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Health/Medicine
Ocean's 11 Conman
"It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe)

Turkey Mystery
Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said Friday."

FEMA not the only agency to hold fake press conferences
Apparently Immigration and Customs Enforcement does it too. (Thanks, Gary)

The EPFX Quack Medicine Machine
Its inventor, William Nelson, claims it can diagnose and destroy disease. The FDA says it's a fraud. And it's just one example from the growing field of "energy medicine." (Thanks, Joe)
Categories: Animals, Health/Medicine, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Comments (4)
The Collier County Sheriff's office in Naples, Florida has issued a strange bulletin warning that American kids are experimenting with a new way to get high. It's called Jenkem, and it involves sniffing the fermenting gas from human sewage. You put the sewage in a bottle topped with a balloon to catch the gas. You then inhale the gas which gives you a euphoric high. In other words, you're sniffing fermenting human feces.

Jenkem appears to be real. Back in 1999 the BBC reported that street children in the slums of Zambia were using this method to get high:
Nobody knows exactly where the idea for making Jenkem came from, but it has been used by street-children in Lusaka for at least two years. Nason Banda of the Drug Enforcement Agency is not proud when he says that it is unique to Zambia. He shudders when he sees the boys at the sewage ponds, scavenging for faecal matter to make Jenkem.

However, are American children now turning to Jenkem to get high? Unlikely. David Emery of About.com has done some research to debunk this latest drug scare. He notes that the Sheriff's office has confirmed that it issued the bulletin, however Emery discovered that the pictures in the bulletin come from a thread on Totse.com, in which one guy claimed to have tried Jenkem, and supplied the pictures as proof. But the same guy later admitted he was just joking. The fermenting feces in the picture were really a dough made from flour and water and rolled in Nutella. The urine was beer and water. Emery notes:
It is plain to see that directly or indirectly, the author of the Collier County Sheriff's bulletin based his or her presentation on faulty Internet sources, borrowing photos from a message board posting that was later admitted to be hoax, and quoting invented "facts" from a Website noted for its far-out satirical chicanery.

He also theorizes that, "The word "Jenkem" may be a corruption of "Genkem," which is the brand name of a glue manufactured in South Africa reputed to be very popular among drug users. In some places "Genkem" has come to refer generically to any form of glue or solvent inhaled as an intoxicant."
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 08, 2007
Comments (12)
"George" writes: "I would appreciate your opinion about waiora's zeolite "natural cellular defense" for treating cancer (www.waiora.com). do you think there's something to it or is it just a scam?"

I don't actually see where Waiora claims that their "Natural Cellular Defense" product can be used to treat cancer. In fact, their website states, "These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." However, what they do claim sounds rather dubious to me:
Waiora’s Natural Cellular Defense has been clinically formulated to help support a healthy immune system, remove heavy metals and toxins, and balance your body’s pH levels.

Natural Cellular Defense is 100% natural and non-toxic and is derived from zeolites. For centuries, the powdered forms of specific zeolites have been used as traditional remedies throughout Asia to promote overall health and well being. The story of these “volcanic rocks” has been passed down from generation-to-generation as more and more people have experienced its life-changing benefits.

Zeolites are natural volcanic minerals with an unique, complex crystalline structure. It’s honeycomb framework of cavities and channels (like cages) works at the cellular level attracting heavy metals and harmful toxins. In fact, because it is one of the few negatively charged minerals in nature, zeolites act as magnets drawing toxins to it, capturing them in its cage and removing them from the body.


According to Wikipedia, zeolites are often used in filtration systems, such as water purification systems. In aquariums they're sometimes used to absorb ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds. They're also the active ingredient in QuikClot, an emergency coagulant.

So maybe Waiora is right that zeolites will attract toxins inside the body. What I would worry about, however, is that they would also remove good minerals from the body. I'm not a doctor, so I'm in no position to pass judgement on the therapeutic value of zeolites. But I would want to see a lot more evidence before I accepted Waiora's claims.
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 22, 2007
Comments (18)
The Mumbai Mirror reports that doctors in India removed a three-inch piece of a broken toothbrush from a woman's nose. The woman claims she's not sure how it got there:
So how did it get there? The woman claims she is not sure. She says, “Around two months ago as I was brushing my teeth, my husband accidentally pushed me and the toothbrush in my hand broke. I was left holding the lower portion of the brush but couldn’t locate the rest of it. Soon after, I started bleeding profusely from the nose,” she said. She visited the family doctor to stop the bleeding. “But since that day, I began getting breathless and a foul smelling discharge began to come out of my nose. I used to get restless gasping for breath sometimes,” she said.

Doctors are skeptical about the woman's explanation, saying that it's impossible that the toothbrush could have entered her nasal cavity through her mouth, but the woman isn't saying anything more.

I'm sure she must know how it really got there. After all, how could anyone lose a toothbrush up their nose accidentally? Sadly, the true explanation probably involves spousal abuse.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 22, 2007
Comments (8)
What do you get when you combine yoga and fake laughter? Laughter Yoga! The Ventura County Star has an article about this new twist on yoga. Groups of people get together and just start laughing. At first they fake the laughter, but after about ten minutes, apparently most people are laughing for real. Googling the term "laughter yoga" reveals that this seems to be a pretty popular new form of yoga.

The article explains that the technique was created by yoga instructor Madhuri Kataria back in 1995. At first Kataria started a group in which people sat around and swapped jokes. But then they ran out of jokes. So then he realized, "If you can't make it, fake it. If you can't laugh, pretend laugh."
It was, he realized, very much like yoga. Just as the physical poses in yoga are designed to pave the way to a deeper sense of spiritual connectedness, the physical act of laughing could lead the way to an improved mental and physical state. "So, with about 50 people we started Hahahahahaha,' and people started cracking up for real," he said. The behavior of laughing — without the jokes or humor catalyst — still resulted in an attitude change.
I can understand how this could have therapeutic benefits. Releasing tension, etc. But it definitely seems like something you want to avoid doing in public. I've seen people doing yoga at parks and even in airports. But if you're standing there laughing loudly for no good reason, you might get carted away to the loony bin.
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 15, 2007
Comments (8)
A study conducted in Germany found that "fake" acupuncture worked almost as well as "real" acupuncture, and that both performed better than conventional care (which included painkillers, massage, and heat therapy). Reportedly, 47 percent of patients receiving real acupuncture to treat lower back pain improved, as did 44 percent of the fake acupuncture group, but only 27 percent of the usual care group got relief. The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which is a reputable journal.

According to the AP report, this is what is meant by fake acupuncture:
For the sham acupuncture, needles were inserted, but not as deeply as for the real thing. The sham acupuncture also did not insert needles in traditional acupuncture points on the body and the needles were not manually moved and rotated.
Personally, I've always been skeptical of acupuncture because I don't think that the theory of "qi energy" has any more validity than the ancient western notion of humoral theory. So it made sense to me that fake acupuncture would work about the same as real acupuncture. What surprised me was that both performed better than painkillers.

It's hard to explain why any form of acupuncture would work, unless it triggers a placebo effect, or if the pain of inserting needles is causing the body to produce its own painkillers. But I'm still going to be reaching for the advil when I have a muscle ache instead of poking needles in myself. (via Side Effects May Vary)
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 25, 2007
Comments (12)
Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC:
The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam during the holy month of Ramadan. She said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forbids the commercial export of genuine Zam Zam, so we have no idea of the true source of the water which ends up on the streets of the UK.

Zam Zam holy water? I immediately thought it sounded like a good name for a kid's soft drink. Turns out it is. You can buy Zam Zam Cola in Iran.

I think they should issue a general consumer advisory about all holy waters -- that tap water shares all their special powers, for a fraction of the price.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Comments (7)
Due to personal circumstances, this week's Best of the Forum post is brought to you by guest writer and board moderator Madmouse.

Unauthorised Reincarnation Banned in Tibet (MadCarlotta)
China has banned Buddhists from reincarnating without permission, in an apparent attempt to have the next Dalai Lama chosen by the Chinese government.
From the news article:
"According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

This could lead to a situation where there are two Dalai Lamas, one recognised by millions of Buddhists around the world, and one by the Chinese government.
I don’t know how much of an effect this would have, but it would be a situation best avoided, if possible.

Skype Outage Caused By U.S. Government Spy Plan? (LaMa)
There’s been a lot of discussion in the forum about this conspiracy theory.
www.skype-news.com says:
“Skype says the problem was triggered by a Microsoft patch, delivered by Windows Update, which caused an automatic reboot of many PCs. "The high number of restarts affected Skype's network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction," says Skype's Villu Arak. According to Arak, the system would normally have recovered quickly, but on this occasion "a previously unseen bug" caused the network to fail.”
However, this news item suggests that the outage was in fact caused by the introduction of eavesdropping technology, made permissible by a newly-introduced law.

Online Game Used As Epidemic Scenario (Hulitoons)
Scientists have been studying players’ reactions to a disease in online game ‘World of Warcraft’. The researchers say that the information gathered about people’s varying reactions to a crisis like this could prove useful in the event of a genuine epidemic.
From the BBC article:
Researcher Professor Nina Fefferman, from Tufts University School of Medicine, said: “Human behaviour has a big impact on disease spread. And virtual worlds offer an excellent platform for studying human behaviour.The players seemed to really feel they were at risk and took the threat of infection seriously, even though it was only a game.”
Even if people might act somewhat differently in a game, I think that this is a reasonable (and safe) way of gathering data.

Rampant Rabbit In Stick-Up (Dave and Madmouse)
A man was jailed for five years for a robbery at a bookmakers in which he used the sex toy instead of a gun. The vibrator was hidden in a carrier bag, and seemed realistic enough that the shop staff handed over £600.
I do wonder what on earth made him think of using that rather than, say, a toy gun…
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Health/Medicine, Law/Police/Crime, Religion, Sex/Romance, Technology
Posted by Flora on Fri Aug 24, 2007
Comments (11)
Well, after my holiday, my laptop went down, and it's only this week that I'm back online. I do extend my apologies for the lack of 'Best of the Forum' posts for the last few weeks.

Receive the Holy Oil! (Transfrmr)
Forum member Transfrmr found a rather... interesting advertisement in a local free newspaper.
The advertisement (see above link) shows the text:
"I heard voices calling my name but saw nobody. Sometimes the voices told me to throw
myself under a car. To top it off I also suffered with terrible nightmares...I had no peace
at all!
I did a chain of Prayer, used the Holy Oil and fight for changes in my life. Gradually,
the grudges and pain were replaced with peace, forgiveness and joy."

The holy oil comes absolutely free, apparently. If I lived nearby, I'd have been tempted to go along and pick some up.

Man says hold the cheese, claims McDonalds didn't, sues for $10 million (AussieBruce)
Jeromy Jackson, who is allergic to cheese, claims that a local McDonalds made a mistake in his order, causing him to have to be rushed to hospital. He's now suing the chain.
A friend says that Jackson at least five times checked they had his order correct, but when he ate the burger, the reaction was instantaneous. He allegedly ate the burger in a darkened room, causing him to not notice the cheese.
As many people in the forum have noted, surely someone with such severe food allergies would make sure to check his food for himself before consuming it. Whilst this story may be what it seems, it does tingle my spidey-sense somewhat.

CIA behind Wikipedia entries (Smerk)
A new identification program on the popular site Wikipedia has shown that, amongst others, frequent users include CIA, the British Labour Party, and the Vatican, all of whom edit and update not only their own entries, but others besides.

We Have Broken Speed of Light (Tah)
Two German physicists have broken the speed of light, they've told New Scientist magazine.
Doctors Nimtz and Stahlhofen claim to have completed an experiment wherein microwave photons have travelled up to three feet instantaneously.
Categories: Advertising, Business/Finance, Food, Health/Medicine, Law/Police/Crime, Technology
Posted by Flora on Fri Aug 17, 2007
Comments (10)
An unidentified Malaysian man ran a dental practice out of his home for 29 years -- without any kind of dental training. He learned his trade by carrying the bags of an army dentist for sixteen years. But apparently while he was carrying bags he was also observing closely, because he later figured he could do what the dentist did. And the truth is, after 16 years of watching the guy, he might have been right. The fake dentist charged 20 ringgit for extractions and 130 ringgit for dentures. The police have now arrested him and charged him with illegally practicing dentistry.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 15, 2007
Comments (1)
While operating on one of his employees, Dentist Robert Woo temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in her mouth and took photos of her. The boar tusks, he claimed, were merely a practical joke -- an allusion to the pot-bellied pigs her family raises. He hoped the joke would help foster a "friendly working environment."

Unfortunately, the employee wasn't amused when she later saw the photos. She sued him for outrage, battery, and invasion of privacy. Woo asked his insurance company to represent him, but they refused, saying that the joke was intentional and not a normal business activity. Therefore, Woo had to hire a lawyer on his own and eventually reached a settlement with his employee in which he paid her $250,000. Here's what happened next:
Woo sued the insurers. King County Superior Court agreed with him that Fireman's had a duty to defend him. A jury awarded him $750,000, plus the $250,000 he was out, as well as lawyers' fees - well over $1 million all told. The state appeals court threw that out and Woo appealed to the high court, and now has won the full amount, plus his appellate legal bills.
I'm not normally sympathetic to insurance companies, but it sounds like they have a point. His strange practical joke doesn't seem work related.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 27, 2007
Comments (10)
I guess with over one billion people, it's inevitable that China would produce its share of kooks, quacks and crazies. This 71-year-old man who claims to let 220 volts flow through his body as a form of exercise and says he can cook fish in his bare hands in two minutes fits into at least two of those categories. Oh, he can cure arthritis, too. I just upped him to all three categories.

Chinese man cures arthritis with electricity
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Health/Medicine, Paranormal
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 10, 2007
Comments (7)
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