By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube
We hear about this mysterious force all the time in fiction and film — but what is it actually supposed to be? Is there any evidence that it might be real?
An examination of energy, as new agers use the term.
I’m feeling a little low today, so let’s tap into a source of energy from a neighboring dimension as a quick upper.
Faith in pseudoscience is rampant. Everywhere you turn, intelligent people fully accept the existence of anything from psychic phenomena, to angels, to new age healing techniques, to ancient health schemes based on mysterious energy fields not understood by science. Most of these paranormal phenomena rely on “energy,” and when the performers are asked to explain, they’ll gladly lecture about the body’s energy fields, the universe’s energy fields, Chi, Prana, Orgone, negative energy, positive energy, and just about anything else that needs a familiar sounding word to explain and justify it. Clearly, there are too many loose interpretations of the word energy, to the point where most people probably have no idea exactly what energy really is.
I believe that if more people had a clear understanding of energy — and it’s not complicated — there would be less susceptibility to pseudoscience, and more attention paid to actual technologies and methods that are truly constructive and useful.
A friend told me of her ability to perform minor healings, and her best explanation was that she drew energy from another dimension. She had recently rented What the Bleep Do We Know, so she was well prepared to explain that alternate dimensions and realities should be taken for granted, since science doesn’t really know anything, and thus those things cannot be disproven. That’s fine, I’ll concede that she can make contact with another dimension: after all, the latest M theories posit that there are probably ten or eleven of them floating around, and I’ll just hope that my friend’s is not one of those that are collapsed into impossibly small spaces. What I was really interested in was the nature of this vaguely defined energy that she could contact.
I asked what type of energy is it, and how is it stored? Is it heat? Is it a spinning flywheel? Is it an explosive compound? Is it food? These are examples of actual ways that energy can be stored.
In popular New Age culture, “energy” has somehow become a noun unto itself. “Energy” is considered to be literally like a glowing, hovering, shimmering cloud, from which adepts can draw power, and feel rejuvenated. Imagine a vaporous creature from the original Star Trek series, and you’ll have a good idea of what New Agers think energy is.
In fact, energy is not really a noun at all. Energy is a measurement of something’s ability to perform work. Given this context, when spiritualists talk about your body’s energy fields, they’re really saying nothing that’s even remotely meaningful. Yet this kind of talk has become so pervasive in our society that the vast majority of Americans accept that energy exists as a self-contained force, floating around in glowing clouds, and can be commanded by spiritualist adepts to do just about anything.
Dick Van Dyke’s home had terrible feng shui. Improper positioning had him stumbling, fumbling, and tumbling all over the house. The futon in the living room had a particularly negative qi about it. To think of all the slapstick sitcoms we would be deprived of if feng shui were true…
If feng shui were true, already unbearable construction delays in major cities would be dwarfed by the demands of magnetism. The magnetic compass—built specifically for the practice of feng shui—guides modern feng shui application, and would dictate giant, regular shifts in the world’s architecture. The true magnetic north of our planet moves around like a cosmic stir stick in coffee, meaning that the proper alignment of a desk, room, or building moves as well.
To optimize the flow of qi, whole cities would need to shift every so often. Counties that could not afford the grand re-alignments would undergo terrible consequences. As magnetic poles wobbled, people would begin to feel sick and uneasy in their own homes. Others would experience piercingly odd feelings of “oneness.” Culture would begin to adapt accordingly. Certain months of the year would bring a general “lack of wellness” to a society. Alerts of shifting alignments would go out like air quality warnings. A neighbor’s house, now negatively positioned relative to your own, would affect you personally. Like accusations of witchcraft in the middle ages, a world where feng shui was true makes condemnation of a neighbor as simple as “they make me feel sick.”
With a reliance on the Earth’s magnetic field, true feng shui would drive a demand for consumer compasses. Smart phones would be outfitted with sensors. Dinner guests would have ample reason to avoid a tour of your home if the compass said so. But compass reliance also makes certain parts of the world uninhabitable. Building a positively positioned home at either of our planet’s poles, for example, would be impossible. With magnetic north so close, even walking a few feet to the right or left in such a home would drastically change the relative alignments of the structures within.
If feng shui worked, the optimal layouts for buildings would enter “best practices” manuals in architecture. Schools would have desks and hallways oriented in such a way as to promote learning. Hospitals would do the same with staircases, beds, and surgical theaters to promote healing. Feng shui masters would descend regularly to houses expecting children, ensuring the proper environment. “Energetic” layouts would be on every bachelor’s mind.
The DMV would get a radical overhaul to reduce the stress within its walls.
- Feng Shui for the Body (bigbodybeautiful.wordpress.com)
- Position of Chandelier in Feng Shui (prophet666.com)
- What color to paint the kitchen for good feng shui? (feng-shui-at-home.knowledge-pool.com)
- Feng Shui and I (over40andkillingit.wordpress.com)
- 11 Feng Shui Tips to Overcome Debt and Deficiency (omtimes.com)
- Genetically Modified Feng Shui (omtimes.com)
- What spread would be good to use with Feng Shui Tarot deck? (feng-shui-at-home.knowledge-pool.com)
- Need advice where I can find an online feng shui expert? (feng-shui-at-home.knowledge-pool.com)
- Top 10 Crystals for Feng Shui (omtimes.com)
- Feng Shui (cwiceangel.wordpress.com)
By Dr. Steven Novella via randi.org
I have to hand it to the snake oil peddlers over at NES Health – they have managed to squeeze just about every energy-based pseudoscience into one scam. What does “NES” stand for, you wonder? “Nutrition Energy System.”
“Through its pioneering work with medical doctors and acupuncture therapists over the last decade, NES Health has not only discovered – and mapped – the human body field but it has also managed to integrate this ground-breaking knowledge with the principles of energy information.”
So, in the last decade they “discovered” the non-existent “human body field” that has been part of cutting edge pseudoscience for decades. Devices that measure the body’s “energy field” go back at least to the 1970s. A simple search on the term will indicate that this is nothing new, nor unique to NES.
The NES site continues:
“The link between biology and traditional Chinese medicine has been formally established by NES Health – and the organization’s researchers have identified that the human body field is a highly structured network of energy and information fields, which act as a master control system for the physical body.
As a consequence, it is now evident that to be healthy, the body’s energy fields must be functioning harmoniously – if their natural balance is disturbed, health consequently suffers.”
New technology meets ancient wisdom. I knew it had to be in there somewhere.
In their promotional video they inform us that NES is ushering in the “quantum age” of healthcare. Skeptics have been joking for some time that you could simply put the words: “quantum,” “energy,” “vibrations,” “balance,” “harmony,” “information,” “healing,” “toxin,” “nutrition,” and other commonly used vague terms into a bag, or into a computer program that will spit them out at random, and you can generate endless alternative health products, with claims that are just as coherent and science-based as anything on the market. They did coin the term, as far as I know, “infoceutical.” Nice one – supplements imprinted with information. Personally I would have gone for the trifecta – how about, quantum-infoceutical?
They do have a tab for “research,” which is always entertaining. On it you will find a few terrible studies that do nothing to support the grandiose claims of NES health. For example . . .
- Pseudoscience (illuminutti.com)
- 11 Reasons why people believe in Pseudoscience (illuminutti.com)
- Quantum, Information, Biofield Pseudoscience (randi.org)
- TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing (wemustknow.wordpress.com)
- Difference between pseudoscience, metaphysics, spiritual philosophy and science (sureshemre.wordpress.com)
- TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing (undergroundhealth.com)
Fracking has been a standard practice in natural gas mining for a long time, but documentary films have caused some laypeople to question its safety. How justified are these fears? http://infactvideo.com
- Fracking Explained: A Balanced Look at a Complicated Problem (gizmodo.com)
- Friday Funny: Fracking protestors and their petro-sourced belongings (wattsupwiththat.com)
In a nutshell: Therapeutic touch is a kind of energy medicine. Those who do therapeutic touch wave their hands over a patient’s body to fix their subtle energy. The science says there is no such subtle energy.
Therapeutic touch is a kind of energy healing. Some people believe that health and sickness are caused by some sort of magical energy being blocked or out of whack in some way. There is no scientific support for this magical energy. It can’t be measured by any of our very high tech machines. Yet, many people swear it exists and that they can move it around or transfer some of their energy into another person.
Energy healers say they can “feel” the energy going through or around a person’s body. This is odd because the human hand is not a very sensitive instrument compared to some of the million-dollar machines we have these days to measure very small particles or packets of energy.
Therapeutic touch healers wave their hands over the body of a sick person. The healer thinks she is moving energy around and that this somehow helps the healing.
Nine-year-old Emily Rosa tested twenty-one therapeutic touch healers to see if they could feel the energy in one of her hands when they could not see if a hand was actually placed under theirs. She placed a screen with a hole in it for the healer’s arm to go through. Emily sat on the other side of the screen and placed her hand or didn’t place her hand under the healers hand for each test. The healers had a 50% chance of being right in each test, yet they correctly located Emily’s hand only 123 times in 280 tests. Wild guessing would have got about 140 correct answers. The test was very simple and seems to clearly indicate that the subjects could not feel the energy of Emily’s hands when placed near theirs. If they can’t feel the energy, how can they move or transfer it? What are they feeling? Most likely they are feeling what has been suggested to them by those who taught them this practice. Their feelings of energy appear to be created in their own minds.
How does energy healing work?
- Pragmatic Fallacy (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Reiki Healing (illuminutti.com)
- What is Energy Medicine? (sohmitchell.wordpress.com)
- The Unsinkable Rubber Duck Of Alternative Medicine (acneeinstein.com)
Via The Soap Box
Breatharianism. It’s a belief in the New Age Movement that people can live off of air and sunlight alone, and do not need food (and for some, water) to live, and that people can convert air and sunlight into prana, or life energy, with according to practitioners is all a person needs to live.
Of course there is the claim that air and sunlight can . . .
- man survives for five years on nothing but fresh air (thesun.co.uk)
- Man claims to live on sunlight and air (lunaticoutpost.com)
Like their counterparts in traditional Chinese medicine who useacupuncture, as well as their counterparts in the West who usetherapeutic touch (TT), the practitioners of reiki believe that health and disease are a matter of the life force being disrupted. Belief in a life force, known as vitalism, was common in the West until the 19th century. Since then, the concept of life force has joined phlogiston, ether, and many other superannuated ideas on the rubbish heap of discarded scientific notions.
The belief in vitalism is still strong in China, India (where the life force is called prana), Africa (animism), and Japan Each believes that the universe is full of some sort of vital energy that cannot be detected by any scientific instruments, but which can be felt and controlled, often by special people who learn the tricks of the trade.
Reiki healers differ from acupuncturists in that they do not try tounblock a person’s ki, but to channel the ki of the universe so that the client or patient heals. The channeling is done with the hands, and like TT no physical massaging is necessary since ki flows through the body of the healer into the patient. The reiki master claims to be able to draw upon the energy of the universe and increase his or her own energy while performing a healing. Reiki healers claim to channel ki into ill or injured individuals for “rebalancing.” Depending on the training and beliefs of the healer, reiki is used to treat a wide array of ailments. Larry Arnold and Sandra Nevins claim in The Reiki Handbook (1992) that reiki is useful for treating brain damage, cancer, diabetes, and venereal diseases. Many reiki healers are more modest and treat lesser problems such as fatigue or muscle soreness. I was once treated by a reiki practitioner for a wrist injury. The treatment didn’t work because I was a non-believer, or so I was told. If the healing fails—and it will inevitably fail for such things as cancer—it is because the patient is resisting the healing energy. Non-belief is one of the great blocks to healing energy. There is a reason for that, which we will explore below.
- Does Reiki really work? (illuminutti.com)
- Does Reiki really work? (Relatively Interesting)
- Acupressure and Reiki (curesbyreiki.com)
- Reiki Healing Now Available Online: New Marketplace for Healers at… (prweb.com)
- Reiki Healing Now Available Online: New Marketplace for Healers at PsychicTarot.us (virtual-strategy.com)
- What is Reiki? (urbanenergywellness.wordpress.com)
- Reiki, What is it and does it work? (librarianbrain.wordpress.com)
- Reiki Level 2 – Practitioner Level (personalspiritualdevelopment.com)
Some believe they’ve cracked the secret of free energy forever with no fuel needed. Is it true?
Call them free energy machines, perpetual motion, over-unity machines, or any other name; a tiger remains a tiger no matter what color you paint his stripes. For as long as human beings have needed electricity or any kind of power source, inventive minds have sought in vain for a perfect solution: free energy forever with no fuel needed. Drawings of plans for perpetual motion machines are found throughout history for as long as we’ve had the science of engineering, and they continue to appear today, perhaps more than ever. Today we’re going to look at some of the most famous examples of free energy machines, and address the common public perception that such miracles actually exist.
The reason that no free energy machine can work, or will ever work, should go without saying; but since the claims continue to persist, it bears a mention. A perpetual motion machine would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Strictly speaking, it is unscientific for me to say that no free energy machine will ever work; but the fundamental laws of the universe are established to such a huge degree of certainty that it’s a limb upon which I’m willing to go out. Specifically, the first law of thermodynamics states that the energy of any closed system remains constant. If you take any energy out of it at all — for example, to make a rotor spin — then you must put in at least an equivalent amount of energy. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in any isolated system can only increase but not decrease; basically, systems seek thermal equilibrium. This law prohibits any process in which the only result is that heat moves from a region of lower temperature to a region of higher temperature, or where heat is converted purely into work. All free energy concepts are impossible because, by definition, they violate one or both laws.
The most common perpetual motion concept is a magnetic motor, some arrangement of permanent magnets intended to spin a rotor, push a ball around a path, or keep some other component in motion forever. These days they’re usually blended with a powered electric motor, and the inventor claims that once it gets going, its kinetic energy exceeds the electrical energy put into it. An Internet search yields thousands of results for such machines. Many of them show videos of their machines working. So how do we reconcile this: am I saying all these guys are all liars?
Here we go – yet another magical bracelet claiming to improve balance, energy, and performance. This time you get to pay $100 for a black piece of cloth with a small chip inside. From the Shuzi website:
Shuzi (pronounced shoo-zee ) utilizes a proprietary chip from the United States, which is programmed to resonate with your cells’ natural frequencies and causes your blood cells to separate thereby creating a better blood flow which can lead to more oxygen through out the body.
“Resonate with natural frequencies” – they can’t even be bothered to make up their own ridiculous pseudoscientific technobabble. Improving blood flow by separating blood cells is also an old scam. We have evolved very robust mechanisms to ensure optimal delivery of oxygen to our tissues. There is no simple way to “improve” this in a healthy person. These mechanisms may not be adequate in someone with advanced disease affecting the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, neither is a little wrist band going to have any effect in such serious conditions.
The company claims that their product improves balance. Why would increased oxygen delivery improve balance specifically? It might have something to do with the fact that the balance demonstration is an old scam – a parlor trick to convince the unwary that something real is going on.
My favorite part of websites selling blatant nonsense is the tab “how it works.” You know this is going to be fun. In addition to the above claim, they write:
No battery/energy source is required. Many people ask us how this is possible.
Here is our official explanation:
It is a well known fact in the scientific community that ALL atoms are in a constant state of motion. This includes physical object atoms, such as the atoms that make up a desk or chair. More specifically, every atom in a physical object is known to “vibrate” or oscillate back and forth.
Logically, utilizing e=mc2 every atom has mass and the speed of light (c) is a constant, therefore there must be energy in every atom. Through our proprietary programming process, our chip emits sub-atomic energies powered by an atom’s inherent energy. Coincidentally, this energy stimulates the separation of blood cells in the wearer’s body which can help increase blood cell circulation. While the scale of vibration is considerably smaller for nano-vibrational technology, it is inherently the same in definition, to any other object that vibrates.
They quote Einstein and E=mc2 – it’s so sciencey. Yes, all atoms vibrate and have energy (unless they are at absolute zero). That’s called heat. None of this explains how their chip, or anything, can emit “subatomic energies” (what energy, exactly, is that?), and how this energy is transferred to the blood of the wearer. How is a computer chip “programmed” to do this? Are they saying that the energy of atoms responds to the programming inside a computer chip?
The physiology makes as little sense as the physics here.
MORE . . .
- Shuzi Magic Power Bracelet (theness.com)
- Shuzi sport band: brilliant technology or waste of money? You decide | Michael Marshall (guardian.co.uk)
- What You Can Do to Fight Woo: Magic bracelets, mediums, and immunity denialism (randi.org)
- The Personal Anecdote as Sales Pitch (theness.com)
More than two centuries have passed since humans first started using engine-driven devices to do work. And from the first steam locomotives to today’s gas/electric hybrid cars, our development of motorized transport has had a parallel string of innovation: Engineers continuously work to make our engines run more efficiently.
For as long as consumers have complained about gas prices, there has been an army of inventors offering devices to stretch our mileage further. Innovations such as electronic fuel injection and the use of lighter, stronger internal components made great forward strides in fuel efficiency. It’s no wonder that these have become standard features — often government-mandated — on most modern cars and trucks. But other inventions have turned out to be hoaxes that do little for fuel efficiency and, in some cases, can actually hurt a vehicle’s mileage and cause dangerous engine damage.
There’s a veritable sea of fuel-saving devices on the market, and while most of them sound great, many offer little — if any — benefit for what they cost. It’s sometimes difficult to separate the truly useful devices from the not-so-great ones, so read on to learn more about popular fuel-saving hoaxes and how they work.
Read more: HowStuffWorks “10 Fuel-saving Device Hoaxes”.
- DIY Vehicle Fuel Saving Devices and LPG Gas (athingforcars.com)
- Drivers opt for fuel-efficient cars (confused.com)
- Fake Bigfoot Accidentally Killed By Motorists In Hoax Gone Wrong [Hoaxes] (jalopnik.com)
Reiki (sometimes mispronounced as /rejˌiki/, it is properly pronounced /reːki/) is a pseudoscientific therapy based on the following beliefs:
- there is a universal and inexhaustible spiritual “energy” which can be used for healing purposes
- through an attunement process carried out by a Reiki Master, any person can gain access to this “energy”
- this “energy” will flow through the Reiki Master’s hands when he/she places his/her hands near the patient
- this “energy” has human-like intelligence
- as this “energy” is intelligent, there is no need for diagnosis. This “energy” will automatically judge the disease and will heal the patient.
It can be dangerous, or even life-threatening, if someone avoids evidence-based medicine and relies upon Reiki for treatment.
Keep Reading: Reiki – RationalWiki.