September 28th, 2023
“Noctalgia” means “night grief”…

… and wants to capture humanity’s sadness at losing its dark skies.

UD thought of some other words:




July 22nd, 2023
Science Alert reports the real story.

It’s right there in their headline:

18-Year-Old’s Science Reporting Leads Stanford President to Quit

It takes a child to point out to the world that the emperor has no standards.

Everyone else – especially at places like Stanford, which make scientific entrepreneurs like Stanford’s president billionaires – plays the games, the insider trading, irreproducible results, conflict of interest, ghost writing, pharmawhore games.

And everyone’s making so much money playing the games that no one’s going to make a peep.


So making noise about it takes some snot-nosed self-righteous little person at the student newspaper who thinks exposing corruption is more important than being able to stash billions away in your tax haven.


July 19th, 2023
Bravo, Stanford Daily.

They’ve been hammering away at the research misconduct at some of the president’s neuroscience labs, and he has been as high-handed and obnoxious with the little buggers as you’d imagine. But the school journalists were right on the money. They persisted, and they brought the dude down. The school’s investigation found “repeated instances of manipulation of research data and/or subpar scientific practices from different people and in labs run by Dr. Tessier-Lavigne at different institutions.”

[Stanford’s] investigation [of Marc Tessier-Lavigne] took eight months, with one member stepping off after The Daily revealed that he maintained an $18 million investment in a biotech company Tessier-Lavigne cofounded. Reporting by The Daily this week shows that some witnesses to an alleged incident of fraud during Tessier-Lavigne’s time at the biotechnology company Genentech refused to cooperate because investigators would not guarantee them anonymity, even though they were bound by nondisclosure agreements.

Of course some sleuthing would turn up a financial conflict of interest on the committee: that’s SOOOO Stanford. And as to the skeeziness on protecting the identity of sources — why wouldn’t the committee guarantee anonymity, given the Genentech people’s legal vulnerability?

Much of the writing and reporting for the Daily has come from the genetically overdetermined Theo Baker.

This page has links to Baker’s reporting on Tessier-Lavigne.


A comment in response to an article in the NYT:

In three successive labs headed by this man, data was manipulated (ie, fraudulent). The connecting link is Lavigne, who apparently rewarded post-docs who produced findings that advanced his career, and penalized those who couldn’t do so. The obvious conclusion is that he consistently cut corners and closed his eyes to what his behavior led underlings to do. And when the misconduct began to surface, he simply refused to issue the necessary corrections. He is not a victim or some innocent party here. His research was shabby and he has now got what he deserves: loss of his primary job and his reputation.

July 18th, 2023
‘[O]ne-quarter of [scientific] trials being untrustworthy might be an underestimate. “If you search for all randomized trials on a topic, about a third of the trials will be fabricated,” asserts Ian Roberts, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.’

We focus, at University Diaries, on the notoriously stinky field of psychology; what a comfort to know that dangerous fraud runs rampant in many fields of scientific research.

April 2nd, 2023
‘Students at a St. Louis medical school are questioning why they were never informed that their medical ethics professor had a felony conviction for … Medicare fraud.’

LOL. For-profit Ponce med school isn’t at all into full disclosure. Its CEO boasts of his Cambridge U. MBA, but what he got was one of those flimsy dippy give us all your money Executive MBAs where you show up once a month for a couple of years and then get to put Cambridge on your resume.

Guy says Ponce is all about social justice – helping non-traditional students get into medicine – but hello it’s for profit and charges big bucks…

At least Ponce has a sense of humor, what with choosing a woman convicted of Medicare fraud to teach its students medical ethics. She’s on probation at the moment, and has been barred forever from practicing in Illinois.

February 17th, 2023
On the Institutional Persistence of the AH-Factor


Early studies of Non-Specific Characterological Assholism (N-S CA), originally denominated the AH-Factor, focused on its chromosomal provenance. Later studies have tended to examine particular sociocultural applications, as in the question posed here: How long, and to what effect, do specific instances of N-S CA linger? If, for example, a subject is a notorious asshole in 2014, will he suffer measurable consequences roughly a decade later?


A recent tenure denial at Harvard University offers a suggestive case.

In 2014 Benjamin Edelman, an untenured Harvard prof

 ordered take-out from Sichuan Garden, a family-run restaurant in Brookline…

[Edelman] also has a consulting business, for which Bloomberg Business reports [he] charges clients $800 an hour.

The food cost $4 more than he had calculated, because prices on the website had not been updated. The professor complained in an email. Ran Duan, whose family owns the restaurant, apologized and ultimately offered to return $4.

Edelman wrote back,

I suggest that Sichuan Garden refund me three times the amount of the overcharge. The tripling reflects the approach provided under the Massachusetts consumer protection statute, MGL 93a… I have already referred this matter to applicable authorities in order to compel your restaurant to identify all consumers affected and to provide refunds to all…

Widely reported at the time, the incident generated strikingly negative attention, and two limericks.


Professor Edelman, in suing Harvard for the tenure denial, identifies as root cause the 2014 incident.

In a civil lawsuit against Harvard filed Tuesday in the Suffolk County Superior Court, Edelman alleges that the 2014 email correspondence — for which he later apologized at the Business School’s request — resurfaced when he was being evaluated for tenure, among other concerns of misconduct…

Edelman said he believes the negative publicity from the Sichuan Garden incident was a key reason for his tenure denial, adding there is “some fundamental truth to the centrality of that media disaster.”

“Had it not been for those stupid restaurant emails, I would have been just fine,” he said.


Evidence here points to the possibility that, in particular institutional settings, and under particular rule-bound circumstances, fulminating N-S CA may indeed impede personal advancement over the course of a lifetime. These results however are very preliminary and somewhat vitiated by their association with Harvard, unusually sensitive to being perceived as full of assholes.

December 3rd, 2022
AFASCIA: An Emergent Diagnosis for Our Time.

Pool stammered and said he disagreed with the implication that Jews control the media.


[Alex Jones] … seemed uncharacteristically rattled as Ye began talking favorably about Hitler. 


Physicians are starting to see a subvariant of aphasia which they are calling afascia: The sudden inability to articulate your fascism, typically occurring when publicly confronted by a more vehement fascist speaker.

In two recent cases, recounted here, fascist adherents “stammered,” and were “rattled,” in the face of a fellow fascist who failed to disguise – as both of the adherents have learned to do – his murderous antisemitism.

Afascia robs its victims of the capacity to speak their fascism only in the specific circumstance of overpowering homicidal verbal challenge; so the good news is that it is highly treatable by the simple expedient of avoiding the most blatant and articulate fascists. Researchers are also looking into identifying fascists of this sort and subjecting them to The Soros Method: a short course of treatment during which they learn to reference the name George Soros whenever they want to say We need to bring back Hitler to kill all the Jews.

July 21st, 2022

… it.

Serotonin! For depression!

Looks as though it may not work.

Makes you feel like such a jerk.

What a nasty-ass placebo.


Have you tried to stop the pill?

God, that really made you ill.

Now you’re stuck:

With less serotonin!

January 7th, 2022
‘In her role, Jackson will … identify unique funding opportunities…’

Well, no one better than University of North Carolina Professor Anita Louise Jackson to do that. She herself, in contemplating unique funding opportunities within the United States Medicare system, has earned many millions in personal compensation.

It was easy: She simply performed hundreds of unnecessary procedures on hundreds of hapless patients … some of whom must really have wondered why she felt the urge to stick balloons, repeatedly, up their perfectly healthy nasal passages.

But one has to pay through the nose for a megaMcMansion on a country club golf course… uh, I mean we the taxpayers have to pay through the nose for Anita Louise Jackson to live in a megaMcMansion on a country club golf course; and if it weren’t for those pesky lawyers at the Justice Department wondering why a dinky rural practitioner is “the nation’s top-paid provider of a special sinus-relief procedure,” all would be well: Our hard-earned tax dollars would go to maintain Jackson’s lifestyle, and the farmers of northeast central Carolina would continue to boast the clearest nasal passages in the world.

September 27th, 2021
‘Send something on Twitter about me wishing altthe coaches and players good luck tonight and how it’s a privallagse to compete in this gray game of football.’

Get vaccinated.

September 18th, 2021
‘Patients, she said, don’t care about Medicare fraud, and they don’t care about the money that is lost.’

“They don’t realize there is a danger to spending more time in the operating room,” [Roberta] Clarke said. Most patients, too, she said, don’t know their doctors are performing concurrent procedures. “This is not transparent,” Clarke said.


Bee-dle-dee bee-dle-dee dee,

Three surgeries.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.

Three surgeries.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
And I’m the only surgeon!

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
I like it.
Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
Much money.
Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
The stiffs don’t know!

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
Four surgeries.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
Five surgeries.
Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
And I’m the only surgeon.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
You lie there.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
You die there.

Bee-dle-dee dee dee dee.
More dough for me!

September 4th, 2021
‘The chairman of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery has for years systematically billed for unnecessary surgeries or surgeries he didn’t perform and directly harmed patients, all with UPMC’s knowledge, the federal government said in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court.’

And you’re gonna love the details.

Dude seems, among other things, to have taken a bunch of way, way old people and convinced them they should have demanding, elaborate surgery because you know they have so many more quality years of life ahead!

Dude is accused of having

regularly performed as many as three complex surgical procedures at the same time, failed to participate in all of the “key and critical” portions of his surgeries, and forced his patients to endure hours of medically unnecessary anesthesia time as he moved between operating rooms and attended to other patients or hospital matters.

Or golf game or whatever. What the hell did they care? Most of them had dementia anyway.

The point was to “increase surgical volume, maximize UPMC and UPP’s revenue, and/or appease [the dude].” Appease cuz he’s apparently one hell of a greedy egomaniac/control freak who, it says here, “endangered patients and cost the government millions in false billings.”

But look. If you could immobilize hundreds of people for hours and now and then hack away at them while at the same time fielding calls from patients also interested in having their last days destroyed through unnecessary surgery, wouldn’t you do it?

PIttsburgh loves him cuz he brings in SOOO much money. Like Lady Bracknell, it has for years ‘decided entirely to overlook’ his sick and vile behavior.

In January 2015, when Dr. Luketich [that’s the dude] had left the OR while a patient was under anesthesia and couldn’t be found for more than an hour, [the head of surgical oversight] emailed him and said such behavior was “irresponsible,” the [federal] suit said.



On one particular day in 2015,

‘Dr. Luketich was scheduled to perform five surgeries in five operating rooms. In OR 26 and 27, he was listed as the primary surgeon. In ORs 12, 16 and 25, he was listed as the assistant. In OR 27, the patient was undergoing a “substernal gastric pullup” that should have taken six to eight hours. Instead, the patient was on the operating table for 12-and-a-half hours. Residents performed critical parts of the surgery and then waited, with the patient under anesthesia, for Dr. Luketich, as he required them to do.

“The patient was left with unsupervised surgical trainees while Luketich was involved with four other procedures in four different operating rooms and not immediately available,” Dr. D’Cunha’s suit said.

As a result, according to the complaint, the patient suffered complications, including an inflammatory response that led to the loss of her hand.

“Luketich explained to the patient’s family (as he did with many families) that this was an unfortunate but possible risk from surgery,” Dr. D’Cunha’s lawsuit said. “However, it is not a risk when the surgery is completed within the expected time and when a surgeon is attentive to a patient and does not unnecessarily prolong the procedure.”‘

September 4th, 2021
Foucauldian Ethics


Onaccounta they’re real anti-vax there and that’s so fucking stupid.

Montana: Land o’ Guns (highest rate of ownership in the country), Suicide (second only to Alaska), Alcoholism (highest rate of alcohol-rated traffic fatalities in the country), Covid, and All Other Conceivable Forms of Early Death .

August 28th, 2021
One more picture from Wee UD’s year in England with her family in 1960.

I’m not good at remembering very old days, but I do recall a picnic lunch at the country house of Brigid Balfour, a scientific colleague of my father’s in London and, yes, related to the Balfour of the Declaration. She was also related to Gladstone! It was a sunny day, and we ate out on the grass, on a very big blanket.

August 23rd, 2021
Steely Dan

Beset by accusations of research fraud, Duke professor and public intellectual Dan Ariely has held his ground, admitting a bit of sloppiness but nothing like making up data. Yet an analysis of details in a 2012 paper he wrote about honesty (!) suggests that he may well be responsible for bogus numbers in one of his influential psychological experiments.

And this is not the first time questions have been raised about Ariely’s research in particular. In a famous 2008 study, he claimed that prompting people to recall the Ten Commandments before a test cuts down on cheating, but an outside team later failed to replicate the effect. An editor’s note was added to a 2004 study of his last month when other researchers raised concerns about statistical discrepancies, and Ariely did not have the original data to cross-check against. And in 2010, Ariely told NPR that dentists often disagree on whether X-rays show a cavity, citing Delta Dental insurance as his source. He later walked back that claim when the company said it could not have shared that information with him because it did not collect it.

Ariely is also up against his field’s now-notorious “replication crisis” — a nice way of saying that SCADS of psychological experimental results sure look a whole lot like bullshit. Go here for details.


A photograph in this article features Ariely hanging with Jonah Lehrer at a 2008 science festival. Much like Ariely, Lehrer was a much-celebrated brainiac with frenetic entrepreneurial energy until he went pffff.

Jonah Lehrer’s 2012 book Imagine: How Creativity Works was pulled from shelves after it was demonstrated to contain fabricated quotes purportedly from Bob Dylan and WH Auden. He subsequently admitted to plagiarising the work of others in his blogposts, while critics noted apparent plagiarism and disregard for facts throughout his published work.

UD’s got nothing against operators. America is Land O’ Operators. He’s an operator/He’s a real player, as Fountains of Wayne puts it, and we got ’em growing on trees around here. But don’t believe anything they tell you.

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