Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2006

Et tu, Radagast?

I sort of expected some attacks when I posted yesterday yesterday about how physicians’ incomes have been steadily falling. After all, whenever Kevin, M.D. does similar posts, people with–shall we say?–issues regarding physicians often come out in droves to post nasty comments, just as they tend to do whenever he posts about how out of…

While thinking about ways to make the blog better, I wondered if I should emulate some of my colleagues, many of whom have regular features every week, often on Friday. And, since I usually get a little less serious on Fridays anyway (and, because traffic seems to fall off 50% or more anyway regardless of…

A new study suggests that, adjusted for inflation, physicians’ incomes are, by and large, falling: Doctors may be well off compared with the bulk oftheir patients, but a new study says fees physicians get from the government and private insurers aren’t keeping up with inflation. Last week, the Center for Studying Health System Change said…

An unexpected question in a pub

Earlier this week, I was in Washington to attend my first ever NIH study section as an actual reviewer. It was definitely an illuminating experience, and overall I left with, believe it or not, more faith in the system the NIH uses to determine how grant money is doled out. Maybe I’ll become more cynical…

Damn you, Kathleen. Every time I think that I can give the whole mercury/autism thing a rest for a while and move on to less infuriating pastures, you keep finding things that keep dragging me back to the pit of pseudoscience inhabited by Dr. Mark Geier and his son David. The first time around, Kathleen…

Belated fecal anniversary wishes

One year ago yesterday, a turd flew, the first of many to come. A new skeptic had arrived in the blogosphere, and he called himself (appropriately enough, given his propensity for lobbing fecalgrams at the credulous) The Pooflinger. I feel real bad that I missed his blogiversary because of something as insignificant as being on…

Grand Rounds

The latest Grand Rounds is up over at Medviews. Enjoy

Bad History

There’s a lot of bad history out there. People abuse and misuse history all the time for their own ideological or political ends. Sometimes people are just ignorant of history. Fortunately, in the blogosphere, there’s an antidote: The Carnival of Bad History. Jonathan has posted The Carnival of Bad History #6 at Frog in a…

Busy at NIH Study section today, I didn’t have time to compose anything extensive. (And there is most definitely something that needs a little Respectful Insolence going on; unfortunately, it will have to wait until tomorrow to receive it.) Fortunately, I had some thing in reserver for just such an occasion. From my e-mail several…

Magical thinking versus lymphoma

I’ve written several times about two young victims of what is normally a highly treatable cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and how, with their parents’ support, they have jeopardized their lives by choosing alternative therapies. The first, Katie Wernecke, was initially taken from her family by the State of Texas, but her parents ultimately won a court…

Lord Runolfr recently reminded me of a bit of wisdom, courtesy of the Doctor (fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker) from the episode entitled The Face of Evil. Here’s the quote: You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They…

One half of my heritage at its finest

About two weeks ago, I did a brief post about a Lithuanian guy whose blood alcohol level was beyond what would kill most mortal men but who was fully conscious and nominally able to drive. I facetiously referred to it as “one quarter of my heritage at its finest,” given that I’m one quarter Lithuanian.…

It’s in Japanese, but anyone can understand…

Via Black Triangle, I’ve come across an article about a real medical hero, a man responsible for the development of many of the vaccines we have today. Indeed, it can be argued that this man, Dr. Maurice Hillman, may have saved more lives than any other physician in history. Those who remember him describe his…

While we’re on the topic of Holocaust deniers again, here’s something on the lighter side… I thought I’d seen everything. Then, via Improbable Research, I found something truly strange. Are you ready for….Hitler Cats? It’s a blog dedicated to cats that look like Hitler. I have to tell you, though, that some of them to…

Holocaust deniers sometimes refer to the Holocaust as the “Holohoax,” as if the whole thing were one huge hoax perpetrated on the world by Jews. Indeed, if you have the stomach to dive into the deepest, darkest, most disgusting parts of the Internet, where Holocaust deniers freely spew their lies, you will even find explicit…

An interesting tidbit about Mark Geier

In the light of recently discovered possible chicanery on the part of Mark Geier and his dubious IRB, I found this report by John Leavitt very interesting: My interest in inserting bacterial genes into mammalian cells stemmed from a paper published in Nature in 1971 by NIH scientists, Carl Merril, Mark Geier, and John Petricciani,…

More carnival barking

The latest Tangled Bank has been posted. Go get your science fix there. Over at Emergiblog, a new nursing blog carnival (Change of Shift) has been inaugurated with Volume 1, Number 1.

Mysteriously appearing prematurely briefly last week deep in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle, only to disappear again in an equally mysterious manner, the 37th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle has once again appeared, but this time as expected at the home of Autism Diva. However, the participants are a bit unusual this time, in…

Tamoxifen abuse?

Holy crap. Just when I thought I had heard or seen it all, something comes up that proves me wrong. This time, the “something” comes to my attention via Corpus Callosum. It’s a story about people abusing a drug. Only it’s not just any drug, but a drug commonly used to treat breast cancer (which,…

Via The Onion (of course), Dr. Mike Ruddy proclaims: ‘m a doctor, and I’m damn good at it. Why? Because I learned to be a doctor the old-fashioned way: gumption, elbow grease, and trial and error. I’m not one of these blowhards in a white coat who’ll wear your ears out with 10 hours of…

A lovely fisking of Ann Coulter

Via Evolving Thoughts, this article about Ann Coulter’s misrepresentation of the Dover case is just too good for me not to link to also. Best excerpt: One part of her latest book that’s getting little notice is the part that deals with Dover and what is purported to be the “debate” over evolution. She begins…

It’s been a very interesting week for those of us who try to keep an eye on antivaccination warriors who scare mothers with claims based on either no science or bad science of dire consequences that will come from vaccinating their children. A very interesting week indeed, kind of like that old curse, “May you…

Sometimes I know how the goat feels

Pearls Before Swine captures the joy of blogging… I know how Goat feels sometimes…

Australian skeptic Peter Bowditch was challenged by a homeopath to take some homeopathic 200C belladonna tablets. Ever the intrepid skeptic and critical thinker, Peter has now answered the challenge in front of 100 people and reported his experience, beginning with a description of what he should have experienced: A Modern Herbal by Mrs Maud Grieve,…