2020: The charging of Orac’s Tarial cell continues…

Orac continues to charge his Tarial cell. Fear not, he will soon return. Not much of 2020 shall pass without his doing what he does best here.

So it’s 2020, finally.

The decade that was is no more, and the decade that is has just dawned. (And Orac is being as pretentious as you always knew he could be.) You might think that, given the dawn of the new decade and the close of the old, Orac would be eager to jump back into doing what he does best, dishing out Insolence, Respectful and not-so-Respectful. He is, to some extent, but he’s also found that there is value to chilling, to recharging the Tarial cells that facilitate his near-infinite ability to get under the skins of antivaxxers, cranks, and quacks, particularly when he’s in the early stages of putting a grant together and, as has always been the case around Christmas and New Years, traffic to the blog is down significantly anyway. Also, a new litter of puppies is coming on Saturday that will require my attention, the first one in a year, and two years since the first litter we fostered.

So he will continue to recharge a couple more days.

The current plan is for Orac to resume this blog on Monday; that is, unless some antivaxxer or quack does something somewhere that is so ridiculously egregious, so demanding of the sort of discussion that only Orac can provide, that he cannot restrain himself. This is definitely a risk, given that his Tarial cell is nearly charged.

In the meantime, enjoy the first few days of 2020. It’s going to be a rough ride. Orac plans on ramping up to regular blogging levels beginning Monday.

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]

34 replies on “2020: The charging of Orac’s Tarial cell continues…”

The puppies are coming! The puppies are coming!

Hey, for this litter can we have a naming contest to go with the colored collars (at least until their adopted)?

Ooh, puppies on the way.
And all I have is semi-feral cats waiting patiently for scraps/ cat food although two are perfectly black and probably photogenic.


“Get those puppies vaccinated. Is there a meaningful pre-vaccination screening for animal safety?”

I do not want to act like a bully towards you, but, honestly, if you wished to display some snark, there are more subtle ways to get around to achieving that goal.

F68.10 writes,

I do not want to act like a bully towards you…

MJD says,

Thank you,



There may, eventually, possibly, hypothetically, be an obscure link of some kind… Who knows?

I’m still busy trying to get to know where some mythical goalposts are supposed to be:

Let’s not restart the same mess I made on the previous post on this one. Let’s cut the conversation short, please…

Funny, isn’t it the dochniak, champion distimmer of the doshes, attacks vaccines for humans, yet depends on animal vaccinations for his safety?
MJD, I don’t know if you can see the contradiction, but if you can’t you should consult someone for your lack of self-awareness and self-appraisal.

Old Rockin Dave writes,

…attacks vaccines for humans, yet depends on animal vaccinations for his safety?

MJD says,

You’re right, I’ve been a “vaccine safety advocate” exclusively for humans.

Q. Is the preclinical testing phase, to seek vaccine approval from the FDA, animal friendly.

MJD, you’re a “vaccine safety advocate” like Trump is an anti-corruption advocate or Dylann Roof is an advocate for civil rights and gun safety..
At least you had the decency to put it in quotes.

It is probably more likely that Orac will allow my semi-feral black cat to write a guest post than he will MJD.

Alerting Orac and RI denizens: the Oddities and Curiosities Expo may be coming to your town this year (it’s scheduled for Detroit MI as well as other “major” American venues).

“The Oddities & Curiosities Expo showcases hand selected vendors, dealers, artists and small businesses from all over the country with all things weird. You’ll find items such as: taxidermy, preserved specimens, original artwork, horror/halloween inspired pieces, antiques, handcrafted oddities, quack medical devices, clothing, jewelry, skulls/bones, funeral collectibles & much more. We truly have something weird for everyone. All items you see at our shows are legal to own and sustainably sourced.”

As long as it’s sustainable – I’m in, baby!

Because Bob McCoy died. It is now part of the Science Museum of Minnesota:

His book was great (I think it is out of print, but it is available on the secondary market): Quack!: Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices by Bob McCoy

@ Najera – Apologies. Unfortunately, I got your joke only after posting my reply. The “Doh!” belongs to me. I must need more coffee.

Happy new year and good luck with the grant writing. Look forward to possible videos of the incoming ferocious predators chewing your plexiglass shell.

Happy recharging, o venerable box of blinking lights.

May you continue for more decades in the struggle against the anti-vaxers and other enemies of the common weal.

Happy festive season to all from Australia’s national capital, which has just seized the palm for world’s worst air quality from whichever unfortunate city previously held it.


PS – Is there no award for Blogger of the Decade?

In other news….
somebody we know has got…..
PUPPIES! ( see twitter account of DrDG) 5 of them! Can’t tell what breed.
Isn’t that much better than anti-vax histrionics/ venting/ confabulation?.

I clicked on the Twitter feed (I don’t have an account) and got this message: “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”

Whoa – uncensored views of puppy bellies???!?

I took a chance and viewed the video anyway. Nice pups, sharp-looking little claws.

This being a traditional time for resolutions for self-improvement, I have a new one.
A few days ago, I heard someone say, or maybe I read it, not sure but, “When was the last time you heard of someone being insulted into changing their beliefs?”
So I am going to exercise more patience here and not call names or link to insulting memes if I can. If more of us on both sides of the discussion try it, we might really get somewhere beyond an endless cycle of name-calling. If we call it out when we see it, each on our own side as well as the other, it could work.

On another note, I recently told about my diagnosis of cerebellar ataxia. It may not be as grim as it looked. The doctor who added lamotrigine to my migraine prophylaxis has seen people on it for years without problems suddenly develop CNS symptoms. He put me on a tapering dose and I have improved a lot.. No more falls down the stairs or falls at all, fewer and shorter episodes of vertigo, only slight imbalance with things that I couldn’t do at all a few weeks ago. My friend the cane often sits lonely and forgotten. I can even see a return to driving ahead. And thanks to the barbiturate the neurologist put me on, the hand tremors are under control. So things are looking up.
I hope everyone who posts here, even the namecallers, can have some of their problems get better too. They say misery loves company, but I when I’m way down, knowing that others are happy and having good times cheers me up.

I don’t know which half of my post you’re replying to, but I hope it’s both, and thanks.

In other anti-vax news…

RFK jr & co scheduled Occupy NJ for 11 am today ( @ ChildrensHD), pushed the time back to 8.30: he called for supporters because the bill to stop religious exemptions must be approved by the state senate by the 13th or they’ll have to start over in a new session.

I was unable to find any reports of this gathering from my usual sources ( including anti-vax sites, public television, news)

@ DanielMunoz100 now has a photo. There is a protest although there is no vote today.
I imagine that they’ll keep this up all week,

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