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A brief blog break…

Even Orac has times when other, more important things than laying down Insolence, require his attention. This is just such a time.

This is just a brief announcement to inform Respectful Insolence readers that Orac will be away from the blog for at least a week. Sadly, this means that there will be no new Insolence until later next week. Even though he is a Tarial cell-fueled galactic supercomputer, occasionally circumstances necessitate retiring from the Insolence game for a while in order to deal with more pressing affairs. This is just such a time.

In the meantime, play nice. Orac does have a trusted someone who’ll be keeping an eye on the blog, at least for the first couple of days; so don’t expect to get away with anything. And fear not. Insolence shall return.

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]

146 replies on “A brief blog break…”

yes orac..what ever the issue is..good luck with it …cheers …happy bob from oz..

“…so don’t expect to get away with anything. ”

Does the “trusted someone” have the power to release everyone in auto-moderation (i.e., pardon)? Let the good times roll!

Orac’s written,

…it’s cost me around $80/month to run this blog with me doing all the work.

MJD says,

That’s $3.47 wasted each weekday your unable to write a post. I’d gladly submit a guest post on the days Orac’s absent and cover the $3.47 blog fee. How do we make this happen, Orac?

Why should Orac let you submit guest posts?

Even my dead cat would write better guest posts.

Silly Renate. Until you open the box you don’t even know if the cat exists 😉

Why does this MJD person keep trying to submit guest posts even though all those offers have been rebuffed in the past and regular commenters have consistently dissed him/her? Confused. Does this person understand that it’s time to give up on that effort, or is this person a bit loony? Smells like anti-vax looniness to me. Someone please explain.

Sara Owen, MJD is very definitely anti-vaccine and also has a latex fetish. He has this peculiar idea that latex in vaccines is the cause of autism. MJD used to regale us at great length with his fetish (it resembled Vogon poetry) until thankfully our host placed him in auto-moderation. His comments on other topics are allowed through.

MJD thinks of himself as an author (although all of his book-shaped ramblings have been self-published on the internet), hence his request for a guest post. As you will note, the regulars here would prefer guest posts from many other organisms, both alive and dead, before they would tolerate one from MJD.

That’s $3.47 wasted each weekday your [i]sic[/I] unable to write a post.

I would suggest that you just send $2.67 for each day there’s no fresh insolence, but I doubt that Orac wants pennies and wooden nickels.

Best wishes, Orac!

@ Alain:
You are now the keeper of the keys. I know you will always do the right thing with flare and the correct amount of curse words. Merci.

@ Panacea:
That’s hilarious.

I will do my damnedest to find meaningful and -hopefully- laughable anti-vax and woo news in the absence of our esteemed and splendid leader. There is SO much bad-ness on the internet and someone has to fix it: why not us?


Re Cursing: absolutely 😀

That said, with power come responsibility. I shall use the whip with wisdom 😉


Oh lord, he’s gone power mad already. Run for it!

Thank for the work, Alain.

The proper way to use a whip is not with wisdom but with abandon. That and keel hauling.

A friend of mine forwarded a FB meme with an actual Star of David and faux Hebrew font that says “No Vaxx”

Fortunately, the anti antivax outrage was on full display. Quite disrespectful insolence.

Oh, yeah, that’s going to get a lot of Jews* on the anti-vax bandwagon.

*Outside of the ultra-Orthodox who are in their own little world.

I’ve been on several small pro-vaxx blogs that had to go on auto-pilot when gurus had to go to conferences or go do nerdy academic things and take a break. It’s not necessarily a problem but is a concern. Continuity and good monitoring are the keys. The crazies have a lot of good tech that can jump on a vulnerability in coverage. I think people on this blog are savvy enough to prevent that.

Please don’t end up like Marvin the computer in “The Hitcherhikers Guide” – was it a million years in a parking lot?


I’d have to read that. Haven’t done so yet but even among geeks in geekdoms, I stand out by being very dissimilar.


As Douglas Addmas geek, I had to look it up, Marvin the Paranoid Android waited 576,000,003,579 years, According to Marvin, “The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn’t enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.”

@ Alain (Orac’s “trusted someone”) ,

Let’s get this straight my Respectful Insolence (RI) friend, RI is no longer considered a science blog based on Orac’s written words:

“The miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine, quackery, science, and pseudoscience (and anything else that interests him).”

Therefore, please do not censor comments outside the realm of science. It would be unfortunate to have Denice Walters silenced during Orac’s absence.

You ain’t getting censored! It’s your sales pitch who are getting the silent treatment. This is not a sales platform. Period.


No, because adult Native Americans/Alaskan native can get vaccines through the Indian Health Service.

Orac – I hope that all is well with you and yours and eagerly await you return!

Here’s to Orac getting a much needed break (hopefully with some puppies involved). Impressive also that this week Orac predicted to the exact county where the next measles outbreak in Michigan would occur.

The anti-vaccine crowd isn’t so good at predicting. David Kirby and RFK Jr were completely wrong about thimerosal ( As Offit recently summarized Andrew Wakefield was wrong about MMR and autism (, and Andy’s prediction that he could make $43 million a year from an autistic enterocolitis diagnostic kit was also incorrect as per the excellent reporting by Brian Deer (“mmr-doctor”-).

Hmmm, I wonder if actual supporting evidence and not magical thinking leads to predicting accurately…

“…were completely wrong…”
“…was wrong…”
“…was also incorrect…”

One almost has to admire their consistency.

As Emerson so aptly put it: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. The pro-disease crowd see themselves as avoiding conformity although all the while consistently (and conveniently) shifting the it-has-to-be-the-vaccines goal posts despite the evidence against that trope…

Events in Rockland County and Arizona have stimulated reactions amongst anti-vaxxers and the woo-meisters who feed upon their baseless beliefs SO, for your reading/ listening/ watching .. pleasure:

— AoA continues along its merry path, saying un-vaccinated kids are preferable to a public play area ( ball pit)
— TMR- by the hilariously misnamed Professor who believes that Rockland is ruining Passover ( many comments)
— NN – Mike Adams again goes full tilt loco about authorities abducting children from their homes ( video- you get to see him)
— Del Bigtree showcases his latest Highwire ( @ Del Bigtree)
— Gary Null interviews Meryl Nass ( second half of today’s show, and promises a new vaccine film.

Vaccines are probably the topic that gets them more traffic ( Mikey shows counts) because they sure repeat themselves a lot.

It’s really a sad and twisted story. She was treated far more harshly than any other typhoid carriers. Anthony Bourdain (of all people) wrote a really interesting short book about it, and about cooking in that time period. Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical.

Eventually she became a lab assistant. In prison.

I can’t recall any other typhoid carrier of the period who was a) responsible for so much illness and death, and b) refused to accept the consequences of her condition, evaded surveillance and wound up cooking for more victims, while evidently avoiding hygienic measures* that would’ve greatly limited or eliminated harm to her employers and their families.

For another historically interesting tale, check out Berton Roueche’s “A Game Of Wild Indians”, in which public health officials track down the cause of a typhoid outbreak in Manhattan linked to the apartment building of a typhoid carrier (while she was the source of the outbreak, she was not actually at fault).

*careful handwashing.

She refused to stop working as a cook, JustaTech. She did try other jobs but always went back to cooking, often changing her name to avoid detection.

What was the government supposed to do in the face of such intransigence?

Of course she kept cooking. Cooking paid really well, and there weren’t any other jobs for women that paid that well. And while she should have believed the health officer, let’s remember that germ theory was much newer then and not as well accepted.

There weren’t any good solutions then, although “lab assistant” ended up being a pretty good one.

“A game of wild Indians” was great, and I love all of his books.

Aiiieee! I am having a back and forth with a woman on the local “Nextdoor” site that insists her toddler needs chiropractic care! May the power of Orac help me make my case!

Panacea, hence the problem. I keep asking her what is wrong with the kid and she responds (paraphrasing) “I’m a MOM, maaan! I know what’s best for my kid! I’ll know when a medical Doctor is needed, maaaaaan!!’

She is asking for a recommendation for a pediatric chiropractor and REFUSES to specify a reason

“I’m a MOM, maaan! I know what’s best for my kid! I’ll know when a medical Doctor is needed, maaaaaan!!”

I’d suggest a preemptive strike with a mace.

Met a homeless man sleeping on cardboard along a river in Colorado. We talked and he shared a life story that reminds me of Orac’s minions. He was living on the streets in Los Angeles, California and decided to leave and find a better life, While walking to the bus station, a small group of young adults decided to express not-so-respectful insolence and physical violence. The homeless man told me the beating was overwhelming and all he could think about was how he failed everyone throughout his life because of fear. While the young adults kicked his body, the homeless man spoke of an overwhelming sadness in the absence of self-preservation, and he began sobbing without tears. The young adults stopped kicking him and watched this unexpected response. Keeping the story short, the thugs had a change of heart and altruistically provided several days of goodwill to help heal his body and mind.

@ Orac’s minions,

Please avoid the group mentality of not-so-respectful insolence towards those who fear vaccines based on their life experience.

Surely you must be joking?

And yes I know your name is not “Shirley”

And I prefer “Henchman” or “Goon” to “minion”

“Please avoid the group mentality of not-so-respectful insolence towards those who fear vaccines based on their life experience.”

We only want to lovingly burn them at the stake. What’s the problem? Where’s the ethical dilemma?

More seriously: if they did not insist on spouting nonsense, we may have a more compassionate take concerning the confusion their lives are engulfed in.

F68.10 writes,

..we may have a more compassionate take concerning the confusion their lives are engulfed in.

MJD says,

In my opinion, there is a complete absence of compassion at RI for the vaccine injured.

Q. Has Orac, or his minions, ever articulated a speedy recovery and/or future good health to those adversely affect by vaccine contraindications.

Know these words from a “vaccine safety advocate,” to anyone injured or adversely affected by vaccine contraindications, we are truly sorry for your suffering and continue our efforts to improve the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“In my opinion, there is a complete absence of compassion at RI for the vaccine injured.”

That is because we know, to all reasonable extent of the word, that real vaccine injured people are really few, and because we know that “vaccine injured” kids are not the autistic kids that are so often wielded against vaccines.

I, personally, have compassion for deluded parents, but not to the point that I’d let their dangerous bullshit fly past me. And I’m even harsher when it comes to climate change deniers, who I believe are even more dangerous…

MJD says,

In my opinion, there is a complete absence of compassion at RI for the vaccine injured.

I have plenty of compassion for thise who have been genuinely injured by vaccines. Your problem is that I have no compassion for anti-vaccine liars like yourself.

First of all, you refer to people who have tolerated you for years as “thugs”- comparable to attackers of a poor, homeless man. Many of the commenters here work in helping professions like medicine, counselling and education and have tried again and again to advise you and provide instruction. We do not follow a “group mentality” based upon gang rule or suchlike but because most of us have independently come to conclusions that agree with those espoused by Orac ( who just does it better than anyone) based upon our studies, experiences and inclinations.

Secondly, your situation is not in any way comparable to a man who was minding his own business and was physically attacked by a group of strangers purely based on his appearance. ( it was LA: appearance is everything).You come to Orac’s place of your own free will, REPEATEDLY, incessantly, and relentlessly, doing as you please: making clumsy analogies, advertising your books and begging for a chance to write a post. You attempt to take advantage of a substitute moderator: forget it- Alain is a hardass and will block you gleefully if need be. Maybe even in French. You try to win sympathy by reciting your sad story: well, nearly everyone has a sad story too- your own is based upon pseudoscience and unrealistic ideas unlike most.

You spend so much time here: do you read what Orac and his creatures write? There are at least a dozen regulars you could learn from- but do you bother? NO! We have told you that there are opportunities for instruction readily available which you disregard. You mount your hobby horse and ride all the live long day. Another blogger would have barred you long ago. I could go on but won’t.

You attempt to take advantage of a substitute moderator: forget it- Alain is a hardass and will block you gleefully if need be.

I’d run it up the hierarchy but yes, I wouldn’t even bat an eyeslid and my pulse wouldn’t even change while making the decision to block him.


Alain is a hardass and will block you gleefully if need be. Maybe even in French.

“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

“You try to win sympathy by reciting your sad story: well, nearly everyone has a sad story too- your own is based upon pseudoscience and unrealistic ideas unlike most.”

@MJD: The point is that you may have some facts, you still are trying to connect the dots. While it is human and commendable to try to connect the dots, there are many different ways to connect the dots. Only one is the right one, which may or may not be the scientifically accepted one. Doesn’t change the fact that all others are to varying degrees pseudoscientific, some more recognizably bullshit than others. And while the true explanation may elude us, fallible human beings as we are, all explanations that are flawed by human biases, such as wishful thinking, are quite recognizably flawed as such: if these are correct, it is merely by accident, not sound reasoning.

Antivaxxers fall flat and squarely into this latter category. No whining or appeal to emotion will change that.

(And when you do know what has gone wrong with your personal care or the care of your child, it is always advisable to shut up and endure misguided healthcare either until medical staff discover their mistake on their own, or until you suffer the consequences. All attempts to point out mistakes will mostly likely backfire. That’s the game. It’s better to shut up and put all your “hopes” in the prospect that science will ultimately correct itself, perhaps only after you’re dead. Be patient.)

Michael, as I have told you many times:

Just because you CAN make an ass of your self in public, does not mean that you should.

You know damn well that so few people actually have real serious reactions to vaccines that it can easily be said that no one who fears vaccines does so in error, in the face of the evidence, and that all anti vaxxers can thus easily be dismissed as cranks and kooks.

They . . . and you . . . bring that on themselves. Do not equate being laughed out of a room as the same as a vicious physical assault from assholes on homeless people.

You really are despicable.

Panacea, you remind me of something I haven’t talked about in a while..
subjective probability- when beliefs affect what we deem likely or not, rather than data
The lotteries and horse races may make mountains money off of this tendency.

With anti-vaxxers, they inject their own figures rather than SB ones…
while WE might say that true vaccine injury involves only a few people, I’m guessing** 1 per million or 100K
serious illness / death from measles may be 1 in 1000 or 500
thus, the choice- vaccination- is obvious- it’s lower risk.

HOWEVER anti-vaxxers do not accept these figures and inject their own fantasies into the mix. They believe that vaccines cause autism which is 1 case per 100 ( or 1 in 50 or 36) instead of our injury figures and
the risk of serious illness with measles is 1 in 500 or 1000 so their choice is obvious: no vaccines. Vaccines are viewed as riskier than having the illness.

Of course, this is balderdash.

** ball park estimates but you catch my overall drift

I would say does make mountains of money rather than may, but yes I see what you’re getting at.

And your figures are really close. With MMR, the odds of a serious vaccine reaction are literally one in a million. I’m not sure about exact numbers for other vaccines but I’d say the odds are even longer.

Flu vaccine, of course, is what most adults are familiar with. When you get the vaccine and still get the flu, it’s easy to see why lay people think the vaccine doesn’t work. When the media reports low effectiveness rates (40% this year, 10% for one subtype last), people naturally wonder, “why bother?” It’s easy to see why when you consider that many people confuse a wide variety of URI viruses, the so called “flu like illnesses”, with actual flu.

Most of these viruses aren’t any worse than a bad cold.

So it’s easy to see how people confuse correlation with causation. What’s frustrating to me is when I see people who know better doing it.

Does MJD know (or care) about all the homeless people in the US who have died of Hep A (a vaccine preventable disease!) in the past two years?


@ JustaTech,

The homeless in the U.S. should be paid handsomely to get vaccinated. I suggest using National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program money that’s being stockpiled.

About those antivaxxers wearing the Star of David to protest vaccination…
Jessie Milestone is a Jewish YouTuber, and understandably most displeased with them. WARNING: Swearing but completely justified under the circumstances

I found the argument rather weak. The yellow star wasn’t only a sign that someone is up for grabs, up for murder. It was a deliberate, full-on-racist genocidal impulse whose “rationale” has deep roots in history. It goes “a bit” further than what she claimed in the video.

(I also find it sad that we leave out all the communists, Jehovah’s witnesses, homosexuals, gypsies and mental patients out of the equation when discussing this period of history. But I’m perhaps being a bit picky.)

Those other groups had their own badges of shame, but the Star is what grips people’s imaginations. Hitler knew what he was doing, as horrific as that is.

I don’t think she needed to take it to the deepest extreme of what it was to make her point.

That Hitler didn’t like Jews, that he was 100% racist, that he was a genocidal maniac, I fully agree. However, it wasn’t the job of a single man, and somehow, I can’t help but think that this inhumane system somehow took on a life of its own (which makes it even more unimaginable). Indeed, the concentration camps at the end of the war were something quite worse than the concentration camp at the beginning of the war. It’s hard to imagine how something like this could have happened.

She indeed did not have to go that far to make her point. However, I was quite baffled and startled when she started talking about “cultural appropriation”. As if that was remotely the issue.

It’s exactly the issue. Her point was anti vaxxers are trying to take over Jewish history to hold themselves up as a people persecuted. These anti vaxxers are ignoring the other 5 million people who were murdered during the Holocaust because they want the more publicly recognizable Jewish experience.

Experience defines and molds our cultural viewpoint, both good and bad. While I’m certain the Jewish world would be much happier had the Holocaust never happened, their response to it has always been “Never Forget” and a large part of their cultural response to it has been efforts to bring war criminals to justice and to educate the world on the horrors the Holocaust wrought.

That stems from their cultural history, viewpoint, and values. Anti vaxers cheapen it with their appropriation of a Nazi symbol.

I still can’t wrap my head around that.

To me, that episode of history strikes a much deeper chord concerning how inhumane and senseless human beings can be when saddled with such “thoughts” as Nazism. I do no dispute that Jews were more than severely victimized by that episode. But I feel very uncomfortable making it only a Jewish story. It’s unfortunately a wholly human story of utter senselessness.

It seems to me that viewing it as a question of cultural appropriation is trivializing it in some way. As if antivaxxers wearing a yellow star was remotely comparable to me wearing a kimono. If we need the concept of cultural appropriation to remind us of how despicable humans have been at this period in time, it seems to me that we have lost our moral compass.

Chris Preston writes,.

Your problem is that I have no compassion for anti-vaccine liars like yourself.

MJD says,

My problem is a passion for vaccine continuous improvement can affect your perception (i.e.,intuition) , thereafter, discouraging the expression of personal thoughts in this “do harm” respectfully insolent forum.

@ Alain (i.e., distinguished, but temporary, moderator),

Please stop rejecting comments my RI friend, your auto-moderation style is Orac-like. 🙁

your auto-moderation style is Orac-like

This is Orac’s blog so my moderation style has to obey the guidelines set by this blog and its author.


He could start more simply, say, by taking remedial English classes. I mean, what is this?

My problem is a passion for vaccine continuous improvement can affect your perception….

F68.10 asks,

Why don’t you focus your attention on something more worthwhile than “vaccine safety”?

MJD says,

Thanks for asking F68.10. Currently working on a composition/method/article that inhibits cancer cells from spreading and growing out of control (i.e., metastasizing). Met-Allergy™ is the name and putting Orac out of work will be our claim to fame.

“Currently working on a composition/method/article that inhibits cancer cells from spreading and growing out of control (i.e., metastasizing).”

What’s the point of doing that work when no one will take you and your work seriously?

I’m amazed that the article alone can inhibit cancer cells. Is it some kind of occult chant or binding?

F68.10 asks,

What’s the point of doing that work when no one will take you and your work seriously?

MJD responds,

Your use of “no one” is undeniably all-encompassing and meant to be hurtful. Henceforth, F68.10 will be penalized one point and be referred to as F67.10.

@ Alain’s minions,

This transition to Alain’s leadership has been encouraging, and hopefully permanent.

What’s the point of doing that work when no one will take you and your work seriously?

It takes no effort on MJD’s part to invent nonsense.

OMG–just scanning through–MJD seems to be trying to take advantage of ORAC’s break. What to do? Ignore or spam him with our collected wit and wisdom? Not sure I’ve been around long enough to sort through this.

No point in engaging with MJD. Pointing out where reality lies once in a while for the lurkers is the best we can hope for.

MJD is certainly trying to take advantage of Orac’s absence by pushing the boundaries, although you can tell by his replies he is not getting much traction.

He’s (MJD) a good exercise for me in the skillset of reading between the lines as well as a good patience test because lately, over some months, I’m tense and my fuse is very much microscopic because of some major irritant in real life despite my life, overall, being close to excellent.


@ Mimi:

re ignore or spam?
I don’t know. Some might say that reacting at all is enabling but saying nothing may suggest consent of sorts. I could argue either way to be truthful. Consider lurkers though.

At any rate, my protracted investigation into woo-meisters’ despair at sceptics/ social media continues apace:
Today ( “Wikip– is a cesspool….” ( read aloud 25 minutes in- end/ today’s garynullshow) attacks Dr Barrett and mentions Drs DG, SN and WS- the first two in the penultimate paragraph in the written form) . The hoary old fraud “uncovers” how Dr Barrett is not reliable or well educated enough to be quoted PLUS he’s in bed with corporations/ agencies. Wikip-‘s non profit status will be challenged because it is biased

Sceptics must be effective because why else would a woo-meister devote time and effort into tearing them down? Many articles/ “exposes”/ radio time which could be spent shilling products

There’s a lot of money in the rage machine, as Faux News knows only too well.

On a more hopeful note, I walked into the break room at the hospital today to find my students having an animated discussion regarding a tweet by Trump from March 28:

Much not so respectful insolence was doled out his way, tearing apart many anti vax tropes. I felt so proud 🙂

@ Alain,

Could you please change the title of this post by Orac (i.e., A brief blog break…)? Proper grammar requires that the noun :”blog” be changed to the verb “blogging.”

If the title is written properly it should state, “A brief blogging break.”

@ Alain’s minions,

Don’t worry about Orac getting upset with this needed correction, he’s distracted by other “pressing affairs.”

A modest proposal for dealing with MJD*

A brief test (n=1) shows that his output is significantly improved after several trips through Google Translate. His latest effluvia becomes near poetry and makes more sense <\b> after a few trips through Mr Google’s Magick Translator.

If I remember correctly, this translation includes Hebrew, Icelandic, Arabic and Welsh, although I may have missed a step.

Can you change the title in this version called Orac (ie quietly with the blog …)? This shows the right direction that shows and deletes “Blog” changes that changed the word “tub”.

If the title is written correctly, “You must give a short overview of the blog”.

Manufacturer @ Allen;

If other colors of Orac do not diminish, it is necessary “important” context.<\i>”

*Assuming that disemvowelling is not an option.

A brief test (n=1) shows that his output is significantly improved after several trips through Google Translate.

I used to use DadaDodo for Th1Th2. It won handily on the coherence front.

Borked the tags, dammit.
Here’s MJD:

Can you change the title in this version called Orac (ie quietly with the blog …)? This shows the right direction that shows and deletes “Blog” changes that changed the word “tub”.

If the title is written correctly, “You must give a short overview of the blog”.

Manufacturer @ Allen;

If other colors of Orac do not diminish, it is necessary “important” context.

@ Opus:

That’s a great suggestion.

Whilst we wait for The Return of Orac ( which unfortunately was never a BBC series) perhaps we could comment on :
— what we really think about MJD
— what we should do with him
— our own translation system employed to decode his messages
— our attempts at poetry/ spoken word/ rap
— stories about cats or dogs
— OTHER, BETTER things

Here’s an actual true woo story:
Someone I Know ( Not Me) had injury issues ( although I do too) and decided to “clean up” his diet: now, this is not a woo-entranced person but a quite reasonable one. Also, because of the injury, he couldn’t exercise and worried about weight ( he gained a little). SO, he started buying dark leafy greens, berries, and nuts, seeds ( almonds etc)- all the expensive stuff. His doctor does a urinalysis ( for other reasons) and leaves a message on the machine – which I hear:
( the doctor is Russian and rather dramatic) ” Hello, your test shows VERY VERY VERY high levels of Oxalates , you should start drinking lemon juice immediately to counteract this situation and see me in a month for another test”.
He had had kidney stones in the past ( no pain but showed other symptoms / on images)

If you were to look up which foods are high in oxalates, you would find:
leafy greens, berries, nuts, and seeds.

NOW: I immediately thought how woo-meisters especially praise greens, berries, seeds and nuts as a source of health and vitality. They advocate various treatments for serious illnesses that incorporate said greens, berries, seeds and nuts. In fact, they often sell these foods in powdered form, even providing creative recipes. A person could have 10-12 green drinks a day ( to guarantee health and longevity. Even anti-vaxxers suggest green juices as “chelators” for kids with ASD.
I wonder if lemon juice is included in their woo recipes?

Talking about my dog seems much more entertaining than talking about MJD.

Here goes.

I have a 7 year old Carolina dog named Juno. I got her from a rescue 3 years ago. She is the sweetest, most joyful dog I’ve ever met and I love her to death. She loves people and loves meeting new people so she is very popular in the neighborhood. Carolina dogs are the only native breed to the lower 48, and exist in the wild in the Deep South, and Southwest US. They are sometimes called “yellow dogs,” or “dingoes” because they resemble Australian dingoes (they are not). “Old Yeller” was a Carolina dog. They look like miniature lab shepherd mixes; they are typically 35 to 50 pounds..

I’m currently in the process of selling my house in North Carolina. I went down there over Spring Break a couple of weeks ago with my sister and her husband to clean the place up: remove the trash and remaining belongings of my tenant (I had to evict her for non payment of rent, and she left some things behind when she moved out), paint every room, and update the kitchen.

We took Juno with us so I wouldn’t have to pay to board her. She fell in love with my old back yard, which is very wooded. One morning, after rolling around in a pile of leaves, she ran up to me and started rubbing me all over. Her tail was wagging so hard her butt was swinging from side to side, and she had a big goofy doggie grin on her face. Of course I started petting her and rubbing her back as she was making me laugh . . . until my hand went through something soft and squishy.

Poo. She’d been rolling in fresh poo and it got all up under and into her collar. Ick!

Back outside we went immediately for a bath. She didn’t enjoy the bath with cold water from the hose, but we were working on the bathroom and couldn’t bathe her in there. I threw the collar away and bought her a new one.

Lather rinse repeat the next day when she did it again. Ugh!

Fortunately after the second cold bath she quit doing it.

My BIL loves her, and she really loves him. They spent a lot of time chilling on the back deck enjoying the sun; it was in the low 70’s while I was there and the weather was beautiful. Really makes me wish I could keep that house and the yard; so much nicer than where I live now.

Road trips with dogs can be fun. Just potentially messy.


I suppose it’s been a while (read: Lilady) since I’ve mentioned my loathing of dill.

” Hello, your test shows VERY VERY VERY high levels of Oxalates , you should start drinking lemon juice immediately to counteract this situation and see me in a month for another test”.

He’ll, when I was misdiagnosed with gout by a resident PCP (which caused some mirth in rheumatology), it was straight to the colchicine, which I understand has now become quite expensive as an orphan drug.

Yes, I hate dill too. Also cinnamon, allspice, black pepper. mint.
But ginger, galangal, lemon grass, cayenne, basil and cardamom are fine.

We can always start a food/ beverage discussion. Lilady would approve.

I love dill, so I’ll happily trade you that for cilantro, which still makes me think of solvents in my first chem lab. Also, all capsaicin-bearing fruits. Anyone at all is welcome to my share of those.


Can haz recipe?

I love Banana Bread and I love cinnamon so sounds like a match made in heaven.

My grandmother always put fresh dill in her chicken soup — and my mother and I have kept the tradition. We also throw in a beef soup bone to give the taste more depth.

I love curry, but I’ve developed an allergy or sensitivity to something in it. The last time I had curry I went into anaphylaxis. I’d love to find out which ingredient is the culprit. Right now, I think it’s fenugreek.

Yes, I hate dill too. Also cinnamon, allspice, black pepper. mint.

There’s something one doesn’t hear every day. I just hope you don’t favor white pepper, which tastes like sick.

My grandmother always put fresh dill in her chicken soup — and my mother and I have kept the tradition. We also throw in a beef soup bone to give the taste more depth.

I used to roast chicken necks and backs and then simmer them for six (broth) to twelve (glace) hours to make a base. Longer for glace de viande, which is nonetheless really handy to have in the freezer. If only they were available in this food desert.

@Panacea, there are a variety of recipes, but this is the one I used. Just to let you know, I haven’t got the cooking times right so I undercooked it and had to put it back in.
Wet Ingredients
3 overripe bananas
2 eggs (1 egg per cup flour)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
Salt to taste
Ground Cinnamon to taste
Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl. Using an electric egg beater, blend until smooth.
Put the sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt into the wet mix and blend.
Put in the flour and blend until all ingredients are well mixed.
Oil/grease a cooking container. Then turn out the batter into it.
Preheat an oven. This is where I messed up. My original oven was a thermofan oven but it stopped working, so I was using an LG SolarDom. Thermofans cook much faster. Also, I live in Gauteng, which is almost 2km above sea level.
If you’re using a thermofan oven, cook at 160° for 35 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave to cool down. The banana bread will continue cooking. Like I said, I had to put my banana bread back in and use Combi Cook to cook it.
Turn out the loaf onto a plate, If you properly greased the container, it won’t leave large chunks behind.

As a child I accidentally gave my guinea pig a bladder stone by feeding him a broccoli stem as long as he was every week all winter. We had no idea there was so much calcium in broccoli until the poor thing started peeing blood (and screaming). On the X-ray that bladder stone showed up brighter than any of his bones. After the vet operated on him to remove it (yes, my parents were big softies who paid for a guinea pig to have surgery (twice)), I got to take it home in a test tube and it lived on my desk for at least a decade after the guinea pig died.

The moral of the story: don’t eat things as big as you are.

Panacea: it wasn’t good. But sweet Skittles lived a long and generally comfortable life. I think he was 6 when he died? My next guinea pig lived even longer, spoiled princess that she was. I got her at the beginning of high school and she died just before the end of my senior year of college (when she was a great comfort to my parents after our elderly dog passed).

So may that be a warning to anyone thinking about a guinea pig as a pet for their kid. They’re generally sturdy and don’t climb, but they live a lot longer than you’d expect, so you won’t have to explain to your 8 year old why Sneakers isn’t moving, but you might be stuck with Sneakers when your kid goes to college.

I’ve never had a guinea pig or hamsters. Do you ever let them run loose in the house? I can’t imagine a pet I can’t cuddle with (cuddled with the dog Juno and my cat Taz as I type this).

I know you have to keep up with cleaning their cages but they sound fairly low maintenance other than that. They certainly are cute to look at.

I wouldn’t let them run loose, because you’d be amazed how hard it is to get them back out from under a couch or behind a bookcase, but I certainly took them out all the time to cuddle and play with. Guinea pigs are happy to sit in your lap while you read a book or watch TV. I used to let them “help” me with my homework but they kept nibbling on the paper.

You can get giant hamster balls for guinea pigs so they can run around the house safely-ish (and not get under or behind furniture) but when I tried that my dog thought I’d gotten him the best new toy ever and terrified the guinea pig who then raced about peeing everywhere. So that was the end of that.

I also had a wire mesh run so I could take them outside to eat grass and get some sun and not worry about the dog (or the foxes or the hawks) bothering them.

I never had a hamster (just babysat one) but they’re much more playful (and escape prone), but also nocturnal.

It IS exciting news. I’m sure antivaxxers will latch on to something to try and discredit the report. But it will be interesting to see what hilarity ensues when they do.

There was also a drop in disease incidence among unvaccinated girls!

It will be fun to see how the herd immunity deniers try to explain that.

Actually it’s a big drop in precancerous dysplasias, but still great news. And far fewer dysplasias mean far fewer cancers down the road.

Probably antivaxers will claim it’s all due to better nutrition and sanitation.


It’s because the vaccine KILLED SO MANY GIRLS: only the incredibly healthy survived- those are the ones without cervical dysplasia. They ate a clean diet and were NEVER vaccinated!!!!

You must admit, I know how anti-vaxxers think.

Well, it must be true. Since the HPV vaccine makes teen girls more promiscuous, and we know teen pregnancy rate have been falling (correlation!!), they must be dead. All those deaths have been covered up by increasing illegal immigration, which also increases the market for even more pharmaceuticals. It’s all connected, you see.

Once you pick at the edge of the sweater to undo one thread the whole thing unravels. This is obviously a conspiracy by Big Kitten!!!!

@ Julian Frost:

Actually I only really dislike it when it’s alone: I can tolerate it mixed with other spices as in pumpkin mixtures or Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Indian cuisine.

In other woo-drenched news… has presented two exposes ( articles listed on front page) of Dr Steven Barrett – who happens to be my first sceptical mentor- which assert his ties to shadowy associations and corporations. ( His credentials are “self-professed” and “fabricated”: he never studied nutrition or chiropractic so how can he critique them?)
Younger sceptics could benefit by reading Barrett’s work ( Quackwatch) and observe how woo-meisters have tried to invalidate him over the years.

his ties to shadowy associations and corporations

He’s going to have to work harder to win the game.

In other news, the radio program “Maine Calling” is apparently supported by the Masons in part.

What I always wonder when it comes to conspiracy theories, is why so many people want to believe in obscure and weird conspiracy groups, when there already are groups who want to dominate the world and claim so rather explicitly without hiding in the dark at all. All of history is littered with such groups and ideologies.

Axiom: if anyone ever has a dumb idea (like world domination), there always will be an idiot who will attempt to implement it (like… well, pick your favorite megalomaniac historical figure).

F68.10: Pinky and the Brain. (From the 90’s kids show The Animaniacs.)

“What are we going to do tonight Brain?” “The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!”

Oh man, now I’m going to be humming the theme song all day.

Never studied nutrition or chiro? Now there’s a glass house situation.

PRN can usually be regarded as ‘Schadenfreudes-ville’:

the host, a “professor” and “senior research fellow”, discusses his “studies” and “clinical work” as well as the “biases” of sceptics and SBM. He uses “mathematical models” and “research design” to uncover “truth”. “Statistical analyses” are the way to go.
Sceptics never studied “medical science” or the “history of science”, they are unenlightened “dilettantes”. “amateurs”. “Too biased and compromised” to be regarded as sources.

Yeah, that case is actually in my neck of the woods.

The kid is assuming that just because most of the kids in his school are unvaccinated, he can be. He forgets that he doesn’t exist in a bubble; he goes other places. An outbreak won’t be confined to the school and can be spread elsewhere. Hence the ban on his participation in sports until the outbreak subsides or he gets the vaccine.

I don’t feel the least bit sorry for him. First of all, the Catholic Church does not prohibit the faithful from getting a vaccine cultured in fetal cells because the cell lines are so old. Secondly, There are no actual fetal cells in the vaccine. It’s just another antivax trope.

I have zero patience with that kid. Partly that’s because I do not care at all in the slightest about sports, so I find it very hard to sympathize with “but I wanna play!”. But mostly it’s because he clearly thinks he wouldn’t get the chickenpox, which is silly. And it’s not like he would be able to play basketball with the chickenpox. He, and his parents, are clearly doofuses.

I’d like to publicly thank Alain to moderating the RI blog this week. Alain has shown the highest degree of bravery, dedication, and professionalism considering it was an open topic wherein anything could have happened. Thanks Alain !

Only one week in and I am already missing Orac and hoping he is doing well. I also hope that being on the other end of the knife will show him how difficult it is to be a patient in the dysfunctional American health care system, though I suspect that as a Doctor he will be treated better than most. Actually, no, I don’t—I want his experience to be easy, with no complications, either medically or with the insurance company, as it should be for everyone, but often isn’t.

I’ve read that most Americans like their health insurance, but I don’t see how that can be true, unless they have minimal contact with these services. You only find out how good they are when serious problems arise. Mostly insurers try to limit their payments as much as possible, leaving surprisingly large bills and a battle to get correct payments that can be incredibly stressful.

Thanks. I thought I’d pop in and let everyone know I’m OK. I don’t yet feel up to lasting down assume fresh Insolence, although I anticipate returned sometime next week, the 15th at the latest. I am, however, still periodically looking in on the comments.?

Pleased to hear you are doing better. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Cloud, I imagine when most Americans say they like their health insurance it’s in a “it’s better than it could be and a lot better than nothing pleasedon’ttakeitaway” rather than “oh yes, the coverage is great and easy to understand and I can see everyone I need in a timely manner and all my prescriptions and devices are fully covered”.

A friend of mine had a ski accident last weekend and while he has good insurance, there’s always that niggling doubt that maybe something won’t be covered or that this doctor isn’t in network and you’re going to get hit with a huge bill. Nobody needs that while also trying to deal with illness or injury.

“I also hope that being on the other end of the knife will show him how difficult it is to be a patient in the dysfunctional American health care system, though I suspect that as a Doctor he will be treated better than most.”


Sorry, just strained multiple ligaments while guffawing. Back to the doctor I go…


My PhD wielding shrink (MD too) and me regarding medications questions: you’re a published scientist, ergo, you can look effect and mechanisms in the primary litterature.

Not said in those words but my shrink and I have more emergent concern as opposed to the mechanism of medication and effect (not just side effect that is).


I’m glad to hear that you’re alright. Better every day I hope.

Now for the bad news:
a Supreme Court judge has blocked the Rockland County ban on unvaccinated children in public because it wasn’t enough to be considered an epidemic.

Ugh. What a jackass. He clearly doesn’t understand what an epidemic is, and I’d like to know how he came to the conclusion there isn’t one or if there even has to be one for officials to act.

This is one of the most contagious diseases known to man. WTF is wrong with this stupid judge?

The only good news is its a preliminary injunction. Hopefully the whole court will wise up and reverse him.

AoA links to
I originally saw the story on MSN but there’s something on CBS news, from yesterday, Measles Outbreak/ Judge lifts Ban. The second article mentions a possible change to the exemption law making NY more like CA. That’s why anti-vaxers are going wild.
-btw- Attorney Patricia Finn is somehow involved.

Is Shots Heard Round The World (the rapid response project organized by pro-immunization folks) active?

When I go to their website all I see is a homepage with nothing linked to it.

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