Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chiropractors are Bullshit

We try to keep the posts on this blog relatively fact-based with a minimum of opinion-based article referrals, but this article that we scraped off of Slashdot caught our eye with its catchy title, "Chiropractors are Bullshit". Since it concurs with our general experience with chiropractors and with the skeptical medical community, we decided to read the article.  You can find it at 

After reading the article we said, "The article pretty much tells it like it is and offers good advice.  Maybe its good to refer to it on our blog.  But who or what is ''?  Are they credible or are we being lured by another smartly crafted fake reporting website?"

We did our usual pro vs con research and found very little.  The organization appears to be less than a year old.  So this is a case of -- we agree with the chiropractic report, but caveat emptor

From a report in the Wall Street Journal we found
The Outline, is a new publication from a former Bloomberg and Verge editor, Joshua Topolsky, who says he wants to establish a next-generation version of The New Yorker while also fixing many of the ills facing digital publishing and advertising.
whatever that means.  It continues
Topolsky says, It is aiming for a smart, highbrow readership -- an audience that falls somewhere between traditional brands like the New York Times and digital natives like BuzzFeed. We want to help people discover things, and keep moving. We don’t want to rewrite lots of stories or just do hot takes.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blog Score Better Than Scientific Articles

According to Daniel Lakens, experimental psychologist at the Human-Technology Interaction group at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands who has tried to measure blogs and journal article on some dimension.
Blogs, on average, score better on some core scientific values, such as open data and code, transparency of the peer review process, egalitarianism, error correction, and open access. It is clear blogs impact the way we think and how science works.  There is no intrinsic reason why blogs should have higher scientific quality than journal articles. It’s just that the authors of most blogs I read put some core scientific values into practice to a greater extent than editorial boards at journals. 
Read his argument at 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Days of "Trust Me" Science Over?

In a 228-194 vote the House of Representatives have voted 1) to require that data used to support new regulation be released to the public and 2) to require any scientific studies be replicable.  What a novel idea!

According to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas,
The days of 'trust me' science are over.  In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review. That’s called the scientific method.
The bill would allow anyone who signs a confidentiality agreement to view redacted personal or trade information in data.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Followup Letter From Lindzen to Trump

A follow-up (see earlier post) letter from Professor Lindzen and notable climate scientists to President Trump outline some of the issues with the climate propaganda.
  • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) no longer claims a greater likelihood of significant as opposed to negligible future warming,
  • It has long been acknowledged by the IPCC that climate change prior to the 1960’s could not have been due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases.   Yet, pre-1960 instrumentally observed temperatures show many warming episodes, similar to the one since 1960, for example, from 1915 to 1950, and from 1850 to 1890. None of these could have been caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2,
  • Model projections of warming during recent decades have greatly exceeded what has been observed,
  • The modelling community has openly acknowledged that the ability of existing models to simulate past climates is due to numerous arbitrary tuning adjustments,
  • Observations show no statistically valid trends in flooding or drought, and no meaningful acceleration whatsoever of pre-existing long term sea level rise (about 6 inches per century) worldwide,
  • Current carbon dioxide levels, around 400 parts per million are still very small compared to the averages over geological history, when thousands of parts per million prevailed, and when life flourished on land and in the oceans.
 Click here for a copy of the letter.

It is important to note that the hysteria of the climate crazies is driven by climate models which significantly exceed (factor of 3) reality.  These models rely on arbitrary FUDGE factors (aka tuning) not based on any science

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Petition by Scientists to President Trump

      Dr. Richard Lindzen and 300 scientist petition President Trump to change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases, primarily, Carbon Dioxide for harsh regulation.  Click here for the letter with signatures
      Dr. Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist who has published more than 200 scientific papers and book in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides, and ozone photo-chemistry. Until his retirement in 2013, he was Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, "Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks," of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report on climate change. He has criticized the scientific consensus about climate change and what he has called "climate alarmism."

Mr. Diety

      Mr. Deity is a series of satirical short films that parody aspects of religion.  Premiering in December 2007, it was created by and stars Brian Keith Dalton. It is currently available on the Mr. Deity channel on YouTube. Dalton is a former Mormon.
     Mr. Deity often expresses annoyance with organized religion or human beings who claim to speak in his name.  As his character, he becomes very irate over being attributed as the author of the Bible, but not included in the editorial process.
     In a recent TubeCast, Evidence & Change, Part I and Part II, Mr. Diety asks “When the evidence for your beliefs is lacking, what then?”  After Part I was released, a viewer challenged Mr. Diety to respond to several criticisms, which Mr. Diety did in the following two videos: Response I and Response II.
     Only listen to these TubeCasts if you have an open mind willing to listen to logic.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fake News and Fake? Science

      When I was working on a Ph.D. in Physics my work was to reproduce the findings of another researcher.  It was an extremely difficult experiment that required measurements on ultra-pure sodium metal at near absolute zero temperatures using microwave sensors to pull faint signals barely at the edge of noise levels.  The problem was made worse by the fact that duplicating another physicist's results no matter how impossible the experiment does not qualify one for a Ph.D.  I needed to make my own discoveries.  So when I failed to duplicate his results, I had no problem.  I was not going to be able to publish either way.  Little incentive exists in science to reproduce research.  
     One should not be surprised by a recent report in Nature that 
More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature's survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.
The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant 'crisis' of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.
When researchers were asked why this problem exists most than 60% responded
pressure to publish and selective reporting — always or often contributed. More than half pointed to insufficient replication in the lab, poor oversight or low statistical power. A smaller proportion pointed to obstacles such as variability in reagents or the use of specialized techniques that are difficult to repeat.
In other words a rush to get a scoop and confirmation bias. I would add failure to adequate share the data, ALL OF IT, good and bad, and adequate documentation of technique.

       Nature has decided to take action against this problem.  They are introducing a checklist intended to prompt authors to disclose technical and statistical information in their submissions, and to encourage referees to consider aspects important for research reproducibility.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

6 Subtle Characteristics of The Pathological Liar

      Have you ever communicated with a person who seemed to live in a fantasy world where everything said felt false or exaggerated? Have you ever had an experience with a person who always seems mysterious and nothing they say ever comes to fusion? Well…if so, you might have been dealing with a sociopath, narcissist, or even a pathological liar. This article will discuss 6 important characteristics we should all be aware of with the pathological liar.

Anybody we know?

Click the following to read the whole article by Támara Hill, MS, LPC

Fake News

      Fake news has been around for a while.  You always needed to check your sources and make sure you were quoting from the actual/root source and not just repeating hearsay. What is new now is the occupants of the highest office in the land either can’t or refuse to separate reality from wishful thinking.  They have even invented a new bases of information – alternative facts. They have managed to destroy the credibility of authority figures. And Trump called Hillary a liar? Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Fretting over fake news? It's only going to get worse Soon, not even experts will be able to tell the difference between fraudulent and genuine content. Ultimately, it comes down to the reputation of whoever created it. Feb 7, 2017

      If you’re worried about fake news, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Soon we may not be able to tell the difference between a fake video and a real one, even forensically. What we are seeing today is the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, February 10, 2017

AI Has an Eye on Your Job

      According to the TV commercials, WATSON is now doing taxes for H&R Block. As they say “There goes the neighborhood.”

      At a time when the Trump administration is promising to make America great again by restoring old-school manufacturing jobs, AI researchers aren’t taking him too seriously. They know that these jobs are never coming back, thanks in no small part to their own research, which will eliminate so many other kinds of jobs in the years to come, as well. At Asilomar, they looked at the real US economy, the real reasons for the “hollowing out” of the middle class. The problem isn’t immigration—far from it. The problem isn’t offshoring or taxes or regulation. It’s technology.

      The Future of Life Institute (FLI) is a volunteer-run research and outreach organization in the Boston area that works to mitigate existential risks facing humanity, particularly existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Its founders include MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and its board of advisors includes cosmologist Stephen Hawking and entrepreneur Elon Musk.

      Here is a link to a series of discussion videos.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Be Aware of Seven Questionable Clinics

     In the age of fake news, illicit Internet pharmacies, and proposed rollbacks to healthcare regulations, it is perhaps not surprising that clinics offering unsubstantiated or poorly administered medical treatments seem to be on the rise. Medscape reached out to experts to get their thoughts on seven clinics with questionable practices that may be worth further scrutiny.

      It is defined as the combining of conventional and complementary and/or alternative medicine, such as acupuncture. Mark A. Crislip, MD, an infectious disease specialist in Portland, Oregon says, "Their defining characteristic is pseudo-medicine and -science."

      He continues, "When you offer worthless therapies for money, that's fraud in the real world. Fortune tellers convicted of defrauding people of their money because they're possessed by evil demons just have to open an integrative medicine clinic and cruise. They'll never get punished."

      David H. Gorski the managing editor or Science-based Medicine, which addresses unfounded medical practices and beliefs, and professor of surgery and oncology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine says that IM represents one of the most exasperating trends in contemporary healthcare. "It misleads by building upon established health practices."

      Numerous clinics that say that they can treat patients' cancer outside of the normal tools of scientifically based medicine. According to Dr Gorski, "The most common clinics are those that espouse vague notions that cancer is caused by contamination of the body and can thereby be defeated through extensive "detoxification" protocols involving dietary restrictions, supplements, and coffee enemas, such as the Gonzalez Protocol. Often these dietary protocols are given alongside experimental drugs."

      Even in cases where patients have not responded to conventional medicine, for whom untested and alternative treatments may seem worth a try, there is still a considerable risk. Dr Gorski said, "You might lose the chance to put your affairs in order. You might lose your fortune that you might otherwise have passed on to your family. You may think your symptoms are bad now, but it can always be worse."

      Chelation therapy is the process by which heavy metals are removed from the blood.  It's use has been extended to cancer and autism. Dr. Gorski said, "There's the naturopath use of chelation therapy, where they often claim that many diseases or chronic illnesses are due to undefined toxins that are heavy metals. Never mind that it can be potentially dangerous. It can cause hypocalcemia or hypomagnesemia and also cause death due to cardiac arrest. Basically, it's all risk and no benefit."

      Unlicensed stem cell clinics have been described as medicine's Wild West. These clinics deal primarily with unapproved adipose-derived stem cells administered in an experimental treatment of undetermined therapeutic value that many believe flaunts the US Food and Drug Administration's rules for what constitutes a biologic agent. Online advertising for stem cell clinics often uses highly misleading language downplaying risks and promoting their curative value for a host of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, aging, Parkinson disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

      Paul S. Knoepfler, PhD, a professor of cell biology and human anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine and author of the book, Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide said,
"There is essentially zero concrete evidence from properly controlled studies that what they are selling is safe and effective."

      In 2000, small but highly questionable study reported that seven subjects with major depression significantly improved after IV treatment with ketamine. There are at least 15 randomized controlled published studies and close to 20 open-label studies that showed no efficacy.

     There has been increasing criticism of ketamine clinics, specifically surrounding the sometimes high payments they solicit from desperate patients and the fact that they are often operated by anesthesiologists and emergency department doctors with little to no experience dealing with major psychiatric disorders. 

      The FDA approves testosterone replacement only for men who have low testosterone from disorders of the testicles, pituitary gland, or brain that cause hypogonadism. However, the pervasive direct-to-consumer "low T" advertising campaign has taken advantage of disease-mongering to extend treatment indications to often ambiguous symptoms associated with the normal aging process, such as decreased sense of vigor. They distort the truth without actually lying by exaggerating vague symptoms.

     In the last decade, prescriptions for testosterone have increased by 10- and 40-fold in the United States and Canada, respectively, with annual US sales alone to exceed $2 billion. Patients seeking out these clinics run the risk of being treated by practitioners who may not have the experience or interest to diagnose the true underlying causes of their symptoms, which may include depression, diabetes, or other common chronic diseases. Testosterone therapy has also been linked with an increased risk for venous thromboembolism and myocardial infarction, among other adverse outcomes.

     Bradley D. Anawalt, MD, chief of medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, and an expert in male reproductive endocrinology said, "It is helpful for men to know that daily exercise has many of the same benefits that are being advertised about testosterone therapy for 'low T,' including increased muscle and leanness, improved bone mass and strength, and for some men there is improved sexual function. 

      The fact that dental amalgam uses 50% metallic mercury content to bind silver, tin, and copper into a durable material commonly used in fillings may have come as a surprise to many
patients, who may be vaguely aware of mercury's role as a neurotoxin.  They fear that something theoretically deleterious for your health is being placed in their body.  It has led to the rise of amalgam filling removal clinics.

     According to Grant Ritchey, DDS, a dentist in private practice in Tonganoxie, Kansas, a contributor to the SBM blog, "If you have an amalgam filling, even if it's 20 or 30 years old, there is a small but measurable amount of mercury that's released by that filling every day. It is well, well below the threshold of safety, but you can measure it."

     Nevertheless, since the 1970s a growing movement attributes dental amalgam fillings to a wide variety of illnesses, from autism and multiple sclerosis to arthritis and Crohn disease. 

As a consequence, specialty amalgam removal clinics have formed to serve people who
believe their fillings are the source of their other health issues. 

     Ritchey said, "Some of what they do is science-based, but some of it is over the top. If they're making claims of curing disease or helping mitigate chronic illness, the evidence in the scientific literature does not support that at all."

    The American Dental Association still supports the continued use of dental amalgam. Nonetheless, dental amalgam use is falling globally, partly owing to continued fears and simple
cosmetic preferences for tooth-colored composite fillings. 

For the complete article follow  

Friday, February 3, 2017

Skeptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold

      In the world of climate science, the skeptics are coming in from the cold. Researchers who see global warming as something less than a planet-ending calamity believe the incoming Trump administration may allow their views to be developed and heard. This didn’t happen under the Obama administration, which denied that a debate even existed. Now, some scientists say, a more inclusive approach – and the billions of federal dollars that might support it – could be in the offing.

      “Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options,” Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry wrote this month at her popular Climate Etc. blog.

      William Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is similarly optimistic. “I think we’re making progress,” Happer said. “I see reassuring signs.”

      Despite harsh criticism of their contrarian views, a few scientists like Happer and Curry have pointed to evidence that global warming is less pronounced than predicted. 


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Climate Scare

With the incoming Trump administration composed of climate skeptics the main stream media has gone into over-drive with their climate scare propaganda.  Tonight NBC nightly news reported that 2016 was the warmest since records have been kept and that it followed two years with temperatures warmer that previous year records.  They had Michael Mann state unequivocally that climate change was due to man's contribution to green house gasses.  The problem with this reporting is that while on the surface it has some portions of truth, it intentionally avoids telling the entire story.  The facts are relatively simple and backed by evidence to which most scientists agree.
First, the planet's temperature appears to be warmer.  That is because we have just had a very severe El Nino event.  The same thing happened in 1998 with the same scary apocalyptic stories.  After that period the planet had 18 years of lower temperatures.  It appears that the same will occur after this latest El Nino event.  Temperatures of this last El Nino were higher than the 1998 because there appears to be a gradual warming of the planet.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yellow Journalism

      Trump may have legitimate reasons to question stuff regarding irresponsible reports in the media.  Debugging “news” from the “Left” is likely to be as troublesome as our past experience with stuff from the “Right”

     According to CSO Online which provides news, analysis and research on a broad range of security and risk management topics, 
This event was poorly timed, managed, and quickly spun out of control with the help of media sensationalism and lack of media cyber-savvy.

      They reported in Grizzlygate - U.S. Government evidence falls short in blame on Russian hackers on January 04, 2017

     In their Joint Analysis Report (JAR), the DNI, FBI, and DHS they named a large number of common hacker tools in use by individuals and groups worldwide. Most of the tools (Neutrino, PAS tool web kit, for example) and techniques (phishing, web page spoofing to harvest credentials) are not unique to the Russian APT 28 and APT 29 actors who conducted the GRIZZLY STEPPE intrusions. 

     Even worse the JAR opens with the following statement: “This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise."

     Nevertheless, this lack of warranty did not dissuade The Washington Post on Dec. 30, 2016, post the headline and its accompanying story: “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say.emails).

Saturday, December 17, 2016

FACEBOOK and Fake News

      I am a senior and I live in Tennessee.  An overwhelming number of my family, friends, and me are Republicans.  I am not surprised that the fake news that I receive ispredominantly Republican leaning.  In fact, I almost never receive fake news reports those who are Democrat leaning.  Most of it comes via email with some heavily biased set of statistics or story. 

     Few of my group use FACEBOOK, including me.  So, I never experienced issues in the press which FACEBOOK is receiving about it being a cesspool of fake news.  However, with virtually everyone having a FACEBOOK account, these reports are probably an accurate reflection of the population in general and can answer the question “Do Republicans tend to circulate more fake and misleading stories than Democrats?” 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fake News

      Fake News is hardly a news story, but it has taken on new life with the Presidential Election and the insinuation of outside interference in the American process of democracy and the inability of the analysts to understand what happened.  The results defy their comprehension.
     What is different in this election is the enormous role that social media played.  According to Will Oremus of Slate in his article, The Real Problem Behind the Fake News: Facebook is under fire for spreading falsehoods. But it’s getting away with a bigger lie.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, Facebook has taken justifiable heat for its role in spreading misinformation and propaganda about the candidates. In particular, its news feed algorithm fueled a cottage industry of fake and intentionally misleading “news” that skewed heavily anti–Hillary Clinton and pro-Trump, according to a BuzzFeed analysis. These falsehoods attracted far more user engagement, on average, than true stories from the same outlets and drowned out earnest attempts by dedicated fact-checking sites such as Snopes to debunk them.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Real War on Science

A lot is being written about Trump’s Anti-science stance, but how biased is that reporting?  Here is an interesting article that offers counter-point.  We just got through eight years of misrepresentations from the Right about Obama.  There is no chance we won’t experience the same from the Left about Trump. 

From the magazine The Real War on Science, The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress by John Tierney , Autumn 2016

My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don’t devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It’s fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren’t you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives’ threat to science?
My friends don’t like my answer: because there isn’t much to write about. Conservatives just don’t have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the “party of science.” But I’ve done my homework. I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?
To read more follow this link

REAL science dies whenever one side tries to claim "The debate is over."  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Evidenced-based Medicine

      Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, aka the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel   As a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of, she writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. Her website is

      In her essay Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough,

      She provides an easy to understand significance of the difference between science-based medicine and evidence-based medicine.  Evidence means different things to different people. Even quacks and their victims claim to have evidence that their treatments work.  Often that was all the evidence some people need. They don't care about scientific evidence because they say, “Science doesn’t know everything.” 
      However, just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean they can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to them.  When Oprah Winfrey told Jenny McCarthy that experts said there was no scientific evidence that vaccines caused autism, Jenny retorted, “My science is named Evan, and he’s at home. That’s my science.”

Dr Hall says,
There is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” There is only medicine that has been tested and proven to work and medicine that hasn’t. If a treatment currently considered to be alternative were adequately tested and proven to work, it would be incorporated into mainstream medical practice and could no longer be considered “alternative.” It would become just “medicine.” So-called “alternative” medicine can be defined as medicine that isn’t supported by good enough evidence to earn it a place in mainstream medicine. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Doom Sayers Have a LONG History if Failure

      Here’s a list of predictions made with much fanfare and extensive coverage in the media in the 1970s
  • the population explosion would be unstoppable;
  • global famine would be inevitable;
  • crop yields would fall;
  • a cancer epidemic caused by pesticides would shorten lifespan;
  • the desert would advance at two miles a year;
  • rain forests would disappear;
  • acid rain would destroy forests;
  • oil spills would worsen;
  • oil and gas would run out;
  • and so would copper, zinc, chrome and many other natural resources;
  • the Great Lakes would die;
  • dozens of bird and mammal species would become extinct each year;
  • and a new ice age would begin;
      All of these were extolled in the mainstream media. Not one of them has come even close to meeting the apocalyptic expectations of their promoters. Often it was because the scare was exaggerated.
Later, more predictions of doom:
  • sperm counts would fall;
  • mad cow disease would kill hundreds of thousands of people;
  • genetically modified weeds would devastate ecosystems;
  • nanotechnology would run riot;
  • computers would crash at the dawn of the millennium, bringing down civilization;
  • the hole in the ozone layer would cause blindness and cancer on a huge scale;
Add to these the predictions of Climate Doom
  • malaria was going to get worse because of rising temperatures; it didn’t.
  • snow would become a thing of the past; yet northern hemisphere snow cover shows no trend
  • hurricanes/cyclones would get worse; they haven’t.
  • droughts would get worse; they haven’t
  • the Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2013; it wasn’t.
  • glacier retreat would accelerate; yet more than half the retreat of glaciers happened before 1950.
  • sea level rise would accelerate; it hasn’t
  • the Gulf Stream would falter, as this clip from the movie the Day After Tomorrow latched on to.
All these predictions have also failed so far.
The death toll from droughts, floods and storms has been going down dramatically. Not because weather has got safer, but because of technology and prosperity.

      James Hansen in 1988 said that by the year 2000, “the West Side Highway will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there.” 
      The UNEP predicted in 2005 that by 2010 there would be 50 million climate refugees. In 2010 it tried to delete the web link. 
      Ten years ago, Al Gore said that within ten years we would have reached the point of no return. [Inconvenient truth]

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Universe Made Just for You

Humankind is the center and purpose of creation!  Really?
Using the Hubble Space telescope and other observatories, astronomers have completed the most accurate census of galaxies in the observable universe to date. The observable universe contains 10 to 20 times as many galaxies than previous estimates. That raises the total to about one and two trillion galaxies. Likewise, the new number of stars in the observable universe, which now numbers around 700 thousand billion billion.

It is very difficult to believe that any creator would be that wasteful of real estate such so humans have a pretty night sky.