Advance apology (4/11/2001)
There will be no update to The Millenium Project next week as I'll be attending the national conference of the Australian Skeptics. I will be giving a talk about how some people will lie, tell half-truths and even condone murder in order to support a lunatic ideology. Feel free to speculate about which pack of liars I will be paying most attention to.
Speaking of liars … (4/11/2001)
One of the methods of lying is lying by association. This technique involves creating a deception that some authority or august body supports or approves of the lie. Of all the places you might expect to find an anti-vaccination site called "Immunizations: Make an Informed Choice!", probably the least likely would be on a site belonging to the microbiology department of a university, yet this very thing exists under the domain of the School of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of New South Wales, one of Australia's most prestigious educational institutions. I have no idea how it could have got there as I would assume that students and staff of that school would at least have a modicum of scientific knowledge. The content appears to be copied from somewhere else (hence the spelling of the word "immunization"), but it is probably considered to be a public relations success by the liar community because of its obvious connection with the University and the implied approval that its positioning suggests. The University may have been unaware that this travesty exists (it can't be reached from the School's home page), but they know about it now.
You can see a bit more about this here.
Mysterious mad mail missive (4/11/2001)
Someone wrote to me and accused me of being homophobic, but he really wanted to dare me to print his views on glue sniffing. Apparently he thought I have some masters who would not let me publish his email. He was wrong. You can see this epistle here. Maybe you can make more sense of it than I can.
The Challenge continues, where are the curers? (4/11/2001)
With only 88 days to go until nominations close for the 2002 Nobel Prizes, you would think that cancer curers would be rushing to enter the Cancer 100 Challenge. For example, not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark claimed more than 100 cures in her book , so she should have no trouble winning a Nobel.
Harassment happening (4/11/2001)
There was a sort of half-hearted revival of harassment to almost coincide with this week's full moon, but I guess the ward attendants at the GAL Home for Compulsive Crackpots were able to keep a lid on things because all I got were a couple of minor rants and a sad referral to a web site that was as vacuous as a harasser's head.
Conference report (17/11/2001)
There was no update to this site last week because I spent the weekend of 9-11 November at the Australian Skeptics annual conference. Much pathetic preposterous paranormal piffle was prodded and pricked, good food and wine were enjoyed, excellent conversations were held, and some faces were matched to email addresses and web sites. If you can be in Melbourne at the same time next year, I highly recommend the next conference. I gave a talk which gently and politely pointed out some of the deceitful and disgusting behaviour of the anti-vaccination liars. (Masochists with fast internet connections can see my PowerPoint slide show here. Be warned – it is a large file. And, yes, like most of these shows, it made more sense when I was speaking in front of it.) The Bent Spoon Award for 2001 was won by a couple of frauds with a perpetual motion machine. To show that even con men can be conned, the original web site they had was part of the SkyBiz pyramid scam.
Conference talk (17/11/2001)
In my speech at the 2001 Australian Skeptics National Convention I mentioned the abysmal research by Dr Andrew Wakefield published in The Lancet in 1998. Anti-vaccination liar cesspits had been overflowing with joy at the proof that measles caused autism. I read the paper, I saw the red flags obvious to anyone who had knowledge of research design and I still have no idea why The Lancet published it. Not only did this lead to deaths from measles, but evidence unfolded over the years to show that Wakefield falsified the results and got paid a lot of money to do so. Here is the relevant slide from my PowerPoint show.
The nadir of spam (17/11/2001)
I received a spam message that started out with words in the box below. How could anyone refuse to help these poor women who desperately seek help in getting the money owed to them? It's the sort of thing you would do for free, but who's going to knock back thousands of dollars? It might, however, be reasonable to ask why someone with a US telephone number needs to send messages which are addressed to a Russian email address, come from an email address in Germany and pass through servers in Britain, Korea and Holland on the way. Because they are lying scamsters, that's why. And all I have to do to help the poor women and children is ring up and tell someone my credit card number so they can steal money from me.
Imagine how wonderful it would feel to help a large number of children in your area and making $4,000 to $12,000 per month doing it?
Helping needy children and parents AND at the same time supporting your own family very well financially.
Every day in your community there are single parents struggling to make ends meet and wondering where the money will come from to cover their children's basic expenses.
Most of these parents are hard working people who just need help from the person who has a legal responsibility to give it to them.
Every day a large number of parents call us for help in collecting their child support. Many more than we can possibly handle. We need the help of caring and dedicated people who would like to enter a new high paying prestigious profession.
And they still can't read (17/11/2001)
Despite what it says clearly on the penis enlargement spam page about people writing to me for advice, there are some who still don't get it. Here's the latest:
how can i make my dick enlargement by natural way
Harassment hardly happens (17/11/2001)
Things have been very quite over the last fortnight, with only a couple of emails accusing me of committing acts of depravity on my children and an email to my wife notifying her of my disgusting behaviour and web site. As a total surprise, I received a telephone call from Mr William P O'Neill who suggested that we both might be victims of some vicious pervert. Mr O'Neill asked me to remove some content from this site, a request which I declined. He is sending me some documents.
It was too good to be true (24/11/2001)
Remember I said last week that Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group had rung me at home, told me that we were both the victims of some faceless, foul-mouthed stalker and offered to send me some proof of this? Well, the evidence hasn't turned up yet but a new tribute site has. You can see it at http://gebesse.tripod.com/ for the next few days (these things get taken down quickly, and not because I ask for it), but if it is gone you can see a copy here. I think it is very brave of someone to use someone else's company name to abuse them, particularly as Tripod have to have a deliverable email address for the account owner.
Strange email indeed (24/11/2001)
I received an email this week from a web designer telling me that one of his clients had a new address and new web site so that I could change my links to it. The email started out "Dear Webmaster" and finished by saying "I hope that your web site is doing well. Best Regards". As it was the Australian Vaccination Network, I am pleased that they wish my site well. The interesting thing is that while the original domain link to www.avn.org.au still works, this email told me to change the link to point to www.vaccinations-immunizations.org. I wondered for a while why an Australian organisation with its own domain name would choose to adopt an international name, complete with US spelling. The only thing I can think of is that Barbara Loe Fisher at the National Vaccine Information Center has been distracted by personal problems during the year (her husband died) and the AVN are globalising to exploit her tragedy and steal market share from the NVIC. I also noted that the AVN site describes the AVN as "a non-profit, registered charity", but the relevant government department that deals with charities says "1.6 Is there a registration scheme for charities? No. However, there is a registration scheme for persons or organisations that wish to conduct fundraising appeals for charitable purposes". So they are lying about being a "registered charity" because there is no such thing, but this is no surprise as lying is what they do for a living. Perhaps someone from the AVN could enlighten me as to what "charitable purposes" they support. Paying the expert witness fees for Scheibner, Kalokerinos etc when they appear for the defence of child murderers doesn't count.
An advertisment (24/11/2001)
I don't usually carry advertising here, but this is something that I am really excited about. No, I haven't gone over to the dark side and joined a pyram…, sorry, multi-level marketing scheme. I could offer you an arthritis treatment (see below), but it's not that either. The Australian Skeptics have produced a CD which contains all the content from their magazine over the last twenty years, plus a couple of books. This is like a history of the skeptic movement and covers the progression of matters which have interested skeptics over the years. (Oh, all right – there are two articles by me in there. I don't know how they got through the first nineteen years without me.)
People who can write but can't read (24/11/2001)
Look around. Does this look like a web site that sells computer games? The people at Ratbag Games make a game called "Dirt Track Racer" and I used to drive rally cars on dirt but apart from that we don't actually know each other, so it puzzles me that people write to me instead of them. Strangely, nobody ever writes to me wanting to buy a handbag from the people at www.ratbags.com.au. Here's this week's misdirected message:
Subject: Hey cool games and site.
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 23:47:42 +1030
Good to see an Adelaide based gamin company all the best with youre future works on the PS2. Would love to do the stuff youse do but regrettably lack the knowledge, am good with B.M.P file painting, placed over 3d models made by someone else but is about my best. If interested in looking at my site which is squad based site which plays Flight sims link is … Link in site in of some off my paintshop works is … Anyway all the best again. Also live in Adelaide. JG77Hawk_7 (Brad)
|Unfortunately, Ratbag Games skidded off the track some time in 2006 and is no more.
Still on emailers who can't read (last one, I promise) (24/11/2001)
Possibly the best email of the week came from someone who wants me to become a sales affiliate and offer his arthritis treatment products for sale. He has written twice now suggesting a partnership and has a nice line where he first suggests that I will be paid just for advertising the products, then goes on to suggest I will be paid for people who click on the link, and finally tells me that I will actually only be paid a commission on sales. I don't think I will take up the offer. And why do I think he can't read? Because he thinks I sell noni juice at https://ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/morinda.htm.
They want pictures (24/11/2001)
During November, three more pictures were added to the collection that I am supplying to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, following her request on some newsgroups for pictures to remind her of the benefits of avoiding immunisation. You can click on each picture to see a larger view, or click here to see the full collection.