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Preview: Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac Knows")

Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac Knows")

Respectful Insolence is a repository for the ramblings of the aforementioned pseudonymous surgeon/scientist concerning medicine and quackery, science and pseudoscience, history and pseudohistory, politics, and anything else that interests him (or pushes h

Updated: 2015-09-17T04:26:59.179-04:00


It's aliiiiiive!


Yes, everyone, ScienceBlogs is back up and running. That means Respectful Insolence at ScienceBlogs is up and running again, too. Consequently, I'm disabling comments again on this blog and putting it back into mothballs as an archive site. Orac's home will be once again at Respectful Insolence at ScienceBlogs. It was fun resurrecting the old blog for a couple of days, but it's time to go back to

An actual pro-vaccine storyline? On ABC?


I don't watch Private Practice. I didn't like Grey's Anatomy, which, every time I caught part of it, struck me as the cheesiest sort of medical soap opera, a General Hospital transplanted to prime time. Given that Private Practice is a spinoff of Grey's Anatomy, I never saw any reason whatsoever to watch. However, on Thursday night an episode aired that royally pissed off the antivaccine

Respectful Insolence will go dark...


...but only temporarily!As you may have heard, our benevolent leaders at ScienceBlogs are finally doing a major upgrade of our blog publishing software. That's the good news. I'm hoping the back end is much easier to use and more responsive. The bad news is that the whole ScienceBlogs site is going to locked down. It will still be there. You can still read it and browse every scintillating post,



This blog has moved to: this blog is now mothballed and is only being maintained as an archive site for the first incarnation of Respectful Insolence (not to mention because a comment spam problem has developed here), over the next few days I will be going through posts and turning off all commenting.If you wish to comment, please go to the new site.

Technical problems at the new blog resolved


Finally!Even though I normally try not to blog from work, I have to take a moment while I'm eating lunch to announce this: Previous technical problems with the new blog that prevented my posts and your comments from showing up on this blog have now been resolved. Orac is back online. Everything appears to be working as it should, and you should be able to comment over there again. Normal

For a different take on the David Irving verdict...


Go here. The Photoshopped picture and caption are priceless.

Shooting free speech in the foot: David Irving sentenced to three years in jail for denying the Holocaust


[NOTE: My technical problems at the new blog continue. I'm assured the techies are working on fixing them, but, although my posts show up in the feed, they do not show up on my blog. In essence, I cannot post, and comments, although saved, do not show up. Until the techies get this problem fixed, I'm posting here at the old blog.]Well, that was fast.The trial took less than a day. David Irving,

David Irving on trial


[NOTE: This is being posted here because my new blog is currently having technical difficulties that prevent my posting on it. Once the technical problems have been fixed (hopefully tomorrow), I will repost this over there. I wondered if this blog would have any further use, and unfortunately I found out sooner than I expected that it would.]Well, today's the day. After all the waiting, it's

Locked out of ScienceBlogs


If anyone sees this...My new ScienceBlogs blog is screwed up. Movable Type won't let me publish or rebuild the blog. It lets me get into the control panel and even lets me see my posts and your comments, but despite their showing up as "published," they do not show up on the blog. Attempts to rebuild the blog time out, as do any attempts to republish the posts and comments in question.

Orac is dead! Long live Orac


Well, it's finally come. Today is the day to say goodbye.No, not goodbye to you, my readers, but goodbye to Blogspot and this Blogger blog. In a way, this is a bit bittersweet, but then over the weekend an altie comment spammer unleashed the worst spam attack Respectful Insolence has ever weathered, necessitating my deleting a whole slew of comment spam.It's time to go.So, everyone, please set

My second to last post


This will be my second to last post here at the present blog. As announced before, on Monday this blog will be moving over to ScienceBlogs. It's been an eventful 14 months here, but it's time to shake things up. Not all change is bad, and I think this change will be good in at least a couple of ways. First, it will bring the insolence to a potentially much bigger audience, and, second, it will

The Skeptics' Circle is fast approaching


Time flies. Not only is my move to ScienceBlogs imminent, but the next Skeptics' Circle is fast approaching. It's scheduled to be posted on Thursday, February 16 at Unused and Probably Unusable. The deadline is 8 PM EST on February 15, and the call for submissions is here. Let's make this one in honor of the Amazing Randi, who is presently recovering from heart surgery.

Meeting short take #6: Terra Sigillata comments on the recent saw palmetto trial so I don't have to


Normally, this would be a topic that I'd take on full tilt. Fortunately, Abel Pharmboy explains the recent trial showing no benefit from saw palmetto in prostate hypertrophy. He also brings up a complaint that I've made about the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, mainly, its lack of scientific rigor and the poor quality of the grants it funds:Anyone associated with drug

Meeting short take #5: The Clergy Letter Project


Here's a good idea.From all the controversy over the attempt by fundamentalists to block the teaching of evolution and get the teaching of intelligent design creationism in public school science classes, it's easy to forget that there are a lot of Christians out there, even very conservative ones, who rightly don't see a threat to their faith from the teaching of evolution. In the Clergy Letter

Meeting short take #4: Andrew Mathis tells it like it is


I didn't have time to write anything of my own last night; so let me direct you to Andrew Mathis' commentary on an editorial that got his dander up:You state that "Islam is compatible with modern secular society." I would counter that, at least in its fundamentalist form, it is not. Nor is any religion, but I will explain that shortly. The problem with Islam in secular societies is that, like

Meeting short take #3: Iran proposes a "Holocaust cartoon contest"


This is just too bizarre for me not to mention it, meeting or no meeting (you didn't think I could ignore this, did you?):TEHRAN, Iran - A prominent Iranian newspaper said Tuesday it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.Hamshahri, one

Meeting short take #2: Tolerance towards intolerance


I made it to the meeting. I hate transcontinental flights, but this one wasn't too bad. Because I've been busy putting the final touches on a talk I have to give, I only have time for a couple of short takes. First, there's this spot-on article addressing the controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed:In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others.

Meeting short take #1: The Amazing Randi is recovering from heart surgery


Even at my meeting, I couldn't help but mention this. For those who might not know yet:James Randi underwent bypass surgery last Thursday. He is currently in stable condition. He is receiving excellent care, but will need quiet time to recover. We will release more information as it becomes available, and we ask everyone to please respect the family’s wishes for privacy at this time.For those who

Grand Rounds, vol. 2, no 20


Grand Rounds, vol. 2, no. 20 has been posted at Science and Politics. Never let it be said I don't point my readers to good reading while I'm away. Bora has gathered a veritable cornucopia of the best medblogging from the last week.



A couple of quick announcements:As of this morning, I'm out of town for a surgical meeting for a few days. I'll probably keep posting, but not as regularly as usual. Also, I have no idea whether or not I'll have time to write anything that long. As always when I go to a meeting, it depends upon whether or not I'm bored when the meeting isn't actually going on.Mainly because I'm going to be away

The budget situation for the NIH appears grim


From ScienceNOW:In stark contrast to his initiative for physical sciences [ScienceNOW, 1 February and 3 February], President Bush today proposed a budget freeze for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2007, holding its funding steady at $28.6 billion. The proposal, part of the President's overall budget request to Congress, is drawing concern and even outrage from biomedical research

How vaccine litigation distorts the contents of the VAERS database


Advocates who are convinced of a link between the mercury in thimerosal used in vaccines as a preservative and autism often point to data derived from the U. S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as "evidence" that vaccines cause autism. For example, Mark and David Geier, the father-son team of Don Quixotes of the thimerosal/autism movement, have made a veritable career of

Respectful Insolence discreditase?


There are worse things than being included as an enzyme in a chart on the Metabolism of Evolution Information in the Blogosphere. Even though I used to think that enzymology was a bit on the dull side, whereas molecular biology was way more cool, over time I've come to appreciate what marvelous molecular catalysts enzymes are. At least this chart is not as complicated as the biochemical charts I

Christopher Hitchens on the Danish cartoon imbroglio


I'm not normally a big fan of Christopher Hitchens, but in discussing the recent crazed reaction of Muslim fundamentalists to some fairly mild cartoons lampooning Mohammed in Denmark he hits the nail right on the head for the most part:Therefore there is a strong case for saying that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and those who have reprinted its efforts out of solidarity, are affirming

The rising of Cthulego


This is just hilarious: Cthulu rising done in Legos. (Via Boing Boing.)