To the blog! It’s the Orac signal!

Buried in yesterday’s post was a link to a post on the Science Business blog, which is one of the blogs of Forbes magazine that was a dangerous gratification to my ego in that it mentioned this humble blog as one of the Autism Debate Go-To Blogs. Although Matthew Harper, Associate Editor at Forbes, left out three go-to blogs about autism that probably surpass this blog (namely, Left Brain/Right Brain, Neurodiversity, and Autism News Beat), Harper did make an interesting observation about yours truly:

Respectful Insulence is written by a surgeon who goes by the nom-de-blog Orac. He blogs on this issue so often that I’m beginning he has some kind of alarm that goes off when someone, somewhere tries to point to vaccines as the primary cause of autism.


That’s right, it’s the Orac Signal! (It’s like the Bat Signal, but not quite as cool.) Not only that, but it’s programmed into my pager, too! Picture this:

The pager blared in a high-pitched whine, “Fools! Fools! Fools!” Orac looked down at its multicolored blinking light with a frown as he hit the “silence” button. “Damn!” he thought. “Somewhere someone’s spouting antivaccination nonsense! To the blog cave I must go!” As Orac raced to his palatial mansion, where his alter ego lived as a millionaire playboy surgeon, he noted the Orac signal projected onto the night time clouds, a large syringe-shaped bit of light piercing the darkness. Arriving at his estate, he ran to his library, pulled a lever hidden behind his copy of The God Delusion, and watched as a hidden panel in the wall rotated to reveal an elevator. Girding himself for the assault on his reason that would soon be coming, he stepped into the elevator and descended to the blog cave, there to do blogospheric battle with the antivaccinationists.

Hey, I kind of like it. In fact, maybe I should expand the use of the signal to warn me of quackery and antievolution nonsense as well–or whenever someone is wrong on the Internet.


  1. #1 TheProbe
    March 11, 2008

    Respectful Insulence? InsUlence? You are wll insulated from the flamers. Or, do you treat diabetes in a polite manner?

  2. #2 Patrick
    March 11, 2008

    I love it Big O… but the syringe shape is going to give the antivax crowd the willys im sure.

    Everything is treated with the degree of politeness it deserves here, from what I have seen. As long as there are no diabetic woomeisters running amok they will get the appropriate level of (in)attention/politeness. But let them start claiming that colon cleanse (or the like) can revert glucose resistant membranes and I’m sure that like the fantastic four we would see at least a brief moment of Flame-On bro!

  3. #3 NJ
    March 11, 2008

    it’s the Orac Signal!

    Oooo, ooooo! Can I be your trusty ward and sidekick?

  4. #4 Phoenix Woman
    March 11, 2008

    Hey, these guys probably think all docs are whacked-out Vicodin addicts, too.

  5. #5 Ms. Clark
    March 11, 2008

    I was just reading about Twitter yesterday. I guess a person can have “followers” and if they sign up to be your “follower” then you’ll get little messages from them on your cell phone (I don’t have one). So Orac might be able get on a the Twitter follower list of an antivaxer like Sheri Naaken or JB Nutcase and pick up on their latest nonsense, then Orac can alert all his followers to start looking at what Sheri or someone else is hammering as the latest horror … a vaccine for paranoia maybe. It’s a shame that it only takes a few seconds to generate scary nonsense but it can take hours to show how stupid what they are saying is.

    So maybe Twitter could be the new bat signal?

  6. #6 Jim
    March 11, 2008

    Hey I want in on the sidekick thing too but I will just laze about the big indoor pool (you do have one in the manse, right?)and snicker in the background (kind of like what I do now minus that pool thing).

  7. #7 Doctor Brain
    March 12, 2008

    The lever hidden behind The God Delusion!? Are you crazy? That’s the first place all those Jokers will look when their mitochondria/mercury mobs overrun your surely palatial surgeon’s mansion…better to use that copy of A Shot in the Dark that you borrowed indefinitely from the public library…

    And I feel your pain if you were to actually receive a signal every time somebody is wrong on the internet…that may be potentially more maddening than the neonatal ICU…or…it may cause you to develop features consistent with autism!


  8. #8 Inquisitive Raven
    March 12, 2008

    Um, Orac? For some reason this post kills my browser (SeaMonkey 1.1.8) and knocks it completely out of memory. I’ve managed to get this page up by stopping it before it loads completely.

  9. #9 TheProbe
    March 12, 2008

    Raven said: Um, Orac? For some reason this post kills my browser (SeaMonkey 1.1.8) and knocks it completely out of memory. I’ve managed to get this page up by stopping it before it loads completely.

    There are still some bugs in the OracSignal than need to be worked out.

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    March 12, 2008

    Behind the God Delusion is the perfect hiding spot. The Jokers will be afraid to even touch the book, afraid that just touching it will exorcise the demons infesting them and cure their psychotic delusions. Forcing them to accept the truth of reality, the truth that they can’t handle.

    They get the curative mechanism wrong, but the only cure for delusions brought about by ignorance is reliable information. The Jokers will be afraid to even enter the library. Places with large concentrations of reliable information are the scariest and most frightening of places for them.

  11. #11 Anon
    March 12, 2008

    Syringe shape?

    I was thinking something closer to EneMan’s shape. Much more the proper tool for the job.

  12. #12 mdhatter
    March 12, 2008

    Is there an audio version?

    The gong of woo?

  13. #13 AnnaM
    March 12, 2008

    You realize that if you have a signal, there must also be merchandizing of the signal. Just imagine the terror of the anti-vax nuts when the world is inundated by Orac Signal t-shirts, gloves, hats and, of course, flashlights that allow the signal to appear on any wall, any time.

  14. #14 Ian Findlay
    March 12, 2008

    But I thought that that was what “Orac” did.

  15. #15 isles
    March 23, 2008

    “The gong of woo”

    I don’t know why, but that is the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

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