Today's Wall Street Journal had a scathing criticism of the Food & Drug Administration on the editorial page, including a juicy quote it harvested from the Science Board, an independent advisory panel :
The Science Board's most important, and distressing, finding is that the FDA bureaucracy “cannot even keep up with the advances in science”—and not solely due to a lack of funding. While “the world of drug discovery and development has undergone revolutionary change,” the authors write, the FDA's “evaluation methods have remained largely unchanged over the last half-century.” (Our emphasis.)
Think about that: We live amid a revolution in biology, but the FDA still thinks like it did when Sputnik launched.
Having had a glimpse of the FDA approval process when I worked on my Capstone project for my MS degree from OGI, I can only imagine how painful it is to improve the FDA. We were bringing to market a non-invasive product that could revolutionize disease testing, but the expense to do so was crushing to a start-up. Survive 7 years on limited revenues with your investors hounding you? Ouch!
I was suspicious when we had 3 underwater cables cut adversely affecting Internet connectivity for several Middle East countries but now we're up to five cables with India, Pakistan, Egypt, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and especially Iran with moderate to severely curtailed Internet connectivity. Seems very suspicious to have so many problems on these systems simultaneously, but it's possible that the original perfect storm of anchor accidents led to load on the rest of the system exposing reliability problems with the rest of the infrastructure. Noted security expert Bruce Schneier is watching this too…
I won't add the “terrorism” tag to this article until our suspicions are confirmed. The first break is supposed to repaired in the next few days. We'll see what they find.
J. Michael McConnell, the US Director of National Intelligence has released his Annual Threat Assessment to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. John Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal today that McConnell would need to explain the highly politicized National Intelligence Estimate from a few months ago. In fact, Bolton calls on him to repair the damage that NIE caused to the intelligence process let alone Bush's foreign policy.
I'll give the 47-page report a read when I get a spare moment, right now I don't have one.
Some important quotes:
Al-Qa’ida and its terrorist affiliates continue to pose significant threats to the United States at home and abroad, and al-Qa’ida’s central leadership based in the border area of Pakistan is its most dangerous component.
We assess that al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets designed to produce mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the population.
Iran, and the NIE:
We assess in our recent NIE on this subject that warhead design and weaponization were halted, along with covert military uranium conversion- and enrichment-related activities. Declared uranium enrichment efforts, which will enable the production of fissile material, continue. This is the most difficult challenge in nuclear production. Iran’s efforts to perfect ballistic missiles that can reach North Africa and Europe also continue.
That doesn't seem so rosy to me.
When it comes to our technology infrastructure:
Our information infrastructure—including the internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries—increasingly is being targeted for exploitation and potentially for disruption or destruction, by a growing array of state and non-state adversaries. Over the past year, cyber exploitation activity has grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious. The Intelligence Community expects these trends to continue in the coming year.
Access to stable and affordably priced energy supplies has long been a critical element of national security. Sustained increases in global demand and the interactive effects of energy with other issues have both magnified and broadened the significance of developments in the global energy system. Oil prices in late 2007 were near record levels and global spare production capacity is below the market’s preferred cushion of 3 to 4 million barrels per day (b/d).
To go with yesterday's M&A news, Microsoft has bid $44.6B for Yahoo! That's a pretty big threat to Google, and already Yahoo! shares are up 50% and Google is down nearly 10%. Of course, one wonders what it would be like to integrate the diverse offerings of Microsoft and it's Live strategy and Yahoo! with it's zillions of other acquisitions over the years. It's not just about M&A cash, it's about executing on the integration afterward that really counts.