Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mo going Po : Bing - Otis : Trying Tenderness

Can you actually hear the sound of modernity and postmodernity ?

I think you can, probably Rob Bowman thinks you can too.

To demonstrate, let me first direct you to YouTube where you can find about three dozen different versions of "Try a Little Tenderness".

Monday, February 8, 2016

LaPlace's modern A-Bomb -- Goldman's postmodern Penicillin

Vannevar Bush's famous wartime 'modern science' agency, the OSRD, was heavily involved in trying to control two Manhattan Projects - the well known one involving a highly successful effort to create The Bomb and the unknown one involving an unsuccessful effort to make synthetic penicillin.

Big Penicillin : Big Lie ?

If you've read one account as to how the Allied world moved to the mass production of natural penicillin in the early Spring of '43, you've read 'em all.

It goes roughly like this :
Alfred Richards of the OSRD-CMR , together with Chester Keefer of the NAS-COC, having together briskly proven the clinical efficacy of the new medication, now 'asked' the WPB to just as briskly move the drug into high production. They wanted the War Production Board to increase monthly output by an incredible 100,000% in a year's time, so that the Armed Forces' desperate needs could be met. Working hard together, (here cue 'hands across the water') the sweat, labour and ingenuity of American companies, scientists and workers soon achieved the impossible. (Here insert wild applause.)

In fact, left to their own devices and un-prodded by outside forces, these two scientists, together with their rubber stamp committees, would have polished the penicillin apple forever in civilian research settings far from the battlefront wounded  --- until Merck redeemed the honour of Man The Chemist and unleashed a patented, synthetic, version upon the world.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wartime penicillin originally to be made by Worthy Few....for the Worthy Few

At first glance, it seems that wartime penicillin, to the American and British elites, was always first and foremost a secret race to be the first nation to secure the highly profitable postwar/worldwide patented monopoly on the world's best synthetic antibiotic.

And that only secondarily was penicillin part of an Allied effort to defeat the Axis and succour the ill.

This isn't true - it isn't even the half of it - the story is very darker than that.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why no numbers on British penicillin targets 1942-1944 ?

One hardly had to wait for academic articles, buried in obscure journals and published 7o years later, to find out the actual projected targets - in billions of units of penicillin by month, month by month, bandied about for the amount of penicillin American hoped to produce in 1943-1944.

Fermenting Hope, in a world feeling hopeless : Dr Dawson

Paradoxically, while passionately worried about our current global crisis, I chose instead to write about a global crisis from 75 years ago.

Penicillin, despite the Beltway

With apologies to Arthur Hailey and the actor later to play Scottie on Star Trek...

At first and second glance, a Canadian North Star passenger plane landing safely isn't very much of a news story.