Tuesday, October 6, 2020

O what ignoble minds are here o'erthrown

This post was earlier cross-posted at Leonid Schneider's site, hence the unfrivolous tone. The version there is improved by Leonid's editing, examples of Sepehri tweets, and frame-story.

So this happened. Misoneism! Enemy of humanity! Legal action!

The faculty at Guglielmo Marconi Telematic University are partners in a collective con-job. To keep the suckers buying Marconi diplomas they must all play their part in upholding the illusion that it is a real university where real research and scholarship go on, in order for the diplomas to retain value. This means signing their names on academic-paper-shaped artefacts. So any examination of these paperoids is an existential thread to the diploma mill's business model, and the response is not entirely collegial.

Let me explain. It is not long since I wrote about Torello Lotti yet here we are again, back in the same territory, exploring more of his co-authorship cabal... this time, Massimo Fioranelli (since Der Spiegel already had dibs on Uwe Wollina).*

Fioranelli lacks Lotti's legal entanglements and non-conflicting interests. On the other hand, one cannot write about him without also touching on Alireza Sepehri, for their literary outputs are entwined like an alive creature emerged from mixing cells of plants and animals. Even though Sepehri's paradigm-challenging theories have already been covered at ScienceIntegrityDigest and at OcaSapiens and originally at Riddled, rich veins of hilarity remain to be mined. Sepehri's cognitive processes are so out-of-the-box that we lost track of the box and no-one is sure where it was last seen, and the only definite thing we know about the box is that there is a cat sitting in it. If that is not sufficiently entertaining, I can promise sperm teleportation, and Medical Sperm Imaging, and topoisomerase waves, and hyperbolic coordinate frameworks - which are the Bestest Coordinates Ever!!
Vide his website, Fioranelli's training is in cardiology. To everyone's relief he gravitated to Integrative Cardiology, and heads the Institute of Integrated Systematic Therapies, allowing him to focus his clinical practice upon healthy hypochondriacs rather than endanger ill people. His activities include editing textbooks on Integrative Cardiology to adorn the bookshelves of homeopaths and quackupuncturists who wish to appear medically qualified without the hassle of medical training; writing advertisements for homeopathy; Professoring at Marconi Telematic Uni, the distance-learning no-attendance diploma mill; and inevitably, founding and editing predatory journals for parasitic publishers (though rather than "predatory", I'm coming to prefer the Italian spennapolli). Specifically, International Journal of Inflammation, Cancer and Integrative Therapy (a.k.a. Interdisciplinary Journal of Microinflammation) for the OMICS juggernaut of scam, and Journal of Cardiology & Diagnostics Research for SciTechCentral - OMICS wannabees who use the motto "A Quantum to Research" to signify and dignify their seriousness.

[Classy logos!]
Only two journals? By Lotti's standards this is a grievous underachievement.

Twitter was recently torn whether to laugh more at the discovery that radio signals are absorbed by skin cells if they use 5G protocols, where they cause SARS-CoV-19 virions to emerge from the quantum vacuum, or at the finding that all existence on Earth is linked in mystic DNA resonance with the black hole at the Earth's core. Both were brought to us by the same collective of co-authors, including Fioranelli and Sepehri.

The latter revelation was recently retracted from the Global Derpatology Special Issue of the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences along with four other papers from the collective, for lacking any discernable connection to dermatology; and because some co-authors had no idea, when they signed their names to these brainfarts, that they would have to share in the ridicule as well as the embellishment of CVs. “Formation of Neural Circuits in an Expanded Version of Darwin’s Theory: Effects of DNAs in Extra Dimensions and within the Earth’s Core on Neural Networks” and “In Ovo Sexing of Chicken Eggs by Virus Spectroscopy” continue to enjoy the editors' confidence, from which I conclude that they are sufficiently dermatological. While "Clinical Applications of System Regulation Medicine" is simply another homeopathy advertisement. Let me take this opportunity to promote my own theory that the Earth's core is actually composed of Mackintosh toffees.
[Some say that the black spiral DNA-like contents of the Core are twist liquorice, but there's no need to be silly]

The former revelation - an Editorial at the 'Journal of Brouhaha' - had already been retracted, with little explanation, as 'explanations' and 'transparency' are not part of that curious organ's brand. It had 'gone viral' if that is the appropriate phrase, with social-media conspiracists taking its anti-5G and COVID-19-is-a-hoax messages to heart, despite (or because of) its reliance on disorganised cognition and inchoate as-above-so-below analogies that would have been dismissed as hand-wavy fiddle-faddle even by Renaissance alchemists in the Golden Age of magical thinking. Elisabeth Bik's critical discussion of the paper darkened the sky above her post's comments section, so many squadrons of flying monkeys scrambled to the paper's defense.

Now I am in no position to forbid people from dabbling in a field unless they have formal qualifications. My own work in quantum physics was a few regenerations ago... it involved a lattice-gauge-theory approach to SO(1), tackling the problem by way of Degenerate Perturbation methods and an inhomogeneous spatial tesselation, but you do not want to hear about my degenerate perturbations. All the same, I can understand why inquiring minds would like to know what an integrative cardiologist contributed to these papers.

The curiosity heightens when we turn to "A BIonic model for exchanging waves between water and DNA", where the only authors are Fioranelli and Roccia. Roccia is equally untrained in physics, with a background in public health before professoring in Psychobiology at Marconi University (in the Department of nuclear physics, sub-nuclear and radiation). Yet there are Rindler coordinates, relativistic accelerations at the nucleotide level, intermolecular wormholes, and enough bra-ket notation gone horribly wrong to send P.A.M. Dirac spinning in his grave,** which are trademark Sepehri preoccupations. Not to forget BIons. The citations in the paper are also dominated by Sepehri's seminal contributions. One cannot help wondering whether Sepehri was a co-author, or even the main author, with his name omitted from the credits for reasons unknown.
Here we learn (inter alia) of "Topoisomerase-like waves", but these are distinct from the electromagnetic spectrum, copying and conveying genetic information by some other means. They don't seem to be gravity waves either, propagating as a perturbation of the metric, nor any other fundamental force. Topological telepathy as it were... perhaps Penrose's Twistor theory is the place to look for an explication. I can haz paper nao?

It may be that the BIons of the title (and black BIons and large and small BIons) are related to the mainstream-quantum-physics soliton couplets of the same name, though then I would expect more details about the specific group and field theory involved in the soliton non-linearities. Or perhaps the reference is to Wilhelm Reich's quanta of orgone energy... or a hommage to Wilfred Bion, English post-Freudian psychoanalytic practitioner and theorist whose essays are famous for their gnomic inpenetrability. Or, just thinking aloud here, perhaps "BIon" is just a Worship Word, and looking for a concrete meaning is as ill-judged as trying to make sense of the sigils and glyphs and astrological signs embroidered on the costume of a magician to signify esoteric knowledge.

All this may make more sense if we concentrate on Sepehri for a while and set out the background. Fortunately his output is a manifold, a continuum; his papers and preprints (in isolation or signed by co-authors) are cut from the same fabric, reminding me of Gallizio's Situationist painting machines that allowed you to order Industrial Art by the metre and cut off the desired length from a spool. The same key insights, diagrams, mathematical derivations and paragraphs recur in different combinations, inspiring different implications, so you do not have to read them all. For simplicity and narrative convenience, this generalisation ignores the bird-decapitation aspect of his research practice, which is uncomfortably close to an episode of 'Fringe', even by the standards of the Mad Scientist Anti-Defamation League [President, S. Clyde; Treasurer and Secretary, Smut C.].

1. Virus particles are fermions with ±½ spin, corresponding to male and female sex.

2. There exist seven spatial dimensions in addition to the familiar ones, not usually accessible but providing a place where 'Dark DNA' can hide.
[A pair of watery reciprocating cranks]

3. There is more to water than meets the eye. The water-bending contributions of Montagnier and Del Giudice are regular visitors to Sepehri / Fioranelli Reference sections. Those authors also cite one another, in a true reciprocation of watery cranks.

Here, Fig 10 from "The effects of quantum spectrum of 4 + n-dimensional water around a DNA on pure water in four dimensional universe" (2019) - 'A closed string connects DNAs and water in universe with anti-DNAs and anti-water in anti-universe'. Someone has been designing cards for a new Tarot deck.

4. The pentagonal and hexagonal carbon-ring structures within DNA nucleotides are best treated as string configurations, in Sepehri's eccentric variant of superstring theory, which you can imagine as conventional superstring theory which had been struck by a bus while crossing the road, incurring major head trauma which it treated by staggering into a pub and quickly downing four double scotches. The space-time curvature around each nucleotide (the result of its immense energy density) is the equivalent of relativistic acceleration away from its partner base, creating event horizons and removing each nucleotide from its partner's observable universe. A switch of coordinate frames to Rindler's hyperbolic coordinates is appropriate, introducing a hyperbolic distance metric and littering the pages with the cosh() and sinh() functions of hyperbolic geometry. I do not know if this applies to other biopolymers with different carbon-frame building-blocks.
5. DNA is a radio antenna. Blank and Goodman characterised DNA as a conductive broadband fractal antenna, much as John Cleese named his parrot "Holy Roman Empire", so those authors also feature regularly in References sections. But a DNA double strand is also a circuit, with its constituent base pairs variously acting as massively-parallel resistors and capacitors and diodes and impedances, simultaneously computing and sharing the results of its computations with other strands.

I personally advise against communicating with your chromosomes, as the banality of their conversation surpasses belief. It is all vapid gossip about which chromosomes were first to line up between the mitotic poles at the last metaphase, and who made most replication errors during S-phase. It would explain many misconceptions if Sepehri's chromosomes lied to him.

[We can safely ignore Dr Ellison's theory that at the
heart of the earth there is a beast shouting 'Love']
6. Following the parallelism between the concentric structure of an egg and that of a planet, the Earth's core must contain black DNA-like strands, explaining the elevated temperatures there.

These insights occur in most concentrated form in 'A Mathematical Model of DNA' (2017a). In fact that preprint's density of insights is enough to curve space-time around it and prevent the escape of information. Subsequent papers have unpacked this treasure-chest in a progressive exegesis. A shorter version appeared in International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics (ostensibly a peer-reviewed journal) as 'A Mathematical Model of DNA' (2017b), but the deleted speculations appeared in 'A mathematical model for the virus medical imaging technique' (I'll come back to that) and elsewhere.
Regrettably, some of those out-takes have not found new homes, such as the news about routine terrestrial teleportation, due to the Earth's magnetic field. If Sepehri is looking for a suitable journal, I like the Fortean Times though I am not sure about its impact factor.
As promised: Sperm Medical Imaging. Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
Sperm are over-rated and blood is sufficient for fertilisation.
In fact eggs are also over-rated and can be dispensed with. The implications for animal husbandry are endless, using trees as incubators and surrogate mothers.
Charitable observers have assumed that Sepehri began as a real physicist before he burst his brain, switched to a new literary career with an emphasis on word-salad and magical-thinking metaphorage, and fell in with bad company in the form of Lotti et al. However, the evidence suggests that the surly bonds of reality were never strong, even before Sepehri slew the demon of Coherence.
In fact Sepehri was already publishing his inspirations and exhalations by 2013, through spigots such as "Eur. J. of Biophysics" and "Am. J. of Bioscience & Bioengineering", though with better-drawn illustrations back then. Those journals' "European" and "American" labels are a hint of their origin in Pakistan, from the low-rent predatory fraudsters at SPG. As a way of attracting the sympathetic interest of one's academic peers, routing one's writings through SPG is the equivalent of shipping them out to sea on a burning garbage scow to be sunk by naval gunfire while a sky-writing plane adorns the cloud-filled heavens with the message 'Thus Endeth a Load of Absolute Bobbins'.
[Graphic deterioration from 2013 to 2019]

The MS-Paint cartoons dominating later papers seem to have strayed from Hyperbole-&-a-Half, if Allie Brost ever went meta and switched to a hyperbolic coordinate frame.

On the topic of outlets, physics disciplines are a magnet for the style of outsider thinking that is often associated with lengthy manuscripts handwritten in green ink on yellow foolscap. This is especially true in astrophysics for some reason, and one Dylan Fazel began his career of predatory-journal and scamference grifting by way of Outsider Astrophysics journals and grandiose fabulation, but that is another story. My point is that Physics has a special need for Salons des Refusés (not to be confused with the Saloon des Refusés, a rather louche absinthe bar in the XIVe arrondissement) - this is what inspired the creation of the ArXiv preprint server, to bypass journal gatekeepers. Then, because some cranks were too egregious even for ArXiv, there came ViXra, where no-one is blacklisted except the people who are blacklisted from ViXra. And ViXra is where many Sepehri opuscules are housed... along with SSRN, Zenodo, and ResearchGate, where they have the advantages of receiving DOI tags, allowing discussion of their merit at PubPeer. Some of the ResearchGate entries are grouped under the rubric of a Project with a rhetorical question for a title, "Is cancer a disease that can be cured by DNA teleportation"
Betteridge's Law seems applicable here
To be fair, some of this output appears in journals from non-predatory publishers, or at least publishers that are longer-established in their predation, notably de Gruyter and Elsevier and Springer. It is as if physics journals have a quota of omicron-hautboy-fritillary word-salad to accept. This is a phenomenon of the post-String Theory, post-Supersymmetry epoch of physics... Editors are reluctant to dismiss a manuscript merely on the grounds of incomprehension, for fear of the shame of rejecting the next Witten.

In 'Camp Concentration' there's a subplot where the conspirators conceal their work on the Reciprocator, and perplex the narrator, by disguising the circuit diagram as an instance of mystical Alchemical allegory:
"...That part of the drawing that I could see represented a crowned and bearded man holding a tall scepter upon which were mounted, one above the other, six further crowns. The king stood on an odd pedestal that grew flowerlike from a vine that branched, above the king's head, into a sort of lattice. At the interstices of this lattice were six other heads, lower, lesser types, and beside each head a letter of the alphabet, from D through I..."
It is possible that the figure in question (from Nazari 1599) was also the original for Figure 1 of "Exploring extra dimensions by the help of DNAs of the egg cell and the earth" (2019) and again of "Two natural DNA black strings may be new windows into extra dimensions: The effect of extra dimensions on biological systems"; and Fig 7 of "Exploring Extra Dimensions by Two Natural Telescopes: DNAs of the Egg Cell and DNA-Like Structure Interior of the Earth’s Core". These all show the mechanism of sperm teleportation from a fertilised to an unfertilised one.

Despite the specificity of the description ("quail eggs") and the presentation of ostensible measurements, I wonder if this is a proposed experiment: more of a Gedankenexperiment than an actual laboratory performance. Conducting experiments on Gedankens is now regarded as unconscionable cruelty and is banned in most countries in response to pressure from the Gedanken Rights lobby.

A similar phenomenon might explain how the Earth's yolk came to be fertilised with strands of black liquorice DNA; they teleported there from some other planet.

A juxtaposition with another woodcut with Nazari (1599) seems apposite for Fig 2 from "A mathematical model for the virus medical imaging technique" (Fioranelli & Sepehri, 2018). It is our daily dose of conceptual circuitry, where the wires consist of influenza virions packed together in a one-dimensional thread. They have to be all-male or all-female virions, though, or the wires will not superconduct.
The paper's opening paragraph is unexpectedly lucid. A W*k*pedia-based explanation suggests itself for this.

A further corollary of this hermetic scholium of thought is that DNA and RNA emit ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves, because different cellular organelles correspond to components of a microphone or a loudspeaker, while anything vaguely helical in form fills the symbolic role of the inducer coil or the electromagnet respectively.

Moreover, these waves are physically hexagonal or pentagonal in shape, because they emanate from and encode the structures of DNA nucleotides. This train of thought (if I may use that word) is an integral part of the "5G → COVID-19" fantasia. Part of me wants to learn more about "Non-linear hexagonal/pentagonal ultrasound waves of a DNA with very short wavelength propagating in an empty vacuum" and part of me is unable to handle the truth.

Entrancing and necessary though all this background material may be, it is distracting us from a matter of almost equal importance: the contributions of Massimo Fioranelli (and to a lesser extent, of Roccia). Attention turns to "The information isn't lost in gene expression" (Fioranelli & Roccia, 2020). We are asked to accept that Fioranelli and Roccia wrote it by themselves, which is implausible. This time Sepehri is absent from the References as well as the authorship.

The paper revisits "Information loss in transcribing genetic sequence from DNA into protein" (Sepehri & Shoorvazi, 2013b): one of the SPG extruded products mentioned above. Here "revisits" is a polite way of saying "recycles". Then there are other passages of unexpectedly similar text. At right, the other SPG extrusion, "The acceleration of DNA may generate cancer" (Sepehri & Shoorvazi, 2013a).

It grieves me to report that these parallel paragraphs both have an outside source: Berg (2008), "Dynamics of gene expression and the regulatory inference problem".
As it happens, a number of space-fillers in that Open-Access Macedonian Journal 2019 Special Issue from Fioranelli and the rest of the Lotti co-authorship cabal reveal a collage-like quality. They are not burdened with tiresome hang-ups about authorship or intellectual property. Here is the first page of "Beta Blockers and Melanoma":
Sources are not acknowledged.

SimTexter (h/t Debora Weber-Wulff) only highlights sentences used verbatim, not flagging slight changes, but I like its Bridget Riley colour palette. Here it compares "Melanoma and Mastocytosis" with Hägglund et al (2014):

This is a little depressing. You would think that this crowd could at least write a brief essay on dermatology - Lotti's area of supposed expertise - that isn't a plagiarised patchwork quilt. But bored now.

The preprint repositories contain multiple re-writes of the 5G / COVID-19 story. For instance, "Non-linear hexagonal/pentagonal ultrasound waves exchange between Covid-19 and dermatologic antenna" (2020) and "Electromagnetic and Ultrasound Waves Exchange Between Dnas Within Cells, Rnas Within Coronaviruses and Towers in 5G Technology" (2020), though with fewer authors - Sepehri, Fioranelli, Roccia & Beesham. Perhaps these are the members of Lotti's circle who take it perfectly seriously. Commendably, Fioranelli has also engaged in the discussion at several PubPeer threads (even if his contributions do not fully conform to the PP philosophy of "focussing on points of science"), and he really seems to believe in Sepehri's results whether or not he understands them.
Sepehri may suffer some degree of mental dysfunction, and I feel guilty about pointing and laughing (then I remember that as well as his avian head-transplant experiments, he seals lentils and beans into the body cavities of conscious quail to see what will happen). But what is Fioranelli & Roccia's excuse?

* Der Spiegel's coverage of Uwe Wollina draws heavily on the commentary at PubPeer and ScienceIntegrityDigest.

** Empirical research is necessary to determine whether Dirac's spin is integer or half-integer.

UPDATE: Another Fioranelli / Lotti paper turns out to be someone else’s paper, with bits cut out and nothing added except references to a few earlier Fioranelli / Lotti papers.

UPDATE2: Readers who are not yet reached Fioranelli / Lotti satiation might enjoy the Biofibre saga. Biofibre being a producer of artificial hair implants, for people with a Barbie fetish. It may be that Lotti has a financial arrangement with the company, or perhaps he is just very enthusiastic about the product and is keen to bring it to the attention of his colleagues.

So Lotti and his mate Tirant (the herbal placebo peddler) wrote Textbook and Atlas of Dermatology, available for $180 from Tirant’s web-shop… it is “An excellent aide in the diagnosis, treatment and management of skin diseases”, according to noted authority Prof. Torello Lotti. Chapter 44 is devoted to advertising Biofibre.
We find two Lotti / Wollina / Fioranelli advertisements for Biofibre in Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, and four in Journal of Biological Regulators & Homeostatic Agents (not easy to access, due to that journal’s peculiar publication model of not publishing). Many of the before-and-after photographs of customers also appear in online advertisements for Biofibre franchises, inspiring me to wonder whether the authors obtained the photographs from the company, or were provided by the authors to the company.

Four of them recycle the results of a survey of 133 hair-implant customers, in much the same words.

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