Thursday, April 30, 2015

Faith-based Initiative

Faith-based organizations are often trumpeted with the assertion that they are morally superior, have more caring staff, and are better at addressing any issues that individuals may have. However, there is no evidence for this claim. Research indicates that FBOs do not perform these tasks any better than secular organizations. 
Read the report:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Healing Code Crap

The practice of Naturopathy is illegal in Tennessee (click here), but that has not stopped Alex Lloyd.  of Leipers Fork, Tennessee. We thank Robert Hammond for bringing this article by Harriet Hall on Science-based Medicine blog.
Alex Lloyd’s concept of “Healing Codes” is one of the most bizarre,ridiculous offshoots of so-called energy medicine. Lloyd is a naturopath who has been criticized by “Dr. Joe” Schwarcz for recycling old bunk for profit. He claims that illness is due to disturbances in the human energy field and that the cells of our body store destructive energy patterns and all our memories, habits,interests, and tastes. This is pure imagination: there is no scientific evidence for the existence of a human energy field or of cellular memory.
Read the entire article  The “Healing Codes” of Alex Lloyd: Energy Healing with Words and Finger Exercises

Lloyd claims to have a Ph.D. and N.D., but we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to verify how he was awarded these degrees. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

America's Quack Strikes Back

David Gorski is managing editor of the blog, Science-Based Medicine. He has been commenting on the continuing saga that is Dr Ahmed Oz.  After watching Oz's attempt to respond to the ten physicians that petitioned Columbia for his removal, Dr Gorski said,
Truly, if I thought that maybe Dr. Oz might have had a shred of honor left before, I harbor no such illusion now. Oz is about as despicable as it gets. 

90 Scientists Write to Pope Francis - You're Being Misled

- Computer climate models of the warming effect of enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide are the basis for fear that fossil fuel use endangers humanity and the environment.
- On average, models simulate more than twice the observed warming over the relevant period. Over 95% of the models simulate greater warming than has been observed.
- We are currently experiencing an absence of global warming long enough to be nearly impossible to reconcile with the models
- The scientific method demands that theories be tested by empirical observation. By that test, the models are wrong.

The models therefore provide no rational basis to forecast dangerous human-induced global warming, and therefore no rational basis for efforts to reduce warming by restricting the use of fossil fuels or any other means.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's All About The Science

If you don't believe is the hysterics that accompany the Global Warming apocalypse and the need to take drastic actions to halt the increase in CO2, you are a "flat earther."  If you don't agree with Al Gore that the climate science is settled, you're a troglodyte.  Actually, the issue is the science and the general incompetence of those insisting that those that question the politics (er science) are anti-science.
The article, "I am a climate skeptic who believes in global warming," by Richard J. Petschauer does a good job highlighting the real issues.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Snake Oil" Is Alive and Well

First Dr Ahmet Oz is called in front of a Senate Committee for his misrepresentation of weight loss products. , then ten distinguished physicians petition Columbia University to remove him from his faculty position.
Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.  Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

And what was the response from Columbia?
The weaknesses in the professional balance sheet of Dr. Oz's pixel practice should not, in and of themselves, disqualify him from his day job as a professor in the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He was hired by Columbia as a faculty member in 2001 on the basis of his skills as a physician. He continues to receive excellent peer reviews and patient satisfaction ratings. Those accolades are earned and his Columbia employment should not be terminated without better demonstration of on-site performance failure. It does not follow that complaints about his on-air medical practice will be addressed by demanding that he leave his other job in which he excels.

In other words Columbia has no issue with selling "snake oil" as long as you do it on your own time.  No wonder quack medicine is alive and well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Climate Statement to US House of Rep

Hearing on “The President’s U.N. Climate Pledge”, 15 April 2015, 
Judith A. Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology

Major points:
Recent  data  and  research  supports  the  importance  of  natural  climate  variability  and  calls  into  question  the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change:

The hiatus in global warming since 1998

Reduced estimates of the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide

Climate models predict much more warming than has been observed in the early 21'st century. We have made some questionable choices in defining the problem of climate change and its solution:

The definition of ‘dangerous’ climate change is ambiguous, and hypothesized catastrophic tipping points are regarded as very or extremely unlikely in the 21'st century.

Efforts to link dangerous impacts of extreme weather events to human-caused warming are misleading and unsupported by evidence.

Climate change is a ‘wicked problem’ and ill-suited to a ‘command and control’ solution

It has been estimated that the U.S. INDC of 28% emissions reduction will prevent ONLY 0.03 deg-C in warming by 2100. The inadequacies  of current policies based on the Precautionary Principle are leaving the real societal consequences of climate change and extreme weather events  largely unaddressed 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food Babe - Dangerous or Just Incompetent?

     Vari Hari is known as the Food Babe and run the blog - .  Since its debut in  2011, since she has been offering advice of what foods her reader's should or should not eat.  The problem is -- she is neither a scientists nor a nutritionist.  What she appears to be is horribly incompetent or a scammer.
      According to a recent article by Mark Aaron Alsip in the May/June article in Skeptical Inquirer (The 'Food Babe' a Tasrte of Her Own Medicine), he shows in example after example how Hari recommends against certain food ingredients turns around and promotes (more personal gain) products with that same ingredient.  The problem is even worse that it sounds.  These ingredients can readily be found by a google search on the Internet for any reputable researcher.  For more about Ms Hari check out Alsip's blog
     Likewise, FOXNEWS  offers similar concerns about Ms Hari's competence in their article, "5-Food Babe Myths You Shouldn't Believe."
There’s no denying that Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, has ignited a clean-eating revolution—along with a lot of controversy. Hari is known for lobbying companies to remove ingredients she believes are toxic, including the “yoga mat chemical” in Subway’s bread, class IV caramel color in Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and “antifreeze” in beer.
And while getting people thinking about what’s in their food is good thing, many experts point out that her science is, well, off, which can cause an unnecessary fear of food and other everyday products. (Look no further than this recent New York Times profile or this Gawker takedown written by a scientist who dubs herself the Science Babe).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Scam That is Likely to Make a Fool of EVERYONE

This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.
. . Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.
. . This information is worth reading.  By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.  
The scam works like this:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tennessee WORST for Data Breaches of Medical Records

It’s believed that Chinese hackers were responsible for the data breach earlier this year of 4.5 million records held by Community Health Systems in Tennessee putting the state in first place, just ahead of California). Five Alabama residents have filed a class action lawsuit as a result of the breach.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Disagree

     Anyone who writes a public blog is used to receiving disagreeing comments.  In 2008 Paul Graham, an English programmer, venture capitalist, and essayist, wrote an insightful essay on the various levels of disagreement one might experience.  At the lowest level is the "Name Calling".  Next lowest are the "Ad hominem attacks."  The most competent levels consists of "General Refutation" to "Refutation of the Central Point."
     Graham's complete essay can found here