Wed 1 Apr 2009
Does your pet have fleas? Do you laboriously de-flea Fido or Felix every few months, dreading the inevitable infestation when summer arrives? Is your flea comb blunt-to-the-blade from the amount of use it gets? Well my friend THOSE DAYS ARE GONE! The wondrous ShooTag™ has arrived! No more chemicals! No more squishing the little blood-suckers between your nails! No more WORK! Just clip on the ShooTag™ & kick back with another mojito as the miracle of ‘science’ brings its quantum electro-dynamic guns to bear on the field of pest control!
It is to employ teh Sarcasm.
Yes folks, it’s another nutty scam from the same mindset that brought you unlimited free energy, clairvoyant pens and magic water. Swinging in with that Ol’ Reliable of pseudoscience, ‘magnetism’, ShooTag™ uses a ‘three dimensional electromagnetic static field embedded in a magnetic strip’ to rid your pet from pests for up to 4 months! I know – it sounds incredible! Because it is! Entirely incredible, as in, ‘not credible’.
Let’s examine some of the claims that the purveyors of ShooTag™ offer up on their site. This is a terrific opportunity to observe the workings of a classic con in action:
First, pick an outcome that is difficult to determine in a real world situation: Of course, you know when your pet has fleas – it’s fairly obvious. You might possibly even know when your pet doesn’t have any fleas at all – but that’s a lot harder to tell. The gamut of possibilities between those two extremes, though, is highly difficult to gauge outside a controlled laboratory setting. It’s the rich, vast exploitable landscape of anecdotal evidence. Perfect! Line the suckers up!
Next, make some extravagant but hard-to-disprove claims: ‘ShooTag™ combines cutting-edge science and technology to produce a “green” product that emits electromagnetic frequencies to keeps pests at away!'; It ‘uses electromagnetic frequencies to create a protective barrier from pests that lasts up to 4 months!.
Let’s examine some of those words: What evidence exists to say that electromagnetic frequencies keep pests away? There’s none that I could find (except on the websites of people selling products similar to ShooTag™). Why are electromagnetic frequencies ‘green’ here, but ‘toxic’ when you use your mobile phone? How come the barrier ‘lasts up to 4 months’? If it’s a magnet, shouldn’t it last forever? Or, if it is an electromagnet and has batteries, then couldn’t you replace them? Are we supposed to believe that the elecromagnetic properties of ShooTag™ sort of fade away over time? Could it be that, after four months you have to (gasp) buy another ShooTag™? And those two words ‘up to’… ‘Up to’ could be anywhere from a couple of days onward… It’s advertising-speak piled on hogwash piled on flim-flam.
The next step: blind them with science: There’s a tab at the top of the ShooTag™ home page that takes us to ‘The Science Behind ShooTag™’. Let’s see now… hmmm. ‘Atoms are mostly space…’ yes, well, OK…‘magnetic static…’ (Magnetic static? What the…?), ‘quantum and gravitational fields…’ (is this a flea-control system or a warp drive?) and best of all ‘produces an expanding barrier effect, keeping away the targeted pests’. ‘Targeted pests’? The electromagnetism has the ability to discriminate?
In case it needs to be said, the ‘science’ offered up on this page is what I shall henceforth call ‘sausage science’, ie, baloney. The fancy-sounding phrases and the faux lesson in quantum electrodynamics are as nonsensical as a jabberwocky. The word ‘quantum’ itself has become the modern equivalent of ‘magnetism'; a mysterious force that [cue theremin] ‘No-one understands!’ Heck, why shouldn’t it repel fleas!
But wait! There’s more! What’s this over in the corner here – a scientific document! It’s a pdf of a report to something called the Quantum Agriculture Journal by a Prof William Nelson.(i) Let’s do a Search™ on the ol’ Quantum Agriculture Journal… that sounds like something I might want to subscribe to! Well, well – sadly (if a little predictably), only two lonely links(ii), both of them pointing back to the ShooTag site. And as for ‘Prof’ Nelson… let’s just say that in the Quantum Hoodjy Goodjy Stakes he’s ‘got form’.(iii); The ‘scientific’ document itself (if you can be bothered) is a hare-brained ramble through a whole mess of abracadabra, beginning with some descriptions of chaotic attractors, jumping through magnetic resonance imaging and the electrical sensitivity of sharks, and ending up with the conductivity of chemicals in cells. It’s the most meaningless agglomeration of waffle that I’ve attempted to read in a very long while. If you’ve ever even seen a scientific paper, you know this ain’t one of those.
You might think, from reading through the ShooTag™ site that this is all a bit of harmless misguided opportunism, but Faithful Acowlytes, these disingenuous swindlers must know that what they sell is crap. The language they use, the fake ‘journal’ they invoke, their diffuse claims, the meaningless testimonials(iv) – all these things are the conjurings of cynical rip-off merchants. If they have science, they’d show it. If this thing worked, malaria doctors from Bolivia to Eritrea would be all over it (otherwise, you’ve got to be thinking they either don’t know about it… um… or they are willfully letting their patients die. Why? Oh, that’s right: it’s all an Evil Plot by Big Pharma!)
Anyways, Cowpokes, fear not. Here at TCA Labs the boffins have been hard at work to remedy this appalling situation. Stay tuned for our Part 2 of this post when we will be bringing you the TCA ShooWooWoo™…
ADDENDUM: More about ShooTag™, including a ‘defense’ of the product from ShooTag™’s CEO here.
Thanks (if that’s the right word) to Atlas for bringing ShooTag™ to the attention of The Cow
- This has been removed from the Shoo!TAG site after my criticism. I’ll let that action speak for itself. [↩]
- I guess I’m giving them three now… [↩]
- You might, for amusement, like to look up his Xrroid Quantum Medical Consciousness Interface System. If anyone suffers from xrroids, it’s this guy, given the amount of utter crap that he generates. [↩]
- These ‘real-life’ people (all from Texas it would seem) are credible exactly why? [↩]