The Millenium Project
"And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it"

We all know that "millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means a thousand years. The word "millenium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "anus" and means something else. This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool.

Offending the offensive since 1999

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January 31, 2015

Preemptive apology (31/1/2015)

I have found the new location for Ratbag Castle, so I will be moving house over the next few weeks (It can't all be done at once because there are some logistical problems). As this will mean three weekends of packing, moving, and throwing out stuff that should have been thrown out years ago, I might not have the time to do much writing here during February. Of course, if something important or newsworthy happens I might just navigate through the packing boxes and fire up the computer. You will still be able to find me on Facebook and Twitter.

And there's this:


Strange mails indeed (31/1/2015)

I do Search Engine Optimisation for a living so it is no surprise that I receive a regular stream of spam offering to do SEO on my web sites. (When I was sued by a pyramid scheme operator in 2005 one of their formal complaints to the Court was that a search at Google for their company name had my page exposing them appearing above their corporate site. True story!) Strangely, I often get spams offering to improve the rankings of the web site belonging to ex-Dr Rebecca Carley, one of the few anti-vaccination liars to be actually and formally declared to be insane. I wondered why this would be and I have now found that not only does ex-Dr Carley mention me by name but she also exposes my email address to spammers. Ex-Dr Carley doesn't choose to reveal her own email address, so all I can do to return the favour is to suggest that spammers harvest webmaster@drcarley.com and start filling the inbox there with many offers of wonderful things. (It would be beyond irony if SEO spammers pick up that address from here and send messages to it offering to improve the ranking for The Millenium Project.)

The correspondence has moved beyond offering SEO services to ex-Dr Carley (and a look at her web site indicates that a good dose of web design wouldn't go astray), and now I have been offered products to sell.

Hi

My name is Sally, a sales from Huachuang Industrial Co Ltd., I got your email from website:http://drcarley.com/ Huachuang Industrial Co Ltd., is a component solutions provider and supplier of rubber and plastic for a wide range of industries. From aerospace, automotive applications, and electronics to HVAC and medical manufacturing.

There's more, but I don't want to expose people to too much amusement (and I'm laughing at ex-Dr Carley, not the rather attractive Sally (she included a picture of herself) who sent the misdirected email.)

Another source of strange emails is LinkedIn. Yes, I do have an account there but it is all about my business and working life. The only thing there connecting me to here is that I list ratbags.com as a hobby web site. The only contact email address there is my work one, yet I get a stream of invites addressed to ratbags.com addresses asking me to link up. The people doing this never send link requests to my work address. Unfortunately there is no way to filter these messages as spam because they come through LinkedIn's legitimate request mechanism, but I wonder how these people acquire the addresses they use.

Then there's this one.

I couldn`t believe this at first...

My diabetic medications are actually worsening my diabetes in the long run?

This medical team recently pinpointed the exact root cause of diabetes (it`s NOT the old stuff that your doctor is telling you, because this is based on the latest research)...

Shows you why diabetics medications actually can do a lot more harm than good...

And also shows you how to eliminate your diabetes by attacking real root cause.

Eliminate The Root Cause Of Diabetes

regards,
Pamela Rodriquez

(Links disabled for obvious reasons)

I thought I'd be brave and click on one of the links (it might have led to a useful addition to the Health Fraud list here, and I have really good ant-virus and anti-malware protection). Pegasus Mail told me this:

I gave it the OK, and sadly the web site no longer exists. Maybe it really did have the cure for diabetes and now I'll never know. Back to those "diabetics medications" that my doctor tells me about.



See more Jesus and Mo here


Maybe it really is over (31/1/2015)

"Dr" Sherri Tenpenny issued a media release about the cancellation of her Australian tour. Unfortunately, many media outlets that had done a good job reporting on the leadup to the cancellation simply took the media release at face value and published it almost verbatim. We were able to get some of them to admit the error and change the lies about bomb threats - yes, threats were made, made by a supporter of "Dr" Tenpenny who threatened to bomb venues if they cancelled her bookings. I won't comment on it except to apply the usual yellow marker to, what should I call them?, oh, that's right, the lies.

Announcement: DR. SHERRI TENPENNY'S SPEAKING TOUR CANCELLED FOR REASONS OF SAFETY AND SECURITY

January 27, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

...

Brisbane, Australia: Ms. Stephanie Messenger and Dr. Sherri Tenpenny have jointly decided to cancel the speaking appearances scheduled for Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Gold Coast. The determination was made to protect the speakers, the public and the venue owners as pro-vaccine extremists have made continual, anonymous threats of vandalism and violence.

"We have reached a point where we can no longer guarantee the safety of those attending the seminar," said, Ms. Messenger. "Some people were planning to bring babies. The threats have been persistent. We are not able to insure that the attendees would be safe from harm."

The anti-free-speech terrorists have voiced bomb threats and have threatened violence against venue owners and their families in some cities originally scheduled for the healthy living seminars. Pro-vaccine extremists have been sabotaging the venues and have threatened to disrupt the normal business operations of the locations during the meetings. Derogatory and false messages have been written about venue locations on message boards, such as Hotels.com, bullying the location owners into cancelling the venues.

"It's difficult to grasp why pro-vaccine forces are so adamantly against these seminars. Not only have they prohibited freedom of speech, they have blocked the freedom to hear information that is not in line with a pro-vaccine message," said Dr. Tenpenny. "I was coming to speak as an invited guest. However, given the level of hostility that has transpired over the last three weeks, and for the sake of my own personal safety, I have also cancelled my planned vacation in Australia."

Dr. Tenpenny and Ms. Messenger send thanks to venue owners and gratitude to the many volunteers who helped during the planning. The support of the seminars in the name free speech is greatly appreciated.

Additional options are being considered but not confirmed at this time. A refund will be issued for all tickets sold.

January 24, 2015

"Dr" Tenpenny tour implodes (24/1/2015)

Three weeks ago I mentioned that there were plans for anti-vaccination liar "Dr" Sherri Tenpenny to tour Australia, telling the normal lies about the non-existent dangers of vaccines. A concerted effort by sensible people resulted in a media blitz, with around 50 stories about the tour appearing on television, radio and in the press. There was universal condemnation of the idea that a foreigner could come here and tell people how to put our children in danger. Venues were contacted, and was found that the bookings had been made deceptively and the venues were under the impression that they were going to host a benefit for a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome charity, not a straight out anti-vaccination liefest. Finally the good news came – all venues had cancelled the bookings.

This fantastic result was announced on a television program which was unique among all those that had commented on the tour – it had "Dr" Tenpenny on all by herself with no pretence at balance. Had there been someone sane in the studio or had the interviewer been smart enough to challenge a defamatory statement, "Dr" Tenpenny might not have got away with accusing people of being terrorists.

However…

The mysterious GanKinMan Foundation which had been promoting the tour fell strangely silent except for a hint that the talks might still go ahead. Stephanie Mesenger, who was organising all of this, has in the past only issued the location of talks by text message shortly before events were to take place, so it is certainly possible that she will be doing the same thing again. As there has been no official announcement from the organisers that the tour has been cancelled, nobody is quite sure how you get a refund if you have already bought tickets. Luckily I hadn't bought my ticket and I am waiting to see what happens in the future. Because of this uncertainty I'll continue my appeal for donations to pay for my $100 ticket, a price which includes having my photograph taken with "Dr" Tenpenny herself. Any money collected over the cost of the ticket (or the lot if the show doesn't go ahead or they won't sell me a ticket) will be donated to the Children's Hospital at Westmead. If I manage to get a photograph taken with "Dr" Tenpenny, autographed prints will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the same place.

All donations gratefully accepted
Please help get me to a seminar.
I don't think free tickets will be forthcoming.

And you know how the anti-vaccinators have been screeching about denying "Dr" Tenpenny's freedom of speech? Here's one of the conditions that people had to accept if they wanted to buy tickets:

"No interjecting or calling out from the audience will be allowed. There will be a question time at the end of the day and only those with a microphone that the staff provide, will be allowed to ask questions. If speakers have time after each of their sessions, they may call for questions, and at that time a staff member will bring a microphone to people as time permits."

I don't think I will be allowed to ask any questions if I managed to get to one of the seminars.


The Bill Gates Annual Letter (24/1/2015)

The annual letter issued by Bill Gates reporting on the progress of his philanthropic work and foundation is always a good read. You can see the 2015 letter by clicking on the image below.



See more Far Side here


Things you should go to (24/1/2015)

If you are disappointed that you won't be able to see and hear "Dr" Tenpenny there are several alternative events coming up over the next month or two. I apologise in advance for only including events around Sydney, but that's where I live.

  • I was heavily involved with Western Sydney Freethinkers for a few years. We took last year off but are back this year with renewed enthusiasm. Monthly Freedrinkers social events are at the Red Cow hotel in Penrith on the first Wednesday of every month. The first formal meeting with a speaker will be at Penrith School of Arts (3 Castlereagh Street) at 4pm on February 15. The speaker will be Dr Peter Slezak on the topic of Atheism, Islamophobia and State Worship.

    You can keep up with WSFT activities through Facebook or preferably through Meetup (which will give you notification and reminders about coming events).
  • Surfcoast Summer Skepticamp IV will be held on February 28 at Airey's Inlet in Victoria. (OK, it's not near Sydney.) I hope to be there but I could be moving house shortly so logistics and finances might keep me at home. You can book a free ticket here.
  • Talk has already started about organising a SkeptiCamp for Sydney. As discussion only started today it's a bit early to announce time, place and date but we are hoping for the same location as previous events (University of Technology Sydney) and a date in the first half of the year.
  • One thing that won't be happening is Bill Nye's tour of Australia in February. I know a lot of people were looking forward to this but as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards reminded us, we don't always get what we want.
  • The Atheist Foundation of Australia will be touring Seth Andrews, Aronra and Matt Dillahunty (The Unholy Trinity) in March and  Robin Ince in April.
  • Australian Skeptics meet at 6pm on the first Thursday of every month for Skeptics in the Pub at the Crown Hotel, corner of Elizabeth and Goulburn Streets, Sydney.


Found on Facebook and a Google search for the phrase "Saving Babies"
produced 115,000 results.


Things get written (24/1/2015)

The weather around my place has been alternating between quite cold, stinking hot, and rainy plus fog lately so it has been difficult to decide what to wear each day. Consequently I applied the Precautionary Principle when getting dressed each morning and put on warm, waterproof clothes, knowing that if I was wrong all I had to do was take some clothes off rather than have to search for more clothes to put on.

Luckily it was a hot day when I sat down to write my Naked Skeptic column for Australasian Science magazine, because I was able to get into character without causing Cody The Religion Hating Dog to wonder why I was shivering when there was a pile of clothes on the floor.

The title of the article was coincidentally The Precautionary Principle. It won't be on the newsstands for a couple of weeks but you can get a sneak preview here.

January 10, 2015


The 2014 Millenium Awards (10/1/2015)

The 2014 Millenium Awards have been announced. You can see the details here.

  • Anus Maximus Award - Mountain View Organic Dairy
  • Quote of the Year - "Nutritionist" and author Cyndi O'Meara
  • Highly Commended
    • Conspiracy - And suppressed & hidden information (Carole Hubbard)
    • RMIT University - Complementary Medicine
    • The Food Babe
  • Encouragement Awards
    • Complementary Medicines Australia
    • Homeopathy Plus! (Fran Sheffield)
    • Joint award - Westboro Baptist Church and the Eisenstein Medical Centers

The year in review (10/1/2015)

Here's a retrospective look back at things that happened around Ratbag Castle and this web site during 2014.

January
  • My friend Loretta Marron was honoured in the Australia Day awards by receiving a Medal in the Order of Australia for her work fighting medical nonsense.
  • The WHO announced that India was only a few weeks away from being declared officially free of polio. Anti-vaccination liars repeated their delusion about the disease being renamed.
  • I wrote about the lottery of ingredients in alternative "medicines" for Australasian Science.
February
  • This was a quiet month, with the major excitement being a series of drive-by attacks on the Stop the AVN Facebook page by people who wanted to inform us of things we had known about and refuted many times in the past. Residents just laughed and filled in their Anti-vaccination Bingo cards.
  • I spent some frustrating time with estate agents looking for somewhere else to live. Eventually I sublet part of Ratbag Castle so I the urgency of moving was postponed for a while.
March
April
  • Australia was officially declared free of measles by the WHO. Some people were not happy about this but they haven't said that it has been renamed to sunburn, scratched mosquito bites or contact dermatitis. Yet.
  • The Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network had its charity licence revoked. As nobody had ever received any support from this "charity" there were no beneficiaries to disappoint.
  • A vitamin manufacturer tried to buy respectability by giving a strongly-tied grant to a university. I wrote about "The Best Research Money Can Buy" for Australasian Science.
  • World Homeopathy Week happened. I am in favour of this as I think that people should be made aware of what ridiculous nonsense homeopathy is.
May
  • The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning about the AVN at the end of April. Meryl Dorey responded. I almost ran out of yellow markers highlighting the untruths.
  • My column for Australasian Science was about the implosion of the AVN.
  • Someone asked me to join a pyramid scheme buying and selling Bitcoins and another one selling a cure for diabetes. I declined both offers. Politely.
  • Meryl Dorey from the AVN appeared at a woofest and announced in advance that nobody would debate her. I suggested that I might come along (not for a debate, because there is nothing to debate about vaccination, but to point out her lies) and during the week leading up to the event while I was negotiating with the organisers she maintained a constant stream of lying about and defaming me in various online forums. Finally logistics beat me and I couldn't attend. I suppose I was lucky because Ms Dorey said that vaccine manufacturers buy aborted foetuses to use as ingredients and that vaccines cause Shaken Baby Syndrome. If I'd been there I would have had to burn my clothes afterwards to get rid of the filth.
June
  • June was a quiet month because I was busy writing books and getting ready to speak at a conference.
  • My Australasian Science column was about the danger of using lawyers to respond to scientific papers instead of scientists.
  • Mass hysteria broke out because this web site was off the air for a few days. It was because someone at the hosting company went home early for the weekend and didn't process a payment, not because anyone had lawyered up to object to something. In related news, perindopril reduces blood pressure.
July
August
  • Well, August was pretty useless because I had an accident and spent most of the month recovering and healing.
  • I did manage to finish another book. It's "The Bear's Progress" and is a travelogue about my trip to the US in 2004 to attend The Amazing Meeting.
September
  • September was Ubiquity Month - I was in Australasian Science talking about the dissonance I feel when people incorrectly use the expression "cognitive dissonance", I was in The Skeptic with a transcript of my July SkeptiCamp talk, and I was quoted in an article in Vogue as a science expert. Yes, Vogue. Which requires many !!!!!
  • The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia changed their name to Complementary Medicines Australia in recognition of the fact that snake oil has little to do with health care. I asked for a media pass to their annual conference on "The Wellness Revolution" but they had run out of that sort of ticket. I must ask earlier next year.
  • The Texas Court of Appeals finally kicked out Andrew Wakefield's ridiculous attempt to sue people in the UK in a Texas court. Unfortunately, this didn't end the farce.
  • The National Vaccine Information Center behaved in a vile and despicable manner. Nobody was surprised.
October
  • A paper published in August 2014 apparently showing a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was retracted when the journal that had published it finally recognised that the complaints and comments about the incredibly poor statistics and the cherry picking of results were in fact true, and that the paper would have been given a "Fail" grading if it had been submitted in an undergraduate course on statistics or research methodology. Anti-vaccination liars shrieked with pain and dismay. Of course.
  • In a remarkable example of ecumenicalism, people from Australian Skeptics were invited to take part in a paranormal expo. So we did. We had a stand giving away copies of our magazine, The Skeptic, and answering questions from people who were probably there because they wanted to find out more about UFOs and ghosts. It was great fun and we hope to be back there next year.
  • The senior people from Hillsong "Church" had their day in the limelight at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and I went along to hear what they had to say. I left with enormous respect for the journalists, lawyers and Commissioners who had been hearing dreadful tales of child abuse on a daily basis for several months. And Hillsong was a long way from the worst case being investigated.
  • My October column for Australasian Science was headed "Keeping your skepticism out of court" and dealt with the current trend of crooks to respond with lawyers rather than science when challenged.  I see from my Vacuous Legal Threats page that nobody has threatened me with legal action for a couple of years. I have to lift my game because obviously I'm not offending enough people who need to be offended.
November
December
  • A child died and several others were made sick by drinking raw milk. The milk was labelled "Bath Milk" and was ostensibly a cosmetic product for people to take baths in. It was sold in containers identical to those used for pasteurised milk and stored in the same refrigerators in shops. The containers were labelled "Not for human consumption", but this was simply to protect the people who packaged it, distributed it, and sold it. As expected believers in nonsense produced the normal specious justifications for selling this dangerous product.
  • To nobody's surprise, ex-Dr Andrew Wakefield failed to lodge his appeal to the Texas Supreme Court by the extended date that he had asked for. Anti-vaccination liars are still claiming that there is an ongoing court case in which he is going to dominate people and organisations in the UK.
  • The Federal Court of Australia stomped all over HomeopathyPlus! and its owner Fran Sheffield for her suggestion that homeopathy was any sort of alternative to vaccination and could treat whooping cough. The Court will reconvene in February 2015 to set the penalties which when added to the ACCC's legal costs could mean that Fran will have to sell an awful lot of little bottles of water to pay the bill. Unfortunately, the Court wasn't able to rule on the uselessness of homeopathy as a whole, but at least it's a start.
  • Mayer Eisenstein used to be an egregious anti-vaccination liar and one of the originators of the idea of "treating" autism by administering the castration drug Lupron to children. I say "used to be" because he died, making autistic children of misinformed parents much safer.
  • December saw tours of Australia by Richard Dawkins and James Randi. I had the opportunity of interviewing Randi before he arrived in the country and you can read what he had to say here.
  • Another article appearing in the December issue of Australasian Science was my regular Naked Skeptic column. This time it was about stem cell research and how quacks are treating it like a new goldmine.

You can click here to see everything that has previously appeared on the front page.


Book of the Week

The Bear's Progress: SkeptoBear's World Tour 2004 The Bear's Progress: SkeptoBear's World Tour 2004 by Peter Bowditch. In January 2004, at the invitation of Mr James Randi, I was a speaker at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. At the time I was Vice President of Australian Skeptics and I went as a representative of that organisation, accompanied by the other Vice President. Also in the party was SkeptoBear, a bear of little repute, who insisted on coming as a neutral observer. This is the story of the trip around the bottom left-hand corner of the USA and the top left-hand corner of Mexico.


New and featured books

Here are the thousand links to places I don't like
The Stars
and these are the sites added or changed recently
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