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Monday, September 9, 2013

The Skeptical Okies first requested investigation!

I have received several replies to my shameless pleading for help on my little activism project. (I'm still trying to come up with a title for it, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know)  There will be a bit of a lag between each post, due mostly to the research involved, so bear with me.  First off, I would like to say thanks to Martin Leonard, who suggested this product to me. It is called the T-28 Whole house protection from iHealth.  Here in the U.S., it's sold under the name T28w 3G  or P.S.T 28 by green8usa.com .   I was unable to actually test it, mostly due to the fact that here in the U.S., it costs $597, which is a considerable chunk of change.   That price is for each unit, and they recommend using multiple units.  Martin alerted me to the New Zealand Retailer of this wonderful pile of Woo, and I contacted them trying to learn more about it.

This is a copy of the message that I sent.

I am interested in your T-28 3G/4G Whole House Protection device, but I do have some questions.  Does it need to be hard wired into my electrical system, or does it use batteries?  How Does it harmonise and neutralise electromagnetic radiation?  Does it use some form of jamming signal or electro feedback loop?  Does it completely prevent electromagnetic radiation from entering the location that it is installed?   And  is the same method that blocks man made EMR also prevent natural background radiation, or is that a different method?  Will my cell phone work inside the protective area, or do I need to leave the 66 metre radius to use it?  How does it help with headaches, sleep disorders, and other physical problems?  Finally how long do I need to use the device before I begin to see improvements?  Thank you for your time and reply.

I used the same spelling for some of the words that they use on their page.  I don;t know if it's colonial spelling or the "z" key on their computer doesn't work.  Any New Zealand readers let me know if this is how you normally spell these words and I'm just being pedantic about them.  I received several e-mails from them within a day or 2, trying to figure out where I was from.  I told them I live in Oklahoma, in the United States, and they sent me a link to a States-side retailer.  This company is called, as I stated earlier, green8usa.com .  Their website has more information concerning the item than the N.Z. one does.  I have tried to contact them, but as of today, I haven't received a reply, so all the information I have is coming straight from their website.   According to them, it works by:
The TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 is energized utilizing a highly specialized processing. The
mode of action is based on a combination of numeral codes and systems and is
scientifically verifiable.
    • TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 – W is designed for a house or building and covers a radius
      of up to 33 meters/ 216 feet.
    • The operational radius of 66 meters/ 216 feet can be increased correspondingly by
      installation in additions of 2 – eg:
      2 P.S.T.28 = 66 m/216 ft. protection4 P.S.T.28 = 132 m/432 ft. protection
      6 P.S.T.28 = 198 m/648 ft. protection
      Enlargements are possible in a 2- step mode only.
The bottom line is that if you need to protect larger areas you don’t want a Transformer 28W you want to start with a Transformer 28H and combine multiples of 28H units to increase the area. This is a more economical way to protect very large areas.
  • TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 protects permanently and safely against electromagnetic
    radiation from transmitters and satellites.
  • TRANSFORMER P.S.T.28 neutralizes any output of gas and pollution created by
    Transmitter mast
  • TRANSFORMER P.S.T.28 works effectively if installed correctly and exactly.
    Advice for installation
It is informative and helpful to determine the so called BOVIS-UNIT before installation. In
most cases BOVIS-UNIT measures below 3000. The absolute minimum rate should be 6.500
BOVIS- UNITS. Energy losses are caused, among other things, by electromagnetic
radiation. You can calculate the BOVIS-UNIT by means of radiaesthesia or pendulum.
Another measurement should be done a couple days after installation. You will
immediately see the decisive difference.
Installation inside houses or apartments/flats
  1. Choose a protected place where the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 is out of the way and will
    not be moved. This can be on a cupboard, wardrobe, or somewhere on the floor – you
    can determine best. There must not be any cover above the TRANSFORMER P.S.T 28.
    Nothing must be placed on it.
  2. Place the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 horizontally. Use a compass and determine which
    direction is North. Align the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 so that the North arrow on the
    TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 coincides with the North position on the compass.
  3. After aligning the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28, mark its position by drawing a line all
    around or by pinpointing its corners.
  4. It is recommended to fix the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 with a double sticky tape.
  5. Right after installation the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 starts working. You will immediately
    be able to feel the favorable effect.
  6. At 2 or 3 hour intervals you can measure the increasing BOVIS-UNITS.
    What you should feel or discover
    After the TRANSFORMATION in an apartment/flat or house has been completed, you will
    feel a soft fresh waft, as if the windows are open. Overall you should feel better. The energy
    inside has been increased considerably.
Installation outdoors – houses, barns, buildings, warehouses
  1. Choose a protected place where the TRANSFROMER P.S.T. 28 is out of the way and
    cannot be moved. This can be in the open, on the ground, or on a higher platform.
    There must not be any cover above the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28. Nothing must be
    placed on it. If dirty, clean occasionally. The TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 is weather proof.
    The effectiveness of its surface with 28 measuring points will be guaranteed for 5 years.
  2. Place the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 horizontally on suitable ground.
  3. Use a compass and determine which direction is North. Align the TRANSFORMER P.S.T.
    28 so that the North arrow on the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 coincides with the North
    position on the compass.
  4. After aligning the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28, mark its position by drawing a line all
    around or by pinpointing its corners. It is recommended to secure the TRANSFORMER
    P.S.T. 28 so that it cannot be blown away.
  5. Right after installation the TRANSFORMER P.S.T. 28 starts working. You will immediately
    be able to feel the favorable effect.
  6. At 2 or 3 hour intervals you can measure the increasing BOVIS-UNITS within and around
    the object.
All information from green8usa.com

Urg...this all seems rather questionable to me.  First off, lets talk about the Bovis units.  When you put Bovis units into your search engine of choice, The Wiki article is the first followed by a lot with New Age feel to them.  According to Wikipedia, the Bovis Scale is "a concept used by dowsers and adherents of geomancy to quantify the strength of a postulated "cosmo-telluric energy" inherent in a location."  Just the words dowser and geomancy should tell you you're dealing with some serious Woo.  I don't even know what the hell "cosmo-telluric energy" is.  Like most pseudoscientific ideas, the Bovis Scale can't be measured by science, and hasn't been recognized by the scientific community.  It's a short article and I recommend you read it for yourself.  If it makes sense to you, please let me know what it's even supposed to do.  I saw references to fruits and vegetables, but nothing about cell phones and laptops.  According to Perfectwaters.com, the Bovis Scale is a measurement of spiritual energy (insert your own DragonBall Z reference) in a person, place or idea.  Once again, how this related to modern technology, green8usa doesn't say.  I guess they claiming your Iphone doesn't have a soul?  To measure Bovis units, you hang a pendulum and watch how it swings.  Can you say ideomotor effect?  I knew you could.  Then it says that there can be no cover over the P.S.T. 28.  Does that mean that your roof doesn't count as covering it?  Or are you supposed to knock a hole in your ceiling so the thing can work?  And then you align it with North.  Why?  I couldn't find an explanation as to why.  My assumption is that they are playing on the New Age belief of the cardinal points, and that everything should be lined up relatively to North.  I spoke to an electrician, and showed him the website and asked him if it could possibly, by some slim chance work and his reply was "No F$^&ing way!"  His reasoning was that there generally has to be a structure that completely surrounds an item to block it from any kind of electromagnetic radiation, sort of like a Faraday Box.  The structure normally has metal to, as he explained it," bounce the signal back where it came from."  Placing a small square with what looks like a circuit board printed on it and expecting it to block all electromagnetic radiation is sort of like putting a piece of Kevlar in the middle of a battlefield and expecting all the bullets to bounce away.

They also slipped in a weasel phrase in case the product doesn't work and someone wants a refund.  I'll give you a moment to find it..... Did you see it?  It was "works effectively if installed correctly and exactly."  The installation instructions a slightly vague and if you call them up to complain about it not working, I would imagine that they will say, "Sorry to hear that, but you must have done something wrong when you put it in."   Though how you would actually know if it's working or not is a mystery to me.  The measurement is either subjective (how you feel)  or can't be measured by any known scientific means.  Before I discuss some of the problems with how these things are supposed to work, I want to talk a bit about their website.  At the top, they have 4 sections labeled Home, Proof, Testimonials, and Contact Us.  I wanted to see what research they had, which labs had done it, and who had verified the results.  What I got was a video of a British man named David Furlong, who is apparently a therapist in the UK.  It doesn't say what kind of therapist, or how he would be qualified to talk about electromagnetic radiation.  He starts off by talking about what the green 8 products can do for you.  (If you want to impress an American, oddly enough, get someone with a British accent to sell it.  Weird how well that works.)  In the video, he has a woman sitting there and puts a probe in her hand.  It made me immediately think of the e-meter that Scientologists use.  Then he says he is going to test one of her acupressure points.  There is a chart on the computer screen and a line that goes up to the middle, which means that she is in balance.  (funny that this is a product to protect against the electromagnetic radiation emitted by technology, and there he is using a computer.  He must have one on it.)  Then he puts a "mobile phone on her body, which with the angle, you can't quite tell if he's actually placing it on her lap or the table.  This time when he does a reading, the line goes above the middle and you hear a really crappy alarm sound.  He says that her body has immediately gone into a stress load. (WTF?)  Then he calls the phone and has the female subject (victim, accomplice?) hold it while he does another reading of an acupressure point.  This time the line on the chart goes a wee bit higher.  Then he turns the phone off, basically places what looks like a sticker with a circuit board pattern on the phone and tries again.  If you've got quick eyes, you'll see a message go flying across the bottom of the screen that says that this is for demonstration purpose only, the product should be placed inside the phone case.  This goes back to the weasel phrase of "if installed correctly and exactly"  Keep on mind he didn't install it properly.  Upon the next reading with the product stuck to the outside of the phone, her line on the chart has returned to the center green area.  He then repeats the "test" with her listening to the phone, and what do you know, the line stays in the middle zone.  She says she's going to talk to friends and family about it, and he does his little sales spiel and the video ends.  Now right above the video there is the sentence "Healthy blood has blood cells that are free flowing and don't stick together."  They're right, but I believe that when they do, it is called coagulation, or else the person suffers from sickle cell anemia.  That is the summation of their proof.   Except for the "Add to Cart" banner that seems to appear on every page of the damn site.

 Then comes the testimonials.  A lot of them mention feeling heat coming from their phones (and all of these seem to be for the phone version, not the full house version that initially started me down this rabbit hole).   One even mention developing blisters from using a phone without the green 8.  Another one describes himself as developing  "strange electronic queasiness", which I guess if your queasiness feels electronic, it would be strange.  There are a couple more, but they all basically the same thing, over and over again.

On the home page, you have the option to "read more", and so I did.  Someone owes me a couple of pints of Guinness for this.  Seriously, someone does, this hurt.  There is a video, which is basically a batch of word salad saying electromagnetic fields (EMF) are responsible for weakening immune systems.  They through out the phrase "bio-field" and claims that the green products can change EMF to a bio-field.  Ummm, sure.  Scroll down a bit and you see that they proclaim we are entering a new age of science!  Yeah, about time, the old science was boring.  Guess what the science is.  Not particle physics, no, not quantum physics.  It's Hyperdimensional Physics!  The same line of shit that Richard Hoagland has been promoting for years.  For a better idea of what Richard Hoagland is about, listen to The Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast.  Or Coast to Coast.  I like Stuart better personally.  Then they go on to say that to get a better feeling about their products, listen to what their customers have to say.  Not researchers, not scientists.  Their customers.  How much will you bet that any negative comments didn't make the cut.  It only makes sense because they are trying to sell this stuff, but really guys, not even trying to say "And now hear what this person in the white coat has to say about our expensive sticker."?  (These cost $37 U.S.)  And then you have the "Add to Cart" banner once again.  And then they have the exact same testimonials at the bottom that they have on the testimonial page.  I think someone was being paid by the word.  And at the bottom of the page, where you can normally leave a comment, the comments are closed.  I also found a Q&A section and after perusing it, the final one caught my eye.  It is:


Q: Since I have the Transformer 22-100 in my home office, do you still recommend getting the Green 8 Gold for my landline cordless phone, which is in the same room?
A: Yes, while the Transformer 22-100 and Transformer 22-30 will protect you from the WiFi radiation from a wireless LAN – if you use a cordless phone it is still important to install a Green 8 Gold inside the handset and another Green 8 Gold on the base station for the cordless phone.
From green8usa.com
So even though you have a relatively expensive system already in place, you should really pop for the $37 one for everyone of your wireless phones too.
I know I started this investigation looking at the whole house model, but the entire website seems to be geared to pushing the single cell phone model, and the rest is either an afterthought or an add on purchase.  From what I can determine, the concept behind them is the same.  You put what looks like a microchip pattern on something and then stick it on something else and it will either block or change EMF.  After looking through their website, I found numerous warning signs that this products claims are completely unfounded and that it is nothing more than Woo.  One is the use of acupressure points in the video to determine the amount of a "stress load" the subject was under.  Another is the jumble of technical sounding phrases used in the video under the "Read More" section.  The overabundance of "testimonials" (some of which may have been written by folks that work for green8) and a lack of laboratory evidence is another warning sign.  The general vagueness in their description of how it's supposed to work, barring manufacturing techniques, doesn't bode well either. Just invoking Richard Hoaglands name sets off skeptical warning bells to most people in the skeptic community.  For the most part, anything that promises to block EMF's and doesn't encase either the source or the recipient doesn't work.  These items seem to be just a techno form of snake oil promising to cure you of lots of different things while only draining your bank account.  To be blunt, don't buy them, and anyone you know that has, hit them with a copy of A Magician in the Laboratory or The Demon Haunted World to knock some sense into them.

This was actually fun to look into, though there were times I was face-palming myself with both hands, and I do have others lined up for the future, so stay tuned.  If you liked it, or if you have pointers, let me know.  Until next time, be good, be reasonable, and don't forget to floss.

The Skeptical Okie

7 comments:

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    1. Sorry it's taken a while to reply, but your reply was originally caught by the spam filter, and I was having to go through all the supplement and crappy marketing one first. If you haven't found how yet, just go to blogspot.com and start your blog. No cost, and it's fairly intuitive. as for advise, I'm still learning myself. The best advise I would have for you is to write about what you know and what you're interested in. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.

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  4. Good post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..


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  5. The use of 's' instead of 'z' is an acceptable use of English especially in Australasia, although the OED seems to be ambivalent about this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences#-ise.2C_-ize_.28-isation.2C_-ization.29).

    Not surprised that you haven't had any response from the company peddling this snake oil as I doubt that they could answer any of your questions other than by invoking some kind of woo!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I always get a bit of a kick when people try and explain Woo with more Woo. It's like trying to give a definition for a word, and using the same word for the definition. (Win = win?) Thanks for suggesting this one, it was interesting trying to get into the heads of the people that market this stuff.

    ReplyDelete