Schneider Shorts of 8 October 2021: greedy Big Pharma, killer kitties, fake Viking maps, fake clinical trials, fake CVs and fake grades, other tortured phrases, academic eugenics, updates on lab leak theory, and the scientific lessons for Christianity from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Table of Discontent
- The Wrath of God: Elisabeth Bik and the Bible crooks
- Cats! Cats! Cats! Clickbait
- Fake Viking Map: Yale embarrassed
- Constipated Intelligence: Laxatives before exams?
- Big Pharma Greed: Merck to cash in big time
- Randomized Proxa: Nick Brown crunched numbers
- Unfurl! Thwack! Tortured phrases need bad editors
- Eric the Liar: fraudster Noji’s out of the Academy
- German Corruption: a university clerk caught selling grades
- Collins resigned: NIH urgently needs new director
- Diversity just like the Holocaust, say deplatformed white professors
News in Tweets (COVID-19)
News in Tweets (other)
The Wrath of God
Scientific Reports published a paper by the so-called Comet Research Group of Bible scholars, which insinuates that God would throw down comets from the sky to destroy sinful cities, in this case Tall el-Hammam in today’s Jordan, which the authors claim was actually Sodom:
Ted E. Bunch, Malcolm A. LeCompte, A. Victor Adedeji, James H. Wittke , T. David Burleigh, Robert E. Hermes , Charles Mooney, Dale Batchelor, Wendy S. Wolbach, Joel Kathan , Gunther Kletetschka, Mark C. L. Patterson, Edward C. Swindel, Timothy Witwer, George A. Howard, Siddhartha Mitra, Christopher R. Moore, Kurt Langworthy, James P. Kennett, Allen West, Phillip J. Silvia, A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el‐Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea, Scientific Reports (2021) , DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-97778-3
Elisabeth Bik wrote a blog post on that.
The last author of the paper is Phillip J Silvia from the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. According to Wikipedia, TSU is an unaccredited evangelical Christian institution of higher education. Its motto is “flexible adult higher education upholding biblical authority”.”
Turned out, the figures in that paper were digitally manipulated, likely to remove their original labels.
One of the authors and COMET directors, George Howard, got angry (not used to being criticised by women?) and attacked Bik, calling her an “anti-science, anti-christian bigot” who defames religion, a “creep” and “attack dog” and a “cheap shot anti-science punk” who should “quit tweeting and publish your attacks in peer-reviewed context“:
So much for Springer Nature to be proud of. But hey, these “scientists” paid good money to publish their “peer-reviewed” “research” in Scientific Reports. Actually, it was already the second paper there, about another Middle-eastern city, Abu Hureya, which the authors believe was also destroyed by a comet and thus must have been Gomorrah:
Andrew M. T. Moore, James P. Kennett, William M. Napier, Ted E. Bunch, James C. Weaver, Malcolm LeCompte, A. Victor Adedeji, Paul Hackley, Gunther Kletetschka, Robert E. Hermes, James H. Wittke, Joshua J. Razink, Michael W. Gaultois & Allen West Evidence of Cosmic Impact at Abu Hureyra, Syria at the Younger Dryas Onset (~12.8 ka): High-temperature melting at >2200 °C Scientific Reports (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-60867-w
Humanity must change its sinful LGBT ways, unless it wants another comet fall from the sky, this time on San Francisco for example.
Cats! Cats! Cats!
I need to raise my site stats, so hopefully some cat reporting will help. That’s what the internet is for anyway, cats, right?
So here some science breakthrough about cats: “Predatory Instinct is Main Reason why Domestic Cats Regularly Hunt Wild Prey, Study Suggests“. Who knew? Bet you are as surprised now as I was!
“Predation of wildlife by domestic cats (Felis catus) presents a threat to biodiversity conservation in some ecological contexts. The proportions of wild prey captured and eaten by domestic cats and thus the contributions of wild prey to cat diets are hard to quantify. In a new study published in the journal Ecosphere, a team of researchers at the University of Exeter analyzed the diets of domestic cats through stable isotope analysis of cats’ whiskers and of samples of wild and provisioned foods; they found that the cats that regularly catch wild animals still get most of their nutrition from the provisioned foods.”
This was the paper:
Martina Cecchetti, Sarah L. Crowley, Cecily E. D. Goodwin, Holly Cole, Jennifer McDonald, Stuart Bearhop, Robbie A. McDonald, Contributions of wild and provisioned foods to the diets of domestic cats that depredate wild animals Ecosphere (2021) doi: 10.1002/ecs2.3737
The first author is quoted:
““When food from owners is available, our study shows that cats rely almost entirely on this for nutrition,” Dr. Cecchetti said. “Some owners may worry about restricting hunting because cats need nutrition from wild prey, but in fact it seems even prolific hunters don’t actually eat much of the prey they catch.” “As predators, some cats may hunt instinctively even if they are not hungry — so-called ‘surplus killing’ — to capture and store prey to eat later.”
I am flabbergasted. My entire Weltanschauung collapsed. All this times I believed overfed domestic cats kill birds and small mammals and then, instead of eating them, just play with the victims for hours because they don’t know how to cook, or for kosher, halal or other religious considerations. Turns out, cats are highly evolved predators who are wired to kill and would do same to their owners were it not for the inconvenient size difference.
Fake Viking Map
“The Vinland Map, once hailed as the earliest depiction of the New World, is awash in 20th-century ink. A team of conservators and conservation scientists at Yale has found compelling new evidence for this conclusion through the most thorough analysis yet performed on the infamous parchment map.
Acquired by Yale in the mid-1960s, the purported 15th-century map depicts a pre-Columbian “Vinlanda Insula,” a section of North America’s coastline southwest of Greenland. While earlier studies had detected evidence of modern inks at various points on the map, the new Yale analysis examined the entire document’s elemental composition using state-of-the-art tools and techniques that were previously unavailable.
The analysis revealed that a titanium compound used in inks first produced in the 1920s pervades the map’s lines and text.”
New York Times has the history of the fake map:
“The map can be traced at least to 1957, after Laurence Witten, an antiquarian in New Haven, Conn., acquired it from an unknown source in Europe. He sold the parchment to the philanthropist Paul Mellon, who donated it to Yale. In 1965, Yale revealed the map to the public, with stories appearing in major newspapers, including on the front page of The New York Times. At the time, the school’s experts believed the map was compiled around 1440, about 50 years before Christopher Columbus sailed west. […]
When the Vinland Map appeared in 1965, not long after the Newfoundland discovery caused a sensation, scholars quickly raised doubts about the parchment. While the curator of maps at Yale’s library at the time saw the “amazingly accurate” drawing of Greenland as evidence of Viking exploration, others saw it as the mark of an artist looking at a 20th-century map.
Greenland’s northern coast was drawn “suspiciously similar to what you can see on modern maps,” Mr. Sigurdsson said. “Greenland is so close to the real Greenland, it’s hard to believe anyone in the Middle Ages would have drawn a map like that.”
It also seemed unlikely for a medieval scribe to know that Greenland — drawn for centuries as a peninsula — was an island.”
Took them almost 60 years to admit the map was fake.
British scientists found a drug to treat mental illness and cognitive deficits. The drug also treats constipation. A press release by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology announced:
“Now a group of UK researchers have tested an existing approved drug, prucalopride, which targets the 5-HT4 receptor, and found that it may improve cognition. Prucalopride is primarily prescribed for constipation, and has an acceptable level of side effects if taken under medical supervision.
44 healthy volunteers aged 18-36 participated in the trial. 23 were given prucalopride, and 21 were given a placebo. After 6 days all the volunteers were given an fMRI brain scan. Before entering the MRI scanner, volunteers were shown a series of images of animals and landscapes. They viewed these again plus similar images during the scan. After the scan, volunteers performed a memory test: they were asked to distinguish the images they had seen before and during the scan from a set of completely new images.”
The breakthrough result has been published here:
Angharad N. De Cates , Lucy C. Wright , Marieke A. G. Martens , Daisy Gibson , Cagdas Türkmen , Nicola Filippini , Philip J. Cowen , Catherine J. Harmer , Susannah E. Murphy Déjà-vu? Neural and behavioural effects of the 5-HT4 receptor agonist, prucalopride, in a hippocampal-dependent memory task Translational Psychiatry (2021) doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01568-4
The press release explains the clinical trial:
“Presenting the work at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Lisbon (with simultaneous publication, see below), lead researcher, Dr Angharad de Cates of the University of Oxford said, “Participants who had taken prucalopride for 6 days performed much better than those receiving placebo on the memory test; the prucalopride group identified 81% of previously viewed images versus 76% in the placebo group. Statistical tests indicate that this was a fairly large effect – such an obvious cognitive improvement with the drug was a surprise to us”.”
81% vs 76% memory improvement with 44 participants in both arms, wow, that’s convincing. Never mind, expect students to start taking prucalopride before exams, to memorize whole textbooks. In worst case they will spend the time on the toilet.
Big Pharma Greed
You sure heard of the new drug, molnupiravir, by Merck (the US Merck, not the German one), which was announced (in a press release, no paper or preprint yet) to prevent COVID-19 complications and deaths. The company now seeks EUA and made multi-million dollar agreements with governments already. The Intercept reports in this regard:
“A five-day course of molnupiravir, the new medicine being hailed as a “huge advance” in the treatment of Covid-19, costs $17.74 to produce, according to a report issued last week by drug pricing experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and King’s College Hospital in London. Merck is charging the U.S. government $712 for the same amount of medicine, or 40 times the price.”
The authors of the study are Melissa J Barber and Dzintars Gotham. Their calculated production costs make sense, because, as the magazine writes: “Indian companies are planning to price the drug at less than $12 for a five-day course, according to recent reports.“
The Interecept argues where the problem lies:
“A small Miami-based company, Ridgeback licensed the medicine from Emory University in 2020 and two months later sold the worldwide rights to the drug to Merck for an undisclosed sum. Although Ridgeback remains involved in the development of the drug, some have described the deal as “flipping.”
Like the vast majority of medicines on the market, molnupiravir — which was originally investigated as a possible treatment for Venezuelan equine encephalitis — was developed using government funds. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the Department of Defense, provided more than $10 million of funding in 2013 and 2015 to Emory University, as research done by the nonprofit Knowledge Ecology International has revealed. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, also provided Emory with more than $19 million in additional grants.
Yet only Merck and Ridgeback will reap the profits from the new antiviral, which according to Quartz could bring in as much as $7 billion by the end of this year”
Well, exactly the same thing happened with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before. Capitalism, baby.
New developments in the Brazilian proxalutamide affair of the maniacs Flavio Cadegiani et al: further evidence of fraud has been found.
In a new blog post, Nick Brown applied the methodology developed by John Carlisle which serves to spot irregularities in clinical trial papers. Specifically, the method checks the reported baseline number distribution to tell if the participants were truly randomised, or not. Which in turn would suggest manipulation of the trial data.
Brown studied these papers:
- Cadegiani, F. A., McCoy, J., Wambier, C. G., Vaño-Galván, S., Shapiro, J., Tosti, A., Zimerman, R. A., & Goren, A. . Proxalutamide significantly accelerates viral clearance and reduces time to clinical remission in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19: Results from a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Cureus, (2021). doi: 10.7759/cureus.13492
- Cadegiani, F. A., McCoy, J., Wambier, C. G., & Goren, A. Early antiandrogen therapy with dutasteride reduces viral shedding, inflammatory responses, and time-to-remission in males with COVID-19: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled interventional trial (EAT-DUTA AndroCoV Trial – Biochemical). Cureus, (2021). doi: 10.7759/cureus.13047
“I obtained what seems to be substantial evidence that the randomisation of participants to conditions in the two studies that are the respective subjects of these articles may not have taken place exactly as reported.”
You may have heard of “tortured phrases“, that’s where academic fraudsters try to cover up their plagiarism by using Thesaurus while being having little grasp on the English language. The results can be hilarious. Here is such an example, found by Smut Clyde:
R. Sivaranjanee, P. Senthil Kumar The unfurl of the coronavirus and its thwack on humans and the environment: a review Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.coesh.2021.100289
Already in the title, and still nobody noticed. The abstract is also full of tortured phrases:
“This review highlights the formation, prodrome, transmission and survival mechanism of COVID-19 and shows that the pandemic circumstance fundamentally improves the air quality in various urban areas across the globe, decreases water contamination and commotion and diminishes the tension on the traveller objections, which may facilitate the reclamation of the natural framework. The worldwide effect of this new outbreak is still dubious.”
I had to look up “prodrome”. Its reclamation in this natural framework sounds dubious to me, under the commotion of pandemic circumstance of traveller objections, which does not diminish the tension.
Well, it passed peer review in an Elsevier journal! Whose Editor-in-Chief happens to be a certain Damia Barcelo, professor at the CSIC Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research in Barcelona, Spain, who previously covered up research fraud in another journal he is Editor-in-Chief of.
I can even predict how Barcelo will reply if you ever should complain about the obviously plagiarised Unfurl-Thwack paper. Just as he reacted when faced with outright Photoshop fraud:
“You have always the option of sending a letter to the editor with all comments made. This letter will be submitted to reviewers..
If this is accepted then the authors of the original paper will have the right to answer to your questions. This is how it works when discrepancy occurs.“
In this regard, another tortured-phrase paper has been retracted:
Eric the Liar
Science magazine reports:
“When leaders of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM) notified members late last year that they had expelled physician Eric Noji for scientific misconduct, the announcement came with a pointed request: “Please consider this information highly confidential, only for members.”
On the members-only section of the NAM website in December 2020, the details were relayed by NAM President Victor Dzau and Home Secretary Elena Fuentes-Afflick: “On October 19, 2020, Dr. Eric Noji’s membership in the National Academy of Medicine was rescinded based on a determination that he engaged in conduct that included fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.”
The medical school where Noji was an adjunct professor had severed ties with him in 2016 after a probe found he was a serial fabricator and plagiarist who had lifted a whole book chapter from a colleague. The New York Times, in describing his behavior in 2018, noted claims of a nonexistent medal for Antarctic scientific exploration and a fictitious Stanford University MBA.”
The article continues to decry the fact that Noji’s expulsion was done in secret. First of all, I am pretty sure Noji’s expulsion was leaked to journalists by the same people at NAM who decided not to make a public announcement. So much for the scandal of that “top secret”.
But the real problem is something else. Noji has long been kicked out by his last US employer Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, he was last seen affiliated with King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, and Noji apparently has no academic affiliation anymore. He is out of friends, in the Academy and in academia. There is nothing they hate more than people inventing fake academic honours and credentials, it’s one of biggest crimes in academia, this is what really brought down Paolo Macchiarini, and this is also what Noji overdid, including inventing things like “Ordre des Palmes Academiques, presented by President Hollande of France; nomination to the Royal College of Physicians of London” etc (NYT).
Noji’s research fraud is very much secondary to all that. A number of US Academies’ members are research fraudsters, and nobody cares. Science itself is full of fraudulent papers they do nothing about. Research misconduct is never really a problem in academia, but it will break your back when they really decided to get rid of you.
Even in Germany, university grades can be bought occasionally. The local newspaper WAZ reports:
“At the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), exam grades for students, including prospective teachers, have apparently been manipulated for money. That emerges from the investigations of the criminal police against a 38-year-old employee of the university administration. She is accused of bribery. Now the UDE is said to have let the employee go, as reported by the dpa. Many exams could now be revoked.
In addition to the university employees who work on the Campus Essen, the investigations are directed against almost 50 students of the Faculty of Economics. They are accused to have paid the clerk who works in the examination administration of this faculty 800 euros so that a failed exam (grade 5) became a passed exam (grade 4). The money is said to have been paid exclusively in cash. With the investment, these students allegedly bought their degrees – Bachelor, Master, teacher degree possible – because the exam grades are important for it.”
A lawyer for one of these students (who is in danger of losing her degree and her lawyer job:
“His client was never aware that she bribed an employee of the university. The starting point was a 35-year-old from Essen, who offered preparatory exam courses to the economics students. Participation cost 300 euros. It’s legal. […] About him, according to lawyer Schröder, even worse students reported that he could put in “a good word for you too”. But that costs. And so his client gave the 800 euros to the leader of her preparatory course, not to the university employee.”
Pathetic losers, too dumb to pass an exam. That’s what you get for €800. With wealthier parents but same stupidity, one can perfectly legally buy a real education in an elite university at USA or UK. Or at least sue your German university when you don’t like your failure grade, even the threat of lawsuit can work wonders. That’s what real socio-economic elites do.
An NIH press release from 5 October 2021:
“Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., today announced his decision to end his tenure as the director of the National Institutes of Health by the end of the year.”
Collins, the Harley-Davidson-riding Guitar-playing evangelical Christian, was appointed as NIH director by President Obama in 2009, retained by Trump, and apparently also by Biden. Or was he?
“Dr. Collins will continue to lead his research laboratory at the NHGRI, which is pursuing genomics, epigenomics and single cell biology to understand the causes and means of prevention for type 2 diabetes. His lab also seeks to develop new genetic therapies for the most dramatic form of premature aging, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.”
Collins is 71 years old, long past the legal retirement age, which is for federal employees like him is 62 or less. Most of his career was in management positions, from 1993 to 2008 as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and for the last 12 years as director of the whole NIH.
There is actually no logical reason for Collins to go back to lab, apply for grants, recruit PhD students and postdocs and set up research projects. Yes, we sure can use some cures for diabetes and the Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, but it is extremely unlikely Collins will deliver much there. It’s not like USA is out of scientists and needs every hand on board, especially the old white men. Although, Collins, while full-time busy leading NIH, retained a lab at all times, manned by his mentees, and was constantly co-authoring papers. Just recently he published as last author two studies (here and here) about Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria therapies, with his NIH staff scientist Michael Erdos. So Collins indeed never left the science arena, at least the paper-coauthoring bit! Incidentally, one of these recent papers suggests mTOR as therapeutic approach.
Maybe Collins just can’t give up the power, hence retirement not an option? Of course Collins could have gone to the pharma industry and earn much bigger cash there, but maybe that route was not an option for some reason. E.g., his job with the industry would be just to do nothing but front his name and his networks. Despite enormous financial rewards, not really a power-wielding position. Hence, back to the lab?
Also this strange information, by Washington Post:
“No decision has been made on an interim director, an NIH official said.”
Well. This would suggest that Collins retirement was not planned in advance. Maybe NIH decided to reinvent itself.
Diversity just like the Holocaust?
“American universities are undergoing a profound transformation that threatens to derail their primary mission: the production and dissemination of knowledge. The new regime is titled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” or DEI, and is enforced by a large bureaucracy of administrators. […]
DEI violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment. It entails treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century. […]
Ninety years ago Germany had the best universities in the world. Then an ideological regime obsessed with race came to power and drove many of the best scholars out, gutting the faculties and leading to sustained decay that German universities never fully recovered from. We should view this as a warning of the consequences of viewing group membership as more important than merit, and correct our course before it is too late.”
See, letting underprivileged Black students from crappy public schools in is just like the Holocaust. Instead, one should judge student applicants individually, based on letters of recommendation from people of high standing, grades and other achievements at elite private schools, as well as on their parents-funded internships, which is never racist, just good old academic eugenics. To be fair, Marinovic mentions being “born and raised in Chile, and is classified as Hispanic by his university)“. This to warn you that if you disapprove of the opinion piece, you are a Nazi racist.
The piece still had consequences, as Newsweek reported on 4 October 2021:
“Massachusetts Institute of Technology canceled a lecture by geophysicist Dorian Abbot amid criticism of his views on campus diversity efforts. […] In a statement to Newsweek, MIT confirmed that the address would not be held this year at the discretion of EAPS, but that the university is later planning to allow Abbot to share his work with colleagues.”
Cancel Culture! Deplatforming! Just like the Nazis in the Holocaust!
News in Tweets (COVID-19)
- As exposed by Elisabeth Bik before, Didier Raoult has been faking ethics approval for his clinical trials for many years. “In addition to the work on hydroxychloroquine, L’Express pinpointed the absence of legal authorizations or the contempt of scientific ethics in studies carried out on minors, homeless people or even students of the University of Aix-Marseille. who have had vaginal swabs. […] Since then, we have identified some 250 new problematic studies. Most of them, of questionable quality, above all have the advantage of generating Sigaps points, which allow them to obtain significant funding.” (L’Express)
- “Dr Kyle Sheldrick, one of the group investigating the studies, said they had not found “a single clinical trial” claiming to show that ivermectin prevented Covid deaths that did not contain “either obvious signs of fabrication or errors so critical they invalidate the study”.” (BBC)
- All the crooks on board! Pierre Kory, Robert Malone and Peter McCullough teamed up to boost their egos and make money with a death cult. Their new TrialSiteNews is there to warn you against vaccines while peddling hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
- As Smut Clyde said: “Grifters gotta grift, and if you’re Ashutosh Tiwari, COVID-19 is just another business opportunity.” Read about Tiwari’s mHospitals business here.
- “The same day Xi Jinping made his announcement, several groups of China’s scientists submitted five articles on the new coronavirus to three of the world’s leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature, as well as to a lesser journal edited in China but with editors in the US called Emerging Microbes and Infections (eMI). [..] Some—Nature, The Lancet, eMI—turned themselves into platforms for the science equivalent of propaganda. The story of the search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2 makes clear that scientific publishers, and some scientists who should know better, allowed themselves to be corrupted by their desire to stay on the good side of the country that will soon be the largest science funder and publisher in the world—China.” (interview with book author Elaine Dewar, Disinformation Chronicle)
- “Intercept investigative reporters Sharon Lerner and Mara Hvistendahl join editor Maia Hibbett to discuss the competing theories on the origins of Covid-19. The Intercept obtained documents that shed new light on controversial lab experiments, raising questions about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.” (The Intercept)
- “This newspaper used Freedom of Information rules to obtain a cache of 32 emails about a secretive teleconference between British and American health officials held early in the pandemic. But officials blacked out almost every word before releasing the crucial documents. Before this discussion, several of the world’s most influential experts believed the new virus most likely came from a laboratory – but days later, the scientists began dismissing such scenarios as ‘implausible’ and branding them conspiracy theories.” (Daily Mail)
News in Tweets (other)
- “Some global research has been criticised as being “parachute research” also known as “helicopter” or “neo-colonial science”. This occurs when researchers travel to under-resourced communities, conduct their research, and leave, often with little or poor understanding or involvement of the communities they studied, and few direct benefits to local participants. This policy, implemented across all PLOS journals, aims to improve reporting of global research. Authors conducting research of this nature may be asked to complete a questionnaire that outlines ethical, cultural, and scientific considerations specific to inclusivity in global research.” (PLOS)
- “Sir” Gilles Guillemin has left Twitter, which may be a sign his Australian university took my notification of research misconduct seriously. Dang, I used his humorous tweets in my article!
- Update on University of Liverpool’s plans to sack scientists deemed
disloyal inconvenientunderperforming, Professor Patricia Murray leads the fight against her dishonest superiors (something most academic would never ever do):