Thursday 27 June 2013

Working in Ottawa today --Flame Retardant Babies!

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

A few totally unrelated pulpettes this AM for you.

Good news --  Babies born in Toronto and Hamilton are now pre-treated with flame retardants in the womb!  That's right folks, no longer will young mothers fret over needing to protect their charges from open flames, the petrochemical and industrial complex has looked after it for you.

See now that's how to write uplifting and 'feel good' headlines.  Instead the Health section of today's Globe and Mail lists 'Toxins found in newborns'. Seems researchers found between 55 and 121 toxic chemicals in the cord blood of the newborns tested.  110 of the chemicals are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system.  

Today would be Helen Keller's birthday, if she were still alive.  Helen Keller.. wasn't that the deaf dumb and blind kid that sure played a mean pinball?  No.  That was Tommy.  Keller was born this day in 1880 with sight and hearing but lost it as a result of illness at a year and a half.  It was 'Miracle Worker' Anne Sullivan that taught Keller how to speak and write. Keller went on to become a popular author, public speaker and left-wing activist.

But what about Helen Graham, student in 1921 California?

Do you know the name Helen Graham?  No?  I can beat it out of you if necessary.. a couple smacks across the head with a phone book, deprive you of sleep for 72 hours and try a bit of water boarding.  I am sure that I can get you to confess to knowing the name.  

Helen Graham was the first suspect to be tested on a polygraph machine, a lie detector.  Helen was one of 19 female students suspected of stealing from a few other female students in a Bakersfield, California college dorm.  The investigating police officer was John Augustus Larson a twenty-nine-year-old rookie who had earned a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of California.  Larson theorized on the applicability of measuring physiological responses to questioning as a means of determining the truthfulness of suspects.

Helen became so rattled by the test process and the rapidly moving graph pens that she fled the interview.  She later confessed to her crimes.  Today's polygraph machines are substantially unchanged from Larson's design and strategy of questioning.

Of course we still torture people for confessions -- even false confessions are a great way to clear open cases.

Have a great day -- to thine own self be true.