I’m likely to say this many times: Yahoo! News captures headlines from many sources, and many of them I’m not particularly inclined to trust, including TakePart.com, the source of this story.
As it is, I’ve never heard of this “famous” scientist, and I don’t know that much about how scientists in general make a living, or what short-sighted pecuniary interest fossil-fuel industries may have in discrediting the notion of climate change.
But it does remind me of a story from my past.
I worked for many years in the field of asbestos (mesothelioma) litigation. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the avant garde hailed asbestos as, as one of my lawyers put it, “the miracle material,” and pressed for its use in every conceivable application. The U.S. Navy specified its use in hundreds of ships that were built for the war effort. At Sparrows Point, those who worked directly with these materials came to be called “feather merchants,” as they were often covered with the flaky stuff. On the one hand, there can be no question that this use saved hundreds of lives, and millions of dollars in losses — in the short term.
When research in this country in the 1960’s began more and more to demonstrate a connection of asbestos to lung cancer, popular literature and the documents submitted in litigation came more and more to demonize the asbestos-using industries. Research studies in Scandinavia, in particular, in the 1920’s finding health problems among asbestos miners, were cited as evidence the industry worldwide knew or should have known that this stuff was toxic. The U.S. Navy and the U.S. government were somehow found immune from pertinent suit.
In the midst of all this, only after years of work in the field did I come across the story of one true demon.
His name was Anthony Lanza; he was, among other things, a “consultant” to MetLife. He had a long, strong association with the Industrial Hygiene Foundation, and in that role it seems he inspired many people as a true hero. His association with MetLife, however, evoked another side. He did travel the country, for years, suppressing any research that might link asbestos to cancer, threatening to (somehow) ruin the careers of anyone who might engage in such research.
He was an evil man.
In recent weeks I’ve seen lots of spam, and ads, concerning “spinning.”
“Spinning” involves copying an article from an existing web site, running it through an application that replaces lots of words with synonyms, and then posting the result on one’s own site as one’s own product.
It also supposedly has something to do with SEO (search engine optimization).
I don’t get it.
Why would anyone want to do this?
From the beginning, I never believed in this project.
The Army has installed a 240-foot long stationary blimp, tethered by a one-inch plastic cable, 10,000 feet over Aberdeen Proving Ground. It’s visible from downtown Baltimore. It’s utterly indefensible.
Originally posted 2015-03-30.