[Note: The proprietor of the website has responded by e-mail. See Comment #37.]

Now that the unreal has become real, I was just thinking how weird it is that I’ve never actually blogged about a phenomenon that directly contributed to the election of Donald Trump. I’m referring to the phenomenon known now as “fake news.” Now, by “fake news,” I do not mean sloppy reporting. I do not mean biased reporting. I do not even mean a type of article that many crank websites publish in which a real news story (often with other news stories) is used as jumping-off point for pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. I’ve discussed more of this latter form of misinformation over the years than I care to remember. No, I’m referring to news stories that are made up out of whole cloth, either as clickbait (i.e., to make money) or for political advantage (the form that contributed to the rise of Donald Trump).

Basically, fake news sites publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation in the hopes of these articles going viral to amplify their effect. Unlike satire sites, the goal of a fake news site is not to entertain, but rather to mislead. Oddly enough, for the most part, even NaturalNews.com probably isn’t really a fake news site, unless fake news is designed as extreme distortion of the news and using a mixture of news and crank sources to promote conspiracy theories. On the other hand, maybe that’s enough. Of course, fake news exists on a continuum, as Steve Novella helpfully lays out; with fake news at the extreme. It’s that bit of ambiguity that will make it very difficult for social media outlets like Facebook to crack down on fake news. Finally, fake news does not equal “information I don’t like or that I disagree with,” but that is how the term is increasingly being used: To delegitimize mainstream news outlets reporting facts that conflict with a person’s pre-existing beliefs. I’m getting tired of this already tired trope, but it shows no sign of abating and every sign of continuing to be the preferred retort of believers in fake news stories to dismiss disconfirmatory information.

Be that as it may, believe it or not, most antivaccine blogs and sites are not fake news sites. They tend to use legitimate news articles and scientific studies to draw the wrong conclusions, or they promote bogus scientific studies designed to bolster their pseudoscientific belief that vaccines cause autism. However, antivaccinationists are very prone to fake news, and yesterday I saw a doozy of an example. The dooziest! It started on the Facebook page of an antivaccine loon, Jim Meehan:

Elsewhere, I saw an article by William Mount entitled FBI Raid on CDC HQ Atlanta – Confirmed.

Obviously, I was intrigued. If this story were true, why hadn’t I heard of it? It would, after all, be big news. Of course, believers in fake news and antivaccine pseudoscience would say that it’s because the mainstream media is covering it up or refusing to report on it, but, really, there’s now way such a raid could be kept a secret in the age of social media. Someone would have seen. Someone would have talked. Someone would have Tweeted. There would have been someone, somewhere, who revealed something, even if, as these reports claimed, the raid took place at 3 AM yesterday.

It didn’t take me long to find the source of the story on a website called WhatDoesItMean.com, allegedly by someone named Sorcha Faal, “as reported to her Western Subscribers.” It also didn’t take long to figure out that Sorcha Faal is the pseudonym of a conspiracy writer who might or might not be David Booth, owner of the website. RationalWiki notes that Faal’s stories are of such poor quality that not even fellow conspiracy theorists think much of them. There’s no doubt that the story that got Meehan and Mount all worked up, President Trump Orders FBI To Conduct Massive Raid On CDC Headquarters, is not very good, but it does reveal a pretty in-depth knowledge of some aspects of antivaccine conspiracy theories while revealing ignorance in others, and I can see how a certain type of antivaccine conspiracy theorist might find it compelling. There’s even a video:

Note the framing of the story as that of a foreign intelligence report circulating in the Kremlin and somehow leaked, complete with a disclaimer that some “words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart” added for extra faux authenticity and conspiracy:

A stunning Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that just hours after President Donald Trump and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey “warmly embraced” in the White House yesterday, FBI agents conducted a massive early morning raid on the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta, Georgia, accompanied by Doctor-Scientist William Thompson—who is one of the most feared government whistleblowers in the United States for his exposing the vaccine-to-autism link cover-up.

See what I mean? There’s no way a “massive raid” wouldn’t be noticed and reported on by someone. However, Faal, whoever he/she/it is, clearly has some familiarity with the whole “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory. It’s one that I’ve blogged about more times than I can remember; so I’ll provide the CliffsNotes version with links. The “CDC whistleblower,” as you might recall, is a psychologist named William Thompson who works for the CDC and was involved in planning and carrying out some pivotal studies that failed to find a correlation between vaccination and autism, including a 2004 study whose lead author was Frank DeStefano (henceforth referred to as DeStefano et al). Beginning in November 2013, for reasons known only to himself, Thompson somehow became chummy with Brian Hooker, someone whom I like to refer to as a biochemical engineer turned incompetent antivaccine epidemiologist because that’s exactly what he is. Not realizing that his conversations were being recorded, Thompson spoke to Hooker in several telephone calls in which, apparently racked with guilt over his role in DeStefano et al examining MMR vaccine uptake as a risk factor for autism, he unburdened himself, kvetched about his CDC colleagues, and basically accused the CDC of covering up a finding that MMR vaccination correlated with autism in African American boys. Even if one were to take that finding at face value, it actually was a study that showed that Andrew Wakefield was basically wrong in that no such correlation was found in Caucasians, male or female, African American girls, or any other racial group. That right away should have suggested to Thompson that it’s a spurious finding due to small numbers in the subgroup. It was, of course, a finding that disappeared when proper statistical correction was made for confounders.

As a result of these conversations and the data supplied to him by Thompson, Brian Hooker did an epically incompetent “reanalysis” of DeStefano et al. What this reanalysis claimed to find was that DeStefano et al had done some statistical prestidigitation to eliminate a statistically significant difference in African American males correlating with age of MMR vaccination. Of course, as I discussed at the time (as did many others), Hooker, in his love of “simplicity,” had neglected to control for important confounders and imputed way too much significance to a spurious correlation that disappeared when proper correction for confounders was made. As I’ve put it many times, simplicity in statistical analyses of epidemiological data is not a virtue. In any case, so incredibly incompetent was Hooker’s analysis that the journal actually retracted the paper. Because Thompson’s allegations appeared to confirm the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement (that the CDC knew vaccines cause autism but were hiding it from the public), the antivaccine movement has been beating this dead horse of a scandal for over 15 months now. The believers in that conspiracy theory fervently wish for the FBI or other law enforcement to raid the CDC and arrest all those whom they consider responsible for the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic.” It is their number one fantasy.

I was there to observe the birth of this conspiracy theory in August 2014, and I know it quite well. It was a very educational experience, and, unfortunately, this conspiracy theory has been going strong for two and a half years. It spawned two antivaccine “CDCTruth” demonstrations at the CDC, one in 2015 and one in 2016. It also spawned VAXXED: From Conspiracy to Catastrophe, an antivaccine propaganda movie inspired by the CDC whistleblower conspiracy theory so heavy-handed that Leni Reifenstahl, were she still alive, would have told the director Andrew Wakefield and the producer Del Bigtree to tone it down a bit. Wakefield, of course, is familiar to my readers as an icon of the antivaccine movement, the disgraced doctor who published a fraudulent case series in 1998 purporting to find an association between vaccination with the MMR vaccine and autistic enterocolitis. It was a study that launched thousands of antivaccine quacks, and it was ultimately retracted. Unfortunately, President Trump’s antivaccine views led him to meet with Andrew Wakefield in August and led Wakefield to attend the Inaugural Ball with Gary Kompothecras, the wealthy Florida chiropractor, long time big money donor to the Republican causes, and Donald Trump supporter who had arranged the meeting in the first place:

Andrew Wakefield and company at the Trump  Inaugural Ball

So, right in the first paragraph you can see Faal basically writing an antivaccine crank’s wet dream of a story: The FBI, under President Trump (whom antivaccine activists perceive as a friend), raiding the hated CDC less than three days after Trump’s inauguration, with the CDC whistleblower himself showing them the way! It’s the “happy ending” to the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement! There’s even this background:

According to this report (and as we’ve previously reported on), almost a fortnight ago, President Trump appointed anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to become the Chairman of the Golden Vaccine Safety Task Force, and whose scathing manifesto titled MERCURY & VACCINES shocked the liberal elites in America who have for decades deliberately poisoned millions of children, while at the same time, in 1986, President Clinton signed a law called the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 that eliminated any liability to pharmaceutical manufacturers for their complicity in this crime against humanity.

No, not exactly. While it’s true that Trump did meet with RFK Jr., it’s entirely unclear whether he actually appointed RFK Jr. to anything. The whole storyline could just as easily been typical RFK Jr. Self-aggrandizement.

So what exactly happened with this “raid”? The fake news knows:

Nearly immediately after President Trump appointed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head this vaccine-autism task force, this report continues, he then requested that Sally Yates become the Acting Attorney General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on 20 January when he took power—which she accepted, and then nearly immediately afterwards returned to her home city of Atlanta where she empanelled a secret Grand Jury.

Oooh. Sneaky. But that’s not all:

Raising the suspicions that Dr. Thompson was not being protected by the Obama regime, this report explains, was that right before the 2016 US presidential election that brought President Trump to power, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden blocked Dr. Thompson from testifying on scientific fraud and destruction of evidence by senior CDC officials in critical vaccine safety studies regarding the causative relationship between childhood vaccines and autism.

Immediately upon taking power on 20 January, however, this report notes, President Trump fired Dr. Tom Frieden and installed Rear Admiral Dr. Anne Schuchat as the acting head of the CDC—who along with Dr. Thompson were the only two witnesses presented on Saturday (21 January) before the Atlanta secret Grand Jury called into session by Acting Attorney General Yates.

With the massive raid conducted by the FBI on the CDC headquarters just hours ago (3:00 am US East Coast time), this report continues, it is apparent that from her secret Grand Jury proceedings, Acting Attorney General Yates was able to secure a warrant for this to happen—though this SVR reports section on this subject is more highly classified than this general report allows mentioning.

Of course, the explanation for why Thompson was not allowed to testify is much less…ominous. Basically, the lawsuit above did not name the CDC as a party, and CDC policy regarding employees testifying in such lawsuits is one of impartiality and not allowing such testimony to disrupt the duties of CDC employees. While it is true that Rear Admiral Dr. Anne Schuchat is the acting head of the CDC, it’s not true that Trump fired Frieden. He turned in his resignation, as is the custom for presidential appointees when a new President takes over. As for the claim that yates got a grand jury together, got a warrant, and arranged a large raid in such a short period of time defies belief almost as much as the claim that such a raid occurred when no other sources have reported it other than sources citing this particular story. Also, there’s the little issue that the Attorney General doesn’t need a grand jury to get a warrant. He just has to get a judge to agree that there’s sufficient probable cause for a search and then get the warrant from the judge. A grand jury comes later, to determine if there is sufficient evidence of law breaking to go to trial.

Then there’s this:

And the many (and growing) rumors that President-elect Trump made his decision to run for president due to his youngest child, Barron, having been diagnosed with autism immediately after receiving a childhood vaccine shot in late 2013, and that his wife, Melania, has vowed to file lawsuits against anyone making such a claim—but who, nevertheless, will not be moving to the White House in order to keep her child out of the “media bubble” that surrounds all US presidents and their families.

First, I’ve never seen credible evidence that Barron is autistic. My position is that, no matter how much I detest Trump, Barron is off-limits, period. Leave the kid alone. It’s tough enough for him as it is. That’s been my position. Second, the timeline doesn’t even make sense. Barron is almost 11, which means he would have been seven in 2013. That’s a bit old for the usual “vaccines caused my child’s autism” story, most of which involve toddlers. Third, as I’ve documented, Trump has been spewing antivaccine nonsense since at least December 2007. Given that Barron was born March 2006, that timeline would make more sense. Be that as it may, it’s easy to see how this paragraph also feeds into the fantasies of the antivaccine cranks. Not only is Donald Trump antivaccine like they are, but he actually decided to run for President because he experienced an event like the ones that made them antivaccine!

It goes beyond this, though. Mount actually builds on Faal’s fake news story:

So this morning President Trump ordered a raid on the CDC Headquarters in Atlanta and the Intelligence Office below the CDC Headquarters.

The penalty for purposely murdering and crippling American’s is covered in USC 18 and is 20 years in jail to death.

The arrests begin today – the Tribunals (Trials) of these “Paid Terrorists” will begin in late March. They may be televised or they may be very quiet.

So not only was there a raid that no one heard of, but all the “paid terrorists” at the CDC will be put on trial, possibly in secret. It’s a lovely story, if you’re an antivaccinationist. Hilariously, Mount called the CDC and said that a receptionist told him that “they are not allowed to talk about the raid.” The comments after Meehan’s post are almost all credulous, along the lines of “Way to go!” Meanwhile everywhere I’ve seen this story, it’s admitted that the report is “unconfirmed,” but clearly everyone wants to believe it. That’s the key to an effective fake news story. It has to be something a certain population wants to believe. Indeed, on one page, one of the commenters even describes the “What Does it Mean?” website as ” sponsored and fed info by Russian intel that knows things the MSM does not- and of course it’s biased to meet Russia’s objectives if their intel services are indeed behind it.”

In fairness, not everyone’s buying it, though, at least not on Dr. Mount’s page. The reason? Mount shamelessly uses the story to sell his products. One of his commenters even says (quite accurately) that Mount is “playing with vaccine parents emotions to sell his product at the end.” Also in fairness, this fake news story hasn’t (yet) gone viral. Only a few sites have picked it up, although it is starting to get traction on Twitter. Will this fake news go any further? Who knows? It might not, because it makes the mistake of stating that something definitely happened at a specific time at a specific place. If another day goes by (or two), even the most die-hard believer is likely to start to question this. A better story would have been to say that a grand jury had been empaneled and was going to call, say, William Thompson to testify. Now that one could have had legs, because there’s no way to disprove it.

Fake news has obviously become an enormous problem. The example I chose, mainly because I found it interesting, is but a grain of sand on the beach of fake news, but it shows the anatomy of a fake news story. It’s sensational. It appeals to conspiracy theories. And it is something that a large number of people really, really want to believe, as believers in the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement want to believe that their prayers have finally been answered and justice (in their eyes) is being done to the hated CDC. It doesn’t matter that the cracks in the plausibility of the story are obvious. This one had all the hallmarks of an appealing fake news story for antivaxers. Unfortunately, there will be more, many more. There are always more.

Comments

  1. #1 nick
    January 28, 2017

    andy
    think e e cummings. spread woo but think hard about spreading some slappy, as well

  2. #2 Chris
    January 28, 2017

    Andy Jones: “Free cookie to the first person who makes a cogent post.”

    You first.

  3. #3 Chris
    January 28, 2017

    nick, you are no e e cummings. At least his poetry made sense, you do not.

  4. #4 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    i called the Atlanta fbi no comment. i called the cdc wouldnt comment directed me here. i called nbc Atlanta said had no information. all this happened yesterday. found it curios cdc would not issue flat denial. this place is heavily trolled by pro pharma

  5. #5 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    chris

    my poetry is above fair. some would say excellent. now back to logic. please show hard proof not soft science

  6. #6 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 28, 2017

    @nick:

    [I] found it curios cdc would not issue flat denial.

    Maybe, just maybe, the CDC has better things to do than refute obviously nonsensical claims.

  7. #7 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 28, 2017

    my poetry is above fair. some would say excellent.

    A pity we can’t say the same thing about your grammar.

  8. #8 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    cdc would not. very curios. also they spent a lot of time on phone with me directed me to snopes also here. snopes is no gold standard. also julian the cdc information line is for information on the cdc. see we pay for them they answer to us. public service. fact checking involves actually checking the claims (facts) of the article. also cdc call center not physically attached to cdc atlanta. undisclosed location.

  9. #9 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    is that east rand as in boer country?

  10. #10 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    chris

    we went over this : name calling not equal argument. talking down not equal superiority in argument or intelligence. i know i hurt your feelings but intelligent discourse requires intelligence and discourse. by definition.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    January 28, 2017

    Why do you keep saying “undisclosed location” like it is something sinister.

    Also, I agree that the CDC doesn’t have the time or patience to respond to every whackjob who calls them about unfounded conspiracy theories.

  12. #12 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 28, 2017

    1) No. That’s East Rand as in to the East of Joburg.
    2) The CDC is under no obligation to entertain nonsensical claims. That’s a waste of resources.
    3) Do you not know how to use capital letters?

  13. #13 Lawrence
    January 28, 2017

    He also appears to not understand proper grammar or punctuation, either.

  14. #14 Lawrence
    January 28, 2017

    Which is merely an observation, based on available evidence – not an insult.

  15. #15 Dangerous Bacon
    January 28, 2017

    “cdc would not. very curios. also they spent a lot of time on phone with me”

    Well of course – how else are they supposed to trace the call?

  16. #16 Orac
    January 28, 2017

    Amusingly, Jim Meehan called me out on his Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/docmeehan/posts/10211621240863933

    I showed up to call him out for his hypocrisy on calling me a coward for not confronting him directly by doing exactly the same thing as he accused me of by posting his rant on his FB page. I tried to be lighthearted about it at first. I posted a “Come at me bro” meme just to let him know I was aware. He rapidly started throwing insults, including a homophobic slur and then a slur against me wife. Eventually, he challenged me to a debate, after which he apparently immediately blocked me from his page so that I can see what he’s posting but can’t. I decided after that that he wasn’t worth even the little time I spent having a bit of fun poking holes in his hypocrisy. 🙂

  17. #17 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    the cdc spokeswoman told me when i asked her if she could refute the claims of fbi raid personally she was at an undisclosed location . i think it is a relevant fact . the cdc is under an obligation to answer questions. they are not royal nor do they have a royal prerogative. there was a story, which at first blush looked like it might have some merit. not to repeat myself but i decided to check with them to see if they would confirm or deny. curios you would be interested in a story about the cdc. not south African. this might also explain your unfamiliarity with citizen vs subject and concepts of liberty. go all blacks

  18. #18 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    If nick’s conversational skills are the same as his writing skills, i.e. the way he expresses himself, could you imagine the conversation with the CDC call centre? 🙂

  19. #19 Orac
    January 28, 2017

    Oh, yeah. I pity the poor receptionist answering his phone call. 🙂

  20. #20 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    dangerous bacon

    you check stories by checking sources. i have called many institutions got in tangles with state and local gov. usually when you call their information agent they give you information directly they do not send you to non government related web sites. ex; when i called the fbi they would not comment but suggested i call the cdc.

  21. #21 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    Orac,

    As someone without a Facebook account, I can’t read Meehan’s rant. Is there any chance you could copy/paste the posting? Would that violate any TOS of Facebook?

  22. #22 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    “Hello NASA, this is nick. Could you please confirm or deny that aliens were found at Area 51? Since you are a government agency you OWE me an answer!”

  23. #23 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 28, 2017

    the cdc is under an obligation to answer questions.

    Um, no actually. The CDC, and for that matter, all other government departments, are under no obligation to answer idiotic conspiracy theorists.

    curios you would be interested in a story about the cdc. not south African.

    Actually, I’m interested in Orac’s blogging. I’ve been a reader of his for just a few days shy of six years.

    go all blacks

    The All Blacks are not currently playing any matches. Alos, they are the National Rugby team of New Zealand, not South Africa.

  24. #24 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    why denigrate? what are you afraid of? orac why didnt you make these calls? why conflate a story about a raid with anti vaxxer rhetoric. there hasnt been real oversight of the cdc in a long time and some of us are interested in what goes on there. i would be just as curios about a raid on ice fda etc

  25. #25 Orac
    January 28, 2017

    Oh, wait. Now Meehan appears to have changed the settings of the post or taken it down. I can’t see it any more. All I can see now is this:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211622467014586

  26. #26 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    springboks suck. hence go all blacks. the reason they have call lines is so we can call them. otherwise we would be living in a dictator ship. again subject vs citizen

  27. #27 doug
    January 28, 2017

    Chris,

    I suspect you’ve already seen it, but just in case – the last doc at
    http://refbooks.msf.org/msf_docs/en/MSFdocMenu_en.htm
    may have some bits of interest to you.

  28. #28 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    nasa might answer a phone call. what is the harm again why so mean? they may say no comment like the fbi. when your boss calls do you answer? i know you guys try to brow beat. what are you hiding? why the small mindedness of a school marm?

  29. #29 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    That Facebook comment from Meehan is sickening. That’s professional conduct from a supposed MD?

    Do the patients of these a-holes ever see the vitriolic nonsense their doctors post? I would seriously question the competence of any medical care practitioner who engaged in such immature, juvenile, bitter decorum. I get it: he’s butt hurt. He started it with this entire fake raid story.

  30. #30 doug
    January 28, 2017

    “dictator ship”

    I’m more concerned about the one down at the quay
    Und ein Schiff mit acht Segeln
    Und mit fünfzig Kanonen
    Wird liegen am Kai.

  31. #31 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    once again: calling a source to confirm or deny information is how you ascertain truth. fact checking. ex: local library catches fire. one might call/visit library. failing that one might call fire dept. seems reasonable until facts are established there is no event to constitute conspiracy.also who conspired? seems one person wrote an article. acting alone. single.

  32. #32 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    nick boobie,* let it go already.The raid story was on a website that admits it posts fake information. Case closed. Nothing to confirm. Go back to 9/11 conspiracies or Sandy Hook nonsense.

    *I recently saw Die Hard again. My tribute to Alan Richman.

  33. #33 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    you all retired English teachers? miss the red pencil? the power to wreck childrens lives over space bars and capitols?

  34. #34 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    Doh. Rickman.

  35. #35 JP
    January 28, 2017

    Archaeology: the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.

    The word you’re looking for is paleontology.

    over space bars and capitols

    Indeed, the capitol city is about to wreck many lives. Perhaps I shall go to a space bar and drink about it

  36. #36 doug
    January 28, 2017

    It’s who’s in the capitol that is scary.

  37. #37 JP
    January 28, 2017

    Damn you, blockquote!

  38. #38 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    My favourite space bar was the cantina in Star Wars.

  39. #39 doug
    January 28, 2017

    Perhaps I shall go to a space bar

    The Postorbital Bar is popular with astronauts, vertebrate anatomists and developmental biologists.

    You could sip Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

  40. #40 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    jp

    Cambridge dictionary definition 13 archaeology study of ancient things. literal translation from ancient Greek. some words have multiple definitions. small people criticize grammar on a blog usually the last resort of the baffled ( w apologies to Asimov)

  41. #41 JP
    January 28, 2017

    Yes, and perhaps now you could look up “ancient.” Hint: it is not the same as “prehistoric.”

  42. #42 JP
    January 28, 2017

    Paleontology is a branch of biology, and archaeology is a branch of anthropology. Trust me, I’ve worked for an archaeologist.

    I just felt like pointing out more of the fail.

  43. #43 Woo Fighter
    January 28, 2017

    Yes, I can confirm that archaeology is strictly concerned with people. Ancient civilizations, yes, but human beings.

    I was going to ignore nick’s error upthread, but since others have latched on to it, I figured I’d throw in my two cents.

    Unlike what nick probably believe, The Flintstones was not a documentary. Humans and dinosaurs never co-existed.

  44. #44 Narad
    January 28, 2017

    you seem to have the same same look on your face that my diffy q professor had when i would solve problems in my head.

    Okey-dokey:

    \displaystyle \frac{\partial^2 q(x,t)}{\partial t^2} = c^2 \frac{\partial^2 q(x,t)}{\partial x^2}\,.

    Pretty well known for its easiness.

  45. #45 Narad
    January 28, 2017

    Chris, don’t be condescending to by friend Nick.

    Do you share an IP address, or is this more of a Hunt–Paxton “during storm season” kind of thing?

  46. #46 Chris
    January 28, 2017

    Narad: “Pretty well known for its easiness.”

    Yeah, proof he is a troll. Especially since he does not understand the term “standard deviation.”

  47. #47 Gilbert
    January 28, 2017

    Especially since he does not understand the term “standard deviation.”

    I fail to see what ‘standard deviation’ has to do with a wave equation in one spatial dimension.

  48. #48 sadmar
    January 28, 2017

    When Orac described Meehan as an antivax loon, I thought he meant someone like RFKJ, who’s just off the rails on autism. But I looked at Meehan’s Facebook… Dude couldn’t find ANY set of rails in the real world. He posted Ben Swann’s ‘expose’ of Pizzagate this morning. Which makes me think there’s an upside to guys like Meehan spreading the fake news that the FBI raided the CDC as if it was a real thing. It might lead crazies to think there’s no longer a need for them to sneak inside the CDC and demand the release of the Truth at gunpoint.f

  49. #49 Narad
    January 28, 2017

    Irony alert:

    why the small mindedness of a school marm?

    and

    miss the red pencil?

    meet

    literal translation from ancient Greek.

    Of course, one hallmark of schoolmarmishness is bolstering usage based on faulty etymology.

  50. #50 nick
    stl
    January 28, 2017

    45

    wave equation. got me yet?

  51. #51 kidoctr
    United States
    January 28, 2017

    @ORAC – JM deleted his post from his timeline and all the responses (he claims FB did it). For anyone interested (@Woo Fighter), here are the screenshots that were deleted:

    https://kidoctr.smugmug.com/My-job-as-a-pediatrician/ORAC-VS-MEEHAN/i-6KjGSLR/A

  52. #52 nick
    January 28, 2017

    narad i closed the window on that dont know how to make blue thing. roped in w toothache but ive almost solved the puzzle
    chris the standard of deviation thing is still holding you up
    ( hint signa squared not = to (sigma) squared )
    jp are we going to begin with fire water earth and wind. aerchelea or somesuch is ancient greek it is spelled in ancient greek its pronunciation lost thru the strands of time predates a differential between biology and geology etc. the example is what hit home change dinousare bone to unique pottery shard
    school marms

  53. #53 Dangerous Bacon
    January 28, 2017

    I keep reading Sorcha Faal as Such A Fail.

    And I need a new irony meter after reading Meehan’s spittle-flecked, 7th grade insult-infused rants against this blog, accompanied by a protest that Orac is orchestrating “a campaign of hate, ugliness, and personal attacks.” 🙂

    The guy even resembles Mike Adams, which is not a good thing.

  54. #54 Hugh Robertson
    January 28, 2017

    Well Narad, that would depend of what the function q(x,t) is now wouldn’t it?

    Pretty easy to take a double partial derivative of most functions.

  55. #55 Hugh Robertson
    January 28, 2017

    ( hint signa squared not = to (sigma) squared )

    Oh god. Hey Nick, did you mean σ²?

    You can copy-paste that if you need to.

  56. #56 BE Patienz
    January 28, 2017

    That young nick can claim that he could impress his math professor doesn’t suggest (or prove!) any knowledge of the genetics, developmental biology, or epidemiology of ASD. To quote our fearful leader: “Sad!”

  57. #57 Hugh Robertson
    January 28, 2017

    And I need a new irony meter after reading Meehan’s spittle-flecked, 7th grade insult-infused rants against this blog, accompanied by a protest that Orac is orchestrating “a campaign of hate, ugliness, and personal attacks.”

    Are you angry that he went down to your level?

    Half of the comments here are trailer-park playground 7ᵗʰ grade bully shit.

    The problem with this blog isn’t so much ORAC, but with the army of asshole propagandists like yourself with their own agenda.

  58. #58 shay simmons
    January 28, 2017

    Perhaps I shall go to a space bar

    Watch out for bounty hunters.

  59. #59 Narad
    January 28, 2017

    45

    wave equation. got me yet?

    Quite, but not in the sense that you presumably intended here.

  60. #60 Chris
    January 29, 2017

    Mr. Robertson: “Oh god. Hey Nick,.”

    Yeah, it was still cut and paste gibberish.

    “wave equation. got me yet?”

    So is a simple high school level trig function.

    Do not feed the troll.

  61. #61 Narad
    January 29, 2017

    Do not feed the troll.

    You have no claim on exclusivity, madam.

  62. #62 nick
    stl
    January 29, 2017

    the solution to 45 is any wave cos sin etc although i thought there was a minus on rhs, usually the x is space and the t is time the c is the wave propagation speed . if this equation is false the function is not a wave

    gilbert unrelated topic
    bp math is a tool of hard science. there is no such thing as science by consensus
    chris are you on a team?

  63. #63 Narad
    January 29, 2017

    the solution to 45 is any wave cos sin etc although i thought there was a minus on rhs, usually the x is space and the t is time the c is the wave propagation speed . if this equation is false the function is not a wave

    You should have quit while you were behind.

  64. #64 Narad
    January 29, 2017

    Well Narad, that would depend of what the function q(x,t) is now wouldn’t it?

    No, Andy Jones Hugh Robertson Other Chris Fucklesworth.

  65. #65 Narad
    January 29, 2017

    aerchelea or somesuch is ancient greek it is spelled in ancient greek its pronunciation lost thru the strands of time

    It wasn’t a bad run, but the engine is losing steam fast.

  66. #66 herr doktor bimler
    January 29, 2017

    You have no claim on exclusivity

    Unless Chris is a fermion.

  67. #67 Chris Hickie
    January 29, 2017

    Meehan, not surprisingly, endorses Fakefield’s fakumentary Vaxxed –https://youtu.be/O0SCHhMCC-U .

  68. #68 piled higher and deeper
    New Yawk
    January 29, 2017

    This is a truly bizarre conversation. You have someone who actually tried to fact check with a federal agency, all of which have public information offices by the way, reports on it, yet gets trolled to death by jackoffs who all of a sudden post scientific formulas. Distraction and diversion tactics by people who don’t really have a counterargument except to tell nick he’s stupid for using all lower case. Scientists, all of you trolls? Doubt it.

    • #69 Jay
      January 29, 2017

      Yo Piled, you missed the bit where the author of the original story admitted making it up.

      No need to go ringing the CDC lol.

      The formula came after he boasted of his math genius, likening us to his professor who had been baffled by his awesome.

      You point me out nick’s argument and I’ll point it’s counter.

      Then you may apologise for your snap judgment 🙂

  69. #70 Chris
    January 29, 2017

    Narad: “You have no claim on exclusivity, madam”

    :-p

  70. #71 nick
    stl
    January 29, 2017

    there is a gag order on the cdc epa. hence undisclosed location call cdc etc. there is no way to confirm this. my math skills are irrelevant. i lost my poise. that is the power of trolling. the gag order explains this . this site is disinformation . the comments is to reinforce the message and discourage counter “narratves”. the first story cdc raided by fbi was a subtle attempt to bring this policy ( gag order ) to light. he could have put out any information, its is unverifiable (gag order).
    orac runs a disinfo team. narad is one of his aces. disinfo is a big business . look at the lengths to which these types go. name calling , grammar police, spelling police etc. poisoning the well, straw man, subtly re-arraing the layout of the comment section, i was blindly probing for more info.

  71. #72 Chris
    January 29, 2017

    Exactly, Jay. All I saw from that particular troll was gibberish.

  72. #73 nick
    stl
    January 29, 2017

    piled higher and deeper thank you.

  73. #74 Lawrence
    January 29, 2017

    So, you’re blaming Trump now?

    Too funny.

    Seriously, all you had to do read the website, where they admit they make everything up.

  74. #75 herr doktor bimler
    January 29, 2017

    orac runs a disinfo team. narad is one of his aces

    Dibs on being the Joker.

  75. #76 brian
    January 29, 2017

    there is a gag order on the cdc epa. hence undisclosed location call cdc etc. there is no way to confirm this.

    I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,
    You could cut ties with all the lies, that you’ve been living in
    . . . The angry boy, a bit too insane,
    Icing over a secret pain,
    You know you don’t belong,

  76. #77 Chris Preston
    Australia
    January 29, 2017

    orac runs a disinfo team. narad is one of his aces

    Dibs on being the Joker.

    Not sure if nick is the 7 of Hearts or the 5 of Diamonds, but he definitely headed in the direction of the 7 of Spades.

  77. #78 doug
    January 29, 2017

    Just how does one determine that there is a gag order against disclosure that an event occurred? There is a serious Catch 22 there, along with issue about portals of the dwellings of departed equines.

  78. #79 herr doktor bimler
    January 29, 2017

    how does one determine that there is a gag order against disclosure

    If people won’t tell you what you want to hear, it must have been that they were gagged.

  79. #80 nick
    stl
    January 29, 2017

    cp
    seven of hearts.

  80. #81 doug
    January 29, 2017

    Given his attitude and desperate need to constantly tweet about how s-m-r-t he is and what stuff he does bigly and how he’s setting everything right and putting the elite in their place and America first and drain the swamp, and look at ME! look at ME! look at ME!, and … I find it extraordinarily unlikely that the Idiot in Chief wouldn’t have announced any raid himself.

    The CDC’s extensive Contact Us page, with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30329 USA as the very first line that isn’t a heading kind of blows the idea of undisclosed location. The whole purpose of the CDC is to collect, analyze and disseminate useful information. It’s hard to do that if you’re incommunicado.

  81. #82 Chris
    January 29, 2017

    Yeah, it is a big conspiracy. Everyone knows federal employees are always obedient and keep secrets.

    Except when they don’t:
    https://twitter.com/Alt_CDC/with_replies
    and
    https://twitter.com/alt_fda/with_replies

    Oddly, the rogue twitter names for the medical are “alt_” and not “rogue.” Well, actually opting for “alternative” is a cheeky bit just for irony.

  82. #83 doug
    January 29, 2017

    nick thinks Orac runs the show. That’s so cute. Wait til he finds out about Lord D.Z.

  83. #84 Chris
    January 29, 2017

    I got a notice that my library has a copy the documentary Merchants of Doubt for me to pick up.

    Oddly, it took a while for the library to buy the DVDs for their patrons. I was just about to send a acquisition request, but discovered other had already put a few in.

    Apparently others, like me, noticed something about “fake news” last year.

  84. #85 Chris Preston
    January 30, 2017

    seven of hearts.

    Fantasy and confusion it is. Couldn’t have guessed.

    there is a gag order on the cdc epa. hence undisclosed location call cdc etc. there is no way to confirm this.

    How convenient for there to be no way to confirm a conspiracy theory.

    the first story cdc raided by fbi was a subtle attempt to bring this policy ( gag order ) to light.

    Don’t mind that noise you can hear. It is the world laughing at you.

  85. #86 Chris
    January 30, 2017

    Chris Preston: “Don’t mind that noise you can hear. It is the world laughing at you.”

    Especially from this former structural loads and vibration engineer.

  86. #87 Poincaré
    January 30, 2017

    Wow. I wonder how man anti-vaxxers spewed their load when they saw this fake story.

    How to give an anti-vaxxer an orgasm: tell them that Trump put Paul Offit in solitary confinement where he has to eat oatmeal and noodles with a spork.

    Just photoshop FBI guys in next to Offit for the header! Easy.

  87. #88 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    Especially from this former structural loads and vibration engineer.

    Really? I used to make erection drawings. Awesome.

  88. #89 Dangerous Bacon
    January 30, 2017

    “…subtly re-arraing the layout of the comment section”

    The fiends! Is there no limit to the perfidy of the disinfo team?

  89. #90 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    Here is an erection drawing of a footbridge that I drew: http://www.straus7.com/romaro07/cr08.jpg

  90. #91 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    Another erection drawing, my favourite: http://i.imgur.com/dDebAoF.jpg

  91. #92 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    Hey Nick, you should send me an email at hanksienzant@gmail.com.

  92. #93 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    That wave equation has an infinite number of solutions. Even a first order differential equation generally has an infinite number of solutions.

    Nick is correct. The solutions are invariably functions of sin(x,t) or cos(x,t).

  93. #94 Iggy McQuiggles
    January 30, 2017

    Chris said:

    Especially from this former structural loads and vibration engineer.

    Vibration engineer? Let me guess, a dildo engineer? You were the one who solicited the cast models from bath houses?

    Just a guess, based on your personality. You seem like someone who likes penises.

    Everything about you just screams “penis”. From…

    So…so…tell me how many vaccines on the pediatric schedule have thimerosal.

    …to your uber annoying and half-retarded “Rawhide” parody:

    Trolin’ Trolin’ Trolin’

  94. #95 gaist
    January 30, 2017

    It’s as if Fendlesfroth stopped even trying.

    • #96 Orac
      January 30, 2017

      Indeed. All I had to do was to wait. He just can’t help himself.

      Third Fendelsworth sock eliminated. Let’s see if there are more that managed to sneak in.

  95. #97 Niels
    January 30, 2017

    Whatever Gayst.

    It’s true that I have been putting less effort into my posts, simply because it’s no use arguing with you propagandists.

    There is no debate without a fair moderator. Just sophistry and insults.

  96. #98 Jay
    January 30, 2017

    But Fendle, you are the one who starts with the insults and you only get sophistry when you ignore the science based arguments.

    You are the cause of your own problems here!

  97. #99 Niels
    January 30, 2017

    No way.

    I started off arguing fairly and politely; by the rules.

    Just like many people.

    Then the psychopathic bullying started from you αssholes. Narad, Dangerous Bacon, and Helianthus are the worst.

    Science Mom and Chris were pretty awful as well.

    It’s like: you are paid to discourage ideas. You abuse people with certain points of view.

    Look what happened to Nick on the other page! Totally unfair!

    • #100 Jay
      January 30, 2017

      That’s just not true, I have argued against the minions myself and received minimal snark. The problem is with you.

  98. #101 Jay
    January 30, 2017

    And what happened to nick, is totally fair.

    Bear in mind that the garbage you people concoct can end up killing people!

    BTW how old are you?

  99. #102 Niels
    January 30, 2017

    I am not the only one. I can honestly say that “piled higher and deeper” was not me. He said:

    This is a truly bizarre conversation. You have someone who actually tried to fact check with a federal agency, all of which have public information offices by the way, reports on it, yet gets trolled to death by jackoffs who all of a sudden post scientific formulas. Distraction and diversion tactics by people who don’t really have a counterargument except to tell nick he’s stupid for using all lower case. Scientists, all of you trolls? Doubt it.

    You see. I am not alone. Many people over the months have expressed the same sentiments that I have.

    Perhaps you are different and see things differently, but I am not totally unique with my perceptions.

  100. #103 doug
    January 30, 2017

    go away fuckelsworths

  101. #104 Orac
    January 30, 2017

    Third Fendelsworth sock eliminated. I suspect there are more.

  102. #105 Jay
    January 30, 2017

    Dude, there.is a high probability “piled deeper” was just nick under an alias….

  103. #106 Dangerous Bacon
    January 30, 2017

    “Narad, Dangerous Bacon, and Helianthus are the worst.”

    It’s about time I got some recognition.

    An account bulging with $hillBuck$ is nice, but doesn’t entirely satisfy the craving for public affirmation.

  104. #107 Narad
    January 30, 2017

    It’s as if Fendlesfroth stopped even trying.

    The sad part is that Travis does eventually resort to leaving explicit tells, but Unicode didn’t cooperate here, so the result is just brain-dead:*

    Half of the comments here are trailer-park playground 7ᵗʰ grade bully shit.

    This was also painfully fail-loaded:

    Pretty easy to take a double partial derivative of most functions.

    * As is Unicode, but that’s beside the point.

  105. #108 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 30, 2017

    Science Mom and Chris were pretty awful as well.

    Oh boo hoo you little shiteweasel. You don’t get to play the victim card when you go out of your way to leave your filth on my blog. Don’t be a douche if you don’t want people to be “awful” to you. Even my ten year-old gets that.

  106. #109 sadmar
    January 30, 2017

    hdb: “Dibs on being the Joker”

    You’re in luck, since there are two Jokers in the deck. I got the first one back at #171 when ‘nick’ told me I was a cheerleader with “a job to do for pharma”. But you, sir, are a most excellent Joker – welcome to the pack o’ cards. Too bad there aren’t three Joker so we could get Mark Thorson in. he’ll have to settle for first alternate, but I could die at any minute if this Trump stump keeps up.

  107. #110 Narad
    January 30, 2017

    You’re in luck, since there are two Jokers in the deck.

    Which deck?

  108. #111 Gilbert
    January 30, 2017

    Vibration engineer? Let me guess, a dildo engineer?

  109. #112 Leopold Bloom
    January 30, 2017

    Good song! Listen to that bass guitar!

    This song is by the Buzzcocks and is called “Why Can’t I Touch It”.

    Buzzcocks. Just the name itself reminds me of a dildo. Like the lyric “electrical banana” in Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow”.

  110. #113 Leopold Bloom
    January 30, 2017

    So is anyone going to derive a solution to the wave equation?

  111. #114 doug
    January 30, 2017

    fuckleswitless cleanup on aisle 113

    • #115 Orac
      January 31, 2017

      On it.

      Yep, that was the other one I suspected of being a Fendlesworth sock. I knew that if I were just patient enough he’d declare himself.

  112. #116 Narad
    January 30, 2017

    So is anyone going to derive a solution to the wave equation?

    You can’t win for losing, Fυcklesworth.

  113. #117 Leopold Bloom
    January 30, 2017

    What did you call me?

  114. #118 Leopold Bloom
    January 30, 2017

    I bet Nick could do it.

    Narad is just a copy-pasta cowboy.

  115. #119 hackhobo
    February 8, 2017

    wow purely political lies calling people names just like liberal drug addicts would. this journalist smokes heroin as he writes his stories. someone fire the moron typing these articles. please. scienceblogs??? not a shred of science here just a bunch of yuppie crap.

  116. #120 MI Dawn
    February 9, 2017

    Punctuation, hackhobo. Do you have the intelligence to know what it is and how to use it properly? Orac isn’t a journalist. Worst kept “secret” on the internet is who Orac is, and hackhobo can’t figure it out. Says all we need to know.

  117. #121 Dangerous Bacon
    February 9, 2017

    Sounds like Mikey’s in acute melatonin withdrawal again. 🙁

  118. […] note of anyway. It’s a bit of fake news that’s been making the rounds similar to the fake news a couple of weeks ago that claimed that the FBI had raided the headquarters of the CDC in Atlanta in the middle of the […]

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