Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Why I Care
I'm a former (very) amateur cyclist with debilitating arthritis in my left knee. I live my dreams of cycling glory vicariously through people like Lance and Floyd.
My bias in Floyd's favor is offset by the familiarity I developed with performance-enhancing drugs while in high school; I *know* the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs is far more prevalent than is being reported. Later in life I had a good friend who was advised by his college head coach that if he wanted to make the NFL he should take steroids. He did take steroids, and he did make the NFL. That coach is now a division I coacn at a big sports program. If Floyd used, it wouldn't be shocking. Cycling has been dirty for over two decades.
Having said that, I have serious and well-founded doubts that organization ssuch as the WADA or UCI can be effective at making determinations about drug use, at least not without checks and balances and good independent oversight.
My understanding of the underlying issues goes beyond the mere anecdotal. I've worked professionally as a researcher in gene toxicology at the NIEHS and later helped start two organizations in the US federal government that evaluate governmental test method standards both in the US and internationally. Let's just say I'm accustomed the the bureaucratic influences involved in setting standards like the ones used for detecting drug use in pro athletes. I have been first-hand witness to a phenomenon worse than groupthink: political machinations, dictated by greed, deliberately undermining the quality of well-researched test standards.
In December 2006 I completed graduate school. I studied the adoption of innovations by pharmaceutical companies for my master's thesis. My academic study focused on biomedical informatics: consumer health, evidence-based medicine, clinical and biotech data mining, and biomedical text mining. I took the Summer of 2006 off from school, working as an enterprise architect responsible for the reorganization of the SAS corporate support site, optimizing findability for the 4 million or so SAS users. I performed a great deal of language use analysis geared towards making sense out of large collections of expert domain documents, the domain of expertise in this case being statistical analysis.
I am currently seeking employment and have recently enjoyed some good interviews. I haven't found the right match yet. I want to get it right.
In my spare time I write poetry. I've written five books to date but have stopped writing for the moment. The second book of mine to be published will be released this fall by Effing Press. The forthcoming book, written by my puppet Lester, has enjoyed a cult status among poets for years.
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