Without Chemicals

Spotted today at my local, terrible Pick n Pay, this stuff:

I will always be attracted by the word “microbe”. And so it was with this product, nestling amongst the cleaning products, with its owl in a nurses hat, studious-looking glasses and a bow tie, carrying a stethoscope. Why does he need the glasses? Don’t owls have amazing eyesight?
And what’s with the stethoscope? Is he a doctor, and not actually a professor? And why does the patient have cardiac or pulmonary problems if they’re using this wonderful product? None of this makes any sense.

But to be honest, it was the blurb below that really caught my eye.

Clean surfaces safely, without chemicals!

Oh really?
Well, if you’re going to do it without chemicals, then I’m guessing that there must be a motherfunning genie in your spray bottle there, because everything is made of chemicals, dahlink (possibly even genies, actually). But we’ll come to that in a second, because wait… there’s more:

Welcome to the new science of cleaning.
Harnessing the power of beneficial microbes to rid surfaces of harmful germs.

Oh really?
Microbes when they’re beneficial, germs when they’re harmful. It’s pure bacterial racism you’re looking at right there, folks.

But would you really want to spray your surfaces with microbes, beneficial or not, and no chemicals?
Well, it seems that actually, you don’t have to do either, because turn the bottle around and there’s this:

See it?

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Citrate, Orange Extract

Well, Aqua is just the posh word for water (which is a chemical), Sodium Citrate is the chemical name for the chemical Sodium Citrate, and your orange extract is basically a group of chemicals that comes from oranges.

That’s an awful lot of chemicals for a product which, just a bottle-turn away suggests that you can clean stuff “without chemicals”.

At least it’s halaal. And that’s likely to be because there is no pork in it and no microbes in there either. Beneficial or otherwise.

So I really am left wondering how this product is “harnessing the power of beneficial microbes to rid surfaces of harmful germs”.
Sure, the chemical in this solution might knock out some of the bugs growing on your kitchen surfaces, but it’s likely to be really ineffective when compared with “traditional” (chemical) cleaning agents, because although Sodium Citrate (which is the chemical name for the chemical Sodium Citrate, as mentioned above) might kill some “harmful germs”, a) it’s really rubbish at it, and b) it’ll kill just as many “beneficial microbes” as well.

Obviously, I didn’t buy any of this stuff, but I would fully expect the limited citrus scent to be overwhelmed with the stench of bullshit.

I’m done here for the moment, but visit the Professor Microbe website and you’ll learn that:

Professor Microbe™ uses Nano-Natural technology with Active Nanoids to cut through fat, oil and grease.

u wot m9?

Yeah, remember that BSc you were going to do in Nano-Natural Science? The one that had the foundation course in Active Nanoids?
You know: the one with all the made up words that sound ever so sciencey, but don’t actually exist?

And don’t even get me started on their “The Technology” page. It’s so deeply unscientific on every line that I’d even bet that Tim Noakes is jealous.

I shall return to Professor Microbe™ in a future post, and share more details on their utter nonsense from a considered, scientific point of view.

For soundbites only

This is a really rubbish column. (No, not this one, the one I’m about to link to.)
(Jeez. Don’t be so rude.)
(Honestly.)

Anyway, as I was about to say, THIS is a rubbish column. The warning signs are all there. It’s got scare quotes in the title. It’s unscientific, it’s biased, it’s pants. It uses only carefully selected facts from pieces of research that suit its narrative. It’s so bad that you could quite understand sad-faced LCHF cult members holding it up as an example of some of the stuff that their sinister movement has to put up with, while conveniently ignoring the fact that they themselves use exactly the same M.O..

It does the anti-Banting brigade no favours, save for this wonderful analogy of Noakes’ bizarre disciples:

Here’s how I’d describe Noakes’s trusting fans: told by Noakes that they’re flying, they yell: “Look at me” and “So far, so good” as they plummet past a 10th storey window and plunge towards the ground below.

Because yes, when you haven’t yet hit the ground, all does seem to be going to plan. The weight has fallen, you’re full of energy, and you’ve never felt better (maybe because you haven’t thought of the long term consequences). But then that’s probably because no-one really knows what they are.

Even pseudoscientific websites like the medically-challenged dietdoctor and the falsely authoritative authoritynutrition which claim to have “scientific validation” of the long-term safety of the diet, can’t actually provide us with anything more than studies done over 2 years, when you look more closely. That’s certainly long-term if you’re a hamster, and positively eternal if you’re a mayfly, but for humans, that doesn’t really even enter into “medium-term”.

Look, hey. My body is my body. Yours is yours. You’re more than welcome to fill your body with whatever you want as far as I’m concerned. And I even have the manners not to (outwardly) judge you for it. Unlike most of Tim’s weird flock.

Serve To Win – SEEMS LEGIT

I’m crying. I’m not sure it’s laughter, despair or possibly a gluten allergy since I did drive past a bakery on the way to work this morning.

More poo, because here’s a crappy piece about what (given the excerpt that I’ve just read) seems to be a crappy book.

It’s about eating and tennis. Here are the paragraphs that sit particularly uncomfortably with my rational brain:

Novak Djokovic was in Croatia in the summer of 2010 for a Davis Cup tie and was having a consultation with Dr Igor Cetojevic, a nutritionist and fellow Serb.

Cetojevic told Djokovic to stretch out his right arm while placing his left hand on his stomach. The doctor then pushed down on Djokovic’s right arm and told him to resist the pressure. The strength Djokovic would feel in holding firm, the doctor said, was exactly what he should experience.

Next Cetojevic gave Djokovic a slice of bread. He told the bemused player not to eat it but to hold it against his stomach with his left hand while he again pushed down on his outstretched right arm. To Djokovic’s astonishment, the arm felt appreciably weaker.

It was what Cetojevic had expected. His crude test had been to discover whether Djokovic was sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat and other bread grains.

I’ve just popped down to my local bookstore and I held a copy of “Serve To Win” up against my stomach and immediately felt nauseous.

It was what I expected.

My crude test had been to discover whether I was sensitive to complete bullshit.

H/T Jacques

When rules are ignored…

I really don’t want this topic to become a theme for 2012. I thought we’d covered it enough in 2011.

Why do some people think that rules apply to other people and not to them?

Yes, we’ve seen CyclistsParking, Seatbelts, Cellphones, Whaleways – and now it’s dog owners. You only have to go walking in Tokai Forest  or the Green Belt or Newlands or (what’s left of) Cecilia Forest to see the contempt that the dog owners of Southern Suburbs have for rules on cleaning up after their animals. Putting it concisely, there’s shit everywhere. (Sorry Mum).

The recent case of the 2-year old girl attacked by a rottweiler on Clifton Beach earlier this week was both saddening and confusing, given that there is a ban on dogs on that beach at the time she was attacked. But if this report on iAfrica is to be believed, that rule apparently didn’t apply to dog owner James Lech and that’s why Meeka Riley spent four hours in an operating theatre yesterday.

Of course, there are other issues here as well – but the fact that the dog (one of three) was unleashed and the fact that even though Mr Lech is apparently regarded as one of the best known animal behavioural “specialists” in the country (more of that below) not withstanding, the little girl would not have been attacked by the dog if its owner hadn’t been ignoring the “no dogs” rule.

And now Mr Lech – the self-appointed “Dog Shaman” who, according to his website:

…is able to understand the communicate the information between the animal dog world and the human world. This understanding helps heal both psychological and physical problems in both dogs and humans.

Riiight. Sad then that this modern day Dr Doolittle seemingly couldn’t communicate the word “stop” to his dog.

But look, if you search deeply enough between the adverts for healing crystals and the like, you’ll learn that:

the methods he uses and abilities are proven through hard science and fact.

Neither of which he actually eludes to, but I’m sure he just ran out of time when writing it up. I’m sure those links to a whole host of peer-reviewed journals, demonstrating the proven powers of canine shamanism are just around the corner. Although, I’m told that he is a little busy right now.

Incidentally, James’ blog also includes a video on “How to walk 16 dogs… or just one” and news of a (now rather dangerous sounding) “Pack Walk” this weekend. However, if you want to go on the walk and “witness the power of the pack” *gulp*, the cost is R120 per person and before you… er… walk your dog, it must have passed a “physical exam” at the Gooddog Psychology & Physical Rehabilitation Clinic.

The physical exam involves a 30 min walk on the treadmill. The cost of this physical examination is R280.

Which is fair enough, because if you’re going to walk your dog, you need an “expert” to make sure your dog can walk. Kerching!

It sounds to me as if most of the stuff printed on James’ website could do with being scooped up, placed in a small plastic bag and deposited in a handily placed bin.

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: Of course, I should have mentioned that Lech and his Rottie have previous form.
(Thanks Jeremy)

UPDATE 2: Apparently, the main man in the whole international dog whispering thing is an American called Cesar Millan. I learnt this because I saw a photo of James Lech and Mr Millan while I was researching this. In fact, Cesar Millan is mentioned no fewer than 16 times on Lech’s blog, e.g.

I sometimes get criticisms from dog trainers and animal behaviorists that like to mis-diagnose and state that what I and Cesar Millan do is domination theory or negative to the dog and that we don’t believe in “reward” theory.

Of course, if you pop onto Cesar’s site, you can find James Lech’s names as well – right under the heading:

The Following Sites, Products, Individuals, and events are NOT Affiliated with Cesar Millan, Inc. or Dog Whisperer

Where we are also asked to note that:

Please be aware that Cesar takes photographs with many of his fans at seminars and elsewhere. A photograph does not confirm that the trainer has worked with Cesar.

And:

 If you are a trainer posting a photograph taken with Cesar at a seminar or a similar event on your website, we ask that you post a disclaimer clearly stating that you have no official affiliation with Cesar Millan or the Dog Whisperer program.

Not the recent evidence suggests in any way that James Lech is a fraud, but I couldn’t find that disclaimer anywhere on James’ site, but perhaps I was sidetracked by the irony that James’ dogs are fed a vegan diet.

You are welcome to make your own vegan dog food, but I would rather recommend purchasing a pre-made mixture from us…

Kerching!

So no meat at all. Except on the beach on Wednesday, of course.

4 Real? The Fruitcake Alternative

Fans of the Manic Street Preachers will know that Richey James Edwards, ex-lyricist and guitarist, when once asked about whether the band was serious about their brand of music, carved the words “4 REAL” into his arm with a razor blade he was carrying. The injury required hospitalisation and seventeen stitches.
Two questions spring immediately to mind here: Firstly, why was he carrying a razor blade? And secondly, why did he slice open his forearm with said razor blade?
The answers are clear. Richey James Edwards was a complete fruitcake.

Talking of which, I came across an utterly brilliant website recently. Well – it’s either brilliant or completely fruitcake – hence my posing the question á la Richey Edwards, “4 Real?”.

The inventor of the Kadir-Buxton Method and author of the site by the same name appears to be Labour Party activist and all round fruitcake, Andy Kadir-Buxton. And he has all of our best interests at heart:

Making the world a better place
Decades ago I discovered a cure for mental health problems. The cure, which I term the Kadir-Buxton Method, has been used on a wide variety of mental health problems. The procedure stuns and resets the brain of the patient, so that the patient returns to a normal condition. The Kadir-Buxton Method is done by making a fist of both hands, and striking both ears of the patient at exactly the same time and pressure with the soft part of the inner hand which is where the thumb joins the hand.
The procedure is painless and the patient regains consciousness faster the less hard the double blow is struck. With practice, I am able to render the patients unconscious for only thirty seconds. Other individuals have fared even better.

Sounds good. I sometimes find that I need my brain reset. Mainly after reading stuff like that. But, if I’m completely honest, that just sounds like you are giving the victim patient a punch, no?

At this point I would like to explain the difference between a stun and a punch. With the Kadir-Buxton Method, a patient standing on one leg whilst holding a rose would still be standing on one leg and holding a rose when they were cured. With a punch, the patient would be lying prone on the floor, and could well have dropped the rose. And just to add insult to injury, they would still be mentally ill. Try it for yourselves if you do not believe me.

I was going to test this claim, but I couldn’t find any roses or (surprisingly) volunteers.

I haven’t had chance to go through the whole Kadir-Buxton website as yet, mainly because I only got so far before my sides were aching from laughter and my brain needed a break from the endless stream of unbelievable bullshit that it was being bombarded with. I was about to stop – but then, this:

In the 1980s I fended off an unprovoked attack. What I did was hit my attacker in the Jugular vein in the neck hard with the tip of my finger. (The Femoral artery in the leg can be used in the same way as an alternative.)

Whilst my attacker was incapacitated on the floor by this martial arts technique I gave the person a bruising slap round the buttocks. When the attacker came to it was said that the experience was even better than sex.

Having just been the attempted victim of an unprovoked attack, and having incapacitated the would-be attacker with a martial arts technique, how many of us would then have given the floored bloke a good kicking to teach him a valuable lesson? How many of us would have simply walked away? I know I would have probably done both.
I would suggest that there would be very, very few of us who would have spanked the gentleman round the buttocks and then awaited his eventual return to consciousness in order to gauge whether our actions had stimulated him, sexually-speaking?
That’s what makes Andy Kadir-Buxton different from you or I. That’s what makes him special. That’s why he makes these sort of discoveries:

I knew at once I was on to another invention.

Indeed. Whereas your would-be attacker was wondering where the hell he was, how he got the ball-gag in his mouth and why he was chained to a radiator. Oh – and what on earth you were doing in that PVC catsuit.

I would be extremely disappointed if there is not more mirth, merriment and overall fruitcake goodness to be had from the Kadir-Buxton site. After all, how many websites can you name which have statements like: 

As Governments around the world have been looking for a safe alternative to sex this appears to be it. A simple arm lock from a consenting friend is enough to make life enjoyable. The length of unconsciousness depends on how hard the strike is and the ability to judge comes with practice.

Yes, there is a message for us all in the writings of Andy Kadir-Buxton.
The trick, once you’ve got that message, is to completely disregard the message and run a long, long way away.