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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in September 2007

September 1, 2007

There was no update on the weekend of September 1, because (among other activities) I was visiting the Age of Fishes Museum at Canowindra.

A 360-million-year-old fish - Canowindra grossi

September 8, 2007

Who killed Luciano Pavarotti? (8/9/2007)
We are right in the middle of conspiracy season now, so this seems like an appropriate question to ask. We have just passed the tenth anniversary of the murder of Princess Diana and the authorities are still trying to convince us that you can get killed in a car if it is driven too fast by a drunken driver and hits a wall when you are not wearing a seat belt. The anniversary of September 11 is coming up next week, and the Truthers are all over Usenet conspiracy newsgroups with the evidence of controlled demolition and the reluctance of the USAF to shoot down civilian aircraft. (And why didn't the anti-aircraft batteries on top of the Pentagon do their job? Don't try to tell me it's only an office block!) Someone I had never heard of who was a regular on the Art Bell radio show died of cancer, and it must have been the government who killed him because it only took NYCsix years from diagnosis to death. I have heard about (but haven't seen) a new DVD in which the people who appeared in the films made at Area 51 in 1969 are again pretending that they went to the moon. My new mobile phone has a barcode printed inside it and uses a Windows operating system so that Microsoft can track my movements (although it doesn't have the Wingdings font that makes "New York City" into a message saying that it is OK to kill Jews).

The King and The BearI was going to mention the anniversary of the death of Elvis, but we all know that The King is still alive. I know, because SkeptoBear and I met him in the street in Las Vegas.

If you want to see how all these things fit together, proving that there really is a vast interlocked conspiracy, just consider the video below and remember:


Speaking of conspiracies ... (8/9/2007)
This week's Quintessence Nook features a volunteer. That's right - someone emailed me to ask if they could be included in Quintessence of the Loon! Chris Prince has written a rock opera named Crime of the Century, inspired by his admiration for the work of archüberloons Cathy O'Brien and David Icke. Ms O'Brien is "the only vocal and recovered survivor of the Central Intelligence Agency's MK-Ultra Project Monarch operation" and her web site (and book, of course) traces "her path from child pornography and recruitment into the program to serving as a top-level intelligence agent and White House sex slave" and "is a definitive eye-witness account of government corruption that implicates some of the most prominent figures in U.S. politics". No more needs to be said about David Icke than that he believes that Queen Elizabeth, George W. Bush and Kris Kristofferson are lizards. O'Brien and Icke are serious outsiders to reality.

Describing the opera, Chris (who calls himself a "rock star") says "Crime of the Century is roughly based upon 2 books that have had an impact on me. They are Tranceformation of America by Cathy O'Brien, and The Biggest Secret by David Icke. The reason these books have struck a chord with me is because the scenario of a powerful secret society controlling government, military, banking education, entertainment, medicine etc. is one that I have, from a young age, innately felt to be accurate. Now as we see the erosion of our rights and freedoms, it is not so far fetched to believe that a "big brother" agenda really does exist". I will not be adding either book to the Millenium Bookshop.

Chris Prince shows a certain detachment from reality himself. The title of his opera is stolen (albeit with acknowledgement) from the 1975 Supertramp album of the same name, and he modestly quotes some unnamed person who describes his work as "possibly the greatest concept album since The Wall". I have listened to some of the songs and, speaking as a person of the generation which treats listening to both Crime of the Century and The Wall as spiritual experiences and includes the creators of both works among the minor deities, I have to say that as a composer and performer Mr Prince is neither Supertramp nor Pink Floyd. (Roger Hodgson, Roger Waters - do I detect a pattern here?) At least he didn't say that it is the greatest concept album since Sgt Pepper. That I could not forgive.

Even though I was at one time outed on David Icke's site as a member of the Illuminati (the reference has since been redacted - even David responds to subtle pressure) I am prepared to grant Chris his wish for publicity. Go here to discover the world of weirdness immortalised in song.

And here's the real thing:

[Sadly, Mr Prince's web site went dark in October 2012. The Rogers can resume touring, safe in the knowledge that this challenge to their rock godness has faded away.]


Homeopathy - all the idiocy that fits (8/9/2007)
I am working on the next Naked Skeptic column for Australasian Science. It will be a version of something I wrote some time ago about homeopathy, and as the column has a limit of 800 words I am reminded of the apology given by Blaise Pascal to a correspondent when he said "I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter". While I am figuring out how to eliminate about a third of something and still retain the meaning you can read the original article here. Every time this is cited in an alternative medicine forum I get told how I don't understand homeopathy. I usually find that the critic is the one with the misunderstanding (they try to equate vaccination to homeopathy, or they allow dilutions with some possible active ingredients, for example). I hope that the readers of Australasian Science will be more accepting, because if they aren't then science in Australia is in worse shape than I thought. (A couple of years ago I sent out a media release for the Australian Council Against Health Fraud. Several journalists with supposed responsibility for science or medicine matters in their publications offered to put me in touch with quacks so that I could get a more balanced view.)


I have a new job! (8/9/2007)
I put a video of the famous Danish cartoons up on several video sharing services, one of which was the almost mandatory YouTube. It attracted the following comment:

the stupid who belives this stupid director
islam is byond argument(islam just for Peace)and this Hoax ppl will be in the hell;i promise you(stupid director)

I replied, pointing out that wishing me in hell reinforced the point of the video, and this came back:

no bb.i dont think that but i am sure that this will increase your ranke with your masters(Israel Mossad)belive me
cause you are slave for them...and am not wishing you into hell.i just wanted to(WARNS)you from your (FATE) and i hope one day you will be the master of your self and do just the true things..i hope...

The tattoo on my wristSo now it seems that I am working for Mossad. I always wanted to be a spy and the extra income as an agent of Israeli security will go nicely with the retainers from the pharmaceutical companies that I am supposed to be getting for supporting vaccination and opposing quackery. (Ray Gallup from the Autism Autoimmunity Project has specifically identified holidays at luxury resorts as part of the inducements provided to me.) All I need now is for all these organisations to find either my address or my bank account details so that I can actually get the money and spend it. I am a bit surprised that Mossad can't locate my bank account, because we all know who owns the banks.

 


More like this at www.coxandforkum.com


Stay away from this hospital (8/9/2007)
It looks like the authorities are now recognising that hospitals are dangerous places, and are even admitting as much in recruitment advertisements.

Scared yet?

September 15, 2007

Facebook (15/9/2007)
OK, I give in. The RatbagsDotCom Empire now has a Facebook presence. Everyone is invited to join the group and discuss stuff.

I also have a MySpace page which is only there to provide another outlet for videos. Whenever people whine about a video of mine at some place I immediately look for somewhere else to upload an additional copy. So far I am using YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, Dailymotion, GodTube (!) and MySpace, but there are hundreds of other video sharing sites to frustrate censors like Benny Hinn if necessary. I know I risk getting 4,003,221 hostile, badly-written emails but I have to say that Facebook is a much more pleasant environment than MySpace (and it looks better) and so far it hasn't resulted in any invitations to be friends with ladies who take their clothes off.

[In 2011 MySpace imploded so the page there was removed.]


Gardasil (15/9/2007)
The campaign against the vaccination to prevent cervical cancer ploughs on. It now seems that there might have been seven (or is it nine?) deaths which happened within a few weeks of someone getting the vaccine. A couple of the cases might even be the same case, because the reports were made by someone who heard someone say that someone had said that someone had died. One girl is supposed to have died of a blood clot, but it is not clear how how this could have been caused by a vaccine which has an anti-coagulant effect and is therefore contraindicated for persons taking warfarin or other anti-coagulant drugs. The very best, however, are the reported deaths of a nine-month-old baby and a 77-year-old man! I very much doubt that any nine-month-olds are getting it, and as for the male pensioner ...

To assist the anti-vaccination liars in their quest to defeat this vaccine I offer some straw for clutching at and making men out of.

Straw


911 Truthers (15/9/2007)
English is a complicated language. The word "denier" is used to describe the thickness of thread, with smaller numbers meaning thinner threads. The word "denier" when pronounced differently means someone who denies something. The word "thick" can relate to the diameter or some other cross-sectional measurement of an object, or to viscosity, or to mental deficiency or stupidity. You can see where I'm going with this. Because this is September I have been spending some time with people who deny the reality of what happened in New York on September 11, 2001. Some people call them "Truthers", but I prefer "911 denier", because this has the wonderful alternative meaning of suggesting that they have a high denier measurement and are therefore very thick or stupid indeed.

Here are some of the things I have been told, and many if not most deniers seem to believe that they are all simultaneously true. The Truthers are welcome to share the straw in the above picture with the anti-vaccination liars.


Australasian Science (15/9/2007)
I was wrong. Not at the time, mind you, but only after events unfolded. When I said last week that I was writing an article about homeopathy for the magazine Australasian Science I really meant it. It was only after I had trimmed 1,500 words down to 900 and was doing the really hard work of getting it down further to the 800 word limit for publication that I remembered that I had written about homeopathy for the magazine before. I thought it best not to repeat myself too much and the deadline wasn't moving, so I dug out something which was closer to the desired length. The article will now be about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and other somatic illnesses. You can read it here.


Homeopathy (15/9/2007)
Another reason for scrapping the article about homeopathy was that I came across someone doing it much better. The full article can be seen in the Ars Technica blog, but the following list of the way homeopathy research exhibits the signs of pathological science can stand repeating.

September 22, 2007

People ask me why I call anti-vaccination liars "liars" (22/9/2007)
Here is something posted to an anti-vaccination liar mailing list. It is specifically talking about vaccination campaigns in India, which is why the final paragraph contains a threat to the Indian government, but it is also directed towards other countries. How can anyone with a mind read this and not think that the author is insane? It requires no other comment. (There was no bibliography attached so it was not possible to check the references.)

While the Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) is under attack for its reported failure in tackling polio, causing the same disease amongst 85,000 vaccinated children as per the Indian Medical Association, causing the spread of a new vaccine induced polio virus, and for allowing the highly unethical trials of an untested monovalent polio vaccine mOPV1 without informing the parents of children who have been vaccinated with it, we are surprised why the even more serious issue of the vaccine capable of causing Cancer and AIDS is not being discussed. It is amazing how the WHO, UNICEF, CDC and Rotary International are keeping quiet and allowing the vaccine to run riot in India.

The Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is notorious for spreading the simian virus SV40, an extremely carcinogenic substance, that has been causally linked to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, many types of brain tumours, bone cancers, cancer of the lymph nodes and even blood cancer.

While it has been established beyond doubt that the green monkey serum used in the OPV was contaminated by SV40 in the 1950s, legal attorneys in the USA have declared in the year 2000 that the vaccine is not free of this dreaded simian virus as revealed by internal memos of the manufacturers. Vaccine researchers say that keeping the OPV free of contaminating viruses is an impossibility as it is a live virus vaccine and efforts to kill any stranger virus would result in weakening or killing the vaccine strain.

Once inside the human body the virus SV40 is capable of causing cancer after 40 to 50 years of taking the vaccine. That is, children vaccinated today would be at risk of developing cancer upto the year 2057. Indian doctors are well aware of this risk but are unable to declare the same to the public. This information is also available with honourable members of the Indian Press and TV media. The OPV is also contaminated with the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus SIV. Genetic studies of the monkey SIVs show that they are closely related to the human HIV (Kanki et al., 1985). The SIV which has crossed over to humans via the polio vaccine, and is still crossing over thanks to the PEI, is approximately 50% related to human HIV (Essex & Kanki, 1988).

According to retrovirus researchers SIV is "virtually indistinguishable from some human variants of HIV-2" associated with West African AIDS (Curtis, 1992). SIV has also been found in the cancer cells of an AIDS patient (Bohannon et al., 1991). Vaccine manufacturers like Merck and Co. were so scared of these findings that they refused to produce vaccines based on green monkey serum in 1961. Today vaccine manufacturers are shielded from law suits in a bid to make them compliant.

The introduction and experimental trial of the OPV vaccine in Africa coincided with the epidemic of AIDS in Africa. When this vaccine was given to the gay population of the USA to fight recurrent genital herpes (Tager, 1974) AIDS spread amongst the American gays (Kyle, 1992). The study of the link between the OPV and AIDS led researchers to comment, "It is difficult to believe that the outbreak of HIV infection in Africa at the same time and location as the mass trial of the OPV is a coincidence". (Elswood & Stricker, 1994).

Rebutting claims of the medical community that the OPV has been "cleaned" of these dreaded simian viruses, Tom Folkes Chief Virologist of the retrovirus laboratory of the US CDC has said, "vaccine manufacturers could not kill one virus and keep another virus alive". He goes on, "The fact that it's (the OPV) a live vaccine would indicate that they had not gone through any inactivation procedures to denature the AIDS virus, because it would probably denature the polio virus. So the polio virus is kept alive and the SIV would just travel with it. The theory, the possibility is real." (Curtis, 1992).

We have reasons to believe that the OPV being used in India have not been tested for either the SV40 or SIV. Our children have thus been vaccinated for over two decades with a potent carcinogen and also the AIDS virus by various governments at the centre with the medical community preferring to look the other way for reasons best known to them.

Probably a few hundred cases of polio a year (statistics before the introduction of the OPV) is a greater threat than the massive epidemics of Cancer, AIDS and Autism that have spread like wildfire all over the country. I suppose all this has been done "for the greater good of mankind", and opposition has been "taken with a pinch of salt", quoting the two phrases very dear to the medical community.

We need not talk about the stealth viruses which have also crossed over to humans via the OPV that are behind Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism (Martin, 1995), fibromyalgia, depression and dementia in adults, and attention deficit and behavioral disorders in children. Stealth Virus infection can also cause severe encephalopathy (Martin, 1996).

We are sorry, we cannot allow you anymore to carry on disinformation, diseases and death dance by furthering the depopulation "useless eaters" agenda of the WHO and its allies. This is, therefore, absolutely the FINAL NOTICE to you to stop your madness forthwith or we will be constrained to take a PIL either in the Bombay High Court or in the Supreme Court.


Speaking of references and citations ... (22/9/2007)
I have had long experience with the opponents of real medicine and I am always suspicious when they start citing the medical literature. Almost universally, the citations fall into one or more of the following categories:

The intention is to impress people who might not have scientific training, and even if they did, might not be able to locate the cited research. Put another way, the intention is to deceive.


Rhabdomancy redux (22/9/2007)
I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I had been a ring-in as part of the Mystery Investigators team in some shows as part of National Science Week. One of the things we did was to demonstrate how unreliable water divining (or dowsing, if you live somewhere else) could be if the person doing it doesn't know where the water is. This reminded me that there is an excellent DVD about this very subject.

Testing diviners

Australia is the driest continent (I know Antarctica gets less rain, so pedants need not write to correct me), so while agriculture might be difficult it has always been a fertile place for the magicians who claim to be able to locate water by dowsing or divining. These claims have long been of interest to Australian Skeptics, and some time ago the results of twenty years of testing were brought together in the one place. On this DVD (or on video if you prefer) there are three documentaries about divining (James Randi in Australia in 1980, a current affairs show from 1989, and a test of dowsers at a country fair in 2002). As well as these histories, there is an educational section on testing diviners which is suitable for explaining the concept of blind testing to school students. You can buy a copy of the DVD or video here. (The video is available in both PAL and NTSC formats.)


Administration (22/9/2007)
There has been a bit of under-the-hood work done on this site over the last week, mainly to increase the speed at which pages load. No single page will be startlingly faster, but every little bit counts. The changes eliminate tens of thousands of file accesses on the server each day so this should also contribute to better average performance, and as a side effect site maintenance will be a little simpler in the future. I also ran compression programs over all the GIF images and Acrobat PDF files in the site and this should save a few megabytes of time-wasting downloads every day as well. It's all good, mate.


Which reminds me of an old joke ... (22/9/2007)
There are many versions of this circulating on the 'net (and prior to that as nth-generation photocopies, and before that as barely-readable output from Roneo and Gestetner duplicators). This is a typical example.

Investigators at a major research institution have discovered the heaviest element known to science. This startling new discovery has been tentatively named Administratium (chemical element [Ad]).

This new element has no protons or electrons, thus having an atomic number of 0. It does, however, have 1 neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, giving it an atomic weight of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places.

In fact, an Administratium sample's mass will actually increase over time, since with each reorganisation some of the morons inevitably become neutrons, forming new isotopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is spontaneously formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as the "Critical Morass." You will know it when you see it.


Free advertisement (22/9/2007)
When I used to race cars there was a very strict rule - you never put an advertising sticker on a car unless someone paid for the space. I am always amused when I see cyclists riding to their office jobs wearing lycra outfits covered with advertising as if they were competing in the Tour de Rush Hour, and even more amused by people who pay extra for clothes which have the maker's' labels on the outside, often paying even more for larger labels. I am a follower of the philosopher Lewis Allen Reed, who said something like "Little Pete never once gave it away, everybody had to pay and pay".

Mars Hill cafe - Where I drink my coffeeI have decided to make an exception and tell everyone about, of all places, a coffee shop. It's the Mars Hill Cafe in Parramatta. No attempt has been made to make the place pretty, trendy or fashionable (the furniture is an eclectic collection apparently from second-hand shops or donations) because it is about coffee, plain food and music. For the cost of a couple of cups of coffee (ethically sourced beans, of course) I was able to enjoy two hours of excellent music to celebrate my birthday. I must admit that I probably wouldn't have booked a Christian rock band if I was organising the party myself, but the music was excellent and the proselytising from the stage was at an acceptable minimum. (I didn't actually tell anyone that it was my birthday because people feel obliged to react in clichéd manners, and despite my apparent extroversion I always feel embarrassed when someone sings "Happy Birthday" to me in a public place.) All in all an, excellent place to spend Saturday night. If you are ever in the area, give me a call and we can share some caffeine.

What prompted me to mention this here is that I am planning an examination of the Fairtrade system for distributing agricultural products. I have heard some skepticism expressed about this, suggesting that it is just another branding for sales purposes, like the use of the words "organic" or "natural" to justify higher prices for otherwise indistinguishable products. It could be that buying Fairtrade products does nothing more than make the buyer feel good, and there is no real advantage to the farmers who are supposed to benefit. I am familiar with this problem because one of the things I do for a living is participation in a scheme to replace conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescents, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving the planet for our grandchildren. Using these globes instead of the energy-hungry incandescent ones certainly saves electricity for the consumer and provides justification for a warm inner glow about doing good things for the environment, but a rational examination of the carbon economics associated with manufacture, distribution and installation suggests that the greenhouse gas savings are very notional indeed. (And don't even think about disposal of old or broken units if you want to use the word "environment" on the same day.)


Quintessence Nook (22/9/2007)
More stuff that you didn't know about, dredged from the swamp at Quintessence of the Loon.

A tear from Isis or some other part of her? You be the judge.Pheylonian Beeswax Candles added 31 January 2002
I have always been fascinated by Atlantis and ancient Egypt. Imagine my glee when I found this site which links candle-making back to the times of Atlantis and even talks about when the Pyramids and the Sphinx were underwater. Those were the days, and, if global warming keeps up, they might even be the days again some time. Actually, the little-known fact that the Pyramids were once submerged may help to explain something about how they were built. There has always been this problem of explaining how the ancient workers got the stones up to the top, but now we can consider the hypothesis that the stones were floated into place and lowered down from boats. If the boats were made of beeswax this would explain why no boat relics have been found. When the locals were looting the dry pyramids after the water went away they didn't just steal the casing stones, but they would have grabbed any broken bits of beeswax boats to make their own candles. Thus a tradition was born.

And look at this!!

Original Pheylonian pure cappings beeswax candles are the finest candles on the planet. Pheylonian beeswax candles are the only candles in the world proven to emit negative ions when burning. The negative ions emitted by Pheylonian beeswax candles clean the air and purify the air of dust, dust mites, molds, mildew, pollen, allergens, viruses, bacteria, etc., giving you and your family much cleaner and healthier air to breathe. The negative ions that are emitted by Original Pheylonian beeswax candles also balance seratonin levels, increase cellular respiration, and balance the endocrine system. Asthma patients and anyone who has respiratory problems will benefit from the air purifying negative ions emitted from Original Pheylonian beeswax candles. Original Pheylonian beeswax candles are nature’s negative ion generators.


Saw an eyball peeping through a smoky cloud behind the green door.Related-Images: Paralell (sic) Worlds All Around Us added 31 January 2002
It has always been a great disappointment to me that I have never been abducted by aliens. Some of my friends have, and they tell fabulous stories of long mental conversations with mighty intelligences, love affairs with delicate grey entities, food that is literally out of this world, and many more amazing experiences. Sure, there is the probing and the minute examination of abductees' genitals, but this is not much worse than what you get at airports in these security-conscious times. I am so envious of these friends that I have to pretend not to believe what they say. I keep a little bag next to my bed, packed with pyjamas and a toothbrush just in case, and I have another similar bag in my car for when I drive along long deserted roads at night. One day my ship will come!


Don't get sucked in by fake gravity pictures.Gravitonics added 28 February 2002
That picture over at the right isn't just any old picture. It is very special. If you print it out on your inkjet printer and then burn the paper near a crystal, the crystal will start to emit gravitational waves. If you use the picture as your computer desktop background you will gain great benefits and you will "feel much more comfortable working on the computer". There is even a little version that you can download into your mobile phone to stop the EMF frying your remaining brain cells. This last fact is particularly important to me as the gravity from my mobile phone has been causing a big tidal bulge on one side of my head and people are starting to notice and stare. All of this is true - you read it on the Internet!

For further information about related matters, you can go here to read about the speed of gravity.

[Sadly, this site has been sucked into a black hole. It could not outrun the speed of gravity.]

September 29, 2007

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (29/9/2007)
At about 00:45 (Sydney time) on Thursday, September 27, there was a breach of security on the computer hosting this web site, and the "index.html" file at the top of the ratbags.com domain was modified to deliver a malicious script to visitors. Not all virus checkers picked it up (Norton Antivirus certainly didn't, which is why I didn't know about it), and I have to thank regular visitor David Tyler for letting me know about that one and David Inkersole for advising me of another (but more mysterious) problem. Fixing that one file was quick and easy, but I don't know how many other pages have been attacked. What I'm getting around to saying is that not everything I planned to have here this week will be here, because I've had to waste time changing all the server access passwords for all the sites I manage and then reloading all the files that could have possibly been compromised. I assume that it was just a simple coincidence that just after I started the repair process I received an (apparently) automatically-generated email from the hosting company telling me that it was probably time to change all my passwords even though it is still a few weeks before the normal time that these regular reminders would have been sent out. Surely they couldn't know something that they're not telling the customers, could they?

I will have to wait until the staff in the Sydney office of Amnesty International come back to work on Tuesday after the public holiday to ask if it is permissible for an Amnesty member to be fully in favour of the death penalty if it is applied to web site hackers. And torture, too, of course. Lots of torture.


Serendipity (29/9/2007)

The obvious thing for a consultant to do when he drives for more than an hour to fix a client's problems and finds that the client is having a day off is to justify the otherwise-wasted time and fuel by saying "Well, it's Friday afternoon, too late to go back to the office to do anything useful, so let's go shopping" and the obvious places to shop are bookshops and cafes. On the table outside the second-hand bookshop was a book that I had been looking for for years because I had lost my copy and it was out of print. Could things get better? Also outside the shop was a box containing used CDs. I flicked over a couple and there was a CD by Jimmy Buffett which just happened to fill a gap or two in my music collection and would be perfect for listening to in the car on the way home instead of traffic reports. Could things get even better still? Could they just! I flicked over a couple more covers and there it was - Ratbagology by Australian comedian Calvin DeGrey. I drink margaritas and wear colourful shirts but for obvious reasons this was even more irresistible to me than the Jimmy Buffett record, and the price of $1 wasn't going to break the budget.

Ratbagology was recorded in 2001 so some of the humour is a bit dated, and much of it wouldn't make sense to anyone outside Australia, but one track could probably have universal appeal. It's called "Have a Beer" and you can listen to it over on the right. You might like to have a real beer while listening, but don't worry - it's five o'clock somewhere.


I've gone multimedia (29/9/2007)
This week's change to the way everything works around here is to introduce a Flash-based MP3 player at various places where songs and radio shows are mentioned. Previously I had simply referred visitors to the Radio Ratbags page, but the fewer clicks anyone has to make the better. I do feel a bit sorry for the people who refuse to install the Flash player, but the success of YouTube and other video sites suggests that such people are causing themselves self-inflicted injuries. (I participate in a mailing list where some of the members show what can only be called extreme obsession with security. Most refuse to install Flash or to allow JavaScript or popups and several of them block all images on web pages. Some even want to use text-only browsers with no styles or formatting. These people must wonder where all the enthusiasm for the web comes from. Did I mention that many of these people claim extensive Internet consulting skills?)


I like to help (29/9/2007)
People often write to me with questions, and I do my best to answer them truthfully. Here are some recent examples from my inbox:

Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 19:25:09 +0100
From: michael fisher
Subject: Homoeopathy

Please tell me, if homoeopathy dosen't work why do animals benefit from homoeopathic treatment. Oh, I know they trust their owners, that's it isn't it?

Mike

Australia is currently in the midst of an outbreak of equine influenza which has devastated the racing industry and severely impeded the country's preparation for the equestrian events at the 2008 Olympics. Lost revenue to the thoroughbred and harness racing industries is measured in the tens of millions of dollars each week and many thousands of people are losing income or paying for continued but useless training. Any homeopath who could show that his quackery worked for these animals would be as rich as Croesus inside a fortnight, but no such homeopath has appeared. Why not? Because it doesn't work, and the practitioners of the fraud know it doesn't work.

And don't try to tell me that you can't mix alternative medicine with horse racing, because in the good times it is hard to move around a race track without falling over chiropractors and acupuncturists who claim to be able to make the steeds go faster for longer. Not surprisingly, these quacks are very quiet at the moment as well, because the last thing they want is a conclusive demonstration of the ineffectiveness of what they do.


From: "Rhonda"
Subject: ulcerative colitis
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 22:50:29 +1000

I am 28years old and I was diagnosed with UC 2 years ago and wondered if Mannatech products would help me if so which ones and what dosage should I take.

Vanessa Kerr

The only thing I can recommend you take with Mannatech is a very quick walk, perhaps even a run, away from whoever is trying to sell you the rubbish. The answers to your specific questions are a) none of them and b) zero. Go to a real doctor, not someone who wants to sell you expensive sugar and who only cares about how much money they can transfer from your wallet to theirs.


From: "Marta D. Olynyk"
Subject: spelling error
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 14:47:48 -0400

The word "millennium" is spelled with two nn's.

Wouldn't that make it "millennnnium"?

Thank you. I will post your correction right next to the quite clear notice on the front page of the site which explains why on this site, in this context, the spelling "millenium" is used.


The truth! (29/9/2007)
Someone has managed to find the director's cut of a famous television show recorded at Area 51 in 1969. Here is a snippet:



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