Some Saturday morning links with my coffee

Here are a few links that I didn’t get around to mentioning during the week that are, in this blogger’s humble opinion, worth a read by my readers:

This week saw the 25th anniversary of MTV. Terra Sigillata has two posts on his favorite MTV memories (with the latter link showing a 17-year-old Pharmboy jamming out), and Stereogum has the playlist for the first 24 hours of MTV, plus a YouTube of the first few minutes, in which the VJs were introduced.

Should I get wooden knobs for my stereo system? The manufacturers claim that they will greatly improve sound quality, and they’re a bargain at $485.

Now that it’s been a year since the sixth Harry Potter book, people are speculating about how the series will end when J. K. Rowling finishes the final book in the series. The most speculation centers around which major characters will die. Lance Mannion has a prolonged discussion and some ideas about who’s toast. He doesn’t think Harry Potter will die. (Neither do I, for that matter.) But there are lots of other candidates for becoming room temperature.

Thanks to antivaccination activists (among whom are the mercury militia), vaccine-preventable illnesses are returning to the U.S. Kevin, MD considers failure to vaccinate one’s children akin to child abuse.

And, finally, fellow surgeon Sid Schwab shows ’em how it’s done when he deals with a committee that seemed to be saying that, because his hospital’s system was not finding and identifying adequate quantities of unnecessary surgery. His response to the committee’s complaint is hilarious. I wish I had the balls to do stuff like that at my hospital.


  1. #1 medrecgal
    August 5, 2006


    This only proves the validity of your skepticism towards the antivaccination crowd. It’s pretty bad when even a well known medical journal gets into the fray, even if it turns out to be mistakenly. As someone who has a disability that some would consider to be on the autism spectrum, all this woo about vaccinations and autism comes across to me as pure bunk. There are too many radicals out there who see the supposed link between vaccines and autism as an excuse to continue pushing their “alternative” point of view on people, and the result is breakouts of easily preventable childhood diseases. I guess you could say it’s literally a pox on them. After all, it WAS a vaccination program that eliminated smallpox from the face of the earth save for a test tube in some remote laboratory. I’d be curious to see what autism rates are in countries other than the US, particularly those who have similar vaccination schedules. (Or those who have a limited schedule–what would the difference in rates be if vaccination was the only factor controlled for?) Just the wannabe physician in me talking here.

  2. #2 Ahistoricality
    August 5, 2006

    Now that it’s been a year since the sixth Harry Potter book, people are speculating

    Come on, Orac: people were speculating about the ending two books ago, and the current round began pretty much as soon as people finished reading the sixth book. There’s a very little bit of new information, leaked strategically by Rowling (who, if she had such a clear idea about the ending, should have finished the series by now), but it’s not really enough to go on.

  3. #3 HCN
    August 5, 2006

    medrecgal said: “I’d be curious to see what autism rates are in countries other than the US, particularly those who have similar vaccination schedules. ”

    That has been studied several times in several countries from Finland over 10 years ago to Canada in a paper that just came out. The last paper includes a bibliography to the other studies (UK, USA, Denmark, etc), see it here:

    Also, if you wish to further check out such things there is an index of medical journals from around the globle at

  4. #4 Sid Schwab
    August 5, 2006

    “wish I had the balls…” Orac: your blog is balls squared, the Platonic ideal of confrontery and debunkery. Besides, you have academic BS to contend with. I did, in the post to which you refer, allude to a much ballsier memo I distributed. Since my blog is not anonymous, and since I’m not sure admin ever figured out who did it, I’m ruminating about posting… But it was the best ever…

  5. #5 medrecgal
    August 5, 2006

    Thanks to HCN for the link to a paper regarding my question of vaccination schedules and autism rates. What was particularly interesting was that it was the group with LOWER exposure to thimerosal that actually had the HIGHER rate of autism. Just out of curiosity I’ll probably get around to checking out pubmed, too.

  6. #6 Abel Pharmboy
    August 6, 2006

    “There may have been suggestions made that, even for a surgeon, were anatomically impossible.”

    Sid, you should be very proud of that one. And Orac, you might consider posting in your sidebar classic reader endorsements as does Dr Nick Genes at Blogborygmi. I’d consider beginning with Sid’s poetry:

    “your blog is balls squared, the Platonic ideal of confrontery and debunkery.”

    In my book, you gentlemen both rock.

  7. #7 Abel Pharmboy
    August 6, 2006

    Almost forgot to also thank you for the link-love. I didn’t even get into the persecution I experienced for my Bowie-worship.

    While I’m getting quite a few requests from those in the know for other old band pictures, it is the yellow-with-a-black racing stripe 1973 Dodge Dart Sport of which I am most proud. Think of me cruising that bad boy all around the campus of Penn delivering pizzas and cheesesteaks (I couldn’t afford nor gain entrance to said univ) with Joe Jackson, Squeeze, and Elvis Costello blasting from the 200W/channel Craig coaxial speakers (triaxes didn’t have good enough bass response for me, natch). Ah, the gravy days.

  8. #8 Joseph j7uy5
    August 6, 2006


    Every student of geometry knows that balls cannot be squared.

  9. #9 Abel Pharmboy
    August 6, 2006


    Don’t you recall those novelty gadgets that allow you to compress a peeled, hardboiled egg into a square??

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