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|
November 21, 2015
Last weekend the news from every direction was the unfolding atrocity in Paris, with each bulletin announcing more deaths. This particular event got a lot more publicity than mass murders in Lebanon and Kenya shortly beforehand, a fact which contributed to the clutch of conspiracy theories that inevitably appeared. Here are some of the random thoughts of insane people:
Since then there has been an attack on a Radisson hotel in Mali. Geographically challenged pundits are declaring this to be another attack on France. Mali has not been a French colony since 1960 and the hotel is part of a US-owned chain, but again - details, details ...
No Jab, No Pay (21/11/2015)
The Australian federal parliament is moving legislation through to remove monetary benefits from parents of unvaccinated children when those benefits are contingent on vaccination. There has been the predictable whining from those who believe that saying you have a conscientious objection to something should not stop you receiving money for doing what you don't do. (A recent news report says that since conscientious objection to vaccination was limited to religious objection (and no established religion is opposed to vaccination) the number of objecters has dropped by 8,000.) A Senate enquiry solicited over 2,000 submissions, and to everyone's great amusement, 703 of the submissions were copies of this crazy Freeman Of The Land delusion:
My Will Concerning the No Jab No Pay forced vaccination legislation
YOUR DUTY: As my elected representative, you have been entrusted to execute My Will in accordance with your duty of office and the Australian Constitution. The purpose of Government is to create and administer laws and services, on behalf of and in accordance with the WILL of the people it represents. I can not conscientiously vote for anyone that is not willing to represent the people’s will on any issue
It is MY WILL that any current legislation related to the No Jab No Pay campaign be repealed and that any future legislation related to coerced vaccination through remuneration or discrimination be abandoned. This type of legislation is contrary to both Australian and International Law. Our Constitution expressly prohibits civil conscription in order to receive welfare or childcare benefits - section 51, 23A. This legislation is also contrary to international human rights laws to which Australia is a signatory. Article 6, sect 1 of the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights states that any preventative, diagnostic and/or therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. This consent can not be coerced out of an individual by way of financial blackmail. Informed consent is also written into the Australian government's vaccine handbook and clearly states "For consent to be legally valid, the following elements must be present: It must be given voluntarily, in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation." Some parents will need to leave their jobs if they can no longer afford childcare or be forced to vaccinate their children (against their will) in order to keep their jobs. This is not informed consent and this is illegal. To impose this legislation, not only breeches human decency, but also Australian Informed Consent Laws and The Australian Constitution which guarantees Australians political, medical and religious freedom.
It is MY WILL that you, as my Representative, take any and all steps and measures to ensure that this
It seems that anti-vaccination liars know as much about constitutional law as they do about science and medicine.
Massive protest rallies have been organised. One in Sydney outside the offices of News Ltd attracted a huge crowd of about a dozen (including children) to rant against Rupert Murdoch's family and his media empire's support for vaccination. It is not known if Mr Murdoch was in the building, but some of the journalists made a point of coming out and pointing fingers of scorn. A protest in Canberra the next day might have had more impact if it was held outside Parliament House, but maybe the lawn there couldn't accommodate the enormous crowd.
It makes it so much easier to ridicule the vaccine opponents when they do it themselves.
In other areas of anti-vaccine activism I give you this. There is a policy at some Facebook pages of redacting the names of people committing stupidity. That policy does not apply here.
I talk (21/11/2015)
On November 4 I braved terrible weather and a long drive to give a brief talk to a lot of very smart school children at the presentation ceremony for the 2015 Young Scientist Awards.
I would like to start by congratulating all finalists for the awards on behalf of Australian Skeptics Inc. You might wonder what the connection is between skepticism and science, but they both have the same objective – it’s to ask questions and find the answers. Science is skepticism put into practice.
One of my greatest disappointments during 2015 was that I was unable to attend the memorial service for Professor Harry Messel, head of the Physics Department at the University of Sydney for many years. I actually had one of the rare tickets for a seat inside the Great Hall which doubled the disappointment that I couldn’t get to the function. Professor Messel was my ultimate boss when I had my first job as computer programmer, working in the Physics Department, and while I have occasionally been accused of being around since the Stone Age I can assure you that the computers we had there were the very latest ones and were made of bronze. (As a nice coincidence, the video you saw earlier of the finalists in the Paper Plane Competition was made on the field immediately outside the Sydney University Physics Building.)
I write (21/11/2015)
My column in the latest edition of Australasian Science is about psychological research and why it can be perceived by people who don't understand it as less scientific than other forms of scientific investigation. I have to declare my bias, of course, as psychology was a large part of my university studies, but I never did find out why I have a compulsion to take my clothes off just to write a column headed "Naked Skeptic".
In the June edition of Australasian Science I wrote about the reproducibility of scientific studies. I was mainly concerned that there were studies in pseudoscience where replication did not indicate presence of any effects at all, and generally this is because the original studies or experiments were conducted without proper controls or procedures. The fact that much of this "research" doesn't stand up to closer investigation is generally ignored by pseudoscientists, although they are very quick to point out that much of what is published in real scientific journals also fails the replication test.
There was much glee in woowoo world earlier this year when it was suggested that 50% of the content of medical journals may either be incorrect or out of date. This is no surprise to people who understand how the science of medicine advances. As an example, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that papers about effective treatments for bacterial diseases were largely reduced to the status of historical relics after the discovery of antibiotics. Similarly, imaging techniques like PET and MRI made much of what was known about treatment of physical conditions obsolete, and the changes that might result from increasing knowledge about the human genome and neuroscience will send a lot of what we now know into the dustbin.
The legal grist mill (21/11/2015)
The courts have been busy and I will have something to say next week. The two big stories are:
October 24, 2015
They are still at it (24/10/2015)
Ten years ago I was being dragged through the courts by a company which had been found to be operating an illegal pyramid scheme. They did not like me reporting this fact, or their history of brushes with the law in other countries, or for pointing out the loophole in the law that they were exploiting. They eventually convinced a court that acting immorally wasn't a problem if the law was badly written
So let's celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Federal Court of Australia finding a loophole in the then Trade Practices Act which narrowed the definition of "pyramid scheme", thus allowing scamsters to get away with scamming if they worded their payment rules carefully. (The High Court declined to hear an appeal from the ACCC on the basis that it was Parliament's job to change defective law, not the High Court's.)
We celebrate by finding that the loophole wasn't closed when the act was rewritten and renamed and is still being used to drive pyramid-shaped money-stealing trucks through the protection that people would assume the law provides for them.
Here is a media release from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission:
Federal Court finds Lyoness scheme not pyramid
The Federal Court has found that a loyalty program operated by Lyoness Australia Pty Ltd does not contravene the pyramid and referral selling provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Lyoness program includes the ability for members to earn various rebates and bonuses from shopping. It also includes ways for consumers to earn bonuses if they introduce new members who also shop or make down payments on future shopping.
Whilst cash back offers themselves are not prohibited by the ACL the ACCC alleged that the Lyoness scheme also offers commissions to members who recruit new members who make a down payment on future shopping.
The Federal Court found that: “there can be no doubting the fact that inducements were held out to prospective Members that they would ultimately receive “financial benefits” other than the discounts they received on purchases made from Loyalty Merchants”.
However, the Court found that any entitlement to receive a benefit was occasioned - not by the introduction of the new Members - but from the pursuit of shopping activity by those new Members and the shopping activities of further new Members who, in turn, may have been introduced by such new Members. The ACCC also failed to establish that persons could become Members only by making down payments.
The Court made similar findings about “referral selling” conduct.
Justice Flick noted: “The manner in which pyramid selling schemes operate...is ‘complex and elusive.’ The present Lyoness Loyalty Program is no exception”.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: The judgment echoed some of the concerns the ACCC had with the scheme, in particular its complexity and the inducements that were held to prospective members”.
“The ACCC will continue to investigate schemes that encourage consumers to recruit new members. We will take action where appropriate to ensure consumers are not drawn into schemes where the financial benefits held out to
The ACCC is carefully considering the judgment.
Pyramid schemes involve new participants providing a financial or other benefit to other existing participants in the scheme. New participants are induced to join substantially by the prospect that they will be entitled to benefits relating to the recruitment of further new participants.
Pyramid schemes may also offer products or services, but making money out of recruitment is their main aim, and often the only way for a member to recover any money is to convince other people to join up. In contrast, people in legitimate multi-level marketing schemes earn money by selling genuine products to consumers, not from the recruiting process.
Despite being hopeless at mathematics at any level above arithmetic and algebra, I have a fascination for the way people misunderstand and misuse numbers. My latest column for Australasian Science magazine is about some numbers that people don't seem to understand. It's in letterboxes and newsagents now, but I encourage you to subscribe. The annual cost is less than you would spend on the coffee you drink while reading it.
I've written before about innumeracy, the inability to use numbers correctly. Recently I've been exposed to three cases of number abuse in different contexts. One of these is people with an agenda using a very large and apparently frightening number which actually means nothing much at all, one is people with a different agenda treating a large number as if it is zero, and one is a scientific publication using a number which is obviously and ridiculously wrong.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. (24/10/2015)
Anti-vaxxer intelligence (24/10/2015)
Well, for certain values of "intelligence" anyway. Supporters of alternative "medicine" who know all about how it works and what it is.
The mail trickles in (24/10/2015)
Random selections from the inbox.
For some reason people occasionally email me offering to improve the search engine ranking of the site belonging to ex-Dr Rebecca Carley, darling of anti-vaccination liars and insane with a certificate to prove it. This made a change. Someone wants to sell me batteries.
Someone missing the point entirely. Also "you're" and "data's" (I love the Apostrophe Man's treatment of a word that is already plural). Original colour retained, and I don't know why some parts were highlighted.
From: "Joshua Finn"
I was going through you're webside and understood that you're specialized in chiropractic products and services. We are dealing with list of hospitals, clinics, national pharmacy companies, decision makers, healthcare professionals, distributors and sales reps, worldwide. If you're interested in our products and services .I can share few data's and you can directly contact them through email or by phone and expand your business worldwide. Let me know the below format so that I can send a few samples for your review..
Target Industry: ___________ (Any Industry),
Waiting for your response.
Here are the thousand links to places I don't like
and these are the sites added or changed recently
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