Respectful Insolence

Archives for August, 2007

London Calling

Around the time you read this, barring any flight delay agonies, I will have touched down at Heathrow Airport to spend a week in London. It’s the first real vacation that my wife and I have taken, possibly since our honeymoon. Certainly it’s been the first time I’ve been out of the country since my…

Time again for a Change of Shift

The latest edition of Change of Shift, the blog carnival for nursing, has been posted over at Nurse Ratched’s Place. Enjoy!

This story‘s been floating around the blogosphere for a few days now, and I’ve been wanting to weigh in. Basically, Medicare is saying that it will no longer pay for conditions and treatments that result from hospital errors. Sounds reasonable on the surface, right? After all, if a surgeon leaves a sponge in a patient,…

The fall of Ben Stein

You know, even though I know he’s been a Republican talker for a long time, that he worked for the Nixon administration as a speechwriter and lawyer, I’ve always kind of liked Ben Stein. My wife and I used to like to watch Win Ben Stein’s Money, and he was quite amusing as the principal…

Good news! Dr. Roy Kerry, the quack whose careless use of intravenous chelation therapy for autism resulted in the death of a five year old autistic boy named Abubakar Tariq Nadama, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter: PITTSBURGH – A doctor was charged with involuntary manslaughter Wednesday for administering a chemical treatment that state police…

R.I.P. Perry DeAngelis

It’s been brought to my attention that Perry DeAngelis, regular contributor to The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, member of the New England Skeptical Society has passed away unexpectedly at far too young an age. I don’t know any of the details, although as a regular listener to the Skeptics’ Guide podcast I knew…

Essential reading on HIV/AIDS denialism

Fellow SB’er Tara Smith, and academic neurologist Steve Novella have written an essential primer on the dangerous pseudoscience and quackery that is HIV/AIDS denialism. It’s published in PLoS and is entitled HIV Denial in the Internet Era. It makes a number of excellent points about the deadly quackery that is HIV/AIDS denialism, including how its…

Thanks to Blake, I now have The Enemies of Reason, Part 2: My review of this episode is below the fold. I managed to BitTorrent the episode and watch it on my laptop on my flight back from Chicago last night. If you don’t want to be influenced by my opinion before watching, watch the…

Best. Headline. Ever.

This has nothing to do with science, but this has to be the best headline ever: British dwarf’s penis gets stuck to hoover Original story here. Even better, the dwarf in question goes by the stage name Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf. I don’t think there’s anything to add here.

Relieving a pain in the posterior

I’ve been meaning to mention this post by Sid Schwab of Surgeonsblog for a while now. It’s a wonderful example of how nothing heals like surgical steel in even the most humble-seeming conditions. In this case, he’s talking about anal fissures, a condition that makes defecation very painful. It turns out that, for cases that…

Abe Foxman: Genocide denier?

My regular readers here know to what lengths I go to combat Holocaust denial on the Internet. It’s a fairly regular topic on this blog, as is rebutting the lies Holocaust deniers routinely spout. Not surprisingly, Holocaust deniers like to try to portray me as either Jewish or somehow in the thrall of the ADL,…

Placebo television

1-899-SCAMDOC? Want an double decker MRSAwich–with extra MRSA? Or how about prolotherapy? (But don’t forget the pixie dust!) (Via Kevin, MD.)

MRI for the detection of early breast cancer

After a lot of the not-so-Respectful Insolenceā„¢ of the last couple of weeks, I’ve been meaning to get back to living up to the name of the overall mega-blog, namely ScienceBlogs. Meeting up with my fellow SB’ers over the weekend in New York Fortunately, last week a topic just so happened to pop up related…

New York ScienceBlogger meetup

Yes, I was there on Friday and Saturday, when more than half of the present complement of ScienceBloggers (a.k.a. “SB’ers” or “Sciblings”) gathered in New York to meet, greet, and talk science, that is, between bouts of heavy drinking. (Fortunately, I was wise enough not to show up for the karaoke; if PZ’s description is…

The answer, apparently, is yes, but only for a very short time. I guess the whole exploding heads thing when people are exposed to vacuum (Outland) or just the very low atmospheric pressure on Mars (Total Recall) is a bit of an exaggeration.

Oscar the Death Kitty is no more?

Blog friend Abel over at Terra Sigillata pointed me to a story claiming that Oscar the Death Kitty, who became famous (or notorious) for his alleged ability to detect the impending death of residents of the nursing home at which he lives, so much so that some of the staff had even started calling family…

DNA: Could It Happen to You?

For those of you who missed it, Steve Colbert explains what DNA is with Twisty the DNA Helix: DNA: It’s what makes you you. I do have to admit, though, that it irritated me when Colbert referred to DNA as a “wonder protein” even though I’m sure it was part of the joke…

You know, the current crop of Presidential candidates has me bored to tears. None of them inspire, and the one that comes closest to maybe inspiring is too inexperienced and definitely not ready for prime time. Couple that with the fact that the election is nearly 15 months away but the campaign has been going…

The dog of doom

I knew it. I knew it wouldn’t be long before this happened. About three weeks ago, we had the Oscar the Death Cat, a.k.a. the kitty of doom. Given the discussions of animals and death and speculation that other animals might be able to “predict” impending death, you knew it was coming. Behold the Doggy…

So, after nearly two weeks of torturing myself trying to put together an R01-level grant on short notice and make it actually competitive, I’m finally free. The grant has been submitted (amazingly, the online submission process went through without a hitch), and, sleep-deprived but still hopped up on the Sudafed that kept the mucus membranes…

Yes! As intelligent and powerful as he is, Orac has always lacked something, and that’s mobility. He’s always been more or less at the mercy of the humans with whom he travels when it comes to locomotion. In short, being a clear box of blinking lights, he has to be carried everywhere, sometimes in a…

It’s here, and it’s on Google Video. I watched it last night, and it was a blistering attack on the irrationality that is so common in our society: Part I begins with Richard Dawkins sitting in on some sort of New Age chanting ceremony (the discomfited look on his face is priceless to watch), after…

[Note: Part I is here.] I tell ya, I stay up all night putting the finishing touches on a grant, and what happens? Mark Hoofnagle over at Denialism.com finds a real hum-dinger of stupidity published in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the rampant stupidity that appears to be…

Remember a couple of months ago, when I discussed testimony at the Autism Omnibus trial that showed how Andrew Wakefield had failed to do the controls when running PCR that would have revealed that the results that he interpreted as the presence of the measles virus from a vaccine strain in the guts of autistic…

I’m guessing there will be a lot of–shall we say?–disagreement with this one. I’m always appropriately skeptical of IQ studies, including this one. However, if you actually believe this survey (and what physician wouldn’t want to believe it?), apparently as a profession physicians have the highest IQ. Heh. I wonder where M.D./Ph.D.’s like yours truly…