August 26, 2011
Canadian Blood Services was running a campaign called “What’s Your Type” that included providing all sorts of weird new-agey mumble-jumble about blood types being related to personalities and recommended diet. They also had incorrect information about the origin of the different blood types. After word spread around the blogosphere a lot of people complained (including me), since an agency like that shouldn’t be providing false information, even if they did have a tiny disclaimer at the bottom that it was for “entertainment purposes only”. This has resulted in the nonsense being taken down, and replaced with a page indicating that they’ll determine your blood type for free. So yes, we can make a difference.
In case anyone is wondering, yes, I do plan to get back to talking about actual science in the near future. We get about two months a year of nice weather here, so I’ve been trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before going back into winter hibernation mode. On top of that I’ve recently agreed to take on a new teaching gig on the side (as if I didn’t have enough on my plate already) and am trying to get everything ready before the semester starts in September. I should be able to get to some more substantive posts soon though.
August 22, 2011
Epidemiology blogger “EpiRen” has been shut down by an antivaxer called “Mr. X” (reportedly Rhett S. Daniels in real life). EpiRen did not conceal his real identity, so when Mr. X couldn’t win an argument based on reason, he went to EpiRen’s employers (the Department of Public Health) and threatened legal action. Unfortunately EpiRen’s employers caved in and forced EpiRen to stop blogging about public health issues if he wanted to keep his job. More on this story here, here and here.
This is the reason why I and many other science bloggers use a pseudonym. Mr. Daniels reportedly owns Captiva Pharmaceuticals – another company to avoid doing business with for ethical people.
August 17, 2011
The thugs are out again – this time Boiron, an international producer of homeopathic products, is going after an Italian blogger for criticizing one of their products (water marketed as an influenza treatment called Oscillococcinum). The claim is detailed by the original blogger here; there’s also an article at Science-Based Medicine.
Boiron are snake-oil salesmen on a grand scale, with annual sales exceeding half a billion Euros (about $735 million) according to their financial reports. Spread the word, and especially don’t buy anything from them.