Yet another study shows using magnets for arthritis doesn’t do shit.

commonsenseThis shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain, but there’s yet another study that shows slapping a magnet on your arthritic joints won’t do anything other than lighten your wallet.

From the NYTime’s health blog:

British researchers randomized 65 patients with rheumatoid arthritis to receive one of four treatments: wearing a powerful magnetic wrist strap, a weak magnetic strap, a non-magnetic strap and a copper bracelet. Each patient wore each device for five weeks and completed pain surveys. The study appears in the September issue of PLoS One.

The patients reported pain levels using a visual scale, ranging from “no pain” to “worst pain ever,” and recorded how often their joints felt tender and swollen. Researchers used questionnaires to assess physical limitations, and tested for inflammation by measuring blood levels of C-reactive protein and plasma viscosity.

There was no statistically significant difference in any of these measures regardless of which type of device patients were wearing.

It’s been nearly 10 years since the last time I bothered to write about a study showing that magnet therapy is bullshit, but it appears the popularity of this particular kind of snakeoil hasn’t waned in that time. Estimates are that the sales of magnet bracelets tops $1 billion a year worldwide despite there not being one double blind, randomized testing showing they have anything more than a placebo effect. And that’s just the bracelets. You can buy all manner of things with “healing” magnets in them these days from insoles to underwear.

The only good news to be had is that there are so many people pumping these craptastic products out these days that if you’re gullible enough to buy into the nonsense you won’t end up wasting huge amounts of money on them as they tend to be cheap.

Bored with trees, telephone poles, and tacos, Jesus shows up on Walmart receipt.

Looks more like Mohammad to me. Click to embiggen.

So here we go again with Jesus showing up in a random inanimate object. This time it’s a receipt for Walmart which Jacob Simmons and Gentry Lee Sutherland just happened to notice appeared to have a face on it after being tossed on the floor and walked on.

The following Wednesday, the couple had just come home from a church service when Simmons spotted the receipt on the floor of Sutherland’s apartment. He says the receipt had changed.

“I was leaving the kitchen and I just looked on the floor, and it was like it was looking at me,” Simmons said.

A dark gray mark on the receipt seems to show two eyes, a nose and a mouth in a thickly bearded face.

“Then the more you look at it, the more it looked like Jesus, and it was just shocking, breathtaking,” Simmons said.

via Couple Sees Jesus In Walmart Receipt – Greenville News Story – WYFF Greenville.

You can see a pic of the miracle receipt over there on the right. I see a face, but it doesn’t look all that Jesusy to me, or at least it’s not the traditional Anglo-Saxon depiction most folks flip the fuck out over. Perhaps that means it really is Jesus! If it is, he has one seriously fucked up nose. And that left ear! How far back is that thing located on his head??

But this is no ordinary couple of religious folks blindly accepting what their eyes are showing them. No, they did some research to ensure it was the Real Deal:

Simmons said he called the store to ask what could have made the mark.

“They said the only way you could really get it black was to put heat on it,” Simmons said.

The couple says they did nothing to make the face appear on the receipt.

“We just feel like it’s a blessing that God showed it to us and opened our eyes. And we just feel like we should share the blessing God gave to us to everybody else,” Sutherland said.

Because the clerks at Walmart are experts on pareidolia. Just looking at the picture I’d be willing to bet water was involved combined with a little pressure from someone walking on it.

But assuming it is Jesus, I again have to ask just what the nature of the blessing is supposed to be? What, exactly, does a crude image of Jesus on a Walmart receipt bestow on someone other than an opportunity to be an attention whore? Has it cured them of cancer or caused an amputated limb to regrow? Or is it just a warning that God is closely monitoring their purchasing habits? Perhaps he disapproves of them shopping at Walmart, but they’re misinterpreting what it’s supposed to mean!

Someone should warn them. That God fellow can be tricky at times.

Look! It’s a pole! It’s a plant! IT’S JESUS CHRIST!

He photosynthesized for your sins...

What do you see when you look at the picture on the right? I see a telephone pole being slowly choked to death by Kudzu, a particularly troublesome plant native to Japan and China that has been clogging up the American South since 1876.

But if you’re Kent Hardison then you see the Son of God:

Kent Hardison, who runs Ma’s Hotdog House less than a half mile from the pareidolia, rides by the Christ-resembling post each day. He said when he first saw the kudzu growing he almost sprayed it with herbicide.

“I glanced at it, and it looks like Jesus,” Hardison said. “I thought, ‘You can’t spray Jesus with Roundup.’ ”

via Plant growth on telephone pole resembles Jesus | jesus, pole, kudzu – Kinston Free Press.

Relax, Kent, if it’s really Jesus then he’ll be back in three days anyway.

Seriously, the standard for what counts as a vision of Jesus has really gone down hill if this is enough to get people all excited. If you want to be charitable then you might say it resembles a cross, but even that’s stretching it. Looks more like a dagger with a broken handle if you ask me.

Hardison said he shook off the likeness of Jesus the first time he noticed the utility pole growth.

“I just thought it was my imagination,” he said. “I thought I was crazy the first time I saw it and it resembled Jesus.”

It is just your imagination. It’s a fucking plant on a fucking pole and you are crazy if you thinks it’s anything more than that. Much like this lady:

Michelle Davis, who lives in Sandy Bottom, said she first noticed the pole last Thursday, after her husband told her about it.

She called the kudzu Jesus “ironic,” considering crime levels throughout the county.

“Maybe it’s a sign of the times,” she said while picking up lunch at Ma’s. “There’s been a lot going on in this area.”

Hardison agreed, “Maybe he’s looking out for us.”

Really? He’s looking out for you by arranging an invasive plant in a vaguely cross-like shape on a random telephone pole? What is it supposed to be? A divine attempt at a ghillie suit? “They’ll never see me watching them from up here in these vines!”

Surely Jesus could come up with a more effective way of helping with the crime problem in that area. Or so you’d think if that was really him. I say we soak it in Roundup and see if it comes back to life in three days. It’s the only way to be sure.

True Bible Decoders are up to over 200+ wrong guesses about the end of the world.

As long as we’re talking about True Believers™ making predictions about the end of the world according to the Bible we can’t forget the folks who make Harold Camping look like a rank amateur when it comes to being wrong: The True Bible Code and Lord’s Witnesses.

The last time we visited with them was back in October of 2009 at which point they’d been at it for 3 years and had amassed a total of 171 wrong guesses using the tried and true method of moving the date back a couple of weeks every time their prediction failed to come to pass. You’d think it would eventually sink into their thick skulls that they haven’t a clue what they’re doing, but then you’d be underestimating how thick some skulls can be because they’re still predicting away:

There will be a terrorist attack on the US taking the form of fire from the heavens and a rising mushroom cloud on 2010Ab24 (2010August6-7) in the 6th hour of the Hebrew day. The attack will hit Westside Midtown Manhattan producing a man made mushroom cloud rising from the Hudson river.

Now would be the time to buy 2 years supply of candles, solar power, wind power, food, water, gas bottles, deisel etc. for yourself your loved ones and some guests.

[…] We are not going to meet Jesus at 30,000 feet. We shall meet him in heaven. The other half of us who do not learn this lesson will destroy both ourselves our society and our planet, which will react with an extinction level volcanic event presumably caused by Nuclear war and Global warming in our present understanding. The planet will literally vomit us off and heal itself at our expense in a natural payback designed into the earth by God. Armageddon culminates with the greater volcanic destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in scriptural terms, the greater flood of Noah, only with a different fluid, molten lava. God will then resurrect these ‘slow learners’, put them in Hell. There he will show them the video of mankind’s self destruction, and ask them the following type of rhetorical question: OK boys, where do you think you went wrong here? The first birth pang of the coming Kingdom of God, is a terrorist nuclear attack on the USA in our present understanding…

We now predict a terrorist attack using a form of fire from the heaven that we cannot conclusively determine, but we think may be nuclear. The US will be hit with a with a weapon producing a mushroom cloud rising from the sea (1Kings18), hitting midtown Westside Manhattan, near the Hudson river on 2010Ab24 (2010August6-7) during the 6th hour of the Hebrew day.

We are warning you about this, so that when it happens you know that God has spoken of this event beforehand and in fact will save us from nuclear annihilation in the near future…

Got that? This is all set to go down a week from tomorrow. Of course, that’s been the case for the better part of the last almost four years. Had you been gearing up with every warning these nutcases sent out you’d have enough crap stockpiled to support your whole state for a decade.

Don’t expect these folks to give up anytime soon as this is what True Faith is all about. It doesn’t matter how many times they fail to get the date right because they believe if they keep guessing eventually they’ll be proven correct and boy will the rest of us look stupid for not listening to them when we had the chance.

It’s the same reason I doubt Harold Camping’s nutcases will give up when their date of March 21st, 2011 comes and goes without a rapture. He was wrong back in 1994 and it only cost him a few believers. The ones that are left as just as fanatical as ever about their belief in their leader’s predictive abilities. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s back within a couple of years with yet another prediction, assuming he doesn’t die first as he is in his upper 80’s. Death is probably the only thing that’ll get him, and the True Bible Decoder nutcases, to stop.

Now he’s just showing off: Jesus found in fingerprint and lung X-ray.

Pic of Jesus in thumbprint.

Jesus knows where your thumb has been!

It’s been awhile since we’ve had any stories about images of Jesus showing up in odd places so here’s two such stories to make up for it. First, Jesus took the time to freak out an 8th-grader:

Austin Coleman says he found Jesus on his thumbprint. He says he put the thumbprint on a piece paper for a school science project then stepped back and noticed the resemblance. He admits, “I got a little freaked out.”

You can see the picture to the left here. It took me a moment to see the face as I was busy looking at where the arrow was pointing and not realizing it’s actually in the middle of the print.

Doesn’t look like any depictions of Jesus I’ve ever seen, but then it barely registers as a face to me.

Pic of Jesus in MRI.

I'm sorry sir, but you have a terminal case of Jesus lung.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jesus also took the time to show up in some poor dude’s chest x-ray:

Images from a thoracic spine examination by Christopher Vittore and Kevin Tribble, radiologists in Rockford, Ilinois and clinical assistant professors at University of Illinois College of Medicine. MRI technologist, Deb Savala assisted with the technical data. This was performed on an open MRI machine, a General Electric Signa 0.35 Tesla MRI scanner. (Details: 40 x 40 cm field of view, sagital plane, frequency 256, phase 128, image slice thickness 5 mm with 2mm skip interval, no phase wrap.)

You can see that image on the right. The face is a bit easier to see here than the fingerprint, but, again, it doesn’t look all that much like Jesus to me. Mohammed maybe, but not Jesus.

Oh wouldn’t that be awesome if an image of Mohammed showed up in some big anti-Islamic preachin’ televangelist’s lung? Now that would be some serious irony.

SEB Mailbag: Hi, my name is Don. I’m a moron.

I present the following epistle without comment:

From: Donald Sikinger <yuo4yuo4@yahoo.com>

Subject: Hi there, my name is Don and your place sucks as it is way too confusing.

Hi there, my name is Don and your place sucks as it is way too confusing.

les@stupidevilbastard.com

I’m still trying to figure out what exactly do you do, as it certainly is not for conversation, or to sell garbage to make a buck, but rather how much of a mess you can make on the web.

Are you seriously paying hard earned cash for your space on the internet? You are joking right?

I would call you by your own title but that would get me no where.

What is it that you do on the net, what is your purpose? Trying to get around your place is like a drive threw a garage dump, or perhaps filtering a septic tank, but what the hell it is a free country—the last I checked.

No, you have not offended me in some long lost post so do not get any strange ideas.

I’m simply telling you your site is a crap hole of confusion as you over tech yourself beyond reason—as if you fucking care. You do not care, then I do not.

Are you political, religious, terrorist (HA HA) where are the posting sights even after registering? What are you selling—you have a listing of your merchandise? Perhaps organize your merchandise by price or shipping—do you ship to Kumbaia Mexico or Scumtaatoo Idaho?

So I will take ONE T-shit saying—YOU Stupid Evil Bastard— but I could not find that page on your site either. You must be fixing your site, with revisions on top of revisions and then more revisions, and then alterations, deletions, add on gimmicks, banning at random, and in the end—YOU stupid evil bastard— what a fucked up form you have. Have you banned yourself yet? Just wondering with all the revamping.

Ok, all in good fun, I will poke around and try to learn something, like what not to do.

And YOU stay away from religious sites, I would not want you to go ape on me when you are doing so good.

Don

Don did manage to somehow register an account, no small feat given the above rambling barrage of words, and he even submitted an entry that consisted of of the following brief comment:

I do not think you understand the Bible. Try reading it and not looking at the letters.

I’m not sure if that’s deeply profound or stunningly stupid, but I’m leaning towards the latter interpretation.

Illinois woman prays God will bring jobs to her town.

JoAnna Caldwell of Jacksonville, Illinois has the solution to her town’s unemployment problem. She got a handful of people together and prayed for God to make it all better:

“I was laying in bed and I heard God say, ‘Go pray in the plaza,’” Caldwell said. “So I figured I’d get people out here with me.”

Caldwell stationed people facing north, south, east and west around the Civil War memorial as she led them in prayers that included Psalms 103, Ephesians 3 and the Lord’s Prayer.

Mayor Andy Ezard and Salvation Army caseworker Alan Bradish were among about eight people in attendance as Caldwell shouted out her prayers to improve conditions.

“We shall not want for jobs,” Caldwell said. “We have no fear. We’re not in a recession, that’s what the world says.”

Yeah, that should do the trick. After all it’s a proven fact that prayer works, right?

Well, no, it doesn’t. At least not when put to the test. If anything some studies have shown that prayer can sometimes make things worse. Almost as if God is annoyed you’re bugging him with your puny little problems. But none of that bothers Ms. Caldwell:

After seven minutes of continual prayer, Caldwell thanked those in attendance for coming and enduring the cold to pray for more employment.

“Just watch,” Caldwell said. “We will see results.”

It’s worth noting that she didn’t say when we would see results. That makes for a nice way to claim any improvement in employment to be proof God listened to their prayers even if it takes years.

At the very least she’s not asking God to kill someone, like some Senators and religious leaders have been doing as of late, so I suppose there’s no real harm in it. If it helps her to sleep better at night then who am I to yank her security blanket away?

It’s just a shame the newspaper considered less than a dozen people standing around in the cold pleading to an imaginary sky-fairy to be news.

After 3 years and 171 wrong guesses the True Bible Decoders are still at it.

We last checked in with the The True Bible Code and Lord’s Witnesses people almost a year ago at the start of December 2008. At that point they were on guess number 126 that New York would be hit with a terrorist attack of some sort.

Now they’re up to guess number 172:

There will be a terrorist attack on the US taking the form of fire from the heavens and a rising mushroom cloud between 2009Tishr1 and 2009Tishri10 (September23-October3). The attack will hit Westside Midtown Manhattan producing a man made mushroom cloud rising from the Hudson river. 

Now would be the time to buy 3 years supply of candles, solar power, wind power, food, water, gas bottles, deisel etc. for yourself your loved ones and some guests. 

Because, honestly, if you can’t trust the advice of someone who has been wrong 171 times already then who’s advice can you trust? They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think these folks prove that adage quite well.

Each time I’ve visited their page over the past few years it has grown longer as they rush to invent new evidence to explain why their last prediction failed to come to pass. You do have to give them credit for owning up to their past failures. Though even they have lost count claiming they’ve only been wrong 155 times, or maybe only 145 times depending on, as they say themselves, how you count them, when it’s really 171. I know, I counted them up just to be sure.

They offer a Biblical justification for their continued attempts in the face of so much failure:

Why do the LWs keep predicting a nuclear terrorist attack from the bible when they have got it wrong so many times before?

Jesus said:
7 Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened (Matthew7).

Either you believe those words or your prefer the promises of Ferenc Gyurcsan, the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Jesus’ words do not mean that we should knock once or twice. They mean that we should keeping knocking until the door opens. For that is the promise. They do not mean that we should seek here and once we have done that we should seek there. They mean that we should seek everywhere until we find. For that is the promise. They do not mean that we should ask once or twice. They mean that we should ask every day and every hour of every day until we are answered. For that too is the promise.

And that is what we have done. And that is what we shall continue to do, God willing, because unlike the wonderful hungarian prime minister whose candour about his dishonesty is like a refreshing stream of truth in a desert of deception, Jesus is true to his word all the time. He is good for every one of his promises and he delivers what he says he will deliver. He does what he says he will do.

The only way we will not find is if we stop seeking. The only way it will not be opened to us is if we stop knocking. And the only way we will not be answered is if we stop asking.

In short they keep guessing because they have no doubts the event they are predicting will come to pass. They just can’t seem to figure out when it will happen, but that’s OK because if you keep on guessing then sooner or later you’ll either be right or die of old age. Guess which outcome I’d wager a bet on?

The fact that they keep asking (or rather guessing) and Jesus keeps not answering is no reason for these folks to stop guessing. It just means they need to guess again and again and again. They’re like the small child in the backseat of the car on a long road trip constantly asking “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now? Are we there yet?” Only there’s no parent in the front seat or, for that matter, a car. Which is probably for the best because after a 171 questions that parent would probably be ready to murder them for a little peace and quiet.

Incidentally I have no idea why they bring up the Hungarian Prime Minister. There’s probably mention of him someplace further up the page, but I didn’t bother to read the whole thing as it’s a lot of nonsense to wade through.

So we’ll check in in another 6 months, or year, or the next time I get bored and remember that these idiots are out on the web, just to see what the count is up to. Maybe they’ll get lucky some day and someone will do something in New York that’s close enough to what they’re waiting for that they can stop guessing and do a little “see I told you so” dance. I can just hear them now: “So what if it took us a couple of thousand guesses? In the end we were right!”

The True Bible Decoder whack jobs are still at it.

We last check in with the nutcases at the The True Bible Code and Lord’s Witnesses website back on May 15, 2008. They were up to failed prediction number seventy at the time and predicting that a terrorist attack would strike New York City on either the weekend of the 23rd or 27th of that month.

Have they given up yet? Ha ha! What are you, stupid?

There will be a dual terrorist attack on the US and the UK taking the form of fire from the heavens and a rising mushroom cloud, in 2008Heshvan (before 2008December3). The US arm of the attack will hit Westside Midtown Manhattan producing a man made mushroom cloud rising from the Hudson river. The UK arm will most likely occur on the same day but may be a few days later.

Now would be the time to buy 12 months supply of candles, solar power, wind power, food, water, gas bottles, deisel etc. for yourself your loved ones and some guests.

So they’ve expanded their list of potential targets to include someplace in United Kingdom in addition to New York City. They’re up to the triple digits in number of failed predictions so far and are they at all embarrassed about it? No, not at all. In fact it’s become a point of pride for them:

Now some churches have attempted to deduce the date of the begining of the Kingdom of God from the scriptures and got it wrong a few times. God bless them! The Watchtower was the most tenacious of these and made perhaps 6 or 7 steps towards that date, their last step being 1975, which is 6,000 years after Adam was born according to their pre-flood chronology which is very good. But then they gave up at what was actually the last fence. Because the Kingdom of God begins not 6,000 years after Adam was born but 6,000 years after he sinned, since his sin was the founding of the world, not his birth. And he sinned aged 33½, the same age that Jesus was when he paid for that sin. So the Kingdom of God began on 2008Nisan17, 6,000 years after his sin on 3993Nisan14 BC.

[…] Yes, 7 steps in humiliation was the most that any church had made before us. This was the largest number of mistakes any church was prepared to make publicly before they let embarrassment in front of men trump their fear of God. The LWs, standing upon the shoulders of the work of the JWs, got the date of the start of the Kingdom of God after a few weeks of independent research in one step on 1992February1!

But getting the date of the start of the Great Tribulation was not a one step journey. It was at least a 125 step journey. This was the lock that the holy spirit put on that knowledge. And no church on this earth loved the glory of God and detested the glory of man enough to make that journey. No church other than the LWs.

Let me repeat that: They’ve been wrong 125 times and they’re still guessing. Come tomorrow they’ll be wrong 126 times and they’ll just keep pushing the date back a couple more weeks. This is the power of faith. The ability to keep believing in something with absolutely no basis in reality despite being shown to be continuously wrong literally hundreds of times. Chances are they’ll still be at it when we check back in another six or seven months.

“The Happening” an IDiot movie in disguise?

That’s what the folks over at IO9 are saying about it.

Note, the following discussion pretty much spoils the whole movie so if you think you might want to see it then don’t read any further. I’ll put it below the fold just in case.

M. Night Shyamalan’s critically-panned flick The Happening is Hollywood’s first blockbuster to promote the anti-evolutionary theory of intelligent design. Maybe you thought Ben Stein’s ill-fated documentary Expelled was the only movie to argue in favor of the neo-Christian idea that an “intelligent designer” created the universe. Think again. With its references to “unexplained acts of nature” and a science teacher main character who calls evolution “just a theory,” The Happening is basically a giant propaganda machine for intelligent design. Maybe science journalists are jizzing all over its allegedly realistic plants-attack-humans plot, but we talked to Shyamalan and we know the truth.

Avowed Christian Shyamalan told us that The Happening is really about religious faith, and explained that he chose Mark Wahlberg to play science teacher Elliot Moore because of the actor’s intense belief in Jesus. Maybe he also chose vacant-eyed Zooey Deschanel to play his wife Alma because she looks like a little girl who needs a big strong monotheist in her life? No comment on that one from Shyamalan.

We get tipped off to the fact that this allegedly science fictional movie is really an ID tent revival in the opening scenes where Elliot teaches his science students about evolution. He explains to them that honeybees are disappearing all over the country, and asks what some possible explanations might be. Students who say things like “climate change” and “evolution” are dismissed as being “partly right.” But then when a generally quiet student finally says, “It’s an act of nature that we can’t understand,” Elliot lights up and says that’s the best answer. That phrase “act of nature,” which sounds suspiciously like “act of God,” crops up in the movie again and again to explain why plants have suddenly decided to kill humans.

As our little band of characters flee into the Pennsylvania countryside, they gradually begin to realize that the waves of suicides might be caused by plants. We see news commentators talking about how the “attacks” probably aren’t coming from terrorists. And Elliot uses the “scientific method” to deduce that plants can “spontaneously evolve” in response to a threat. Maybe plants think humans are threats, and “spontaneously evolved” in an “act of nature” to manufacture a toxin that switches off humans’ self-preservation instincts? Why, we’d all just instantly commit suicide! You know, because God — erm, I mean nature — is mad at us! For doing things like not polluting and not having babies with our husbands.

Trying to look wise but merely looking blank and addled, Elliot ponders and looks into the middle distance, intoning, “Science will come up with a reason to put in the books but int eh end it’s just a theory. We fail to acknowledge forces at work beyond our understanding.” Well put, Mr. Science Teacher. All those atheists with that whole “evolutionary theory” thing don’t realize it’s just a theory! Probably everything in nature is just beyond our understanding. Let’s pray.

I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be the case when I saw the trailer and heard the “we’re dealing with forces beyond our understanding” line from Marky Mark. It’s getting a 20% freshness rating at RottenTomatoes.com and after hearing the plot details it’s not surprising as to why.

I really liked Sixth Sense, it was the second DVD I ever purchased, but it seems like with each succeeding movie release Shyamalan has drifted away from telling a good yarn to finding ways to preach to us in a somewhat subtle fashion. Signs was particularly bad about that what with the main character being a Clergyman-turned-atheist who rediscovers his faith for no apparent reason after living through the alien invasion.

Oh well, there’s still plenty of other good movies to check out this summer.