Computers

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Computers

A sweaty crowdfunded misfire of science

“Team aerobic” by Berner Kantonalturnfest 2010 (Utzenstorf, Bätterkinden, Kirchberg, Koppigen). Original uploader was Equilibrium suisse at de.wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Boteas using CommonsHelper. (Original text: http://www.ktf2010.ch). Licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0-de via Wikimedia Commons. Few people know better than I that times are tough in the world of biomedical research. It’s been…

And they say I’m in it for the money?

One of the most common criticisms launched at defenders of science-based medicine by believers in pseudoscience and quackery is that we are “pharma shills.” The assumption, or so it would seem, is that no one would defend science, reason, and medicine unless he were paid off by pharmaceutical, chemical, and/or agricultural companies. The further assumption…

Quacks really hate Wikipedia. It’s understandable, really. Wikipedia has some fairly tight standards regulating its form and content. Quacks, thinking that because anybody can edit Wikipedia articles it must mean that they can edit the entries on their favorite bit of woo to their hearts’ content in order to make it look more scientifically supported…

Regular readers might be wondering why my output was—shall we say?—less extensive last week than it usually is. I even skipped a weekday and then followed it up with a recycled post from my not-so-super-secret other blog, altered to be a bit more, yes, Insolent. The answer is a single word: Grants. I had a…

Mike Adams (a.k.a. the “Health Ranger”) has been a regular blog topic for several years now. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that, among supporters of quackery, no one quite brings the crazy home the way Mike Adams does, be it writing antivaccine rap songs, abusing dead celebrities by…

If there is one aspect of cranks that is almost universal (besides the aforementioned tendency to want to prove themselves through things like “live televised debates“), it’s a tendency to want to shut down the criticism of its opposition. True, such a tendency is a human trait as well and used far too often by,…

The “pharma shill” gambit

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been discussing How “They” See “Us,” which is basically that “they” see “us” as pure evil. Well, maybe not always sheer evil, but certainly not good, and even more certainly as having ulterior motives, the most common of which is filthy pharma lucre. So it seemed appropriate, as…

Beauty and the antivaccine beast

The last couple of days have been very busy, as you might have guessed from my brief (for me) post on Tuesday and my—shall we say?—appropriation of a post to use for yesterday. Today’s going to be the same, but for more pleasant reasons than having had to go out to dinner with a visiting…

If there’s one thing about “alternative” medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or “integrative medicine” that’s always puzzled me, it’s just how gullible some practitioners must think their clients are. In some cases, they might know their customers every bit as well as a car salesman knows his clients or an author knows his readers,…

Why is it after a three day weekend, it always feels as though I have to “catch up”? After all, it’s only one day more than the average weekend, and I didn’t really do anything that different. A little yard work, out to dinner, a bit of grant writing, a bit of chilling, that’s it.…

Disaster at TAM!

I was thinking of doing a quickie post about the silliness that’s erupted in the antivaccine cranksophere over the IACC hearing that I mentioned yesterday. (Of course, a “quickie” post for me is usually only 1,000 words long, as opposed to the usual 2,000.) Then disaster struck!

Dr. Google and Mr. Jim

What would we do without the Internet? It’s become so necessary, so pervasive, so utterly all-enveloping that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. Given how much it pervades everything these days, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that the Internet was primarily the domain of universities and large research…

A brief blog update

I just thought I’d give a brief update on the transition to the new blog platform. After nearly a month, things have finally settled down, although I’m still bugging the powers that be about some of the problems that still exist. One thing I have noticed over the last day is that one of our…

Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Epic Rap Battes of History. Some of my favorite battles include Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler (and, of course, the rematch), Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers (hilarious!), Napoleon vs. Napoleon, Gandalf vs. Dumbledore, and, of course, my favorite of all time, Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking. However, just…

The Antivaccine Ten Commandments

Although I’m interested in skepticism in general, I have a tendency to gravitate towards one particular form of pseudoscience (alternative medicine) and, in particular, a certain kind of that particular form of pseudoscience, namely antivaccine quackery. However, as much as I keep returning to the antivaccine movement, I keep noticing just how much it shares…

The day is here. Time to throw the switch. What do I mean? I’ve been mentioning that I wanted to turn on the option that states, “Comment author must have a previously approved comment.” What that means is that any new commenter’s first comment will automatically go to moderation. I’ll approve it (unless it’s spam…

Seven years…

Seeing Martin’s mention that he’s hit the sixth anniversary of his entry into the awoke a vague sense of unease in me. It was that sort of unease that one gets when one realizes that he’s forgotten something but can’t quite remember what it is that he’s forgotten. Then it came to me. Somehow, some…

“Just one more thing”

I’ve written quite a bit about Steve Jobs’ battle with pancreatic cancer over the years and, more recently, in the wake of his death nearly four weeks ago. The reason, of course, is that the course of his cancer was of intense interest after it became public knowledge that he had cancer. In particular, what…

Holy anti-vaccine radio hormones, Batman!

You might have noticed that I’m a bit late today. There’s a reason, and I bet you know what it is. Yep, yet another grant deadline. As usual, that means I didn’t have time to produce my usual dose of not-so-Respectful Insolence. That doesn’t mean I can’t do some good, though, as yesterday the Bat…

It’s been a mere two days since Steve Jobs died. Although it hasn’t yet been revealed what his specific cause of death was, it’s a good bet that Jobs’ death was due to a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer, first diagnosed in 2003, for which he underwent surgery in 2004 and ultimately a liver transplant…

Steve Jobs and pancreatic cancer, revisited

Another day, another grant. Well, not exactly. We have a visiting professor in town, and I have to give a talk at our department research retreat today. Between going out to dinner, working on the talk, and working on the grant, another day has passed without new Insolence. Bummer. But that pales in comparison to…

Sadly, a crank has silenced another skeptic. Many of you may know EpiRen, which is the Twitter and blog handle (and sometimes commenting handle here) of René Najera. René is an epidemiologist employed by the state public health department of health of an East Coast state and has been a force for reality- and science-based…

Choprawoo metastasizes into video games

Now this is some seriously funny stuff. Anyone who’s been reading this blog a while knows my opinion of Deepak Chopra. Basically, he’s the quackiest of the quantum quacks, the godfather of quantum woo, the one woo-meister to rule them all. He did it first and did it “best” (if you can call it that),…

Our (mostly) benevolent but unfortunately all-too-uncommunicative Seed Overlords have finally bestowed upon us another report regarding the ongoing DDoS attack. Believe me, I know many of you can’t access ScienceBlogs and, most important of all to me, this blog, the better to read every word of Insolence, Respectful and otherwise, that pours from my keyboard.…

Sb under DDoS attack

You, my readers, have been complaining about flakiness in Sb that goes above and beyond the usual technical flakiness of the site. So have many other readers, in particular PZ’s. After a couple of days where the blog loaded slow as the proverbial molasses in Minnesota in January, our benevolent but not particularly communicative overlords…