Unfortunately the bad guys sometimes win

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.


More threats from scam artists

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.

The 2011 “Pigasus” Awards

April 1, 2011

The James Randi Educational Foundation has announced this year’s winners of their “Pigasus Awards” for “the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers.” Their winners are excellent choices:

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Measuring mercury exposure (and why provoked urine testing is the wrong way to do it)

February 18, 2011

A commenter by the name of “Robin” asked for information on mercury toxicity a while back due to her husband having reported high mercury levels. My workload is finally getting close enough to being under control that I can tackle this. However, it’s a complicated topic with a few different aspects. Before I actually get into some of the effects of mercury, I think a bit of context is important. So for this first post I’m going to talk about how mercury exposure is measured and how to know if mercury levels really are elevated. I’ll follow that up with some future posts (hopefully within the next week or so) about where this mercury exposure is coming from, and what the effects can be [Update: part 2 on some causes of high mercury levels is here, and part 3 on the different types of mercury is here]. Some of the concepts in this post build on an earlier entry on measuring chemicals in blood and urine.

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More scam artists resorting to legal action

February 3, 2011

No new post of my own this week – I took on a couple of big contracts on short timelines in my paying job. In the meantime, since if there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s scam artists using legal action to try to shut up scientists who expose them, here are a couple of videos – one exposing a scam artist, and a follow-up talking about the resulting threats of legal action.