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Suicide Attempt Coming (23/1/2010)
Next Saturday, January 30, I will be joining a group of people who will attempt self-harm by the consumption of large doses of homeopathic "medicines". It is part of the 10:23 campaign to demonstrate to the public the fraud and uselessness of homeopathy, or, as the slogan says: "Homeopathy: There's nothing in it".
The 10:23 campaign started in the UK, but I will be doing it in Sydney. If you want to join in the fun we will be meeting outside the Queen Victoria Building on the corner of York and Druitt Streets (near the statue of Queen Victoria) at 11am. More details can be found on the event's Facebook page.
Taking large doses of homeopathy to demonstrate its ineffectiveness is nothing new, and I have been doing it for years as part of my stage presentations about quackery. A few years back a homeopath challenged me to test the effects of magic sugar pills (in this case those tiny balls of sugar you find on the top of birthday cakes). Here is the result.
The name 10:23 was chosen to remind people of Avogadro's Number, which is 10 raised to the power of 23. In layman's terms related to homeopathy this means that any homeopathic preparation with a "potency" of more than 12C or 24X is almost certain to contain no molecules of active ingredient. Put another way, your 20C homeopathic preparation that you are taking on the advice of someone who supposedly knows what they are talking about has nothing in it except water (or maybe alcohol) or lactose (if it is a tablet). Put in yet another way, homeopathy is not just medical fraud, it is financial fraud as well. You are having your money stolen.
Someone suggested to me that "Homeopathy: There's nothing in it" is a bit weak as a slogan. Here is a proposed alternative.
Healthranger's in the garbage (23/1/2010)
Hysteria has broken out in altworld over the treatment of Mike Adams, the "Healthranger" from the NaturalNews cesspit. Adams was doing quite well in the Shorty Awards when suddenly he lost the lead to someone who actually talks sense about medicine. For those who don't know Adams, he is possibly the most vile and unprincipled promoter of quackery and lies around at present. He has absolutely no regard for the truth and simply makes things up if he thinks that there is the remotest chance that someone might believe him. Unfortunately such brain-dead people exist, which is why he can get away with saying that mammograms cause cancer (and are deliberately designed to do so). A wonderful example of the sort of idiocy he can invent and still remain credible in quackland is his assertion that doctors use the Caduceus symbol as a conscious affirmation of their commitment to evil, death and the abuse of women. I am not making this up. He is of course an anti-vaccination liar of the most virulent kind and also spreads the usual lies about cancer, which is why he has no hesitation in producing cartoons like the one below. By the way, Mike, if you think I'm violating your copyright by publishing these cartoons here then feel free to print one on heavy parchment paper, roll it up tightly and violate yourself with it. If you get my meaning.
But back to the Shorty Awards. When Mike saw that he was no longer the most respected health information purveyor in the world he decided that action had to be taken. The action he took was to encourage large scale cheating. The Shorty Awards are for work on Twitter, so someone who is not a Twitter user has no information on which to vote. Suddenly a large number of people signed up to Twitter and immediately registered a vote for Adams. The Shorty people didn't like this, and as the number of sock puppets and invalid votes was so high they disqualified Adams. He is very unhappy about this and is torn between announcing that he didn't care about the competition anyway, that the competition is being run by Big Pharma, that he is going to sue the Shorty people, and telling all his loyal, cheating followers to vote for some other quack (who will then almost certainly be disqualified as well).
A lot of my friends are gloating about Adams being disqualified, but it could be a Pyrrhic victory. He was being well beaten even with his cheating, but now he can claim that he has been unfairly treated and the SCAM world will ridicule the competition and say it means nothing. I would have preferred to see him humiliated in the voting rather than be given an excuse to make up more lies about the ubiquitous influence of Big Pharma and its supposed employees.
Having said all that, I am still looking for votes. I have neither the hope nor the desire to push my friend Dr Rachie out of a well-earned first place, but I would love to come in the first five. I have the wonders of Adams and Mercola thrown at me several times a week and I would really like to have something to throw back. If you are already registered with Twitter please go to http://shortyawards.com/RatbagsDotCom and cast a vote in the Health category. If you are not registered, don't sign up to Twitter just to vote because the votes won't be counted and I don't want to end up in the bin like Mike Adams.
I didn't want to be the only person in the world not expressing an opinion about the earthquake in Haiti, so I wrote about it for Yahoo!7 News.
The human tragedy following the earthquake in Haiti is almost unimaginable for those who aren't there and have never experienced a disaster like this. People around the world have been quick to offer money and other forms of aid, and it has been the top news story for most of the last week. (An exception was when a major Australian media outlet pushed it out of the top news spot on their web site to tell us the extremely vital news that a moronic lout famous for nothing beyond his moronic loutishness was to become a film star, but tabloid journalism can be like that.)
Events like this can have benefits, however. The obvious one was alluded to above, the way that disasters make us all forget our other problems and differences for a while and work together to help total strangers who are worse off than we are. Other benefits are that they get us thinking about mortality and fate, and they give us an opportunity to be outraged and amused at the antics of idiots.
Tabloid television loves ghosts. It's much easier to do a haunted house story than one about a dodgy car dealer (who might sue) or a fraudulent medical healer (because skeptics might get involved) or someone with a magic fuel extender (because the people who lost money on the last one might get angry). Ghosts are easy, because you can always call in an expert from both sides and nobody will be able to explain the phenomenon in the limited time available. A good ghost story can even be a way of promoting someone's ghost tours, but that would be very naughty so no television program would ever knowingly do it.
Here is a story which appeared on my television recently.
It certainly seems mysterious and unexplainable, doesn't it? I have some advice for the photography experts - look at the image metadata before you do anything else. It saves time. And I have some words for photographer Adam as well - say "Hello" to Megan for me, and next time you try a trick like this don't use a picture of one of your Facebook friends, and especially not one who you appear with in a photograph yourself.
Not to be outdone, I can take pictures of ghosts as well. I have no idea why the ghost was screaming, but maybe it's the shade of someone who was tortured (perhaps by being forced to watch reruns of television current affairs shows.)
And I absolutely do not get into discussions about abortion, circumcision or climate change.