Monday, May 22, 2017

Fear and Trembling in Linguistics

It is a source of lasting regret that Eek and Help never got around to publishing with Aymaus as the third author.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You went full Rotwang, man. Never go full Rotwang

"Nanoblade"?! Wait, what, this sounds like a weapon that a post-humanist Ninja character might wield in a really bad Manga.

You look lost. Perhaps I should go back to the cortico-trunco-reticulo-proprio-spinal pathway (CTRPS). Or even further back.

Neuroskeptic was blogging just the other day about Sergio Canavero, who has a vision... a vision of transplanting heads from body to body... or as it may be, of transplanting bodies. But NS buried the lede, which is wasteful. Here at the Riddled Research Laboratory we prefer to stage a fake burial for the lede, in fact keeping it in a locked back room on life support, to use it as a donor for organ transplants.

So Canavero edited a special edition of Surgical Neurology International and went Full-Metal Rotwang, shaking his fists at a disbelieving world and shouting "You fools! I'll show you all!"

"Hysteria", "misbegotten dogma"... this is not the usual register of academic discourse, even in editorial advertisements, but then again, SNI is not your conventional scientific journal. It could best be described as "The kind of journal that invites a total reality-divorcé to edit special issues".

Now this "cortico-trunco-reticulo-proprio-spinal pathway", it is not recognised in textbooks, and indeed seems to be unknown outside the circle of Canavero and his supporters. It is (I gather) a component of the spinal cord. Most of the spine is white matter, afferent and efferent bundles of myelinated nerve axons, analogous to insulation-wrapped wiring, and Canavero does not believe that he can restore their function after joining the two spinal stumps in a head transplant. But that's alright, because the white matter doesn't actually have a function (its supposed importance is a 'previously misbegotten dogma'). It seems that motor and sensory functions are in fact served by the short, unmyelinated neurons of the butterfly-shape of grey matter within the spinal cord; the fools of the neurology establishment regard this as local circuitry, but this is where the CTRPS resides, and where Canavero can graft severed neurons back together.

A 'nanoblade' is required, one honed to nanometric atom-level fineness: sharp enough to bifurcate cells with minimal trauma to their membranes and contents. This may be the same as the GEMINotome "ultra‑sharp nanometer‑grade blade" -- aspirational cutlery for which Canavero's Chinese collaborators have developed the name if not the technology.

A second component of the regeneration protocol is electrical stimulation to help weld together the bisected halves of matching neurons from head and body. Canavero is aware of the parallels with Mary Shelley's novel, but he revels in them, like Gene Wilder's titular character in Young Frankenstein embracing his destiny.

If other laboratories are unable to replicate the results, they had probably tapped into the wrong kind of lightning strike to power the apparatus.

The third crucial component is the 'fusogen' to knit together the ragged edges of the severed membranes of donor and recipient hemi-neurons. This proves to be poly-ethyl glycol, infused with fractal nanoribbon graphene -- so it glows green in the dark, of course. Also to conduct the electricity ("in order to improve and accelerate the recovery of function, we tested PEG enhanced by these electrical conducting nanoribbons. PEG‑GNRs would achieve both membrane fusion, facilitate initial electrical conduction, and then act as a scaffold for sprouting fibers").

So there is re-vivifying electricity, and Daring Experiments that will Confound the Nay-Saying Fools of the Academy, you can see why the Mad Scientist Anti-Defamation League are eager to offer Dr Canavero their assistance. But wait, also there is an underground laboratory, where his South Korean colleague C.-Yoon Kim tested the procedure on rodents and dogs and monkeys!!

Alas, most post-operative rats were drowned "during a storm that filled the underground lab". Presumably the minions were watching for lightning strikes when they should have paid more attention to the water pumps. LESSON: locate next laboratory in a non-flooding mountain-top castle.

Kim's trials were not yet transplants, but proof-of-concept tests for severing and repairing spinal cords. That is to say, Kim claimed to have dissected each laboratory animal down to the neck vertebrae and split open one vertebra, so he could hook up the spinal cord and sever it. Before replacing the stumps in the vertebra, daubed with PEG, with such sub-micron precision that the two halves of each grey-matter neuron were adjacent again and the sliced membranes were contiguous, so that the PEG could fuse them -- allowing full restoration of mobility and sensation within days ("The two stumps of the spinal cord of the rats were kept in mechanical proximity by simple hyperextension of the head").

Details of the surgery ignore the earlier invocations of nanoblades and GEMINotomes, and specify a standard #11 scalpel. Which at the cellular level is about as sharp as a car bumper, crushing cells into oblivion rather than bisecting them; Kim might as well have invited Mrs Spat to sever the rats' spines, or used a cable.* To put it another way: none of this ever happened.

Kim claims affliations to Konkuk University's School of Medicine, and to Seoul National University's College of Veterinary Medicine, but the e-address he uses is

* Bonus recapitation:

If you stare with horrified fascination at Canavero's lurid fantasies and cannot look away, well, there's more!
Imagine what effect might ensue from a young donor body (say, in her 20’s) nourishing with her young blood 24/24, 7/7 the head of an aging body recipient! Yes, life extension on a level that simple, periodic transfusions of young blood have no way to match.
The real concern that needs to be addressed in this letter is whether one day HEAVEN is spun off as a cure for transsexualism (TS). Considering the dearth of donors for many needing new organs, this might seem like pushing the envelope. Yet, it makes sense starting the debate now.
To the casual eye, TSs come in two varieties: male-to-female (MtF) and female-to-male. In this case, common sense would suggest gender reassignment HEAVEN transplant the head of an MtF subject on a female body and vice versa.
No reference here to the pioneering research of Heinlein [1970] and Reiner [1984]; I am disappoint.

"A Call to Arms" is not a treatise on limb transplants (alas), but another SNI Editorial, in which Canavero goes Full Rotwang (again), complains that billionaire philanthropists aren't giving him any money, and speculates on the psychological hang-ups that motivate his critics.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The bald spot is Nature's way of allowing more near-IR photons to penetrate my scalp and enhance mitochondrial function in neurons in my parietal lobes

Combine-Harvester Racing
Remember Michael Carroll? Of course you do. Here at the Riddled Research Laboratory and Combine-Harvester Racing Club, we are forever grateful for his many contributions to medical knowledge hilarity... the many mock-medical cargo-cult potions and tchotchkes he sold through five separate websites* (because just one scam is never enough)... so many contributions that it would be invidious to single out just one. Fortunately "Invidious" is my hiphop-DJ name and I have no qualms about singling out the Vielight 'Neuro' Cognition-Enhancing, Neuron-Regenerating Photonic Diadem:
The Neuro is the worlds first transcranial-intranasal combination light therapy helmet system. It is based on the science of photobiomodulation, the utilization of photonic energy to stimulate cellular function in neurons. It directs pulsed near infrared light (NIR) to the hubs of the default mode network [ video ] (DMN) of the brain using optimally engineered light emitting diodes (LED).

The Neuro Alpha and Neuro Gamma incorporate newer and improved transcranial LED diodes. The only difference between the two models is the pulse rate – The Neuro Alpha pulses at 10 Hz but the Neuro Gamma pulses at 40 Hz. The Gammas pulse rate is utilized for our Alzheimers Disease clinical trials and the Neuro Alphas pulse rate is ideal for general brain health, based on brainwave oscillations
Nostril Torch available separately:
Looks like I picked the wrong week to
quit illuminating my brain with a
fibre-optic torch up one nostril!

Throw in a pair of Valkee "Torch-in-the-Ear" earplug spotlights for temporal-lobe illumination, shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.

Given the scale and range of Michael Carroll's commercial activities, it was inevitable that his various pairings of 'worthless snake-oil' and 'panaceal curative promises' would attract the attention of the FDA, whose lawyers have no problem with the phrases "Fraudulent Cancer Products" and "Illegally Sold Cancer Treatments". They reviewed three of his websites and found much to complain about... notably, the Reinwald / Ruggiero product Rerum (regularly featured at Riddled). They may or may not have been subsequently reminded of the two further websites comprising Carroll's operations.

We can only hope that the FDA are not limited to an annual quota of Cease-&-Desist orders to spread around the target-rich environment of the American Scammosphere.

In other news, we learn via Neuroskeptic that there is a whole literature on improving cerebral function by way of TILS (trans-cranial infrared laser stimulation), which is to say, LASER BEAMS TO THE FREAKIN' FOREHEAD; we squee with delight, and hasten to inform the Mad Scientist Anti-Defamation League!

[Explaining Voice] The rationale is that the cytochrome-C oxidase molecules within mitochrondrial membranes are the central engines of cellular respiration, juggling electrons for protons across the membrane, creating a proton gradient (this is the gradient, that drives the mills, that coin the standard currency of the cellular energy economy, in the form of ATP molecules). And they contain a couple of heme groups, so they absorb red / infrared photons. Therefore they pump protons more efficiently after light absorption. [/Explaining Voice]

So Evolution had the opportunity to use this photopigment property of cC-OX to evolve eyes that see in infrared. Where is my Infrared Vision?! We strapped Swearing Bob in the Riddled Evolvamat with a laser-beam irradiating his forehead, in the hope of opening a Third IR Eye by stimulating the full cC-OX potential, but the results were not optimal.

Also disappointing and sub-optimal: Failure of Evolution, after 3 billion years of multicellular evolution, to re-jig a form of cytochrome-C oxidase that works equally well within our less-illuminated interiors. Evolution, we are very disappointed in you. This is why we had to invent the transparent skull.

See those monkeys' increased cognitive performance!

* Carroll now has a sixth scamshop, "The Real Truth Behind Cancer". The resemblance of its title to Ty Bollinger's longer-established "The Truth About Cancer" scammocopoeia is no doubt accidental, as is the implication that Bollinger is engaged in some kind of unreal, fake grift.

** There is (or was) a theory that cytochrome-C -- a smaller molecule, upstream from cC-OX in the Redox cascade, highly-conserved, also built around a couple of heme groups*** so also red-light-absorbing -- originally had an role in bacterial photosynthesis, before Evolution coopted it for respiration. Just offering this as a better rationale for TILS.

I know this stuff because of 1970s pop-science magazines, because OLD.

***A heme group is a transition-element ion, coordinated within a plate of biological graphene porphyrin ring, which is a good way of stashing away a spare electron until you need it, but it has other nice molecular properties besides. Which is probably why there are so many cytochrome heme-proteins involved in cell biochem. Also, Evolution is lazy and has a bad work ethic. Go home, Evolution, come back when you've sorted out your attitude problem.

Heme groups: Not just for making black pudding taste good.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Australians continue to live down to our expectations

This appears to be an Australian re-make of 'Ruthless People", but with unrequited explosions:
About 1am on February 1, 2015, Yarnton woke in the passenger seat and heard a "hissing sound" coming from an open gas bottle in the car, and found his socks soaked with petrol.
Haven't we all woken up like that after date night?
I am just puzzled that the accused Mrs Yarnton -- a "high-ranking police officer" -- could not find more competent criminals than "Married couple Monique Hayes, 25, and Fady Houda, 24" to dispose of her husband.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I'm proud to walk a tightrope, now the gravity's so high

W. H. Auden was a weird dude:

But the people in charge of promoting the Gravity weighted hug-blanket, do they promise to unleash your poetic potential? DO THEY BOGROLL. The advertising is all about relaxation and security and neurotransmitter modulation. They are doing it wrong. That is why they have only attracted $4 million in crowd-sourced investment.

Here are some helpful Lilliputians providing Gulliver with stress-relief and reduced cortisol levels:
Danger of non-personal hug-blanket
Gravity hug-blankets are personalised:
We know your anatomy is unique, which is why we’ve engineered Gravity to meet your personal needs. This isn’t a weighted blanket for everyone. It’s a weighted blanket for you.
which is why we’re offering 15, 20, and 25 pound options.
[H/t Sylvie Coyaud. Title for Trevor]

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tenser, said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension, And dissension have begun

"What is the status of the Great Culling of Quacks narrative?" asked the usual chorus of voices in my head. "For over a week has passed since the last report; surely more drama has ensued since then. Also we have that stockpiled windfall of Stupid to work through."

And indeed, Derpsichore the Muse of Alt-Facts Butthurt has not been idle, and a communiqué appeared in the Riddled mailbox, deposited there by helpful pixies.
[Cue Dramatic Chords]
It is worth reading for the revelation that image photoshopping is detectable by tilting your computer screen and viewing it at the right angle, allowing the underlying pixels to show through the overlaid ones and change the colour of the image. Do not be deterred by the perfervid rodomontade of the writing... nor by the typographic style, which is that of 1640s Ranter manifestos, headed by an unprioritised busy-ness of pictures and MAJUSCULE SUB-HEADS overlapping and jostling for visual space, all convinced that they are the lede, and determined not to be buried.

Speaking of arch-Leveller post-Revolution Ranter pamphlets, surely I am not alone in thinking that "A Fiery Flying Roll" would be a good name for a fast-food delivery service.

Come to the point, Uncle Smut! 'Insert your chopstick in the solid meat!' [Bramah 1927]
OK. The communiqué impugns the personal morality of Erin Elizabeth of 'Health Nut News' -- intellectual owner of the Quack-Culling story -- and if she had any credibility, it would impugn that as well (the inquiring minds at Snopes devoted a fact-checking column to Erin's claims, but couldn't find any). It transpires that her story is a Straw-man made up of False Flags (or possibly vice versa): an example of Controlled Opposition, scripted to bring the Antivax Alt-Med cause into disrepute, with absurd claims that tar everyone with the brush of paranoid ideation; or to heighten the atmosphere of fear; or to redirect and defuse the people's righteous wrath by channeling it along acceptable directions; or possibly all the above.

More investigation here -- equally salacious, but more uncovering of true names, raking up of risqué pasts! The communiqués credit Erin Elizabeth with enough intelligence to recognise the Nazi conspiracy to take over the world using brain-damaging mind-controlling vaccination programs, and since she is not denouncing vaccines with sufficient vehemence, they conclude that she must be part of the conspiracy. They were totally not motivated by the sense of envy provoked by self-publicists who get more attention than the author.
Anti-Ranter propaganda? Or Friday
night at the Old Entomologist?
And there was drama! Luminaries of the Wooniverse weighed in, if only to comment that they didn't have any comment, since the option of "eschewing attention and simply not commenting at all" is patently absurd. The point of "not commenting at this stage" is to imply the possession of sekrit inside knowledge that one is currently prevented from vouchsafing. Readers will receive extra credit for recognising the source of the last comment in the thread, from previous Riddled scamblogging.

As any fule kno, the whole pharma-assassin fantasy began as a re-imagining of the suicide of careerist med-scammer Jeff Bradstreet in June 2015. So 18 months later a Private Forensic Investigator was trying to re-enact the crime, to prove that it was actually murder, in the manner of Five Red Herrings and sundry other classics of criminological training:
Prayers needed... our forensic scientist is in Lake Lure today to conduct the scientific reenactment of the homicide of Jeff and the local detective will not cooperate.
He will not give him the exact location in Broad River where Jeff was found. Why? How can you withhold something like this?
Why would a police detective not want a forensic scientist to come in to help them solve this OPEN police investigation? I just don't get it.... makes you wonder
Progress in the re-investigation has hit a brick wall. My understanding was that the proper response to stonewalling from the local marshalry is to coax the information out of a sympathetic deputy -- with the help of lip-loosening shots of rye whiskey administered in a smoke-filled speakeasy -- but it may be that protocols have advanced since the documentary descriptions by Hammett and Chandler. Why the Private Forensic Investigator waited so long to even consider visiting the crime scene, and how much dispositive evidence might remain after a year in the open elements, these are questions for Cold-Case / CSI watchers more diligent than me.

Some might worry that there is so little to show for the ~$43000 donated for this crucial research through Bradstreet's sister-in-law's GoFundMe page. To assuage such concerns, Candice and Thom were filmed at last year's AutismOne scamfest trade-fair, revoicing their dissatisfaction with the official account.

More recent Facebukkake updates inform us of a second progress / brick-wall encounter, in which a crucial witness accepted the official 'suicide' story and will not cooperate with the inquiry. Which is to say that Bradstreet's widow is a person of interest and a legitimate target for innuendo:
Candice Lee-Bradstreet
[...] We need Jennifer Lackey Bradstreet to talk to Det. Keever NOW. This video only shows a glimpse of the frustration our family endures with her withholding information from the family. [...] Put yourself in our shoes for a moment, feeling completely helpless, tormented with questions, and tormented that we couldn't be there, before she cremated his body, destroying all evidence and any chance we may have had at a second autopsy [...] Jennifer, if you ever read this, or somebody sends this to you, please know that we never wanted to suspect you. You have every opportunity to come forward and speak to law enforcement and clear your name. We want to believe you, we want to move onto other theories, but we can't do it until you talk. Until you do, you will always remain a suspect.
And a third:
Candice Lee-Bradstreet
1 May at 08:41
Regarding the lack of proper extensive tests on the weapon , finger printing ,etc We needed some very important tests done that were not. The car wasn't finger printed either that we are aware of.
Detective Kiever told us that his county did not have a budget for that extensive testing ....
So we offered to pay for it all.... he did not accept our offer.
Each of these accelerated encounters can only agitate the little mollycules of brickyness so that they move so fast as to perveate into the progress, while the little shining adams of progress are likewise in a state of bewhirldyment so they pass conversely into the brick wall, so keep this up for long and  progress becomes 60% brick wall and verce visa -- it is an ineluctable corroboree of the Atomic Theory.

Reassured that the donations were well-spent, we hied ourselves back to the Crowd-funding page to check for further updates... but there is no end to the drama... for suddenly the page is blank, cashed in and folded up, as empty as the chocolate-timtam honesty tin in the Riddled tea-room. No trace remains that it had ever been, apart from archived copies here and there! Sadly, the archive does not include the earliest comments (which were classics of the genre), nor the early dramatic progress reports, which spoke of collecting "tons of information" to be "processed and investigated"... information which must have subsequently evaporated, as often happens if you do not store it in a cryogenic repository.

No doubt Candice will explain the fund's disappearance and disposition as soon as she has finished advertising her new products, and bestowing bless-their-hearts upon Bradstreet's less-estranged family and friends.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Rules of the Establishment (Třista třicet tři stříbrných stříkaček stříkalo přes třista třicet tři stříbrných střech)

Time has passed since the previous episode of The Bilingual London Adventures of a Bohemian Refugee from an Ionesco Script. Well-wishers will be pleased to learn that the protagonist found work:

To celebrate, Google Translate and I collaborated on a pome, "Chairman Kafka Tables the Report". I can only pronounce the R-háček sound of Czech about every third attempt, but that is no barrier.

The river
The cross-cutting solution
C onsolution
C onclusion C onsolution
The cross-cutting solution
C onsolution C ommisions.
The above-mentioned cross-sectional report.
C onsolution C ommisions.
The peer-reviewed report.
Resolutions of the Commission.
The peer-to-peer review.
Resolutions, resolutions, and resolutions
The peer-to-peer review report
Resolutions, resolutions,
Resolving, resolving, resolving, resolving

Perhaps this is a good time to welcome all our visitors from Slovakia.