Wednesday, February 25, 2009




Here's the sound of whooping cough.

More info at

We need to immunize against pertussis until the disease is eradicated, then we can stop.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hyperwhatifitis? Polymaybeosis?

The Last Psychiatrist notes, MMR Vaccine Finally Cleared Of Assault:
Listen carefully, medicos. It's the sound of your approaching irrelevance...
He has a point. If physicians can't collectively and effectively assert, "this is science; that's quackery," then some other social authority --perhaps less informed-- will be called in to do that.

There are doctors who write books, join research networks, hold board certifications, who say:

- What if there's some link between autism and an inflammatory bowel condition?
- What if that bowel problem allows toxins to leak into the blood stream?
- What if there's a subset of autistics who can't excrete mercury or other heavy metals/toxins?
- What if those toxins or the body's reaction to the toxins cause brain damage?
- What if the damage results in autism symptoms specifically?
- What if the mercury build-up plus MMR vaccine plus leaky gut causes a chronic, vaccine-type measles infection of the brain and/or gut?
- What if chelation gets rid of the toxins?
- What if the body can fight off the virus once the toxins are gone?
- What if BigPharma is suppressing evidence in support of these what-ifs?

--except they leave off the "what if" bit.

So what to do with colleagues who elevate supposition and personal experience to the level of established fact?

Perhaps it's a kind of mental disorder, this "polymaybeosis" or "hyperwhatifitis." A strict diet limiting what-ifs to no more than ONE per topic under discussion might help.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Revolutionary New Insoles Combine Five Forms Of Pseudoscience

Excerpt from an Onion golden oldie.
According to scientific-sounding literature trumpeting the new insoles, the Contour Points™ also take advantage of the semi-plausible medical technique known as reflexology. Practiced in the Occident for over 11 years, reflexology, the literature explains, establishes a correspondence between every point on the human foot and another part of the body, enabling your soles to heal your entire body as you walk.

But while other insoles have used magnets and reflexology as keys to their appearance of usefulness, MagnaSoles go several steps further. According to the product's website, "Only MagnaSoles utilize the healing power of crystals to re-stimulate dead foot cells with vibrational biofeedback... a process similar to that by which medicine makes people better."

In addition, MagnaSoles employ a brand-new, cutting-edge form of pseudoscience known as Terranometry, developed specially for Integrated Products by some of the nation's top pseudoscientists.

"The principles of Terranometry state that the Earth resonates on a very precise frequency, which it imparts to the surfaces it touches," said Dr. Wayne Frankel, the California State University biotrician who discovered Terranometry. "If the frequency of one's foot is out of alignment with the Earth, the entire body will suffer. Special resonator nodules implanted at key spots in MagnaSoles convert the wearer's own energy to match the Earth's natural vibrational rate of 32.805 kilofrankels. The resultant harmonic energy field rearranges the foot's naturally occurring atoms, converting the pain-nuclei into pleasing comfortrons."

There's probably no cake

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

F***ing Brits!

From The Times.
Allegations that a senior British diplomat launched into an anti-Semitic rant in a London gym while watching TV footage from Gaza will not upset the "treadmill of diplomacy", the Israeli Ambassador to London said today.

In a curiously tongue-in-cheek response to a case that has provoked concern within the Jewish community in Britain, Ron Prosor added that the tirade did not reflect "the health and fitness of our relations".

The diplomat, 47-year-old Rowan Laxton, allegedly shouted "f***ing Israelis, f***ing Jews" while watching television reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza last month.

He is also alleged to have said that Israeli soldiers should be "wiped off the face of the Earth" during the rant at the London Business School gym near Regents Park on January 27. The tirade reportedly continued even after other gym users asked him to stop.
Response from Language Log.
It takes a while for the US/UK constitutional and cultural difference to sink in, even for me. I moved back from the USA to the UK 18 months ago, and intellectually I was well aware of the facts. It still surprised me, after a couple of decades of watching unbelievably repellent public speech being protected by American, to see someone under arrest for mere speech, and on an emotional military/political issue.

The thing is that Britain has absolutely no analog of the American guarantee of freedom of speech in its legal system. There is no Bill of Rights saying that one can speak one's opinions freely, even in political matters. The government can directly control what appears in the newspapers if it wants to, and has often done so. The courts can also, quite separately, block news reports of various sorts and do so all the time ("who for legal reasons cannot be named", say the newspapers when mentioning someone who a judge doesn't want identified in news reports). And speech about other racial, ethnic, or religious groups can have serious consequences here. Iit's not all just golliwogs and white wine. You shout out your opinions of the "fucking Jews" here, and you can face years in prison.
Mr. Laxton sounds like a hot-headed jerk --not the sort one usually wants assigned to a diplomatic post. I'd expect him to be fired. I'd expect derisive articles in the papers. But I wouldn't expect him to be arrested and threatened with seven years in prison! What's wrong with you people?

How will you stand up to the Islamists without free speech?

Monday, February 9, 2009

What a difference 20 IQ points make

I'm watching President Obama's first press conference. He's thinking as he's talking. The last guy didn't really do that. Instead he'd pull out rehearsed arguments and talking points. Consequently, he came across as rather one-sided and smug.

LOL. Helen Thomas just asked, "Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?" Looks like Obama's not gonna bite. He's making some general comments about non-proliferation.

Subordinate ideology to the need for civility and rational argument? Yeah, I can do that.