Sunday, August 28, 2011

More Magic Bands -part 1

Like the hydra, if you cut off one arm, two shall takes it's place.  This is the case for the Power Balance bracelets.  They've been forced to admit to committing fraud in Australia, have been discredited on national television and their tactics have been exposed by numerous groups, including this great video by Brian Brushwood.

Power Balance bands "blend the powers of Eastern Philosophy and Western Science".  Their website no longer makes any actual claims to how this is done.  Instead, they only talk about the athletes and teams that use them.  A VERY weak argument from popularity to say the least.  Feel free to check out their website and let me know if you find any actual "Western Science" on it.

This is what they used to claim.

So.  Now that Power Balance bands are now selling for a fraction of their original cost on amazon you'd think that would be the end of the nonsense.

Wrong.  As I stated above, when one scam fails, others will swoop into the void to grab the remaining suckers.

Enter, Fusion Power Bandz and SuperBandz. I found these companies while visiting the expo for the 2011 Chicago Triathlon.  They both had modest boothes staffed by friendly sales people looking to help the athletes inprove their performance.

I visited the SuperBandz booth first.  one of the friendly representatives, "Jane", asked if I would like to see a demonstration of their product.  I said yes and she proceeded to use the exact same techniques that Brian Brushwood used in his Scam School video.  She also explained that the SuperBandz worked by replacing the bad positive ions in my body with good negative ions.  We get the positive ions from cell phones, microwaves and tv and radio signals in our day to day lives.
I told her that  I didn't believe the claims she was making (better balance, sleep, endurance, speed, strength, etc.).  I asked for any proof in terms of studies and research.  At this point "John" stepped in and sited a 1984 study done on autistic children.  I asked if this study was available and he said I could google it.  He added it was a "double blind study, the best kind of study you can do."  All very sciency sounding huh?
Problem is, the only reference to the study was in another study from 1987 stating that the 1984 study was poorly done and had no merit.
Most interestingly, The top google search was from the Hoof Care Clinic Facebook site!

We ended our conversation when he said I should test it out for myself by purchasing one of the bandz.  I declined.

Next up, Fusion Power Bandz.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Curt Linderman Sr. Called Me a Jackass. :-(

On his open to the public Facebook page, Curt Linderman Sr. called me a jackass for talking to someone's husband at an anti-vaccination rally.

This makes me sad because I thought I had a nice, pleasant conversation with him.  All I did was ask him why he was there and why he thought vaccines were unsafe.
Perhaps I'm a Jackass because I wanted to keep it friendly and not tell him I didn't agree with his point of view?

His daughter was handing out the flyers and seemed a little shy so I asked her for a flyer to make it easier.  She seemed very happy when I took one.

Oh well, I've been called worse by better people.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wakefield Accused of "Deliberate Fraud"

Something critical thinkers have known for years.

BMJ Article

I'd be smiling from ear to ear but his "research" has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children and the making of millions if not billions by con artists selling parents worthless treatments.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

New Woo in Sports - Power Balance

Recently,  my wife and I completed the Elvis is Alive 5K run as part of her training for the Paris Marathon.  At the finish line were the usual collection of fitness and nutrition products to sample and gyms offering memberships.  While I was sampling a post-race drink, I noticed a product demonstration at the adjoining tent.

The Power Balance rep pulled someone from the crowd and had them hold their arms out in a cross position.  He pushed down on the subjects right arm until it failed.  He then placed a Power Balance bracelet on the runner's left shoulder and repeated the test on the right arm.  He had to struggle to push the arm down this time.  AMAZING!

He then explained that the hologram in the bracelet "balanced the life energy that flows through all living things" making the runner stronger.  The bracelet also "dispelled negative energy that builds up during a workout."  He repeated the test on another runner, this time putting the Bracelet on top of her hat, informing us that the holograms didn't need to be in contact with the skin to work.  It only has to be within your energy field.  The subjects being test didn't seem to buying what he was trying to sell them.

I snickered.  My wife saw what was coming and took off.  "J", the rep eagerly turned to me to remove my skepticism with his sales pitch.  He again stated that we all have a life energy, "Chi" flowing through us.  This energy can be  blocked by injury and disease.  "This product is based on Ancient Eastern Philosophy" he explained,  sort of like acupressure but with a high tech twist.  The hologram in the silicone bracelet is embedded with information (burned in like a CD or DVD) that resonates with your natural energy.

I had a few questions.  He said he was happy to answer them all.

Q.  How was this developed?  Who found out you could use a hologram to balance your energy?
A.  It was developed by athletes.

Q.  No one has ever been able to detect/measure "Chi" in a scientific lab.  How did Power Balance find the right frequency to embed into the hologram?
A.  I don't know.

Q.  Was scientific research done to test the efficacy of the hologram?
A.  Yes, but we feel that personal testimonials are better evidence that the product works.  Just ask anyone who wears one.

Q.  Who did the research and what were the results?
A.  We used research from universities including Brown, Yale.  To tell you the truth, the test were inconclusive.

He then asked me to buy a bracelet and try it for two weeks.  If I didn't like it I would get a refund.  I declined, saying that I was already prejudiced against the product and I would dismiss any perceived effect.  J decided to give one to me free and asked if my wife would wear it for 14 days.  I said I would ask her to do so  (she declined).

I think J and the other people selling this product are naive and only looking to make some money.  He was friendly and enthusiastic but not very well informed.

You can check out the website at  I couldn't find one piece of information about how this product works (other then the vague ancient eastern philosophy angle) or who invented it.

In my PERSONAL OPINION, this is a ineffective product being marketed to the dubious public.  If the people at Power Balance have a problem with that statement, they can show me the research that proves their claims.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vaccine Gestapo

I offer up this video with no comment.
Vaccine Gestapo Live

Andrew Wakefield Speaks at Anti-Vax in Chicago

Here is Andrew Wakefield's speech at yesterday's anti-vax rally in Chicago.  He played the Martyr role very well.  Oh... and he just happens to have a book for sale.

Wakefield Presentaion at anti-vax rally in Chicago

I attended the rally with several other area skeptics and will be posting my thoughts and additional video later today.

You can read Jamie's account over at The Friendly Atheist.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Support a National Month of Prayer.

A friend of mine recently linked to a page on Facebook promoting the defense of the National Day of Prayer (NDP). The page was created in response to a Wisconsin judges ruling that the NDP violates the laws our founding fathers made when they formed this county we call the USA. Now, what did they say? Oh yes it's right here in the FIRST Amendment;

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I think we can all agree on one thing. That statement is pretty open to interpretation. God-fearing folks see it as an obvious endorsement of religion and the God-less interpret it as "the Government should mind it's own business and not dabble in anything religious."

As a godless, spineless liberal, I tend to lean to the second interruption. But, in an effort to bring a lasting peace to this nation, I propose that we not only have day of prayer but an entire month of it.

I truly believe that we as a nation we would benefit from praying together in classrooms, boardrooms and courtrooms.

Of course not everyone will like this.

Why? Because my month of prayer would require everyone to learn and participate in the beliefs of ALL religions.

Week Zero would be spent learning the prayers of the four major faiths (Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Hindu).
On the first week, everyone would be called to Muslim prayer and recite Salah. Non Muslims will only need to pray once in the morning. Practicing Muslims will of course continue to pray at the prescribed times.
The second week would change to Hindu, the third Jewish, and the final week Christian.

Since this nation is predominately Christian, regional differences will have to taken into account. I think we should eliminate Snake handling as an option but you may disagree. The use of the King James version of the Bible with be strictly enforced! ;-)

A 30 minute open discussion will follow the prayer. Comparisons will be made to other religions.

What will the result of this Month of Prayer have?
At best (for me) it will show this country that the humans on planet Earth are very diverse in their beliefs and a close examination of those beliefs will show many similarities as well as allowing people the opportunity to question their own belief system.
At worst (and most likely scenario unfortunately) it will cause a larger rift between people who are unwilling to acknowledge the views and beliefs of others.

What are your thoughts? What am I missing (besides the smaller, less followed beliefs)? What did I get TOTALLY wrong?

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