Kitchen Science

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

I wrote an article a little while ago about doing research for ionic foot baths. For those of you who don’t know, these foot baths are sold as a way to easily detoxify your system. You simply sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice foot soak as the magic of ionized water soothes the toxins from your body. Ate too much fast food? Drank too many beers last night? With an ionic foot detox you can undo the effects of your shitty lifestyle choices in 30 minutes!

Or not.

Here’s a picture of one of these baths at work:

Damn! What did I eat?

Pretty impressive right? Who knew there would be all this gunk just built up within the body of a living being?

The good news is, there isn’t gunk built up in our bodies. Our kidneys, liver, urinary tract, colon, lymphatic system, sweat glands….they all take care of the waste our bodies produce. “Toxins” don’t build up in our body, requiring us to cleanse ourselves with supplements, colon cleansing, and foot spas.

The secret to good health isn’t a secret, and it is boring as hell. If you want to be healthy, you have to live healthy. This means eating your veggies, exercising, and laying off the booze and drugs and cigarettes. Having a trusted physician doesn’t hurt either, as long as you can afford it. The alternative is to accept the risks and live it up. We only have one life, the way you live it is your choice.

So! Now that we’re caught up on the back story and details, let’s get to the fun!

I have found out how to recreate one of these spas on a smaller scale. To do this I used a 400mL glass beaker, 2 brand new stainless steel forks, an AC adapter (DSA- 18W- 12 US1; Input: 100-240V ~ 50/60Hz 0.8A; Output: +12V — 1.5A), some duct tape, tap water (~200mL), and about 1/4 tsp NaCl (ordinary table salt).

I split the positive and negative wires on the AC adapter and then stripped the wires on each side about halfway down. I then wrapped each side of exposed wire around the handle of each of the stainless steel forks and secured the wire with duct tape. Next I added the salt and tap water to the beaker and gave it a quick stir. I placed both forks in the water and plugged the adapter into an outlet.

Immediately the solution began to bubble around the forks, producing a dark, frothy color in the solution. The solution got darker as time went on. The same “detoxing” effect went on, without feet!

Here we have a video. I apologize for the shakiness, I was experimenter and camera person here.

Even in a beaker, the concept is the same. The water is turning color because the electrodes (the forks) are being corroded as electrolysis is occurring in the solution. It isn’t flushing toxins out of anything. Youtube has more videos of other people doing the same, or similar experiments. One of them is with a carrot even!

Please remember, fellow heathens, that your health is important. If you want to try alternative therapies for your ailments, do as much research as you can. Approach these therapies critically and find out all the facts! When someone is trying to sell you something that is too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some links I’ve used over the course of my learning experience to explore the world of ionic foot baths:

http://sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/the-drugstore-detox-delusion/

http://www.devicewatch.org/reports/aquadetox.shtml

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4083

http://www.badscience.net/2009/01/the-barefaced-cheek-of-these-characters-will-never-cease-to-amaze-and-delight-me/

My methods were ripped off of this video:

http://youtu.be/hbqYOw9I38w

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

A very helpful article in my continued search for info on ionic foot baths. Reblogged here for easy access.

What’s in a Word?

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

***WARNING*** This following blog post deals with words that people may find extremely offensive. The purpose of this post is not to offend, the purpose is to explore the use of particular words that do offend. I purposely chose to candidly spell out every word instead of using euphemisms because I did not wish to label particular words as being more offensive than the others. If you cannot handle seeing these words for purpose of discussion/dissection then please do not read any further. 

Yesterday I had a conversation (argument?) with a devoted fan of Tim Tebow. It’s pointless to argue with someone who has made a rookie quarterback their new god, but the conversation did come around to something interesting.

I used the word “homosexuals” to describe one of the groups of people that Tebow would treat as second class due to his religious beliefs. I was shortly thereafter accused of being just as oppressive of this group because I used the term “homosexual” to describe this group. Somehow, use of that particular word is akin to using one bible verse as justification to deny the entire GLBT community equal rights as citizens. Who knew?

I certainly didn’t. I don’t keep up much with psychological/sociological news and literature. I did a quick search and came up with this article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gays-anatomy/200810/the-terms-homosexual-and-the-n-word

The article basically equates the word, “homosexual” to the word “nigger.” The reasoning behind the offensiveness of the term is somehow linked to a clinical and/or religious concept that sexual orientation is a choice, rather than an intrinsic part of the individual.  I don’t deny that the term is probably offensive to some. However, to say it is offensive to all people in the GLBT community is even more offensive. Though many in this community may share similar experiences, they do not all share the same experiences. It is certainly offensive to fault, or blame a person for how they were born, but to say they should also be offended by all the same things that someone else who was born the same way is just ridiculous.

The article discusses this point, that not every gay person is okay with being called “gay.” “Gay” and “lesbian” being the preferred, politically correct, non-offensive terms are still deemed offensive to some. In my complete lack of knowledge on the subject (before I was informed that this is the “correct” terminology) I was working under the assumption that these terms (not “lesbian” as much as “gay”) were more offensive than the all-inclusive term, “homosexual.”

So, that’s confusing. How does one know? I’m not the type of person that likes to hurt others, or make them feel uncomfortable about something they can’t change about themselves. I’m not the type of person that thinks people should feel they have to change these things about themselves. If I used a word that offended someone, all they would have to do was say something and I would correct myself and move on.

This is because the intent of a word is more powerful than a word itself. I don’t say that to justify using language that hurts other people. Words themselves can be very powerful regardless of the intent. I have no idea of how it feels to be called “nigger” or “faggot” or “dyke”, but these words have very powerful effects and are often used with ill intent (unless re-appropriated by the groups they were originally intended to harm).  However, when trying to be descriptive, there is an array of words to choose from. When you’re outside of that group you’re trying to describe, it is sometimes confusing how to go about that without being completely, or even slightly, insulting.

Also, another confusing point, the term “homosexual” is wrong, but the term “bisexual” is not? Is there just not a good enough euphemism for it? Both terms explain the orientation in a very basic way. “Homo” means “the same”, “bi” means “two” and “sexual”….well, you get the point. Is it because of the ill intentions of other groups (such as religious groups) made “homosexual” their anti-gay term, but not “bisexual?” Is that what makes it offensive?

Speaking of intention, after my Tebow argument I saw this link come up in my Facebook news feed: http://storify.com/homophobes/100-homophobes-who-would-kill-their-gay-child
The link shows 100 Tweets by homophobes, using the word gay to describe the hypothetical sexual orientation of their hypothetical unborn child, before they threaten them with death. The owner of the Twitter account @homophobes, who exposes this disgusting hatred, refers to himself as a homosexual.

Exposing homophobia and describing themselves with a really offensive term.

I’m a white girl. I’m heterosexual. I just don’t get it. I mean it. I really, really, really don’t get it. I just do my best to get by in a diverse place while doing the least possible damage. I know that this Tebow fan, who started this confusing new journey for me, probably also knows that I wasn’t using the language I used with intent to hurt or discriminate. She just isn’t very good at arguing, and decided to take a stab at me to make me look like an ass. I feel like an ass. This whole post makes me feel like an ass.

So far I still have no clarity on the matter. These difficult subjects need to be discussed. I am critical of religion because of the harmful effects it has on whole groups of people. Speaking up for people isn’t very effective when you’re also pissing them off. Does use of offensive terms, by accident or with intent, equate to the use of bible verses as justification for discrimination? I don’t think so. Does discussion of how to refer to certain groups detract from discussion of how to end discrimination? Maybe. As a heterosexual white girl, do I have any business trying to discuss this? Maybe not, but I don’t exist on an island outside of the diversity of this country. So even though it makes me uncomfortable because I’m blindly reaching out, trying to understand just what the hell is in a word, I have to push myself to find understanding on some level here.

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Welcome to second class, ladies!

Ideas

All my adult life, I’ve been pretty sure I’m a sentient, even semi-competent human being. I have a job and an apartment; I know how to read and vote; I make regular, mostly autonomous decisions about what to eat for lunch and which cat videos I will watch whilst eating my lunch. But in the past couple of months, certain powerful figures in media and politics have cracked open that certitude.

You see, like most women, I was born with the chromosome abnormality known as “XX,” a deviation of the normative “XY” pattern. Symptoms of XX, which affects slightly more than half of the American population, include breasts, ovaries, a uterus, a menstrual cycle, and the potential to bear and nurse children. Now, many would argue even today that the lack of a Y chromosome should not affect my ability to make informed choices about what health care options and…

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Hidden Scientology

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Evidence shmevidence

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Let us explore the difference between evidence and bullshit, shall we?

After banning someone from my Facebook page, who resorted to name calling and personal attacks when asked for evidence in support of herbal remedies, I got treated to her alternate Facebook persona (before a second banning). This alternate linked me to this article: http://www.herbslist.net/goldenseal-benefits-health.html

This article was presented to me as evidence (in support of all herbal remedies I think). Now, it was a fine attempt at showing me that people BELIEVE this herb to be beneficial for health. Goldenseal is a common remedy sold at Whole Foods and stores like that. I’ve taken Goldenseal before at the onset of a cold (which I can’t remember if it did anything or not, but judging by its absence in my medicine cabinet now, it probably did nothing). What this article does NOT show, is links to actual scientific studies (double-blind clinical trials) that show that the following remedy actually does what people claim it does. I’m not saying there isn’t evidence to support the health benefit claims of this herb. I’m saying that I have yet to see any evidence that supports these claims.

This is a quote from the article, “It’s believed to be an effective treatment for conditions such as inflammation, loss of appetite, colitis and ulcers.” Now, pay attention to the language here. “It’s believed,” again, “it’s believed….” Not proven, not fact. Belief. If you ever thought that I believed something without evidence….then you haven’t been paying attention at all.

Another quote: “Even though modern science states that there is no scientific evidence to support all of the health claims made for the plant, people have taken it for hundreds of years and find it beneficial.” Appeal to tradition, a logical fallacy, that according to the Wikipedia definition, “is a common fallacy in which a thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it correlates with some past or present tradition.” Again, this article is not evidence in support of the claims that herbal remedies do anything that random chance or a placebo couldn’t do.

I am not claiming to know all the evidence, or whether or not these remedies truly work. I think I remember seeing an actual study in which St. John’s Wort was actually proven to be effective in improving mood. I have seen evidence in support of the reported benefits of St. John’s Wort and I changed my mind about whether or not it was a useless snake oil remedy (FYI haters, that is the opposite of being close-minded).

So, if you are reading my blog, or participating in discussion on my page, keep this in mind: I will not swallow your load if you don’t have actual evidence to back your claims up. I am trying to promote critical thinking here, and this is why I am so demanding regarding evidence. I will do my best to not spread bullshit, and will not tolerate it from others.

Now let’s review:

Not evidence: http://www.herbslist.net/goldenseal-benefits-health.html

Evidence: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16428031

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19614563

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19090505

Simple, right?

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Road

1. Atheists earn higher incomes. (10-15% higher, according to 1989 study)

2. Atheists stay married longer. (21% of Atheists have been divorced vs 29% for Christians) -Barna Research Group 1999

3. Atheists are less likely to end up in jail. (Atheists comprise 15% of US population, however, only 1% of US Prison population are non-believers.)

4. Atheists are more likely to climb to the top of academia. (97% of the National Academy of Science Members are atheists. The 3,200 members includes more than 200 Noble Laureate recipients)

5. Atheists are less likely to succumb to the lure of authoritarian regimes, that promise miraculous and divine sent decrees. You think Hitler could have convinced a nation of Secularists/Atheists that slaughtering Jews was a good way to spend a Sunday? But far easier to do so when working with devotees of the anti-Semite Martin Luther.

6. Atheists live longer and happier, according to a 2009 poll…

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