Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2007

On Halloween…

…we need a little something as night approaches. I know just the thing: Brain-eating zombies. Given that this is the blog that conceived of the misbegotten literary (if you can call it that) device known as the Hitler Zombie, how could I not post a clip involving an actual cinematic brain-eating zombie on Halloween? (Warning:…

Having gotten into the whole idea of blogging about peer-reviewed research yesterday and even using a spiffy new icon to denote that that’s what I’m doing, originally I had planned on looking up another interesting article or pulling one from my recent reading list and blogging about it. Then, realizing that Breast Cancer Awareness Month…

…at least, that was my first reaction when I first read this reaction by the Karen Malec of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer to posts by Mark Chu-Carroll and myself pointing out the numerous flaws in the latest “study” being circulated to “support” a link between abortion and breast cancer. Then I thought about it.…

Don’t get sick in July?

Dave Munger and others have been spearheading an effort to promote the acceptance of a specific logo that science bloggers (ScienceBloggers, included) can use to let the reader know that the topic of a blog post is a discussion of real, peer-reviewed research. Use of the logo, which I’ve used for this post, means a…

Now entering the Twilight Zone

Every so often, as a blogger, I get e-mail. Well, actually, I get a lot of e-mail, much of which I just don’t have time to answer (nothing personal when it happens), but every so often an e-mail makes me feel as though Rod Serling should be popping up at the end. I got this…

I was half-tempted to e-mail this one to P. Z. or Larry Moran, but my inherently merciful nature got the better of me. Because it was so idiotic, I was afraid that, after P. Z. and his regular readers got through with it (or even worse for this poor ID advocate, Larry Moran), there wouldn’t…

What cigarette do you smoke, Doctor?

These days, pretty much everyone, smokers included, knows that smoking is bad for you. It promotes lung cancer (and several other varieties of cancer as well), heart disease, emphysema, and a number of other health problems. If you ask most smokers, they will tell you that they’d like to quit but have found it very…

…I am as appalled as my fellow ScienceBlogger Mark over this horrifically credulous article on ghosts on This Old House at CNN.com. Here’s a small taste, which comes after a long discussion of how to choose a “good” ghost inspector: If natural explanations cannot be found, and it’s determined that there is indeed a presence…

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a favorite topic for amusement among general surgeons, rectal foreign bodies, particularly the strange things people like to stick up their bottoms for whatever reason. I pointed out at the time that sometimes the excuses such patients make when seeking medical attention are a bit–shall we say?–hard…

Two not-so-different things

As usual, Cectic nails it (click on comic for the full-size version): Although I find it odd that the “mark” in the above comic would be calling for his checkbook rather than his credit card, it never ceases to amaze me how skeptical some people can be when dealing with financial matters while at the…

Some woo is very, very complicated. The reason, of course, is that the often self-contradicting complexity of this sort of woo serves to make it harder for people without specialized training to figure out easily that it makes no sense scientifically. It’s more a matter of baffling ‘em with bullshit than because such complexity is…

This has been a bad week at skeptics’ school. Apparently, skeptical bloggers have been misbehaving left and right. Apparently we as the skeptical blogosphere have been very, very naughty indeed. Worse, the essays that we’ve handed in are apparently not pleasing to the teacher. Worst of all, we’ve been mischievously copying a screed against homeopaths…

Operating system flamewars

As a longtime Mac head, I’m always rather amused by just how emotionally invested people become over a mere tool like an operating system for a computer. A reminder of this popped up over at Pharyngula today, when in the course of echoing a call from the Mothership for reminiscences of the primitive computers we…

I approach this topic with a bit of trepidation. I say this not because I’m unsure that I’m correct in my assessment of the article that I’m about to apply some Respectful Insolenceā„¢ to. Rather, it’s because the last time I brought up anything having to do with abortion, it got ugly. The topic is…

That’s a relief

Wow, after my post about Le Canard Noir‘s being threatened with legal action for criticizing the Society of Homeopaths, I’m glad to know that I won’t be being sued for having reposted his criticism. Whines the Society of Homeopaths: The Society of Homeopaths took the content of the 2006 BBC Newsnight programme on malaria very…

I’ve always wondered, as I’m sure many of my readers have, whether human beings have it in them to delay their own death, even briefly. Very early in the history of this blog, a mere 11 days after I started it, I discussed a study that strongly suggested that we cannot. In brief, it looked…

What kind of PI am I?

For those not in academic biomedical research, “PI” stands for “principal investigator”; i.e., the person who wrote the grant that funds the laboratory effort and (usually) the leader of the laboratory. Unlike Revere, I’ve only been a PI for around 8 years and an NIH-funded PI for only around two and a half years, I…

When Sylvia Browne met James Randi

Ever wonder what would happen if mendacious fake “psychic” Sylvia Browne ever met The Amazing Randi? Now you know. Sylvia just has to watch out for science.

Regular readers know that I’ve long been disturbed by the increasing infiltration of non-evidence-based “alternative” medical therapies into academic medical centers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). I’ve come across another example of how much this has occurred. This time around, it’s come in the form of a “debate” being held at 2…

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how Holocaust denier extraordinaire David Irving had gotten into some trouble with his former fellow travelers in the world of Holocaust denial. Apparently they didn’t like the fact that he now concedes that the mass slaughter of Jews “may have” occurred. Of course he still denies that Auschwitz…

I was thinking of calling this post Jenny McCarthy and Julie Deardorff: Two crappy tastes that taste crappy together, but I’ve already used that joke with Jenny McCarthy and Oprah Winfrey. Besides, Julie Deardorff isn’t nearly as famous as Oprah, although, as I’ve discussed before, she’s probably even more credulous than Oprah towards the lastest…

An LOL Cat for this blog?

Maybe this is the one. On the other hand, it may be more appropriate to the victims of Orac’s Respectful (and not-so-Respectful) Insolenceā„¢. Maybe I’m beginning to understand this LOL cat thing after all…

I can’t say I saw this one coming, but it turns out that Albus Dumbledore is gay: Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay. She made her revelation to a packed house in New York’s Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her…

Jeffrey Dahmer: “Darwin made me do it.”

I must lead a sheltered life, at least when it comes to the creationism-evolution wars. Sure, I’m more than aware about how much creationists and their more common (these days, at least) bastard offspring “intelligent design” creationists like to cherry pick, twist, and mangle data to make it seem to support their case, or, when…

The approach of the Skeptics’ Circle

Don’t forget, once again the time is fast approaching. Soon yet another installment of the Skeptics’ Circle will be upon us. In fact, it’s less than a week away and due to land at the quackometer blog on Thursday, October 25. Our host this time has achieved a fair amount of notoriety by being the…