Fri 3 Aug 2012
This diagram relates to this post (just in case you came here randomly).
Fri 3 Aug 2012
This diagram relates to this post (just in case you came here randomly).
Thu 2 Aug 2012
What do you get, Faithful Acowlytes, if you take one big frakking Pile of Stupid, and then multiply it by another big frakking Pile of Stupid? Give up? You get this article (kindly pointed out to me by dinahmow) called ‘Trituration Proving of the Light of Saturn’ on a website named Interhomeopathy. Or, to speak technically for a moment, you get a Great Mountain of Steaming Horseshit. What we’re talking here Cowpokes, is astrology meets homeopathy.
I know you just can’t wait.
In brief, the ‘Trituration Proving of the Light of Saturn’, provides a detailed account of a group of people chopping up lactose powder that has been exposed, via a telescope, to the light of Saturn, and then attempting to discover the ‘homeopathic effects’ of the substance so prepared.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The method employed to gather this data involves the process of homeopathic ‘proving’. In case you don’t know what that is (and why would you, really?), it involves a bunch of volunteers dosing up on the material in question and then writing down any and all kinds of shit that occurs to them. By processes unfathomable, that shit is then distilled into less shit, and whatever that shit is, the homeopathic remedy is the opposite of it. Got that? No? Well, I can’t say as I blame you, but there it is.
What we have here, in essence, is an outpouring of inebriated hogwash so profound as to make the documentation of Special One Drop Liquid look like Einstein’s ruminations on the Photoelectric Effect. Only I fear that unlike the SODL proprietor, the people behind TPLS could not be technically labelled clinically insane. Frighteningly enough.
To give you a flavour, from the convenor’s notes:
The trituration process began with lots of giggling and silliness; and throughout there was talk of getting high, stories about getting high. Senses were distorted.(i) One prover kept seeing smoke rise from the milk sugar as she ground and scraped.
And to think some people say there’s no science in homeopathy!
The conversation kept circling back to pizza: “Any food in the universe can be better with cheese… One prover demonstrated a seductive way of eating a sandwich.”
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall.
The timekeeper had tremendous difficulty keeping track of the time for the grinding and scraping of the remedy throughout the entire process.
Yeah, I can see how this would be challenging. I’m experiencing something of a time-dilation effect just trying to follow it all.
Head pain over eyes. Sharp pain right temple. Pressive pain right temple.
Head ache over left eye.
I’m with you, provers! I’m getting a head pain just reading about it. That shit sure is powerful.
The female provers especially experienced a great deal of itchiness: Head, nose, eyes itchy. Head itchy. Back itchy, breasts itchy, thighs. Waves of itchiness in various parts of body, especially head.
YES! YES! I too have an itchy head. Right inside my head, where my brain is, specifically the part of the brain that tries to understand how a group of evolved hominids can be so mind-numbingly daft. It’s so itchy I want to stick a knitting needle through my eye cavity in an effort to scratch it.
And on, and on, and on it goes, in an elliptic waffle of hippie noodling that just makes me sad that these people were snorting the fumes of lactose rather than inhaling the spores of some kind of exotic fungus. From all this, it is concluded, somehow, that the Saturn-exposed milk sugar…
…might be effective for accident-related trauma, bone and nerve damage.
Yes, that’s right. Not that it might cure itching, or inhibit cheese cravings, or headaches or giggling, but that it might be effective for accident-related trauma. How they reached that conclusion, I have no fucking idea. It’s simply boggling that anybody can think there’s actual medical value in this whole process.
I know you’ll be right there with me, loyal Cowmrades, when we tune in next week for the next instalment of this astonishing adventure: Beneficial Effects of the Light from Uranus on Unicorn Rainbow Powder.
Please, someone wake me up.
Fri 2 Mar 2012
The Director of Public Transport
March 2, 2012
I am writing to you this morning in an effort to obtain an answer to a question that has been puzzling me since I moved to Melbourne around five years ago. The house where I live is situated in leafy surroundings near a large park. Mostly it is very quiet here, especially at night. Quietness is a really good thing for sleeping.
There is a railway line across the road from my house. It is not a hugely busy line, but it does have a fair amount of domestic train traffic. I really like the sounds of the passing trains, and even when they start up at 4.30am for the weekday task of ferrying commuters into the city, the rumbling whoosh as they go by does not really bother me, nor interfere with my sleep. The same can be said for the late night trains that run until 1am.
Directly across from my house on the railway tracks is a foot crossing. This crossing has automated closing gates and a warning alarm that sounds a full minute or so before the train reaches the crossing. This system adroitly prevents pedestrians from walking out onto the train tracks when the train is approaching. Indeed, I have observed the system’s effectiveness on many occasions. Typically, people approach the crossing, hear the warning sound and see the gates close. To inadvertently continue onto the tracks, they would not only need to be completely deaf, but to also accidentally scale a meter high gate. To my knowledge no-one has so far missed these fairly obvious indications that a train is imminent.
Here is my question, then, Mr Director: given that there is a very succesful method in operation to prevent people from walking into the path of an oncoming train, WHY DO THE FREAKIN’ TRAIN DRIVERS FEEL THE NEED TO BLAST THEIR VERY LOUD HORNS IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE?
In the first place, the sounding of the LOUD horn appears to me to be entirely redundant given the existing safety system. People are already waiting quite immobile at the closed gates well before the LOUD horn has rent the peaceful silence asunder with its brassy shriek. I could perhaps embrace the concept that the LOUD horn is an ‘extra’ precaution – a better-safe-than-sorry flourish, if you like – were it not for the fact that this ear-frakking aural event usually happens at a point about 8 meters from the crossing. This is so close that it seems to me to be entirely useless for any practical purpose. Here is a diagram to help you visualize the situation, Mr Director:
And here is a movie I took this morning of a train approaching the crossing with its closed gates (there were no pedestrians at this time, either at the gate or staggering bewildered across the rails).
If we assume that the train is travelling at a modest 40km per hour(i) then by my calculation it covers that 8 meters between the time it blasts its LOUD horn and the pedestrian crossing in something less than a second. Are you familiar with the African cheetah, Mr Director? The African cheetah is the fastest land animal in existence. It can run at an astonishing 120km per hour at top speed. That’s 3 meters a second. Here’s a picture of a cheetah running:
Mr Director, if an African cheetah happened to be on the railway tracks in front of my house as a train approached and sounded its LOUD horn a mere 8 meters away, it is doubtful that even it would have a chance of reacting to the event and escaping unscathed.
A human being at peak fitness can run at a top speed of about a third that of a cheetah. I don’t see many human beings of peak fitness in these parts. I think you can probably see what I’m getting at here.
Now, you may be tempted to tell me, Mr Director, that the Blowing of the LOUD Horns is standard operational practice throughout the Melbourne suburban rail system. You might venture to offer the explanation that drivers are instructed, as a general rule, to sound horns at crossings and stations as a commitment to the security of the community, and that they simply reflexively carry out the action unaware that some crossings already have adequate safety precautions installed. And I might be tempted to believe that explanation except for one small thing: the Blowing of the LOUD Horns is completely ad hoc. Sometimes the LOUD horns are sounded, and sometimes they are not. By my reckoning, about 6 in every 10 drivers feel the need to shatter everyone’s eardrums, mostly in the pre-dawn period. Horn blasting would appear, then, to be completely discretionary.(ii)
I understand that you are a busy man and must have many issues on your plate, so, in order that I get some idea as to why I must be jarred from my sleep repeatedly through the early hours of the morning by the shriek of MetLink banshees, I have prepared my question with answers in a multiple choice form below. I would appreciate it greatly if you could tick the appropriate box and send your reply back to me at your earliest convenience.
Our suburban train drivers blast their LOUD horns a mere 8 meters from the pedestrian railway crossing because:
□ Isn’t everyone already awake at 4.30am?
□ We spent money on installing horns so we have to justify the expense.
□ What else is there to do when you drive a train?
□ Silence is an abomination.
□ We hate the people who aren’t travelling on our trains as much as the people who are.
□ Train drivers have no comprehension of physics and/or acoustics.
□ Train drivers have excellent comprehension of physics and/or acoustics, and are evil.
□ MetLink has shares in sleep clinics.
□ We are attempting to address the Melbourne cheetah problem.
□ We are attempting to address the Melbourne fat kid problem.
□ There is no good reason. It’s quite ridiculous and I’ll put a stop to it immediately.
I look forward to your speedy response,
The Reverend Anaglyph
Church of the Tetherd Cow
Sat 21 Jan 2012
Just suppose, dear friends, that someone gave you (for your birthday, perhaps) a quality bottle of wine, but of a rather current vintage. You would probably know that the wise thing to do is to lay it aside for a couple of years in which time its component parts would do that magical aging thing that wine components do, and, upon opening it in 2020, say,(i) you would have a tipple that was superior to that same wine opened today.
If, however, you are a mildly impatient person like myself, the temptation to open that bottle in confluence with some other circumstance (such as running out of other available bottles, for example) might cause you to reach for the corkscrew somewhat prematurely, depriving you of the optimal wine experience.
Well, Faithful Acowlytes, at last that dilemma is solved forever! I herewith present to you, the Vintage Express Wine & Liquor Aging Accelerator.
The VEWLAA takes your infant brew and, using ‘powerful Neodymium magnets’ ages your drink 10 years in 10 seconds. No, no, seriously, it does! With magnets. Look, here’s the science behind it:
I must admit I was quite skeptical, but this product is amazing. You can take a mid-range bottle of wine and in a few minutes, spectacular bottle of wine!
~Trina from Florida.
We used the wine ager on Christmas Eve on some delicious NYS Finger Lakes Red. We did not do an official before and after taste test but the wine seemed to taste richer and smoother on the palate.
How does it work? Not sure. Do I believe the explanation? Not really. All I know is that the accelerator really changes things somehow, and makes wine/whiskey taste much more smooth and mellow.
Well, OK, not science, but testimonials, and that’s exactly the same thing, right?
I’m a Believer says:
We haven’t try with just a glass but with the entire bottle let it age overnight in the accelerator
Overnight! Crikey, that must have aged the damn stuff some several centuries. How great would that taste, eh? KnuckleheadBBQ(ii) from Montana and his wife have even gone so far as:
… routinely leaving a bottle of wine in it for several days before opening it…
Man – that would have to be like drinking something fermented in the Mesozoic!(iii)
Ah yes, it is yet another wine scam, this time one that invokes that age-old pseudoscientific notion that magnets confer beneficial properties on anything that comes within their field of influence. In this case, the powerful neodymium magnets, through some completely unspecified action have the fortunate effect of making wine taste better.(iv)
OK, well, all the above came from Skymall (which sells the ‘accelerator’), via a link thoughtfully provided to me by acce245. But a little detective work turns up the people responsible for the VEWLAA. And w00t! They have a science page. Oh how I LOVE a science page. Let’s find out how the VEWLAA really works:
The earth’s magnetic field helps create the great taste of fresh fruits. During the long growing season, fruit is held in a relatively constant position in relation to the earth’s magnetic field, aligning the liquid particles much like tiny compass needles. This natural balance gives fresh picked fruit its smooth, natural flavor.
The delicate magnetic alignment of the liquid particles is destroyed during the crushing, straining, pasteurizing, fermenting and distilling used to manufacture beverages, and much of the smooth natural taste is lost. The traditional slow aging process of wine and distilled spirits allows the particles to once again become aligned by the earth’s magnetic field, but this process takes years, and dramatically increases the cost of the finished product.
Oh, how much does my stomach hurt from the laughing? Of course, once you had your polarities are re-aligned, you’d want to be mighty careful about swirling your glass, right? ‘Cos then you might ruffle its molecules’ nap. I don’t think neodymium magnets would fix that.
But hey – the VEWLAA is supposed to work on other beverages too. Why, Ethan, above, proclaims:
We tested juice, coffee, red bull/vodka. Someone even was convinced that crystallized ginger was more potent after being aged.
Are you following this Acowlytes? 10+ year-old coffee, juice, Red Bull and crystallized ginger are superior to their fresh equivalents! My own personal experience tells me that four-day-old coffee tastes disgusting, let alone coffee that’s been standing for 10 years, so I think you could consider me a little skeptical of these claims.
My favourite part of the Vintage Express site, though, is their own testimonials page. It features glowing reports from ‘Jeff’ a ‘wine & spirits appreciator’ and a ‘female taste tester’. Wow, am I SOLD!
Oh, and there’s also sommelier Michael Hanke from Morton’s Restaurant, Seattle, who has probably destroyed his credibility beyond all hope of salvation by appearing in a video endorsing the VEWLAA. After watching it, I’m inclined to conclude that the reporter who declares ‘I don’t know much about wines’ at the beginning of the story is more of an expert than the expert.
So, is there any real science behind the idea that magnets can age wine? The answer is no. But does this does stop a proliferation of devices like the VEWLAA? The answer is also, quite unsurprisingly I think you will agree, no.
•The Wine Clip (‘Using magnets to treat fluids – water, fuel, wine, etc. – is not a new idea.’ No, but it’s a frikkin’ stupid one.)
•The Wine Cellar Express (‘We can’t explain it ourselves… will the wonders of science never cease to amaze us!’
•The Wine Enhancer (You really have to visit this site)
•The Perfect Sommelier (‘How it works is a mystery!’)
Dozens of sites, claims that overthrow the laws of physics, hyperbole that makes PT Barnum look modest, veritable rivers of gushing subjectivity and not one single, spare, scrap of science. It is to make one want to bash one’s head on the table in sheer despair. Is there no skepticism of these stupid gadgets? Well, it turns out that not all wine drinkers are quite as brainless as the ones providing testimonials for the abovementioned devices. One sensible wine site that I found – The Winelover’s Page – had this to say about the Catania Wine Enhancer:
After an extended E-mail correspondence, Mr. Catania talked me into trying a Wine Enhancer for myself. I duly set up a double-blind tasting for a group of local sommeliers, comparing treated and untreated glasses of wines in unmarked glasses, revealing the identity of the treated glass only after the scores were in. I tried it again with other groups, and at home, repeatedly, always tasting “blind.” The results were never better (or worse) than random, suggesting that the device has no effect on wine at all.
Similar tests by myself and others with the other products [Some of these are mentioned above - Rev.], including a rather hilarious “offline” session in NYC with a group of our forum members and the inventor of the Wine Cellar Express, showed consistently similar results: Zero, zip, nothing, nada.
At last, the voice of reason. As always, when the science is correctly applied, the truth will out.
And that’s something to which you can reliably raise a glass. Slàinte!
Tue 27 Dec 2011
You know, I reckon that if Jesus could have looked forward in time to all the things for which he’d be responsible, he’d have stayed in the carpentry workshop and carved out a career making sideboards and nice nested table sets.
Tue 29 Nov 2011
Sometimes, Faithful Acowlytes, teh stoopid in the world overreaches itself and becomes just plain criminal. Today, as Exhibit 1, I give you:
No, dear friends, this is not some kind of Tetherd Cow parody of the worthy and quite awesome Médecins Sans Frontières, although it’s so fuckin’ unbelievable that it’s hard to accept that it’s anything but a cruel prank. Yes, you understood it correctly: these are homeopaths who model themselves on Doctors Without Borders(i) and travel to poor countries like Haiti to spread useless superstitious nonsense based on the brainless ‘medical’ intuitions of an 18th century German village doctor. This, to my mind, is a tragedy of vast proportions.
Volunteers Sally Tamplin, Holly Manoogian and Alyssa Wostrel traveled to Port-au-Prince on May 23 and returned home on June 3, participating in the longest, most intense undertaking in that country by HWB. Responding to requests by charitable groups in Haiti, the volunteers worked not only in the capital but also traveled to sites in the countryside. Their ten-day schedule was a whirlwind of compassionate homeopathic intervention.
Intervention? What – they were visiting sick Haitians with poor access to medical care and substituting no medical care at all? Yeah, that’s what I call intervention, alright, although I fail to see where the compassion comes in.
When I see the pictures of middle-class white women (they are mostly women, it seems) on this site smiling and hugging little black kids, it makes me furious. I know they are probably all just misguided and good-intentioned and even believe that what they are doing is helpful, but I just want to point something out here: people in places like Haiti who are in desperate need of good medical care look at these healthy, rich Americans and trust them to be bringing that same standard of health to their own country. These borderless homeopaths, however, didn’t come by the possession of their good health via superstitious nonsense. They are healthy solely because of science; science that improved their knowledge of nutrition; science that gave them a good understanding of hygiene; science that made childbirth relatively safe; science that gave them immunity against polio and measles and smallpox and tuberculosis;(ii) science that allows their society to understand insect-borne diseases and keep them under control. And let’s be clear here: there is NO science in homeopathy. None. When one of these homeopaths contracts a serious infection back home in their own wealthy country, they don’t treat it with some silly sugar water potion. If they do, they die. These privileged people have become so ignorant of the powerful scientific basis upon which their standards of health are built, that it has become completely transparent to them. They apparently think they are healthy just because.
As I contemplate this situation, though, I strangely begin to find myself in agreement with one of the basic notions of homeopathy. According to homeopathic beliefs the more dilute a homeopathic remedy is, the more powerful its effects – as I’m sure you already know. I propose, then, that Homeopaths Without Borders act on this basic tenet of their practice. Let’s say one homeopath leaves Haiti- surely the positive effect of Homeopaths Without Borders on the Haitian people increases. If a few more leave, the beneficial effects become stronger still. And if we really ultra-dilute the pool and ALL homeopaths leave Haiti, then I think you’d agree that they would be doing the most good they could possibly do.
Let’s see if they can fault the logic in that argument…