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Category Archives: Shameful Behavior Award

Shameful Behavior Award Given to Florida Department of Transportation: Red Light Cameras with Reduced Yellow Light Time

A hortrafficlightrible government action has just been reported on in Florida by 10 News WTSP.com:

“TAMPA BAY, Florida — A subtle, but significant tweak to Florida’s rules regarding traffic signals has allowed local cities and counties to shorten yellow light intervals, resulting in millions of dollars in additional red light camera fines.

“The 10 News Investigators discovered the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) quietly changed the state’s policy on yellow intervals in 2011, reducing the minimum below federal recommendations. The rule change was followed by engineers, both from FDOT and local municipalities, collaborating to shorten the length of yellow lights at key intersections, specifically those with red light cameras (RLCs).”

The above yellow light “tweak” may result in significant extra fines, but it will undoubtedly result in many more accidents and injuries, some probably fatal. Yellow light timing should be based on a reasonable time for drivers to react to a yellow light and safely bring their vehicles to a halt before the light turns red. If yellow lights are shortened below reaction time, and drivers are fearful of possible fines, stomping of brakes and resultant rear-end collisions can be confidently predicted, as has already occurred in some areas where red-light cameras have been installed.

This shameful practice should be abolished immediately. Government officials should be first and foremost concerned with ensuring public safety, not increasing revenue through deceptive practices. Anyone getting a camera-based “red light” violation should challenge this despicable practice, and hopefully we will soon see some government officials jailed for the crime of public endangerment.

-Ed Walker

 

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Shameful Behavior Award Presented to VIP Deals For Its Fake Reviews

Online seller VIP Deals has provided refunds in exchange for reviews.

“By the time VIP Deals ended its rebate on Amazon.com late last month, its leather case for the Kindle Fire was receiving the sort of acclaim once reserved for national heroes. Hundreds of reviewers proclaimed the case a marvel, a delight, exactly what they needed to achieve bliss. And definitely worth five stars.”
-David Streitfeld, 29 Jan 2012 New York Times

 

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Shameful Behavior Award: Pushing Grandma Off A Cliff

The image to the left (from YouTube) is from an ad created by the Agenda Project. The ad states, “Now, Republicans want to privatize Medicare,” as it shows a man wheeling an elderly lady up a cliff, against her will, and then dumping her over the edge.

From an ET perspective, does the ad portray any empirical evidence to support its allegations? No. Does it provide any analysis to support its allegations? No.

The Republican plan, put forward by congressman Paul Ryan, does not affect anyone over 55, which rules out most elderly “Grandmas” as depicted in the ad. It also tries to responsibly address the fact that Medicare, as it presently exists, is broke, and a plan such as Ryan’s will be required to save Medicare. This is exactly the opposite of the message conveyed in the ad.

Creating and running an ad designed to scare the elderly, and doing so by blatantly lying, is despicable. Therefore ET awards its Shameful Behavior award to the Agenda Project, and its founder, Erica Payne.

 

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Shameful Behavior Award Presented to “Facilitated Communications”

Parents of autistic or similarly impaired children are sometimes led to believe that communications with their child are possible with the aid of a skilled intermediary. Typically the intermediary claims that they can communicate with the child through a process termed “facilitated communications,” wherein the intermediary “interprets” the child’s  communications efforts by supporting the child’s hand or arm over a keyboard while the child is supposedly typing.

There is zero scientific evidence to support such claims. Nonetheless, and outrageously, charges have been brought against parents based on the notion that “facilitated communications” is scientifically sound.

In 2008, Julian and Thal Wendrow were jailed for allegedly sexually abusing their mute, autistic daughter, based on testimony from a facilitated communications expert. Their children were subsequently placed in foster care for months.

We present our Shameful Behavior award to this “expert” (unfortunately we do not have the person’s name), as well as Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca and assistants Deborah Carley and Andrea Dean, for failing to take the time to scientifically evaluate the fraudulent claims.

Eventually, prosecutors admitted the child was not able to communicate via typing or otherwise, and the charges were dropped. (See details here and here.)

Such abuses of prosecutorial power would not occur if our public officials were trained in ET, or would at least consult with those of us who are trained to think rationally and skeptically. It is the height of arrogance and shameful behavior for public officials who have the power to take away our liberty to do any less.

-Ed Walker

 

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ET EXTRA: Protecting Your Life: Hip Replacement Corruption

Wright Medical Group receives the ET Shameful Behavior Award

Due to severe hip pain, 42 year old professional umpire Mark Hirschbeck received a hip replacement, using a ceramic joint made by Wright Medical Group and recommended by his doctor, John Keggi.

The joint subsequently shattered, “leading to an infection and four more surgeries that left Hirschbeck permanently sidelined. He later learned that Wright paid tens of thousands of dollars to a foundation Keggi helps run and gave him a trip to a conference in the Bahamas. Keggi recommended the ceramic device over the kinds of implants used in 97 percent of cases.”

-from “New Hips Gone Awry Expose U.S. Kickbacks in Doctors’ Conflicts” by David Armstrong, 11 June 2010 Bloomerg.com

 

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ET EXTRA: Protecting Your Life: Swine Flu Vaccine Corruption

The World Health Organization receives the ET Shameful Behavior Award:

“Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations—including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu a “pandemic”—had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.”

-from “World Health Organization Scientists Linked to Swine Flu Vaccine Makers” by Todd Neale, 5 June 2010 ABC News

 

ET EXTRA: Protecting Your Life: Depression And Pills

Today’s Shameful Behavior Award is presented to the antidepressant drug companies and the FDA.

The Literature section of the March 7 issue of the St. Petersburg Times contained a fascinating review (“Depression, Inc.” by Jonathan Rottenberg) of two books: Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease (by Gary Greenberg, a practicing therapist), and The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth (by Irving Kirsch, expert in statistics and clinical trial methodology).

The anti-depressant industry serves nearly 30 million Americans and provides income of 10 billion dollars a year to pharmaceutical firms. Both books question the honesty of this market, and — according to Rottenberg — do so in a thorough and entertaining manner.

For example, Greenberg attacks the subject from many angles — historical, scientific, clinical, and others — including enrolling in a clinical trial as a patient.

Kirsch points out that the drug companies, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which approves their drugs, operate in a deceptive manner. The FDA allows the drug companies to pick and choose which clinical trial results they wish to publish. As Rottenberg states, “If a drug company does 10 trials and only two support the efficacy of the drug, they can elect to publish only those two.”

Depression symptoms when severe can be debilitating and dangerous, and require the immediate help of a qualified health care professional. This help, according to both authors, should not solely require the ingestion of expensive little pills.

-Ed Walker

 

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ET EXTRA: Want A Little Hexane With Your Burger?

Engineering Thinking Extra Is A Short Review Of A Current Hot Topic

“Products labeled “organic” aren’t allowed to contain any hexane-derived ingredients, but that rule doesn’t apply to foods that are labeled “made with organic ingredients.””

Brands containing hexane:

Amy’s Kitchen

Boca Burger, conventional

Franklin Farms

Garden Burger

It’s All Good Lightlife

Morningstar Farms

President’s Choice

Taste Above

Trader Joe’s

Yves Veggie Cuisine

From “Which Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin?” by Kiera Butler, 13 April 2010 Alternet

 

ET EXTRA: Protecting Your Life: Toyota Joins The Gallery Of Shame

“Toyota officials claimed they saved the company $100 million by successfully negotiating with the government on a limited recall of floor mats in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles, according to new documents shared with congressional investigators.” …

“The savings are listed under the title, “Wins for Toyota — Safety Group.” The document cites millions of dollars in other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect investigations and slowing down other industry requirements.”

-AP as reported by MSNBC

 

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ET EXTRA: Protecting Your Pocketbook: Globaloney Warming

The scientific facts concerning “global warming” may be in dispute, but what is not in dispute is that there has been an explosion of fraud committed by its proponents. New revelations are reported on this scandal almost daily. Here are some interesting samples that provide an overview:

Researcher: NASA hiding climate data
Stephen Dinan

Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?
James Delingpole

Treemometers: A new scientific scandal (If a peer review fails in the woods…)
Andrew Orlowski

The fact that scientists and engineers, who are supposed to be guardians of the truth, are complicit in this sordid affair is particularly appalling, and indeed reaches a pinnacle of shameful behavior. In fact, the icon that I had originally selected to tag such behavior — the unscrupulous Jack — seems wholly inadequate for such a betrayal of the public trust. If you have a suggestion for a more fitting icon, please let me know.

-Ed Walker

 

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