Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2007

Well, now you know.

Bad covers

In keeping my (temporary), retreat from medical blogging for the weekend, I thought you might enjoy as much as I did this list of the 100 Worst Cover Songs. I do have a few objections, though. For one thing, I kind of like Marilyn Manson’s cover of Personal Jesus, which clocks in at #90. I…

I poured a death potion for my sick baby!

I love these old ads. Remember, keep fresh batteries in your house or you might poison your baby! The tag line sounds almost like the reaction of an antivaccination loon to the polio vaccine.

The “just another study” gambit

I wrote about this classic crank gambit a bit about a week and a half ago, emphasizing that no amount of studies will convince a crank. Now, MarkH at denialism.com takes on the same issue in more detail so that I don’t have to bother with David Kirby’s latest spew. Thanks, MarkH! The point is…

Here’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while now. It’ll either be wildly successful and popular, along the lines of You Might Be an Altie If…, or it’ll be an utter failure, sinking into oblivion. Which one it ends up being will be up to you, O faithful readers of Your Friday Dose of…

More on the Generation Rescue poll

Yesterday, I did a deconstruction of Generation Rescue’s dubious “study” (in reality an automated telephone poll) that claims to show that vaccines increase the rate of autism and other “neurologic diseases.” Now skeptical blogger extraordinaire Prometheus has posted his own excellent deconstruction at his blog A Photon in the Darkness. I said it before, if…

Deepak Chopra’s woo-ful whine

Pity poor Deepak Chopra. I’ve abused him on this blog many times, even coining a word (“Choprawoo”) for the silliness that emanates from his keyboard every time he posts his inanity to the Huffington Post or his own IntentBlog. I even wrote the only response ever needed to Choprawoo. Of course, he richly deserves the…

Once again, I was going to post about the amusing homeopath that I’ve come across, and once again something came up with the whole Autism Omnibus came up, leaving our poor homeopath to wait a little while longer for the loving application of a bit of Respectful Insolence™ that she so clearly craves. If you’re…

Poor Behe, now he’s in for it

You may have noticed that I haven’t commented much on Michael Behe’s recent book, The Edge of Evolution, other than to bemoan its presence in the Evolution section of the University of Chicago Barnes & Noble. I have, however, read with some amusement some of the reviews. The most recent is one by–who else?–Richard Dawkins…

Am I an old blogger?

It was with sadness that I saw fellow medical blogger Dr. Charles’ announcement that he is taking a break (“perhaps a long break,” as he puts it) from blogging. He points out that he’s been at it for almost three years. My first thought was that I was sad to see him go and hope…

Condolences to Lindsay Beyerstein

Please take a moment to head over to Majikthise and pay your respects to Lindsay, whose father, Barry L. Beyerstein, died yesterday. Dr. Beyerstein was a prominent skeptic and very active in the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He also served as chair of the Society of B. C. Skeptics, not to mention being a member…

Fun with phone surveys and vaccines

J. B. Handley never ceases to amaze me how much he is willing to torture me with his abuses of science, never mind his childish attempts to annoy me by cybersquatting domain names that he thinks I want. So there I was, all set to blog about a rather amusing homeopath that I’ve come across,…

And now for some NIH science wonkiness

If you’re not into the ins and outs of applying for NIH funding, this one may be a bit too wonky for you. I’m linking, however, to a rather interesting discussion of how to go about getting funding from the NIH in this presently hostile funding climate. One spot-on point is this in reference to…

The Autism Omnibus trial continued last week, which was devoted primarily to the government’s case. Consequently, there were a variety of real experts, as opposed to the pseudoexperts called by the prosecution last week. With only the occasional hiccup, they are taking serious bites out of the plaintiff’s case, as documented on a near daily…

I have this syndrome!

Finally, there’s a word for a feeling that many people have no doubt experienced many times: Some call it “phantom vibration syndrome.” Others prefer “vibranxiety” — the feeling when you answer your vibrating cellphone, only to find it never vibrated at all. “It started happening about three years ago, when I first got a cellphone,”…

Longtime readers of this blog may recall Pat Sullivan, Jr. He first popped up as a commenter here two years ago, when I first dove into applying skepticism and critical thinking to the pseudoscientific contention that vaccines in general or the thimerosal preservatives in vaccines cause autism. He’s a true believer in the mercury militia…

The role of the crotch in rock history

I can’t argue with this: An embodiment of the mystery, danger and freedom of the music itself, the crotch has occupied a central role in a stirring rock performance. Of course, the crotch today remains a valuable weapon in the rock arsenal, as exemplified by the current wave of tight pants bands rehashing the Kinks/The…

A sign of the times, part 2

This story’s being sent about as an example of stupid criminals, à la News of the Weird, but I just view it as a sign of the times: Bellacino’s Pizzeria closes at 9 p.m. That’s when one of the employees left work out a back door, where his car was parked. He was approached by…

From The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, specifically the chapter The Shadow of the Past, in which Gandalf responds to Frodo’s statement that Gollum is an enemy who deserves death: Deserves it? I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?…

The worst jobs in science?

Ever think you have the worst job? Take a gander at these worst jobs in science. A couple of examples: Job #10: Whale feces researcher. Job #5: Coursework carcass preparer. Maybe it’s just me, but several of these jobs don’t sound that bad. Except the whale feces researcher.

A pareidoliec blast from the past

After attending the ASCO Meeting in Chicago over two weeks ago, I can’t believe I forgot to post about this. More than two years ago, back in my favorite city (Chicago), a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared. It appeared, oddly enough, as such visions are wont to do, in a rather mundane spot. Specifically,…

This rating sounds about right

This one’s been floating around ScienceBlogs and the blogosphere in general; so I thought, what the hell? (Oh, wait, did my use of the word “hell” affect my rating?) In any case, this sounds about right: Mingle2 – Online Dating You’ll be happy to know that I don’t really plan on trying to “evolve” to…

There are lots of medical discoveries today that are breathlessly hyped far beyond what their actual benefits are likely to be. This, apparently, is not a new phenomenon, as this story shows. (Click on the pictures above for larger images of all four pages of the article, which appeared in 1939.) On the other hand,…

The Cheerful Oncologist, noting my recent post about the relapse of Abraham Cherrix’s lymphoma in the lung, has done an analysis from–of course!–an oncologist’s viewpoint. Given that I don’t treat lymphoma, other than doing the occasional lymph node biopsy to diagnose it, his viewpoint is well worth reading. He quite correctly points out that Abraham’s…

In my rigid, Western, scientific way of thinking, things generally have a beginning, a middle, and and end, the arrow of time marching relentlessly onward. However, it occurs to me that this is the very last edition of Your Friday Dose of Woo of its first year. Last June, when I started this, almost on…