Miracle Light Water…What?
Posted: 30 August 2008 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
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At the bookstore tonight, I picked up “Science Illustrated” and was enjoying the issue as I flipped through. I was floored when I came across a full page advertisement for a machine that creates “light water” that claimed very boldly to have cured cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Using personal testimonials as a slick way of skirting certain laws, this was UNBELIEVABLE!

They claim the water’s special properties allow it to bring oxygen through cell membranes, to cure disease, or some nonsense like that. What the hell? This is outrageous, why is the FDA not all over this? And most of all, what is a science magazine allowing this for? I realize full page ads are the biggest source of revenue, but you really have to draw the line somewhere!

Can anyone tell me more about this scam, the pseudo science behind it, and most of all, how to debunk it? It’s not my area of expertise, but I know it is very, very wrong!

Edit: I should note this is not the first time I’ve heard of this nonsense being promoted as a “health item” over the past few years, but I always brushed it off as silly and ignored it. What caught my attention this time was the large ad claiming it cured cancer, diabetes and MS, and the fact that these horrible claims were in a science magazine!

[ Edited: 30 August 2008 09:07 PM by Jules ]
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Posted: 31 August 2008 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That’s annoying ... I’m not familiar with the magazine, BTW. Do you think it’s a responsible journal?

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Posted: 31 August 2008 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It appeared to be a legitimate magazine, it had some very normal looking and interesting articles on new ocean discoveries, a couple of new fossil finds, and a nice article on conservation efforts and the pending extinction of several tiny South American frogs due to a combination of a fungal disease outbreak and the pet trade capturing wild specimens in droves.

I Googled the guy from the ad - John Ellis - along with the word water, and came up with hundreds of hits warning about a scam. (This much I knew.) One link mentioned that he used to run full page ads in Popular Science a few years back, and that this drew complaints from many readers.

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Posted: 31 August 2008 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You might want to find the Science Illustrated e-mail address in the magazine and send them a note complaining about that and saying that you had always enjoyed the magazine, but that after seeing that ad, you now question the reality of their articles.  If you see any more scams in their magazine, you’ll stop buying it.  If they get enough economic threats they’ll decide the profit from such ads isn’t worth it.

Occam

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Posted: 31 August 2008 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I will be sending them a letter expressing my disappointment. I’ll also be sending a letter to the FDA. (Although I’m sure they are overwhelmed with thousands of complaints against everything from diet pills to cancer cures -  they can add this one to the list!)

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Posted: 31 August 2008 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jules - 31 August 2008 05:00 PM

I will be sending them a letter expressing my disappointment. I’ll also be sending a letter to the FDA. (Although I’m sure they are overwhelmed with thousands of complaints against everything from diet pills to cancer cures -  they can add this one to the list!)

Good for you!
grin

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Posted: 31 August 2008 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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HaHa, the claims are so ridiculous, I can’t believe anyone could believe them, and certainly, any reputable self named science magazine with any amount of self respect could carry an ad for this quackery! (thanks for the heads up about the name of John Ellis, I couldn’t find it before—‘light water’ as far as I know is regular H2O as opposed to the heavy water used in Nuclear energy plants 2H2O). When I was a kid, long,long, long time ago, a NASA representative came to my elementary school and one of the things he brought was heavy water, it was really cool!

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/johnellisbunk.html

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Posted: 31 August 2008 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Good link, asanta. Looks like his main page has some interesting info on other water scams and nonsense, as well:

Aqua Scams

“Stephen Lower is a retired faculty member of the Dept of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby / Vancouver, Canada”

“Why do I waste my time on this stuff? Chemistry is my favorite subject, and I hate to see it misused to confuse, mislead or defraud the public.”

Awwww, I like him already! How wonderful he is taking the time to lay out this website debunking all this nonsense.

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Posted: 31 August 2008 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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From Libraryjournal.com:
Science Illustrated. 2008. bi-m. $24. Ed: Mark Jannot. http://www.scienceillustrated.com. illus. adv. Aud: GA, HS (Subject: Science. Issue examined: Mar./Apr. 2008)
Competing for readers of Discover or Popular Science, this is the English-language version of Scandinavian science magazine Illustreret Videnskab. The challenge of any popular science magazine is simply to present science that is appealing to a general audience without misrepresenting the science. Science Illustrated employs a heavy emphasis on visual information to present accurately if somewhat superficially scientific findings likely to interest general readers. Unfortunately, words used on the cover do not match the content, e.g., “Penguins in Peril: As population plummet toward extinction, scientists race to save the Emperor” references a story that states emperor penguins are in the “least concern” risk category. Science Illustrated reports on many scientific findings originally published outside the United States in languages other than English. The European representation combined with striking images and accessible writing makes this an attractive complement or alternative to competing science magazines for school and public libraries.—S.B.

Still can’t find any info about peer review.

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Posted: 31 August 2008 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks asanta, that is interesting. The magazine was parked right next to Discover Magazine on the rack, and seemed to have a similar “science light” approach meant to appeal to a broad audience. The photography was beautiful. I suppose if you’d switched the cover with that of Discover, I’d have not been able to tell much of a difference.

That being said, I still enjoy Discover. It brings many stories to my attention, and I can make a note of them and research them further if I want more in depth info. I like the appeal to a general audience - if a magazine can get more people interested in science, that’s just fine with me!

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Posted: 01 September 2008 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Well, it’s obviously a scam, but regular water is made up mostly of hydrogen dioxide, with a small amount of deuterium dioxide.  It happens that deuterium dioxide is toxic.  I don’t know how toxic it is, but I suppose thiis guy could argue that he separates that out and supplies only the water composed of one proton, no neutron hydrogen, and no or less of the one proton, one neutron hydrogen.  That may be the gimmick he uses to protect himself from the FDA.

Occam

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Posted: 02 September 2008 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Here is the link for the magazine it was in, check out this gorgeous photography!

http://www.scienceillustrated.com/

That stupid scam ad, had to ruin it for me.  wink

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Posted: 02 September 2008 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Jules - 02 September 2008 05:22 PM

Here is the link for the magazine it was in, check out this gorgeous photography!

I love the idea, and the photography on the website looks amazing ... but it also looks like the publisher is trying to do a million things at once. (Check out their website HERE ...)

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Posted: 02 September 2008 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think you found the problem LOL The images of all those magazine covers flipping past is pretty funny.

I suppose if they have a dedicated and focused team for each subject, they can still make the content accurate and worthwhile. Many publishers do work on a variety of different subjects.

However, I can also see where they might have ONE main advertising department that would say “Hmmm, Miracle Water Machine, where can we put that ad? Weddings Monthly, Yacht Quarterly, Trout Fishing Digest… Here we go! Science Illustrated! This ad sounds “sciencey” to me!. We’ll run it next month!”

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Posted: 02 September 2008 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jules - 02 September 2008 07:36 PM

“Hmmm, Miracle Water Machine, where can we put that ad? Weddings Monthly, Yacht Quarterly, Trout Fishing Digest… Here we go! Science Illustrated! This ad sounds “sciencey” to me!. We’ll run it next month!”

LOL  LOL a skeptic’s work is never done!

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Posted: 02 September 2008 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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LOL

I think you hit the nail on the head, Jules ...

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