Respectful Insolence

Archives for August, 2008

Academic Woo Aggregator has become even more out of date. You remember my Academic Woo Aggregator, don’t you? It’s my list of medical schools and major academic medical centers in North America that have adopted what Dr. R.W. once so famously dubbed “quackademic medicine” in that they’ve created divsions, centers, or departments of “complementary and…

Best response to a journal rejection ever?

Every scientist has had manuscripts rejected by various journals, and most who submit to the really high impact journals like Nature or Science end up being rejected without review. Few, however, have the creativity or cojones to respond to such a rejection in such a creative and amusing manner. Sadly, in the medical literature, there…

Do God and prayer trump scientific medicine?

Late this afternoon, I happened to be sitting in my office perusing the websites for the latest batch of surgical journals, trying desperately to catch up on my reading, something that I, like most academic surgeons, am chronically behind in, when I happened upon the website of the Archives of Surgery. There, the lead article…

I’ve written about the ridiculousness of the Kinoki Detox Footpads before. While on the way home from work today, I happened to be listening to NPR, and–wonder of wonders!–I came across a skeptical story about the Kinoki Footpads. In the story, the reporter, Sarah Varney, took used footpads to a laboratory to have them tested.…

A South African Skeptics’ Circle?

As the guy who sort of fell into being the keeper of the original Skeptics’ Circle after its creator decided to give up blogging three years ago, I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention that I’ve been made aware of an initiative to set up a local version of the Circle based…

Back in the spring, when gas prices shot up to well over $4 a gallon in many markets, a level from which they’ve fallen back somewhat over the last month or so, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Never before in U.S. history had gasoline cost so much, and we were starting…

In complaining about the infiltration of pseudoscience in the form of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) into academic medicine, as I have many times, I’ve made the observation that three common modalities appear to function as “gateway woo, if you will, in that they are the tip of the wedge (not unlike the wedge strategy…

45 years of Doctor Who

After seeing some Doctor Who silliness yesterday, I also came across this great tribute to 45 years of Doctor Who. Since it’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and I’m again too lazy to post anything substantive until Monday, here we go again. It’s every Who story compressed into less than 8 minutes. Truly, a tour de…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: An update

It’s Sunday, which makes it a perfect time for a little blog housekeeping, especially about a feature that used to appear regularly on Fridays. As you may recall, after the death of Echo I put Your Friday Dose of Woo on hiatus for a while because I just couldn’t get myself into the appropriately light-hearted…

Doctor Who versus Eminem versus Benny Hill

Why? Because I love Doctor Who and Benny Hill (although I was never much of an Eminem fan) and because it’s funny, that’s why. Besides, it’s a beautiful Saturday, and I’m feeling too lazy to post anything substantive this morning. That’s all the reason I need.

Jenny needs me again!

I was called upon once before, and now I’m called upon again. Jenny McCarthy needs me:

I don’t know who Kent Sepkowitz is other than that he he’s an infectious disease specialist in New York and that he writes for Slate. I also know he’s written about penis enlargement, his dislike of magazines’ “best doctor” lists (a sentiment with which I can agree, actually), and that he has suggested that Americans…

The cost of antivaccinationism

We seem to have an infestation of a couple of very persistent anti-vaccinationist trolls. (It happens; every so often someone new thinks they can take me and my readers on. They’re usually pretty quickly disabused of that notion.) That infestation is why I thought now would be an opportune time to refer my readers to…

Naughty skeptics! Naughty, bad skeptics!

It looks as though at least a couple of my readers have taken to heart my suggestion that, if the pro-CAM, “no skeptics need apply” new wikipedia known as Wiki4CAM won’t allow any scientific evidence to be posted within its pages if it does not support the CAM therapy being discussed, then perhaps we should…

Vitamin C and cancer revisited

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about this topic, but, quite frankly, I didn’t think anything new was likely to come up that would interest me sufficiently to take it on again. I was almost right; it’s been well over two years since the last time I discussed the issue of whether or…

It’s that time again. Once again, the best that the skeptical blogosphere has had to offer over the last couple of weeks is on display, this time over at City of Skeptics, where you can now find The 93rd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. The dude fooled me though. With the time difference between here…

When giant turds attack…

…you’d better run for cover! Truly, you can’t make–if you’ll excuse the term–shit like this up. Let the jokes begin!

THWOMP! THWOMP! THWOMP! TWHOMP! THWOMP! TWHOMP! That’s the sound of me hitting my head against the table. Hard. What provoked this reaction in me is Medscape, specifically an article that my blog bud PalMD turned me on to. That the article, entitled HPV Vaccine Deemed Safe and Effective, Despite Reports of Adverse Events, seems to…

By this stage of the game, I’m guessing that you’re probably as tired of the 2008 Presidential race as I am. Too bad there are still nearly three months of this nonsense to go, and, although John McCain has gone deep into the stupid with ads featuring comparisons of his opponent with Paris Hilton, even…

The Borg command me to survey you

I am commanded by my Benevolent Overlords, and I answer. Seed Media Group, (the aforementioned Benevolent Overlords) are taking a reader survey. To encourage (i.e. bribe) you to participate, they’re holding a drawing among those who actually respond to the survey, with the prizes being a lot of great Apple stuff, including an iPhone 3G,…

It’s been a long time, been a long time, Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. – Led Zeppelin Not nearly long enough. – Orac Some rats never die, it would appear. You may recall last year, when I spend a considerable amount of verbiage writing about a promising cancer drug called dichloroacetate…

Look what Bora‘s doing with poor Professor Steve Steve: And what’s poor Charles Darwin got to do with it? No wonder Jason‘s looking on in bemusement–or perhaps puzzlement.

Seen and photographed on E. 44th St., about a block or two from the United Nations building:

Seen in a bookstore in the Delta terminal at LaGuardia: It makes perfect sense. What’s left after fleecing millions of gullible readers selling books about “alternative” medicine and secret cures “they” don’t want you to know about? Fleecing millions of gullible readers by selling books rife financial scams, of course. (I wonder how many pyramid…

Wiki woo?

While I was away over the weekend, a reader made me aware of a new development in the world of “alternative”–excuse me, “complementary and alternative”–medicine (a.k.a. CAM). I suppose I should have seen this coming. In retrospect, given the proliferation of wikis of seemingly every shape and for seemingly every purpose, it was inevitable that…