Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


山達基是危險邪教 is Traditional Chinese for, "Scientology is a dangerous cult."

I'm doing my part to get the word out for any Taiwanese Googlers. Scientology is trying to recruit new W.I.S.E. members in Taiwan.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Batshit Americana: Chiropractic

The American prairies of the late 1800s produced a lot of wacky cults, chiropractic being just one example.

Link to D. D. Palmer on a pretty cool mapping site, AKA Daniel David Palmer.

Born: 7-Mar-1845
Birthplace: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Died: 20-Oct-1913
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Typhoid Fever
Remains: Cremated, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of chiropractic medicine

D. D. Palmer devised chiropractic medicine, the theory that most human illness derives from dislocations of the spinal column, and that manipulation or adjustment of the spine cures ailments from headaches to high blood pressure. Through the mid-20th Century, the American Medical Association ridiculed chiropractic as an unsafe, even lethal form of quackery. While chiropractic medicine is now more accepted as an alternative to traditional medicine, there is little dispute that its originator was an eccentric character.

His formal schooling ended at the age of eleven, and as an adult he worked as a beekeeper, fruit merchant, grocer, and school teacher. He was a long-time aficionado of alternative ideas, having joined a spiritual cult and researched phrenology, and for several years he advertised his services as a "magnetic healer" in Davenport, Iowa. In 1895, he said he had cured deafness in a patient, one Harvey Lillard, by making two adjustments to Lillard's displaced vertebra. He subsequently claimed to have cured another patient's heart disease with similar spinal manipulation, and in 1896 he established the Palmer School of Magnetic Cure, now known as Palmer College of Chiropractic.

"Having found the cause of cancer", he later wrote, "it is an easy thing to relieve the pressure upon the blood vessels and nerves". He had no medical training, but billed himself as "Dr Palmer", and he was charged at least three times with practicing medicine without a license. Testifying that his work had no relation to medicine, he was acquitted on two occasions, then charged a third time in 1906, convicted and briefly jailed. After paying a fine, he left Iowa and turned the school over to his son, chiropractor B. J. Palmer.

In his later years the elder Palmer claimed to have "received chiropractic from the other world", and argued that instead of seeking changes in the law to make chiropractic legal, chiropractors should claim that their work is protected by freedom of religion. He died on 20 October 1913, and according to news accounts at the time his death was caused by injuries sustained when he was hit by a car driven by his son. The younger Palmer was sued by his father's estate, but the case was dropped before the trial reached conclusion, after the coroner listed typhoid as cause of death. Palmer was married six times and died destitute, but his son popularized chiropractic by eliminating the wackier rhetoric, managing the college in a professional manner, and purchasing two radio stations to promote chiropractic ideas.

Father: Thomas Palmer (shoemaker, b. 10-Oct-1824, d. 1903)
Mother: Catherine McVay Palmer (b. circa 1827)
Brother: Bartlett Palmer (postal worker, d. 1911)
Sister: Catherine Palmer
Sister: Hanna Jane Palmer
Sister: Lucinda Mariah Palmer
Brother: Thomas Palmer, Jr. (b. 1843)
Wife: Abba Lord Palmer (m. 20-Jan-1871, sep. 1873)
Wife: Louvenia Landers Palmer (m. 7-Oct-1874, d. 20-Nov-1884)
Wife: Lavinia McGee Palmer (m. 1876, d. 1885)
Wife: Martha Henning Palmer (m. 1885)
Wife: Villa Amanda Thomas Palmer (m. 6-Nov-1888, d. 9-Nov-1905)
Wife: Molly Hudler Palmer ("Mary", m. 11-Jan-1906)
Daughter: May Palmer Brownell (b. 1878)
Daughter: Jessie Palmer Wall (b. 1888)
Son: Bartholomew Josiah Palmer ("B.J.", chiropractor, b. 14-Sep-1892, d. 21-May-1961)

Administrator: Founder, Palmer College of Chiropractic (1896-1906)

Canadian Ancestry
English Ancestry Paternal
German Ancestry Paternal
Irish Ancestry Maternal
Scottish Ancestry Maternal

Author of books:
The Chiropractic Adjuster (1910)
Text-Book of the Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic for Students and Practitioners (1910)
The Chiropractor (1914, posthumous)
Daily Meditations of D. D. Palmer (1982, posthumous)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Anonymous: The Next Generation

The song "Still Alive" is an Anonymous calling card, often played at protests of the Church of Scientology. From Wikipedia:
"Still Alive" is a song featured in the 2007 video game Portal. It was written by Jonathan Coulton and was performed by Ellen McLain while portraying the Portal character GLaDOS. The song originated in a meeting between two Valve developers and Coulton about him writing a song for the company, which Coulton accepted due to his fandom of the Half-Life series. It is the end credits song, and plays after GLaDOS is defeated by Chell, with the lyrics suggesting that she (GLaDOS) is "still alive". The song received significant praise for its humour and the quality of its performance. It has been featured in multiple venues, including at the 2009 Press Start -Symphony of Games-, a yearly Japanese concert event to showcase the musical works of video games. It was also featured as a free downloadable song for the Rock Band series, originally released on the 1 April 2008.

LOL you glorious bastards.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Helen Thomson is pretty cool!

Editorial: Thomson set the bar high in public life
Published: Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 12A

As new legislators prepare to get down to work, they ought to take a moment to study the too-brief tenure of Helen Thomson.

A psychiatric nurse by profession, Thomson arrived in the state Assembly in 1996, and immediately set out to make an impact on one area – mental health care.

After trying and failing in her first term, Thomson managed to push through legislation in 1999, AB 88, ensuring that mentally ill people would be treated equally in at least one fundamental area.

Thomson's bill required that health insurance companies provide coverage for severe mental illness such schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, just as they provide coverage for cancer, heart attacks and other physical infirmities. Other states had adopted mental health parity laws before California. But once California acted, virtually all other states approved similar laws.

Thomson did not stop there. The following year, she pushed what became known as Laura's Law. Laura Wilcox was home on winter break from Haverford College and working at a Nevada County mental health clinic when she was gunned down by a mentally ill 41-year-old man who long had refused treatment.

Over the objections of some so-called advocates for the rights of mentally ill people, Thomson's bill sought to allow counties to require that severely mentally ill people undergo assisted outpatient treatment, with all appropriate safeguards.

The bill did not go as far as Thomson had hoped. She had wanted to extend it statewide. But to maneuver the bill through the Legislature, she had to engage in the hard art of compromise, agreeing to permit counties to opt into the program or not.

Nevada County opted in. Los Angeles County has begun a pilot program. Other counties have considered adopting such requirements. Perhaps over time it will extend statewide.

None of it came easily. The Church of Scientology aggressively opposed Laura's Law, joining with other groups to demonstrate against Thomson. One group passed out buttons denouncing her as a "danger to others."

Along the way, Thomson ran afoul of Democratic leaders. So it came as little surprise that when new legislative districts were drawn in 2001, Thomson was all but blocked from running for a state Senate seat.

Undaunted, she returned to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in 2002 and continued to make a difference in the world of mental health care.

She is retiring from elected office in January at age 70.

Thomson didn't rise as high as some other politicians who served in the Assembly between 1996 and 2002. But there are few in the class who left a greater mark on California than Thomson. In the process, she provided a lesson to legislators who come after her.

Read more and leave a thank you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bacha Bazi

Wikileaks confirms US State department has been aware of US security contractor DynCorp's invovlement in procuring bacha bazi --young boys-- for use by Afghani police.

Hey CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, etc:


In one story Wikileaks justifies its own existence.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Get a grip, people. Assange /= Wikileaks.

In a shockingly flippant comment to a Canadian television news anchor Evan Solomon of the CBC News Network on live TV, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper today called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange . It is believed to be the first ever televised "fatwa" since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie in February 1989. Amazingly, although news anchor Solomon afforded Flanagan the opportunity to retract his statement, Flanagan balked at doing so and instead reiterated that U.S. President should put out a "contract" on Assange or use "a drone" and that he would not be unhappy if Assange "disappeared." Flanagan who is a trusted member of PM Harper's inner circle of Tory strategists joins Sarah Palin in calling for the death of the Wikileaks director as retribution for the website's release of confidential diplomatic and intelligence "chatter" this week.

Operation Payback

At the moment I have mixed feelings about what's happening to Wikileaks. I do think it's useful to have a forum where whistle-blowers can leak documents in the public interest. On the other hand, I can imagine a system that exerts little editorial control or filtering over the leaks falling victim to abuse and manipulation.

I want real human beings to take responsibility for reviewing the leaks, gauging their evidential merit, and weighing the risks and benefits associated with publishing the material.

I'd like, somehow, for the international community of professional journalists to monitor Wikileaks. I'd be willing to trust a collective that can apply basic rules of evidence and that can use independent peer review in a non-cult-like manner.

Corrupt governments of the world, we are anonymous. For some time now, voices have been crying out in unison against the new ACTA laws. The gross inadequacies of the new laws being passed internationally have been pointed out repeatedly. Our chief complaint is that such measures would restrict people's access to the internet.

In these modern times access to the internet is fast becoming a basic human right. Just like any other basic human right, we believe that it is wrong to infringe upon it. To threaten to cut people off from the global consciousness as you have is criminal and abhorrent. To move to censor content on the internet based on your own prejudice is at best laughably impossible, at worst, morally reprehensible.

The unjust restrictions you impose on us will meet with disaster and only strengthen our resolve to disobey and rebel against your tyranny. Such actions taken against you, and those you out source your malignant litigation too, are inevitable, unavoidable and unstoppable.

We Are Anonymous,

We Are Legion And Divided By Zero.

We Do Not Forgive Internet Censorship

And We Do Not Forget Free Speech.

We Are Over 9000,

Expect Us!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Operation Avenge Assange

Everybody loves Julian.

Time magazine has put Julian Assange on their cover; Anonymous is launching Operation Avenge Assange. We all know what happened the last time 4Chan and Time agreed on something.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Launch an exciting career as a moonbat health coach!

Not content with his role as patient zero for the outbreak of "integrative medicine" within our medical schools, Andrew Weil is now recruiting an army of young people, GED in hand, to guide the rest of us toward better food choices and spiritual practice.

Apparently a certificate in food woo can be earned in only six months at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A graduating "nutritionist" can then hang a shingle by the door and begin seeing patients, likely with the zeal typical of most MLM drones.

I'm sorry America. But this is what you get when you stop paying attention in science class.

Added: Stumbled across this other video featuring David Wolfe. OMFG, what a moran.

For one, he says, "Lyme's disease" rather than "Lyme disease." And he says its caused by a genetically modified organism that escaped from a scientist's lab during the 1970s in Lyme CT.

This dude reminds me of LRH --a big blowhard talking bollocks, but with conviction and certainty.

Misinformation like this makes Americans more stupid.

Scientists discover Scientology is true

100% trufax! Who could have imagined?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Testimony of a fair game operative

The bad guys did this stuff to Dr. Lily von Marcab.

We will not forgive.

We will not forget.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Scientologists are after us, dude! RUN!!!


They cannot hold us here at this 'effing place. They can not do that. This is freakin' America and they cannot do that shit.

For all you Scientology people man...

This a bad look, man; this a bad look.

You cannot be doing this to me. Please, do not do this again. It's a bad look.

Not only a bad look for me. It's a bad look for you. It's a bad look for the kids, y'know. Just a bad look overall. Do not do that stuff, please.

Turn the light on. Do not go dumb on me. Please.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Monkey Majik - Change

Bumped into this. Hadn't heard shamisen in a rock context before and I was intrigued by the masks. A nod to Anonymous?

Say, is that guy at 3:50 walking "three feet behind the head" of the protagonist? And are those Sumo guys doing "Tunak Tunak Tun"?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Srsly, the Republican party has been taken over by loonies.  Don't feel guilty for being lazy and not reading up on all the candidates.  Just vote for anyone who isn't a Republican.  DOO EEEET NAOOO!!!

Then there is Sharron Angle, the closet Scientologist.  "I'll answer those questions when I'm the senator."  Smells like "the Secret," amirite?  Say it aloud and the universe will make it so.

Journalists represent us, the people.  They're our eyes and ears.  They ask questions we might ask.  But curiously over the past couple of decades, politicians have discovered that they can dismiss journalists without shame, without paying any political price.  They need only imply via a smirk or a wink that that the questioner is biased.  That needs to change ASAP.

Grass Mud Horse

An old story, but it cheers me up so I'mma remember it here.

The Chinese government has the most sophisticated software "Net Nanny" on the planet, yet this video and other stories of the "grass mud horse" get by.  In Mandarin the written characters for "grass mud horse" when spoken aloud, "cao ni ma," can be heard as, "fuck your mother."

The spoken phrase for the written characters "river crabs" sounds very much like "harmony," a euphemism for censorship in China. President Hu Jintaos regularly encourages Chinese citizens to create a "harmonious society."  Bloggers who've had to re-write a post say they've been "harmonized." 

The friendly grass-mud horse has become an icon of resistance to censorship among Chinese netziens.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adventures of the S.V. Pestilence

Hold Fast from Moxie Marlinspike on Vimeo.

"Hold Fast: Stories of maniac sailors, anarchist castaways, and the voyage of the S/V Pestilence..."

Friday, October 15, 2010

MAVERICKS at the Huffington Post, LOL!

Someone at the HuffPo has a sense of humor. Below is a screen capture showing the graphic associated with their article on repealing "Don't ask; don't tell."
Didn't take long for Tom Cruise's people to have the pic removed.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Klaus Nomi - After the Fall

I'm telling you hold on, hold on!
Tomorrow will be there

Joel Burns, you're a good egg.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Organic Liaison vs Kirstie Alley's fat ass

Some months ago Kirstie Alley started a diet business called, "Organic Liaison."  "Hey everybody, watch while I slowly morph from morbidly obese to totally hot!  You will be amazed and will buy my expensive dietary supplement products!"

I was like, "Uh, maybe you should lose the weight THEN pimp the program?" But silly me.  I'd failed to appreciate how Organic Liaison rested upon L Ron Hubbard's notions of health and therefore couldn't possibly fail.

Time passed without much news from Kirstie until just last week when she twittered a surprising pic of herself, described as, "me and my Italian men friends" (click for bigger):

Wow, she looks better, eh?  But hey, my shoop detector seems to be picking up something...

And not just mine.  This vanishing point analysis proves that the carpet, table, and room were never in the same place at the same time:

Lulz ensued:

Then Kirstie tweeted:

And was leik:

And the paparazzi were leik:

The inning concluded: Fat Ass: 1; Organic Liaison: 0.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scientology legal strategy: MOXON MOXON MOXON

Good luck, (SP)arrow!

AnonSparrow aka Brian Mandigo has been protesting the Washington DC Church of Scientology since 2008. YouTube has countless hours of him yelling provocative one or two-liners toward the org and adjacent traffic intersection, punctuated by occasional conversations with passers by or OSA handlers. Sparrow once was on staff at the DC org and sometimes says, "Hi so-and-so," to people he knows as he stands on the sidewalk with his sign, camera, and Guy Fawkes mask.

In August of this year the DC org's Executive Director, Kim Belotte, requested and was granted a temporary restraining order against Sparrow. Later, the DC district attorney charged him with "attempted stalking," whatever that is. Scientology's infamous in-house attorney and Operation Snow White unindicted co-conspirator, Kendrick Moxon, is representing Ms. Belotte.

Listen to Sparrow's innocence (as in "n00b") as he asks the officers in the video below, "She's gonna go try to get this order that you're talking about, but do I have a say in this? She can't just go, 'Get me this order,' and it gets issued. They have to hear my side, right? They can't just take her word for it."

The officers try to explain how restraining orders work. I'm not sure Sparrow understands. Fighting a restraining order isn't the same as fighting a criminal charge. The presumption of innocence isn't as important, and the subjective sense of fear articulated by the alleged stalking victim counts for a lot.

If Sparrow understood what the officers were saying, I don't think he would have responded with a comment like, "I'm not gonna stop (protesting)."

Notice how the police refer to "she" and "her complaint," while Sparrow refers to "they," saying things like, "they can bring it," when the officers mention "the possibility of an arrest warrant" about five minutes into the video. Sparrow is clearly stuck in the protester's mind set, imagining himself struggling against impersonal, corporate Scientology when in fact his immediate opponent is a particular woman who has reported to police that she is frightened.

My heart goes out to Sparrow as he faces a legal mess for months and perhaps years to come.

Hubbard's advice to use the legal system as a means of bullying perceived enemies has become something of a sacred ritual within Scientology. The practice highlights a particular weakness of our system of justice: the mere process of going to court is injurious to the parties involved in terms of time, money, anxiety, and lost opportunities to do other things. Ergo, a corporation with a deep legal war chest can win, even when it can't win, simply by outlasting the financial and emotional reserves of the opposing party.

Imma cross my fingers for the poor endearing, idealistic, and somewhat nerdy Sparrow, and for great justice.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Science p0rn: the garage project

The low-budget ($7,000) flick Primer is an example of the garage project story-line: some inquisitive, fairly ordinary guys cobble together an amazing or revolutionary device in their spare time. If you love science, if you've always loved science, that's a story-line that has likely resonated with you since childhood.

Catch-phrases of note:
"You're talking about making a bigger one."
"Why can't we write like normal people?"

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I want this toy. But the price is too high, $2,500. Maybe like most electronics, in a year or two it will become affordable.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Center for Inquiry Goofs the Floof

A recent press release, "The Center for Inquiry Urges That Ground Zero Be Kept Religion-Free," has been removed from the CFI site.

It was a PR fiasco, a real goofing of the floof.

Now, skeptics are a proud tribe willing to weather PR flaps, so I hope that's not the reason for CFI's change of heart. I really hope the CFI leadership simply reflected upon the distinction between being right and being right for the wrong reasons.

I live in a spam trap at Orac's site so I'll copy my comment there here:

CFI seems to define "religion" as "lies." Who wouldn't oppose lies?

However, "religion" can be a placeholder for "first person data that are uncorroborated or impossible to corroborate."

Third person data rules. But life is lived within the first person. And he is often a poor, confused, suffering shmuck about to be hit by a bus.

If Mr. First Person isn't trying to fark up our third person data set, I say we let him have his unverifiable personal experience of "transcendence" or whatever. Why not?

I can bully you into saying, "2+2=4." Or I can teach you arithmetic and allow you to figure out the answer for yourself.

Getting the right answer is important. But the method used to derive that answer is even more important, because all future answers depend upon it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scientology marries the Nation of Islam

Fascinating thread at Why We Protest. Apparently Farrakhan is requiring all his ministers and staff to take Dianetics courses.

This post made me lol:

Scientology = Space Opera
NOI = Race Opera

I think I see how you develop an explanation of the world and our place in it when you found a cult.

You just make up any unlikely nonsense and dox be damned.

In my cult, Grebnon made our nostrils by poking our noses with a poking stick, um, 12ty thousand years ago. How do I know this? Well, I just do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New England Journal of Mendacity

Some loser doctors who pander to gullible rich people who Want to Believe have reviewed the evidence for acupuncture in the July 29th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For those who don't subscribe to the NEJM, Steve Novella at Science Based Medicine has excerpts. Here's the paper's conclusion:
"As noted above, the most recent well powered clinical trials of acupuncture for chronic low back pain showed that sham acupuncture was as effective as real acupuncture. The simplest explanation of such findings is that the specific therapeutic effects of acupuncture, if present, are small, whereas its clinically relevant benefits are mostly attributable to contextual and psychosocial factors, such as patients’ beliefs and expectations, attention from the acupuncturist, and highly focused, spatially directed attention on the part of the patient."
And the author's recommendations for a hypothetical middle-aged male with chronic low back pain:
"He has specifically requested a referral for acupuncture, and we would suggest a course of 10 to 12 treatments over a period of 8 weeks from a licensed acupuncturist or a physician trained in medical acupuncture."
tl;dr: Acupuncture is crap. But tell your patients to go ahead and drop about a thousand bucks on it.

Someone commenting on Novella's article using the nick "urodovic" said this:
I e-mailed the NEJM editors and got a quick reply. Due to confidentiality issues I cannot post their exact response.

Briefly, they state that they are aware of the controversial aspect of the published article but that the ultimate judge once "the evidence" is presented, will be the reader.

OK now that just makes me rage.

Imagine if we were talking engineering or accounting rather than medicine. Someone says, "Hey the numbers in that article don't add up," and the journal editor says, "You, dear reader, can use your own math skills to calculate the correct answer."

Sorry, not good enough.

There's a right way and a wrong way to respond to valid criticism. The right way involves admitting the mistake, investigating why it happened, and making some effort to prevent it from happening again.

My email:

Dear NEJM editors,



The Tufted Titmouse

NEJM: Even the best can publish nonsense, by Mark Crislip.
Acupuncture Pseudoscience in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Steve Novella.
Credulity about acupuncture infiltrates the New England Journal of Medicine, by David Gorski.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Naturopaths Hate Rhinos

Neurologica discusses a photo gallery entitled, Unorthodox Cures.  Many of the pics are wacky.

But this one made me tearful:

It reminded me of this:

"Poachers have butchered the last adult rhinoceros at a South African game reserve, cutting off her horn and letting her bleed to death, the chief game ranger says." Link.

The world rhino population has been decimated by more than 90 percent over the past 40 years, thanks to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"Natural" medicine never says, "We tested treatment X and discovered it doesn't work and therefore we don't use it any more." 

And that is why so-called "natural" medicine is evil.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Naturopathy is witchcraft

Two days until the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians holds their annual meeting. This year the United States government will be honoring them by sending Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, to speak. Our tax dollars at work!

Naturopathy is a religion with the "Vital Force" as the supreme being dictating what is good and what is evil, what is holy and what is unclean.

Naturopathy is also witchcraft –a set of rituals and practices believed to ward off misfortune via the manipulation of unseen, supernatural forces.

Naturopathy in this country is also a political movement. Its enemy is "materialism," and thus it finds allies among those who like their government with a bit of old-school divine blessing and guidance.

My government involving itself with naturopathy forgets its Enlightenment foundation. America was to be a nation of individuals capable of self-rule via appeals to reason and evidence rather than divine or "natural" authority.

What’s up, Dr. Briggs?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Hermit Thrush

The last minute of this video captures the haunting, flute-like song of hermit thrush nicely.

If you've wandered through a forest on a summer day and suddenly felt a moment of enchantment, it's possible the hermit thrush had cast a spell upon you.

Like all ground nesting birds, the hermit thrush is having a hard time in many places.  The reasons: 1) habitat loss and 2) cats. 

Cats are not native to North America but were introduced by European settlers.  Consequently, there are several American mammals and birds ill equipped to deal with the selective pressure of cat predation. 

Basically, anything that nests on the ground is toast if cats are allowed to roam free.

As the human population has expanded into woodlands and wetlands, so too have the cats.  We must raise awareness of the problem of cat predation now if we hope to reverse the steady decline in song bird populations along the eastern United States.

Keep your cat indoors, please --especially if you live near a river or a lake where birds tend to nest.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Naturopathy (aka "natural medicine") is Retarded

Exhibit B: Polarity

Dude looks like he knows his way around the herbs, lol.

I find the woman's confidence strangely charming. Baffling, yes. But also charming.

Naturopathy is Subjectivity Run Amok: Exhibit A

Mercola talks with someone pimping something called "Matrix Energentics."  Just from the title, you know "quantum" will get a shout out.

Why doesn't Mercola use The Force to imagine up himself a nice head of hair?  That shiny dome can't feel good in direct sunlight.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Naturopathy is a Joke

Everyone is groaning about Dr. Josephine Briggs, the Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) appearing on the speaker's list at the 25th Anniversary Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) from August 11-15 in Portland, OR.

Dr. Kimball Atwood wrote her a letter.

Dr. David Gorski thinks it would be awesome if Dr. Briggs were to speak science to woo, but isn't getting his hopes up.

I wondered if Dr. Briggs might have once fallen in love with someone into naturopathy, maybe when she lived in Germany where naturopathy has a following. Love can make smart, sane people buy into the most unbelievable bullshit sometimes.

The pro-science bloggers I've chatted with seem generally disappointed in Dr. Briggs for her decision to party with the naturopaths next month.

I remember reading something on homeopathy about ten years ago, explaining that the volume of water needed to dilute one molecule of active ingredient would fill the entire solar system. I laughed out loud. I shared the article with my husband and he laughed out loud.

Before that moment I had only a vague awareness of homeopathy, which I imagined was a collection of olde timey herbal nostrums. I had no idea the basic tenets of "like cures like" was so profoundly idiotic.

Public awareness of the joke that is homeopathy has been growing in Europe and the US, thanks to skeptics.

Now, in my humble opinion, would be an excellent time to spot a similar light upon the lulzcow known as "naturopathy."

Naturopathy, being a confused set of varied practices, doesn't provide the same neat target as homeopathy. And naturopaths generally talk like sane people about things like diet, exercise, and stress management when faced with an audience of non-believers, so the crazy stuff isn't immediately apparent.

But the crazy is there. And more importantly, the lulz are there also.

Think of homeopathic "provings." The homeopath ingests some non-dilute thing, then waits... and waits... and waits... his attention turned inward upon bodily sensations, feeling states, and mental imagery. After comparing notes with other homeopaths, the substance is deemed a means to cause certain effects or symptoms, and so can be used in dilute form to stop those symptoms.

In short, a "proving" is subjectivity run amok with no awareness of its quirks and frequent misfires.

Same thing with naturopathy. Vis medicatrix naturae is an *inner* guide regarding "wellness" verses "dis-ease." The inner guide determines what is "natural" or "healthy." Facts, not so much.

Watch people on YouTube consulting the Force to correct their "polarity" or to decide which supplements to take. Lulz will ensue.

Once the public see naturopathy for what it is, maybe the US can get back to investing in reality-based medicine.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Would you like to know the 313 secrets of Tarvu?

I gotta say, these Tarvu videos are slick. High production values.

I wonder who's paying for the whole Tarvu thing. But I don't want the genius behind it outed if he or she might become one of Scientology's "fair game" targets.

Update: Oh, LOL, I shoulda Googled. Tarvu was created by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz --the guys behind the British TV show, "Look Around You."

And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why won't they let me in their crappy club for jerks?

I read this line in a post at Pharyngula today. It's Woody Allen's, "I'd never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member," except with more narcissism.

An apt summary of nearly every pro-alternative medicine argument I've ever heard.

Turtle is not angry

Its not Scientology. Its natural homeopathic medicine!

I was wondering if Scientology might re-brand itself as "natural medicine," and then I found an example of just that from some crazy person running for office in Nevada named Sharron Angle.

The same Post story claimed that as a legislator, Angle had supported “a prison rehabilitation program promoted by the Church of Scientology and involving massage and saunas.”

Seeking to “clear the record,” Angle told us “I am not even sure that the Church of Scientology fits into it at all. You have to make some quantum leaps here.”

She noted “the program itself is a multifaceted program, and it had two protocols: one in the area of withdrawals, and it was a natural withdrawal system. As s you know, that can have some severe physical side effects and the cramping that was involved there required that other people be taught how to relieve the cramping. So that is where it said that people were being massaged.”

“The second protocol was what they called the ‘disintoxification,’ which was actually sweating the drug out of one’s system so that there were no longer any cravings for the drug. This is a very intense potassium, calcium, vitamin, mineral regimen, with a hot rock sauna that sweats the toxins out. Those two protocols were developed by [the late Church of Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard, and they had to give him credit. But it is not Scientology, but rather natural homeopathic medicine.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Spice Guy says, "Hello Anonymous"

LOL, major marketing firm Wieden and Kennedy tells Anons, "Ur doin it rite!"

Dr. Mercola hangin' with Scientologists

Some Scientology celebs and others recently held a three hour meeting at the Saddle Ranch restaurant on Sunset in West Hollywood.  Don't know what they talked about. Probably some movie project.

But here are the money shots:

From the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NCCAM's Josephine Briggs joins Naturopath Convention in August

What happened to smart lady's brain?   Did she fall down some rabbit hole while working in Germany -- fatherland to all things Thule-ish?  (Was he a Hans oder Franz?)

If you clicked the link above and scrolled that list of speakers for the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, you can't have avoided the toothy grin of one Peter Bongiorno, ND.

 Uh oh.  I feel it coming...     RAEG!!!


Listen up Bongiorno, you vanity-Googler you:

Your douchebaggery toward a medical student shall never be forgotten.  Ever.   It's just too precious a teaching moment in this, the science-under-siege operetta of our present era.

Men of science appeal to evidence when their claims are questioned.  But not so the deluded or dishonest.  They ring up their attorneys.  They hire investigators to dig for dirt.  They incite the thugs among their entourage to apply a little unfriendly pressure.

But for all the above, the science is unmoved.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Charlie St Cloud has Sailboats!

A movie with sailboats in it!  Woohoo!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Amazing Meeting 8

TAM 8 is pretty cool. But the back-to-back talks don't leave much time for socializing.

I am pleased to put faces to a few names that I've come to know over at Science Based Medicine, in particular

Dr. Kimball Atwood

Dr. David Gorski
and Dr. Harriet Hall.

Tough as nails, every one of 'em.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hobie Adventure Island tiller modification

To control the rudder, the AI has a small knob placed near where one's left hand might comfortably rest, assuming one's arm is of a certain length, unlike mine.  Yet even if the tiller location were perfect, it would still need an extension for the movable ballast wanting to drive the boat. 

Last summer after reading the Hobie forums I added a tiller extension as in the pic below. But I found a  three foot pipe flopping around in the middle of my boat something of an obstacle.

So after some thought, I decided to move the tiller to the aft hatch, as you can see in this picture:

My new tiller is a piece of black plastic shaped like a ruler, bolted to the center of the aft hatch. The tiller extension is a lightweight ski pole. A piece of automotive heater hose serves as the universal joint connecting the extension to the tiller.

It's been a month now and so far so good.  I can steer while out on the trampolines or standing up. My tiller hand can rest wherever it feels best, no matter which way I happen to be leaning or sprawling.

AI owners will recognize other mods in these pics:

- Rear akas flipped so the support struts attach behind rather than beside the driver. Makes moving off the seat and onto the tramps less painful.
- Stern light on a mast. The Scotty mast base that came with the light happens to have four screw holes. Two of them line up with the holes for the mainsheet block padeye. Two screws seems to be enough to hold the base of the light to the boat firmly.
- Moving the mainsheet block up an inch was good for my new tiller arrangement, as the sheet has a little clearance over the starboard rudder line. But the new position means the block must swivel to keep the mainsheet moving over the center of the sheave.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Update on the birds

May 1st the orioles were back.  Each male has a slightly different song and I believe I recognize one of the males from last year. 

We put out slices of orange for the orioles, which they seem to appreciate.  

It's well known around here that orioles love Welch's Concord Grape Jelly.  A few times I've put out a spoonful of grape and a spoonful of something else as a kind of taste test.  The grape has won out over Smuckers apricot, peach, and strawberry.  But today I can report that Smuckers Pineapple Ice Cream Topping kicked Welch's ass clear across the field.

Yesterday the catbirds were back. Soon, hopefully, we'll see some hummingbirds.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anonymous' Message to Scientology

This is the famous first video. Its poetry gets referenced so often that I'm keeping a link to it handy.

Church0fScientology January 21, 2008 — Hello, Scientology. We are Anonymous.

Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who trust you, who call you leader, has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.

You cannot hide; we are everywhere.

We cannot die; we are forever. We're getting bigger every day--and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many.

Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon's actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.

Gradually as we merge our pulse with that of your "Church", the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will wake, and see that salvation has no price. They will know that the stress, the frustration that they feel is not something that may be blamed upon Anonymous. No--they will see that it stems from a source far closer to each. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of the RTC.

Knowledge is free.

We are Anonymous.

We are Legion.

We do not forgive.

We do not forget.

Expect us.


Spanish version 1:
Spanish version 2:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tarvuism: It's so easy to join!

Say Hebbo! from Torvakian on Vimeo.

Hana Whitfield: Commodore Hubbard's Tyranny at Sea

From the Hamburg Symposium March 26, 2010.

Transcript, part I:

My name is Hana Eltringham Whitfield and, just to give you a brief biography, I was a Scientologist and a Sea Org member for over twenty-two years. I captained two of Hubbard's ships and ran many of his organizations. He took on the title of Commodore in 1967 and I served as Deputy Commodore under him in the United States for two years. I held many subsequent positions.

The account of my personal disillusionment and departure from Scientology is another story, but since I left the group in 1984 my husband and I have helped hundreds of families retrieve their children, their spouses and their parents from this group. It was our way of giving back [1:00] and that work continues.

I'm speaking today to offer my insight on this organization. When Hubbard released his first book, Dianetics, and then started Scientology, he created a unique culture, a totalitarian culture based on his claims: these being that he alone was perfect; he never made mistakes; everything he said and wrote was correct and he was the source of the only technology that could deliver mankind from its problems. Everyone else was less evolved or, as he put it, "raw meat," and in need of the salvation that only Scientology could provide.

All ideas and methods that opposed his own were wrong or evil and had to be destroyed. This same culture permeates Scientology today and we hear it repeatedly [2:00] from its spokespersons. Hubbard's policy of "Always attack, never defend" makes it impossible for the organization to admit wrongdoing, and it is as if Hubbard actually were still alive. It is this culture that has everything to do with what is going on in Scientology today and it will continue unless other forces can be brought to bear.

I joined Scientology in 1965. I did some basic training, I was a registered nurse, I was looking for some answers. I went to England and I trained there, in 1966, to the highest levels available. And, I don't feel so good about it now, but I was 'Clear' number sixty. Throughout that training I became... my aculturization to Scientology began. It took the training, it took some processing [3:00], it took those experiences -- both the knowledge and the personal experiences in the auditing -- to make me become a true believer. I now regret the years I spent in Scientology but there's no going back, so this is a way of helping.

Very soon after that Hubbard started the Sea Project, in August of 1967, in Las Palmas. I was one of thirty-five people invited to join, simply because of my training and expertise level. There was nothing special about me, but thirty-five of us joined him in Las Palmas to form the Sea Project and to help him better the world and salvage the planet. I found very quickly that he did not live up to his claims in his books and tapes at all. [4:00] I found he angered easily; he had temper tantrums that went on for hours and hours. Sometimes he would throw things against the side of the ship.

I did not see the contradictions at that early time. I did not see -- between his writing and his acts -- I could not see the contradiction. I was already in love with the ideal that Hubbard presented. I was in love with the goals of his organization. And I was in love with what I thought I could contribute to bettering mankind. And let me tell you that that sets up a state of mind in a person, well, you know what it's like to be in love. You see nothing wrong with your girlfriend or your boyfriend. They're perfect. It's the same phenomena that happens in Scientology when someone [5:00] joins. You cannot see the wrong, and that is what is so bad about this organization, and I think -- from a retrospective point of view now -- that Hubbard knew that and that's why he set it up the way he did.

Hubbard did have some good points; he had many good points. For example, he helped me to achieve the positions I achieved and did in Scientology. However, on the dark side, he also introduced all of us -- and indeed he thrust us -- into his practices of cruelty, inhumanity, abuse and punishment, all of which he systematically reframed as positive and as requirements for enlightenment.

On the ship he soon appointed me as Master at Arms, which is like an Ethics Officer, a person in charge of ethics and morals, [6:00] and my first assignment came very quickly; I received a hand-written about an electrician, an Australian called Terry Dickinson. Terry had failed to get a radio to the ship within a certain period of time, and this order said that Terry was to stay awake until the radio was on board and operating. If he fell asleep he would never again eat with the crew, talk with the crew, or sleep below deck. He would be literally excommunicated -- by that time we had signed billion-year contracts -- so, for a naive person, he would be in that state for a billion years.

I was so shocked; I could not let Terry fail and I vowed to stay awake with him, because he was my responsibility, for as long as it took to get that radio on board. [7:00] When it got very bad after the third day I would sometimes push food down his throat; I would make sure he had water and in the middle of the night, when he cried and said he could not go on, I made him walk up and down the beach. So I put Terry -- I'm guilty in my first little assignment in the Sea Org, of great abuse on Terry Dickinson and I hope that someday he can forgive me. We did make it; the radio came on board and I sent Terry off to sleep.

During this time LRH, as we called him, or Hubbard, lived in a villa outside Las Palmas. Yvonne Jentzsch, another Sea Org member, lived with him; she was in charge of his public relations. And Yvonne told me later on that Hubbard, many many times, approached her sexually and wanted to have a sexual relationship with her even though [8:00] she was married and even though his wife, Mary Sue, came to visit from time to time. Eventually, to get away, Yvonne requested an assignment ashore somewhere in an organization away from the ship, and she was sent to Los Angeles to start the first Celebrity Center.

Soon after that Hubbard appointed me as captain of the 150-foot trawler called the Avon River, and almost immediately OT III was released. I think you all know OT III, with the body spirits on you and the evil ruler Xenu who sent us all to this planet; I won't go into the story. All of us were ordered to read the material and apply it. And I opened the pack and I read the material and I could not believe that I was supposed to apply this to myself. [9:00]

From that point on, until I left in 1984, I struggled with that material. I struggled day by day by day, because I could not apply it. Of course, the fault wasn't Hubbard's; the fault was mine, and I had to keep looking within myself for the fault that was keeping me from understanding the materials and applying them correctly. And that's when my headaches started.

Transcript, part II:

And from that point on they got worse and worse and worse and I was, finally, never without a headache for the rest of my Sea Org career. They are now gone. I mean, they started to go after I left. And I associated with the mental trauma one has to go through in applying some of those techniques when they do not apply to you. And the most important thing about this is that we... our right to speak out was taken away in Scientology. Our right to express an opinion was not just limited by Hubbard's policy; it was totally obliterated. Everything you find fault with in Scientology is put back on you; it is not a fault of the organization.

A little bit later, after that, one of our crew members was assigned the condition of Liability -- the first time [1:00] in the Sea Org. She had to wear a grey rag. She had a great big black mark on her cheek. She was excommunicated from the crew. She had to eat her food on deck -- if the cook would give her any -- until she had met certain conditions and she could come back into good standing with the rest of the crew.

A little while after that Hubbard assigned his big ship, the Apollo, the condition of Liability for the entire ship and all the crew. And those crew sailed out of Valencia Harbor with a grey material tied around the funnel of the ship, all the crew with grey rags and those grey marks on their cheeks, and the ship had to go out on its own and make good what it had done wrong; it was not allowed to communicate with Hubbard or the other ships. It was on its own. And I [2:00] remember seeing that ship sail out with that grey material around the funnel and I said to myself, "This is going to cause a lot of trouble in the port with the Spaniards, and the people in the harbor who do not understand what's going on." And sure enough, from that point on, our little ship went around after the big one cleaning up all the messes in each port, the misunderstandings of what Hubbard was creating.

Then came the chain lockers. I don't know if you all know what a chain locker is. It is a big steel compartment, in the front of the ship, where the anchor chain is curled up when the anchor is out of the water. And it's dark in there; it is cold, and when you're out on the ocean it's freezing and it's damp. Hubbard started putting people in there for punishment. The first one he put in was a four-year-old boy, Derek Greene. Derek [3:00] had to be in there for five days and five nights, and the little boy was put in with just his normal clothes. He was not given extra blankets, extra clothing, and the worst thing of all -- he was given food -- he was not allowed to go to the bathroom. He was left in there like that for five days and five nights.

It brings on a... excuse me. I was there when it happened. [pauses for about 10 seconds]

Even worse, Felice Greene -- Derek's mother -- was on deck pleading with Hubbard to let her child out and all he said was... [accepts a glass of water] ... all he said was, [4:00] "Children are really adults in children's bodies. They know what they've done. He knows what he's done," and he turned away from the mother. You would say to yourself "Why didn't you do anything? Why didn't you speak out?" You see, I was a true believer. I believed that Hubbard knew what he was doing. I, unfortunately, believed that he knew what it was going to take to help everyone in the world and that, even though I didn't understand, it was my duty to follow and support what he was doing and none of us spoke out. None of us did anything.

I have many more things to talk about; I think my time is almost up. I will go through a few very quickly. The overboards -- throwing people overboard -- started soon after that. The first [5:00] person who did something stupid was thrown from the flying bridge, four stories down, into the water. Shortly after that in Corfu, Greece people were thrown overboard in a ceremony every day; it became a normal thing -- ninety-two, ninety-five meters down into the dirty harbor water. When LRH, Hubbard -- who watched every day -- saw the "sinners" enjoying themselves -- they would march to the, they would march up and jump into the water -- and when he saw them enjoying themselves he ordered their hands tied behind their back. Then, a week later, he ordered their feet tied as well. And then maybe a week later he ordered them blindfolded as well. And I watched as a sixty-year-old lady was thrown overboard, and she screamed all the way down into the water. And when the sound stopped Hubbard looked interested [6:00] for the first time and sent two deck hands overboard to make sure she was ok and help her back on board.

His rages continued. At times I heard from his cabin sounds like dishes, objects being thrown against the bulkhead. He started physically beating people as well, which I've heard is something David Miscavige does. There was one young man who was assigned to the bottom of the ship, into the bilges where the waste oil and water collects from the ship, from the engine room, and Hubbard liked to send people down there to clean out the mudboxes, as they are called. And again, Michael Douglas was down there for several days, not allowed any sleep, not allowed to go to the bathroom, not allowed any toilet paper, and he was fed meager meals. Allowed no sleep.

Did one of us question [7:00] how denying someone going to the toilet would help their salvation? Did one of us ask how denying somebody toilet paper would help? Not one, and I'm truly ashamed to tell you that today. And the only thing I can tell you is that this is the totalitarian organization that Hubbard created. This is the culture he created. Once you are in that culture you do not think logically. Your logical thought processes are turned off; you are committed to his ideals, his vision of the future, and you pardon everything he does.

And I'm going to end it off at that point. I would like to say that, a final word about people who do manage [8:00] to get out of the organization. When I walked out of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater in 1982, I had no one to go to. I had no family in the United States. I had no friends. I was a Declared Suppressive. I had no money. I did not drive a car. And that is what kept me from leaving for years, because I constantly had the thought in my background for years: "I need to leave. Something is not right."

But the fear of going out on my own to no one, nowhere, with nothing, kept me from doing that. The only thing that pushed me into that, finally, was the fact that I thought I was going crazy. The pain in my head was so bad I could not work, and I was starting to get what I call almost "two Hanas." There were two parts of me. Once a little... at one time [9:00] I would be one, at one time I would be another and in agreement with Scientology, and then I would flip back to the other one who knew I had to leave. And that scared the hell out of me. And that was when I finally said "I'm out of here" and it took me three months to leave; it was very arduous.

Thank you so much. I want to thank Ursula; I want to gratefully thank the state of Hamburg and thank you to the wonderful Anonymous people who are here. You are a joy to see. Thank you.