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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in April 2019

April 6, 2019

Advance apology (6/4/2019)
There might not be an update to this site next week. I think I've mentioned that since I retired I added another hobby to offending the offensive. It's doing media work at forest car rallies and next weekend I'll be driving around taking pictures with my new Nikon camera and writing things about the second round of the NSW Rally Championship. I start getting involved on the Friday and the deadline for copy for the paper is Monday so time will be a bit tight. To get everyone into the mood, here is a photo of me in one of the forests that will be used next Saturday when I was walking the walk, not just talking the talk. (University Car Club Winter Rally, 1979). We should have won the event but a bit of carelessness by the codriver attracted a penalty that dropped us back to fifth outright. There was someone else in the second chair in rallies from then on. (I would have forgiven him, but he wouldn't forgive me for being a bit disappointed.) I must have bumped the bank on the side of the road before entering the creek, but I didn't know about the angle the car was at until the photographer rang me a couple of days later to say "Wait until you see what I've got".


Metaquackery. A quack adjusts a quacker. (6/4/2019)


I saw it but I don't believe it. (6/4/2019)
One of my pet dislikes is the fad for selling tap water in small bottles to people with more money than sense. Another thing that annoys me is advertising where the ad makers leave their brains at home and nobody notices something stupid.

I'm always fascinated when I hear popular songs in advertisements where it is obvious that nobody at the ad agency or the client has actually listened to the song. Ford once used the David Bowie song "Heroes" in an ad for the Focus car. Extrapolating from the meaning of the song this would indicate that driving a Focus is an act of desperation that is almost certainly suicidal.

It gets even better when there are actual lyrics in the song that defeat the message. Microsoft bought the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" for the launch of Windows 95, and it was almost a complete nanosecond before members of the Cult of Apple were singing "It makes a grown man cry". A few years ago a bank promoted their loan products using the Al Stewart song "1 2 3". They only heard the words "It's so easy" but the rest of us filled in "Like taking candy from a baby".

The latest effort is an ad for McDonalds featuring Meatloaf"s "I would do anything for love". The ad follows a child's progression through life showing all the embarrassing things that a father has to do at various stages. The ad ends with Dad sitting down in Maccas with the offspring. The soundtrack goes "I would do anything for love". The next line if it came along would be "But I won't do that".

Getting back to the bottled water, I came across this advertisement on the big screen over the escalators when I went grocery shopping.

It was actually an ad promoting recycling, but that isn't the first impression. Stupidity squared.

And speaking of bottled spring water, a few years ago a bottling company from Perth made an offer to take over the company that was dominant in the Sydney market for supply to office water coolers. The offer was rejected (the incumbent was making a lot of money for not much input product cost) so the Perth crowd announced they were going to come into the Sydney market and drive everyone out of business with the quality of their spring water. They set up a bottling plant in Sydney just near where I was working at the time, and as Sydney is many thousands of kilometres away from the spring in Perth high traffic of water tankers was predicted for the Nullabor Plain.

Everyone who has ever lived in a house with town water supply will know that the water supplier likes the meter and master control tap to be near the front of the property for convenience. Did I laugh when I walked past the factory bottling all this Perth pure spring water and noticed an extremely large pale yellow pipe with a big red shutoff tap on top of it and a sign saying it all belonged to Sydney's water supply service? Why, yes I did.



See more from Matt Davies here


Disreputable publications (6/4/2019)
I've had a page here listing bad scientific journals for some time, but I've decided to leave that particular field of battle because there are just too many examples and other people have built really comprehensive lists of journals that can't be trusted to contain worthwhile information. You can see the page here.

One of the organisations into the fake journal market up to their eyebrows is OMICS, based in India. Not only do they publish a plethora of journals where passing peer review just means that the cheque has cleared (you can name your own reviewers, but maybe that costs extra) but they also run conferences famous for saying that famous scientists who have never heard of OMICS or the relevant conferences will be speaking. Attempts by scientists whose names have been borrowed to disassociate themselves from the fraud are rarely successful. Put briefly, OMICS makes a lot of money by lying about the quality of their journals and conferences and by relying on people who take "publish or perish" a little too literally without regard to where the publishing happens. OMICS journals are not included in the Thomson Reuters impact ratings so OMICS just makes up their own impact factors, and they love to talk about Medline and PubMed despite not being indexed.


See more of Cectic here

The US Federal Trade Commission finally got sick of all this deception and has fined OMICS $50 million. The little fact that OMICS is in India and can stick a middle finger up at the FTC is probably a hurdle to anything really happening, but at least it might be a warning to universities and funding bodies that OMICS is not anyone they need to deal with. One Australian university paid $3,000 to send a PhD student to an OMICS conference, but as the student's research was later revealed to be rubbish anyway they probably don't care.

You can read about the FTC's action here.

It is interesting to note that someone has suggested that the FTC's action might be in conflict with the free speech part of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Of course, the rule can hardly apply to action against a foreign based company operating outside the US, but it is an example of how some people don't really understand what the rule means. A few years ago some quacks tried to get a judge to rule that it was unconstitutional for there to be laws against lying in advertisements, this being Congress making laws restricting freedom of speech. The judge was sane and ruled that the action and penalty for the lying would stand.



See more from Martin Perscheid here (I assume that there's a collection in English somewhere.)

April 20, 2019

I've got mail. (20/4/2019)
The mail keeps coming in and someone else is upset about what I had to say about anti-vaccination liar Archie Kalokerinos.

From: Sales HealthShopCY
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2019 15:53:18 +0300
Subject: Most ignoars website I seen in ages

Hello nameless person

you make the other DEBUNKERS look like rose baby bunnies

Thank you. I strive to be the best at what I do.

LOL I laugh so much at ignorance on the highest level .

Thank you so much for showing me that facts can be totally ignored IF one wants to be " a academic person " .... basically you got complexes for failing in academia and now you try to cling on by regurgitating other BS

I'm not an "academic" person and I never failed "in academia" because I never worked there. I was, however, successful in my academic studies.

Ohh and Kalokerinos , I mean you are the dirtiest slimy little fuck on the web .... 4 sure .

I think I will have that compliment printed on a t-shirt.

Thousands were saved by him , they made him a "this is my life" .... he had 2 adopted Indigenous Kids .... He was THE ONLY WHITE person to be accepted by them

Perhaps this is the time and place to mention Gough Whitlam, who was very much accepted by indigenous people. And he was just one of those who were.

https://www.news.com.au/national/gough-whitlam-former-pm-was-father-of-aboriginal-land-rights-in-australia/news-story/213de38c6ad6fc38f8c773679d71b513

http://guides.naa.gov.au/gough-whitlam/chapter7/7.8.aspx

He showed how Pedo Australia runs it all & how they got rid of them .

Oh he even stood up to cops selling Booze to them .

Ahhhh you are th eleast of the least in kingdom 

DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU ANYTHING ELSE

Your faceless garbage just cost me 15 minutes

I'm faceless? I can see my face in a mirror. Of course, if I were a vampire ... By the way, you didn't tell me your name.

COWARD YOU ARE AS WELL !  I'd bitch slap you for days for slandering Kalokerinos the bravest man in Australia!

And now that he's among the deadest children are a lot safer.

You a BITCH .... 10 000 will agree

..
..
This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual www.healthshopcy.com to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HealthShoCY . If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must neither take any action based upon its contents, nor copy or show it to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received this email in error.

Thank you for your comments. Suggestions and criticisms are always welcome here, even if they can be ignored as yours will be.

By the way, as you sell colloidal silver along with other useless and even dangerous quack products you site has been added to the Health Fraud collection here.


Useful medical advice (20/4/2019)


Warning from anti-vaccinators (20/4/2019)
I'm impressed by this list of vaccine ingredients. I especially like the silkworm DNA, because people usually forget about this (probably because of the chemtrails and fluoride working on their brains). I had a flu shot a few days ago and I meant to ask my doctor about what he was injecting straight into my bloodstream but I forgot (we just got fluoride in our town's water) so I'll make a note for next time I have to go there. And what about that "etc"? That stuff would kill a brown dog, as we say out here in rural Australia.

In case the real horror is lost on you, here is a picture of a vaccine ingredient factory. I can't tell you where I got it because I don't want Big Pharma coming around to my house and disappearing me.


But wait, there's more (20/4/2019)
Anti-vaccination liars love to tell us about how all the dangers of vaccines are revealed in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The problem is that, as it says clearly and prominently on the VAERS site:

When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.

and

VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning that reports about adverse events are not automatically collected, but require a report to be filed to VAERS. VAERS reports can be submitted voluntarily by anyone, including healthcare providers, patients, or family members. Reports vary in quality and completeness. They often lack details and sometimes can have information that contains errors.

Of course, as anti-vaccination liars tell lies as a matter of principle it should come as no surprise to find that spurious claims are submitted to VAERS all the time and then these spurious claims are used as "evidence" that vaccines are harmful. Liars gotta lie.

Someone bothered to collect some of the reports, just to see how serious these 'adverse events" might be.

I checked some of these just to make sure that the person making the image hadn't been trying to discredit anti-vaccination liars (as if that were even possible) by making stuff up. These are actual reports made by people who believe that lying about vaccines is an acceptable thing to do, because the ends justify the means. I'm reminded of being told about the deaths from the HPV vaccine which included a 9-month-old baby, a 73-year-old man and a woman who was killed as a passenger in a car crash some months after getting the vaccine. Have I already said that liars gotta lie?



See more Speed Bump here


The self-dug hole gets deeper (20/4/2019)
Last week I mentioned the OMICS conference and journal scam and how an Australian university had paid $3,000 for a student to attend a meaningless and valueless conference. I've found a report from my journalist friend Rick Morton about this. You can read "University paid for anti-vaccine student to attend conference" here.

April 27, 2019

Another day off (27/4/2019)
I'll be busy with my other hobby again next weekend (look for me in the pine forests around Orange, NSW) so I won't be here.

If you are in Sydney, however, and haven't had your flu vaccination for this year yet Australian Skeptics will be holding a free vaccination clinic on May 4. You can find out more details here.


For whom the Belle tolls, but is it for she? (27/4/2019)
Back in May 2015 I mentioned that a scam artist named Belle Gibson had admitted that she hadn't really had cancer despite making a lot of money selling a cure that she had supposedly used on herself. She was eventually awarded some penalties for this deception, no, let's call it lying, but of course she didn't pay anything. When you have the arrogance to steal money from desperate people with possibly terminal illness you probably consider yourself above such petty things as courts and regulatory authorities.

Well, four years later it looks like something might be done about her refusal to pay the fines. She is to appear in court on May 17 to explain why she hasn't paid the money she owes, but as she hasn't bothered to attend court in the past bookmakers are offering very long odds on her turning up this time. I asked some statisticians to calculate some probabilities and they came up with these:

Belle Gibson will appear in court on May 17 0.00001
Belle Gibson will express contrition for having deceived and robbed people 0.000001
Belle Gibson will pay the outstanding fines before the heat death of the sun 0.000000

Read the optimistic story here.


Keeping the neighbours happy (27/4/2019)
If t you ran a movie theatre across the road from a church with thin-skinned parishioners you wouldn't want to offend the congregation if you decided to show the film "Hellboy", would you?


Polite email conversation continues (27/4/2019)
Last week's Special Correspondent had more to say. As it lacked a certain amount of coherence I don't think I'll reply.

From: Sales HealthShopCY
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2019 23:23:23 +0300
Subject: Re: Most ignoars website I seen in ages

I was looking for a honest critical review on the Scenar .....

Print a T Shirt

I made a Website .... slandered a Dr who saved 10 000's with no proof but tons of ignorance .... & I don't give a fuck

Wear it !

I give you credits for responding but I would suggest to look at the .. little long ... interviews Kalokerinos gave in a 10 part series .

Look at a man who devoted his life to helping , go check if the witnesses exist & if they stood by him ... do some research .

AND LISTEN

when you slander off dead people ... you like the guys who claim Michael Jackson rapped them .... years & years they said no he didn't touch them in ANY way ... then he dies & they all over him  changing their stories 10 times .... not taking it to a criminal court ( where they denied it previously ) no just trying to get paid on dead people back ...... ; )

Unless you get paid for this then I pissing against the wind anyway

Yannis


When anti-vaccination liars go mad 1 (27/4/2019)
Some people will believe anything if it supports their insane agenda. A satirical web site publishes a joke about how the authorities are going to use dart guns to vaccinate children and it gets lapped up by people who don't understand the joke because it's just the sort of nonsense they believe. Strangely, this was so transparent that even some of the craziest anti-vaxxers were a bit skeptical. But only a bit. Can't have too much (any?) dissent in the ranks, you know.


When anti-vaccination liars go mad 2 (27/4/2019)
With measles breaking out all over the place, President Trump has come down in support of vaccination. While this might be the only sane utterance to come out of Trump's mouth since 1963 it has been jumped on by the anti-vaxxers. Focus has been placed on his use of the word "shot". As it is singular it can only be a code for a gunshot, and shows that Trump is only saying this because he is afraid of being assassinated by Big Pharma and its allies.

How strange and terrifying it must be to live in the parallel universe inhabited by anti-vaccination liars and other conspiracists, where nothing is as it seems and everything must be feared.



See more SMBC here


Which reminds me of this from a few years back.


See more from Paul Noth in the New Yorker


Gimme that old time miscegenation (27/4/2019)
People familiar with this site or me might be aware that I have little patience with those who reject or abuse science. Now that we have got over the terror of fluoride in my town's water and while we wait for the horror of 5G mobile phone towers to arrive to disrupt our DNA and kill our pets, there is always that other horror of DNA vandalism to worry about - genetically modified plants and animals. I should point out that two of the major industries around where I live are the growing of beef cattle and wool-bearing sheep. Neither Angus cattle nor Merino sheep exist in nature, but are genetically modified forms of something else. Over that hill over there I can find canola and wheat farms, both covered in plants which have been modified over the years (and even millennia) and don't naturally exist. And don't get me started on the cauliflower farm I drive past coming home from my fortnightly shopping in Big Town. All of these unnatural organisms have been created by randomly mixing genes and hoping that something useful might eventually appear.

It's no surprise then to find that someone has found a way to make money out of opposition to genetic modification, by which they mean the careful and scientific use of gene manipulation to produce a predicted and desirable result.

The way to make money is to offer a certification service, where manufacturers can put a label on their products proudly declaring them to be free of all the awful GMOs. The problem is that there is no checking on the certification and all you have to do to get certified is pay for it. You could even put the label on things which can't possibly be modified. Like salt and water.

The FDA has finally got sick of the deception and is hoping to put the Non-GMO Project out of business. Unfortunately, I suspect this will just cause a backlash, with conspiracists claiming that this is just evidence of the control that corporations like the dreaded Monsanto (now hiding inside Big Pharma Bayer) have over the FDA. Whack a Mole isn't just a fun arcade game - it's the reality of trying to fight nonsense and deception.

You can read about the fight here.

I suppose it's a good time to show this again. It never gets old.

Asbestos is bad; definitely get the one on the right. Wait -- this one over here has no swine flu!  Now I can't decide.
See more of XKCD here




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