Archives for December 1, 2003

DHL airliner photos

And not just any DHL freighter, this is the one hit by a SAM on approach to Baghdad: Eyeballing DHL Aircraft Hit by SAM.

Kudos to the crew for getting it down in one piece (though parked off-pavement).

via LGF

Update: from my brother, the Aerospace Genius: (the part hanging down) looks like a like a flap track, mostly because there is a bit of fairing remaining at the front.

There was a lot of heat damage too. It must have punctured a fuel tank. Repair is going to be really difficult because Airbus wing primary structures are composite. It will probably take a lap joint graft of a replacement wing assembly just to patch it up enough to ferry.

Lubbock Plague Trial Conclusion – Butler guilty of 47 counts.

Alerted by Sleepless in Midland, who has been keeping a frequently updated page on the trial, here’s the outcome:

A jury this afternoon found Thomas Butler guilty on 47 counts.

Butler, 62, stood accused of smuggling, lying to the FBI, embezzlement, theft and tax fraud in a case stemming from the January bioterrorism scare at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

Butler, a world-renowned plague researcher, reported 30 vials of the bacteria that causes plague missing from his TTUHSC lab Jan 14.

More than 60 federal agents scoured Lubbock in search of the vials, and President Bush was briefed on the presumably stolen samples that were capable of weaponization in 48 hours by terrorists.

Dr. Butler was not, apparently, a sympathetic defendant. I suppose now Tech will finally get around to firing him.

All that remains is the sentencing, and that will be interesting. A 62 year old Professor of Medicine will probably spend a lot of time in a minimum-security setup, but only time will tell. I wonder if having his correspondence and calls monitored will be part of his sentencing (he’s the man to go to if you want to play with plague, after all, and now he’s done, professionally and medically). Just a little unsettling thought.

Pharma Watch censored

Black Triangle points out that an Australian medblog, Pharma Watch, has shut down under pressure from a drug company. The exact nature of the pressure is unstated, but it was enough for Dr. Michael Lascelles to take down his blog, and archives. I’m sure he has his reasons for the action he took, and I wish him the best in the future, and hope he’ll rejoin us blogging.

I haven’t been following Pharma Watch, and it’s my loss. I found a Google cached page of Pharma Watch, and his writing style is terrific, and spot-on from what I read. (By the way, Google caching makes sure most of our warts are forever preserved, blogger beware). I could not access the archives from the cached page, so he’s done more than just take down the links.

Since Anthony at Black Triangle pointed this out, I’ve been wondering two things: how different is Aussie from American law as it pertains to speech, and, what would I do if faced with a (presumably) similar dilemma? I’ll be honest, I don’t know. It isn’t worth being pauperized by the legal bills this would entail, even if you win you’re broke. Drug companies have lawyers sitting around, deep pockets and a considerable interest in maintaining their income.

On the other hand, I’m a grouch, and some company bullying me would get my obstinate ire percolating. I suppose it just depends on the circumstances.

Best of luck to Pharm Watch, I hope you can recover and return.