Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2010

One week from today in Montreal…

Well, this looks interesting. It’s the 2010 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium at McGill University in Montreal. This year, the theme is Confronting Pseudoscience: A Call to Action. A certain “friend of the blog” will be speaking with Ben Goldacre and Michael Shermer on Monday, October 18 from 5 to 7 PM on the Threat…

How to be vile

Words fail me. How anyone can be so callous beggars imagination. Yeah, sure, Jennifer Petkov ultimately apologized, but only after news of her vileness was spread far and wide around the world. Worse, it was one of those “not-pologies” where Petkov said she was sorry “if anyone was hurt” not that she was sorry for…

Over the weekend, I saw a rather fascinating post by Sullivan entitled A Sense of Civil Discourse. The reason I found it so fascinating is because what was quoted in it utterly destroyed my irony meter yet again, leaving it nothing but a molten, gooey mess still bubbling and hissing in my office. Apparently last…

Home on a lazy Sunday…

Lazy Sunday, too lazy for blogging, particularly after last week. So instead, here’s some tunage from a group I recently discovered. I’ll be back tomorrow. Yeah, that’s sort of how I feel after a couple of trips in a row.

Barbara Loe Fisher versus the flu vaccine

Around about this time last year, the nation, nay, the world, was in the throes of a frenzy about the H1N1 influenza pandemic. It was also fertile ground for skeptical blogging for two reasons. First, it was a major health-related story. Second, the mass vaccination campaigns for H1N1 that governments thew together hurriedly was a…

Last week blew by me in a blur. Because I was in full grant writing frenzy to get an R01 in the can by Friday, pretty much anything that wasn’t totally urgent got shoved aside, at least after Wednesday. Of course, it was last Wednesday that yet another mammography study was being touted as a…

Dammit! Where’s my thimerosal?

As I mentioned earlier this morning, I went to get my annual flu vaccine. It’s the least I can do to protect myself and to protect the immunosuppressed patients around me in a major cancer center. I was looking forward to cheekily asking the nurse administering the vaccine to make sure mine had thimerosal, but…

Off to get my flu vaccine…

It’s about time. My cancer center is finally offering the flu vaccine for its employees, and I’m off to go and get it. I’ll be sure to ask for extra thimerosal. Even though Jock Doubleday’s challenge seems to have disappeared, I’ll still do it in his honor. This year, I’m particularly proud of my cancer…

One of the favorite fallacious arguments favored by pseudoscientists and denialists of science is the ever infamous “science was wrong before” gambit, wherein it is argued that, because science is not perfect or because scientists are not perfect, then science is not to be trusted. We’ve seen it many times before. Indeed, we saw it…

If there’s one thing that burns me about so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) clinical trials, it’s how unethical many of them are. This is particularly true for trials that test modalities that, on the basic science grounds alone, can be dismissed as so highly implausible and with such a low prior probability of success…

Some Sunday reading for you

As I recover from the joy of deadlines, I decided to take the weekend off from blogging (new material, at least). In the meantime, here’s some good Sunday reading for you, the Cancer Research Blog Carnival. The Insolence shall return tomorrow. And there are, unfortunately, many deserving targets, not all of them woo.

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to R01 deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in September 2007 that, shockingly, as far as I can tell…

It just occurred to me that it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done this, but how about an open thread to while away the time until the NIH R01 grant application is submitted, and that gloriously irritating and outrageously beautiful not-so-Respectful Insolence that you all crave can come roaring back with a vengeance?…