Along the Tracks

Monday, February 03, 2003

Thiodiglycol addendum webmaster Alec has written back in answer to my question, Why does the U.N. consider thiodiglycol to have “little or no use” except as a chemical weapon precursor?:

This smacks of political pressure rather than scientific evidence to me. If you look in any decent industrial chemical resource, like the Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, you’ll find a large entry on thiodiglycol and its uses. This is perhaps an effort to tighten the noose around Iraq.”

I have no doubt that is true - but remember, the U.N. passed its resolutions on banned substances a decade ago, when details of the Iraqi weapons program began to be revealed. The U.N. ban is, by its very nature, a political document, removing sovereignty from a nation which had regularly violated international law and standards, according to the Security Council.

Nevertheless, the U.N. listing makes it clear thiodiglycol is banned without a special exemption, which Iraq apparently never sought. Therefore, I think defining the discovery of a “laboratory amount” of thiodiglycol a “material breach” still stands.

Condensed version

Reflecting on the loss of Columbia in the Washington Post, Max Boot, without diminishing Saturday’s tragedy, notes the earlier “Age of Exploration” in the 15th and 16th centuries was far more dangerous to the explorers, but offered rewards in many ways similar to those sought today.

The Lima News points out space travel as routine, and gives a tribute to each of the fallen astronauts.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls for the resurrection of the Space Launch Initiative, seeking a safer and more efficient means of carrying humans to the space station.

Mike Wendland of the Detroit Free Press looks at how the Internet provided a forum - for good and for ill - for people to discuss and understand the tragedy as it unfolded.

Ever late to opine on the topics of the day, the Blade - one of America’s worst newspapers - has no comment on the Columbia disaster, but does find space to hammer President Bush for not spending more money on homeland security, without bothering to specify where and how the money should be used.

Comments: Post a Comment