Friday, August 12, 2011

Wine wootacular

Darwin Award
The amount of sheer bullshit surrounding the "art" of wine tasting is well known to the skeptical community. Its extreme practitioners fall into the same general category as golden-eared audiophiles and people who can see N rays. All this has been dealt with before by greater lights than myself so I won't even attempt an analysis here. But today I ran across some of the most insane claims about wine tasting yet:
"Now, as a master herbalist and aroma-therapist, and as someone who has lectured extensively on natural health, anatomy and physiology I know a thing or two about plants, and how people perceive them. So, based upon what I know about how living cells function, these are my insights."
Wow, I'm impressed already. There's nothing like self-appointed experts. He seems to be bragging about how much he's talked about these topics rather than how much he actually knows about them. He also seems to think that "expertise" in one area somehow makes you an expert in another.
"Like all living things wine cells have a magnetic polarity, just like humans and the Earth. The positive pole is more highly charged, just like the North Pole of the Earth, which is why there are Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, but not Southern Lights in the Antarctic."
Wine cells? WTF?? Strangely, his broad expertise don't extend to the Earth's magnetosphere as he's never heard of the aurora australis.
"Because plant molecules are mostly liquid, when they form they are also subject to the electromagnetic forces that are a component of the rotation of the Earth. As a result, the pores on the surface of the molecules develop based on that rotation, like the shingles on a roof."
Pores on the surface of molecules??? He goes on to make a comparison to the nap of hair.

At least he clears up the "wine cells" thing in a follow-up article:
Someone quite rudely took exception with my use of the word cell, which is in fact incorrect. The proper term would be molecule or even atom. Everything has a polarity right down to the atomic level, and when put into suspension in a liquid it rotates in relation to that pole. Because we are on a planet that has both a polar system and a consistent rotation, everything forms with a pole and a circular patterning. Wind it one way and it tightens and wind it the other and it unwinds.
Molecule, atom, what-the-fuck-ever. It all "winds" up the same.
Honestly this is just basic physics related to molecular science and plant chemistry, something which herbalists and herbal researchers deal with all the time. A pretty sober group of people. By the way, I've done an informal study of this and my hyper-sensitive clients all notice the difference in the swirl directions and the nature of the scents.
Bottom line: herbalist = <insert whatever professional scientific field here>

The fundamental claim would be ridiculously easy to disprove in a double-blind test but I doubt if anyone would bother. It's too petty. Please note that I'm not quoting the complete articles here. You really need to read them for yourself (they're short). What a whopping load of stupid to start the day with.

Update: I completely forgot to mention Biodynamic wine:
Let us take the case of Preparation 502. Yarrow is used because, “Its homeopathic sulphur-content . . . enables the yarrow to ray out its influences to a greater distance and through large masses.” As for why we should put it in a stag’s bladder, Steiner gets to the heart of his discussion here: The bladder of the stag is connected . . . with the forces of the Cosmos. Nay, it is almost the image of the Cosmos. We thereby give the yarrow the power quite essentially to enhance the forces it already possesses, to combine the sulphur with the other substances."
How could I not put that in? It's now a fundamental part of the wine industry.

Orson Welles drunk
"I wouldn't give you two cents for all the self-ordained or self-annointed preachers in the world"—Reverend Jim Bakker, former head of PTL 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our Wacky World—8/11/2011

"Giant rat kills predators with poisonous hair"

Genetics FAIL:
"Chromosomes are the set of genetic instructions that guide the creation of an organism. Every human embryo begins with two X chromosomes, but in order to be a male, one of the X chromosomes turns into a Y chromosome."
Evolving Scientist

"Muslim Americans are the staunchest opponents of military attacks on civilians, compared with members of other major religious groups Gallup has studied in the United States. Seventy-eight percent of Muslim Americans say military attacks on civilians are never justified" [note who came in second]

Let's drop in on a Xtian love-fest:
[Kirk] Cameron offered a personal anecdote: “I was in a movie a few years back… Fireproof.” (It was good that he mentioned this… in case we missed the previous seventeen references to his hit Christian film.) He explained that although he and his wife were both actors, they have a rule never to kiss another person, even on screen. During the filming of the movie, there was a scene that would not have been as moving if the husband and wife did not reconcile with a kiss. Cameron was giddy with pride while he explained the clever way he and his wife skirted this sticky situation. He had his wife wear his co-star’s dress, don a wig, and act as a “kiss double.”
Friendly Atheist

In written arguments, the defense lawyers claimed it was “prosecutorial misconduct” for the Dutchess County assistant district attorney handling the rape case, Kristine Hawlk, to arrange for Rosie to be taken into the courtroom. Cute as the dog was, the defense said, Rosie’s presence “infected the trial with such unfairness” that it constituted a violation of their client’s constitutional rights.

Next up on the Denialist list:
“Did you know that most sunscreen products may actually help promote cancer rather than prevent it? That being the case, you should think twice before you marinate yourself in all those chemicals that can be found in any commercially made sunscreen products.”

Deer antlers? Yes, chemists have figured out the velvet from immature deer antlers includes insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1, a precursor to producing human growth hormone. The antlers are harvested from young deer, ground up and packaged into spray form. The substance is sprayed under the tongue. One manufacturer touts among its benefits "anabolic or growth stimulation," "athletic performance" and "muscular strength and endurance."
Sports Illustrated

It would appear that Warren Jeffs, esq., has had his day in court:
"Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs made a third attempt Monday to remove the Texas judge overseeing his child sex assault case — this time based on the claim that God himself demands a change."
Deseret News
Jeffs stood up and shouted objections over the recording. “I am but a mortal man seeking peace!” he cried. Eventually, judge, jury, and prosecutors put on headphones to block out his protests. Prosecutors say they will play a third recording, reportedly of Jeffs having sex with a 12-year-old, before resting their case.

And he's been convicted and sentenced:
"Things are happening so quickly. There is an even younger girl that the Lord wants me to take. She is 13. For some reason the Lord is sending me these girls that can be worked with."
Click here to find out why he's smiling