Schneider Shorts of 27 May 2022 – how Peruvian sexual harasser played his political networks to sentence a whistleblower to jail term, why English upper class is intellectually superior, journals cracking and breaking under papermills, polite people in russian academy of science, and a russophobic conspiracy theory on monkeypox.
Table of Discontent
- Russian bioweapon? – Old Ken Alibek interview about what USSR worked on
- Sexual harasser puts whistleblower in jail – Michael Balter’s update on Castillo Butters scandal
- Rascist scientists – our dear russian peers, the polite people
- Bitty now – why English upper class are so intellectually superior
- All brain disorders, cured – thank Dr Bibb!
News in Tweets
The world is in the grip of a new virus, and it’s monkey pox. Again, experts aren’t sure where it came from and why this virus is unusually transmissible. So here is a RUSSOPHOBIC conspiracy theory.
It may be a coincidence, but various news sources (starting with Metro) recently reported about the old interview with the deflected Soviet bioweapon expert, Kanat Alibekov, who now uses the name of Ken Alibek. So here is this relevant section from the 1998 interview:
“So we developed a special program to determine what “model” viruses could be used instead of human small-pox. We tested vaccinia virus, mousepox virus, rabbitpox virus, and monkeypox virus as models for smallpox. The idea was that all research and development work would be conducted using these model viruses. Once we obtained a set of positive results, it would take just two weeks to conduct the same manipulations with small-pox virus and to stockpile the warfare agent. We would have in our arsenal a genetically altered smallpox virus that could replace the previous one. So everything was prepared for conducting further development work under strict observation from the international community.
And you found that animal pox viruses provided sufficiently close models for human smallpox?
Yes. When the Ministry of Defense realized that it wouldn’t be possible in the future to work intensively with Variola major, they decided to start working with monkeypox virus, which infects humans but is much less contagious than smallpox. So the Ministry of Defense decided to work with monkeypox instead of smallpox to create future biological weapons.
When was this decision made?
In the late 1980s. And so when I now hear that the Russian MOD is working with monkeypox virus, how should I react? Everybody can try to convince me of something different, but I cannot believe it.
Would the object be to genetically engineer monkeypox to make it more contagious?
First, you could conduct genetic manipulations with the aim of making monkeypox virus as contagious as smallpox virus. This could be done by determining what parts of the viral genome are responsible for the contagiousness of this virus. In this case, of course, you would never be accused of working with smallpox.”
It is quite likely the COVID-19 virus escaped from a Wuhan virology lab, simply because the gain-of-function experiments with deadly bat coronaviruses were conducted in utterly unsafe BSL 2 labs.
And we know that the russian regime of vladimir putin is capable of anything evil, every possible crime against humanity which we can and even cannot imagine. Ruscist news already started to blame the secret and (imaginary) bioweapon labs in Ukraine.
As reminder, just some months ago it was a paranoid russophobic conspiracy theory to accuse russia of planning to invade Ukraine (again). And now putin’s army is conducting a genocide there.
Sexual harasser puts whistleblower in jail
The #MeTooSTEM journalist Michael Balter previously wrote that the Peruvian archaeologist and former culture minister Luis Jaime Castillo Butters sued a peer, Marcela Poirier, because she reporting the findings of his sexual harassment and bullying to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), where Castillo Butters used to be a member. The NAS then kicked out Castillo, first ever time in NAS history. There was also a campaign of peer support for Poirier, which Balter reported about, but it didn’t help.
The Peruvian justice proved horribly corrupt. Balter reports:
“In an enormous miscarriage of justice, a Peruvian judge has found against anthropologist Marcela Poirier in the defamation suit filed against her by twice confirmed sexual harasser Luis Jaime Castillo Butters. The penalty is a $48K fine and one year, eight months in jail. The judge suspended the jail sentence, at least for now; but if Marcela puts one foot (or one Tweet) wrong, it can be reinstated. In effect, the judge has attempted to silence Marcela for telling the truth about Castillo when she reported him to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences—which ejected him as an international member after it conducted its own investigation.
The judge also sanctioned Marcela’s lawyer, Brenda Alvarez—a leading voice in Peru in the fight for gender justice—on the grounds that she supposedly tried to delay the trial. Brenda will immediately appeal on Marcela’s behalf, as well as her own.
The judge dismissed the testimony of all of Marcela’s witnesses, including me, the reporter who initially investigated allegations of sexual harassment against Castillo and found them to be well supported (as did the sexual harassment commission of Castillo’s university, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, along with the NAS.) […]
Of course I stand by my extensive reporting on Castillo’s abuses, which can be found on Balter’s Blog (I wrote a number of reports about Castillo’s history of abuses and the responses to them by victims and survivors; for some quick links see this Tweet.)”
You know what is also scary? The usual MeTooSTEM reporters, the professional experts at Science, Nature News, and other big science journalism media, are all completely silent. For them, this is not newsworthy. Or maybe they think the whistleblower deserved her just punishment.
There are protests in Peru, as La Republica reported (translated):
“Following the criticized decision of the Judiciary in which the complainant has been accused of defamation, various civil associations and authorities have spoken out expressing their support for the victim, since they consider that it is a “serious precedent for victims of violence who decide to denounce”, as pointed out by the Manuela Ramos Movement. This statement was seconded by Congresswoman Sigrid Bazán. […]
From the Federation of Students at the university of the aggrieved [Castillo], they also spoke out in the face of what they considered to be “judicial persecution”: “We strongly reject the final sentence of Judge Gabriela Torrejón Comeca (…), who resolved Marcela’s conviction (…)for questioning the partiality of Judge Torrejón by refusing to accept audiovisual material presented by the companion. […]
The National Human Rights Coordinator also spoke out against the sentence received by Marcela Poirier and her lawyer. Through a publication on Twitter they assured the following: “We will raise funds to pay the 180 thousand Sol of reparation requested by the judge to prevent her from going to prison.”
For those who are still convinced that it is wrong to boycott russian science. Wait till you see what kind of people you call your peers.
A chemistry study from the Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, published in an Elsevier journal with impact factor 9.4, was exposed as a papermill fabrication which authors paid to be listed on.
Svetlana N. Gorbacheva , Anastasiya Y. Yadykova , Sergey O. Ilyin Rheological and tribological properties of low-temperature greases based on cellulose acetate butyrate gel Carbohydrate Polymers (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.118509
An anonymous PubPeer user Novocrania huttoni commented recently:
“This paper is listed as #13 in 2021 list with the sold (fake) authorship on the Russian-based web-page 123mi.ru. The page also contains sample author agreements and prices listed in russian rubles. More details about this page were previously published by retraction watch.
It would be interesting to read the comment of the authors in this regard.“
A debate ensured where the paper’s authors called their critics names while decrying a foreign provocation by setting up a russian papermill website which served no other purpose but to slander them personally. And then this comment arrived by Sergei Ilyin:
“Dear Novocrania huttoni #6,
You are not a member of the scientific community. You are just a low-paid employee hired to promote this disgusting site “pubpeer.com” by posting insinuating comments insulting the authors in order to involve them in the discussion and to raise the site traffic. A troll is all you are, an empty person. You are probably from India, where there are few good job options, but that does not excuse you. You are just a parasite on the body of world society. Get yourself a real job.
With a greeting from Russia.”
Pro-tip: whatever rascists like these say, is best to be turned around as a description of themselves and their own crimes. This applies to russia’s war on Ukraine as well as russian science, which is nothing but a huge garbage of papermill fraud, of such law quality it would be sellable even in China.
A press release by PLOS about a new paper:
“Breastfeeding duration is associated with improved cognitive scores at ages 5 through 14, even after controlling for socioeconomic position and maternal cognitive ability, according to a new study published this week in PLOS ONE by Reneé Pereyra-Elías, Maria Quigley and Claire Carson of the University of Oxford, U.K. […]
In the new study, the researchers analyzed data on 7,855 infants born in 2000-2002 and followed until age 14 as part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. […]
The unadjusted associations found that longer breastfeeding durations were associated with higher verbal and spatial cognitive scores at all ages up to ages 14 and 11, respectively. […]
The authors conclude that a modest association between breastfeeding duration and cognitive scores persists after adjusting for socioeconomics and maternal intelligence.”
This is the groundbreaking paper:
Reneé Pereyra-Elías , Maria A. Quigley, Claire Carson To what extent does confounding explain the association between breastfeeding duration and cognitive development up to age 14? Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study PLOS One (2022) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267326
There is also this gem in the press release, quoting authors:
““In the U.K., women who have more educational qualifications and are more economically advantaged tend to breastfeed for longer. In addition, this group tends to score more highly on cognitive tests.
“These differences could explain why babies who breastfeed for longer do better in cognitive assessments. However, in our study, we found that even after taking these differences into account, children breastfed for longer scored higher in cognitive measures up to age 14, in comparison to children who were not breastfed.”
Now you know why the wealthy English upper classes are so intellectually superior. Their secret is not just their pedigree genes, it’s also “bitty“.
All brain disorders, cured
University of Alabama Birmingham announced in a press release:
“A preclinical drug that inhibits the kinase enzyme Cdk5 may have the potential to treat depression, brain injuries, and disorders associated with cognitive impairment.”
The press release continues:
“James Bibb, Ph.D., and colleagues have described a novel preclinical drug that could have the potential to combat depression, brain injury and diseases that impair cognition. The drug, which notably is brain-permeable, acts to inhibit the kinase enzyme Cdk5. […]
To date, no Cdk5 inhibitor has been approved to treat any neuropsychiatric or degenerative diseases.”
This is obviously exactly why it must work, right. I learned this about James Bibb, Vice Chair for Research at his medical school:
This is why Bibb’s new groundbreaking discovery was published in Frontiers, because either it was rejected everywhere else or no other outlet was good enough:
Alan Umfress , Sarbjit Singh , Kevin J. Ryan , Ayanabha Chakraborti , Florian Plattner , Yogesh Sonawane , Jayapal Reddy Mallareddy , Edward P. Acosta , Amarnath Natarajan , James A. Bibb Systemic Administration of a Brain Permeable Cdk5 Inhibitor Alters Neurobehavior Frontiers in Pharmacology (2022) doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.863762
“In the paper, researchers describe synthesis of the aminopyrazole-based inhibitor, and they used molecular modeling to show that 25-106 appears to occupy the same hydrophobic binding pocket as the well-established Cdk5 inhibitor roscovitine. […]
Mice given systemic 25-106 showed modulated neurobehavior in the open field maze test and the tail suspension test, anxiolytic changes that have previously been linked to Cdk5 knockout mice.
They found that 25-106 is a non-selective inhibitor of both Cdk5 and another cyclin-dependent kinase, Cdk2, but note that very low levels of Cdk2 are found in the brain.”
Bibb works on CDK5 for many years already and is said to have “numerous patent and intellectual property filings“, including patents on therapies for neuronal disorders with CDK5 antibodies. But his Frontiers study declares “the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.” It also announces “a promising landscape for future studies to assess the effects of brain-permeable Cdk5 inhibitors to combat stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, cancer, and neurodegeneration.“
I demand clinical trials now, to accompany all that past roscovitine research (mostly for cancer) which led absolutely nowhere.
News in Tweets
- Crazy world. Funny how professional science journalists and Wikipedia editors still denounce lab leak theory of COVID-19 as conspiracy theory as these things happen: Neil L. Harrison & Jeffrey D. Sachs, A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, PNAS (2022).
- Smut Clyde got the papermill fraud factory Journal of Balkan Union of Oncology de-listed from PubMed and Web of Science, where it was listed since 2006. Maybe Smut’s uncovering of their editorial practice of stealthily forging the publication record on behalf of papermill customers was the last drop. And now JBUON authors withdraw their papers (“Our journal JBUON was delisted by Web of Science and Pubmed in December 2021, however authors were not informed of this decision before the publication. Given this, following the publication of this article , authors sent us an email and claimed that they would like to retract this article and re-submit it elsewhere.“), and even the website of JBUON doesn’t work anymore. For consolation, the editors can re-read their Special Article from 2016, “Importance of being indexed in important databases – effect on the quantity of published articles in JBUON“.
- Bat staff at Chinese papermills? “Qiu’s References are dominated by works on water resources, with titles such as ‘Virtual water trade mechanism and the f.’, by authors like ‘Huang Rong, liang beauty club and hui-yang wang & zheng-zhong wang’. Oddly, Hu (2021) cited the same sources.“
- Following Smut Clyde’s tweet, Retraction Watch counted over 50 retractions in Springer Nature’s Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing, impact factor 7.1. All retraction notices affect papers from a 2021 Special Issue and go: “...the editorial process of this guest-edited issue was compromised by a third party and that the peer review process has been manipulated...” The founding editor-in-chief and Italian professor Vincenzo Loia claims full credit for discovering, investigating and retracting the fraud he totally didn’t notice when it was first published under his watch.
- Correction to Li et al 2021 to explain a set of utterly fake FACS plots: “After publication it was discovered that there was an error in Figure 3E. This unintentional mistake occurred during image editing/composition. The authors’ repeated the experiment, and sorted out the original data of the experiments related to the wrong pictures.” The journal’s Editor-in-Chief is Georgios Giamas, professor at University of Sussex, UK, who has his own record of published research fraud.
- The Sicilian cheater Francesco Squadrito (who, even when repeatedly challenged, never denied to me that all his research is fabricated), now has over 100 papers on PubPeer. The fraud goes back 30 years and his University of Messina could not care less.
- I am sure all 8778 authors have read, discussed and approved the contents of this study from CERN.
- “- The acts have been committed against the seriously ill in a very vulnerable situation, they have taken place in health care where you as a patient should feel safe, and also be able to feel safe that the interventions take place according to science, experience and current regulations. We also want to emphasize that it is irreversible procedures that affected a vital organ and where the procedure has caused enormous suffering for the patients, said prosecutor Jim Westerberg during the thirteenth and last day of the trial in Solna District Court. Together with prosecutor colleague Karin Lundström Kron, he demanded at least five years in prison for aggravated assault in three cases. Paolo Macchiarini, wearing a tie and jacket, and with his hair gathered in a ponytail at the nape of his neck, accepted the request with a concentrated and cohesive face.” (Läkartidningen)
- A relevant lecture on Macchiarini’s trachea transplants (with a stem cell and regenerative medicine explainer) by Prof Patricia Murray:
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Adding insult to injury, Topchiev Institute is for petrochemical synthesis, making our planet warmer and dirtier, and putin richer.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well-designed petrochemical synthesis involves making something useful out of crude oil, not just burning it to raise the temperature of the planet. And Putin doesn’t care about riches because he has very good job for life.
I did not know you trolled for breast milk substitutes. It is only an observation.
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However, it’s hard not to admit that the list consists of titles within the very recognizable papermill spectrum.
Which does not necessarily imply that they are papermill products, but begs attention.
Dear Dr. Schneider,
Could you please explain more about the racism in my comment that you kindly provided on your blog.
Ok. I will start. I am writing to an anonymous troll hired to promote a particular site. I know for a fact that the vast majority of IT workers for websites and databases are hired in India. This is what is called outsourcing. Indians are good workers. However, I do know that they work mostly for pennies in horrible conditions with no employment contract, insurance, and so on (and for the Western companies, yeah). So, based on this information, I make an assumption.
Definitely, I have offended a person and that is the purpose of my comment, as he/she has unjustifiably offended me and more importantly my colleagues and continued to do so after I provided the proof that the our article had not been sold to us (there was no talk at all about apologizing for unsubstantiated accusations). Perhaps I have offended the country (though that is an issue for its government and its effectiveness). But I do not understand how I have offended the population of this country (or maybe you still use the term “Race”?). From a logical point of view, if members of this population were not good, they would not work and they would not be hired in the first place.
Now it is your turn. I really want to understand the Western culture, i.e., what exactly racism is about (from the Western viewpoint).
(and, additionally, I don’t know about the West, but in our culture it is customary to inform someone when writing about it)
Dear Dr Ilyin,
Maybe you don’t get it inside that fascist echo chamber which you call “russian federation”, but your comment was deeply racist, and otherwise a typical example of russian “хамство”.
Which alone makes it difficult to take you seriously as a scientist.
In reference to your previous sign off,
Слава Україні! Героям слава! Смерть ворогам!
Dear Dr. Schneider,
Thank you for your response.
The “хамство” – yes, I agree, it is present. That was the purpose of my comment.
However, in my opinion, there is nothing racist in it. Moreover, in my opinion again, anyone who sees something racist in my comment may be a latent racist. I will explain. By this part of my comment, I mean that outsourcing is widespread in India because of the low average salary, which can be seen as a consequence of hundreds of years of exploitation of this country and its people by another well-known country. Nevertheless, to some people my comment looks like racism. Then I can speculate that these people interpret low salaries in India because of some of the characteristics of its population (bad, racist characteristics). Otherwise, I have no other explanation. I assure you, I did not mean anything like that. And I apologize if I offended anyone in the Indian community.
I find it strange to hear Bandera’s slogans from a man who should know better than anyone else should that Ukrainian Nazis murdered thousands of Jews in World War II with those slogans on their lips.
(I hope it is not racist that I am speculating about your ethnicity, if this offends you, I regret about it)
Dear Dr Ilyn,
I am not surprised you complain of russophobia.
Hitler’s Nazis felt the German master race was persecuted by Jews, Putin’s fascists feel the russian master race is persecuted by Jews and everyone else.
russian propaganda is quite straightforward: accuse your enemy of every crime you just did yourself. Even Goebbels never managed to achieve this. It works in your genocidal war against Ukrainian women and children, and it works even in russian everyday’s life. Including in science. You go around accusing others of being a Nazi, a racist or a research fraudster.
I am also not surprised you join your antisemite foreign minister to call a Jew a Nazi.
But then again, in russia the definition of “fascist” or “Nazi” was always: someone who refuses to become Kremlin’s slave.
LOL! Another example of the Stancheva Maneuver: Former academic bully, Nazneen Rahman, trying to, er, sell herself.
Wonder what Stancheva Maneuver Sabatini is going to pull.