Posts Tagged Pseudomedicine

Skeptics with a K: Episode #014

The Health Ranger vs the Shorty Awards; electrohypersensitivity revisited, dinosaur names and flying to the moon using only water.  Find out what the skeptics really believe in episode 14 of Skeptics with a K.


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Got Tapped?

In his first post for the MSS, Allan take a look at needle-free acupuncture and Emotional Freedom Technique…

I was so overcome with joy when I discovered what I am about to tell you that I am now writing with my eyes full of salty tears, warm and wet with emotion… Friends! I come to you with Good News!

Are you – a beautiful, delicate human soul – suffering from some sort of emotional pain, or physical ailment? Do your unique thoughts blossom as the daisies in the meadow, but often gravitate onto grave issues that induce effects from the mild melancholic to chronic, debilitating depression, perhaps interfering with your mathematical abilities? Do intrusive, perhaps obsessive thoughts on your disruptive encounters with precious friends or beloved family trouble you in your daily life, causing a phobia of lifts or dyslexia? Are the ongoing effects of war and rape pushing up your golf handicap, troubling your urination or just leaving you with an untidy room?

  • Would you like to completely overcome all of these problems and many more in just minutes?
  • Would you like to harness the completely unverifiable, but incredibly powerful meridian and chakra knowledge of the ancient Chinese? Then…

*shudders* For a minute there, I felt like a Chopra.

Where was I?

Ah yes! What we all really want in these twisted, perverted modern times is the ability to have all of our guilty pleasures without any of the guilt, take heart from our healthy pleasures without spending time on them, in short to have our horseshit without the pressing need for a horse. Sugar-free sweets, fat-free butter, exertion-free exercise, arsenic-free arsenic solution, cure-free cures and, of course, needle-free acupuncture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skeptics in the Pub: Anniversary Special (formerly Andy Lewis)

Anniversary Bonanza

When: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines (aka the Big House), 81 Lime Street, Liverpool

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances our booked guest speaker Andy Lewis is unable to make this event. However, all is not lost – in honour of the first anniversary of the Merseyside Skeptics Society we’ve decided to replace Andy’s talk with a number of short talks on a variety of topics:

  • Emotional Freedom Technique, by Allan Callister – a look at the latest craze for face-tapping therapy
  • Bad Logic, Mike Hall – examining logical failures, with examples from the world of religion
  • PR and the Media, Michael Marshall – how PR gained control of journalism, and where we go from here
  • How Science Works, Tom Williamson – what is science, how do we do it and how do we know it works?

Plus, a live recording of the Skeptics with a K show.

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Why We Should Avoid Ubisoft Products

In 1994, my friend Russel called me raving about a new playable demo he’d got from the cover disc of a PC magazine.  The game was a reasonably early example of a real-time strategy game, in which the player was required to harvest resources, construct buildings and raise an army with which to crush the opposition; lest they do the same.  It was called Warcraft: Orcs and Humans; you may have heard of its descendants.  The playable demo came with four levels, which I devoured.  I quickly bought the full game shortly thereafter and its sequel, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, the following year.  I had developed a taste for real-time strategy games and wanted more.

In 1995, another phone call from Russel introduced me to Westwood Studios new RTS game – Command & Conquer – which I came to love more than I loved Warcraft.  One of its distinguishing features, setting it apart from the Warcraft series was the inclusion of full-motion video sequences (with real actors!) introducing each mission.  After making free with Russel’s copy of C&C, I bought my own copy in early 1996, followed by its sequels as they were released, including the games from the C&C spin-off series Red Alert.

That was until 2008, and the publication of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.  By then Westwood Studios had been bought up by gaming giants Electronic Arts, and with more money behind them (and much more money in the video game market than in 1995), EA were able to cast Hollywood stars for Red Alert 3‘s full motion video segments.  The cast included Tim Curry as Soviet Premier Antony Cherdenko;  J. K. Simmons as US President Howard T. Ackerman; Jonathan Pryce as Field Marshall Robert Bingham; George Takei as Japanese Emperor Yoshiro; and one Jenny McCarthy as Special Agent Tanya.

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Jessica Simpson: Ear-Candling So YOU Don’t Have To!

As regular, sporadic or even accidental listeners to our podcast might know, our very own Mike recently discovered ear candles lurking in the murky, unforgiving depths of Chester town centre. Dragged away from the peddler of this particular brand of dangerous crazy before he’d had a chance to a) ask why ear candles are on sale when they’re proven to be ineffective and ludicrously dangerous and b) stop  the stupid burning his brain, Mike was left with only one option – rant about it on Skeptics With A K. I suspect being on the show is actually far more beneficial to Mike’s mental health than it is to our listeners’ entertainment levels.

Still, it got me wondering – how many people actually know anything about ear candles? How many people know what they are, what they’re meant to do, what they actually do, and why they’re crazy crazy crazy? Canvassing opinion around colleagues and friends, it seemed to my (entirely un-scientifically-small) survey that the number of people who’d even heard of them was pretty low, and amongst those it was a mixed response on whether ear candles are any good or not. Which is a bit disturbing, because – as I mentioned – they’re actually crazy crazy crazy. So I found myself trying to explain to these lovely folk what an ear candle is, and the potential for harm that it can do. ‘If only’, thought I at the time, ‘I had some kind of video where a well-known yet annoying-enough-not-to-mind-seeing-them-in-discomfort celebrity had filmed themselves using an ear candle, so I could show people how woo this crap really is (and how crap this woo really is), and they could be in equal parts informed and grossed-out’.

Well, this is Christmas after all – the time of the year that wishes really do come true. They do. Ask anyone that’s been on Noel’s Christmas Presents and they’ll tell you. Oh, plus I can tell you they do, because lo and indeed behold what the intertubes have presented us with:

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The Aids Denialist And The Homeopath

Associated Press writes:

“South Africa’s former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who gained notoriety for her dogged promotion of lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat AIDS, has died. She was 69.” – Source: AP

This woman leaves a mixed legacy. Despite being applauded for driving reform to get basic healthcare out to rural townships and her involvement in global anti-tobacco actions, she also was derided for her attitudes toward HIV/AIDS.

She denied the link between HIV and AIDS also resisting the use of antiretrovirals, famously culminating in the following quote at a 2005 media conference

“All I am bombarded about is antiretrovirals, antiretrovirals. There are other things we can be assisted in doing to respond to HIV/AIDS in this country.” Read the rest of this entry »

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