Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pain and Vaccines

As a person who personally has a phobia of needles (I am a lot better now than I used to be), I found this article to be of particular interest.  Not really about anything Scambusting-wise but slightly related to the anti-vax movement which I really don't care for.

Didja Know?

Didja know? Zehrs Markets offer homeopathy? I just wrote them a letter asking them to rethink that. You can too...

Great Resource!

The Conspiracy Theory Detector

Something to help us sift through all the conspiracie theories from run-away governments to Big Pharma

Shermer and the art of the con

Great video

You can cause change

Update!   It appears the petition has worked.

Let Oprah Know

Informative blog, but please read this particular article. I've been asked by Jason Delaat to post this (since he's not on FB anymore). Unfortunately this women has died (this past week I believe). Still what he is asking is important in my opinion.

Junkfood Science

Ever wonder if your fears or concerns about junkfood is valid?  Check out this whole blog including this post concerning an often heard expression.

The little bracelet that could?

Interesting expose`by CBC about the Q-Ray bracelet.

Questioning SendOutCards

I was asked to look into this.  It is definitely an MLM.

Watching the video:

Only $150 million in sales in 5 years and you are supposed to attain financial freedom as a distributor by taking only a fraction of that? I would argue that 1 million is the lower limit of what wo...uld be considered financial freedom. This means (without taking away business costs and such) that there could only be 150 distributors making that much. Of course there wouldn't be that many distributors making that amount. That would mean each of those distributors would have had to sell 33,000 cards each,which is not impossible as that only 6600 per year at $3 each, But "ah ha!" you say....they also sent over 1million gifts....soooo one wonders how much that would ring up. But wait! They claim to send "tens of thousands" of cards (and gifts) every day. That would equal 3.6 million a year (at an even 10,000 per day). Over five years that would be 18 million. and now my eyes have gone cross-eyed doing all the math beyond this which simply does not add up.

Gotta luv Kathy Ireland in there. She does this and she's rich...oh wait, she was already rich and well off before this...hmmm?

oh so you have to purchase the wholesale PREMIUM package? at $400.

Love the fine print "bonuses are paid only when packages are purchased" that means, not on the cards????
Gotta luv how their own numbers are telling. 0.13% of people in the business are making gross (before expenses) only $50,000 (mind you those are 2008 stats, but still ve...ry telling and consistent with all MLM stats )

My opinion would be to be cautious.  While not all MLMs are overly "pryamid schemey", this does appear to raise some red flags.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More about Joseph Mercola

Vaccine Awareness may not be what you think.

The Burger

While I love the film "Super Size Me" it did bring about a huge backlash on fast food that maybe was not warranted.  Some claims against it were even completely false.

Teen praised for "cure" alert

Nice to see critical thinking in the young!

Power Bands

The Honest Con Man strikes again with showing a  current questionable product

Detoxification Myth

Thinking about a foot detox?  Read this:

Natural vs "Natural"

How can we make sense of what is and isn't

Urban Chickens

While I support the Urban Chicken idea, some of the claims being made don't seem to support it's cause. The claims that it's better because free range is better in regards to the quality of the food and eggs. No hormones are added and such.

It is interesting to note that according to the U.S. government laws, hormones cannot be used in pork or poultry. "NO HORMONES (pork or poultry):

Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones." "
You may also note the free range is simply listed as "FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING:

Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside" It doesn't designate how much access or the even exactly what "access to outside" means. Following this train of thought, a chicken could be labelled as free range if they are in a 2 foot by 2 foot pen with a roof. That is not a building and thusly outside.

They often cite that there would be less salmonella in free range. This study shows this not to be so.;jsessionid=238qh0mvak92n.alexandra

So I guess, maybe I'm just saying that the propents of Urban Chickens should not shoot themselves in the foot by making unverified claims. Stick with ideas like pigeons (up to 80) are allowed so chickens should be as well (to a certain number of course). Focus on a right for choice.

Aspartame: Truth vs Fiction

You've heard the scary stuff.  Is it true?

Psychic Arrested

Do we blame the victim or the psychic?  Or both?

Quote 2

"If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up." --Patrick Swayze

Quackery and Folk Remedies

This just breaks the heart (also view the other parts of the website as well that are due to other types of neglect).


"Be sceptical, ask questions, demand proof. Demand evidence. Don't take anything for granted. But here's the thing: when you get proof, you need to accept the proof. And we're not that good at doing that." ~ Michael Specter

Cognitive Dissonance

Great Video!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Article in Question

Here is the article in question that the British Chioropractic Association has issues with Simon Singh.  I am glad Simon won, and in turn reason and truth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bill Gates says vaccines can help reduce world population

I came across this from one of my friends.
Bill Gates says vaccines can help reduce world population
Natural News I have found (as cited before a few times) expresses bunk, misinformation, some scams and misleading information.  They often quote-mine.  The video they post only shows 3 minutes and misses the context of the whole talk (which is more about changes in Energy expressed in C in his exquation). Here's the whole video so you can see the context in which he's saying things.

What Mike Adams fails to understand (or choses not to express it) is that Bill did not say Vaccines would help reduce world population by killing them. He said in conjuction with health care and reproductive health services. Think about it for one second. People have many children in some cultures because there is a higher mortality rate. Therefore they have a lot of children because culturally, some die off. So you might be thinking now, ok, so vaccinations would keep these children from expiring, then wouldn't the population increase more? Well Yes and No. It will increase a bit, but remember I said he said it in conjuction with other things? With better health services comes better health education, which includes reproductive eduction and thusly the education that not as many children needed. Overall, the quality of life would improve and thusly, as well, the need for more children is reduced. Look a North American culture. We have a descent quality of life and health care. It's about getting rid of poverty.

If you notice Adams references they include two links to the Autism/vaccine opponents which have been time and time again been shown to be false. Just for one example, Thimerisol has been taken out of the vaccine they claimed caused Autism even though it has been shown to not cause it...they did it due to the unjust fears in people and to hopefully continue vaccinating people because that is a good thing . It didn't have an effect on the rate of autism cases.  For more info:

Suffice to say, I would suggest avoiding Natural News.

Scam Job Offer

I received the following email today.

"Good Day

We are in search of company representative, who can handle payments from our customers in your location, if you are interested, Please apply as soon as possible for further inquires. Thank you send mail to
Barrister James Porter"

It reaks of scammy-ness. does not apear active at all just for starters.  The sender of the email appears to be from Creighton University,  a Jesuit Catholic University out of Omaha Nebraska.   I do not know the sender.  The job offer is very suspicious of course.  The description is painfully short and very vague plus the lack of proper grammar/sentence structure for a lawyer/barrister is raising so many red flags.  This is also seeming to be leading to a popular scam where you get sent money and you have to turn around and send money right away to someone else.  This is because you have to do this before the cheques often bounce and therefore you are often left with less money and NSF charges up the wazzoo.

I reported this email to Phonebusters since they deal with internet frauds and scams as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More on Monavie and other "Super Juices"

A Skeptoid episode from Brian Dunning that discusses the validity of the claims of these juices, most often sold through Multi-Level Marketing or MLM.

Pyamid Schemes and Multi-Level Marketing

Thinking about getting involved with a MLM?

Penn And Teller  Bullshit episode  Easy Money

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs-the dangers (possibly)

Fluorescent bulbs have an interesting history starting with French astonomer Jean Picard noting a faint glow coming from his mercury barometer whenever he moved it.  Francis Hauksbee, forty years later, showed that when liquid mercury rubs against glass it produced a static electrical charge which in turn caused mecury vapour to glow.  Daniel MacFaralan Moore, who worked for Thomas Edison, started up a competing company manufacturing fluorescent tubes containing carbon dioxide (it riddled with problems but is the first example of fluorescent lights).  P. Cooper Hewitt demonstrated that mercury vapour was superior to other gases for producing light.  Unfortunately it produced a blue-green light.  Jacques Risler, in 1926, applied a coating to the inside the tubes that absorbed the ultraviolet light and re-emitted it as a nice visible light.  Compact Fluorescent bulbs were introduced in 1973 due to the energy crisis cause by the Middle East War at the time.

  Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) are green.  They use 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs.  This adds up to a savings of about $30/bulb and also less carbon dioxide emissions.  If every home in North America used one CFL it would be the equal to taking a million cars off the road. 

It is true that CFLs do contain mercury and is a possible source of pollution.  However, consider that coal-fired power plants put out mecury in the air.  If less energy is required, less coal is burned and therefore less mercury is released.   CFLs usually contain less than 5 milligrams (the size of a period on this page) of mercury (in comparison with the older type thermometers containing 500 milligrams).  So the amount in CFLs is hardly significant.

There have been many viral emails suggesting that when they break, CFLs require a special clean up crew.  This is false, and can end up costing one a lot of money (reports of $2000 have surfaced).  It is true that care needs to be exercised when cleaning a broken CFL.  The bulbs are disposed of at toxic waste depots as opposed as with ordinary household trash.  The mercury in the bulbs is actually recycled.  Clean up according to some sources:
  1. Ventilate the area
  2. Wear Gloves, dust mask and older clothing that covers the skin.
  3. Collect the larger pieces into a sealed container
  4. Collect the dust using a dust pan and small broom or two sheets of stiff paper (spill kits are also commercially available).  Use a vaccum for carpets.  Put inside sealed container
  5. Pat the area with the sticky side of duct or masking tape and then clean area with a damp cloth.
  6. Put all material used to clean up (clothes, rags, paper, tape) into a plastic bag.
  7. Label waste as Universal Waste-Broken Lamp and check with your locality for disposal requirements.
Other health concerns have arised as well due to CFLs.  They do flicker and that can cause migraines and eye strain.  Some people have claimed elecromagnetic sensitivity to them.  Thus far though, double blind tests have shown people who do claim electrosensitivity to not be able to identify when they are being subjective to an EMF.

Britian's Health Protection Agency investigated UV radiation from single and double envelope bulbs.  Single are the ones where the coils are visible where the double look almost like regular incandescent bulbs.   It was found that the double emitted almost no UV light while the single bulbs did emit enough to cause skin reddening, but only when exposure was continuous at a distance of less than 25 centimetres.  This poses little threat to the general population.  However, with certain diseases like Lupus, which increases the sensitivy to UV light, the single CFLs can be a problem.  It can cause rashes and serious skin lesions.

So CFLs are relatively safe and do no pose a great risk.  Some of the concerns do have their merits, as noted above, but are not at the level at which some viral emails suggest.  Just follow the clean-up (search for more detailed instructions) if required and choose the bulb best suited for your lifestyle and activities.

Science, Sense and Nonsense--Joe Schwarcz
Voodoo Science--Rober Park

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A cause of Autism

Well it's rare that I post something and not note it's "scammy ness" but this is in relation those who continue to say that autism is caused by vaccines.

Breast Cancer Myths....Or Are They?

There are some good facts and opinions in this piece
but there is also a lot of bunk. I will dissect each myth they propose and are against (which is an opinion as they state) one at a time.

Myth 1: Breast Cancer is not preventable
First, I didn't realise that people thought it wasn't preventable (to a degree). There are things we can do to reduce the risk of, not only breast cancer, but other forms as well. The article then mentions that the breast cancer industry "has so far refused to teach women even basic cancer prevention strategies"
Shows that the reality is quite different.

Myth 2: Pink ribbon products are sold to raise money to support breast cancer victims.
It falsely claims that 100% is used for recruitment of more patients.
The myth article writer then goes on to say that not a single grant has been provided for nutritional education (preventing by Vitamin D, anti-cancer herbs, supplements or to avoid dangerous cancer-causing food ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG and chemical sweeteners.). I would assume this is because, as the American Institue of Cancer Research says "Most – if not all – of the purported links between MSG and cancer or other health scares are based on anecdotal evidence." Studies have been done for decades and it has been shown to be safe as a food additive.

Myth #3: The only proven treatments for breast cancer are chemotherapy and radiation
The article says the chemotherapy doesn't work and that the radiation causes cancer.
It does admit there is evidence that chemo shrinks tumors, but claims that the size doesn't matter. OK, some part truths here and some part misinformation. Reducing the size of the tumor does decrease it's ability to continue it's "cancerous" ways. Regardless though, there are other treatments

Myth #4: Chemotherapy is safe and doesn't cause permanent damage to your health
Ok, I think we all know it can cause problems such as hair loss and vomiting. Interesting though it doesn't mention this which is readily made available as a side effect

Myth #5: Regular mammograms are the best way to detect cancer
Claims that Mammograms harm 10 women for every one woman they help. By harm they claim that 10 would undergo unnecesary treatments. The study they mention does mention this, but it also mentions "Screening is likely to reduce breast cancer mortality. " You can see the whole paper here

Note too, that there are other ways to help with detection as well, including breast examination and also genetic testing. All 3 methods when working together help increase the detection and the reduces the false positives.
Shows a list of growing alternatives to x-ray mammorgrams.

Myth #6: BRCA-positive women should consider mastectomies to prevent cancer
Website claims: Cruciferous vegetables target BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, preventing cancer with nutrition.
It mentions "superfoods" which really there is no such thing. Now there is some current studies being done with Anti-angiogenics. You can see a talk about the works here:

Myth #7: The cancer non-profits are searching for a cure for cancer
It claims that Even if one was found, they would never allow a cure to be publicized: It would destroy the cancer treatment industry.
Let's think about this for one moment. A cure would mean money. And as you saw above, things are being publicized. Also see this:

Myth #8: There is no cure for breast cancer
They claim that There are MANY natural cures for breast cancer available right now
If you view the William Li's video above, you'll see that it's not exactly at a "cure" level yet, but more of a management. I won't get into too much about "natural" and "herbal" dangers because that is covered elsewhere, but quickly will say that a lot has not been shown to work. Most just has anecdotal evidence.

Myth #9: If my mother had breast cancer, I'll get it too
They claim Breast Cancer is not caused by bad genes; it's caused by bad diets
Well, we already established that genetic testing is viable. It has found that 5-10% is due to genetic or hereditary factors.

Myth #10: Sunlight causes cancer
They claim Sunlight generates Vitamin D in your skin, which prevents 78% of ALL cancers
So much miswording. Visible light does not cause cancer, but Sunlight also includes Ultra-Violet rays which is a known carcinogen. UV, Gamma, X-rays are all over 480kJ/mol which has enough energy to break covalent bonds which can cause problems obviously. Vitamin D can only do so much. As we all know, extended exposure increases risk.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as I could go into more detail about each of their points, but suffice to say, they are spouting a lot of misinformation which is dangerous.

September 29th add on:

Found this and thought it related nicely to the above.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vaccine Ingredients

A New InFact video from Brian Dunning about one of our favourite topics

Pam Cooking Oil

 I was forwarded a disturbing link about Pam containing Butane and Propane. Well of course, like a good skeptic and scambuster, I did some quick research. First looking at the link I saw that the picture showing the ingredients was actually ISOBUTANE and Propane as propellants. Yes isobustane is different from butane.
Propane is actually odourless and colourless in it's natural state (they add the smell for safety reasons for the barbeques). It is also non-toxic and used as a propellant in a lot of "aerosol" cans.

Obviously if one ingests or more appropriately inhales it directly there are potential problems of increased heart rate, dizzyness, headaches.... Ingested, it might induce vomiting, nausea, internal hemorrhaging. Again, you have to consider the dosage and this is only through large dosing of propane by itself.

Isobutane is used a food additive and propellant as well. Relatively harmless. It is flammable. Also do not inhale (like a druggy) as it may cause dizzyness, irregular heartbeat, asphyxiation. Of course too, this is direct inhalation (of the gas itself...not Pam). Using a one second burst on a pan is perfectly safe as the exposure is so minimal with it being away from the nose, the duration of the spray, and the well ventilated space.

This link is a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) which is a document about the risks of substances (see WHMIS).

In other words, this is some of the best information you can have about the dangers of a substance.

So relatively speaking, Pam is very safe. There does seem to be some valid concern over the use of Pam on pots and pans in regards to it building up over time and therefore reducing the non-stickness of the pans.

Pam is also good for less calorie intake.

I don't use cooking sprays myself as I have found them not to my liking in regards to performance over time and taste. But this choice is not made because of any health concerns or supposed dangers.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oh Oprah!

A very interesting article about Oprah and some of her guests. I'll be honest and say, that I had some trouble getting through this article. I was appalled at some of the misinformation that it says that Oprah is spreading on her show.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Make a Difference--Responsible Vaccine advocacy

Another article mentioning pertussis and the importance of herd immunity.

Whooping cough comeback

It would appear, according to this article, that whooping cough is on the rise again. Reading the article, it does mention the anti-vaccination movement but also links to the fact that the vaccine is not 100 percent effective and thusly the necessity for the "herd" to be immunized to help reduce the number of cases.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Neil Tyson talks about the arguement from Ignorance

Thanks to Brian Dunning for providing this. Great video. My favourite part is when he asks the young child about the telephone game. Brilliant!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some New Logical Fallacies

A very interesting blog entry from Brian Dunning in regards to some "new" logical fallacies.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Live Auctions

Interest in live and online auctions has increased greatly. With EBay and other online sites, auctions have become a business option for a lot of people. Live auctions as a result have also increased. As you may already be aware though, auctions are no stranger to frauds and scams.

Recently a friend of mine attended a live auction near his home. He found the experience exciting, but also realized some "shifty" things going on. He asked my opinion on the auction, showing me the stuff he purchased and the flyer. I found many red flags which I will discuss below as what to look for at live auctions.

First, how does a live auction work?

Here's how the typical live auction process works:

-Bidders must receive bidder cards from a cashier in order to make a bid on any item. In most cases a refundable cash deposit is required to receive a card.

-When the auction is about to begin, the auctioneer announces the terms of the sale so all bidders are aware of their responsibilities in bidding.

-When a bidder is ready to make a bid, they simply raise their hand or their bidder card and the auctioneer or ringmen acknowledges the bid.

-Phone and online bids are recognized by the phone person and these bids are considered the same as if the bidder were present.

-The ringman assists the auctioneer in spotting bids, holding up merchandise so the bidders can see the item for bid and marking the item with the bidder's number once it has been sold. Upon successful winning of the bid, the auctioneer tells the clerk what the bidder paid for the item and their bidder number.

-This information is recorded and given to the cashier who tabulates the bidder's purchases for check out from the sale.

-The bidder pays by either cash or cashier's check. In most cases, the bidder must remove their property from the auction location immediately following the sale.

So what type of scams can occur at a live auction?

-Most common is SHILLING. The sellers and their cohorts bidding the price of an item higher so that the winning buyer (you) ends up paying for the item at a higher price than you would otherwise have.

-The OLD SWITCHAROO. This is when the tag number on the item you bid on is switched to a damaged or less expensive item.

-KNOCK-OFFS/STOLEN. The scammers have products that are knock-offs of high-end name brands. There is also the chance that the items are real, but have been stolen.

-MISLEADING/UNTRUE DESCRIPTIONS. Anything can be written about anything. Sellers may fail to mention things they see as minor but you see as major faults. Does the description match the product? Is it a detailed description or just the make and model, sellers should give detailed descriptions and even point out faults, if you contact a seller before bidding and find that a lot of bad stuff has been left out of the description ask yourself if you want to do business with this person. Always make sure you are able to view the item.

-ORAL CONFUSION. Some scammers will use the fast-paced element of auctioneer speaking to confuse participants into bidding or accepting higher bids when it wasn't so. They rely on the fact the we can only remember so much in a fast, over-stimulated environment. So, the auctioneer can say the bidder said 300 when 200 was actually said, but since it goes by so fast, the next bidder can actually up the bid to 350 before the first bidder has time to complain or know what happened. The other scenario is the bidder "wins" at 300 when they said 200 but feel obliged to pay the 300 either due to not wanting to cause a scene and cause embarrassment or think they may have unknowingly said 300.

What can you look for in an auction?

*Before going to the auction, research the auction company/auctioneer through internet searches, Better Business Bureaus, Local and Federal police and word of mouth. Does the auctioneer or business have a business address, website, or phone number that you can contact them with?

*Most Auctioneers need to be licensed (depending where you live of course). So check for that.

*Know the value of the goods you are looking at. With new technology with smart phones, you can easily access the internet to do comparisons (this is how most pawn shops value your items nowadays).

*Know the terms and conditions of the auction before participating in the auction. Find out whether you could be on the hook for entry fees, prebid deposits, buyer's premiums (fees paid by the winning bidder), taxes, or shipping. You should also find out about return policies and warranties. Often auctioneers do not have return policies and warranties to back up purchases.

*Do not get caught up in the excitement of auction buying. Establish spending limits before the auction and stick to them.

*Save all the transaction information. Print or make note of the seller's identification, the item description and the time, date, and price you bid on the item. You should get a copy of the transaction from the auction. If you do not, something is wrong.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chemically Speaking

A great site to learn and to curb the fear of the word "chemical".

The Quackometer

Just for fun I put my Scambusting blog into the quackometer....see the results!

I haven't tried their quacksafe search yet, but would be interested in knowing other people's results

Counterfit Items At Farmer’s Market

This is always something to be on the lookout for.

Goes into the "What's the Harm" file.

A very bizarre story sent to me by Jason Delaat.

Note that the actions are alleged at this point, but the bizarre twists and turns are hard to get one's head around.

Microwave Oven Dangers

A video debunking some of the myths and also noting a few true dangers of microwaves
Unfortunately, the "dangers" are still being used by the alternative medicine industry.  is a perfect example....using some valid points with questionable ones, it's hard for some people to sift through what is correct.

Accupunture...putting holes in it.

An Intersting paper on Accupuncture

A study by the cochrane organization on acupuncture, laser therapy, electrostimulation or acupressure and whether or not it is effective in helping to stop smoking.

FDA Warning about Magic Coffee

The Truth Behind a Space-Age Cure for Back Pain

An article from Harriet M Hall, the Skepdoc, in regards to some chiropractic treatments.

Phone Busters

For reporting Canadian phone scams and also looking up warnings.

Hair Quackery

Something very close to my heart lol.

Science Based Medicine blog

Some further reading you can take in at this blog. Just started reading it. The blogger seams to be very open and honest which is a great attribute from a blogger.

Viral Videos on Facebook and Phishing Scams

I recently saw one about McDonald's food. Similar design,post,email/charset=utf-8/style=default/publisher=f06dc602-68df-478f-8a38-f177716586cf/headerbg=#638dc1/inactivebg=#95b9ed/inactivefg=#ffffff/linkfg=#638dc1/button=false/type=website/embeds=true/post_services=stumbleupon,delicious,slashdot,linkedin,reddit,technorati,friendfeed,ybuzz,sphinn,google_bmarks,yahoo_bmarks,mixx,newsvine,bus_exchange,facebook,twitter,digg,blogger,livejournal,typepad,bebo,windows_live,aim,myspace,sms/sessionID=1280454264943.35619/fpc=7639673-12a210551d6-7b03202a-2/pUrl=

"here’s the thing: most pseudoscientific beliefs are not stupid. They’re just wrong"--Daniel Loxton

"here’s the thing: most pseudoscientific beliefs are not stupid. They’re just wrong"--Daniel Loxton

This is taken from the below article from

( )
Although I agree with the intended spirit of this quote, it's wording can cause some confusion. The english language is not always the best language for expressing things since many words have multiple meanings. I think it would be better said that "Most psudoscientific claims are not stuipid. They're just wrong."

We walk a fine line when using the word belief and saying it is wrong. Yes some beliefs can be dangerous, while others are relatively benign. 9/11 definitely showed the dangerous side of beliefs, or more accurately fundamentalism. Some beliefs can be viewed simply as opinions. Opinions are not wrong. Claims of fact can be.

I am finding that it can be counter productive in taking an overbearing stance on some issues. If you give someone the information we have been sharing, and they continue to disregard it because they truly believe in it, any type of belittlement would be seen as counter-productive or as some would say "beating a dead horse". It is better to just say something like "do what you will with the info". Your job is done.

I fully understand the desire to help people and to stop some of this stuff we share here. Some people just will not listen to you if you are insulting.

Recently I was talking to a person involved with a ghost-hunting business. She was asking about spreading the info about it on Facebook. I politely replied:

" It's not so much a matter of ghosts existing or not, but merely a matter of interpretation of events and the improper used of equipment (i.e. how is the equipment calibrated to detect supernatural phenomenon....or how does one discern that certain readings are ghosts and not just normal occurances. EMFs are everywhere, especially in any building.).

I hope you understand and I do appreciate your passion for what you do. I am sure it is a lot of fun."

She replied "Thank you for your honesty and view point. i appreciate that you took the time to explain rather then the name calling route."
This is the type of exchange we should strive for with most people (yes there are always exceptions). It allows for a better understanding of the issues. Yes you may run into people who will be all over you no matter how you put it. Understand that they are all too often so used to everything being an all out attack (at least percieved by them) that they take any type of skepticism as negative.
Well that is all I have to say but wish to end with the article's mention of Wil Wheaton's law of "Don't be a dick"

Desiree jenning

An interesting article about the case of Desiree Jennings which you may have seen on 20/20 or through viral youtube videos.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Washing Out Homeopathy

An article I wrote on Homeopathy for Henry the Health Hound

There is often a great deal of confusion about homeopathy when I talk to people on this subject. Some say it’s a herbal medicine, while others comment that it’s all natural. Most often I find that people really have no idea what homeopathy is at all. This article will help you have a better understanding of what it is, what it proposes to do, and why it should be avoided.

So what exactly is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a pseudo-science, or as Robert Park in his book calls it, Voodoo Science. This means that it is unsupported by any verifiable and quantifiable evidence. In other words, somebody just made it up. Homeopathy was first proposed by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. If you consider the other choices of medical treatments with bloodletting and the use of arsenous sulphide (yes arsenic), then you can start to understand why Homeopathy was much more desirable.

So what does homeopathy claim it is? Homeopathy claims that it is a tried and tested form of medicine with scientific reasoning and evidence behind it. We now refer to it as an alternative medicine. Personally, I dislike using that term because it is the furthest thing from a medicine. Homeopathy has 4 basic principles guiding it. A proving, the law of similars, dilution potency, and the memory of water.

A proving is how homeopaths find out what causes a certain set of symptoms. This principle greatly overlaps the law of similars which you’ll see in a bit. The homeopath would see if, for example, ground pepper would make healthy people sneeze (it was never established by Hahnemann what the exact criteria for healthy was and is also one of the problems with homeopathy). Hahnemann and other homeopaths after him used this method with many substances to build a library of symptoms and a causing agent. The problem with this (although the compilation of substances and what they cause is a relatively good thing) was that it failed to actually diagnose the actual cause of a patient’s symptoms when one was sick. Now enters the law of similars.

The law of similars basically states that “like cures like”. This on the surface seems reasonable since people build immunities to substances by coming in contact with them in small doses (like the similar idea with vaccines). If you look at the proving principles above though, you’ll see that the law of similars and “like cures like” is not about coming in contact with the actual substance but something “similar.” For example: If one is having the symptoms of sneezing, red splotches on the skin, shortness of breath every time they are outside, a rational person might think the person is allergic to pollen. The homeopath in the early provings of Hahnemann found that these symptoms are caused also by feline saliva. Since feline saliva can cause the same symptoms, the law of similars says it can be used to cure the pollen allergy. It doesn’t quite make sense now does it? Well, it gets better though.

Next, the law of dilution potency comes into play. This simply states that the more the solution is diluted, the more stronger, or potent, it becomes. Now it’s really not making sense at all. Homeopaths create these “medicines” this basic way: They take a drop of (let’s use the example above) of feline saliva and mixes it with 10 drops of water. This is a 10/1 solution. This solution is not diluted enough and in the eyes of a homeopath is far too weak. So they take this 10/1 solution and take one drop of that and mix that with another 10 drops of water. This is a 10/2 solution (1 in 100. The 2 represents the number of zeros or commonly referred to 10 to the power of 2). This continues on further diluting the homeopathic solution. Homeopaths prefer a dilution no less then 10 to the power of 20 (that’s 20 zeros behind it). Now there comes a point where, mathematically, there can no longer be a molecule of the substance left in the solution. This fact was discovered by Amedeo Avogadro. The limit of dilution for the molecule to still be present in the solution is 10 to the power of 23. You’ll find most homeopathic solutions are above 10/30 (it may say 30x as the concentration). So therefore there is a greater chance that you are just getting water and not any actual “medicine” ingredient. Homeopaths have an answer for this and that brings me to the next principle.

Homeopaths claim water has a memory. Through the mixing, or cessation process, the water molecules come in contact with the substance and they retain that information. If this is true (and it isn’t) water then has a selective and short-term memory because those water molecules in their existence (over all time) have come in contact with everything. If water has a memory then drinking toilet water would be just as good (and cheaper).

There have been many attempts to prove homeopathy scientifically through experiments and studies. These, like the BBC’s Horizon test, clearly show it has no basis what-so-ever (see reference below). Homeopathy simple does not work. It’s only success is due in part to the placebo effect (believing you will get better and thus feeling better…for a short time), confusion of correlation and causation (A + B does not always equal C. Patient has a symptom. Person does something and the symptom is gone. Concludes that the action B cured the symptom A without regard of other factors such as the body’s natural ability to heal itself and other medicines/treatment taken as well), and just plain denial of science and facts.

Although homeopathy in itself is not dangerous (it’s just water, or water dripped onto sugar pills), it’s the belief that it works and the stopping of other treatments (because of side-effects and other factors) which can lead to serious harm and death. Visit to see just a small sampling of the harm.
In conclusion, I urge you to pass this information onto others, so that they will not be scammed into taking homeopathic solutions. Find Scambusting! on Facebook or for more information and links to other scams, hoaxes, quackery and questionable practices.

 Voodoo Science—Robert Park
 Demon Haunted World—Carl Sagan

Boost Your Immune System.

Want to boost your immune system? A lot of herbal remedies, quack cures and juices are being advertised as boosting your immune system. As Harriet Hall, says "When you catch a cold, your symptoms are not due to the virus itself. They are due to your body's immune resonse to the virus. Would you want to boost that response and get more fever, mucus, congestion and sneezing?"

Homeopathy Cartoon

Thanks to Nicholas J Johnson for finding this


Iridology. What is it? It is an alternative medicine diagnosis technique that seems to have little basis in science.  For more information see the links below.


I recently read a book called Freakonomics.

It is a great read. Truly insightful and hard to put down. The deep look into the world of incentives and the answering of questions that you might not of thought to ask like "Why do drug dealers live with their ...moms?" is esquisitly appealing. Find out how abortion led to a drop in crime rates. Find out why teachers cheat and how to be a good parent. Be sure to check out their blog

Monday, July 5, 2010

QuackWatch being sued

QuackWatch is being sued by Doctor's Data in regards to some possible libel statments.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

more about the lawsuit:

Cold Reading

From Jason Delaat

Got this from one of Bill's other links:

It's a 5 page pdf with some good information of on cold reading. Detailed enough to give you a good idea of how the process works but simple enough that people should be able to remember at least some of it.

I think this pdf is a great thing to send to anybody who routinely visits... 'psychics.' Just get them to give it a quick read and the next time they go for a 'consultation' have them pay attention and see if the 'psychic' does anything from the pamphlet.

Maybe, just maybe a few people will be pried away from the clutches of these vultures...

Network Marketing

Great new video from Brian Dunning and his inFact series

Disney Myths

Recieved this in the email today....thought it would be fun to share...

Myths about Walt Disney: Is Walt really frozen under Pirates of the Caribbean?

Over the years rumors and myths about Walt Disney and his company have evolved into legends. Legends, which many guests and even some Disney Cast Members today have come to believe as a true part of Disney history.

While some of those legends are true, there are many that are false. Let us take a look at some of the more popular Disney myths.

Walt is frozen and stored at one of the parks

Walt was cryogenically frozen and is placed in a secret vault underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It is false, but is one of the longest running Disney rumors today. He was actually cremated Dec. 17, 1966, only two days after his death. Another version of this myth is, since he died before his vision of the "Florida Project" , now known at Walt Disney World - was complete, the secret vault where his body is located was placed underneath Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom Park.

Guest looses head on Space Mountain

A guest's head was severed from standing up on the Space Mountain attraction in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. Though this did not happen to a guest, it did happen during testing of the ride when Imagineers placed a test dummy on the ride standing up. The dummy's head was severed from its body.

Swan and Dolphin and the monorail

It has been told by many on a variety of forums and even some Disney Cast Members have been telling guests that the black glass on Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resorts can be removed to accommodate the path of a monorail from Epcot to Disney's Hollywood Studios. One story says that there is nothing behind the black glass and another says that there are temporary rooms there, which can be removed easily. Neither are true. Actually the buildings were designed this way and there is no intention, and never was, of putting a monorail through the two resorts.

Cinderella's Castle can be taken apart for a hurricane

I am not sure where this rumor began, but it is out there. Some say that Cinderella's Castle is built in a way that allows for easy dismantling in case of a hurricane. This a false and the castle is not built that way, nor as it ever been dismantled.

Walt's face appears on a bust in the Haunted Mansion

It has been rumored that Walt's face appears on the bust, which is broken, in the Haunted Mansion attraction. Though there is a similarity, this is simply a myth. It is actually the face of Thurl Ravenscroft, who is known as the voice of Tony the Tiger. His voice has also been featured in the Country Bear Jamboree and in the several Disney animated films, including "Lady and the Tramp."

Contemporary rooms are removable

I have been hearing this from transportation Cast Members for as long as I can remember. Though I have found no evidence proving they are removable, I have found information, which may have lead to this rumor. When Disney's Contemporary Resort was being built, the rooms were constructed off site and then crane lifted into their place on the steel constructed A-frame. This was similar to how parts of Disney's Polynesian Resort was built.

A Second Opinion on Learning Disabilities

This is interesting to note in regards to the anti-vaccination movement like Jenny McCarthy (I read some of her book the other day where she said that if she could start over, would she vaccinate her child. Her response: "I would not"). Some people suggest that her son being "cured" did not actually have autism.

This... video from TED suggests a possible reason that could be true that he did not have autism in the first place

I'm excited. Just picked up two items to read from Chapters today.

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing...compiled by Ricahrd Dawkins and my first copy of Skeptic Magazine (vol 15 no 4)...really wanted to see Shermer's work first hand...I might just subscribe.

Mother Teresa

A recent posting of a friend of mine on facebook had me revisiting this topic that I looked into a while ago. This particular posting was about Great Women. I have found that Mother Teresa is not deserving of that title and her "compassion" is all hype.

I have one question: How does one recieve the Nobel Peace Prize when one openly admits to the promotion of suffering?

Read the following information and see beyond the legend.

You have to love how she refused to return stolen money.

Taken in by the freebie, a tale from anonymous scambuster

There is a major water scam going on, not just in Windsor but all over Canada and the United States. The targets range from senior citizens to the average homeowner, preferably one who is married since both partners must be present.

It all starts with the phone call:

“Hi is this Mr. X? This is __________ calling and we wanted to inform you that you have won a great prize! When will you be home for someone to give you your complimentary 8 free movie tickets and 2 large pizzas? All you need to do is let us test your water. It will only take between 8 and 15 minutes. Will you and your wife be home at 2:30 today? That’s great to hear. My manager will call you back in a few hours to confirm. Thank you!
The rationalization that goes through your head: Wow, what a deal! 15 minutes to do a simple test and I get 8 movie tickets that normally cost $10.00 each PLUS 2 large pizzas?

You’re still a little unsure so you ask again: “Are you sure it’s free?”

Response: Yes of course. Someone will hand you your free coupons at the arrival at the door and there is no obligation to buy.”

You are now sold!
The salesperson arrives at your house after the confirmation is made that both you and your significant other are home.
They walk in and greet you like you’re long lost friends. The small talk begins of “it’s a beautiful day out!” or perhaps if it’s a lousy day “Oh I just hate this weather, don’t you?”
The briefcase goes onto the counter and you’re ready to rock n’roll!

First, it’s the three glasses setup placed on your kitchen table: one with tap water, one with boiled water (microwaved for 1 minute) and the other with the company’s “special additive” water. Using fancy equipment like the TDS, which measures the amount of Total Dissolved Salts in the water and then the scary Precipitator *cue eerie music* that shows the difference between high and low levels in your water. One at a time, each device is plugged into your wall socket and the salesperson waits for that pivotal moment to see your facial expression go from intrigue to horror. Almost immediately the tap and boiled water start changing colour.

So you ask: “Oh no, what’s that colour mean???” The response: “Well let me just get my briefcase to figure out what is happening to your water sir/ma’am.”

The delay creates fear in the potential consumer as he/she watches the water become like sludge. That’s when you are shown a chart with the list of possible colours that range from problematic to “uh-oh, you better get your water filtered fast before you die!!” The beauty of the test is that when the salesperson puts both glasses into the Precipitator, it will ALWAYS change colour. (You can feel free to research the reason for that result and anything else pertaining to the specifics of water testing) The comparison is shown with the company’s water glass that stays perfect in the original state it was in, when it’s poured into the glass.

Not impressed yet? I bet. The salesperson knows you’re still skeptical and have more questions.

Let’s start with a little small talk before we get into what your water results show, shall we? The company trip to the water treatment plant usually comes up where the back area shocks everyone because they notice it’s filled with used condoms and soiled diapers. The look on the salesperson’s face is one of disgust, and so you can’t help but cringe either and say “I didn’t know that was in our water supply!”

So let’s get to the good part; the results. No? Not quite yet… The test is half way completed by that point and you’re told of more stories that the water you are drinking could be toxic. You may even get lucky enough to actually get a story from the salesperson telling you about how they were drinking bottled water until this wonderful product came out and demonstrated its effectiveness to take away all impurities. It’s such a relief as most people have loved ones that they would never want anything to happen to them.

More often than not, your heart is beating a little faster now, after contemplating whether or not you are putting not only yourself but your entire family in danger! You’re shown a laminated list of just about every single disease possible, from cramps to cancer. Then you are presented with a list of chemicals that are in the water system which you cannot even pronounce, nor can the salesperson, who sheepishly admits he/she is not able to even say half of them either. So now you’re on the same wave length. He’s just your average human being too, not some advanced technical or scientific professional.

Before the salesperson even needs to say anything else, you ask the most important question: “How much does this cost?” Be prepared to be told that every other company with similar systems is at least double or triple the price. This particular company is the only one that offers a “special additive” in the water.

You: “What is that?”

Salesperson response: “Well you know i’m not really sure, (insert a little chuckle of embarrassment) I’ve only been in this job for about a year and so it sounds pretty easy to assume that it’s _______ from the sea.”

You: Ah yes, that makes perfect sense.”

The salesperson is off the hook with mentioning about that obvious answer now, right?

So back to the price of the system which I’ll tell you right now costs pennies…yes, only a mere couple thousand dollars for a filtering system. There is that wonderful down payment option though or monthly payment plan. You are told that “These systems are flying off the shelves pretty much with everyone buying them lately because they are concerned about their family’s health and wellbeing.” The guilt you feel now sets in. If everyone has one, why shouldn’t you protect your family too?

It’s still too expensive and you can’t really justify the extra expense. So that’s when the good part comes. “Oh okay, that’s no problem. I do understand. I just want to let you know that I have to phone my manager and let him/her know that I didn’t make any sales this time.” The forlorn look will either make you want to reconsider or to allow the call to happen. Fumbling with the phone, the salesperson has a Eureka moment! “Hold on a second, let me call my manager and see what I can do for you.” It just happens to slip out that their manager is willing to give you a few hundred dollars off but this is only a limited time because you agreed to see the demonstration.

At this time, you either wonder to yourself how they were able to give that information without making the phone call or perhaps they’ve pulled this rabbit out of the hat trick before.

You’re not sold on the product due to its high cost, you’re a little freaked out by this overload of information and all you want now is your damn free gifts and for this person to be on their way!

So you ask about the gifts for allowing this water testing to be done. It was made clear that regardless if you purchase a system, you get 8 free tickets and 2 large pizzas. So you are handed a coloured 4-page brochure with information. As the salesperson is getting ready to leave, you are informed that “You MUST follow the instructions to a T.” If the salesperson thinks you’re hard of hearing, perhaps he/she may tell you again and once more just for good measure.

Now you are left with a copy of the Pizza and Movie Rebate Offer to sift through.

There are the “Terms and Conditions” with 14 (yep 14 steps which will seriously make your eyes buggy!) steps to follow, plus a survey that must be mailed in. The kicker, you have to send a copy of your ID showing date of birth to some unknown company in the United States! “Red flag, red flag!!” Can you say possible identity theft??

So it looks like you wasted a half hour of your time if not more (15 minutes might be for the actual demo itself, but not the scare tactics and wealth of misinformation) you’re still hungry because the pizza deal fell through and you can’t even find 8 people to join you at the movies.

In the end, a valuable lesson learned. There are no free lunches in this world, or in this case, pizzas.

Blaming the Victim
This is the same type of question to ask those who go into Multi-Level Marketing and/or Pyramid Schemes. Do they deserve to be scammed?

Do promoters and practicioners of psuedo-science alternative medicine deserve to be scammed?

My answer:... See More

We may find a person getting scammed by the same scam they are perpetuating (even if they are not fully aware of it) satisfying at times(some people erroneously call that karma). For the betterment of society, I would wager that to stop all scams would be an ideal goal. Any condoning of any scam just seems too hypocritical to me. The "revenge syndrome" can blind us of our humanity.

What's the harm?

From Larry Leeder:
Great little podcast and website (below) that answers the question we often get asked from apologists and followers of alternative medicines like's just water, what's the harm.
Most of the stories listed are not direct harmful results from such practices, but are most definitely indirect....i.e. someone who believes absolutely in homeopathy and thusly stopping any evidence-based medicine.

Dangers of Homeopathy

The Dangers of Homeopathy. Even though homeopathy in general is safe (just water or just sugar pills), it can still cause serious issues including death by denial of modern medicine.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Skeptic Blog

Nice blog with some decent information (and some spelling and grammatical errors...but hey, nobody's perfect lol).

Scientific Frontiers with Alan Alda

A great, albeit overly passive, look at various questionable practices starring Alan Alda.

More Chiropractor info

More about chiropractors....and the dangers of neck manipulation.
In case you were wondering about who does some of the studies and reviews....and with a HonCode as well

In regards to manipulation therapy for lower back pain:

Note it's findings..."it was no more or less effective than medication for pain, physical therapy, exercises, back school or the care given by a general practitioner."
I have found out that the Province of Ontario in 2005 had withdrawn public funding for chiropractic treatment. Trying to find out if it still so.
In any case this info still needs to be made public on a continual basis and more controls established

Putting the Con in Con-Artist

From Nicholas J Johnson

Phone Scam

From Melissa:

"Another clever scam to watch out for especially if you are or know someone in the restaurant business! "

HIV and Flu

From Jason Delaat:

"Just in case you haven't seen it yet this is pretty amazing and very exciting.

Not directly related to scambusting but since anti-vax has been a topic I thought people here might appreciate it:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Light Relief

This past weekend, I saw an ad on TV (I don't usually watch TV but I was in a hotel and well… one's options are limited). The ad being shown was for Light Relief.

I found some instant red flags which will be discussed here.

First the commercial Commercial is embedded on this site along with some info.

Here is a comparison with the USA website: You'll notice all the customer testimonials and the small disclaimers below them are unverifiable.

The first 8 seconds led me to believe that this was a questionable claim.

It said "Fast and Natural". Ok, if this is a machine, how is it "natural" in the widely accepted use of the term natural? Technically, it is natural since it exists in the natural world, but that is not the type of natural being suggested.

18 seconds in..."FDA cleared". This simply means any side effects do not outweigh the good that it does. Also consider the fact that it is just LED light so there will be little harm if any.

Next they show the LEDs working. They flicker on and off as well as for some reason, they put some blue in. They explain the reasoning for this is to show that it is working.

If this product uses infrared to heat, then you would feel it working. Items like coal give off heat without giving off much visible light. In fact, the term "infrared" literally means "below red" which is where infrared exists: Below the visible spectrum of red. So the visible red and blue would therefore have less infrared output than true infrared LEDs such as those used in TV remotes and communications.

It is interesting to note that "Bright sunlight provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation." (Wikipedia). Most people are under the misconception that all radiant heat is due to infrared. The earth itself only gets 49% of its heat from the infrared it receives from the sun. The rest is from other radiation frequencies including ultra-violet. Just ask any sunbather!

After doing some quick research into infrared heating, I found out that most use incandescent bulbs, such as those you can see at restaurants with food under the heat lamps. LEDs are designed to give off very little heat in comparison. Also, any heat is dissipated at the base. Remember that LEDs are designed to be efficient. Most standard LEDs use much less than 1 watt of energy.

Heat does have an effect on blood flow. However, since this product does not state the amount of heat given off, it is impossible to accurately access this claim. However, due to standard LEDs giving off little heat, this is again, questionable.

So because of some of these factors, I am questioning the true effectiveness of this product. I assume that a lot of its "success" has to do with the placebo effect. I would venture that it's more efficient and effective (not to mention cheaper) to place a hot water bottle on your affected area for relief.


Some great sites to visit

I was suggested these sites from this music video
The Rationalist Anthem

So much info to go through on this site. Good though.

Deepak Chopra and the ROM

From Jason Delaat:
"The Royal Ontario Museum has decided to host a talk by Deepak Chopra. Chopra's particular brand of medical quackery is many things but scientific is not one of them. The ROM hosting Chopra is an implicit endorsement of his pseudo-science nonsense and lends him credibility he does not deserve. If you'd like to add your name to a letter protesting Chopra's appearance at the ROM event go here and leave your name in the comments: "

Symphony of Science

Something a little different. Great series of songs/vids on this channel.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I started scambusting with this:

Here is some recent video discussing the "Vaccine War" Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6a Part 6b


It's been almost a week since I last posted. Been busy with stuff. I am working on a detailed expose on chiroprators. Been finding out things that I assumed about it and things I didn't know. For some quick info:

Wedding Day Scams

As a wedding service provider, this is an important one to be let known. Over the past 19 years, I have been DJing weddings and providing other services such as balloon decor and other entertainment. During this time, I have become aware of a variety of scams, both for the engaged couples and the service providers.

One of the biggest is the fake wedding show. There have been some shows (luckily I have not encountered them personally) which are just outright non-existent. I've heard of couples who bought tickets and vendors who bought booths show up for the event to find the location knows nothing about it. Always check before buying booth space that the venue is actually booked for the occasion...a quick phone call will tell you that.

Another is commonly known as the Dress-Label Scam. There have been cases where bridal shops have changed the tag on the dress to hide important information. They might change a low-grade silk-like material gown's label to say silk to charge more. Some even just change the label to hide it's origin. Maybe it was from the Bargain shop and they want to sell it as a designer gown. Now of course it is really hard to discover some of these, so the best way to protect yourself is to work with reputable companies with good references and Better Business Bureau rates and such.

Getting married abroad can present some problems. Obviously it's harder to check on the qualifications and actual locations if you are not a frequent traveller. Some places will overcharge. Some weddings are not recorded or officiated by unqualified or uncertified persons. Worse of all, check to see which countries wedding licenses/certificates are recognized by your own country.

And now my own personal thorn in my side: Service Providers who let you down. There are some providers who are all- out scammers just out for you cash. Again, check references. Also check licensing. Here's my thorn as a DJ: There are so many unlicensed DJs out there. If you visit you can learn all about the licensing requirements of DJs. There's just too many out there downloading music, thus having no overhead and charging very little. That is a red flag right there. A friend's brother just had their DJ they hired get fined for copyright violation and not being licensed.

Weddings should be a time of great joy. Relieve undue stress by protecting yourself from these scams.

Secret Shopper Scams

Yesterday I was talking with one of our members and the topic of Mystery Shopping came up. I knew enough to avoid it, but decided to research more about exactly what it is and is any of it legit. My friend told me the story of how he got hired and was sent a cheque for a large amount and he was supposed to cash the checque and then send some money (leaving a significant portion for him) to an address overseas. Luckily he contacted authorities on that matter. This is what I found so far on the topic:

Have they done any long term studies?

Why yes they have....

Benny Hinn

From Robert Lamar: "The hypocrisy, the fraud and the lies that run rampant throughout the multi-million dollar Benny Hinn ministry is outrageous. But people still want to believe. Following is an investigative report that takes you into Benny Hinn's world and is entitled, "Do You Believe In Miracles?" which is taken from the 'Fifth Estate...,' the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's excellent weekly news documentary program. Be outraged, but enjoy!"

Thanks for posting this Robert. Benny Hinn is definitely a most questionable character. You'll find he uses a lot of the same techniques used by the various scammers already reported on Scambusting!

Oh how they often prey on the desperate big time.


Just want to give a shout out to Robert Lamar and this site. Hope to meet you in person one day soon.

Kevin Trudeau

Thanks to Robert Lamar for finding this:

Kevin Trudeau and his quack cures. Pass this on. The video
MadTV's take on Kevin lol

Magnet Therapy

I've been wanting to touch on this for a while. I know that a few members here in this group do have some anecdotes about usage of magnets. I will state that it is definitely not what it's cracked up to be and is a result of the placebo effect, although I don't deny their experience...just the facts.

Magnet therapy is the use of static magnets for aid in blood circulation. Claims include helping with pain, healing properties, asthma reduction and more.

One of the best known "magnetizers" was Franz Mesmer. He became all the rage in Paris circa 1778. He would sit patients near a vat of "magnetized" water and would then wave magnetized iron rods around the person. Eventually he discovered, with his colourful attire, that he was just as effective simply leaving the magnets behind and waving his hands around them. I assume this is where "mesmerized" came from.

Interesting to note that, eventually the king appointed a royal inquiry into this with some of the top Parisian physicians and also a U.S. representative by the name of Benjamin Franklin, who believed that the patients did benefit from this practice simply because it kept them away from bloodletting and leeching (similar to the rise in homeopathy at the was a better choice then other practices of the time including the use of mercury to cure).

Magnet Therapy proponents claim that the blood is helped to circulate. Often by watching their videos, they show reddening of the skin around the magnets. This is simply false. The iron in blood is not attracted to the magnet at all. This is because the iron in haemoglobin is not ferromagnetic, but in fact, diamagnetic (it's actually weakly repelled).

The magnets used are often similar to that of fridge magnets. Fridge magnets are designed so that the magnetic field drops off very quickly with a minimal distance. How many papers can you put between your fridge and magnet before the field is so weak it won't hold anything up? Go ahead try it. Similar type magnets were put into foot inserts (yes from that famous company in 1997). Next time you are at a place that sells them, take the package to the greeting card section. See how many cards it'll hold up. Now consider this: If the field is that small, how will it even penetrate your sock, and then your skin?

An MRI (Medical Resonance Imaging) using an ultra strong magnetic field. Know what the most common activity in the body it is used for? Studying blood flow. If magnets had any major effects on blood circulation, an MRI would most certainly cause a person to explode.

Recently (1990's) we've seen a rise in the popularity of magnet therapy thanks due in part to celebrity endorsements from golfers and quarterbacks. "Oh sure," we say, "quarterbacks know pain" so we should take their word for it that a certain product works. Anecdotes are not proof though and often exist due to confusion of correlation and causation. **(see Scambusting wall links for more info).

It seems that any study that is supportive (marginally) was small (under 100 people) and unrepeatable thus suggesting some flaw like the Bayler College of Medicine study. All larger studies since that 1997 one have shown no causation.

References (watch this vid to see them prove it)
Demon Haunted World--Carl Sagan
Voodoo Science--Robert Park

The Health Hound

Wat up Dawg! Found this neat themed blog/site while researching magnet therapy. Check it out!

Facebook Scams

From Melissa:
"Since Facebook is such a huge social networking site, this was a good article about some of the scams that are circulating today and simple ways to protect ourselves. "

There is a lot on FB to watch out for, including those people who add you as a friend and you don't know who they are and they have no friends in common with you. Upon viewing their wall/profile you find they are always saying..."hey guys, view my naked pics at this site here....." ummm yeah, I'll get right on that

There are some people I add that I have no mutual friends with. But I always check them out first...and if they are not letting enough info through, then I don't accept them.


Something a little different for Scambusting, but important nonetheless. A great way to be able to look at oneself and your interaction with the world.

Being Green

Since I posted the Organic Food discussion topic yesterday for Earth Day, I thought I'd continue on with these episodes from Penn & Teller's Bullshit series.


Organic Food

Now here is a hot topic since it is the big fad right now.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “organic” as the lack of non-natural pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and fertilizers, as well as bioengineering and radiation.

Through my initial study of this topic, I am finding that it came about due to the wanted avoidance of pesticides from the 1950s. Today however, pesitcides are safer, more efficient and decompose rapidly in nature. Many organic farmers use “natural” pesticides like the carcinogenic pyrethrum or fermented urine. Most use manure, a major source of E. coli bacteria, which poisons about 25,000 people a year in the US.

Organic foods have a higher risk of contamination, but it also spoils quicker than standard food.

There is also the lower yeild and therefore more usage of land. So there needs to be more farmland and less forests to supply the same amount that standard food uses.

Now don't confuse unprocessed foods with organic food though. I am all for pure juices and no sugar-added or dyed foods, but that is a personal choice.

Some people however are allergic to certain dyes and preservatives and therefore unprocessed and sometimes organic food is a better choice for them. This though is due to necessity and not because standard food is no good for people. Some is just not good for some people.

Organic Food now is no longer about local (originally it was). It is about big business. It's selling of a philosophy that has been long lost. We get organic food now from all across the globe which of course has a bigger "carbon footprint" (that's in brackets because I question the whole carbo footprint thing and am just using it to show the contradiction). Again it uses more land and is shipped and also spoils quicker. The beauty for the companies is that the profit margins are bigger because the demand is so high.

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