Minggu, 08 September 2013

Sports bracelets: They're not dead yet!

When I present the "Skepticism in the Classroom" workshop at AAPT meetings, physics instructors often dismiss the silliness. "No one believes that stuff," they say. That's when I share with them the reported annual sales figures for Power Balance, and the fact that for too many months, they owned the naming rights to Sacramento's premier sports and entertainment complex. (What had been ARCO Arena became Power Balance Pavilion.)

I also discuss the continued success of similar products such as the Phiten Titanium-infused necklace, especially popular among baseball players at all levels. These products do very well.

And while Power Balance and their closest knock-off, Power Force, may have fallen by the wayside, Trion:Z remains.

Since The University of Michigan Wolverines handled the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame so nicely last night in The Big House, I thought it would be good time for a progress report on officially licensed goofy body wear.

So we now have the Michigan "twist titanium" neckless.

The Michigan site is careful to couch this as a simple show of spirit. But the richest purveyor of this "idiot noose" (my term), Phiten, pitches a different story. They post a page purporting to describe their "technology" which lists health and fitness platitudes, but is careful to make no claims. But it also links to "Research ... conducted by the Society for Aqua Metal Research". I am reminded of the fraudulent Tobacco Institute, the research arm of the tobacco industry charged with casting doubt on the medical science of smoking.

We also have the Trion:Z bracelet. When I say then name out loud, I feel an urge to try on the bracelet. Not sure why that is.

Trion:Z uses animations to describe how their negative-ion technology. Perhaps the most convincing graphic is at the bottom of the page: it appears to be digitally displayed numbers on a scientific-looking metal box. With buttons! And a model number (the EB-13). It's amusing to see Trion:Z calling out Phiten as ineffective.

Here's a challenge: see if you can buy yourself an Eco Holistic EB-13. And I'm no expert in generating negative ions, but if I had to, I'd look for a beta emitting radiation source.

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