Calling One's Bluff
"The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff." - Ambrose Bierce
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And finally, that phony scientist named Eric Alm (firstname.lastname@example.org) responded to me on June 22, 2012 by submitting his illogically composed bluff seven weeks after his absurd study became public.
His response to my repeated request for a copy of his publication was an insult.
"Hi Robert, I meant for you to send a reminder AFTER it is published, which will likely be early 2014. You can check on PubMed.org to see if it's been published yet."
Yeah, like every day for the next five hundred, he expects me to have his never-to-be published lie atop my list of things to do.
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Calling one's bluff: To demand that someone show their cards or prove their point with facts.
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I live just a few hours from Atlantic City, New Jersey. I often enjoy leaving my home around midnight and arriving at the largest poker room on the East Coast long before the sun rises. That way, I find it relatively easy to steal money from drunk young men who have been enjoying free drinks for the previous five hours from scantily clad buxom waitresses at the Borgata, and who rise from their seats at poker tables only to relieve their bladders and visit cash advance machines.
Reading an opponent's face is much easier when he is under the influence of alcohol, and I've turned this skill of mine into more than a science. By memorizing the 12 cranial nerves which emerge from each human brainstem, I see, hear, sense, decipher each subtle movement of the face and hands and have refined the art of reading what expert poker players call 'tells'. Which brings us to the often-used art of the bluff employed by scientists and whores who for the purpose of today's column, are one and the same.
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On May 9th, 2012, the following story went viral on the Internet after appearing on ABC news. Here is the version which appeared on Dairy Herd dot com:
"Yogurt key to sexier, slimmer mice Angela Bowman, May 9, 2012
Those looking to improve their love life may find an unlikely ally in the dairy aisle � yogurt. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers Eric Alm and Susan Erdman were interested in discovering why yogurt helps fight age-related weight gain. By studying the link between probiotics in yogurt and obesity in mice, the duo also found that it not only made the mice slimmer; it also made them sexier.
ABC News reports that the researchers tested their theory connecting probiotics to weight-loss by feeding one group of mice a normal mouse diet. They also fed a second group the same diet with mouse-sized servings of vanilla yogurt.
The yogurt-fed mice did lose more weight than their yogurt-deprived friends. However, researchers also noticed other benefits.
"One of the first things we noticed was their fur coat," Erdman told ABC News. "It was so thick and shiny; shockingly shiny."
Researchers also noticed that the males developed a "swagger."
"There were legitimate physiological differences in males fed probiotics, not just the extra sexiness," Erdman said. The yogurt-eating males mated faster and produced more offspring.
The study is still ongoing, and the final results could bring new insight to human fertility, weight control and hair health.
While the connection between yogurt and sexiness may be new, the connection between dairy and healthier lifestyles isn't. Dairy has been found to prevent strokes, cut the risk of diabetes and lighten the body mass for both adults and children."
I immediately contacted the lead researcher and asked for a copy of his publication. He responded that it would soon be published and promised me a copy. One month went by, and I contacted him again. Twice. He ignored each email request.
Finally, I waited until late June and wrote again. He responded with another bluff informing me that the study might be published in the year 2014.
Scientists do not usually wait two years after making headline news to publish their research.
The dairy industry got what they paid for: Free publicity about a study which never really was. A phony headline which resulted in my calling the man's bluff many, many times.
A scientist's adage: If at first, when repeated bluffs do not succeed, offer a new bluff which places your credibility far into the future so that your critics will forget. Well, Eric. Not this critic...
The Scientist: Eric Alm Affiliation: MIT Telephone: 617 - 253 - 2726 e-mail: email@example.com
Self-Described Teaching Interests:
"I have enjoyed teaching a variety of classes at MIT, spanning my own diverse interests in microbiology, computer algorithms, and thermodynamics of biomolecules. I am currently looking forward to teaching a new class on microbial evolution and genetics."
Selected Publications (listed on his website):
"Comparing Patterns of Natural Selection Across Species Using Selective Signatures"
"The life-cycle of operons"
"The evolution of two-component systems in bacteria reveals different strategies for niche adaptation. "
"Prediction of protein-folding mechanisms from free-energy landscapes derived from native structures"
I anxiously await a publication regarding "dapper yogurt-eating mice" which will be about as out of place with Dr. Alm's other work as would myself having set a dinner plate for Bin Laden at last year's Passover Seder.
In Conclusion: I challenge Dr. Alm to a debate at his University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The subject will be: Scientific Integrity and Dapper Mice. The debate can be televised live to the student body by MIT Cable Campus TV. I will travel to MIT at my expense. This offer is not a bluff.