Another cancer quack

That atavistic cancer hypothesis is actually fueling the work of quacks: Orac has been getting threats from a Frank Arguello, who runs a crank cancer mill called “Atavistic Chemotherapy”.

It’s amazing stuff. It goes on and on about how cancer represents a reversion to the old cell types of single-celled organisms, and how modern chemotherapy is useless and dangerous, so he has a better formula: safe, harmless, and revolutionary. You’ll never guess what it is.

He’s treating cancer patients with antibiotics.

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Whoa…ScienceOnline has gone and died

They announced their decision to shut down the organization and cancel future conferences yesterday. This is sad news — it has always been an innovative, interesting event, but they faced a terrible hit when one of their founders, Bora Zivkovic, was slammed with charges of harassing women, and they’ve been struggling to get donations to support the organization. I suspect they may also have gotten a bit over-extended, too, since they’d been creating satellite conferences on narrower topics at different locations (which was an excellent idea, by the way, but may not have been wise if their core operations were overtaxed).

The full announcement is below the fold.

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Cancers aren’t atavisms!

I’ve been so disappointed in the journal BioEssays lately. It hasn’t gotten bad, exactly, it’s just changed, moving away from my interests. It used to have lots of papers on developmental biology, and now it rarely does; I think it’s since Adam Wilkins left the journal staff.

But every once in a while I still check in. I may have to change my mind about the quality. They’ve published an article on cancer by Lineweaver, Davies, and Vincent, on their absurd “atavistic theory of cancer”. It’s embarrassingly bad — I’ve written about it before, and Davies openly admits that it’s based on … Haeckelian recapitulation.

You should be dumbfounded by this revelation.

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Painting something pink doesn’t make it good

A company that makes drill bits for fracking is painting them Susan G. Komen Pink — that specific intense shade that has become fixed in the public eye as the color of breast cancer research. Note, though, that this is entirely an initiative by the drill bit company, and there doesn’t seem to be a specific partnership, and the company doesn’t seem to be donating any money to breast cancer research, but are just painting all their bits a different color than usual, and tossing in a breast cancer pamphlet.

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The zebrafish litany has entered the popular press

Deja vu…years ago, we I was a wee young grad student and the only labs doing work on zebrafish were at the University of Oregon, we used to have to do this annoying thing everyone called the “zebrafish litany” at our talks. Because they were relatively unknown, we had this short explanation for why we were working on zebrafish: rapidlydevelopingtransparentvertebrateembryos. And later we added “genetics” and “transgenics” and “medicalapplications” to the boilerplate. As the mob of zebrafish acolytes grew, I swear you could hear the squishy sounds of eyeballs rolling every time we started our introductions.

Well, the laugh is on them. Now everybody gets to read the zebrafish litany, and we’re taking over the known universe.

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Dang good paper

All right, Larry Moran, why did you post about this paper now? I finished the unit on the origins of life in my cell biology class over a week ago, and this summary of the metabolism first model of abiogenesis would have been very helpful. I first gave them a review of redox reactions in chemistry, and then some general ideas about events in deep sea vents that generate a source of energy that early chemistry could have tapped, but this paper is full of specifics — probably a bit too heavy going for college sophomores, but they could have appreciated some of the diagrams.

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