Monday, March 14, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

john and harold

Here's a familiar scenario.   Meet John and Harold.

John, a vaccination opponent (not AnimlNitr8) visits his 75 year old parents at their home. Mom and Dad had been vaccinated.  Mom got influenza, dad did not. Mom got it from him. The vaccination opponent didn't realize that one becomes infectious before the first signs of influenza appear.

So why didn't the vaccine work on Mom?  Because Mom has a weaker immune system, which didn't respond to the vaccine. Mom ends up in hospital and is very sick, She does recover, but isn't the same afterward.

Harold has a strong immune system. He is immunized from influenza through vaccination. Harold .(not AnimlNitr8) visits his 75 year old parents at their home. Mom and Dad had been vaccinated.. But only Dad is protected.  Harold has a nice visit.  Mom and dad are fine.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The dissent in BRUESEWITZ v. WYETH LLC  is stupid.  Thankfully it is a dissent.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory - New York Times

 My grandfather's sister, Fanny Rosen. got her picture in the New York Times in February 21, 2011 nearly 100 years after her death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire of 1911. She was the last to be identified in 2010.
In Records, Portraits of Lives Cut Short
100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete

An update:   Fanny came to the United States by herself.  When she died in the fire, an insurance company paid out. The money was used by grandfather and grandmother to pay for their passage to Canada in 1912.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finally Saw This - New York Times

Autism Fraud
New York Times Editorial
January 12, 2011

The report that first triggered scares that a vaccine to prevent measles,mumps and rubella might cause autism in children has received another devastating blow to its credibility. The British Medical Journal has declared that the research was not simply bad science, as has been known for years, but a deliberate fraud.

The study, led by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was published in The Lancet in 1998. It was based on just 12 children with supposedly autismlike disorders and purported to find a link between the vaccine, the gastrointestinal problems found in many autistic children, and autism.

While parents around the world were understandably alarmed, many scientists rejected the claims, including, eventually, 10 of Dr. Wakefield’s co-authors. A high-level British medical group, after an exhaustive fitness-to-practice hearing, found Dr. Wakefield guilty of dishonesty and misconduct. The Lancet retracted the article in part, it said, because the authors had made false claims about how the study was conducted.

Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper’s flaws to light — and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings.

After seven years of studying medical records and interviewing parents and doctors, Mr. Deer concluded that the medical histories of all 12 children had been misrepresented to make the vaccine look culpable. Time lines, for example, were fudged to make it seem as though autismlike symptoms developed shortly after vaccination, while in some cases problems developed before vaccination and in others months after vaccination.

Dr. Wakefield has accused Mr. Deer of being a hit man. But the medical journal compared the claims with evidence compiled in the voluminous transcript of official hearings and declared that flaws in the paper were not honest mistakes but rather an “elaborate fraud.”

Some parents still consider Dr. Wakefield a hero, and others have moved on to other theories, equally unsupported by scientific evidence, as to how vaccines might cause autism.

They need to recognize that failure to vaccinate their children leaves them truly vulnerable to diseases that can cause enormous harm.
[emphasis added]

Krigsman 2010 and Constipation

Krigsman’s 2010 paper
Krigsman’s 2010 paper Clinical presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in children with Autistic spectrum Disorder and chronic Gastrointestinal symptom reported on “143 consecutive patients with ASD/developmental disorder, undergoing ileocolonoscopy and biopsy as part of routine investigations of persistent GI symptoms.”

Considering that the paper doesn’t even mention the phrases inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, it seems likely that Krigsman did in New York State with 143 chldren (and elsewhere to total 275?) what Wakefield, Walker-Smith and others did with many children at the Royal Free hospital in London --- perform colonoscopies that were not clinically indicated.

Krigsman. a gastroenterologist,  is a follower of Wakefield’s discredited theory. He worked with Wakefield at Thoughtful House in Austin, Texas until February 2010, when both he and Wakefield left.  Until  February 2010, he and Wakefield and Professor Stephen Walker were on the editorial board of Autism Insights where Krigsman’s paper was published. Krigsman and Lenox Hill hospital, where the colonoscopies were performed, parted company over concerns that these colonoscopies were done as an unapproved research project. For details read results from this search query krigsman

Transcripts for Wakefield Hearing Online

update- the transcripts zip file has been fixed

Transcripts and GMC decisions

Gathered here are links to the GMC transcripts, the Fact Finding  Decision of January 2010, the Good Medical Practice Guidelines, and the three Determination on Serious Professional Misconduct (SPM) and sanctions of May 2010


The transcripts can be downloaded as a single zip file of 10 mb 
The transcripts of the GMC hearing against Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch make great reading. They make nonsense of all the claims by Wakefield  supporters against the process.
It took me a bit of trouble to get my own copies of the transcripts of the GMC hearing against Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch.  I had to exchange a few emails and call Manchester, UK.   And  I had a lot of trouble downloading the files
At the time, I promised to agree to any privacy requirements, but I wasn't asked to make any promises. Having seen the transcripts, I understand why.  The children are referred to only by number. And other identifying information has been left out.  There no longer is a privacy concern.
Probably because I've been referring to the transcripts so much, someone emailed me a link to them at Google documents.
The transcripts can be downloaded as a zip file of 10 megabytes.

The transcripts are in .doc  or Microsoft Word.  If you don't have Word, download the free OpenOffice. Because there are over 150 files, a text searching tool is a great help.  I recommend File Locator Lite, also known as Agent Ransack. It is also free.  When using it,  I turn on Word Wrap

GMC Fact Finding Decision January 28, 2010

Good Medical Practice

The obligations of the doctors are set out, very broadly, in the Good Medical Practices guidance booklets.  They were discussed on day 217, in the Determination of Serious Professional Misconduct (SPM) and sanctions.
From the GMC web site  Good Medical Practice (1995)  "This guidance was withdrawn in July 1998 and is no longer in effect." The birthday party used the 1998 guidance.  Good Medical Practice (1998)  "This guidance was withdrawn in September 2001 and is no longer in effect."

Determination on Serious Professional Misconduct (SPM) and sanctions May 2010

Wakefield had his name erased,filed an appeal, but abandoned it in December 2010. His name has been erased from the GMC register.

Walker-Smith had his name erased, but filed an appeal.  As of February 2011, it is not in force.

In these circumstances it was therefore not necessary to consider a sanction and Professor Murch is free to continue unrestricted medical practice. 
The Panel concluded Professor Murch acted in good faith albeit it has found he was in error. His actions, although comparable to professional misconduct in respect of undertaking procedures which were not clinically indicated, were mitigated by the fact that he was under a false impression that they were clinically indicated and this could not reach the threshold of serious professional misconduct...
Taking all of the above into account, the Panel concluded that Professor Murch demonstrated errors of judgement but had acted in good faith and that any professional misconduct on his part, such as his failing in duties of research governance and performing colonoscopies that were not clinically indicated, could not reach the threshold of serious professional misconduct because of the circumstances in which he found himself.
Accordingly the Panel found that Professor Murch is not guilty of serious professional misconduct.
In these circumstances it was therefore not necessary to consider a sanction and Professor Murch is free to continue unrestricted medical practice. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Free 2 step verification with Google -Get it

Google is now offering free two step verification for its products.

One step verification
username:   john
password:  password
This is pretty weak as it can be defeated by a hack of passwords  elsewhere and you use the same username and password OR if someone can use a dictionary attack and guess your password

Two step verification
password: password
Please enter verification code

It works like this. You sign up for 2 step verification after logging in normally through the gear symbol to account settings. You supply google a phone number (can be a mobile or landline) to call with a verification code.  They call, you enter the verification  code. They supply a list of 10 backup codes,which you print off and put in your wallet or purse. You supply a backup phone number.  You log back in and google calls you. You enter the code and tick the box that asks them to verify from this computer every 30 days.  

If you're calling from a different computer, google will call and you enter the code.  If you don't have your phones, you use the backup codes you've kept in your wallet or purse. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brian Deer Toronto Feb 16, 2011

Brian Deer came to Toronto to take part in a public forum at Innis College at U of T.  I missed that.  But I wondered if he was going to be speaking elsewhere.  He was.

So I and 200 journalism students filled the Eaton lecture hall at Ryerson.  His talk concentrated on the history of his involvement with MMR and was similar to this podcast.

I got someone to take a picture of me and Brian Deer.  It isn't one of my better ones.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Moderator is the Problem

A major update  for Write it Moderate it at Huffington-Post

This is a strange story. The moderation on a blog entry on homeopathy is a stark change from that for months and months. Kwombles thought that Dana Ullman was to blame.  He wasn't.  I thought that Dr. Larry Malerba was to blame. He wasn't.  The moderation by Huffington-Post has changed.  Whether or not that change is in accordance with Huffington-Post policy is a matter of opinion.

There are a number of regular who comment on homeopathy at Huffington-Post in response to blog entries by Dana Ullman. For the last few months, there haven't been problems with moderation.  Even better, comments accusing those who disagree with Dana Ullman of being shills for Big Pharma don't appear, although Dana snuck one through by spelling shill  as schill.

But with the blog entry by Dr. Larry Malerba, February 8, 2011  Homeopathy College: Now You Can Get a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine that's changed drastically. A lot of the regulars have complained.  Comments complaining about the moderation either never appeared or were removed.

Let me emphasize: The problem arose with this blog entry and this set of comments and at least six regulars have written complaining comments.

Kwombles wrote in her own blog  Ullman Calls Me a Conspiracy Nut  There are screen prints and an exchange with Dana Ullman where he proclaims (accurately) his innocence.

When I learned that authors were allowed to moderate their blog entries, I wrote comments blaming the change in moderation on Doctor Malerba.  The rules allow one to be as rude and insulting as one likes to homeopathy --- but prohibits insults directed against Dr. Malerba.  I assumed that Dr. Malerba was equating some comments regarding homeopathy as if they were comments against him. After all, the level of moderation had stayed the same for months --- all that changed was Doctor Malerba.

I had an email exchange with Huffington-Post. It turns out that Doctor Malerba had done some moderating, but it was pretty minor and I accept that it was appropriate.  So it wasn't Dr. Malerba.

The moderation/censorship had been done by a Huffington-Post staff moderator.

With an email, the Huffington-Post staffer suggested that I apologize to Dr. Malerba.  I wrote a comment and posted it.  It did not appear.  But I really didn't have anything to apologize for, as my comments regarding Dr. Malerba's  moderation did not appear.

In our email exchange, the Huffington-Post staffer suggested that I let others know, so they could submit details to Huffington-Post.  I wrote a comment.  But it did not appear.

At that point, I gave up.   But, surprisingly, there were two comments that appeared complaining of the moderation.  I thought that I would now be permitted to explain the issues with moderation for this blog entry.   I thought to include the full email from Huffington-Post explaining their findings --- including the suggestion that I apologize to Dr. Malerba.  When I went to post the comment, it was rejected because I was replying to a deleted comment.

This is just bizarre. As I read the rules, polite and honest discussion of moderation issues is allowed when it forces itself into comments for a specific blog entry.

I think everyone would just like the level of moderation to return to what is has been before this last blog on homeopathy.   You know, Dana Ullman writes a blog entry and preemptively insults those he knows are going to disagree with him. And Dana will make additional comments that certainly are ad hominem by Huffington-Post standards.  And he gets criticized for them.

There are few insult or ad hominem comments directed at Dana or other homeopathic supporters.  One reason, is that we are afraid of having them not appear.  A second reason is that there is just no reason to insult Dana to make the argument.  Homeopathy is ridiculous enough on its own.

Friday, February 11, 2011

And the Moral of the Story i

Apparently, we get pleasure out of  moral certainty.  Bill O'Reilley gets pleasure out of being sure that he is right and everyone else gets pleasure out of knowing he is wrong.

The program explains the inquisition in terms of moral certainty.

 A great show to listen to is  from CBC Ideas from September 2010. And the moral of the story is.   I've put the audio file up on my google docs.  The url is very long, so I've shortened it.  The link is . The preview links to the tiny url website and shows that the link is actually to google docs.

Really, really worthwhile listening.    It is morally certain that is useful to understanding vaccination opponents.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Write it Moderate it at Huffington-Post

There's been a lot of censorship on a blog entry on homeopathy by Dr. Larry Malerba  at Huffington-Post
Homeopathy College: Now You Can Get a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine

The moderation was bizarre, because thecomments weren't rude to Dr. Malerba, but rude to homeopathy.  I couldn't understand it.  Then I saw the community moderator 1 badge and put two and two together and got four.  So I wrote a few comments accusing Dr. Malerba of censorship.   And I wrote Huff-Po.

I got back an answer that at first blush clears Dr. Larry.  I even wrote an apology comment.  But the response isn't as clear as it should be --- it clears Dr. Malerba as a community moderator.  It doesn't clear him as an author. So I don't know.

I admit I'm astonished. I didn't think that authors had special moderation  privileges over what they wrote. 

Here is the response which I'm free to pass on, the email address for responses is

That comment was sent to me for investigation.
Let me first address your accusations against docmalerba. I have checked his account, and although he has a CM1 badge, he has not flagged a comment in over 6 months, so your accusation is unfounded. 
Next, there are several misconceptions you have about the privileges assigned to our Community Moderators. CMs can only take action on comments that have already been through the moderation process and have been published. They have nothing to do with the pre-moderation of comments. CM1s only have the ability to flag comments, although their flags assure that a staff moderator will review a comment they have flagged. Staff Moderators still review all flagged comments and either clear the flags or remove the comment, based on whether it meets our guidelines or not. 
Blog articles - those appearing in the leftmost column of the site, and authored by one of our bloggers, as opposed to a staff writer or editor, are always fully moderated by our Staff Moderators.
 Bloggers can, if they choose, moderate comments on THEIR OWN articles, but otherwise carry the same privileges as normal users. I am not aware if Ullman moderates his own comments or not, but that is his prerogative, and we usually defer to our bloggers, unless there is a compelling reason not to. A quick check of a few deleted comments on his latest article show no deletions by him - only our Staff Moderators. 
I do not have the time or the resources to do a full review of every comment on the article(s) in question, but if you can provide some general information - article URL, approximate time/date the comment was submitted, text of the comment, etc. I would be more than happy to investigate. Please pass along this offer to other users that may be having problems as well.

In the meantime, I will visit the issue of moderation of homeopathy articles with our Comments Ombudsman, and see if we can get a more consistent result with comment approvals on those articles.   [emphasis added, slight change to formatting]