Gwyneth Paltrow's insanely profitable empire of quack remedies has had some serious lowlights: it wasn't just squirting coffee up your asshole, or vaginal steaming and smoothie dust: really, the lowest of the lowlights was a concerted effort to convince women to insert $66 jade eggs into their vaginas because, supposedly, this was a widespread practice from "ancient China."
Update: An earlier version of this article credited Ms Paltrow with inventing the fictitious ancient Chinese practice of keeping jade eggs in one's vagina; it turns out that this legend was plagiarized from other sources."
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The FDA has sent warning letters to seven companies selling quack "energy based" vaginal rejuvenation "therapies," in which repurposed laser and radio-frequency-based tools that are used to remove warts and precancerous growths are used to scorch peoples' vaginas, a process that is claimed to have benefits for sexual dysfunction, urinary problems, dryness, "laxity," itching and a host of ills. Some of these companies specifically target breast-cancer survivors.
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Botnik used its predictive AI to generate a Gwyneth Paltrow-style website full of woo: goob! It's all very Poe's Law.
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Goop is Gwyneth Paltrow's life-threatening, wallet-flensing empire of woo, home to smoothie dust, vulva steaming, rocks you keep in your vagina, and a raft of rebadged products that are literally identical to the garbage Alex Jones sells to low-information preppers.
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The Juicero was a $400 "juicer" that squeezed packets of DRM-locked fruit pulp, an idea so perverse that it got honorable mention in DRM's worst moments of 2017, and inspired sighs of relief when the business cratered in 2017, as evidence of the fundamental soundness of human judgment in a year plagued by serious lapses in same.
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...and the LA Times thinks it's swell, singing the praises of semiconductor baron Henry Samueli, a true believer in homeopathy and "integrative medicine," whose gift to the UC system comes with the stipulation that it only be used to study discredited garbage...forever. Read the rest
Jon Adler is Trump's nominee for the Department of Justice's director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the former criminal investigator is also president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and is proud to serve on the advisory board of Heroes Health Fund, which is the latest incarnation of Narcanon, the Church of Scientology's baseless "detox" program that involves taking huge doses of niacin and sitting for hours in a sauna, a practice with no health benefits that has killed some of its practitioners. Read the rest
Nicholas Gibbs, a history researcher, says that he has decoded the Voynich Manuscript, a legendarily mysterious 15th century text whose curious illustrations and script have baffled cryptographers, historians, and amateur sleuths for decades. Read the rest
Homeolab USA is a Canadian company that makes "homeopathic" remedies for kids; in a warning letter sent to the company earlier this month, the US FTC warned the company that it had discovered dangerous levels of belladonna (AKA deadly nightshade) in its infant teething products, and advised the company that its manufacturing process was putting its customers' safety at risk. Read the rest
You'd think Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's "lifestyle brand" for clean-freak whippies, and Infowars, Alex Jones' conspiracy compendium for seething fascists, wouldn't share much in common. But they both have exactly the same business model: selling wellness to people skeptical and fearful of mainstream medicine and healthcare. Nikhil Sonnad took a look at the ingredients on each site and found that it's all the same stuff.
We at Quartz have created a compendium, from Ashwagandha to zizyphus, of the magical healing ingredients both sides of the political spectrum are buying, and how they are presented to each. We looked at the ingredients used in products sold on the Infowars store, and compared them to products on the wellness shops Moon Juice and Goop. All make similar claims about the health benefits of these ingredients, but what gets called “Super Male Vitality” by Infowars is branded as “Sex Dust” by Moon Juice.
Call it horseshit theory: opposite extremes of lifestyle branding converging on a hidden axis of shared appreciation for their audiences.
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A China Southern Airlines Flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou was delayed for five hours while maintenance workers fished nine coins out of the engine, whence they had been flung "for blessings" by an "elderly passenger" from the boarding ramp, as she was brought onto the plane by her husband, daughter and son-in-law. Read the rest
Jennifer Raff -- a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas -- provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field. Read the rest
Jack writes, "Craig Egan has been a thorn in the side of the anti-vaccination movement for years. Now he's taking that passion for truth and facts on the road, following the Anti-Vaccination people in the Vaxxed bus. He's crowdfunding the tour and donating excess proceeds to a pro-Vaccination charity." Read the rest
Uganda is so poor that few can afford medical care, giving it one of the lowest life-expectancies on the planet -- this toxic combination made the country ripe for infiltration by Tiens, a Chinese Multi-Level-Marketing "nutritional supplements" cult whose members set up fake medical clinics that diagnose fake ailments and proscribe fake medicines, then rope patients into becoming cult recruiters who convince their friends to sign up for the cult. Read the rest
Fruit is good for you; fruit-juice is mostly sugar and water, and what's more, getting your calories from liquids does not invoke your satiety response meaning that you stay hungry even after consuming crazy amounts of calories. Read the rest
Juicero is a self-parodying high-tech juicing machine that raised millions in venture capital on the promise of delivering a highly calibrated squeeze to a pack of mulch sold in expensive, DRM-locked pouches, for a mere $400. Read the rest
The exciting field of "battlefield acupuncture" involves training soldiers and medics to perform what amounts to a "theatrical placebo" involving jamming glorified thumbtacks into fellow soldiers' ears and leaving them there until they fall out. Read the rest