Thursday, April 16, 2015

We drink elixirs that we refine
From the juices of the dying (#2)

Call me old-fashioned but I do not rate for holothurians as a culinary ingredient, not after the lamentable white-sauce episode... it was a mistake anyone could have made, with 'bêche-de-mer' and 'béchamel' being adjacent in the index, but the Frau Doktorin was not well-pleased. Also 'trepang' is covered by Rule #7, "Never eat anything that belongs in a Batman sound-effect bubble".

So it was with some trepidation that I approached the latest wonder-drug in the cancer-cure scammocopeia -- TBL-12 -- which apparently consists of sea-cucumber squeezins. But it turns out to be the placebo of choice for a dying cricketer, and the website is bejazzled with tropical-blue-sea imagery,
and it has a nice Origin story in which the producer's father -- dying of cancer in 1962 -- was taught the secret traditional recipe for echinoderm smoothies by a benevolent Chinese fisherman; so it's all above-board after all. Which is a relief, given the price-tag.

The Google Machine led to a crowd-funding webpage inviting assistance to help a dying victim of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia pay for the TBL-12 and Iscador prescribed by one Dr Ulrich Doering. Further inquiry revealed more crowd-funding to help pay for the TBL-12, Iscador and GcMAF prescribed by Doering for cancer patient "Franny", and led to a patient with breast cancer, offered TBL-12 at $500 a month while the GcMAF would cost $4000-$5000 per week.*

"What in the name of fuck is Iscador?" asks the avid reader, in a pitch-shifted, format-shaped voice that is hardly recognisable as mine. "Apart from a character in a LotR knock-off?" Thereby providing me with an opportunity to mention Rudolf Steiner, 1920s Übercrank who contributed substantially to the gaiety of nations once he slipped the surly bonds of rational thought and just let the crazy fall out of his head.

We have already met Steiner's notions of mystic astronomy with the great migrations of spirits from planet to planet, in the manner of Scientology (though with less Xenu and fewer volcano-and-H-bomb-related activities); and his scheme for esoteric pest control through magickal burning of gonads. The latter is of course a foundational concept of Biodynamic Farming. Here at Riddled we try to support the Biodynamic farmers by offering them such innovations as Rainbow Aquaculture and the EasyMilk SideNipple Deer.

...but do they thank us? DO THEY BOGROLL.

At some point the leprechauns in Steiner's Teutonic underwear informed him that cancers are really a kind of parasite, and therefore a distillate of parasite would cure cancer, and then he revolutionised oncology by introducing tapeworm extracts. No, wait, he didn't; the cure had to be a plant parasite, and specifically mistletoe. You might think that fully parasitical plants like dodder or Rafflesia or the NZ Woodrose Dactylanthus taylorii would be twice as potent as as the merely hemi-parasitical mistletoe, but they do not provide the pharmacist with an excuse to go climbing trees with a golden sickle. At Riddled we support any conceit that allows us to illustrate posts about Steinerian medicine using images of Getafix. The recipe calls for fermentation of an aqueous extract, i.e. MISTLETOE BEER, totally not an ingredient in the Riddled Christmas Ale.
Baldr and Höðr: Mistletoe
injection goes horribly wrong
By now the reader is thinking "Why, yes, I would totally put my life in the hands of someone who has trained in this egregious scholium of thought, and believes that blood pumps itself around the body (with the heart merely there to modulate its flow), and that the skull is an inside-out femur." Then come to New Zealand! For here we have Anthroposophic GPs, accepted as members in good standing of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners. In particular, one Dr Ulrich-Bero Doering.

"So much for Iscador," says the reader. "But what is GcMAF with the $4000-$5000 / week price-tag?" HA HA not really for we have already covered this Wonder Drug that Doctors Don't Tell You About, on many occasions.

Intensive research The gazoogle reveals a loose network of NZ doctors who have been importing GcMAF for a while... presumably in the ampoule form (extracted from human immunoglobulin) rather than as Ruggiero's magic yogurt. Already in 2011, a breast-cancer cancer patient was "paying $1500 per month for an alternative treatment [...] an alternative medicine from Europe known as GcMaf" [see also depressing coda to the story]. The network was coordinated around St Benedicts Health Care -- a clinic so over-the-top in its cheerfully syncretic promotion of mutually-contradictory modalities (as the young people call them) that one could easily believe it to be Californian.**

The latest development is Immuno Biotech Ltd! This is located at the same premises as St Benedict Health Care and is owned by Doering, along with Michael Kelly,*** previously the St-Benedict-based source of GcMAF guidance. However, the clinic has the appearance of a subsidiary or a local franchise of Immuno Centre / First Immune / GcMAF.se. It shares its name with David Noakes' Guernsey company for GcMAF production.  The services it offers overlap with the specialties of Noakes' colleague Marco Ruggiero... sonoporation, "the Swiss Protocol", "Advanced In-House Imaging [...] i.e. Cortical Abnormalities in Children with Autism".

The cost of a first medical appointment at Immuno Biotech is NZ$460. "Follow up appointments can take up to 30 minutes and cost $230".

This is not nearly as funny as when GcMAF was an overseas phenomenon. I must distract myself now by arranging the transport of another shipment of freshly-harvested squaculture rainbows.
Thx to (et alia) Grant Jacobs, Mark Hanna
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* "Dr Doering has a friend that can get the drug down to around $450 a day as his friends wife is receiving this treatment and is doing great living with stage 4 cancer."
At Riddled we advise against drugs which the doctor is offering at a discount because another patient no longer needs the entire course of treatment.

** If the happy healthy sun-time banner at the St Benedicts site is any guide, it is the favourite provider of holistic solutions among Russian stock-photograph models.

*** Kelly is a Dielectric Resonance Management Practitioner and Biological Terrain Management Practitioner. He also owns "Vibronics Health" which offers Electronic Gem Therapy from the same address. His CV explains that having cured his own lymphoma with life-style changes,
In 2004 Michael trained under instruction from Dr Jon Whale of Whale Medical, on "Dynamic Radiometric Thermal Diagnostics" and "Dielectric Resonance Management Procedures" (Electronic Gem Therapy). He used this technology to further help repair and strengthen his body
In 2005 Michael trained under an associate of Dr Timothy Ray in his "Biological Terrain Managment", utilizing analysis of Saliva and Urine for health assessment and intervention recommendations.
In 2009 Michael completed four years training in Western Biomedicine and three years training in Acupuncture, at the Auckland College of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In 1992 Michael was initiated into the Sufi tradition and studied Psychology, Philosophy and Mysticism.
Coincidentally enough, the palatial Riddled offices happen to share premises with Mikey Hemlock's No-buzz vibrator-repair service, Œstrus. The shop has that name in the hope that people will ask how it is pronounced. This is our opportunity to explain that “The O is silent”.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Making Cockade

It was 4.20 in the Riddled office, which had relocated for convenience to the Wigglesworth lounge at the Old Entomologist, where we were trying to watch "Inanimate Objects Cage Match" on the Sports TV, despite the stream of interruptions.

First it was an albatross carrying a dildo in its beak, tapping at the window to ask directions to the 15th Century, where it was supposed to appear in a production of "Horology -- the 13 Clocks & the Wonderful O" (an early Renaissance farce, Twain Thumbes Upp from the Nuremberg Chronicle, Ye Banquette Skene was one laughfe one minuet). We gave it directions and the perfidious albatross was on its way. Not much had happened in the TV sports; neither pen nor sword had made a move despite the high expectations for the former.

Then tigris turned up in a huff which she left parked outside. "Did either of you happen to read the comment from Rurritable in last week's Arachnophobia thread?" she asked, accusative and tense.

"Oh no," Another Kiwi vouchsafed. "We never read comments. That's a job for Little Tim the intern."

"Then he writes witty comments in our names," I said, "while we sit under the trees in the garden bar quaffing Roggen-Wolfen-Dunkel-Weizen-Spezial. The duties are strictly demarcated, it is only fair."
This crane JUST CANNOT
with the knots in its neck
"You should read it," tigris explained, so we obeyed. The comment links to a Rawstory post which simply echoes a post at some Medical clickbait site which in turn quoted a video in which an Australian evolutionary biologist opened his facehole and let the stupid out. And I was all "I don't even" and AK was all "Finish your Roggen-Wolfen-Dunkel-Weizen-Spezial, you'll feel better."

I am not making this up:
The environment in which humans live in also factors in penis size. Early humans had to endure freezing temperatures that were more tolerable due to large penises, which release heat. The human penis helped regulate body temperature keeping it warm and cool.
It warms and it cools, penes are magic! I am the satyr in the painting, suspicious of the blowing on things to warm them and to cool them, breath is magic too! It is a pity that 50% of our early human ancestors did not have large penes so they never survived the icy conditions of equatorial Africa.

"I can only surmise," AK vouchsafed, "that Curnoe was influenced by Alex Werth's discovery that bowhead whales have a 12-foot organ of erectile spongiform tissue inside their mouths which they use to dump excess body heat."
"I remember that story," I said. "Didn't we put Greenish Hugh in the Evolvamat to trigger his dormant genes and see where he would develop erectile spongiform tissue, and with what function?" We shared a chuckle over the memory of Evangeline van Holsterin's reaction when Greenish Hugh tried to drink a beer after the experiment. The full implications of Werth's observation for the field of cetacean asphyxiation porn and auto-erotic bondage remain to be seen.
Anyway, back to the clickbait article:
Whether you’re a couple of inches more or less than the average penis size, chances are you’re a lot larger than your primate cousins.
"I should have thought," I said, "that at most 50% of readers would have larger penes than non-human primates."

"Rawstory and Medical Daily don't have female readers," AK explained; "they all died of poor body-temperature control."

"Buggrit -- we missed the end of Pen vs. Sword. Now they've moved on to Egg vs. Chicken. Egg seems to have the advantage."

"Switch channels," AK suggested. "They should be setting up the nets for Piscine Tennis about now on the other channel."

"Sea-horses are shite tennis-players," I opined.

Friday, April 10, 2015

It's a pity that there are no Blue Öyster Cult lyrics on the theme of 'Astronomy' that might be used as a title for this post

Which scientific specialty attracts the greatest number of independent researchers whose innovative ideas are best expressed in green ink and miniscule script on the backs of old envelopes? This question appears again and again in the Riddled Advice Column mailbag, as if the readers think we have special expertise to draw upon.

A comment thread over at Scholarly Open Access last year degenerated quickly into a discussion of crank-friendly journals, and one cannot help noticing the preponderance of maths, theoretical physics and cosmology publications. Even in that company the Journal of Cosmology stands out for its editorial emphasis on panspermia and Hydro-Gravitational-Dynamics creationism, and for its authors' use of what appear to be Christian Psychedelia album covers to illustrate their neologasms of deeply-meaningful word coinage.
Conversely, there are surprisingly few free-lance particle physicists and molecular biologists seeking outlets for the discoveries they made from outside the mainstream in their improvised basement laboratories. Vertebrate zoology has the Monkey-Fucked-a-Pig and Initial Bipedalism theories of hominid ancestry... invertebrate zoologists have to make do with Williamson's larval-transfer hypothesis. Psychology is completely devoid of outsider science and wild-eyed loons for they devise new therapies and are welcomed into the fold (or onto Fox News) as valued practitioners.

So it happened that I was browsing through old edit logs at the Whackyweedia the other day, as one so often does when stuck in a barrel and waiting for the Anti-Bat Pills to start working, when the following list of contributions caught my eye. Someone operating from a Minnesota IP address spent a busy three weeks in 2012, improving various Whacky entries by the insertion of references to papers in Astronomical.Review.
Suffice to say that papers on interstellar travel and the Multiverse are likely to be more speculative than empirical.

"What in the name of feck is the Astronomical Review?" you ask. The bad news is that the Weedia's own entry on Astron.Rev. was discontinued just the other day IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPHECY due to a shortage of bytes on the Innertubes. But never mind, the good news is that yer kindly uncle Smut has researched the Google and has all the details, which he will proceed to explain at exhaustive length with the occasional profanity.

We should begin with the journal's own website. It was a Minnesota-based quarterly, edited by Dylan Fazel, with no author fees. Or a nominal $25/page fee, depending on which part of the dogs breakfast website you are looking at. This seems reasonable unless your cosmological insights stretch across 83 pages. In that connection, here is Michael Peck -- a Relativity revisionist with refreshingly novel views about Red Shifts -- complaining that the Astron.Rev. staff accepted his magnum opus on "The Theory of Everything: Foundations, Applications and Corrections to General Relativity" and then wanted to edit it down to 25 pages.

The editorial policy leaned towards open-mindedness and new ideas, in the manner of a Salon des Refusés (which is not to be confused with the Saloon des Refusés -- a rather rough bar in the XVIIIe arrondissement redeemed by its unparalleled range of absinthes). Many of the papers had already been self-published in ArXiv or ViXra before the authors needed the imprimatur of appearance in a recognised print journal. Am I the only one who thinks that Imprimatur sounds like the hereditary title of the arch-villain in a Swords-&-Starships space-opera novel?

Those last paragraphs use the past tense because Astron.Rev. was bought last year by Taylor & Francis, juggernaut colossus of academic publishing. The T&F website for the journal already lists a paper in press (although the Editorial and Reviewers slots remain unfilled) and has hiked the Article Publishing Fee up to a flat charge of $750 / £469 / €625. This will be a bargain for anyone seeking to publish 83 pages of Relativity revision.

But this is where the baby's bath-water is muddied, and the tracks are muddled, by the appearance of a third website, from Knowledge Enterprises Journals. One of the three is an odd one out. It is, either Two Woozles and one, as it might be, Wizzle, or Two, as it might be, Wizzles and one, if it is so, Woozle. Let us continue to follow them.
This whole business of two memories three websites is not a cunning plan to manufacture controversy and convince the Whickyweedia that Astron.Rev. is indeed sufficiently newsworthy to restore the entry. It is closer to the way that there was originally Amon Düül, who split into Amon Düül II (who wanted to be commercial and sell records) and Amon Düül I (who were more into communal living and hippie stuff). It would seem that his time in the editorial chair has inspired Dylan Fazel of Minnesota with the love of academic publishing, and despite handing the journal over to T&F he is loath to leave show business, so he became Knowledge Enterprises Journals and added six new asses to his stable.

The KEJ site notes that
The Astronomical Review is no longer published by Knowledge Enterprises Journals
but Dylan Fazel is using a bog-standard OA platform with a template which fills in a lot of crap by default, so it still solicits on-line submission of contributions. We would wish him good luck if it weren't for the irritating spam sent to plague potential contributors / reviewers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dogma. meet karma... but I see you've already been introduced chased each other

A Juggernaut from the Ratha-Yatra is top-heavy, slow-moving, and hugely impractical, and requires a vast staff of minions. Surprisingly, there are no Top Gear episodes in which the team commandeer a couple and race them through the streets of Puri. MAKE IT SO.

So when one of the many US Izvestia clones tries to pimp out presidential aspirant Rand Paul as "an Internet juggernaut that his competitors will be forced to chase", yes, this seems fair enough.

They further describe Paul as "tech-savvy and youth-focused", this being America, where a 52-year-old tribble-mobility-vehicle can claim to Speak for the Yout and the courtiers will pass on his self-assessment unquestioningly. As for the "tech-savvy" part, the Wonkettariat were deriving no end of delight from Paul's unfamiliarity with this thing called a DMCA, which resulted in his announcement speech disappearing from the Youtuber because he didn't think Warners would notice him borrowing their musical property. He is, however, as aware as any high-school student of the plagiaristic potential of the Whackyweedia.

It belatedly occurs to me that if you put one of the St Petersburg rostral pillars on wheels and pulled it along, it would be a Juggernautical.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that Man has ruled this world as a stumbling, demented child-king long enough! And as his empire crumbles, my precious Black Widow shall rise as his most fitting successor!

"It's Monday night," said Evangeline van Holsterin, head barmaid at the Old Entomologist, "so the Com-post [Wellington's paper of record] will have reprinted a press-release from some university,written with one sentence per paragraph, assuring people that whatever they thought all along is now validated by SCIENCE."

"Monday?" I said, shaking my watch. "I could have sworn it was only half-past Sunday. How time flies -- ow!"

"Don't mention the Time Fly project," Another Kiwi reminded me in a whisper. "People don't need to know. They just ask awkward questions."

"Is this about the bar tab?" I asked.

"Just saying," said E.v.H., "that it will soon be Tuesday, and some of us have homes to go to, and those who don't should probably hie themselves to the Riddled office and write a post assuring people that whatever they thought all along about the laziness of churnalists and the intellectual timidity of their confirmation-bias-addicted readership is now validated by SCIENCE."
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So this is the paper being currently pimped from "Evolutionary Psychology for Dummies", a.k.a. Evolution & Human Behavior:
As the journal's name suggests, it is devoted to the principle that any cultural norm experienced by researchers becomes an immutable, evolutionary-hard-wired fact of human nature if it can also be found in a subject group of college students from the same culture. Another E&HB paper recently made it to the big time Pharyngula for proving that a specific spinal conformation in human female buttocks, if prefered by human male college students, must therefore be optimal for reproduction.

Anyway -- "Spiders at the Cocktail Party" singles out Latrodectus spiders as being sufficiently deadly, or at least (because they are not actually very deadly) as sufficiently annoying to our ancestors to explain arachnophobia as the evo-psych hardwiring du jour. The authors gloss over the absence of Latrodectus species from East Africa (where humans evolved) by referring us to a paleontology paper which does not mention spiders.
Now there is evidence from toothmarks in fossil skulls -- not to mention common sense -- that our prehuman ancestors were more preyed upon by members of the Felidae such as leopards. Causing Evolution to give us dedicated neural mechanisms for detecting, and an instinctual terrified response to...
OOOHH LOOK A KITTY

"Spiders at the cocktail party are not my idea of a horse doover," AK vouchsafed.

"It is bad enough," I agreed, "when they give you bits of cheese and pineapple on a toothpick and they fall off in the akvavit martini."

"Perhaps they are part of the gut macrobiome we keep hearing about."

"It is the thin edge of the slippery slope of the white elephant," I said. "I read a case study about arachnophagy in older females. The introduced species disrupted the patient's intestinal ecology and she was forced to swallow a succession of larger animals in ultimately futile attempts at biological control."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A question for the readers

Is there some scam I don't know about, or a clickbait website that lures a gullible Ukrainian audience by offering them access to the world of wonder and delight that is Riddled? Because this is our readership right now:

Eucrane politics and culture are not exactly high-rotation themes at the Riddled World of Science and Cowshed Maintenance, with a passing allusion to the two "blue" terms in the Eukrainian colour lexicon, and a one-off use of a Kurelek painting.

I am also concerned by their dependence upon IE and Windoze.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Together they fight crime

Hi, Ginj. Wass' happenin'?
Hi Bun. You know, same old same old, mustn't grumble... Someone's coming!
Cat? I know nothing of this "Cat" whereof you speak.
I have never seen that lagomorph before in my life.
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UPDATED with additional Flopsy for JP in comments.