Schneider Shorts of 3 September 2021: A French covidiot resigns all the way to 19th century, American ivermectin death cults, what cancer’s Achilles Heel really is, comedy wildlife photography, the proper way to watchdog over research integrity: lessons from China and Netherlands, why preprints are evil, and featuring Israeli scientists: the kinky version.
Table of Discontent
- The Madness of Dr Raoult (retired)
- Print your own tumour, with Israeli Scientists
- More and Better Sex, with Israeli Scientists
- AI genius for Nobel: coming soon!
- Cancer’s Achilles Heel (is Photoshop)
- Angry colleagues and Crazy People: Lex Bouter on whistleblowers
- China’s “Dr Fauci”, the plagiarist (Zhang Wenhong is an innocent hero!)
- EPA fraudsters (science serving the industry)
News in Brief (COVID-19)
News in Brief (Science Elites)
News in Brief (Wildlife)
The Madness of Dr Raoult
Chloroquine Guru Didier Raoult was sent into retirement on 31 August 2021, aged 69 and thus long past official retirement age in France. This was previously announced by the Aix-Marseille University and the regional health provider, AP-HM (Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Marseille). Most important however: Raoult remains director of IHU Marseille and can only be removed by its board of directors, which just happens to consist mostly of his friends and admirers (IHU now deleted the list). Meanwhile, French antivaxxers, covidiots and Nazis protest against Raoult’s forced retirement on social media with #TouchePasARaoult (“Don’t touch Raoult“) and a QAnon slogan #TouchePasAuxEnfants (“Don’t touch the children“):
As emeritus professor Raoult can’t supervise any PhD students anymore, but his PR goblin Yanis Roussel graduated already, so that’s solved. Having been retired by AP-HM also, Dr Raoult loses all clinical privileges as practising physician, his request to work two half-day shifts per week was denied, but that’s OK, because the new governmental decree mandates all medical personal to be COVID-19 vaccinated and Didou, according to my sources, staunchly refuses to get the shot while pooh-poohing the COVID-19 vaccines. In this regard, France Bleu writes:
“But it is plain and clear that the last outburst of the professor on vaccination, “modest protection on variants” according to him, sealed his fate. Jean-Luc Jouve:“To express doubts about the effectiveness of public health is unacceptable. It is a bad message to send. When we see the very low vaccination rate in the most needy districts of Marseille, somewhere, the IHU has its share of responsibility given its influence. ““
Anyway, do you know the REAL reason what the number 19 stands for in COVID-19? Professor Didier Raoult has a theory. Alexander Samuel commented:
“Breaking !!! Didier Raoult just said, live on french television, that he has evidence of covid19 circulating back in the 19th century. “
Apparently, the idea came from Raoult’s IHU colleague and French army’s General Michel Drancourt:
Cult of insanity.
Print your own tumour
This new story by my favourite trash newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, is headed like the IDF has developed a new secret weapon to deter all attacks on the state of Israel:
“Israel ‘prints’ world’s first 3D living malignant brain tumor”
I do hope the technology by Dr Ronit Satchi-Fainaro will find a military application!
“THE MODEL is composed of cancer cells, and also recreates the “microenvironment in the brain” – the specialized glial cells, the primary innate immune effector cells of the central nervous system and blood vessels. The vessels are connected to a tubing system through which the team can flow red and white blood cells and different drugs to the tumor model to better predict what is effective.“Each model is printed in a bioreactor we have designed in the lab using a hydrogel sampled and reproduced from the extracellular matrix taken from the patient, thereby simulating the tissue itself.”
You may say, well nice, congrats on your beautiful elegant paper and all (Neufeld et al Science Advances 2021), but why such a big fuss about your polymer scaffold seeded with cancer cells?
““We have been testing new drugs like this for at least three or four decades – myself included,” Satchi-Fainaro explained. But she said that 90 out of 100 compounds, when they move from the lab to the clinic, don’t work.“It’s outrageous! And it means that something is wrong. I started to wonder. I got to the point of thinking that maybe we were working with the wrong cancer model.””
Well, Dr Satchi-Fainoro, the real reason why so many drugs work in vitro but not in clinic is the propensity to bullshittery, exaggeration and cutting corners among your fellow scientists. Your own media spin circus is a somewhat good example.
More and Better Sex with Israeli Scientists
Have you always been wondering what drives people to promiscuity once they get blind drunk in a company of utter strangers at Mallorca, Cancun or any other sun-drenched seaside resort?
No, it’s not the alcohol. No, it’s not the anonymity and the pleasant knowledge that you will never see that person ever again. It’s the UV light and the good old Vitamin D.
Israeli scientists from the Tel Aviv University found it out:
“Any Tel Avivian will tell you that the perfect place for a first date is at the beach. Now, we have the science to support that claim. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight enhances romantic passion in humans. In the study, men and women were exposed to UVB (ultraviolet radiation type B) under controlled conditions, and the findings were unequivocal: increased levels of romantic passion in both genders.
Sun + Skin = Love
The study revealed that exposure to sunlight affects the regulation of the endocrine system responsible for the release of sexual hormones in humans. The discovery may lead to practical applications down the line, such as UVB treatments for sexual hormone disorders.
In animal models, the effect was dramatic: the females’ hormone levels rose significantly, enlarging their ovaries and prolonging their mating season; the attraction between males and females increased; and both were more willing to engage in sexual intercourse.”
And: transgenic mice without p53 gene got both cancer and horny! See the sexy paper, which cost the authors $5200 to publish:
Roma Parikh , Eschar Sorek , Shivang Parikh , Keren Michael , Lior Bikovski , Sagi Tshori , Galit Shefer , Shira Mingelgreen , Taiba Zornitzki , Hilla Knobler , Gabriel Chodick , Mariya Mardamshina , Arjan Boonman , Noga Kronfeld-Schor , Hadas Bar-Joseph , Dalit Ben-Yosef , Hadar Amir , Mor Pavlovsky , Hagit Matz , Tom Ben-Dov , Tamar Golan, Eran Nizri, Daphna Liber, Yair Liel, Ronen Brenner, Yftach Gepner, Orit Karnieli-Miller, Rina Hemi, Ruth Shalgi, Tali Kimchi, Ruth Percik, Aron Weller, Carmit Levy Skin exposure to UVB light induces a skin-brain-gonad axis and sexual behavior Cell Reports (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109579
The clinical trials were not pre-registered, and had no controls. In one setup, 19 healthy participants were asked to wear long-sleeved shirts and stay out of the sun for 2 days, then sent out with short sleeves for a day and had their blood drawn. In another setup, other participants (with skin conditions) were briefly exposed to UVB lamp and asked to fill out a questionnaire about how romantically inclined and how aggressive they feel. The Tel Aviv University press release declared:
“In the 32 human subjects of the study, all treated with UVB phototherapy at the Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) and Assuta Medical Centers, both genders exhibited a rise in romantic passion, and males also noted an increase in levels of aggression.”
The paper also has this interesting statement:
“Vitamin D synthesis is affected by UV absorption, which depends on the skin tone of the individual [….] we propose that pigment phenotype might play a role in regulating the skin-brain-gonadal axis, thereby regulating sexual behavior.“
I feel that joke is veering off from being funny to being bigoted.
Anyway, thanks to science, you know know why Finland has a pathetically low average rate of 1.8 children per family, while equally pale-skinned Orthodox Jewish families in Israel boast a whooping 7 children on average, G-d and the sun bless them.
AI Genius for Nobel
Male genius can be simulated in a supercomputer and then make an AI genius science discovery to win a Nobel Prize, thinks another male genius, according to Engadget:
“But Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI, has plans for a “hybrid form of science that shall bring systems biology and other sciences into the next stage,” by creating an AI that’s just as capable as today’s top scientific minds. To do so, Kitano seeks to launch the Nobel Turing Challenge and develop a AI smart enough to win itself a Nobel Prize by 2050.
“The distinct characteristic of this challenge is to field the system into an open-ended domain to explore significant discoveries rather than rediscovering what we already know or trying to mimic speculated human thought processes,” Kitano wrote in June. “The vision is to reformulate scientific discovery itself and to create an alternative form of scientific discovery.”
Well, one doesn’t need a very sophisticated AI technology to fake some research results, Photoshop is enough…
Cancer’s Achilles Heel
Dr. Shoukat Dedhar, professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada has found the cancer’s Achilles Heel, which is the enzyme Carbonic Anhydrase IX (CAIX). The UBC press release announces:
““Cancer cells depend on the CAIX enzyme to survive, which ultimately makes it their ‘Achilles heel.’ By inhibiting its activity, we can effectively stop the cells from growing,” explains the study’s senior author Dr. Shoukat Dedhar, professor in UBC faculty of medicine’s department of biochemistry and molecular biology and distinguished scientist at BC Cancer.”
The celebrated study Chafe et al Science Advances 2021 declares as “Competing interests: S.D., C.T.S., P.C.M., and F.C. are inventors on a patent related to this work filed by Welichem Biotech Inc., Burnaby, Canada, US 9,463,171 B2, filed: 9 January 2013, published: 11 October 2016.“
My excitement in this discovery of a cancer cure is slightly dampened by the fact that Dedhar has published several papers with fraudulent research data, in collaboration with such toxic characters like Anna Bagnato (27 papers on PubPeer), Pier Giorgio Natali (21 papers on PubPeer) and Antonio Garcı́a De Herreros (30 papers on PubPeer and 4 retractions). Here some PubPeer evidence, mostly posted by Clare Francis years ago:
Laura Rosanò, Francesca Spinella , Valeriana Di Castro , Shoukat Dedhar , Maria Rita Nicotra , Pier Giorgio Natali , Anna Bagnato Integrin-linked kinase functions as a downstream mediator of endothelin-1 to promote invasive behavior in ovarian carcinoma Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (2006) doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.mct-05-0523
Sandra Guaita, Isabel Puig, Clara Franci, Marta Garrido, David Dominguez, Eduard Batlle, Elena Sancho, Shoukat Dedhar, Antonio Garcı́a De Herreros, Josep Baulida Snail induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in tumor cells is accompanied by MUC1 repression and ZEB1 expression Journal of Biological Chemistry (2002) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m206400200
Not just with those three crooks:
Mitra Esfandiarei , Sahar Abdoli Yazdi , Virginia Gray , Shoukat Dedhar , Cornelis Van Breemen Integrin-linked kinase functions as a downstream signal of platelet-derived growth factor to regulate actin polymerization and vascular smooth muscle cell migration BMC Cell Biology (2010) doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-11-16
Maybe data fudgery is the real cancer’s Achilles Heel?
Angry colleagues and Crazy people
Speaking of research integrity. Lex Bouter is Professor of Methodology and Integrity at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, who has authored over 700 papers and has an h-index of 173. Bouter is also world’s biggest ethics authority and staunchest champion of research integrity, he co-organises the World Conferences on Research Integrity (WCRI), which are by the way sponsored by world’s most ethical publisher, Elsevier. In one such Elsevier editorial on WCRI from 2016, Bouter apparently proposed to mass-sack scientists to liberate money for high-performers like himself:
“In my view lack of money in the absolute sense is probably not the main driver of questionable research practices or worse. But the available finances relative to the scientific work force may very well be an important determinant. The fact that in my country and elsewhere the ‘hit rate’ of grant applications is now below 10% may be a strong driver to cut corners with a view to making your work look more spectacular. Next to increasing budgets, which is unlikely to happen, a decrease in the number of scientists is an option we may need to consider seriously.“
So now Bouter explained in an online workshop what kind of people these whistleblowers really are:
Bouter’s slide went:
Typology of whistle blowers
- Honestly concerned, sincere, fact-oriented colleagues
- Angry colleagues that may act out of revenge
- Machiavellists with self-serving motives
- Crazy people:
- Paranoid, stalking or insulting
- Write long and confused messages with lots of CAPITALS and!!!!!!
- To everyone they can think of
Knowing Bouter’ antics, I presume category 1 can only be professors who report their own dishonest students and postdocs. I also trust he places people like myself, Clare Francis and others into the fourth category. I also asked Bouter if he places his peer Patricia Murray in the category 2 of “Angry colleagues that may act out of revenge“. He didn’t reply, so I guess I interpreted his slide correctly.
Bouter has a long-standing relationship with Elsevier, unfortunately despite his public stance for full transparency, he and his university remained silent when asked to divulge his possible financial involvement with that publisher.
The Dutch Ethics Champion also proposes to sanction “mala fide” whistleblowers with research misconduct themselves should their “victims” be declared innocent by an institutional investigation, he seems to see the danger of malicious whistleblowing just as serious as that of actual research fraud (Bouter & Hendrix 2017). I never heard of such cases, the scientists whom I know of having been wrongfully accused of misconduct were the whistleblowers themselves, charged by the people the blew the whistle on and by the institutional elites keen to defend the fraudsters. I am not sure whom Bouter meant to defend here…
In this regard, why not punishing the whistleblowers of Dymph van den Boom, the former rector of University of Amsterdam, who was charged with plagiarism in her speeches and PhD dissertation?
The investigator Ton Hol, law and economy professor at University of Utrecht and Netherland’s other great alpha man of research integrity, previously declared van den Boom to be innocent of plagiarism, just being sloppy, a decision harshly criticised by many. Hol’s argument, and I am not exaggerating, was that van den Boom couldn’t have plagiarised because she did not intend to pass off other’s work as her own, and anyway, the strict plagiarism rules apply only to students who Hol reiterated will be charged with fraud if they do same thing as van den Boom did.
China’s “Dr Fauci”, the plagiarist
We remain on the topic that it’s not plagiarism when elite scientists do it. Coda covers the story of China’s “Dr Fauci”, the head of the Shanghai Medical Treatment Expert Group and Communist Party member, Zhang Wenhong. Who, as it initially looked, was allegedly smeared with fake charges of plagiarism in his perfectly scientific thesis on Traditional Chinese Medicine, as revenge for his mild criticism of governmental zero-COVID19 policies. Coda Story writes that this
“prompted Shanghai’s Fudan University, where Zhang got his doctorate in molecular biology in 2000, to announce an investigation into his case, and news outlets outside China picked up the story as a cautionary tale of the consequences of deviating from the party line. But when a group of Chinese scientists living in China and abroad claimed there was merit in the allegations against Zhang, the shadowy levers of the Chinese state seem to have launched a hasty clean-up operation to restore Zhang’s international reputation as top scientist.”
Then it turned out Zhang’s thesis was very extensively and very insolently plagiarised indeed. Something had to be done:
“On August 23, eight days after announcing an investigation into Zhang, Fudan University said he had been cleared of any misconduct. The statement clearing Zhang’s name was widely disseminated on Chinese state media, the initial Weibo post that had first alerted people to anomalies in Zhang’s work deleted and the user’s account suspended. Zhang’s dissertation was deleted from CNKI and Wanfangdata, two popular databases for academic papers.
A Shanghai publishing house soon brought out a new biography of Zhang to laudatory coverage in the Chinese state media. In a book review, Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News described the scientist as an “unforgettable figure” of the pandemic. The biography was stacked up in bookshop displays in China, next to Xi Jinping’s writings. Dr. Zhang was a national hero again.”
Take home message: It is not fraud when the people in power do it. And when it’s the governmental authorities tasked with protecting the people and the environment who engage in research fraud, it gets really serious. The Guardian reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been falsifying safety assessments for chemicals to please their manufacturers:
“The alterations to risk assessments mostly involved the deletion of health hazards without the authors’ knowledge after assessments were submitted. Documents show that in one file managers deleted all references to a chemical’s carcinogenicity. In other cases, managers asked scientists with less expertise on a subject to sign off on changes without informing the assessment’s author.
The chemical industry has regularly objected to EPA scientists’ conclusions about the dangers of new chemicals, and whistleblowers say it was clear that companies were pressuring management to make changes. In one case, a manager allegedly yelled that a company “went apeshit” over a risk assessment that flagged a chemical’s carcinogenicity, and demanded that the scientist delete that portion, a request that was refused. The scientist was soon transferred out of the division. […]
Emails show that management asked a scientist to make bogus harassment charges against another chemist who wouldn’t make changes to a risk assessment that managers had demanded.”
News in Brief (COVID-19)
- In America, you can sue your way to quackery, as the wife of one COVID-19 patient at ICU did: “Judge Gregory Howard ordered West Chester Hospital, part of the University of Cincinnati network, to treat Jeffrey Smith, 51, with Ivermectin. The order, filed Aug. 23, compels the hospital to provide Smith with 30mg of Ivermectin daily for three weeks.” We also learn that “Smith is represented by New York attorney Ralph Lorigo, the chairman of New York’s Erie County Conservative Party, who has successfully filed one similar case against a Chicago area hospital and two more in Buffalo.” (Ohio Capital Journal) I am amazed at the possibilities of US law. Can one also sue the same hospital for poisoning you with the same quackery you successfully sued them to poison you with? The expert quack that judge trusted more than US authorities like FDA is Fred Wagshul, co-founder of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) death cult.
- TIME investigation covers another quack network, America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLD) which was founded by Dr Simone Gold, one of the Trumpian rioters who stormed the Capitol on 6 January 2021. Unsurprisingly, AFLD is all about fleecing their fellow covidiots, antivaxxers and fascists for money: “hundreds of AFLD customers and donors have accused the group of touting a service promising prescriptions for ivermectin, which medical authorities say should not be taken to treat or prevent COVID-19, and failing to deliver after a fee had been paid. Some customers described being charged for consultations that did not happen. Others said they were connected to digital pharmacies that quoted excessive prices of up to $700 for the cheap medication.” (Time)
- US secret services informed President Biden that without China’s cooperation, which is not happening at all, they are unable to determine if COVID-19 originated directly from a natural spill-over or as a lab leak accident in a Wuhan research institute. All that they are sure of is that the virus was not known to Chinese authorities before November 2019, and that it was not deliberately manufactured as a bioweapon (New York Times).
News in Brief (Science Elites)
- World’s Top Thinker 2021 is the Israeli Scientist(TM), embryologist and stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna, because he is “searching out fundamental truths about the human condition—and making discoveries that destabilise our concepts of what we are and how we come to be“, as Prospect Magazine informs. Hanna’s genius is now a science fact, and all previous concerns about his research and its integrity are wrong, unscientific and outright slanderous.
- Australian Research Council (ARC), advised by the nation’s scientific elites, decided to crack down on the real cause and evidence of research fraud. Which are apparently preprints: “Australia’s major research funder has ruled more than 20 fellowship applications ineligible because they mentioned preprints and other non-peer-reviewed materials…” (Nature)
- This green-washing insanity was not preprinted, and it fits perfect to Australia’s schizophrenic stance as world’s biggest coal exporter and polluter fighting climate-change by geoengineering. Gigantic ship-mounted water cannons are being tested to spew seawater mist into the air: “if successful, could help to determine the future of the Great Barrier Reef. Three-hundred and twenty nozzles spewed a cloud of nano-sized droplets engineered to brighten clouds and block sunlight — providing a bit of cooling shade for the coral colonies below.” (Nature)
News in brief (Wildlife)
- Mongabay sums up the current research on the COVID-19 lockdown effect on the environment. It seem, the transient reduction of CO2 emissions was indeed significant, but without much long-term effect, and: “Another study debunks the media hype behind the “animals are reclaiming the cities” trend last year, attributing the increased sightings to the fact that people forced to stay at home finally had time to start noticing the wildlife around them.“
- Women blending in with men get harassed less. It applies not only to humans, but also to hummingbirds, as Cornell University scientists found out (Falk et al Current Biology 2021): “Our tests found that the typical less colorful females were harassed much more than females with male-like plumage,” (CNET).
- The tiny and indestructible water-dwellers tardigrades have been filmed walking for the first time (Nirody et al PNAS 2021), and they walk rather like arthropods and not like vertebrates, as Rockefeller University scientists explain: “When vertebrates switch from walking to running, there is a discontinuity. With arthropods, all stepping patterns exist along the same continuum“. You can watch the video of a walking tardigrade on Sci News.
- The Natural History Museum in London released some contributions from the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 competition. You can watch the photos on CNN.
- Also the winners of Comedy Wildlife Photo Award 2021 have been announced, here is the gallery.