We all know that "millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means a thousand years. The word "millenium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "anus" and means something else. This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool.
|Offending the offensive since 1999|
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.
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.
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:
Food safety hazard
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".
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
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
Postal Inspectors On The Rampage
The Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence
This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:
The Home of Primordial Energy
Subject: Who do you think you are?
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.
October 31, 2020
It's All Hallows Eve, the day before Hallowmas (31/10/2020)
Let's look at the evidence (31/10/2020)
* 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!
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.
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
(Relevant to Paleo Pete above!)
Dr Bruce Goldberg - The Hypnotist
The Herb Farm - Equine Iridology
Parasites Within You
This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:
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.
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.
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