Advertising, scepticism and zombies

Monday, 7 September 2009

How do you cure pain in the iBollocks?

This lunchtime I developed an app for my 2 year-old HP monitor. It was carefully designed as a warning system to be employed during my walks through the brambled pathways of my RSS forest. All you need is a homeopathic particle empathy detector (a glass of water where at least one of the molecules retains the memory of passing within 5,000 miles of Stephen Hawking’s bladder) that’s psychically connected to a piece of Blu-Tac stuck to your monitor.
Whatever website you visit, you may or may not detect an odour according to the veracity of the site. The chances of success are higher on a Tuesday with one of your feet facing south.
High veracity = no smell.
For example, one tab of my Firefox browser is currently on the Pocket Pain Doctor site and boy, can I tell you that the bovine atmosphere is ripe.
The latest Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe podcast blasted an iPhone app that sounds like something you’d see advertised in the back pages of the Daily Mail alongside the Big Slipper and Sonic Meerkat Gnomes.
The Pocket Pain Doctor claims to have some minor health benefits. The podcast piece was based on an Engadget review with the revealing title “Pocket Pain Doctor is the worst iPhone app. Ever.” When you visit the app’s website there are a couple of bleating comments about Engadget being unfair for not really trying it properly and, almost convincingly, a space where you can view some supposed clinical data. The problem with this data is that nowhere does it relate to the feeble iPhone emanations that are associated with this app. Sure, NASA may have experimented with red rays, but how do the emanations from a big piece of fuck-off megabucks fly-me-to-Mars kit match those of your own £400 Apple gadget? And get this: one of the so-called supporting clinical studies cites work with lasers. If your iPhone emits laser beams, please tell me because I might finally be tempted to buy one.
Although there’s nothing obviously wrong with the third party data, I can see no connection with Pocket Pain Doctor’s own research, because there isn’t any. And, by the way, the company’s own research should not generate the same sort of PR-bullshit that we see in the tabloids, but be unbiased research where neither the examiners nor the subjects know who is using the real product that shows the app beats placebo.
The Pocket Pain Doctor might work, but their proof is unconvincing (an old sceptical canard says that the plural of anecdote is not data).
How about this: it would be easy for some company to build an app that makes your iPhone vibrate and come up with the same level of support claiming that your gadget will increase your brainwave frequency.
Or some other bollocks.
Christ, my head hurts. Pass me your iPhone.

Build your own bovine atmospheric detection system

1 comment:

  1. You are too clever for me Chimp 'n Fishes...I am knuckle dustin here, but I think I like what you are sayin'...Blu tac sounds a good idea...for instance...