The depressed feathered Skeptical Raptor needs your help — please read

skeptical raptor

Once again, the old Skeptical Raptor is depressed and fighting hard, but needs your help to try to get back on the right track.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am getting on in years, and I have come to realize that I focused on my career and lifestyle rather than the things that should matter most to most people’s lives — their families.

For me, it should have been my three special daughters. They are now all adults, and I missed watching them grow up. It is time for me to be a part of their lives, as I live in California and they live on the East Coast, far away from me. They have all grown up without me because I chose a career and lifestyle over them, and now I don’t have the career or lifestyle, and I don’t have them.

Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

I had a terrible emotional breakdown while running a startup company. I put all of my money into it, thinking that just one more dollar would get it going. I failed, which pushed me into a major depressive disorder, making it difficult to survive from day to day. I think writing this blog has been one thing that keeps my head from imploding. And no, I do not think writing a blog “cures” depression, it just helps me focus.

Speaking of this blog, despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to my daughters. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its SEO algorithms, and the old Skeptical Raptor got clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100. This destroyed my income stream from this website. I’ve tried everything to recover, and nothing works. I have to rebuild it as if I started it yesterday — I’ve actually been doing this for over 10 years.

And in case you don’t know, writing articles, managing the back end of this website, and answering comments and questions is nearly a full-time job. There are other writers out there who just can type out 2000 words in an hour — I don’t have that skill set. I have to read the articles, write out some bullet points, then write the article. It’s difficult and stressful.

Then other things happened to me. My car is an ongoing mess. If I had the money, I’d dump it in a junkyard and move on. But it’s important to my survival. My MacBook Pro, where I do 90% of my work is on its last breaths. The battery is gone, and it constantly crashes from what I think is a bad SSD card (or bad motherboard, which is worse). It’s four years old, just about the limit of life for a laptop. Without it, I won’t be able to write articles. I don’t even know what I’ll do if it finally dies.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives and make sure I keep writing. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

But more than that, it helps me keep going writing about vaccines, quack medicine, and whatever else interests you and me.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help. Maybe you think I shoulda, coulda, woulda done something else, but I crashed and burned, and this is where I am.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising. You get the same articles that are here, but ad-free (which I know some people want). It only costs $5 to be a Patron, but more will help too.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

Oh, there’s one really easy way to help me out. Please share my articles, that really helps all the time.

selective focus of bald eagle
Another kind of raptor. Photo by Frans van Heerden on Pexels.com

The old Skeptical Raptor is depressed is asking for funding

souvenir dinosaur drinking from mug

Once again, the old Skeptical Raptor is depressed and fighting hard, but needs your help for funding.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am getting on in years, and I have come to realize that I focused on my career and lifestyle rather than the things that should matter most to most people’s lives — their families.

For me, it should have been my three special daughters. They are now all adults, and I missed watching them grow up. It is time for me to be a part of their lives, as I live in California and they live on the East Coast, far away from me. They have all grown up without me because I chose a career and lifestyle over them, and now I don’t have the career or lifestyle, and I don’t have them.

Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

I had a terrible emotional breakdown while running a startup company. I put all of my money into it, thinking that just one more dollar would get it going. I failed, which pushed me into a major depressive disorder, making it difficult to survive from day to day. I think writing this blog has been one thing that keeps my head from imploding. And no, I do not think writing a blog “cures” depression, it just helps me focus.

Speaking of this blog, despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to them. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its SEO algorithms, and the old Skeptical Raptor got clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100. This destroyed my income stream from this website. I’ve tried everything to recover, and nothing works. I have to rebuild it as if I started it yesterday rather than being over 10 years old.

And in case you don’t know, writing articles, managing the back end of this website, and answering comments and questions is nearly a full-time job. There are other writers out there who just can type out 2000 words in an hour — I don’t have that skill set. I have to read the articles, write out some bullet points, then write the article. It’s difficult and stressful.

Then other things happened to me. My car is an ongoing mess. If I had the money, I’d dump it in a junkyard and move on. But it’s important to my survival. My MacBook Pro, where I do 90% of my work is on its last breaths. The battery is gone, and it constantly crashes from what I think is a bad SSD card (or bad motherboard, which is worse). It’s four years old, just about the limit of life for a laptop. Without it, I won’t be able to write articles. I don’t even know what I’ll do if it finally dies.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives and make sure I keep writing. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

I thank you for your support.

close up photo of brown hawk
Or maybe I’m this kind of raptor. Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

The old Skeptical Raptor is asking for your help

brown dinosaur mascot

For those of you who don’t me, I am getting on in years, and I have come to realize that I focused on my career and lifestyle rather than the things that should matter most in my life — my three special daughters. They are now all adults, and it is time for me to be a part of their lives, as I live in California and they live on the East Coast.

Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

I had a terrible breakdown while running a startup company. I put all of my money into it, thinking that just one more dollar would get it going. I failed, which caused what some people call a nervous breakdown.

Despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to them. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its rankings for this website, and I’ve gotten clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100. This destroyed my income stream from this website.

And if you don’t understand, writing articles, managing the back end of this website, and answering comments and questions is nearly a full-time job.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

I thank you for your support.

white and black bird flying under blue sky help
I might be this kind of raptor. Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni on Pexels.com

The Skeptical Raptor is cyber begging — I need your help

For those of you who don’t me, I have had a difficult relationship with my three daughters. I had spent more time in my career than with them, and now they are adults and we have no relationship. Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

Unfortunately, despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to them. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its rankings for this website, and I’ve gotten clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

I thank you for your support.

a mother and son playing with paper dinosaurs
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Benefits to Skeptical Raptor Patrons — no advertising

two yellow emoji on yellow case

I know that many of you hate the advertising on here — so I have a special benefit of no advertising for any of you who contribute on Patreon.

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic. Except, we all know it’s not magic, it’s the internet. If you are not a Patron, you can become one by clicking on the link below:

Become a Patron!

I really can use your help, so if you could become a Patron, I’d really appreciate it. Researching and writing these articles is not exactly easy, and I feel as if I am doing a service to the community. And again, if you become a Patron you can leisurely read the article over at Patreon with no advertising, just verbiage.

I also want to thank all of my current Patrons:

Daniel Pyron
Kelsey Hollenback
Mary Jo Jennings
JJS
Carmel Goodfellow
‘@RealVictorTrumper
Paul Darden
Elizabeth Faber
Kevin Folta
Christina Niederstadt
Linda L Vaxvick
Stacey Orlowski
Ross Grayson
Mildred calabash
Abraham Alahmad
Tom Dayton
Nicole Boquette
K. Roark
jutta baum
Mark Beresford
Kathryn Marks
Tari Lee Johnson
Ros Byrne
Magdalen Wind-Mozley
Kate Watson
Sabine
JIMMY MOSS
Ben Larkin
Brian Weireter
Mona Albano
AutisticShill
David Reher
Glen Otero
Pieter
Shaila E. Simmons
Allison Hagood
Les Witherspoon
Tim Harding
Lloyd Bowles
Mary Severinghaus

Thanks again, everyone.

2021 top ten list — I hope 2022 is better for COVID-19 and vaccines

t rex dinosaur statue

Over the past few weeks, I republished each article that was in the 2021 top 10 list for the old Skeptical Raptor. It was based on one simple measurement — the total number of pageviews during 2021.

I like doing this because it’s fun to see what interested the reader. Number one, about my getting the Moderna booster, still surprises me. Over 100,000 people decided to read about my experience with the booster which was probably the most boring experience anyone had with the COVID-19 vaccines.

At the end of 2020, I thought I’d be winding down the frequency of articles on COVID-19 and vaccines, but that wasn’t even close to reality. I’m not going to make any predictions about 2022, but I do expect more variants and more articles about vaccines. Ugh.

So let’s get to the old feathered dinosaur’s 2021 top ten list, as I begin to decide what I’m going to write about next. Yeah, it will be about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Continue reading “2021 top ten list — I hope 2022 is better for COVID-19 and vaccines”

Cyber Begging for the old feathered dinosaur

brown dinosaur mascot

For those of you who don’t know me personally, for the past 18 months I had been working on a project to talk about science in the USA by traveling to various locations in the USA, documenting cool scientific facts, and building a new website and YouTube platforms. A personal issue (both good and bad) interrupted those plans. COVID-19 really interrupted those plans.

I had invested all of my savings and energy into these plans. I had hiked to remote locations, like Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Yes, that is its name.

And Lava Beds National Monument:

Or Joshua Tree National Park:

Unfortunately, my car was broken into, and my camera equipment, drone, backup drives, GoPro, tools, hiking clothing and footwear, tools, and backpacking equipment were stolen. Nearly $12,000, a big chunk of my investment.

Then my relatively new SUV, which got me to some beautiful places, decided to break down. Everything from tires, to the starter, to shocks, to brakes, to electronics, to the overpriced battery that should never die, decided to pile on to my stress.

And then there’s this website. It is my full time job, and it was, in combination with my other income, enough to cover my living expenses. But COVID-19 has taken a toll on both readership and advertising. And my other income.

So, I’m here to beg for help from my loyal readers. Many of my friends have chipped in, which allowed me to get my car up and running. And yes, I have an extended warranty (so please don’t call me), but it doesn’t cover things like shocks, brakes, battery, and tires.

Patreon

There are three ways you can help me out. First, you can make a monthly (or even one-time) contribution through Patreon. There’s nothing I can really do special for those of you who have contributed, but I’m hoping you think of this as a service that relies upon subscriptions.

Just click the link below.

Become a Patron!

GoFundMe

Or you can help out through GoFundMe. This is where many of my friends have helped me over the past couple of months, but honestly, it just got me to survival status, not to getting my dream vision of science-based travels to reality.

Amazon

I know money is tight for everyone, but easy way to help out is clicking on the link below whenever you want to buy ANYTHING from Amazon. It won’t add anything to your cost of buying anything at Amazon, but I get a tiny percent. So, if you’re buying a new Playstation 5 for your kids, just click here. And maybe I’ll get enough to replace one lens for my camera.

I really appreciate your consideration and assistance. Thanks!

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.