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Better late than never…again


How did I miss this? Maybe it was all the other stuff going on last week, such as the Sarah Hershberger case, multiple updates on Stanislaw Burzynski, and Katie Couric’s sort-of apology about her awful segment on HPV vaccines. So much stuff was going on that I forgot that December 11 was my nine year blogiversary.

Yes, nine years ago on that day, the wonder (or at least obnoxiousness) that was Orac was born (or at least stolen from an obscure 30 year old British SF show). Since I was so exhausted last night that I fell asleep on the couch with my wife and my dog, I figure I might as well take advantage of this opportunity to thank you all for reading and prepare to keep on truckin’ to the decade mark. (And maybe this time next year I won’t miss it again.) However, this is the tenth year; I really should think of some ways to shake things up. Or not. Either way, I have to run to the OR. Later…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

66 replies on “Better late than never…again”

Happy blogoversary. Thank you for doing all this. The battle against anti-vaccine misinformation would be much harder without Respectful Insolence’s responding to their claims.

Happy blogiversary! Everybody sing (to the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow):

“Nine years of nifty darn blog posts, nine years of nifty darn blog posts, nine years of nifty darn blog pooooosts…”

With apologies to Pete Abrams and Sluggy Freelance (hopefully some people here will get the reference).

Servalan was certainly one of the bestest villain names.

I wanted to thank ORAC (in addition to offering best wishes/many happy returns/etc) because I started following this blog just about the time I took a job as a bioterrorism/public health planner, which happened to be just before H1N1 arrived on our shores. Prior to that I could not even pronounce epidemiology (although I could spell it).

It has been very useful to me as a layperson, to be able to read and understand the information you offer here.


Yes, emphatically. Avon lives! “Obscure,” grumble grumble. That must be why we keep seeing it imitated over and over, Lexx, Farscape, Cowboy Bebop, Firefly, Andromeda …

It is dark and dreary: the leaden skies weigh heavily upon us as the solstice quickly approaches stealthily and inevitably in the cold. Days like these make me feel morose: the world can be a terrible place filled with ignorance, oppression and darkness: staving them off is a wearying fight, seemingly endless.

I sometimes feel like that bird which a long dead poet wrote of who flies through the shivering damp blackness of night and just briefly and blessedly crosses through the inn which is bursting with light and warmth and life and human company before he again, alas!, exits back into the abyss as we all will.

But then, in the deepest darknesses, in the vast recesses of cyberspacetime, what do I spy but a light. A blinking light!
It’s Orac who brings wit ,wisdom and cameraderie amidst the staggering whirlpools of stupidity and the ragged peaks of unreason we encounter in our daily battle with nonsense. And making us aware of how lucky we are that we have science, computers and electricity and don’t have to sit in the dark and drink in dirty inns so frigging draughty that d-amned birds can fly right through.

All hail, Orac.

Orac, given how much you manage to accomplish I’m amazed you don’t fall asleep on the couch with your dog every night.

We’re all grateful that you — somehow — manage it!

Copious thanks and ongoing best wishes for more Orac-ian eloquence in the years to come! 🙂

Dorit: “Has Orac blogged about holocaust denial, science fiction and fantasy, music and movies?”

Yes, over the years. There was the Hitler Zombie bit a while ago. Use the tag cloud to the right of this page.

Congratulations on nine years of truly awesome insolence, Orac! This was one of the very first med/sci blogs I discovered when searching for interesting things to read, and you still deliver the goods. Many kudos to you for all the information you put out there to counteract the craziness….a beacon of sanity in a world full of woo and dubious claims.

Six or seven years ago, I accidentally found this blog while searching the net for Blakes 7 fanfiction (everyone has their weaknesses) and I’m awfully glad I decided “Heck, a blogger called Orac must be worth checking out!”

Thanks again, you blinkin’ box o’lights, and congrats!

Congratulations! This blog, as well as SBM have been gateway drugs into the beautiful realm of science and critical thinking.

Congratulations Orac. I don’t know exactly when I started reading this blog, but it is still enjoying.

Congratulations Orac – I first hit this blog when I found a link discussing an Episode of Gray’s Anatomy about Measles & Autism….I’ve been a regular ever since!

Congratulations Orac! And thank you for writing and sharing your knowledge, wisdom and experience with us. RI is one of my daily reads (along with SBM and Neurologica) – My day just isn’t complete without these blogs. Please keep doing the great things you do!

Congratulations and thanks, you made a big difference in my life as I was exiting Wooville. And you’ve made every day since more interesting and insolent than it would be otherwise.


H’vaak skvee ech amit torq v’monkay Orac neek!

And I mean that with all sincerity.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Monkey Master of Mars

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital


Happy blogoversary!

Since people seem to be a sharing mood, IIRC I first got here when PZ Myers mentioned Orac and his disapproval of Bill Maher and his being awarded some prize.

Thank you, for being a bright light of sanity in the vast darkness of teh krazy internets! And for being a go-to guide for a legit source when I’m too lazy/in too much of a hurry to search it out myself. I appreciate you linking to everything.

I love this blog. It could be better, though. You could blog on weekends as well. Especially when football is over.

Congratulations on your 9th blogoversary Orac.

Yes, it was Jenning’s miraculous flu-vaccine-induced-dystonia cure by Rashid Buttar which brought me over to RI. I eventually posted my first comment, months later.

Thanks for all your posts Orac.

Coming soon to a theater near you, “Better Late Than Never Again”, starring Daniel Craig as Orac. In this Bondian sequel, Orac faces a horde of Evil Woo Minions led by arch-nemesis Mike Adams, while foiling Adams’ plans to rule the earth from his diabolical laboratory.

(plus a cameo by Jenny McCarthy as the foul-mouthed but simple-minded temptress)

Happy Anniversary! Thank you for keepin’ on. I shall try to have a rational, reasoned discussion with some dipshit anti-vaccine person in your honor.
I’m not saying I’ll manage it, but I’ll try.

Although both Mssrs Craig and Mortensen are extremely handsome and talented I vote for David Bowie as Orac/ Dr G
Yes- we need that whole alternate identity theme.
AND atmospheric background music.

No, no, no….to encompass Orac’s genius, quick wit, slight (albeit deserved) arrogance, and the complete and utter finality with which he razes Peddlers of Woo to the ground…Robert Downey, Jr.

I join your other fans in wishing you a happy blogospheric anniversary. I’m very happy I found your blog–it’s most educational, and the insolence is so inspiring. And I get to pretend I still know some epidemiology.

As a long time reader/lurker and sometime poster I would like to add my congratulations and I hope for many more years of insolence to come.

Happy Blogthday!

I’ll raise my glass of Perrier-Jouët 200C in the general direction of wherever you are, thankful for all the work you’ve put into this blog.

Hopefully you haven’t started suffering from dilutions of grandeur yet though, after all these good wishes!

Merry Blogoversity! Or whatever!

Only 9 years…? It feels like I’ve been coming here forever.

May there be many more!

(or at least stolen from an obscure 30 year old British SF show)

It wasn’t obscure if you grew up with it — it was ground-breaking!

Ground-breaking, admittedly, in the introduction of new quarries which had not yet been filmed in Dr Who, and in the shaky use of special effects in the shape of silver-painted plastic bottles about which even Blue Peter had not yet been informed. But there was a lot to be said for the characterisation and the dialogue (although characterisation in the 1970s didn’t give too much of a role for women, and the dialogue was occasionally quite hammy). But it still all mattered.

I’ve always said that Blakes 7 and Doctor Who made me the woman I am today.

Take that as you will.

(And, if you’re a fan of both shows and *haven’t* listened to the audio series “Kaldor City”, then you’re missing a real treat! It’s an unofficial spinoff of both shows – sort of. And if you thought Paul Darrow got the scenery in his teeth in B7, you ain’t heard NOTHING yet…)

I’d like to say thanks. This week, my sister rang to tell me she’d been diagnosed with whooping cough. As I’d visited her the week before, she needed to tell me just in case. I was able to let her know I’d had my booster shot.
Thanks to Orac, and the work of groups like SAVN, I had found out that I needed the shot, that whooping cough was on the comeback, and as there was a new baby in my world, acted.
It’s an important service you offer sir, and has made an impact in my world, for what that’s worth.

Happy Blogoversary! From way back when I first started reading you (I think Sastra and I came the same way…), the days of EneMan and Hitler Zombie, from the great despair at the antivaxxers to the realization that slowly but surely the SBM people are winning..

Keep blogging and I’ll keep reading!

Congratulations! I am in awe of your ability to offer a M-F (Monday to Friday, just to be clear) smackdown of the various knuckleheads, loonies and fraud artists infesting medicine, science, politics and the news media. Keep it up, you are making a difference.

Sigh. Is it your Wedoversary? Employoversary? Retiroversary?

Anniversary is a perfectly good word, and it means “the day that commemorates a past event that occurred on the same date in a previous year.”

And for the record, 9 year anniversary is both unnecessarily repetitious and redundant. 1 week anniversary means, well, Tuesday.

I accidentally discovered this blog when attempting to have logical discussions with Mr Woo regarding various alternative cures he wanted to subject me to. Though I have yet to move Mr Woo to science-minded inquiry, I have, for the most part, gotten him to give up spending $200-$300 for bogus “cures” to fix me.

I worry, though, that any additional diagnoses will open up the whole can of worms again. I’m grateful that you are still here for continuing information!

Happy Blogoversary!

Mrs Woo

Congrats on your 9 year anniversary (sorry MO’B, “9th anniversary” just doesn’t sound right. Also, doesn’t the word redundant mean “unnecessarily repetitious”?)

I first became aware of the antivax movement back when I was an undergrad, but it was your blog that inspired me to begin contributing to the fight against their misinformation. Thanks.

Thanks Orac for years of logic. I got caught up in the vaccine/Autism scare in my work as a school psychologist back in the day and you always gave me sensible information to help parents.

You also reignited my love of science and sadly for my friends and family – statistics.

Congratulations on a really big achievement. I’ve been hanging around for years, and a real highlight for me was when Marc Stephens made his entrance. It was better than watching a mystery movie, the way it brought the scientific blogosphere together, combining their expertise in some real sleuthing. You can’t make that stuff up!

I left these pages once because you totally ripped me for an innocent and misinterpreted comment. In the end, I swallowed hard, and came back (new name) because I learn so much even if my eyes do glaze over at times–only because I’m not able to follow some of the technical stuff, not because I think you’re too wordy (which you are, but it’s worth it).

Happy Blogoversary!
Incidentally, it was through a search for Blakes 7 on the Googles that I first stumbled across your blog some years ago now. 🙂
I know I don’t always comment as much as others on here as they have usually made the points I was thinking (and also timezones or something) but I really do appreciated your writings.

Dorothy: “I left these pages once because you totally ripped me for an innocent and misinterpreted comment.”

I am so sorry.

Over the years, and since I first met Orac on UseNet, I have have tried to learn how to not do that.

A few years ago I shed my more poisonous persona, and worked on recognizing those who are on a fence. I have tried to figure out how to respond with reason and understanding.

Sometimes it works, and someone will jump to our rational side of the fence.

And then sometimes it does not work, and then the only thing to respond is with “Why do you think insults are a valid form of evidence?”

Perhaps it helped that during this time all of my children went through puberty. The youngest, who is in her second year of college, woke up today at five in the afternoon. Good grief.

Congrats Orac, another regular lurker here.


Selamat hari ulang tahun ke9 dari blogmu.

May it be many more years of some respect, and more insolence.

Blakes who?

Thank you Orac for helping keep the world sane, while showing us at the same time how insane it is.

There can be no doubt that my debating skills have been greatlly enhanced from reading this blog. I thank you and all the commenters who have helped with this and I continue to make this my first stop for reading the morning.

Congratulations on nine years of shit-kicking, Orac!

I’ve been reading the past three years or so and, like most of your readers, love laugh-crying at the quackery and other forms of virulent stupidity about which you write. But, I’m a sociologist by trade and so I also genuinely (i.e. non-ironically) enjoy the perspective on medical science as a social process that often comes across.

May those tarial cells keep on glowing !
It’s been a good experience reading your blog, and I hope it continues.
Oh and, I couldn’t let it pass without :
(quack) December 11. . . a date which shall live. . . in Infamy. . .

Orac, I’d just like to belatedly wish you a Happy Blogiversary! [I’ve been ridiculously busy lately…]

May you continue to shine light into some of the murkiest, most ignorant &/or deluded corners of humanity and rest assured that your work, not to mention your courage here does indeed make a difference.

Also, the comments made by several people here frequently make my day (or at least provide a good chortle). I’m not going to start naming names & embarrass anyone 😉

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