Pseudo-Science: Dreamweaving with Ignorance

America, a great nation built upon the capitalistic mentality that happiness comes from ownership.  With this great idea, comes a burden of great responsibility to the consumer.  Anything and everything will be placed in front of us, with outlandish claims designed to influence our thoughts of comfort and happiness.  These claims will be so convincing, that millions will flock to buy.

Sound familiar?  Well to me, I had a vision of an old time salesman selling “miracle cream” on a soap box in front of a small crowd.

Luckily, while we learn about how to be consumers at a young age, we also learn the saying, “If something sounds too good to be true, it is.”

Enter- Phiten Inc.
Phiten is a company that sells Titanium Infused items, such as bracelets, necklaces, fabrics, etc. with lofty claims attached.

Phiten says the claims are legitimate.  It has developed something called the “high-intensity Phild Process,” which creates “minuscule beads of titanium” that are embedded into its products.  This material now possesses the ability, it says, to “stabilize energy, permitting a greater flow of energy with less waste.”

Athletes looking for any kind of advantage are flocking to these necklaces in droves.  The illustrations below show what the necklace supposedly does for you:

This, ladies and gentleman, is what we call Pseudo-Science.
A belief or process which masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy which it would not otherwise be able to achieve on its own terms.

The most important of its defects is usually the lack of the carefully controlled and thoughtfully interpreted experiments which provide the foundation of the natural sciences and which contribute to their advancement.

Of course, the pursuit of scientific knowledge usually involves elements of intuition and guesswork; experiments do not always test a theory adequately, and experimental results can be incorrectly interpreted or even wrong.  In legitimate science, however, these problems tend to be self-correcting, if not by the original researchers themselves, then through the critical scrutiny of the greater scientific community.  Critical thinking is an essential element of science.

One thing that I can assure you is that titanium (Ti), itself is not water soluble, it needs an ionic bond like fluoride (TiF) to become soluble.  Although there are many uses for Ti, the two most common is it’s amazing strength to weight ratio (very tough and very light), and it’s corrosion resistance.  Corrosion resistance is essentially how well it holds up to heat and water.  Since it isn’t water soluble, Ti holds up very well.

So after that little chemistry lesson, I am trying to figure out how this necklace gives extra energy to its user (which has not been proven to the FDA).  Essentially, they are saying that air comes into contact with the fabric, is ionized (separated into nitrogen and oxygen ions) through a Ti filter and your body uses those ions to gain energy.

At least Phiten products seem a surefire testament to one thing: the placebo effect.  Former NFL quarterback Damon Huard said a couple years back that “If I’m not wearing my necklaces to bed I’m a little stiffer.  I think there is something to it.”  And that’s just it: as long as you think a necklace is boosting your energy, you may feel a little more energetic.  Any energy gotten while wearing it is all concocted in your mind.   Although the products are neat looking, to say they do what they do is preposterous.

John Green, a professor of sports medicine at the University of Washington, told a Seattle newspaper: “I know of absolutely no scientific evidence to implicate titanium to improving performance.”  Other doctors have noted that while the body does produce electrical fields, there’s zero evidence they can be influenced by titanium, and no evidence that they could be manipulated into decreasing fatigue levels.

Though Phiten alludes to its scientists on its website, there is nothing in the way of published research to back up its claims, and it hasn’t sought regulatory approval to be treated as a medical product.  Have a look at how players actually wear these necklaces: loosely, usually with a t-shirt and jersey underneath.  It seems a rather shoddy route of transmission.

In order to prove me wrong they would have to stake their claims to the FDA, knowing those claims to be false, they instead, market it as essentially a novelty item.

Phiten says its products are more than a placebo, though you’ll have to trust them on the science.  No wonder, then, that a section of its site warns against buying fake Phitens.  It would be a shame if someone just whipped up a bunch of plastic necklaces and then claimed that they could regulate the body’s energy, wouldn’t it?

Unfortunately this goes on way too much in our society and it’s the uneducated that get hurt.  So I implore you to think before you reach for the miracle pill/necklace.  If it hasn’t been approved by the FDA, then it’s probably too good to be true.

Sorry Phiten.

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Porsche 918: Hybrid with balls

To the car enthusiast, what makes a car attractive?  Perfect in the minds of men?

A car with some balls.  Might sound a little homoerotic, but that is exactly what this hot piece of car is showing the world.

If you haven’t heard, power for the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept comes from a 3.4L mid-mounted V8 making 500-hp.  The engine is mated to two electric-motors sitting on the front and rear axle with an additional output of 218-hp.  Power is driven to the wheels by Porsche’s 7-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe PDK transmission, allowing the 918 Spyder Concept to go from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 198 mph.  Drivers are allowed to choose from four different driving modes including E-Drive, Hybrid, Sport Hybrid and Race Hybrid.  The E-Drive mode lets the 918 Spyder concept run on pure electricity with a range of 16 miles.  I would love to see another hybrid boast that kind of chutzpah.

After all the waiting, rumors and reports, Porsche announced that it has officially given the green light to the series development of the Porsche 918 Spyder on July 28th.

“Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche’s board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented,” Porsche said in a statement.

“Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts,” said Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG. “We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base.”

If you haven’t noticed by know, not only does this car have an innovative propulsion system, it has distinct style and aggressive, chiseled features.  Surpassing the Carrera GT in almost all aspects.

The car has been rumored to lap Germany’s famous Nurburgring in 7:20, thats a full 5 seconds faster than the Corvette ZR1.

Prices of the production model are expected to start around 500,000 euros ($630,000 USD).

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3D Puzzle Game XL

Perplexus is a 3-D ball-in-maze game enclosed in a transparent plastic sphere.  By twisting and turning the sphere, players attempt to maneuver a small steel ball through an intricate maze composed numbered steps along narrow tracks. Additionally, some of the steps involve dropping the ball into a cup or through a small rim to take advantage of its three-dimensional nature. There are obstacles of varying difficulty that must be navigated in order to reach the end.  This game is designed to be hand held.

The Superplexus is almost the same other than it costing $30 grand and being about 10 times larger than the original smaller model.

It’s a full 3D spherical labyrinth that requires you move a large 5/8″ wooden marble through the course. A number of obstacles need to be passed such as hairpin bends, spirals, stair cases and a vortex. It takes around 400 hours to build a single game, hence the $30k price tag, and the whole puzzle sits inside a sphere measuring 3 feet in diameter.

To give you an idea of how long the track is on the device, it’s the equivalent a football field in length with an extra 31 feet on the end of that. Mixed in to the wooden marbles’ journey are eight points where the ball foes from the wooden track to 1/16″ stainless steel wire pathways to make the challenge even harder.

Although it is not very practical, the game would make a beautiful functional art piece.

Available now from Hammacher costing $30,000.

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