Discussion Group Issues

Bill Schrader Pavilion, 12 Noon, 1 April, 2015

A – Do you believe the agreement with Iran will foster peace in the Middle East?

B – Stacked Deck:  this exceedingly long article shows how completely US politics favours the rich.  Astonishing!  The article concludes with; “There are three obvious remedies to political inequality:  One, reduce the economic inequality that fuels such a large concentration of civic power in the hands of the wealthy; two, reduce the influence of big money in politics; and three, draw more ordinary people into civic life as a counterbalance to concentrated wealth.“  The rest of us have the majority vote, but are disheartened by our complete lack of success over the last three decades.  What to do?

C – A new study finds that statin therapy to control cholesterol is associated with a 46% increased risk of type 2 diabetes after adjustment for confounding factors – far higher than previous estimates.  Statins are also associated with cognitive impairment.  I have been on them for years.  Should I consult with my doctor?

D – A while ago, I came across a tale of widespread fraud in several medical journals.  “The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) issued a statement saying they have, “become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.””  A related article claims there is widespread fraud in many science areas, and calls for a concerted attack to curb this growing problem least it choke scientific research.  Fraud is especially bad in the “open”journals, and potentially profitable, and more harmful, in the field of medicine.  Scientists rank high in public esteem, so one must ask if the contemporary world has any effective ethical boundaries at all.

E – Old timers here remember carefully arranged trips up north to stock up on things not sold here.  Some of us still do, but it is more a matter of price than absolute unavailability.  Do you still bring back stuff from up north?

F – As the Canadian election moves closer, the liberals are advocating carbon reduction, and the conservatives say it will damage the economy.  Who is right?

G – The California draught may not get better.  Wiki’s data says 50% is used by the bears, fish, and chipmunks, 40% by agriculture, and 10 for urban residential uses.  Each of these groups has a certain amount of political power, so who will sacrifice the most?  Should Canada convert the Keystone Pipeline from oil to water?  Update: the first sacrifice is the urban/residential sector.