One more on quackery, and then back to science. You may have seen this story, which broke in Sports Illustrated, on a strange little outfit that called themselves Sports With Alternatives To Steroids, or S.W.A.T.S. They seem to have had a long list of professional and college athlete customers looking for some sort of (legal) performance edge. And who wouldn't sign up when there are cutting-edge therapies like this on offer?
(S.W.A..T.S.) prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will "rebuild your brain via your small intestines" (and which Lewis said he hadn't been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.
"Spray on my elbow every two hours?" Lewis asked.
"No," Ross said, "under your tongue."
We never do find out what's in the "powder additive". My guess is sugar-free drink mix, but perhaps I'm just small-minded. I don't think as big as the founders of S.W.A.T.S., that's for sure - these guys are way out in front of the rest of us:
The theoretical underpinning offered by Key is that radio waves can be stored in fluids (the spray) and in holograms (the chips), and that when an athlete consumes the fluid or wears the holograms, the radio waves are re-emitted and prompt his body to create specific nutrients and hormones -- from vitamin B to testosterone. Key says that it's not unlike the way particular wavelengths of sunlight cause the human body to produce vitamin D. In the musty storage room, the holographic stickers and bottles of deer-antler spray are irradiated for 24 straight hours or more in what Ross and Key say is an effort to program them with performance-enhancing frequencies
You know, that reminds me a lot of Nativis, the odd little biotech company I wrote about here, and who threatened me with legal action here. They went on about "photonic signals" stored in water, that were somehow stored and released later. The people at S.W.A.T.S. should look into this technology; it sounds like it would be a good fit. When last heard from, the Nativis folks were touting some sort of radio-frequency cancer zapper - slap some holographic stickers on at the same time, and who knows what might happen?
The SI article is well worth a read, just to show you that the process of separating the gullible from their money is timeless. There are gloomy thoughts to be had about the state of science education, that such things are believed, but education is a thin spray-painted layer on the surface of a brain that wants miracles and wants to believe. The proper response is the one that NBA owner Mark Cuban had to a very similar scam, the Power Bracelets that would, er, align your energies or something. Cuban found the right alignment for them, as far as I'm concerned - check the video clip at that link. I hope the trash can is big enough for all this stuff.