Skeptical Raptor removes annoying Disqus comment system

disqus comment system

Sadly, the ancient dinosaur has decided to remove the poorly designed Disqus comment system that we have been using here for years. Although it is popular with users, it is bad for everything else.

  1. The underpinnings of Disqus uses Javascript which slows down this website. 
  2. Disqus captures IP addresses for everyone who posts. Although they make that clear somewhere on their website, it’s not clear to most users. It had to go.
  3. Managing Disqus comments took a bunch of work. We had to actually do it from within the Disqus website, not through my own website. Not cool.

So, we’ve moved to another commenting system that is easier for everyone. You can comment using Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress login credentials. Your login information is not captured by WordPress or by this website, it will redirect you to a login page from your preferred platform.

We won’t allow anonymous logins for now, but we will monitor the situation.

Unfortunately, over twenty thousand comments, including comments from many people who follow this blog closely, are not available. We’re still looking into methods to save those comments, but it could be tremendously complicated.

Anyway, that’s what we’re doing with the Disqus comment system. We know many users love it. And many website managers love it too. We don’t. 

So, go read an article on how measles harms the immune system and comment there. 

 

The official 2018 top ten list from the Skeptical Raptor

2018 top ten list

Since it’s the end of the year, and all good bloggers do some sort of 2018 top ten list. Of course, I’ve been doing this since 2012, so it’s a tradition. At least for the last seven years.

My 2018 top ten list actually is voted on by you, the loyal reader. I don’t choose this list, it’s just the top 10 (with a couple of bonuses) most read articles published on this website. Sadly, some of my favorite articles didn’t make it to the top, but maybe what interests me doesn’t interest you. I can live with that.

So here we go. I think there’s a drum roll somewhere.

The official 2018 top ten list of articles

  1. Nick Catone son dies tragically – blaming vaccines with no evidence. An article by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss describing a sad story where parents try to blame vaccines, yet there is little evidence supporting such a belief.
  2. Gardasil facts – debunking myths about HPV vaccine safety and efficacy. This article is a list of everything the feathered dinosaur has written about the HPV vaccine or Gardasil. Let’s summarize – the vaccine is safe and it prevents cancer.
  3. MTHFR gene and vaccines – what are the facts and myths – the MTHFR gene is one of the canards of the anti-vaccine religion – they believe it’s got something to do with vaccines. It doesn’t.
  4.  The Medical Medium – junk medicine with psychic reading – The Medical Medium is one of the most creepy individuals pushing pseudo-medicine. He thinks he can use psychic reading to diagnose and treat serious medical conditions. I’m glad people are reading this article to find out facts about this charlatan.
  5. Colon detoxification – myth versus science. People think that detoxing is useful. It isn’t.
  6. MSG myth – debunked with real science. MSG is just a simple amino acid that is part of the structure of nearly every protein that one consumes. It has no effect on human physiology unless we throw in observation bias and a dash of racism.
  7. Tetyana Obukhanych – another anti-vaccine appeal to false authority. Obukhanych is someone who has what appears to be sterling credentials but denies science to push false claims about vaccines. This is why we should always ignore all credentials.
  8. Marijuana medical benefits – large review finds very few. Marijuana advocates try to push a narrative that cannabis has medical benefits, usually to create some level of credibility for marijuana legalization. However, real science shows us that marijuana only has a few medical uses. And it has no effect on cancer.
  9. Japan banned Gardasil – another ridiculous anti-vaccine myth. This trope, based on really no good information, is one of the favorites of the anti-vaccine world. Gardasil is still available in Japan.
  10. Bananas prevent cancer – debunking another myth about food. This article was first written during the early Cretaceous, yet it is still the most popular article ever written here. It has been read over 120,000 times, which is amazing as blog articles go. The basic facts are that pseudoscience-loving foodies misread an article thinking that bananas contain a protein called tumor necrosis factor. Bananas don’t. Even if they did, you cannot absorb tumor necrosis factor, since it will be broken down in the digestive tract into amino acids. And even if you could absorb it, the factor does not kill cancer. In fact TNF increases inflammation which increases risk of cancer. But it’s not in bananas, so this is all irrelevant.

2018 top ten list – bonus #11

Argument by Vaccine Package Inserts – they’re not infallible – anti-vaxxers constantly misread and misrepresent what is written in package inserts. Why do they do this? Because all of the clinical and epidemiological evidence contradicts their claims, so they resort to cherry picking information out of the insert to support their claims. If only they read this article, they’d understand what a package insert is or isn’t.

2018 top ten list – bonus #12

Gardasil killed Colton Berrett? The evidence does not support this claim. This is another tragic story of a child’s life taken too early. But the parents, manipulated by the Vaxxed fraudumentary team, want to blame the HPV vaccine. But the vast mountain of evidence tells us that it wasn’t the vaccine. We should tire of this fake new pushed by the anti-vaccine religion, but they persist, because, once again, they lack evidence for their claims so they move to blatant emotional manipulation. They’re vile people.

And that’s it for 2018

It’s been a very successful year for the old feathered dinosaur’s blog. We’ve had almost 2.5 million views of articles, and over 10 million hits. It remains one of the most popular websites on the internet, ranking in the top 300,000 websites – I know what you’re thinking, that the old Skeptical Raptor isn’t Facebook or Twitter. And it isn’t. However, since there are over 1.8 billion websites on the internet, it means that this website ranks in the 0.00167% of all of the websites in the world. As I joke frequently to friends, I remember cheering when I hit 100 visitors…for a whole freaking month.

I’m planning to do a few things a bit different in 2019. I’m going to do a weekly article on an interesting clinical or epidemiological study that crosses my desk. These articles will be outside of my normal articles on pseudoscience – they may be on psychiatric or cardiovascular drugs. They may look at new medical technologies.

Finally, I want to thank all of the readers who have made my articles here and the cross posts at the Daily Kos so popular. I really appreciate the support, kind words, and vibrant discussions. Time to watch my undergrad and graduate schools play football games – hopefully, they win. And to cheer against Notre Dame and Alabama. Well, Notre Dame lost badly, so that made me smile.

Everyone, please have a safe and fun New Year’s celebration. And have a Happy 2019. May Trump please be indicted – that will make my year the best.

Helping this website with contributions – the feathered dinosaur needs you

contributions

Like those Public Broadcasting System fundraisers, I’m here to ask (beg?) for contributions to keep this website going. And as annoying as it is to you, it’s more annoying for me. But this website isn’t supported by anyone but myself and your kind support.

I am hoping that some of you will contemplate making a financial contribution to the old feathered dinosaur, also known as the Skeptical Raptor so that we can continue to be that valuable resource that we have been in the past.

Although some may consider this a hobby, it is almost a full-time job for me. Researching and writing an article takes several hours of my time – I think it would be irresponsible of me to just write an article from the top of my brain. Setting that aside, all the other costs of this website are borne by me and through contributions.

I want to grow this blog to another level. Why? Because I want this blog to be at or near the top of the search results for topics that I focus on – vaccines, diabetes, GMOs, cancer, nutrition, and a few other narrow areas. I want to make sure that when someone is “doing their research” they get viewpoints beyond what the science deniers provide.

Please consider supporting this blog with a financial contribution of whatever level you think the old dinosaur deserves. It can be little. Or if you feel like it, it can be a lot, I’m really not going to complain.

How do I use your contributions?

  • Operating expenses such as web hosting, paid services, ISP charges, and other small but regular charges.
  • The hiring of contractors to regularly maintain the website or fix major issues (like the requirement to switch to https).
  • Cost of literature – reading an abstract on PubMed is hardly the proper way to analyze published research. Although there are several websites that allow one to get full articles illicitly, they are generally taken down through intellectual property claims, and I’m reluctant to violate intellectual rights.
  • Subscribe to a couple of journals that are the focus of this website.
  • Maintenance of hardware that is used to support the website.

This website will always remain free to use. I need your support to keep that happening. Many of you have made generous and continue to make generous contributions to this website that keeps it running. And I’m hoping some more of you will also contribute so that I can maintain and grow this website.

There are two ways you can help support this blog.

First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation in the form of a subscription.

 

Become a Patron!
You can also support this website by using PayPal, which also allows you to either make a one-time donation or set up a monthly contribution. Either way, it will be greatly appreciated.




Please help out.

 

Supporting the Skeptical Raptor website with contributions

contributions

Hey, you loyal readers. This website was started in January 2012, getting just 100 page hits that month. I actually celebrated that I did so well. We’ve grown so much since then, now getting well over 1000X that number every month.

The growth was a result of your encouragement. Your comments. Your ideas. And, yes, your critiques, even when they come from science deniers. I believe that we have provided you with valuable information that has been and will be useful to you in your own understanding of current scientific and medical topics, but also in helping others.

I am hoping that some of you will contemplate making a financial contribution to the old feathered dinosaur, also known as the Skeptical Raptor so that we can continue to be that valuable resource that we have been in the past.

Although some may consider this a hobby, it is almost a full-time job for me. Researching and writing an article takes several hours of time – I think it would be irresponsible of me to just write an article from the top of my brain. Setting aside that, all other costs of this website are borne by me and through contributions.

I want to grow this blog to another level. Why? Because I want this blog to be at or near the top of the search results for topics that I focus on – vaccines, diabetes, GMOs, cancer, nutrition, and a few other narrow areas. I want to make sure that when someone is “doing their research” they get viewpoints beyond what the science deniers provide.

Please consider supporting this blog with a financial contribution of whatever level you think the old dinosaur deserves. It can be little. Or if you feel like it, it can be a lot, I’m really not going to complain.

How do I use your contributions?

  • Operating expenses such as web hosting, paid services, ISP charges, and other small but regular charges.
  • Hiring of contractors to regularly maintain the website, or fix major issues (like the requirement to switch to https).
  • Cost of literature – reading an abstract on PubMed is hardly the proper way to analyze published research. Although there are several websites that allow one to get full articles illicitly, they are generally taken down through intellectual property claims, and I’m reluctant to violate intellectual rights.

This website will always remain free to use. I need your support to keep that happening. Many of you have made generous and continue to make generous contributions to this website that keeps it running. And I’m hoping some more of you will also contribute so that I can maintain and grow this website.

There are two ways you can help support this blog.

First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation in the form of a subscription.

 

Become a Patron!
You can also support this website by using PayPal, which also allows you to either make a one-time donation or set up a monthly contribution. Either way will be greatly appreciated.

 




Please help out.

 

Skeptical Raptor website updates – because it’s kind of a holiday

skeptical raptor website updates

The old feathered dinosaur took a bit of break from posting stuff since American readers are off celebrating the country’s break from England. Of course, most of the celebration is wrapped up in myths and tropes, but it’s a time for hot dog eating contests, baseball games, and fireworks. Instead of giving you an article about Meditteranean diets (stay tuned, it’ll be here), I thought I’d give one of my boring Skeptical Raptor website updates. Continue reading “Skeptical Raptor website updates – because it’s kind of a holiday”

Shop Amazon to help the fund feathery dinosaur – he thanks you

shop amazon

The old, snarky, cranky, curmudgeonly feathery dinosaur still needs funding to keep this website running for the next year. And to run it smoothly. And there is a way that won’t cost you money – shop Amazon, and a portion of your purchase will come to this website.

This is a painless method to support this website. And no, Amazon doesn’t increase your  prices to do this.

How does this work? Click on any of the links below to shop Amazon. And you can buy anything, although some of the links take you to promotions and other things Amazon is advertising. Just don’t leave Amazon’s website or shut down your browser.

So click on these links below, then do your shopping. Go grocery shopping, Buy a new computer. Complete your holiday shopping. Anything you want from Amazon.

 

Remember, anything you buy at Amazon, not just the recommended ones above, will count towards this website.

But if you want to donate to the website, you can still do it the tried and true way:



Please help me out by sharing this article. Also, please comment below, whether it's positive or negative. Of course, if you find spelling errors, tell me!

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




 

(Note: sometimes the PayPal button is mean and won’t work. You can just find the button along the sidebar to the right, and that one should work.)

Anything you can do will help. Go shopping for your whole family, friends, neighbors, and scientists at Amazon. Use GoFundMe. Use PayPal. The feathery dinosaur appreciates it all.

Thanks for your time. And shop Amazon – and buy a lot of stuff.

The feathered dinosaur is not a Big Pharma Shill – please help

feathered dinosaur

It’s been a calm Thanksgiving week. Compared to the last few wild weeks where this website was overwhelmed with hits after being accused of being Dr. Paul Offit, being David Gorski, and working for Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. The feathered dinosaur is confused.

That’s interspersed with the daily claims that the feathery dinosaur is being paid by Big Pharma for doing their bidding. If only it were true, this posting wouldn’t be required.

Your generosity so far has provided approximately 30% of what is necessary to keep this website running. But it’s an expensive endeavor, and the Skeptical Raptor could use a little bit more of a push so that the survival of this website is guaranteed over the next year or so.

So, if you have the ability, please donate to this website Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.



Please help me out by sharing this article. Also, please comment below, whether it's positive or negative. Of course, if you find spelling errors, tell me!

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

Help the feathery dinosaur for Thanksgiving – please

Help the feathery dinosaur

We are coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, where we all fall asleep watching football and consuming turkey.  And we still have to ask readers out there to help the feathery dinosaur keep the website running for the next few months.

Admittedly, the feathery dinosaur is someone offended that one of his relatives, the distinguished turkey, is a part of this meal.

Right now, we’ve gotten about 60% of necessary funds from all of your generous donations. We’ve removed many of the ads that drag down performance of this website (we hope someone has noticed). We will going to leave a couple up because they don’t appear to have much of an effect on loading time. But we will monitor it.

There probably won’t be many posts for the next few days, because we’ve got a project on this website that’s caused by the vexatious (not really) Orac, who was forced to move his website to a new domain.  Actually, Orac gets better control over his website doing this, so that’s great for him, but an inside source said it took some work to get it done.

Unfortunately, we have literally 100s of links to his old domain. And we need to fix each of them – everyone hates broken links. As we review these links and articles, we might repost old favorites for your reading pleasure.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please help the feathery dinosaur. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but we know many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.



Please help me out by sharing this article. Also, please comment below, whether it's positive or negative. Of course, if you find spelling errors, tell me!

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

We regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts we’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing only around $1900 more.

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

The feathery dinosaur still needs funding – please help out

funding

The last couple of weeks were pretty wild. First, being accused of being Dr. Paul Offit by the bastion of fake news, the Health Ranger’s own Natural News. Then several people on an anti-vaccine YouTube video accused yours truly of being David Gorski, and working for Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. What next? I’m actually an alien from space? A lizard person?

Also, last week,  Professor Reiss wrote about the sad tragedy of Nick Catone’s son. The massive hits to the website (nearly double or triple the usual amount) caused the server to collapse so many times that I nearly threw my computer through the window. But it’s cold outside, and I need my computer. This is why I still need to ask for further funding so that I can do some upgrading and improvements to the website’s code.

Then this week, I published an article on glyphosate and cancer. And once again, the server got hit from all of the views of the article.

Now, I’m not whining. It’s so cool that my humble little website has grown into a monstrosity.

Anyway, the issue with the server is that when there are peak runs on the website, and that happens with each of the popular articles, it overwhelms the processor and memory of the server. Right now, I have enough power for about 80% of the time. But that 20% causes a lot of errors when people try to read the articles. And that’s why I write, so people can read the articles.

I’ve received about 30% of what I need from the year from all of your generous support. But I need to keep asking. Please contribute.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please donate to the Skeptical Raptor. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but I know many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.



Please help me out by sharing this article. Also, please comment below, whether it's positive or negative. Of course, if you find spelling errors, tell me!

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

I will regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts I’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing only around $2000 more.

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

Skeptical Raptor is not Paul Offit – help feed the feathery dinosaur website

Skeptical Raptor is not Paul Offit

Well, I hope it’s clear to the anti-vaccine world that the Skeptical Raptor is not Paul Offit. One’s an ugly old dinosaur who rants crabbily about science. The other is a distinguished researcher who rants professionally about science.

Dr. Offit invented the rotavirus vaccine that saves 450,000 lives a year. The Skeptical Raptor once chased a bunch of kids in Jurassic Park.

Dr. Offit is only 66 years old. The Skeptical Raptor is about 66 million years old.

These are obvious differences. The other big difference is that if Dr. Offit requires assistance with his website, he’d call on the resources of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. The feathery dinosaur needs to hire a starving website coder to make some changes to bad code.

So I’m going to take you away from your regularly scheduled programming to ask once again to help out in funding the Skeptical Raptor website for the next year. As I am not a rich man, unlike the ignorant fools at pseudoscience websites who hawk fake treatments for all kinds of real diseases, I need help to run this website. It’s an expensive process.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please donate to the Skeptical Raptor. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.



My second method is through GoFundMe. Some people are more comfortable with the anonymity and popularity of GoFundMe, and it’s a perfectly fine way to do it. However, GoFundMe does take a small portion as a fee for the service.

 

 

I will regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts I’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing around $2300 more.

So now that you know that the Skeptical Raptor is not Paul Offit, can you please help keep this website going. The ancient dinosaur thanks you.