Respectful Insolence

Archives for September, 2008

After all the recent blogging about John McCain’s health and whether his melanoma will recur or his left ptosis is anything other than from benign causes, probably relating to aging, you just know I couldn’t pass this story up: WASHINGTON (AP) — If John McCain is elected and goes on to win a second term,…

PETA: Even more impossible to parody than ever!

Yesterday’s post was a result of the feeling that I had been getting too snarky for too long a time without doing some serious science or medical blogging. Not that there’s anything wrong with being snarky, but a continuous diet of snark eventually gets dull–and not just to readers. However, science blogging is hard. Posts…

Calor. Or: The myth of 98.6° F?

Ever wonder how it was determined that 98.6° F is the “normal” human body temperature? Ever wonder how that number was determined and how accurate it is? The Inveterate Persiflager explains. Not surprisingly, it turns out that “normal” body temperature is more variable and less clear-cut than is commonly thought.

More than two-thirds of breast cancers make the estrogen receptor. What that means is that these tumors have the protein receptor that binds estrogen, which then activates the receptor and causes all the genes that are turned on or off by estrogen to be turned on and off. That’s how estrogen acts on normal breast…

Sarah Palin: Tina Fey nails it again

At least when it comes to politics, Saturday Night Live has been pretty funny so far this season: The resemblance is uncanny. I have to admit, also, that SNL did a pretty good job parodying the first Presidential debate, too, given that the writers and comics had only a little more than 24 hours after…

“Say hello to my little friend!”

I realize I’ve been a bit remiss in my usual monthly feature, in which I have until recently featured a photo of our blog mascot from the infamous Fleet Pharmaceuticals calendar. This year’s been the most bizarre one of all, a radical departure. One might wonder why I’ve missed August. Here’s why:

You know, I’m really, really beginning to like this Dr. Rahul Parikh guy. Yesterday, he delivered an absolutely delicious smackdown of that chief propagandist for the mercury militia and antivaccine movement, David Kirby. It was at least seven kinds of awesome, and I was truly grateful to Dr. Parikh for doing it so that I…

It figures. I know, I like to start posts with “it figures,” and maybe I do it too often, but this time it really fits. For a moment I thought I was going to have a lot of egg on my face over this, but just for a moment. Yesterday, I wrote a rather extensive…

The 96th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle lands

It’s finally here. Once again, the Skeptics’ Circle has landed at another skeptical blog, to spread the joy of reason and critical thinking hither and yon throughout the blogosphere. This time, the 96th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle is at Endcycle, and it’s another fine addition to the growing list of previous meetings. Go forth…

Less than a month ago, I got a bit perturbed by some vile rhetoric written by a left-wing blogger named Matt Stoller, who referred to John McCain as a “crazy, cancer-ridden dishonest madman.” As you recall, I administered a bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence to him. It wasn’t so much because I like John McCain. Indeed,…

Animal rights activists: Impossible to parody

I’ve written about their antics, both silly and vile, many times before. Animal rights activists in general and PETA in particular. In doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that they are so far off their rockers that they are simply impossible to parody. Just yesterday, to reinforce that point, PETA wrote an open letter…

David Kirby smacked down–and not by me!

As you may have guessed, I’m tired of David Kirby. I’ve slapped down his nonsense so many times before, but, like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going and going, spewing his pseudoscientific antivaccine nonsense, all the while asking that we really, truly believe that he isn’t “antivaccine.” He just repackages standard antivaccine tropes…

Here we go again. Tuesday night and yesterday, you probably saw it, plastered all over the media, in the newspapers, on ABC, on the radio, in press releases, and around the blogosphere. Yes, it was another bit of science by press release, with news outlets practically falling all over themselves to hype the results of…

Ask Jenny McCarthy a question!

Thanks to our “friends” at the Age of Autism, I’ve learned something interesting. I knew that antivaccinationist “mother warrior” and Indigo Child Supreme Jenny McCarthy was slated to appear tomorrow, September 24, on the television show that arguably serves as the most powerful and pervasive promoter of woo, magical thinking, and dubious health advice in…

If there is one difference that defines scientific medicine compared to “alternative medicine” it is the application of the scientific method to health claims. Science and the scientific method require transparency: transparency in methodology, transparency in results, transparency in data analysis. Because one of the most important aspects of science is the testing of new…

Mandatory reading on alternative medicine

Every blogger encounters a post that he wishe he or she had written. Here’s one such time, as Prometheus schools us on how alternative practitioners manage to be so persuasive and convincing: How they do the voodoo that they do so well – Part 1 How they do the voodoo that they do so well…

Oddly enough, I’m more tired this morning than I was on Friday. That’s the sort of thing that happens when I actually do as much work over the weekend as I often do on two typical weekdays. The reason is that I’ve suddenly found myself with an unexpected promotion, and–oh, by the way–there’s stuff that…

Fast approaching: The Skeptics’ Circle

As hard as it is to believe, it’s almost here: The 96th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, which will be appearing on Thursday, September 25. This time around, it’s set to land at Endcycle. If you’re a skeptical blogger, don’t forget to get your best stuff ready by Wednesday. Now, I’ve heard from a few…

Breathe, breathe in the air

No, it’s not Pink Floyd, but I needed surgery, I’d want these guys trying to wake me up after it was over: They don’t have to sing about it while they’re doing it, though. After I’m safely awake and in the recovery room would be fine.

When it rains, it pours (so to speak). Not wanting to be upstaged by that upstart Sarah Palin making an appearance on a piece of toast, prompting the observation that Sarah Palin is toast, the One True God has decided it is time to show who’s really the King of All Pareidolia. I have to…

Does this mean Sarah Palin is Jesus?

We’ve had Jesus, Mary, and a variety of others make their holy presence known on blessed pieces of toast. Now it looks as though we have a new sacred image: That’s right, Sarah Palin has proven her most sacred presence by appearing on a piece of toast! What more evidence do you need that her…

I know I don’t blog about pure politics much, but it’s the weekend, I’m too tired to do anything heavy-duty about medicine or science, and this depressed me. As much as I’d like to delude myself that things have changed, it turns out that they haven’t changed nearly as much as I’d like to think,…

Conscientious apathetic objection

Apparently, among some circles today is some sort of holiday. Its virus has apparently infected some of my fellow ScienceBloggers. I do not understand this holiday. I never really have. I tend to doubt that I ever will. Consequently, there’ll be no “arrrrr” here today, nor, most probably, on any future September 19. Consider me…

As a cancer surgeon, I maintain a particularly intense contempt for peddlers of cancer quackery. Although I’ve been fortunate enough not to have had to see the end results of it more than a handful of times in my career, women with bleeding, stinking, fungating tumors with widespread metastases that could have been treated if…

Yep, that about sums it up

This one’s been floating around the intertubes, at least those parts of the intertubes I frequent, for several days now at least. But it’s so good that I just can’t resist posting it myself. I had no idea John Cleese had a video podcast…