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Old 07-09-2007, 10:41 AM   #1
plantbrain
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Touramline, Far IR and other hogwash


2 weeks ago I spoke with a person who seemed very intent on disproving me and got offended when I made disparaging remarks to the validity of several companies' claims as to the effectivemness of adding tourmaline minerals into the sediment and how it can help a tank.

Perhaps a chemistry professor bent on helping folks wade through wonky water schemers should offer some support.

Look down farther where he discusses far IR, the same stuff discussed with Touramline.

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/wonkywater.html

http://www.chem1.com/acad/sci/pseudosci.html

If you poke around, you can look into a number of methods and signs that will help you from not getting taken by such marketing.

"You don't even need water to get hit by "ionization" scams!

Yes, this outfit offers "ionized bracelets" to willing suckers... no mention of how they work or what they are supposed to do for you.

Here's another that peddles tourmaline crystals as "Nature's source of Far Infrared and Negative Ions". Of course, all matter above absolute zero emits far-ir radiaiton, ordinarily known as "heat". Tourmaline also happens to be piezoelectric: when you squeeze it, a small voltage difference develops between the two ends of the crystal. Nothing special here, but these operators weave this into a fabric of lies about the crystals putting negative ions into and purifying water, reducing cluster size. increasing dissolved oxygen, and have a general healing effect.

And how about Ener-Chi Ionized stones? Can rocks be ionized? Well not really, but natural radioactivity occasionally knocks an electron out of an atom, creating an ion pair which can remain locked into the solid for a long time. So in this sense, even the rocks you find in your back yard can be said to be "ionized". But these jokers take it to ridiculous extremes:

By placing an Ionized Stone next to a glass of water or plate of food, the water or food becomes energized, increasing digestibility and nutrient absorption. Ionized stones can also be used effectively in conjunction with Ener-Chi Art -- simply place an Ionized Stone on the corresponding area of the body while viewing an Ener-Chi Art picture."

Is it bioavailable as a trace mineral?
No, it's very very insouble.

Read this baloney:

http://www.ionizers.org/tourmaline.html

Now if you believe that, you might think adding it your plants might impact "long plant life" as well

More huckster products:
http://www.root-cn.com/The-Creator-o...Tourmaline.htm

Why not sell it to the aquarium industry as well?

Is it soluble in our tank conditions? Bioavailable to plants?
Apparently not even close.

http://www.geol.lsu.edu/henry/Resear...perimental.htm

Here's a claim in our hobby.
http://www.adaeuro.com/catalog/Engli...e%20System.pdf
This is not from the vendor, rather ADA.
I wonder where ADA got this info?

I have been unable to find a single creditable study showing any benefits to plants with this product or mineral. If you know of a real one, post it.

I've used it and cannot say with any certainly after a year new of any discernable significant benefit to a plant, a root, any exchange in nutrients etc. Now have I done a precise experiiment for this one?
No, I should not have to either if it works as claimed.
I should live to be a 150 and never have any plant related issues.

Given all of this, the burden should be upon the companies selling the snake oil/nutty devices and what not to show that it's useful and when folks do try it, that they know, not guess that it is due to the product, not something else which is often the case.

Penac is a similar product and line that's well known in the snake oil water quackery.

Do these things work?

Who the heck really knows............generally they do not hurt except in the wallet but there's no support here the best I could find and some very dubious claims and support at best and at worst, they just want your $$.

As a hobbyists, we should/need to see something, some benefit we know we can attribute to the product based on improved fish or plant health etc.

If not, why buy it?


Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 07-09-2007, 04:58 PM   #2
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These products will forever be available. With so many variables controlling the success/failure of a tank, it is a perfect opportunity for marketers to take advantage of the hobbyist making a Type I error. Even if the buyer only sees good results once, he'll likely bite for the rest of his life. I know you mean well, Tom. But, as long as people continue to carry severed Leporidae limbs for good luck, there will always be a market for unproven additives.

I pity no one who buys snake oil. They have access to the same info I do.
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:09 PM   #3
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I was at Petco or Petsmart one of them, and saw they had on the shelf Beta Water (dont rememebr the exact name) but it was water that was specicialy designed for bettas. Man i fealt bad for anyone getting it, and you know people have...
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:41 PM   #4
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At least Betta water is dechlorinated, which is a far sight better than most betta owners give.

The Asian culture seems to go for this more esoteric approach, which explains a lot of ADA stuff. I love ADA, don't get me wrong, but some of the products are pretty out there. Penac, Tourmaline BC, etc.
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:02 PM   #5
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just cause something isn't proven scientifically doesn't mean it can be discredited entirely.
PLEASE DO NOT interperet this as me saying i believe in any of the "wonky water" stuff.. penac, or ionizing wristbands...

but what about things like...
selenium supplements and childhood/early adult acne.?

or chiropractics and backpain?

how about laughter and overall health??
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:19 PM   #6
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A valid counterpoint, Andrew. Reminds me of a quote I read in a Sagan book (or was it Dawkins - anyway), "It is good to keep an open mind, just not so much that your brains fall out."
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:19 PM   #7
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Aveda makes an eye cream with tourmaline in it. Maybe you could just squirt that into your tank!
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unirdna View Post
These products will forever be available. With so many variables controlling the success/failure of a tank, it is a perfect opportunity for marketers to take advantage of the hobbyist making a Type I error. Even if the buyer only sees good results once, he'll likely bite for the rest of his life. I know you mean well, Tom. But, as long as people continue to carry severed Leporidae limbs for good luck, there will always be a market for unproven additives.

I pity no one who buys snake oil. They have access to the same info I do.
HaHa!
Yep, but I do give the old speil every so often to those less inclined to consider such things. We cannot save everyone, but we can save a few.
So such efforts are still worth while IMO/IME.

Regards,

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Old 07-10-2007, 01:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbelvedere View Post
The Asian culture seems to go for this more esoteric approach, which explains a lot of ADA stuff. I love ADA, don't get me wrong, but some of the products are pretty out there. Penac, Tourmaline BC, etc.
Well, such questions are better suited to a cultural scientists rather than a plant scientist.

However, perhaps Germans are similar with heating cables?
That's pretty far out there as well.

USA? Haha, Hydrilla pills to increase virility, stamina, longer life, weigh loss etc, 30$ for a 30 day supply.

I think each culture is suckered well by these hucksters.

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Old 07-10-2007, 02:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanut415 View Post
just cause something isn't proven scientifically doesn't mean it can be discredited entirely.
PLEASE DO NOT interperet this as me saying i believe in any of the "wonky water" stuff.. penac, or ionizing wristbands...

but what about things like...
selenium supplements and childhood/early adult acne.?

or chiropractics and backpain?

how about laughter and overall health??
That's right.
But when they ask for $, you do become suspicious.
Some baloney detection is always a good idea.

And you could add this to a marketing advertisment as support, "there's so much that science does not yet know........"

I've heard that one 1001 times.

Scientists do not have the time to test and validate every crack pot that comes along. When it comes to things like agriculture, most of these ideas, crazy as you want them to be, have been studied.We have been growing plants that way for well over 10,000 years. They spend a lot of $ on this one.
It drives everything we do in the world at some basic level.

What are the odds that ADA, or Penac found this out and places like UC Davis's plant Science's dept got left in the dark?
Just based on likelyhood alone...........pretty high odds to beat.

If it does do as some of the claims, increasing growth by 50% for some species, that's a lot of corn, rice, tomatoes etc.

If it was a real increase, you'd think getting 50% more would spur the scientific community, dramatically change the way we do agriculture and make some farmers and heck of a lot of money. You'd get the nobel prize for something like that.

But I think aqua schister's are the one's making the money here.
ADA and many aquarium companies are just as gullable as a hobbyists may be. They just got sold and now market the stuff.
To the best of their knowledge, they believe it works.

http://www.physics.smu.edu/%7Epseudo/baloney.html

Now if I claim moon beams grow better aquatic plants, just because science has not studied it, does this imply there is any truth or any merit?

If you look at junk science and marketing scams, that's one of the their favorite ploys.

"Wishful thinking

We want to believe the claims made by the promoters of these products. We let wishful thinking interfere with the ability to think critically. We're too willing to trust those with an economic interest in their claims and too lazy or proud to seek out the proper experts to help us evaluate the claims and the products. But wishful thinking is only part of the story.

Scientific ignorance

The pitch for such products is couched in scientific jargon.

Such jargon sounds good to one who is ignorant of physics, geology and lacking in basic scientific competence. What is absolutely zero in probability is that these companies discovered how to do this without anyone in the scientific community being aware of it until they marketed their product. This application of science, if it were true, would be an achievement recognized and applauded the world over.

Such devices and products get taken seriously because they are peddled to non-scientists as a device on the cutting edge of modern science and technology. Their target consumers and investors, in other words, are not usually competent to evaluate the scientific claims made by the promoters. Human pride may play a role here in duping some people; they are too embarrassed to admit that they don't understand what the seller is talking about. The potential buyer or investor who is not competent to evaluate such claims should seek out experts who are. One must be careful to choose the right experts, however.

Using the wrong experts

Purchasing agents or investors who seek out scientists from the company doing the selling, or non-scientists who peddle such merchandise, are more likely to be duped into buying and investing in useless devices than those who seek the opinion of independent scientific sources. Anyone with an economic interest in selling the product should be viewed skeptically. One has to balance keeping an open mind with a healthy dose of skepticism when considering Aamazing" new technologies.

Self-deception and selective thinking

Numerous studies have demonstrated that people generally give an excessive amount of value to confirmatory information, i.e., data which is positive or which supports a position. We easily deceive ourselves when we want something to be true. If we have invested a good deal of time, money, etc., in a project or activity, we do not want it to fail. We cling to any little bit of data that seems to support our efforts. We do not seek out contrary data and we vigorously attack those supplying such data. We easily fool ourselves and others into thinking we have a product that works, but until we put our ideas to the test by devising rigorous controlled studies, we cannot be sure we are not deceiving ourselves.
Reliance on testimonials instead of scientific studies

Testimonials and anecdotes are generally unreliable measures of new technologies. Double-blind and/or control group studies are necessary to rule out self-deception and a host of other psychological and logical hindrances to critical thinking.

Mass Media Manipulation

Reliance on testimonials instead of scientific tests should be red flags to journalists doing articles on new technologies. A minimal understanding of the proper way to test causal hypotheses should be required of journalists who review "amazing" technological products and of purchasing agents who might consider spending someone else's money on a potentially useless product. The mass media often give such devices credibility by doing promotional pieces under the guise of investigative journalism. Those who market questionable high-tech devices spend much more money on marketing than on scientific research. A good part of marketing involves getting the story out by manipulating the news media.

Reliance on lawyers instead of scientific evidence and arguments

Like I have not dealt with this one before
He gave up BTW.

A scientist should respond to legitimate criticism of his or her scientific claims by refuting criticism with scientific evidence and arguments. When a company responds to a scientific test of their product by suing or threatening to sue scientific investigators for making defamatory statements, it is likely the company is more interested in selling their product than in telling the truth.
Evidence from independent scientific investigation is almost always more reliable than testimony from a lawyer defending his or her high-tech client against charges of fraud.

Failure to consider the obvious, such as lack of guarantees, a company's track record, or the actual value of the product

One might expect the guarantee or warranty of an extraordinary product to be as grand as the product itself, but many such products are marketed using a number of weasel words. Some have no guarantee at all.

Conclusion

There certainly are many high-tech inventions that live up to their manufacturer's claims. Distinguishing them from devices more likely to disappoint than satisfy is not beyond the ability of the average non-expert. We must guard against the tendency to believe in something just because we want to believe. We must not let pride or laziness prevent us from making inquiries and demanding support from disinterested, qualified experts. We must take with a grain of salt the testimonials provided by those with an economic stake in a product. We must not forget that there is a natural tendency to be selective in our thinking and it is easy to deceive ourselves about products that seem to work but have not been adequately tested. We must remember that interested parties often manipulate journalists into promoting their products under the guise of an investigative report. We must remember that an emphasis on marketing and legal troubles, and charges of conspiracies, often indicates that there is some serious problem with the science or technology. Finally, there are some obvious tip-offs to high-tech promises that are too-good-to-be-true, such as astounding promises backed by no guarantee, or claims that a single discovery or invention can solve numerous unrelated problems, or the fact that even if the amazing product works as advertised it would still not give good value."


Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unirdna View Post
A valid counterpoint, Andrew. Reminds me of a quote I read in a Sagan book (or was it Dawkins - anyway), "It is good to keep an open mind, just not so much that your brains fall out."
That happens to be a Dawkins quote, and I'm fond of it.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:33 AM   #12
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thanks tom, i showed my grandad the ada setup guide and he was distinctly unimpressed, he used to work for british coal and was an environmental manager, basicaly a feild botanist (i think thats the right word, studied plants) incharge of making sure the old coal feilds are turned into good nature reserves and he said much to the same effect about tourmaline and penac and so on, that its simply useless for plant growth and was "druid science" im not saying hes right, but 50 years of work in the feild cant be too badly wrong. he said of having dowsers (people with mystic sticks to find water) there looking for water then wanting pay when they found some, my grandad refusing to pay looked into the matter and found out at least 2 of the party of 6 worked for the water board and knew where theyd find water without the act
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:39 AM   #13
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I do not honestly think ADA, or many of these companies are really decpetive here, I have never said they are, however, they are no better than most of us when it comes to wading through some baloney.

And I think that is what occured here.

SeaChem has folks that are a bit more critcally minded.

They will sell Alkaline buffer, label it nicely, tell you how much to ad dper tank size, but we can use baking soda just the same. Folks to carry on and on about the differences between baking soda and alklaine buffer.

Marineland also has some good people working for them and their product line.

But if you lack a person that can cut through all this, then you can get taken, I do not care how nice of scape you can do over and over, it does not mean the product works as claimed by the Druids, pixies or whatever belief system you want to impose.

I do not debate beliefs.

That is the realm of philosophers and priest, of which I am certainly not nor wish to be.

I will look at likelyhoods, that's about all we have to go with.

Based on that, I cannot say this stuff does a hill of beans, but many folks still suggest it for some odd reason.

What I'd like to know, is why they still do.
Or is it mere belief?

Regards,
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