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Here are some comments about site policy and administration
This site is owned and maintained by Peter Bowditch. My email address for correspondence about this site is . You can see more here.
The words under the masthead on the front page are from "Strawberry Fields Forever" by John Lennon. You can see the full words of this song here.
This site was launched in January 2003 as a companion to The Millenium Project site. People kept asking me to give some pointers to sites which I could recommend as an antidote to the hate, the lies and the nonsense in the sites listed at The Millenium Project. The Green Light is a collection of sites which I believe give reliable information and which can be used as references or to find counter-arguments. I don't necessarily agree with everything in these sites (just as I don't necessarily disagree with the content of all sites listed in The Millenium Project), but I believe they offer a better picture of reality than the collected badness at the other place. The name of the site comes from the almost universal use of a green light to indicate that it is safe to go somewhere or to resume normal activity.
The policy across the RatbagsDotCom sites is to reproduce any critical emails sent to any email address associated with me or this site, and also to reproduce any critical discussion of me or my activities which I see or become aware of on mailing lists, Usenet newsgroups or any other outlets in any form of media. The solution is simple for anyone who does not want to see their words published here - be quiet.
Threats of violence will be published with full identifying information and will be reported to relevant law enforcement organisations and Internet service providers.
The content of this site is opinion. It is my opinion, and if it does not match yours then that is too bad. Some people seem to be very frightened by my opinions, although I cannot understand why this should be so. If they have businesses or beliefs which are threatened by what I say on a web site which attracts a number of visitors each month which is only a minute proportion of the hundreds of millions of Internet users, then perhaps they need to think about how strong those businesses and beliefs are. The second matter is that, because this site is an expression of my opinions, I will publish opposing opinions. From the first day this site appeared it has contained a statement that any criticism may be published here. It is not my problem if people (some claiming extensive and sophisticated research skills) have missed the warning. It was there, and the choice to write was always (and will remain) up to the writer. If you want privacy, don't write.
The only people who would be expected to complain about the contents of this site are those whose beliefs or practices are criticised or exposed by the information here.
My ISP and I receive the occasional complaint about this site, and I suppose I would be disappointed if this were not so. Anonymous complaints are ridiculed, laughed at, mocked and ignored. Complaints from real people are read, filed, published on this site and ignored unless evidence is offered of inaccuracy in something appearing on the site. Letters from lawyers (there has only been a very small number of these) are photocopied, read, filed, published on this site and ignored, again unless evidence is offered of inaccuracy in something appearing on the site. Details of Cease & Desist orders or any other requests by lawyers for the removal of content from this site are submitted to the Chilling Effect Clearinghouse. I could not ignore a court order, just as I could not ignore winning $20 million in the lottery (a much more likely event). Of course, anyone initiating court action would not want to have called me rude names, used twenty different identities, pretended to be me or threatened to harass my clients, otherwise they might look a bit foolish to the judge.
I have no desire to publish inaccuracies, but unless it can be demonstrated that something is clearly in error material will only be removed from this site upon the direct instructions of a court having proper and enforceable jurisdiction. Please note that the policy here is to NEVER settle without going to court, and any legal action will be given wide and embarrassing publicity. Do not threaten legal action in the hope of getting a reaction favourable to you in advance of court proceedings or you will be disappointed. Only one threat against this site has ever made it into a court and in that case the settlement required the complaining organisation to pay its own not insignificant court costs.
People who want to waste their time complaining to government regulatory authorities about any of the RatbagsDotCom sites should contact the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Details can be found under the heading "Online services content regulation".
The use of anonymising services to send email tells me three things about the senders. The first is that they are prepared to lie, because they are already indisputably lying about their names. The second is that whatever they have to say is worthless, because they do not even believe in it enough themselves to put their names to it. The third is that, because it is impossible to reply to the messages, they show that they are frightened of engaging in debate. Because of this, I will periodically declare a moratorium on receiving anonymous mail. Messages coming from email addresses which do not allow a reply or which do not originate at a traceable IP address may be deleted unread. This doesn't mean that people cannot write from Hotmail, for example, but only applies to anomymiser services. I get sick of wasting my time on lying cowards who are ashamed of what they have to say. When the filter is on, they can talk to someone else, because I'm not listening.
With more than 1000 links on this site and the changeable nature of the web, it is almost inevitable that there will be some broken links here somewhere. A checking program is run every month to identify broken links. The problems fall into two areas - pages which no longer exist and sites which cannot be reached. For a missing page, I have a look to see if the author has just renamed it or moved it. If I can't find it, it is removed from the list here immediately. Unreachable sites are more of a problem because there are a number of possible explanations - site getting updated, moving to another ISP, nuked because an ISP doesn't like it, forgot to pay for hosting or domain registration, etc. It seems that there are about 30 of these at any time and I give them three chances. If they remain unreachable after two monthly cycles they get dropped. Some sites come and go on a regular basis as they offend one ISP after another, but they stay in the list if they keep reappearing.
Several pieces of software are used to manage and maintain this site.
Style sheets used comply with CSS Level 2 specifications, with the exception that Internet Explorer users will also see differently-coloured scroll bars at the side and bottom of their screens. Also, some text may be a little larger on screen for users who do not have the "Courier New" font installed. As it has been a standard font for all Windows and Macintosh versions for the last few years and is also a part of most Linux distributions, I am not going to worry about this too much.
The only information about visitors to this site which is examined or kept is that which is provided voluntarily by someone sending email to the site owner. As noted under our Email Republication Policy, we may publish any email sent to this site.
We will not sell or provide any details obtained through this site or through any other of our activities to anyone unless ordered to do so by a properly constituted court with appropriate jurisdiction.
The only time web server logs are looked at is when it is necessary to do so to solve site management problems. The traffic recorded in the logs is not analysed in any way except to produce consolidated statistics such as numbers of visitors and page displays. (The software used for the analysis is WebLog Expert).
I am not a medical doctor, and there is no medical advice on this site. If you are sick or think you are sick, you should see a doctor. That means a real doctor, not someone who pretends to be a doctor. The only advice of a medical nature here is in the form of warnings against liars, charlatans, quacks, thieves and other vermin who claim to have cures for things for which there is no cure, treatments for non-existent ailments, or medical advice, products and treatments which have no scientific (or in many cases logical) validity.
This site is funded by spending my own money, the commission on the sale of books and some other products, by donations, and by income from advertising. Editorial policy is not influenced in any way by the content of advertisements (see more here). Suggestions have been made that I am paid by shadowy organisations like pharmaceutical companies. If only this were true ...
The advertisements appearing on this site are produced by Google's AdSense system and any payment for allowing them to be displayed is used to assist in the fight against quackery and nonsense. Editorial content is not influenced by this source of funding as I have no control over the content of the advertisements, which are generated by Google based on words appearing in the surrounding page and whatever information Google can glean from your browsing history. This can actually produce the anomalous situation of advertisements which contradict the sentiments expressed on the site. The site hosts advertising banners only at the bottom of each page which are accompanied by a link which pops up the Millenium Project advertising policy.
The majority of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
What this copyright means is that you are free to copy and reproduce anything on this site which is not otherwise copyrighted (such as material obviously the work of people other than me), provided that following rules are observed:
For more information about Creative Commons, please click the image at left.
Authorisation to mechanically or electronically copy the contents of any material published in Australasian Science magazine is granted by the publisher to users licensed by Copyright Agency Ltd. Creative Commons does not apply to these pages.
You can click on the button at the right to make a donation towards the running costs of this site. Not all of the money will be used for that, because I will pass on 10% to each of the organisations listed below to support their research into childhood diseases.
Children's Medical Research Institute
The Children's Hospital