Catrin Owen’s story could kill someone

Catrin Owen’s story about Erin Palmer is extremely dangerous. In it, Owen details how Palmer fell ill, was operated on, started chemo and stopped well short of her recommended treatment. Her cancer came back and her prognosis is unfortunately very bleak. Palmer’s 4 solutions? Vitamin C therapy, ozone therapy, yoga and meditation.

In Palmer’s case, it is unlikely that she will be negatively affected by these treatments. Yoga and meditation may actually improve her quality of life if she enjoys it. However, it will not stop her cancer, and a story like this encourages non-treatments over real treatments. Her decision early on in her treatment to cease chemotherapy likely reduced her chances of clearing the cancer.

I have previously admonished another journalist in the Fairfax group for spreading anti-science treatments as alternatives to established treatments. Owen’s failure is not in reporting this woman’s story. Her failure is in failing to do even basic research into the treatments being promoted. A quick Google Scholar search will show that Vitamin C treatment has never been successfully used to treat cancer in vivo (that means in body, for future reference). There have been some in vitro (test tube) studies that show it could interrupt cancer’s cellular pathways. The sorts of vitamin C concentrations needed to achieve cancer suppression could be highly dangerous, or the body may break down the vitamin C before it can do its work. Either way, we simply don’t know because there is no evidence.

It should be health journalism 101 to memorise the following: it’s easy to kill anything in a test tube, but hard to kill things WITHOUT killing the host.

More importantly, there are thousands of cancer researchers and oncologists all over the world that Catrin Owen could have contacted to get a scientific or medical opinion, but she didn’t. She is a lazy, negligent journalist that may play a part in helping kill someone with a treatable cancer.

Convincing people to ignore medical advice, especially with conditions as serious as cancer, is extremely dangerous. One of the great minds of our time, Steve Jobs, died as a result of not taking medical advice to treat his pancreatic cancer which had a good chance of survival. Promotion of such ideas is just as bad as the promotion of anti-vaccination ideas. They can have deadly results and will together with Catrin Owen have blood on their hands if even one person dies as a result of stopping their treatment.

Using CryptoJS for AES decryption

This tutorial is amazing, it runs through CryptoJS, but unfortunately doesn’t make clear the  most important point. This code demonstrates AES encryption and decryption:

var key = CryptoJS.lib.WordArray.random(16);
var iv = CryptoJS.lib.WordArray.random(16);
var encrypted = CryptoJS.AES.encrypt("Message", key.toString(), { iv: iv.toString() });
var decrypted = CryptoJS.AES.decrypt(encrypted.toString(), key.toString(), { iv: iv.toString() });

But if you can’t get the decrypted content at the end, you have to do this:


I’m sure this will save a lot of heartache.

What is the surveillance state doing to the collective mental health of the world?

The man behind the FSU shooting was worried that the government was spying on him. He was almost certainly disturbed by more than the operations of universal surveillance. That said, he is not wrong about the government spying on him, only possibly about how much the government cares.

Ernest Hemingway was paranoid that the FBI was watching him, which eventually may have lead to him committing suicide. The thing is, he WAS being watched by the FBI.

Surveillance makes people scared. It makes people paranoid. A fear that the next thing that you say might land you in trouble because everything you saying is being listened to may simply stop you from criticising the government. Alternatively, it may drive extreme beliefs that the government is trying to hurt you or worse, and your only course of action is violence.

Bill Shorten says Obama should show ‘conscience’ and not come to G20 summit in Australia

This is a parody. Original can be found here.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Barack Obama should “show enough conscience” not to come to Australia for next month’s G20 summit, accusing the US President of “rubbing our faces” in the aftermath of the international spy scandal by making the trip.

Mr Shorten on Monday scaled up his criticism of Mr Obama, whose attendance at the economic forum in Brisbane was confirmed by the government on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Mr Shorten said he understood the government could not act unilaterally to prevent Mr Obama from attending an international conference.
But he said he believed most Australians would not welcome the US President’s visit and “laying out the red carpet” was not the way to “deal with an international bully”.

“There’s plenty of evidence to indicate indirect if not direct presidential involvement in the NSA which saw literally fucking billions of people spied on, with no justification or rationale,” Mr Shorten said.

“How is it that the President of the United States will thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants without there being any repercussions or any cooperation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?

“I believe Obama knows more about what happened with the NSA than he’s let on.”

Lesson in spin, by James Jansson

Joe Hockey says “The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far”. I couldn’t afford to own a car until I was 25. I would actually agree with Joe Hockey for a definition of “the poorest people”.

alboEnter Labor/media spin. Take the quote, then imply that Hockey actually said something different, like “The bottom half of the country don’t drive that much”. Ignore that this is not what he said. 

Enter all the faux impoverished who get on their high horse and say “I’ve got a $300k mortgage in the burbs and a car so I’m poor, Hockey is SUCH a dickhead.”

Hey listen up Labor propaganda consumers, until your money leftover after rent, vegetarian meals and the bus to uni is in the single digits, you don’t know what it is like to be “the poorest people”. I do. As much as I think that Hockey is a self entitled grub, in this case, he’s not actually wrong.

One last thing: opposing indexing the fuel excise to CPI on the basis of “It’s going to hurt struggling families” is the same argument Tony Abbott used against the Carbon Tax. Just saying. 

Please Google, destroy ResearchGate

ResearchGate has been gaining infamy with scientists all over the world. It’s almost everyday that you get an email from ResearchGate asking you to join. This spam is annoying but is easily fixed by blocking ResearchGate in your email. Unfortunately, ResearchGate is doing the worst thing possible to scientists across the world: breaking search and making it hard to access information. 

An example of this is found in this page. It came up as the number four result while searching on Google for mathematical modelling terms. It has the abstract to a paper, the DOI for the paper, but no link to the paper itself. There’s a button which says “Request full text”, but pressing this does not take you to the site hosting the paper, but to a registration page instead.

ResearchGate isn’t just a slightly annoying social layer to engaging with scientific content; it actively breaks the systems that researchers, government bodies (such as the NIH) and journals built to make accessing scientific content easy on the internet (such as the DOI system) by replacing high ranking search results with their rubbish. Meanwhile it uses those very same systems to scrape for data to build their business.

ResearchGate is actively destroying the functionality of search and hence productivity of scientists across the world. Google should stop serving ResearchGate results for general searches of scientific terms.