Archive for the ‘Bad Science’ Category

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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One in Three Americans Implanted with RFID’s? Not really

Friday, August 8th, 2014

First, a basic primer on what RFID’s are:

An RFID is a small computer chip which holds a very small amount of information, typically just a string of numbers, letters or other symbols.  The chip has a tiny radio transmitter in it, and when a reader is brought near it, it will broadcast that data so it can be read by the reading device, which contains a radio receiver.

Importantly, RFID’s are not self-powered.  They are far too tiny for any kind of battery capacity.  Instead, the RFID reader energizes the RFID with an electromagnetic field.  When the RFID is placed in the field, it becomes activated and transmits the code it contains.   As a result, RFID’s can’t be read from any substansial distance.   But they can be read even if they are covered, such as if they are on the inside of a box or embedded in an object.

intermec-rfidThey also do not have any actual computing power.  They can’t receive GPS signals or transmit data, because they lack sensors and receivers.  They simply spit out their internal code when energized.

RFID’s are therefore analogous to bar codes.  The major difference is that a barcode needs to be visible, on the outside of an item and reading it requires finding it and directing a scanner at it.  RFID’s have the advantage of working when obscured and of being readable by running the reader over an item, even if the exact location of the RFID is unknown.   They can therefore be used to inventory merchandise while it is still on the shelf or to track multiple items as they move through a system.  They can also be embedded in things like credit cards or security passes, allowing them to be used by just holding them near a reader.

VeriChip_Corp-fingerRFID’s can also be implanted.  A typical RFID implant is about the size and shape of a grain of rice.  It contains the chip inside a biologically inert material which is shaped to allow it to be inserted through a very small incision or even injected with a thick needle.  A few individuals have chosen to have an RFID implanted as a way of accessing secure systems.  This works a lot like biometrics, but may be more robust.  When implanted with an RFID, an individual can do things like open locks and sign onto secure computers by just waving their hand infr0nt of a reader.  (Presuming, of course, that their hand is where it is implanted.)

This is rare, however.  Only a few people have RFID’s in their body and it’s largely just a way of being a super early-adopted.  It will earn you some definite nerd points.

Implantable RFID’s are common for pets, however.  The RFID acts as a tag that cannot be easily removed or lost.  Once implanted, the pet can be tracked back to its owner if it ever gets lost and is picked up by an animal shelter.  Animal shelters typically have RFID readers on site and will scan a dog or cat when they are found without identification.  If the animal has an RFID, then the unique code it carries is displayed on the reader.  This code can be used to find the owners in a database.

But what about mass implantation in people without their consent?

This is a common thread in conspiracy theories.  Some have claimed that the government (or some other evil organization) is planning on or has already begun putting RFID’s in the bodies of unsuspecting citizens.  Allegedly this is to track their movements and keep tabs on them.  Others claim it is part of a mind-control system.

Of course, despite claims that they can be used for realtime tracking, an RFID cannot be used for this at all.  As mentioned, it is only energized when it comes in close proximity to the receiver.  It could, however, be used to identify individuals when they entered certain areas which are equipped with readers for the RFID’s.

Arguably this could be done without RFID readers at all.  A simple fingerprint scanner and identify and individual from a database of fingerprints.  However, RFID’s would have the advantage of allowing it to be done more covertly, perhaps without the subjects knowledge.

There is no evidence that this has ever been done, however… or is there?

Via National Report:

Study Finds 1 in 3 Americans Have Been Implanted With RFID Chips: Most Unaware
Scientists at the Wyoming Institute of Technology (WIT) have determined that a shocking 1 in 3 Americans has been implanted with an RFID microchip. In an article published this week, they detail a study of nearly 3000 individuals, in which they identified nearly 1000 individuals that had been implanted with an RFID chip. Most were unaware that they had been implanted with such a chip. This finding comes amongst increasing predictions that RFID chip implantation will become common place in the next decade.

Lead scientist on the study, John Brugle, Ph.D. offered the following:

We were motivated to perform this study by all of the public interest in RFID implantation and fears that it would be common place. It turns out, in fact, that it is already common place. We found that a shockingly high number of Americans are carrying RFID implants in their body. The overwhelming majority of these individuals were completely unaware that they had been implanted. I hope that this study causes us to take pause as a society and truly consider the ramifications and implications of human RFID implantation.

The study looked both at the prevalence of RFID implantation, as well as the common implantation locations. In addition to commonly known implantation sites, such as the back of the hand, they also identified many RFID chips that had been implanted in dental fillings. The function of the chips varied, but the authors of the study indicated that many revealed personal identities, including social security numbers, as well as medical records. The best way to determine if you have been implanted with an RFID chip is to consult a qualified medical professional to administer a full body scan with an RFID reader. Concerned citizens can also attempt a self scan, but civilian grade scanners are not always sensitive enough to detect implanted RFID chips.

 

Sounds scary! Especially considering that they have some kind of amazing and previously unknown type of RFID that requires an ultra-sensitive scanner that you and I can’t get our hands on. It begs the question of what their plans are and who is doing it.

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It had to happen: The Ebola Conspiracy Theories

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

It happens periodically:  Ebola, a highly contagious and very deadly virus with horrific symptoms known as “flesh eating” has flared up in Africa.   This recent outbreak has been especially bad.   The virus is native to Africa and appears to survive in natural reservoirs such as bats or gorillas.  Periodically, it makes the jump to humans and that is where an outbreak occurs.

The only good news is that these outbreaks tend to be short-lived and the lives lost never total more than the hundreds.  Granted that’s a tragedy for everyone who loses their life, but the scale is small.   There are a number of reasons for this, including the generally rapid response to contain it.  But also, the nature of the virus makes it prone to brief outbreaks.   It does not have an extended incubation period and often kills its host quickly.  This makes it an inefficient virus when it comes to transmission, because it is the fact that many viruses have a long period when the host is apparently healthy that they are able to infect so many.

Well, it had to happen.   The conspiracy theories have started:  It was produced by the government, to depopulate the world or just out of evil.  It was caused by HAARP or chemtrails.  Yes, they are all out there and the anti-vaccine groups are getting in on the action.

Here is what the Australian Vaccination Network has to say:

With the current epidemic of Ebola, it is instructive to remember that
the first outbreaks of a Filovirus (Marburg which is nearly identical to Ebola and which causes clinically indistinguishable hemorrhagic disease) took place simultaneously in laboratories in Frankfurt, Marburg and Belgrade in 1967. These labs were all producing vaccines using (amongst other animals) African green monkeys.

Interestingly, though the outbreak was associated with the monkeys,
there is no known animal reservoir for either of these viruses -
humans appear to be their only victims. It seems that fruit bats can
spread the virus but they are not affected by it.

The Filoviruses also appear to be a strange combination of viruses
which have never before been seen in nature – much like the 2009 ‘swine-flu’ which the well-respected scientist, Adrian Gibb, said had to have been man-made. These viruses have strong structural & genetic similarities to both Rhabdoviruses & the Paramyxoviruses (both measles and mumps are paramyxoviruses) – and are novel or new – never having been seen before.

And again, the index cases were not in Africa but instead, were in European vaccine laboratories.

These facts have to lead a thinking person to ask the question – are these viruses man-made or do we believe that their sudden emergence simultaneously in three European vaccine labs is a mere coincidence?

People in parts of Africa affected by this outbreak are avoiding doctors like (pun intended) the plague and you have to think – do they know something that we don’t know?

There are so many conspiracy theory websites out there, it’s hard to even pick one to use as an example. But here’s a good one.

Via the Sky Alert:



Click here if your browser does not support embedded videos

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British MP Seeks to Incorporate Astrology Into National Healthcare System

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Well at least the US is not alone in having idiots for elected leaders.

Via the BBC:

Astrology-loving MP seeks health answers in the stars
A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine.

David Tredinnick said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work.

The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

“There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record,” he told BBC News.

He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country’s government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there.

The MP recently spoke about his beliefs at the Glastonbury Festival, sharing a platform with Daily Mail astrologer Jonathan Cainer.

Recalling the experience in the House of Commons, he said he had been invited to take part because of his “radical agenda” on complementary medicine – he is vice-chairman of the government’s herbals working group.

He said he had been the subject of much ridicule for his beliefs over the years, including a fake Twitter account entitled “Inside the head of David Tredinnick”, but many of the sceptics who had attacked him were “bullies” who had “never studied the subjects”.

“I am absolutely convinced that those who look at the map of the sky for the day that they were born and receive some professional guidance will find out a lot about themselves and it will make their lives easier,” he told MPs.

Explaining his beliefs to BBC News, Mr Tredinnick said he had been right about herbal remedies and healing, which he said were now becoming accepted in parts of the NHS, and he now wanted to promote astrology, which was not just predicting the future but gaining an insight into personal problems.

I don’t have much more to say to this. I have, however, studied the subject. No, I have not studied the mechanics of astronomical prediction, but I have studied the accuracy, repeatability and social acceptance of astrology. I can say that science undoubtedly shows it does not work. This is no surprise, of course. The basis is arbitrary animals, characters and objects that ancient people say in the patterns of stars, which are themselves many light-years apart in space.

The fact that herbal and “natural” medicine is becoming accepted by NHS is not proof that it works. It’s proof that politicians and the public are ignorant of the subject and demand it. We have the same problem of alternative medicine creeping into the mainstream in the US. In fact, most countries seem to have that issue these days.

It’s also not a huge surprise that the former governor of Hong Kong had an astrologer. Many politicians are prone to believing in astrology or other superstitions.

Of course, when they use these superstitions to govern, that can be a problem. Thankfully for the UK, this one member of parliament is unlikely to be able to do much about getting astrology officially recognized or making it part of the medical system.

It is still unfortunate that this MP sits on science and health committees. Isn’t there someplace else they can put him? What about the Ministry of Silly Walks?

Weather Modification Methods That May Actually Work

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

There is much said about modifying weather by various conspiracy theorists and alike.  Often said to be the result of chemtrails or RF weapons, the fact is that the weather is very hard to modify.  It can be modified, but only under certain conditions and in a very localized area.

The best known method of weather modification is cloud seeding.  While data is sparse on the total effectiveness, especially in different conditions, it does seem to work, at least when applied to favorable clouds.   There are some other methods of weather modification.  I’ve listed them to show just how difficult really is.

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