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

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Sauerkraut cures Korean chickens of flu, perhaps you too – BBC

The idea that nutritional vitamin defenses against avian flu might work is not new. Only last March that the BBC reported that sauerkraut might be an answer to avian flu, though in its usual uncritical fashion. In a rather anecdotal study, 13 flu-ridden chickens at Seoul National University were fed Kimchi, a tasty Korean version of fermented cabbage, and 11 showed distinct signs of recovery a week later,

We have to assume their improvement was permanent, though there has been no later report. Anyhow, Karen Herzog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with a sauerkraut maker in the vicinity, picked up on the story and ran with it three weeks ago, evidently without calling Korea to find out what happened to the chickens. Sauerkraut sales in Milwaukee skyrocketed, and a media bushfire briefly blazed.

The professor who had the idea, Kang Sa-ouk, said at the time it might be the bacteria (lactobacillus) in sauerkraut which fought the flu. But Sauerkraut is also a rich source of vitamin K ie phylloquinone which helps blood clotting and skin healing. Vitamin K is found in leafy vegetables, cheese, liver, and asparagus, though not in coffee, bacon or green tea as some Web sites claim.

Kimchi was popular in Asia as an antidote during the SARS scare two years ago. The Koreans export some 34,000 tons of the stuff every year, mostly to Japan. A Polish-American study of Polish immigrants to the US even suggests sauerkraut is preventive of breast cancer.

The University of New Mexico reported Polish women who ate four or more servings of sauerkraut and cabbage per week during adolescence were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate 1.5 or fewer servings per week.

However, there are no papers explaining how it might cure avian flu, as far as we know. Vitamin A remains the key that the scientific literature suggests. Perhaps Anthony Faiuci’s office should be contacted.


Monday, November 7, 2005 – Page updated at 12:00 AM

Is sauerkraut a new weapon against bird flu?

By Karen Herzog

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE — While President Bush scrambles to ward off an avian-flu pandemic, the world’s largest sauerkraut producer, tucked amid the glacial lakebeds of rural Wisconsin, is sitting atop a bumper crop of one possible preventative.

That’s right: sauerkraut.

An international buzz is surrounding the unassuming fermented cabbage. Scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea fed an extract of kimchi, a spicy Korean variant of sauerkraut, to 13 chickens infected with avian flu, and a week later, 11 of the birds started to recover, according to a report by the BBC Network.

“Unlike the government, we’ve got the preventative, and 115,000 tons of it in Wisconsin alone,” said Ryan Downs, owner and general manager of Great Lakes Kraut Co., which has sauerkraut factories in Bear Creek and Shiocton, Wis., and in Shortsville, N.Y.

Downs said more extensive scientific research is needed to prove any curative link to avian flu, but he’s more than happy to tout kraut as a healthful part of any diet.

“People are starting to realize kraut is a pretty doggone good food,” Downs said when contacted about the South Korean study. “We’re ready to help keep the world healthy.”

Several television and radio stations across the United States have picked up the BBC story, said Steve Lundin, spokesman for Frank’s Sauerkraut, based in Fremont, Ohio.

After a Minneapolis CBS affiliate did its own story on sauerkraut’s potential in the battle against avian flu, Frank’s checked 54 Twin City area stores it supplies, and found an 850 percent spike in overall sauerkraut sales, Lundin said.

“People will do whatever they can if they can’t rely on the government to provide them with a vaccine or other preventative,” Lundin said.

South Koreans reportedly are eating more kimchi since news of the study came out. But Korean researchers acknowledged that if kimchi actually caused the effects they observed, it was unclear why.


Men’s Health magazine fed the sauerkraut buzz in its November issue, suggesting Americans put together pandemic kits containing a few cans of sauerkraut, among other nonperishable foods, because — like kimchi — it is packed with lactic-acid bacteria “shown by Korean researchers to speed recovery of chickens infected with avian flu.”

Another recently released study at the University of New Mexico indicates that sauerkraut may reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 74 percent. That study set out to determine why the risk of breast cancer nearly triples in Polish women who immigrate to the United States.

Of the hundreds of Polish women and Polish-born U.S. immigrants observed in the study, those who ate four or more servings of sauerkraut and cabbage per week during adolescence were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate 1.5 or fewer servings per week.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Sauerkraut sales up after avian flu report

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 4 (UPI) — After a Minneapolis media report that said sauerkraut might help guard against avian flu, there was a 850 percent spike in sauerkraut sales in the city.

A Minneapolis CBS affiliate aired its story on the possible benefits of sauerkraut avian flu, after a BBC report that said scientists at Seoul National University fed an extract of kimchi, a spicy Korean variant of sauerkraut, to 13 chickens infected with avian flu. A week after the birds were fed the sauerkraut, 11 of the birds started to recover.

Ryan Downs, owner and general manager of Great Lakes Kraut Co., said more extensive scientific research obviously was needed to prove any curative link to avian flu, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday. However, he said sauerkraut as a healthy part of any diet.

Earlier this week, the University of New Mexico reported Polish women who ate four or more servings of sauerkraut and cabbage per week during adolescence were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate 1.5 or fewer servings per week.


Kimchi gains popularity abroad

November 10, 2005

Contrary to a cool reception at home in the wake of a recent ruckus of its tarnished image, kimchi is gaining popularity with Americans and other places abroad following a spate of news reports to the effect that the traditional Korean dish has an inherent preventative effect on bird flu, the fear of which is now gripping the world.

It was last March that kimchi’s curative effect on avian influenza began to be known well outside of the country, when the British public broadcaster BBC aired the results of a research team led by Seoul National University professor Kang Sa-wook.

Quoting the team’s test results, BBC said of the 13 chickens stricken with the influenza, 11 had shown telling curative effects after being administered kimchi extracts.

Back in 2003, when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) broke out in Asia, there was a ‘kimchi rage’ in China and Southeast Asia on the strength of reports that the Korea-originated pickle was working in heading off the epidemic.

In recent weeks, the American media were into handling kimchi’s efficacy in treating avian flu.

The ABC network, South Carolina’s largest state newspaper, the Murtle Beach Sun News, Centre Daily Times of Pennsylvania, and some 100 media outlets across the United States reported kimchi’s curative effects on the epidemic.

The ABC reported on Tuesday that with the interest in kimchi growing in America, sauerkraut, the U.S. version of kimchi, is also enjoying a boom. Sauerkraut, a pickle of German origin made from shredded cabbage fermented in brine, is normally inserted into hot dogs or sandwiches.

Journal Times, a publication from Racine, Wisconsin, reported scientists speculated that the bacteria which were detected in kimchi, help cure avian influenza, adding that the same strains were also discovered in sauerkraut.

Kim Jae-soo, the agricultural attaché to the Korean embassy in Washington, D.C., said that contrary to the perception of misgivings Koreans have at home, the American press has given an intense coverage of kimchi’s curative effects on the poultry epidemic.

He noted that although the U.S. media had not paid significant attention to kimchi when it gained popularity as a curative to SARS in Southeast Asia, it is watching carefully this time around.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Korea Agro-Trade Corp. on Thursday (Nov. 10), despite the recent unsavory episode involving tainted kimchi, Korea’s exports of the item amounted to 26,275 tons in the first 10 months of the year, up 81 tons from a year earlier.

In particular, shipments to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia have surged partly due to Hallyu, or the Korean cultural wave, prompted by Daejanggeum, a Korean TV drama aired in those countries. In the January-October period, exports to Taiwan totaled 561 tons, up 72 percent from a year before. Hong Kong and Malaysia saw their imports increase by 15 and 150 percent respectively.

Besides, prospects for suspended kimchi shipments to Japan to resume were bright as the Japanese authorities were about to end their investigation into the Korean products soon. About 93 percent of Korea’s total exports of 34,827 tons last year went to Japan.


November 14, 2005

Sauerkraut–possible cure to avian flu?

According to experts, Sauerkraut, a traditional recipe, made from cabbage can be effective in fighting bird flu. Made from chopped cabbage that is fermented for at least a month, Sauerkraut contains bacteria that may counter bird flu.

The findings follow a study in which ‘kimchi’—a spicy cabbage dish popular in South Korea and similar to sauerkraut—was fed to 13 chickens infected with bird flu. Just one week later, 11 of the birds showed signs of recovery from the virus. Prof Kang Sa-ouk of Seoul National University claims that lactobacillus created during the fermenting process, is the active ingredient that could combat bird flu. The feed helps improve fight against bird flu and other types of viruses.

Sauerkraut has many other health benefits. It has cancer-fighting and detoxifying properties and is also a rich source of vitamins. A further study on Sauerkraut, carried out recently by Polish and American scientists, concluded that the meal might be the reason for the lower breast cancer rate observed among Polish immigrants in America.

Though Sauerkraut has attracted a lot of attention due the recent studies, much more extensive scientific research is needed to prove its effectiveness against bird flu. Whether or not scientists are able to establish Sauerkraut as a cure for bird flu, its health benefits have definitely come into foreground as a result of the studies.

November 14, 2005

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