Respectful Insolence

First Oz, now this. Too bad Dr. Novella’s appearance was so short:

At least they got Banachek to do a quick and dirty trial that helped to demonstrate that these bracelets do not work. Unfortunately, the power of belief is strong; several of the people who underwent the testing still wanted to fork over $30 for a cheap piece of plastic.

That is what skeptics are up against.

Comments

  1. #1 scott
    May 16, 2011

    I bet Shaq misses that free throw. He sucked at free throws before the bracelet and he sucked after. But claims that it really does work, all righty then.

  2. #2 Woof
    May 16, 2011

    I saw this on sale at WalMart tonight and almost hurled.

  3. #3 Zeno
    May 16, 2011

    The charlatans who hawk Power Balance bracelets have paid a chunk of cash for the privilege of putting their product’s name on the sports arena in which the Sacramento Kings play their home games. The former “Arco Arena” is now “Power Balance Pavilion.” [gag]

  4. #4 Vince whirlwind
    May 16, 2011

    http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/fitness/power-balance-bracelets-exposed-as-a-sham-20101223-195u7.html

    “A bracelet worn by high profile sports stars that claims to improve athletic performance has been exposed as a sham by the consumer watchdog.

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ordered Power Balance Australia to refund all customers who feel they were misled by the supposed benefits of Power Balance bracelets.

    The wristbands were touted as providing better balance, strength and flexibility by working with the wearer’s “natural energy field”.

  5. #5 Kat
    May 16, 2011

    Huh. In Australia (unfortunately, the source of this rubbish) these guys were ordered to offer refunds for anyone who ‘felt misled’ regarding their claims.

    It’s a shame the refund isn’t enforceable overseas, and that it doesn’t seem to have stopped their promotions!

  6. #6 Anonymous
    May 16, 2011

    Why didn’t the correspondent clarify that “expand, further validate, and quantify” were just nonsense words to keep the consumer on the hook? And why didn’t they mention the consumer protection action taken in Australia? I miss the good old days of consumer advocacy journalism when they would chase the business owners on the street, shoving microphones in their faces.

  7. #7 DLC
    May 16, 2011

    Note the weasel words used by the Power Band hawkers.

  8. #8 Birger Johansson
    May 16, 2011

    If I am going to wear bracelets, torqs or rings I want something more than a tiny edge in sports. Invisibility would be fine, or invulnerability to swords. And none of that “my preciouuus” abstinence bullshit!

  9. #9 augustine
    May 16, 2011

    Don’t let ORAC fool you. He wears these things for power, balance, and energy every time he goes to blog.

    Except he puts it on around his neck. And his head swells to the size of a standard globe. Red, too.

    But it’s really a mind trick. His head would swell that big without the choker.

  10. #10 Zeno
    May 16, 2011

    several of the people who underwent the testing still wanted to fork over $30 for a cheap piece of plastic

    I have a slightly different take on the news story’s ending. The reporter said that the participants still wanted the bracelets after the bracelets were exposed as useless. She didn’t say they wanted to pay for them. They were ready to walk out with the latest fashion accessory — and presumably the TV station didn’t charge them for the bands, so they were free. I’d take one if they were free, if only as a souvenir.

  11. #11 Wrysmile
    May 16, 2011

    Hey long time lurker sometime poster

    A little while back me and some other skeptical surfers called out Ed Temperley editor of a surf website called Magic Seaweed that I used to go to for the surf forcast because he was selling these to gullible fools and promoting them by having short surf movies promoted by them. He just banged on about how it was the consumers chioce and they love them and “properly informed continue to buy them”. He also said he was all for free speach and then promtly banned me, however since Power Banlance were forced to admit after the law suit that “We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.” They have stopped promoting them quite so readily although the do still sell them.

    And while I’m posting

    Augustine your a moron

  12. #12 Militant Agnostic
    May 16, 2011

    Wrysmile

    He also said he was all for free speach and then promtly banned me

    Typical behavior for a woo-libertarian.

  13. #13 Lawrence
    May 16, 2011

    And boring hypocritical troll starts with an ad hominem – so quaint.

  14. #14 Anglachel the Common Sense Pagan
    May 16, 2011

    I was through with it the minute I read Power Balance bracelett. If this is what the majority of the populace is willing to buy into, I truly dispare for our species! People are willing to buy into anything, as long as it’s catcy and endorsed by a celebrity!

    Alas, gone our the days when individual thought and deductive reasoning was encouraged.

  15. #15 JayK
    May 16, 2011

    Heard from a college level athlete this weekend: “Well, I’d rather have a placebo bracelet encourage me to perform better than nothing at all.”

    She wouldn’t buy my tiger repelling rock, though.

  16. #16 JayK
    May 16, 2011

    Heard from a college level athlete this weekend: “Well, I’d rather have a placebo bracelet encourage me to perform better than nothing at all.”

    She wouldn’t buy my tiger repelling rock, though.

  17. #17 Sastra
    May 16, 2011

    I wouldn’t be surprised if being told that ‘it’s all in their head’ is interpreted as a plus. It reinforces belief in the mystical, magical power of one’s Mind, with its mysterious ability to manipulate matter. Not psycho, but psychic.

  18. #18 PsyberDave
    May 16, 2011

    The fact that the participants in the demonstration were shown that it didn’t matter if they had the $1 bracelet or the $30 bracelet; that the results were the same but they still wanted the $30 one, makes me feel a little hopeless about people.

    I think we’re doomed.

  19. #19 Kurdele Desen
    May 16, 2011

    Don’t let ORAC fool you. He wears these things for power, balance, and energy every time he goes to blog.
    Except he puts it on around his neck. And his head swells to the size of a standard globe. Red, too.
    But it’s really a mind trick. His head would swell that big without the choker.
    what this videos out.
    thank kurdele desen

  20. #20 OleanderTea
    May 17, 2011

    Nice repost of the original troll post, Kurdele Desen.

    :rollseyes:

  21. #21 Finn
    May 17, 2011

    I first saw people hawking this codswallop at the pre-Marathon expo in Boston a year ago. I stopped to watch the flimflam salesman put his mark through the silly “balance testing”–which is what caught my eye–then glanced at a brochure to see what they were selling. It was so patently ridiculous that I laughed out loud as I put the brochure back.

    This year’s expo had vendors from 2 or 3 different companies selling similar bracelets. As a self-employed individual I really envy their profit margins, because those things can’t cost more than a buck to make and they’re selling them to morons for $30, but as a usually rational adult, I can’t believe anyone over the age of 9 actually falls for that crap.

  22. #22 Blue
    May 19, 2011

    Power bracelet, imaginary daddy in the sky; the only difference is which charlatans are profitting.

  23. #23 Krebiozen
    May 19, 2011

    Some guys in Australia are selling these at cost price as Placebo Bands.

  24. #24 Zach
    May 19, 2011

    ESPN did a bit on this a while back, similar conclusions:

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5699811

  25. #25 Andyo
    May 19, 2011

    #18 is probably just a spammer, they usually just copy posts to appear legit. But the post it copied… happy coincidence?

  26. #26 Ovy
    May 19, 2011

    It’s shocking that anyone takes this seriously. It seems like a genuine parody, that such bracelets are even sold, or that they even sell well. Imagine that! Collective stupidity is always greater than you think.

  27. #27 martin strausser
    May 19, 2011

    better than going to liquor stores or taking medication that the government approves you are all owned by the government. keep paying your taxes

  28. #28 JohnV
    May 19, 2011

    Just wait one damn minute. What’s wrong with liquor stores?

  29. #29 Duncan
    May 19, 2011

    OMFG; ‘power bracelets’? Have these people never played computer games? Why would you pay good money for something out of the Legend of Zelda? “Oh it balances my strength energy does it? Go stick your head in an oven, mate.”

  30. #30 The Panic Man
    May 20, 2011

    martin @#27: My God, you’ve found me out. The day I turned 18, I sold myself to the government you so despise for a case of Yoo-Hoo.

    In my defense, it was damn good Yoo-Hoo.

    Duncan @#29: Hey, if I could move a big rock to get some dogfaced guy to give me cash, I’d buy anything you wanted me to for that privilege.

  31. #31 Interrobang
    May 23, 2011

    My mother got me a “magnetic arthritis bracelet” for Christmas, and wasn’t too impressed when I rolled my eyes and said she shouldn’t have wasted her money because there’s no way it could possibly work. (The bracelet was ugly, too — crappy plastic beads and tiny little magnets that aren’t even strong enough to hold themselves to the fridge.) *sigh* My family definitely seems to be taking a turn for the woo in the last several years.

  32. #32 ThinkItWorks
    June 11, 2011

    I dont know it works really or not .. but you can conclude yourself after reading what happened with us

    1. I hv recently come to Florida from another country. I did not know ANYTHING about energy band or anything.

    2. I saw the counter at a mall and approached with my 8 yr old daughter. I was looking for a Sports Watch since quite some time. The Energy Band Watches looked like a sports watch\stop watch from a distance.

    3. I asked the guy if it was a sports watch. He took me and my daughter aside and without telling us ANYTHING, he performed the test on my 8 yr old daughter.
    * He picked test on the child because he cd not offer it to me, a lady, out of decency. None of us knew what he was about to do. There was no psychological influence.
    * My daughter doesnt understand English too well, so he cdnt say anything to her that cd possibly influence.
    * The little girl was able resist the young man so well. She said there was no tick\less pressure but shd cdnt answer how it happened
    * I called my husband who was shopping in another store and without telling him anything, made him go thru the test.
    It worked with him too.

    We have bought the band. I think that things exist in this world that can influence human body in this way. But I BELIEVE that self-energy is the best way to go …. and anything artificial wd not be good …
    just for fun we bought the band …
    will see how it goes …

  33. #33 ThinkItWorks
    June 12, 2011

    I dont know it works really or not .. but you can conclude yourself after reading what happened with us

    1. I hv recently come to Florida from another country. I did not know ANYTHING about energy band or anything.

    2. I saw the counter at a mall and approached with my 8 yr old daughter. I was looking for a Sports Watch since quite some time. The Energy Band Watches looked like a sports watch\stop watch from a distance.

    3. I asked the guy if it was a sports watch. He took me and my daughter aside and without telling us ANYTHING, he performed the test on my 8 yr old daughter.
    * He picked test on the child because he cd not offer it to me, a lady, out of decency. None of us knew what he was about to do. There was no psychological influence.
    * My daughter doesnt understand English too well, so he cdnt say anything to her that cd possibly influence.
    * The little girl was able resist the young man so well. She said there was no tick\less pressure but shd cdnt answer how it happened
    * I called my husband who was shopping in another store and without telling him anything, made him go thru the test.
    It worked with him too.

    We have bought the band. I think that things exist in this world that can influence human body in this way. But I BELIEVE that self-energy is the best way to go …. and anything artificial wd not be good …
    just for fun we bought the band …
    will see how it goes …

  34. #34 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    Please do the following.

    1) Understand that the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

    2) Watch this video.

    3) Watch the video at the top of this page, again if you did actually watch it.

    4) Now think very carefully on how the salesclerk performed those tests.

  35. #35 fangio
    September 2, 2011

    Of course they don’t work, in addition Power Blance have zero evidence that they do actually do a damn thing, which is why they have so far had problems with the authorities in Australia, Holland, Italy and Spain, as well as the class action suit in the US. When asked to provide evidence that they actually do something or to stop making claims, they have to stop making claims? Why is that, surely they have the evidence to back up their baloney about how it works, otherwise they surely would not have started selling $2 bands for $30 in the first place. Ah, I see it, they didn’t bother with the evidence because if they had to actually prove it worked before they sold it then they would have missed the opportunity to used totally discredited 19th century parlour tricks.

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