All excerpted posts are © the original author. Please consult their blog for the full story and to comment.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Naturopathy for cancer … claims that have the potential to be lethal

The nonsense that some naturopaths try to tell the public never ceases to amaze me. This article is a good example: a “naturopathic doctor” told a newspaper that “We do have a reputation associated with cancer, but we don’t treat cancer. We use highly intelligent computer software to find out what is wrong with the body at […]

Read the rest here: Naturopathy for cancer … claims that have the potential to be lethal

Saturday, 21 October 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

New Fire Danger Threatens to Worsen Most Disastrous Wildfire Season in California History

Santa Rosa CA Wildfire 10-14-17 

A firefighter holds a water hose while fighting a wildfire Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. Image credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez.

A record-breaking heat wave will build over Southern California over the weekend and peak on Tuesday, bringing triple-digit temperatures that could set marks for the hottest temperatures ever recorded so late in the year in the Los Angeles area. Accompanying the heat will be the notorious Santa Ana winds, which will bring a multi-day period of critical fire danger, Saturday through Tuesday.

According to NOAA, the hottest temperatures ever recorded after October 23 in Southern California (along with the Weather Underground forecast for Tuesday) were:

105°F Riverside, 10/28/1915 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 100°F)
101°F LAX Airport, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 96°F)
101°F Longbeach, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 100°F)
100°F Downtown Los Angeles, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 101°F)
100°F Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, 10/26/2003 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 99°F)
100°F San Diego, 11/4/2010 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 91°F)
99°F Bakersfield, 10/27/1906 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 90°F)

The heat wave and Santa Ana winds will be caused by a large near-record-strength dome of high pressure expected to settle in over the Great Basin, a few hundred miles northeast of Los Angeles. The difference in pressure between this high-pressure system and lower pressure over Southern California will drive gusty northeast winds over Southern California. Since these winds will originate over desert areas, they will be hot and dry. As the air descends from the mountains to the coast, the air will get hotter and drier, due to adiabatic compression—the process whereby the pressure on a parcel of air increases as it descends, decreasing its volume, and thus increasing its temperature as work is done on it. 

New Fire Danger Threatens to Worsen Most Disastrous Wildfire Season in California History by Jeff Masters, Weather Underground, Oct 20, 2017 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Oct 15, 2017

Mon Oct 16, 2017

Tue Oct 17, 2017

Wed Oct 18, 2017

Thu Oct 19, 2017

Fri Oct 20, 2017

Sat Oct 21, 2017

from Skeptical Science

Lies, damned lies, and homeopathy

If you had chronic kidney disease (CKD), would you be attracted by an article entitled ‘How to Reduce Creatinine Level in Homeopathy’? (Elevated levels are normally caused by CKD which makes it an important diagnostic test to diagnose the condition) I am sure many patients would! A few days ago, an article with exactly this […]

Read the rest here: Lies, damned lies, and homeopathy

Friday, 20 October 2017

UK government response to petition ‘Stop NHS England from removing … homeopathic medicines’

Herbal and homeopathic lobby groups have petitioned to stop NHS England from removing herbal and homeopathic medicines: NHS England is consulting on recommendations to remove herbal and homeopathic medicines from GP prescribing. The medicines cost very little and have no suitable alternatives for many patients. Therefore we call on NHS England to continue to allow doctors to prescribe homeopathy and herbal medicine. The petition received around 16 500 signatures.

Now the UK government has responded. I take the liberty of posting the full response below […]

Read the rest here: UK government response to petition ‘Stop NHS England from removing … homeopathic medicines’

Herbal Remedies Have Been Linked To Liver Cancer Across Asia | IFLScience

Herbal remedies containing aristolochic acids (AA) have been linked to liver cancer from samples collected in hospitals around the world. The dangerous compounds are found in the birthwort family of plants, which are commonly used in traditional medicine to “help” with childbirth and promote healing.

The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, found that in 78 percent of liver cancer samples collected in Taiwan showed a distinctive mutation consistent with AA exposure. The team looked at 98 samples of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, and the most common cause of death in people with cirrhosis... Read on: Herbal Remedies Have Been Linked To Liver Cancer Across Asia | IFLScience

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Acupuncture for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease? No, I don’t think so!

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common, benign condition. It can be treated by changing eating habits or drugs. Many alternative therapies are also on offer, for instance, acupuncture. But does it work? Let’s find out.

The objective of this meta-analysis was to explore the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease […]

Read the rest here: Acupuncture for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease? No, I don’t think so!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Is chiropractic treatment safe?

This is the question asked by the American Chiropractic Association. And this is their answer [the numbers in square brackets were inserted by me and refer to my comments below]:
Chiropractic is widely recognized [1] as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints [2]. Although chiropractic has an […]

Read the rest here: Is chiropractic treatment safe?

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Natural Cancer Cure Lie | Home | Cancer Answers, MD

As we walked back towards the waiting room following the scan that would serve as the blueprint that we would use to plan Darren’s radiation for his cancer, he asked a question that stopped me in my tracks. “If I decide to cancel my radiation appointments, can I just call you?” To determine whether this was just a simple question of curiosity in the case of an emergency or something more, I asked him to clarify why he would consider canceling. Standing in the hallway between two clinic rooms, he stated that in the time between our first meeting and today’s visit, he had been doing some online “research” and thought he would consider doing something “more natural” to keep his cancer at bay...

Read on: The Natural Cancer Cure Lie | Home | Cancer Answers, MD

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #41

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Firefight in Sonoma County reaches second week as flames force thousands to evacuate

Sonoma County CA Wildfire

Firefighters from Compton put a scratch and wet line around a fire on Lovall Valley Road in Somona, Saturday, Oct 14, 2017. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat) 2017

An army of firefighters with a larger aerial arsenal at their disposal held their ground and made some gains Saturday on devastating wildfires ravaging Wine Country, but evacuation orders that forced thousands from their homes before dawn and a rising death toll were clear reminders of the peril that still grips the region.

Northeast winds that arrived early Saturday whipped up a new fire in the hills outside eastern Santa Rosa, and spread an existing blaze outside Sonoma, prompting another round of nighttime evacuation orders.

Thousands of Santa Rosa residents were forced to leave — some for the second time since last Sunday — while others faced their first mandatory orders in Sonoma. 

Firefight in Sonoma County reaches second week as flames force thousands to evacuate by Kevin McCallum & Randi Rossmann, The Press Democrat, Oct 15, 2017 

El Niño/La Niña Update

The task of a climate forecaster is to see the forest, and not get hung up on the individual trees. Especially that extra tall one over there, with the gnarl that looks like a face, and the low branches that would be so easy to climb, and… uh, right. My point is that we try to look beyond shorter-term weather to see longer-term monthly and seasonal patterns. After all, a particular winter can have several colder-than-average days and still be warmer than average overall.

Which brings me to the current situation in the tropical Pacific! The October ENSO forecast says La Niña conditions are favored during the fall and winter 2017-18, but at press time the ocean-atmosphere system didn’t quite meet the criteria for a La Niña Advisory. Specifically, while the atmosphere is generally consistent with La Niña, the sea surface temperature in the Niño3.4 region has been volatile, recently edging up close to average following several weeks near or below the La Niña threshold (0.5°C colder than average).


Animation showing sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average from early August through early October 2017. Graphic by; data from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Lab.

Is the overall pattern truly La Niña, with some short-term fluctuations temporarily obscuring the pattern? Or has the atmosphere-ocean system really not settled down into a consistent pattern at all? The difference between these two scenarios is subtle, and the ENSO forecast team is maintaining the La Niña Watch as we wait for a clearer picture. The forecast is for that picture to become clearer soon, with La Niña conditions 55-65% likely during this fall and winter.

October 2017 ENSO update: Still watching for La Niña by Emily Becker, NOAA's Oct 12, 2017

Toon of the Week...

2017 Toon 41 

Graphic of the Week...

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to repeal the Clean Power Plan. In response, Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director of Oil Change International issued the following statement:

“Pruitt’s move to repeal the Clean Power Plan shouldn’t come as any surprise. He’s repeatedly partnered with fossil fuel companies to sue the EPA for regulating the industry’s air, water, and climate pollution. This kind of cronyism is exactly what happens when government agencies are captured by the corporations they’re supposed to oversee.

“According to Pruitt, this is just another way to even the playing field for coal, oil, and gas – but he knows as well as anyone that fossil fuels already get massive government giveaways. In fact, permanent tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry are seven times higher than those for renewable energy.

“The fight to curb the worst abuses of the fossil fuel energy industry won’t stop here. Federal legislation, the courts, and millions of voters have made it clear that the federal government is obligated to protect American workers and families from the deadly impacts of dirty energy, not hand polluters taxpayer dollars.”

Permanent Tax Breaks for Renewable Energy v Fossil Fuels FY2016 

Oil Change International Statement On Clean Power Plan Repeal, Oct 10, 2017

SkS Spotlights...

CLEAR Banner

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Portal was launched in 2010 as a National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathways project. It is led by the science education expertise of TERC, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As of 2012, CLEAN has been syndicated to NOAA's portal.

CLEAN's primary effort is to steward the collection of climate and energy science educational resources and to support a community of professionals committed to improving climate and energy literacy. 

The three key components of the CLEAN project are: 

1. The CLEAN Collection of Climate and Energy Science resources- high-quality, digital resources—including learning activities, visualizations, videos, and short demonstrations/experiments—geared toward educators of students in secondary through undergraduate levels.

2. Guidance in Teaching Climate and Energy Science – pages designed to help educators understand and be equipped to teach the big ideas in climate and energy science. 

3. The CLEAN Network – a community of professionals committed to improving climate and energy literacy.  

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • The war on coal is over.  Coal lost (Dana)
  • The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job (Ari)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • Americans want a $15 per month carbon tax; but how to get one? (Dana)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42 (John Hartz)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #42 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

2017 Poster 41 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

97 Hours: Ken Denman 


Ken Denman's bio page

Quote derived with author's permission from:

"The issue is not a lack of scientific evidence, the issue is the unwillingness of people and governments to act. It seems to defy logic. But a lot of addictions defy logic. Our society is completely addicted to cheap power." 

High resolution JPEG (1024 pixels wide)

from Skeptical Science

Guess what – we just received an ‘Ockham Award’ !

It was Alan Henness who persuaded me and helped me to start this blog. He probably feared that, after my retirement from my Exeter post, I might stop being a nuisance to Prince Charles and other quacks. The blog certainly prevented this possibility!

The very first post on my blog went live on 14 October […]

Read the rest here: Guess what – we just received an ‘Ockham Award’ !

Saturday, 14 October 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests
Amazon Fire
If climate change continues to worsen unchecked, and forest degradation continues unabated, then unstoppable Amazon mega-fires could be seen in this century; such fires would greatly increase the release of carbon into the atmosphere worsening climate change. Photo courtesy of IBAMA 
  • With the fire season still on-going, Brazil has seen 208,278 fires this year, putting 2017 on track to beat 2004’s record 270,295 fires. While drought (likely exacerbated by climate change) worsens the fires, experts say that nearly every blaze this year is human-caused.
  • The highest concentration of fires in the Amazon biome in September was in the São Félix do Xingu and Altamira regions. Fires in Pará state in September numbered 24,949, an astonishing six-fold increase compared with 3,944 recorded in the same month last year.
  • The Amazon areas seeing the most wildfires have also seen rapid change and development in recent years, with high levels of deforestation, and especially forest degradation, as loggers, cattle ranchers, agribusiness and dam builders move in.
  • Scientists warn of a dangerous synergy: forest degradation has turned the Amazon from carbon sink to carbon source; while globally, humanity’s carbon emissions are worsening drought and fires. Brazil’s rapid Amazon development deepens the problem. Researchers warn that mega-fires could be coming, unless trends are reversed. 
Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests by Sue Branford & Maurício Torres, Mongabay, Oct 11, 2017

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Oct 8, 2017
Mon Oct 9, 2017
Tue Oct 10, 2017
Wed Oct 11, 2017
Thu Oct 12, 2017
Fri Oct 13, 2017
Sat Oct 14, 2017

from Skeptical Science via IFTTT

Friday, 13 October 2017

Homeopathy for schizoaffective disorder (Is this the most stupid paper this year?)

According to its authors, the objective of this paper was “to demonstrate the need for using both alternative and conventional treatments to improve clinical outcomes in the treatment of schizoaffective disorder”. 

Instead of doing anything remotely like this, the authors present two case histories:

  • a 23-y-old female (case 1) 
  • and a 34-y-old female (case 2). […]

Read the rest here: Homeopathy for schizoaffective disorder (Is this the most stupid paper this year?)