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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in February 2021
Part 2

February 20, 2021

The Great Facebook Foul-up* Fiasco (20/2/2021)
The Australian Government is about to introduce legislation to "encourage" (read "force") social media and other organisations to pay for using other people's content to attract eyeballs to advertising. Those other media organisations are the ones actually creating news stories and paying journalists.

Google blustered along for a while but finally folded (as they did in France and some other countries) and came to agreements with major news outlets to pay annual fees for use of their content. This was always going to be what happened, because for Google to block Australian content in their search engine would have meant walking away from several billion dollars of income that they manage to pay no tax on. As part of the agreements, Google have updated and enlarged their news aggregation system and now provide a very convenient way to summarise breaking news (and read it without having to bother about paywalls in some cases). It looks like a win all round.

Facebook, on the other hand, went ballistic. Using a very broad definition of what constitutes news as set out in the proposed legislation, on Thursday, February 18, they blocked access to all media outlets to their Australian account holders. This wasn't restricted to just Australian media groups, because the sharing of articles from the Washington Post and the BBC was blocked. As if that wasn't stupid enough, they decided that a plethora of Facebook pages also fell under the definition of "news outlet" and content was blocked from pages belonging to various state health departments (just in time for the anti-vaccination liars to ramp up their bullshit a few days before the first COVID-19 vaccines arrive), the Bureau of Meteorology (just in time for bush fire and flood season), community and sporting groups (an organisation I'm involved with which runs car rallies had to find another way to tell competitors that an event this weekend had to be postponed because of weather conditions that couldn't be read about on the blocked BOM or NSW Rural Fire Service pages).

Some of the page contents have been restored, but the block still applies on sharing information from regular web sites. An example of this is Australian Skeptics. The content on the AS Facebook page has been restored but posting articles from the AS site to Facebook is still banned. I only have a personal page on Facebook so I will have to wait and see if I can share content from here. The Millenium Project is just as much a "media outlet" as the Australian Skeptics site.

And to add to the misery and confusion, the dreaded algorithm decided to join in the fun and this happened:

Not a skerrick of spam anywhere near this. I fell afoul of Facebook's mysterious "community standards" back in January and I now have a permanent warning on my account. I hope this latest infringement doesn't trigger some more banning action.

(* I'm too polite to say "Fuck-up".)

But things that aren't blocked ... (21/2/2021)
Facebook might be blocking real news, but sharing this sort of thing is still allowed.

Showing the normal quackery grasp of chemistry (and all other science), this peddler of "organic" nonsense (in business since 1922) had this to say:

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body doesn’t store it. You have to get what you need from food, including citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes. When individuals are not getting enough vitamin C in their diets, they often take synthetic vitamin C supplements. Nearly all vitamin C supplements on the market are made from ascorbic acid.

The article then went on to cite various other "reputable" naturopaths and quacks and even managed to misinterpret some actual scientific research, all telling of the dangers of this dreadful artificial acid.

The short version (or TL;DR, as they say on the Internet) is this:

Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid.

I think I'll keep taking the pills made by Big Pharma. Oh, and ascorbic acid is an organic chemical compound in the real meaning of the word "organic", not the marketing meaning.

Outside the University of Wollongong?

See more from Loren Fishman here.

Memory! It's like that song from "Cats" (20/2/2021)
Doing the digital version of looking under the cushions in the lounge room or for coins in the car ashtray I came across a media release from some years ago which related to the dead (but resurrected with another name) Canadian Cancer Research Group. (I must say I almost miss the regular and illiterate screeches from the dead Mr William P O'Neill, owner of CCRG, and his shadowy companion, the Gutless Anonymous Liar. They were so amusing in their vituperation and ineffectiveness.)

It seems that the Medical Director of the CCRG was as crooked and as useless as his boss.

Doc gets 'slap on wrist' at misconduct hearing
Last Updated: 27th January 2010, 6:42am

TORONTO – Pat McDougall wanted to hear an apology from Dr. Eoghan O'Shea after the prominent Ottawa physician pleaded guilty to professional misconduct, but it never came.

"I'm shocked, I'm shocked" McDougall said after O'Shea's disciplinary hearing at the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons wrapped up quickly Tuesday morning after beginning just over an hour earlier.

"Frankly I did expect an apology, but you'll notice that he not only didn't apologize through his lawyer, but he didn't apologize to me personally" an angry McDougall said.

O'Shea, the former medical director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Cancer Research Group (CCRG) and now vice-president of the Ottawa Academy of Medicine, pleaded guilty to misconduct for his role in prescribing nutritional supplements to terminally ill cancer patients while employed with the CCRG from 2000 to 2006.

He didn't speak during the hearing and afterwards made no comment as he left the college's headquarters in downtown Toronto.

High-profile lawyer Tim Danson, who has represented the families of Paul Bernardo murder victims Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy as well as former NHLer Steve Moore, appeared at the hearing on behalf of CCRG.

Although not a party to the hearing, Danson appeared briefly before the panel and said he would be monitoring for any "negative" or "disparaging" remarks about CCRG and that if any were made, he would make a formal request for intervener status to defend the organization.

"To their knowledge Dr. O'Shea conducted himself professionally and patients were fully informed," he said after the hearing ended.

Danson said CCRG's clients "are some of the highest-respected members of the community, business and otherwise" but said he couldn't release those names.

In the hearing, O'Shea's lawyer Karen Hamway cited his work in the community as a family physician, as well as at the Ottawa Hospital, a local nursing home, and a clinic in an underprivileged area of town as evidence of his character and professionalism.

O'Shea's admitted he failed to examine CCRG's patients or obtain informed consent before prescribing to them, didn't communicate with the patients' physicians or oncologists, and didn't chart his communications with patients' physicians and oncologists.

O'Shea's punishment from the college, effective immediately, is that he's now barred from engaging in or associating with providing complementary medical treatment for terminal diseases.

He also is prohibited from prescribing so-called "compound products" to treat terminal illness. He was also ordered to pay $3,650 in costs to the college and enrol in a the college's ethics and informed consent course within a year. He's also barred from ever associating with CCRG.

McDougall's daughter Kathy was one of the terminally ill patients who sought help from CCRG. She died in 2003 but in two years paid between $10,000 and $20,000 to CCRG for the treatments, McDougall estimated.

"It's a slap on the wrist, the whole thing right from the start," McDougall said. "I expected a much heavier penalty."

Add Kathy McDougall's name to those of Olympic athlete Sandra Schmirler and academic Annette Pypops, both of whom put their trust in O'Neill and CCRG. The CCRG site was featuring testimonials from both of them after they died of the cancers that they had paid many dollars to have cured. The one tiny bright spot in all this tragedy is that Kathy didn't go to Stan Burzynski for a cure, because that would have cost ten to twenty times as much before the inevitable failure.

High-profile lawyer Tim Danson, who has represented the families of Paul Bernardo murder victims Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy as well as former NHLer Steve Moore, appeared at the hearing on behalf of CCRG.

Although not a party to the hearing, Danson appeared briefly before the panel and said he would be monitoring for any "negative" or "disparaging" remarks about CCRG and that if any were made, he would make a formal request for intervener status to defend the organization.

Hey, Mr Danson – CCRG was an organisation set up to defraud people with cancer and steal their life savings with no possibility of relief or cure. Is that "negative" or "disparaging" enough for you?

See more from The Angriest Programmer In The World here

Essential advice in these plague times (20/2/2021)

Grumble update (20/2/2021)
I mentioned last week that I had a lot of now dead links to remove or fix. I've managed to resurrect all the links to the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Complaints Resolution Panel (thank you Internet Archive) but sorting out the broken links to Yahoo! Groups is still a Work In Progress. As many (most?) of the links were to messages in private mailing lists which can only be read by list members my only option is to remove each link and add an explanation. I still have about thirty of these to go, so there's some more time I'll never get back.

February 27, 2021

I'm forest-bound (27/2/2021)
I won't be here next week because I'll be pursuing my other hobby, which is media coverage of car rallies. The picture shows the sort of roads I'll be looking at during the day. And yes, the cars will get a lot closer to me than the one in this photo (I use continuous shooting to get that one-in-a-hundred good shot).

The following week (March 13) might also be missing as I have two rally events to do journalisting at only five days apart (the second is on Thursday, March 11). This means I will be flat out (like a lizard drinking, as we say in these parts) writing articles for newspapers and magazines, choosing and editing photographs (typically about 1,000 taken at an event of which maybe 60 are useful), recording and editing videos, updating web sites, washing my dusty high-visibility clothes, cleaning the dust off and out of my camera and generally doing all the things I have to do when I come back from a rally.

Things that never change (27/2/2021)
The release and distribution of vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best (by which I mean worst) in the anti-vaccination liar community, with every old cliché and lie being trotted out. Here is a cartoon that appeared in the papers many years ago, showing that little has changed since the smallpox vaccine arrived. I like the way the cartoonist has included mention of lies, and there is also the reference to the latest (but obviously not new) excuse for not vaccinating – inconvenience and lack of access to vaccines. These might apply in some remote places but when you hear people in cities and very large towns dragging out these excuses you know they are just anti-vaccination liars telling more lies. I live in a small country town and the vaccination rates here are much higher than in places where the there are a lot more doctors and a lot more liars.

PS – My doctor predicts that I'll be getting my COVID shot in the next three or four weeks (I'm in the second priority group). I like the way he didn't ask me if I wanted it and just assumed I'd be there with my sleeve rolled up on the day.

Apparently this appeared in the South Dakota Health Bulletin in July 1924.
It could quite easily have been created long before that, because there were
ignorant protests against the smallpox vaccine in the 19th century.

More memories! hope I don't start remembering satanic rituals. (27/2/2021)
I mentioned last week that something to do with our old and now really dead friend Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group had been found lurking in a dark corner. This week the archeologists working on the Ratbags Dig have put their little trowels and paint brushes to good use and have discovered Mr O'Neill's contribution to the discussion of Meryl Dorey's doomed attempt to get the courts to silence me. He posted the following Wildean wit to a Usenet discussion group. Anonymously, of course.

Congratulations to all those who have supported that sinking ship of bigots, racists, criminals and back woods ass country fucks. It all went up in smoke today as one of the SAVN founders found his greatness in front of the courts again. Yes again! The first in this episode of chronic criminality, Peter Bowditch of no particular interest to anyone, until he again, broke the law. Back in the 1980's Bowditch was charged, convicted and incarcerated for aggravated assault. Now, he has been named under Australia's AVO Law, for having uttered threats of death, sexual assault and mutilation. Bowditch advised the court in Lismore today that he intends on defending charges associated to this claim. Court has been adjourned until February 26, 2013. Bowditch also advised in a "tweet" that when he appears, again, in front of the Lismore Court, he will be making a complaint? Complaint? This is an AVO hearing Bowditch....What are you going to be complaining about? Are you going to be complaining that everyone is picking on you because you're a disabled diabetic alcoholic? Are you going to argue freedom of speech without accountability? Or, are you going to be complaining that it's your right to complain?

For those of us sitting on the sidelines this has become quite the spectator sport. Bowditch and other sceptics are the epitome of what's wrong with the internet. The Internet has been the weapon of choice for social rejects like Bowditch. From the protection of their socially fucked up little domains, reprobates like Bowditch, between searches for MILFS and bomb making decide they don't agree with anything that challenges their myopathy. For years, Bowditch inflicted pain upon unsuspecting victims until one of them fought back: Meryl Dorey. Now Dorey is holding Bowditch accountable and he doesn't like it. Too bad! Bowditch was named in an AVO in September of 2012. His next appearance has been ordered to happen on February 26, 2013. Bowditch claims he has some complaints he's going to raise with court when he next appears. And what might he possibly complain about? Perhaps he might complain that Ms Dorey and court are constructing to interfere with his right to express hate, bigotry and intolerance, and, of course his right to be openly abusive toward all women and children, and his right to chronically imposing his dim and twisted views on everyone. What is becoming increasing more apparent to everyone except Bowditch, is that he is fucked. The abundance of accumulating evidence in the Internet overwhelmingly demonstrates a man who is not only a threat to the safety and well being of Ms Dorey, but also anyone he may decide he doesn't agree with or like. There have been cases of late and not nearly as significant as this one, where the defendants have been sentenced to as long as 10 years imprisonment and a lifetime ban from using computers or any ther device to access the Internet. With an additional month to provide the court with more evidence the numerous supporters of Ms Dorey and endless detractors of Bowditch and the skeptics, there will no doubt be further delays as the court considers a literal tsunami of evidence. The irony in all of this is that many of us "anti-vaccination liars" are wondering if there might be a vaccine against stupidity. Good luck Mr Bowditch. We miss you already

Have I mentioned that Mr O'Neill was wrong in his prediction? That Ms Dorey's application was flung into the bin by the Magistrate? That Ms Dorey cried when she lost?

Oh and "There have been cases of late and not nearly as significant as this one, where the defendants have been sentenced to as long as 10 years imprisonment and a lifetime ban from using computers or any ther (sic) device to access the Internet". Maybe Mr O'Neill is referring to another occasion on which he was wrong.

And I still get a good laugh out of "Back in the 1980's Bowditch was charged, convicted and incarcerated for aggravated assault". This was so easy to disprove that I wonder why I bothered.

The eternal problem that every writer recognises (27/2/2021)

See more Savage Chickens here

Those polite, courteous and friendly anti-vaccination liars (27/2/2021)
My online journalist friend Jane Hansen put together a TV special about the anti-vaccination movement in Australia. With the imminent arrival of COVID-19 vaccines the torrent of lies and misinformation has assumed tsunami proportions so it was a suitable time to expose the liars for the liars they are. Here is the trailer for the show. (You can see the full program here.)

It would have been obvious to any thinking person that the liar community would not take this well, and it resulted in an immediate call from Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination[Lie of the Week) Network to release the flying monkeys to attack and harass Ms Hansen. Jane temporarily closed her Facebook page, but that didn't stop the comments on the TV station's web site and Facebook page or on venues and forums controlled by anti-vaxxers.

It's a pity tossing a bucket of water on Ms Dorey doesn't make her melt into a puddle of scum.
Not a death threat!

There was a video released as a rebuttal. The content was predictable.

But I've saved the best for last. Here is a comment addressed directly to Jane Hansen.

Never forget that Meryl Dorey thought that my asking her to leave my family alone was sufficiently threatening to waste more than a year of a court's and my time, but she finds this sort of thing acceptable. After all, the end (lots of corpses from preventable diseases) justifies the means (lying and harassment).

There is a saying "beneath contempt". These creatures are so far beneath contempt that a new definition of "nadir" is required. They are lower than that. And if they feel offended by what I have to say about them, then I can only respond with an image that Meryl Dorey offered to the court as evidence of my threatening behaviour.

Or put more crudely and forcibly -


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