Professor Selman A. Waksman, Bullshit Artist

Or, how to cheat your pupil for fame and fortune.

NY TimesNotebooks Shed Light on an Antibiotic’s Contested Discovery:

As word of the discovery spread, reporters flocked to Rutgers to record the amazing event. But in telling and retelling the story, Dr. Waksman slowly began to drop Dr. Schatz’s name and claim sole credit. He also arranged with Rutgers to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from the patent that he and Dr. Schatz were awarded; Dr. Schatz received nothing.

Dr. Schatz became aware of the deal when Dr. Waksman started sending him $500 checks — $1,500 altogether — that he said came from funds he had been receiving for the sales of streptomycin. Dr. Schatz wanted to know more, but the professor wouldn’t tell him.

So he turned to an uncle, who found a sharp Newark lawyer willing to take on his nephew’s case. In 1950, Dr. Schatz, who had by then earned his Ph.D., sued Dr. Waksman and Rutgers, and after a year of legal back-and-forth, the professor and the university agreed to a settlement that recognized Dr. Schatz as “co-discoverer” of streptomycin and gave him a share of the royalties.

But the scientific establishment sided with Dr. Waksman, scolding Dr. Schatz for having the effrontery to challenge his professor. And two years later Dr. Waksman alone was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery. Dr. Schatz protested, but the Nobel committee ruled that he was a mere lab assistant working under an eminent scientist. Dr. Schatz disappeared into academic obscurity and died with the full story still untold.

Some people want to pretend that scientists are dispassionately objective and don’t care about money, position, or seeing their name in print, but scientists are human just like everybody else.

Lance Armstrong, Bullshit Artist

AP source: Armstrong tells Oprah Winfrey he doped

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — After a decade of denial, Lance Armstrong has finally come clean: He used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

The disgraced cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped Monday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network.

The admission Monday came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity that he founded and took global on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor who came back to win one of sport’s most grueling events.

The confession was a stunning reversal, after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

PreviouslyGaston Means, Bullshit Artist

Gaston Means, Bullshit Artist

The third season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire wrapped up this week. One of the new characters this season was Gaston Means. Means is a fast talking dandy who brokers deals and gets his hands dirty. In one episode he convinces two people to pay him for the same murder.

Like some other Empire characters he’s an historical figure woven into the story. The real life Means was apparently every bit the charming, conniving hustler that Stephen Root plays on Empire. From Wikipedia:

Gaston Bullock Means (July 11, 1879 – December 12, 1938)[1] was an American private detective, salesman, bootlegger, forger, swindler, murder suspect, blackmailer, and con artist.

While not involved in the Teapot Dome scandal, Means was associated with other members of the so-called Ohio Gang that gathered around the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Means also tried to pull a con associated with the Lindbergh kidnapping, and died in prison following his criminal conviction.

Read the whole thing.

PreviouslyBob Dylan, Plagiarist and Bullshit Artist

Bob Dylan, Plagiarist and Bullshit Artist

The Online Photographer – Is Bob Dylan a Plagiarist?

Now there’s a show of Dylan’s paintings at Gagosian Gallery in New York. The Gallery originally said that the paintings provided “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape” observed by the singer during his travels in Asia.

Trouble was, they weren’t firsthand—Dylan copied them from photographs. Here’s one example, of a painting copied from a photograph by Dmitri Kessel, and here are a couple more, copied from photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Léon Busy.

At least five and maybe six of the paintings in the Gagosian exhibition were based on original historical photographs in the collection of Okinawa Soba, who posted them on Flickr (he thinks a sixth is questionable as Dylan’s source).

You can hit the TOP link or the New York Times article and judge the pictures side by side for yourself, but it’s undeniable. Dylan completely and utterly plagiarized other people’s photographs as paintings without significant changes and claimed them as his own.

I’m a long time Dylan fan since high school, seen him three or four times including with the Grateful Dead, but he plagiarized the shit out of those photographers. That he claimed the paintings were based on his observations while in Asia just takes the deception to another level. Dylan must have a button in his brain labeled “give some nonsense backstory to this gullible arts section reporter so he’ll write an article about my project.”

If painting someone’s photograph without giving them credit isn’t plagiarism, then likewise I should be able to photograph the Mona Lisa, claim it as my original creation, get a gallery exhibition, and sell prints. If anyone says “You can’t do that” I’ll say “I can do whatever I want because I’m Bob Dylan.” (I’m going to change my name to Bob Dylan, just like Robert Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan.)

I’m not exaggerating about the Mona Lisa. Some of the guys Dylan ripped off are Leonardo da Vincis in the photography world. Henri Cartier-Bresson is the father of 35mm film photography and would make anyone’s list of the 10 greatest photographers who ever lived. Copying an HCB photograph is like copying a Picaso or Rembrandt painting and being surprised that someone recognized it. It’s crazy.

Come to think it, this whole thing might point to a reduced mental capacity on Dylan’s part. But that might be the fan in me stretching for a dementia defense.

PreviouslyGreg Mortenson, Bullshit Artist

Greg Mortenson, Bullshit Artist

ReasonTwo Cups of Tea, One Cup of B.S. Lied about starting schools in poor countries and made up tales of daring.

CBS News 60 MinutesQuestions over Greg Mortenson’s stories:

Mortenson (in an interview): One of the most compelling experiences I had was in July of ’96…I went to the area to find a place to build a school. And what happened is, I got kidnapped by the Taliban for eight days.

The kidnapping story was featured in Three Cups of Tea, and referred to in his follow-up best seller, Stones Into Schools, with a 1996 photograph of his alleged captors.

We managed to locate four men who were there when the photo was taken – two of them actually appear in the picture. All of them insist they are not Taliban and that Greg Mortenson was not kidnapped. They also gave us another photo of the group with Mortenson holding the AK-47.

More at Megan McArdle’s.

John Krakauer appears in the 60 Minutes video, and has his own takedown of Mortenson.

Apparently Mortenson actually has done some charitable acts, but he chose to embellish them. Some of these bullshit artists seem to have an inadequacy complex. It’s not that they aren’t any good. A lot of them are actually pretty accomplished. It’s that their achievements aren’t good enough to live up to some standard they’ve set for themselves. Rather than adjusting their goal or striving harder to reach that goal, they lie, undoing all of their good works in the process.

“No Labels” Designer Totally F*%#ing Rips off a Design, Lies His Ass Off About It

No Labels’s T Shirt Looks Mighty Familiar to Brooklyn Artist:

Brooklyn-based artist Thomas Porostocky’s friends and fans have been tipping off NY media that his art has been used without permission by the bi-partisan political group No Labels.

Here is Thomas Porostocky’s artwork:


And here is the No Labels t-shirt:


If you think they look the same then you, sir, obviously don’t know the first thing about art:

Mr. Warren, who among other things did groundbreaking work for Absolut vodka, bristled at the suggestion that he had stolen the design.

“I do my own thinking, man,” he said. “Feel free to come to one of my classes at Parsons.”

He added: “I have a long and storied history on Madison Avenue. I’m not stupid enough to steal anybody’s work; I have too much faith to come up with my own ideas.”

As for Mr. Porostocky, Mr. Warren said, “Tell the other guy to Google my name.”

Or maybe you do know art after all:

Dave Warren, the lead designer for the No Labels graphic, now acknowledges that it was taken whole cloth from the More Party Animals logo. Read his apology.

Hat tip to The Daily Trawler’s Mike Riggs, who is filling in for Jim Treacher while he’s at Mom’s Robot Factory getting warranty service. Now that Treacher’s back, he’s trying out his humor module upgrade.

PreviouslyEdgar Martins, photographer and bullshit artist

Shorter Al Gore: “Corn biofuels were a boondoggle I used for political gain”

No kiddin’:

Algore apparently had a “Biden Moment” and unwittingly admitted the truth by accident.

…”First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.”……”One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.“…

PreviouslyBiofuels – a vote-buying farm subsidy since 1930

Leslie Janous nee Gibbs, The Worst Person in Knoxville.

Knoxville News-SentinelMom who threw pricey ‘Super Sweet 15’ party indicted in fraud:

If Leslie Anne Janous wanted to throw a birthday party for her teenage daughter, the cost of which could feed a third-world country, who cares? It’s her money to waste, right?

Or was it?

The over-the-top birthday party Janous put on for her then-15-year-old daughter in 2006 may serve as Exhibit A for federal prosecutors as they mount a $4.5 million embezzlement case against the former bookkeeper for a West Knoxville brokerage firm.

In 2006 Leslie Gibbs (now married and going by Leslie Janous) threw a tacky, over-the-top extravaganza for her daughter’s 15th birthday. The plan was to star on the MTV show “My Super Sweet 16.” The finale of the six figure party was a $45,000 BMW for a teenager who was just getting her learner’s permit. Janous also used the occasion to model some bad behavior for the teens, providing non-alcoholic shooters and hiring high school boys to give the girls clothed lap dances.

I’m thinking she isn’t going to win Mother of the Year is where I’m going with this.

Since then Janous has been in the papers for helping little darling organize a student protest at Farragut High School. You know what she was protesting? A competition between the freshman and senior classes to see who could collect the most canned goods for the poor. The winning class would have gotten the right to park in the senior parking lot. Janous’s daughter was a senior, and Janous didn’t want poor little punkin to have to walk very far from her Beemer Weemer.

“Screw you, poor people! Nobody puts baby’s BMW in the corner. If you want some food do what I did and get a job. Then steal from your employer.”

Humanitarian of the Year is also right out.

Commenters at Knoxnews dug up this bit from 2002 that somehow didn’t surface before:

King testified he fired Gibbs in June of 2002 and brought criminal charges against her for embezzling $38,800 in funds from Elite. King discovered this alleged embezzlement at Elite approximately one year after the Company closed. King testified that he had no direct knowledge of Gibbs’ embezzling from the Company. The Special Master noted that King did not state whether any charges had been brought against Gibbs relative to the missing funds belonging to the Company.

So, no, she won’t be getting Employee of the Year, either.

LATER: Here’s a 2006 Knoxviews post about the birthday party – Worst. Mother. Ever. It’s interesting to revisit local reaction in the comments. And it turns out that people were already noticing the 2002 embezzlement story.

William Clark, Military Impersonator and Strange Ranger

Marko and Tam point to this story of a real Special Forces dressing down a fake SF who showed up at a gun show talking bullshit.

That turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. It appears the phony is William Clark. He’s a military impersonator, a convicted check fraudster who once faked his own death, and a weirdo for all seasons.

The I-40 Oklahoma Bridge Collapse

In a bizarre tragedy a tugboat drove a barge into an Oklahoma bridge piling, causing a 580-foot section to collapse, killing 14 people. Clark happened to be on the scene. He impersonated a Green Beret captain and began giving orders in the chaos.

Captain Bogus:

On Tuesday, May 28th, in Van Buren, Ark., the con-man “captain” showed up at a local motel and said he’d been helping with the bridge disaster. He said he needed eight rooms for the night for himself and other workers. He stayed in one of the rooms and put “Do Not Disturb” signs on the others, none of which were ever occupied. The following morning, Clark skipped town owing a $900 bill.

By Wednesday, Clark was in Searcy, Ark., some 230 miles from the bridge disaster scene. Still wearing his “Green Beret” and Army fatigues, he walked into the Truman Baker Dodge dealership and talked the owners into letting him “borrow” the keys to a 1997 red Dodge pickup. He said he needed the vehicle to transport supplies to the rescue workers in Oklahoma.

That was the last they saw of him. Or the truck.

Even more bizarrely, Clark knew that one of the people killed in the accident was a real U.S. Army captain named Andrew Clements. Clark asked to see Clements laptop computer, which he claimed contained confidential information, after it was retrieved from the water.

Jerry Pippin’s William Clark page:

The FBI is investigating a man who called himself an Army captain and looked through a briefcase and laptop computer belonging to a victim of last month’s deadly interstate bridge collapse. The man, wearing fatigues and a beret, showed up within two hours of the Interstate 40 collapse and told the mayor he was in charge. He identified himself as Capt. William Clark.

Mayor Jewell Horne said Wednesday that the man told her Army Capt. Andrew Clements had died in the river and that his briefcase and laptop were in the water. A fisherman found the items the day of the collapse and gave them to a Webbers Falls police officer.

The officer gave the items to Clark, who took them and went through them, the mayor said. He brought the briefcase and computer to city hall later that day and asked the mayor to lock them in a safe. He wanted the key, but Horne said she refused to give it to him. “He kept trying to say that he was in charge,” Horne said. “I finally looked at him and said, ‘No, you’re not. Until the governor declares martial law, you are not in charge in this town.'”

Call to Vladimir Putin

Serial military imposter arrested after traffic stop:

After a 2002 fatal bridge collapse in Oklahoma, Clark had showed up at the scene in combat fatigues and identified himself as an Army captain.

He conducted media interviews and gave orders to FBI agents for 2 1/2 days before getting caught. He served a five-year sentence before being released on probation in September.

A month later, federal officials issued a warrant for Clark. He had violated his probation by making a bizarre call to the Russian Embassy.

Clark told the embassy’s security chief that he was a member of the U.S. Special Forces and was involved in an assassination plot against Russian President Vladimir Putin, police said.

Apple: Our Signal Bars Were Bullshit Anyway

Apple is looking more and more like a crapweasal the longer the iPhone antenna issue drones on.

Apple `stunned’ to find iPhones overstate signal strength; holding it wrong still a problem

Apple Inc. said Friday that it was “stunned” to find that its iPhones have for years been using a “totally wrong” formula to determine how many bars of signal strength they are getting.

Apple said that’s the reason behind widespread complaints from users that the latest model, iPhone 4, can show a sudden plunge in signal strength when they hold it in a way that covers a small black strip on one edge of the phone. Users have jokingly called this the “death grip” for the phone.

That drop seems exaggerated because the phone can wrongly display four or five bars of signal strength when it shouldn’t, Apple said. “Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place,” the company said in a statement to users.

PreviouslyiPhone and the Cult of Mac

Buy an iPhone 4, Get a Pee-stained Screen and Dropped Calls FREE!!!

“You think you’re so cool because you buy a five hundred dollar phone with a picture of a piece of fruit on it. Well guess what? They cost eight bucks to make and I pee on every one.”
Steve Mobs of Mapple Computer on “The Simpsons”

Some iPhone 4 Displays Have Yellow Bands, Spots, Other Problems:

There’s a problem with the iPhone 4’s Retina displays: Some screens have a yellow tint across the surface. 55 cases and counting. In some, it’s a yellow band. In others, yellow spots. See the gallery. [Updated with Apple support feedback]

I guess Steve Jobs really does pee on every one.

iPhone 4 Loses Reception When You Hold It By The Antenna Band?

This is a reader video found on Macrumors forums illustrating something weird. When the guy holds the iPhone in his hands, touching the outside antenna band in two places, he drops reception. Placing the phone down gets him 4 bars.

Gizmodo has dozens of videos showing dropped bars and dropped calls when people hold their iPhones 4s a certain way. This is why Apple tries to avoid any attempt at backwards compatibility with outdated equipment. Such as the human hand.

It’s OK, though, ‘cuz (Fake) Steve Jobs is on it: You assholes need to stop sending emails to me about this antenna issue.

You Know Those LifeLock Ads with the CEO’s Social Security Number?

WiredLifeLock CEO’s Identity Stolen 13 Times:

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, whose [Social Security] number is displayed in the company’s ubiquitous advertisements, has by now learned that lesson. He’s been a victim of identity theft at least 13 times, according to the Phoenix New Times. That’s 12 more times than has previously been known.

The company was fined $12 million in March by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertising.

Yabbut the guy who stole the CEO’s identity the first time was a criminal supergenius, right? Nope. He was mentally retarded.

Via Kyle.

Still Believe the “Runaway Toyota” Story? Read This

Car and DriverHow To Deal With Unintended Acceleration:

Certainly the most natural reaction to a stuck-throttle emergency is to stomp on the brake pedal, possibly with both feet. And despite dramatic horsepower increases since C/D‘s 1987 unintended-acceleration test of an Audi 5000, brakes by and large can still overpower and rein in an engine roaring under full throttle. With the Camry’s throttle pinned while going 70 mph, the brakes easily overcame all 268 horsepower straining against them and stopped the car in 190 feet—that’s a foot shorter than the performance of a Ford Taurus without any gas-pedal problems and just 16 feet longer than with the Camry’s throttle closed.

So a stuck accelerator added 16 feet – 9.2% – to the Camry’s normal stopping distance at 70 mph. An Infiniti G7 was similar. A Rousch Mustang with 540 horsepower needed about 60% more stopping distance.

Now compare that to the best-known “runaway Prius” story and see if you still believe the driver’s story of standing on the brakes and being unable to stop or even slow the car. It’s busted.


Steve Jobs: “No one needs more than 256 Megabytes of RAM!”

Granted, Steve Jobs didn’t say that in so many words. He said it with design specs.

I knew the current-gen iPhone and iTouch only had 256 MB memory, but I didn’t realize the iPad was likewise hamstrung. Yeah, Apple’s really going to take over the world with that quarter gig of RAM. Way to save five bucks worth of parts, Jobs.

What was Apple thinking? I remember a Macworld column from a dozen years ago by Guy Kawasaki, who worked at Apple in the early days of the Mac. In Kawasaki’s opinion Apple’s biggest mistake with the Macintosh was not shipping it with more RAM, because limiting the RAM greatly hindered the development of third-party software. It looks like Apple made the same error with the iFamily, starting with the iPhone, and can’t change course now. Considering how cheap RAM is now compared to 1984 that was a stupendous boner.

So yeah, the iPad. It’s basically an overpriced iPhone that won’t fit in your pocket and won’t make phone calls.

Fake Steve Jobs Explains What You Should Read and Think

Ghandi is a Gangsta, Yo

Please stop thinking about Gizmodo, doors being broken down, etc.:

Going forward, if you’re ever in doubt about what you should think about, and you can’t get through to me personally, just read John Gruber’s blog, and he’ll tell you what I want you to think.

Failing that, you can always think about Gandhi, who loves his new iPad and is totally downloading apps like a madman. And by the way, Gandhi would totally break down your door if you stole something that belonged to him. He would f–k up your s–t. Seriously.

We did not break into the home of the iPhone prototype seller:

It was our private investigators, not us. And they didn’t break in. They just tried to. Actually what happened is they showed up and attempted to intimidate the kid into letting them search through his stuff. Perfectly legal. broke the story. And sure, what they’ve written is correct. Nevertheless we are demanding that they take it down, and if they won’t, we are threatening to reject all Conde Nast apps from the App Store, and to never let anyone from Wired come sit at my feet and ask me fawning questions and write down my phony scripted answers, ever again.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

“Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one, but now Apple is busting down doors in Palo Alto while Bill Gates rids the world of mosquitoes.”

That video won’t offend iPad owners. Because it’s Flash. And the iPad can’t play Flash, so it’s like saying bad things about a deaf guy. How’s he gonna know?