Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut

“The take home is we don’t have the data”

Important line in the article.

More data are needed.  Specifically what needs to happen is studies comparing different vape liquids and different devices, with different settings.  This hasn’t happened much that I’ve seen, and it’s important.

While the studies I’ve seen come up so far do seem fairly unanimous in saying that e-cigs aren’t as harmless as e-cig companies want you to think, I haven’t seen anything that really says more dangerous than regular cigarettes- especially not when looking at overall risk.

And the risks will vary- different liquids have different chemical makeups, different devices have different stuff that might leech into the liquid, different temperatures can affect the chemical reactions and thus what the user inhales.

We need good studies comparing different devices and liquids to figure all this out.  With that, sensible regulation might be possible that mitigates the risks with minimal intrusion on the freedom of e-cig users and makers.  Maybe a bit of intrusion, but if we have to go on the fairly limited studies that exist now it would be much worse if we want any useful amount of mitigation.

And this headline really isn’t justified IMO.  Yes, it’s possible that under some circumstances they could be, but that’s not established and the headline implies that this is fundamental to the concept of e-cigs, not an implementation specific detail like the actual information in the article suggests.  This is kind of a big deal sort of distinction.


via Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut.


NCIS and Computers

Apparently, you can write a virus that can go through the power cord on a laptop- not a power line networking device, but the actual power cord- to infect other systems.  This was actually how it was said to have accessed the NCIS network.

To give them more credit than they deserve, the operating state of an electrical device can generate some current fluctuation in its power cord, and in severe cases, even in other devices on the same circuit. If the circuit is anywhere near competently designed and constructed, this will be a very small fluctuation, but to be fair it would exist.

But to exploit it to the effects seen in tonights episode, the only way this is even in the same multiverse as plausible would require specific targeting of the network being attacked and the vector being used. You’d need to know exactly how your vector performs under varying operating conditions to reliably generate a signal, you’d need to know exactly how the circuit it’s attached to is designed and implemented, you’d need to know how other devices attached to it will affect things- someone plugging in a coffee machine you didn’t expect could throw the whole thing off by changing how the circuit reacts to what you do to it.  An electrician using an extra inch of wire could throw it all off. Microamps of current draw could throw it off.

I really wouldn’t be surprised if this would require such precise control of the currents you induce in the power cord that quantum mechanics makes it more random luck than the virus actually doing anything, unless the virus writer is waiting to hear back on his Nobel Prize in EVERYTHING FOREVER for coming up with a reliable means to predict quantum effects with absolute precision.

This isn’t even getting to the issues of how to jump from one circuit to another, or how the outbreak was restricted to just the NCIS network when it somehow could propogate over power lines without actual power line networking fast enough to take out their entire network in a second or two.


No, this study does not say that.

Unless You Have Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity is in Your Head — NOVA Next | PBS.

The headline is pretty much total crap.

While the research does suggest that non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist, it is not at all enough to say it’s all in your head.  The article does mention a hypothesis about FODMAPs being the actual cause, further research is needed to look into that.

Also, some replication of these results is called for.  This study may well simply be wrong.  It looks to be reasonably well done, so that seems unlikely, but until we see some replication, we really can’t rule it out.

And while the study participants may well not have a physical reaction to gluten, the study is small enough that it could plausibly miss rare conditions, other than celiac, that cause gluten sensitivity.  Non-celiac gluten sensitivity may exist, but be much more rare than popularly believed.  Further studies might be able to help here.

There’s just not enough in the study to remotely justify the headline used.  The study doesn’t say that.  The study says it’s something other than gluten.  IT does not say it’s all in peoples heads.

PBS, please do better next time or I might feel forced to join with Republicans in calling for your funding to be cut.  Not that I hate public broadcasting, but if we’re going to have it, I don’t want this sort of bullshit spreading paid for with my tax dollars.


Pat Sajak Thinks You’re an “Unpatriotic Racist.” This Response Is Perfect. | Mother Jones

Pat Sajak Thinks You’re an “Unpatriotic Racist.” This Response Is Perfect. | Mother Jones.

Racism?  Really?

If you are looking at the facts and deciding they best support climate change, that’s not racist.  Not at all.  I suppose there might be racist reasons for believing in it, and certainly proposed responses might be tainted by racism, but a blanket statement that mere belief is itself racist is ridiculous.

The unpatriotic charge is also a bit suspect.  Again, why you believe, and your proposed response, may well be unpatriotic.  But mere belief, what?


Five Stupid Things About HIV/AIDS Denialism – YouTube

The stupid thing to me- Treatments based on the idea that HIV causes AIDS work in delaying progression to AIDS, very often to the point where when the person does eventually die, it’s of something entirely unrelated to HIV or AIDS.  This is well documented.  Denying HIV/AIDS causation is basically saying that these treatments only work by pure luck.  And then as HIV evolves around it, these drugs that can’t be working by fighting HIV(because then they wouldn’t help AIDS) evolves around it, by random chance, the drugs stop working.  Modifying the drugs based on the HIV changes gets them to work again.  And all this happens, and happens consistently, by pure chance?

That’s basically what the deniers claim.

Ok, not all of them, some of them that Steve discusses go way off the deep end and claim things like the AIDS drugs themselves cause AIDS, but these people are so wrong that correcting them would probably require a semester long course in epistemology and critical thinking before you could even start on the HIV stuff.



20 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden on Famous Albums |

20 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden on Famous Albums |

On the Sgt Peppers one, I’m assuming that they are referring to 18 kilohertz.

Which is within the standard range for human hearing, which tops out somewhere around 20-22khz, though the upper end tends to go first as you age.  Their legions of teenage fans would have almost certainly been able to hear that tone.

Some of Crackeds photoplasties don’t depend on reality, but those that do like this really should go through cursory fact checking before being included.


Vaccine Alarmism- Gardisil kills people?

At lest they aren’t claiming autism is worse than death this time.  But the argument rests on at least as sloppy an understanding of science.

I saw this link on my Facebook News Feed today-  The Murdering of Our Daughters | Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show.  The blurb on Facebook said 1/912 deaths.  That seemed pretty damn high.  I’m pretty sure the Skepchicks would be raising hell if there was a vaccine pushed for young girls that had a death rate this high for a disease that only kills 1/40,000.

So, the first link I go to is to this ABC article.  Regarding the death rate, I find this:

As of June 1, 2009, the CDC reported that over 25 million doses of Gardasil, which is recommended for women between ages 9-26, have been distributed in the U.S. and there was an average of 53.9 VAERS reports per 100,000 vaccine doses. Of these, 40 percent occurred on the day of vaccination, and 6.2 percent were serious, including 32 reports of death.

32 reports of death in over 25 million doses?  Let’s see… we’d expect somewhere north of 2,000 deaths if we were looking at a 1/912 death rate from Gardisil.  Maybe I’m the dumb one, but last I checked, 32 was a lot less than 2,000.

Ok, let’s see what the study they linked to said.  Maybe ABC reported on a poorly chosen sample population?

From a Merck study that these nutters seem to find credible, we see

Across the clinical studies, 40 deaths (GARDASIL N = 21 or 0.1%; placebo N = 19 or 0.1%) were reported in 29,323

That’s… actually worse.  That’s 1/733 if I’ve done the math right.  Ok, how did these people die?  If it’s a credible study, they’d have looked into the cause of death of their study participants so they know how it affects the results.

The events reported were consistent with events expected in healthy adolescent and adult populations. The

most common cause of death was motor vehicle accident (5 individuals who received GARDASIL and 4 individuals who received AAHS control), followed by drug overdose/suicide (2 individuals who received GARDASIL and 6 individuals who received AAHS control), gunshot wound (1 individual who received GARDASIL and 3 individuals who received AAHS control), and pulmonary embolus/deep vein thrombosis (1 individual who received GARDASIL and 1 individual who received AAHS control). In addition, there 9 were 2 cases of sepsis, 1 case of pancreatic cancer, 1 case of arrhythmia, 1 case of pulmonary tuberculosis, 1 case of hyperthyroidism, 1 case of post-operative pulmonary embolism and acute renal failure, 1 case of traumatic brain injury/cardiac arrest, 1 case of systemic lupus erythematosus, 1 case of cerebrovascular accident, 1 case of breast cancer, and 1 case of nasopharyngeal cancer in the group that received GARDASIL; 1 case of asphyxia, 1 case of acute lymphocytic leukemia, 1 case of chemical poisoning, and 1 case of myocardial ischemia in the AAHS control group; and 1 case of medulloblastoma in the saline placebo group. 

Note the italicized bit.  These deaths are what would be expected anyways in the survey population.  Also, note the bolded parts.  That’s a lot of control and placebo people.  19 of the 40 deaths did not receive Gardisil at all.  21 did.  Of those 21, all had clearly defined causes of death that are caused by quite a few things.  While I don’t have the knowledge necessary to untangle all of them, the top three groups seem pretty clearly not at all related to Gardisil.  We’re looking now at 13 deaths that, with my knowledge of medicine, could possibly be related.  How many in this study took Gardisil?  Still on Page 8(nice of the nutters to tell us exactly where to look), 15,706.

13/15706 = 1/1208.  We’re now becoming a good bit safer than the nutters allege.  And keep in mind, while I don’t personally have the medical knowledge to rule out a role of Gardisil in the remaining 13 deaths, I do know enough to know that all of these things have many known causes that have nothing to do with Gardisil or any vaccine.  And again, back to the italics- these deaths, in number and cause, were what would be expected in a group of this size of these demographics that was not involved in the study.

And this is the very study the nutters trust.  Playing by their rules, using their sources, they are completely full of shit.  Credit where credit is due, though, they did cite their sources, and that made it much easier for me to figure out if I should take them seriously or not.