Saturday, April 25, 2020

Just because it's on a famous website doesn't mean the advice is any good

I like my water with a little flavor, so between lemonade mixes, Crystal light, and so on, I am looking into the world of water enhancers. You've seen those in supermarkets... Either in a box of 6-10 little sachets, or in a little bottle that you squeeze a squirt or two into your bottled water or such.

Obviously, people have opinions on what's good or bad, but are there any studies or scientific discussions on what's good and what's not? I decided to do some research. What I read disappointed me, as a lot of the websites, even big name ones like eatthis.com, the companion site to the "eat this, not that" series of books, are prone to "food babe" type hysteria and bad advice.

(If you forgot who "Food Babe" was, here's a reminder.)

Anyway, back to the rant. Here's the part of the article that bothers me.

"The second ingredient in these little bottles is propylene glycol, a preservative, thickening agent, and stabilizer, also used as antifreeze to de-ice airplanes, as a plasticizer to make polyester resins, and found in electronic cigarettes."

There is little NOTHING here that explains what's good or bad about MiO. Yes, it listed a lot of alternate uses for propylene glycol, but again, NOTHING that explains why having this is "bad". Instead, we're left with insinuations as the item was linked to various "bad" things like "anti-freeze", "electronic cigarettes", "preservative", and so on.

And I'm not kidding, that was ALL the author wrote on MIO.

Clearly, the author has nothing bad to SAY about MiO, but the author wanted us to dislike MiO, so she chose to link MiO with a bunch of "bad words" but are still factual.

That is propaganda and manipulation.

This becomes obvious when you read the part about one of the items she DOES recommend...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

How Article Writers Cheat To Make Subject Matter Look Better

Recently, I came across this article in my news feed:

6 Reasons You Should Eat Organic from mindbodygreen.com
I am a skeptic. I doubt most things I read, and the "goodness" of organic food is one of those "it smells" things. And I am not surprised that the writer cheated on several counts to come up with six items, and most of those are extremely one-sided, but then, a website named "mindbodygreen.com" is hardly a neutral source.

First thing to note... the original URL says "4 reasons"... Article says 6 reasons. So clearly, it's been "edited" to inflate the number of reasons.

So, what are the reasons?

  1. Organic food can reduce the amount of chemicals in our bodies
  2. Organic food can lead to more nutritious or vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables
  3. Organic dairy and meat can be healthier than non-organic varieties
  4. Organic food may have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  5. Organic food is GMO-free
  6. Organic food might be better for the environment
Just looking at the list and you can see they repeated a few. 3 is basically a subset of 2. 4 is again, a subset of 2.  


Let's rewrite that to cut away the redundancy, and we're left with
  1. Organic food can reduce the amount of chemicals in our bodies
  2. Organic food can lead to more nutritious or vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables  can be more nutritious/healthier
  3. Organic dairy and meat can be healthier than non-organic varieties  (see 2)
  4. Organic food may have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids  (see 2)
  5. Organic food is GMO-free
  6. Organic food might be better for the environment
Now let's examine the statements one at a time. 

Myth 1) "Organic food can reduce the amount of chemicals in our bodies"


The statement in itself is already inaccurate. What it should say is "eating organic food may reduce the amount of chemicals we consume in our food". 

Yes, organic food has, in general, fewer synthetic pesticide residue than conventional food. That, however, doesn't make it "less chemicals" overall.

What the organic promoters don't want you to think about is "poison is poison". And pesticide, no matter synthetic or "natural", is designed to KILL pests. If it doesn't kill pests, it's not a good pesticide. And because "natural" pesticide is not as effective as the synthetic ones, farmers need to use more of it to grow the same crops.

A natural poison is still poison. Given that no synthetic pesticide is used in organic farming, it's a GIVEN it should have less than conventional farming... balanced by all the NATURAL pesticide residue. But because we don't measure that...

One of the more dangerous all-natural pesticides, Rothenone, wasn't banned by USDA until 2018. Before then, it was perfectly acceptable to use as a part of organic farming. 

Those who want a more concrete example are welcome to look up the toxicity figures of organic fungicide pyrethrum and organic pesticide copper sulfate, and compare them with their synthetic equivalent: chlorothalonil and chlorpyrifos, respectively. You may be surprised.

What the organic promoters also won't tell you is that any "synthetic chemicals" you consume now is, on the average, less than 1% of allowable daily limits as set by the FDA.

Conclusion: FALSE / MISLEADING

Myth 2) "Organic food can be more nutritious"


More vitamins in fruits. More antioxidants in onions. More omega-3 fatty acids in meat. Yes, organic food often has small gains in nutrition.

However, the gain are minor, and not commensurate with the increase in price. Still, it's accurate enough.

Conclusion: TRUE / If you don't read more into what it actually says

Myth 3) "Organic food is GMO-free"


This statement is basically... irrelevant. It doesn't explain whether it's good or bad for you. But given the nature of the website, I have to assume they meant that as a pejorative.

I honestly don't see why GMO is the big boogeyman some folks are so dead-set against. We've been selectively breeding plants for thousands of years. But the real question here is... "Is GMO good/bad for you?" And this basically turns into a question of opinion... and science is definitely "undecided".

Conclusion: TRUE / but relevance is debatable

Myth 4) "Organic food may be better for the environment"


If you assume both are "locally sourced", that may be true... or it may not be. Organic farming is less efficient and often yields less than 20-40% than that of conventional farming. So you need 20-40% more acreage to produce the same amount of product. Sure, you use less synthetic stuff, but that doesn't mean it's better for the environment in itself, as the "natural" substitute may work less efficiently, so you end up needing MORE of it...

And when you throw in the international nature of agriculture, when your "organic" beans may be from South America, and your organic garlic may be from China... just the carbon footprint calculation may drive you nuts.

Conclusion: INCONCLUSIVE / too many variables

In Conclusion

In the "6" points shown, 2 are duplicates, 1 inconclusive, 1 false, and both of the 2 remaining "True" items have caveats that were basically glossed over.

That's not a news item, but a propaganda piece, using the following tricks:

  • Count inflation by subdividing reasons
  • Ignoring the gray areas
  • Cherry-picking evidence
  • One-sided statements with no pretense at balance


And now you know.


Pardon for the long hiatus

Suffice to say, my life circumstances have changed, and while I'm trying to settle down, it's my time to write about things is severely limited.

I am back, but I still won't be writing that often. Figure once or twice every month.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Just how much of MLM is smoke and mirrors (and illusions of wealth)?

Recently, an article on BehindMLM caught my attention. The title was "Wakaya Perfection Field Leader sentenced to prison for fraud".

It's not the fraud itself though, but the circumstances that caught my attention.

According to the article, Andre Vaughn *had* an illustrious MLM career MLM.

In an article in Networking Times, Vaughn claimed to have found MLM on "February 24, 2005".



In 2012 Youngevity brochure, Vaughn was named as one of the "million dollar earners"




In 2014, he was cited as "Senior Vice Chairman," and "Marketing Director" of Youngevity.



Vaughn jumped ship to Wakaya Perfection in late 2015 when the existing leader left the company with several top "officers". This resulted in Youngevity and Wakaya suing and countersuing each other.

He was cited as "Founding Member" and "Gold Member Billionaire's Inner Circle" in Wakaya. His current rank is believed to be "Blue Diamond Ambassador" (among the highest") which I presume, comes with a hefty paycheck.

Then I learned that Vaughn pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud... Fraudulently declaring bankruptcy together and separately with his wife Monique (with twins) in

  • April 2005
  • June 2012
  • July 2013
  • April 2015. 

Now let's put that in perspective by lining up the events, just those we can document. And that doesn't even include any of his Wakaya titles.

  • Joined MLM in February 2005
  • Declared bankruptcy in April 2005
  • Joined Youngevity sometime prior to 2012 (probably 2009?)
  • Million dollar earner in Yougevity in 2012
  • Declared bankruptcy in June 2012
  • Declared bankruptcy in July 2013
  • Senior Vice Chairman, Marketing Directory of Youngevity in 2014
  • Declared bankruptcy in April 2015

Either this guy declares bankruptcy at a whim to cheat his creditors, or MLM doesn't pay NEARLY enough and his "million earner" status was an illusion. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

In fact, even Vaughn's accomplishments at Youngevity is in doubt. In the lawsuit between Youngevity and Wakaya, Youngevity alleged that then-president Andreoli "force qualified" Vaughn and his wife (i.e. they got the rank WITHOUT meeting the required goals) resulting in them getting paid more without actually bringing in more sales.

Either MLM attracts this sort of people... or encourages this sort of behavior.




Saturday, May 25, 2019

IPro Sued by SEC as Alleged Pyramid Scheme

Back in July 2017, I had serious reservations about the amount of PR crap put out by IPro supporters, who claimed everything from ex-Shark Tank guy endorsements to the typical "we have a lawyer so it's not a scam" retorts.

Guess what: SEC says IPro is a 26 million dollar scam, and is suing its owner, not even two years later.

I know it's cliche, but...

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Did a New Zealand primary school principal sold DoTerra to her own school and forced it on her students?

An interesting bit of news passed my desk this morning: Parent threatens to sue primary school if essential oil diffusers are not removed.

Apparently a parent (also attorney) Rainey is threatening to sue Milford Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand if essential oil diffusers are not removed from the classrooms. A one paragraph notice, buried in a newsletter to parents, notified that 20 diffusers will be spread among the classrooms diffusing DoTerra Onguard mix which supposedly helps students concentrate and ward off illnesses. However, several ingredients in the Onguard mix can trigger asthma and other allergies.

Further digging shows that the school had budgeted 2000 AUD for these diffusers. The principal, Sue Cattell, claimed that this is the first negative reaction to the item, buried in March 2019 PTA meeting notes. Turns out, the principal herself was the instigator of the agenda item... Apparently she's a DoTerra seller on the side. In the PTA meeting, the agenda item also suggested pitching DoTerra diffuser kits to parents as a fundraiser.

Since she didn't unilaterally approve the purchase, it's technically NOT an ethical violation, but her failure to disclose that she's the seller? It's DISGUSTINGLY DISHONEST.

And about keeping students healthy? That's the sort of bogus claim that got DoTerra an FDA warning back in 2014. But then, DoTerra reps always had a sense of hyperbole... Previously they had even suggested DoTerra oil can kill Ebola virus (and many other viruses). No, I wasn't kidding. And no, essential oil doesn't kill viruses when diffused.

Tsk, tsk.

(originally via BehindMLM)