Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2008

The Real Estate Downfall

Downfall was a great movie, arguably the greatest movie about Adolf Hitler’s final days ever made. However, it contains one scene, one incredibly powerful scene, where aides bring Hitler news that the last defenses had fallen, that the divisions that Hitler thought he had no longer existed, and that the forces that were trying to…

Say it ain’t so, Barack! Again.

I realize that I made perhaps the biggest splash I’ve made on this blog in a very, very long time when I wrote about the news reports and rumors that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was being seriously considered for a high ranking post in the new Obama Administration. Fortunately, this is not yet another post…

Yesterday, I wrote about the sad case of Motl Brody, a 12-year-old Orthodox Jew whose brain tumor had rendered him brain dead and whose parents are fighting the efforts of the hospital to disconnect him from the ventilator and to stop all the powerful cardiac drugs that are keeping his heart beating and his blood…

The things I do for my readers. I’m referring to a movie entitled The Beautiful Truth, links to whose website and trailers several of you have e-mailed to me over the last couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because the movie is only showing in New York and Los Angeles and hasn’t made it out of…

Brain death and fundamentalist religion

I realize that the title of this post might sound as though I’m equating brain death and fundamentalist religion. As tempting as it is sometimes to do so, I’m not. What I’m more interested in is a story I came across by way of ScienceBlogs Big Kahuna blogger P.Z. Myers last night, mainly because it…

Since I’ve been on the topic of the Holocaust again today in giving a victim of the Hitler Zombie a well and truly deserved taste of not-so-Respectful Insolence, before I get back to medicine and science tomorrow I can’t help but note that it’s been brought to my attention that a brand, spankin’ new Jack…

The monster says, “Arbeit macht frei

November 4, 2008 11:15 PM EST A mousy little man sat, shaking his head in his hands, limned against the wall by the flickering blue glow of a flat screen TV. On the television, a huge crowd swelled in Grant Park in Chicago. The excitement was palpable, with a constant dull roar of the crowd…

Has it really been one whole year?

One whole year of antivaccinationist lunacy, that is. Sorry, that’s one birthday I won’t be sending good wishes over. No other blog brings home the stupid when it comes to vaccines with such regularity. It’s a veritable black hole of intellect there, from which no science and reason is ever seen to escape.

Following 50 woo-ful facts: Nine woo-ful myths

I had been planning on taking on a couple of articles about breast cancer to start out the week. However, between having to deal with a tsunami of leaves before Monday, when the giant trucks come along to pick them up today and a number of other issues, I didn’t have time. As much as…

My last word on RFK, Jr…for now

Seen on the discussion boards of that other repository of antivaccinationist wingnuttery (other than The Huffington Post), Mothering.com, a commenter by the ‘nym of naupakamama exults over the possible appointment of antivaccine wingnut Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to run the Environmental Protection Agency: We could have a strong anti-vaccine voice leading the EPA! I am…

Geez, it’s getting ugly. When FOX News reports this about Palin, you know she was bad: Of course, it’s possible, even likely, that McCain campaign staffers are trying to make Palin the scapegoat for the failure of their candidate and them, but there’s abundant other evidence that Palin was pretty ignorant about a great many…

Eggplant mania for cancer

As I’ve said before many times, herbal or plant-based medicines are about the only kind of “alternative” medicine that has significant prior scientific plausibility based on what we know about science. That’s because plants often contain biologically active molecules; i.e., they often contain drugs. Of course, the problem with plant-based medicines is that they are,…

Yesterday, I wrote about a very disturbing development (disturbing, at least, to the science-based community) in the transition to an Obama Administration. That disturbing development is the multiple reports that antivaccine crank Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being seriously considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency or even the Department of the Interior. Given RFK,…

Unbelievable. It really is. It’s simply amazing that The Skeptics’ Circle has been around so long. It’s been around so long that we’re already up to the 99th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle over at Ferret’s Cage. The new generation of skepticism has landed with a great addition to the lore of the Skeptics’ Circle.…

I wrote about this study the other day, but clearly I didn’t have the final word. As usual, The Onion nails it.

One of the aspects of the Barack Obama candidacy that raised my hopes and those of so many of my fellow ScienceBloggers, as well as scientists tired of the crass politicization of science under the Bush administration, was the prospect of an Administration in which science and reason were valued and in which cranks were…

Piling on the “rain man” autism study…

…is Joseph at Autism Natural Variation. It turns out that he can’t find the correlation between precipitation levels and autism diagnoses that Waldman et al study; he too points out that urbanicity was not controlled for; and he even thinks a bit of cherry picking may have occurred. Meanwhile, Steve Novella is a bit less…

Rain man? Or: Does rainfall cause autism?

I guess Barack Obama’s mad hypnotic powers worked. One non-political thing that this election has reminded me of is that when you’ve been blogging as long as I have (nearly four years now–almost as long as a Presidential term!–assuming you’re good and have found a niche in the blogosphere, you can become one of the…

…after all, I’m not a political blogger, except occasionally and maybe once every four years. If I’m still blogging four years from now, we’ll see if I feel like morphing into a political blogger again, just for one day. However, I found this nifty little widget that does the job for me: There, you can…

I have a bit of a love-hate thing going for Keith Olbermann of MSNBC news. On the one hand, when he takes down Bill O’Reilly for defaming U.S. troops or Sarah Palin for anti-science idiocy, I have to admit, he’s effective and sometimes even amusing. However, like some others, I often find him diving too…

OK, even though I have said time and time again that I rarely do any posts that are strictly political in nature, mainly because political bloggers are a dime a dozen, great political bloggers are rare, and I don’t consider myself anything better than an at best passable political blogger. However, when politics intersects my…

As hard as it is to believe, it’s finally here. Election Day. After two years of painful, annoying, surprising, infuriating, and, on rare occasions, uplifting campaigning, it all comes down to this: Voters, alone in little booths, casting ballots that will decide which direction our nation goes for the next four years. I know that…

Once more, it’s rapidly approaching that time again. The 99th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle will be landing at Ferret’s Cage in less than three days. That means there’s still time to get your entries to the Ferret King in time to be included in the blog carnival. The cool thing is that Ferret King…

Remember the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)? It’s been a long time since I’ve written much about the AAPS, of course, but refreshing your memory will be easy. It’s the ultra-libertarian wingnut medical “association” that routinely scrapes the bottom of the barrel, as far as pseudoscience goes, as long as that pseudoscience fits…

I got this e-mail the other day, and I urge everyone who’s ever linked to Robert Lancaster’s excellent site to do as Tim Farley requests. (While you’re at it, you should consider linking to Farley’s equally useful What’s the Harm?): I’m writing you because your site is one of the top ranked sites (according to…