Respectful Insolence

Archives for July, 2007

Iron surgeon?

The other day, Sid Schwab, surgeon blogger extraordinaire, brought up a question that, I’m guessing, most nonsurgeons wonder about from time to time when contemplating how it is that we surgeons do what we do. What about bathroom breaks? Given that most of the surgery that I do is breast surgery, my operations rarely take…

Smoking and Parkinson’s disease

After the invasion of the smoking cranks last week into the comments of the three posts I somehow ended up doing on the topic of secondhand smoke (SHS), the health dangers it poses, and some of the deceptive quote mining used in the service of trying to discredit studies demonstrating a moderate but real risk…

More bizarreness from Modern Mechanix

Can anyone explain how something like this might have happened? Maybe I lack imagination, but I’m having trouble figuring out a plausible explanation.

I’m not sure whether this is reassuring or depressing. $3590.00The Cadaver Calculator – Find out how much your body is worth. From Mingle2 – Free Online Dating Mingle2 – Free Online Dating So…how much is your cadaver worth? (Found via Attuworld.)

Following the crowd one last time…

Yesterday, it was a personality quiz. Today, other ScienceBloggers have been assimilated into the LOL Cat craze. Given that I’ve had a tangential brush with the craze myself in the past when I posted a bunch of LOL Doctor Whos, and because last week was sufficiently serious, with all the posts about secondhand smoke and…

What do you get when you mix a bunch of octogenarians and nonagenarians with The Who? You get this: It’s a band called The Zimmers. Members range in age from 69 to 99. I particularly like the mass instrument smashing at the end of the video. I have to admit, however, to the near irresistable…

I knew it!

This one seems to be making the rounds among blogs that I frequent. Given that it’s Saturday, when I usually don’t post anything that requires serious writing, it’s a perfect day to let the sheep in me have free reign and follow the flock, taking this test: Your Score: Robot You are 100% Rational, 0%…

Finally, the FDA acts on TheDCASite.com

It sure took the FDA long enough, nearly five months, but it finally acted. It finally shut Jim Tassano down, as this notice on TheDCASite.com states: Two agents from the FDA visited us on Tuesday,July 17, 2007 and ordered that we stop making and selling DCA. Unfortunately, the site www.buydca.com will be shut down immediately.…

Here’s a rather interesting wrinkle in the regulation of chiropractors. This time, it’s New Jersey: A recent state court decision has hundreds of chiropractors across the state bent out of shape because it sharply limits what they can legally do. And while the decision is being appealed to the state Supreme Court and state legislators…

After over a year of delving into the world of woo, I had been starting to think that my ability to be surprised had disappeared. I mean, just think about it. After dealing with things like DNA activation, quantum homeopathy, the Healing Broom, Healing Sounds, and, of course, colon cleansing and liver flushing, I thought…

The 65th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle has been posted by Steve Novella over at his Neurologica Blog: The room was filled with that odd combination of excitement, interest and restlessness that accompanies children forced to walk through a museum. “Quiet down,” said Ms. Trueblood for the hundredth time. As experienced as she was a…

One last puff of smoke over Helena, MT

Little did I know when I posted my first article on the evidence supporting health hazards due to secondhand smoke that it would end up dominating the comments of this blog for three full days and lead me to a site that’s so full of pseudoscience, logical fallacies, and just plain B.S. that it is…

Iran Busts Zionist Squirrel Spy Ring

In a story that needs no embellishment, the Iranian state news agency, IRNA, is reporting that fourteen “spy squirrels” were captured infiltrating Iran. According to IRNA: “In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran’s borders. The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks…

Mark takes on the smoking cranks

The other day, in the course of posting about some deceptive quote-mining by someone who doesn’t accept the science indicating that secondhand smoke is a health danger, I referenced the uber-crank of crank websites, Forces.org, a website so cranky that it denies not just health dangers from secondhand smoke, but rather that even smoking causes…

I really shouldn’t do it. I really shouldn’t go perusing the blog of the house organ of the Discovery Institute’s propaganda arm, Evolution News & Views, as I did yesterday. I’m not as young as I used to be, have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and am not in the greatest of shape. Reading…

Here’s a video in which Andrew Wakefield, who, now that he’s facing charges for research improprieties and failure to disclose conflicts of interest, now claims that he’s fighting “for the children,” shows his concern for the children whose blood he drew: Yes, while recounting how at a party he drew blood from children for £5…

Dr. RW piles on Mike Adams

After Mark and I took apart Mike Adams’ misinformation- and logical fallacy-filled rant of idiocy against conventional medicine, it appeared that there was still some left to take on. Fortunately, Dr. RW took up the slack. Because when the woo-meister is as idiotic as Mike Adams, too much debunking is never enough.

This time, it’s from Colorado, and it’s the King: Rock collector LaDell Alexander, 60, has found a stone she swears has the face of the rock king Elvis Presley on it and has taken it home and plans to sell it on eBay in August, near the 30th anniversary of his death. Alexander said “people…

Quote mining about secondhand smoke

Not surprisingly, in response to my article on the health risks of secondhand smoke yesterday, the “skeptics’ came out in force, although I must admit that even I hadn’t expected quite as large an influx as what appeared. Perhaps I’ll prepare a general response in the near future (and, no, I didn’t take the Surgeon…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand how anyone can take the charlatan Andrew Wakefield seriously anymore. If anyone had any doubt that there is a cult of personality around this discredited vaccine fear-monger, whose shoddy science and undisclosed conflicts of interest managed to…

Blowing smoke over secondhand smoke

“What do you think about second hand smoke?” he asked me. I sensed ulterior motives behind the question, but I wasn’t sure. I suspected that he was just looking for an argument. “It’s bad,” I joked. “Some have told me that the studies don’t show any health problems from second hand smoke,” he replied. “I’m…

Oh, you nasty Wookiee!

I’m disappointed to find out that Chewbacca is a bad, bad Wookiee: (CBS) HOLLYWOOD, Calif. A Chewbacca impersonator is accused of sexually assaulting a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in front of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood in June. The wookie then reportedly evaded arrest, police said. According to an officer with the LAPD, Chewbacca allegedly took…

Paul Offit responds to denialism.com

As a result of my e-mailing the link to a mailing list I belong to asking members whether they thought it was outside the pale, Dr. Offit became aware of Mark’s blog post about denialism in the Wall Street Journal editorial page that I castigated for its casually lumping Paul Offit’s editorial on the Michael…

Paul Offit is not a “denialist”

I’m afraid I must reluctantly take fellow SB’er Mark Hoofnagle to task here, because he appears to have allowed himself to get a bit carried away when it comes to throwing around the label of “denialist.” In an otherwise excellent takedown of some really bad propaganda in the Wall Street Journal editorial page, he did…

One to add to the blogroll…

While perusing my comments yesterday, I became aware of what looks like a promising new blog, Occam’s Trowel by Scott Prinster. Check out his self-description: Scott Prinster is continuing his graduate studies in the History of Science department at the University of Wisconsin. His current interest is in the interaction of religion and science in…