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 29 July 2014

Electric Taxiing May Provide Signifficant Aircraft Fuel Savings

March 27th, 2014

While looking at some aircraft videos on Youtube I came across a new technology which will soon be available in both new aircraft and for retrofit applications on existing airliners. The technology in question is electric wheel motors for taxiing.

While it might not seem like a big fuel user, aircraft burn significant fuel while taxing around airports after landing and before takeoff. This is because jet engines happen to be especially inefficient when idled and operating at low power settings. Therefore, once the aircraft starts up its engines and uses them to slowly move down the taxiway, it is burning significant quantities of fuel. For short-run flights, with frequent landings and takeoffs, up to 5-10% of fuel can be burned on the ground.

Airbus, Honeywell and others have been developing a system which replaces this with an electric-driven system. It uses light weight electric motors connected directly to the wheels of the aircraft. Power is provided by the aircraft’s APU. The APU uses significantly less fuel than the main engines of the aircraft.


The system has some other major benefits. Control is far more nimble and precise than is achieved using jet thrust, and less time running the jet engines on the ground means less chance for FOD to be sucked into the intakes and damage the engines. The systems also allow the aircraft to reverse on their own. Normally this would require the assistance of a pushback tractor. As a result, the aircraft can leave the gate without needing to wait for a tractor could simplify and expedite the procedures for entering and departing gates.

This technology has not been deployed earlier for a number of reasons. First, aviation tends to be very conservative about adopting new and unproven systems, especially when existing ones get the job done. Secondly, weight is always an issue, so it has required manufacturers to develop a full system of electric taxiing that is light enough that its additional weight is more than offset by the savings provided.

There have also been efforts to save additional fuel by keeping the APU off for longer periods of time or using a smaller APU through the use of more on board battery capacity. Unfortunately this has been problematic both because of the weight of batteries and because of the problems experienced with high capacity and lightweight lithium ion batteries on aircraft such as the 787.


Posted in Good Science, Misc

Malaysia Airlines 370 and Reporters Who Have No Idea What They Are Talking About

March 21st, 2014

The disappearance

of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is, without doubt, one of the strangest episodes in recent aviation history.  Though it has not been found, the current evidence seems to indicate that someone on board the plane, most likely a crew member, shut down most of the on board communications systems and then flew the plane in a direction away from its flight plan.  Given that the 777 aircraft has exceptionally long range capabilities and that it appears to have been headed toward a large area of open ocean, with no radar coverage, the search has been very difficult.

The reporting on this event has ranged the gamut from pretty good to absolutely horrible.  One of the worst things seen is the numerous glaring errors in major publications about basic technical facts regarding aviation and the aircraft in question.

Reporters, of course, don’t generally know a lot about commercial aviation, aerospace technology, search and rescue or any of the other specialized topics involved.  Degrees in journalism don’t usually requite training in basic aircraft systems.   That’s a given, as it is with most highly technical topics.  However, it’s not exactly difficult to find people who are real experts in the area.  So if you are reporting on a story for a newspaper or other publication, why not track down an actual expert before writing about transponders or ACARS or ETOPS requirements or anything of that kind?   In fact, I’d advise tracking down more than one, just to make sure the one you find first is not BS’ing you.

Here are some examples:

 

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Posted in Bad Science, media, Misc, Not Even Wrong

Fred Phelps Reported Ill

March 16th, 2014

It’s really considered pretty tacky and rude to wish someone dead, even if you strongly disagree with them.  So, call me tacky, call me rude, call me anything you want, but I can’t wait for the old bastard to kick the bucket…

Via Fox News:

Spokesman: Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of anti-gay Kansas church, is ill and in care facility

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., who founded a Kansas church that’s widely known for its protests at military funerals and anti-gay sentiments, is in a care facility.

Westboro Baptist Church spokesman Steve Drain said Sunday that Phelps is being cared for in a Shawnee County facility. Drain wouldn’t identify the facility but says Phelps is 84 and “having some health problems.”

Members of the Westboro church, based in Topeka, frequently protest at funerals of soldiers with signs containing messages like “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “Thank God for 9/11,” claiming the deaths are God’s punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

Lets hope it is finally the end for Phelps. He’s 84 years old and tends to avoid the hospital unless absolutely necessary. The fact that this was announced does give some hope that his health is finally failing.

No, I don’t wish him death because I’m vengeful or vindictive. At least, that’s not the primary reason. The Westboro Baptist Church has all the hallmarks of a cult, and cults need a charismatic leader. When the leader of a cult dies, it is very common for the cult to fall apart. I believe that is what will happen with the WBC.

Phelp’s group has done everything possible to make others miserable. They protest funerals and picket tragic events around the country. It’s easy to say “just ignore them,” and most people do. Their antics don’t generally get them any followers or sympathy. But they do cause real suffering to those trying to quietly grieve their losses. That’s the whole point of their actions. They know laughing at the caskets of the dead and making the event less dignified will cut to the bone of the survivors.

If I were religious myself, I would imagine now would be the time that Satan is stoking the fires of hell and waiting to start cooking a juicy one.


Posted in Culture, Misc, religion

The Truth About NIF

March 8th, 2014

Much has been made about the National Ignition Facility – a US Government facility where as massive array of pulsed power lasers is used to irradiate a tiny capsule of deuterium and tritium in order to produce nuclear fusion.  NIF is a truly giant scientific installation, and there’s no disputing its one of the foremost “big science” centers in the world for things like laser optics, pulsed power, plasma physics and nuclear fusion.  The technology is impressive and it will surely produce volumes of important scientific data.

However, there is some confusion, much of it intentional, about the purpose and capabilities of the facility.

It is often portrayed as an experimental prototype for a power-generating fusion reactor.  It’s really not.  The design of the facility precludes it from ever producing useful energy and that’s not the point.  It’s also not the primary objective of NIF to research how nuclear fusion can be harnessed to produce usable energy.  Data to that end may be generated in the process, but the basic design of the facility precludes such a system from being turned into a power plant.

The stated goal of the facility is also often reported inaccurately.  Achieving “ignition” simply means that enough fusion has occurred for additional fusion to be produced without more external power.  In other words, the reaction becomes self-sustaining, if only for a tiny fraction of a second.  Ignition has not yet been achieved, though it is hoped it soon will.  However, it’s less dramatic than it is often described.  The moment when the calculations come back and reveal that the point of ignition has been achieved will not really be that revolutionary.  it won’t mean that suddenly boundless energy is being produced.  After all, nobody doubts that ignition is possible, it is only a question of how much power will need to be concentrated before it actually happens.
Via the Guardian:

Sustainable nuclear fusion breakthrough raises hopes for ultimate green energy
Scientists have moved a step closer to achieving sustainable nuclear fusion and almost limitless clean energy

US researchers have achieved a world first in an ambitious experiment that aims to recreate the conditions at the heart of the sun and pave the way for nuclear fusion reactors.

The scientists generated more energy from fusion reactions than they put into the nuclear fuel, in a small but crucial step along the road to harnessing fusion power. The ultimate goal – to produce more energy than the whole experiment consumes – remains a long way off, but the feat has nonetheless raised hopes that after decades of setbacks, firm progress is finally being made.

Fusion energy has the potential to become a radical alternative power source, with zero carbon emissions during operation and minimal waste, but the technical difficulties in demonstrating fusion in the lab have so far proved overwhelming. While existing nuclear reactors generate energy by splitting atoms into lighter particles, fusion reactors combine light atomic nuclei into heavier particles.

In their experiments, researchers at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California use a bank of 192 powerful lasers to crush a minuscule amount of fuel so hard and fast that it becomes hotter than the sun.

The process is not straightforward. The lasers are fired into a gold capsule that holds a 2mm-wide spherical pellet. The fuel is coated on the inside of this plastic pellet in a layer as thin as a human hair.

When the laser light enters the gold capsule, it makes the walls of the gold container emit x-rays, which heat the pellet and make it implode with extraordinary ferocity. The fuel, a mixture of hydrogen isotopes called tritium and deuterium, partially fuses under the intense conditions.

No, they didn’t actually get more energy out of the system than was put in. They just got slightly more energy from the reaction than the amount of energy deposited on the fusion fuel capsule to make it happen.   It’s really not getting us any closer to using nuclear fusion as a limitless energy source.  In fact, it should be noted that this is far from the first time humanity managed to get a lot more energy out of a fusion reaction than was used to initiate it.   That happened in 1952 and was significantly larger.

A few facts to put it in context:

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Posted in Good Science, Misc, Nuclear, Politics

The Problem With Not Having a Manned Space Program

March 5th, 2014

The United States has the worlds most accomplished manned space program.  Not only has the US sent men to the moon, but for decades the United States was the most capable space-faring nation, launching several missions per year and leading the world in manned space capabilities.  Even the Space Shuttle, for all its expense and flaws, was a highly capable spacecraft.

Today, however, the US has no ability to send humans into space.   China has a limited manned spaceflight program and Russia is now the primary space program for crewed spacecraft.  The US, however, does own a large portion of the International Space Station and is under treaty obligation to provide crew and support to the space station.  To fulfill its need to send crew members to the Space Station, the US must pay the Russian government tens of millions of dollars for a seat in a Soyuz space capsule.

Obviously, this is a pretty embarrassing place to be.  Just 20 years ago, it was NASA coming to the rescue of a floundering Russian space program, when, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia found itself unable to support a full roster of missions to its own space station.  Now the tables are turned, and the US is starting to look more like a fallen superpower.

But there is a more practical and problematic issue that arises with the dependence on Russia for space transportation.  When international tensions flare, as they now are, things become highly uncertain for space access.


Via NBC News:

Russia Crisis Raises Space Station Questions, But NASA Has Options

OUSTON — Thanks to its reliance on Russia, NASA is once again confronted with the nightmare of a diplomatic roadblock in a project originally made possible by diplomacy: the U.S.-Russian partnership in space exploration.

And if Russia’s confrontation with Ukraine and the West turns into the worst diplomatic crisis of our generation, as feared, it could have equally profound and disturbing consequences for space exploration.

This month’s comings and goings at the International Space Station highlight the interdependence of the U.S. and Russian space efforts: Next week, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is due to return from the space station aboard a Russian capsule, alongside two Russian cosmonauts. A couple of weeks after that, NASA’s Steven Swanson is to ride another Russian Soyuz craft up to the station, again in the company of two Russians.

Under the current arrangement, NASA astronauts cannot get to and from the station without Russian help, due to the retirement of the space shuttle fleet. The ticket price for each astronaut is $70 million, payable to the Russians.

The United States and Russia are not just “joined at the hip” on the space station. Numerous other rocket projects rely on either Russian or Ukrainian space hardware and services. Even U.S. national security satellites are powered into orbit on an American rocket with a Russian-built rocket engine.

What if the Soyuz spacecraft suddenly became unavailable for use by American astronauts, contract or no contract? Would it be the end of U.S. human spaceflight? Would it kick off a new round of extortionary price-gouging, both fiscal and diplomatic?

Well, maybe not.

Moving away from co-dependence

It’s cold comfort that the Russians rely on NASA almost as much as NASA relies on the Russians. If Russia monopolizes up-down transport, the United States essentially controls the only space destination: Russia’s orbital hardware couldn’t function without U.S. electrical power and communications services.

However reluctant the partners may be in such an awkward “space marriage,” it has until now provided an astonishing degree of robustness and flexibility.

Recent developments have brought the space station closer to the point where it could be operated without Russian involvement if necessary. The current crisis provides good reasons to accelerate that shift and even to push for one crucial near-term capability: crew rescue.

Already, two U.S. commercial cargo delivery projects — SpaceX’s Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule, as well as Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus capsule — have replaced the justifiably retired space shuttle. European and Japanese robot freighters can also resupply the space station. Even though some parts of the Antares come from Ukraine and Russia, and even though the European cargo freighter must dock at the Russian end of the station, Russia’s cargo monopoly has been broken.

….

 

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Posted in Bad Science, Culture, Events, Just LAME, Misc, Space

No, An Earthquake Did Not Create the Shroud of Turin or Skew Carbon Dating

February 21st, 2014

shroud-2_1The Shroud of Turin is one of the most revered and famous artifacts of Christianity.  For centuries, it was claimed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, having been left with a haunting image of the the very face of the savior mysteriously imprinted on it.   The cloth, which is kept in a church in the city of Turin, Italy, gained great attention when it was first photographed, in the late 1800′s.  It was revealed that the image on the cloth is far more easily discerned in a photographic negative than in the normal “positive” direct view.

shrouddateIn 1988, however, enthusiasm for the shroud took a major hit when samples were subjected to radiocarbon dating and revealed the cloth to be of more modern origin.   The final result put the age of the cloth at less than one thousand years old.  The period it was dated to, in fact, turned out to coincide perfectly with the historical record of when the shroud first appeared on the record – about 1350 AD.   The procedure was done by multiple laboratories, using the most reliable radiocarbon dating protocol available, and all analysis was in agreement.  The shroud was thus far too young g to be the burial cloth of Christ.

Almost immediately, objections were raised.  Many of the faithful would go to extreme lengths to explain why the tests might not be accurate.   Some claimed that the samples were contaminated with external organic material.  While this may be possible, it’s a well known issue with radiocarbon dating and procedures therefore exist, and were used, to remove surface contamination.  Others said that the cloth was taken from an area where newer cloth had been added for repairs.  This seems to be at least semi-plausible, but there is no hard evidence that the material was not original to the cloth and the examination conducted at the time indicated that the samples were well representative of the entire cloth.  Others claimed that the cloth could have been contaminated by soot or smoke from a fire or that there had been errors made in the calculations.

In the end, none of these claims have much hard evidence to back them.  Radiocarbon dating has been well tested and is a mature science.  The laboratories that tested the shroud samples were well qualified and followed the highest protocol standards.  Radiocarbon dating does not produce an exact year of origin, but gives a range of probable years.  It’s possible that the actual origin could be outside this period and could be skewed by some environmental factors, but for it to be more than 1,200 years off, there would have to be a major procedural error or confounding factor and no evidence of this has been produced.

Now a new claim has begun to make the rounds.  It’s so unfounded, so unsupported, so speculative and so absurd that it really is not news.  But, despite this, the news media has jumped on it.

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Posted in Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Just LAME, Not Even Wrong, religion

Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham

February 5th, 2014

For those who don’t know, science advocate and educator Bill Nye recently debated young earth creationist Ken Ham in a highly publicized internet-broadcast event.

There have been many mixed feelings from the scientific community on the event.  Many of which, I would tend to agree with.  Debating a creationist really won’t do much of anything.  Believers will continue to believe in what they want, regardless of the arguments or evidence.  Those who look at things objectively will have no choice but accept evolution as a well tested and established scientific fact.

Some might say that the debate raises creationism to a level it does not deserve.  It is not a matter of debate for the scientific community; it was closed long ago.  If we were to assume the earth were thousands of years old, biology were the result of a being simply willing it to be so and the bible could guide all scientific thought, we would have to throw away most of the advancements of science.  Evolution is key to our understanding of biology.  We have seen it happen and have fossil evidence of how it has shaped life over the long term.

Some warned that Bill Nye could end up losing the debate, or just come off looking bad, if Ham backed him into a corner using contentions that were too illogical to easily and directly refute or by forcing Nye to waste his time providing a class in biology 101 in order to simply explain where he is coming from.  Given that creationism has no scientific evidence, only religious faith, it seems likely that a creationist would fall back on appealing logical fallacies.   It should be noted that one can be factually correct and still lose a debate if faced with a skilled opponent.

Thankfully, Bill Nye seems to have held his own.  Still, I tend to side with those who think it was unnecessary and generally unproductive to even bother engaging in the debate.   It didn’t change anyone’s mind.

Here’s the video for those interested (Starts at roughly 13:00)




Posted in Bad Science, media, Misc, Not Even Wrong, Politics, religion

The ELF Solar Bike-Car-Hybride Thingy: Another Vehicle That Makes Me ask “WHY?”

January 31st, 2014

The Organic Transit ELF has been getting a lot of attention recently.  It’s another vehicle that claims to be poised to revolutionize the way we get around.

Granted, in this day and age of global warming concerns, congested cities and high gas prices, it might seem natural to go looking for alternatives to automobiles.  Using human power also seems like a good idea, given the way to go, since many of us can use exercise anyway.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Elf Electric Pedal Car: When 1 Horsepower Is Enough

Mr. Cotter is the founder and CEO of the Durham, N.C.-based Organic Transit, which makes the Elf: an ovoid, semi-enclosed, solar-chargeable, plug-in, bike-lane-legal, electric pedal car. Got that? With a 1-hp (750-watt) electric motor in the rear wheel hub and a lithium battery pack, or two, snugged into the center frame rail aft of the front wheels—and a plastic canopy to keep the weather off drivers—the Elf proposes a solution for urban commuters who want to leave the car at home but can’t quite hack the rigors of a conventional bicycle.

“We’re creating our own consumer product category,” said Mr. Cotter, whose operation in a downtown storefront in the former tobacco capital is bustling. The company has 1,500 orders in hand—more than enough to reach profitability, said Mr. Cotter, a TED talker who Kickstarted much of the original funding—and soon the company’s retinue of bike gurus and production staff (including some volunteers) will be moving to larger quarters downtown. Prices just went up: the Elf costs $4,995, more if you want the backup battery, the continuously variable transmission rear hub or the better solar panels.

The Elf’s capacity is 350 pounds; top assisted speed is 20 mph (it goes faster downhill); and the 10-amp-hour batteries offer a range of up to 30 miles, but the batteries last longer the more riders pedal. It takes one whole sunny day to charge a fully depleted battery with 60-watt roof-mounted solar panels.

Mr. Cotter and I took a couple of Elfs for a tour of Raleigh recently, and according to the vehicle’s smartphone-app instrumentation, I traveled 15.4 miles at an average speed of 15 mph; burned 586 calories (by pedaling) and displaced 15 pounds of CO2 (using solar watts). It’s a start.

elfbikecar

The vehicle has gotten a huge amount of press and attention. It even managed to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars on Kickstart – apparently from a large group of people who are genuinely convinced this is an amazing and revolutionary concept.   It’s even touted as the “Cleanest, most efficient vehicle on the planet”

 


I do not mean to rain on this parade, but I just don’t get it.  Not only is it not revolutionary, game-changing or the next big thing, but it seems to me that this is just a vehicle which serves the same roll as the bicycle, while being inferior in most respects and considerably more expensive.

Let me know if I am missing something or just wrong…

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Posted in Bad Science, Just LAME, media, Misc

Radiation Claims by US Sailors

January 24th, 2014

A story has been making the rounds recently about a number of sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan who are suing the US Navy and TEPCO for symptoms they claim are related to exposure to nuclear radiation on board the ship.   The Reagan did not land in Japan at the time of the tsunami or the ensuing problems at the  Fukushima nuclear power plant.  However, it did participate in the transfer of relief supplies, a mission which resulted in the Reagan spending several weeks in an area about one hundred miles away from the crippled reactors.

The lawsuit has been dismissed, but those who brought it are vowing to continue their fight, attempting to appeal or refile their claims.
WUSA has heart-wrenching the story of one of the sailors:

Maryland sailor blames Fukushima for radiation poisoning

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — He served his country, but has his country turned its back on him? A Maryland sailor says he’s now wheelchair-bound, and he blames it on radiation he was exposed to while representing his country at what’s been called the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Steve Simmons spoke to WUSA9′s Debra Alfarone exclusively.

Simmons never needed any help getting out on the golf course, “Even if it is a bad shot, I’m still happy.”

Golf, hiking, he’s always been the guy that never stops, “I love P90X, in fact after I did P90X, I also ordered the insanity workout.”

Until November 2011.

Steve was 33. That’s when life started changing for this U.S. Naval Administrative Officer. It was eight months after Simmons served on the USS Ronald Reagan when it was the first ship to respond to what’s been called the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl – the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It was the result of being slammed by a powerful tsunami, triggered by the most violent earthquake Japan had ever seen. Steve started feeling tired, not himself. Then, he blacked out while driving to work, and drove his truck up on a curb. Steve said his list of ailments was puzzling,

“You’re starting to run fevers, your lymph nodes start swelling, you’re having night sweats, you’re getting spastic and you’re losing sensation in your legs, and you can’t feel your legs when you’re getting 2nd degree burns on them, and how do you explain those things?”

Doctors could not. Steve’s leg muscles eventually just gave up, and he’s now confined to a wheelchair to get around.

Steve’s then-fiance, now-wife, Summer, had just moved cross-country to Maryland with her three children to start their lives together. She says she was shocked, but quickly made a plan, “Things change, I started calling around, borrowed a wedding dress, we started looking for a chaplain and we were married the day before Easter in 2012 in a borrowed wedding gown and his dress whites. It was the last time Steve was really able to spend the day on his feet.”

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Simmons. People do occasionally unexpected medical conditions, some of which are difficult to diagnose. However, there’s simply no reason to think this is radiation-related.

But this is my favorite part:

Steve explains, “As far as the big picture we still don’t have a diagnosis of what this is, still struggling to even get a doctor to acknowledge that radiation had anything to do with it.”

That diagnosis is critical. Without the Navy acknowledging that Steve wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for his time in Operation Tomodachi, his retirement and pension are at stake. Plus, he doesn’t qualify for aid in the same the way he would if he lost his legs in an IED explosion.

No doctor will say it is radiation related? Probably because they have medical training and understand what radiation does and does not do to the body. It’s just not consitstant with that. Granted, the man may be convinced that something as demonic as radiation must be the casue, that’s not going to hold up in court.

The Department of Defense says radiation levels were safe, and were the equivalent to less than a month’s exposure to the same natural radiation you pick up from being near rocks, soil and the sun.

Steve doesn’t buy that, “How do you take a ship and place it into a nuclear plume for five plus hours, how do you suck up nuclear contaminated waste into the water filtration system and think for one minute that there’s no health risk to anybody on board.”

Again, we have an emotional response. Whether an area is dangerous depends on a number of factors, like there intensity of the radiation and whether there are particles that can be inhaled or ingested. Other important considerations include the time spent in the area and whether it was indoors or outdoors. It’s not a binary safe-unsafe kind of question.

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Posted in Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Enviornment, Nuclear

In India, Homeopaths Now Can Write Prescriptions

January 13th, 2014

I hate to pick on the nation of India all the time for bone-headed homeopathy policy, but it’s hard to avoid.  For a nation which has been growing technically, by leaps and bounds, even sending probes to the moon and beyond, India still seems to have healthcare regulations from the middle-ages.

It also should be seen as a warning to the rest of the world.  In India, homeopathy has taken hold an is respected more than perhaps anywhere else in the world.   Contrary to popular belief, homeopathy is “western” medicine, as it was dreamed up in Germany.  Modern science has long rejected it, and, indeed, it never really gained much of a following in mainstream medicine.  Yet in a few places, most notably India, homeopaths have become a strong and organized force.  They have demanded the same respect and privileges as real doctors and have often gotten it.

Via FirstPost India:

Homeopaths can do one-year course, prescribe allopathy drugs: Maha govt

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology.
The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery.
Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India.
“Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report.

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”. Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”.
Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report. The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology. The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery. Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology. The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery. Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report. The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued. Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”. Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

There may indeed be a legitimate shortage of doctors in rural areas, and if that is the case, then it is a problem which is not easily tackled. However, this is certainly NOT the way to address it!

In fact, if you are going to solve the problem of lack of prescribers this way, you may as well give up the whole system of prescriptions and just let all drugs be sold over the counter.  After all, the entire reason prescriptions exist is that it is understood that certain drugs are too hazardous, too prone to miss use or too complex in administration to be given without advanced medical knowledge.  Other drugs treat conditions which should not be treated without a doctors supervision.

A year of training in pharmacology is a poor substitute for years of college, medical school, internship and residency.   Even with this background, real doctors do occasionally make errors with prescriptions.  This is why many doctors will not prescribe medications that they are not familiar with or which treat areas outside their specialty.  Having less qualified practitioners write prescriptions is certainly not going to help the situation.

Other countries should not be so quick to dismiss this as a uniquely Indian problem.  In the UK, for example, homeopaths have been trying to get more standing in the medical system and have their procedures compensated by state-run health programs.  In Canada, naturophaths and homeopaths have demanded the right to be considered “doctors,” and in the US homeopathic institutions have been lobbying for government-sanctioned accreditation in the same way medical schools are accredited.

The risks from this lunacy, which is not beyond possibility outside India, are pretty obvious:  more improperly treated conditions, greater risks of prescription drug abuse and addiction, more drug interactions, fewer conditions treated by qualified doctors, more improperly administered antibiotics.

Besides, if homeopathy actually worked, why would they need anything else?


Posted in Bad Science, Quackery