Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hilarious Exchange: some moron thinks lying on LinkedIn is a right

LinkVaark loves highlighting the morons who put up fake pictures (actors, actresses, models, etc.) as their profile pix. Recently, he found a real gem... Someone put up picture of a doll, really, a high-end display doll.

Then apparently this moron start posting comments asking the pix to be removed, then claimed "that doesn't mean the profile's a fake! There's nothing against it!"  Clearly, the guy didn't read LinkedIn rules...  Below is a shortened version.

Read the whole thing (and see the actual picture that caused the hilarity) over at Linkvarrk:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baloney Detection Kit used on pseudo-MLM scams

The Baloney Detection Kit by Michael Shermer I highlighted earlier can be applied to other types of baloney as well, not just pseudo-science. Here's its application go pseudo-MLM or pseudo-economics (i.e. financial fraud and claims).
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fake Fuel Saver Devices: More Popular Than Ever

In the times of high fuel prices (in San Francisco, average price of regular unleaded is about 4.25 per gallon) more of these alleged fuel saver devices make their way to the market.

They can take variety of shapes and forms:

  • gas pills that you add to your gas tank
  • alleged "power conditioners" you plug into your electrical circuit (usually cigarette lighter)
  • fuel conditioner you clamp onto a fuel hose, usually a magnet of some sort
  • air improver that somehow makes your air intake more efficient
They are ALL bull****. Why? Simple logic: if ANY of these devices actually save any fuel, don't you think places like taxi companies or shuttle van companies would be buying as much of it as they can? They spend far more time on the road consuming far more fuel than you ever will, and thus they would benefit far more from these devices than you can. Yet all of the alleged testimonials are from individuals. 

In fact, everybody with ANY sort of scientific test have REPEATED busted ANY SORT of these fuel saver device claims. In 2005, Popular Mechanics tested a series of these products and found most of them REDUCED engine power and WORSENED fuel economy.  Mythbusters also did a test and came up with similar results. 

Gas Pills / Treatments / Etc.  -- FAKE

Any sort of pill, liquid, or whatever you add to the gas tank will simply be burned, but fuel efficiency will not be affected by a TINY bit of chemical (remember, you have a 10-25 gallon tank, and how many pills or ounces did you put in?)  

There are gas treatments, such as STABIL gas stabilizers that allows prevents gasoline from 'going bad' in vehicles that will be left alone for a long time. There are also "injector cleaners" that you can add to gas tank to clean your fuel injectors. However, they don't actually save any fuel. 

Power Conditioner -- VERY FAKE

At least one power conditioner was revealed to be a total fake: its internal circuits are just stuff you can put together from parts at Radio Shack for $5 and have NO effect whatsoever on your car's electrical system. 

Furthermore, the ignition circuit is usually isolated from the accessories circuit in the car, which would include the 12V aux power plug (i.e. cigarette lighter plug). Ignition is controlled by engine computer, plug wires, and the spark plugs themselves. Thus, anything plugged into the socket inside the cabin is unlikely to affect ANY of the engine electronics. 

Even if somehow such a device can influence the spark plugs, a brighter spark does NOT automatically mean better power, as the ignition timing must be changed as well, and the amount of fuel injected, and so on.  The computer must be re-calibrated as well. 

You'd be better off replacing the spark plugs at your next tune-up. THAT actually can give you SLIGHTLY more horsepower... maybe 1-3 HP. 

Magnetic Fuel Conditioner -- FAKE

Any sort of magnetic "fuel conditioner" is even more of a snake oil, since oil is NOT magnetic in any way, not is combustion. This supposedly "alignment" of particles is pure bull****. In fact, there is a full section on "magnetic scams" here that supposedly works on water, gas, fuel, and more! 

If you believe in this sort of bull****, you can buy a more expensive "heavy-duty" version too. And I have a bridge to sell you. 

Air Enhancer -- FAKE

Any sort of "air enhancer" is also bull****. Simple logic would tell you that the LESS obstructions you have in the air passage, the better the air will flow. Instead, these bull**** devices claim somehow that their devices, when added in the air intake as additional obstruction, will somehow make the air flow BETTER instead of worse, by generating vortices. WHY? You want a SMOOTH air flow into the engine! 

There are real "air enhancers"... they are called turbochargers and superchargers and costs over one thousand dollars (more if you need installation). There is also K&N Filter and cone-style air intakes (sometimes called cold air intakes even though not all are). They work by providing a LESS restricted air intake path than the stock air filter. But adding something into the intake and expect that to improve air? You gotta be kidding me. 


Don't get taken by these bull**** devices, even if they spent big bucks on sponsorships and are sold at major auto parts store. They don't work. End of story. 

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why do people keep so much **** around?

Ever seen "hoarders"? They keep so much stuff around they are afraid to throw away ANYTHING. Everything can be useful. thousands of newspaper nobody ever reads, thousands of plastic bags saved some elsewhere... etc. etc.

Here's my philosophy on what to keep (and what not to):

  • Is it useful NOW or today? Put it near you. 
  • Is it useful in a week or so? Put it in a drawer somewhere. 
  • Is it useful in a month or so? Put it in a closet. 
  • Is it useful in a year or so? Put it in storage. 
The remaining are unpractical stuff, like momentos, decorations, and such. So you decide whether you should really keep any of them. 

If there are too much of the unpractical stuff, you should toss them as much as possible, or put them on display (on a wall? shelf?) so it doesn't take up space and look like clutter. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

How NOT to debate: assume other guy's insulting you

Historian of science and Skeptics Society foun...Image via Wikipedia
EDIT: Michael Shermer
EDITOR'S NOTE: this is a rant, against a certain individual and a blog that doesn't even belong to him, who will remain unnamed. He is free to insult me on that blog-that-does-not-belong-to-him. He has discovered this little rant, and has "responded" by again, distorting what I said/wrote through his own filters. 

If you read my earlier blog posts you'll see that a certain anti-fraud crusader had somehow concluded that because I didn't join him in denouncing his most hated scam (hint: starts with A) I must somehow be against him.

Recently, he started denouncing some OTHER scam in Asia, a fake survey company. So I offered an olive branch, posting a comment that basically said great job, don't you see that there are scams even MORE evil than your most hated scam? "Most hated scam" actually have products to sell, whereas this scam has nothing, similar to that other scam (which is what got our verbal war started). I then cited Michael Shermer, head of Skeptic Society, and his 10 rules to detect baloney.

Instead of taking the olive branch, it was slapped away. According to this "crusader", I had somehow assumed that he and his readers don't know about Michael Shermer, which is an insult to his intelligence. In his own words:

Typically, Mr. Chang assumes that we must have no knowledge of Michael Shermer.

He had assumed that I had assumed that he doesn't know about Michael Shermer.


Then he proceeds to insult me about my lack of intelligence in order to understand his point of view, and proceed to call me fraud sympathizer. Again, in his own words:
However, Mr. Chang doesn't attempt to refute the quantifiable evidence that (despite the 'AXXXX' organization's own propaganda) during the previous 50+ years, virtually no products, or services, have been regularly retailed to the public for a profit by any of the tens of millions of ill-informed, and insolvent, individuals around the world, who have been churned through the economically-suicidal 'AXXXX' closed-market. 

The problem here is the guy completely misses the point. My "olive branch" was pointing out a scam that pretends to be MLM, but sold nothing. Clearly, it must be more evil than this "AXXXX" alleged scam that actually sells something. He completely ignores the point and went on to RANT about the evilness of "AXXXX". Again, because I didn't join him in attacking this AXXXX.... 
With a level of naivety which beggars belief, Mr. Chang apparently seriously expects your free-thinking readers, to follow his example, set aside 50+ years of quantifiable evidence and blindly believe the fanciful baloney that, because 'AXXXX' has products and services, the organization can simply oblige its adherents, henceforth regularly to retail this effectively-unsaleable wampum to the public for a profit. 

Again, this guy missed the point. The difference is while all these 50 years of evidence simply proves that it HAD NOT BEEN. It doesn't prove that it CANNOT. He was arguing about something else entirely.

Besides, I wasn't even talking about that AXXXX scam! I was talking about something else!

It is clear at this point any sort of olive branch would be utterly wasted. A simple name reference was construed as an insult to his intelligence, by making DOUBLE assumptions. Who's being insulting now? Then my reference was turned into a strawman attack, falsely attributing a viewpoint to me that I do NOT hold, and is in fact, irrelevant.

LESSON LEARNED: Don't talk to fanatics, even if they have their hearts at the right places. They will only drive you crazy. 

Fanatics act as if they have huge chips on their shoulders, so they are basically out to pick fights with you, provoke you at every opportunity. It's either join them or be their enemy. It's false dilemma.

EDIT: I see Mr. Brear has decided that this article had been written specifically against him and has responded in kind on someone else's blog, instead of commenting here.

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