Respectful Insolence

Archives for May, 2008

I realize that I’ve been very, very remiss in attending to a task that I’ve been meaning to get to since late January. There are several reasons, albeit not excuses, for why I have failed to do this task. Perhaps the most powerful impediment to my overcoming my inertia and just diving in and doing…

Sunday afternoon YouTube: David Bowie

What better thing to do than to do a little Sunday afternoon YouTube action with my all time favorite artist, David Bowie? This time, it’s one of the best songs in Bowie’s entire catalog.

A worthy recipient of a Darwin Award

Yesterday’s post sucked all the blogging life out of me for the moment, so here’s a quickie. If there’s anyone who deserves a Darwin Award, it’s this guy here: AUBURN – A man talking on a cell phone while walking Wednesday on railroad tracks was hit by a train and killed. He was the second…

Believe it or not, even I, Orac, sometimes get tired of blogging about antivaccination idiocy. Indeed, this week was just such a time. I hope you can’t blame me. After all, the last few months have been so chock-full of some of the most bizarre and annoying antics of antivaccinationists at such a frequent clip…

This is too hilarious for words. It’s priceless. It’s Chris Matthews applying a little history smackdown–I mean lesson–to an ignorant right wing talk radio host named Kevin James, who was overjoyed at President Bush’s use of the Neville Chamberlain gambit the other day and wanted to take the opportunity to throw the same gambit around…

This week was difficult. No, it wasn’t difficult because I had hit one of my periodic woo writer’s blocks that I whine about, no doubt to the occasional annoyance of my readers, even though I have one of the greatest hobbies in the world. I mean, I get to do something that I love (writing…

I hate Michigan Nazis

Jake and Elwood hated Illinois Nazis. I hate Michigan Nazis. Actually, I hate all Nazis, but I especially detest Nazis from states I’ve lived in, such as Ohio, New Jersey, and Illinois. But worst of all are Michigan Nazis, because it’s my home state, and even worse than that are Detroit Nazis, because that’s my…

Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions held about cancer among lay people is that it is one disease. We often hear non-physicians talk about “curing cancer” as though it were a single disease. Sometimes, we even hear physicians, who should know better, using the same sort of fuzzy thinking and language about “curing cancer”…

…because the author of the book that fueled the rise of the mercury militia in 2005, that indefatigable purveyor of bad science, logical fallacies and bizarre speculations, that useful idiot that antivaccinationists all know and love, is coming to the U.K next month. Yes, I’m talking about David Kirby. Credulous blogger Ginger of Adventures in…

Regular readers here are probably most familiar with the so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” therapy known as chelation therapy in the context of its use, or, more specifically, its misuse in “treating” autistic children, a misuse that has resulted in at least one death, a five-year-old autistic boy named Abubakar Tariq Nadama. However, before the…

…which Presidential candidate would make the best companion for which Doctor. I have to agree with Phil, though, in that McCain is probably too old. In the show, the Doctor’s companions are nearly always younger-appearing than the Doctor. McCain looks way older than the Doctor–and I’m talking about the Doctor’s real age.

Last week, I wrote about factors that lead to the premature adoption of surgical technologies and procedures, the “bandwagon” or “fad” effect among surgeons, if you will. By “premature,” I am referring to widespread adoption “in the trenches,” so to speak, of a procedure before good quality evidence from science and clinical trials show it…

And I thought, whatever his other faults and whatever my disagreements with his politics,, that Bill Clinton was incredibly smart. Apparently I was wrong: “You do not want to bring your children into the world where we go on with the number of children who are born with autism tripling every 20 years, and nobody…

Oh, no! Phil Plait did a great post on why vaccines do not cause autism. What’s his reward? To be invaded by antivaccinationists! I think you all know what to do. Please, go lend Phil some tactical air support, and I’ll be grateful.

Wow. I just saw something that utterly stunned me over at that house organ of the mercury militia and antivaccinationists everywhere Age of Autism. It’s an example of hypocrisy so blatant that it stuns even me, someone who’s been following the whole pseudoscientific “vaccines cause autism” movement for over three years now. It started with…

“Detoxification.” Whenever I hear that term, I’m at least 90% certain that I’m dealing with seriously unscientific woo. The reason should be obvious to longtime readers of this blog or to anyone who has followed “alternative medicine” for a while, because “detoxification” is a mainstay of “alternative” treatments and quackery for such a wide variety…

Comcast: Cap bandwith?

A while back I complained about an installation misadventure I had when I got Comcast service hooked up to my new abode. Since the misadventure was corrected, things have been generally OK, except that for a while Comcast’s digital voice phone service produced an annoying buzz for a couple of weeks that made it almost…

The ignorance and stupidity, they burn: Why, yes, actually, we did “allow” Nazi Germany to host the Olympics back in 1936. Hitler even presided over some of the ceremonies. The sign is so wrong that at first I wondered whether it was a Photoshop job, but apparently it’s legit. I realize this photo is from…

…more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like pertussis: Erik Ferry thought little of the sniffles and cough his 12-year-old daughter came down with in February. But the coughs became more frequent and violent, and the bug hung on for days, then weeks. Concerned it was more than just a cold, Ferry took his daughter to the…

Tony Zirkle, You Are Dumb…

…or so sayeth, well…YOU ARE DUMB. Bryan may be a little late in piling on, but better late than never. Zirkle, as you may recall, was the hapless candidate for the Republican nomination to run for a Congressional seat in northwest Indiana who accepted an invitation to speak at a celebration of Hitler’s 119th birthday…

Last week’s woo was pretty darned hard to top, don’t you think? It had it all, after all: Boner potentiation, penis enlargement, magnets, near infrared, and more. The only thing it lacked that would have made it absolutely perfect woo were references to pseudoscientific “vibration” or, even better, quantum theory. That’s the reason I could…

Sometimes being a skeptic can be a real bitch. And no one knows that better than the host of the latest installment of a blog carnival that has, believe it or not, been running over three years now, the ever-popular Skepbitch. She’s served up a heaping helping of the best skeptical bitching from the last…

A (kind of) new cancer research blog

Although there are a lot of medical bloggers out there, there’s always room for more good blogging, particularly if it’s related to basic and translational research. That’s why the Cancer Research UK Science Update blog is worth checking out. It’s actually been around a while as an internal blog, but now it’s “gone public,” so…

In science- and evidence-based medicine, the evaluation of surgical procedures represents a unique challenge that is qualitatively different from the challenges in medical specialties. Perhaps the most daunting of these challenges is that it is often either logistically impossible or unethical to do the gold-standard clinical trial, a double-blind, randomized placebo trial, to test the…

Geez, give a guy tenure…

…and suddenly he reveals his true stripes. Oh, well, at least the Hitler Zombie hasn’t eaten Jason’s brain, as he has so many of the others who complain about being Expelled! Yet. Thanks, Jason. I needed the laugh after the events of yesterday and today. Oh, and congratulations on getting tenure!