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Old 18th September 2010, 09:47 AM   #1
Stereolab
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Power Balance

I am an athlete, and these wristbands are gaining popularity.

http://www.powerbalance.com/

Firstly I will say that I am very happy at the number of athletes who firmly and correctly insist this product is a scam. But there are, of course, some true believers who insist it works; who state something along the lines of "we don't believe it because we don't understand it".

I guess I'm asking you to play devil's advocate here...is there anything that makes any sense about this product, other than the obvious?
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Old 18th September 2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
I am an athlete, and these wristbands are gaining popularity.


Firstly I will say that I am very happy at the number of athletes who firmly and correctly insist this product is a scam. But there are, of course, some true believers who insist it works; who state something along the lines of "we don't believe it because we don't understand it".

I guess I'm asking you to play devil's advocate here...is there anything that makes any sense about this product, other than the obvious?
I'm sure they work as well as the Amega Wand, and they're cheaper.
How do people survive in the real world believing this kind of stuff?

Quote:
who state something along the lines of "we don't believe it because we don't understand it".
I guess they do understand it? Ask them how it works then. Usually, the gimmick uses "appeal to authority" to state their claims, and for a lot of people, that's all it takes to believe something.

I just noticed this:
Quote:
other than the obvious?
What is the feature that makes "obvious" sense? It is just stretchy loop, like a rubber band with a pretty picture on it. There is no such thing as "the body's natural energy field".

So many scams, so little time.

Last edited by Olowkow; 18th September 2010 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 18th September 2010, 11:51 AM   #3
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"The obvious" is that it's a scam
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Old 18th September 2010, 11:55 AM   #4
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•WHAT IS POWER BALANCE?

Power Balance is Performance Technology designed to work with your body’s natural energy field. Founded by athletes, Power Balance is a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important.


•HOW DOES THE HOLOGRAM WORK?

Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.


MY HEAD HUUUUUUUUUURTS
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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Uhmm, they show three tests, standard silly balance and stretching schtick, without the wristband, but no tests with the athletes actually wearing the bands! Were they forced to cut those parts of the video? Very strange indeed.

http://www.powerbalance.com/test-video
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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I just want to see if there is ANY redeeming value in their claims. I don't want to categorically state the whole thing is bogus, and then be countered with some scientific finding about some effect of frequencies or any such thing.
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
I just want to see if there is ANY redeeming value in their claims. I don't want to categorically state the whole thing is bogus, and then be countered with some scientific finding about some effect of frequencies or any such thing.
Well what is a claim that they make? You're serious about this right? Do you know what the word frequency means?
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:51 PM   #8
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Yes, of course I'm serious, and of course I understand what the word frequency means. I'm an engineer, and I absolutely believe this product to be junk. I just was wondering if there is any scientific basis, no matter how meaningless or inappropriate, that would somehow support their claims of a magic bracelet.
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:57 PM   #9
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Like for instance.

Let's say someone came out with a device filled with helium, and said that you should wear it playing basketball because the lighter-than-air effects would allow you to more easily slam-dunk.

That's pretty absurd, but yet you could say there's a bit of scientific basis to it.

I am wondering if there is anything even along those lines with this.
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Old 18th September 2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
Yes, of course I'm serious, and of course I understand what the word frequency means. I'm an engineer, and I absolutely believe this product to be junk. I just was wondering if there is any scientific basis, no matter how meaningless or inappropriate, that would somehow support their claims of a magic bracelet.
So Stereolab, it is just a question of what sort of evidence it will take to convince you that the unspoken claims of magic are bogus. I cannot debunk a claim that has not been made, nor can anyone on this forum. "Frequencies" is a buzz word, nothing more.

If you "absolutely believe this product to be junk", it is difficult to understand what "redeeming value" you could be referring to, unless it is purely its value as a "placebo", which may mean something to some people...very much along the lines of homeopathy.

This is just another scam like the Amega Wand.
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
Like for instance.

Let's say someone came out with a device filled with helium, and said that you should wear it playing basketball because the lighter-than-air effects would allow you to more easily slam-dunk.

That's pretty absurd, but yet you could say there's a bit of scientific basis to it.

I am wondering if there is anything even along those lines with this.
Sorry, cross posted. Probably no value like that at all.
Maybe I'm being too subtle, or maybe I missed something, but check the ad carefully...can you find a claim?
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:07 PM   #12
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I'm sure they have lawyers to help them word it just so, but to me this page is full of claims:

http://www.powerbalance.com/faqs

If you are trying to catch me thinking I believe in this thing, just stop. I don't.
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
Let's say someone came out with a device filled with helium, and said that you should wear it playing basketball because the lighter-than-air effects would allow you to more easily slam-dunk.

That's pretty absurd, but yet you could say there's a bit of scientific basis to it.
... If anyone ever claims that, please punch them in the eye and then explain that gravity affects things lighter than air, too. There is no scientific basis in it. I'm sure you realize that if you enclose helium in a container, it won't be able to float above the air (unless the entirety of the container + helium is lighter than the air, like a helium balloon) and it will this pull you down.

If anyone counters your claim that this wristband is bunk with a claim like that, how in the world could you consider it "scientific basis"?
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
I'm sure they have lawyers to help them word it just so, but to me this page is full of claims:

http://www.powerbalance.com/faqs

If you are trying to catch me thinking I believe in this thing, just stop. I don't.
I have no idea who you are, so no, I'm not catching anything. You have been around JREF a lot longer than I have, so you must be aware of the technique that shills for scams have been known to employ of "just asking questions".

I guess this is as close to a "claim" as it gets:

Quote:
Power Balance will not make you stronger than you are, but is designed to help make you as strong as you should be by interacting with your body’s natural energy flow.
If you can find an actual claim, like "Power Balance will give you better balance," or "a longer member", I would like to see it. All they say is that people who buy them feel better, etc. Could be that their wallet is lighter, and they can jump higher.

Last edited by Olowkow; 18th September 2010 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
... If anyone ever claims that, please punch them in the eye and then explain that gravity affects things lighter than air, too. There is no scientific basis in it. I'm sure you realize that if you enclose helium in a container, it won't be able to float above the air (unless the entirety of the container + helium is lighter than the air, like a helium balloon) and it will this pull you down.

If anyone counters your claim that this wristband is bunk with a claim like that, how in the world could you consider it "scientific basis"?
The fact that helium is lighter than air is scientifically sound. My example was SUPPOSED to be stupid.
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Old 18th September 2010, 01:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
The fact that helium is lighter than air is scientifically sound. My example was SUPPOSED to be stupid.
Well I saw your point, just an extended hyperbolic metaphor, with sarcasm. You were just wondering if there is anything, anything at all no matter how absurd that could be claimed to be giving magical properties. I certainly don't see any, but then again, they don't say what the thing is supposed to do. Somehow, saying that it "is designed to help make you as strong as you should be by interacting with your bodyís natural energy flow" doesn't mean anything to me. I guess food and water could fit into this category too.

If you haven't read the Amega Wand thread you should. At one point, there is a video that essentially says "the wand does nothing", and it was enhanced a little by one of the posters. Very funny. But the unedited video really makes the point that the wand does nothing, and they sell for $300.00. The main thrust of all the advertising is what other people have said it does. Of course, there is the "lemon sweetening thing", that is certainly a claim.

I'm wondering if the wristband folks have seen the writing on the wall, and just pulled all claims that could be challenged. Seriously, the video on the PowerBalance website has been "sanitized". They do not show the second parts of the tests, with wristbands being worn.
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Old 18th September 2010, 02:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I'm wondering if the wristband folks have seen the writing on the wall, and just pulled all claims that could be challenged. Seriously, the video on the PowerBalance website has been "sanitized". They do not show the second parts of the tests, with wristbands being worn.
As I said, there is no doubt that lawyers are involved with the language and content.

But there's no way anyone with his or her honesty pants on can tell me that that website isn't specifically designed to convince people that a Power Balance bracelet will improve your performance in sports.
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Old 18th September 2010, 02:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
As I said, there is no doubt that lawyers are involved with the language and content.

But there's no way anyone with his or her honesty pants on can tell me that that website isn't specifically designed to convince people that a Power Balance bracelet will improve your performance in sports.
And who pray-tell, is claiming that the website isn't designed to sell bracelets? Not I!
I keep asking for a claim, but none is forthcoming. Just copy/paste and we can discuss whether the specific claim can be supported or not. Otherwise, there is really nothing to discuss. Showing a bunch of happy sports figures' faces is just puffing as Judge Wapner used to say.

Methinks someone doth........nah.
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Old 18th September 2010, 02:45 PM   #19
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Maybe it's not fit for an entry into the Million Dollar Challenge, but I think you are being quite intellectually dishonest if you are really claiming that website isn't specifically designed to convince you that the power of a hologram will improve your "balance" and performance.

Of course they have lawyers to ensure they're not coming right out and, you know, lying.
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Old 18th September 2010, 05:18 PM   #20
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Huh?

Last edited by Olowkow; 18th September 2010 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 18th September 2010, 06:54 PM   #21
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Is there somewhere on that website that says what their product does? I'm not sure how to react to claims of people being centered and balanced.
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Old 18th September 2010, 07:42 PM   #22
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It works by the Placebo effect.
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Old 18th September 2010, 10:42 PM   #23
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Videos from Richard Saunders and The Skeptic Zone about the Power Balance bracelet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ynbx5JfEwcA
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Old 18th September 2010, 11:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I guess this is as close to a "claim" as it gets:

Quote:
Power Balance will not make you stronger than you are, but is designed to help make you as strong as you should be by interacting with your bodyís natural energy flow.

1. This bracelet will not make you stronger than you are.
2. This bracelet will help make you as strong as you should be.

So, from these two assertions we can conclude that the claimed effect of the bracelet is to make people who are stronger than they should be weaker then they were without it?
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Old 19th September 2010, 12:14 AM   #25
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A guy came in to work last week with one of these on. I had never heard of it before and assumed it was a magnet not a hologram. $60 is a rip-off even if it worked.
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Old 19th September 2010, 03:49 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
The fact that helium is lighter than air is scientifically sound. My example was SUPPOSED to be stupid.
Yes, but it involves an utter non sequitur.

"It's a rubber band, and rubber is elastic, and being elastic is good for jumping high, so all jumpers should wear these bands!"

That'd be the equivalent to your helium example.
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Old 19th September 2010, 06:30 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
Maybe it's not fit for an entry into the Million Dollar Challenge, but I think you are being quite intellectually dishonest if you are really claiming that website isn't specifically designed to convince you that the power of a hologram will improve your "balance" and performance.

Of course they have lawyers to ensure they're not coming right out and, you know, lying.
Designed to make you buy is what all advertising is. This one does that. Making claims of some specific benefit is not the same thing. This ad does not do that. It blows wind around in fluffy words. No claims though. There is nothing to attack - or, if this is the original version of the ad, there never was anything there to attack/falsify, work with. It's like the Airborne ads in the US - no claims so nothing to attack - you can just point out to believers that it makes no claims of doing anything.
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Old 19th September 2010, 10:54 AM   #28
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We had a thread about the iRenew scam a while back. I posted this pic in that thread. Given how superstitious some players are, I'm not going to put much stock in what a professional athlete does.




Is there a term for when someone realizes that they've been scammed, but they continue to use a product because it eases the sting of having been scammed? I suppose it's close to cognitive dissonance.

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Old 19th September 2010, 11:12 AM   #29
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I hate this scam, it's easy to demonstrate to people. If someone pushes you slightly, you are aware of what to be ready for the next time they push you. If you told them to hold a magic pebble, they would still have more support the second time you tried pushing them.
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Old 19th September 2010, 12:22 PM   #30
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HOW DOES THE HOLOGRAM WORK?

Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.


WEASEL. Weasel weasel. Weasel weasel weasel. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
Anyone buying this deserves to be smacked on the head with a dimwit stick.

Anyone supplying testimonials better be getting paid.


Total hogwash.

But how would I know? I'm a Jock, not a jock.
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Old 19th September 2010, 12:47 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Brian-M View Post
1. This bracelet will not make you stronger than you are.
2. This bracelet will help make you as strong as you should be.

So, from these two assertions we can conclude that the claimed effect of the bracelet is to make people who are stronger than they should be weaker then they were without it?
It's just some cheap riddle..
If the bracelet will not make you stronger than you are + the bracelet will make you as strong as you should be = you just stay the same person.
Well.. not entirely different, you'd be a quite (?) few pennies lighter and can show the world you are a simple deluded trend-aware lesser intelligent being with a new bracelet.
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Old 19th September 2010, 01:01 PM   #32
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Travis Roy of the Granite State SKeptics has a lot on their site about his work with them. He wears one just so people can ask him about it. It's hilarious. He found you can order them in bulk from China for THREE CENTS EACH!

If you have ever seen one, it's just like any other cheap plastic band type thing. With a cheap hologram on it. It LOOKS CHEAP. It looks HORRIFICALLY CHEAP in real life.

Does anyone know if atheletes or celebrities are paid to wear one?

I was watching tv and there was some idiot football player wearing his. Talk about great advertising. The funny thing was he kept resting his face on his hands, so the power balance was in each shot. It was pretty obvious he was doing it. I imagine the Kardashians (I have heard they wear them) and others might accept a bit of money to be seen wearing them.

THREE CENTS EACH (and honestly, overpriced even at that). Someone said they look like they should come in those little gum type machines that give out prizes. I'll be somewhere someone is selling them that way and at 25 to 50 cents... making money.

THREE CENTS EACH!!!!
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Old 19th September 2010, 01:46 PM   #33
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Harriet Hall wrote about the products on August 24, 2010:

Quote:
Power Balance Products: A Skeptical Look
Harriet Hall, M.D.
http://www.devicewatch.org/reports/power_balance.shtml
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Old 19th September 2010, 07:05 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Emet View Post
Harriet Hall wrote about the products on August 24, 2010:

http://www.devicewatch.org/reports/power_balance.shtml
Very interesting paper. Good for Harriet Hall.

The quote below is from that report. Now it becomes clear just why the ad for Power Balance wristbands has been sanitized, i.e. all claims of any powers have been removed. The videos have been doctored and only vague bland references to what other people supposedly say are included.

Quote:
Remember when professional golfers were wearing Q-ray bracelets to improve their game? The Q-ray folks recently had a run-in with the courts. They admitted their product was only a placebo but argued that it was acceptable to lie to elicit the placebo response. The Federal Trade Commission disagreed and obtained a court order fining the company and banning further deceptive advertising [1]. Now they have a competitor: Power Balance Performance Technology. Like the Q-ray bracelet, it is based on "resonance." It doesn't even have to come in contact with your body: one version is a card that you simply put in your pocket.
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Old 19th September 2010, 07:13 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
Very interesting paper. Good for Harriet Hall.

The quote below is from that report. Now it becomes clear just why the ad for Power Balance wristbands has been sanitized, i.e. all claims of any powers have been removed. The videos have been doctored and only vague bland references to what other people supposedly say are included.
And Harriet Hall started her paper by stating:

"Power Balance products will supposedly improve your athletic performance and cure what ails you."

The reference was from January 2008. The paper is from August 2010. What evidence do you have that the Power Balance website is different now than it was last month, when Harriet Hall wrote her paper?

If you have none, why are you disputing me but praising her?
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Old 20th September 2010, 04:58 AM   #36
Soapy Sam
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Stereolab- I don't think Olokow is disputing you.
You both clearly agree the device is worthless.
He is just saying that the site as he sees it now does not actually make any testable claim and that you have therefore not been able to point one out.

I disagree with that view. They claim improvements in performance. The "kinesiologic" testing supports this. If the claim was not that contact with the device increases strength, the test would be pointless. (Instead of simply meaningless- no great distinction, but different nonetheless).

Athletes do tend to be superstitious. They note a good performance the day they happen to have a band-aid on their nose and thereafter, always wear one. Nonsense like that. If it helps them focus, it may actually have an effect. If that was all the website claimed, it would be a harmless, but overpriced bit of plastic. As it is, they are claiming physical resonance effects that can be tested and simply are not there.

Last edited by Soapy Sam; 20th September 2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 20th September 2010, 05:43 AM   #37
Wrathernaut
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I'd say they claim that it interacts with the body's energy field is a verifiable claim.

Well, you may say, well sure, then you have to prove that the body has an energy field.

Somebody already did that, his friends call him Einstein.
e=mc≤, so by adding mass to the body in the form of the bracelet, they're changing the energy/mass field of your body. The same proven theories that led to the atomic bomb, nuclear power and the most advanced particle colliders used by scientists today is proven every day you wear your band.

Just like Galileo theorized that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Canada makes hurricanes in Switzerland, this slight alteration of your body's energy can have enormous implications over time. It's science. SCIENCE!


And since I know somebody's going to think I was serious there. /sarcasm
And just in case some marketing genius wants to use that in selling their rival to the Power Balance, I expect 7 figures, no less.
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Old 20th September 2010, 07:27 AM   #38
Stereolab
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Stereolab- I don't think Olokow is disputing you.
Really? I have found him to be unnecessarily confrontational. I have simply been asking if there is any scientific value whatsoever in the website of something that's clearly a scam, and he seems to have been spending his time trying to expose me as a believer or trying to argue whether or not there's an actual claim in writing (which is a moot point because anyone with half a brain can tell what the website's supposed to make you believe).

I called him intellectually dishonest...he claimed I was being uncivil but later backed off from that...but I certainly stand by that statement, especially now that he's praising an article written by someone who interprets the website exactly as I do (and exactly as anyone should).
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Old 20th September 2010, 09:30 AM   #39
pipelineaudio
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
Videos from Richard Saunders and The Skeptic Zone about the Power Balance bracelet:
Ouch, my cousin is in one of the video's suggested at the end of that one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gIMxjr3n5U&NR=1
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Old 20th September 2010, 09:42 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Stereolab View Post
Firstly I will say that I am very happy at the number of athletes who firmly and correctly insist this product is a scam. But there are, of course, some true believers who insist it works; who state something along the lines of "we don't believe it because we don't understand it".
Others have already pointed out the uselessness of the product, so I'll just concentrate on the logic error. Understanding is not necessary for belief - e.g. the vast majority of astrology followers do not understand the foundation of astrology, but they believe in the field and believe in the predictions. Furthermore, understanding does not equate to belief. I understand the claims of 9/11 truthers, but I do not believe them.
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