AASIF MANDVI ON: SCIENCE

Treat yourself to these very funny 6 minutes: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and some very cute science fair kids.

Then, if you have a few minutes more (and don’t mind blue humor), watch John Stewart’s lead-in to that clip.

In it, he notes the hullabaloo that Fox News and others made over ‘Climategate’ (the emails that suggested scientists may have been phonying data to support the global warming thesis) . . . then notes how effective that hullabaloo was at sowing doubt in the public mind . . . and, finally, contrasts that relentless coverage with the near total silence that greeted release . . . in the Wall Street Journal no less . . . of research . . . funded by the Koch brothers no less! . . . that . . . wait for it . . . debunks Climategate.

Turns out, according to the Koch brothers-funded research, the science was right all along.

Yet the debunking of that misinformation got a total of 24 seconds of cable news coverage. It was reintroduction of McDonalds’ McRib that grabbed the TV news.

Just like ACORN: The allegations got 24/7 coverage. The exoneration? Not a peep.

And so our nation is weakened, one misinformation campaign at a time.

PAUL VOLCKER ON DODD-FRANK AND THE VOLCKER RULE

A lot of liberals think the Administration caved on ‘the Volcker Rule.’ Paul Volcker disagrees. He gives the Administration good marks.

TOUGH TIMES FOR TWENTY-SOMETHINGS EARNING $500,000 A YEAR

Happiness, I have long argued, is a matter more of direction than amount. To quote my own book (reviewed here), ‘I believe happiness lies less in how much you have than in which way you’re headed. Consider two young families, one with an income of $200,000 a year but somehow knowing it is headed down to $150,000; the other earning $30,000 a year but somehow knowing it is headed up to $50,000. I submit that the family earning $30,000 a year, though far less affluent, might well be the happier of the two.’

Jim Chanos: ‘See last three paragraphs of this story. Only on Wall Street would a 27-yr old trader whine about making less than $500,000 this year, despite having to ‘work harder.’ And they wonder why people are angry?!’

DVAX – UPDATE TO YESTERDAY’S UPDATE

Guru: ‘In a surprise about three months earlier than expected, they announced the results of the hepatitis B vaccine trial in patients with chronic kidney disease [yesterday]. Not a surprise, they showed superiority to the currently marketed hepatitis B vaccine with no evidence of a safety problem. Patients with chronic kidney disease are immunosuppressed. The ACIP of the CDC has already recommended all such patients get hep B vaccines. This Phase III data can now be added to the FDA filing for the hep B vaccine. It seems reasonable that they would get a partnership with one of the vaccine companies for the hep B vaccine. They used to be partnered with Merck. Perhaps Merck will return. Either way, their hep vaccine should eventually come to dominate much of the market when it is launched next year. They also have earlier-stage products in their pipeline in collaboration with Glaxo, Novartis, and Astra Zeneca. All that said, there were a number of negatives on yesterday’s analysts call that suggest we move out of this stock and into something else for the time being: (1) The company will not file for FDA approval in 4Q 2011 (their previous guidance), but rather in Jan or Feb 2012. It’s not a big delay, but it’s a delay. (2) The company is hoping for priority review (6 months), but it is more likely they will get standard review (10 months) and they will have a panel meeting to review the possibility of autoimmune side effects. (The data indicate overall that there are no differences, but it sounds like this issue will need a thorough sorting out.) (3) The company expects to market the vaccine by themselves in the people over 40 years old, excluding diabetics. This means no partner – something different from what we have been expecting. (4) The company will file today’s kidney failure data as a supplement, so this data will NOT be part of the first approval. (5) Consultants at the meeting emphasized that sales of vaccines in adults grow slowly, compared to sales of vaccines in children. Thus, even assuming a launch in 2012, sales might not hit a target of $300 million for several years. (6) European approval will also proceed slowly and not occur until 2013. Bottom line: the product works really well, but we are at least a year away from getting a product launch and then sales may progress slowly. You win some, you try not to lose to badly on the others. Maybe in this crazy market it goes higher. But I think there will be better opportunities in the short-term.’

 

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