Posts Tagged bbc

How To Make Your Own Homeopathy – The 10:23 Way

Back in July, the 10:23 campaign were invited to work on a project with the BBC, as part of a wider documentary on homeopathy. The project involved ‘QED Vodka’ – a new, fictional, homeopathically-prepared vodka-based lifestyle drink.

Unfortunately, given the willingness of homeopaths involved in the documentary to admit to practices which were dangerous and unethical, the piece was dropped. However, all was not lost, and the footage was retrieved and edited – and ahead of an announcement this week of the 10:23 Campaign’s plans for 2011 it’s been released for your viewing pleasure.

The name of the vodka is, of course, taken from the ‘QED conference‘ – the 2 day science extravaganza which will feature as a centrepiece the 10:23 Campaign’s next major protest, details of which will be formally announced on Wednesday. Tickets are still available, and it’s not to be missed.

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The Curious Tale Of The Missing Moggy, And The Missing ‘Found’ Moggy

Oliver the Missing Mog

Oliver the Missing Mog

Psychics, eh? Is there anything they can’t do? They can cure/heal/treat/help cancer, use their magic to confirm police reports and wear flat caps with their arses hanging out, and they can contact dead people who never actually existed. They’re a marvellous lot!

But that’s not the full extent of the psychic realm, it seems, as the BBC reported last week:

‘An Indian psychic is helping to search for cat which went missing from a Lincolnshire village. Oliver, a four-year-old tabby and white cat, went missing from Boothby Graffoe in October.

Owner Sue Machen, 56, has paid £1,000 for Hertfordshire-based company Animal Search UK to hunt for the animal.

It has employed psychic Sarita Gupta, who is based in Bangalore, to help in the search, a move which has been criticised by a sceptics’ society’. – Source: BBC

That’s right – we’re dealing psychic pet detectives! Which, to be clear, isn’t a detective who specialises in finding psychic pets (I can’t really see how one could make a full career out of that, really), but instead people who claim to use their psychic powers to detect and locate missing pets. Obviously.

So, what’s the story here? Well, it’s pretty simple – Oliver is a white and grey tabby cat. He has a white stomach and legs, and is tabby down his back and tail. He also has a distinctive black spot on the left side of his pink nose. And he’s missing. His owner Sue Machen, ‘distraught’ (according to the Fail) turned to Animal Search UK to locate him, and – as the newspapers report – they hired Indian mystic, magic woman and general all-round superhero Sarita Gupta to locate said missing moggy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quack Focus: The BBC’s ‘Health Focus’ On Homeopathy

Since the beginning of our 10:23 Campaign, it’s become increasingly clear that there are an awful lot of parties out there waging a war on reason with regards to homeopathy – from Homeopathic Dana (so-called because he’s smaller and weaker than Dana International, the transsexual Israeli winner of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest), spambot and drive-by troll ‘Dr’ Nancy Malik, idiot and BBC favourite Gemma Hoefkens, bowel-botherer Greg ‘Kaizen Clinic’ Wimbourne and all manner of ‘health’ activists peddling Big Pharma paranoia, while also peddling magic. The actions of these people I can actually understand (thought not condone): they sell homeopathy for a living, they have a very vested interest in keeping people in the dark as to what it is and why it’s bullshit. Homeopathy is how they make their name, how they feed their family, and how they milk their loyal and vulnerable supporters. It’s what they do.

However, alongside the honest, up-front, god-fearing quacks and charlatans, we’ve had to fight the homeo-forces on another front: the media. Almost universally, when homeopathy is discussed in the media, they ask a homeopath. At best, they also ask a healthcare professional, or (failing that) me, to represent the other side, while leaning the conversation in the favour of the water-wizard. The homeopath gets the first and last word, and the balance of the debate is very firmly on terra homeo. That’s when they’re not just outright selling homeopathic treatments, or allowing homeopaths to wax lyrical about how ‘it worked for me’ and ‘it can’t be placebo as it works on my baby/animal/etc’. This is the battle ground, and it’s this fight we choose to fight – so be it.

But it still pisses me off when it’s the BBC drinking the homeopathic Kool-Aid.

I mean, I love the BBC – they’re meant to be fair, unbiased by commercial concerns, free to investigate and report, educate and entertain, and all that good stuff. Sure, they may spend a little too much money giving Graham Norton a career, or padding out Saturday night’s with Dr Who and fancy dancing (neither of which I particularly care for), but they’re still ace. Except, when they do this:

The view of the regulatory body for pharmacists, who are consulting their members about how the products are currently marketed, is that people who buy homeopathic products should be advised that they do not work and only have a placebo effect.

But according to homeopaths, the real issue behind the consultation is the threat complementary medicine is posing to the highly lucrative relationship between the drug companies and the Health Service.

Face – meet palm. Read the rest of this entry »

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I Believe in… Miracles

Well folks, I think everyone is pretty much recovered from the events following the big swallow and with all of us swallowers retaining the use of body, mind and ‘energies’, then it must be time to turn some attention further out, deeper into the big, bad, wild and woolly world of woo.  Woohoo!

The “I Believe in…” series that is currently playing out on BBC Three at the audience-friendly time of ‘midnight-ish’ is, by far, the most incredulous, poorly thought-out, nonsense-laden idiot-fest seen on British TV since, well…  *cough* erm…  Jeremy Kyle is on every day…  and The Wright Stuff…  and then there’s almost all of Channel 5’s output…  Satellite channels…  (has anyone ever watched anything of Conspiracy TV?  *giggles*)

OK, so there’s stiff competition out there in the time-rich and thought-poor facets of British media, and anything that comes with short sentences, a couple of nice locations and a pretty face or two is likely to get up there on the box at some point, no matter how inane the subject material, or how utterly bonkers the take on said substrate may be.  This is where Danny Dyer, Jodie Kidd and “I Believe in…” come in.

Danny Dyer’s effort, “I Believe in UFO’s”, deserves its own lengthy analysis, but I’ll just relay one little element that really made me chuckle…  Loveable, credulous, silly old Danny has just been out in a crop field with a ‘Crop Circle Expert’, who is in fact just some random dude with a VW campervan and an IQ problem, calmly explaining how crop circles must be produced by aliens, because the ‘knees’ of the stalks on the crops can only be bent over in this way by high temperatures of some sort, and thus ‘steam’ in the joint and…  WHOOM…  down go the grasses into this week’s pattern picked out of ‘Flying Saucer Crop Patterns Lightyearly’ (WHSmith will get it in if you ask nicely, have two green heads and 6 limbs (but don’t tell Danny!)) by our Alien UberSturmFuhrer on duty to watch over us puny Earthlings and molest cattle on that particular night.  Our hero, swollen with ‘knowledge’, goes into the local pub to meet some thoroughly delightful chaps at the pool table – very casual.  These delightful chaps then go on to tell him that it’s all a load of bollocks.  It’s them!  They go into the crop circles at night, mob-handed, and proceed to inflict criminal damage on a lot of innocent arable crops and the brains of gullible, half-witted townies…  without actually admitting it of course – the local constabulary might be watching.  Cue Danny’s almost weepy lament pouring out of his drizzle-stricken grid.  For everything else there may well be credit cards, but these moments which warm the heart…  Priceless. Read the rest of this entry »

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I Must I Must Increase My Bust

In what has to be the most tabloid-pleasing news story I’ve seen in a while, as part of the BBC show Inside Out I recently featured it emerged that a North Eastern hypnotherapist and stage hypnotist is making claims at being able to help women enlarge their bra size by two cups using his special hypnosis CD. In the special investigation by the BBC team, stage entertainer David Knight claimed that by listening to his range of CDs he can help with all manner of problems – including overcoming alcoholism, improving your golf swing, attracting wealth and success, overcoming hay-fever, irritable bowel syndrome and – yes – breast enlargement.

As his website tells us:

“As you start reading this amazing report on hypnotic breast enhancement, you will discover the amazing power of the mind and how this can be used to enlarge your bust quickly, safely and totally naturally! If you have ever wished that your breasts were, larger, firmer or more attractive and beautiful in shape or touch then this information is for you. Right now you may be feeling than you wish you could increase the size of your breasts quickly and naturally without the need for expensive surgery” – Source: www.tosleep.co.uk

He goes on in that vein, and it’s worth pointing out that in a page of around 2000 words he uses 63 exclamation marks, and only 97 full stops. Sometimes, punctuation alone can alert you to the fact that what you’re reading is bullshit. Read the rest of this entry »

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You Are Feline Very Sleepy…

Hypnotherapist Cats: A Real Threat

Hypnotherapist Cats: A Real Threat

This week I’m going to take you back to my native North East – imagine if you will the taste of fresh stottie, the smell of the River Wear and the lush and verdant scenery of Durham’s forest. And then forget most of that, because it’s in no way relevant to what we’re about to talk about. Which, specifically, is an episode of the BBC One North East show Inside Out. The show this week featured George Jackson’s success in registering with a professional-seeming organisation of hypnotists. Many people might think a little odd, given that George is in fact a cat.

In the show, which took a look at the hypnotherapy industry and the sham claims to legitimacy of many practitioners, presenter Chris Jackson decide to test just how easy it is to set yourself up as an “accredited” hypnotherapist with absolutely no qualifications. Rather than register himself, he decided to try the Ben Goldacre approach and aim for feline registry – and he discovered that using a fake diploma and paying a pretty nominal sum it was alarmingly easy to set his moggy up as a ‘genuine’ hypnotherapist.

The stunt is reminiscent, of course, of Hettie Goldacre’s success in achieving membership of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC), despite being both a cat and dead. Ben registered his deceased moggy in order to show up the nutritionist and non-doctor Gillian McKeith’s claims to accreditation – reports of the whole affair can be read in full on his excellent Bad Science blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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