The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'snake oil'

2008/4/7

Charlie Brooker gets stuck into Brain Gym, a set of alleged brain-enhancing exercises with scant connection to any verifiable reality, which has nonetheless managed to get into the British school system (presumably because the line of bullshit it shills sounds like "fun"):

Brain Gym, y'see, is an "educational kinesiology" programme designed to improve kiddywink performance. It's essentially a series of simple exercises lumbered with names that make you want to steer a barbed wire bus into its creator's face. One manoeuvre, in which you massage the muscles round the jaw, is called the "energy yawn". Another involves activating your "brain buttons" by forming a "C" shape with one hand and pressing it either side of the collarbone while simultaneously touching your stomach with the other hand.
If we mistrust the real world so much that we're prepared to fill the next generation's heads with a load of gibbering crap about "brain buttons", why stop there? Why not spice up maths by telling kids the number five was born in Greece and invented biscuits? Replace history lessons with screenings of the Star Wars trilogy? Teach them how to whistle in French? Let's just issue the kids with blinkers.
Because we, the adults, don't just gleefully pull the wool over our own eyes - we knit permanent blindfolds. We've decided we hate facts. Hate, hate, hate them. Everywhere you look, we're down on our knees, gleefully lapping up neckful after neckful of steaming, cloddish bullshit in all its forms. From crackpot conspiracy theories to fairytale nutritional advice, from alternative medicine to energy yawns - we just can't get enough of that musky, mudlike taste. Brain Gym is just one small tile in an immense and frightening mosaic of fantasy.

brain gym charlatans charlie brooker new age pseudoscience skepticism snake oil 2

2005/11/9

A list of expensive products for "audiophiles" with more money than common sense. It includes the usual sorts of things: $30,000 speaker cables, "cable elevators" to keep said cables from being compromised by contact with carpet, $1,500 power cords to ensure that the electricity that powers your hi-fi reaches it in pristine condition (apparently the high voltage lines outside your house aren't a problem, presumably because you can't pay to replace them with ridiculously expensive versions), and special, magically expensive, pieces of wood; as well as various hand-wavey mystical artefacts, such as lacquer which removes "overtones" and a magic chip which, when placed on a CD player, makes CDs sound better (apparently it works by means of quantum physics), not to a "CD clarifier" which not only enhances the sound of audio CDs, but also enhances the experience of "Multimedia CD-ROMs and Photo CDs". (I wonder if it'll make your copy of Microsoft Office work better too.)

(via Gizmodo) audiophiles scams snake oil stupidity 0

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