Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 19.11.2021 – Garbage and Unprofessional

Schneider Shorts 19.11.2021 - Alina Chan's book is out, Irish Moss as COVID-19 crusher, long covid all in your head, Cassava affair exposes idiocy of stock market capitalism, featuring a short-fused bully editor and his antivax successor, Wiley defending upmarket research fraud, Cheshire taking on the Indian Ministry of Defence, with Frontiers in insectofascism, mental deficiencies of vegans, radioactive showers, and my best wishes to Spiderman in his alternative career as fantasy writer.

Schneider Shorts of 19 November 2021 – Alina Chan’s book is out, Irish Moss as COVID-19 crusher, long covid all in your head, Cassava affair exposes idiocy of stock market capitalism, featuring a short-fused bully editor and his antivax successor, Wiley defending upmarket research fraud, Cheshire taking on the Indian Ministry of Defence, with Frontiers in insectofascism, mental deficiencies of vegans, radioactive showers, and my best wishes to Spiderman in his alternative career as fantasy writer.

Table of Discontent

Science Elites

Scholarly Publishing


Science breakthroughs

News in Tweets

Science Elites

Spiderman in trouble

Spiderman Jonathan Pruitt, the former shooting star of behaviour ecology who deployed lawyers against his former colleagues and against journals which tried to retract his fraudulent papers, is apparently preparing himself for an alternative career outside of academia, as fantasy fiction writer.

It seems, Pruitt now lost his PhD degree. His dissertation on social spiders at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville is decorated with the note:

This paper has been withdrawn.

I asked the university about the doctorate degree situation, but was merely told:

The University of Tennessee is committed to integrity in all of its research endeavors, including student work. The university is prohibited from disclosing student information, including the presence or absence of a research integrity investigation, based on FERPA

In any case, it does seem that Pruitt is about to depart from McMaster University in Canada, where he has been so far funded by the prestigious Canada Research Chair grant. We learn that

“A spokesperson for Pruitt’s current employer, McMaster University, told ScienceInsider on 12 November that the school’s “investigation has now concluded and Pruitt has been placed on a paid administrative leave until the process is complete.””

Btw, here another Canada Research Chair, but that one is way too untouchable because Josef Penninger cured his native Austria of COVID-19.

Personally, I am all for Pruitt working as fiction book author full time; I wish him all the best in this new endeavour. The former University of Edinburgh senior lecturer Irina Stancheva became a great glass artwork creator, she even has gallery exhibitions and teaches kids her craft. One can put misguided creativity to good use. But most research fraudsters are too stupid and too untalented for that, so they remain professors.

Cassava in trouble

Rememberer the biotech startup Cassava Sciences, who bloated their stock market value to $5 Billion after they rigged trial data to look as if their Alzheimer’s drug was working? Who were then caught by their own investors and Elisabeth Bik with a massive amount of falsified preclinical data as well?

Cassava made it into The Wall Street Journal:

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating claims that Cassava Sciences Inc., the sixth-best performing U.S. stock this year, manipulated research results of its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cassava disclosed Monday in a securities filing that it is cooperating with government investigations, without naming any agency. Cassava said an investigation isn’t a sign that wrongdoing occurred. An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment.

The National Institutes of Health, which awarded $20 million in grants to Cassava and its academic collaborators since 2015 for drug development, is also examining the claims, according to the company’s chief executive officer.”

We now also know who submitted that FDA letter:

“The accusations appeared in a public petition filed in August to the Food and Drug Administration asking it to suspend Cassava’s clinical trials. The petition’s authors are two physicians who said they came to doubt Cassava’s research and have shorted its stock, betting the share price would fall once investors recognized the problems they found, they said. David Bredt, a biotech entrepreneur and former neuroscience research chief at Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly & Co., and Geoffrey Pitt, a cardiologist and professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, wrote that Cassava’s research, published in several different scientific journals, include images of experiments that appear to have been manipulated using software such as Photoshop.”

Scholarly Publishing

Scholarly publishers love celebrating Elisabeth Bik while patronising, belittling or even defaming her behind her back. Like nobody wants to be called a bigot while being a bigot, nobody in science business wants to be accused of bad research ethics while peddling fraud. Elsevier truly mastered the game of cake having and cake eating by payrolling all research integrity events. Other publishers know how to play the game also.

Wiley flips the bird

Longwei Yin, professor at Shandong University, China, has 11 papers on PubPeer. This “scientist” should not be trusted even with a shopping list, yet he now negotiated 6 corrections, all in very respectable journals. Here the most bizarre correction, for fraud uncovered by Bik in a journal with impact factor of 18.8:

Rui Tang , Shujie Zhou , Caixia Li , Ran Chen , Luyuan Zhang , Zhiwei Zhang , Longwei Yin Janus‐Structured Co‐Ti 3 C 2 MXene Quantum Dots as a Schottky Catalyst for High‐Performance Photoelectrochemical Water Oxidation Advanced Functional Materials (2020) doi: 10.1002/adfm.202000637

Elisabeth Bi: “Figure 1D. The blue and red plots, and maybe also the purple plot, look remarkably similar to each other, in particular in the right part.”
Fig 2E
Fig 2D
Fig 2F

The Wiley correction, issued, haha, on 1 April 2021, declared:

“In the initially published version of this article, the XPS spectra results in Figure 1D and TEM images demonstrated in Figure 2D–F, Figure S3F, and Figure S10B of the as-synthesized materials were incorrect. […]

The revised images do not influence the data analysis and conclusions of the original paper. They fully support the conclusion.”

See, Wiley can do both. Play the biggest research integrity champions ever while covering up the most outrageous research fraud, with correction notices which basically spit at Bik, whom they publicly pretend to respect so much. Here, another gift by Wiley for the same team of crooks, in a journal with impact factor of whooping 29.4:

Peng Wang , Caixia Li , Shihua Dong , Xiaoli Ge , Peng Zhang , Xianguang Miao , Rutao Wang , Zhiwei Zhang, Longwei Yin Hierarchical NiCo 2 S 4 @NiO Core–Shell Heterostructures as Catalytic Cathode for Long‐Life Li‐O 2 Batteries Advanced Energy Materials (2019) doi: 10.1002/aenm.201900788 

Elisabeth Bik: “Figure 7A.
Pink boxes: The purple and orange lines appear to show very similar plots.
Blue boxes: The red and green lines appear to show very similar plots.
Elisabeth Bik: “Figure 7C.
Green boxes: Some parts of the top plot appear to be visible multiple times

The correction from May 2021 informs:

“In the original published work, Figure 7a, 7c and Figure S11 are incorrect. The correct Figures are presented below […] the relevant paragraph on Page 9 should read as follows:

The diffraction peaks located at about 33.0° and 35.4° can be indexed into (100) and (101) planes of Li2O2 (JCPDS Card No. 74-0115) and no other phases can be observed, unambiguously indicating the generated Li2O2 as the dominant oxygen reduction products for all the three discharged electrodes.[48,49]

The conclusions of the work are not affected by these errors.”

Well done Wiley. Message received loud and clear.

I wrote before about other corrections for Longwei Yin by Elsevier and ACS, at the end of this actually unrelated article:

As a reminder, the Editor-in-Chief of one of these crooked journals, Elsevier’s Nano Energy, its impact factor bloated by the phony science it publishes, is the Georgia Tech professor Zhong Lin Wang. Wang is the owner of a huge Wikipedia article about his genius and known to my regular readers as Ashutosh Tiwari‘s close associate and winner of various IAAM awards.

Bully editor

Elsevier seems to recruit its editors in the darker recesses of academic depravity, the more toxic and dishonest the better. The foundling editor of Toxicology Reports become verbally quite violent when notified of a fraud case. Luckily, he can’t hurt us, his revenge won’t reach those outside of the academic cesspool.

Lawrence Lash, professor at the Wayne State University in USA, told Cheshire:

what you sent provides non real insight into any problem with the data.

Followed by:

You provide no explanation of the problem. This type of complaint is garbage and unprofessional.”

Oh, and anonymous reports are invalid.

Cheshire previously sent Lash this:

Shahanshah Khan, Sandeep Choudhary , Arun Kumar , Akanchha Mani Tripathi , Amit Alok , Jawahar Singh Adhikari , Moshahid Alam Rizvi , Nabo Kumar Chaudhury Evaluation of sesamol-induced histopathological, biochemical, haematological and genomic alteration after acute oral toxicity in female C57BL/6 mice Toxicology Reports (2016) doi: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2016.03.005 

Actinopolyspora Biskrensis: “Figure 1 images overlap, but description describes different treatments.
Hoya Camphorifolia: “Fig 9. “Panel A: Control, brain showing normal cellular architecture; Panel B: sesamol—300 mg/kg, brain showing normal cellular architecture;...”
Hoya Camphorifolia: “Fig 7: “Panel A: Normal. Heart showing normal histological architecture; Panel B: sesamol—300 mg/kg, heart showing normal histological architecture”
Fig 4. “. Panel A: control, stomach showing normal cellular architecture; Panel B: sesamol—300 mg/kg, stomach showing normal cellular architecture …
Actinopolyspora Biskrensis: “Figure 5 […] Arrows in original figure (Panel A: normal. Liver showing normal histological architecture; Panel B: sesamol—300 mg/kg,

To me, Lash ordered not to “act like some sort of crusader” and explained why he attacked Cheshire:

There is a procedure to follow when commenting on an apparent problems in a paper, and this has not been followed.

Of course Lash is full of s***, Cheshire did follow the due procedure, and wrote not just to Lash (who was still Editor-in-Chief when the paper was published), but also to other editors. Including his successor as Editor-in-Chief, a certain Aristides Tsatsakis. You might recall that one, he is peddling rabid antivaxxery and covidiocies in his own Toxicology Reports, while insisting to have never influenced the peer review.

Lash had only this to say about his successor:

Dr. Tsatsakis is a Professor in Greece who was chosen by Elsevier to take over Toxicology Reports in early-2017 as I had become the Editor of TAAP in mid-2016. I had no prior relationship with him.”

Having continued raving about “due procedure” and that he only communicates with fellow scholars using institutional email accounts, Lash lashed out at Cheshire and me:

If anyone is a bully, it is you. This is not a whistleblower situation, but a commentary on a publication. Your colleague insulted me by condescendingly stating that I obviously am not up on current publication ethics.”

You can’t make this trash up. Oh, and I wrote to Elsevier, but they don’t care.

Cheshire vs India’s Ministry of Defence

Look what Wiley published. The paper is, like the above, also from the R&D labs of the Indian Ministry of Defence (DRDO) and was also spotted by Cheshire.

V. R. Panse , S. R. Choubey , Amitansu Pattanaik , S. J. Dhoble Combustion Synthesis and Photoluminescence Studies of Blue‐Emitting CaAl 12 O 19 :Ce 3+ Lamp Phosphors Macromolecular Symposia (2020) doi: 10.1002/masy.202000100 

The journal’s editorial office did not reply to my email. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that figure after all? In any case, Cheshire made it his business to screen DRDO papers and found massive fraud in around 80 of them (here Google sheets file).

Like this here, Sharma Bora et al 2019, published by Elsevier in a European society journal:

Or this, Kotnala et al 2017:

Indian journalists published an article based on Cheshire’s investigation. From the side of the accused authors, only their PubPeer comments were quoted. Also nothing from the ministry which sponsored that fraud orgy.

A rare case

Sometimes it isn’t outright fraud like the cases above. Cheshire flagged this paper, also from DRDO India:

The lead author A. R. James posted this on PubPeer:

“Dear Publishing Team, At the outset, I thank whoever noticed this fine detail and brought it to my notice. I discussed the matter with my Co-author, who is responsible for the data in question, Dr. Chandra Rao (who is now working in Singapore) and once was my junior colleague, in the Defence Metallurgical Research Lab, (Ministry of Defence) Govt. of India.
Upon inquiry of the images, taken several years ago, as a part of our collaborative work, in 2007, he had the following to submit (his e-mail is pasted below) Rest assured, the intent was not to mislead or misconstrue data presented in the paper. Sincerely, James

Dear James, I have gone through the Editor’s comments and understand the gravity of the issue. Based on the fact that this was a study at the early stages of my research career, not knowing the research ethics well, the original image was slightly edited to make it more readable but not with intention of deceiving . Original images feature of indentation impression and crack lengths remain same as the modified image. I have gone through the entire data and I found the original image. I deeply regret and apologize to editor for the unintentional picture editing.
I would have not attempted if it was known that editing is not acceptable. It may be re-iterated that the edited part of the image is not part of any research claim in the paper and does not alter/ modify the interpretation of results therein. Attached are the original and published image for your reference. Please let me know, how can help to close the gap. Best regards, Chandra

James also announced to have notified the publisher (Institute of Physics, IOP) and to be awaiting their decision.


Irish Moss against COVID-19

The solution to this pandemic has been there all along, prescription-free and relatively cheap to buy even in your local supermarket. It’s Iota-Carrageenan of course, an extract from the edible red seaweed, often referred to as Irish Moss. You can find it in cough syrups, or in vegan gummy bears, since carrageenan is popular in food industry as a vegan-friendly thickener and gelling agent.

And now the science has spoken.

Here results published in September 2021, a joint collaboration by the Austrian company Marinomed Biotech AG (which sells carrageenan sprays and lozenges) and the University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany:

Morokutti-Kurz M, Unger-Manhart N, Graf P, Rauch P, Kodnar J, Große M, Setz C, Savli M, Ehrenreich F, Grassauer A, Prieschl-Grassauer E , Schubert U The Saliva of Probands Sucking an Iota-Carrageenan Containing Lozenge Inhibits Viral Binding and Replication of the Most Predominant Common Cold Viruses and SARS-CoV-2 Int J General Medicine (2021) DOI

The study concludes:

“Sucking an iota-carrageenan containing lozenge releases sufficient iota-carrageenan to neutralize and inactivate the most abundant respiratory viruses as well as pandemic SARS-CoV-2. The lozenges are therefore an appropriate measure to reduce the viral load at the site of infection, hereby presumably limiting transmission within a population as well as translocation to the lower respiratory tract.”

27 trial participants sucked on Marinomed’s Carragelose® candy, donated their saliva, which was then pooled and tested against various viruses including SARS-COV2. It was of course a resounding success. We are also informed:

“Martina Morokutti-Kurz, Nicole Unger-Manhart, Philipp Graf, Julia Kodnar are employed by Marinomed Biotech AG. Eva Prieschl-Grassauer and Andreas Grassauer are co-founder of Marinomed Biotech AG and inventor on patent #WO2008067982 held by Marinomed Biotech AG that relates to the content of the manuscript. Markus Savli reports personal fees from Marinomed Biotech AG. Andreas Grassauer, Eva Prieschl-Grassauer and Martina Morokutti-Kurz are inventors of a patent submission related to the content of the manuscript; the number of this patent application is EP20186334.”

And then there was a phase 4 clinical trial with 400 participants, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, published in the same tiny DovePress journal (where it nevertheless costs $2836 to publish), also in autumn 2021, and approved by the same editor who is an ophthalmologist.

Figueroa JM , Lombardo ME, Dogliotti A, Flynn LP, Giugliano R, Simonelli G, Valentini R, Ramos A, Romano P, Marcote M, Michelini A, Salvado A, Sykora E, Kniz C, Kobelinsky M, Salzberg DM , Jerusalinsky D, Uchitel O Efficacy of a Nasal Spray Containing Iota-Carrageenan in the Postexposure Prophylaxis of COVID-19 in Hospital Personnel Dedicated to Patients Care with COVID-19 Disease Int J General Medicine (2021) DOI DOI

The trial participants were medical personnel who attended to COVID-19 patients, the intervention arm received iota-carrageenan nasal spray. The trial was registered as NCT04521322, and the authors discovered:

Results: A total of 394 individuals were randomly assigned to receive I-C or placebo. Both treatment groups had similar baseline characteristics. The incidence of COVID-19 differs significantly between subjects receiving the nasal spray with I-C (2 of 196 [1.0%]) and those receiving placebo (10 of 198 [5.0%]). Relative risk reduction: 79.8% (95% CI 5.3 to 95.4; p=0.03). Absolute risk reduction: 4% (95% CI 0.6 to 7.4).
Interpretation: In this pilot study a nasal spray with I-C showed significant efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in health care workers managing patients with COVID-19 disease.

It seems, also those who withdrew consent and participation were analysed:

Also here, some authors were paid by a company selling this carrageenan nasal spray:

“Dr Juan Manuel Figueroa report […] Freely provided drug and placebo samples from Laboratorio Pablo Cassará, during the conduct of the study; personal fees from Laboratorio Pablo Cassará, outside the submitted work; Dr Mónica Lombardo report personal fees from Laboratorio Pablo Cassará…”

Long Covid simulants

French scholars once again save the world with sage insights into the COVID-19 pandemic. Turns out, long covid is a psychosomatic pseudo-disease of attention-seeking simulants because, you can’t cheat science, they are not virus-positive anymore!

Look how many signed up this JAMA study, a whole CONSTANCES cohort, which makes it actually a manifesto:

Joane Matta, Emmanuel Wiernik , Olivier Robineau, Fabrice Carrat , Mathilde Touvier , Gianluca Severi , Xavier De Lamballerie , Hélène Blanché , Jean-François Deleuze , Clément Gouraud , Nicolas Hoertel, Brigitte Ranque , Marcel Goldberg , Marie Zins , Cédric Lemogne, Sofiane Kab , Adeline Renuy , Stephane Le-Got , Celine Ribet , Emmanuel Wiernik , Marcel Goldberg, Marie Zins, Fanny Artaud, Pascale Gerbouin-Rérolle, Mélody Enguix, Camille Laplanche, Roselyn Gomes-Rima, Lyan Hoang, Emmanuelle Correia, Alpha Amadou Barry, Nadège Senina, Gianluca Severi, Julien Allegre, Fabien Szabo De Edelenyi, Nathalie Druesne-Pecollo, Younes Esseddik, Serge Hercberg, Mathilde Touvier, Marie-Aline Charles, Pierre-Yves Ancel, Valérie Benhammou, Anass Ritmi, Laetitia Marchand, Cécile Zaros, Elodie Lordmi, Adriana Candea, Sophie De Visme, Thierry Simeon, Xavier Thierry, Bertrand Geay, Marie-Noelle Dufourg, Karen Milcent, Delphine Rahib, Nathalie Lydie, Clovis Lusivika-Nzinga, Gregory Pannetier, Nathanael Lapidus, Isabelle Goderel, Céline Dorival, Jérôme Nicol, Fabrice Carrat, Cindy Lai, Liza Belhadji, Hélène Esperou, Sandrine Couffin-Cadiergues, Jean-Marie Gagliolo, Hélène Blanché, Jean-Marc Sébaoun, Jean-Christophe Beaudoin, Laetitia Gressin, Valérie Morel, Ouissam Ouili, Jean-François Deleuze, Laetitia Ninove, Stéphane Priet, Paola Mariela Saba Villarroel, Toscane Fourié, Souand Mohamed Ali, Abdenour Amroun, Morgan Seston, Nazli Ayhan, Boris Pastorino, Xavier De Lamballerie Association of Self-reported COVID-19 Infection and SARS-CoV-2 Serology Test Results With Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA Internal Medicine (2021) doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.6454

It starts with:

Question  Are the belief in having had COVID-19 infection and actually having had the infection as verified by SARS-CoV-2 serology testing associated with persistent physical symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic?”

and concludes:

Conclusions and Relevance  The findings of this cross-sectional analysis of a large, population-based French cohort suggest that persistent physical symptoms after COVID-19 infection may be associated more with the belief in having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 than with having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection.”

Peer protests are forming against that study, so I wouldn’t be surprised it gets retracted soon.

I recognise among the authors Nicolas Hoertel, who did the statistical analysis and who previously decided that antidepressants were the cure for COVID-19. The long covid paper’s corresponding author Cédric Lemogne was also coauthor on that antidepressant study Hoertel et al 2021. Both these gentlemen are psychiatrists in Paris.

Science breakthroughs

Coffee, tea or death?

Science obsessively-compulsively keeps telling us to drink coffee or else die miserably. I personally think these scientists must cut down on their own caffeine intake.

A press release by PLOS:

“Drinking coffee or tea may be associated with a lower risk of stroke and dementia, according to a study of healthy individuals aged 50-74 published on November 16th, 2021, in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine. Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of post-stroke dementia. […]

Yuan Zhang and colleagues from Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China studied 365,682 participants from the UK Biobank, who were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed them until 2020. At the outset participants self-reported their coffee and tea intake. Over the study period, 5,079 participants developed dementia, and 10,053 experienced at least one stroke.

People who drank 2-3 cups of coffee or 3-5 cups of tea per day, or a combination of 4–6 cups of coffee and tea had the lowest incidence of stroke or dementia.”

That bleeding UK Biobank again… Anyway, here is the paper:

Yuan Zhang, Hongxi Yang, Shu Li, Wei-dong Li and Yaogang Wang Consumption of coffee and tea and risk of developing stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia: A cohort study in the UK Biobank , (2021) PLoS Medicine.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003830

Of course all the big media picked up this trash and ran with it.

Frontiers in Stupidity

World’s bestest scholarly publisher Frontiers never disappoints. Everyone can publish pseudoscientific trash, but Frontiers always gets the funniest garbage of them all. Look what my reader found, from a Frontiers blogpost:

“Less appreciated is the fact that human brains have decreased in size since the Pleistocene. When exactly these changes happened, or why, was not well known.

“A surprising fact about humans today is that our brains are smaller compared to the brains of our Pleistocene ancestors. Why our brains have reduced in size has been a big mystery for anthropologists,” explained co-author Dr Jeremy DeSilva, from Dartmouth College.

To disentangle this mystery, a team of researchers from different academic fields set out to study the historical patterns of human brain evolution, comparing their findings with what is known in ant societies to offer broad insights.

“A biological anthropologist and a behavioral ecologist and evolutionary neurobiologist began sharing their thoughts on brain evolution and found bridging research on humans and ants might help identify what is possible in nature,” said co-author Dr James Traniello, from Boston University.”

I love this fascistoid approach of comparing human societies with those of ants. It makes zero sense neurologically, evolutionary or otherwise, but if you are into eugenics, Führer-cult, war-mongering and totalitarianism, you will love the comparison.

““Ant and human societies are very different and have taken different routes in social evolution,” Traniello said. “Nevertheless, ants also share with humans important aspects of social life such as group decision-making and division of labor, as well as the production of their own food (agriculture). These similarities can broadly inform us of the factors that may influence changes in human brain size.” […]

“We propose that this decrease was due to increased reliance on collective intelligence, the idea that a group of people is smarter than the smartest person in the group, often called the ‘wisdom of the crowds’”, added Traniello.”

I am pretty sure their discovery of a human brain size decrease 3k years ago is at best based on an artefact.

Here is the paper, by scholars from Dartmouth College and Boston University in USA:

Jeremy M. DeSilva, James F. A. Traniello, Alexander G. Claxton and Luke D. Fannin When and Why Did Human Brains Decrease in Size? A New Change-Point Analysis and Insights From Brain Evolution in Ants Front. Ecol. Evol. (2021) doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.742639

It contains sentences like “Complexity in eusocial insect colony organization may involve selection for either smaller, neurally differentiated worker brains” and “the presence of post-reproductive female helpers (grandmothers) universally present in human societies is sufficient to characterize humans as a “new eusocial vertebrate“…

Human brain unnatural?

Speaking of brains: MIT neuroscientists prove that humans cannot have evolved from monkeys and were instead designed by an almighty peer reviewer up there. Because human neurons are biologically completely different from those of other primates!

Sci-News reports:

“In 2018, MIT researcher Mark Harnett and colleagues discovered that human and rat neurons differ in some of their electrical properties, primarily in parts of the neuron called dendrites — tree-like antennas that receive and process input from other cells.

One of the findings from that study was that human neurons had a lower density of ion channels than neurons in the rat brain. The researchers were surprised by this observation, as ion channel density was generally assumed to be constant across species.

In their new study, the scientists decided to compare neurons from several different mammalian species to see if they could find any patterns that governed the expression of ion channels. […]

The authors found that in nearly every mammalian species they looked at, the density of ion channels increased as the size of the neurons went up. The one exception to this pattern was in human neurons, which had a much lower density of ion channels than expected.”

The study was of course published in Nature, because its authors are from MIT and because it such a great clickbait.

Lou Beaulieu-Laroche, Norma J. Brown, Marissa Hansen, Enrique H. S. Toloza, Jitendra Sharma, Ziv M. Williams, Matthew P. Frosch, Garth Rees Cosgrove, Sydney S. Cash & Mark T. Harnett Allometric rules for mammalian cortical layer 5 neuron biophysics Nature (2021) doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04072-3

Brain-damaged vegans

We remain at brains. I thought we were finally past that kind of meat-industry sponsored science teaching that vegetarians and vegans are either mentally deficient and/or psychotic due to meat-free malnutrition, and do you recall that Hitler was a vegetarian, that proves everything. But here we go again, from psychology news site PsyPost:

“According to a new meta-analysis published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, compared to meat abstention, meat consumption is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. […]

Urska Dobersek and colleagues extracted data from 20 existing studies, including cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as randomized control trials. […] The researchers found that individuals who consumed meat experienced lower levels of depression and anxiety compared to individuals who abstained from meat. Vegans were found to experience greater levels of depression compared to meat consumers.”

This was the paper, from University of Southern Indiana, USA:

Urska Dobersek, Kelsey Teel, Sydney Altmeyer, Joshua Adkins, Gabrielle Wy, and Jackson Peak Meat and mental health: A meta-analysis of meat consumption, depression, and anxiety, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2021) doi: 10408398.2021.1974336

Guess who payrolled it.

“UD, SA, JA, and GW have previously received funding from the Beef Checkoff, through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.”

As disclaimer, I admit to be a near-vegan vegetarian, too stupid to get bribed, and I was indeed compared to Hitler by scholarly publishing executives. So maybe the science has indeed spoken.

News in Tweets

  • Someone at IHU Marseille is raging again. This time it’s Michel Drancourt, PU-PH, Chef de Service. Must be mass psychosis since their guru Didier Raoult started to lose his own mind while losing his power and networks.
  • After Cassava, Bik now looked into the science of Cel-Sci Corporation, a US stock market traded startup which describes itself as “an immunotherapy company that focuses on unmet medical needs in oncology and infectious diseases.” Here Boonnak et al J Clin Invest 2013, the most recent research paper this company lists (despite it being 8 years old). Its Figure 2 was flagged on PubPeer in February 2020 and corrected in August 2020 for duplications.
  • Nanofabricator Thomas Webster may be out of his job as Northeastern University professor (read here) and even out as EiC of this DovePress / Taylor & Francis journal, but the system still works. The Correction for Chai et al 2017 states: “The authors [..] advise that this does not change the conclusions of the paper.
  • I finally received Alina Chan‘s and Matt Ridley‘s book Viral for review, but please give me time, I want to read it properly. It’s very good though!
  • Alina Chan‘s research work is probably the among the most important on the field of origins of COVID-19. But all the big journals have virtually blacklisted her, because she refuses to accept the “natural origins” dogma as the one and only true gospel, and worse, debunks papers in Nature and other elite journals pushing scientifically untenable stuff like those pangolin theories (Chan & Zhan bioRxiv 2020).
  • Now, Chan takes on that wretched furin cleavage site of SARS-CoV2 in Chan et al Mol Biol & Evolution 2021: “the knowledge that scientists had a workflow for identifying novel cleavage sites in diverse SARSr-CoVs and experimentally characterizing these cleavage sites in SARSr-CoVs – likely in a manner that makes the resulting recombinant SARSr-CoV practically indistinguishable from a rare SARSr-CoV with a naturally emerging FCS -makes it challenging to rule out an artificial origin of the SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 FCS (Lerner and Hibbett 2021; Daszak 2018).”
  • The Russian regime got bored with threatening everyone on Earth and decided to start threatening everyone in space. Now they tested a missile to shoot down an old Soviet satellite, “scattering hundreds of thousands of debris fragments that will remain in orbit for years or decades,” and “posing a significant risk to the crew on the International Space Station and other human spaceflight activities, as well as multiple countries’ satellites,” as U.S. Space Command protested, joined by other governments. Putin and his men think it’s funny, and will soon threaten to shoot down some US or EU satellites, or even the ISS, next.
  • Elsewhere, Russia offers its citizen to heat their homes and shower with the water used to cool nuclear reactors. Because this is how Putin’s regime goes green. “Still, some experts are concerned about the potential risks, pointing to the many spills and accidents on Soviet and Russian submarines and icebreakers that used similar small reactors. Nuclear submarines sank in 1989 and 2000, for example.” (New York Times)


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22 comments on “Schneider Shorts 19.11.2021 – Garbage and Unprofessional

  1. Here is a paper thet would deserve consideration for the igNobel prize:

    Click to access esd-2021-85.pdf

    A “brilliant” idea, literally. One should illuminate a forest with artificial light at night in order to increase photosynthesis and thus carbon sink. Incredible.


  2. Plants die if they are illuminated h24. That’s indeed a completely ignorant paper, or a troll. That’s plant physiology 0.0 to know their photosystems need a rest period, you know, because they transfer electron and free radicals and those stuff are damaging.


    • Too many academicians keep squandering taxpayers’ money by doing random nonsense for questionable purposes that get published in trash journals from greedy publishers. This crap has to stop right now.


      • I honestly suspect they are trolling. I mean “hey let’s illuminate plants h24/7”. That would have taken them 2 minutes (literally) to have someone tell them that’s physiologically impossible for plants to perform photosynthesis around the clock.


  3. That ant paper is amazing, particularly the part on division of labor. It’s like the authors believe capitalist exploitation of workers’ force is an intrinsic biological property of human societies, not a political “choice”. Like, some are born to work in the mine or knit clothes for the rich. What is even more crazy is that, I am ready to believe the authors do not realize what they are saying. That reminds me of those evolutionary psychologist who take as a postulate the life style of white American Protestants.


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  5. smut.clyde

    “the presence of post-reproductive female helpers (grandmothers) universally present in human societies is sufficient to characterize humans as a “new eusocial vertebrate“…

    Elephants and orcas are eusocial. Who knew?


    • I have always wondered where these data come from. How de we know this only happens in orcas and elephants? We have always had hens and chickens at home. Some hens live very long! And at some point they barely lay any egg any more.


  6. smut.clyde

    I deeply regret and apologize to editor for the unintentional picture editing.
    I would have not attempted if it was known that editing is not acceptable.

    I wouldn’t have done it if I had known I’d get caught, which means it was unintentional.


  7. Re: Lawrence Lash. Since this Schneider Shorts piece ran I’ve posted 10+ papers at PubPeer that were published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology in 2017 when Dr. Lash was Editor in Charge. Seems his skills at identifying mistakes and fraud in papers submitted to his journals are as strong as ever. I’ve notified Dr. Lash )and other editors at the journal), but he has been curiously quiet — given how strongly he objected to my anonymous emails before.


  8. Klaas van Dijk

    hi Leonid,

    Another antivax paper has been published MDPI, see (Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination and Its Potential Impact on Fetal and Neonatal Development).

    “Conflicts of Interest. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.”


    • That paper is a gem. It makes absolutely no sense. Literally, here is one quote “Nevertheless, the RNAs are not very stable when stored below 80 °C” so we should store it in boiling water?


      • They also suggest to investigate epigenetic changes in newborns because … Well, I guess because why not? I am not sure it’s antivax, looks more like a cheap opportunity to publish one more paper.


      • They do use clever words.
        ” In the case of COVID-19, which is caused by the zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus…”
        Are there many plant viruses infecting humans, or why was it important to stress “zoonotic”?


      • Indeed. As the authors conclude:
        “In closing, we currently have no data to assess the outcome of maternal COVID-19 vaccination on offspring health, and this may take years to generate. We believe that the ovine model can be used to rapidly assess potential concerns about the administration of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy, and that the knowledge gained will help us to predict potential health outcomes in human offspring, which could lead to the development of treatments to help mitigate any potential adverse outcomes.”
        This is self-fulfilling prophesy of a research grant. Funder, here is our data-free random ramblings paper in MDPI establishing a proof-of-principle of the sheep as a standard model for vaccine effects in pregnancy, it passed peer review. If you give us a nice grant, we will publish another useless MDPI paper. Thanks.


  9. I think that’s indeed the case. The lead author is a specialist in cattle, poultry, etc … He popped like a wild pokemon, just in case there is some grant to get.


  10. The other papers of this special MDPI issue are, well, “worth” it. There is one old lady who got arthrosis after the shot, 2 or 3 Singapore nurses who felt unwell, and one absolutely unreadable paper that includes all the paragraphs of relevant European laws on vaccination, because it’s easy to quote, I guess.


  11. Thanos Tiliakos

    Kudos for the Nano Energy story (among others). That particular editor also has the habit of publishing articles by his students in collaboration with friends from their homeland (you know who). The few I had the joy to read were not really faked – but were so blatantly wrong that would have been unpublishable even in a journal with IF 0.0001…


  12. Wiley’s Advanced Fake Materials journal family must really hate Elisabeth Bik.

    Yumeng Xue , Yi Guo , Meng Yu , Min Wang , Peter X. Ma , Bo Lei Monodispersed Bioactive Glass Nanoclusters with Ultralarge Pores and Intrinsic Exceptionally High miRNA Loading for Efficiently Enhancing Bone Regeneration Advanced Healthcare Materials (2017) doi: 10.1002/adhm.201700630

    Aneurus Inconstans reports a Correction from September 2021:
    “In the original version of this paper, the caption for Figure 4 did not mention that 4B was reproduced from another paper. The correct Figure 4 caption should be: Figure 4. Ultrahigh miRNA loading and protection capacity of BGNCs. Gel retardation pictures showing the miRNA binding ability of A) BGNCs and B) BGNs with different weight ratios to miRNA (2–64 mg μg−1). Reproduced with permission.[20] Copyright 2017, American Chemical Society. C) Quantitative miRNA loading efficiency of BGNC and BGN at 40 and 80 μg mL−1 (**p < 0.01, n = 5). D) Antinuclease degradation ability of various miRNA complexes after soaking in serum solution for 24 h. E) Quantitative miRNA intact percentage of different samples. Furthermore, the H-E/Masson images for BGN and BGNC in Figure 9 were produced incorrectly. The correct Figure 9 is shown below:

    The changes to Figure 9 do not affect the overall conclusions of this work.”


  13. Larry Lash is truly a piece of work.
    Cheshire found a duplicated image in his recent one-author MDPI paper (yeah, Larry works in the lab all by himself, or so he insinuates).
    Lawrence H. Lash, Unexpected Enhancement of Cytotoxicity of Cisplatin in a Rat Kidney Proximal Tubular Cell Line Overexpressing Mitochondrial Glutathione Transport Activity International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2022) doi: 10.3390/ijms23041993

    Larry replied on PubPeer:
    “The two panels do indeed look very similar. I have checked the original data files, which were from experiments conducted in 2006 and 2007, and those are the correct pictures for the two conditions, i.e., 10 µM CDDP at 4 hr and 50 µM CDDP at 4 hr in NRK-52E-OGC cells. When selecting fields to take photos, we tried to find fields that were representative of the entire culture plate. Typically, few differences were observed between 10 and 50 µM CDDP; the largest differences were seen when increasing the CDDP concentration to 100 µM. Thus, as far as I can tell, these are correct photos.”
    The images are not similar, but identical. It’s a copy-pasted picture.

    No wonder that person founded Toxicology Reports.

    Elsevier’s Pandemic Profiteering


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