NECSS, a brand new talk, and blogging

My NECSS talk isn’t done and something’s got to give. So that means blogging will be sparse this week. Sorry about that.

In case anyone’s been wondering why there was no post yesterday and why there’s no post today, it’s because the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) is coming up, and I have a talk to give on Friday that is dangerously far from being finished to the standards that I always endeavor to achieve with my talks. So I spent last night and tonight working on it, and I’ll probably spend tonight working on it as well. In case anyone’s interested, it’s about dubious stem cell clinics, which means it’s a new talk that I had to write from scratch. Here’s hoping it turns out as good as I want it to and hoping the audience likes it.

In the meantime, I’ll try to do a post or two this week because there are things happening that I want to comment on. However, I don’t guarantee that I’ll manage to produce new material before next week. If anything else changes, check out the blog’s Twitter feed @oracknows or my personal Twitter feed @gorskon.

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]

52 replies on “NECSS, a brand new talk, and blogging”

However, I don’t guarantee that I’ll manage to produce new material before next week.

I want my money back!

I want my money back!

I do too, but it’s from a bunch of Limeys who were taking the piss about turning off Activation Lock on a clean iPad that I found in the campus recycling, to the tune of US$60. I shall exact revenge, should I actually get a few free hours.

I look forward to your talk. You always knock it out of the park.

A “no post” is a terrible waste of Respectful Insolence (RI) blogging space.

Is there anyone who has offered to write a guest post?

MJD’s bottom-of-the-barrel invites for Orac’s consideration:

1) Denice Walter;
2) Narad;
3) Old Rockin’ Dave;
4) Panacea; and
5) Alain.

Policy on guest posts
Orac sometimes receives requests from bloggers who want to publish guest posts on Respectful Insolence. The answer is: No. He does not accept unsolicited guest posts.

As for your five “bottom of the barrel”. I’d much rather read 10 posts from each of them than even 1 from you.

Thanks, Julian! That means a great deal coming from you.

At any rate, despite being away from home, I tried to seek out new horrendous woo but Alas! it was slim pickings.
There isn’t much going on- perhaps woo-meisters and alties are on holiday resting their addled brains in order to present amazing crap that will startle us.

So I only have:

AoA fumes about vaccine deaths in Samoa

Null sputters on about Wikip– and TCM ( see SBM critics of TCM don’t read Chinese so how can they scoff?
But he mentions Dr DG who criticizes Mao but who is really like Mao ( ?)

Denice: “don’t read Chinese” Oh man, I laughed at that. If you’re going to give people a hard time for not reading something in the original, then maybe bother to actually name the language? I mean, I know most people use “Chinese” as shorthand for “the many languages spoken in China” but if someone is being huffy about precision, they should be specific, like Mandarin or Cantonese.

But then again it’s Null, and it would be expecting far too much of him to think he knows or cares of the difference in languages.

Thank you from me too, Julian.
That The Bear of Very Little Brain thinks so little of me I find to be a compliment; that you think well of me is a greater one.

JustaTech, Denise is actually accurate and you are wrong! The Chinese are rather unique in that they have various dialects in SPOKEN language ( eg Mandarin, Cantonese…..) but one common language for writing!!! This helps to explain how China has stayed together rather than splitting apart into many regional countries or becoming a melting pot such as the States so often becomes with new immmigrants

Rann, I was agreeing with Denice (who was quoting someone else who I am disagreeing with). Yes, there is one general set of characters for the many Chinese languages. But if you want to learn to read those characters you would choose a language to learn (probably Mandarin).

I was riffing off Denice’s comments about Null.

Not your space, not your business. You want to dictate how a blog should be run, go start your own. In the meantime, Orac can post never ending pictures of chickens playing the piano is he so chooses.

Terrie writes,

Orac can post never ending pictures of chickens playing the piano…

MJD says,

A chicken can be trained to play the piano, Terrie.


A premium pass at the 2018 NECSS is $1,200 (speaker luncheon included).

Celebrity status indeed,congratulations!

MJD says: “A chicken can be trained to play the piano”
ORD says: Can A Bear of Very Little Brain be trained to stick his head back in the honey jar and stay there?

MJD’s bottom-of-the-barrel invites for Orac’s consideration

I strongly suggest that you use Veet for Men on your knob and bollocks.

Hi, Orac,

Any chance you could post something on your talk after you’ve delivered it? I don’t know if you work from a prepared speech or an outline.

I would really like that too. I have a friend that has MS and is looking into having stem cell treatment at a California clinic for a mere $18000. He has already had two Liberation treatments, one in India (the physician there told him that he could not find any blockages) and in New York (where the physician told him he was incredibly blocked) but no change in MS disability status from either treatment. I am going to send him links to here and SBM on the stem cell topic and I’m sure your talk would be a great addition.

@ JustaTech:

Apparently the hoary old woo-meister ( AND his “scholar in residence” CO-WRITER) have never heard that you can TRANSLATE articles that you want to read even if they are in non-European languages. There are services like that.

Null maintains that Orac and his SBM colleagues don’t know The Truth about TCM** because “they don’t read Chinese” BUT how do he and Gale know? They say that they have thousands upon thousands of articles that PROVE all sorts of crap BUT I really doubt that THEY read “Chinese”..

IN FACT, despite having a PhD ( heh) the woo-slinger has endless difficulty pronouncing simple names*** if they are not English
( like French, Spanish, German) as well as physio/ bio stuff***
which tells me that he probably never studied a foreign language.

But how then did he get a doctorate? Or into a college?****

** he read the article aloud on his show but the written one isn’t up yet @
*** sometimes he must get corrected by someone who knows better on names like CAMUS ( but not MOZART)
**** for some reason I recall having to study languages and later had to translate scientific articles using a book based on a foreign service language exam -btw- I passed easily

Apparently the hoary old woo-meister ( AND his “scholar in residence” CO-WRITER) have never heard that you can TRANSLATE articles that you want to read even if they are in non-European languages. There are services like that.

Yah, Retraction Watch has reported using onehourtranslation-dot-com before. Probably expensive, with comparatively poor pay. As for RW, I have no idea how they’ve burned through $400,000 from the MacArthur Foundation to be poor-mouthing by default these days.

Then again, I’ve witnessed the slow-moving, sometimes secretive, wreck of the main public-radio station in the third-largest DMA.

Narad, this idiot imagines that Drs DG, SN, HH et al can’t read papers because they’re in Chinese!

It’s more likely that none of the stuff they quote is valuable enough for anyone SB to care enough to get it translated.

-btw- the article read aloud yesterday is now up at ( I can’t read it because even my computer balks at their abysmal writing) where for some reason Orac is compared to Mao. ( they’re both dictators?) I only heard half of the article yesterday.

I should add that the written copy is now up at yesterday’s chapter of Null’s show/ archives as well as the download version. Note that the spoken tape often contains his “astute commentary” / insults.

I should add that the written copy is now up at yesterday’s chapter of Null’s show/ archives as well as the download version.

Oh, madam, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am.

my mom is suffering from 3rd stage breast cancer, shes still 36 years old.while she was pregnant with my brother she underwent chemo therapy and radiation last year however her condition now is getting worst, sometimes shes having difficulties in breathing, she can no longer walk or even sit. shes in bed for 4months and counting. can you please advice me how to help her? I really need some advice. Does uncooked food could help? (pertaining to meat and veggies).

Elena, I don’t know what kind of website you think you found, but it’s not the kind that offers medical advice. If your mom is 36, and based on how you write, I have to assume you are young. So in case you think to check back, some thoughts.

Respectful Insolence is a blog written by a surgical oncologist who happens to specialize in breast cancer surgeries. But this site isn’t about cancer care. It’s about science skepticism and debunking pseudoscience and medical quackery. Pseudoscience means fake science. Medical quackery means cures that don’t work, and can’t work. People sell pseudoscience when they have a political agenda; they don’t like something so they make stuff up to prove a point they can’t otherwise prove. Quacks sell fake cures to take advantage of desperate sick people.

Orac despises such people, and most of the regular commentators here share his philosophy. We read his articles to educate ourselves on what these people are up to, and to enable ourselves to explain to people who don’t understand science why fake science and quackery are bad for society.

Food diets as treatments for cancer are medical quackery and pseudoscience. There is no scientific evidence that eating food uncooked will do anything to help cancer. But medical quacks often push these kinds of diets. They can do that because the law does not forbid them to do that, and they can charge a lot of money “advising” sick people on diet, but face no consequences when it doesn’t work. If your mom likes uncooked fruits and vegetables, and is willing to eat them it should be OK, but it won’t make her better. But you should wash them first, to wash off pesticides or bacteria. Raw meat is another matter. Meat must be cooked to kill harmful bacteria that may be in the meat.

Your question is an important one, but the background really doesn’t tell us why she’s been bedbound for four months.

Certainly chemo and radiation are hard on the body. If she’s still undergoing treatments then that explains why she’s having trouble getting out of bed. If she has finished chemo and radiation, well, it does take a lot out of you. But it really means that she should talk to her doctor about why she isn’t getting better. I suspect she may already know, and just doesn’t want to tell you. She could be protecting you. So you could ask her, or your family, for more information.

How likely she is to get better really depends on what stage of cancer she had, and if she has a cancer gene called BRCA.

I’m sorry to hear your mom is going through this, and sorry to hear you’re going through this as well. If your mom or your family are unable or unwilling to discuss her condition with you, find a support system. You may find one in your pastor, a teacher, or another adult you trust.

Elena writes,

Does uncooked food could help? (pertaining to meat and veggies).

MJD says,

Healthy uncooked food could help if it provides balanced nutrition and she “believes” it’s beneficial.

In both SBM and alternative medicine, an act-of-love is always therapeutic for one’s mental well-being and quality of life.

If chemotherapy or radiation have depressed leukocyte counts, then uncooked food should probably be avoided, or at least carefully chosen and cleaned to avoid infection.
If treatment leaves a patient with a depressed or altered appetite, then worrying about balanced nutrition is secondary to caloric intake. If the patient only wants to eat pistachio ice cream and black olives, then their diet should be largely the one or two things that s/he wants in as much of a quantity as desired, and any intake should be geared, again, toward sufficient calories.
Spending extra money for a fancy diet or a diet recommended by one or another quack as curative only means giving the cancer cells expensive nutrition.
Most of all, dietary advice should as a rule not come from a “nutritionist”; anyone can call themselves that even if their only qualification is working at Burger King. A registered dietitian has to meet standards of education and (of course) registration.

Elena, MJD is an example of the kind of nut I was talking about. He’s unbelievably ignorant, and gives dangerous advice when it comes to diet. Ignore him.

Great line-up. Good mix of speakers. The real question is: who are the exhibitors and what kind of swag are they giving away?

Whilst the SB cat is out on the Town,**
his snarky SB mice can FUCK around.

Unfortunately, there is little dirt to dish because woo-meisters must be all sleeping ( thus not endangering the unwar
That’s a GOOD thing.

As mentioned previously, the Nullmacher has a new paper about TCM faux sci at that joins his and Gale’s recent opera dissing Wikipedia and sceptics. Many articles. All crap.

Mikey-poo ( naturalnews) has initiated his own video channel that will present the video that got him banned by YouTube
( Sandy Hook conspiracy BS) and gun training.

Not much of value at AoA or TMR Not that there ever was.

** have fun, Orac and Ms O!

Oh no! Denice said “Wikipedia”!!!

This could have even worse repercussions than when extract of nightshade, a live bat, and fresh blood got into the Mangler (in the Stephen King story). 🙁

Hope Orac will step in and exorcise the thread before really terrible things happen. And if Orac can’t spare the time, maybe southern California’s second most famous antivax doc (and #1 male lactation specialist) can stop by to liven things up. He’s been awfully quiet since the Sears debacle.

Dangerous Bacon writes,

Oh no! Denice said “Wikipedia”!!!

MJD says,

Orac referenced Wikipedia three (3) times in the “About Respectful Insolence” section.

Q. What’s more likely: Denice Walter getting her profile on Wikipedia; or there’s a black hole at the center of at least two galaxies.


It’s clear when your not posting respectful-insolence, inevitably, the minions attack each other.

When your away, allow MJD to write guest posts so the minions don’t cannibalize each other.

Kindest Regards.

When your away, allow MJD to write guest posts so the minions don’t cannibalize each other.

I don’t want to take the place of our excellent host but IMO, keep dreaming 😀


@ MJD:

Holy shit, man! SRSLY! What’s RONG with you?

Where do I begin?
– DB was joking about Wikipedia
– Orac referred to Wikipedia to discuss the source of his nym for the uninformed
– I have no interest in being profiled on Wikipedia
– there’s only one black hole around here AFAIK
– it’s not your, it’s you’re
– I see no instances of the minions either attacking or consuing each other: they’re having a discussion.
Arno S is not an established minion- he’s Finnish.
– I agree with Alain: dream on.

Orac is about as likely to allow you to write guest posts as I am to fly without a plane .In my dreams only.

It ain’t gonna happen, it will never happen, Forget about it. No way, Jose. Wake up and smell the coffee.

What’s more likely: Denice Walter getting her profile on Wikipedia; or there’s a black hole at the center of at least two galaxies.

You are a moron of the first water. It is amazing that your brain-vomit is still tolerated by Orac.

Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Wikipedia!
I fear nothing, Bacon.

At any rate, I think Orac is rather busy being at a conference in CHELSEA ** where much is happening including the HighLine, near Curry Hill, galleries, bars, music etc.

** No, not THAT Chelsea- the other one, near SoHo.

No, not THAT Chelsea

I used to have a sort of shrine to Chelsea Clinton, including a paper doll with Socks, on a bulletin board in my kitchen, back when I had my own kitchen. It was inspired by the unpleasant coverage comparing her with the Gore daughters, who turned out in predictable fashion.

It’s early, I’m tired and my eyes skimmed over that to read “curry bars.” Perhaps that will be the next big foody trend.

Orac’s post is 174 words +/- 2 words.

MJD has written >185 words in the comment section.

AFAIK (i.e., IMO), Orac has been outperformed in this instance. 🙂


But your evaluation is meaningless. Quantity and quality are not the same.

Orac makes sense, instructs and entertains us: you waste electrons.**

** GAD! maybe I shouldn’t say electrons because then you’ll go into some tangent about particles that has nothing to do with my point.

—–WOULD some other established minion please assist with MJD?
I want to be done with him.
I mostly get paid for guiding/ counselling students. I’m not a charity. Well, USUALLY not.

WOULD some other established minion please assist with MJD?

Just call a spade a spade: He’s a sniveling shit.

—–WOULD some other established minion please assist with MJD?

How can one assist?


Quality counts more than quantity, Michael. And even a short post like this one has more quality than the 100+ page book of yours that I ground through once waiting for you to get around to presenting the evidence supporting your claim.

And as for comment length, this post only has 46 total comments. That’s trivial compared to other posts which have gone on to 1000+ comments.

How about just picking one vaccine related news article (not a blog) each day and giving us your honest thoughts without the usual formatting wafflng?

Oh, that’s sad. She was just about perfect: athletic, not given to celebrity pretensions, and of course stunning up to not that long ago. I really wound not expect or demand EM to have a clue about science, medicine or diesel mechanics, those ain’t her reason for being 😉

Unfortunately, celebrity destroys most whom it engulfs.


This is hilarious!

OF COURSE! What other type would Andy pursue: she’s famous, REALLY wealthy and attractive.
I vaguely remember reading that she was associated with some sort of healthy eating regime years ago- not exactly vegan- so this probably is not her first foray into altie-ness.

Can’t you imagine this power couple hawking power smoothies or suchlike? Or a new venture- Workout with Wakie and Elle?
He can “medically supervise” a new diet book with her.

Does this mean that Andy with be less associated with anti-vax? **
Then we all can thank her. IF ONLY.

** but I tend to think he’s an autocrat

I just found ( see Perth Now, July 16) that she’s involved with Wellco since 2014 which makes green “alkaline” drink powders.
That’s why she looks so great.


She’s got a company, Welleco ( “well” spelt with an elle) and it has a WEBSITE where one can purchase “ingestible” beauty aids. Various powdered vegetables .

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