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Utter bastardry! (22/2/2020)
The big news around my place this week has been about a man who murdered his wife and three children by pouring petrol over them and setting them alight. He then killed himself, which is what these cowards always seem to do instead of doing the right thing and killing themselves first. Media reaction has been astonishing in its sympathy for the murderer.
And if that isn't enough to make you vomit all over your carpet, look at the number of anencephalic creatures who clicked the "Like" button to show their approval of this insanity. I don't block out the names of the guilty, so if Mandy doesn't like seeing her name here she can complain to someone but she shouldn't expect a favourable response if that someone is me. Another anti-vaxxer claimed that the woman was obviously vaccine damaged and that is why she didn't leave her husband (she had left him a year before), and the idea that he might have suffered brain damage from concussion during his very short football career was also dismissed as a possible vaccine injury. (Concussion wasn't an excuse anyway.)
Speaking of media reports ... (22/2/2020)
It's deja vu all over again (22/2/2020)
Back in 2003 I reported on what might have been seen as the silliest and most useless waste of the time and resources of the High Court of Australia that anyone could imagine, but all these years later there is a new contender.
A loon wants to sue the Commonwealth of Australia and has applied to the High Court to try to get it to rule that vaccination is both unconstitutional and illegal under international law. Anti-vaccination liars are wetting their pants about this, even going so far as to claim that the High Court has endorsed their insanity. Those of us of sound mind realise that asking a court to look at something is not the same as the court looking and agreeing. At the time I'm writing this the Court has not even agreed to read the writ let alone empanelled some expensive judges to consider its worth, but facts have never bothered the opponents of vaccines. If the Court does decide to amuse themselves by actually having a hearing I might have to take a trip to Canberra to watch the fun, although I imagine that eating popcorn in the courtroom is probably discouraged.
I could go though the thing line by line offering criticism and comments, but there are only so many hours in a week. You can read the masterpiece here,, but I will extract some parts to give the flavour.
It would be sad if it wasn't so funny.
I have no idea what reminded me of this (22/2/2020)
It's flat. It really is. (22/2/2020)
It might seem to be bad taste to talk about Flat Earthers (or "Flerfers" as I've seen them called) in the same week as someone died in a failed attempt to launch a rocket to 5,000 feet to prove that the earth is flat, but what can you do? (I live 3,700 feet up in the air, but there's dirt and rock below me so it isn't the same as looking down from a steam powered rocket.) Someone suggested that the curvature of the Earth is visible from passenger aircraft flying between cities, but this was rebutted by the claim that it is an illusion caused by the curvature of the windows. A question as to why this illusion is not apparent when looking out the window when the plane is on the ground was ignored. I did like the Flerfer who said that the Flat Earth movement was irresistible because it is a global phenomenon.
But launching steam powered rockets to look for horizontality or keeping the blinds down when flying are unnecessary, because simple logic tells us that the Earth must be flat. Consider this diagram:
Policy summary (29/2/2020)
This sort of sums up the way things are done around here.
Stolen from someone on Facebook
Time stands still for some people (29/2/2020)
I've often commented that time stands still for the supporters of alternative (to) medicine, where once something is said or done it remains true for all time. What passes for research in the area can never be overturned by later research, and in fact the way that real science improves on its findings and throws away things later found to be wrong or incomplete is offered as proof that science knows nothing. (Of course, to sentient beings the fact that science is always a work in progress and will stop when everything is known with certainty is well recognised.)
In 2004 I had a run in with a quack offering useless diagnostic procedures. She lawyered up but the lawyers ran away when I asked for evidence of her claims. When I did one of my occasional ego surfs through the search engines looking for my name I found a blog post headed "Peter Bowditch's Witch Hunt" which referred to this matter.
In the true spirit of quackers getting things wrong it refers to Professor John Dwyer as "a member of the Sceptics Assoc". I don't know who or what this "Sceptics Assoc" is, but if the writer was referring to Australian Skeptics Inc then I have to say that Professor Dwyer is not and has never been a member, although he is a good friend of the organisation. (I had the honour of presenting him with his Skeptic Of The Year award at the 2000 ASI national convention.)
The thing about time standing still, however, refers to the sentence "Jennie has had to sell her house to fight this cause that will be held in the Federal Court". The blog post was written in March 2007, but Ms Burke had aborted the Federal Court action in 2004 by giving an undertaking to tell the truth a few days before the hearing. (She didn't of course, but she is in the business of deceiving people about diagnostic tests.) So we have someone writing in 2007 about something that didn't happen in 2004 because it's about to happen,
Some weirdness (29/2/2020)
The search for my name (at Bing - Google might be different) turned up hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites selling Viagra, Cialis and maybe other treatments for the quaintly named erectile dysfunction, although I assume that these ads are directed at men who feel inadequate and want to improve their "performance". According to the text with each entry in the search list, they were found by a search for my name because they linked to or mentioned an article I'd written for Australasian Science in 2014. I looked at a few of the suggested links and could see no mention of me or the article anywhere, and even if they did the article doesn't mention the drugs or the medical condition anyway. A mystery
This is from a site run by a lady (I use the term loosely) named lena Rosenthal. Ilena was famous for getting a judge to agree that reproducing defamatory material was not defamation if the material had been written by someone else even if you knew it to be untrue. I never actually called her a "disease ridden prostitute", I merely reported that she had been unable to make a living as a hooker in San Diego, one of the world's largest naval ports, even though she offered free samples. Ilena demanded that I withdraw the story as it was defamatory, but I pointed out that I had read it on the Internet and cited the protection and precedent of a court action known as "Barrett v Rosenthal" which had found such reproduction not to be defamatory. She was not pleased. Also, I never claimed to have had a "sexual fling" with Ilena because I've never been that desperate and I don't have a strong enough stomach anyway. (Maybe it could have worked if I'd taken close to an overdose of the medications mentioned in the article above, but I don't like that much risk.) In addition, see where it says that I blocked the page and had it removed from the web archive? I admit that I did close that section of my site in 2006, but look at what the link provided by Ilena as evidence goes to. To say that Ilena Rosenthal is loose with the truth would be a massive understatement. She has no concept of truth and would not recognise it if it bit her on the face.
But enough about Ilena, what has this got to do with names? Well, do you see those lists of names? They were produced in a quackery forum as proof that the opponents of quackery are deceptive and do not use their real names, because the names on the left of each list were obviously pseudonyms for ones on the right, or maybe vice versa. There should be international awards for this level of stupidity.
But how stupid can stupidity get? (29/2/2020)
I offer this without comment because it doesn't need any.
Who are you, who who who who? I really want to know. (29/2/2020)
On January 18 this year the Australian Vaccination-[this week's word] Network issued a media release misrepresenting a vaccine conference organised by the World Health Organization.
The headline on the release was "World Health Organization Questions Vaccine Safety" and the first paragraph said:
"In Medical school, you’re lucky if you have a half day on vaccines, never mind keeping up to date with all of it." – Prof Heidi Larson, PhD. Director Vaccine Confidence Project
I've marked the words with the Yellow Marker of Lying because, well, they are lies. I did a bit of research into the Vaccine Confidence Project and to my amazement it seems to have received support from WHO, although the project seems to be focused on hesitancy and rumour rather than addressing the real problem of anti-vaccination liars lying about vaccines. Prof Larson is an anthropologist who seems to have managed to attach herself to various hospitals, although I have reason to believe that it would be possible to obtain a doctorate in anthropology without ever setting foot inside a medical school. She has attached herself to legitimate vaccine promotion organisations such as GAVI, but doing something to do with communication (anthropology degrees are big on that) rather than anything scientific. I have had some experience with other "researchers" who have a lot to say about rumours, hesitancy and communication and how anti-vaccination liars should be shown some respect so I'm not about to start thinking that the Vaccine Confidence Project is doing anything more than providing legitimacy and comfort to the opposition. Why else would the AVN quote her in a media release? I should point out that in undergraduate anthropology school you are lucky if you have a half day on the evolution of cultural food taboos.
And what did the WHO have to say about the media release?
"[G]ives the misleading impression that it is an official press release of the Organization". The cynic in me suggests that this impression was not accidental. Being misleading is what the AVN is all about.
It was Mardi Gras in Sydney (29/2/2020)
February 29 was Mardi Gras time in Sydney, and the usual bigots were complaining.