Respectful Insolence

I have an unfortunate announcement today.

Because the most craptastic of all broadband services, Comcast (since rebranded as Xfinity) let me down last night, going out for several hours and only deigning to start working again a couple of hours ago, there’s no blog post this morning other than this rather annoyed announcement. So, if you’re jones-ing for your daily dose of Insolence, be it Respectful or Not-So-Respectful (and my original intention for this morning was Not-So-Respectful, which is always more entertaining, although too much of it gives the haters an opening to become tone trolls and complain about how mean and nasty I supposedly am), blame Comcast/Xfinity for it. I just hope that my Internet is working this weekend when I’m trying to finish off the grant application I’m working on. I’d hate to have to abandon the comfort of my home office to go into work just because Comcast makes me do it.

In the meantime, I leave as an exercise for the reader the deconstruction of a fun little rant by Rosemary Mathis, Vice President of Victim Support, SANE VAX, INC. Proving that SANE VAX is about as big a misnomer as calling Richard Dawkins a devoted Christian, Mathis invents a new syndrome out of whole cloth that she calls the “Post-Gardasil Syndrome.” She’s even written a post about it on that über-quack site to end all über-quack site, NaturalNews.com, entitled, Post-Gardasil Syndrome – the new name for the spectrum of side effects following HPV vaccination. Basically, it’s a whole lot of speculation based on the abuse of the VAERS database and confusing correlation with causation. It’s truly an amazing work of crankitude. I just wish I had Internet access last night (or had saved the text before my Internet access went down) to do it justice.

So, my minions, do Orac a solid and let ‘er rip on this nonsensical post. Oh, and feel free to tell me your Comcast/Xfinity experiences, too. It’s gotten to the point where I’m seriously thinking of dumping Comcast, as we’ve been having outages lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours at least once or twice a week over the last month or so. Given how much money I shell out to Comcast every month, I was getting well and truly fed up.

Comments

  1. #1 palindrom
    December 9, 2011

    I’m reminded of the great, great Bob Garfield:

    http://comcastmustdie.com/

    Comcast comes within a few hundred meters of our rural abode, but we’re still on a DSL line from the local phone company, since they won’t push it those last few hundred meters. The DSL is, well, tolerable, though it fails too frequently also.

  2. #2 NewEnglandBob
    December 9, 2011

    I also have and hate Comcast. I had it in my house up north and replaced it with Verizon FIOS. Guess what? Yet another mix of problems and awful support. I have Comcast at my house down south (no FIOS here) and I am dealing with problems.

    I suspect (from what I heard from others) that going to satellite or whatever else, will just bring a new set of incompetencies, poor user interfaces and bad support.

    We, the little guy, cannot seem to win this battle.

  3. #3 Beamup
    December 9, 2011

    When I had Comcast, the cable modem went out an average of twice a day and had to be restarted 3-4 times each. Customer service asserted that this was normal so no service could be provided. Once a month or so it would be gone for several hours to a day; again they denied that any problem existed.

    FIOS has gone out once in three years (faulty junction at the pole) and was fixed within 2 hours.

    So yeah, they pretty much suck. You’ll notice that none of their ads even attempt to tell you how they’re better than FIOS – just how much better they are than old obsolete DSL. If it’s available in your area, I recommend an immediate switch.

  4. #4 Pete Cockerell
    December 9, 2011

    I’m not familiar with your blogging software, but couldn’t you have composed the piece in, say, Word or TextEdit and then just pasted it in when you got your connection back?

    Xfinity has been OK for me. They have the very ocassional outage , usually in the wee hours when I should be in bed anyway! AT&T U-verse was worse, and slower.

    – Pete

  5. #5 LW
    December 9, 2011

    I noticed that two of the four Post-Gardasil-Syndrome horror stories end with the child not getting the shot. The fourth ends like this: “Barely two hours later, she was admitted to the hospital – another victim of Post-Gardasil Syndrome suffering fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida.” Now, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that urinary tract infections, abscesses, and oral Candida do not develop in two hours. It sounds to me like that child was lucky she got the shot and her parents stopped ignoring her various symptoms.

  6. #6 palindrom
    December 9, 2011

    NewEnglandBob@2 — We had satellite for a while, before we could get DSL. It was awful. There’s a long latency — like 3-4 seconds at the very least — for your signal to get up to the satellite, down to the ground station, shipped out to the intertubes. So anything interactive is going to be painful. Download speeds were faster than a dialup modem, but MUCH slower than DSL, so it was impossible to, say, watch a YouTube video. They impose a limit as to how many bits you can grab in 24 hours, and it’s a very low limit by modern standards. It doesn’t work through heavy cloud (e.g., rain-laden storm clouds) and requires a direct line of sight to the satellite.

    That said, it is better than nothing, but it’s really not acceptable for most users.

  7. #7 Todd W.
    December 9, 2011

    Just a quick note re: Comcast. Several weeks ago, had no internet for a full day. Replaced the modem and still had spotty service, since the modem didn’t allow the ethernet cable to lock in place. Replaced with another new modem (one that locked the cable in place this time!) and still had iffy service. Updated to a newer dual-band wireless router and haven’t had any real issues thus far.

    Some of the service folks were a pain to deal with, but others were actually helpful. Pretty much the same you’d get with most large companies that have a near-monopoly in a market.

  8. #8 DaveD
    December 9, 2011

    Xfinity in my area (Massachusetts) has actually been pretty good. I hate them because they’re expensive, but the service is generally reliable. Somewhat to my surprise, their tech support has also been very good. I’d still like to go to FIOS, which would be cheaper, and although my condo is wired for FIOS, I can’t get the service. (Supposedly, there have been problems with the wireless routers, and FIOS is not doing any more installations. I’d be willing to go with ethernet cables festooning the house, frankly, but I don’t know if they’ll agree to that.)

    Main problem with Xfinity right now is that I haven’t been able to link up to the new wireless router from Linux, though I was fine using the old router.

  9. #9 Orac
    December 9, 2011

    I’m not familiar with your blogging software, but couldn’t you have composed the piece in, say, Word or TextEdit and then just pasted it in when you got your connection back?

    I normally compose in BBEdit. However, I needed to look up several links and do a bunch of Google searches if my originally planned post was going to work, and that was impossible. If I failed to do so and my memory was faulty about what some of the old links said, well, it would have been…embarrassing.

  10. #10 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2011

    While the anti-vaxxers object to all vaccines, they have a specially vehement hatred for Gardasil and the HepB vaccine. I think it has to do with the fact that these vaccines combat cancers that could develop from virii that are sexually transmitted.

    To begin with, I find much of alt med concerned with “purity” and preventing the intro-mission of foul substances into the body- toxins, contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, what-have-you- whether the route is through vaccines, food, medications, air, or water.

    There is mythification of an Arcadian past where the world and people were pure, clean, and free from the dark influences of modernity, such as medicine and science, for which they had no need : all of which they struggle to re-create through meticulously controlling what they eat, drink, or breathe, or god-help-them, *inject*. Similarly, the concept of childood innocence is deified taking it far from realistic observational data.

    So we are dealing with perhaps a primal fear. Read Mike Adams carry on about “rape” via TSA. Or other woo-meisters talking about how contaminants “build up” in the body planting the seeds of disease that will eventually blossom forth as a cancer or another serious illness. Supposedly, the DSM V will list “Orthorexia”- over-concern about “correct” eating.( Of course, Mike Adams had a conniption fit about this category.) Obsessions about eating per se are part of what I’m speaking about.

    Thus we enter the realm of religion- the wages of sin are death. And never doubt that alt med is really talking about “sin” when they lecture and scold mere mortals like us about “life-style”.

  11. #11 Rory
    December 9, 2011

    Orac, you shouldn’t be so ready to dismiss stories of post-Gardasil syndrome. I heard about a local girl who got the shot recently, and then while she was driving home, she got in a car accident. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?!

  12. #12 Edith Prickly
    December 9, 2011

    Comcast doesn’t operate in Canada so I don’t have any horror stories to share, but I had a good laugh at the Sanevax “article”. Is this typical of the quality of their arguments? One certainly doesn’t need to be a doctor or scientist to see the glaring flaws and omissions in all these tales of woe.

    Let’s take them case by case. Girl 1 is advised to get Gardasil after an unidentified “accident” at the college lab ( I’d be very interested to know what that was…) She develops paralysis in her legs after the second shot, and 4 years later 40 specialists have failed to diagnose what caused it. She also has an “extensive list of new medical conditions” which are not identified but are nonetheless the result of the wicked Gardasil shot.

    Girl 2’s adverse event seems to be getting scolded by the doctor, since she didn’t actually get the shot. Therefore, even by the low standards of this article she is not suffering from Post-Gardasil Syndrome. Also, this incident is being reported third-hand, so who knows what was really said. There is ample reason to believe it’s being spun to make the doctor look bad.

    Girl 3 was browbeaten into getting the shot by an evil public health nurses even though she had a signed waiver exempting her from it and was admitted to hospital two hours later with a spectacular constellation of unpleasant symptoms (however, no leg paralysis like Girl 1). Most of the symptoms are very general (fatigue, weakness, stomach pain), but can any of the doctors out there can advise if is it possible to develop a urinary infection severe enough to require hospitalization within that time frame? Otherwise I suspect it was pre-existing.

    Girl 4 has not been feeling “normal” for a couple of weeks so mom takes her in for a checkup. Doctor apparently does not diagnose her with anything but says she needs vaccinations. Mom doesn’t want her to get Gardasil, doctor tries to sneak it in anyway (really? See caveat re third hand reporting and spin in example 2.) Mother and daughter leave office without daughter getting the shot. So again – no shot, no syndrome!

    The rest of the article – the usual antivaxx tortured logic and hysterical frothing about children being used as guinea pigs by EEEVIL doctors and drug companies. Not worth the effort to wade through in detail.

    So how did I do? Based on her criteria, anything bad that happens to someone after they get a vaccine can be considered an “adverse event.” Actually, you don’t even need to get the vaccine to have an adverse event – just getting scolded by the doctor qualifies!

    BTW, if I wasn’t well past the age where it would do me any good, I would get Gardasil without any hesitation. It could have spared me a couple of scares in my 20s if it had been available when I was a teen.

  13. #13 Edith Prickly
    December 9, 2011

    I have a longer analysis in moderation, but the short version is I can’t believe anyone with a grain of sense would find this convincing (in other words, everyone but alties). Detailed scientific knowledge is not required to see the gaping holes in both the information presented and her conclusions about it.

  14. #14 T-reg
    December 9, 2011

    I was going into the weekend withdrawal without a healthy dose of RI. I think this will last me a couple of hours.

  15. #15 andrewD
    December 9, 2011

    You are not the only one to suffer Orac, the following link is to a rant by Charlie Stross about his ISP (Virgin Media) here in the UK.

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2011/12/mercury-retrograde.html

  16. #16 Anton P. Nym
    December 9, 2011

    I don’t know why so many people are down on DSL; I’ve had an ADSL connection for twelve years now (7Mb/s, 6.3 down and .7 up) that has been stable and reliable except when some idiot didn’t “call before you dig”. (Which is hardly the phone company’s fault.)

    And since it’s a dozen years old, there’s no bandwidth cap… moohoohaha… *chafes hands at the resulting enabling of his Netflix addiction*

    — Steve

  17. #17 peicurmudgeon
    December 9, 2011

    Then there is the information on the CDC website which tells the opposite story..

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/hpv/gardasil.html

    Of course, since everyone who works at CDC is actually paid by Big Pharma, those numbers are by default totally false. The only place to get the real information is from the anti-vaxers.

    I’m still reading forum posts from people who support Wakefield.

  18. #18 peicurmudgeon
    December 9, 2011

    I just took a minute and tabulated the components of post-Gardasil Syndrome:

    Brittany from Ohio and Camille from Quebec suffer from the following symptoms:

    peripheral neurological disorder, abnormal pupillary function and dilation, peripheral neuropathy in both legs, decreased endocrine activity and function, idiopathic epilepsy, liver function suppression, GI tract disorders, chronic Guillain-Barre-like symptoms, and hormone problems, fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida.

    Wendy’s daughter suffered from a rude doctor and lack of injection.

    There are probably more that I missed.

    What an amazing drug. Perhaps it should be further developed as a form of biological warfare.

  19. #19 Mu
    December 9, 2011

    You can’t win on internet, I switched to comcast because my phone company wasn’t dealing with my problems. Whenever it rained, the cable between the box in the street and the house failed. By the time the service guy came a couple days later, everything was dry (in NM, you rarely get sustained days of rain) and everything tested fine. At least they kept promising fiber optic service. It came – to the box in the street, no plans for the last faulty 50 ft.
    I switched the next day, and haven’t had an issue since.

  20. #20 Always Curious
    December 9, 2011

    Comcast was all levels of fail for me. I had the good luck to live the first 8 years of high speed Internet in areas exclusively handled by Comcast. I moved three times within that period & have seen a wide variety of problems. Here’s a sampling:

    The town I grew up in was an exact echo of Post #1.

    Comcast is the most expensive high speed Internet in the state and they offer speeds that are mediocre at best.

    They treat their cable modems poorly:

    **I’ve seen them THROW them onto a pile of other cable modems I’ve returned them–little wonder they don’t work reliably for the next customer.

    **Every other service in the state GIVES you a free router as part of the hook up package–Comcast rents you the cable modem.

    **If you have multiple computers to hook up, you buy the router separately.

    I would advise simply buying a cable modem if you’re going to be on Comcast for longer than a year–it’ll be cheaper & probably more reliable.

    Their tech support stinks:
    The last time that I moved, Comcast completely failed to hookup my Internet. They charged a hefty “installation fee” and I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with tech support trying to figure out which step the installation guy had skipped.

    The answer to almost every problem is: reset your router & see if that helps…

    When FIOS came to my area, I immediately switched & never looked back. I have had only 1 problem in 2.5 years that was immediately corrected (problems with Comcast start on average of 1-2 months after installation in the places I’ve lived). For their part, Comcast has run a non-stop smear & fear campaign against them (and offered a generous 10% rate reduction the first year back with Comcast–leaving it still more expensive than FIOS).

    Good luck! Sadly these are just the start of an even longer rant.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    December 9, 2011

    I have had excellent connectivity with “Comcast” but at a cost (in dollars) that is absurd, and they are truly one of the most annoying corporations I’ve ever had to interact with.

    Internet connectivity should just be part of our infrastructure, like the roads. My road is always there, never diconnects. Usually, anyway.

  22. #22 Yojimbo
    December 9, 2011

    We’ve had Comcast for the last six years (at least), and I can’t actually complain about their Internet service. We had a series of outages over a month-long stretch that was very annoying, but they tracked it down to some intermittantly faulty sub-station equipment and fixed it. No issues since. I can’t even complain about the cost since it is included in our condo dues.

    That being said, these days having Internet go out is almost akin to having the water shut off – no fun at all!

    As for the [ cough! ] Sane Vax post, I’m not convinced it is even an accurate report of the mother’s story. If it is, it would be very interesting to get another witness’ account other than the mother’s The whole thing rings hollow. It has the same tone as those “the doctor just told me to go home and die” stories.

    Sorry, I’m not going to Natural News – I don’t want his cooties getting into my computer.

  23. #23 Roadstergal
    December 9, 2011

    While the anti-vaxxers object to all vaccines, they have a specially vehement hatred for Gardasil and the HepB vaccine. I think it has to do with the fact that these vaccines combat cancers that could develop from virii that are sexually transmitted.

    I do like to continually note that although these viruses can be transmitted sexually, HepB can be transmitted in all kinds of non-sexual ways, too. It’s one of the most tenacious buggers out there when it comes to virus survival outside of the body. I posted a decent review a few RI posts ago about the HepB risks of acupuncture and ear piercing (As someone who likes her body piercings and tattoos, you bet your sweet bippy I got the shots).

    Internet – When I got married and we bought a house, I went from Comcast at my apartment to Astound at our house. No problems I can think of with Astound.

  24. #24 Beamup
    December 9, 2011

    The only folks I’ve met who get good connectivity from Comcast do it by paying the business rates.

  25. #25 lilady
    December 9, 2011

    On a dull day while having trouble with connectivity, Orac always has the option of the SaneVax website…they never disappoint.

    UTI, candiasis and now needs glasses…associated with HPV vaccines. I had a UTI 41 years ago during my first pregnancy, it was treated and I never had candiasis, I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was 15 years old…I’m myopic. And, I’ve never been diagnosed with a HPV or received the vaccine.

    I see that SaneVax is still pimping for Dr. Sin Hang Lee’s Milford Lab for pre and post HPV vaccine testing using Lee’s rDNA PCR blood test.

    I’ve had FIOS for about six years with only one outage this past summer for a few hours when a telephone pole damaged during a storm had to be replaced. About a year ago we heard some faint “beeps” coming from the large FIOS box in the basement. We spoke to Verizon and got a “friendly” representative on the phone and the name of a company that sells the large battery pack for $30. Saved ourselves $100 by do-it-yourself battery removal and replacement.

  26. #26 t_p_hamilton
    December 9, 2011

    “Post-Gardasil Syndrome”? Is that what made Michele Bachmann retarded?

  27. #27 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    December 9, 2011

    Anton P. Nym @ 15:

    If you’ve had it for 12 years, what you have is real DSL—a dedicated twisted-pair cable from a telephone substation. (I was always told that 1000 feet was the limit.) What the FTC unaccountably allows them to call “DSL” nowadays, is just piggybacked on the regular phone line, and peeled off in a little box to an ethernet cable. 1.5 mbps down, maybe half that up.

  28. #28 Composer99
    December 9, 2011

    Of the SaneVax rant, what else needs be said other than:

    Temporal correlation is not causation.
    Anecdotes are not data.

  29. #29 Landru
    December 9, 2011

    We have Comcast and I rarely have a problem–in fact, we have great connection speeds. This completely disproves the notion that you are having any broadband problems whatsoever. I suggest turning your cable modem off, then on; if that doesn’t work, reboot your computer, reinstalling the operating system if necessary (if you own an Apple product, which I’m quite certain is impossible, you’ll just have to throw it out and start over). It’s simply not possible that this alleged problem stems from anything but user error. If all else fails, try making double payments on your Comcast bill for a while.

    Also, DSL made my kid autistic. If you deny this, you’re just a shill for Big Phone. QED.

  30. #30 Beamup
    December 9, 2011

    @ Landru:

    Are you sure you don’t work for Comcast customer support? That is SO exactly what they always told me…

  31. #31 Landru
    December 9, 2011

    Nah, I work for Big Pharma.

  32. #32 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    December 9, 2011

    I suggest turning your cable modem off, then on; if that doesn’t work, reboot your computer, reinstalling the operating system if necessary (if you own an Apple product, which I’m quite certain is impossible, you’ll just have to throw it out and start over).

    Hell, I tried to sign up for one ISP that sent me a really pretty brochure with a great price offer—of the six happy users displayed in different photogravure-quality pictures in this glossy heavy-paper publication, three were using MacBook Pros and one was using an iMac. Turns out, their service would not work with a Mac at all! Good thing I found that out before I actually signed up! (This was a few years ago, I hadn’t switched to Leopard yet, and I asked if their service would still work with Tiger—that’s the only thing that saved me from a major inconvenience!)

  33. #33 Anton P. Nym
    December 9, 2011

    @ Rev. Battleaxe: I don’t think I have a dedicated twisted pair; my DSL modem plugs directly into the phone jack and I have filters on all my phones to block out the DSL carrier. (Arranging things so that the filter went on after the fax machine but before the phone in my home office took some forethought.) It was offered by Bell’s Sympatico service before it was rolled back under the Bell umbrella.

    Now they offer their Fibe service, with twice the speed, at the same price… with bandwidth restrictions. So far I’ve been able to resist.

    — Steve

  34. #34 Landru
    December 9, 2011

    “Twisted pair.” That’s one of those phrases that both my 13-year-old and I can enjoy equally.

  35. #35 Lyr
    December 9, 2011

    I have Comcast too, and I hate it. Once FIOS is available in my area, I’ll definitely be switching. I have alot of problems with my internet connection going out (even while the cable tv stays on) — someone at Comcast told me it was from power surges. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but what usually fixes the connection is to:

    1. Unplug the power source from the modem (not the power source from the wall).
    2. Wait 30 seconds (no less than 30 seconds!).
    3. Unplug the coaxial cable from the modem.
    4. Wait another 30 seconds. (Again, no less than 30 seconds.)
    5. Plug the power source back into the modem.
    6. You guessed it, wait another 30 seconds.
    7. Plug the coaxial cable back into the modem.
    8. Within one minute, the connection should be working.

    If it isn’t, then I call customer service. Good luck!

  36. #36 evilDoug
    December 9, 2011

    I am about 6000 feet from my telephone office, and get highly reliable ADSL on an ordinary telephone line, which also provides analog telephone service, at 15 megabits per second download. Most web sites can’t go that fast, but one or two that I use give very close to full potential throughput (work out to about a floppy disk per second).
    ~~~

    … suffering fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida …

    Is Mathis one of those people who believe that viruses, bacteria and fungi freely transmogrify into each other? And do it practically instantly?
    Can anyone comment on the incidence of UTIs NOT introduced via the urethra (other than along with septicemia, fistulae, etc.)? I would have thought that the probability of a UTI from a vaccine injection, even with grossly contaminated equipment, would be less than that of getting a UTI via a gunshot wound.

    I hate to go to those web sites – there is a limit to how many times I can autoclave my computers to kill the stupid.

  37. #37 Yakivegas
    December 9, 2011

    This may have been posted elsewhere on RI, but apparently Marc Stephens tried to strongarm an acutal lawyer:

    http://www.popehat.com/2011/12/07/tell-me-about-the-rabbit-marc-stephens/

  38. #38 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    December 10, 2011

    MESSAGE BEGINS——————————-

    Why have so many of a certain Reptiloid PharmaOverlord’s™ pithy missives been held up (in numerous posts I might add) for something called “moderation?” Is this normal? Cindy tells me it’s an honor. Well, I certainly hope it is . . . for your sake. Is it this Concast’s fault? Shall we distrupt them from orbit . . . to be sure?

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, I7ske93jfs
    Pharmaca of Terra, Governor General of Monekeyville, Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Dances WIth Wolves, Class VII Imperator DeLuxe

    ————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  39. #39 Orac
    December 10, 2011

    Your pardon, Great Lord. While it would be convenient to blame Comcast for having several minor outages still ongoing today, there was enough time when there was Internet access that it would have been possible to moderate. However, I was busy all day working on a grant application allowing me to help develop yet more drug treatments of breast cancer for the greater glory (and profit) of our Pharma Overlords, after which I fell into a deep sleep. I’m back, and all comments in moderation have now been released.

  40. #40 lsm
    December 10, 2011

    @31: Thanks for the link–great smackdown of Marc Stephens by an attorney. Really funny.

  41. #41 lsm
    December 10, 2011

    Sorry, I meant thanks for the link at #37. It’s late.

  42. #42 Travis
    December 10, 2011

    lsm, these smackdowns fill me will such a large amount of joy, I gleefully read them. I got the same sort of feelings when Peter Irons smacked Stuart Pivar around when he tried to sue PZ.

  43. #43 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2011

    Thanks for the link–great smackdown of Marc Stephens by an attorney. Really funny.
    One of these days when I’m feeling motivated, I need to check the raw HTML code for the Burzynski fan website where Stephens works and compare it against the HTML code for the various supposedly independent and not-astroturfed-at-all websites where grateful patients report their progress.

  44. #44 Darwy
    December 10, 2011

    I was linked the Natural News article on Facebook by a friend who’s deep into the ‘alt-woo’ crap.

    After I pointed out pretty much the same issues as #12, above – especially the lab accident. What college and which lab was that?

    It’s a gigantic leap of conjecture which could clear the Grand Canyon, carefully worded to inspire fear in anything ‘of the establishment’ so they can profit from that fear.

    Absolutely disgusting.

  45. #45 LW
    December 10, 2011

    The “lab accident” puzzled me too, but I think what they were trying to convey was not that an accident had occurred, but that the vaccine should be given just in case one might occur.

  46. #46 palindrom
    December 10, 2011

    Yakivegas@37 — That response to Marc Stephens you linked is priceless. The comments section there includes many ranking it among the greatest of all internet smackdowns.

    Five stars, worth a journey! (Or at least, worth clicking through to read it).

    This whole Stephens thing has snowballed into a HUGE Streisand effect. Ex-cellent, Smithers.

  47. #47 Darwy
    December 10, 2011

    @LW #45

    It still makes no sense; giving a HPV vaccine as a ‘just in case’ for a lab accident. A tetanus shot would make more sense – even if she was working with cervical cancer samples or whatever.

    Something’s definitely rotten there.

  48. #48 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 10, 2011

    I suppose it depends on the lab and the kinds of things the lab deals with. In a physics or chemistry lab, I can’t imagine an issue. In a medical research lab, it might make more sense.
    If they mean that in the lab there might accidentally be sex, well, that’s different from any lab I was ever in. I’d love to see the course description.

  49. #49 LW
    December 10, 2011

    “It still makes no sense; giving a HPV vaccine as a ‘just in case’ for a lab accident.”

    Oh, of course it doesn’t make sense; it was just an excuse given by an evil PharmaShill to deceive the poor child into delivering herself into their talons.

    All I meant was, there would be no lab accident to look up online.

  50. #50 Mrs. Woo
    December 10, 2011

    @mu – your drop needs replaced or your network interface (the box on the side of your house where the telephone company hooks themselves up to your internal wiring) is bad. Not sure which state you live in. In the state of Colorado where I worked for the phone company monitoring infrastructure and dispatching technicians, there was a 24 hour required maximum time to restoration without the phone company being fined if it was completely out of service, though no time requirements for “in service but lousy.”

    If you escalate to the government authority which oversees your phone company immediately after filing your next ticket, or even tell them that you ARE going to escalate to that agency as soon as you are off the phone because it is a chronic and not repaired problem, you might get faster service. One problem that you are running into is that the water dries out of the lines or the NI and the technician then can no longer isolate the trouble. The techs I worked with would replace drops like that on suspicion alone, but not everyone is the same and, just like every other industry in the world, they love to save money by ignoring problems sometimes.

    One thing you can do next time you’re out is take a phone with a modular plugin to your network interface and plug in to the plug there – if things are the same you can insist that they need to be out, and soon, because you have isolated the trouble to THEIR facilities and not your wiring.

    As far as reliability – last summer on all the hot days our “DSL” failed from an hour after sunup to two hours after sundown, daily (we are probably ten miles from the central office, and more than two miles from a crossbox, so I know we’re running through a MUX and piggybacking multiple signals on these lines). I’m grateful to have this, though, because the satellite service that Mr. Woo had at his house was terrible. Missouri has passed laws requiring local telephone company providers to have the majority of the state covered with DSL by a certain year after determining that highspeed access allowed children a competitive edge in education and possible college in their future. I’m pleased they did it and glad that there has been technology developed that allows the phone companies to offer anything better than the slow speeds of dial-up.

    I would love faster. Obviously I can’t get Comcast out in the middle of nowhere (I don’t even get cell signal in the holl’r here). I think that most end up with issues. The big thing is how they feel about their customers. I was really frustrated by the ongoing issues last year with our service and suspect that the company didn’t want to have to consider installing something for cooling, so they just sent frustrated techs back out to the same point, day after day, while giving them nothing to cool the equipment off to a temperature it could function in. I know when I need a new adapter to put in to separate voice from the DSL signal the techs at the crossbox (yes, I wait until I see one) are more reliable about providing exactly what I need and they never charge me the ten dollars the company wants if I call in (oh, and when the company ships me the wrong thing they want me to ship it back to them at my cost, pay a five dollar re-stocking fee and hope they send me the right thing in the second order).

    When USWest was USWest there was a commitment to keeping the customer happy and the PUC off our backs. I left a year after they became Qwest and am not certain where customer service went. I know that Qwest treated their employees much worse, and the worse you treat employees, the worst the customer service is that they provide. It probably is also a reason Comcast, etc., has bad customer service. It’s hard to do your job when the quotas given by the company are 160% of what the best employees could provide five years ago (have to keep downsizing and increasing quotas for max profitability, doncha know) and you end up in a constant state of written warning of dismissal for not meeting quota.

    I also suspect that the company’s reaction to complaints of poor customer service is to push harder on their employees, not to consider hiring in another 10% to reduce workloads and improve customer experience.

  51. #51 Candy
    December 10, 2011

    Love my DSL and almost never have a problem with it. Super fast. I wouldn’t do business with Comcast – don’t have cable TV and never watch TV anyway – and my DSL is through Qwest, which has been fairly decent as mega-companies go, They’ve recently been bought out by Century Link, though; so far, all seems the same, but waiting with trepidation lest they should suddenly change.

    Mrs. Woo, my experience with Qwest’s customer service has been just the opposite. Maybe it depends what call center you’re routed to; mine was in Canada. Sounds like you’re describing Verizon, a company I hate with the heat of a bazillion suns.

  52. #52 hardindr
    December 11, 2011

    Sorry to be a bother, but I posted the comment below in the wrong thread, my bad…

    Perhaps I have missed it, but has Orac posted on the recent New Yorker article about Ted Kaptchuk? http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/12/111212fa_fact_specter It features a short quote from this blog. I would be interested in hearing his take on it.

  53. #53 Pete Cockerell
    December 11, 2011

    @orac #9

    Oh, you mean you do things like verify URLs and check facts before you post? I knew there was something that separated my favorite transparent box of flashing lights from the anti-vax bloggers! (And I say this as someone who watched the very first episode of Blake’s 7 with rapt excitement as a geeky 15-year-old. Of course, it was all Zen this and Zen that in those days…)

    I hope you can get a reliable connection and continue to post frequently and at length.

  54. #54 lilady
    December 11, 2011

    @hardindr: Orac has blogged about Ted Kaptchuk…several times.

    Type “Ted Kaptchuk” in on the “Search Scienceblogs” field at the top of the green column on the right side of the RI page.

  55. #55 Chris
    December 11, 2011

    Kaptchuk has been mentioned several times on ScienceBasedMedicine, especially by Dr. Kimball Atwood. Many of the articles have “Dummy Medicine, Dummy Doctors, and a Dummy Degree” in the title.

  56. #56 hardindr
    December 11, 2011

    @lilady #54

    Yes, I know Orac has blogged about Kaptchuk several times, but I wonder what he thought about the new New Yorker article.

  57. #57 Rohan G
    December 12, 2011

    Ok, I just had to, had to comment off topic (don’t think anyone will mind) that everyone’s favourite antivaxxer, Meryl Dorey is getting serious hardcore pwnage on the Mamamia webpage: http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/woodford-folk-festival-allows-dangerous-anti-vax-woman-to-speak/

  58. #58 lilady
    December 12, 2011

    @ Roahn G.: I viewed the article and the video you linked to. I am amazed that Meryl Dorey will be given an opportunity to spread her venom at a large folk festival.

    I know there are some strong opponents of this horrible woman and her views in Australia, who are outraged at her pseudoscience and her personal attacks on parents whose children died from a vaccine-preventable disease.

    The choice of this vehemently anti-vax person to speak at a large folk festival should be publicized…hopefully the sponsors of the event will exvite her.

  59. #59 supratall
    December 12, 2011

    Orac has blogged about Ted Kaptchuk…several times.

    Type “Ted Kaptchuk” in on the “Search Scienceblogs” field at the top of the green column on the right side of the RI page.

  60. #60 african mango
    December 12, 2011

    I don’t know why so many people are down on DSL; I’ve had an ADSL connection for twelve years now (7Mb/s, 6.3 down and .7 up) that has been stable and reliable except when some idiot didn’t “call before you dig”. (Which is hardly the phone company’s fault.)

    And since it’s a dozen years old, there’s no bandwidth cap… moohoohaha… *chafes hands at the resulting enabling of his Netflix addiction*

  61. #61 Anton P. Nym
    December 12, 2011

    I believe that the comment above this one is a clone-spam of an earlier comment of mine. That, or I’m having blackouts while reposting old material under the delusion I’m a species of African fruit or something…

    — Steve

  62. #62 lilady
    December 12, 2011

    Right you are Steve…Ugh, who opened the can of Spam?

  63. #63 Prometheus
    December 12, 2011

    Hardindr (#56):

    “Yes, I know Orac has blogged about Kaptchuk several times, but I wonder what he thought about the new New Yorker article.”

    From what I can tell, the article is new but “Dr.” Kaptchuk’s views – as expressed in this article – are not. Mr. Kaptchuk (his “doctorate” is under question) believes it is ethical to administer placebos to patients outside of a research protocol (where getting a placebo is a “risk” the subjects consent to).

    The question remains: is it ethical for a physician (or other “practitioner”) to knowingly deceive a patient about the nature of the treatment they are to receive? For placebos to “work”, the patient must believe that they are receiving a “real” medical therapy. In research studies, this is addressed by telling the subjects that they might be getting a placebo but that they won’t be able to tell.

    What Mr. Kaptchuk appears to be advocating is knowingly giving patients placebo treatments (like acupuncture) and telling the they are receiving an effective therapy. It’s one thing if the “practitioner” is simple uninformed and thinks they are giving a real therapy when they are giving a placebo it is something completely different when they do it consciously. Personally, I’m not comfortable with having my physician lie to me.

    Prometheus

  64. #64 blind skydiver
    January 3, 2012

    After stumbling onto this site, I am very interested.Obviously I am blind and I can tell you that Comcast is a complete joke as far as customer service goes. Most of the companies are going to RSS feeds that screen readers cannot function. I have had to reset my modem many times just to get a signal. DSL is basically nonexistent in my part of Colorado.
    If anyone gets Comcast now, try going to 192.168.1001.1 and check the signal/noise reading.
    Worse case, hold the reset button with a paper clip for 5 seconds.
    I would like to add that the conversations are very interesting.

  65. #65 blind skydiver
    January 3, 2012

    After stumbling onto this site, I am very interested. Obviously I am blind and I can tell you that Comcast is a complete joke as far as customer service goes. Most of the companies are going to RSS feeds that screen readers cannot function. I have had to reset my modem many times just to get a signal. DSL is basically nonexistent in my part of Colorado.
    If anyone gets Comcast now, try going to 192.168.1001.1 and check the signal/noise reading. This IP will get the settings of the modem.
    Worse case, hold the reset button with a paper clip for 5 seconds.
    I would like to add that the conversations are very interesting.

  66. #66 Blind skydiver
    January 4, 2012

    I have no idea why this posted 3 times.

  67. #67 Robert S.
    March 19, 2012

    If you live in an area with decent cell coverage, take a look at 2goconnect.com It’s a fairly inexpensive way to get have a backup net connection when you need it.

    As for comcast. Their customer support, well, sucks. Reliability is decent to ok. Speed is great and they usually get it working first time. If you need speed, and reliability, pay for their phone, or business service. I have DSL horror stories, the most fun was the local phone company switching the 2 or 4 pairs with minimum crosstalk to the latest customers to order service, fubaring those who had existing service. Satellite internet is for when you are out in the middle of nowhere, and even then, I’d try HF packet radio first :)