“In the first decade of the 21st century, the seeds were sown for another global contagion.”

What would we do without research?

In 1972, British psychologist Gerald Russell treated a woman with an unusual eating disorder involving binging and purging. Over the next 7 years, he saw a further 30 woman presenting with the same condition.

In 1979, he wrote a paper published in Psychological Medicine, in which he gave it the name bulimia nervosa. The condition was included in the DSM-III the following year. Then something remarkable happened. The illness swept the globe like wildfire affecting an estimated 30 million people by the mid-1990s, the majority of whom were teenage girls and young women.

The explanation for this rapid spread is what philosopher Ian Hacking calls ‘semantic contagion’ – how the process of naming and describing a condition creates the means by which the condition spreads. The epidemic of multiple-personality disorder in the 90s was spread this way Bulimia entered the lexicon via women’s magazines such as Mademoiselle and Better Homes and Gardens, which ran stories about this new and worrying disorder affecting women and girls. Multiple studies demonstrate the media’s culpability in the spread of social contagions.

Canada is in the Best of Hands

Prime Minister announces changes to Cabinet committees

National Security Council
Serves as a forum for strategic decision-making and for sharing analysis of intelligence in its strategic context.

Chair: The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau

The Hon. Bill Blair
The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland
The Hon. Mélanie Joly
The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc
The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan
The Hon. Arif Virani

What could possibly go wrong?

Confirmation bias

Liberal water carrier Frank Graves has released a new “poll” which purports to show that conservative voters overwhelmingly buy into “disinformation”. Not surprisingly, his definition of disinformation is tailor-made to get the polling results he wanted. If you differ with his view on any of these questions, well, you are simply disinformed:

-Canada’s economic growth lags well behind the G7 average;

-Vaccine-related deaths are being concealed from the public;

-The right to bear arms is guaranteed in Canada’s constitution;

-Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions.


Friday On Turtle Island

Biden’s America:  Illegal immigration is the worst in U.S. history.  The Steele dossier.  The Left’s worst nightmare.  Bidens sold out America to China.  Latest Hunter Biden document dump.  Joe Biden hates you.  Your morning meme.

Blackie’s Canada:  Pipeline to be built on the land of the sacred tree frog.  No whites allowed.  Praising a Nazi.  Instruction on how to unlearn whiteness.  Justin celebrates Safe Abortion Day.  And today our Dear Leader burns jet fuel to diverse Toronto.

Today In Islam:  Diverse bombings in Sweden (JW).  Robert Spencer and Jack Posobiec discuss the new Armenian genocide (JW).

Global Warming Scam News:  Destroying agriculture in New Zealand.  The Net Zero farce in Britain.

Wuhan Flu: The Long Cold Science

Shocking, I know: In a bold new paper, three academics criticize how #longCovid has been studied. They say the term itself is so ill defined it should be discarded and that the studies have often been riddled with bias.

The Sound Of Settled Science

In the early 1990s, I had been a member of the EPA panel charged with evaluating the evidence for an association of passive smoking with lung cancer. It was clear that the leadership of the committee was intent on declaring that passive smoking caused lung cancer in non-smokers. I was the sole member of the 15-person panel to emphasize the limitations of the published studies—limitations that stemmed from the rudimentary questions used to characterize exposure. Many members of the committee voiced support for my comments, but in the end, the committee endorsed what was clearly a predetermined conclusion that exposure to secondhand smoke caused approximately 3,000 lung cancers per year among never-smokers in the United States.

This is where things stood in the late 1990s, when I was contacted by James Enstrom of UCLA. He asked if I would be interested in collaborating on an analysis of the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Prevention Study I” to examine the association between passive smoke exposure and mortality. I had been aware of Enstrom’s work since the early 1980s through the medical literature. We were both cancer epidemiologists interested in lung cancer occurring in people who had never smoked, and we had both published numerous studies documenting the health risks associated with smoking as well as diet and other behaviors. In addition, Enstrom had begun his collaboration with the American Cancer Society with Lawrence Garfinkel, the vice president for epidemiology there from the 1960s through the 1980s. Garfinkel was one of the advisors on my (later published) master’s thesis on the topic of lung cancer occurring in never-smokers, which I completed at the Columbia School of Public Health in the early 1980s.

From his work, I had a strong impression that Enstrom was a rigorous and capable scientist, who was asking important questions. Because I had been involved in a large case-control study of cancer, I welcomed the opportunity to work with data from the American Cancer Society’s prospective study, since such studies have certain methodologic advantages. In a case-control study, researchers enroll cases who have been diagnosed with the disease of interest and then compare the exposure of cases to that of controls—people of similar background, who do not have the disease of interest. In a prospective study, on the other hand, researchers enroll a cohort, which is then followed for a number of years. Since information on exposure is obtained prior to the onset of illness, possible bias due to cases reporting their exposure differently from controls is not an issue.

After several years of work, our paper was published by the BMJ on May 17th, 2003, addressing the same question Takeshi Hirayama had posed 22 years earlier in the same journal: whether living with a spouse who smokes increases the mortality risk of a spouse who never smoked. Based on our analysis of the American Cancer Society’s data on over 100,000 California residents, we concluded that non-smokers who lived with a smoker did not have elevated mortality and, therefore, the data did “not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality.”

The publication caused an immediate outpouring of vitriol and indignation, even before it was available online. Some critics targeted us with ad hominem attacks, as we disclosed that we received partial funding from the tobacco industry. Others claimed that there were serious flaws in our study. But few critics actually engaged with the detailed data contained in the paper’s 3,000 words and 10 tables. The focus was overwhelmingly on our conclusion—not on the data we analyzed and the methods we used. Neither of us had never experienced anything like the response to this paper. It appeared that simply raising doubts about passive smoking was beyond the bounds of acceptable inquiry.

The response to the paper was so extreme and so unusual that it merits a fuller account, which I will offer below.

Grab a coffee.

With oil prices at $94 a barrel, why is industry activity akin to when it was half of that?

In the last week I’ve spoke to some of the most knowledgeable people I know in the Saskatchewan oilpatch, business owners all, from Weyburn, Lloydminster and several from Estevan. There’s a rising chorus of dissatisfaction amongst them. Things should be booming in this province’s oilpatch, but they aren’t. And this disquiet could threaten the governing Saskatchewan Party with the potential loss of a key portion of its base.

Watch for a Part 2 to this tomorrow.

Thursday On Turtle Island

Blackie’s Canada:  The hoax exposed.  A sign you will never find at my shack in Muskoka.  Freeland downplayed Ukrainian SS.  A women’s centre rebrands.  Today Justin burns jet fuel to Montreal, for some great photo ops.  Fraulein Freeland smug and disconnected.

Global Warming Scam News:  Greta is the UN poster child.  Ten reasons not to own an EV.

Woke Britain:  Black Fraud Matters.    Today In Islam:  A history lesson.

Dementia Joe’s America:  Victor Davis Hanson on whether conservatives can still win.  Slouching towards 1984.  Why we must listen to Thomas Sowell.  Hero mom confronts school board.  The Democrats only understand power.  The cowards and communists.  Your morning meme.

Migrant Invasion News:  German minister wants to grant migrants right to vote (JW).  A diversity outbreak in France (JW).