Respectful Insolence

Archives for December, 2007

Now why can’t all New Age-y pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo be like this New Age-y pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo? Yes, it’s back. Starting right around now, it’s Global Orgasm time again: WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone you know. WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction and places where…

Colloidal silver: The real Blue Man Group

People never cease to amaze me. Sometimes it’s in a good way, when a person whom I would least expect to be capable of it does something really kind or brilliant. Sometimes it’s in a bad way. One of the bad ways people never cease to amaze me is how someone can continue down a…

It occurred to me. For someone looking for last minute Christmas gifts for the credulous, perhaps the Chi Machine, which I mentioned this morning, won’t fit the bill. One thing about it is that it’s too limited in what it can do, and if I’m going to give the gift of woo for Christmas, I…

As hard as it is to believe, yet another Christmas is fast approaching. I can feel it in the blogosphere. Heck, I can feel it here on the ol’ blog. Once garrulous commenters here have gone strangely silent for the most part (at least in comparison to their usual prodigious output), and traffic has already…

Well, duh: Insured cancer patients do better

Maybe it’s unfair to proclaim this a “well, duh!” study, but its conclusions do seem rather obvious. On the other hand, it’s information that we need in a cold, hard scientific form, and I’m glad that the investigators did it: (AP) — Uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years…

As regular readers of the Skeptics’ Circle know, hosts are usually given pretty wide latitude about how they handle the presentation of the posts. This time around, host Martin Rundkvist, who’s hosted an excellent edition before (albeit with a puzzling theme), decides that a large dish brush is just the thing for the 76th Meeting…

Evidence-based medicine is not perfect. There, I’ve said it. Like anything else humans do in science or any other endeavor, evidence-based medicine (EBM) has its strengths and its weaknesses. On the whole, I consider it to be potentially vastly superior to the way that medicine was practiced in the past, bringing a systematic, scientific rigor…

Churchill or Hitler?

You can probably manage to tell a Picasso from a Monet. But can you do the same for Churchill and Hitler? Inquiring minds want to know. The website’s Swiss, and it’s written in German, but you should be able to figure it out. Just click on one of the four painting to get started and…

I used to be of the opinion that there might just be something to acupuncture. No, I never thought there was anything to the notion that acupuncture “works” by somehow rerouting the flow of a magical life force (qi) that no scientific instrument can detect and that no practitioner of acupuncture (or other practioners “healing…

The Big Pharma conspiracy is not doing its job

If you listen to what advocates of homeopathy, acupuncture, or whatever form of so-called “alternative” medicine you can think of (in reality, non-evidence-based medicine for the most part), you’d think that physicians are in the pockets of Big Pharma, hopeless slaves to its propaganda, addicted to its tchotchkes and swag. Sadly for Big Pharma, they…

Several months ago, i wrote quite a few posts about a new anticancer drug that had not yet passed through clinical trials but had demonstrated efficacy against tumors in rat models of cancer. The drug, called dichloroacetate (DCA), is a small molecule that targeted a phenomenon common in cancer cells known as the Warburg effect.…

Would it have looked something like this? And how would Thomas Jefferson have countered? (Hat tip to Spinning Clio.)

Regular readers of this blog know that I have been becoming increasingly disturbed by what I see as the infiltration of non-evidenced-based “alternative” medicine into academic medical centers. Indeed, about a month ago, I went so far as to count the number of medical schools that offer some form of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM)…

…well, not really: OK, I don’t really hate them. But it used to be that science journalists stood between scientists and the public. The scientists did research, then we asked questions and translated their dry jargon and complicated ideas into scintillating prose. Sure, there were a few scientists, like Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould and…

Does it mean you’ve arrived as a blogger…

…when another blogger refers to your linking to him by adding “-lanche” to your ‘nym? I can’t say I’ve ever had that happen to me before.

It’s been a while since I mentioned the Autism Omnibus hearings. The Omnibus proceeding is the culmination of all the legal cases brought to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by nearly 5,000 families who “feel” that their children’s autism was caused by vaccines. Many, but not all, of the plaintiffs blame the mercury in the…

It’s almost here. No, not Christmas, although that’s almost here too. what I’m talking about is the fast-approaching 76th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, which is due to land at Aardvarchaelogy on Thursday, December 20, right in time for the holidays. (And what better time to indulge in a serious dose of skepticism than in…

I have to confess, the ol’ Folder of Woo was looking a little thin this week. No, it’s not that I’m running out of topics (a.k.a. targets) for my usual Friday jaunt into the wacky world of woo. Far from it. It’s just that, in the run-up to writing this, perusing the odd stuff therein…

There’s been a bit of bad news on the vaccination front: ATLANTA – More than a million doses of a common vaccine given to babies as young as 2 months were being recalled Wednesday because of contamination risks, but the top U.S. health official said it was not a health threat. The recall is for…

Oh, no, not again. Respectful Insolenceā„¢ has been invaded over the last few days by a particularly idiotic and clueless homeopath named Sunil Sharma, who’s infested the comments of a post about how U.K. homeopaths are complaining about all of us mean skeptics who have the temerity to point out the mind-numbingly obvious about homeopathy,…

Oops, I did it again

It’s times like these that I wonder if I’ve been at this blogging thing a bit too long. I ask that question because I’ve done it again. I’ve done the same thing in 2007 that I did a year ago in 2006. I missed my own blogiversary. Yes, believe it or not, yesterday was the…

What language should ScienceBlogs conquer next?

Let’s see, the ScienceBlogs collective started out in English. Earlier this week, our German partner Hubert Burda Media soft-launched ScienceBlogs.de, a German version of the ScienceBlogging collective that you’ve come to know and love (or, in some cases, hate). Now, our benevolent (well, most of the time, anyway) overlords at the Seed Collective Mothership in…

“Academic freedom” for pseudoscience?

Readers may have noticed (or maybe they haven’t) that I haven’t commented at all on the Guillermo Gonzalez case. As you may recall, Gonzalez is an astronomer at Iowa State University, as well as advocate of “intelligent design” creationism. In May 2007, ISU denied tenure to Gonzalez. Not surprisingly, the ID movement in general and…

Cancer research blogging

How could I have been so remiss? I totally forgot to plug a new blog carnival that I really should be plugging, given my area of scientific interest. Yes, indeed, it’s a new edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival, with lots of scientific bloggy goodness to enjoy. Worse, I forgot to submit anything to…

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the cesspool that is Uncommon Descent, a.k.a. Bill Dembski’s home for wandering sycophants, toadies, and lackeys. There’s a good reason for this; I just get tired of the sheer stupidity that routinely assaults my brain every time I make the mistake of taking a look at UD’s latest…