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June 8, 2019

So where was he, is he and will be? (8/6/2019)
My plans for last weekend: Help my daughter move house (she lives about 400 kilometres from my place and my trailer would be useful)

My plans for this weekend: Nothing much.

My plans for next weekend: Hospital on Friday for an age-related exploration requiring a general anaesthetic and an overnight stay.

Reality of last weekend: Wyong Hospital ED to have a suddenly inflamed cyst on my back attended to. We still got all the moving done.

Reality of this weekend: Because the cyst treatment left a hole in my back I have to have it dressed every two days, so off to Oberon hospital this morning (my GP doesn't work Sundays). Two GP visits during the week and more to come.

Reality of next weekend: As I was exposed to measles at Wyong Hospital (thank you, anti-vaxxers) the procedure won't be happening as my immunisation status is unknown and I might be a plague carrier if I become infectious after the incubation period. For quite good reasons the hospital doesn't want anyone with measles near the place. If I'm not spotty and feverish I'll be helping another relative to move house (she lives in the same town as my daughter and I left the trailer there because we knew she would also be moving soon). And I'll probably have to go back to Wyong Hospital for another dressing change.

And speaking of measles and anti-vaccination liars, here is an example of the sort of thing that these creatures find funny.

Hilarious, isn't it?

"Devilled Dogs" isn't just a Betty Crocker recipe (8/6/2019)

June 22, 2019

Those whacky chiropractors (22/6/2019
The books of the New Testament were originally written in Greek and the word "chiropractic" is derived from the Greek words for "done by hand". Another word from Greek is "hyperbole" and a perfect use of the word would be taking one of the stories about Jesus and using it to provide evidence that he practised a modern form of sympathetic magic. There is also the Greek word "hubris" which is equally applicable to chiropractors suggesting that Jesus was an original member of their merry band of spine fiddlers.

I'm an atheist and I find this offensive, but then I find most things that chiropractors do offensive.

Did you think I was joking? (22/6/2019)
Back in April I mentioned that the FDA were doing their best to shut down a crowd called the Non-GMO Project who, for a fee of course, will endorse products which contain no genetically modified ingredients. I mentioned salt, and this raised eyebrows. How could anyone with a picogram of knowledge think that sodium chloride's DNA could be manipulated? Or, more importantly, how could anyone with a working conscience exploit this lack of knowledge to sell something.

You asked for evidence. Here it is. And it's certified gluten-free and made by artisans. I won't go into how mining something that isn't being made any more can be "sustainable sourcing".

It might be "The purest salt on Earth" but it's heavily contaminated with bullshit.

I assume this is the same J. Burello, but I could be mistaken.

As Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine" (22/6/2019)
Believers in magic are very fond of dragging out this quote from Hippocrates to justify weird diets and other food-based "cures" for whatever ails you. I remember the "Mediterranean Diet" that was supposed to be the healthiest way to eat ever invented, but I usually got blank looks when I asked which of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea it had originated in. (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Israel, Lebanon, (Palestine, if you include Gaza), Syria, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Gibraltar plus a few isolated outposts of countries embedded in other countries.) In my May/June 2019 column for Australasian Science I mentioned a celebrity who was (is?) heavily invested in promoting the "Paleo Diet" where you eat like our Paleolithic ancestors did. But what diet fads did those ancestors have? Tom The Dancing Bug has a suggestion, and maybe it's time for this diet to have another surge of popularity.

See more Tom TDB here

And one last thing (22/6/2019)

See more from Niklas Eriksson here

June 29, 2019

The latest mobile phone scare (29/6/2019)
The best-regarded daily paper in my state picked up a story from the Washington Post about some research into the effects of mobile phone use. The story was accompanied by a very scary x-ray showing that using a mobile phone could cause horns to grow out of the skull.

Now like many people I wouldn't mind having a head horn or two because they would be handy places to hang things like car keys, reading glasses and even my mobile phone. In the past, I've been compared by hate mail writers to Satan and a couple of horns would complete the picture nicely.

But let's get serious. The story in my local paper went beyond the original story and the rewrite person (to save money the paper no longer employs sub-editors) included the idea that this might be evolution in action. As evolution doesn't happen over a period of 30 years or so, people with working brain cells joined the creationists in ridiculing the suggestion and the paper has since withdrawn the article from their web site. (The page has just gone 404 without explanation. I assume that any attempt at explanation would be too embarrassing.)

But here's something even more embarrassing for the papers that printed the story, even if they just stuck to the mobile phone radiation damage line without moving further into fantasy – the "research" was done by a couple of chiropractors using their extensive expertise and knowledge of x-ray interpretation. (OK, I was joking about the expertise and knowledge.) I'm surprised they didn't call it a skull subluxation.

And speaking of x-rays (29/6/2019)

The Carbon Comic web site disappeared in May 2020

Pyramid schemes. Are they indestructible? (29/6/2019)
There's an old joke that says that the only things surviving after a nuclear war would be cockroaches sitting in the shade of privet bushes. The cockroaches will need some way to make a living, so they will all be immediately into multi-level marketing, the new paradigm of retailing that will make them all richer than their bosses.

When I was sued in 2005 by a company that had been found by a court to be operating an illegal pyramid scheme (I was sued for pointing this out) one of the things they didn't like was that I had identified the loophole in legislation that they were slithering through. In 2015 I found another company using the same fault in the legislation to convince a court that they were only a little bit illegal and immoral but not enough to worry about. That company was Lyoness, and when I did my regular link check here I found that they had changed their name and are now calling themselves Cashback World. It looks very much like the same old "barely legal" scam with a new set of clothes

Pyramid schemes. Is there a limit to their mendacity and greed? (29/6/2019)
One of the hallmarks of pyramid schemes is that they rely on unquestioning acceptance of anything and everything said by the scheme promoters. (Do you know that you can only buy a Honda car in Japan through Amway? I have been told this when I was being "shown the plan".) If something is being sold it automatically becomes the best and cheapest of its kind, sometimes even being something only available through the pyramid, sorry, "business" (like a Honda Civic in Tokyo).

It would come as no surprise to find that "essential oils" are heavily marketed through pyramid schemes, and the etymology of the word "essential" in the name is always glossed over so that the mark thinks it means "must have" instead of "made from essences", but what's a little truth stretching when there's diamond status to be sought? (You can see something I wrote about this here.)

But – here's an essential oil you didn't know about.

The exploitation would be staggering if you didn't know about how pyramid schemes work.

Of course, if doTerra wanted to do something useful they could make this product. It would be the only one of their products you would ever need to buy and you could use a few drops the next time someone you haven't heard from for years calls to offer you a business opportunity

Alternative "medicine". What's the harm? (29/6/2019)
This is an actual screenshot from an actual Facebook group where people go for advice. I don't think anything more needs to be said.

A free video you can pay for. Or a paid video for free. You choose. (29/6/2019)
The woefully still existing Australian Vaccine Risks Network (the latest name) is planning on hosting a film night. The cost of entry is about $17 and you will get to see Robert F Kennedy tell lies, sorry, reveal the truth about the HPV vaccine. To save you money, here is the film for free. I make no apology for the sound quality, but I do like the way that in the introduction there is mention of two articles that Kennedy wrote for Rolling Stone and Salon (actually one article published twice). What the speaker conveniently forgot to mention is that both publications withdrew the article because the number of lies in it reflected badly on their journalistic integrity and reputations.

And one last thing (29/6/2019)
Just to make sure that all the visitors here are human (or at least a close approximation) I'm planning on having one of those Captcha things where you have to make a selection to prove that you are not a robot. Here is the prototype.


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