Sat 29 Aug 2009
It was recently brought to my attention that the purveyors of the ludicrous Shoo!TAG™ have a bunch of clips up on YouTube that feature all manner of spurious claims. Since they have already demonstrated the scale of their ignorance here on The Cow, this will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but seeing that there is virtually no balanced criticism of the product on the net, and because of their increasingly bad behaviour (see below)(i), I feel obliged to bring to your attention some further egregious idiocy.
The Shoo!TAG™ YouTube presence includes a number of short vox-pop style grabs in a question-and-answer style, where various Shoo!TAG™ personages pose and then answer questions about the product. Here are two examples that talk about Shoo!TAG™ and EMF, or electromagnetic fields. For your convenience I have included the verbatim transcript of each segment under the video.
Q: Does Shoo!TAG™ use a radio frequency to transmit its signal?
Kathy M. Heiney: No! We use no radio frequencies, we use no harmful EMF frequencies. (We…) the Shoo!TAG™ is a Schumann wave based frequency which supports life.
Q: Are there any dangers associated with Shoo!TAG™?
Melissa Mowrer Rogers: Not to my knowledge. It’s chemical-free, it’s non-toxic, um… it’s made of earth-friendly frequencies and they’re… it’s not a EMF frequency that everybody’s worried about with cellphone towers and that type thing. It has nothing to do with that. So to my knowledge there’s really no dangers at all with Shoo!TAG™
Got that? Shoo!TAG™ DOES NOT use EMF frequencies. Oh, n-o-o-o-o – it uses ‘Schumann waves’. I guess that what they’re talking about (who can do anything but guess?) is Schumann resonances which, according to Wikipedia, are
… a set of spectrum peaks in the extremely low frequency portion of the Earth’s electromagnetic field spectrum. (emphasis mine).
In what we are coming to expect from these people as typical fashion, Kathy Heiney (in the top clip) is spewing forth some half-baked nonsense as if it’s meaningful, based on a very poor understanding of science. Aside from anything, Schumann resonances would be entirely impossible to generate from a magnetic strip on a plastic card. Let me quote from the Wikipedia article:
Lightning discharges are considered to be the primary natural source of Schumann resonance excitation…
Since the makers of Shoo!TAG™ have claimed elsewhere that it contains no power source, this is quite clearly nonsense. Of course, Schumann waves could be a completely different proposition, but unfortunately there is no reference to them in the entirety of the internet (except, again unsurprisingly, on various and sundry pseudoscientific web pages to do with an assortment of ‘mystical healing’ techniques).
In the second of these clips, Melissa Rogers, the other of Shoo!TAG™’s creative masterminds claims that the frequencies are ‘earth-friendly’ and ‘non-toxic’ – vacuous hogwash if ever it was uttered. She also vacillates on the level of her responsibility by saying that there are no dangers associated with Shoo!TAG™ to her knowledge. Lady, it’s your product. If you know what it’s supposed to do and how it’s supposed to work, then I’d expect a lot more confidence than you’re exhibiting here.(ii)
Elsewhere in the Web-o-sphere, we find the following interesting exchange on Yahoo Answers:
Bigger in TX: Has anyone tried the Shoo Tag and gotten good results…?
The anonymous ‘B’ (who I think you will agree has all the insight and scientific acumen of a certain Ms Melissa Rogers): I haven’t, but am considering. Here’s what I’ve found so far: A three dimensional or trivector signature has been imprinted onto the magnetic field of a three field magnetic memory card. This card is then hung around the neck of an animal and the magnetic field can stimulate the biology of the animal to build up defense to invaders. This is completely safe and proficient. In our preliminary farm tests the researchers found 75% less infestation of the insect pests when using the strips than in control populations. Further testing is presently being done in Europe.(iii)
A ‘trivector signature’? A ‘three field magnetic memory card’? The testing is ‘being done in Europe’? If anyone was thinking I’m being unnecessarily hard on a couple of nutty and deluded but well-meaning duffers, this should make it clear that these people are cynical con-artists. They make these ‘cards’. They know full well that all this stuff they’re peddling is hooey. If there are any such tests as the ones they claim, where are the published results? (As if it’s going to come as any surprise, the ‘sources’ quoted in the answer’ are nothing of the sort and just link back to either the Shoo!TAG™ site or other sites that empty-headedly endorse the stupid thing).
Show us the science, Shoo!TAG™ That’s ALL you have to do. Show us the science.
I said above that the Shoo!TAG™ people are guilty of bad behaviour, so let me end on that note. When I saw some of the YouTube clips go up, I posted a user comment (as one is allowed to do on YouTube). This is what I said:
ShooTag is a useless gadget based on pseudoscientific thinking. Ask yourself this question: if it was anywhere near as effective as the makers claim, why hasn’t it been picked up by doctors fighting malaria in all corners of the world?
(The answer is, in case you didn’t guess: Because it simply doesn’t work.)
Someone almost immediately marked it as spam. In the grand tradition of baseless claims throughout history, the Shoo!TAG™ mob are resorting to gagging any criticism of their daft gadget. Of course, that’s all they can do because they are manifestly unable to defend themselves or their product in any credible fashion.
UPDATE March 2015: The videos I linked above – like much of the other stuff that makes the claims of the ShooTag people look so ridiculous – have been redacted from YouTube. Nothing quite like rewriting history to cover up your mistakes.
- Oh, alright – and because I’m enjoying the sport… [↩]
- Of course this is a characteristic ploy of all practitioners of pseudoscience – equivocate. That way, you can never be caught out. In the event that the scary Schumann waves cause bolts of lightning to erupt out of the Shoo!TAG™ she can’t be called to account. [↩]
- Notice how the narrative voice changes from an ‘interested’ third party (‘I haven’t tried it’) to an informed participant (‘our preliminary tests’). [↩]