Ya burnt! 12-year-old Marco Arturo responds to attacks by antivaccine bloggers

Last week, I noted with great approval how a 12-year-old boy named Marco Arturo made a pro-vaccine video that was short, simple, and effective. Even better, it was as Insolent as anything Orac could expect to manage, making it that much more delicious. Indeed, I can’t resist including it again for those of you who haven’t seen it yet:

This video went viral, and, not surprisingly, antivaccine activists, particularly one antivaccine blogger, were not pleased. Oh, no. Not pleased at all. In response to Arturo’s video, he received a fair amount of abuse online. One blogger in particular, the pseudonymous Levi Quackenboss, wrote five posts about Arturo, the last couple of which consisted conspiracy mongering worthy of any 9/11 Truther or moon hoaxer. Throughout her posts, she insinuated or outright said that Arturo insulted autistic children, that he was a puppet of his parents and the Mexican government, that the media outlet whose posting of his video had been in cahoots with him to make the video go viral, and other nonsensical claims. Through it all, Marco Arturo never directly responded to Quackenboss.

Until last night, that is, when he responded on Facebook:

It is an epic burn that Quackenboss richly deserves, a burn so lengthy that it could have been written by me, someone who is known for his tendency towards logorrhea, so detailed and sarcastic is it. For example, Arturo takes particular glee in refuting one claim by Quackenboss, namely that he didn’t make the video and isn’t responsible for his Facebook page and other writings:

Then there was the second blog, where things started to get a little funny. The second blog actually made me feel awesome, it really made my day and I'm not being sarcastic. I mean it, even though it's actually about a conspiracy theory she made about me.

The blog was called "To every sucker who thinks a 12-year old is lecturing on immunology"

First off, it's "12-year-old".

Now, here comes the awesome blog.

She starts off this time by saying that my parents are actually behind the keyboard (even though they don't speak English) while they pretend to be their son, "cat fishing every idiot who wants to believe he's a boy genius".
See, reason why I love this, is because I myself know that nobody else is behind the keyboard but me, and she's basically saying that I'm "too smart to be real", which feels great, especially coming from a hater.

As well Arturo should. Basically, Quackenboss’ argument was a combination of the logical fallacies of an appeal to incredulity (hey, just because you can’t believe it doesn’t mean it’s not true) and an ad hominem (Arturo’s just a boy, and he’s being coached or manipulated by his parents; so you shouldn’t believe him). Not that I’m in the least bit suspicious that Quackenboss has a point, particularly given this ultra-slick burn Arturo lays down on Quackenboss:

What I have to say about this, Levi, is that the fact that when you were twelve you were riding a bike and catching crawdads, while I was already publishing books on astronomy and evolutionary biology and winning debates against adults regarding immunology while speaking in a second language, does not make me a fake. It just doesn't. It just makes me passionate for science and rational thinking.

Oh, yeah. As Seth Meyers would say, “Ya burnt!” possibly with a double bonus burn.

But Marco’s just getting started. Remember how I mentioned that Quackenboss made some very racist assumptions in her attacks on him and his family:

Okay, this is where it starts getting a little weird. She said that I live in a rich family because I have a TV, a computer and a smartphone? This is actually a very, very ignorant comment. You're probably one of those people who live in the delusion that Mexico is a hot desert where everyone is poor. Turns out, that's a terribly ignorant statement, just like every other statement you make. Holy Darwin, I don't know where to start. When people thought I was European, nobody commented anything about the fact that I have a TV, but now that people know that I'm Mexican, everyone seems to start to think I'm rich as you believe that all Mexicans are poor. That's kind of racist, to be honest. Think about it, claiming that it is so hard to believe that a Mexican could possibly have access to a TV, because he's Mexican. I'm sorry, but that IS a racist and incredibly ignorant statement. You're saying that because I have the same life quality as an average person from the United States, I'm immediately rich because I'm from Mexico, where you think everyone is starving to death in the desert.

And:

Everyone around me in my city has TVs, smartphones, and computers. You know who else have smartphones? People from India, Egypt, South Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, etcetera. You're either narcissistic, racist, or ignorant by believing that you're supposed to be the only country in the world who could possibly have TVs and phones. Also, about the private international school, do you realize that English is taught in public schools in Mexico as well? I don't study in an international school, by the way.

Yep. Hell, in some areas, the US is actually rather backward. Our access to high speed Internet is pathetic compared to some developed countries. Ditto mass transit, where our infrastructure is woefully backward to nonexistent compared many developed countries.

Referencing all the insults and threats that I documented the other day, next up Arturo notes:

You would think that the whole anti-science community is made up of normal people, who are just misinformed. But no, no, no. They are jerks. All of them are.

To put this in perspective, they're harassing, insulting, attacking and bullying a child because he disagrees with them about vaccines.

Do I care about what they think? No, because they don't do it very often anyway.
What kind of a civilized person would possibly want to be a part of a community that supports violence, harass, insults and personal attacks against a 12-year-old?

Answer: the same people who think they are smarter than everyone by googling their symptoms instead of going to the doctor, who then claim that they're the ones who can't be fooled and that everyone else is a sheeple.

You would think that at least one of them would say "okay, I disagree with this kid about vaccines but I don't think it's socially nor morally acceptable to attack, harass, insult nor to send him death threats", but noooooo! All of them are cheering to the people who insult me, or they just insult me themselves. Absolutely no one of them has even thought of being a little less rude to me or to just leave me alone.

They're all the same.

Here’s where I can’t entirely agree with Arturo. I don’t think that the entire antiscience community consists only of harassing, insulting, attacking, and bullying jerks. For instance, Dr. Jay Gordon, as misguided as he is, seems to be a pretty nice guy. He even likes dogs as much as I do. Unfortunately, though, these are the people who tolerate the jerks, who fail to call them out when they try to attack, bully, and threaten a 12-year-old boy because he posted a pro-vaccine video. Arturo’s perspective is just a bit skewed because that’s all he’s seen. I can’t say that I blame him. Still, I hope that as time goes on Arturo comes to realize that there are flavors of antivaccine, ranging from the full on despicable crazy that he’s been dealing with to those who haven’t gone completely down the antivaccine rabbit hole and remain persuadable. I’m sure he will.

Still, these are the people who have attacked him, people like Quackenboss willing to go this far:

She exposed personal information about me and my family on her blog because she knew she couldn't give any argument against my position, as she didn't have any.

My whole response to the first blog was backed-up with evidence, and I gave a ton of arguments to support my position, while she never even tried to refute a single of them. What did she do? She made a blog with personal information about me and my parents and made it all public.

I didn't care when she called me a "little prick", or when she claimed that my parents are actually the ones behind the keyboard because I knew that that's just not true, and they aren't. But she is using exposure of personal information as a last resort now that she has nowhere to run. She took hours of intense web browsing to find everything about me that was online, including my parents' full names, and of course mine. She also exposed where we live, where my father used to work at, and pictures of my family, including my baby sister. She is not just another troll, she is doing something that's illegal to try to keep me silent. She doxxed a child and his innocent family because she was angry at me. Sad thing is, the whole anti-vaccine movement is clapping at her.

Since when is it morally acceptable to dox a kid and his family?

It’s not, except to antivaccine activists when they feel threatened.

You should really read the rest of Marco’s post. There’s so much there, and a lot of it addresses what I discussed in my two previous posts but from Marco’s viewpoint. Basically, the burn is so nasty that nothing is left of Quackenboss but a pile of ashes.

Metaphorically speaking, I hasten to add. I wouldn’t want Quackenboss to think that I meant she had literally been burned to ashes.

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If life was a video game, Marco just defeated The Quackenboss and achieved a new high-score for his efforts.

Do I care about what they think? No, because they don’t do it very often anyway.

Ouch. (nano-) Termite-grade burn. That's going to leave a mark.

She said that I live in a rich family because I have a TV, a computer and a smartphone? This is actually a very, very ignorant comment.

There was a time, a long time ago, when I was more ignorant and stupid, where I could have believed something along these lines. I think I was 12.
Then some TV documentary on Brasil's favelas taught me I was wrong.

It's easier to get a TV than to get running water. Less local infrastructure, to start with.
In some parts of the world, it's also better to have a cell phone - or a smart phone - than a land line. Again, less dependency on the state of the local infrastructure.

They are jerks. All of them are.

Only the most vocal ones. As usual, the noisier people are the ones we see and remember.

tl;dr: Quackenboss is an !diot who should shut up a bit and get out more.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 13 Jun 2016 #permalink

Reading Marco´s comments gave me a good start into the day - with a smile on my face.

And with him - and a few more kids like him - I think there is still hope for our species. :-)

By StrangerInAStr… (not verified) on 13 Jun 2016 #permalink

Rich is relative. He could well be rich in his country but not in other places. Regardless, I fail to see the relevance of this to his point.

Again, less dependency on the state of the local infrastructure

How so? We are sadly lacking in cell phone towers and wireless access in Upstate NY. However, we do have plenty of fresh water. Which means life isn't all bad here, just annoying.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

That was a thing of beauty. Kid's got an amazing sense of humor. Some very nice jabs and barbs in there showing just how bankrupt Quackenboss and the flying monkeys are.

Well done Marco. His writing is quite good even when compared with many adults I know. Regardless of the school he goes to, he and hos teachers deserve real credit for enabling Marco to produce such articulate prose. And this is his second language. Burn quackenboss, burn.

Yep. Marco's writing is a little rough around the edges, but for a 12 year old writing in his second language it's quite impressive, and he'll certainly get much better.

The kid is wonderful. He made two live videos yesterday, and he's engaging, smart and funny.

And yes, it's understandable that he paints all the anti-vaccine activists this way, given what he's seen, but I hope he sees the shades, too.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ Not a Troll

How so?

*Veering OT*

As I understood/remember it, not every country has a reliable landline network, or the companies to run it.
Or for various reasons, there are strong incentives for people to get a mobile phone over a phone in a fixed place.
It's particularly true for huge, sparsely populated places.

I may have learned of it in an article similar to this one.

I was also impressed by the trailer/opening sequence of Black Hawk Down, more than a decade ago - on how the rebels' lookouts reported the US chopper's arrival via their cell phone*. So my opinion may be slightly subjective.

* the take-away messages for me were:
1- when I was young, military communication across short-to-medium distances was done through bulky talkie-walkie or even bulkier radio emitters. Nowadays, a thin cell phone would do, in a pinch.
2- because a country is poor/at war, don't assume that people don't have access to high technology or the skill to use it. You may be lethally surprised.

tl;dr: country-wise, a cell phone tower is easier to install and maintain than landlines.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Landlines are such antiquated technology at this point, with a very high maintenance cost to boot, that most developed/first world countries are actually dismantling their networks and encouraging their citizens to get mobile technology instead.

I know because I worked at a call center for the main provider during the time; I had to deal with lots and lots of angry farmers and hillfolks who live far away from anything even resembling good reception.

Say a film reviewer The Cinema Snob took in Vaxxed. It's not safe for work (much swearing) but people naive about the vaccine issue but sophisticated about filmmaking damned the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zm22czFbzc

Marco needs to be encouraged. We need more people like him.

Is anyone interested in raising some money so he and his parents can attend NECSS next year? I'll chip in if there's interest.

By Michael Finfer, MD (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Michael Finfer

That's a great idea. He'd be an awesome guest to have.

There was a time, a long time ago, when I was more ignorant and stupid, where I could have believed something along these lines. I think I was 12.

And if you are close to my age, it may have even been true when you were 12. When I was that age, the Apple II was a state-of-the-art home computer, and not everybody had one (we didn't). It was around that time (maybe a year or two later) that my family first got cable TV--until then, you were limited to over-the-air broadcast channels, meaning that people out in the boonies had no need for TV. "Mobile phone" in those days meant a car phone (they were too heavy to even think about carrying one with you, unless you were part of the President's security detail), and only very rich people could afford one.

All of these things are much more affordable now, and far more technically advanced than when I was 12. Ordinary people, even in Third World countries, can afford some or all of these things. But some in this country persist in thinking that these things--especially cell phones--are toys that only rich people enjoy.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Do I care about what they think? No, because they don’t do it very often anyway.

OOOH! I like this kid. ;-)

To add to Helianthus on the cell phone thing:

As I understood/remember it, not every country has a reliable landline network, or the companies to run it.
Or for various reasons, there are strong incentives for people to get a mobile phone over a phone in a fixed place.
It’s particularly true for huge, sparsely populated places.

I read a fascinating article a while back about the semi-nomadic yak herders of the Tibetan plateau. There is no cell phone reception where they are; although cell towers are easier to install and maintain than municipal water or land lines (in theory, you could set one up like the old Russian early-warning stations, which were powered by strontium RTGs and could operate unattended for years), there are places so remote and mountainous that even that can't be done.

But every one of the herders had a smartphone anyone. They *adore* their smartphones, which they recharge daily from the solar-charged batteries they keep in their yurts. (Yep, every yurt has a solar panel now. Some even have satellite dishes and televisions.) Their favorite feature of the smartphone is the camera, which they use to take pictures of their animals. When they get into town for supplies and to set up trades, they find WiFi hotspots so they can upload the pictures and make deals to sell the animals. They also use them as music players and gaming devices of course. Very few of them use the cell phones actually as cell phones, since it's so rare they're within reception range, but a cell phone is so much more than that now. It's a handheld personal computer and camera that you can get secondhand rather cheaply.

Now *that* changed my view of the technological level of very remote communities. ;-) A fully self-sufficient nomadic community, where almost all transactions are conducted by barter, which nevertheless has smartphones, satellite dishes, and TVs.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Altho' anti-vaxxers have of late been lauding an African American mother, Sheila Ealey ( see AoA today), usually they represent and discuss a particularly white, suburban audience. I wonder if Quakenboss really believes what she writes about Mexicans or if she is catering to what she perceives to be her audience's prejudices? I mean, she lives in Colorado, shouldn't she be more aware?

Marco demolishes her. Ha ha ha!

Agreed about Dr Jay: he can be rather nice and likable. He once invited lilady for lunch and wine. I am myself fishing for an invite to go surfing with him in Santa Monica.
Don't laugh. I've actually surfed .

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Helianthus,

Point well taken. If staring from scratch, cell would be the choice. We are slowing in getting there probably because we have such a strong infrastructure for landline. And there are certain industries (looking at you healthcare) still using faxes. Luddites. TIC.

Tying it back to the subject matter, this Quackenbush appears to have attacked him on every other attribute except science. It really is the only thing humorous thing about her posts.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

But some in this country persist in thinking that these things–especially cell phones–are toys that only rich people enjoy.

Even in the US. Watch the reaction of people if someone homeless has a cell phone. They yell at them to get a job without considering a phone helps if you need one (kinda hard to have a landline without a home). Not to mention it may be the only thing they have left from their former life.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Michael Finfer, MD #13

Is anyone interested in raising some money so he and his parents can attend NECSS next year? I’ll chip in if there’s interest.

Bump*

* as much as I am able to here.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

I wouldn’t want Quackenboss to think that I meant she had literally been burned to ashes.

I think the real danger is water and melting.

"You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little boy like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? "

@ #7 Orac

Yep. Marco’s writing is a little rough around the edges, but for a 12 year old writing in his second language it’s quite impressive, and he’ll certainly get much better.

Despite his entry into the Orac Contest for Succinctness in Writing, I would say his command of English and rhetoric should put many to shame. Quackenboss has excavated excessively and should have halted efforts for this project. She is up Excrement Estuary without a propulsive device.

Orac: I don’t think that the entire antiscience community consists only of harassing, insulting, attacking, and bullying jerks. For instance, Dr. Jay Gordon, as misguided as he is, seems to be a pretty nice guy.

It's a mask. Gordon's livelihood depends on him being seen as a 'nice' trustworthy man. The anti-vax movement depends on two things: selfishness being seen as a virtue, and the white-hot rage of suburban moms imprisoned in their home s and by their families. Naturally a movement based on selfishness attracts jerks. And personally, my opinion is that if there was reliable day care for autistic and otherwise disabled children, a lot of wind would be cut from the sails of the anti-vax movement, since the moms, who otherwise spend all day wailing on the internet, could go back to work guilt-free.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Love. This. Kid.

Not only is he intelligent and articulate, he is poised and self-confident. He defends his position admirably without resorting to the kind of tactics used to attack him.

Hats off to you, young man.

By SelenaWolf (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

I love this kid (not in a weird way.) And the best part is that his responses to the antivaxxers are actually better than the original video - the more they try to silence him, the more opportunities they provide for him to show his brilliance.

As for the idea that a 12-year-old can't be smart and articulate - bull$hit. When I was 12 I was debating evolutionary theory with my friends (fellow castaways at the "geek table," back before being a geek somehow became cool.) I know now that my views were sadly misinformed, but the point is that a bright 12-year-old is perfectly well capable of understanding complex information and constructing arguments and counter-arguments.

The bit about Ross's confusing "jailbreaking" an iPad with its being "broken" was particularly amusing.

My father who is now retired worked in telecommunications. Back in the 90s they reached the conclusion that laying cables in some countries and environments was not worth the money. They used abandoned Soviet radio towers to create the first cell towers in Laos. The project was funded by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. When they set up the first sample for people to try, the line was 1000 people long, some of whom had their own phones already.

My father was not happy when I chose not to have a landline put in when I bought my home. This is because landlines do not rely on the electricity grid and will still work when the power is out. To satisfy him, we have multiple back up batteries for cell phones and other devices in case of outage.

By former lab tech (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Lest we go overboard on how "nice" Jay Gordon is, don't forget that he has repeatedly suggested that Orac and commenters on this blog are pharma shills.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/06/06/orac-gets-comments-dr-jay-…

And he has a history of other nasty insults directed at commenters (alternating with gripes about how mean they are to him).

Of late, he has mostly confined himself to occasional hit-and-run drivel here, accompanied by suggestions that everyone else is wasting time while he Saves Lives and makes the world safe for lactation.

Gordon is only a "nice guy" when compared to the sort of antivaxers who harass 12-year-olds and post photoshopped images of pro-immunization advocates preparing to dine on a baby at Thanksgiving.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Marco needs to be encouraged. We need more people like him.

Is anyone interested in raising some money so he and his parents can attend NECSS next year? I’ll chip in if there’s interest.

Better yet, I'm going to suggest to Steve Novella that he invite Marco to speak. At least that would cover his travel and a hotel room. That would just leave his parents' flights to cover.

I hope that Quackenbush has some sort of homeopathic remedy for that massive burn.

This young man is going places! Well done, Marco!

By moto_librarian (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Orac,

Make sure you post instructions for making donations when the time comes.

By Michael Finfer, MD (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

I hope that Quackenbush

It's Quackenboss.

Quackenbush is a relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Please do not confuse him with this badly behaved anti-vaccine person.

Several years ago I worked for a telecomms newsletter. I would take press releases from various companies, cut out the marketing speech and leave the most relevant information. At that time (around 2008-2012) mobile phone companies invested very heavily in less developed countries in Africa or Latin America - and since for many people their mobile phone (often not even a smartphone) was their only computer, they would offer a lot of services like e-mail access, mobile payments, etc.

And well, I live in a country that's part of the EU and NATO - and still some people from the West seem to be surprised that we do not have polar bears walking freely on our streets.

Alia: "And well, I live in a country that’s part of the EU and NATO – and still some people from the West seem to be surprised that we do not have polar bears walking freely on our streets."

Well they wander around Churchill, Manitoba, and Canada is part of NATO. :-)

"They are jerks. All of them are." From one point of view, he's more right than wrong. Add up the people who make the attacks, the people who cheer on the attackers, the ones that don't quite approve but can sympathize with the motive, the ones who don't really care what's being done in their names, and the ones who really disapprove but can't manage to speak up and you have an ever-widening circle of jerks.*
The technology thing is almost discussed to death, but let me push it closer to the brink. Despite everyone in the Rockin' household having a smartphone, and we were early adopters, we decided to keep the landline. When my 89-year-old mother calls, she may want to talk to anyone who's at home and not have to make several calls to find out who's nearby and can come over when she needs something. When Beautiful Rockin' Wife's relatives and friends call from twelve time zones away they may also want to talk to anyone at home. I have landline phones, including corded ones, on every floor of the house - I don't always have my cell on hand when someone calls. I might be down in the basement while my phone charges two floors away in the bedroom.

*Yes. I realized that after I typed it, but I'm letting it stand. It seems apt.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Heh. I am imagining polar bears wandering around Gdansk.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

hey, -btw- speaking of Gdansk, where's JP?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

hey, -btw- speaking of Gdansk, where’s JP?

I talked to her mom about a week ago; she's safe, but it would be an understatement to say that giving up on academia* has been a heavy transition.

* Time will tell.

Despite everyone in the Rockin’ household having a smartphone, and we were early adopters, we decided to keep the landline.

I still have a late-'70s Western Electric Trimline (although it needs some work and isn't currently in service). The audio quality is vastly superior to cellular. Moreover, all those copper pairs aren't going to be torn up any time soon.

Whenever I hear Churchill, Manitoba mentioned I always remember hearing the Halloween advice about avoiding seal costumes.

"avoiding seal costumes"

Where polar bears are concerned any costume (or clothing) is simply food wrapping.

Don't come for Marco unless he sends for you. Love this kid.

By D Frederick Sparks (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

And well, I live in a country that’s part of the EU and NATO – and still some people from the West seem to be surprised that we do not have polar bears walking freely on our streets.

I know some people who have done field research in Svalbard, which is functionally part of NATO member Norway[1]. It is perhaps the only place in Europe where civilians are not only allowed but encouraged to carry guns, in case they meet a polar bear somewhere outside of town. There are also no inpatient hospital services (as the terrain is tundra, burying the dead is not possible), so if somebody survives being mauled by a polar bear (or suffers some other medical emergency that would require hospitalization) a medical evacuation to Tromsø is required.

[1]Norway provides postal, telephone and internet service, and there is a Norwegian university in the main town of Longyearbyen. But Svalbard has some special international status, the details of which I am not clear on--one effect is that unlike mainland Norway, Svalbard is not in the Schengen zone.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

Yeah, that whole thing about him not supposed to have things or know things because he is Mexican really ground my gears. Some asshole principal in high school in El Paso told me that I would be lucky to graduate high school because I'm Mexican. (Graduation rates for Hispanics were in the dirt in the late 80s and early 90s.) The dude is dead now, which is sad because I wanted to send him a bound copy of my thesis next year.
Some people would advice Marco to ignore Quackenboss. I would too... But I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to keep her on a short leash for a while, then show her how far he'll go eventually. That'll learn her.

Here’s where I can’t entirely agree with Arturo. I don’t think that the entire antiscience community consists only of harassing, insulting, attacking, and bullying jerks.

The next decent human in the antiscience community I meet will be the first. The stuff that Levi Quackenboss pulled is literally par for the course for the antivax loons, they've been doing it for years and absolutely do not care who they hurt along the way.

Arturo’s just a boy, and he’s being coached or manipulated by his parents

Which would in no way diminish the validity of the arguments made! Of course the Quakencunt is even to stupid to realize this (not that I would expect much of her given how she spent her teenage years).

I really wish this "cellphone vs. landline" digression hadn't started, but speaking from a lifetime in the industry, I have to respond to it because it has serious public safety implications:

Cellphones are like Swiss Army knives: a compact convenient package that does a lot of things, but doesn't do any of them particularly well.

= Audio quality is equivalent to pre-1935 landline. And the G.729 compression algorithm removes most of the subtle nonverbal vocal cues to emotion. Misunderstandings and conflicts are more likely to develop during calls over cellphones than over landlines.

= Dependence on batteries that can go dead when needed most. Batteries that on many models can't be replaced by the consumer, necessitating an expensive replacement of the battery by the manufacturer, or a hard-sell "upgrade" to a newer model.

= Cell towers run on grid power with, on average, an 8-hour backup battery. Landlines are powered by the central office switch that in turn has a 3-day battery backup, diesel or gas turbine generator with a 30-day fuel supply on site, and National Guard priority treatment for fuel resupply in natural disasters.

= Thus, the day after the earthquake or other disaster, you smell gas, try to call 911, and "surprise!," no "bars." This results in casualties and major property losses, that are not properly accounted for as to contributing causes.

= "Smart"phones are susceptible to all the hazards of the internet: viruses, malware, other forms of cybercrime. Go read www.KrebsOnSecurity.com for a few months and then tell us what you learned. This also applies to the Insanely Dangerous Internet Of Things. Seriously: go read, Krebs' blog now, and keep reading.

= Planned obsolescence of devices with high embodied energy content and high nonrenewable resource content. Mobiles are replaced on average every 18 months, and "recycling" of mobiles is a sham, typically carried out under crude conditions in countries with lax environmental regulations. Contrast to landline phones, built to last 40 years between overhauls: the original "green tech," as with urban rail systems.

= Tearing up the landline infrastructure today, will in retrospect be seen as equivalent to tearing up the urban rail systems in the 1950s: destruction of a sustainable and resilient infrastructure in exchange for one that is neither.

= The fact that they solve the urgent need for telecoms in developing countries is no excuse for destroying the infrastructure we have here. Otherwise why not tear out the public water and sewer "grids" and rely on rooftop rainwater and composting toilets? Yes there is a certain type of science-ignorant eco warrior who wants to do that too, they are also ignorant of basic sanitation, and I've had my arguments with them about water & waste as well. (I will never forget the one who proposed composting toilets for apartment buildings, and "people can carry the full buckets down the stairs to a communal compost bin." Add norovirus and stir well.)

= Most of the anti-landline stuff is technology ignorance at the same level of stupid & dangerous as the science ignorance of anti-vaxers. The ideal case is a combination of both, where each serves its optimal role. But tearing out the landline infrastructure is like ditching the MMR because "hardly anybody gets measles any more." Just wait until a major natural disaster or major cyberattack and you will see where that gets us.

= For those who don't agree, try throwing out your household eating utensils and using a Swiss Army Knife at the dinner table: the big hefty model with the built-in fork and spoon. Good luck.

=====

Back to the main topic here:

Things to say to anti-vaxers who are in a snit over Marco Arturo:

"So, I take it you're voting for Trump because he believes vaccines cause autism and he wants to keep out Mexicans, including smart kids like Marco?"

"Admit it, you think all Mexicans are either stupid or in the drug cartels. Now tell us what you really think about black people and Chinese."

"You do realize, don't you?, that a Mexican physicist found the loophole in Einstein's relativity? His name is Alcubierre, look him up one of these days."

"You're just jealous because a 12-year-old is smarter than you are, and writes better in his second language than you do in your first language. Get over it."

Or to be really blunt, "You're just a racist and that's un-American."

=====

Political Guinea Pig at 23: "...if there was reliable day care for autistic and otherwise disabled children, a lot of wind would be cut from the sails of the anti-vax movement, since the moms, who otherwise spend all day wailing on the internet, could go back to work guilt-free."

That is just downright brilliant, it's right on target, and we should make it a viral meme.

We should also make it a political demand. I would expect that Ms. President Clinton would wholeheartedly agree with it, because it's consistent with a number of her other positions.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

We should also make it a political demand. I would expect that Ms. President Clinton would wholeheartedly agree with it, because it’s consistent with a number of her other positions.

Just as with gay marriage, Shillary surely would support it if it became the popular thing to do (and oppose it if it were not to become as such). Shillary has no consistency with her positions.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not a Trump supporter, quite the opposite. But the only good thing about Shillary is literally that she is not Trump - this election is the very definition of being forced to pick the lesser of two evils.

Watching the US Presidential Race from abroad, I was reminded of a joke by a comedian (I don't know which one) on the 2000 Presidential Race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
"George W. Bush and Al Gore. Wow, what a choice! Would you like your leg amputated just above the knee, or just below it?"

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 #permalink

It is quite a spectacle indeed. Which is why I sorta like Trump - he is quite the provocateur (to put it mildly!) and showman. If only it was a reality show rather than presidental race - then the idea of Trump winning wouldn't be as terrifying as it is.

Hey, that's quite a pitch - take some outrageous media personalities and have them try to win a faux election for a faux position in like a couple of weeks or months using the US political system. It would be a 'uge success.

Someone get Fox on the line, stat! First episode would be... Hulk Hogan vs. Snooki.

Can we drop the politics talk and get back to the main topic?

After Marco posted that takedown of Quackenboss, he did a live stream to show all of his detractors that he is real and that he speaks for himself. Quite a smart kid.

Well, what we did not see were the Wallgreens goons behind the camera pointing a gun at him to make him comply, obviously.

At least, that's what I'd say if I were Quackenboss.

Gray Squirrel: That is just downright brilliant, it’s right on target, and we should make it a viral meme.

We should also make it a political demand. I would expect that Ms. President Clinton would wholeheartedly agree with it, because it’s consistent with a number of her other positions.

Thank you, but unfortunately, it's never gonna happen unless we lose about fifteen states. Most red state citizens just plain don't want health insurance, and they'd be up in arms over government sponsored daycare. The anti-vax moms probably wouldn't use the daycares anyway. Even though they hate their kids, not a one of them seems interested in giving up their self-made jails.

Amethyst: Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not a Trump supporter, quite the opposite. But the only good thing about Shillary is literally that she is not Trump – this election is the very definition of being forced to pick the lesser of two evils.

At least Clinton believes women are people and isn't endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. Lesser of two evils, my foot.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

By 'lose' I mean that at least fifteen states need to not be part of the US. The older I get, the more convinced I become that fifty states are far too many.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

PGP The older I get, the more convinced I become that fifty states are far too many.

Mr Lincoln and the Civil War dead might disagree with you.

Sorry about the lack of tags

In other anti-vax wingnut news; an excellent review of Vaxxed in the Portland Mercury...

http://www.portlandmercury.com/film/2016/06/15/18229430/step-aside-lord…

So what to make of the new fantasy saga Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, which, early on, sets forth a darkly imaginative premise? Vaxxed tosses viewers headfirst into a make-believe land of lurid gibberish

"ROFL", as I believe the kids say. ;-)

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

“You do realize, don’t you?, that a Mexican physicist found the loophole in Einstein’s relativity? His name is Alcubierre, look him up one of these days.”

I do so wish there were an equivalent to Godwin's Law on the internet where the first person to invoke Einstein loses the argument.

Alcubierre is a talented theoretical physicist who would be the first to be surprised to learn that he discovered this loop hole. Being the competent professional that he is I suspect that if you were to talk to him about his work he'd explain to you, with the benefit of time and community critique, the errors he made regarding said loop hole.

"speaking from a lifetime in the industry"

In my professional life I have encountered many such in the telecom industry, with their white hair glowing under the fluorescent tubes expounding on long-held erroneous opinions that have long since calcified into stone. They are curious creatures who are unaware of the devastating long-term damage storms do to telephone wires and the rapid emergency communications procedures in place to partially remake the wireless network by the time the batteries run down. Since I believe you're American you need only reflect on Hurricane Sandy.

@ Narad:

Thanks for the word about JP. Hopefully, she's better.

In other inter-commentary news..
Dan O thanks you for your information.
Elsewhere he seeks out information from a shrink.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ Rebecca Fisher:

Or ROFLMAO or ROFLMFAO

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

Todd W.@51

After Marco posted that takedown of Quackenboss, he did a live stream to show all of his detractors that he is real and that he speaks for himself. Quite a smart kid.

I saw that he said something about that in a comment on his post. Any chance anyone watched it and/or recorded it?

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

Chemmomo:Idaho and Texas weren't even states back then, and they're two of the biggest problems today.And then there's Arizona.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

PGP: Texas was a state back then,and its location made it a valuable part of the seditionist's attempt at founding a country.. About half of modern Arizona and New Mexico were proclaimed by the seditionists as the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

Gray Squirrel: "Cellphones are like Swiss Army knives: a compact convenient package that does a lot of things, but doesn’t do any of them particularly well."
How well smartphones and Swiss Army knives do a lot of things depends on what you want them to do, and they sometimes do things that larger and more dedicated tools can't do. As one example, when a building collapsed in Queens, the last piece of debris pinning down a survivor was cut through with the saw blade on a Swiss Army knife because there was no other available saw that fit in the space available.
Remember too that when you see something important (a cop beating a handcuffed arrestee on the ground, Bigfoot getting out of an alien spaceship, a cat in a cape riding around on a Roomba), you can't whip out your hardwired phone to record it. And smartphone cameras are getting better all the time.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

I've been following this since his initial sparring match in the science group he refers to, and I sent a link of the video to my own 12 year old daughter so she could see what children her age were doing in different parts of the world. She absolutely loved the way he made the first video.

By Chris Haag (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

ORD: I stand corrected. I shouldn't post in a hurry. But still, it's not like we actually need Texas or Arizona. Heck, if I were President, I'd be tempted to sell 'em back to Mexico, as long as they let us keep the parks. (Great scenery in those states, awful people.) The funny thing is the children of those states would get a better education, as most Mexicans don't have a problem with the theory of evolution, the germ theory, vaccines, or the idea that the Earth is round and goes around the sun.
It'd be really nice to have a House and Senate Committee that doesn't have the same understanding of science as an average medieval peasant, or to have the 150-year tantrum finally resolved.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Jun 2016 #permalink

Aight, so I wasn't going to continue the poltiical crap, but I just gotta adress this:

isn’t endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

So? Unless Trump endorses them back I can't really see how it is a strike against him. Even more nefarious, if we are to start using who endorses them against people, it opens up the floodgates to some seriously foul play: imagine the KKK (or any other "evil" or criminal Group) phoning up a politican or other public figure and threatening to go public with their support for them unless they are paid off!

Well done, Marco ! Well done indeed.
This kid's going places, I hope. Let the custard-heads go jump down a hole.

imagine the KKK (or any other “evil” or criminal Group) phoning up a politican or other public figure and threatening to go public with their support for them unless they are paid off!

Southpark did that (without the blackmail)

Unless Trump endorses them back I can’t really see how it is a strike against him.

Really? It doesn't bother you that white supremacists just love the guy. Just see what leaders of the movement say. Just look at the unabashed glee with which they discuss Trump on the Stormfront discussion boards. No, it matters who supports Trump. You have to ask yourself: Why do white supremacists like Trump so much. No, he's not one of them, but he believes a lot of the same things they do and says things that they've been saying for decades. White supremacists view him as being as close to one of them as any major politician will ever be.

I never said it didn't matter nor that it didn't bother me. I'm saying that you should "attack" his ideology, his views - not let the views of those who endorse him (again, unless it is mutual) rub off onto him and "attack" those.

That to me is getting into Strawman-territory.

Amethyst:The "strike against him" is that he didn't condemn or turn down the endorsement.He stayed quiet, and then pretended he didn't know who David Duke was, which was a pretty laughable attempt at evasion. Any other politician (except perhaps Strom Thurmond and the old guard of Dixiecrats but they're nearly all dead) would have gone for the gimmie and loudly condemned the endorsement. (I mean, seriously, that'd be a sure vote-getter.)
And then there's the harrassment of Jewish public figures on Twitter, which Trump *has* to be aware of, but hasn't said one word about.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2016 #permalink

Because we humans sometimes speak in code, I do think looking at who is responding to the code I may not recognize it helps to assess both the ideology of the candidate as well as who is he/she really pandering to.

Given I'm cynical enough to believe they always are pandering to someone, but who responds to the pander and how they respond, IMO, helps to inform me on where the candidate stands and tends to predict at least in some measure how often they will vote for the good of their overall constituency and how often they will vote strictly based on ideology. The more they pander to the extremists the more I feel they will not care about what is best for the majority of the people they are supposed to be serving.

I know there are exceptions to the rule, but often you don't have information about how they will vote or which individuals they will help until they have been in office for awhile so sometimes I gotta evaluate what I think they are saying they will do as well as who thinks they are there to implement an ideology (and often one they won't openly admit to).

That was glorious.

Thank you Marco

...I thought Donald Trump was the Donald Trump of anti-vaccinationists...

By Cam the Cat (not verified) on 17 Jun 2016 #permalink

Looks like she took all the Marco Arturo posts down. I guess removing the doxing one is something. An apology for doing it initially would be nice, but that's probably expecting too much.

probly got tagged, or was about to get tagged, for threatening a minor. May still face a problem. Colorado does not take kindly to threatening minors.

No worries. All of the pages have been cached by numerous people..

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 17 Jun 2016 #permalink

MarkN: Colorado does not take kindly to threatening minors.

Does that law apply if they're not white?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 17 Jun 2016 #permalink

Hello everybody.

I am new here, and I may not come back, unless strictly necessary. As some of you know, I have been mentioned as being part of the Big-Pharma judeo masonic luciferian illuminati reptilian conspiracy behind Marco Arturo.

Keep your cached copies of what the deranged woman wrote. More than Colorado laws, her alleged pageant in Washington, a random awakening of conscience, colourful ethics or psychedelic moral grounds, the sudden concealment of previously vivid statements and persistent harassment against Marco could forecast an massive attack, which could have a similar nature and aim, or not.

If similar, the harassment could come from diverse sources and entities, while Quackenboss would safely play possum. If the attack has a different nature, it could be truly diverse and combined. While I don't expect the boy or his family to face physical danger, the harassment tactics could become intense and pervasive.

The damage Marco Arturo did to the sham of respectability of the anti-vaccination activists is a major one. The main outcome of his video is to have placed intense light over them, and now they are under brazen, harsh scrutiny. After the storm of ridicule, many finally realised the so called antivaxxers are not some gallant rebels fighting against the establishment, but a troupe that could be the cast of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." This has had dismal effects in matters of their pursuit of benefits. Neither Marco Arturo, Orac or myself get any money from Big Pharma, but they, the antivaxxers, do get money and benefits, yes. Not from Big Pharma but from other sources. Granted, not all them get anything in exchange of their deluded and endless persistence in disease spreading, as most are nothing but lost lunatics dwelling in the loneliness (Alas, they call it solitude!) of their cellars, with a two-litre bucket of ice-cream on their laps and heaps of starving cats around. However, those who are real stakeholders in the field, have vested interests in the game. And they are very upset.

I won't further elaborate and will not, most likely, write here again. I do enjoy your sites, opinions and takes, and appreciate your intense battle against pseudoscience, but for now I'd rather lurk in the shadows. Hopefully it is just my paranoia kicking, but I have come across way worse things in many scenarios, and while I really hope we will be laughing at my take on the issue in the future, for now I cannot emphasize enough how important is to create a network of protection around Marco Arturo, to which every one of you already belong.

I wish you the best.

By Gerardo Ochoa-Vargas (not verified) on 17 Jun 2016 #permalink

My first intro to Marco. An amazing kid who gives a certain box of blinky lights a run for its money in the logorrhea department. Making popcorn . . .

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 23 Jun 2016 #permalink