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November 14, 2020

Stop your complaining! (14/11/2020)

Look, I've told you before that I have another hobby bedsides this web site and I was doing it last week so I couldn't be here. It involved driving 600 kilometres to stand around being showered with dust (and you can read about it here). In the spirit of 2020 an event 100 kilometres from my place was cancelled and the one six times the distance away was substituted, but it wouldn't be 2020 without disappointment and inconvenience.

Temporary Ratbag Castle and AusrallyDotCom Headquarters. Apparently art requires suffering. But not too much suffering.

The final rally for the year happens next weekend, so I'll be there not here. It's 25 kilometres from my place (excellent!) but the local paper will expect a story to be filed on the Monday. Busy, busy, busy.

Chiropractors won't like this! (14/11/2020)

One of my favourite medical journals is Chiropractic & Manual Therapies which says that it "publishes manuscripts on all aspects of evidence-based information that is clinically relevant to chiropractors, manual therapists and related health care professionals". You might wonder why I like a journal which is seemingly devoted to quackery, but it regularly carries papers which very politely verge on ridicule of the nonsense of chiropractic and the untruths and exaggerations that come out of the mouths of chiropractors. The editors seem to be rather intolerant of the mythical subluxation, and the journal has published several papers pointing out that something which can't be detected almost certainly doesn't exist.

Anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to chiropractic will know that its practitioners are very quick to be able to treat and even cure any "dis-ease" (the industry jargon word) that anyone can imagine or describe. As nobody could be unaware of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, nobody should be surprised at chiropractors saying they have the answer and it can be treated by back cracking. A paper published on November 4, 2020, in C&MT (Simpson, J.K., Innes, S. Informed consent, duty of disclosure and chiropractic: where are we?. Chiropr Man Therap 28, 60 (2020).) looked at the ethical and legal ramifications of this outrageous claim.

Here is the abstract of the article (pay particular attention to the parts marked in green).

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the emergence of unsubstantiated claims by vertebral subluxation-based chiropractors that spinal manipulative therapy has a role to play in prevention by enhancing the body's immune function. We contend that these claims are unprofessional and demonstrate a disturbing lack of insight into the doctrine of informed consent. As such it is timely to review how informed consent has evolved and continues to do so and also to discuss the attendant implications for contemporary health practitioner practice.

We review the origins of informed consent and trace the duty of disclosure and materiality through landmark medical consent cases in four common law (case law) jurisdictions. The duty of disclosure has evolved from a patriarchal exercise to one in which patient autonomy in clinical decision making is paramount. Passing time has seen the duty of disclosure evolve to include non-medical aspects that may influence the delivery of care. We argue that a patient cannot provide valid informed consent for the removal of vertebral subluxation. Further, vertebral subluxation care cannot meet code of conduct standards because it lacks an evidence base and is practitioner-centered.

The uptake of the expanded duty of disclosure has been slow and incomplete by practitioners and regulators. The expanded duty of disclosure has implications, both educative and punitive for regulators, chiropractic educators and professional associations. We discuss how practitioners and regulators can be informed by other sources such as consumer law. For regulators, reviewing and updating informed consent requirements is required. For practitioners it may necessitate disclosure of health status, conflict of interest when recommending "inhouse" products, recency of training after attending continuing professional development, practice patterns, personal interests and disciplinary findings.

And the authors' conclusion:

Ultimately such matters are informed by the deliberations of the courts. It is our opinion that the duty of a mature profession to critically self-evaluate and respond in the best interests of the patient before these matters arrive in court.

I believe that the authors show optimism that would make Pollyanna look like a pessimistic curmudgeon.

See more Jesus and Mo here

Poor, poor, Paleo Pete (14/11/2020)

Imagine you are someone who rants about the dreadful ingredients in vaccines, how they are harmful and maybe you aren't being told about what's really in there anyway. Imagine you also put your name to a line of packaged foods, promoted on the basis that they are good and healthy. Then imagine that one of the foods contains an ingredient which can cause a severe allergic reaction but somehow isn't mentioned on the label.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Jamaican Simmer Sauce from Pete Evans' "Healthy Everyday" range of comestible goodies.

Perhaps I should quote from the recall notice issued by Food Standards ANZ:

The recall is due to incorrect packaging (Thai Green Curry Sauce 330g labelled incorrectly as Jamaican Simmer Sauce 330g) which has resulted in the presence of an undeclared allergen (fish).

Food safety hazard
Any consumers who have a fish allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

Wrongly labelled product containing an unannounced dangerous ingredient. From a man who has the hide to criticise pharmaceutical companies. You couldn't make this stuff up.

And the best comment so far: "Should be eaten with two bent spoons".

See more Wumo here

Quintessence Nook (14/11/2020)

November 2000 was a month of hiatus and reflection. The excitement of the Sydney Olympic Games had almost faded away and we were in sight of the end of the first and last year in our lives which ended in "00" and wasn't a leap year (most of us were not alive in 1600 and won't be around for 2400). Philosophers and linguists took time out to again discuss the weirdness of how the eleventh month of the year has a name suggesting it is really the ninth. There was a Beaver Moon on November 26 (don't ask!). Here's some quintessence from November 2000.

ChildCare Action Project
Imagine the Monday morning staff meeting down at the ChildCare Action Project headquarters. Tasks are being allocated for the teams to review the week's new crop of films. Doreen requests a change of assignment, because she is suffering from repetitive strain injury from clicking the f-word-counter at last week's reviews. John announces that now he has his new glasses he is ready to resume his counting-the-naughty-bits-below-the-waist duties. Margaret asks for clarification: does Sharon Stone saying "Oh God, oh God, oh my God!" to Russell Crowe get counted as three cases of "O" (Offense to God) or one case of "S" (Sex/homosexuality)? (She knows it is not homosexuality - someone explained that to her once.) Everyone is given a copy of the new U2 CD to see if the Irishmen are putting down religion again or being too Catholic.

That web design! With the rotating cross.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
I like a good sermon. A good preacher can fill the hall with the smell of brimstone and get you shakin' in your shoes. You hear this stuff and you know you are going to Hell. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200. If you have been wicked, and you know when you have been wicked, then God will cast you into a lake of eternal fire where you will spend eternity wishing for a single drop of cool water on your tongue. But no water will come, only bile and vinegar. And even they will dry up before your eyes. Remember this before you covet your neighbour's ass, or even his donkey. Don't even think about his Lexus. Imagine what it will be like, standing up to your waist in molten steel being thrashed with barbed wire and having salt rubbed into the wounds. And that's only for the first million years. After that it gets nasty.

Gone into the void, but if you want a dose of Hell Warning I can recommend Balaam's Ass (not your neighbour's ass, no siree, not never, that's forbidden) where you can be reminded of the horrors awaiting the sinful.

Postal Inspectors On The Rampage
When public servants go bad. You thought that the postal inspectors were just there to keep the mail safe from money launderers, gun smugglers and drug and porn distributors, didn't you? Well, you were wrong. This secret police force, conceived in the devious mind of Benjamin Franklin, is a surrogate CIA/FBI/MI6/KGB hybrid, bent on destroying all the freedoms that make a democracy great. These people will leave things on your desk. They leave the milk out of the refrigerator. They loosen the caps on salt shakers. They leave the seat up. They hide your car keys. They go into libraries and rip the last pages out of Agatha Christie novels. They know where it's at, and they go there, and they get it. These are evil people. Do not be deceived.

Vanished. Disappeared. Like mail containing cheques (or even checks) from Nigerian princes or love letters that you just know former lovers are writing to you, asking to come back. The letters that never come.

Do you ever listen to talk-back radio? Have you noticed how often it is that the people who call in are aliens? I know, you can't actually see them, it being radio after all, but a lot of them seem to be from some other place where thinking is different. Here's a site from someone who has had long conversations with aliens and continues to do so. This is really useful, because we need to know what the visitors think. For example, I would have thought that asking them if they liked Pink Floyd was just a conversation starter, but then they reply: "Absorb. We are Pink Floyd, and all other facets of your higher consciousness". What can I say? The lunatics are are in my hall. And stay out of Albuquerque.

The Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Ever since I first heard Bob Dylan sing the words "You rode on a chromed horse with your diplomat, who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat", I have wanted to be a diplomat. Specifically, I have wanted the perks of diplomatic office, in particular the chromed horse and the cat. Now I find that someone is arranging for diplomatic contact with alien intelligences. This has got me really excited, because I've got a bit of spare time and I could do with a change of career. In fact, I'm so excited and enthusiastic that I will even bring my own cat. It's not Siamese (they call it Thailand these days), but we both love Thai food. I even mentioned that wonderful Thai resort Phuket the other day when I tripped over the cat. That must be an omen.

This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:

Loon of the Month
This Loon of the Month thing gets harder all the time. I thought for a moment that I was going to be able to find out what "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was all about (both the Pink Floyd version and the chapter in The Wind in the Willows), but the Cassiopaeans were being their normal playful selves and avoided the question. I considered the postal inspectors for a moment, but then I got worried that they might rampage round to my place and move my potplant. Finally, the lure of the chromed horse and the cocktail circuit drew me back to the diplomatic corps. I can't wait until I get my red passport so I can park anywhere I like.

Dr Steven Greer, the owner of this site, has collected all his "wisdom" into the one place, and even though he has a link to CSETI the link just brings you back to where you were. This reflects the toroidal model of the universe proposed by some astrophysicists, in which you get back to your original point if you travel for long enough. Aliens know all about this, because it's how they can travel across space at what seems to be greater than the speed of light. Or something.

The Home of Primordial Energy
Everyone likes getting something for free. Everyone likes it when rich people get what is coming to them. When we can all get unlimited free energy then the fat cats at the oil companies and the electricity authorities will be looking for jobs. And will we give them jobs? Well, we might let them oil the bearings of our free-energy generators or carry the ice from our self-refrigerating refrigerators. We might even let them wash our cars. After all, when we don't have to pay for fuel, we will have lots of money left over. But something worries me. What if these free-energy machines get too efficient? It's all very well to get out more than you put in, but these machines are still at a primitive state of evolution. Primordial, in fact. Once the expert engineers work them over, it might be dangerous to be near one. They will have to have warning labels: "Use at own risk!" Things could get nasty. After all, "rotation of a material object introduces spatial anisotropy of inertial mass measurements into the spatial region surrounding the rotating object". Lock up your tool kit.

A.T.I.M. Academy
I never really believed in the idea that people could predict the future, but it looks to me like Mr and Mrs Teutsch definitely could, because they named their son "Champion". I don't think they were naming him after a spark plug, so the only reasonable explanation is that they foresaw his status as an adult - a true champion of the intellect. After all, how many other people can claim to have "developed a unique scientific approach to the solution of every kind of problem". That's "every kind of problem"! Not just the sort that the rest of us work on, but all of them! That requires another exclamation point!! I really like the way the acronym "ATIM" includes the initial letter of another acronym ("IDEAL"). That is always a problem worth solving.

It seems that the one problem that Champion Teutsch could not solve was how to keep his web site going. PB October 2001

Someone was not happy.

Subject: Who do you think you are?
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 23:22:02 -0800

You are one of the most arrogant people I have ever I have ever experienced. Sitting on your thrown of self indulgent false righteousness. Passing judgment on what you obviously know nothing about. Publicly slandering people you have never met. You should check out the facts about people before slinging such uniformed falsehoods, you might learn something useful. I am talking about what you wrote about Dr. Teutsch. I am one of his many successful clients. He is a true Champion in every sense of the word. He has tens of thousands of successful clients from all walks of life. The website was not a big deal to him. He doesn't need it. He is more successful than you could fathom.

Something new that's actually something old

I've written a lot of short articles and news items here over the last two decades. From now on, a couple of these pieces will be randomly selected and displayed at the bottom of each week's update. They might not always still be relevant, but that's they way history works.

Some random pieces of history

Anti-vaccination liar sues (4/1/2010)
When your argument is poor or backed by no science or truth, a useful way of responding to criticism is to attempt to stifle the criticism. It is axiomatic that the arguments put forward by anti-vaccination liars are poor and unscientific, so it comes as no surprise to find that Barbara Loe Fisher of the deceptively-named National Vaccine Information Center should respond to criticism of her and her child-endangering activities by calling in the lawyers. She is suing Dr Paul Offit, journalist Amy Wallace and Condé Nast (publishers of Wired magazine) for telling the truth about vaccines. You can read the legal filing here. The article in Wired which so offended Ms Fisher can be seen here.

I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that Ms Fisher is not taking action to recover damages or to protect her reputation (which is that of a promoter of disease, death and disability anyway), but to silence the defendants, cost them money, and divert their time from their real jobs to spending time in court.

I have been told that people classified as "public figures" have a limited ability to sue for defamation in the US, and this fact (if it is a fact) is continually presented to me by quackonauts as a reason for certain opponents of quackery losing defamation actions they have brought against those who would prefer to attack them rather than debate them. If "comment about a public figure" is really a useful defence tactic, then Ms Fisher could be setting herself up to lose by explicitly declaring herself to be a public figure. Consider these words from Paragraph 1 of the complaint:

Plaintiff Barbara Loe Fisher is the cofounder and acting president of the National Vaccine Information Center ("NVIC"). NVIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 and dedicated to the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to defending each patient's right to voluntary, fully informed consent to vaccination. Publicly active on issues concerning mandatory vaccination and harms linked to vaccines for the past 28 years, Plaintiff Fisher is a public interest advocate, public speaker, media source for information about mandatory vaccination and harms linked to vaccines, and author of books and articles. She has been consulted repeatedly by public health agencies, including those of the federal government agencies, on those same issues.

That certainly sounds like a prominent public figure to me.

Then there's the matter of jurisdiction. Ms Fisher is suing in the state of Virginia despite the fact that the defendants are all elsewhere. To achieve this she has plucked a figure of $1,000,000 out of the air as an amount of damages claimed (there is no way she could have incurred a million dollars worth of loss from the article in Wired, so add this to the lies that Ms Fisher is prepared to tell), thus bringing the suit within the reach of the Federal court system. (Claiming the minimum of $75,000 would have made the strategy too obvious.) Of course she didn't have to do that in the case of Condé Nast, because web sites can be read anywhere. Perhaps she might consider suing them in England if she loses this case; apparently defamation jurisdiction shopping is big business there. As I said, the figure of $1,000,000 was just made up, but as long as it exceeds the $75,000 necessary to bring the suit within Federal jurisdiction she forces the defendants to travel to hearings and to employ local lawyers who are licensed to practise in Virginia (which means travel for legal consultations as well as court appearances). All of this adds to the defendants' costs and inconvenience and extends the time that the action is alive, time which can be used by anti-vaccination liars to scream about how Dr Offit and Ms Wallace are being sued. Normal practice would also be for the defendants to be restrained from talking about Ms Fisher during the duration of the trial, and while Ms Fisher would be under similar restraint this will not stop her friends from using the fact of the case to demean and attack Dr Offit and Ms Wallace. (I have had personal experience of this when I was sued and could not talk about the plaintiff but the plaintiff's "friends" were able to lie remorselessly about the case and even widely distribute email messages headed by titles like "Death to Ratbags".)

The other thing I have been told about US defamation law is that truth is a defence. If Ms Fisher doesn't like being called a liar and someone who endangers the lives of children then she should stop publishing lies about vaccines. Does she really want her dubious "science" to be closely examined in court? Somehow I don't think so.

My prediction is that this action might never get to court but will take a long time before it is withdrawn, a long time during which Dr Offit and Ms Wallace can be attacked over it. (Again, I have had this experience personally, where there are still web sites displaying the original legal claim but almost none displaying the withdrawal.) If it does get to court it will fail, but the objective of disadvantaging the defendants will have been achieved, and in any case, the anti-vaccination liars will simply "forget" to mention the decision. (Yet again, this has happened to me.)

So here are some points for Barbara Loe Fisher to consider:

  • The National Vaccine Information Center spreads deliberate lies about the dangers of vaccines. The fact that these lies are deliberate is demonstrated by the fact that contrary evidence from real scientists is either ignored or ridiculed.
  • You, as principal of NVIC, are complicit in this campaign of lying and disinformation.
  • Your actions endanger the lives of children, and if you got your way then many children would die or suffer permanent damage.
  • Your claim that you are not opposed to vaccination per se but just want it to be safe and for parents to be informed is a lie. Please state one vaccine that you believe should be given to all children. Can't? Won't? QED.
  • You seem to want the right to denigrate people like Dr Offit, but you run to lawyers when someone criticises you. In the real world this is called hypocrisy. And you know what that makes you.
  • If you manage to get Wired to remove the story from their web site I will reproduce it here. Then you can waste your time and money suing me.

See everything that appeared in 2010 here.

More on Amway (2/4/2005)
Here are two advertisements for comic strips available from Ucomics. Both are part of the Big Top series by Rob Harrell. You can see the full series here.



See everything that appeared in 2005 here.

October 31, 2020

It's All Hallows Eve, the day before Hallowmas (31/10/2020)

See more from Scott Hilburn here

Let's look at the evidence (31/10/2020)

I've had things to say in the past about the execrable anti-vaccination liar* "Dr" Sherri Tenpenny. This image sums it up.

* Yes, I know all anti-vaccination liars are execrable. I apologise for the tautology.

Paleo Pete's perennial performance (31/10/2020)

Some awards were announced at the 2020 Australian Skeptics convention. Congratulations go to Mandy-Lee Noble (Skeptic of the Year), Dr Norman Swan and the ABC radio program Science Friction (Barry Williams Award for Skeptical Journalism) and Dr Vyom Sharma (Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason). A report on the awards can be seen here.

But there was another award - the Bent Spoon, awarded (almost) annually, is given to the proponent of the most preposterous piece of pseudoscientific or paranormal piffle of the year. To continue the alliteration, it went for the second time to Paleo Pete Evans, the first person to receive it twice since the award was first given. (Mr Evans won it in 2015 for his work endangering babies with bad diet advice,)

Then the fun started. One thing I've noticed over the years is that the believers in magic "medicine" have absolutely no sense of humour or irony, and reminiscent of Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination-[this week's lie] Network who was proud to receive the Bent Spoon in 2009, Mr Evans announced how honoured he was to have his achievements recognised. His fans then piled on with congratulations, all missing the point by so far that they would have been over the horizon (unless they also believe in a flat Earth, which is quite possible).

It makes the Bent Spoon award many times more enjoyable when the recipients take it seriously so I will add my congratulations to those coming from Mr Evans' fans. We need a good laugh in this terrible year and he has provided a welcome respite from the horrors of bush fires, floods and a disease pandemic. Thanks, Pete.

Problems for the Pox, Pestilence and Plague Bus (31/10/2020)

The Vaxxed II bus finally started its New South Wales tour, giving parents the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their contempt for their children by pointing to them and saying they are damaged and a disappointment. Most of us would not do that to our kids, but most of us aren't anti-vaccination liars. Horror stories of vaccine damage are being collected and videos made of the folks claiming to have been affected.

The best part, however, has been the reaction of local government bodies. Newcastle City Council refused to allow the bus to be parked on any council property, and when it managed to find a spot near a beach Council rangers made it move every hour (and even issued some fines for illegal parking). It finally ended up on a privately owned block of land which was nowhere near where anybody might go, so the damage was minimised. Blue Mountains Council reiterated its ban on the use of council facilities, but we will have to wait until early December to see if the bus turns up at Katoomba. As this seems to be the closest it might get to my place, I might just have to drive down the mountain and make a nuisance of myself if the need arises.

Sydney City Council passed a unanimous resolution saying that the bus could stay well away, and this prompted the following open letter from Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination-[Truth? What's truth?] Network. As is tradition, I have applied the Yellow Marker of Lying to the parts of it which depart somewhat from the truth.

This letter has been sent to all members of the Sydney City Council.

Open letter to Sydney City Councillors

RE: Decision to ban the Vaxxed Bus

On Monday the 26th of October the Sydney City Council unanimously passed a motion that purported to ban a bus tour by the "Anti-Vaccination-Risks Network". The motion was brought forward by Councillor Linda Scott. The team at the Australian Vaccination-risks Network were very surprised by this action. Our organisation was not contacted in any way by the Sydney City council and we were shocked that such a large professional council were so inept that they didn't even have the correct name of our organisation on the motion listed in the agenda.

Had the council contacted us they would have been made aware that the purpose of the bus tour is to document the stories of those families whose lives have been impacted by vaccine injury or death. The motion that was voted on did not mention the nature of the bus tour that is being undertaken, nor did the seven-minute discussion of the motion.

Sydney City Council prides itself on being an inclusive city. It is now obvious that the honour of inclusivity is only for those residents who don't talk about vaccine injury. It is a disgrace that councillors who claim to want equality and freedom put limits on those values when it comes to those who have been injured by a medical procedure.

We wonder what research and simple due diligence Councillor Scott undertook prior to introducing the motion if she was unaware of even the most basic facts? Councillor Scott's claims that the AVN is a conspiracy theorist network could be viewed as defamatory, malicious and potentially libellous. There is no basis in law to block the free movement of any person, simply on the grounds of personal belief and the reasons provided for these beliefs are unsubstantiated. This motion is clearly a bullying tactic aimed to censor the voices of the most marginalised members of society.

We would like to reiterate what the bus tour is about. We are here to listen to families and hear their stories and let their voices be heard. This is what that the council and government at all levels should be doing. The documentary that this bus represents is equal in this content and intent. It saddens us that we even have to do the work of supporting these families. If only Ms Scott and her colleagues could step up and provide the much-needed support to their constituents and community. It is a sad inditement on our society that this bus is even necessary. We will keep doing this much needed work until families are given the support and acknowledgment that they deserve.

Councillor Scott's privilege is that she can discuss her perspective, unchallenged and then use her position in Council as a means to shut down discussion of injuries sustained from vaccines, which is clearly discriminatory. We would like to point out that Councillors are not protected from liability.

The AVN was denied the right to representation at the council meeting. To rectify this, we would like to invite the Sydney City Council to hold a public debate on the issue of vaccination. The Council seems to truly feel that the scientific evidence proving vaccination safety and efficacy is overwhelming. We would welcome the opportunity for them to present their case in a public forum. Our representatives are more than happy to present the scientific information that we feel is very important for the public to be made aware of.

As the council has acknowledged, the vaccine choice movement is growing rapidly. We cannot imagine why such a debate would be declined in light of the views held by the Sydney City Council. A debate should be seen as the perfect opportunity to prove the Council's claims once and for all, in the name of pure scientific enquiry and in the real public interest. Failure to accept this opportunity will be seen as an inability to meet this challenge.

One of Ms Dorey's perennial tactics is to offer to debate people over the safety and efficacy of vaccines. When anyone is foolish or misinformed enough to attempt to do this they soon find out that she is not interested in any debate at all and will just stand there and tell lies. An example of this happened at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2011, where she came to a "debate" with a PowerPoint slideshow indicating that she had no intention of responding to what an expert had to say or even listening to it. I had warned the other speaker beforehand, but he still expected that the normal rules of civilised debate would apply.

Predictably, Ms Dorey had a public whinge and meltdown about the horror of all this. If you have a spare 23 minutes and 40 seconds you might like to waste it listening to her raving about a "Hill to die on". I'm all in favour of anti-vaccination liars dying out. I just wish they'd get on with it. This is not a death threat!

The slider has been marked yellow for obvious reasons.

My friend Paul Gallagher had a lot more to say about this that I have time for, so you should go here and read his thoughts. It will be time much better spent than listening to Ms Dorey complaining about her disagreement with reality and truth.

The news isn't all bad (31/10/2020)

I'll just leave this here.

Click on the image to read the news.

Quintessence Nook (31/10/2020)

I'm sorry, but I'm a bit late this month with the looking back 20 years to see what was happening in Quintessence of the Loon in October, 2000, but that just reflects how we all felt in that month once the excitement of the Sydney Olympic Games had dissipated. Nobody quite knew what to do with themselves and we spent most of the month reminiscing about how it felt to drive around Sydney with almost no traffic (it was even sometimes possible to get cars out of first gear during the Games period, and there were rumours of drivers actually reaching the posted speed limits). Conversation at social events returned to discussion of house prices, and we eventually all remembered what we did for a living and how to get to work. (Of course, in these COVID-19 times when everyone is working from home we are facing another future when nobody remembers how to get to the office.)

October 2000 saw QotL paying attention to alternatives to medicine, many (most?) of which are not only still with us but are clogging social media outlets even as we type.

The Paleolithic Diet Page
There are diets and there are diets. Here is a place where you can find out how to eat like a wombat, an Australian marsupial which is legendary in the dieting business because of the way it eats roots and leaves. You have to be very careful, because I have found out that sometimes you can be tricked into eating things that are actually neolithic, not really paleolithic. How gross!

(Relevant to Paleo Pete above!)

Distant Attunements
I was down at the reikist the other day having my chakras attuned when the conversation turned to a paradox in the balance of energy flow of the universe. Here I was getting things aligned and harmonised, but I was probably only replacing the lost energy and karma which my car had used to get me to the attunatorium. I still had to drive back home, and things could get even worse if I got stuck in front of a road rager at the lights or behind a Volvo anywhere. It all seemed so wasteful and useless, and we decided to worry about it later. Actually, we did a bit more attuning and decided not to worry about it at all. Then I found this site, and my problems are solved. Now I can get attuned distantly. I am a bit worried that the clairvoyants have suggested that distant reiki might not have all the vibrations, but I am sure the wrinkles can be ironed out.

Unfortunately it appears that this site has suffered from frequency drift and I can't tune to it any more. I'm surprised that the clairvoyants there didn't predict this problem.

Dr Bruce Goldberg - The Hypnotist
Dr Bruce used to be a dentist, but he got tired of flossing the fangs, mercurising the molars, drilling the dentine and excising the incisors so he took the obvious next step for a dentist and became a hypnotist. You might not think that there's a connection between hypnotherapy and dentistry, but the link is plain. A hypnotist looks closely into your eyes, tells you to relax and be still, and then makes your spirit float around and go somewhere else. A dentist looks closely into your eyes, tells you to relax and be still, and then talks to the nurse about his BMW as if you are somewhere else. Dr Bruce is a very good hypnotist, too, because not only can he heal things but he can make you live forever. He can see into the future and even send you there. He must have confidence in his healing powers, because his patients would be mightily annoyed if he future progressed them and they found out that they weren't going to get well.

The Herb Farm - Equine Iridology
I have spent a lot of time around racehorses. They are are delicate animals, so delicate in fact that the merest hint of the weight of my money on their backs can cause them to run slower than usual. Like most gamblers, sorry, track investors, I like to go down to the saddling enclosure to check out the withers, hocks, fetlocks, gaskins and croups, and after I have inspected the jockeys I look at the horses. I must admit that I have never paid much attention to horses' eyes, except for those times when one of the animals gives me one of those superior, baleful looks to remind me that when I am walking home because I don't have bus fare, he will be riding in an air-conditioned van. Not to mention how each of us are going to spend our retirement years. Things are going to be different now that I have found this site, because I will be able to look into a horse's eyes and see the true condition of his crest, poll, chestnuts, dock, sheath, ergots, stifles and coronets. Then I'll be the one smiling when the winnings are handed out.

Gone, in the same way that my money disappears at the track.

Parasites Within You
There used to be a saying "You are what you eat". Here's living proof that if you are not careful, you are what is eaten. You know how head scratching is contagious, and your scalp gets itchy just hearing about a lice outbreak at the kids' school? Well, this site will make you itchy on the inside. Just think, as you lie there in bed tonight and you feel your legs twitch a little before you go to sleep, that it might not be just some nerves firing off at random but a host of small animals relocating themselves within your body. That gurgle noise you hear from your stomach when it's dinner time is really crowd noise as creatures gather for the feast. I will have to stop now, this is making my skin crawl. At least, I think it's my skin that's doing the crawling.

This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:

Loon of the Month
With such quality, it was always going to be difficult to choose a Loon of the Month from among these fine curers of all that ails us. As the month progressed I kept thinking about it. I was attuned early on, but the brain transplanters made me change my mind. I looked into the future and thought I could see the answer in a horse's eye, but after I chewed it over I got some relief from the urine therapists. I decided I had seen the light and then the herbal sensations people made it all too hard again. Finally, I had to go with the parasites. The idea just kept gnawing at my brain until I gave in.

Gone down the gurgler. And I don't mean whatever makes your stomach gurgle.

See more Chain Saw Suit here

October 24, 2020

Confusion and chaos reign (24/10/2020)

I was supposed to be here last week but I wasn't. I came back from the rally on October 10 with 2,400 photos and I had to make some in-car videos of the roads used but an application of Murphy's Law to the battery in my action camera, a tyre that had all its air fall out while recording one video, plus a compulsory family birthday party meant that time evaporated. I had to update two web sites and write a story for the local paper so I've been as busy as a one-legged arse kicker (or one-armed wallpaper hanger if you prefer). You can go here to see some evidence of where I've been. I don't just do this web site. I'm a multifaceted eclectic polymath. Or just someone who retired from work and wonders how I ever had time for a job.

This weekend I was probably supposed to be at the Australian Skeptics annual convention but I'm not so I'm here, and I was supposed to be at another rally 500 kilometres from home next weekend but I won't be so I'll be here again. Then I'll be 600 kilometres from home in the opposite direction at another rally the weekend after that and not here. When I had a real job I used to sell and support time management software. Now I write my diary entries in pencil and keep an eraser handy. (To avoid confusing non-Australians I didn't say "keep a rubber handy".)

This week will be a bit like a wedding - something old, something new and something borrowed. Nothing blue, because this is a family web site and I don't work blue.

Sadness abounds (24/10/2020)

My skeptic world went into meltdown this week at news of the death of James Randi. Randi was one of the founding members of what could be called organised skepticism and was a massive influence and role model for freethinkers everywhere. I met him on four occasions - at the 2000 World Skeptics Convention, in 2004 when I was honoured to be a speaker at The Amaz!ing Meeting in Las Vegas, in 2010 at TAMOz in Sydney and in 2014 when he toured Australia with the film "An Honest Liar". (I interviewed him for Australasian Science magazine.)

Facebook filled up with people's photos of themselves with Randi, so I might as well continue the tradition.

TAM2 in Las Vegas, 2004

Randi and me at TAM
At TAMOz in Sydney, 2010

In 2014, after a screening of "An Honest Liar".

I'd had lunch with him earlier that day but I wanted to talk to him after the film. I managed to be the last person in the line and our conversation was conducted with my brain telling me that it was almost midnight and the last train out to Boondocksville left at 00:18 and if I missed it I'd have to sleep on Central Station. I made the train with a couple of minutes to spare.

I suppose nobody should be too surprised when a 92 year old man who had survived at least one serious heart attack dies, but lack of surprise doesn't mean lack of grief. He was a small man in size but he has left an enormous hole in our lives and in the world of skeptical thinking.

Creative writing (24/10/2020)

I've written a lot of stuff over the years - hundreds of pieces about science for various publications, articles about motor sport way back then and again now, a plethora of things for this site and some blogs, articles relevant to business and IT practices for newspapers, a best-selling book about the Internet, ... What all these things have in common is that they are non-fiction. Apart from the humourous little snippets I wrote for Quintessence of the Loon and the novel I've been trying to write for about five years I seem to have trouble making things up. This failing severely limits my ability to ever get a job doing PR work for the anti-science and anti-medicine community (my conscience prevents me from ever looking for work there, of course).

I've come across a couple of examples where imagination has been let run free, and I have to admit that I'm somewhat envious of the creativity.

I suppose attributing a change in mobile phone technology to Satan makes a change from saying it's all a plot by Bill Gates to microchip us all with the COVID-19 virus, but even all those years I spent studying psychology didn't prepare me for something as good as this. I'm going to get in first, though, and say that when 6G telephony comes along it will bring out the fact that the word "hexagon" is an obvious reference to how witches are going to put spells on us ("hex") to make us disappear ("gon" is a short form of "gone"). Oh, wow - it looks like I can make stuff up after all. I'll have to get that novel up into Word and get cracking on it again.

I'm actually not surprised at this because Jon Rappaport has been writing amusing fiction for many years. And by "amusing fiction" I mean "lies". Still, it takes skill to so comprehensively misrepresent reality as if it the truth is being told. Of course, if you believe that it's possible to live outside reality then anything else is possible. (He seems to think that the film "The Matrix" is a documentary.) Would you be surprised to find out that he's an AIDS denier? No, me neither.

Relevant? (24/10/2020)

See more from Dave Coverly here

You can click here to see everything that has appeared on the front page over the last 21 years.

Book of the Week

Memory Distortion : How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past Memory Distortion : How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past by Daniel L. Schacter (Editor). Much nonsense is talked about what goes on inside the mind and what it means to remember things and events. This book collects some essays from experts who can brush aside that nonsense and explain what it is about memories that we can trust and what we can't.

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