Last night in the Smoky Drinky Bar, Joe L suggested that I back up my blog, and send it to him and Emily.

I hadn’t done that before, so I straightaway went and did it, using the Export facility that WordPress provides. Ten minutes later Joe had downloaded all 60 MB of the zip file that had been created. And that means that if WordPress decides to delete my blog one day, or somebody hacks into it and deletes it, there’ll be a few copies of it floating around. If anyone wants a link to the file, I’ll be happy to send them one. I believe it has all my posts going right back to 2009, and all the comments as well.

These days 60 MB is peanuts, but I can still remember, in 1978, getting a Motorola 6800 microprocessor development board with just 256 bytes of RAM on it. Programs were stored on cassette tapes which made funny whistling and burbling sounds as they played. The display unit was a couple of red hexadecimal leds. I spent hours squeezing code into the 256 bytes to do all sorts of things. It was a bit of a relief when, 6 months later, we got hold of an additional 256 bytes of RAM. That was like a full sized living room. And when next year I bought my first computer – an Exidy Sorcerer – it had a whopping 32 K bytes of RAM. I had a little ditty I used to hum to myself back then: “Thirty two Kay: I’m going away.”

And I can’t really comprehend the amount of memory inside computers today, and the amount of data stored on hard disk drives with terabytes of memory. Nor do I understand cloud memory, which I vaguely imagine to be a cloud of millions of terabyte hard disk drives floating somewhere over the surface of the Earth, and accessible using WiFi or Bluetooth. But I still have my early ingrained habits of making code and data as compact as possible, so that you could fit it all into, well,.. 256 bytes.

I also wonder how long all this memory is going to last. I was reading something recently about how long storage media lasted, and books could last hundreds of years, stone tablets thousands. But how long does non-volatile memory last? 10 years? Less? I’m wondering if we’ll find that we’ve got more and more data, but none of it lasts very long – particularly if it can all be wiped with a sufficiently large electro-magnetic pulse. We might all wake up one morning to find that all our data has been wiped, and all we’ve got left is a dog-eared paperback copy of The Wind In The Willows.

Not entirely unrelated,

LONDON — Nigel Farage has dismissed medical experts who warn that smoking kills millions of people every year as “clever people” who should be ignored.

The former UKIP leader urged his Twitter followers to ignore a warning from the World Health Organisation that smoking kills more than 7 million people a year.

The organisation was welcoming a decision by the Vatican to ban the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City.

“The World Health Organisation is just another club of ‘clever people’ who want to bully us and tell us what to do,” Farage tweeted.


This is not the first time that the leading Brexit campaigner has dismissed the otherwise almost universally accepted link between cigarettes and smoking-related diseases.

“I think the doctors have got it wrong on smoking,” Farage told the Daily Telegraph last year.

I thought this was interesting because it suggested that Nigel Farage was becoming as sceptical of antismoking Public Health as he is sceptical about the EU and global warming. And not many people are sceptical, particularly about tobacco.

But after speaking out last year, this latest pronouncement of his suggests that his scepticism is deepening. And it also suggests that he is surrounded by growing numbers of sceptics.

But I’m not sure what he means by “clever people”. Maybe he means people who can juggle with statistics, or produce research papers at the drop of a hat that prove anything you want proven. Are such people “clever”? They most certainly want to bully us and tell us what to do. But is “ignoring them” the right response? I don’t want to ignore Tobacco Control: I want to destroy it.

Anyway, I’m wondering if more people are soon going to start coming out of the woodwork and saying they’re sceptical as well, and don’t believe the doctors got it right either. What happens when Paul McCartney says he doesn’t believe it? And Prince Charles? And Clint Eastwood? What will be the response of Tobacco Control to growing numbers of sceptics? Most likely it’ll be the same as AGW, and sceptics will be called Science Deniers, or more recently by the Pope, “perverse.”

I’m certainly getting more and more perverse. I’m believing less and less of anything I’m told. And it seems that everybody else is too. We’re entering a world in which nobody believes exactly what anyone else believes, and everyone has a different opinion about everything.

About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to Perverse

  1. Rose says:

    This morning I have been sending Junican that timeline I did in 2012 of why Enstrom and Kabat’s study had to be so fiercely attacked.

    but now there are more bits to add.

    Could I possibly repost?

  2. Rose says:

    A Few Milestones in CDC Laboratory Science

    1992 – Method for Cotinine Analysis, which Indicates Amount of Smoke Exposure

    Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Widespread
    “Nearly 9 out of 10 non-smoking Americans are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS, or second-hand smoke), as measured by the levels of cotinine in their blood, according to a study conducted by HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    “The presence of cotinine, a chemical the body metabolizes from nicotine, is documentation that a person has been exposed to tobacco smoke.”

    The Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables
    To the Editor:

    “The presence of nicotine and its metabolite cotinine in the body fluids of nonsmokers is usually taken as evidence of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied 800 people, both smokers and nonsmokers, all of whom tested positive for urinary cotinine.

    There is considerable evidence that nicotine is present in certain human foods, especially plants from the family Solanaceae (such as potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant). Castro and Monji,2 Sheen,3 and Davis et al.4 have reported on the nicotine content of foods and drinks. We have been able to confirm some of their findings in our laboratory.”

    Environmental tobacco smoke.
    December 1992
    Rodgman A (The Chemical Components of Tobacco and Tobacco Smoke)

    In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “draft” assessment of ETS and lung cancer in adults and respiratory disorders in children. Relying on weak and inconclusive epidemiological data, the supposed similarity between ETS and MS, the presence of “known or suspected carcinogens” in MS and by extrapolation in ETS, and the “biological plausibility” of an adverse relationship between ETS and health, the EPA recommended that ETS be classified as a “Group A (known human) carcinogen.” Fundamental physical and quantitative chemical differences among ETS, MS, and SS and human exposure to each smoke were disregarded: The three are not equivalent nor is ETS exposure a quantitative variant of cigarette smoking. A substantial difference in retention percentage overlays the huge dosimetric difference between exposures. As a result, the “dosage” of ETS retained is miniscule relative to MS. Also, conclusions reached by the EPA and the use of tenuous relationships as bases for Group A classification are unwarranted because of failure to consider the data upon which the “tumorigenicity” of the ETS components was based, questions on the presence and/or levels of these components in MS, and data indicating that a 25- to 30-fold decrease of a high-level dose of MS or MS condensate diminished the effects observed in bioassays from pronounced to zero, i.e., a threshold was demonstrated.

    Finally, EPA overlooked the more than 100 tobacco smoke components known to inhibit the tumorigenic action of many of the listed “tumorigens.”


    JULY 21. 1993

    “In addition to various contractual improprieties, however, my own investigation suggests that in its consideration of ETS, the Agency has deliberately abused and manipulated the scientific data in order to reach a predetermined, politically motivated result.

    EPA’s risk assessment on ETS released in January of this year claims that ETS ex
    posure is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer cases per year in the United States.
    Analysis of the risk assessment reveals, however, that EPA was able to reach that conclusion only by ignoring or discounting major studies, and by deviating from generally accepted scientific standards.
    EPA’s willingness to distort the science in order to justify its classification of ETS as a “Group A” or “known human” carcinogen seems to stem from the Agency’s determination early on to advocate smoking bans and restrictions as a socially desirable goal.

    EPA began promoting such policies in the mid-to late 1980s, ostensibly as part of its efforts to provide information to the public on indoor air quality issues. The Agency then decided to develop the ETS risk assessment to provide a scientific justification for smoking bans.
    The risk assessment thus was never intended to be a neutral review and analysis of the ETS science. Rather, it was intended from the start to function as a prop for the Agency’s predetermined Policy”

    Click to access the-bliley-statement-1993.pdf

    13 August 1994
    US ruling turns smokers into junkies

    “Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last
    week. The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration
    to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

    Over the past few months, the FDA’s commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs. To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine’s addictiveness to keep smokers smoking.”

    Nicotine Patch Gets Over-the-Counter OK
    July 4 1996

    “WASHINGTON — Pharmacia & Upjohn’s Nicotrol, a nicotine patch used to help smokers kick the habit, can now be sold without a prescription, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
    The patch, marketed by Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Products unit, is the first available over the counter.”
    http: //

    Some of these following links may be old,out of date or missing by now but they do tell the story.

    15 November 1997

    “Smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK. We will therefore ban tobacco advertising”—Labour Party manifesto, 1997

    “That pre-election message could not have been plainer. On Nov 5, the Labour public-health minister, Ms Tessa Jowell, astonished everyone with the news that the Government would exempt Formula One motor racing from a ban on sponsorship by the tobacco industry. That change of policy amounted to a faster U-turn than the power spins F1 cars make after skidding.

    “A Council of Ministers meeting on Dec 4 would probably have agreed a tobacco-advertising directive, given that Britain’s Labour Government had been thought to be about to end years of stalemate.”

    Sunday 8 March 1998

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official
    By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent

    “THE world’s leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.

    The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. The World Health Organisation, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report.”

    “The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking – or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) – and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups.”

    30th January 1999


    “The WHO European Partnership Project on Tobacco Dependence is being set up with the objective of reducing tobacco related death and disease among smokers. The Partnership Project, which is open to both private, non-commercial and public sector partners, will support implementation of the key strategic goals of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative.

    The strength of the Partnership Project lies in the fact that it has brought together three major pharmaceutical companies, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis Consumer Health and Pharmacia & Upjohn, all manufacturers of treatment products for tobacco dependence, to support a common goal that will have a significant impact on public health”

    7th March 2001

    “ASH has worked closely with both Glaxo and SmithKline Beecham staff and always welcomed the active collaboration. I hope to continue this with the merged company. We have worked with GSK under the auspices of the WHO-Europe Partnership Project on tobacco dependence and at various one-off opportunities. ASH was instrumental in securing greater government commitment to smoking cessation products in the NHS National Plan and we have helped with PR for both Zyban and Niquitin CQ. Our involvement with GSK staff has, I believe, been mutually beneficial, and we have gained from exposure to the company’s arguments and insights. I have always admired the commitment and professionalism of the GSK staff involved.”

    “Every time a smoker switches to ‘lights’ as an alternative to quitting the market for smoking cessation is diminished.

    Most of the measures that drive people to want to quit smoking and use GSK products are exactly those that are opposed by tobacco companies. Such measures include:

    Restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces”

    Click to access ASH_635.pdf

    March 2002

    WHO Europe evidence based recommendations on the treatment of tobacco dependence

    “This was a three year project, funded largely by three pharmaceutical companies that manufacture treatment products for tobacco dependence, but managed by WHO Europe and a steering group which included government representatives and many public sector organisations. The project focused on five areas: tracking smokers’ behaviour and intention to change; the regulation of tobacco products and tobacco dependence treatment products; smoke free places and workplace policies; the implementation of evidence based treatment; and communicating the health messages about stopping smoking.”

    “They were commissioned by the World Health Organization and have drawn on the experience of a number of European countries, including the four original target countries of the partnership project: France, Germany, Poland, and the UK. They were discussed in two European WHO meetings on evidence based treatment, in London in November 1999 and in Barcelona in October 2000, and revised in the light of feedback following those meetings”

    15 May 2003

    “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98.”
    James E Enstrom Geoffrey C Kabat

    “192 member states of the WHO took part in negotiations, producing a draft text, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2003.

    28 countries, including the UK, signed the treaty in June 2003.”

    “Recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability, and that there is a time lag between exposure to smoking and the other uses of tobacco products and the onset of tobacco-related diseases.”

    Click to access 9241591013.pdf

    The study was published too late to be anything more than an embarrassment to the 192 WHO member states who had just drafted the treaty.

    As Clive Bates said “Most of the measures that drive people to want to quit smoking and use GSK products are exactly those that are opposed by tobacco companies. Such measures include:

    Restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces”

    You can’t reasonably enforce smoking bans on privately owned places if it’s proved that there is no danger.

    18 May 2003
    “The demise of a supposed major risk to public health might be expected to prompt celebration among medical experts and campaigners. Instead, they scrambled to condemn the study, its authors, its conclusions, and the journal that published them.”

    No wonder they reacted like that,I should have thought there would have been egg on some very important faces if they hadn’t torn it apart very quickly.

    2003 letter
    Flawed experiment
    25 May 2003

    “Your report on passive smoking fails to reveal the scientific criticisms brought against Prof James Enstrom and Dr Geoffrey Kabat’s paper in the British Medical Journal.

    The basis of their study is the data collected by the American Cancer Society’s survey of tobacco-use among 118,000 Californians in 1959, which observed non-smokers who were co-resident with smokers, and those who were not living with smokers. A subsequent research project followed the subjects’ medical histories until 1997. Enstrom and Kabat’s analysis found, in essence, that there was no “statistically significant difference” between the incidence of lung cancer among those two groups of individuals.

    In 1959, smoking was far more widespread than it is at present, and a non-smoker who lived with non-smokers might well have been regularly exposed to high levels of tobacco smoke – on public transport, at work, in cafes, bars and restaurants, not to mention at the cinema.

    In short, the “non-result” reported by Enstrom and Kabat is just that: their paper should have been rejected by the BJM on the grounds that the flawed “experimental design” rendered the data of little if any scientific value. But, to compound that mistake and suggest that attention should be paid to its conclusions is recklessly irresponsible journalism with potentially fatal consequences.”

    6 December 2003

    “Unlike parts of the USA (eg, California, Connecticut, Florida, and New York State), parts of Canada, Thailand, and south Australia, which have already introduced legislation, the UK government is sticking to its position that a voluntary code is sufficient.

    In response to the call in The Times, the Health Minister, Melanie Johnson, backed by John Reid, the Health Secretary, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said that more needed to be done to persuade the public of the merits of a ban before it could be imposed.

    Meanwhile, the governments of Ireland, Norway, and the Netherlands are introducing bans on smoking in workplaces or inside all public places in 2004, and a European Directive is under consideration.

    So is the UK government right? Does the UK public, in particular, need to be persuaded that a ban is needed?”
    “Lord Harris of High Cross, a former chairman of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (FOREST), argues that the Royal Colleges are indulging in headline-grabbing tactics because their case that passive smoking is harmful has suffered “a number of serious setbacks”.

    Harris cites the BMJs May 17 publication of a paper that did not show a causal link between environmental tobacco smoke and death. That research, which was funded by the tobacco industry, was highlighted on British American Tobacco’s website the week of publication and continues to be described by BAT as “an important study which confirms that many of the estimates of the risks of public smoking are overstated in the extreme”

    What is absent from the BAT site and Harris’s letter is any mention of the outpouring of letters to the BMJ questioning the methodology, and of course the funding, of this flawed study.”

    ASH puts the frighteners on the hospitality industry.

    ASH and Thompsons’ Tell Employers: Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned Over Secondhand Smoke
    Monday 12 January 2004

    “The hospitality trade faces a rising threat of legal action from employees whose health is damaged by secondhand smoke, after a new tie-up between health campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the UK’s largest personal injury and trade union law firm Thompsons was announced today.

    ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK’s leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the “date of guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke. Employers who continue to permit smoking in the workplace are therefore likely to be held liable by the courts for any health damage caused. ASH and Thompsons intend to use the letters in any future court cases as evidence that employers have been fully informed of the issue.

    ASH and Thompsons are also planning further steps to encourage employees who believe their health has been harmed by smoking in the workplace to seek legal advice on making a claim for compensation. These will be announced shortly.”

    ASH Political Bulletin June 2004: issue 2

    Letter to the Publican

    Managing Director of The Massive Pub Company
    “The only ultimate provision and safety for us will be a smoking ban.
    We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.
    Since April 27 cases have been taken on – this is the start of a tidal wave – in my view.

    The industry, through the various trade bodies is looking for a voluntary ban with 80% of premises having smoke free areas by 2007.

    Having attended the conference I am of the clear view that far too many of us could be fighting legal battles by then, and perhaps we will be preferring a total national ban.

    We need to take a very close look at what is happening elsewhere and learn from their experiences.

    The clearest message from this conference is that on health and legal grounds a ban is an absolute must and an absolute certainty.
    That frightens us and requires us to change will, ultimately, be irrelevant.

    I would strongly recommend that every trade body and industry representative invites some of the speakers from this conference, or workshop.

    At least that way acknowledge of the dangers of ETS and to our livelihoods and businesses will be more widely available.”

    Click to access ASH_405.pdf

    16th December, 2004

    “On the same day as these statistics were published, the UK ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This is the first international treaty on public health and has the potential to make a real difference in tobacco control at a global level by committing all parties to the following measures:

    – Comprehensive bans on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products.
    – Labelling of tobacco products to warn about the dangers of smoking.
    – Education about the health effects of tobacco.
    – Greater controls on the smuggling of tobacco.
    – Protection of the public from the effects of secondhand smoke
    – Measures to reduce the availability and promotion of tobacco to young people.”

    Thursday 16 December 2004

    UK ratifies global tobacco treaty: now is the time for a long term strategy to cut tobacco use

    “Implementation of the FCTC will assist governments in reaching the United Nations Millennium Development goals of reducing poverty and improving health. Key provisions in the treaty encourage countries to:

    Introduce effective measures to protect people from exposure to secondhand smoke;
    Enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
    Require rotating health warnings on tobacco packaging that cover at least 30 percent (but ideally 50 percent or more) of the principal display areas and can include pictures or pictograms;

    Ban the use of misleading and deceptive terms such as “light” and “mild”;

    Combat smuggling, including the placing of final destination markings on packs; and
    Increase tobacco taxes.

    The treaty also requires governments to
    “ …develop, implement, periodically update and review comprehensive multisectoral national tobacco control strategies, plans and programmes in accordance with this Convention and the protocols to which it is a Party.”

    19 July 2006
    Smoke and mirrors
    Deborah Arnott and Ian Willmore

    “The campaign showed the importance of sound strategy, sharp tactics and a lot of luck,….”

    Tony Blair’s 10 Years Of Tobacco Control
    29 Jun 2007

    “A Comment published online Friday June 29 assesses the impact of 10 years of Tony Blair’s Labour Government in the UK concerning public-health measures to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco, just two days before a ban on smoking in public places is introduced in England.”

    6 May 2009
    Baroness Thornton: My Lords, I welcome the sentiment of this amendment. The Government are fully committed to implementing the articles and guidelines of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The UK Government’s policy on engagement with the tobacco industry is to abide by the guidelines for implementation in Article 5.3.

    We take seriously our responsibilities under the FCTC. Indeed, we have already contributed as a partner country to the development of guidelines for Articles 8 and 11, which concern protection from second-hand smoke and the packaging and labelling of tobacco. We continue as partners in the development of guidelines for implementing Articles 9 and 10, which regulate the contents and disclosures of tobacco products, and we are formally facilitating the development of Article 14 guidelines on demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation.

    Article 5.3 guidelines were agreed at the third conference of the parties to the FCTC in November last year, and the UK worked with EU counterparts to refine, improve and gain consensus for the final guidelines. The UK Government abide by their responsibilities under the guidelines for implementing Article 5.3.”

    “Indeed, we have already contributed as a partner country to the development of guidelines for Articles 8 and 11″

    [Article 8]
    24. This creates an obligation to provide universal protection by ensuring that all indoor public places, all indoor workplaces, all public transport and possibly other (outdoor or quasi-outdoor) public places are free from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

    No exemptions are justified on the basis of health or law arguments.

    If exemptions must be considered on the basis of other arguments, these should be minimal. In addition, if a Party is unable to achieve universal coverage immediately,

    Article 8 creates a continuing obligation to move as quickly as possible to remove any exemptions and make the protection universal.”

    Click to access art%208%20guidelines_english.pdf

    “Article 5.3 guidelines were agreed at the third conference of the parties to the FCTC in November last year, and the UK worked with EU counterparts to refine, improve and gain consensus for the final guidelines.”

    14 Dec 2008
    Tobacco Retailers Concerns ‘Air-Brushed Out’ By Government, UK

    “Members of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, a coalition of 25,000 independent retailers, have expressed outrage that their views were excluded from a Government report into retail displays of tobacco.”

    “and we are formally facilitating the development of Article 14 guidelines on demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation”

    17 Mar 2011
    “Services and support are key to helping smokers quit and to helping governments who have signed up to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meet their commitments to drive tobacco use down.”

    “In an effort to reduce tobacco use, the EU and its Member States have signed up to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).3 The FCTC’s Article 14, through its recently adopted guidelines, demands action to promote cessation of tobacco use and provide adequate treatment for tobacco dependence.”

    Countries who have signed up to the FCTC therefore have a legal obligation to implement the recommendations of Article 14.”

    “Over 78 million smokers in Europe want to quit,[i] but half (50%) of those surveyed who have tried to quit rate smoking cessation services as inadequate, poor or unacceptable, according to new research released today.”
    “These findings form part of research commissioned by Pfizer, which examines attitudes to smoking and smoking cessation amongst 2,482 HCPs, 20,010 smokers and 22,683 non-smokers across 20 European countries.”

    Guidelines Article 14

    Click to access FCTC_COP4_8-en.pdf

  3. buckothemoose says:

    “We might all wake up one morning to find that all our data has been wiped, and all we’ve got left is a dog-eared paperback copy of The Wind In The Willows.”

    I could think of worse things…

    • nisakiman says:

      Heh! My thoughts exactly when I read that sentence. There could be a lot worse things to be left with than a dog-eared copy of Wind In The Willows.

      Farage is an intelligent man, and I would be surprised if he hasn’t done some research of his own into the outlandish claims made by the Tobacco Control industry. And if he’s done some independent research, then it’s not surprising that he throws out the occasional off-the-cuff remark about ignoring what the WHO have to say on the matter. Everybody who has looked into how the WHO operates knows that they lie through their teeth.

  4. Tony says:

    Can I suggest people who are backing up your blog should also take a full copy of the WordPress software too.
    That way, with any luck, they’ll be able to rebuild it without outside assistance even if the backup becomes incompatible with current WordPress software in the future.
    Please can you send me a copy of your backup too Frank?

    • Joe L. says:

      I appreciate the suggestion, Tony. However, I’m not very concerned because the backup is in plain XML format. If worse came to worst and WordPress drops backward-compatibility for some reason, or suddenly drops off the face of the planet, I could fairly easily write my own parser to generate whatever output format I desire. Having multiple backups of the data itself is the most important thing.

  5. beobrigitte says:

    Most likely it’ll be the same as AGW, and sceptics will be called Science Deniers, or more recently by the Pope, “perverse.”
    What qualifies The Pope to pass this judgment? Hasn’t he read the bible, especially the part where Jesus tells a bunch of self-righteous people: “the one without fault throw the first stone”?

    The pontiff, during remarks made to negotiators at climate talks in Germany, called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing.” He added efforts to combat climate change are held back by those who deny the science behind it, are indifferent or resigned to it, or think it can be solved by technical solutions.
    What science exactly is behind climate change? The science invented by a bunch of people who cannot face THE FACT that our planet has always experienced climate changes at different rates. It, too, is not designed to “live” eternally, our sun isn’t, either!
    I fall into the or resigned to it bracket, as I believe there is little we can do about it. Just look at the earths magnetic field over the last 30 years. Animals orienting e.g. migration on it ended up in the wrong places and died. “Science” pretends that happened simply because e.g. “the whale was hungry, so it swum up the river Thames”.
    Then we have “super volcanoes” that are “overdue” to erupt. Not to mention the tectonic plates doing what they do best: MOVE. There most certainly are MORE natural reasons for climate change
    Let’s face it, this universe is only temporary. Deal with it.

    “We must avoid falling into these four perverse attitudes, which certainly don’t help honest research and sincere, productive dialogue,” he said.
    On what planet does the leader of my church live??? Honest science?? May I suggest to our “enlightened one” to do a little research into the climate change industry? Or read every bit of “honest” research to the bit that tells him WHO financed it?
    Where is the SINCERE, PRODUCTIVE dialogue? To tell people who have HONEST questions that they have “perverse attitudes” isn’t a dialogue. It is destruction of it. Coming from the head of the catholic church.

    I have family members in Germany who left the church simply because church tax had gone up. For the first time in my life I am considering doing the same for another reason: the church tax is syphend off by the climate change “scientists” ?
    Our pope appears to be an alarmingly average Joe Doe.

    • beobrigitte says:

      LONDON — Nigel Farage has dismissed medical experts who warn that smoking kills millions of people every year as “clever people” who should be ignored.

      The former UKIP leader urged his Twitter followers to ignore a warning from the World Health Organisation that smoking kills more than 7 million people a year.
      So, 7 million people have on their death certificate SMOKING stated as cause of death? Really????
      However, >11 000 people have Ebola virus infection as cause of death OFFICIALLY on their death certificate – in less than 2 years!
      The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and rapidly became the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.
      do not know what the WHO was busy with; by March 2014 MSF could no longer cope and went public when despite NUMEROUS pleas to the WHO prior to that nothing came from the WHO.

      The organisation was welcoming a decision by the Vatican to ban the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City.
      Ah, ok. We get an idea where the WHO officials recently were wined and dined.
      Looks like the people in Madagascar aint going to fare better than the West Africans 3 years ago, with the exception that the WHO blabbs a lot. But blabbing is all this club of get-rich-quick people do.
      Officials from the WHO have warned there is a risk the disease could spread to other continents.

      Scientists also believe the disease – which can kill in 24 hours – could become untreatable in the future if the illness mutates.

      The airborne pneumonic plague can be spread by coughing, sneezing, spitting and other contact with bodily fluids.
      Looks like the WHO needs to do something: GO THERE rather than expecting a pad on the back for giving out 1.2 million doses of antibiotics, not mentioning which ones and how they were so quickly produced by which companies. A little transparency, please. Not WHO blabb.

      “The World Health Organisation is just another club of ‘clever people’ who want to bully us and tell us what to do,” Farage tweeted.
      And get-rich-quick, too.

  6. I’m pretty sure Farage is using the word clever in its disparaging form: i.e. taking something that’s not true or is true, and then making it appear the opposite by “clever” argument. The word in that way embodies deception… as in “clever like a fox” ( “seemingly foolish but in fact extremely cunning” or “acting with a hidden motive”)

    For my own part I don’t particularly dispute an active smoking/lung-cancer link for several reasons, primarily due to a combination of the magnitude of the link making it difficult to manufacture it out of whole cloth and the lack of motivation for creating the link among a wide body of disparate researchers in the 1950s and early ’60s.

    With secondary smoke both those conditions are reversed: the magnitude of the link is by comparison extraordinarily small (The EPA’s 19% increase for ETS as opposed to Surgeon Generals’ 500% to 2,500% for active smoking) with only about 15% of the studies done from 1980 through 2000 being able to find a statistically significant link AT ALL (See: ) AND the likelihood of some of that 15% being tainted by corruption (as in “We GOTTA get this finding if we’re gonna get another grant to pay the mortgage next year!” or idealism (as in “If I juggle this just a Litttttle bit I can make it significant and it’ll be for THE GREATER GOOD.”) or sloppiness (as in, “It’s too hard to figure in these confounding factors so screw ’em!”).

    Put all that together and we end up with perhaps just 5% of the studies being statistically significant… which, by definition is what you’d expect to find in a sample WITH NO RELATIONSHIP AT ALL!

    – MJM

    • beobrigitte says:

      For my own part I don’t particularly dispute an active smoking/lung-cancer link for several reasons, primarily due to a combination of the magnitude of the link making it difficult to manufacture it out of whole cloth and the lack of motivation for creating the link among a wide body of disparate researchers in the 1950s and early ’60s.
      This is THE key point.
      I do recall research into lung cancer occurring at an increased rate in workers in the Chromium industry. Smoking/non-smoking was not an issue which I wanted to include but was unable to gather this information and therefore I could never establish a TRUE account. However, a highly unstable intermediate (Chromium IV) of the reduction of CrV to CrIII (starting was Cr VI) was found to cause DNA aberrations. I can still show this – maybe next time if anyone is interested in the smokydrinky bar? – I have carefully preserved it.
      At that point in time I ACCEPTED that smoking MAY BE a factor but NOT A CAUSE of the genesis of lung cancer.
      Ever since then I heard so many lies that I begun to question this acceptance and with that I may well have thrown out the baby with the bath water.

    • Joe L. says:

      For my own part I don’t particularly dispute an active smoking/lung-cancer link for several reasons, primarily due to a combination of the magnitude of the link making it difficult to manufacture it out of whole cloth and the lack of motivation for creating the link among a wide body of disparate researchers in the 1950s and early ’60s.

      On what basis have you deemed the magnitude of the “link” between active smoking and lung cancer significant, Michael? I’m curious as to which studies you believe strongly support this. Also, what makes you believe this “link” also implies causation beyond the point of dispute?

      Regarding the “lack of motivation for creating the link among a wide body of disparate researchers in the 1950s and early ’60s.”:

      Actually, that time period was ripe for the rise of health-based pseudoscience, as Nazi scientists (who were leaders in eugenics and Antismoking propaganda) had been recently absorbed into various American scientific and governmental organizations post-WWII via Operation Paperclip (and most likely absorbed into other Allied nations’ as well).

      • beobrigitte says:

        On what basis have you deemed the magnitude of the “link” between active smoking and lung cancer significant, Michael?
        Sorry for butting in here. This is significant for the causal inclusion/exclusion factor/variable .

      • Hi Joe! :) You ask, “On what basis have you deemed the magnitude of the “link” between active smoking and lung cancer significant, Michael? I’m curious as to which studies you believe strongly support this.”

        When I first started researching the ETS/Cancer link back in the 1980s I read, annotated, and made notes about the full texts of all of the Surgeon General’s Reports to that time relating to smoking. My realization about the lies behind ETS led me to question whether the research on smoking itself was similarly tainted. Despite having an obvious prejudice toward finding no link, I eventually concluded that there were enough studies out there pointing, not just mildly, but very VERY strongly to a link for active smoking (even after supposedly accounting for a good number of possible confounders) that the link was probably valid. Exaggerated maybe, but still valid.

        My judgment in that may well be wrong, but I’m not big on going out onto a battlefield not knowing to the absolute last decimal point that my weapons are all sharp and deadly. In the ETS arena I’m comfortable: in a fair fight with fair referees fighting over fair questions I’m pretty confident that I’ll usually come out on top. Why? Because I believe I have the “truth ground” and I’m fighting an enemy sloshing around so hip deep in lies that anyone who takes a fair look will see it AND be forced to realize it.

        You also asked: “Also, what makes you believe this “link” also implies causation beyond the point of dispute?”

        I don’t. Any time I see a new point of dispute brought up that I don’t think has been fairly investigated in the past, I’ll look at it. I even do that for the ETS stuff:

        When the Japanese Wives study by Hirayama(?) came out in 1980 or 83 I remember thinking that my thoughts at that time (based on the propaganda spawned by ASH et al in the mid ’70s) might be wrong. And when I first read the study it looked strong. But then I realized they’d TOTALLY failed to correct for the Japanese culture that caused women to hide their smoking and the likely confounding of increased hidden smoking among smokers’ wives who’d have easy access to cigarettes AND be much more easily able to hide their afternoon smoking breaks.

        When Glantz et al came out with Helena, DESPITE my opinion of Glantz himself, I thought the study looked too strong to fight. THEN I started looking at the numbers and found that moving just two or three heart attacks a few miles or a few days in one direction or the other totally destroyed their claims. THEN, even more tellingly, I found that when I took their data and broke it down to three month instead of six month chunks, that the “Miraculous Bounce Back” that supposedly took place after the ban ENDED really had taken place smack in the MIDDLE of the ban.

        Those two and many similar analyses have led me to believe that, aside from perhaps a very few honest statistical anomalies, that most antismoking research regarding ETS (or THS: ThirdHand Smoke) is similarly flawed.

        But my analyses of firsthand smoking generally didn’t turn up those sorts of flaws. Could there be confounders out there that no one has yet thought to account for? Sure. I could even give you one or two (E.G. smokers likely inhale more air through their mouths on average — as they’re inhaling their puffs of smoke — and maybe ordinary air is more carcinogenic when not passed through the nasal/sinus passages. Has this been researched? Not that I’ve ever seen. Do I THINK that it would account for the smoking/LC link? No, but it’s certainly at least a small possibility. How about inhaled alcohol fumes since alcohol is a known chemically discrete carcinogen whose vaporized form smokers (and nonsmokers in bars in the past) were likely to inhale in much greater quantity than nonsmokers, particularly those who didn’t go to bars, were likely to inhale. Could THAT account for the lung cancer link? Possibly, but again, I doubt it for smokers because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen studies that correct for alcohol exposure (primarily through consumption) and smoking. On the other hand I don’t think I’ve ever seen a study that corrects for alcohol exposure among nonsmokers as separated from smoke exposure among nonsmokers. Perhaps a fair number of those “nonsmoking lung cancers” in the old studies were being caused NOT by being around smokers, but were instead caused by increased inhalation of alcohol fumes by nonsmoking spouses who drank, who hung out at bars, or who were exposed to increased alcohol and alcohol fumes as part and parcel of being married to a smoking and partying spouse.

        I believe my chances of being wrong on smoking being causally linked to lung cancer are fairly small, but my chances of being wrong on the ETS link being significant, particularly once one moves toward exposures involving decent levels of ventilation and air filtration, are so small as to be almost beneath consideration.

        I’ll freely admit I could be wrong… but I don’t think so.

        – MJM

        • Joe L. says:

          Thank you for the detailed response, Michael. I understand the foundations of your opinion better now. That said, I have yet to personally see any evidence compelling enough to agree with you regarding the purported harms of “active smoking.”

          I will defer to Philip Neal’s comment below (in lieu of pretty much rewriting his entire comment) to express my concerns with the perverted concepts of correlation and causation (and the field of epidemiology in general). However, I know you’re quite open-minded and you stated in your reply that you believe in the possibility of confounding variables that were never taken into consideration (as well as providing an unconventional hypothetical regarding alcohol vapor*), so I’ll leave it at that.

          Along with those concerns, however, I would also like to address the lack of reproducibility of these “active smoking” studies which goes hand-in-hand with a noticeable absence of peer review. I believe this is one of the key reasons why it’s all been deemed “settled science” and also why tobacco companies have been prevented from funding further studies on the subject: they (the “Experts”) have closed Pandora’s box and want to prevent anyone from reopening it for fear of what may escape.

          Do you, by any chance, still happen to have any of your notes from the ’80s on the Surgeon General’s Reports? If so, I’d be interested in performing my own sort of “peer review.” ;) I sincerely appreciate all the great work you’ve done thus far in exposing the secondhand smoke lies, and I believe your notes could be used as great springboard for an open discussion/investigation of the “active smoking” studies that all subsequent Antismoking propaganda is built upon. I think your old notes would be insightful and somewhat impartial, simply because they wouldn’t be colored by the copious new lies, tax hikes and smoking bans that have ensued in the last 30-odd years.

          *Not to pick nits, but ethanol itself has never been deemed carcinogenic. However, acetaldehyde (which is the compound the body metabolizes ethanol into) is claimed to be. Nevertheless, assuming the amount of acetaldehyde produced from inhaling ethanol vapor was carcinogenic enough that pubgoers were exposed to a large enough dose of it from the surface area of a few dozen chilled, still pints of beer (and a few spills) to increase their risk of lung cancer by ~19%, one should expect distillers (and to a lesser extent, brewers), who are exposed to the equivalent of “first-hand smoke” concentrations of ethanol vapor in their workplaces, would therefore be significantly more likely to develop lung cancer, and it would be a fairly common disease in the industry. If this were the case, why have we never heard of something like “distiller’s lung”?

    • Philip Neal says:

      For my own part I don’t particularly dispute an active smoking/lung-cancer link for several reasons, primarily due to a combination of the magnitude of the link…

      This needs challenging. The fundamental fallacy of epidemiology since Doll and Hill is that a strong correlation between two ‘risk factors’ is more likely to be causal than a weak one. If causation is involved, it can run either way, and it may be that a third factor is the real cause behind the correlation. Witness climate change. Rising carbon dioxide levels roughly correlate with rising temperatures but correlation is not causation. In the Ice Age, carbon dioxide levels fell because colder oceans absorb more gas, and changes in solar magnetism may be the underlying third factor. These possibilities are only possibilities, but in the logic of science all directions of causation have equal standing until they have been investigated and talk of ‘confounding factors’ prejudges the issue. The strength of the observed correlation is irrelevant.

  7. smokingscot says:

    I see the article you linked to is the Australian Business Insider.

    Quite what this has to do with business isn’t immediately obvious, to me at any rate.

    Nevertheless I’m going to take a random stab at the readership of said organ and assume they’re reasonably well educated with an interest in all things business/money/stock market/investments.

    So it comes as a bit of a surprise that the article’s got close on 4,900 re-tweets and 3,900 likes.

    So maybe, just maybe those investor types are just as weary of their anti-smoking-experts as those who consume the product.

    Re his comment about “clever people”. It was a mock, a piss-take, a two fingers, a kiss my crinkly butt. Yet designed in such a way as it could, just possibly, be interpreted to fit the individuals concerned. Should they have the gonads to take offence and do something about it.

    Should you care to take a gander at the final part of my recent comment, that’s my take on it.

  8. smokingscot says:

    For those of you who are curious about what type of cancer Jana Novotna died of.

    Breast Cancer.

    • beobrigitte says:

      BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, PALB2 or PTEN?

      Smoking can’t be an issue here?

      • smokingscot says:

        This time it was a totally innocent comment. It’s just I have a bit of a thing about the media – and most of them did – report her death as cancer – full stop.

        In those cases where the person interests me, I always try to find out where the cancer was located.

        Exactly what variant of breast cancer she contracted, I cannot tell.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    A very interesting post from Nisakiman today:

    Looks like we REALLY need to demand TRANSPARENCY!

  10. Clicky says:

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