Monday, October 30, 2017

The wonder of the tundra #3: Adventures in the book trade

Wait, what? Five days after the nominal date for arriving on the shelves ($140 reduced 15% to $119), a book remains unavailable from the publisher or the usual on-line sources... but Tundra Books can provide a second-hand copy marked down to £282. Perhaps on-demand publication has advanced to the stage of printing used copies.

The book-shaped artefact in question was to have been the subject of a footnote or an Updatage to a recent Riddled episode, but TL;DW. It is totally a sober, balanced weighing of evidence and not a regurging of stovepiped antivax mendacity, despite the second editor's tendency to regard vaccines as the modern equivalent of the Holocaust.
Library pixies ejecting an unwanted book
The Riddled staff are wondering about the market sector that Elsevier thought they were targetting. It may be that they were under the impression that they were handling a scholarly compilation of recent advances on a topic of academic contention, rife with vying researchers who would be queuing for their copies -- or urging university libraries to acquire them. The Riddled library pixies were scornful of this suggestion. $119 is a lot to pay for a 480-page trade paperback with a shiny cover, which is to say an overpriced airport novel. Even if Controversies in Vaccine Safety had included ten detailed exegeses of the intellectual debate, it would still be plenty to pay for a ten-gloss battle.
A due Diligence
Due diligence would have disabused Elsevier of that notion. Contributors to the tome include Vinu Arumugham (on "Vaccine Induced Allergies") whose scholarly credentials consist of falsely presenting himself as a med. student, and paying the egregious shitweasels at OMICS to place on-line one of his essays in cherry-picking. Other, similar exercises are self-published -- if that is the correct term for "listed at Researchgate".

Arumugham's keystone dictum is that all food allergies ensue from prior exposure to the food proteins that Big Pharma adds to vaccines, although this is accompanied by a bodyguard of ad-hoc secondary hypotheses designed to shelter it from harsh disconfirming facts. He has promoted the resulting belief system on discussion boards and skeptic blogs across the Interlattice, with the nyms of APV and Vinucube [possibly chosen as a hommage to the legendary TimeCube]. The commentariat at Respectful Insolence have watched the evolution of his scholium of thought from the beginning, with the multiplication of auxiliary hypotheses... they hope that success will not spoil him, and that he will remember his roots now that he has busted through into the Big Time.
Big Time
More detail on other contributors here and at OggiScienza. But we shouldn't forego the opportunity to point and laugh at David Lewis, Wakefield acolyte who provides the closing Chapter 27 (on "The role of institutional scientific misconduct").

Lewis is best-known for pimping a set of bowel-biopsy pathology reports that had somehow been left in his possession, in the belief that they would vindicate Wakefield's "MMR-Vaccine-causes-autism" grift, when in fact they provided proof of his fraud (for this well-meaning dumb-arsed exercise in rat-fucking, Lewis is respected in antivax circles as a 'whistle-blower'). He put the cherry atop his reputation by arguing that journalist Brian Deer is really a cats-puppet and a sock-paw for Big Pharma's war aganst Wakefield -- for there was no way that a mere journalist could understand so well the medical complexities of the accusations against Wakefield.
Lewis' own qualification is in sewage management.
You can't buy that book here, sir
Ideally, then, Brian Deer would be the reviewer for Controversies. But as was noted supra, publication has been delayed... for a few weeks, according to one supplier, though the publishers have elsewhere been quoted as intending a permanent delay.

There remains only the mystery of Tundra Books' used copy for sale. Nick Brown has reported another occurrence of this Amazon affiliate -- a residential address in Seville -- trying to sell a purportedly-used but marked-up copy of a book not yet in physical existence. This seems to be part of their business model.

One possible explanation involves the words "stupidity tax"... a scam that only becomes apparent when there are no extant copies of the new copies they on-sell, ostensibly pre-loved and doubled in price. But I prefer to believe that they are borrowing (or will borrow at some point in the future) the Riddled time machine.

The Pink Knight rises

"A fleeing dairy robber has been stopped in his tracks by a man wearing a pink crop top, tutu, fishnets and fairy wings on a Napier street."
There is no doubt an Origin Story to this crime-busting superhero on our streets but I DON'T NEED TO KNOW.
Nor do I care to speculate what the equivalent of the Bat-Signal will be when his assistance is needed.

The report does not provide details of the fairy-suit fabric. I am going to pretend that it was made with a lustrous, sheeny textile with filament fibres and a high float ratio, just so as to joke about "Knights in Pink Satin".

Monday, October 23, 2017

I have a noble cause for skin, there's just too many of them #2
Pigments of the Imagination edition

I programmed the Riddled Ktistec machine to scour the Interweave for exemplars of the type and synthesise them into an updated Mission Statement for the Riddled Research Laboratory and Institute for Extreme Country-Dancing... ideally something more legible and less beer-stained than what we have at the moment. It came up with a list of noble and chivalrous ambitions:
  • To act as the directing and co-ordinating organization in the field of medicine;
  • To be the worldwide, authoritative organ of the medical profession;
  • To provide leadership on health matters, form the health research agenda, articulate norms and standards, evince evidence-based policy options, and monitor and assess health trends;
  • To assist governments and national medical associations in jointly tackling health problems and improving the welfare of their citizens;
  • To chart a successful course for health care delivery globally by articulating health guidelines and standards and helping nations address their public health issues;
  • To study and evaluate all aspects of the medical health continuum, including the development of programs approved by the officers or members, to ensure an adequate continuing supply of well-qualified physicians to meet the needs of the public;
When I accused the Ktistec machine of plagiarising these items in all their grandiosity from the World Health Academy it turned off its auditory inputs and has been sulking ever since.

The Academy is primarily a vanity outlet for a New Jersey cosmetic dermatologist (insufficiently assuaged by his self-penned Whackyweedia entry), so it need not detain us for long. But before we continue to the other member of WHA -- its Secretary-General or sometimes President of Dermatology, one Professor Torelli Lotti -- the Academy's website deserves a moment, for it is a trichobezoar of whackyness.

Building upon its goal of transforming the world (one unsightly skin condition at a time) and its claim to represent the entire global medical profession, it lists a coterie of researchers and philanthropists and Nobel Laureates as "our people"... without explicitly claiming them as members.. and few of the sterling individuals whose images festoon the site are aware of the honour bestowed upon them. Whoever was paid to construct the site got bored and finished half-way through, so the continue reading links, they go nowhere.

The WHA site (also the Whackyweedia adaptation of it) refer to its International Journal of Medicine:
The International Journal of Medicine is an international open-access, peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is a publication of the highest academic profile that will bring new and important information to the medical, scientific, and policymaking community worldwide. Board consist of Nobel Prize laureates, Lasker Award winners, and other distinguished persons. Our devotion to international health guarantees that research and analysis from all regions of the world are vastly covered. We aim to publish first-rate clinical trials that will change the way medicine is practiced.

Publication Charges
To provide open access, the International Journal of Medicine levies an article publishing charge which covers our expenses, such as journal production, and online hosting and archiving. The charge (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors) is $500. There are no submission or page charges, and no color charges. We understand that some authors lack funding to defray publication costs. Where only limited funds are available, the journal will either accept partial payment or offers a waiver. As a matter of policy, the International Journal of Medicine offers a 100% waiver to corresponding authors based in Hinari Band 1 countries, and a 50% waiver to authors based in Hinari Band 2 countries.
No other record of the Journal or its editorial panel of Nobel Laureates can be found on the Interlattice [unless it is coterminous with the IJM issued by some little parasite-publishing start-up in the UAE].

Never mind, there is still Dermatologic Therapy, which acquired the WHA logo and became its emergency back-up journal in 2010, also acquiring Torello Lotti as Associate Editor.

At this point the franchising of WHA Official Journals becomes confusing, for a third journal joins the party! -- Global Derpatology, extruded by those mendacious low-life turdmuffins lovable rapscallions at OAText, who bill it as the Official Organ of the WHA. The OAText people lie about everything (like claiming to operate out of London rather than Hyderabad), but the founder and Editor-in-Chief is a Professor Torello Lotti, and surely his word can be trusted!

But wait! A challenger appears! Lotti is also credited with founding and Editing-in-Chief a competing Journal of Figmentary Disorders for the OMICS griftdozer!* Which is also the Official Journal of the World Health Academy.

To the extent that this is non-tedious, it is because the episode provides a rare example of a shared sockpuppet -- a non-existent person who serves as Lotti's Editorial Assistant and featured in spam from two competing scamshops.

'... Beall noted the ostensible existence of one Amanda Venis, a high-functioning $NAME parameter who works both sides of the street. "Her" FaceBukkake page primarly peddles one of the dismal OAText travesties (Global Derpatology) but the advertisements that comprise "her" Twitter stream alternate between that journal and the Journal of Figmentary Disorders from OMICS. Of the three LinkedIn entries set up in that name, one has her working in SF as an Editorial Assistant for OMICS, while the other two have her in London, as OAText Managing Editor for Global Dermatology or, possibly, for the Interdiciplinary Journal of Chemistry.'
[Text self-plagiarised recycled from here]

As well as the Potemkin Academy, Lotti, Schwartz and their colleagues share an interest in a Californian biomed stat-up company. If any dramatic results emerge from their research in rebranding existing hair-growth placebos in exciting new packaging, they will not lack for suitable journals to announce them.

In the time he can spare from founding new journals, Professor Lotti abuses his powers-for-good as an OMICS / iMedPub editor to pimp "low dose medicine" -- which is to say, a quantum-bullshit neologistic acronym-ridden rebranding of homeopathy.

I was shocked, SHOCKED to find grifting going on in the placebo-vitiligo speciality!

Perhaps the multiple journals are intended to strengthen Lotti's reputation by diluting it repeatedly.
Before and after pigmentary disorder

* Pigmentary Disorders was evidently too specialised under Prof. Lotti's editorship to bring enough of a moneystream into the OMICS trough, so they recently booted him out and changed the title to the more lucrative and all-encompassing "Dermatology and Dermatologic Diseases".
UPDATE What's this? Instigating punctuation? THE MONSTER.

...Once again we seem to have buried the lede, as often happens at Riddled. I can only say in our defense that the lede showed no perceptible vital signs and Dr Benway signed a death certificate before the burial. In this case "the lede" was Vitiligo.
Lede, buried

Duke Vitiligo, the decadent and psychopathic ruler of Chancre, whom we last saw in Act II Scene IV, conspiring with Psoriasis the court jester -- who is really Maculato, the legitimate heir to the Duchy, returned from exile in disguise?
Shut up. And try to be more sensitive about a skin condition that turns one into the map in the frontispiece of a 400-page fantasy novel.

Vitiligo is a purely cosmetic condition, with no life-threatening complications, so it is tailor-made for mountebanks and charlatans with placebos to peddle... especially as there is no effective treatment, i.e. no Standard of Care to compete with snake-oil-infused ointments, Low-Dose Cytokines, fractional ablative photothermolysis lasers, or whatever.

Of course there is a Vitiligo Research Foundation -- a charity, devoted to raising awareness and funds. It grew out of the World Health Academy (or possibly vice versa), so any donations are administered by Torello Lotti, Robert Schwartz, and like-minded friends, through probably not Amanda Venis.

Also, a special vitiligo-themed issue of Dermatologic Therapy composed of Lotti-authored, Lotti-edited papers promising new cures.
This is very insensitive, people; victims
of vitiligo are not for journey planning

Inquiring minds were wondering about the shift in Torello Lotti's academic affiliation in 2010, from the University of Florence to the Università Telematica Guglielmo Marconi (Rome)... the latter being a distance-learning institution, "set up by a consortium of private and public companies" ["diploma mill" is such an ugly term].
[h/t Ocasapiens]

This coincided with his appearances in Italian courts on charges of corruption, peculation, selling patients to drug companies, selling conferences to drug companies, generally being open for business, and instigating punctuation. Lotti's original sentence was increased on appeal (despite his lawyer arguing that the peculation was on behalf of the University and not for personal profit); then reduced again, with the Court of Appeal dismissing some of the charges and calling for a retrial on others.

He remains an acclaimed and honoured member of the cosmetic-dermatology fraternity. It is almost as if the entire profession is parasitical.


Elmo is caused by a bacteria. He can be frightening when he seems to spring out of nowhere, but he doesn't actually do that.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Polydactyl policies

After 15 hours on Twittle, @FirstCatofNZ has 522 807 827 followers.
How many of them are Russian Bluebots?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why do all these academics keep forcing me to co-author their papers?

Publicity surrounding the recent retraction of a mouse / vaccination study has left authors Shaw and Tomljenovic with a rankling sense of injustice, and they are here to tell the Canadian media who the real victims are [hint: the answer is not "laboratory mice"]:
Lucija Tomljenovic, Shaw's co-author, said she agreed to the retraction but "had nothing to do with either collecting or analyzing any of the actual data."
Shaw said he and Tomljenovic drew their conclusions from data that was "compiled" and "analyzed" for the paper, rather than raw data.
Circumstances repeatedly prevail upon them to sign their names to and accept co-authorship of dodgy papers, despite their minimal involvement, to the detriment of their reputations:
Dr. Shaw also distanced himself and Dr. Tomljenovic from the paper that was withdrawn last year.
Dr. Shaw said he and Dr. Tomljenovic, who once worked in his lab, were only "peripherally involved."
"All of the work was conducted in the lab of the senior author, Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld in Tel Aviv. Hence, to make the claim that this work is "ours" is not correct," Dr. Shaw said in the e-mail.*
Shaw was one of the eight co-authors on the study, but he distanced himself from the project on Thursday.
"I was not directly involved except for some editorial comments at the early stages of the manuscript," he said.*
Mystical properties of biowater
Now inquiring minds come to wonder how much more of their research output was of this coerced, unconsenting nature. Surely some form of duress was involved when they co-signed Seneff's papers from 2013 and 2014,** which are crammed with Entropic Quantumbabble and mystical Biowater and are as mad as six wolverines after a week-long methamphetamine bender:

Feel free to wander at leisure through the watery weirdness:
they order neighboring water molecules into a dynamically-structured arrangement that is far more viscous than the bulk water (variously referred to as the “exclusion zone” or the “coherence domain”), and that also exhibits other unusual properties with respect to responses to electromagnetic fields, exclusion of solutes and the mobility of protons and electrons
Biological water dynamics fits the criteria for such self-ordered/self-assembling systems in that it demonstrates the combination of dynamical minimal stability and spatial scaling predicted to lead to a power law for temporal fluctuations
Or just turn stright to Figure 4, a rare example of the "argumentum ad cross-section-through-an-M&M".
Seneff had never recovered her health and sanity after her attempts to reconstruct the Waterbox (“probably the most delicate and fragile instrument ever made by human hands”) — invented by de Selby as a way of diluting water to a point where it could be handled safely, but nowhere properly documented. “There is more to water than meets the eye,” wrote de Selby, by way of explaining why three heavy coal-hammers were destroyed during its construction.
Bonus Seneff waterbending!

Perhaps Shaw regrets signing his name to papers by Gherardi, an aluminary of the antivax movement. They reported discoveries of important phenomena such as the homeopathic inverse dose response (when nothing happens at the higher doses of AlOH where you expected to see something), and the anomalous systemic-translocation timescales, when nothing can be found upon dissecting the laboratory mice (proving that everything happened very quickly and was already over by the first 45-day round of dissections, or was happening very slowly and had barely started by the final 270-day round, or both).

That overlaps with Gherardi's hybrid nanodiamond sequence of papers, in which mice were injected with fluorescent nanodiamonds tagged with AlOH. These have the advantage of being 100% biopersistant, with no danger of dissolving in the murine bodies, making them more suitable for demonstating the permanence and bodily migration of colloidal AlOH (vaccine adjuvant) than actual particulate AlOH would be. Also there is the delightful prospect of indestructible crystalline supermice that shoot fluorescent monochromatic laser beams from their pineal glands when they escape from laboratory confinement.

The other frequent and possibly regrettable collaborator is Chris Exley, big-picture visionary and Jeremiah of the Age of Aluminium. For the last 30 years Exley has been warning the world about the titanic conflict for domination between the three forms of intelligent life that occupy Earth, with carbon, silicon and aluminium-based biochemistry (as prefigured by the 4:2:3 Riddle of the Sphinx), and the alliances that form between them:

...No, wait, that was Tim Powers. There was a lot of carbon / silicon / aluminium speculation back at the end of the 80s, it must have been something in the water, or else the Morphogenic Field. Anyway, Silicon is the natural ally of Carbon against Aluminium.

Visionary diagram of life & geologi-
cal history to tie everything together
We have previously encountered Chris Exley's review paper, the one with the title that seems more suitable for a photocopied Warning of Nighness stapled to a powerpole than for a scholarly review of the literature, published in Frontiers in Neurology:

Why industry propaganda and political interference cannot disguise the inevitable role played by human exposure to aluminum in neuro-degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease
Edited by: Christopher Ariel Shaw
Reviewed by: Lucija Tomljenovic
Now the Frontiers publishing structure is modelled on pyramid marketing, so it features "Research Topics", whereby authors who have paid enough into the structure (by publishing often enough in Frontiers journals) are encouraged to progress to the status of Editor, and to nominate Research Topics, while recruiting their colleagues to contribute papers to each topic (starting a new tier at the bottom of the pyramid). So Exley's overwrought title was part of a Topic on "Aluminum Toxicity and Human Disease”.

Other contributions hint of epistemic closure in the peer-reviewing process, and a level of endogamy worthy of the Hapsburgs:

Biopersistence and brain translocation of aluminum adjuvants of vaccines”, Gherardi et al.
Edited by: Lucija Tomljenovic
Reviewed by: Lucija Tomljenovic
Clinical features in patients with long-lasting macrophagic myofasciitis”, Gherardi et al.
Edited by: Christopher Ariel Shaw
Reviewed by: Lucija Tomljenovic
The mobilization of aluminum into the biosphere”, Pogue & Lukiw
Edited by: Christopher Ariel Shaw
Reviewed by: Lucija Tomljenovic
For reasons unknown, these contributions are now disjuncted and dispersed across the Frontiers archives as if submitted and processed in unprompted independence, for earlier this year the publishers scrubbed all trace of that Topic from their database.

BMC journals used to follow the same useful habit of specifying the reviewers. The same sense of a daisy-chain of academic backrolling and logscratching comes through:

"Elevated brain aluminium and early onset Alzheimer’s disease in an individual occupationally exposed to aluminium: a case report”, Exley & Vickers
Reviewed by: Romain Gherardi
Reviewed by: Christopher Shaw
Slow CCL2-dependent translocation of biopersistent particles from muscle to brain”, Khan,... Exley,... Gherardi & Cadusseau
Reviewed by: Carlo Perricone [Shoenfeld / Tomljenovic collaborator]
Reviewed by: Christopher Shaw

From there, under the thrall of a sense of completion, we turn to a Press Conference in 2012, when the MMF Patient Support Group [I do not know the French for "Astro-Turf"] was lobbying the French vaccine-safety agency ANSM to fund Gherardi's research, putting the squeeze on politicians and calling in independent outside authorities to tesify to the value and quality of Gherardi's belief-system. Authorities named Exley, Shaw and Shoenfeld. The lobbying was eventually a success... €150,000 can buy a lot of nanodiamonds.

So what is this MMF -- E3M in French -- whose victims require support and mollifying medical investment? The defining characteristics of Macrophagal Myofasciitis vary according to situational requirements, ranging from "sore arm with a lingering lump", all the way to "all-encompassing unspecified malaise", a relabelling of ME/CFS that allows anyone with Chronic Fatigue symptoms to be recruited to the cause and coopted as a Martyr of Vaccination Damage (whether "sore arm" and "lump" are part of the picture or not). The condition was first observed by Gherardi et al., and is found only in France, with Gherardi and his colleagues uniquely skilled in its detection. Some would say that Macrophagal Myofasciitis exists primarily to provide a home for all the 'i's left over from converting 'aluminium' to the barbarous misspelling 'aluminum' but I could not possibly comment.
French press
Anyways, the money ran out, and the ANSM has not given Gherardi the extra €550,000 he needs to continue his vital inquiries so he went to the French press blubbing like Fotherington-Tomas. Also they have not followed his advice on banning vaccine adjuvants, which is equivalent to censoring his results, won't someone think of the children? Also sheep are closer to humans than rodents are.
un travail a été fait sur le mouton, encore plus proche de l'homme
Someone needs to take Gherardi aside and explain a few facts of mammalian phylogeny.

We started with Shaw's current attitude toward his collaborations with Professor Shoenfeld, but they are left as an exercise for the reader. Shoenfeld was last seen at RetractionWatch after the depublication of a different antivaccination paper,** complaining that the paper in question had been an important part of his activity as an Expert Witness who testifies in lawsuits for post-vaccination damages. Dude, you DON'T SAY THAT PART OUT LOUD.
Shoenfeld is the proud inventor of ASIA, "Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants", a syndrome so titled as to leave little doubt about his belief in its origins. ASIA subsumes MMF (or possibly vice versa from Gherardi's perspective); also Gulf War Syndrome, and "siliconosis", it is a pantechnicon or omnium-gatherum of speculative sickness.

Stealing from Oglaf is
a Riddled tradition
Shaw said he's likely finished working on papers concerning vaccines after this retraction.
"I'm honestly not sure at this point that I want to dabble in [vaccines] anymore," he said. "We have some projects that are ongoing that have been funded that we feel duty-bound to complete that are on this topic. Frankly, I doubt if I will do it again after that."
* Here is the RetractionWatch post in which Shaw claims credit for revising the zero-Shaw-involvement Shoenfeld paper so that it could be republished in Immunologic Research.**

** It is hard to understand why Shoenfeld has such bad luck with retractions. He has multiple editorial positions and you would expect him to know how to write papers that don't get depublished.
For instance he is Editor-in-Chief of Immunome Research, part of the OMICS scampire; founder and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Autoimmunity (where sloppy papers go to collect corrigenda); and at Immunologic Research -- the eventual home of that retracted zero-Shaw-involvement paper -- he is Topic Editor for the area of "Immunoregulation and Autoimmunity".

Monday, October 16, 2017

Watch out for Doctor Dream

Oh look, the newest couple of waste-of-bandwidth waste-of-oxygen OMICS-wannabees to start working the parasite-publisher side of the street have shown up in the mailbox. Their mooching is not 'spam' though, and was sent to me because of my eminence in the field of Sleep Medicine, which is possibly a circumlocation for "beer". I would love to send them moneys and publications, but... feeling so sleepy... can't keep my eyes... open...

These cockwombles claim to publish their American Journals from an address in Delaware, but since their website was designed by some non-English-speaking nimrods in Hyderabad, I'm going out on a limb to speculate that the "International Library of Journals" might in fact have a similar location.