To be lost in a sea of trolls and spam

imageColin Berry tried to comment to the Jeff Schweitzer’s article, Ignorance Kills, the in the Huffington Post. Over at Colin’s site (and then scroll down to comment 75 or so) he restates the comment he tried to post:

Beautifully written article.

One small aside re the Turin Shroud (this commenter’s special interest on his sciencebuzz blog). It’s not so much ignorance and superstition that fuels the continuing interest and publicity. It’s agenda-driven pseudo-science. Shame on the media for not submitting each new press release re uv laser beams, corona discharges, radioactive emissions from earthquakes etc etc to a panel of appointed mainstream scientists before polluting first their own outlets then the search engines with this kind of self-serving drivel.


Unfortunately, the Huffington Post site asked him to log in to his Facebook account or create an account with Huffington Post before posting. Given the size of the Huffington Post and the number of troll comments and the amount of spam websites like that get, this is reasonable. I spend time every day blocking troll comments and spam comments trying to sell diet supplements, e-cigarettes, gambling sites and such. I do that just so comments can flow freely here. I’ve toyed with the idea of using passwords but have chosen to not do so.  Colin sees it differently:

. . . It is scandalous that one cannot respond to an MSM so-called "blog" (ha ha) without being served up as fodder to the likes of Facebook. . . .

Am I the only one to think that the MSM set out deliberately to kill citizen blogging in its early days (circa 2005 onwards) by drafting in its own journos and others to write MSM so-called “blogs”? Blogs they ain’t. (Blog being short for weblog, there being no log about it of there’s no personal or thematic interest, merely a series of disjointed pieces that are designed as click-bait for those who instal themselves on MSM Comments sections, using them as their own "blog" to browbeat others. Ring any bells?

Colin, if you want it your way then your comments will be lost in a sea of trolls and spam. And despite what you think, we do want to hear what you have to say. And so do the editors at the Huffington Post. Well, maybe not. But they are nonetheless trying to give you the opportunity in a reasonable way.

4 thoughts on “To be lost in a sea of trolls and spam”

  1. “Unfortunately, the Huffington Post site asked him to log in to his Facebook account or create an account with Huffington Post before posting.”

    (My italics).

    Had there been an option to create an account with the Huff, I’d have used it. But that’s my entire point. That option was not on offer. One HAD to sign up with Facebook if one wanted one’s comment to appear.

    It’s precisely that kind of behaviour on the part of Facebook, attempting to hoover up anyone who wishes to venture a view on the Huff (and other octopus-like FB-proxy sites), that resolves me never to be baited into signing up against my better judgement.

    One sees the same control freakery with Google and its search engine. When I try to retrieve something I’ve written in the distant past by adding “sciencebod” to the end of the string I first get back a list of irrelevancies headed with “We are showing results for science bob. Did you mean sciencebod?”.

    It’s the same with other infrequently used terms, often technical, that have been carefully entered. Google assumes one has been careless and offers no facility (that I’m aware of) for disabling its irritant presumption of superior knowledge. How long before California starts telling one what color tie to wear on Mondays?

    1. I guess I didn’t see how pervasive Facebook was because like most people in the world I’m logged in all the time to keep up with my children and grandchildren.

  2. I think Colin as identified himself as troll when it comes to this site. It is one think to argue against authenticity, it is another to paint with a broad brush those who disagree with you as ignorant or superstitious.

    That really is unacceptable and it provides no room for debate. If there is one thing the members of the STURP team were not it was “ignorant or superstitious.” The late John Heller when he was a Yale undergraduate was chosen in a special program to be advised by Einstein in Princeton 150 miles or so south of Yale. He began his work on the Shroud convinced that the Shroud was a fake. He changed his mind. It was not ignorance or superstition that changed his mind but the blood analysis that he and Al Adler did.

    They were fanatic about checking their observations with other colleagues for critiques. (So was Ray Rogers.)

    In my book, I quote from his memoir a moment when they reached out to other colleagues to check on their results:

    “Heller decided to check the results with at least two other top
    hemoglobin experts and see if they would be a sure as he and Adler were.

    “Adler got on the phone immediately and read the coordinates to his
    chosen specialist. The answer – old acid methemoglobin. Then they called
    Bruce Cameron on a speaker – phone. His double doctorate was dedicated to
    hemoglobin in all its many forms. After they had given him the numbers and
    plotted them, Cameron was a little sharp. ‘You both should know what it is.
    It’s old acid methemoglobin. I don’t know why you wanted to bother me with
    something you know as well as I do . . . Hey, wait a minute. Are you two
    idiots working on the Shroud of Turn?’

    “Indeed they were.”

    Quantum Christ, p, 138 Copyright John Klotz 2014

    The book will hopefully be available on line before October 9, 2014.

    1. I’m ignoring this kind of provocation from John Klotz, For a start he seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between what one has said and not said.

      “it is another to paint with a broad brush those who disagree with you as ignorant or superstitious. ”

      If he re-reads what I wrote, it was to say that belief in the authenticity of the TS was NOT primarily a matter of ignorance and superstition. I said it was being fuelled by incessant media-promotion of pseudo-science – something entirely different.

      Oh, and where did I ever say that Adler and Heller’s claims re ‘old acid methemoglobin’ was pseudo-science. While I’ve commented adversely on their failure physically to isolate the iron-free porphyrin of human blood and confirm its identity as protoporphyrin IX, e.g. by chromatography and mass spectrometry, my chief ire is directed to their naff “bilirubin story”. Not a shred of direct evidence was presented for the alleged presence of biliriubin, which incidentally is light-sensitive and prone to rapid photodegradation, again through failure to isolate and characterize by chromatography and mass spec.

      The so-called “bilirubin story” which Barrie Schwortz continues to proselytize to this day as being for him the “clinching evidence” of authenticity, coming he said from Alan Adler, a “world expert on blood” (he wasn’t, he was a porphyrin chemist) is about as good a textbook example of pseudo-science as you are likely to meet. Repeat: it’s narrative-driven, authenticity-promoting pseudo-science based on fanciful narrative-friendly suppositions about why uv/visible absorbance and other spectra were atypical – NOT as one would expect from STURP supremos, i.e. on rigorous clinical biochemistry.

      I’ve said all this many times before, only to be greeted by silence, stunned or otherwise. That’s why (apart from the trolling) I can’t be bothered placing comments on this site anymore. There are folk here who know next to nothing about science, yet see scientists as fair game for their paranoia about “agnostics and atheists”. No thanks – am not staying here merely to feed the real trolls that pop in and out of this site to sling mud at the sceptics.

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