Tuesday, March 30, 2010

$cientology: follow your path to an empty wallet.

In December 1953, L. Ron Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey (yes, this one hits close to home). The church and its practices are based solely on Hubbard’s writings on Dianetics, or a discipline designed to heal psychosomatic illnesses by cleansing the mind of harmful mental images. Interestingly, for most of his early life, L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer. He never studied biology or medicine, and instead studied to be a civil engineer. Further, he received poor grades during college and was put on academic probation.

On February 10, 1953 Hubbard was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by Sequoia University, California, "in recognition of his outstanding work and contributions in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology." This non-accredited body was closed by the California state courts 30 years later after it was investigated by California authorities on the grounds of being a mail-order "degree mill". In 2009 The Times revealed that the British Government's Department of Health had investigated the provenance of this degree, and had concluded that Hubbard had bought Sequoia University and awarded the PhD to himself.

Starting to look fishy? I thought so, too. So here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth.

According to the official website of Scientology (www.scientology.org):

“In July of 1952, L. Ron Hubbard became the first to scientifically isolate, measure and describe the human spirit, while objectively demonstrating spiritual potentials well in advance of scientific thought. Moreover, those potentials were found to be possessed by every human being and just as universally attainable. Thus developed his description of Scientology as accomplishing the goal of every great religion: Freeing the soul by wisdom.”

So you want to free your soul by gaining wisdom? Alright, fork over a few thousand dollars and we can start!

This is where Dianetics, or Scientology’s version of medicine comes into play. Medical claims are a particularly controversial area of Scientology. They include a process of many steps that one must go through to advance to the next level of “knowledge”. One of the basic principles of Dianetics under the religion of Scientology is Operating Thetan, or “the spiritual state of beingness above Clear”. Thetan refers to the spiritual being, and operating means “able to operate without dependency on things.” An Operating Thetan (OT) is able to control matter, energy, space and time rather than being controlled by these things. As a result, an OT is able to be at cause over life.

(Controlling matter, energy, space, and time sounds pretty great to me! This is beginning to remind me of that 10% brain myth….)

According the official website: “…the state of OT is attained by proceeding through a series of gradient steps, each one slightly more advanced than the last. According to those who have achieved OT, the spiritual benefits obtained are beyond words”. (Unexplicable? Very convenient…and by the way, each of those “steps” costs a great deal of money.)

The “trained professionals” in Church of Scientology that lead followers through these series of steps use a device called an E-meter (Hubbard electrometer). This device is described as "a religious artifact used to measure the state of electrical characteristics of the 'static field' surrounding the body" (The device is not at all an “artifact” and is actually manufactured by the church). The meter measures galvanic skin response (GSR) and is believed to reflect or indicate whether or not a person has been relieved from spiritual impediment of past. Hubbard claimed as so sensitive that it could measure whether or not fruits can experience pain, claiming in 1968 that tomatoes "scream when sliced."

In 1963 the FDA investigated these claims during a surprise raid on the Church in Washington, DC and confiscated all E-meters on the premises. The FDA filed suit against the Church of Scientology for fraudulent medical claims and called the E-meter a fraudulent healing device. The court ruled that the Church was to abide by certain conditions and now each e-meter includes such a disclaimer on it.

So let’s review the Scientology in terms of pseudoscience: Vague phrases like “beyond words” and “human spirit” are used and are typical of pseudoscientific claims because they cannot be disproven; extraordinary claims like “controlling matter, space, and time” are present and are surely not attainable no matter what the price; and it appeals to higher authorities (well, at least those with false degrees).

There is so much more information exposing Scientology that has come to light in the past few decades. Stories of $300,000 bills for “medical counseling” that a member receives when leaving the church, tales of families torn apart by overbearing leaders, and even deaths related to Scientology. Yes, it’s funny when Tom Cruise (a well-known Scientologist) goes bonkers on TV, but the reality of this brain-washing cult posing as a religion is the furthest from funny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learning to Fly, as Easy as Taking a Nap!

As we all know dreaming is a normal part of the human existence. As the body goes to rest our minds stay increasingly active. As we sleep our minds can take us on fantastic journeys, or terrify us with bone chilling nightmares. Many of these experiences may seem sensational, but what if you could control your dreams? The possibilities for the person who can control their dreams are boundless. This phenomenon is in fact very possible and is known as lucid dreaming. Since 1968 psychologists have been studying lucid dreaming and creating guides or steps to how it can be achieved.

The first step in lucid dreaming is to first be able to readily recall your dreams. This can be done through a few different measures such as keeping a dream journal and setting your alarm clock to wake you up during specific times. Dream journals are used to remember dreams by giving the dreamer a hard copy of what had happened during the dream. The dreamer when awoken after a dream jots down notes about the dream as soon as possible after waking. When doing so the dreamer should focus on key events, scenes, and any dialogue within the dream. This practice allows the dreamer to recall the dream past the amount of time in which the dream usually hangs within re-callable memory. In the other technique the dreamer sets their alarm clock at specific intervals in which they are most likely to be having dreams. These intervals are based upon the time dreamers spend in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep which usually occurs in 90 minute intervals. As well the longer you are asleep the longer you will remain in REM sleep, as the first cycle is the shortest amount of time spent in REM. A typical pattern would be to set an alarm for 4.5, 6, or 7.5 hours after falling asleep. Additionally one simple method of trying to remember dreams is to hold completely still after waking and focus all of your attention on the dream recalling it over and over again. This will allow you to process the dream and help you to remember it with time. When trying this block all other thoughts out of your mind and focus solely on the dream. Any movement or distraction by thinking about your day to come will greatly reduce the chance or amount of your dream you will remember.

Once a person can readily recall dreams the are ready to begin the "training" it requires to lucid dream. This can be done in three possible ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes that he or she is dreaming. A wake-initiated lucid dream or (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in consciousness. A mnemonic-initiated lucid dream (MILD) can happen when the dreamer intentionally affirms to themselves that he or she will become lucid during the upcoming sleep. One way to enter a MILD is to look at your hands throughout the day and as you are falling asleep. During the day count your fingers to make sure they add up as they should. Then, before bed stare at them as you begin to doze off. Once dreaming if you see your hands you will be able to count them again and will likely become lucid. A good technique to attempt to become lucid through the DILD technique is to focus on dreaming before falling asleep and to tell yourself that anything sensational you see or experience during a dream such as flying, or seeing a monster, is actually a dream. Once this is realized you should become lucid and be able to control your dream.

They key to lucid dreaming is practice. The more these techniques are done and practiced the better you will become first at remembering you dreams, and then at becoming lucid. Don't become frustrated if your initial attempts aren't fruitful. Becoming lucid during your dreams is a process and with some time you will be able to marvel in the fantasy world of your own lucid dream.

Im making you read this with the power of my mind

We all hear about those people who can move objects across a table, or people who can bend spoons and even those who can read your mind and persuade others, but how true is all of that. Do you really believe people can manipulate the world around them?

Well the first question you need to ask if you’re a believer is why nothing more dramatic and amazing done with that ability other than some simple re-arranging of nick knacks and metalwork? We have been in existence for thousands of years and only in the last hundred or so have we done this so why only this far?

The problem here is that around that time people have tried more and more grand ideas to amuse the human mind and in other words try to make money off your own stupidity or amusement. In more recent times we had people such as James Hydrick who could apparently move objects with his mind and performed amazing feats with his mind. Following his amazing abilities he created what some would say was a cult in which he would take all your money and make you believe you’re smarter with your mind. Unfortunately he was finally debunked, then admitted its false on television, and is now currently a convicted sex offender in the state of California....go figure.

The ability to manipulate the world around you may exist at some point in time but what people currently believe is all a hoax and just a few pallor tricks used to amuse the simple minded folk who want to juts believe that something more grand is right in front of them. In all reality it may be something more interesting to watch and laugh about, but there are some out there that take the idea and trick way too far and beyond a simple trick. All this ever does is put money in the pockets of those performers who are in control of the show and that amazement. So in a way those magicians may in fact be controlling the minds of some people!

Psychic Crime Detectives

The topic of psychic crime detectives definitely caught my attention as we discussed the contents of chapter five in class. Being a criminal justice major, I thought how great would it be if we could rely on the powers of psychics to solve crimes rather than the traditional methods of tedious police work? I'm kidding. After doing some research, I came to the conclusion that though it would be awesome to say that a psychic was able to quickly and efficiently solve a crime that would, for instance, put a dangerous and deadly murderer off of the street, or even know about said crime before it happened, it just simply does not work that way. There are no such things as psychic detectives.
To put it simply, so-called “psychic detectives” are just great guessers. By paying close attention to detail in both police reports and forms of mass media, as well as using their powers of persuasion that they are the ones who in fact were able to solve the crime, they are able to make educated guesses about what happened during the course of a offense and pass it off as if they have revealed some new and important information about the case.
Crime reconstruction is not a simple, straightforward process. A lot of hard work and investigation goes into finding out who, what, where, why, when, and how a crime was committed. As shown with the case of the disappearance of Charles Capel, psychics are only able to give vague information about the minor details of the case which the police have to somehow make fit into the particulars of the crime once it is solved. The self-proclaimed psychic detective of the case, Noreen Reiner, was only called in to assist in the investigation once the police department had no one else to turn to; even then, the police still did not use her “clues” to find Capel’s body.
Essentially, the use of psychic detectives provides use with more questions than answers. According to Katherine Ramsland, “Psychics never predict the future in a way that might stop a crime or tragic event from happening.” Meaning if a psychic is able to tell us what happened as a result of a crime that was committed, why couldn’t they tell us how to stop it before it occurred? Other questions that could be asked include why the psychics are presently not rich as a result of their great abilities, in addition to if they can predict what happened during the course of a crime, why can’t they also predict other things, such as lottery numbers?
As discussed in class, Reiser and Klyver were asked to compare the psychic performances between psychic detectives and a control group of college students. The conclusion reached at the end of the experiment was that “this study provided no evidence to support the claims of psychic detection and, as such; the results are in accordance with other controlled studies” (Lawson, 145). As with this experiment, another test conducted by Joe Nickell was able to conclude several reasons as to why people are skeptics of psychic crime detectives, including “some famous cases never happened or could not be verified and checked, vague generalities can be made to fit almost anything, and people desperately want to believe that psychic information is true, so they easily accept the tales as told,” just to name a few (Ramsland).
In close, although I would like to believe in the prevalence of psychic detectives in society, I simply cannot. Based on all of the evidence provided against the claim of being a psychic detective with what little, if any, evidence that is shown proving their existence, I would not be able to rationally conclude that psychic detectives do, in fact, exist. However, I do think it will be interesting to see what else these self-proclaimed detectives can come up with and what other future cases they can claim to solve or at least be involved in.
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/forensics/psychics/7.html?print=yes (Ramsland)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If Sugar Doesn't Make Kids Hyper... Then What Does?

If you have ever been around a child that has recently eaten any type of food that contains sugar, you probably notice that they become more rambunctious. Now recall the settings of where you have been when children have consumed tons of sugar? It may be at a birthday party, when you have family visiting, or after they have scored the winning goal for their soccer team. The reason for the sudden hyperness is simple, the child is in a FUN environment.

Research has shown that there is no connection between sugar and hyperactivity among children. In 1994, a study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology showed that a parent who believes their child's behavior is affected by sugar are led to perceive their child as more hyperactive after they have consumed some sort of sugary drink. Parents need to take into account how their children act on a normal bases as well as when they have had some type of sugar.

Parent observations of their children's behavior is still very important. If parents are still concerned with their child's behavior (when consuming or not consuming sugar), they should consult their pediatrician. Hyperactivity may play into a child's life even when sugary foods are not present. Some of the symptoms include: temperament, emotional disturbances, learning disorders (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders), and poor sleep patterns. Parents may also consider altering a child's diet if the problems still persist.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Learning Styles

Throughout the last few years, I have had my fair share of teachers and professors that have told students that they each possess different learning styles. For example, some people are supposed to learn classroom material better by listening, some may learn better by studying notes, and other learn better by using their hands. Just two weeks ago, I spent an hour in my health class listening to the same lecture about learning styles that I have heard on many other occasions. Until the recent lecture in “Pseudoscience and the Paranormal”, I was convinced that I was purely a “hands-on” learner according to some test. This would suggest that I learn better in laboratory settings as opposed to a classroom setting. The thing is that looking back throughout the years, I have learned no more in a laboratory setting than I have in classroom lectures.

While the theory behind learning styles seems convincing, there is no legitimate data supporting the myth that kids learn better implementing one specific learning style over another. According to a journal of “The Association for Psychological Science” titled “Psychological Science in the Public Interest”, very few studies have tested the validity of learning styles in education. The few that did completely contradicted the assumption that we all possess different learning styles. Future studies may very well however show some evidence that teaching students in accordance to their specific learning styles is effective. Until then, teachers should only rely on current data, which supports that learning styles are nonsense.

Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123216067/abstract

Stress relief body wash?

So I was taking a shower in my apartment when I notice that there is a bottle of stress relief body wash sitting in there. I was curious how it worked so I looked at the bottle only to find out that the main ingredient was lavender. I found this very entertaining as we talked about this in class and it was actually proven in a study that distilled water was just ass effective if not more for relaxation purposes.
When I got out of the shower I said something to my roommates and friends only to find out that one of them used lavender spray on her bed at night to reduced stress and another said they're mom used some sort of lavender spray and it helped them feel more relaxed. Knowing what we talked about in class I let them all know that they were chumps and that it wasn't actually affective. Looks like the placebo effect has more control over people then I thought. Who knew so many people could believe something without scientific evidence behind it or even looking to see if it was actually effective.

Hope: Douchebaggery?

I have to admit that I get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of seeing shows like South Park rip on John Edward for being, as they put it, "the biggest douche in the universe." However, it's nothing short of astounding that even with popular media doing everything they can to debunk this ridiculous practice, there are still people who eat out of the palm of this man's hand. My mother, for instance.

The thing with John Edward is, not only is he not psychic, but he’s not even very good faking it.” - Timothy Campbell, an executive of the Ontario Skeptics Society for Critical Inquiry

At the end of the South Park episode that the clip above was taken from, Stan makes a point: "Is that really want you want after you die-- to just be floating around, talking to this asshole?" My mother wants so badly to believe in John Edward's show that, when asked that question, she actually answered, "Yes."

I've even gone so far as to show her sites such as this one, in which an investigation was done as to whether or not the studio was even rigged just for the sake of the show. Findings show that the overwhelming answer is: yes, John Edward is, indeed, a douche.

However, after mulling over it for a while, I've come to the conclusion that I should stop caring so much. Though John Edward may be a douche, and it might all be make-believe, in the long run, what harm is he really doing? My mother has never sent him money, never made an effort to up and leave to go see his show live and in person. If it gives her some semblance of hope, am I really one to judge so deeply?

After all, most religions ask for far more from people than this guy ever has. I can say for a fact that more of my mother's money has gone into her church than it has to John Edward. He is a nothing, a nobody, barely a blip on the radar of anything that truly matters in the real world. He doesn't deserve the energy I expend in trying to debunk him. For now, I propose we treat him and other psychics like him the same way we do that one creepy guy that always seems to come into the store when we're working: if we ignore him long enough, maybe he'll just go away.

Do you really remember your own dream?

Dream interpretation has been a common tool for psychotherapist to assign meaning to their patients dreams. This type of therapy may develop beliefs that never occurred because of suggestibility. We as people may develop thoughts that we believe occurred, but actually did not. It is said that when you dream you have a direct connection to your unconsciousness, and this reveals hidden meanings. If dreams are interpreted properly, they can provide insights to a person's unconscious, traumatic experiences and secret desires. In class, Dr. Berg explained that flying in your dream with emase and enjoyment meant that you were on top of a situation, and if you were having difficulty it meant you were unstable in life. It was also discussed that Mazzoni stated problems with dream interpretation because people's beliefs could be changed by a therapist's inaccurate interpretation of their dream. Today, most scientist see dream interpretation as a pseudoscience.

The Florence false interpretation study was to explore whether certain activities could lead people to develop false beliefs about the past. Undergraduate students were given a Life Events Inventory that questioned their critical experiences which included "being lost in a public place"," abandoned by parents", and "getting lost in a public space."Half of the participants recieved suggestive information about their dream. Getting to the point, the students who received suggestive information had recreated, or added to their past. The interpretation dreams could have harmful effects depending on the therapist. Therapists have the power to change patients for the better if they are thinking about the good and vice versa. Most of the time the changes happen when hypothesis are pressed on the patients too early.

To all of you who thought about getting your dreams interpreted, I caution you. I think dreams can be interpreted for mutual benefit, but not for solving problems you have in life. I believe there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you have your dreams interpreted professionally. I personally recorded my dreams in a dream log for a psychology class, and interpreted them myself without any influence. I would recommend this method if you are interested about learning more about your dreams.

Heaven's Gate

As we learned in class, Heaven’s Gate was a cult who is widely known for committing a mass suicide in the late 90’s. Heaven’s Gate defined themselves as a UFO religion and we based out of San Diego, California. This group believe that the Earth had a cycle and eventually it would be recycled. The believe the Hale-Bopp Comet in 1997 was a sign to that the earth was about to come to an end and they should evacuate it. Though the group said they were against suicide, they had their own definition of suicide. Heaven’s Gate defined suicide as “to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered”. So, Heaven’s Gate had to commit suicide as we define it in order to avoid suicide as they define it. The believe that our bodies were only vessels meant to help us through our journey.
Between March 24, 1997 and March 26, 1997, 39 members of Heaven’s Cult died. The media classified these deaths as a cult suicide. This event surrounded around the group Heaven’s Gate is astonishing to me. It is amazing to see how one individual’s bizarre world view could inspire millions to take their own life. Its amazing how propaganda and speech can sway that many people towards such an extreme view.

Subliminal Messaging

Subliminal messaging originated in the late 1800's early 1900's when a journal was published that described the basic principles of subliminal messaging. After this publication nothing was done in terms of subliminal messaging for another fifty years when James Vicary was said to perform his studies in New Jersey. However much has been done in the area of subliminal messaging in the past fifty years. An experiment was done on subliminal messaging as recent as 2007. The experiment was much the same as Vicary's supposed study. 1,400 hundred subjects were shown subliminal messages and and amazing 81 percent of these subjects were influenced by the messaging. However even with the results of this study subliminal messaging is viewed by the experts as at most a very mild influential factor. Subliminal messaging has been banned by the government in advertising and specifically television advertises. This ban was proposed and implemented after the Vicary study and his conclusions. Most experts believe that subliminal messaging can only have an affect on people who want whatever the subliminal message is offering. For example thirsty people are more susceptible to the influence of messages promoting a drink then someone that is not thirsty. Beyond this market experts say that there is no effect beyond the placebo effect through subliminal messaging.
In my opinion I feel that subliminal messaging is not a big influential factor to the average person. I strongly believe that people have the free will to do or buy whatever they want and that messages shown to them at a high speed thats not visible will not influence them in anyway. If people are thirsty they will buy a drink and what they prefer as opposed to what was shown on the screen. I also believe that the self help tapes do not help anyone. For people to change something drastically like a habit or such they have to be commited to that change. A simple tape that says you will change will not just all of the sudden change you. A person that wants change needs to be determined to make that change happen but they sertainly do not need a tape to make the change.

Keywords: subliminal messaging, James Vicary, advertising

Floating Outside My Body?

An out-of-body experience (aka:OBE), is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy). Though the term usefully distances researchers from scientifically problematic concepts such as the soul, scientists still know little about the phenomenon.One in ten people has an out-of-body experience at some time in their lives.OBEs are often part of the near-death experience. Those who have experienced OBEs sometimes claim to have observed details which were unknown to them beforehand.

In some cases the phenomenon appears to occur spontaneously; in others it is associated with a physical or mental trauma, use of psychedelic drugs, dissociative drugs, or a dream-like state. Many techniques aiming to induce the experience deliberately have been developed, for example visualization while in a relaxed, meditative state. Recent studies have shown that experiences somewhat similar to OBEs can be induced by direct brain stimulation. Some of those who experience OBEs claimed to have willed themselves out of their bodies, while others report having found themselves being pulled from their bodies (usually preceded by a feeling of paralysis). In other accounts, the feeling of being outside the body was suddenly realized after the fact, and the experiencers saw their own bodies almost by accident.OBEs often occur during the borderline stage between REM sleep and arousal when sleep paralysis may persist and dream imagery may mingle with sensory input.


For years we all have been hearing of the uselessness of the DARE program. The large amounts of money being dumped into this service with little or no return has quite a few people questioning it's existence and purpose. As tax payers, we all have the right to feel as if our money is being spent on reasonable and beneficial things. So naturally when DARE educated children grow up into pot smoking or alcohol abusing delinquents the public may throw a red flag. Lawson states that alcohol and marijuana use was unrelated on a ten year follow of children involved in the DARE program. (110). This concludes me to think the program should change it's name and mission statement because I feel as if it has other positive benefits to children.

I went to a small private school and was educated in DARA in the sixth grade. I personally recall not caring about drugs but I was more interested in hearing the cop's stories. Our entire class of 25 was enamored by these two police officers and their stories. After an entire school year of this program and a trip to Wildwood for the day our class had grown close to these cop's as if they were our friends. Prior to this I was terrified of cops and I wanted nothing to do with them, even if i needed them in an emergency. This program allowed my classmates and I to develop a bond with these officers that for the most part has lasted until now. Although we had a few kids slip into different forms of substance abuse, I feel these kids would have followed the same path regardless of DARE.

Today I feel that children recognize police officers as a threat rather than a potential helper. If the public and the police have a mutual respect for each other, that could be gained in programs like DARE, it makes for a more peaceful environment. Maybe a person will reconsider breaking into a car because the person who arrests him was his baseball coach. Maybe a police officer will remember a person from the program and recognize a problem and get them help. This would avoid the downward spiral that seems to occur after incarceration.

I would say somebody who engages in substance abuse will have so many factors leading to that choice that no type of program will prevent that. These people will have at their disposal a few police officers to get help from at the very least. A program should exist but it should not focus primarily on drug resistance but more so on community relations.

Sugar and Children's Hyperactivity

For years, I have heard sugar makes children go wild from parents, teachers and even kids. This "broken record," was known by I feel everyone and many in fact believed it. I know, I did. I guess for many children this was the time when we were able to run around screaming, and when we would get in trouble...just blame the candy. But to my knowledge from our lectures and also some research, it was amazing to find that this is actually not true, and there is no effect on sugar and being hyper.

A source named Nonas from ABC News states, "There is no such thing as a sugar high. And there is no such thing as sugar making you nuts. There just isn't." When this source asked some children what happens when they consume sugar answers like it makes me crazy, I go nuts... were some to name a few.

Drs. Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll of Indiana University School of Medicine performed an experiment to prove that sugar had no impact of children. They stated, "At least 12 double blind randomised controlled trials have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar. None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behaviour between the children who had sugar and those who did not." This I find interesting. It is just funny that for so many years, people were so serious about sugar and children being hyper. But there is no proof that it actually exists. I wonder how those parents who denied to give anything sugary to their children still feel on the subject?

Does sugar affect children's hyperactivity was submitted to Coca Cola, to be answered, definitely not. I guess alot of the candy companies are happy to find that these studies show no affect on childrens' hyperactivity and I guess I was one of many that were able to blame the crazy energy on the sugar we consumed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Magnet Therapies are Bogus!

Almost all of us have now seen people and businesses that claim their magnetic devices relieve pain and have therapeutic value against many diseases and conditions. It is said that the magnetic fields from these bracelets, headbands, back braces, etc., increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and provide speedy recovery from injury. However, these claims are not supported by any experimental evidence whatsoever. Many scientists have conducted double-blend, placebo-controlled studies involving groups of people experience pains throughout there bodies. I looked at three different studies, all of which concluded that the group with the real magnets did not show better results than the control group with fake magnets.

Scientists also say the claim of improved circulation is completely false because if it were true, placing the magnet on our skin would cause the area around the magnet to become red. Studies have also been performed in which blood flow was measured. There has never been a case in which they found a change in the speed or amount of blood flow. You will find after some research that most companies that produce magnetic items are subject to regulatory actions, meaning they are making false claims. Because these companies cannot prove their products can cure or treat disease of pain, they cannot advertise these claims. Fortunately for these companies, there are people out there who actually believe this stuff works.

I got a good laugh out of this website. They even sell magnetic products for your pet such as collars and a large pet pad.


No no....its fine, I love the overpowering smell of brown sugar melon spice rain.

If your like me, you have probably noticed that whenever you walk through any local mall there's always a small area that offends the male nostrils. This is because of certain stores near by such as bath and body works, or a scented candle shop, or Macys. These stores sell products infused with essential oils, or fragrances and body mists that reek to high hell, well at least to me. So im thinking to my self why the hell would anyone want something like this in there home? As we have went over in class, these products with essential oils have been represented for ages to have "healing" properties, but as we all know this is not the case. they call it "aroma therapy" and its claims stretch from being able to help you sleep better, to helping you lose weight, to helping you open higher energy channels...whatever the hell that means (Claims). I think any educated self respecting human being realizes that cucumber melon will not help you forget an abusive child hood, or pumpkin spice will not help heal your lungs after 26 years of a 3 pack-a-day Newport habit. Dont get me wrong these smelly devices have there purpose...like freshening the bathroom, or hiding the smell of old Chinese food, or as a distraction to your girlfriend so you can play Halo with your buddies and not get yelled at......

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You are NOT a visual learner.

For years I have heard people talk about the various types of learning styles that exist and how to advance the most with the particular style you possess. My mother, who is teacher, has attended numerous workshops and assemblies telling her how to cater to the different learning styles of each student. Visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners are often told they can advance and improve their quality of learning by becoming aware of their strengths and weaknesses. This common myth has sparked various industries of tests, quizzes, and guidebooks to help people discover their learning styles and to "capitalize on their strengths."

A recent study conducted by Pashler et al. (2009) investigated the possible existence of learning styles through empirical testing. Even with a booming business of tests to identify particular learning styles, there is virtually no experimentally based research to test the validity of learning styles. Pashler conducted one of the first thorough investigations in this area and discovered that “at the present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general education practice.” It may be possible that learning styles exist to a degree, that is people prefer the presentation of information in a particular manner. However, according to the Pashler's study catering to each individuals' particular learning style is not beneficial in an educational setting.

Why have we gone on believing in learning styles, if there is virtually no evidence to back it up? Richard Landers claims one possible reason could be that "there is some basic human satisfaction at placing people into categories." In the end, more empirical research needs to be done in the area to back up Pashler's study.

Learning Styles

On several different occasions throughout our educational careers we are told what type of learner we are. In doing so, we are classified into three groups: Visual learners, Auditory learners, or Kinesthetic learners. These three categories come from Howard Gardner's Mutlitple Intelligence Model and are used to help students learn more effectively. Visual learners need to see pictures, maps, and videos, but an auditory learner needs to hear sounds, lectures, or read aloud. A kinesthetic learner needs to touch, build, or be hands on. The theory on learning styles does not take into account the combination of these learning techniques.

Individuals may learn better by seeing, hearing, or touching, but in reality, all aspects of learning are beneficial to a student. If the student is labeled as a certain type of learner, they may not get the chance to learn in another way. When entering adulthood, it's almost necessary that an individual be able to learn in a variety of environments. Although some people have preferences for learning more efficiently, all styles can be utilized. An individual may be labeled as a visual learner, but when it comes to building something, they may need to try it for themselves as oppose to watching someone else do it.

A website, www.chaminade.org/INSPIRE/learnstl.htm , created a chart for determining which learning style you are. It gave examples of topics that one may come across such as spelling, talking, concentrating, reading, meeting someone, learning something new at work, and putting something together. The chart then breaks down the three learning styles and what qualities of learning fall under each. For spelling, visual is "try seeing the word", auditory is "sound the word out", and kinesthetic is "write the word down". The interesting part is that most people will do all of the above when trying to spell a new word. The idea of learning styles seems beneficial to the future of the education system, but realistically, students need to be given the opportunity to learn in every way possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Can Use More of My Brain Than You!

Ever since i was young, there has been a general consensus among my friends that we can only use roughly 10% of our brains. Furthermore, if you can access more than 10% of your brain you will have access to superhuman powers such as telepathy and pyschokinesis. Some people have even gone as far as to use this myth to explain some religious view points. For example, if Adam and Eve were the origins of life then some imbreeding would have had to occured to create billions of people. Since we know imbreeding causes serious health problems, we would know that if Adam and Eve were the beginning of life and imbreeding had occured to create the population of the world, it only makes sense for us to only have access to 10% of our brains.

Although that last part of the myth is a bit far-fetched, the 10% part is not hence why so many people believe it. However, it is not even close to fact. Every person is constantly using 100% of their brains. Not one parts of the human brain is ever dormant, unless injured, even during sleep (Neuroscience for Kids). So where did this myth come from and why does it still exist?
In 1908, William James wrote, "We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources." This quote could have been the start of the 10% myth but noone can ever no for sure. The reason this myth still exists today is because of the popular media. The popular falsely spreads the myth that you can only use 10% of your brain. Also, once enough people believe it and say it, other people start believing it too without even needing the evidence to support it. Eventually, the myth gets so out of hand that it is thought of as fact on a day to day basis throughout the world.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Q-Ray is an ionized bracelet that was marketed as a cure for arthritis pain. The Q-Ray uses language that sounds scientific but, the language that the makes of the Q-Ray use is not scientific at all. The makers of Q-Ray use pseudoscience language. As the book points out pseudoscience claims do not undergo peer reviews like real science does. The Q-Ray doesn't use testing or peer reviews, no scientific studies were done to back up the claims that the Q-Ray makes. Q-Ray claims it relieves pain, improves performance, restores energy and improves muscle flexibility. The makers of Q-Ray use testimonials from people who are not authorities in the field which can be very misleading for people and lead them to believe something that is not true. The Q-Ray claims to work by using natural holistic pain relief. The bracelet also claims to balance a person's positive and negative ions. This balance of ions will give give people pain relief.

The problem is Q-Ray doesn't do any of the things that it claims it can do. As the book notes there is no such thing as ionic imbalance of the body. The Q-Ray is pseudoscience and not real scientific at all. Scientific at all. Since making false or misleading claims are against the law. Q-Ray no longer puts false claims on its website, but still uses a lot of pseudoscience language on the website. If it's too good to be true it usually is, which is the case with Q-Ray

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Can You Smell That Smell?

The day we went over the powerpoint "What's That Smell? Subliminal Self-Help", I could not help but laugh throughout the lecture. Aromatherapy has taken the simple pleasure of smelling certain scents and has made it into another money making business. I did my research and found several websites that are dedicated to selling essentail oils, incencse, massage oils, and even accessories and jewelry. Did you know that you could buy a piece of jewelry that comes with "inner peace oil"? There are even directions on how to use this product. Apparently, you are supposed to pour the oil into the locket and say the following affirmation, “As I breathe in Inner Peace, I am reminded to live with love and forgiveness towards myself and to others.” Wow! For only 20 bucks, I may have to consider investing in such a product. If you would like to take a look, here is the website where I found this amazing discovery... http://www.puritan.com/accessories-and-jewelry-682/celtic-cross-locket-scent-chamber-jewelry-with-inner-peace-oil-031345?NewPage=1
Aromatherapy often uses the term "essential oils". But are these oils really that essential? According to our lecture, benefits of aromatherapy include stress, depression, insomnia, and so on. These findings may be due to the confusion of correlation and causation. For example, what if a person lights up incencse or plugs in a diffuser, lays in bed, and suddenly feels better after a long, exhausting day. Wouldn't anyone feel better laying down with or without the use of aromatherapy?
Even the definiton of aromatherapy used in our lecture makes me a skeptic. If you take a look back on the powerpoint "Whats That Smell? Subliminal Self-Help" you will see all kinds of sophisticated words are used like "aromatic essences". It even says that the use of these smells help with the "health of body, mind, and spirit". I find it very hard to believe that something so simple as the sense of smell intergrates my mind, body, and spirit. According to Wikipedia, "The effectiveness of aromatherapy is yet to be scientically proven, however some evidence exists that essential oils may have therapeautic potential." http://http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatherapy
Yes, it is nice to "stop and smell the roses". Certain smells like laundry detergent, candles, and so on may remind us of certain things and may have a calming effect. In the end, is the sense of smell so powerful enough to make a therapy out of it? We must stop and examine the different claims that are made for aromatherapy. There are endless amounts of correlations that can be found between aromatherapy and everyday aspects of our lives.
Brandi Reinhard