Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.


Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.

Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Dying of thirst on a drowning planet

The vital importance of water in life and death

How drinking revitalizes old people

Albatrosses and lions are dying, but cleaning the air may sink the planet faster

The death of Christine Maggiore not from HIV but at least partly from dehydration and associated causes draws attention to the part played by water in human survival. On an individual level, dehydration can weaken and kill rapidly, much faster that starvation. Humans – 68 per cent water – may not survive a loss of even 10% of bodily fluid. Even a 2% deficit causes fatigue, dizziness and fainting, depending on the temperature.

Research by ‘American College of Sports Medicine’ shows that more than 300 people die of heat related illnesses every year. The study also confirmed that children are more susceptible to dehydration and heat illness than adults and once the children are dehydrated its almost impossible for them to regain their health

Dehydration exacts a deadly toll on Mexican immigrants crossing the US border on foot in the desert:

Today, because of increased enforcement elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, it’s the busiest corridor for illegal immigration. It’s also the deadliest.

The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tucson last year received 205 bodies of unidentified migrants. The number is at an all-time high, 10 times the annual rate back in the 1990s.

“Something has funneled people into the Sonoran Desert,” says Dr. Bruce Anderson, the office’s forensic anthropologist, who oversees the autopsies.

“They used to cross in Texas or California or New Mexico, in safer places. The Sonoran Desert is not a safe place to cross any time of year. In the summertime, it’s lethal.”

One of the concerns raised by the Israeli pounding of Gaza going on as we write is the nightmarish prospect of as many as 500,000 people running out of water completely. If they do, they will have no more than roughly four days to live.

This is what happens in the desert to those who would pick our fruit and tend our gardens:

In the dry desert heat, a hiker can lose half a cup to a pint of fluids every hour. To avoid dehydration, you would need to pack five or six gallons of water — at least 50 pounds — for a three-day trip. The most anyone can practically carry is four gallons, immigrant advocates in Tucson say.

As dehydration becomes severe, the body goes into hypovolemic shock in which multiple organs fail, shutting down in stages like someone turning off the lights in a house.

The blood thickens. Water stored between tissues in the arms and legs is robbed for use in the vital organs. The eyes lose water and go blurry.”

Then the gastrointestinal system shuts down, making it difficult to eat or drink.

“You can’t hold down water, and you just start puking anything you drink,” says Gerry Carrasco, a paramedic with the Border Patrol’s Border Search Trauma and Rescue team — BORSTAR for short — in southern Arizona.

The heart may begin to lose its rhythm as the body loses electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.

As the fluids become depleted, sweating stops and the body loses its ability to cool itself. Heatstroke sets in when the body temperature reaches 104 or 105 degrees. At 108 degrees, severe damage begins.

“At that point, the victim is unconscious, and it’s basically cooking brain cells,” Carrasco says.

For a diabetic, the cascade of failure is accelerated. The stress of dehydration can hasten a diabetic episode, in which blood sugar can soar to dangerous levels. The body begins urinating and sweating to get rid of the sugar.

As the body shuts down, the mind may also begin to go.

“People go into seizures and start hallucinating,” Carrasco says. “I’ve found guys hugging saguaros. I’ve found people completely naked. I’ve had females try to fight me.”

All this is risked for the golden opportunity to work for minimum wage (if paid at all by contractors) in the Greatest Country in the World amid local hostility to “illegals” who “don’t pay taxes” and “can’t speak English”.

Elixir of vitality

Many people would be healthier if they drank more fluids, it seems clear. This especially applies to oldsters, who tend to lose their sense of thirst as they grow older. Death is often preceded by refusal to drink.

The BBC News drew attention to the vital role of water in human health in June with its story about an effort to get seniors in a “care home” in Bury St. Edmonds, England to take more of the magic elixir which had dramatic efforts on their health and well being:

How care home keeps elderly healthy,
Monday, 23 June 2008 02:07 UK
BBC News
By Jane Hughes
Health correspondent

A year ago, 88-year-old Jean Lavender used to find walking any distance a struggle.

Now she is keen to get outside for a walk most days.

And she puts the transformation down to the most simple of medicines – water.

She is one of a group of residents at a care home in Suffolk who have been encouraged to increase their intake of water.

And they have all reported dramatic results.

Jean says she feels 20 years younger.

“I feel more alert – more cheerful too. I’m not a miserable person, but it’s added a sort of zest.”

Staff at The Martins care home in Bury St Edmunds started a “water club” for their residents last summer.

Residents were encouraged to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, water coolers were installed, and they were each given a jug for their room.

The views of some residents after drinking more water

They report significant improvements in health as a result – many fewer falls, fewer GP call-outs, a cut in the use of laxatives and in urinary infections, better quality of sleep, and lower rates of agitation among residents with dementia.


Doctors have long highlighted the risks of dehydration for elderly people. It can cause dizziness and potentially serious falls, constipation, and confusion.

The whole home buzzes now; there isn’t that period after lunch when everyone goes off to sleep.

While most people’s systems can adjust to insufficient water, frail old people are far less equipped to cope.

So when Wendy Tomlinson, a former nurse, took over the management of the charity-run home, she suspected that drinking more water might help the residents feel better.

Even she has been surprised by how much difference it’s made, though.

“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “The whole home buzzes now; there isn’t that period after lunch when everyone goes off to sleep.”

For Baroness Greengross, a cross-bench peer, it reinforces a conviction she has had for some time now – that many old people simply are not drinking enough, and it is harming their health.

She wants to see tougher regulations in care homes across the UK, so that staff have to make sure residents drink enough.

“We hear a great deal about malnutrition among old people,” she says.

“But we forget about the need for them to have enough water. It shouldn’t be very difficult to change the habits of care staff.”

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/06/23 01:07:08 GMT

The world as toilet

Meanwhile, water is a problem on several planetary levels, due to pollution. The global shortage of water threatens to become catastrophic, and the seas are plagued with permanent plastic pollution which in the center of the Atlantic now is more plentiful than plankton.

Something is amiss in our global world water supply: Striped bass are succumbing to flesh-eating bacteria in Chesapeake Bay; seabird chicks are starving in Hawai‘i; coral reefs are weakening under a growing assault of invisible contaminants and an increasing variety of aquatic animals are showing signs of developmental disorders. Experts and citizens are racing to find clues to the causes—and the solutions. Find out how we all can make a difference.

That’s the teaser for our latest PBS viewing, the dramatically presented Dirty Secrets, a National Geographic special, according to which the seas off Africa are so short of fish that the natives of Ghana have eaten most of the wild life as “bushmeat” and lions and elephants have been replaced with baboons so aggressive they raid the chickens of villagers at night.

Then there is the rise in the sea level which global warming threatens. According to scientists such as Jim Hansen in tonight’s Nova episode of planetary doomsaying on Channel 13, Dimming Sun, our polluting the atmosphere (which now kills a million Indians a year) has actually slowed global warming up till now by sheltering the earth with extra, polluted cloud cover. If we succeed in cleaning up the atmosphere, the rise in sea level may be far greater than we ever imagined – nine feet or even higher, or “several meters per century” (Hansen).

48 Responses to “Dying of thirst on a drowning planet”

  1. jtdeshong Says:

    Well of course there are no comments, yet, as this blog makes no sense, at all.
    Of course most of these blogs do NOT make sense.
    However, let us break this down:
    TS, says Maggiore died of dehydration. OH yes, do not try to deny it. HE/SHE wrote an entire blog about it. Oh, yes, there so many up scale people in Van Nuys, California, who do not have access to WATER!!!!!! Well, of course, Ms. Maggiore, who was so callous and uptight as to let her own daughter die from a disease that Chrstine Maggiore herself GAVE to her own daughter, of course she is too vain to drink from her own toilet to save her own life.
    I can hear her now: “Oh, Mr. Scovill, as I am so de-hydrated, I can not remember your name. Please do not do an autopsy when I die from DE-HYDRATION. Just bury me and take up much needed land for a pathetic dead body. Wait, you better burn me up, so that later, none of these LIARS can dig me up and do a REAL autopsy, like they did for my daughter, EJ, who I sacrificed for a losing cause and did not give her a voice or even a chance to speak for herself.
    NO, it is best that you burn me (at the stake) as my dumb-ass, dis-illusioned followers, will follow me off of this cliff, all the while eating my AIDS infected PUSSY as they plummet to their deaths!!!
    YES, I am soooooooo proud that I am able in death, AS in life, to make these retarded minions to follow me over the proverbial cliff!!!!!!
    Christine Maggiore’s Ghost, known as J. Todd DeShong….
    my beautiful lover and GOD at

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    DeShong, this humble blog merely strives to present the scientifically validated truth, but you have added an admirable level of free entertainment, and in gratitude as we have said we shall keep your secret forever.

    However, let’s note in passing that it was the mainstream MD that diagnosed dehydration in Maggiore. Also, EJ was not given a proper autopsy, let’s be clear. She was given an autopsy which then after a long while came to conclusions which flouted its own evidentiary findings after the coroner was tipped off that this was an HIV-case and it wouldn’t be smart to contradict the superstition. One indication for this is the odd lack of public test result for EJ, last we heard, so we are led to think that perhaps it was negative, despite an effort to imply otherwise.

    But all this is needless wrangling over the obvious causes of both deaths versus death from HIV, which doesn’t fit at all even if you believe in the mainstream fatuity that HIV causes AIDS ten years after it has left the body.

    We gather you do, but so witty are your posts that we suspect that you are a sheep in wolve’s clothing in this arena, brilliantly bringing into disrespect the scientific nonsense you claim to support, and we will never give your secret away, DeShong, you are a brave and worthy man indeed.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    Those aware of the specious quality of the HIVisAIDS claim may note that at change.org, where their efforts to raise public consciousness and Presidential awareness of the issue by successfully voting it as the third most important issue for President Obama’s administration to address in Health proved in vain, because the organizers of the site, reportedly some gay businessmen from San Francisco, decided to demote it on the basis that it was “not suitable” for them to suggest at their press conference scheduled for January 15th at the National Press Club in Washington, may be interested to know that the Washington reporter hired to sum up the Five Top Controversies in Global Health at the site in an essay on Jan 1st or thereabouts, and having excluded the issue of whether the cause of AIDS is correct or not, explaining that in her opinion “The preponderance of evidence proves conclusively that HIV causes AIDS. I think that arguing otherwise is bad for human health, and I am not going to draw attention to it.” – Alanna Shaikh, and having thereby suffered some comments which attempted to set her straight on that front, has now achieved a miraculous escape from the resulting embarrassment with a simple though somewhat overly discreet maneuver, namely, a brazen removal of all such comments from her page, which now ends with her own comment as above, following one comment left which objects to her overlooking this important issue and refers her to the page at the same site, Change.org, on the issue which had more than 400 comments attached, Take A New Look At The Cause of AIDS, and which announced on Jan 1 that the issue had been voted into third place and was still in the running, but which now falsely states that it ended in fourth place, and was therefore taken out of the running, but which through some ethical ambivalence or political schizophrenia still carries the full 400 Comment discussion, so we wait with mild interest to see if that vanishes into the ether as well, though we don’t really care because we have already posted on Jan 1 a page here which memorializes it in full, New Year’s Eve Change.org Debate on Review of HIV/AIDS, where the full text of what is the latest public discussion of a serious and open nature on this vexed and long running issue can be read by all comers.

    As posted on our front page logo the editors and contributors of Science Guardian decided in the aftermath of this latter rather disgraceful though politically predictable treachery on the part of the owners of change.org to betray the trust of the many contributors to that important discussion by changing the vote totals after the ending of voting resulted in the issue winning third place on Jan 1, on the grounds that they had retrospectively decided the issue was not “suitable” for their purposes, to raise the same issue at Change.gov, the real site of Preseint elect Obama’s transition team, where it can be reached and voted on by finding this page, The Office of The President Elect and typing “cause of AIDS” into the search slot; it is currently the third listing. Voting tabs are on the right: “The cause of AIDS has been seriously disputed for 21 years in scientific journals by reputable scientists answered by HIV researchers only with politics (see scienceguardian.com). Will you order objective review to establish proper AIDS policy?”

    Meanwhile we have preserved the comment that we entered as the last Comment at the page of the wretched Alanna Shaikh, whose journalistic standards of accuracy and full disclosure seem a trifle thin, and hereby reproduce it for the benefit of posterity and any contemporary reader new to this blog who may be unaware of the true situation in HIV/AIDS scientific politics:

    Please be aware that the scientific literature in the form of the highest journals (Cancer Research 1987, Proceedings of the National Academy 1988, Journal of Biosciences 2003 etc) has carried an ongoing, professional peer-certfied review by the most distinguished researcher in the field concerned (retroviruses) of whether HIV is the cause of AIDS since 1987, and the review has consistently rejected this claim as unproven and unjustifed, and there has been no effective refutation of its arguments or citations in any peer reviewed journal, and no rebuttal even attempted in the major journals with the exception of Nature and Science, wherein the attempted rebuttals were not peer reviewed, just as the NIAID Web page rebutting the review is not peer reviewed either.

    The overwhelming evidence against HIV as the cause of AIDS cited in these ongoing reviews is a cause for everybody to urge a public review of this issue by objective reviewers outside the field of HIV research. It is an issue of major public concern that this has not been done, but instead has been evaded by politics and tactics smearing the supporters of review as objecting to a scientifically proven claim, which is untrue – the claim is unproven and unjustified according to the professional reviews ignored in the literature.

    Lay writers such as Alanna should be aware of the true situation and not imagine that the dispute is a matter of laymen criticising good science, when in fact it is a scientific dispute in the journals with the rejecting critique 21 years old and continuing, and unanswered by any peer reviewed rebuttal. What laymen are criticising is the scientists in the field who evade the professional review rejecting their favored idea with political responses discrediting the critics.

    Such writers are unwittingly supporting bad science against good science and good scientists. What they should be asking – and what change.org should be asking – is why supposedly good AIDS scientists who say their HIV=AIDS claim is good science should need to defend and protect it with politics and attempts to discredit opponents, rather than confidently answer the critique in public and in the peer reviewed journals where the editors are waiting for a proper response.

    All laymen and reporters who have not heard of the real extent of this dispute before should go to scienceguardian.com for extensive information on the issue, as well as aidswiki.com and other sites listed in the blogroll at scienceguardian.com. Then they should ask why it is that media from the New York Times downwards have not covered this valid scientific dispute in evenhanded fashion, but have taken sides in a matter that they are not qualified to arbitrate, since they do not themselves have time to study what has been written in the journals.

    Conventional wisdom and reigning beliefs in science are constantly overturned as science progresses, please see the Nobels, which are often won by overturning previous mainstream beliefs.

  4. Cathyvm Says:

    From the kinky keyboard of our favourite joker:
    “Hi, Again, Peter,
    I noticed how vehement you are about these denialists, as I am. I am at a point where I truly believe these denialist need to be held accountable for the myriad of deaths that they are DIRECTLY responsible for! It is for that reason that I am putting all my efforts into bringing them to accountability via the law.
    I was hoping that you are also at that point. I, along with two others, one a scientist and one a web designer, are in communication to find a law firm to help in this endeavor. This is why I asked you to contact me via personal email. I whole-heartedly believe that now, with the death of Ms. Maggiore, along with the deaths of over 300,000 S. Africans, is the time to bring this matter to the American Court System.
    Please put your words into action with me and others and contact me personally at:
    jtdeshong@hotmail.com and let’s discuss this very real possibility.
    Thank you,
    J. Todd DeShong”

    Oh no, better lawyer myself up, Toddly’s fixing to sue us in the courts! Waaah (more PQOTD hand flapping).
    Todd – how does a perpetual student pay for a lawsuit exactly? You’re not… OMG you ARE!

  5. jtdeshong Says:

    Cathyvm, this just shows how much you do not know.
    It is currently in the works for Duesberg et.al. to be held accountable for Crimes Against Humanity.
    However, YOU have nothing to worry about. No one is going to go after a person whose only claim is that she can give birth.
    Stay tuned. Maybe, just maybe you’ll learn how to act like a grown adult with children.
    Poor, poor children.
    J. Todd DeShong

  6. jtdeshong Says:

    Oh, and I stand corrected, Truthseeker,
    God knows the LA County ME is the LAST person to perform a “proper autopsy”!! And what a conspiracy. Yes, Christine Maggiore WAS so influential, that the LA County ME decided that all the denialists would fall into line with a FAKE autopsy.
    BTW, have you even looked at the autopsy report? It was Quest Diagnostics that did the testing that showed EJ had HIV in her brain.
    So, let me get this straight. This conspiracy consisted of the entire LA County ME staff as well as the Techs at Quest Diagnostics?
    Yeah, I LOVE how you guys are NOT conspiracy theorists!!
    Thanks again for proving what a complete idiot you are.
    Sincrerely, as always,
    J. Todd DeShong

  7. Cathyvm Says:

    Todd perhaps you should check your own facts. Ribe had an extremely chequered history regarding his reports and has been challenged and subsequently changed his testimony on many occasions. You may be in the camp that “doctors are always right” but some of us are more sceptical. I was married to a doctor for 9 years Todd, and I could tell you some stories that would make your hair stand on end (had you any).
    My “only claim” is not that I can give birth – some of us do not have to resort to puffery and public preening to get our jollies like you appear to do.
    My “poor children” are grown so don’t be insulting them with your faux sympathy. And actually Todd, you know, you are building a self-profile of a Norman Bates-type character here. You think childbirth and breastfeeding are disgusting? You obviously hate your mother, and yet at 44 years of age you still live with her? What was it Todd? Did she shame you over your potty training? Made fun of your undersized John Thomas? Wet the bed until you were 10 and she hung the sheets out the bedroom window? There is something seriously dysfunctional about your situation. Make friends with Seth Kalichman – veteran AIDS trick cyclist – he might give you a discount on your very much needed therapy.
    Run Mrs DeShong, RUN!
    And just BTW – why is it when someone accuses someone else of stupidity, the accusation is usually made by an illiterate idiot, “Thanks again for proving what a complete idiot you are.
    Sincrerely, as always,”
    Have you heard of spellcheck Todd? Don’t be fobbing us off with the “typo” excuse – you have demonstrated your illiteracy over and over again. Dolt!
    Oh wow – as I write this Todd I just saw you on the programme “Cops”, half naked, HIV-positive man rolling around in a Fort Worth alley – sure looks like you Todd.

  8. MacDonald Says:

    Dear Todd Dy Rum

    It is incumbent on me to advise you that a few emails back and forth between you and Napoleon doesn’t mean that anything is “in the works” with regard to Prof. Duesberg. In fact it is high time you face the truth; you ARE Napoleon, Mr. Rum. Just ask yourself this, why are you and Monsieur Napoleon never present in your mum’s basement at the same time?

    You are simply having an exchange with yourself, Monsieur Napoleon – or Mr. Rum if you prefer to remain pseudonymous here. It is a common side effect of drug withdrawal and consequent resurgence of p24 in your brain. If you cut out a tiny sample from your frontal lobe and send it to Acme Diagnostics in a sealed envelope, they will be able to provide you with independent confirmation of my diagnosis.

    But right now it is imperative that you immediately resume the quadruple ARV regimen I’ve previously prescribed for you. I must inform you that in light of your recalcitrance I have been in touch with Clark Baker concerning your current address and whereabouts, and uniformed hospital staff will in all likelihood pay you an informal visit within the next 48 hours to instal the new generation X-haler (TM), featuring built-in surveillance camera and two-way audio.

    We may also have to remove your mum and charge her with gross negligence. Mr. Baker is currently looking into the possibilities. If it comes to that, and I sincerely hope it does, we might be able to replace your mother on an experimental basis with an exciting new pipeline product designed to inspire drug compliance. It is called “Bedfellow” (TM), but we jokingly refer to it as the Iron Maiden.

    The Iron Maiden comes in the shape of one of the life-size plastic dolls, with which you are already familiar. It will be strapped onto you and you are required to wear it at all times, except when showering. Using technology developed for the original X-haler, the doll will regularly sniff your breath and test your saliva for drug compliance. The detection apparatus is located in the doll’s mouth, so you can simply go ahead and kiss it every time you’ve popped a pill. This will result in a soothing sensation and a sense of love and reward in addition to the snug feeling of having a watchful female eye on you 24 hours.

    In the unlikely event you should forget to take your drugs, the Iron Maiden will immediately play loud rock music and shine a torch in your face while repeating the word “naughty” over and over in a mechanical reproduction of your mum’s voice. In this way we smartly combine the loving and vigilant aspects of parenthood with punishment of a character not defined as torture under the Geneva Convention.

    The product has so far been tested on rats with encouraging results, but you will no doubt be thrilled to know that you are our first simian subject, Monsieur Napoleon.

    Your best friend

    Onan M.D.

  9. Cathyvm Says:

    McDonald may I commend you on the most witty post thus far. You deserve a “Freedom Medal” for that post alone. What? Wait! Oh, it turns out “Freedom Medals” only go to mass murderers and liars. Oops!
    Your Iron Maiden idea is not so silly. But rather than shining a torch in the face and shouting “naughty” in momma’s voice I would respectfully suggest that in Todd’s case that might be too gratifying. He must love that whole “mummy berating” gig or he wouldn’t still be living in her basement at 44 years of age. No, I suggest a strongly male voice shouts at 135 decibels “swallow, swallow, swallow” followed by a severe nipple-tweak and failing that a violent poke in the nuts, and if the relevant “drug-laden breath” is not exhaled within 10 minutes of this, then an autodial to the nearest “drug police” that can respond immediately and force the ARVs down the HIV-positive’s throat would be in order – for the good of the community after all.

  10. Cathyvm Says:

    My eyes again – apologies MacDonald I missed the “a”. I think I need new glasses.

  11. jtdeshong Says:

    Oh, Cathyvm and MacDonald,
    If this is your idea of humor and wit, let’s just say that we do not see eye to eye on that as well as the HIV/AIDS issue.
    And again, I love the hypocrisy. You say I am illiterate, and not a human being capable of type-o’s, and yet you spell skeptical with a “c”??? Yes, I know it is a variation, but is that your excuse for not understanding the science of HIV? You are just an alternative thinker?
    Whatever helps you sleep at night.
    Also, why is it that only you three post here?

  12. Cathyvm Says:

    Todd I spell sceptical with a “c” because that’s how I spell things in my language – English. Not a “variation” just how peeps in my home country spell stuff. Like “night” vs “nite”. And no it is not hypocrisy; you keep claiming “typos” when in fact the problem is you can’t spell, you can’t think, and are unutterably ILLITERATE – you aren’t fooling anyone – you are dumb and dumber rolled into one – a veritable dumb jam roly-poly! Go back to snogging (also an English colloquialism) your precious doggie – nobody else would tolerate your crap.

  13. pat Says:


    Before you embark on your “persecution for crimes against humanity” -world tour I strongly suggest you consult a lawyer. It will put you back a few hundred bucks and a joke on you, perhaps, but at least you will quickly find out (2-5 min. tops) how utterly hysterical and unfeasable your idea is. You must realise that this idea alone puts you squarely on the side of extremism. Trust me, you do not want to be known as an extremist. It is a sad and lonely place to occupy.
    My friend, you are in dangerous intellectual territory.

  14. Truthseeker Says:

    Talking of illiteracy, a fairly useless activity admittedly when faced with an illiterate, an NBC correspondent on television news tonight scored a signal triumph which we feel should go down in recorded history as possibly the last time the correct placement of the word “a” in front of the word “historic” occurred in this grammatically benighted country, an event for which the correspondent deserves a SG medallion and will indeed be awarded one in the upcoming Science Guardian Annual Awards of Merit Beyond the Call of Duty Ceremony this spring in the beautiful setting of the Central Park Delacorte Theater duck pond on the first warm sunny day in April.

    “This morning Obama, who pledged to bring troops home from Iraq, honored the nation’s fallen warriors at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Later, the family attended services at a historic DC black Baptist church, greeted by residents of the affluent neighborhood who lined the streets.”

    That is a verbatim transcript of the report by NBC’s John Yang, who, we surmise, being of Oriental heritage, was merely following his family’s studious if not scholarly heritage in finding out and using the correct English language usage for a construction which is generally falling into disreputable disrepair all over the world now as the misguided formulation “an historic” curdles the sensitivities of the educated each time it is used, which is now almost invariably, often on the authority one supposes of “media consultants” to the television industry.

    One shudders at the memory but one has often heard the incorrect “an” as in “an historic” used even by the modern BBC, a signal indication of how far it has fallen in its standards from its previously Olympian plane.

  15. MacDonald Says:


    Ever the cruel ‘ost, you are moving into territory where, as far Mr. DeShong is concerned, more dragons roam than in the land of the biological sciences.

    To be fair ‘e started it all ‘imself, and I think the genesis of ‘is latest sceptic/skeptic toe-cringer is a story worth sharing, since it reveals ‘Deshong’s yearning for an authoritarian father figure to balance the un’ealthy one-sided influence exerted by ‘is mum.

    DeShong ‘as seen that Bauer spells the name of ‘is blog “skeptic” and in his secret admiration for Bauer, DeShong ‘as simply accepted that as the definitive form of the word. What’s interesting is that ‘e uses the male authority borrowed from Prof. Bauer, the ideal father to strike at Cathy, the surrogate mother figure.

    Like many disturbed individuals, DeShong’s pathogical activities are really attempts to free or transform himself (see Silence of the Lambs for a popular reference). In this case the subject is attempting to cure his own ‘omosexuality by freeing ‘imself from the smothering influence of ‘is mother. DeShong embraces the patriarchal guilt-and-punishment religion of ‘IV/AIDS in much the same way.

    Freud saw early on that homosexuality and anal fixation was often associated with a dominant mother and a weak or absent father. DeShong sees ‘is own sexuality as an aberrance in those terms, rather than as a natural occurrence. ‘e blames the mother for emasculating and feminizing ‘im but leaving ‘im as incomplete as a woman as ‘e feels as a man.
    If one goes through DeShong’s statements, one will notice that the obsessive ‘ostility against Cathy is focused on her ability to give birth and to lactate, which of course reminds ‘im of ‘is own essential shortcomings. DeShong is, in short, a failed bottom.

    There is no great risk that DeShong will actually act on his threats and kill his mother, Cathy or even Prof. Duesberg, since his condition is characterized by general impotence towards authority figures and their surrogates. Suicide is a far more likely outcome, but it will be the usual passive suicide by drugs, hypochondriasis and other un’ealthy living. Of course the only truly transforming step will be as diffcult for him to make as the proverbial passing through the needle’s eye, namely abandoning the patriarchal religion ‘e has embraced, and according to which he is damned if ‘e does and damned if ‘e don’t.

    But I am digressing. The life and times of Mr. DeShong is a trivial matter compared to the ‘istorical affront our ‘ost ‘as just offered to English speakers of distinction. Silent ” ‘ “es are most emphatically not a unique characteristic of commoners and Americans. Those of us with ancient French connections use “an” consciously, consistently, and with phonetic precision, also when writing.

    Yours, Sir, is but snobbery of the kind dealt with in irresistible fashiony by Ms. ‘ayworth and, allegedly, Martha Mears (as the voice) right here:

  16. MacDonald Says:


    For those uncultured individuals who don’t know the plot of every Golden-Age American musical by heart, yes, “Poor John” is the distinguished but unsuspecting gentleman on the balcony with the eerie resemblance to our blog ‘ost.

  17. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, it seems that prolonged engagement with the Freudian oddity you castigate has derailed you into a most extraordinary confusion of misapprehensions, grammatically speaking, which even this host, whose business in life is to deconstruct any tangled confusion of misapprehension in the minds of opinion leaders in science such as yourself, cannot completely fathom.

    Let’s spell it out in simple terms so that our editorial position is clear. We have nothing against a dropped ‘aitch, in fact, we love Michael Caine and any other barrow boy who makes good. Cockneys as far as we are concerned are the salt of the earth. Furthermore, you may not be aware that it is entirely U to drop the ‘aitch if you so desire, even among the finest representatives of the British Hupper Classes of the traditional sort, ie the kind that will just as soon shoot you as quail if you lay a hand on their daughters, unless you have a suitably large bank balance.

    The complaint we were making and the praise we lavished on John Yang quite rightly was in regard to his dropping the “n” in the increasingly ubiquitous and grammatically horrendous formulation “an historic”, which for some reason he is aware should be “a historic”, since the h in historic is sounded, and there is no justification at all for saying “an historic”, unless you drop the h in historic, which no properly educated person such as you or I would do when reporting the news on the box.

    Of course even we have our limits when it comes to grammar. For instance, whether that “you or I” above should be “you or me” is something beyond our level of scholarship. We are going by intuition. After all, dictionaries exist to record the pronunciation and usage of persons of education such as you and we, so intuition should serve.

  18. Truthseeker Says:

    Stunning video, MacDonald, of Rita Hayworth as a young beauty on stage in a very pretty song and dance number, though the relevance to us is as obscure as ever. The dance steps of the four who join her at the end are hilarious.

    On a sadder note, here is a vivid example of “They don’t want to know the truth”, the eternal theme here at SG, in the Gaza doctor who has lost three daughters to an Israeli shelling of his home after spending years working in Israel and standing up for peace and brotherhood, who when he gives a press conference in Israel, is reacted to by angry Israelis who are sure in their cognitive dissonance he must have been harboring Hamas gunmen:

    Gaza Doctor Receives Angry Reception at Press Conference

  19. MacDonald Says:

    But the point is, the aitch in “historic” is not necessarily sounded. Therefore any good Cockney. like Rita Hayworth, would be fully within her rights to add an “n” to make up for the lost aitch.

    Apart from making a fool of Poor John, who has many of the same problems with his snobbish mother as Poor Todd – although the latter has received no equivalent education – Lovely Rita makes the same distinct phonetic joke twice when she makes a great effort to pronounce
    ‘appy and ‘ead but still drops the initial letter. There’s the direct connection.

    I believe it was Gene Kelly who choreographed those amusing steps, and possibly also Hayworth’s theatrics during the song, since he usually took charge of all choreography. Compare with the somewhat overlooked, super tightly choreographed Vaudeville act “Fit as a Fiddle” from the later Singing in the Rain:


  20. MacDonald Says:

    Hmm, Apparently Stanley Donen wa co-choreographing some of the acts. I think Gene had the last word.

  21. MacDonald Says:

    Ok I re-read, and you are saying it is bad manners even for Michael Caine and a Frenchman in London to drop the aitch in “historic” when performing in a non-fictional context?

  22. Truthseeker Says:

    Oh no, your point is freely granted if anyone such as Cockney naturally drops the h in historic to ‘istoric; then it makes sense to sound the ‘n’ as in “an ‘istoric”.

    But to follow “an” with “historic” in a public statement by a television anchor, say, who is a model for our young children is wrong simply because after all the whole mode of using ‘a’ before a consonant and ‘an’ before a vowel is to save the awkwardness in articulating that kind of syllable pattern, “an” followed by “h” or any other consonant.

    It’s difficult to say, and is presumably why the usage adapted to save the situation, or just naturally resulted “An historic” is just plain difficult to say fluently, don’tcha think, it introduces a kind of backward jump in the flow of breath?

    The supreme principle we are appealing to is that it is natural and makes sense to say “a historic” if you are sounding the ‘h’. That is why it is an amusing mistake not to do so. To use “an” before “historic” is awkward, an amusingly artificial effort along the lines of using an anti-macassar on one’s chair or sofa, and/or calling a sofa a “settee” It is an effort to be correct or “classy” which backfires because it ironically reveals the artificiality of the attempt, and suggests that one thinks one is aping one’s betters by putting diapers on an ape, as it were.

    If one wants to rise in the status structure one has to do it in a natural way or one is exposed as a pretender, and becomes a source of amusement. That is why after long and careful consideration we resisted putting a plastic flower in the drainage hole in our bathtub, although we were tempted.

  23. jtdeshong Says:

    For someone (ME) who is sooo “trivial” you losers (all three that post here) sure do spend
    el mucho time trying to denegrate me!! Keep trying!! I have too much self worth and integrity to do anything but laugh at your sad, pathetic attempts!!
    And Cathyvm, I love the screaming posts you left at my blog about your vaginal thrush and all the problems with your pregnancies!!! Keep up the good work!
    As Always, With Utmost Sincerity!!
    J. Todd DeShong

  24. Truthseeker Says:

    Deshong, thank you for your post which once again puts the quality of HIV/AIDS paradigm thinking on the part of its supporters into perfect perspective.

    But could you perhaps use a spell checker on words you find difficult, such as “denigrate”?

  25. Cathyvm Says:

    Nah, TS, DePong thinks spellchecker is actually smellchecker and he wouldn’t want to risk opening that can of stinky worms now would he? It might seek out all that smegma in mummy’s basement.
    And while I never thought DeProng ever “had the plot” to start with, what on earth is he babbling on about with thrush and pregnancies? As far as I know I never had a thrush or any other aviary-type creature up my “privates” during my pregnancies or otherwise.
    Really DeGlong (not) – I think you need some help pretty soon. You are becoming more unhinged by the day.

  26. MacDonald Says:

    Like Seth Kalichman, Prong is desperate for some traffic to his website. Obviously he couldn’t think of anything more enticing than a Comment about thrush.

    Excpect to see him write such a Comment in your name one of these days, just before his site finally keels over.

    A much more promising new joint is “Snoutworld”, dedicated to “Bauer and his friends” no less:


    Quite apart from the amusing seriousness with which the author approaches his subject-matter, Dr. Bauer, and the increasingly ridiculous appearances by the omnipresent Seth Kalichman (who now charges that Bauer’s book was really written by David Crowe), Snout might once in awhile deliver a good analysis – something completely beyond Prong.

    Do check out the profile of this fearless champion of scientific truth and justice:

    Just like “Dr” Eleni Eleopulos-Papadopulos and Val Turner, Snout has never been Professor of anything at the University of Western Australia either

    Although Snout is capable of putting together a basic argument (unless it is really David Crowe who writes for him), the basic sentiments driving him are as infantile as Prong’s.

    With Snout, therefore, we get the best of all worlds: Trrll’s dignified indignance, Noble’s hard-hitting debating style, AIDStruth’s relentless smear machine and the infantile antics of deprong. Fellow dissidents, with Snout you can do all your shopping in one place!

  27. Cathyvm Says:

    Oh goody – Snout is the “Tesco” of HIV-AIDS?

  28. Robert Houston Says:

    From his Olympian aerie the scholarly Truthseeker has proclaimed the phrase “an historic” to be a “grammatically horrendous formulation.” He explains that it “should be ‘a historic’ since the h in historic is sounded.” Although this may seem reasonable, proper usage often includes alternates, which may have their own reasons. For example, for many of us it’s easier to go from a consonant to a predominant vowel sound as in “an historic.”

    In any case, the world’s grammarians must be put on alert, for heretofore most believed that both “a” and “an” were acceptable usage before a sounded but unstressed h-syllable. The world’s educated class must be re-educated, for according to Google they’ve written hundreds of thousands of books and articles containing the phrase “an historian.” Leading dictionaries apparently were not aware of Truthseeker’s rule and will have to revise their advice ASAP. Here are two examples:

    Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition, p. 1: “Before unstressed or weakly stressed syllables with initial h both a and an are used in writing (a historic, an historic) but in speech an is more frequent whether \h\ is pronounced or not.” (Similarly, in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.)

    Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Vol. 1, p. 424: “an…The older and fuller form of a, now retained…by most writers before h…in unaccented syllables, as an hyaena…”

  29. Truthseeker Says:

    Bob, you are right in your quotation, for sure, and certainly your pointing to the usage of an before an unstressed syllable is a powerful point backed up by most dictionaries, but Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is not an authority we necessarily recognize, since it appears to be an assembly of contributions by underpaid starving freelancers and appear in a variety of brands which are not even the original Merriam Websters. Our touchstone is the full Oxford English Dictionary from the mother country, from whence all English flowed.

    The problem is that usage in America is often a corruption of good grammar, which is precisely what we are objecting to here, usage which runs counter to historical trend and common sense, arising from the vain efforts of the untutored and miseducated to adopt what they imagine is the usage of their betters.

    Thus our own red cloth bound copy of the Merriam-Webster Inc. publishers of Springfield, Massachusetts 1988 Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, emblazoned with the registered trademark “A Merriam-Webster” (already ungrammatical in that label), states that

    “in speech and in writing a is used before a consonant sound (a door) (a human). Before a vowel sound an is usual (an icicle) (an honor) but especially in speech a is used occasionally, more often in some dialects than in others (a apple) (a hour) (a obligation). Before a consonant sound represented by a vowel letter a is usual (a one) (a union) but an also occurs though less frequently now than formerly (an unique) (such an one). Before unstressed or weakly stressed syllables with initial h both a and an are used in writing (A historic) (an historic) but in speech an is more frequent whether h is pronounced or not. In the King James Version of the Old testament and occasionally in writing and speech an is used before h in a stressed syllable (an huntress) (an hundred) (children are an heritage of the Lord).”

    According to the guide to grammar and usage in the dictionary, the usage paragraphs such as the above are the “result of a special project chiefly in the hands of two editors with assistance from several others”. Given the result above for the case of a and an, one imagines that the two editors” were British expatriates whose journalistic careers had terminated in drunken failure, and the “several others” were unpaid interns from the undergraduette ranks of Smith and Sarah Lawrence that they were constantly harassing.

    To put it bluntly, this is the only way we can imagine they saw fit to include examples such as “an historic” on the supposition that an somehow goes with historic because the second syllable is stressed in historic, rather than the first. It doesn’t flow. Just try it. if you find it does, as you claim above, it introduces the thought that you may have an unusually if not uniquely athletic tongue.

    Seems fairly clear that the Smith undergraduettes were mistaken because they went back to earlier forms of English now left way behind by modern usage, which has been correct grammar for some time in this case. The Oxford English Dictionary (1971 ed.) confirms that an has been increasingly replaced by an since 1150 in the Midlands, and since 1340 in the south of England. “Its history thus shows a gradual suppression of the n before consonants of all kinds and in all positions.”

    In other words, the Smith and Sarah Lawrence interns and their oppressively misbehaving British expat editors were too preoccupied with their intraoffice relations to have noticed a trend which has been going on for 900 years, a trend which depends on the simple fact that it is easier to say “a historic event” than “an historic event”, a bit of common sense which is allied to all U versus non U language differences. Thus, sofa is the word and not settee because the darn thing is nothing more than a sofa, and the attempt to be high faluting and call it a settee is just an embarrassing reach for greater respect than one’s educational and social rank calls for, and one which inevitably fails.

    Anyhow, the OED says this:

    “An is the older and fuller form of a, now retained only before a vowel sound, as an orator, an honour, an x, an MP. Also by most writers before h, and by some even before eu, u (=yu) in unaccented syllables, as an hyena, an euphonic change, though many writers, and most speakers, now use a in such positions. A actually originated as one attentuated (an) (one) but by 1150 already attentuated in Midlands to a before a consonant, 1340 in the South.”

    Try saying “an hyena” or “an euphonic change” six times, fast. That’s our point. Clearly the OED editors are also quite wrong here too. Perhaps they were the same two drunks who later found employment in Springfield and treated the Smithies with such disrespect.

    We ourselves would never treat any Smith or Sarah Lawrence graduate with disrespect. We have nothing but the highest regard for any such person, for many good reasons. If they were wrong about an hyena, an error which even the august and usually perfectly reliable OED editors made also, it can only be because they were constantly distracted by the British editors who must have brought their nation into such disrepute in Springfield that none of the current inhabitants of that fair town have the slightest sympathy for the British losing their pubs, a horrifying trend which has lately been covered by WorldFocus on PBS and which even Obama probably cannot stop.

    Of course, you may object that the OED is no longer relevant to American usage, since the US broke away from the mother country in 1776. But we have an Oxford American Dictionary (1980 ed) from the Oxford University Press which straddles both cultures and is remarkably straightforward and decisive.

    Its entry for an reads as follows:

    (an) adj. (called the indefinite article) the form of a used before vowel sounds other than “u” (pr. yoo), an egg, an hour (but a unit).

    If the h is historic is sounded, it is not a vowel sound. So if you accept this dictionary as the authority on American English, an historic is simply wrong. Except as MacD points out, if you are a Cockney.

    Of course, we always have believed that dictionaries exist to record the pronunciation and usage of persons of education such as most contributors here. But then we were put down by S. J. Perelman in an interview in Writers at Work:

    “Writers who pontificate about their own use of language drive me right up the wall.”

  30. MacDonald Says:

    A tour de force no less. Bravo! Sophistry mostly, but bravo!

    However, we do have to ask you to retract this (these) aggregate statement(s) immediately:

    an assembly of contributions by underpaid starving freelancers (…) expatriates whose journalistic careers had terminated in drunken failure

    Or failing that, make us respectable by offering us a paid job with the possibility of advancing in social standing if we stay off the booze to all appearances.

  31. Robert Houston Says:

    Truthseeker’s magnificent comeback to my humble comment has demolished all objections. He has also managed to discredit both the best-selling American dictionary (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate) and the most authoratative English one (the OED). The explanations provided (inebriation of the editors and their unrelenting harassment of the young female English majors who toiled as their assistants) seem entirely plausible and convincing. This explains the total discrepancy between Truthseeker’s grammatical pronouncements and the usage notes in these evidently unreliable sources which the rest of the world foolishly consults for guidance.

    Truthseeker’s literary broadside has resulted in a major disruption in the quiet university library where I write. The shrieks of laughter it provoked have caused a buzzing commotion among the scholars and students and budding lexicographers on all sides. They want to know, what the hell is going on? Indeed, what is going on at Webster’s and the OED that they can get it all so wrong?

    For reliable documentation in support of his position, Truthseeker cited the 1980 edition of the Oxford American Dictionary, which states simply that “an” is “the form of ‘a’ used before vowel sounds other than ‘u’…” As Truthseeker surmises, “if the h in historic is sounded, it is not a vowel sound. So…’an historic’ is simply wrong.” However, it could be pointed out that “historic” and all other h-words that some precede with “an” contain more than two syllables. In omitting any discussion of usage with such h-words, the cultured British editor may have assumed that the American colonists, who only recently emerged from frontier savagery, would rarely use words of more than two syllables, so further discussion of such finer points was unnecessary. Later versions corrected this omission:

    The Oxford American Dictionary and Language Guide, 1999, at p. 31, adds regarding “an”: “Now less often used before aspirated words beginning with h and stressed on a syllable other than the first…

  32. Truthseeker Says:

    Obama transposed one word -“faithfully” – in his recitation of the oath of of office, after Roberts royally screwed up, and now the laziness of the Times reporter who writes the front page story today Thursday, I Really Do Swear, Faithfully: Obama and Roberts Try Again, shows through when he writes “he transposed a couple of words”.

    He transposed one word, Jeff, as you were told by Gregory Craig, the White House counsel, in the quote you use yourself in your ninth sentence, a few lines on. Don’t you read your own text over before sending it? Why not get it right?

    We learned a few days ago that the Times had received an infusion of $250 million from some Saudi so it should be able to pay off its May debt installment, but we still worry about its fate. It may be trying hard to add Web bells and whistles, but sad to say, it still can’t even get the fundamentals right on line.

    For example, the search when asked “Jeff Zeleny” just now does not list the article Jeff wrote which today appeared on the front page (lower right). This is typical. Often listing the name of the reporter (otherwise the best way to search the Times) doesn’t work for the day’s pieces.

  33. Truthseeker Says:

    The last disgrace of the Bush administration: they didn’t trouble to leave someone familiar with the White House behind to show the newcomers the way to the kitchen, toilets and office supplies.

    Anyone who has any breeding at all always ensures that visitors know where to go to find the lavatory. In this case it seems that people were left opening the door to the Oval Office in their hunt for relief.

    A small sign of how abysmal the social ethics of the Bush mob were. Perhaps Obama should order the spoons counted.

  34. jtdeshong Says:

    Robert Houston,
    Your work here is futile. TS does not have the intelligence, nor the moral compass to admit “an” mistake!!
    But keep up the great work. It’s nice to see a new poster here. Especially one with intelligence (besides me, of course.) Also, I was getting very tired of the same old three foes that can never quite live up to me. Hey, TS, at least I have more than the same old three, tired, ass kissers at my blog.
    Thanks for playing,
    J. Todd DeShong

  35. Truthseeker Says:

    If you had a purple ticket to the inauguration, you got stuck in a tunnel for the duration. See the story in the LA Times, They came for the inauguration but got stuck in a tunnel, which has to be the most striking story of security blockhead frustration we have ever read. Amazing that the crowd didn’t break out and storm the fences.

    Anyone who meekly follows security blockhead orders is likely to suffer a fate up to and including death, it seems eg 9/11. But what is one to do?

  36. MacDonald Says:

    One is reminded of one of the recent mining disasters, where more than a dozen miners, following their “in case of an emergency- any emergency” instructions, patiently sat themselves down and died while waiting for the rescue crew, when it appeared they simply could have walked out of the mine in 20 minutes or less.

    Although mining is one of the very few areas where admittedly I am not expert, one marvels at the Stone Age emergency options available to unfortunate miners. Oftentimes they don’t get rescued in time because there is no communication, so the ground teams are not able to tell the miners where to go and what to do; and those working from above don’t know where they are located.

    Does anyone know why it is apparently not feasible to run a cable protected by metal casing. perhaps dug into the ground, through the tunnel system with a small phone booth or intercom thingie every couple of hundred metres?

    Likewise, they only think about drilling holes through to the mine from outside after disasters have already happened. Is it really such an expensive process that they could not drill, say, half a dozen strategically placed holes as a routine measure?

    If one exercises one’s imagination slightly, several other things come to mind that don’t seem impossible or impossibly expensive, but could give the miners an edge. Instead it ‘s the good old oxygen for an hour or so, go to a natural air pocket, lay down and hope the rescuers get to you. Not much different than the optimistic 1950s “in case of nuclear war, duck and cover” ads.

    What say TS, would it not be possible to increase the odds for the stalwart people who for two centuries have fed the engines of both the English and the American industrial revolution?

  37. Truthseeker Says:

    If it is your informed opinion, DeWrong, that we “do not have the intelligence, nor the moral compass to admit error”, kindly be informed that it is the long standing tradition, nay, rule of this exclusive site that no Comment, even by those distinguished for their illiteracy in the scientific literature to which this site constantly refers in any medical matter about which we try to enlighten even the dunces of the world, goes uncherished IF and only IF the author demonstrates his views are based on objective facts to which he/she can point, backed up by expert published relevant data.

    If there is any portion of this extensive blog which now contains nearly 440 long posts and over 5000 comments which indicates lack of intelligence or moral compass on our part, perhaps you would like to point it out for our betterment, for which there is plenty of room, as many others have noted. Your particular claim is so far unique, however, possibly because lively Webwits are generally excluded in voluntary self-triage, not that we wish to imply that category includes your distinguished and humorously irresponsible self.

    MacD, your Comment is typical of the imaginatively constructive kind we need on this blog, whose spirit is devoted to thinking up better solutions to save the hides and lives of those who are trapped in large systems run by fools who have lost the ability to think outside the royal box provided by their colleagues.

    Which is one reason we like Obama, and expect great things.

    There is a general assumption that if a good idea hasn’t been implemented it cannot be worthwhile and has some defect that emerged in careful consideration by the top people well advised by experts, and experts and top men caught with their pants down like to suggest this is the case even if it isn’t and they simply hadn’t bothered to think outside the box.

    But one is never sure. For instance, why can’t one simply take a list of eg songs in a folder as text, rather than finding that any attempt to copy the list of songs results in copying all the songs? Perhaps there is a way we don’t know of, and we merely don’t know about it. But our ungrateful assumption tends to be that Bill “Let’s fire 5000 people even though we have $20 billion cash in the kitty” Gates hasn’t managed to hire people who actually use PCs and think of this omission.

    We imagine we are wrong. But some months of experience with generally fairly workable but Mac inferior Vista suggests we are not.

  38. jtdeshong Says:

    First of all, I am sorry for my absence! I have had better things to do. But now, I need to know, which one of you is Anthony Liversidge? Just wondering which moniker is this bastion of “truth”. Is it you, TS?
    Next, you may have posted 440 posts, but the 5000 comments just goes to show how you, MacD and Cathvm need to really get lives!!!
    Also, I am still waiting for the conclusion to the link below from you, TS!
    Come on now, you can make good. Can’t you?
    Also, from the paragraph above, I have to ask, do you know how to punctuate?
    Sincerely, as always,
    J. Todd DeShong

  39. pat Says:

    we are still waiting for you to address your anti-semitism. I quote from your blog and your very own words:

    “Dr. Bauer, the lying, cheating, KIKE,”

    and how you “stand” by your kike comment

    “Oh, do not worry, I stand by the KIKE comment.”

    What is it about Mr Bauer that makes you hate all jews?


    “Especially one with intelligence (besides me, of course.) ”

    please continue masturbating in public; it makes you look silly if not outright disgusting.

  40. Truthseeker Says:

    Glad to oblige shortly, DeShong, when priorities allow. Though as you have no doubt discovered in your scholarly reading of this site, we have already stated the solution to AIDS in several hundred posts.

    Gentlemen, please keep lurid language off this site, since all concerned have vivid imaginations.

  41. jtdeshong Says:

    I only started reading this site a few months ago, and do not have time to search in vain for whatever crazy herbal tea you may claim cures AIDS. I was only even alerted to the original post where you so boldly first claimed you would supply that info by someone who sent me a personal email laughing about this hilarious comment, which you never followed up on. So, give us your sage wisdom, or shut the hell up. Also, are you Anthony Liversidge? Lastly, if you divide that “5000” comments by 3, (you, MacD and Cathyvm) that means each of you has posted over sixteen hundred comments. God, get a phone you three.
    Now, for PAT, why is it that when I get a second to peruse the internet, I find you posting everywhere that I am an Anti-Semite, but not coming to my site to face me head on? Where did I ever write that I hate all Jews? Even if I hate Henry Bauer, and I do. Does not mean I “hate all Jews” Actually, I AM a Jew you miscreatan (Cathyvm, is that spelled right?) I wish I could set that horrible, coarse beard of Bauers’ on fire, and that is only because his “science” is so far off base as to be laughable. (Please read Reckless Endangerment blog which I have supplied a link to on my site) Reckless Endangerment is posted by Snout and he has dedicated the blog to the fallacies and inequities of Bauer.
    Now, back to me, the wonderful, beautiful, highly intelligent, me. I have explained to you elsewhere that my blog is mine and I can say what I want. It is irreverent to say the least. If someone whom I have called a liar, manipulator, killer and hypocrite ONLY has a problem with being called a KIKE, then that persons’ priorities are way out of whack. Lenny Bruce knew that words only have the power given to them by the listener. It is so hypocritical when gay people can call each other FAGGOTT (and I am proudly one such FAGGOTT/KIKE, although I have no problem being called that) yet they are offended when someone else calls them FAGGOTT. OR when a black person can use the word nigger to other blacks, but God forbid someone else use the word, then they are worse than “the N word” to me, as they are hypocrites!!! And a hypocrite is the worst form of human being.
    So, Pat, if you have problem with me or my blog, take it up there!
    WHERE? Glad you asked:
    Love and Best Wishes,
    J. Todd DeShong

  42. Truthseeker Says:

    My dear amusingly vulgar preadolescent DeWrong, for some reason unknown to us your Comment was delayed by the patented Ignorami Detecta software attached to this blog which instantly detects any post uninformed by actual familiarity with the contents of this blog, or the contents of the scientific literature, which we try and make precisely the same thing, it being our policy to distinguish this site by it being the only site or venue in the history of science journalism in America wherein posters and commentators discuss scientific topics, in particular the truth or falsity of received wisdom among scientists, on the basis of actually being able and willing to read the scientific literature, a skill otherwise unknown to every science journalist we have ever encountered in the mainstream media, since those that are actually able are always unwilling, preferring to save time by asking scientists themselves to instruct them, and thus conveying their briefings untested to the pages of whatever organ they serve so assiduously, a somewhat mysterious loyalty as far as we are concerned, since said organs seem to give them less and less time and money to act as anything else but stenographers, which is a sad way to spend your life as an observer and recorder of great events from a ringside seat. The New Yorker is an exception to this rule of course but time and money doesn’t seem to have been used there by its otherwise splendidly literate and thoughtful correspondents to develop a more intimate acquaintance with the papers of science than any other science hacks.

    Sorry if that paragraph is too long for you, we were merely trying to advise you of the unintended impoliteness of your Comment today being held up for approval, which was not our conscious doing but that of the Ignorami Detecta software, which is beyond our immediate control.

    We are however rather impressed with the accuracy of its filtering. For instance, you ask once again if the famously accomplished science journalist and writer Anthony Liversidge is the same author as the ubiquitous Truthseeker on this scurrilous blog, which seems to reflect such an appalling inability to read the material reproduced on every display of the front page of this unusually well informed and amusingly written (when not being earnest and morally offended) site that we are surprised that it didn’t reduce the circuitry of the Ignorami Detecta software to a smoking smelly ruin of melted wires and plastic.

  43. MacDonald Says:

    Todd, you may not hate all Jews, but there’s no question you hate the English language. Please leave it alone for awhile.

  44. jtdeshong Says:

    No, TS, the paragraph, although lacking in content, is not the problem. It is that the first “sentence” is missing about 300 periods!! God, I bet your lips are tired after reading that!!
    Most Sincerely,
    J. Todd DeShong

  45. Cathyvm Says:

    OMG, *spits red wine all over laptop* – Toddle has the temerity to give “English” lessons to TS – has Sarah Palin been teaching you her word salad “English” Todd? Are you maybe the first Dude? That would explain a lot.

  46. Robert Houston Says:

    That last comment by Truthseeker was a dazzling display of literary verve. Rarely on the web – or indeed in modern journalism – does one find such extraordinary command of the language. His first sentence was itself a verbal masterpiece – worthy of such literary greats as John Donne, Thomas Wolfe, and James Joyce. Unlike the work of Joyce, however, it was meticulously well-punctuated. Mr. DeShong’s claim that it’s “missing about 300 periods” reflects the almost primitive, Mickey Spillane style of much American journalism. Truthseeker’s last paragraph was a comic triumph, which produced more shrieks of laughter utterly disrupting the peace and quiet of my university library.

    In a previous comment on this thread (2/3/09), Mr. DeShong requested a reference for Truthseeker’s post on the causes and cures for AIDS, such as had been presaged in a March 2006 announcement. The promised post appeared in August 2006 and provided references to a number of scientific studies indicating several plausible causes and cures for AIDS.

    Those who persist in the faith that HIV is the sole and sufficient explanation for AIDS should consider an editorial in JAMA (9/27/06) which concluded, based on an extensive study in the same issue, that “HIV RNA load predicted no more than 10% of the observed CD4 cell loss in patients” and asked “What factors explain the other 90%?”

    The HIV faithful should also dare to read the brilliant 2003 paper by Duesberg et al., or at least its Table 4 on p. 390, which presents 17 contradictions in the HIV hypothesis, any one of which would be sufficient logically to put the entire dogma into serious doubt.

  47. Robert Houston Says:

    Here’s a proper link to the 2003 paper by Duesberg et al.

  48. Truthseeker Says:

    Thank you for those kind words, Houston, which we like to feel reflect your fine discernment. As Voltaire reminds us every day (at the bottom of the front page of this site) “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

    Re “an historic”, the Hall of “An Historic” Shame tonight (May 31 2009) adds Anderson Cooper of CNN, who covering Michael Phelps for 60 Minutes, misled a legion of schoolchildren by opening with the following:

    “What’s it like to win an historic eight gold medals in a single Olympic games?”

    Another (un)grammatical miscreant we noted recently with some surprise, Doris Kearns Goodwin:

    Wiki: Doris Kearns Goodwin (born Doris Helen Kearns on January 4, 1943) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer and historian, and an oft-seen political commentator. She is the author of biographies of several U.S. Presidents, including Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream; The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga; No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt (which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1995); and her most recent book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

    She referred to the election of President Obama as “an historic event”.

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