For your Christmas List: Real Snake Oil

Well, OK, it’s actually fake snake oil….

Wired Magazine (wired.com) gadgets section has its annual (I don’t really know if it’s annual, but it should be) issue of Snake Oil products.

Such as The Orbo:

When it comes to gadgets, perpetual motion machines are bullshit’s bread and butter. Steorn, the Irish company behind Orbo, is only the latest in a long line of deluded, incompetent or fraudulent firms to claim the scalp of the laws of thermodynamics. File this one under deluded: enthusiastically setting up a public display, the inventors were humiliated when it failed to operate. But wait! Steorn gave its deal to 22 scientists who’ll “validate” the device. Don’t hold your breath, chaps.


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Or, the Harmony Chip:

The Harmony Chip is so transparently useless as to be an object lesson in how drivel may be dressed up as science.

Everything is just as it should be. The appropriation of scientific teminology to tout snake oil. Misrepresented research from real scientists. A website slathered in testimonials. Vague medical claims about pain relief, blood pressure and curing headaches. A long-haired, bare-chested Yorkshireman with a fake Eastern name who rambles emptily about the nature of innovation and who attributes commonplace platitudes to himself. Wait… What?