Archive for the ‘Bad Science’ Category

Wisconsin Girl Did Not Die Because of HPV Vaccine

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

On July 30 of this year, twelve year old Meredith Prohaska visited her doctor. She was suffering from a sore throat, but aside from that she seemed to be in good health and had no history of major health problems. While at the doctor, she received the HPV vaccine. After returning home she took a nap. A few hours later, her mother found her dead.

It’s an understatement to say that this story is tragic. One cannot even imagine the shock and grief suffered by her parents and family and the pain of her absence, which they will endure for the rest of their lives. By all accounts Meredith was a vibrant girl with a promising future.

Her death was covered extensively in the news media, always reported as having died shortly after getting the HPV vaccine. Her mother and father both suspected that the vaccine was to blame. It’s not surprising that they would, seeing as no other explanation seemed to be available for her death.

Reporting in the mainstream media has had the usual sensational undertones. But other sites have done far worse. The story was taken up by nearly every anti-vaccine group around, with claims that the HPV vaccine certainly killed this young woman. This has been held up as proof of vaccine injury and that the HPV vaccine is dangerous or deadly.

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Attempt to Use Solar Power At Protest Fails When Power Proves Inadiquate

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I have little else to say about this. However, it goes to show why there is an electrical grid that feeds reliable power to homes and businesses. Power which is generated by fossil fuels, nuclear or hydroelectric energy sources. If we tried to run things on solar panels like this, similar results would occur.

Perhaps they should have used larger batteries to power the fans. Apparently it’s usually powered with gas-driven generators, which are somewhat cleaner than coal, but still produce emissions and consume fossil fuels.



No, Vaccines Do Not Contain Aborted Fetuses

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Yet another claim about vaccines and autism has been making the rounds.  It claims that autism may be the result of human fetus tissue, which is present in vaccines and is incorporated into the DNA of the individual vaccinated.

The implications beyond autism are disturbing to many, especially those who oppose abortion.  In any case, it seems very offputting to think about being injected with the cells of a dead fetus.

Via CBS News:

Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review
Most people will find it hard to believe that human DNA is contained in up to 23 different vaccines due to the fact a lot of the viruses are grown on aborted fetal tissue. As a result of the viruses being grown on aborted fetal tissue it is nearly impossible to separate residue from the fetuses completely from the vaccines. This adds a whole new element to the vaccination debate for those who are pro life. I don’t think many people would knowingly inject aborted fetal tissue into their children. Would you?

In a recent study by the Journal of Immunotoxicology entitled Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes–A review, the report even goes so far as to say that this can be linked to the spike in rates of autism. The basic reason the Journal points out the immune system is tricked into associating harmful viruses with human DNA. Then the immune system starts attacking human tissue in your own body. The scientist Helen Ratajczak who did the study and wrote the report says,

“Because it’s human DNA and recipients are humans, there’s homologous recombinaltion tiniker. That DNA is incorporated into the host DNA. Now it’s changed, altered self and body kills it. Where is this most expressed? The neurons of the brain. Now you have body killing the brain cells and it’s an ongoing inflammation. It doesn’t stop, it continues through the life of that individual.”

This is absolutely not a scientific review. This is just banter from a known anti-vaccine activist who likes to get media attention. Such unscientific claims are not uncommon and often are inflammatory or gut-wrenching.

There is absolutely no human tissue present in vaccines. However, even if there was, it would not cause the recipient to somehow absorb the genetic material.
Rather, the body would quickly mount an immune response to the foreign cells, which can be dramatic and, in extreme cases, even result in death. This is why powerful immune-suppresant drugs are require for organ donation.

Of course, we are exposed to the DNA of other individuals all the time. Kissing someone is likely to transfer skin cells from inside the mouth and result in ingesting some of the cells, along with their DNA. Sex involves the exchange of body fluids that are teaming with human DNA. DNA is also present in blood transfusions. Studies have found that the DNA of a blood donor can be detected in a recipient up to a week after the transfusion. However, the DNA never incorporates into the other cells of the body.

There’s also plenty of DNA and genetic material in the animal and plant material we constantly eat. Despite what many anti-gmo activists say, this DNA doesn’t affect the body of anyone who eats it. It’s mostly broken down in the digestive tract anyway, but regardless, it is not absorbed directly into living cells.

If any of this were true, it would have vast implications. It would also mean that handling blood or bodily fluids would carry additional hazards, beyond viruses or bacterial pathogens. The blood could actually modify your own genetic code. Criminals who are afraid they may have left DNA at a crime scene could just expose themselves to human tissue samples, altering their DNA and assuring that any DNA tests come up negative.

On the bright side, It would make it easy to alter the DNA of any individual, offering new treatments for genetic disease. Those who receive donated organs could have their DNA changed to that of the donor and thus avoid rejection. But, of course, none of this is real and human tissue can’t do that.

Where this seems to have come from:

Many viruses require human cells to grow in. When these viruses are needed to produce vaccines, it is common to use human sell cultures.  These are simply cells that are alive in the laboratory but not part of any person.  Human cells are obtained from certified cell banks.

These cultures come from a number of “lines,” meaning they are clones of a given group of cells.  Many of these cell lines date back to the 1960′s and have been used to produce vaccines up to the present day.  Of course, the original cells need to come from somewhere.  These cells could be sourced from any number of specimens.  It would be possible, for example, to draw cells from a biopsy of a healthy person and create a culture from them.

All adult cells have what is known as the Hayflick limit.  It’s  limit to the number of times  a cell can reproduce.  If adult cells were used for tissue cultures, they would have to be reharvested and new tissue cultures made on a frequent basis.  Fetal cells can survive for many more generations, making them ideal for producing tissue cultures.

Some of these cell lines originated with electively aborted fetuses.  Others did not.  However, in no case are actual fetal cells, from the original fetus used in the production of vaccines.  These are many generations away from the original cultured cells.

In fact, even the Vatican, which is strongly opposed to abortion has issued a statement saying that these vaccines are perfectly fine to use.

One should also remember that there are no human cells in the final product.  The viruses are extracted from the cell culture and processed, leaving very little residual matter from the tissue culture in the final vaccine.

Excellent Article On the Origin of Chemtrail Conspiracy Theories

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Of all the conspiracy theories out there, it’s one of the strangest and dumbest.  The idea that contrails, which have been a common site since aircraft started flying at high altitudes in the 1940′s, are, in fact, chemicals designed for something evil.  Depending on who you ask, it could be mind control, depopulation, weather modification or something else.  Those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory take it very seriously and think those who don’t must be blind “sheeple.”

But where on earth did this whole concept come from?

IO9 has an excellent article on the history of the chemtrail conspiracy theory, tracking it back to the 1990′s, when a combination of sensational reporting and speculation on weather modification resulted in the first claims that aircraft were actively spraying chemicals in some kind of conspiracy by the government. There is a grain of truth in the original claims – namely, that the military did investigate cloud seeding and other forms of weather modification and even employed them during the Vietnam war.  However, the conspiracy theories quickly went far past that.

Documentaries came later, along with online communities.  There were some “investigations,” if you can call them that, which are cited as evidence of chemtrails.  Among these are analysis reports that found aluminum in rainwater.  This is not surprising, because aluminum is one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust and rain typically picks up some dust, such as soil blown into the wind.

The article is worth a read as a case study in how a wacky conspiracy theory is born and eventually becomes populare.

 

How to prevent cancer – real, scientifically proven ways

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Since alternative medicine seems to claim that it can prevent cancer completely and that conventional medicine does not seem to care, I thought I would share some medically-proven methods for reducing your chances of cancer mortality.  Note that not all of these prevent cancer from happening, but most cases are very treatable when caught early, so it will prevent dying of cancer.

It’s not 100% of course.  You are just reducing the overall probability that you will die of cancer.  Eventually, something is going to kill you.  Some system is going to stop functioning or something will go wrong.  There’s a fairly good chance cancer will kill you, although heart disease is even more probable.

 

#1 Live an overall healthy lifestyle - This is a bit vague, but basically you can reduce your chances of cancer, and damn near every other ailment by doing some common-sense things like exercising regularly, maintaining an optimal weight, without a lot of extra body fat, keeping your calorie consumption in check, getting plenty of sleep and trying not to stress out too much about things. It’s not rocket science, but few of us are nearly perfect in this regard.  Good health means less stress on cells, a more robust immune system and thus your chances of cancer are lower.  Although the effect may not be that dramatic.

#2 Avoid known lifestyle carcinogens - People get very worked up about potential carcinogens like industrial chemicals or ionizing radiation.  But in fact, there are some very common ones that can make a huge impact on cancer risk.  The most obvious is tobacco use.  It increases the risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer and oral cancers.  Another big one is exposure to sunlight or artificial tanning beds.  It is best not to intentionally tan keep sun exposure to a minimum, as sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen can be helpful in this regard. Finally, excessive drinking may increase the risk of cancer of the esophagus and of liver cancer.  Light drinking does not seem to be associated with an increase in risk.

Ionizing radiation, benzene, formaldehyde, PCB’s and alike are not usually worth worrying about.  Of course, you should still avoid excessive exposure to such compounds, should you be in a situation where you work with them.

#3  Get all recommended regular screenings – This includes prostate exams, skin cancer screenings, colonoscopies, mammograms and similar other procedures that detect cancer or per-cancerous growths early.  The recommendations have changed for some of these procedures, so check with your doctor.  Just visiting the doctor for a regular checkup can be helpful in catching conditions early.  Additionally, oral cancers are often first detected by dentists, so dental exams shouldn’t be skipped either.

#4 Be vigilant and do self-examinations - Between appointments, keep an eye on your skin and look for moles or blemishes that are unusual looking, are new or which have changed in size or shape.  Women should do breast self-exams and men should do testicular cancer self-exams.  In the event that you find something, get it checked out right away.

 

So, yes, conventional medicine does include preventive methods, which are scientifically proven.  You don’t need a magic herbal product or an organic diet to reduce your risk of cancer.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, your risk will never be zero.  But that’s life.

Anti-Vaxers Now Against All Life-Saving Injections

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Vitamin K shots have been a mainstay of care for newborns for some time. 0.5 to 1.0 mg vitamin K1 is administered to newborns shortly after birth in the US and similar standards exist in most industrial countries. The occurrence of vitamin K deficiencies in newborns and bleeding problems associated with it has been estimated as high as 1.7%. It is more common in premature infants and can lead to hospitalization, brain damage, or death.

It turns out that the routine supplementation of vitamin K for all babies is a very effective way of preventing these problems. It’s also simple, cheap and safe.

Unfortunately, despite the importance of the shots, many are not refusing them. Predictably, deficiencies have gone up.

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Raw Milk Is Making People Sick

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Milk: in western society it’s one of the most basic foods.  It usually comes from cows, but sometimes goats.   It also has a history of not always being safe to drink.   That’s because milk happens to be a good growth medium for bacteria.  The bacteria can get into the milk any number of ways.  It may simply be that while a cow’s utters are cleaned before milking, they are certainly not sterilized.

Thankfully, we have pasteurization.  Just a quick heat treatment and the milk is safe, with pathogenic bacteria reduced to levels that won’t cause illness.  The milk keeps longer this way too.

Considering this is a very basic safety precaution and one of the things that is the foundation of modern food safety, pasteurization has been a standard requirement for food safety regulations.  But many have fought to have their milk raw, just as it came from the utter (except having some extra time to let what is in it grow).  In some US states they have won their battles and now raw milk can be purchased in a number of states, although usually only through local suppliers.

The claims are similar to anti-vaccine and organic food claims.  It’s said that raw milk is healthier, that it cures various conditions or that pasteurization is causing lactose intolerance or some other condition.

Now that people have the right to drink raw milk, some are, predictably, getting very sick.

 

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25 Reasons not to vaccinate your children

Monday, September 1st, 2014

 Thinking Of Vaccinating your Kids?   Think again.   I’d like to give you some reasons not to

<sarcasm>

1.  You had to go through being sick with Chicken Pox, Measles and other painful and unpleasant conditions.  Why should your kids get off?   Does it seem fair that they don’t suffer when those before did?  I think not!

2.  Not everyone can be protected directly by vaccines.  Some people are immune compromised.  Others have parents who believe it will cause autism.  That makes vaccines elitist.  Do you want to teach your kids elitism?

3.  There is no mercury in vaccines.  Sure, people will try to tell you that you get some free mercury when you get your kid vaccinated, but you don’t.  You’re totally jipped.

4.  In nature humans and pathogens are in a constant struggle to out-evolve and overtake each other.  Vaccines take pathogens and turn them against their own kind by modifying and attenuating them.   It’s like hunting deer with a grenade launcher.   There’s no challenge.  That’s not sporting at all. It’s just not fair.

5.  Vaccines have the potential to condemn vibrant and beautiful species to extinction.  We’ve seen it happen to Small Pox.  Next it will likely be polio, unless someone does something to stop the decimation of these beautiful pathogens.

6.  Vaccination will upset your Scientologist friends.

7.  Vaccines are unnatural.  So are automobiles, central heating and the internet, but who’s counting, right?

8.  You can act all high and mighty about being informed if you don’t vaccinate.

9.  Vaccines protect not only your children but other children… screaming, slobbering, nasty children who deserve to get sick.

10.  Bill Gates promotes vaccines and you don’t like Windows much and find the interface of Mac to be easier to work with and more stable.

11.  Being sick when growing up can be kinda fun.  I mean, as long as you’re not really sick and you get the day off from school.

12. Deep down, you hate humans and want to see an infection win every once in a while.

13.  You don’t understand exactly how vaccines work.  Only scientists and doctors seem to really know the deep down mechanisms.  Would you put something into your kid you are oblivious to?

14.  Should your child become autistic, you’ll at least know it wasn’t the vaccines.

15.  There are likely anti-vaccine groups in your area who through “pox parties” these are delightful social events.

16.  Drug company employees, doctors, nurses and others rely on illness for their livelihood.  If you vaccinate you will surely ruin their careers by taking away the business they need.  Do you really want to do that?

17.  Vaccines are often delivered by needle, which kinda hurts a little.

18.  Jenny McCarthy said not to.  She’s hot.  Granted, she used to be hotter, but still.

19.  All the health authorities say you should vaccinate.  It’s fun to be defiant.

20.  Taking your kid to be vaccinated takes time, like, potentially an hour or so.  That’s time you could be watching TV.

21.  Vaccines contain mercury.  Forget for a second that we already said they don’t.   Mercury -> Freddie Mercury -> Gay.  See the connection?   Mercury will make your kids gay glam rockers.  The science says so!

22.  You didn’t even read all of these, did you?  I bet you didn’t read this.  But hey, there’s 25 reasons here, so that must mean something.

23.  If vaccines stopped disease, why is there still disease?  checkmate.

24.  You are likely already getting all the vaccines you need from chemtrails.  So it seems redundant to have to get more.

25.  Vaccines are just a substitute for keeping your children quarantined.  You separate them from all other humans (and animals and the environment) and vaccines will be unnecessary.

</sarcasm>

Gas Turbines in Cars: The seemingly promising engine that never was

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

icewikidiagranToday nearly all cars are powered with a conventional, reciprocating internal combustion engine.

In such an engine, pistons (usually at least four) move up and down and are connected to a crank shaft that translates this into rotational motion.  As they move up and down, fuel vapor enters the combustion chamber and is ignited by a spark plug.   Then the exhaust must be expelled and the cycle repeats.  All of this is controlled by mechanical valves, with each cylinder having at least two.   The valves are pushed open and closed rapidly by cams that are driven by the engine.  Each valve must make a very tight seal and then reopen in a fraction of a second.  All of this, the sparks, the cams and the piston strokes must be perfectly timed.

While all this is happening a separate system continuously pumps oil through the cylinders, keeping their walls coated with oil.  The pistons have rings which allow this lubrication to happen while maintaining a seal around the piston. In addition to the oil pump, most internal combustion engines require water cooling, with a separate pump circulating water around the engine and through a radiator.

If that is not complex enough, the torque curve of an internal combustion engine is far less than ideal.  Too much load on the engine will make it stall.  Too little will mean the engine is not operating efficiently and only slow speeds will be obtainable, despite there being enough power for much higher speeds.  Thus, for the engine to operate efficiently, provide good acceleration and for the vehicle to run in reverse, a complex mechanical transmission with multiple gear ratios and a reverse gear is required.

Given the mechanical complexity and the need for such precise timing, it’s amazing these engines operate as well as they do and are as reliable as they are.

A better way?

On its face, a gas turbine seems to be a better solution to the problem of generating rotational motion from the burning of fuel.   It natively produces smooth rotational power, with no need for a crank shaft.  There are no cams or valves.  Although gas turbines require lubrication, the system is simpler.   The torque curve is far more favorable.  A turbine will not stall in the same way a conventional engine will.  If torque load is reduced, it will spin faster, exactly as you would want it to.  The transmission is therefore much simpler.  It may not even require separate speeds and is only vital as a way of providing reverse capabilities.   Gas turbines also are self-cooling, using only the air that flows through them to maintain temperatures.

There are some other, perhaps less important, advantages of a gas turbine.   The hot exhaust gas can be used to provide vehicle heat that is nearly instantaneous, with no need to wait for the engine to warm up.   The same gas turbine can burn a variety of fuels.  So a vehicle powered by a turbine engine could run on diesel, kerosene, gasoline, alcohol or perfume.  This is one reason gas turbines are used on the M1 Abrams tank, simplifying the logistics of providing fuel.

It seems logical that an engine that is so mechanically simple, with far fewer moving parts and a near perfect torque curve would be the next big thing in automotive propulsion.

And many tried…

gmfirebirdThe big three US automakers all spent considerable amounts of money to try to adapt the gas turbine to automotive use, each building a number of prototypes of varying success.  GM built a number of futuristic concept cars in the 1950‘s that featured a gas turbine engine.

But no automaker put nearly as much time, money or effort into the gas turbine car as did Chrysler.  From the 1950′s until the 1970′s, Chrysler spent millions on programs to deploy gas turbines in cars.  They built numerous prototypes, including some which were placed in the hands of various test motorists, who drove them for over a year.  Overall, the response from test groups was positive, but there were a number of issues that were never really solved.

The image bellow is of Chrysler’s CR1, arguably the most successful gas turbine car.  Fifty five were built and, in 1963, they were given to a group of lucky motorists to evaluate over a year of driving.  Although reviews were generally good, the project did not go anywhere.  After taking back the cars, Chrysler ended up destroying all but nine of them.  Today they are in museums or in Jay Leno’s garage.

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Students Make Film About Vaccines – Get Harrassment

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

It’s always nice to see young people with a passion for science, reality, skepticism and advocacy.   In Carlsbad, CA, a group of highschool students in a journalism class made a film about vaccines and vaccine denialism.  (It’s on the correct side of it)

Via NBC San Diego

More than a dozen current and former Carlsbad High School students have found themselves in the middle of the long-running vaccination debate after they produced the film Invisible Threat.

The film debuted online August 1, more than a year after it was completed.

Students tell NBC 7 that’s largely due to the backlash they’ve faced, even during the production stage.

Brad Streicher worked on the film his junior year. The current USC student and NBC 7 intern said the idea came from the San Diego Rotary Club.

People there were impressed by two previous films they’d worked on and wanted the high school broadcast journalism class to do one on the immune system and immunizations.

“We ended up telling Rotary we’ll do the film but only on our terms, which means we were going to approach the film from a journalistic standpoint,” said Streicher. “We wanted to make sure whatever story we were telling, it would be unbiased and we would attack it from both sides of the argument.”

The Rotary gave the students $60,000 for the project with that understanding, according to Streicher.

Months into the film’s production, students say they started to received e-mails and online comments harshly criticizing their work.

People called the project “pro-vaccine” and “propaganda.” At one point the teacher and director of the film, Douglas Green, proposed the students stop the project. The students refuse.

Here’s a video about the production and the students behind it:


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