A new category (6/7/2002)
A new category has been added to The Millenium Project. It is Dentistry Fraud and deals mainly with lies told about two chemicals – mercury in amalgams and fluoride in water. The difference between dentistry fraud and general medical quackery is that much of it is carried out by qualified dentists who should know better, although there is a financial incentive for crooks with the necessary skills to make a lot of money by removing and replacing perfectly good fillings and by taking action that will increase the possibility of people getting tooth decay which needs to be repaired. The vehemence of the anti-amalgam campaigners is quite bizarre, so I expect a bit of hate mail over this. I am in the process of writing a magazine article about the lies told by the anti-amalgamists which will please them even less.
Whole lotta reorganisin' goin' on (6/7/2002)
There has been some behind-the-scenes work happening here over the last week. All the category pages now show the total number of entries in the category and the navigation menus have been changed to show the numbers of sites that are actually listed on each page. There is now a maximum of 100 links on any page (to speed up loading), so the Pseudoscience and Anti-vaccination Liars categories have been split into two pages each.
Speaking of reorganising … (6/7/2002)
I did a regular link check on this site this week and found that several links into one particular large site no longer worked. I couldn't just link to the home page of the domain because my links referred to different categories. They had a big reorganisation of the site recently (they mention it and are quite proud of it) and now it appears that all the pages inside the site have either been deleted or renamed. There is no site map or local search, so it will be virtually impossible to find anything that was there before until Google or someone indexes the whole site again. This cavalier treatment of site visitors is common, and it can only serve to drive away people who might have been enthusiastic supporters of the site's purpose. Would you keep shopping at a supermarket that kept moving the stock around to different locations and then expected you to find it again each time you went there? This isn't rocket science we're talking about here, it's good web site management and customer relations. The change to break the Anti-Vaccination Liars category listing into two pages affected 80 pages on this site, but my site management software made all the changes and loaded them up to the server. It's not really hard to do.
Who's been a naughty girl then? (6/7/2002)
Mad email of the week (6/7/2002)
This was sent to several people who only seemed to be connected by the fact that the letters "rat" appeared in their domain names. It was probably sent to many other people as well. I don't think that it would make any more sense, no matter how many copies were spammed to bewildered recipients.
If you are a time traveler or alien and or in possession of government or alien technology I need your help! My entire life and health has been messed with by evil beings! If you have access to the carbon copy replica model #50 3000 series, the dimensional warp, temporal reversion or something similar please reply! I simply need the safest method of transferring my consciousness or returning to my younger self with my current mind/memory. I need an advanced time traveler to work with who can help me, I would prefer someone with access to teleportation as well as a variety different types of time travel. This is not a joke! I am serious! Please send a separate email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help! Thanks
Harassment Update (6/7/2002)
Shhhh! They're still asleep. The new darts worked.
Multiple Chemical Stupidity? (13/7/2002)
I have written before about how pseudomedicine supporters and believers reject the idea of psychological illness. Everything must have an external cause, which can be treated by the application of the appropriate magic. Nothing can come purely from within a person. This philosophy conflicts directly with the concept of helping the body to heal itself, because if the body has the power to maintain its own wellness, as stated by many pseudomedicine believers, then surely it must also have the power to harm itself. Logic, of course, has little to do with faith in voodoo.
(See the rest of this article here.)
Harassment Hiatus (13/7/2002)
Is my email broken? No, spam and viruses are still flooding in as usual. Maybe it's because of the new financial year. Perhaps the budget hasn't been approved at the GAL Home for the Clinically Brain Dead and nobody can use the modem until the ISP's bill has been paid.
Robbing the almost dead (20/7/2002)
Imagine how you would feel if you were selling a fake cancer cure and you came across a suitable prospect who met the main marketing criteria – terminal and desperate – but they didn't have enough money to buy your product or service. Unlike, say, a car dealer, you can't introduce them to a finance company for a loan because the financier might not think they will live long enough to pay the money back. You could get them to sell their house, but that takes time. Help is available, however, if they have a life insurance policy, because they can sell that to pay your quackery bills. This is very encouraging news for quacks because not only can they have the satisfaction of achieving the primary objective (stealing all of someone's money before they die), but there is the bonus of being able to get their hands on money that comes along after the death of the "patient". You can read some more about this disgusting scam here.
The fading racists (20/7/2002)
At one time, the world wide web was seen as a potential risk to civilisation because it could allow all sorts of evil people to freely express their views. My opinion is that exposing these views to public scrutiny is essential, and that a bigger threat would come from suppression of ideas and opinions, no matter how odious those opinions and ideas might be. I also believe that the very exposure can work against bad ideas by demonstrating the stupidity and vacuity of them. One of the great fears was that racists could use the web to spread their hate and to organise themselves and meet like-minded people. It seems, however, that the opposite may have happened. Organisations like the Ku Klux Klan have been revealed not as monolithic lobby and action groups but as collections of tiny splinter groups of madmen fighting amongst themselves. At one time there were almost 300 racists sites listed here, but after the latest link check and removal of defunct sites there are only 139 today. I don't think that this means that racism is going away, but it does suggest that the great hopes of the racists have not been met, just as the fears of their opponents have failed to come true. I would be happy with a world without racism, but I am comfortable with the situation where people are free to say whatever they like, nobody is forced to listen, and natural selection pushes some things towards extinction.
Answer me this, anti-vaccinators (20/7/2002)
Someone asked me for a set of questions to put to some anti-vaccination liars to see why I call them liars. I offered a list of ten questions but he chose to ask another question instead. I posted the list to some vaccination-related Internet forums and some typical responses can be seen here.
Harassment Update (20/7/2002)
No real harassment again this week, but I did get a sort of death threat. I have previously mentioned George Hammond who claims to be the smartest man alive and who has scientifically proved the existence of God. Mr Hammond is somewhat impatient with we lesser intellects who have difficulty understanding his proof. During the week he published an email he had received which he interpreted as a threat from someone named Mike Varney. I pointed out that the email was, in fact, about Mike Varney, not from him, and that Mr Hammond had committed the major Internet sin of publishing someone's address and telephone number. Mr Hammond was not pleased with my comments and had this to say:
No asshole.... I'll TELL YOU what the f--- is going on. Retrograde loudmouth criminal vandals and morons like you have been harassing a serious, competent and dedicated scientist on the Internet for 3 years now... and WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN because of your reckless, criminal, indefensible behavior is that somebody is going to get accidentally hurt just like when you start playing Chicken with a freight train, you stupid basteds. Someone is going to get hurt, and it ISN'T going to be me because I'm the freight train. It's going to be one of you. In this case it may be Mike Varney Keep up your criminal, vandalistic, loudmouthed, wiseass harassment and abuse of a serious and dedicated scientist trying to present a serious scientific discovery and sooner or later one of you will accidentally get himself killed, you "fuckin moron".
Dead children can be useful (27/7/2002)
A heart-rending story has been appearing on anti-vaccination liar mailing lists this week. Under the heading "DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION – From The Heart Of One Mother to Another", it starts off by saying:
Today is my daughter's sweet 16th birthday but we will not be celebrating. Instead I will light a candle and when I blow it out I will make a wish in my daughter's memory. My wish is for all mother's worldwide, that you will educate yourselves and that you make informed choices so that you may prevent unnecessary tragedy and be spared from my pain.
It then goes on to describe how this poor woman's daughter was killed by a vaccination. The mother never had any doubt what the problem was, and she says
The pediatrician whom I so respected and adored broke down and cried when I gave her the news on the phone. She went back and forth defending the vaccine, that she was told was safe, and blaming it for killing my child and those who told her it was safe. She then told me that she also had another patient, an infant boy, die after this same vaccination.
The name of the mother, Christine Colebeck, seemed familiar, so I went to Google to find out more. Sure enough, there she was. She is the person talking about suing Aventis Pasteur for a billion dollars (plus $250 million extra damages!) for vaccine damage to her son. But, wait a minute, wasn't it a daughter who died? Why, yes it was. The lawsuit relates to a son who was born ten years after the daughter died, and is a nonsensical claim that vaccination caused Aspergers Syndrome. People unfamiliar with the tactics and methods of the anti-vaccination liars might wonder why anyone who was totally convinced that a vaccination had killed one of her children would expose another child to the poison. A clue might be found in the fact that in an email to madman Len Horowitz, Ms Colebeck said that she had been taking advice from murderer Alan Yurko. (She left out the qualifier "murderer" for some reason.) As soon as I saw this, it all became clear.
There are several purposes for the lawsuit. One is obviously to extort some money out of Aventis Pasteur, either in court (unlikely) or as a settlement to go away and stop the publicity. I hope that the company resists this attempt at blackmail. The real reason, however, is to create a public relations environment that will allow the anti-vaccination liars to get stories into the media about the mythical dangers of vaccines. The sheer size of the suit is newsworthy by itself, but it needs more than that to keep it running in the press and there is nothing the media likes more than tragedy. The bigger the tragedy the better the story, of course, and the story will be even better (and more likely to get coverage) if there is some extra family drama. For this reason, the SIDS death of the Colebecks' daughter has been reinvented as a vaccine-induced death. It would be almost beyond imagination for a normal person to exploit their child's death in this way, but for people who combine an insane ideology with an absolute conviction that the end always justifies the means, nothing is too extreme.
People keep asking me why I call the anti-vaccination liars "liars". It's because I'm polite.
Speaking of extortion … (27/7/2002)
I have just heard that Erin Brockovich is suffering from the cause de jour, "toxic mold", and is suing just about everyone who ever had anything to do with her house. A leader of one of the anti-vaccination liar groups is trying to pull the same scam, but, unfortunately for her, the builder kept records of everything that went on as the extortion attempt unfolded.
Where were the psychics and astrologers? (27/7/2002)
As I write this there are pictures on the television news of a plane crash at an air show which killed 66 people and injured about the same number. Can we assume that all the casualties had the same star sign and they all ignored their horoscopes for today? Either that or they forgot to ring a telephone psychic service to get the warning. I suppose we can get John Edward to ask them all in his next show.
The inchless keep writing (27/7/2002)
Some time ago I collected a month's worth of spam about penis enlargement. Now people find the page where I listed it and write to me asking for help. I wonder why these poor unfortunates don't seem to be able to read what is actually on that page. Perhaps our mothers were right when they told us that some things could make us go blind.
Weird invitation of the week (27/7/2002)
I keep getting invitations to the strangest places and events. Apart from the fact that my birthday falls during the festival, I don't really know what this is about. Is someone making a film about me? I hope Brad Pitt is available to play the leading role.
The Long Beach Film Festival is now accepting screenplays and films (short, documentary & feature) in all formats. The winners' work will be reviewed by a committee of established production companies. This is a great way to get exposure and even discovered in Hollywood.
The festival is being held onboard the renowned Queen Mary in Long Beach, California (30 miles from Hollywood). The dates of the festival are September 13 – 22, 2002.