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Jun 14, 2011           

me+ME: Short bits about websites and various subjects

   "Man is wicked and unhappy; everywhere prisons, hospitals, gibbets and beggars; history, properly speaking, is nothing but a collection of the crimes and misfortunes of mankind."

  "History is little else but the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind"

Yesterday I wrote about my having started to put a good English version of Bayle's Dictionary on line. Today there is a little more about that, my own sites, and some other sites mostly related to ME.

Also, I leave yesterday's opening quotations the same, because I like them, since they seem mostly true - and I start with a remark on that and my edition of Bayle

1. A little more on Bayle and Gibbon and my edition

As I said,
yesterday I started putting Bayle on line in a decent html-edition. I haven't got far with this, but if my health keeps up the first volume of the Dictionary should be there pretty soon.

My optimism is based on having done most of the work already, and also on the fact that Google's edition of it is not as horrible as all the other classics Google has deigned to more or less appropriate, or at least half competently scan, for the most part, and then put on line with its own logo defiling each and every page.

Indeed, I found so far with each and every edition of a classic that Google put on line thay I saw, always with its nauseating logo imprinted on every page - which to me is an EXCELLENT reason for anyone, such as the excellent Project Gutenberg, to clean that nauseous bit from the pages of great scholars and great writers who have been dead too long to protest - that the scanning has been done without art or care; often not fully; usually with text editions that are absolutely useless and unreadable, and never read for any correction by any Google staffer; and nearly always with some page scans with a picture of rubbergloved or naked hands of the scanners, who apparently are paid far too little to do anything remotely resembling a decent job.

Anyway... having repeated the quotations of Bayle and Gibbon that summarize the greatest part of known human history, I note that Gibbon, who seems to have been what I am: an atheistic freethinker, while clearly following Bayle did not follow Bayle's initial explanation of what Chamfort, who probably read both, summarized as

"Presque toute l'Histoire n'est qu'une suite d'horreurs."
 -- Chamfort

namely this: "Man is wicked and unhappy; everywhere prisons, hospitals, gibbets and beggars".

As it happens, I agree with Bayle, at least when speaking of the human majority, incidentally without disagreeing here with either the Protestants or the Catholics, whose theologians were all strongly convinced that everyone not of their own faith would go to hell, deservedly, burn eternally, all to the everlasting pleasure of whoever was lucky enough, or predestined, of course, to gamble correctly on God's own theological convictions:

"That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell."
   (St. Thomas Aquino, Summa Theologica: Catholic theologian)

"The sight of hell's torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever."
   (Jonathan Edwards: Protestant theologian)

I don't like the idea of hell and everlasting torture, but I do agree that the basic human problem and the cause of so incredibly much human misery in human history are the stupidity of the masses, who care for little but themselves, their families and friends, and the groups and institutions they work in, and who think little that is not wishful thinking, tend to feel no empathy with whomever does not belong to their own group, and whose morality and ideology are largely groupthinking, hypocrisy and conformistic role playing:

2. Jamie Deckoff-Jones MD about herself and XMRV

I wrote this month briefly about Jamie Deckoff-Jones M.D. who is a medical doctor with ME/CFS, who takes anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for that reason, and reports some good progress with it:
She wrote more on the topic of XMRV; why she thinks she is justified in taking ARVs (I quite agree: She is an MD, she is informed, she knows what it is like to have to survive with ME/CFS, and she should be thanked for her courage in taking the risk rather than criticized, and indeed she gives also good arguments); and why she thinks the editors of Science should not have asked that the Lombardi-Mikovits paper they themselved approved and published in 2009 be retracted.

Here own blog is here:
3. Creekfeet addresses the editors of Science

Somebody else with ME and at least one child with ME who agrees that the editors of 
Science should not have asked that the Lombardi-Mikovits paper  be retracted is a woman I know as Creekfeet from Phoenix Rising, who wrote a moving open letter to try to move the editors of Science to retract their incitement to a retraction:
In the above she writes as Kassy Fatooh, which sounds Persian (or thereabouts: I have no relevant special knowledge) and reminds me of Kassandra (also spelled with a C), who spoke the truth and therefore was not listened to.

As to the "X": It seems that on the ME-F forum, that the owners, who like to poison bloodbanks, kicked me off when I protested this and other stuff that seems to me clearly designed to please Reeves and Wessely, there now is a sizable group of what may be patients who are not blessed with the best of brains, not even when they were healthy, I am afraid, who now try to position "XMRV"/"ME"/"CFS" as if it is something fairly called "X-Aids".

I don't know whether Ms Fatooh agrees (I can't read ME-F: I am banned, and indeed I don't take kindly to such totalitarianism), but I don't: It's hysterical pomo-nonsense to try to link up ME/CFS and Aids without good evidence for it, and to try to do so harms, in the long run, the interests of patients, a sizable part of which is neither hysterical nor irrational, but quite ill, with a real disease, that merits real scientific research.

4. Tennessee adopts totalitarian pomo-law on pictures

I have written before about the - to me - insane, grotesque, immoral and totalitarian desires of some, indeed many, to dictate to others how they should express themselves:
Then again, as I also argued in section 1, many human beings are totalitarian at heart and proud of it ("if you are not for Us, you are against Us!"), since being totalitarian is a major part of many human groups and much groupthinking and pride (or: vanity, rather), and now the US state Tennessee has joined Stalin and Mao, in a message that causes me emotional distress, as relayed on Ars Technica:
I quote:

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to "transmit or display an image" online that is likely to "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

The Tennessee legislature has been busy updating its laws for the Internet age, and not always for the better. Last week we reported on a bill that updated Tennessee's theft-of-service laws to include "subscription entertainment services" like Netflix.

The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender "reasonably should know" would "cause emotional distress" to the recipient. If the communciation lacked a "legitimate purpose," the sender faced jail time.

The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the "emotionally distressed" individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you "should have known" that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

If you think that sounds unconstitutional, you're not alone. In a blog post, constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out just how broad the legislation is. The law doesn't require that the picture be of the "victim," nor would the government need to prove that you intended the image to be distressing. Volokh points out that a wide variety of images, "pictures of Mohammed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group," could “cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities,” triggering liability. He calls the bill "pretty clearly unconstitutional."

Quite: As I said, it is in line with Stalin, Mao, and the Inquisition, and I find it emotionally so distressing that I insist those who are responsible for it are to be put in a re-education camp, after being fined, and having served jail time: You have no right to distress me this way! (CheekySmile)

5. Anthony Weiner into rehab

Then about somebody else I wrote about who is distressed, namely Congressman Weiner, as explained here:
The last news is that he went "into rehab", indeed, in his own words (or of his PR-spokesperson):

'to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person'

and you find here a comment by Andrew Brown who writes in The Guardian, and may have read me on the subject, if he didn't reason as I did, all by himself
I mostly agree and indeed predicted Mr Weiner would do either that or find faith - more or less like Bush Jr. "found faith", after a life misspend on cocaine and alcohol - though I did not predict so on my site.

It seems the better and more honest choice for Mr Weiner than that last refuge of scoundrels, and I do wish him well.

6. Declining standards in education; rises in student loans

Over the last 30-plus years I have spoken and written a lot about the simultaneous decline of all of Western education, and especially in Holland, for which see e.g. my
There were a few - the best and the brightest, always a small minority - who saw the same, but the democratic majority only saw a chance of getting to be a Ph.D. with all that promises in income and status, even if you do not have any talent and taste for real science, since over the past 40 years in Holland almost anybody with an IQ of 105 or a bit higher could get a student-loan and eventually become e.g. a clinical psychologist, and indulge his or her perversions for money, knowing full well most colleagues were as able, as competent, as honest and motivated as oneself.

By now, it is starting to get widely obvious what I predicted over 20 years ago: Society is declining and slowly collapsing on itself, because the education it is based on has been diluted, pomo-ified, levelled, and "democratised": Everywhere a combination of clever tricksters and manipulators and a solid democratic majority of dumbos is in power

Here is one good article on it, that does not make for very easy reading I am afraid, but which makes a number of good points. It is on Academe on line and by Eric Alterman:
I may return to this later in Nederlog - and incidentally, the comments of this go in all directions: left, right, pomo, stupid and intelligent, but the essay does make a number of important points.

7. Big Pharma as the puppet-master of medical journals

And here is another interesting publication on the main motor of the science of medicine. This is on the American Scholar.org, and its title and content are quite clear, and do not make for a good night of sleep in case you believed medical science is that 'evidence based science' the pseudoscientist psychiatric freaks Wessely, Sharpe and White like to pretend it is (as they full well know: These chaps are too clever not to know this, and too defunct in conscience not to profit by it):
  • Flacking for Big Pharma
    Drugmakers don’t just compromise doctors; they also undermine top medical journals and skew medical research

These are the original's title and subtitle. It was written by Ms Harriet Washington, and here are two paragraphs from it to sketch its drift:

Medical journals are utterly dependent upon pharmaceutical advertising, which can provide between 97 and 99 percent of their advertising revenue. By 2005, some major journals, including Consultant, Geriatrics, and American Family Physician, carried more advertising than editorial pages and glossy, full-color inserts that were longer than the journal’s longest article. This explains why medical journals themselves advertise to drugmakers, flooding the pages of pharmaceutical-industry publications such as Medical Marketing and Media to vie for the attentions of Big Pharma. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) bills itself in advertising as “a priceless audience at a price you can afford,” while the Annals boasts: “With an audience of more than 90,000 internists (93 percent of whom are actively practicing physicians), Annals has always been a smart buy.”

Moreover, drugmakers sometimes agree to buy journal advertising only if it is accompanied by favorable editorial mentions of their products. Or their in-house stables of writers or hired pens generate “advertorials,” a Frankensteinian mix of medical content and marketing messages that can be indistinguishable from editorial material. “Pharmaceutical firms also inform journals,” Smith observes, “that they are receptive to buying huge volumes of reprints that favor their wares: The profits for the journal can easily reach $100,000.”

There is no 'evidence based medical science', other than as a fraudulent hoax by fraudulent healthworkers, but there is a great lot of 'pharma based medical science and pseudoscience' and the reasons for this ought to be obvious: It pays well, and there is no one to correct them, for most - so called - peers do it too.

8. Phoenix Rising has risen from its viral ashes

Finally, as a service to my readers: I mentioned several days ago that Phoenix Rising was shut down because it harboured a Trojan.

Well, in the same tradition: Phoenix Rising is up again since this morning, and here is the link - original title - with something like explanations on Phoenix Rising:

In case these explanations seem to contradict each other: It seems those most or only at risk are those who surf with a Microsoft browser, which indeed is risky and indeed is a rotten browser, and indeed risks by far the most trojan and virus attacks, and it is generally wise to have an up to date and active virus-checker, which, in case you have it, and it is any good, should have blocked it. (Incidentally, McAfee, at least before it was bought by Symantec, was a a hopelessly bad virus-checker and equally bad firewall, besides being bugged as its resellers xs4all told me in 2009, without offering a fix nor an explanation.)

It does make sense - especially if you were a recent regular visitor to Phoenix Rising - to have your computer checked by a good virus checker with a recent database, and there are several available for free on the net.

Incidentally, in case you care for computer security, here is a useful link:
It's interesting and informed, but it won't make you feel more secure, though it might move you towards getting better security, which indeed doesn't help only you, but everybody else on line.

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

                              As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komarof Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)
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