Saturday, August 6, 2011

Power Balance Bracelet: How Does It Work?

I work at a fast food place and people are constantly coming through the line with their Power Balance bracelets. I find this to be a good opportunity to ask simple questions about this device.

"How does the bracelet work?"

The answers kind of range a bit.

"I don't know."

"It improves your balance."

"It balances your ions."

"It improves performance."

I have very little time for any follow-up questions, because I am the cashier. I get responses more frequently in the vain of the last three responses. To which I would just love to ask, "What exactly does that mean?"

One of my co-workers would love to respond to the claim, "It improves your balance."

"What balance? My bank balance?"

What surprised me was how many responses I got in the vain of, "It doesn't work", and "It's a piece of crap." It has become somewhat obvious to me that this is just, "Well, I invested money in this thing, might as well just keep wearing it." To tell themselves that it was worth the $10-$30 they spent on it. Or it's a gift from a friend or family member and they can't bring themselves to throw it out.

I even got a physical demonstration of how this bracelet "works." Three young guys. One was wearing the bracelet. The one wearing the bracelet shows me a demonstration of how his friend is "not balanced." His friend puts his hands behind his back and interlocks his fingers. The guy with the bracelet pushes down on his hands and the friend falls backwards. Clear evidence that his friend is "not balanced." Then he puts the bracelet on his friend and does the same thing. Only this time, the friend doesn't fall over when he pushes down on his hands.

I then ask one them to put the bracelet on. I tell the one who will be pushing down on their friend's hands to stand further back when he pushes down. This way the guy who is pushing isn't offering physical support. Sure enough, with the Power Balance bracelet on, the guy falls backward. He's wearing the bracelet. He shouldn't fall over. How does the owner of the bracelet deal with this obvious failure? He said, "Well, he's not balanced."

You have to be balanced before you even put on the bracelet for it to work?! If you're already balanced, then why do you need the bracelet? Are these guys even aware that the creators of the bracelet admit there's no evidence that it works? Why isn't this information offered at the time of purchase? Until it is, I will keep asking the question, "How does it work?"

Richard Saunders of the Australian Skeptics asked this same question:

Further Reading:

Power Balance Technology

Placebo Jewelry

Power Balance: Magical Energy Bracelets, or Nonsense?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Skeptics & Freethinkers Donate Food

On two occasions now, The Cleveland Skeptics and The Cleveland Freethinkers have participated in a food drive for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. It was an effort organized by Ginger and it has paid off. We have, thus far, donated 130lbs of food! That's food going into the mouths of people who can't afford it. It feels good to do good!

We plan on doing this on a regular basis. We are thinking we will have a food drive every three months or so. The holidays don't have to be the only time of year people donate food. I don't know about you, but I get hungry all year-round.

We want to thank everyone who donated!

We donated a good amount the first time!

Even more the second time!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleveland Skeptics' Psychic Predictions

The Cleveland Skeptics recently had a meetup entitled A Skeptical New Year. At this meetup we discussed psychic predictions by Sylvia Browne. We then decided to make our own "psychic" predictions for the year 2011. What follows are the predictions from all those Cleveland Skeptics who participated.

Ginger predicted:

  1. There will be a major internet outage through much of the US.
  2. Two country singers will die together in a tragic car crash.
  3. A major US political figure will come out as gay.
  4. Paris Hilton will be hospitalized for a drug overdose.
  5. Jack LeLanne will die of a massive heart attack. (This could be a hit.)
  6. Christopher Hitchens will pass away, but no death bed conversion.

Mark T. predicted:

  1. A Republican will say something stupid.
  2. Compelling new evidence will be found for the "Multiverse" theory.

Ray and Mary predicted:

  1. Cleveland Freethinkers membership will reach 700 or more.
  2. FOX News will produce false-negative reports about the Obama administration.
  3. Extreme weather will occur in the US and the rest of the world. (This has nothing to do with global warming.)
  4. Peace and love will prevail in the world.
  5. Glenn Beck will be involved in a big scandal and fired from FOX.

Randy S. predicted:

  1. I predict that people will begin seeing Michael Jackson in high-end antique stores, or cub scout meetings.
  2. The great musician Jimi Hendrix will return on the mother ship from whatever nether region of the universe he has been dwelling for the last 40 years.
  3. The Cleveland Skeptics will reach over 400 members.

Randy P. predicted:

  1. Josh(me) will become President in 2026.
  2. Unemployment will rise to 10.1% before end of 2011.
  3. Income inequality will reach a new high.
  4. US poverty rate will increase by at least 2%.
  5. The sky will turn dark once in 2011 somewhere on Earth during daylight hours.
  6. The sky will be filled with blazing trails of light on Monday, January 3.
  7. A magnitude 8.0+ earthquake will strike Sarah Palin's Alaska.

Wendy predicted:

  1. There will be a big earthquake in California.

Marni predicted:

  1. President Obama will officially close Gitmo.

Dale predicted:

1. Micro meteor strikes in the Indian Ocean - between 3 & 7 magnitude earthquake off the west coast of US. You may have heard that Wal-Mart is going "international". I predict that Wal-Mart will go into some 3rd world nations driving whole countries out of business. But, there is hope. Out of the ashes of destruction, like the phoenix, a new nation will rise! And it will be called the country of Wal-Martistan.

I predicted:

  1. Steve Jobs will come out with a new version of the IPad.
  2. Gay marriage will be legalized in half the states.
  3. Marijuana will be fully legalized in at least two states.
  4. President Obama's administration will be plagued with a scandal that will doom Obama's chance for re-election.
  5. Oprah's new network will fail miserably.

There you have it! The Cleveland Skeptics predictions of 2011! Unlike most psychics we will be keeping track of both the misses and hits. We will also take note of the partial hits as well. Happy New Year!