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Humor Skepticism/critical thinking

Storm: The Movie

The animated short movie version of Tim Minchin’s fantastic nine minute beat poem Storm is finally available. Watch. Learn. Enjoy.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

30 replies on “Storm: The Movie”

This is clearly the greatest nine minute beat poem in history. Truly fantastic. And now chock full of animated goodness! #WIN

Admittedly, I don’t like poetry, and only watched this because a box of blinking lights suggested it. I am happy to say I was wrong and this was very cleverly done.

…also give a listen to “Sam’s Mum” – an ode to ‘miracle’ healings caused by the power of prayer…

On first watching I would say I prefer the audio only version (which is totally awesome) 🙁

Most highly awesome. I’d listened to the poem before (and of course loved it), but the animation really does add to its appeal, and hopefully means a wider audience will be exposed to its cleverness. Thanks for sharing.

Most highly awesome. I’d listened to the poem before (and of course loved it), but the animation really does add to its appeal, and hopefully means a wider audience will be exposed to its cleverness. Thanks for sharing.

Most highly awesome. I’d listened to the poem before (and of course loved it), but the animation really does add to its appeal, and hopefully means a wider audience will be exposed to its cleverness. Thanks for sharing.

Most highly awesome. I’d listened to the poem before (and of course loved it), but the animation really does add to its appeal, and hopefully means a wider audience will be exposed to its cleverness. Thanks for sharing.

Most highly awesome. I’d listened to the poem before (and of course loved it), but the animation really does add to its appeal, and hopefully means a wider audience will be exposed to its cleverness. Thanks for sharing.

I second Gwenny, ‘Sams Mum’ is nice new one for Tim. I recently heard it live accompanied by the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra(Tim’s a WA boy).
Also of note, last Christmas Tim donated all proceeds from the sale of his single, ‘White Wine In The Sun’ to Autism Research.

The “Sam’s Mum” video got pulled, but the lyrics can be found here: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=14661

With a little luck, the show from the Sydney Symphony tour will be available on DVD soon, but for now there is an audio CD available from the 02 Arena leg of the tour in December.

I’m afraid we can’t use Scooby Doo as an example of exposing monsters and ghosts as people trying to fool others. My sister’s kids watch it, and it now deals with real monsters, ghosts, supernatural beings, spirit possession, magical swords, etc etc etc. First time watching it with them I kept thinking how are they going to explain all this. No longer is it the dude who ran the waterslide who did it–unless he’s dead and his ghost is coming back for revenge.

First of all, I worked in video post production, and that is an awesome video with awesome typography.

However, there is a factual error if you are living in the US. Not sure if it applies to the UK.

Alternative medicine has either not been proved to work or has been proved not to work.

Quite a bold statement. Inaccurate as well

Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been proved to work? Medicine.

Hmmm, not exactly. In the U.S. we still call it a supplement. Even if there is proven efficacy, the label must look something like this:

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Well, I am sure everyone in the U.S. knows this, but a supplement that has been proven to work is not considered medicine. It’s still considered a dietary supplement. If this is true in the UK as well (which is where the video was created?), this part of the video needs to be modified despite its awesomeness. Once efficacy is established in alternative medicine in the UK, is it immediately classified as medicine by the definitions of their government?

I understand the video says “by definition” alternative medicine that is proved to work is medicine, but again, in the US, the government (not the Webster dictionary unfortunately) decides what is medicine for us.

The Analyst,
It’s my understanding that supplements have a different level of proof required than drugs. In particular, the claims for supplements do not get evaluated or approved by the FDA.
As this reduces the cost to sell the product, it’s clearly to the advantage of supplement providers not to get their products classified as drugs.

The Analyst, how can acupuncture be called a supplement? What about homeopathy and cranial sacral therapy?

but a supplement that has been proven to work is not considered medicine. It’s still considered a dietary supplement.

Wrong!
Pharmacological definition:
Drug
“a chemical substance of known structure, other than a nutrient or an essential dietary ingredient, which, when administered to a living organism, produces a biological effect”

Medicine
“a chemical preparation, which usually but not necessarily contains one or more drugs,administered with the intention of producing a therapeutic effect”
(Ref. “Rang and Dale’s Pharmacology” 6th Edition Rang, Dale, Ritter & Flower.)

Not all medicines are drugs. Placebos for example.
A supplement that has been proven to work, i.e. produces a biological effect, is classed as a drug..by definition!

The Analyst,

Around here, that warning label, the full text of which reads

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”

is referred to as the Quack Miranda Warning. It’s a legal CYA (“cover your ass”)for the manufacturers of “dietary supplements”, to protect them from liability when consumers realize the supplements don’t actually do what they say they do. Which they don’t, because a) they don’t have to, and b) they couldn’t possibly.

So, I don’t get your beef with the phrase. What precisely do you think the difference is between “not evaluated by the FDA” and “not proven to work”? Between “not intended to treat any disease” and “proven not to work”?

Look, I get that you’re desperately trying to carve out weasel wiggle room for some pet homeopathic remedy that you swear by (some “pain reliever” if memory serves), but try to keep some perspective. Tim Minchin is not a lawyer. He’s an artist, making a rhetorical point. He doesn’t have to “correct” his work so that you can feel better about the money you’re wasting on some useless crap.

Look, I get that you’re desperately trying to carve out weasel wiggle room for some pet homeopathic remedy that you swear by (some “pain reliever” if memory serves), but try to keep some perspective. Tim Minchin is not a lawyer. He’s an artist, making a rhetorical point. He doesn’t have to “correct” his work so that you can feel better about the money you’re wasting on some useless crap.

I had no problem with the accuracy of the homeopathic statements in that video. That part was quite funny actually.

And by mentioning that Traumeel works for me and others does not make me all about homeopathy. I know nothing about homeopathy other than this specific preparation seems to work for myself, family members, and friends.

The science supporting homeopathy is poor. I even said I wouldn’t trust the Traumeel studies because the ones I have read are tainted with conflicts of interest.

And quite frankly, I am interested in herbs and not homeopathy. No other homeopathic preparation I have taken has ever worked as far as I could tell.

And I think I said it a couple times, but I guess I need to repeat myself. The creativity in the video by Tim Minchin is just plain awesome. I love it, and my other comments had nothing to do with the quality of the art.

However, I am a free thinker, and the critical comments (attacks?) here will not influence the way I think. I do change my mind now and then when presented with constructive criticism.

The Analyst, how can acupuncture be called a supplement? What about homeopathy and cranial sacral therapy?

Now you’re just being smart. 😉

I’ll admit that those things didn’t cross my mind when typing my comment, but I still feel my comment is valid.

The Analyst,

First Rule of Arguing on the Internet is… well, actually, it’s “Don’t”, but anyway…

Second Rule of Arguing on the Internet is, you’re not trying to convince the person you’re arguing with; you’re trying to convince everyone else. so, no, I don’t expect to influence the way you think. I just want to highlight the foolishness of your arguments. 🙂

And, no, your comment isn’t valid, because dietary supplements are neither medicine nor something that has been shown to work. If they had been shown to work, we’d call them…. wait for it… Medicine.

I just want to highlight the foolishness of your arguments.

Ok. Then do so. I’m waiting. 🙂

Doc Rocketscience (love the ‘nym!):

And, no, your comment isn’t valid, because dietary supplements are neither medicine nor something that has been shown to work. If they had been shown to work, we’d call them…. wait for it… Medicine.

Here is that paragraph.

Also some dietary supplements when taken in certain doses are not “medicine” but poison. Lots of kids have been poisoned by eating too many iron supplements. Plus too much Vitamin A is fatal.

“Supplements” should not be used to replace food. They are not needed if a person has a well balanced diet. To avoid scurvy you do not need to eat ascorbic acid, but just get eat fresh fruit and veg, perhaps a glass of orange juice or some lemon on your fish. To get enough iron cook in a cast iron pan, eat some spinach and broccoli and flavor your food with fresh thyme. Eat a varied diet, and enjoy it.

Take your basic minestrone soup. A nice basic chicken stock (calcium from the bones, iron from the thyme, vitamin C from the onions, vitamin A from carrots, etc), cook some dried beans (protein, folate, iron)… then add a bunch of veggies like celery, carrots, onions, etc (vitamins? they gots your vitamins!). Then add some pasta (carbohydrates with protein, good combined with beans)… finish by adding fresh greens like spinach, kale or chard (iron and vitamins!). A small amount of sausage is good for flavor and more protein.

Who needs “supplements”? Why pop pills when there is wonderful delicious nutritious real food? In short: learn how to cook.

Chris,

Thanks!

I don’t actually think TA’s browser lost my post. I think TA was being obtuse, and that was my snarky response. 🙂

The fact that all vitamin packaging contains the QMW should be proof enough that they’re not medicine. As you point out, there’s nothing in a dietary supplement that can’t be found in typical foods. From a nutritional standpoint, taking supplements to, you know, supplement your diet is fine, so long as you don’t a) over do it on the pills, and b) use them as a food replacement. And while the benefits of variouis nutrients are (in many but not most cases) resonably well understood, they’re aren’t curative. Carrots may help eyesight, but they won’t cure blindness.

As for “herbs”, well…

Who needs “supplements”? Why pop pills when there is wonderful delicious nutritious real food? In short: learn how to cook.

Can you point me to a dietary source of L-methylcobalamin. Specifically a dietary source that contains 10-25 mg that bypasses GIF to penetrate the CNS and help with neurological symptoms.

I would love to not have to take sublingual tablets or shots on a daily basis. They are expensive and I wish to find a dietary source to replace them.

Ya, who needs supplements!

I’m afraid we can’t use Scooby Doo as an example of exposing monsters and ghosts as people trying to fool others. My sister’s kids watch it, and it now deals with real monsters, ghosts, supernatural beings, spirit possession, magical swords, etc etc etc. First time watching it with them I kept thinking how are they going to explain all this. No longer is it the dude who ran the waterslide who did it–unless he’s dead and his ghost is coming back for revenge.

Nope. The newest iteration of Scooby Doo takes the level of skepticism and notches up to 11. Essentially the newest iteration actually acknowledges the fact that people openly profit from these sort of scams and shows the groups parents actively trying to stop the crew from solving them because it would hurt their tourism industry.

Doc Rocketscience:

As for “herbs”, well…

Once upon a long time ago on Usenet someone on the misc.health.alternative newsgroup asked where they could buy herbs. I replied with a link to a the herb section of a seed catalog.

Thyme, oregano, calendula, rosemary, sage, chamomile and mint are not only useful, but pretty in the garden (though calendula, oregano and mint tend to spread). By the way I live within walking distance of a Medicinal Herb Garden, which is nice to visit (except what they labeled as a sweet bay tree is not!).

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