Archive for the ‘Bad Science’ Category

“Anti-Radiaton” Mobile Phone Device TV Ads

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

I might be a little out of he loop when it comes to what is on television.  I don’t really watch it all that often, and when I do, I usually am watching a DVR recording, so I don’t really sit through commercials.

Yet the other day I caught this on TV.  Seeing it really annoyed me a lot.  There’s nothing new in terms of the claims being made.  The product is certainly not the first of its type, but seeing these false claims being fed to the public through mainstream mass marketing is all the more infuriating.  The public becomes that much more indoctrinated with falsehoods and the producers of this product laugh all the way to the bank, as members of the public buy something that they don’t need and serves no purpose.

(Direct link to youtube video)

It’s a slick ad campaign. I have to admit it.

It starts off with a common, but completely inaccurate comparison. Yes, tobacco company executives did say that they didn’t think smoking caused cancer. But when it comes to evaluating the health risks of something, corporate executives are not really regarded as the most credible source of information, anyway. That is what scientific studies are for. In the case of tobacco smoking, the evidence that smoking increased the risk of cancer began to accumulate in the early 20th century, not that long after mass produced cigarettes made heavy daily smoking commonplace. By the 1930′s, the data was pretty solid. But even before tobacco smoking was linked to lung cancer, the mainstream medical establishment agreed that smoking was not a healthy habit and that it had negative impacts on respiratory health. (More info on this here)

In the case of RF radiation, we have some pretty conclusive data that would seem to indicate that, no, it does not cause cancer. RF radiation is non-ionizing and does not directly effect the chemistry of molecules like DNA. It therefore does not cause the kind of damage that could result in cancer. The subject of RF energy and health has been one of interest since at least the 1920′s. There have been numerous studies on mobile phones and potential health impacts, but even before they existed, we had decades worth of scientific data on the biological effects of microwaves.

That’s probably why they don’t do much in the way of citing studies. They do show a few snippets of statements of supposed harm from mobile phones. But that’s it.


First Solar Roadway Built – And Worse Than You Would Have Thought

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

A few years ago, I touched on the subject of solar roadways.  The concept has gotten quite a bit of attention from the general public, mostly due to slick marketing.   It’s actually a terrible idea.  There’s really no more expensive way to pave a road, and, if you are going to have solar cells, you won’t find a much worse place for them than on the ground, potentially shaded and not tilted toward the sun.  Beyond that, the solar cells are exposed to moisture, dirt, grime, vibration and pressure.   The surface needs to be covered with some kind of super-durable transparent material, but aside from possibly synthetic diamond, all potential transparent substances will scratch and scuff with time.
Despite all these issues, one has finally been built.  Technically, it’s not a road but a bike path.  It is however, a start.  A start to what, I’m not sure.

Via the BBC:

Netherlands unveils world’s first solar bike lane

The world’s first cycle lane made from solar cells produces enough energy to power three households.

Installed in Krommenie, 25 kilometres from Amsterdam, the pilot project is 70 metres long, and will be extended to 100 metres by 2016.

The bike path is made from rectangular concrete modules that contain solar cells, and is encased in a one-inch thick layer of glass strong enough to withstand a truck.

It is capable of producing enough energy to power three homes, though is 30% less efficient than roof-mounted solar panels, as these can be aligned to the sun.

Due to be officially launched on 12 November, the project has so far cost €1.5 million euros, though will ultimately cost up to €3 million once finalised.

Dr Sten de Wit from SolaRoad, the consortium behind the project, envisages that solar roads could eventually be used to power the electric vehicles that use them.

“Electric vehicles are on the rise, but are not really a substitute until the electricity they use is generated in a sustainable way. Roads can generate power right where it is needed,” de Wit explains in a publication for the contract research organisation TNO.

“Sensors gathering information about traffic circulation can help improve traffic management, or even allow automatic vehicle guidance,” de Wit added.

A couple in the United States is currently raising funds for a solar-powered road project. Julie and Scott Brusaw predict that if every US highway incorporated solar technology, the country would generate three times as much electricity as it currently consumes.

The catch? The technology is also three times more expensive to install.

Only there times the cost? Standard solar power may be expensive, but it is not *that* expensive.

The article states that the path can power three households. That’s a terrible way of benchmarking power output, because a “household” can consume anywhere from almost zero watts to several kilowatts, depending on what is being operated. From what I have seen, however, it is often used to mean kilowatts, where one kilowatt is presumed to be the approximate electricity consumption of a household.

If that is the case, this has a peak output of three kilowatts. That, of course, would be nameplate capacity, and almost never reached. The path might come close to three kilowatts, but it will often be much less and at night will be approximately zero kilowatts. For comparison, this is about the power output of the engine on a riding lawnmower. It’s enough to operate a singe laundromat dryer.


HAARP Being Retired

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

In 1993, a facility was established in Alaska known as HAARP or High Frequency Auroral Research Program.  It is operated as a joint project by the US Air Force, US Navy, University of Alaska and DARPA.   HAARP was built by BAE Advanced Technologies on a site owned by the US Air Force.  Much of the administration is handled by the University of Alaska.  In it’s two decade history, the facility has cost tax payers roughly half a billion dollars in both construction cost and annual operating expenses.  This is not a huge sum of money for a military research program, given the number of years it is spread out over.

HAARP has a number of different scientific instruments and systems on site.  These include UHF and VHF radars, geomagnetic sensors and radio receivers.  However, the heart of HAARP is a very powerful HF transmitting system, connected to a phased array of upward-pointing high gain antennas.  It directs a beam of up to 3.6 megawatts of RF energy upward at the ionosphere.  The operating frequency is between 2.8 and 10 MHz.

HAARP is an ionospheric heater.  It uses this energy to excite the ionosphere over the site.  The heating and excitement of the ionosphere allows measurements to be taken of the general state of the ionosphere.  Some of the energy is reflected back to the ground and can be received and analyzed. Pumping the ionosphere with RF energy can also produce a temporary controlled plasma turbulence effect.   The overall effect, however, is relatively modest and highly localized.  The 3.6 megawatts of RF energy a facility like HAARP can produce is quite small compared to the effects of geomagnetic fluctuation and solar wind particles on the ionosphere.


HAARP is basically a research facility.  There are a number of types of research conducted at HAARP.  Much of it is public, although some of the activities are military related and classified.

 Some of the classified military-related research that is either being conducted at HAARP or which has been credibly speculated to be conducted at HAARP include:

  • General purpose ionospheric science
  • Measurements of ionospheric bending of radio waves in order to improve HF direction finding
  • The effects of ionospheric disturbances on GPS reliability
  • HF communications jamming and countermeasures to jamming
  • Next generation over the horizon radar
  • Improved understanding of how ionospheric events, such as solar storms or nuclear weapon detonations can impact communications
  • The use of ionospheric stimulation as a means of generating ultra low frequency radio waves, which are vital to submarine communication and typically require very large antennas to transmit

Most of the science that goes on at HAARP is public, but even the potentially classified activities are, by most accounts, pretty innocuous, as far as classified research goes.  After all, it’s really nothing more than a big radio transmitter.  There’s nothing on site that has any real potential to be used as an offensive weapon.

That has not stopped conspiracy theorists.  HAARP is one of their favorite facilities.  It’s been linked to every other bogus claim from chemtrails to mind control.  It’s been said that HAARP can control the world’s weather, that it is responsible for earthquakes or major weather events.  Others have claimed that it is the cause of everything from chronic fatigue syndrome to the downing of aircraft and the 2003 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.


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.


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.


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.