Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 5.27

  • Study finds supplements contain contaminants – “Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, and some supplement sellers made illegal claims that their products can cure cancer and other diseases, investigators found.” From Zoltan.
  • No jail for spamming judge – A federal appeals court has overturned the criminal contempt citation that was issued to Kevin Trudeau for asking his followers to email the judge presiding over his case. From James.
  • Gold face cream: A costly leap of faith – “While doctors may disagree with her about whether gold can be irritating, it has become a go-to ingredient in skin care products. It has been flaked, liquefied and otherwise suffused in moisturizers and sunscreens, eye creams and lip balms.” From Rick.
  • Steve Martin’s “Atheist Song” – From PrimevilKneivel.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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21 Comments

  1. I think anytime someone tries to use an annecdote as evidence I’ll just post that gold cream article. Seriously people, you’re making it hard to be a humanist when this is the sort of thing that is common in our species. I’m thinking of becoming a secular dolphinist instead.

  2. I read that article about supplements the other day. I was a little less concerned about the heavy metal contaminants than the extra ingredients that the manufacturers intentionally added without indicating it on the label. Seriously, this stuff needs regulation.

  3. From the 7th Cir. opinion:

    “Most of the e-mails were polite and enthusiastic (“If loving the values Kevin Trudeau creates for society is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!”), but some had threatening overtones (“Leave kevin and his right to free spach alone. I wish carma on your soul this very moment. may god touch you today.” [sic throughout]”

  4. Probably the first time I’ve found myself supporting Kevin Trudeau….the idea that a judge could send somebody to jail just for doing something the judge didn’t like strikes me as totalitarian.

    Never giving MY email address to Trudeau, though!

  5. @banyan: Oh yeah, the “values” Trudeau creates…how about lying, cheating, douchebaggery. I’ll take some of that! ;-)

    Oh and some “free spach”, too. I think I may have had some spach the last time I was in Nuremburg. They make the best spach there.

  6. @jensfiederer: It’s not that the judge didn’t like it, it’s that he was disrupting a judge’s life to gain an advantage in litigation. One reason court hearings get better results than public debates is that the participants can’t just do and say what they want, they have to follow very clear rules to make sure both sides get a fair hearing. What Trudeau did amounts to screaming and shouting rather than presenting a reasoned argument, which is normally not only forbidden but indeed punishable by short prison sentences.

    However, the text of the rule for criminal contempt says it has to be done in the presence of the judge and must be sanctioned immediately. I think the appeals decision was very formalistic and they should have allowed it to apply to this new situation, but I’m not the one on the bench.

  7. I *heart* Steve Martin. He’s also one of the finest comedians on the planet. Most comedians can be good with good material but Steve Martin can be hilarious even with terrible material. Even when he’s cast in yet another desperately unfunny comedy, Steve Martin will just go ahead and at least make all the parts where he’s actually on screen funny anyway. The Housesitter is one of those movies that by all rights should have been unwatchable but Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn (who I find is often underrated) conspire to make it funny anyway whenever any of them are on screen.
    Of course, when he’s doing something that’s actually good, he becomes outrigt fantastic.
    That probably went off on a bit of a tangent but I really love Steve Martin.

  8. @Snikkers:
    Be nice if there was a list of the ‘dietary supplements’ that were tested.

    Actually, I like the fact there isn’t. In a sense, it’s giving the alt-meds a taste of their own medicine, in that people will now start distrusting EVERY dietary supplement (as they should really).

    The only thing that will make the distrust go away would be a label that said “FDA-approved” or something. Which means they’ll have to work that much harder to get that approval, and a lot of the crap that’s pushed these days will fall by the wayside.

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