Consumer products

15 Credibility Street #20: A Mummy-Bundle of BS

Mummies, aliens, and alien mummies. It’s a strange strange world out there… News chat: 70th anniversary of Flying Saucers “Anonymous” needs to be ignored. Their goofy (and boring) claims are baseless and should not be considered “news”. Real people have to waste valuable time debunking this s**t. Gwnyeth’s GOOPy stickers Gizmodo was the first to point out…

15 Credibility Street #18: Crystal clear consideration of claims

News items: Crystal healing at Edith Cowan Uni in Australia. Kudos to the Australian Skeptics to making their views crystal clear on these bogus claims about healing properties of rocks. Electrosensitivity UK makes doubtful claims. Electrosensitivity UK is a nonprofit organization that placed advertisements in public places around London claiming “More and more research is starting…

Shark-repelling device rather dramatically fails real-world test (Update)

See update below for response from the Sharkbanz company. A product called “Sharkbanz” is getting some terrible publicity today as a Florida teenager wearing the magnet bracelet was bitten by a shark prompting questions about how useful this product actually is. Wearing shark repelling band, Teen gets attacked by shark Zack Davis was a lifelong…

FTC and Homeopathy: 15 Credibility Street extra

The FTC issued a policy statement on November 15, 2016 regarding the marketing of homeopathic “drugs” to consumers. The statement was the culmination of research and analysis incorporating information gathered from a workshop last year where various parties – homeopathy advocates, organizations and producers along with science-based medicine advocates – provided comments. The policy changes…

Medical license of holistic doctor in Florida revoked in court ruling on patient death

The Florida medical board has taken decisive action against a doctor who convinced a young woman to forgo chemotherapy for stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma by concluding her symptoms were likely due to allergies and other non-cancer related causes. Stephanie Sofronsky died under the care of Kenneth Woliner who ran Holistic Family Medicine in Boca Raton. …

Creator of gadgets for Ghost Adventures show says he does not believe in ghosts

Ghost hunters have been played by promoters of pricey ghost tech gadgets. Out in Popular Mechanics is a detailed article on the dubious history of ghost hunting gadgets. Three skeptics and a seasoned paranormal scholar chime in on the pseudoscientific basis behind these instruments but, in a revealing twist, two well-known “gadgeteers” of Ghost Adventures refused to talk. And…

The real Cicret may be that the device promised what can’t be delivered

Curious about that heavily hyped new bracelet that promises to turn your arm into a smartscreen? Many fund-raising campaigns promise outcomes that sound and look too good to be true. In comparison to current technology, the Cicret (pronounced ‘secret’) bracelet just may be that kind of empty promise. The Cicret bracelet is a revolutionary product that…

Thanks to Kickstarter, those who promote silly hats got a pile of free money

A hat that claims to shield your head from electromagnetic fields has become a successfully funded project on Kickstarter this past week. The people behind the campaign (whomever they are) took advantage of people’s ignorance and gullibility (and possibly paranoia) about the supposed harmful effects of electromagnetic fields. These beanies are basically just a fancy version…

Odom’s condition shines light on dangers of poorly-regulated supplements

As the media attempts to make sense of former pro basketball player Lamar Odom’s bizarre situation that resulted in him lying in a hospital near death, a report comes out in the NEJM showing that dietary supplements cause serious adverse affects that send people to the emergency room at an alarming rate. Odom spent three days in a Nevada…

Exposed “healer” Popoff is back to take your money

We are again pleased to bring you news of brilliant skeptical activism from UK’s Good Thinking Society as they expose former fraud televangelist Peter Popoff. He’s back to his old tricks “healing” people. But also, he has what appears to be a lucrative fund-raising plan that demands money from patrons in exchange for gimmicks and…

More evidence that dietary supplements can be a “raw deal”

News smidgen: Federal prosecutors say that one dietary supplement wholesaler in New Jersey spent four years selling products diluted with products like maltodextrin or rice flour, increasing profits but defrauding customers. The company’s owner now must forfeit $1 million in profits and has been sentenced to 40 months in prison and one year of supervised…

Sunburn is all natural. Is sunscreen?

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company has been sued by a customer who claims the company is making false claims in its marketing and labeling. The lawsuit alleges the Honest Company falsely says its products are “natural.” It further says that Honest’s sunscreen isn’t “effective.” Source: Jessica Alba’s Honest Company sued for alleged false labeling The Honest…

Recovery water healing claim sounds like snake oil

NFL player makes claim regarding the healing properties of fancy, “sciencey” nano-bubble water. Russell Wilson Says Recovery Water Healed His Head Injury from NFC Title Game  At one point in the story, Rodrick mentions a moment where Wilson claimed Reliant Recovery Water—a sports recovery drink in which he is a personal investor—helped him recover from…

Should sky lanterns be banned?

Chinese lanterns, also called sky lanterns, are small balloons made of paper that fly because of heated air from a small fire underneath. These devices are a prime source of “UFO” sightings since they move with the winds aloft and can accelerate unexpectedly but also remain seemingly stationary for a bit, confusing the witness. They…

Asparagus watergate

News Driblet: Has Whole Foods become “a bizarre religious cult”? Whole Foods tried to sell Los Angelenos actual asparagus in a bottle of water—for $6 Source: Asparagus water: This week’s overpriced yuppie Whole Foods diet trend garbage – Salon.com Yuck. The product has been removed. Tip: Bob M.

New study from tainted author with conflicting interests on GMOs

Back in September of 2012, French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said that they did a study that showed rats fed on a diet containing a Roundup-resistant maize variety or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The study…

Wi-fi marketing claim in China aimed at people who fear radiation

An obvious case of devious advertising can misinform consumers in a big way. Two Chinese tech firms have clashed over a new wireless router with a special setting for pregnant women. Source: ‘Pregnancy wi-fi’ router causes controversy in China Qihoo 360 unveiled the device, an upgrade to an existing product, which has three settings it…

Etsy will be turned into a newt

In the fall of 2012, Ebay took a stand against the sale of paranormal products. Though some people still tried to sell ghosts and “haunted” objects. Now, Etsy, the online marketplace for handcrafted goods has offended their community of supernatural vendors by shutting down accounts that sell spells and hexes. Witches are furious at Etsy for banning…

How do chickens with eight legs cross the road? Litigiously.

KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) has said enough to the parade of crazy rumors about their food and have sought legal satisfaction from Chinese companies that promote hoaxes that damage their finger-lickin’ good reputation. KFC sues Chinese companies for online rumors about its food Restaurant operator KFC said Monday it filed a lawsuit against three companies…