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E-tarded E-mail: Regulatory Science

E-tarded E-mail is back. If you are a follower of this website (did you know we’ve been around since 2000?), then you know E-Tarded E-mail is the email version of a crank call. (Back in the day, we spelled email “e-mail”, and I decided to keep that spelling for old-time’s sake.)

I don’t expect this particular e-tarded exchange to get very far, so I decided to go ahead and post it now. After hearing about the pseudo-concept of “regulatory science”, I decided to contact one of the country’s preeminent authorities on the subject, Dr. Alan Moghissi, President of the Institute for Regulatory Science and Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The fact that he replied even once makes me feel quite satisfied. Further replies, should they arrive, will be posted here.

Subject: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dr. Moghissi,

I am considering a career change to the field of regulatory science and was wondering if perhaps you could offer some guidance.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was actually a hot dog, rather than a standard barley or rye stalk. It was Monday’s New York Times article about the choking hazards of food, and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council’s adamant refusal to redesign the hot dog to make it safe for young children. As someone who believes more children would eat cauliflower if it were served as a puree, I’ve long held that puree of hot dog would not only be safer for children, but be both safer and more convenient at summer barbecues. Gone would be the days of the dangerous barbecue grill; the hot dog itself would simply be another condiment along with ketchup and mustard. (I am, of course, assuming that those disease-filled pre-made hamburgers so popular at these events will go the way of the buffalo. At the same time, I can imagine a preserved cow, ostrich, or antelope meat product similar to a puree of hot dog that could be both safe, spreadable, and come with or without cheese.)

I present to you this information as background to what provided the final spark for me to pursue the dream of regulatory science. In this world of semi-unfettered scientific research, there is a world of danger, whether it’s the research fields of hot dogs, cryogenics, tanning beds, or those so-called “female Viagra” pills you see being sold on the back streets of Chinatown along side fresh fish and “rattlesnake powder”, meant to cure everything from incontinence to jock itch.

I have been looking at the USC Regulatory Science program and am considering applying. May I ask you whether you think such a program is necessary for success in the field, or is it possible for me to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty right away? I’d like to join you in clamping down on dubious “science” and help get our regulators-in-chief the information they need to regulate. My experience comes from the while-collared world, but I would gladly wear a white lab coat if necessary.

Best regards,

Jason Roth

Subject: Re: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: May 27, 2010

Dear Joe [sic]

Before I can give you any advice I need to know your background. Regulatory science covers a rather broad field and includes but is not limited to regulatory toxicology. There is a need for people who understand the level of maturity of science that is typically used in regulatory science.


A. Alan Moghissi, PhD
Institute for Regulatory Science
P. O. Box 7166
Alexandria, VA 22307
Tel: (703) 765 3546
Fax: (703)765 3143

Senior Fellow and Member of Board of Regents
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
901 N. Stuart Street Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel: (703)525 0770
Fax: (703) 525 0299

Subject: Re: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2010

Dr. Moghissi,

Thank you for your kind reply. I know you must be extremely busy getting things and people regulated, so I appreciate you taking time away from your schedule.

My science background includes, but is not limited to, the biological sciences, chemistry, physics, geoscience (especially volcanoes), and astronomy. Therefore, I think I have an opportunity to get into a diverse array of work involving preventing corporations from accomplishing their evil deeds. Which area do you recommend?



Subject: Re: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Probably the are requiring new talent is risk assessment which covers the following three areas

1. Human health notably toxicology. The USC is one of the programs abut general toxicology is just as reasonable.

2. Ecological risk assessment.

3. Probabilistic risk assessment covering a wide range of activities such as nuclear power, chemical industry, and activities such a prediction of what happened in Gulf of Mexico.

I don’t know if you are aware that Potomac Institute for Policy Studies where I am a Senior Fellow and member of Board of Regents accepts interns?


Subject: Re: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dr. Moghissi,

I was not aware that the Potomac Institute had an internship program, so thank you for informing me of that. The area I am most interested in of the three you mention is ecological risk assessment, with a link to your point #3 involving the reigning in of the greed and evil tendencies of “Big Energy”. Since an outright ban on energy production is out of the question (at least, for now), we could at least make a difference when it comes to corporate honchos, of their own free will, running amok and destroying the planet. (It’s almost too bad we can’t blame volcanoes and earthquakes on these guys.)

In order for me to channel my self-professed geoscientific expertise toward regulatory science, how would you recommend I proceed vis-à-vis applying for an internship?


Jason Roth

Subject: Re: Your advice on a regulatory science career change
Sent: Tuesday, June 6, 2010

[On a Sunday morning, Dr. Moghissi emailed me and asked me to contact someone at the Potomac Institute. He provided a woman’s name, phone number, and email address, and copied her on our email. Is this guy the world’s most polite person, or does he seriously think I should apply?]

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1 Geoff { 05.28.10 at 1:50 pm }

“I know you must be extremely busy getting things and people regulated…”

Outstanding. I love it.

2 Jason Roth { 05.28.10 at 2:03 pm }

Thanks. I couldn’t resist - but that might be the line that stops him from replying. Then again, I’m always surprised at the crap people accept. We’ll see…

3 Jim { 05.28.10 at 4:12 pm }

Good work Joe!

4 Jason Roth { 06.01.10 at 7:17 pm }

I am again surprised. Not only did I get a reply, I nearly got asked to apply for an internship.

5 Jason Roth { 06.06.10 at 4:07 pm }

And yes, I got another, final reply.

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