Today, the JREF’s Isaac Asimov Library reached a total of 1,920 books, not counting another around-the-corner annex with some additional 30 feet of shelf space jammed with skeptical journals from around the world, plus 18 shelf-feet of DVDs – 762 of them! Damn! That’s quite a record! The data contained there is a valuable record of the foolishness in which our species has been involved. Perhaps in another two centuries, our descendants will be able to take some amusement in the naïve beliefs of their ancestors…? Well, 29” of shelf space will assure them that at least somebody was not taken in by nonsense – those are my own books, in Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Parsee, Polish, and Spanish, 36 of them in various editions. Add to that to almost 4 feet Martin Gardner, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, and Michael Shermer, alone, and at least 5 feet of other skeptical writers. That looks small, compared to our total of 162 feet of book shelves, but it’s significant… And we’ve four complete sets of encyclopedias, as well…
While working with Chris Cochran, the dedicated volunteer who has been organizing this mass of literature for the JREF, I took a bit of time to look over a few of the rarer items in our library, and was particularly fascinated by one among the 37 hefty tomes we have on the subject of phrenology – surely one of the greatest wastes of time ever to have been embraced by the public and by the academic world. It’s a copy of the 25th edition of “A Phrenological Chart of Character (with Supplementary Tables) by Stackpool E. O’Dell & Mrs. Stackpool E. O’Dell, Consulting Phrenologists,” 54 pages of gold-edged nonsense with an added “Definitions of the Mental Faculties” by Gaspard Spurzheim and an advertisement on the back cover for another powerful book by the same authors, “Heads, and How to Read Them” – a volume we also have on our shelves. A notice is included in the text:
Lectures by Mrs. Stackpool O’Dell can be arranged by applying to the London Phrenological Institution (Founded 1868, established in London, 1879)
Wouldn’t want to miss such an opportunity, but I fear we’re too late.
Shown above is an illustration from the book, which needs little explanation and indicates the biases of the authors and the entire silly notion of phrenology…
Speaking of lists and indexes, the Committee for Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP) now has available a DVD or CD-ROM – your choice – data source with the 29-year-long contents of The Skeptical Inquirer (henceforth to be known as The Magazine for Science and Reason) dealing with subjects from aliens to zombies… This incredibly rich database, from the early issues of the magazine first known as The Zetetic, to the present, is being offered to the public for $150 – call 1-800-634-1610 to order. This is a big forward step for CSICOP, and for the skeptical/rational movement, worldwide!
Incidentally, any reader who would like to have a printout of the complete contents of our library (it runs 34 pages, single-sided) can receive same by sending a check for $12 payable to the JREF. A similar printout listing the DVDs will be available shortly. Next week, I’ll give readers a list of the really rare books the JREF has here for perusal.
Reader “Susan,” in Toronto, Canada, tells us about Jayne Hunter:
…a woman who sings to tap water in an unspecified "ancient language" (that even she does not understand, she says), transfers her intentions (compassion, forgiveness, etc.) to the water, bottles it (with a spot of brandy, as a preservative) and sells it for $20 per. She has excellent profit margins on this product, by the way. No kidding!
Check out Ms. Hunter's website for more info. I gather she's doing well, so once again, we have proof that "fools and their money are soon parted." Some outfit in the States has also latched onto this scam, and, likewise, is doing a booming business. One can't help but wonder whether it's the transferred intentions or the brandy that's really providing the good feelings here!
If I didn't have a conscience, I could be singing to Toronto's finest H20, fresh from our beloved Lake Ontario, and selling it for a huge profit. Riches could be mine. Alas, pesky things, consciences.
But go to www.rashanasoundessences.com/about.htm for the real woo-woo aspects, including a visit from someone’s mother named Mary. Is this Hunter woman delusional, or what? Singing to water…? Sheeesh! But the suckers are buying…!
EXPERTISE IN DOUBT
Reader Jon Rosen, MPH, RN, has observed an interesting article in Nature Magazine, one with a JREF twist…
The key to Stradivari's tone. Antique violins may have been chemically tuned.
The above headline from the website of the science journal Nature at tinyurl.com/ydlu4j describes research that may finally have uncovered the secret to the smooth, unique tone of the Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesù stringed instruments.
Or maybe not…!
But the article on this subject that most piqued my interest was the one in which an expert says that he and his colleagues are unable to tell the difference between a Stradivarius and a modern instrument in a “blind test.” Here’s the quote from LiveScience.com – tinyurl.com/yltkvz:
“I played a Strad for some time,” said Christopher Whiting, a professional violinist and a writer for Strings Magazine. “Now I have daily contact with a Guarneri del Gesù. I don't believe that expensive old violins sound better than good modern violins. I have never been able to hear the difference when doing a 'blind test,' listening to several violins, one after the other, without looking to see which one is being played. Nobody I've met has been able to do it either. But it's easy to tell the difference between a good violinist and a bad violinist!”
I know this doesn’t really debunk any woo-woo beliefs, but it’s a nice demonstration that what everyone often agrees is true, may simply not stand up to rigorous scrutiny.
How true, Jon! And herein lies the secret to the imagined effects of homeopathy, the wonders wrought by the faith healers, and so many other spurious miracles supported and endorsed by enthusiastic clients. It also gives us insight into such “experts” as those editors at Stereophile Magazine who think they can hear quite non-existent changes in audio systems brought about by magic stones and “quantum” devices that they spend fortunes to possess, and endorse – to the detriment of their trusting readers.
CARRY A BIG STICK
Estonian reader Elver Loho alerts us:
[Recently] the glorious nation of Estonia was visited by US president George W. Bush. Our military has some troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and I guess that was partly the reason we were visited by the most important man in the world. But that's not what I want to talk about.
After Bush had left, a local newspaper published a story about a strange man from the bomb squad of the Estonian police force. He was part of the team that secured each location before Bush arrived. The photos show this man in uniform walking around with a dowsing rod and the article identifies him as a bomb squad expert.
Martin Luige, a police PR person, describes the dowsing rod as "a tool for checking for electricity, communications, and the presence of bombs." The Estonian Rescue Board PR manager Rain Porss describes the dowsing rod simply as "a special tool" belonging to the bomb squad. Apparently he can't go into details of how it works, because then the bombmakers would figure it out and lives would be lost.
So when George W. Bush was visiting Estonia, the Estonian bomb squad was looking for bombs using a dowsing rod. Hmmm... Must be some budget cuts I haven't heard about.
Elver, I think that all Estonians should abandon hope of being secure, if it all depends on swiveling sticks waved about by uninformed “experts.” I’m sure that there’s a room full of crystal-gazers and seers probing the entrails of pigeons, just down the hall from the magic stick distribution center. Just as scary is the fact that a professionally-made dowsing rod has been sold to U.S. government agencies here, for some time now. The Homeland Security people have considered – and perhaps invested in it…
A SPOOK TOUR
From UK reader Steve Clennell comes this news:
I am driven to write to you by an experience last night. I am an Explorer Scout Section Assistant here in Burton on Trent in the UK (an interesting position for a skeptic, but the benefits of providing a service to the kids outweighs the nuisance of the small religious aspect). Last night we had an event arranged by one of the leaders and attended a presentation and “Ghost Walk” by a local group: the Swadlincote Paranormal Society. See www.swadlincoteparanormal.co.uk.
I was surprised to discover that this wasn't one of the increasingly popular "tour of town and a few spooky stories" type entertainments, but a group of serious people telling us about their work in investigating the paranormal. Their number included various “experts,” cameramen, first-aiders and a medium.
Randi comments: To be more precise, Steve, I’d suggest the modifier “claimed” should appear in front of that last word…
The short presentation to kick things off spent some time outlining the equipment used (laser thermometers, EMF readers... the usual) and the locations investigated, before moving on to show us some “evidence” – most of these images are on the website. Mostly these were “orbs” in which could “clearly be seen” faces (and in one, a small child could apparently be seen clearly – looked like blobs of color, to me) but one was an apparition – a cloud of mist that (again) was “clearly” a person. This produced the first of many comments along the lines of "...the next images were even more spectacular... but they aren't included here." Erm... why not?
The tour aspect was quite amusing, as we were taken to various locations and told of the work that they had done there. At one point the medium indicated me, and said she'd keep an eye on me because I had a black spirit lurking with me! Nice.
I was very impressed with the lads and lasses of our group as they were all well behaved but also very enquiring, and pressed the guide on a number of occasions to clear up some of his allusions. Here, I was delighted to witness the usual falling back onto “facts.” Apparently it is a fact that the body weighs less after death – thus proving the departure of the soul (yes, they used that old chestnut). Even better: it is a fact that the solar plexus contains orbs which manipulate our DNA in order to control our actions!
The guide refused to go past the Thornton's chocolate shop, as he has antagonized a spirit in there which regularly beats him up. This understandably disappointed us – we felt that witnessing a guide being beaten up by a specter would provide some of the proof which they were determined to have us accept. Apparently, during an investigation in this shop, police were called to a disturbance, and the guide was able to film two police officers being attacked and chased from the shop... but the film had to be destroyed, as the evil spirits attach themselves to such things!
The people here were keen to promote their close ties with TVs “Most Haunted,” although amusingly they were very disparaging of Derek "not a fake at all" Acorah, even going as far as to say that “Most Haunted” is censored from showing most of their findings because the government are worried about mass panic and the possibility that proving the existence of ghosts would “set off the Islams” [sic]. At the end, we participated in a Q&A session over the phone with Phil Whyman from “Most Haunted.” I took the opportunity to ask him about why he had never applied for the JREF million-dollar prize if he has all of this proof of paranormal existence...
His answer was that Mr. Randi moves the goalposts on these things and the requirements are so exacting that it is impossible to win. He also quoted, "A believer needs very little evidence, whereas a skeptic can never have enough evidence," which I interpret as, "A believer will accept any old codswallop as fact, whereas a skeptic will question everything."
Randi comments: how does Mr. Whyman know these things, if he’s never applied for the prize? He’s read some nonsense on the Internet, he’s chosen to believe it, and he uses that as his escape-hatch. He obviously doesn’t believe it’s true, but he won’t countenance any confrontation with reality, so he smugly takes comfort in retreat. So that he will have his fears allayed, I’ll state this: First, I have never “moved the goalposts” at any time, and I challenge him to show me one example of this – except for the frequent repetition of this canard on the Internet. Our “requirements” are set by you, Phil; if we were to set them, it would be unfair and possibly biased. You set them, Phil. As for your claim that we require more evidence than is necessary, it is quite wrong. The amount and the strength of the evidence is set in advance, with your agreement, Phil…
Phil, are you still there? Hello, Phil…? Well, while we’re waiting for Mr. Whyman, Steve wants to finish his account…
Anyway, I apologize for rattling on. The comments from the Explorers (girls and boys 14–18 y.o.) afterwards were that they'd enjoyed themselves, but that it was a load of b*ll*cks wasn't it? They all picked up on the guide’s claim that his thermometer had read 1,000 degrees centigrade during one visitation and commented that "his equipment needs fixing." All in all, I was very chuffed [delighted] to see that this group of youngsters have the principles of enquiry down pat! From what I read of the US, that wouldn't necessarily be seen as a good thing if we were an American Scout troop!
Gee, that guide’s thermometer must be something to see! If there are any copper or silver parts, they’d melt away at 1,000°C…! Your students deserve kudos for their attitude, and I’m sure you’re proud of the work you’ve done to instill that attitude in them…!
BAD MARTIAL ARTS
In previous SWIFT entries such as www.randi.org/jr/02-23-2001.html (do a search for “martial”) I described some of the outrageous claims that have been made over the years by the martial artists of various schools and nationalities. Now, reader Aaron Knapp has created a site you can see at www.badmartialarts.com that addresses itself to these departures from rationality and reality that seem to "sell" the idea of supernatural self-defense to the naïve. I hope that those of you who have an interest in such matters will keep that address at hand and refer to it regularly.
ANOTHER FATUOUS CLAIM
Yes, you guessed it – James Van Praagh is back. A reader reminded me of an Entertainment Tonight broadcast back in December in which James said he was communicating with Marilyn Monroe’s ghost through a set of Clairol hair curlers said to have been found in her home. In "psychic talk," this means that he handled the curlers, and thereby obtained a sort of spiritual connection with the deceased star – vibrations and that sort of really scientific stuff. His unperceived problem with this scenario was that those curlers had been manufactured in 1974, twelve years after the star's death – though this is not the sort of thing that ever slows down any of these ridiculous people. What would stop any other sort of investigation in its tracks, is only a slight bump in the road for “psychics.”
WOOING THE COPPERS WITH WOO-WOO
It seems, according to the Guardian newspaper in the UK, that following the July 7 terrorist attacks there, the Church of Scientology have been involved in a serious effort to win over police officers from the City of London force. More than 20 officers, from constables to chief superintendents, have attended a series of engagements by the scientologists over the last fifteen months, says the newspaper. That included guest invitations last May for two constables and a sergeant to attend the premiere of “Mission Impossible 3” in Leicester Square, where they were able to rub shoulders with the best-known scientologist of them all, the star of the film, actor Tom Cruise. And recently, a senior officer from the City of London appeared as a guest speaker at the opening of the £23m [US$43m] Scientology centre near St. Paul's Cathedral.
At the lavish ceremony, Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley, the fourth most senior officer in the force, praised the scientologists for the support they provided after the July 7 attacks, when followers of L. Ron Hubbard's movement appeared at the police cordons of the Aldgate bomb site, offering help to those involved in the emergency operation. What was not made known was that that “help” consisted mostly of “assists” – "finger-pointing" – at which the scientologists excel. See www.randi.org/jr/2006-05/052606action.html#i13 for an explanation of this powerful phenomenon.
The scientologists invited four police constables, an inspector, and a chief superintendent to a charity dinner at their British headquarters in West Sussex, where the officers received a donation of £5,000 for a City of London children's charity. Most of the engagements, said the Guardian, were approved by a senior officer: either Frank Armstrong, the assistant commissioner of City police, Mr. Hurley, or Chief Superintendent Ken Stewart.
This bizarre relationship between the police force and the scientologists comes despite controversy that the tactics adopted by the church are those of a cult, and the Charity Commission's refusal to recognize it as a religion in the UK. The City of London police declined to comment on this report.
PBS GOES OUT OF CHARACTER – AGAIN
Reader Helena Jeny tells us:
I remember that some time ago you announced that you became thoroughly disillusioned with PBS. I still watch it, and, I admit, some of their programs (like Nova) can be very good, but this week they amply justified your opinion. They reran the first episode of the series “Walking the Bible.” In it, Bruce Feiler took it upon himself to walk all the places mentioned in the Bible, starting with the account of the Creation in Genesis, and he climbed Mr. Ararat, where Noah's Ark is supposed to have rested.
And now things got interesting – or farcical. Feiler met the self-appointed "mayor" of Mt. Ararat, whatever the duties of such a person can be, who refused to give his name and was presented by his nickname "Parachute" (?). The importance of Parachute is that he has evidence that Noah's Ark existed, which means, of course, evidence that the Flood took place. He found a piece of wood 5,000 years old, obviously from Noah's Ark. What more evidence for the truth of Genesis could anybody ask for?
Needless to say, Parachute never explained how he knew that the piece of wood was 5,000 years old. How did it endure for 5,000 years, anyway? By a miracle? Did he conduct any tests? If so, what tests? Not that it matters. Feiler, naturally, asked him to show him the place where he found it. Parachute beatifically smiled and refused, without giving any reason why. End of story, although he generously offered to take Feiler (or anybody else) up Mr. Ararat – for a price, of course. Feiler was only too happy to oblige.
Later, Feiler did acknowledge that, first, he was shown no evidence for Parachute's claim, and, second, that it is obviously in Parachute's interest to claim that he found a piece of wood from Noah's Ark, not that any child wouldn't have realized that. And Feiler's conclusion, after all this? That he is only half–sure that Parachute found evidence that the Flood took place.
I am not surprised at Feiler's naivety and lack of ability to reason logically, at least where his beliefs are involved. Obviously, he is so utterly convinced that everything in the Bible took place, that total lack of evidence means nothing to him, and never will. But I am surprised that PBS didn't notice the incredible silliness of this. Or do they just not care, as I suppose you'll tell me?
Just one thing more: in the first episode of Walking the Bible, Feiler also said that maybe, after all, it doesn't really matter where the events in the Bible took place: what matters is the spiritual dimension. Very well: in that case, why not go the whole hog, as Huck Finn would say, and acknowledge that it also does not matter if the events in the Genesis are myths which never took place at all? But I suspect he would consider that a blasphemy.
Re that last observation by Feiler, I’m reminded of a TV comedian/juggler who used in his act what he referred to as “George Washington’s original axe, the one with which he chopped down the cherry tree.” Then he would add, “Of course, this isn’t the original handle, which was eaten up by termites many years ago, and I had to replace the axe-head, too, since it rusted away. But it still occupies the same space!” In other words, it’s in the same “spiritual dimension,” as Mr. Feiler would say. One has to wonder why Feiler didn’t stay where he lives – in New York – to shoot “Walking the Bible.” After all, isn’t that in the same “spiritual dimension”…? Maybe not.
Reader David Stafford, in Cornwall, England, observes, re our item at www.randi.org/jr/2006-11/112406water.html#i5:
When I looked at the link to the amazing DVD Rewinder, I was amused to see that people who bought this item also bought:
Hitachi C10FM 10" Mitre Saw
Stiletto 14 oz Titanium Hammer
Book, Breaking Through Limitations
I can only assume that the above items were used to turn the DVD Winder into dust...
TIME TO GROW UP
Reader Sandra L. Hubscher reports:
The Christian Science Monitor ran an article on Nov. 30, titled "In Congo, superstitions breed homeless children." It appears that as poverty has been increasingly plaguing this nation, children are being turned out of home after being accused of witchcraft. Javier Aguilar, a UNICEF child protection officer, states that of the 20,000 street children in the city of Kinshasa, 70% of them have been accused of being witches. The article implies that many of these children were living with step-parents or extended family members who no longer wanted to have to support them and so, voila, an easily-explained incident such as a broken glass or a still-born child becomes an excuse to turn them out of home as practitioners of black magic. Any who hide behind the excuse that pseudo-science can be tolerated out of respect to the beliefs and feelings of others, should realize that this type of situation is the ultimate consequence of tolerance of dangerous nonsense. We certainly don't need to force people to be sensible, but neither should we remain quiet when we see truth and logic being assaulted.
I agree enthusiastically, Sandra. Another example from Africa:
In Zimbabwe, John Munkombwe, 29, has been charged with having sex three times with an under-age girl, and impregnating her. He offered the court the explanation that the girl had in fact slept with goblins. Munkombwe has denied the charge of statutory rape. He told the court:
I have been tried before in the chief's court but I have maintained my innocence, and I still deny the charges. I have heard it said that she was impregnated by goblins. I certainly don't know her.
What makes this of interest to us, is that Zimbabwe is a country steeped in supernatural beliefs. As evidence, consider that the country just recently changed their old colonial law to now recognize the existence of witchcraft. Folks, this is no way to join the community of international nations. This is not only standing still, it’s moving backward – rapidly.
New Zealand considers itself a modern country. From this next item, that’s hard to believe. Apparently there’s been much concern about a number of fatal car crashes on two of their major highways. Now, we might expect that administrators would try to ascertain what proper changes to make in the conditions and physical circumstances of these roadways, and provide better surveillance and enforcement of local laws; this is what modern countries do. Perhaps a budget was not available for such common-sense moves, since it was decided to turn to woo-woo techniques – which are much, much cheaper, though they don’t work. That’s something that NZ apparently hasn’t yet discovered.
Last week, a special police convoy carrying Maori elders sprayed 10,000 liters of Waikato River water on the troubled highways “to free the spirits of crash victims.” You see, Maori elders consider the combination of blessed river water and prayers to be a trigger for the release of the spirits of those trapped in the area by having suffered violent deaths on the roads. But the authorities were quick to say that this spell was for all NZ citizens, and despite the fact that prayers were offered up during the spraying, they said that the exercise was non-religious and not just for Maori fatalities. Keep everyone happy…
The procedure, a “first for the country,” as one politician proudly announced, has already been declared “very successful,” even though no period has passed in which any decline in accident rate – in fact, any effect at all – could possibly have been logged. Maybe no accidents occurred during the spraying?
A local official assured concerned citizens that the 2½-hour exercise was cost-free, with people donating labor and resources. “Some people don't have an understanding why we are doing it,” said another responsible authority. “They should find out more about Maori protocols before making comment… Anything that helps is worthwhile, isn't it?"
No, silly person, not if all it does is further superstition and ensure that officials get re-appointed or re-elected because they went along with nonsense to show that they’re easy to manipulate. Is this a “faith-based initiative”? We Americans can tell you that it won’t work…
MORE DOWN-UNDER QUESTIONS
Reader Nigel Dobson-Keeffe, in Australia, informs us that Monash University – see www.randi.org/jr/2006-12/120106dumb.html#i3 – isn’t the only center of higher learning in his country to look into woo–woo matters. The University of Adelaide, keeping up with Monash, has just issued a questionnaire – 26 questions – a sort of test of psychic gullibility. Looking this over, I was struck at one pair of consecutive yes-or-no items:
#12: I believe in life after death
#13: I believe that some people can contact spirits of the dead.
If the response to the first question is “no,” does it not follow that the next question must also be answered that way…? See the questionnaire at www.psychology.adelaide.edu.au/expts/esp.html. One question is always omitted in these lists: “Is there anything you don’t believe to be true?”
Reader Ben Bacarisse also writes concerning the Monash University item:
My curiosity piqued by this item, I went to see if the survey is available, and it is. You can see it in all its grotesque dishonesty by following the link from the project page: community.education.monash.edu.au/projects/paranormal
Ms. Breen clearly knows there are some strange things going on out there, and the questions will help her find out if boys start getting touched by ghosts at a younger or older age than girls do.
One truly breathtaking question is:
Have you ever thought or dreamt that something unexpected had happened, was happening, or was about to happen, and later learnt you were right (premonition)?
I cannot attribute to this any meaning other than one that will require almost everyone to answer "yes." To paraphrase it:
Have you ever thought that something unexpected was happening, and it was?
Only those who don't think much, and those with very predictable lives, can answer "no."
In another, you cannot be close to death without having a "near-death experience." Logically true, you might think, but biased by the paranormal meaning usually given to that phrase (and this survey).
Maybe a whole bunch of respondents who (a) have never had anything odd happen to them; and who (b) have been able to explain everything in their lives so far, could inject some much needed sanity into the responses.
Reader Steven Keck:
I recently stumbled onto something you may find interesting. I live in the state of California and am in the process of earning a Class A commercial drivers license. One of the requirements is that you must submit to a standardized Department of Transportation physical, which must be performed
…by a U.S. licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.), osteopathy (D.O.), licensed physician assistant (P.A.), a nurse practitioner (N.P.), advance practice nurse, or chiropractor.
(California Commercial Drivers Handbook 2006, page 3, VC 12517.2)
But then it goes on to say
Drivers who hold certificates to drive school buses, SPAB (School Pupil Activity Bus), youth buses, GPTV (General Public Transit Vehicle), or farm labor vehicles must have their medical examinations given by doctors of medicine.
So, according to CA law, if you're going to be driving a vehicle transporting people, your physical must be held to a higher standard. Lives are at stake, after all. However, if you merely want to drive a 75' long, 80,000-lb tractor trailer truck that would totally crush any bus full of kids it collided with, well then, examination by a witch doctor with no medical training, who thinks diabetes, high blood pressure, and epilepsy, can be cured with a back rub – that’s just fine…
Steven, years ago here in Florida I had to obtain a health certificate for the son of a friend to attend a local school, so I visited the local permits office. I was given an instruction sheet – very much like what you were given, which listed a chiropractor as one of the classes of expert I could consult for a test, and the clerk – unbidden – stapled to the form the business card of a local chiropractor, as if to simplify my life. Though I sent the Broward Board of Health a letter of complaint about this blatant endorsement, I never had a response. How could a chiropractor ascertain whether a youth is free of communicable diseases and/or physically fit for school attendance? Using tarot cards or feng shui, perhaps? For all I know, a quack might still be regularly suggested by clerks at that office. Maybe witch-doctors are now included…
Reader Robert Craig Harman wrote to correct me. It seems that Dr. Steven Haltiwanger's “CCN” certification – see last week’s www.randi.org/jr/2006-12/120106dumb.html#i4 – apparently stands for "Certified Clinical Nutritionist" (not “Computer and Communication Networks,” as I thought), a rating which is provided by a “Clinical Nutrition Certification Board” (CNCB), headquartered in Addison, Texas. Whatever that is, I dunno. However, I’m also told that this year, LifeWave patches now claim to work by “heating and cooling your body cells to encourage energy production.” What happened to the cell phone transmitting qualities of the patches from 2005 and early 2006, we must ask?
Go to www.tinaja.com/glib/bashpseu.pdf for an excellent outline by Don Lancaster on “How to Bash Pseudoscience.”
Finally, reader John Weber tells us:
The Vatican has declared St. Isidore of Seville as the patron saint of the Internet. He lived in the fourth and fifth century, which is about right for the Catholic Church, I guess. Boston College “celebrates” the saint with a stained glass image in the window of the data center. Sure, it looks nice, but can he Google?
Another distinction for the JREF thus occurs to me: Google now lists 910,000 – the number changes often – references to my name. How can people find so many comments to make about me?
Foolish question. Forget it…