Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2008

The woo is good again. Regular readers may have caught an undercurrent of whining in the last few installments of my little Friday feature? Whining about what? A bit of burnout. In fact, looking back at my last few installments, I now wonder whether I was starting to show signs of burnout. There I was,…

AT&T: A brief rant

I love my iPhone. I really do. However, I don’t love AT&T so much, and unfortunately the iPhone is yoked to AT&T exclusively for the foreseeable future. I used to think Sprint was bad, and indeed it was and is in many markets. During my frequent trips to Chicago I found that the service was…

I’ve lamented the infiltration of woo into academic medicine. I’ve even gone so far as to try to keep a list of all the academic medical centers in North America that have “integrative medicine” programs that credulously teach and promote non-evidence-based medicine as though it were evidence-based with my Academic Woo Aggregator. I’ve speculated that…

A loss is felt

As I wing my way back home from San Diego, I’ve had a bit of time to digest what I saw and learned at the AACR meeting. Overall, it was an above average but definitely not outstanding meeting, and I may discuss specifics more at a later time. One key theme that seems to be…

I’m not normally one to do link roundups or Instapundit-style one sentence “link and comment” posts. Sure, I do them occasionally, but I think the reason that I don’t is that to me blogging is a way to express my views, not just to point to the views at others (in other words, because I’m…

Turn off your damned phone!

I love my iPhone. I really do. There is, however, one thing I don’t like about it, a characteristic that (or so I’ve learned) the iPhone shares with many other “smart” phones, and that’s its annoying tendency to interfere with poorly shielded electronic devices. The phenomenon, known as radiofrequency interference, manifests itself as hysterical bursts…

A certain truly badly done story is making its way through the skeptical blogosphere. It’s a story that NPR did about a certain teenager who has decided that she doesn’t believe the science behind global warming and has published a website to “debunk” it. What’s bad about the story is not that a teenager decided…

Regular readers may have noticed that the usual prodigious amount of verbiage has fallen off a bit over the last few days. That’s just because I’ve been very busy and not always around a reliable Internet connection. In some ways, I almost like the way I’ve been forced to write a bit better in that…

As you may know, Ben Stein’s execrable crapfest of a movie, Expelled!: No Intelligence Allowed, slimes its way into theatres on Friday. From my perspective, the biggest, most vile lie pushed by Ben Stein and produce Mark Mathis is that it’s a direct line from their hated “Darwinism” to the Holocaust, as I’ve pointed out…

Between sessions here at the AACR meeting, I started thinking. (I realize that’s often a dangerous thing to do, but sometimes I can’t help myself.) What I was thinking about was my annual bit of “fluff with a bite,” the 2008 edition of “What is an altie?” Why, I don’t know, but I was. Then,…

Be afraid, be very afraid

So there I was, wandering through the exhibit hall at AACR when I came across the National Cancer Institute booth. The NCI has a booth at AACR and ASCO every year, and this year is no different. As I do most years, I wandered through the booth to see if there was anything that caught…

Well, I’m here in sunny San Diego and about to head on over to the convention center to check out the day’s festivities and to make sure to check out a friend’s poster this morning. (If anyone reading this is attending AACR, you might recognize me by the Plexiglass box full of multi-colored blinking lights…

I’m leaving on a jet plane…

…I don’t know when I’ll be back again. Well, actually, I do. I’ll be back Wednesday night. But as you read this I should be in the air and on my way to sunny San Diego to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. It’s a big one, too. Around 12,000-15,000…

It’s that time of year again. Actually, it’s well over a month past that time of year. Long-timers may remember that, near the very beginning of my old Blogger blog over three years ago, I did a post entitled What is an altie? It was basically a Jeff Foxworthy-like listing of “You just might be…

The cult of antivaccinationism

Whenever I’m looking at fringe scientific claims, I’m always on the lookout for things that help me conclude whether I’m looking at “legitimate” fringe ideas or pseudoscience and woo. One observation that I’ve found helpful in leading me in one direction or the other is to look for certain dead giveaways that what we’re looking…

…at Archaeoporn. And it’s a good one too, served up in a straightforward, no-nonsense style. As much as I like the sometimes wild creativity some hosts bring to hosting the Circle, there’s definitely something to be said for a well-organized, well-introduced, “just the facts, M’am” sort of presentation, and that’s what we have here. That,…

I don’t much like The Huffington Post. My dislike for The Huffington Post goes way, way back–all the way back to its very beginnings. Indeed, a mere three weeks after Arianna Huffington’s little vanity project hit the blogosphere, I noted a very disturbing trend in its content. That trend was a strong undercurrent of antivaccination…

I am presenting this without comment, other than that this message from David Kirby and Dan Olmsted was e-mailed to me yesterday evening in response to my open letter from three days ago. This is Kirby and Olmsted’s reply to me:

Here’s another case of measles associated with failure to vaccinate: Health officials in Milwaukee County are urging parents to make sure their kids are up to date with vaccinations. This comes on the heels of a confirmed case of measles in a 23 month old Franklin resident. Measles is a highly contagious airborne virus that’s…

I thought I might start developing chest pain when I read it, but to my shock NCCAM has actually funded some worthwhile research! Even more amazingly, NCCAM described it in a press release! Too bad it supports the contention that acupuncture is nothing more than placebo and that the attention given by the practitioner is…

Don’t annoy the radiologist…

…or so says #1 Dinosaur, who was buried under a blizzard of radiology reports. I tend to agree up to a point, but the only problem from my perspective is this: Until recently, it was not at all uncommon for me to get seemingly millions of copies of every radiology report for mammography, ultrasound, and…

This story, first brought to my attention by Drugmonkey, is something that I’ve been meaning to blog about since I first saw it. The reason, of course, should be obvious, given that my career is an example of the end product that the medical school described is going to be designed to produce: that of…

Fast approaching: The Skeptics’ Circle

Holy crap, time flies. In fact, it flies to fast that I actually forgot to do this when I normally do: the Friday announcement of an impending Skeptics’ Circle. This Thursday (that’s April 10, folks), the host is Archaeoporn (who, by the way, posted a really hilarious April Fools’ Day post about the upcoming Indiana…

Dear Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted: You are both journalists. I realize that neither of you at present work for the traditional press and that both of you seem to devote yourselves mainly to blogging (Mr. Olmsted at the Age of Autism and Mr. Kirby at the Huffington Post), but I have to believe that…

…at the Cancer Research Blog Carnival #8, hosted over at The Skeptical Alchemist. Just the thing to while away a Saturday afternoon!