Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Chaper 10: The Road to Petition: Astro-intestinal Pleading

Science is a great game. It is inspiring and refreshing. The playing field is the universe itself.

Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1898-1988, U. S. physicist. Nobel Prize, 1944.

Astrology is a great game. It is inspiring and refreshing. The playing field is the universe itself. Oh hang on, I’m thinking of Star Wars Monopoly!
Allen A. Alan, Birthday – Present, British Placebologist and Alternative Scientist, Passed Go, Collected £200.

Illness: Astro – Intestinal Pleading
Discovered by: Physicist, Professor Brian Cox and his Research Comedian Dara O’Briain noted the phenomenon when investigating the topical application of factual information to astrologers. As Prof. Cox and Dara O’Briain are not placebologists they could not attain full alternative understanding of the mechanism of the severe reaction that the contact between these two complex systems produced. Like intelligent people with baffled faces watching an infuriated porpoise flail against a delicious ice-cream they’d offered it, they couldn’t possibly describe what was happening in placebological terms. Luckily Dr Alan noticed the poor bewildered space porpoise but not the use of simile and was able to offer a more or less precise description of the process in terms of its alternative pathology.
Epidemiology: By definition astro-intestinal pleading can only occur in the subset of astrologers capable of comprehending every other word about physics while simultaneously summoning a sense of outrage as well as smashing their fists against a button to sign a petition. Importantly these astrologers have often had accidents dislocating their outrage organ in the past causing it to be misplaced. The proportion of astrologers affected by this condition can therefore be understood by observing the Venn diagram below. Those concerned that the facts of the diagram itself will cause astro-intestinal pleading in any astrologers reading this can relax as astrologers believe Venn diagrams have to be thousands of light years away and on fire before they can affect terrestrial matters.

Figure 1. Some random circles in a pattern that doesn’t mean much of anything unless you want it to. If you like you can call it a Venn diagram. I did.
Aetiology: Understanding astro-intestinal pleading as a disease entity is slightly more complex compared to some other alternative illnesses due to the differences in alternative anatomy that astrologers possess. While all alternative bodies are made up of alternative cells with the usual components of alternative nuclei, alternative mitochondria and other common components of cells which I definitely know all about, the cells of astrologers contain an additional organelle. These are known as celestial bodies and can be seen if you want to take the time and know how to do it. Why this is the case and why it only occurs in astrologers is not currently understood. Ancient Greek alternative physicians used to believe that celestial bodies grew in the alternative cells of individuals born when Pluto (which they hadn’t heard of) was floating heroically through the phlogiston towards the apex of Venus or something. Alternative science now laughs heartily at this idea until it realises it’s a ridiculous, fictional concept and then it stops. The abstract laughter of a fictional concept is justified in this case. The idea that this space ballet can affect biological events, no matter how alternative, in such a specific way is nonsensical for reasons obvious even to that baby over there. No, not that one.
            The effects of the additional alternative organelles on the body of an astrologer are to change the way their alternative gastro-intestinal system works. The alternative digestive system as well as processing alternative food e.g. probiotic yoghurt, is responsible for the digestion of information.  Facts enter the alternative system through the alternative mouth, are broken down into their component truths by the alternative enzyme veritase and metabolised into useable information. Non-useable information, technically known as obvious rubbish is excreted from the alternative rectum. In astrologers however the alternative gastro-intestinal system works in reverse. It seems they are able to function perfectly well in this manner.
From this basic knowledge of the alternative alternative anatomy of astrologers the aetiology of astro-intestinal pleading can be deduced. When facts are applied to the astrologers capable of partially listening to physicists in the traditional sense, their alternative gastro-intestinal systems cannot process it because of all the stuff you just read. Bad things then happen. Not as bad as some things but certainly worse than if you’d just read the more sensible bits of the newspaper. The cartoons perhaps.
Symptoms: Facts ingested through the alternative mouths of affected astrologers are obviously not going to be processed as they are with non-astrologers. Their alternative gastro-intestinal system attempts to dislodge the inserted information through a massive eructation of waste product. While unpleasant this is simply their alternative body reacting naturally to an unwelcome presence inserted in an uncomfortable manner.
Symptoms resulting from this expulsion therefore include angry petition writing, compulsively checking newspapers to make sure the magic words don’t predict a horrible, snotty death for them and angrily shouting the word, “alignment” into the unfeeling darkness of space.
Treatment: The condition of astro-intestinal pleading can be avoided entirely if information is presented correctly to the astrologers. As it is not possible to predict which astrologers can randomly listen to science, all astrologers must be treated in the following cautious manner. Any reading must first be cooled and generalised so it can equally be applied to all astrologers. If any written matter presented to them is too specific and then doesn’t happen in real life as predicted, the astrologer may be make a sad face and be forced to ignore said written matter. All written matter must have a small picture at the top. It isn’t really important what this picture is but an animal or some sort of jug is usual. As long as these precautions are taken then astrologers should be prepared to insert the information in their traditional fashion.
If an astrologer should actually develop astro-intestinal pleading then some comfort can be taken as the condition is not fatal. Once the incorrectly inserted factual matter has been expelled then the astrologer should suffer no continuing ill effects. Approximately 8.3% of astrologers affected will remain a bit crabby for a period after the episode. Regular trips to the zoo can help relieve this. No curative treatment is necessary and the alternative illness can usually be treated symptomatically by ignoring it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Chapter 9: Water, water everywhere and there's more than a drop to drink:Toxic Homeopathic Underdose

The good homeopath induces or worsens the disease, the great homeopath misleads the patient into thinking they have the disease.
Allen A. Alan, British Placebologist and Alternative Scientist, 10.23 am – Present

Illness: Toxic Homeopathic Underdose
Discovered by: On January 30th 2010, more than four hundred homeopathy sceptics nationwide took part in a mass homeopathic 'overdose'. Apparently the aim was to demonstrate that as homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredients then they can’t lead to overdose or side-effects. The public would then become aware that these homeopathic treatments contain nothing. As these events occurred some time ago at the time of writing it is now appropriate for an alternative scientific explanation of these events in relation to the central homeopathic concept of, “too little, too late”.
That this event required formal placebological description was flippantly documented by Dr Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist or brain-smith and reported to the office of Dr Alan. Sadly Dr Alan was on a working holiday documenting the effects of exposure to night rainbows on eye psoriasis. Luckily the pigeon that reads and transcribes Dr Alan’s e-mails was patient and was able to pass this urgent scientific note on at once. It is Dr Alan’s fondest hope that this meeting of these three great scientific minds will go down as one of the most existing stories in the history of placebology. Jonty feels that this would be quite a “coo.” This may be a mistranslation due to his pigeon English. Dr Burnett was not contacted but we can assume he agrees based on nothing.
Epidemiology: Primarily there are two concepts that need to be addressed. The group of 400 people who attempted homeopathic “overdose” were clearly highly educated placebologists with a sound understanding of homeopathic principles. As homeopathic medicine becomes stronger the more it is diluted and shaken about a bit, the more you take the less powerful it becomes. The real danger is the toxic homeopathic underdose.  It is reported that many and possibly lots of people place their lives at risk of homeopathic poisoning by not taking any homeopathic medicine at all. Luckily the actual occurrence of toxic homeopathic underdose is extremely rare due to the fact that people drink water. This goes some way to provide a massive dose of natural background homeopathy and leave the majority with only mild symptoms of underdose. The people at most risk of underdose are dehydrated scientists.
Aetiology: As already partially described, homeopathy definitely works and no joking by attempting to cause symptoms in people already experiencing symptoms. What happens next then right, is that the body notices the new symptoms that it already has and cures them itself. Hold onto your hats though because how homeopathic remedies are made is by adding something that produces the symptoms you want to some water and then adding more and more water until there is none of what you originally added left in the water. But wait then it gets good, you shake the water a bit and it can remember what was in it. It only remembers the stuff you want it to remember though, not all the dinosaur shit and pheasant urine and negative vibes from grumpy frogs before you try to get smart. The aetiology of the toxic homeopathic underdose can be simply and logically deduced from these basic underlying principles of the real thing that is homeopathy and its well clever way of reinterpreting all of physics and biology.
The less of an active homeopathic ingredient present in a remedy the more powerful it is. Therefore those that do not take any homeopathic remedies at all are at risk of experiencing enormous, throbbing homeopathic effects and the severe symptoms of a toxic homeopathic overdose. As has already been hinted at, people and animals and plants and chiropractors tend to consume water. While not acting as proper homeopathic remedies like you can buy in the shops for money, the water is at least likely to contain a trace of homeopathic remedy that has been flushed down a toilet in disgust. This provides a small enough dose to place most people safely in the territory of homeopathic overdose or at least remove their risk of underdose. The safe background level of homeopathy that an individual must be exposed to to avoid toxic homeopathic underdose is known as the Two Short Plank’s Constant.
Symptoms: Symptoms experienced by the patient depends exactly on which homeopathic remedy that they haven’t taken. For example if they haven’t taken a homeopathic remedy that is designed to cause them to have toothache when they already have toothache then their teeth will lapse into tremendous pain, fall out and then explode removing their big toes. The events described will not necessarily occur in that order. Conversely if the individual has not taken a homeopathic remedy that is designed to induce the symptoms of a homeopathic underdose of a homeopathic remedy that is designed to induce toothache when they already have toothache then their teeth will do something too complicated to work out right now. I don’t know, they’ll probably jump up into the patient’s brain or something. My brain hurts.
As such it is vital that any placebologist attempting to diagnose a toxic homeopathic underdose has an unwieldy manual explaining the effects of all the homeopathic remedies. Or you can guess if you like. It’s up to you really.
Treatment: The prevention of toxic homeopathic underdose is seemingly straightforward. Simply taking some of the homeopathic remedy that will cause the symptoms that you might have if you don’t take it should be enough to avoid a dreadful fate. As already stated drinking water may be enough to avoid this. But are you willing to take that chance? Best to spend your money and a homeopathic practitioner can give you some indistinguishable water just in case. This is real value as they might also give you some dangerous advice.
 If a patient is already suffering from the symptoms of an underdose then this is understandably more complex. Homeopathic theory realistically states that a defect in the life force of the individual is going to exist because of stuff that they say. In placebological terms a “defect in the life force” can be more accurately described as alternative physical damage to the alternative body. As such alternative surgery may be required to repair this damage. This can involve anything from something to something else. The most common alternative surgery performed is homeopathic surgery where the surgeon does not perform a certain complex operation and the defect repairs itself. Through principles we have already explored, letting a homeopathic surgeon actually perform surgery would be extremely dangerous and should never occur.
For more information on the 10:23 campaign and why homeopathic remedies don’t work and the harm caused by homeopathic practitioners you can click on this link or the link above. Away with you now!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Chapter 8: Parasite, out of mind: A Dreadful Attack of the Fainting McKeiths

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776.

Gillian McKeith....

Allen A. Alan, Thesis Not Faeces: A Guide to Why Just Looking at Poo isn’t Science, 2010.

Illness: A Dreadful Attack of the Fainting McKeiths
Discovered by: Technically the alternative parasite responsible for dreadful attacks of the fainting mckeiths was first isolated and sustained as an independent organism by a research group led by Professor Antanddec at the Jungle Institute for Research into Glamorous Leeches. However the association of the parasite with dreadful attacks was first discovered in 1994 in a shed outside a health food shop by some guy. He’s dead now.
Epidemiology: The fainting mckeith alternative parasite is highly attracted to the sight of faeces. As such it can be found in environments wherever faeces can be easily visualised. Such environments will obviously include toilets, sewage systems and the Living channel. However individuals do not have to spend a lot of time in these environments to become infested. As part of its life cycle the fainting mckeith sits around looking at mung beans. Anyone that eats these beans is therefore at risk of becoming riddled with the beasts. It is estimated that between 0 and 100% of people contain a fainting mckeith. No gender, ethnicity or age is particularly at risk although for some reason the fainting mckeith is particularly attracted to lawyers.
Aetiology: The lifecycle of the fainting mckeith is shown in the figure below. The fainting mckeith can be taxonomically categorised as some sort of parasitic spider/insect/monkey/nutritionist. As it is an alternative parasite it sadly cannot be shown in an actual picture, only as an illustration. This is proof enough. Its primary source of food is from looking at things rather than ingesting them in the traditional sense. As such anything the mckeith regards as food would not be regarded in this fashion by a human.

Figure 1. Not like a figure like a man is a figure, but a figure like a picture of something. The lifecycle of the fainting mckeith. Gaze upon it with awe and despair. Then vomit.
The fainting mckeith in its adult form spends most of its time hanging around in the environment looking at faeces. Once it has looked at enough faeces it transfers what it has learned about those faeces into a nest made out of toilet paper in the shape of a book. This is technically known as the mckeith pile of harassed defaecation (PhD). The purpose of the PhD is to interest another fainting mckeith with which to half-heartedly reproduce. Following this both fainting mckeiths attempt to sue each other and die of being excessively litigious. Eventually the PhD regurgitates the larval fainting mckeiths which stagger off to look at some mung beans. If these mung beans are eaten by a human for some reason the larval fainting mckeiths make their way to the large intestine where they grow to maturity.
While in the intestine the fainting mckeiths start to release alternative chlorophyll. Unlike normal chlorophyll, alternative chlorophyll can work without sunlight. Alternative chlorophyll is capable of photosynthesis when any idiot says it is. The stuff released through the alternative photosynthesis (goji berries probably) starts to dissolve small holes throughout the intestines and eventually the host’s entire body. Once the host is suitably holistic they begin to experience the dreadful attack of the fainting mckeiths.
Eventually the now fully grown mckeith gets bored of its own lifecycle and wanders through one of the holes it has made to look at some faeces. Sometimes it makes a big pile of food representing all the food its host has eaten in the past week. It has evolved this mechanism to make the host cry out any fainting mckeiths that may remain in the host’s body.
Symptoms: As described, an individual has to become suitably holistic before they start to exhibit symptoms. While walking, the wind blows through the millions of tiny holes in the host. This creates a noise which sounds like the individual is constantly whining on and on about detoxing and algae dinners. The parasite engorged unfortunate will then start to formulate theories about why they are making that god-awful racket. Sadly they will be too packed with mckeiths and any theory they come up with will be full of holes. In order to disguise this the host will pretend to faint in a fashion more dramatic and spectacular than a popping candy volcano. As they drop hesitantly to the ground they will emit acting less convincing than Keanu Reeves pretending to be Ben Affleck playing Daredevil. Nobody will be convinced and everybody watching will make a sad face.
But the tale of the dreadful attack of the fainting mckeiths doesn’t end there for the inflicted. Unless treated they will begin to collect shreds of peer reviewed scientific journals. They will then take these journals and turn it into some sort of papier mache, distorting all the research and evidence within them, and fashion it into a cocoon-like structure. It is thought by placebologists this is a sub-conscious attempt to protect themselves from all the holes they and their theories contain. Finally, while shrouded in their rickety cloak of scientific authority, the final indignity of the dreadful attack of the fainting mckeiths forces the host to try and import horny goat weed for their own sexual satisfaction. They will fail and claim it has nothing to do with EU regulations. Then they will splutter something about “looking at tongue-spleens” and fart into the release of death.
Treatment: Ben Goldacre