# Bunkum, Pish and Tosh

MichaelMcF
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Bunkum, Pish and Tosh

I've been reading some recent editions of New Scientist (and I'll be posting links to a couple of interesting stories) and in doing so I stumbled across the idea for this thread.  Simply put, I thought it'd be fun to have a repository for the craziest and funniest bits of pseudoscience that are out there on Teh Intarwebs!!1 or in other media.

To kick things off I thought I'd point you all in the direction of this wonderful site advertising Liquid Zeolite.  A few highlights from the page:

Quote:
liquid zeolite is a food supplement that is used primarily to remove heavy metals and other toxins efficiently and safely from your body. It also supports a healthy immune system and balances the bodys pH levels. A healthy balanced pH level in the body makes it difficult for diseases to thrive!

Combining cellular zeolite with humic minerals, delivers a powerful natural chelating, pH balancing, immune supporting & re mineralizing vitality supplement.

Liquid cellular zeolite in a laboratory-grade amber bottles with real glass dropper

Real Glass Droppers?!?  Sign me up for 20!

It's absolutely fascinating.  Who knew that scientific words picked at random, with little thought for their meaning, could have so much power?  It doesn't stop there though.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking "But Michael, they don't use the word quantum enough to make it proper pseudoscience".  Well aren't you in for a treat...

On the what is zeolite? page we are told that

Quote:
"The zeolites are a group of minerals with a four-sided honeycomb structure and, rare among minerals, a negative magnetic charge... its [liquid zeolite] processed with the same proprietary, interdimensional technology that creates the high energy signature of all our products. Here are some of the other special qualities in liquid zeolite that you will not find elsewhere...Through a natural, proprietary process, concentrated quantum humic acid molecules have "naturally digested" the zeolite... Liquid zeolite is chemical-free... Because the humic acid in liquid zeolite is in quantum, interdimensional form..."

And so on.  It's almost beautiful in its absurdity.

Forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here
- Lawrence Krauss

deludedgod
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Hey, this is kind of fun!

Hey, this is kind of fun! Someday I'll have to see if I can create a random word generator.

Quote:

balances the bodys pH level

The what? This doesn't mean fuck-all. "The body" doesn't have pH levels. The term "pH" can only be applied to a homogeneous aqueous solution.

Quote:

a negative magnetic charge..

A what? Haven't these people ever heard of Maxwell's equations? (This is a rhetorical question. Do not answer it).  You see this?

$\nabla\cdot\mathbf{B} = 0$

You know what this means? This is Gauss' Law for magnetism. This guarantees that there is no such thing as "magnetic charge".

Quote:

high energy signature of all our products

What?

Quote:

Liquid zeolite is chemical-free

Really? So it has no constituent atoms? Fascinating. A material which isn't made of anything. Do go on.

Quote:

concentrated quantum humic acid molecules have

You know what? Fuck this. I'm not equipped to deal with this level of crazy. I'm just going to go do something else, like repeated head-brick wall contact.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

JillSwift
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Snake oil sure has gotten

Snake oil sure has gotten complex over the years.

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Actually Jill, the

Actually Jill, the origin of “snake oil” as a derogatory term is itself pseudoscience bunk. It goes back to the days of the traveling medicine shows where aggressive salesmen would tell people not to buy snake oil from the Chinese immigrants on the grounds that it was ineffective bunk. By so discrediting the product, it opened up the market for them to sell their own ineffective bunk such as blends of camphor, kerosene and turpentine as “real medicine”, which itself was bunk.

Real snake oil is the body fat from Chinese water snakes. While it was pseudoscience in itself, the Chinese do have a track record of finding biologically active compounds from nature. With modern laboratory analysis, we now know that the real product is a better source for omega 3 fatty acids than even salmon.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=

nigelTheBold
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deludedgod wrote:Hey, this

deludedgod wrote:

Hey, this is kind of fun! Someday I'll have to see if I can create a random word generator.

Quote:

balances the bodys pH level

The what? This doesn't mean fuck-all. "The body" doesn't have pH levels. The term "pH" can only be applied to a homogeneous aqueous solution.

Wait! Let's turn the people who sell this into an homogeneous aqueous solution, and see if it really does balance their pH! BTW: what pH could be considered "balanced?"

Quote:

Quote:

a negative magnetic charge..

A what? Haven't these people ever heard of Maxwell's equations? (This is a rhetorical question. Do not answer it).  You see this?

$\nabla\cdot\mathbf{B} = 0$

You know what this means? This is Gauss' Law for magnetism. This guarantees that there is no such thing as "magnetic charge".

It's a magnetic monopole! I knew they existed! I just needed something manufactured with a proprietary quantum interdimensional process to get it.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

HisWillness
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MichaelMcF wrote:Combining

MichaelMcF wrote:

Combining cellular zeolite with humic minerals, delivers a powerful natural chelating, pH balancing, immune supporting & re mineralizing vitality supplement.

I'm sorry, did you say "humic minerals"? Wait, like dirt? Don't we remove those in the process of treating water for potability? So this is ... untreated water?

Quote:
"The zeolites are a group of minerals with a four-sided honeycomb structure and, rare among minerals, a negative magnetic charge...

How exactly does one make a four-sided honeycomb structure? I think that's like an eight-sided triangle.

Quote:
its [liquid zeolite] processed with the same proprietary, interdimensional technology that creates the high energy signature of all our products ... Because the humic acid in liquid zeolite is in quantum, interdimensional form..."

How do these people sleep at night? Honestly. There's lying, and then there's this shit. (Or dirt, more accurately.)

Hey, everyone! I just moved from one position to another through time. I'm interdimensional!

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

JillSwift
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Actually Jill, the origin of “snake oil” as a derogatory term is itself pseudoscience bunk. It goes back to the days of the traveling medicine shows where aggressive salesmen would tell people not to buy snake oil from the Chinese immigrants on the grounds that it was ineffective bunk. By so discrediting the product, it opened up the market for them to sell their own ineffective bunk such as blends of camphor, kerosene and turpentine as “real medicine”, which itself was bunk.

Real snake oil is the body fat from Chinese water snakes. While it was pseudoscience in itself, the Chinese do have a track record of finding biologically active compounds from nature. With modern laboratory analysis, we now know that the real product is a better source for omega 3 fatty acids than even salmon.

Actually, yeah I knew that. I was just using it in the (more or less) modern pejorative.

Phlogisticated kerosene camphors, anyone?

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray

BobSpence
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That was almost certainly

That was almost certainly the claim that the "snake wine" I was offered while on a river cruise in China would be "very good for you". They had a largish glass jar of clear liquid with a cut-open dead snake floating in it.

I tried a small plastic cup of it. It was not the most appealing drink I have ever had....

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

triften
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Oh man, I took some flights

Oh man, I took some flights recently, and that SkyMall catalog is filled, just FILLED with positively charged this and magnetically enhanced that. So much crap. It'd be funny if it weren't for the fact that they are making enough money to produce these things for a profit.

-Triften

deludedgod
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Quote:It's a magnetic

Quote:

It's a magnetic monopole! I knew they existed! I just needed something manufactured with a proprietary quantum interdimensional process to get it.

Indeed, Gauss' Law guarantees against the existence of magnetic monopoles, since every line of magnetic flux over an arbitrary closed surface must return to the source, and if S does not enclose the source, then the flux would be zero anyway (since div yields the source function for a vector field). Of course, modern theoretical physics does predict the existence of magnetic monopoles, in which case, Gauss' Law for magnetism would be wrong (it would change to become divB= μ0ρm where ρ is the newly discovered quantity of magnetic charge) , but I doubt that these people even know what magnetic monopoles are, or why they are required to exist by hypothetical unified field theories. In fact, I don't think these people can go to the bathroom by themselves.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

nigelTheBold
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deludedgod wrote:Indeed,

deludedgod wrote:

Indeed, Gauss' Law guarantees against the existence of magnetic monopoles, since every line of magnetic flux over an arbitrary closed surface must return to the source, and if S does not enclose the source, then the flux would be zero anyway (since div yields the source function for a vector field).

But . . . proprietary quantum interdimensional manufacturing process!

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

nigelTheBold
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Okay, I reckon I should

Okay, I reckon I should actually add something to this conversation, since so far I've just been wasting posts.

A friend's mom died last November. She was a very intelligent woman, and I enjoyed her company, even if she was a fairly devout Baptist. A month ago, my friend asked if I would help clean out her home, the very house he'd grown up in. There were several of us there.

Before she died, she apparently started selling devices from Nikken. There are all kinds of very nice devices, like water filters with magnets in the bottom, extremely nice cooking pots with electromagnets in them (batteries go in the very sturdy handles), and so on. Expensive, well-built bullshit.

I don't know what makes someone as intelligent as Janie get into woo like this. All I know is, they made a lot of money from her.

They aren't quite as ridiculous as the quantum interdimensional manufacturing process, but they really push all the magnetic flim-flam that's so popular with the kids these days.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

Kevin R Brown
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This is a good one: SkyMall

This is a good one:

SkyMall Bullshit wrote:

 Clinically proven technology--faster, deeper and better than heating pads! The Brookstone Pain Relief Wand uses advanced infrared-emitting LED lights to soothe minor arthritis pain, tender joints, and aching muscles.Our Pain Relief Wand is a non-invasive, drug-free way to temporarily relieve pain, stiffness and promote relaxation of muscle tissue. The infrared polychromatic light gently warms tissues to deliver relief when and where you need it most. Just place directly against the afflicted area for fast, localized temporary relief that goes deep into tissues where the pain lives, so you can feel better. These special infrared-wavelength LEDs also help to increase local blood flow and let your muscles truly relax--so your body can heal more quickly.Medical Indications of UseTemporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain.Temporary relief of arthritis and muscle spasm.Relieves stiffness.Promotes relaxation of muscle tissue.Temporarily increases local blood circulation where applied."I've recently incorporated the Brookstone Pain Relief wand into my practice with outstanding results. I recommend it to my colleagues for use in their practices, as well as patients and friends, for use at home."Dr. Louis Trifos, D.C.Expert in the treatment of muscular and skeletal pain relief.ImportantNever look directly into the Pain Relief Wand lights. Do not use on the upper eyelids or over the eyes themselves. Never use around the thyroid gland (front center of neck). It should be noted that the Pain Relief Wand increases photosensitivity. Avoid using the Pain Relief Wand while pregnant, if you have epilepsy, or are taking cortisone injections or taking any kind of steroid injections.

Yup. Infrared LEDs.

And, uh... don't look directly into the LEDs. Because, y'know that infrared spectrum that our eyes can't even register... it's a doozy.

EDIT: It's worth linking to the product just so you can see the price.

250.00 so you can have a fancy-looking, low-powered flashlight. Man, if only I had, like, no morals at all...

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940

Kevin R Brown
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...I guess the 'PAIN

...I guess the 'PAIN WAND!!@@!!' is only thetip of the iceberg, though:

SkyMall Bullshit wrote:
Have a Smoother, Younger Complexion Without Painful and Expensive Treatments!

No more painful injections, peels, side effects, recovery time, or costly visits to the spa or surgeon! Deep Penetrating Light Therapy utilizes Red and Infrared LED wavelengths to reverse the effects of aging skin, such as wrinkles, creases, furrows, crow's feet, mottled skin tone or age spots, and enlarged pores. It also helps sun-damaged skin and heals blemishes.

The DPL Therapy System is based on NASA research of wound-healing in space and you can use it in the privacy of your own home.

This advanced non-invasive procedure activates skin cells with pulses of low-level, non-thermal light energy which converts light energy within the skin cells, much like photosynthesis, which takes sunlight and converts it into food energy in plants. This revolutionary, all-natural approach to skincare stimulates collagen formation which rejuvenates and replenishes your skin when used just 9 minutes twice a day (has automatic turn-off).

The treatment is safe, quick and completely painless. Although results vary, many users have seen remarkable improvement within a week! DPL System includes: 2 removable LED panels, electrical panel connector, stand, power supply, and user guide. A luxurious 1.7 Fl. Oz. bottle of Dermalactives Collagen & Elastin Moisturizer is also included for your "at-home" spa experience!

400 bucks for a lite-brite. Man, people really ARE gullible...

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940

Kevin R Brown
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SkyMall Bullshit wrote:This

SkyMall Bullshit wrote:

This is the mental relaxation spa that combines biorhythmic sound and light patterns to remove outside distractions, helping you improve attention and focus, reduce anxiety and stress, and recover quickly from jet lag. The spa includes a pair of glasses that have 12 white LEDs embedded into the inside face, surrounding your orbital lobes with an array of gentle, pleasing light.

Both the glasses and the included earbuds attach to the control unit, which houses all 18 sound and light programs; the lights and the soundscapes are set to match four frequencies--beta, alpha, theta, and delta--which oscillate between 1-30 Hz to help improve concentration, induce varying levels of relaxation, or achieve a deep state of meditation. Each program lasts up to 25 minutes. Includes carrying case.

4-1/2" L x 3-3/4" W x 1-1/2" H. (4 oz.)

That'll be 350.00 in order to look exactly as stupid as you must have been to buy into this crap.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940