One of the odd things about blogging is the e-mail. True, I don’t get anything near the quantity, quality, or sheer weirdness of the e-mail that, for example, PZ Myers, gets, but I do get my share. Some of it’s praise; a lot of it ends up being rants against my being “close-minded” or excessively harsh on quackery; occasionally I get the odd rant about religion; and sometimes I get something that’s just plain weird. In this latter category, very, very occasionally I get e-mails that show that the person sending it either doesn’t have a clue or sent the e-mail to the wrong person.

Enter “Carol” (name changed to protect the clueless):


My name is Carol from a tiny town in Iowa. Oh wow! The reason why I am contacting you is because I am writing a grant for a business to research some of this genius equipment and how it can change our future. A future in medicine I do hope. I am sure that is what some of the inventors intentions were. Well, I intend on filling in the hole or the gap so to speak. I would love to speak with you some time to see if you would be interested in such a task. I have recently used your bio photon ionizer. What an impressive machine.

I hope to hear from you soon. This grant may tend to be written differently should I receive some input from an inventor.

Extremely impressed,


Whoa. Definitely wrong person. I wonder if I should respond to her e-mail. I also wonder how on earth she could have sent this to my e-mail. Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope that she’s visited the blog before.

In any case, I also wondered what a biophoton ionizer is; so I Googled it and found things like this, PHOTONIC Water Systems. Wow! This looks like Your Friday Dose of Woo material to me! Thanks, Carol! I didn’t have time to do a full deconstruction last night, but I will place your e-mail and these links into my Folder of Woo for future Insolence.


  1. #1 Gish
    July 28, 2010

    So her business will research inventions (genius equipment) and its impact on the future? I imagine it is because the genius inventors are too busy inventing genius equipment to consider the potential impact of their inventions.

    I, for one, cannot wait to travel to the hub of genius equipment futures research in a tiny town in Iowa. Yea!

  2. #2 Ericb
    July 28, 2010

    Maybe there’s a spam machine that can pick out blogs written by MDs?

  3. #3 Scott
    July 28, 2010

    I am writing a grant for a business to research some of this genius equipment and how it can change our future.

    Is it just me, or is there no evident, well, business there?

    1. Get grant.
    2. Research genius equipment.
    3. Determine how it can change our future.
    4. ???
    5. PROFIT!

    Without a clear path to profits, it’s not a business…

  4. #4 Sivi
    July 28, 2010

    …How do you IONIZE PHOTONS?

    Wow. I’m still somehow amazed at how much Grade 11 chemistry would correct these people.

  5. #5 Janice in Toronto
    July 28, 2010

    …How do you IONIZE PHOTONS?

    With the Photon Ionizer® silly!

    Easy peasy. Even a child could ionize photons with the GENIUS DEVICE.

    Sheesh, you couldn’t make this sh*t up, eh?

  6. #6 JohnV
    July 28, 2010

    And the photon ionizer company gets some free advertising :p

  7. #7 Moopheus
    July 28, 2010

    Sivi, those aren’t normal photons, they’re biophotons! Aren’t you paying attention? Yeesh.

    “WBiophotonic frequencies cover the full spectrum of light, from infrared to ultraviolet. Each color and shade vibrates at a different frequency, triggering specific responses in our DNA. Each biophoton can trigger many different responses before its energy is spent.”

    The Force (of woo) is strong in this one, for sure.

    Does this mean there are no biophotonic radio waves, or x-rays?

  8. #8 Maria
    July 28, 2010

    Oh boy oh boy! I can’t play the video at work but please tell me that’s Samuel L. Jackson interviewing Jesus!

  9. #9 Happy Camper
    July 28, 2010

    I would get back in touch ask for a resume and a letter of intentions plus a formal proposal. If that doesn’t scare her off you can string her along to later drop reality on her ideas. Nothing malicious or mean but a lesson well learned from a mistake(or sloppy thinking).

  10. #10 Mu
    July 28, 2010

    UV water sterilizer with mood lighting?

  11. #11 Rene Najera
    July 28, 2010

    “Aaaaaaaaaand… I’m spent!” – Bio Photon

  12. #12 Dan Weber
    July 28, 2010

    She can probably sell it to The Sharper Image.

  13. #13 Scott
    July 28, 2010

    The link references “living water.” Uh-oh. Don’t want to be killing the living water – that wouldn’t be nice. So no more drinking water for me! It’s just cruel.

  14. #14 RobsterFCD
    July 28, 2010

    I’m from Iowa! Oh wow!

    Dear Iowa, Please remove this person’s internet access or face looking sillier than my state of Kentucky.


  15. #15 roddg
    July 28, 2010

    Boy, that looks like a target rich environment. I wonder what this Theodore D. Hall, PhD character has his doctorate in?

  16. #16 Jolo5309
    July 28, 2010

    So no more drinking water for me! It’s just cruel.

    You gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure. Cruel to be kind, it’s a very good sign.

  17. #17 clayton
    July 28, 2010

    I wonder..

    hook up the biophotonic ionizer to the Kangen Water Machine and we will get free living energy. Apparently chronic dehydration causes disease, you know disease, that thing that is “bad”. Wait… if you then used your Bio photinized H- water and mixed with some AlphaGlycans PXP you know nano technology!!! Crap you’ll live for ever. I’m sorry Orac, I am so gonna put you out of business. I know it works, cause it’s got vibrations and nano tech and it’s ALIVE!!! And it will spit hydrogen bombs at evil medicine!

  18. #18 chris
    July 28, 2010

    A future in medicine I do hope.

    Was the writer’s real name “Yoda” by any chance?

  19. #19 Scott
    July 28, 2010

    I wonder what this Theodore D. Hall, PhD character has his doctorate in?

    This seems to be him:

    He claims to be an “intellectual historian”.

  20. #20 Mu
    July 28, 2010

    What a target rich environment, those guys take homeopathy one step further. Since water has memory, it also remembers all the crap it got into contact with (haven’t we always asked that). But wait, their living light actually clears that memory, for denser, more hydrating water! So the best line is when water swirls through a mountain stream, improving its immune system while doing so to gather life giving information. That finally explains giardia.

  21. #21 Eric Lund
    July 28, 2010

    @Sivi: “Photon ionizer” makes sense if you mean the photons (which would need to be in the UV or higher frequency part of the spectrum) do the ionizing. That’s why the ozone hole and gamma-emitting radioactive nuclei are generally considered Bad Things. Though somehow, I suspect that isn’t what the Photonic Water people are talking about.

  22. #22 cervantes
    July 28, 2010

    Probably has something to do with Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) — RI comes up when you google it.

  23. #23 Sastra
    July 28, 2010

    You know, there’s something fishy about the grammar, vocabulary, and phrasing of this email. It reads a bit like one of those awkward Nigerian letters. A sweet young woman in Iowa? I’m going to guess cynical young-ish guy from foreign country, and this email one of many in some sort of scam — possibly one involved in selling said ‘bion photon ionizer.’

    Hm. Consider me skeptical, on all levels.

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    July 28, 2010

    OT ( but is woo-fully masquerading advertisement as informational content *ever* _truely_ OT at RI?) Today Mike Adams ( like Joey M. before him, tells us how toxic our personal care products *really* are ( horrors!),then naturally enough, goes on to “inform” us about his own, personal preferences ( which he also, BTW, sells at his web store).

  25. #25 Scott
    July 28, 2010

    @ Denise:

    You might want to take a stroll over to:

  26. #26 peter
    July 28, 2010

    “It has been proven many times that when a homeopathic remedy is dissolved in water and then diluted to a point where not a single molecule of the remedy remains, the water is still an effective treatment. The dark side of this characteristic is that when we try to chemically remove pollutants and toxins, the memory of these harmful substances is left behind. Only the act of re-patterning the water can remove those destructive memories and restore biophotonic abundance.”

    They don’t even understand homeopathy. They forget the succussion after each dilution that helps water to remember.
    What a load of utter horsemanure…the age of magic is back in full.

  27. #27 Antares
    July 28, 2010

    “the age of magic is back in full” …but it tries SO hard to look like really really true science.

  28. #28 pablo
    July 28, 2010

    I, too, was from a small town in Iowa. Population 800. My wife was from a smaller town in Iowa. Population 50 needess to say, got the hell out!

    Although I wonder what the ‘Oh my’ is about

  29. #29 Jon H
    July 28, 2010

    You got email from Mrs. Senator Harkin? Wow!

    (Just kidding. Still. Iowa.)

  30. #30 Sivi
    July 28, 2010

    @Eric Lund,

    I’ll confess I hadn’t parsed it that way, but it would make more sense. Though sense isn’t really a given here.

  31. #31 clayton
    July 28, 2010

    I Owe the World an Apology
    Idiots Out Walking About

    Almost as good as Sven and Ole jokes.

  32. #32 MI Dawn
    July 28, 2010

    @Sastra: you know, you may be right. I thought the wording seemed rather weird but didn’t pay a lot of attention. Now that you pointed it out and I re-read it more carefully, it DOES seem to be written by a non-native English speaker.

    @Orac: is the email from a US server? Or is Sastra right, and the Nigerians are expanding to more “innocent” appearing emails?

  33. #33 Iason Ouabache
    July 28, 2010

    Well, I intend on filling in the hole or the gap so to speak.

    I think she’s coming on to you, Orac. 😉

  34. #34 JT
    July 28, 2010

    Please don’t judge Iowans by this crazy lady! I am from Riverdale IA, pop 250, received an excellent public education and am currently ABD for a PhD in macromolecular biophysics. No woo here!

  35. #35 sophia8
    July 28, 2010

    I agree with Sastra. It reads like quite a lot of the spam I get through my website contact forms. They’re almost always from an IP address that resolves to the Indian subcontinent; to get past the captcha spamtrap, humans drones are paid pennies to send them out (so much per thousand I believe, look on those international sites that advertise freelance work).
    Keywords in blogs are used to target these spams – Orac occasionally mentions his grant-writing duties, as well as writing about medicine and wonder-woo machines.
    Though I can’t really see the scam angle in this, unless it’s just advertising this guy’s woo-machine.

  36. #36 Raging Bee
    July 28, 2010

    Dude! You had a bio photon ionizer all this time and didn’t tell us? They’re SOOO much better than ordinary photon ionizers! If only I’d known you had one last month, I could have borrowed it to…



    …okay, I’m not sure what I could have used one for. But damn, dude, you shouldn’t keep your photons under a bushel!

    This grant may tend to be written differently should I receive some input from an inventor.

    Or a shrink. Either one could help her write something a little more…coherent.

  37. #37 CG
    July 28, 2010

    Did this person use Mad Libs to construct the email?

  38. #38 Denice Walter
    July 28, 2010

    @ Scott: Exactly. He’s the “Joey M.” I described. My personal theory: Joe and Mike want to convert Sephora’s** clientele.**( where the *real* money gets spent ).

  39. #39 Mike
    July 28, 2010

    PHOTONIC Water Systems LLC produces a water transformation technology developed for homes, agriculture, business, and industrial applications, that restore balanced energy through the release of biophotons. which encourages demonstrable changes in water’s behavior, thereby enhancing life.

    lol.. what can one even say about this?

  40. #40 CapnRon
    July 28, 2010

    But doesn’t distillation remove “memory” from water? Does this mean that Homeopaths have been using tainted water for their “cures” all this time? OH, NOOOOOOOOO! Homeopathy really IS sh*t!

    Can someone explain why industry needs life-promoting water?

  41. #41 jen
    July 28, 2010

    The one that gets me is the woman I work with who has a water bottle with a little charcoal filter that sits at the bottom of the straw inside the bottle. And every now and then someone new will see this and ask what it is, and her response is always “it’s a homeopathic water filter”. Usually, the person questions either what that is, or how that’s possible given the definition of homeopathy. To which her response is always “I don’t know, that’s just what it said on the label.

    Personally, I always wonder how much crud has built up in that charcoal…

  42. #42 Anton P. Nym
    July 28, 2010

    I live in the hometown of Trojan Technologies, the real “photon ioniser” guys; they use UV lamps to finish off purifying drinking water, and their equipment gets used by Canada’s DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) to supply potable water to disaster victims around the world. (Most recently in Haiti, I think.)

    I respect them. I don’t respect “Carol”, the sender of this Spanish Prisoner spam trying to hijack this technology into setting up little portable Lourdeses in the homes of the gullible.

    — Steve

  43. #43 gruebait
    July 28, 2010

    “In fact, revitalizing water to its creative state not only inactivates harmful pathogens and chemicals, it does so by removing the memory they leave behind.”

    OMG! This could be why homeopathic remedies don’t remember Caesar’s bladder!

  44. #44 Old Rockin' Dave
    July 28, 2010

    Now, Orac, aren’t you sorry you didn’t adopt my suggestion to replace “science-based medicine” with “reality-based medicine?”

  45. #45 DLC
    July 28, 2010

    Hello I am writing on behalf of the Iowa Business Grants Administrations. we want to grants you millions of dollar, in order to continue your valuable Genius research on Bion Ionized laser water.
    // Break //
    hahaha! I’m having a laugh a minute!
    Thanks, Orac.

  46. #46 wrpd
    July 28, 2010

    They just need to find the right people to support them: televangelists!

  47. #47 Kaleberg
    July 28, 2010

    It sure sounds like some kind of UV water purifier. They’re all the rage now that they have those portable, solar charged models for campers. We even bought a larger unit for our lake house, even though the lake water tested out fine. We’re belt and suspenders types. I gather it works by ionizing the molecules that cause the germs that cause infections. (They warn you not to change the bulb with the power on. Apparently, that UV lamp can give you a hell of a sunburn.)

    It would be funny if they were selling a perfectly respectable water purifier by emphasizing its “woo” factor.

    Maybe this is like that “energizing” product I saw in the back of Cosmopolitan, Lapsang 2000, almost certainly lapsang souchong tea. It tastes weird and it has caffeine.

    How about a mystical rain cone to keep your head dry when it rains? “Space-god shape designed by aliens repels earthly water.” (It probably folds up nicely when not in use.)

    Maybe we can push vaccination by dropping the science part and emphasizing the alchemical links and use horoscopes to time the vaccine sequence? Then, we can blame planetary alignments, or perhaps wayward asteroids, for the extremely rare side effects.

    I know some scientific types don’t like the idea, but if feng sui means I don’t have to have a streetlight glaring into my bedroom, I’m for it.

  48. #48 Laura
    July 29, 2010

    …and then there are the people who insist that, since you don’t believe vaccines cause autism, you must instead be in cahoots with the “neurodiversity” crowd and either believe autism is perfectly healthy or be downright autistic supremacist:

  49. #49 paulmurray
    July 29, 2010

    @5 “Sheesh, you couldn’t make this sh*t up, eh?”

    Why no, but *they* can. That’s why they are getting the big bucks.

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