Yes, thunk not think. *Thunk* is the noise your brain makes when it hits a solid wall of Flaming Stupid.
Sometimes you come across a tale of such horrifying cynicism and greed that you feel physically ill. This is what happens when the unscrupulous get into a position of power. South Africa is still paying the price. It’s a longish post, so make sure you’re not in a hurry when you go over to the site to read the vile details.
Be warned, you may feel the need to use profanity.
This is the “missing chapter” about vitamin pill salesman Matthias Rath. Sadly I was unable to write about him at the time that book was initially published, as he was suing my ass in the High Court. The chapter is now available in the new paperback edition, and I’ve posted it here for free so that nobody loses out.
Although the publishers make a slightly melodramatic fuss about this in the promo material, it is a very serious story about the dangers of pseudoscience, as I hope you’ll see, and it was also a pretty unpleasant episode, not just for me, but also for the many other people he’s tried to sue, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and more. If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontières is probably a pretty good clue.
Anyway, here it is, please steal it, print it, repost it, whatever, it’s free under a Creative Commons license, details at the end. If you prefer it is available as a PDF here, or as a word document here. Happy Easter!
This is an extract from
BAD SCIENCE by Ben Goldacre
Published by Harper Perennial 2009.
You are free to copy it, paste it, bake it, reprint it, read it aloud, as long as you don’t change it – including this bit – so that people know that they can find more ideas for free at www.badscience.net
Feel free to yield to the temptation to buy the book, it’s good.
- Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science (medicine.com.my)
Today, 5th September, 2011, Freddie Mercury (né Farrok Bulsara), singer, songwriter and all-round phenomenon, would have been 65 years old.
For all those who appreciate his voice, or are struck by his talent even if you don’t like his music…
For all those who have friends or family who have been infected with HIV/AIDS…
For all those who have children or relatives or friends who may be at risk…
People in the adult film industry…
Mature people, who imagine it’s a young person’s disease…
Straight people who think it’s a gay disease…
You need to talk about it. HIV, that is. Not be afraid of it, but use protection and encourage others to do so too. Help people to learn more about it and how to protect themselves. Help people who already have it to live the normal lives that are now possible with the help of modern medicine.
You couldn’t do this with any other song. Go into a chatroom where people from all round the world are connected at any one time. A guild chat in an online game will do. Type these words:
I see a little silhouetto of a man…
Not only will you immediately receive the appropriate response – Scaramouche, Scaramouche will you do the fandango? – but your contacts will happily provide you with the lyrics for the entire song. Quite possibly in time to the music as well.
Extravagant, hugely talented, handsome, ridiculous Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, left an enormous mark on rock music when he died of AIDS-related causes in November 1991. He was one of the first celebrities to openly succumb to the virus, even if his illness was not officially named until the weekend he died because of the social opprobrium attached to “the gay disease”. And indeed, the inevitable vicious comments from the ignorant and hateful filled the media. However, there was also a lot of public support from others, such as Elton John. The three surviving members of Queen released a short documentary celebrating his life and ending with the statement “Freddie was our friend and we loved him”. They also set up a charity, dubbed The Mercury Phoenix Trust, to promote AIDS awareness worldwide.