchoress' post.  I didn't vote for him, either, and yet, I now realize that its NOT up to SCOTUS to make it better for me.  Nor should they!  Our government is ",,,of the people, by the people, and for the people...".  In tech terms means that its a bottom-up structure, NOT a top-down one.

So stop whinging, get off you ass and vote this time, too.  And get everyone out there whom you know to go vote with you.  Drive them to the polls! And they should probably vote for Romney while there at it.  And for ever Republican congresscritter on the ballot.

It's the only way to nuke 'em from orbit.  Which as I'm sure you know, is the only way to be sure!

(Oh, and I cleaned up my typos when I posted it here.  Double duh.)

Speaking of Mitt:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Given the ruling today...

...use this as your guide:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sad news...

Daphne at Jaded Haven has decided to call it quits.  She has marked her blog as "private", making it unavailable.  At first, I though she might have decided to filter her readers, so I sent a request to be admitted.

Here's the e-mail thread:

 (I've cleaned up the e-mail addys, and chopped it up a bit, just so you can read it top-to-bottom, like normal.)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: the blog
From: Daphne
Date: Sun, June 24, 2012 7:57 am
To: leelu

Hi Leelu,

I'm shutting down the blog, it's in a temporary state of limbo until I can transfer some of the stories for safekeeping.

So, please don't be offended that I haven't returned your request for admittance, nobody is getting in, the curtain is coming down.

I want to thank you for spending time at the Haven and wish you well.

Best to you,

On Jun 24, 2012, at 11:08 AM, leelu wrote:
No offense taken.  Are you OK??

Subject: the blog
From: Daphne
Date: Sun, June 24, 2012 12:54 pm
To: leelu

I'm fine, just feel like the blog has become a pointless waste of time.

I disagree

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who knew?

Story over at PJ Media about eight priests who survived the Hiroshima blast in 1945.

They were, of course, Jesuits.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I-5 Road kill...

...I don't know about other states' road signs near the border w/ Mexico, but the sign on the left is an actual, honest-to-God CalTrans sign, near both the INS checkpoint at San Onofre, and just before the border crossing at San Ysidro.  STG.

I believe Mr. Freeberg has it about right.

Monday, June 18, 2012


From via the ever suave Mr. Green:
My apology to conservative America.
I can only write about my experience, but I pray there are thousands like me who will show up in November.
“My vote won’t make a difference”. I remember telling my wife, Erin, only 6 months ago. I believed it. I figured the majority would always win, and I was part of that majority. So why even bother?
At 43 years of age, I have never voted once in my life. My eyes would roll when anyone in the family wanted to talk politics. I had more important things to attend to: business, family, fun… selfishness.
6 months ago I joined twitter, but only to dip my toe in for business purposes. I had planned on following hotels around the country (my main clientele) so as to build relationships to increase sales. Then, someone re-tweeted @dloesch, and it was a very conservative tweet. Initially I thought to myself, “this person has some balls, don’t they know they could lose leftist business”!?
The re-tweet inspired me to look at who @dloesch was following, and to read more and more and more tweets: hooked.
I’m not much of a writer, but suffice it to say that twitter has changed my life. I now embrace the fact that there are MILLIONS out there who value our constitution, our right to have a voice, and our right to tell Obama “NO”!
Now, instead of rolling my eyes at my father-in-law, I join him in conversation, debate and SHOWING UP FOR THE VOTE!
God bless all of you! And if you don’t like my views, don’t buy my product! I’m done being a pussy.

Greg Beckemeier
Yeah.  Go vote.  We gotta get that numbnuts out of the White House and get this country back on track, constitutionally and economically!


Res ipsa loquitur  (via Public Secrets and Blogs 4 Mitt)  Click pic for analysis.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reading List Addition

I just added Public Secrets to my reading list.  Found it on Blogs 4 Mitt, read the first screen load, and decided I needed to share!

Go.  Read

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Blog

I grew up in Los Angeles when newspapers were, well, newspapers.  I avidly read two columnists who wrote for the L.A. Times,  Matt Weinstock and Jack Smith. They weren't political columnists, they were observers of life around them.  I remember Matt Weinstock writing about the phenomenon of traffic on the Santa Monica freeway slowing as it went thru the cut between Normandie and Rimpau.  For unknown reasons, drivers slowed as they went thru, in either direction, no matter what time of day or night. (Except late at night, when the kamikaze rice-rocket boys blasted thru traffic at near warp speed.)

Jack Smith wrote mostly about his life in his neighborhood just North-East of Downtown L.A.  Of the two, he had the longer run, and I enjoyed him the most.  He is the one who is providing the inspiration for my new blog, Window on Red Lion.  I intend it to be about life in my new home town, in the tradition of Mr. Weinstock and Mr. Smith.  If I could write half as well as either of them, I'd be twice the writer I am now.

Please swing by and take a look!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Separated at birth??

 Gloria Allred

The Joker


Her face is way too damned symmetrical to be natural.  Joker at least came by his looks honestly, and for a lot less money.

Added thought:  I  know it's not, but that does look like a line-up wall behind her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I read on Fox that the margin was about 7% for Gov. Walker.

It will be interesting to see what kind of a "legal" rear-guard action the Dems will try (you know they will) to reverse that...

(Image stolen from Gerard.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yeah. right...

Via House of Erathosthenes:

Next Monday, June 4, will be the four-year anniversary of the speech candidate Obama gave celebrating his delegate count, which would make him the certain Democrat nominee. He took the occasion to state what he thought his presidency foretold. Of his own nomination victory, Obama said, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Un effing Believable

Link to page on screen cap above.  Link to site here.

Thanks to THS

Web site registration info below the fold.  (Its an office building in North Hollywood, Ca.):

Party like...

...its 1939.

Nazi Renaissance in Iran.

I ran the site through a couple of web page translators to get a quick and dirty approximation of what it was about.  Based on two quick scans, it looked pretty laudatory about the Hitler and whole Nazi movement.

And yes, they were on the side of the Axis during WW II.