Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pear Pimples for Hairy Fishnuts

WTF did I just read?

“Quantum Biophysical Semeiotic” sounds like a reboot of the Sokal Hoax, written by people who were worried that Sokal’s original sting manuscript leaned too far in the direction of making sense. Alternatively, QBS could be a Spacemen 3 covers band. It reminds us that there are sub-levels and sub-basements and malebolges of incomprehension and worship-word-ridden cargo-cult cognition, far deeper than being “not even wrong”. The only way to elevate the whole brainfart towards that basic criterion would be to abandon any expectations that ‘quantum’, ‘biophysical’ or ‘semeiotics’ in the title are in any way related to physics, biophysics or semiotics.

The gist of QBS is that the humble stethoscope is not just an emblem of membership in the Medics’ Guild; in trained hands it is a diagnostic tool of scarce-dreamt-of capacity and specificity. For diabetes, arteriosclerosis, lithiasis and Alzheimers Disease are organ-specific outcomes of mitochondrial- / nuclear-gene defects (manifested through Rube Goldberg 'microcirculatory remodeling' mechanisms). Along with the breast-cancer risk-factor variants of the BRCA-1/2 genes, all can be detected early through auscultation, for all have their own distinctive sounds. As explained in a quartet of Opinion pieces and a Commentary by Dr Sergio Stagnaro (“Sempre arzillo a 87 anni”).

You can probably imagine what the References sections look like.

Fortunately Dr Stagnaro can also remediate these genetic shortcomings, with a hand-wavy invocation of Nonlinear Complexity theory... therefore irradiation with low-level 1-mm microwaves, which increase the fractal dimension of blood vessels by stabilising the attractor (I could be wrong about that, for my attention was distracted at this point by a skwirl, and it may be that the appropriate intervention is actually a hermeneutic reinterpretation of symbolism, or a projection of the wave-vector into a different Hilbert subspace before collapsing it).

Now the people of the Frontiers publishing behemoth – outlet for those Opinions – pride themselves on a whole new paradigm of Peer Review, which bypasses Editorial bias and subjectivity by matching peer-reviewers to manuscripts algorithmically (also obviating the old-fashioned notion that Editors should have some acquaintance with a field and be familiar with the knowledgeable authorities). The algorithms work so well that the paradigm is periodically redesigned, relaunched and reproclaimed as a breakthrough. In these five cases, the algorithm decided to skip peer review completely and just let the editors accept the manuscripts unaided. Unless “Just cash the cheque and print the paper” is an unannounced new feature of the Frontiers business model.

Hilarity continues to ensue from browsing the comments on these opinion pieces. They prove to be 100% spam left by an ingenious and industrious cannabis-oil scammer using identities like "Prattless Watterson". So at least the pieces are being read, if only by automated spambots.

Stagnaro brought himself to wider attention by leaving a comment over at Sylvie Cotaud’s blog, refuting her critical calumnies by pointing out the respect he receives from the Scientific Community… the proof of that respect being the unreviewed acceptance of his APC payments by Frontiers. Also the ingratiating invitations he receives to address a Euroscicon mockademic congress. Now EuroSciCon are well-known as a camouflaged polyp of the OMICS empire of academic grift, so boasting that they’re mooching for one’s money is onna par with boasting of the imminent wealth that was promised in emails from a Nigerian prince.

It is not a good look for Frontiers that they were promoting this fraudulent "7th Edition of World Congress on Cancer Research, Survivorship and Management", and had promised to provide it with livestream video services. The advertisement quickly disappeared down the memory hole in response to Sylvie pointing and laughing, though ads for other EuroSciCon scamferences remain on the Frontiers site.

Stagnaro curates his QBS braindrool on the website of the Società Internazionale di Semeiotica Biofisica Quantistica, which he would like you to look at. While another safe place for his output of Condamine calenture Toothpick is NeuroQuantology

NeuroQuantology was an outlet favoured by the much-missed Dr Martin Persinger. It also turns out to be the work of scammers and inept spammers, but I digress.

[h/t Sylvie Cotaud]

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

She Tries Not to Shatter #2, Lobster edition

"Loner, seen from behind" is #1 in some lists of visual tropes for lazy movie-poster designers, as compiled by lazy Pop-Culture websites. Actually these lists are all the same, in different orders, so I link to one which (unusually) credits the original compiler / montage creator.

It would be very wrong to cobble these all together into a stroby, twitching, epileptogenic GIF.

So when Jordan Peterson monetarised his Interweave notoriety by pitching Self-Actualisation MBA seminars for overly-dramatic Emo kids Incels who want to Think for Themselves and Rediscover their Manhood and Make $$$, naturally he (or his ad advisor) slavishly followed the conventions of that trope:

People have grappled with those sentences and sought to wrest sense from them, only to conclude that Peterson missed his métier and is still writing lyrics for the Glam-Metal band he fantasised about fronting while at university. They make more sense if you imagine them on the B-side of 'The Final Countdown'.

As for his Disruptive-Learning Fellow-ships, they are a standard MLM / Pyramid-scheme scam, though stealing the skin of Robert Bly's "Iron John" tradition so I am concerned that there may be drum circles. The $65,000 tuition is not motivated by personal greed, and is only imposed to motivate the suckers and focus their attention. I am not making this up:
How much will I need to pay in tuition?At Acton you’ll learn the importance of aligning incentives with key success factors, to attract and motivate the right people. Our innovative pay-it-forward financing, made possible by Acton teachers, alumni and other successful entrepreneurs, is designed to mirror this lesson and make Acton as accessible as possible, while making sure every participant has “skin in the game.”

Just saying, you can gain the same insights for free from the Peterson Quotation Generator.

In other news, I am here to report another sighting of the 'disintegration' / 'visual fragmentation' trope in movie poster art. It is the lazy designer's default symbol for themes of dissolution of identity or memory, and the increasing virtuality of reality... so popular, in fact, that it spills over into themes of assembly and integration.

Fortunately other chroniclers besides your humble Riddled scribes keep track of phenomena such as these. I am not sure that the Batman instance entirely conforms to the trope, but whatthehell.

[Mostly stolen from 'Jay']
It would be very wrong to cobble these all together into a stroby twitching epileptogenic GIF, also too.

We can count ourselves fortunate that Jordan Peterson's graphic designer did not opt for this trope instead: instead of Johnny Cash cosplay, we could have been subjected to an image of the Great Philosopher deliquescing at the edges into a pile of lobsters.

To globalisation! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems

A pair of clever mycologists are discovering new species of Boletus without venturing farther than their supermarket. All thanks to Market Forces, and DNA sequencing technology, and life-style aspirations signified by up-market culinary ingredients, and the willingness of corporate supply-chains to outsource everything to the cheapest origin - which in the case of dried mushroom packets, was forest foragers in China.

So the contents of the packets were not Boletus edulis stricto sensu as claimed, but previously-undocumented varieties (though if there is any shortcoming in flavour, it misses the attention of most customers). Even in feckin Italy, Asian mock-porcini outsells real porcini:
Porcini are estimated to have an annual worldwide consumption up to 100,000 metric tons (Hall et al., 1998). However, their harvest is restricted to wild foraging since, to date, their cultivation has failed. The high prices for this wild food foraged locally in Europe and North America has driven the market towards less costly sources, such as China (Sitta & Floriani, 2008). According to the official website of Yunnan Province (, the major exporter of wild mushrooms in China, locally-sourced porcini have been exported to Europe since 1973, and mushrooms of Chinese origin now account for approximately half of all dried porcini in Italy (Sitta & Floriani, 2008). The Chinese species of porcini have been shown previously to be more closely related to European Boletus aereus than they are to the core commercial species, B. edulis
An analogy could be drawn between fungal mycelia and human trade routes, though I am not the first to draw it.

Figure 2: Experimental setup. Globe covered with agar gel is colonised by slime mould P. polycephalum. Oat flakes represent areas of U.

This opens up new vistas and prospects in the exploration of biodiversity. Here at the Riddled Institute of Dumpster Foraging we are industriously DNA-sequencing packets of imported surimi to identify new species of deep-sea angler-fish and giant squid.

We also await the descriptions of previously- and subsequently-unknown sub-species of orangutan, from DNA found in Indonesian-sourced PKE (palm-kernel-extract) dairy fodder.