News From Around The Blogosphere 3.10.10

March 11, 2010

1. I’ll have water on the rocks – Turns out we didn’t need to blow up the moon to find water because there was water in the rock samples we got decades ago the whole time:

The water levels detected in Apollo moon rocks and volcanic glasses are in the thousands of parts per million, at most—which explains why analyses of the samples in the late 1960s and early 1970s concluded that the moon was absolutely arid.


2. Debunking creationists? Yeah, there’s an App for that – I blogged before about the The Counter-Creationism Handbook App but this one, Creationist Claims, is specifically for the iPhone.

3. Song For James Randi – Randi has now been immortalized in song, thanks to Tense Kids.

4. Human culture may have a powerful effect on evolution

Although it does shield people from other forces, culture itself seems to be a powerful force of natural selection. People adapt genetically to sustained cultural changes, like new diets. And this interaction works more quickly than other selective forces, “leading some practitioners to argue that gene-culture co-evolution could be the dominant mode of human evolution,” Kevin N. Laland and colleagues wrote in the February issue of Nature Reviews Genetics. Dr. Laland is an evolutionary biologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

5. New study furthers evidence of flu shot benefits

An unusual study done in 49 remote Hutterite farming colonies in western Canada has provided the surest proof yet that giving flu shots to schoolchildren protects a whole community from the disease.

Although previous studies have demonstrated what scientists call “herd immunity,” none have been so incontrovertible, because they were done in less isolated places with more sources of flu passing through. Also, only one other study, done 42 years ago, immunized over 80 percent of a community’s children, as this one did. Success repeated in many separate communities with very high vaccination rates implies that the shots themselves — rather than luck, viral mutations, hand-washing or any other factor — were the crucial protective element.

So will the anti-vaxxers come around? Of course not. They’ll be throwing every excuse possible to reject this study and slander those who conducted it, the journalist who wrote the article, and the NY Times itself.

And speaking of the flu. . .

6. Stephen Novella gives an update on the H1N1 flu – Just because the media stopped talking about it, it doesn’t mean H1N1 didn’t have serious consequences. Fortunately, despite the massive anti-vaccine campaign against the vaccine, many Americans actually did get the vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine, leading to a solid victory for medicine. While the numbers of those infected and who died of H1N1 were a bit high, the seasonal flu ended up doing far less damage than usual. Of course once again the success of vaccines will be exploited by the deniers who regarded the hype surrounding H1N1 as nothing but fear-mongering to get people to get the poisonous vaccines. But at least they can’t point to many cases of vaccine injury either, so it kinda evens out in the end anyway with fewer deaths than we feared, making it a cause to celebrate.

7. Another pharmacist refuses to do her job for her religion

Janine Deeley, 38, thought the woman was joking when she took her on one side and said : “I don’t give out contraceptive pills because of my religion.”

The mother of two teenage daughters, from Wybourn , Sheffield, said : “I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the woman . Who is she to refuse to give me properly prescribed legal drugs?

“The irony is that one reason why I am prescribed the pill is because I suffer from endometriosis which causes painful periods.

I don’t know if that counts as irony but misappropriates of words aside, this is ridiculous. If your religion prevents you from doing your job, get another job. It’s that fucking simple!

News From Around The Blogosphere 1.12.10

January 13, 2010

1. God denies Kent Hovind’s rehearing before the Supreme Court – Yup, Kent filed for an appeal and had lots of people praying for him. But I guess “God” doesn’t care much for fucktards like Kent.

2. Islamic Supreme Council of Canada issues fatwa against Muslim extremists – It’s a start but I’d still rather you guys just accepted that your whole religion, moderate or not, is bullshit and that your prophet was a crazy pedophile.

3. Atheists help the homeless:

4. Another case of death by religion – Last year, 16-year-old Neil Beagley suffered and died a painful death because he and his parents chose prayer over medicine.

Police said the boy and his family are members of the Followers of Christ Church, a highly secretive group in Oregon City that has been practicing a distinct brand of religion since at least the mid-40s after moving to Oregon from Idaho. They believe they are God’s chosen children and that God’s will can heal those he chooses.

The parents, Jeff and Marci Beagley are charged with criminally negligent homicide.

5. The Pope had declared marriage equality a threat to creation itself – And condoms cause AIDS. Glad to see this guy’s got his priorities straight. With holy leaders like this, who needs terrorists?

6. Insect cells to replace chicken eggs in vaccine manufacturing?

Scientists in Vienna have developed a new technique for producing vaccines for H1N1 — so-called swine flu — based on insect cells. The research, published in the Biotechnology Journal, reveals how influenza vaccines can be produced faster than through the traditional method of egg-based production, revealing a new strategy for the fight against influenza pandemics.

This would solve the problem of people who are allergic to chicken. But of course it won’t shut up the anti-animal-use-in-medicine/anti-vaccinationists. They’ll just start whining that doctors are injecting insects into people.

7. Roxxxy the sex robot is here – That’s right. There’s a sex robot. But my favorite part of the story is this bit here:

Inspiration for the sex robot sprang from the September 11, 2001 attacks, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon and an empty field in Pennsylvania.

Yay 9/11!!!!

The zombie apocalypse begins…

January 8, 2010

I’ve got my battle scars to prove it. That’s right, I’ve gotten the H1N1 flu vaccine. So if you never see another post, you’ll know why. I’ll be a reanimated corpse feasting on the brains of the living.

It's a little hard to tell but that's the adhesive strip on my arm.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.21.09

December 22, 2009

Silence is the Enemy campaign image

1. South African lesbians being dragged off the street and  raped – The worst part of all is that in the video found in the link above, citizens are happily admitting their support of rape in order to “correct” these women and “teach them a lesson.” The police and government are not taking this seriously.

One man roared with laughter as he said lesbians should be “whipped”. “There is no mention of lesbians in the bible,” he said.

. . .

They said “women should behave like women” and this was a way of “teaching” them that.

Why is it that whenever there is repulsive female oppression, a reference to the bible isn’t far behind?

2. The Pope (TM) – The Vatican has literally copywritten the Pope. So apparently the likeness and image of Joey Ratz is no longer in the public domain:

The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

. . .

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that “it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church.”

So I guess mentioning the fact that it’s a matter of public record that the current Pope conspired to cover-up countless instances of child rape, allowing the rapists to continue to rape and escape prosecution to this very day is a big no-no.

3. Garrison Keillor’s anti-semitic rant – Ironically, he accuses those non-Christians who embrace Christmas of “spiritual piracy and cultural elitism,” apparently oblivious to the holiday’s pagan origins and, you know, the fact that this very rant promotes “cultural elitism.” This just further hits home the point that there’s no such thing as a “War on Christmas,” only a war by fanatical Christians against everyone else’s cultural or religious traditions in order to reinforce their own religious dominance. And the guy seems really, really worked up over this. Dude, there are REAL problems in the world. Non-Christians enjoying the season isn’t a problem; it can hardly even be described as a pet peeve. But I’m not a heartless guy, so I’ll just wish Mr. Keillor a Happy Atheistmas!

4. Mexico City legalizes same-sex marriage – And apparently Uruguay already has legalized civil unions throughout the country, along with several South America nations. Who knew?

5. Clive Thompson of the Washington Post calls anti-vaccination one of the “Worst Ideas of the Decade” – Thompson hits it out of the park, but of course he’s just become the newest target of vitriolic attacks by the anti-vaccine movement. In fact, it’s already started. And by tomorrow, I’m sure Age of Autism will have found some reason to insist he’s a Big Pharma Shill, such as him once living next door to someone who knows someone who works at Merck. And on a related note, the anti-vacine Australian Vaccination Network (or AVN – not to be confused with any other AVN that may hold annual conventions in Las Vegas) and its leader Meryl Dorey are under investigation for misleading the public.

Obama answers H1N1 vaccine conspiracists

December 22, 2009

Obama receiving his novel H1N1 vaccination

Of course the real true believer conspiracists will still find some excuse to remain unconvinced that Obama isn’t part of the evil government eugenics plot to wipe out most of the population with poisonous vaccines that have managed to not kill or seriously harm anyone for months. If this is all we have, then they’ll say he didn’t really get the vaccine and this is just a photo opt. If there is video footage, they’ll say that wasn’t the vaccine with the poison or that it was a slight of hand trick that only appeared to penetrate the skin, etc, etc. It’s always something. But I’m glad to see Obama making a point to acknowledge his confidence in the vaccine program.

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.21.09

October 22, 2009

1. Anti-vacciners now in the same camp as Louis Farrakhan

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan told an audience in Memphis he believes the H1N1 flu vaccine was developed to kill people, a witness said.

You’d think that when you find yourself aligned with Farrakhan on science, you’d start to seriously reconsider your position, but I suspect the anti-vacciners will, like every other crank, embrace any famous person they can find that agrees with them no matter how batshit insane they are.

2. In an attempt to regain some of that journalistic integrity the Washington Post lost when posting Child Rapist Apologist Bill Donohue’s incoherent tyrade the other day, they’ve now printed a response. Sure, I would have loved a printed response from someone like Chris Hitchens, but at least they made the effort.

3. God can’t heal amputees. . .but science will –

4. Hugh Hewitt interviews Richard Dawkins (who I just saw live today) – The full transcript is there but one particularly telling excerpt is here:

RD: Okay, do you believe Jesus turned water into wine?

HH: Yes.

RD: You seriously do?

HH: Yes.

RD: You actually think that Jesus got water, and made all those molecules turn into wine?

HH: Yes.

RD: My God.

HH: Yes. My God, actually, not yours. But let me…

RD: I’ve realized the kind of person I’m dealing with now.

Dr. Oz does good. It must be Monday.

October 12, 2009

Yesterday, I went off on Dr. Oz for a video I saw where he said some factually incorrect things about autism, which Age of Autism seemed to love (never a good sign).

But today, I actually want to thank Oz for some recent good he’s done trying to promote vaccination.

Now the really, really odd part is that the YouTube account that posted these 2 videos either belongs to medical quack “Dr.” Mercola or some fan of his. So I guess this is meant to discredit Oz in the minds of Mercola’s audience even though whoever uploaded it didn’t add any commentary.

But I guess when you’ve got people this nuts who just KNOW “The Truth” with absolute certainty, no commentary is needed. The comments section in both videos is full of pure rage against Oz with constant shouts of the “Big Pharma Shill” Gambit.

And what I found most amusing because it shows just how delusional these people are was that in that second video, numerous commenters insist that despite being shown very clearly as Dr. Oz gets vaccinated themselves, that he didn’t really get vaccinated. One person claimed it the vaccine was palmed even though we actually see the injection in close-up. I don’t think they actually know what palming is. If you don’t know, I suggest you watch a REAL demonstration of a magician palming something before an audience & camera (see 4 minutes into the video).

This just shows similar these kooks are to other denialist groups like the Obama Birthers. The Birthers kept asking to see Obama’s birth certificate. And then after it was shown to them and they saw it with their own eyes, they still denied it. And to this day, they continually insist on seeing the birth certificate, which they claim has never been shown, yet anyone who bothers to Google “Obama birth certificate” can now see it any time they want.

With the anti-vaccinationists, I kept hearing them say they wanted to see the doctors themselves get them. In fact, there’s a common gambit they use all the time where they bring up a statistic that 1/3 of doctors don’t get themselves vaccinated. Of course this would mean that 2/3 do, but never let small details like that get in the way of a good nonsensical denialist argument. Now here we clearly see a doctor vaccinated on camera. . .AND IT’S STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM! They just come up with a new excuse like, there was nothing in the vaccine or it didn’t really penetrate his skin, blah, blah, blah.

That’s why it doesn’t pay to try and rationally answer the arguments of crazy people. It won’t convince them. In fact, being proven wrong just manages to convince them of their delusion even more.

But it was a good try, Dr. Oz.

Blunder Twins Gary Null & Mike Adams seek to up their death count

October 10, 2009

Mike Adams, Merchant of Death

Gary Null, Raving Psychotic

Gary Null, Raving Psychotic

The last time I looked at the figures, 76 children and 28 pregnant women had been killed by H1N1. Apparently though, “alternative” “medicine” “gurus” Gary Null (who’s also an HIV denialist in addition to being an anti-vaccine quack) and Mike Adams (who’s probably also an HIV denialist) aren’t happy with such low figures, so now they’ve introduced a lawsuit against the FDA to remove the current H1N1 vaccine.

Given the mountains of evidence showing both the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, I doubt this lawsuit will get any real traction, but swift action should be taken to stop these psychopaths before it even gets the chance. Also against them is the sheer amount of money that our government has put into manufacturing these vaccines and getting them out there to the public. Unless there really were some seriously substantial evidence could be presented to prove something was wrong with the vaccine, too much money has been invested to just throw them all out now. And of course if these fools had such evidence, the scientific community would have already known about it.

Now I still can’t confirm this but as far as I know Mr. Null is still a faculty member at my local Fairleigh Dickinson University. Although I’m sure he tons of blood money selling snake oil and books that promote snake oil, I recommend possibly starting a campaign to get his ass fired.

Dr. Bill Maher’s tweeted medical advice

September 26, 2009

Dr. Maher knows what he’s talking about. He’s an awesome proctologist. He just has a special way of pulling things out of the rectum.

This info. comes courtesy of my old friends at Age of Autism. Though what this has to do with autism, I’m not quite sure, since Age of Autism constantly talks about how not anti-vaccine they are.

Mysteries, Magic & Miracles 9.21.09

September 21, 2009


Did I Fall Asleep? Neural Reductionism and Dollhouse – I now occasionally write for The Gotham Skeptic, the official blog of the New York City Skeptics. And today I found a blog from one of my fellow Gotham Skeptics that I found interesting because it explores scientific questions within science fiction and particularly because the TV series Dollhouse is returning this week and Dr. Horrible’s recent interrupting of the Emmy’s reminded me of how much I enjoy the work of Joss Whedon.

A new study finds large penis size raises self-esteem – And in a related study, researchers found that water causes wetness.


Vancouver quacks selling homeopathy remedies for H1N1 – I like how Some Canadian Skeptic put it:

Placebo water-pills using magic and sorcery to vaccinate against one of the deadliest flu-strains to hit Canada in generations.

Dowsing for WiFi – A pre-scientific stick using magic and sorcery to locate high tech 21st century technology, Yeah, good luck with that.


California hospital now allows Hmong shamans to perform healing rituals – Shamans? The most advanced medical science the 21st century has to offer. . .and they’ve got shamans?! Just remember. You can’t spell shaman without the “SHAM!”