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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

That flu vaccine finally arrives

That flu vaccine finally arrives...

Jan. 18 (HealthDay News)

"The two drugs -- both members of the neuraminidase inhibitor class of antivirals -- appear to be ineffective against seasonal flu outbreaks and should only be used in the event of a serious epidemic or pandemic, the study authors report in the Jan. 19 online edition of The Lancet."

"Roche fundamentally disagrees with the conclusions reached by the authors that Tamiflu should not be used for the treatment of prevention of seasonal influenza," said company spokesman Terry Hurley. "The conclusion is at odds with the opinion of experts and regulatory authorities around the world."

Appealing to the authority of man may not be a good idea when facing an influenza pandemic. The experts and regulatory authorities disagree with a study that found that they may have been wrong. Of course the experts are going to turn around and accuse the new study as being the one that is wrong. What matters however is the ability to help a large population fight off the influenza virus. What is at stake? The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War I, somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. I'm sure we all feel better knowing that there is a "vaccine" available but shouldn't we be concerned that the one we are choosing to use may not work? What if we were Marines in Iraq and someone told us that our guns may not work. Would we not go out and fire our guns to check out the theory? Or would we call a meeting, assess the credentials of the two opposing authorities and decide whether or not to go into battle based upon who is more believable? Like a gun battle, this fight against the influenza virus might just be a life and death issue. It should be taken seriously. We should find out who is right and who is wrong.

So to sum up this cargo cult science; A long time ago some scientists in white lab coats developed a vaccine against the polio virus. They put an end (almost) to a horrible epidemic that killed thousands of young children. Now we have another virus that threatens to kill thousands. We have a vaccine. It was developed by people in white lab coats. Let the flu season begin.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

cargo cult scientist

cargo cult scientist

Two cargo cult "theories" came to a conclusive end this week. First the influenza vaccine, Tamiflu, was shown to have no effect over preventing the flu. Since vaccines are meant to prevent disease, this would be a failure. Tamiflu is being mass produced and stored away by the millions of doses in hopes of fighting what some believe will be very dangerous flu season. So let's sum this up; we have scientists in white lab coats producing a "vaccine" against a potentially deadly virus. We have governments buying up the product and storing it away in hospitals and pharmacies. Doctors are being educated by the manufacturers and government agencies as to how to administer the vaccine. People are becoming frightened by the media coverage of the flu virus prospects, yet resting assured that there is a vaccine that they can take. The vaccine will not help. Might as well rely on prayer.The second study was done with the HIV drugs. The idea was that by giving the drugs only when T cells reached a certain lower level, a more effective, or at least equally effective result could be achieved. Instead, people who took the drugs when their T cells got low, did considerably worse than people who took the drug on a daily basis. The clinical trial was halted due to the damage it was causing patients.This is Bullshitian medicine at it's finest. Previously a group of about ten patients seemed to get better by taking the reduced drug regime. But did the cargo cult scientists take into account all of the factors? Most importantly, does it make sense to give drugs that weaken the body to people who have dangerously low T cell counts? I say no it does not. The elite in the medical science business said yes it does. How many died?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk Cargo Cult Top Scientist

Richard Feynman first described the Cargo Cult Science in an address to the graduating class of 1974.

"I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas--he's the controller--and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land."

Dr. Feynman was describing educational and psychological studies. I would like to create the Cargo Cult world right here in the form of a blog. All human endeavors have Cargo Cult people who "follow all the apparent precepts and forms". How many people have bosses who could never actaully do the work they supervise? They look at the work like the Cargo Cult leaders look at their airport. You can imagine the Cargo Cult setting up an HR department and hiring people to work in the airport. What qualifications would be needed? How would evals and promotions work?

Our order of business now is to establish the name of our cult. If we are going to create this cult it must have a name. As we progress we will add citizens to the tribe who represent the true spirit of the cargo cult.

The name of the cult (or tribe) will be... The Bullshitians

The Bullshitians have more than an airport. They are teachers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, construction workers and any other type of person who has ever existsted. They are real people in this world who rise to prominence. Our first citizen for example, is Dr. Hang Woo-suk. Dr. suk (for short) claimed to have made stem cells that contained the DNA of someone other than the person who produced the stem cell. That would be a stem cell clone my friends. The problem was that the clones were produced via some creative writing. There were no actual stem cells clones in existance. So somewhere, Dr. suk had people who wore white lab coats. These "scieentists" conducted experiments that were intended to bring clones into their world. The cells never actually showed up.

Of course the Bullshitians (my blog tribe) are real people who have to have real careers. They are not interested in whether or not the planes land and bring valuable cargo. It would be nice, but it's not necessary. Dr. suk represents our philosophy like no other. He was huge in the cloning business. He was South Koreas top scientist and he probably never cloned a damned thing. Good work I say. Dr. suk The Bullshitians top scientist!

P.S. We do require some form of evidence that the guy is full of shit. Like an ex-lover who is being served with a paternity suit, we would like to see a DNA test. Not from the mother who is sueing! When this comes in we will discuss it. We are interested in the planes landing but we are also interested in those that do not.