Galileo Galileo

Now that Kurt Waldheim has been named Pope, the world can get back to business. And business is what my mate Ignacio Chapela’s getting back at (great link, no?), having filed suit against the Regents at the University of California at Berkeley.

His suit has three barrels – the first, is that he’s a victim of retaliation for blowing the whistle on the biotechnology industry. The second is that he has been discriminated against on grouds of race (throughout the UC system, people of colour are denied tenure far more often, other things being equal), and third – and I like this the best – that he’s a victim of fraud. Why fraud? Ignacio’s colourful lawyer puts it like this: when you buy a house, and the owner knows it’s on a fault line but doesn’t tell you, that’s fraud. When you apply for tenure, but you’re not told that you had to have opinions in keeping with those on the tenure committee, that’s fraud too.

The University is currently reviewing his tenure case, but he’s pressing ahead with the suit in part so as to retain his rights to redress (a statute of limitations was about to kick in) but in part so that he can blow the whistle on all this a little more loudly. To aid in his amplification, he’s got a website www.pulseofscience.org on which you can find one of the worst graphs ever. I have taken a particular dislike to this particular piece of data presentation, in no small part because I once had to wear it. (Yes, that’s me wearing a Chancellor-encrusted bag on my head.)