Thursday, November 24, 2005

"At least they dressed well" Award I

Things like this happen so often, I figure I should start an award. This is not necessarily limited to Korea, however it seems to crop-up here a lot. This awards the act of making a comment on a situation in which you only make it worse not better.

The name for this award comes from Chung Jae Kyung. Mr. Chung was a patron at the infamous Nazi bar, The Fifth Reich, in Seoul. When asked about what he thinks of Hitler, Nazi's, the Holocaust, and World War Two all he could offer was, "I don't hate them, I don't like them, But at least they dressed well." (See "They Dressed Well" Time Asia June 5, 2005, in case the link goes dead one day or requires a fee to read).

The first "At least they dressed well" award goes to....A researcher in Dr. Hang Woo Suk laboratory. The researcher was commenting, or perhaps defending, Dr. Hwang in the current whirlwind of ethics charges against his stem cell laboratory. I point you to this passage from an International Herald Tribune Article:

At the time [Of Dr. Hwang's breakthrough], researchers elsewhere were amazed by
Hwang's ability to obtain an ample supply of healthy eggs. For his 2004 work,
Hwang used 242 eggs to yield one cloned embryo, which is destroyed in the
process of extracting stem cells...
"Dr. Hwang did not ask about the sources
of the eggs he was using, and he was not supposed to ask," said the second
researcher. "So he did not know about the donors and about the payments."
So let me get this straight, some how Dr. Hwang received an unusual amount of eggs for his research. An amount that amazed most other experts in the field. Yet, according to the researcher, he did not even inquire as to where this bounty came from? This unusually amount of eggs did not raise alarm bells in his head?

So in other words, Dr. Hwang did not violate ethics rules because he was too careless in the first place to even consider them? Or is the defense he was too dumb to think of them in the first place?

Congratulations researcher, you get the first "At least they dressed well" award!


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