Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tea? Water? Blood? Ram cutlets?

Here at Worldwide Wacko Watch, it's been a busy week.

First, we have news from far-off Kyrgyzstan, that their attempts to establish a parliamentary democracy have kind of gone off the rails.  The new government, elected just last October, has had some difficulty in coming to consensus.  In fact, last month a senior government official resigned temporarily in frustration, but was persuaded to return when it appeared that the government was on the verge of collapse.

So, put yourself in their shoes -- they are, for the first time in their history, conducting the noble experiment of a democratic government, and due to factionalism and sheer stubbornness, the whole thing seems to be coming unraveled.  What do you do?

What you do, of course, is slaughter some rams to banish the evil spirits.

Which is what they did.  Right on the front lawn of the parliament building.  Leaving us here at WWW kind of speechless, honestly.  My only question is, did they suddenly forget what century it was?

Then, we have news from Italy that a pair of perfume makers, Antonio Zuddas and Giovanni Castelli, are releasing a new line of perfumes that are intended to match your blood type.

"Blood Concept is just a celebration of human life through an interpretation of its evolutionary process," Zuddas said.  "To be more accurate, it's an interpretation of the evolution of our most important element, the blood in our veins."

Apparently, each scent is supposed to match the "essence" of the blood type.  So, the next time the doctor is doing blood type matching for you, to hell with those silly serum antigens and so on.  If they want to know if you're type B, they should simply titer your blood for traces of black cherry, pomegranate and patchouli.

The story, unfortunately, doesn't end there.  A fellow calling himself Merticus, who is a founding member of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance (I am not making this up) says he is eager to use the perfumes, and is especially fond of type O.  He didn't say if he meant the scent, or the actual blood.

Not all vampires are so, um, sanguine, however.  Meredith Woerner, a New York City vampirologist, said, "It's cheesy.  It's chintzy.  It's not their style. I can't imagine a real vampire would be that enticed by fake blood.  In fact, if they detected the scent of it, it might make you more of a target for a mercy killing."

Which just leaves me with one question: how do you learn to become a vampirologist?  Do colleges have departments of vampirology, from which you could get a degree?  It's not like vampires actually exist, with apologies to Merticus and the other wingnuts at the Atlanta Vampire Alliance.  So could you become a unicornologist?  A centaurologist?  A dragonologist?  On the other hand, Woerner seems to take the whole thing pretty seriously, so maybe I shouldn't scoff, or make bad puns about how spending your time studying vampires would be all in vein.

Okay, right.  In other news of beverages, we have a story in from China that a tea plantation in Gushi is advertising for buxom virgins to harvest tea using only their lips.  Prospective harvesters have to have "large breasts, no sexual experience, and no visible scars or birthmarks."

You would think that any newspaper advertisement looking for women with the aforementioned characteristics wouldn't be wanting them to harvest tea.  But strangely enough, that's exactly what they are after.

Li Yong, a spokesman for the Jiuhua Tea Plantation, said: "It is much harder work than it looks.  They have to cleanse themselves completely before they start working and perform a special exercise program to build up their necks and lips."

I have to admit to some curiosity about how you do exercises to "build up your lips," but Mr. Li was not forthcoming about that aspect of the job.

The tea thus harvested, which is understandably very expensive, is supposed to invoke fairies, which rise to the sky when the tea is brewed.  (Fairyology as a career?  Nah, never mind.)  The tea is then supposed to cure diseases, including, presumably, the curse of having too much money and too little brains.

Lastly, if blood or "lip tea" don't do it for you, we are finding advertisements for a relatively new health fad, and that's drinking "ionized" or "alkalinized" water.  You buy a machine (they run upwards of $40 at most of the sites I looked at) which runs an electrical current through the water, and this is supposed to "apply electromagnetic forces" to the water molecules, "ionizing them, and activating them as a powerful antioxidant."  The sites claim that "drinking acidic water is known by medical science to cause many ailments, such as obesity, heart problems, and high blood pressure."

Funny, I thought obesity was caused by eating too much and exercising too little, but what do I know?

One of many problems with this claim is that you can't ionize pure water.  If you run a current through it, it will break down (very slowly, because pure water is a crummy conductor of electricity) into hydrogen and oxygen.  Since any pH change (alkalinity or acidity) is caused by having an imbalance of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, you can't do it by electrolysis; you're getting rid of the oxygen and hydrogen at the same rate, so when you're done, you still have pure water (pH = 7).

Secondly, if "drinking acidic water" is dangerous to health, you have to wonder why I don't drop dead after having my morning orange juice (pH = 5 or so).  And because our stomach juices are highly acidic (pH = 1.5), we should all just immediately melt, or something.

So once again, this seems to simply be a way to relieve the gullible of their cash, which has been something of a theme in today's post.

And that's all the news here at Worldwide Wacko Watch.  How fortunate for you that you have WWW's vigilant investigative staff (made up of myself and my extremely vigilant dogs, Doolin and Grendel) to ferret out breaking stories!  As always, our watchword around here is:  All The News That's Fit To Guffaw At.

No comments:

Post a Comment