Magnet therapy is good for something

In case you were considering it for your aches, you should find out what Magnet therapy is good for before spending too much (hint: The answer begins with “N” ends with “g” and has an “othin” in between).

Magnet therapy got a huge kick in the 1990s with a string of sports celebrity endorsements, such as one from the injured Miami Dolphin’s quarterback Dan Marino. Marino no doubt knows pain: The Hall-of-Fame passer lost nearly a dozen playoff games, never won a Super Bowl, and now toils as a spokesperson for such contradicting entities as Papa John’s and NutriSystem. What reduced his pain, if anything, was likely the million-dollar around-the-clock care he received as a professional athlete.

A few small studies have found marginal benefits, such as a 1997 study from Baylor College of Medicine involving 50 patients with knee pain. This is the study most cited by purveyors of magnetic goods.

Conversely, the dozen or so larger studies since 1997 finding no benefit from magnets are the least likely to be cited. The Baylor study has never been replicated, which in the world of medical studies can mean that a study’s methods were flawed or that the results for some reason simply don’t stick in the real world.

Don’t confuse static magnets, however, with electromagnets, devices used in hospitals and involving pulses of electricity shown to help heal bone fractures. While experimental, the therapy is promising and likely relies on the “electric” part of electromagnetism affecting cell membranes or nerve cells.

The author also points out that if magnet therapy were actually capable of doing anything its proponents claim, then an MRI would kill you, since it is thousands of times stronger than the magnets used in magnet therapy. It would literally pull all your blood out of you. Pretty much, you would explodificate in a spectaulationistical way.

[tags]What Magnet therapy is good for, Magnet therapy’s health benefits[/tags]

Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia

That subject line is high on the lame-o-meter, even for this site. Anyway, today in history, in 1924, King Tut’s sarcophagus is uncovered, leading to a travelling history show and a silly song.

Two years after British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen discovered the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen near Luxor, Egypt, they uncover the greatest treasure of the tomb–a stone sarcophagus containing a solid gold coffin that holds the mummy of Tutankhamen.

When Carter first arrived in Egypt in 1891, most of the ancient Egyptian tombs had been discovered, although the little-known Pharaoh Tutankhamen, who had died when he was a teen, was still unaccounted for. After World War I, Carter began an intensive search for “King Tut’s Tomb,” finally finding steps to the burial room hidden in the debris near the entrance of the nearby tomb of King Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings. On November 26, 1922, Carter and fellow archaeologist Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb, finding it miraculously intact.

Thus began a monumental excavation process in which Carter carefully explored the four-room tomb over four years, uncovering an incredible collection of several thousand objects. The most splendid architectural find was a stone sarcophagus containing three coffins nested within each other. Inside the final coffin, made out of solid gold, was the mummy of the boy-king Tutankhamen, preserved for more than 3,000 years.

For more useful information in your daily life, check out the rest of today’s history highlights at The History Channel website. Other interesting bits include Jack Ruby’s death (1967), Noriega surrenders to US troops (1990), Tolkien is born (1892), and McCarthy (not the “Red Scare” McCarthy, though) announces a White House run (1968).

[tags]Today in History, Sarcophagus of King Tut uncovered – 1924 news[/tags]

Robots taking over other planets now

Not content to plan on taking over Earth, the robots are setting their sights on other planets, as well. The next in line, naturally, is the almost-hospitable-enough-for-human-lifeforms Mars, where the rovers already there are getting upgrades to give them more functionality for enslaving the martian population. This will set up the work pool necessary to terraform the surface so humans can be enslaved on two planets after the robot uprising.

Nasa is testing a “smart” upgrade to its robotic rovers on Mars.

Space agency scientists have begun testing four new skills included in flight software that has been uploaded to the rovers’ onboard computers.

The two American rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are approaching their third year on the Martian surface.

One of the new capabilities is designed to allow the rovers to make “intelligent” decisions in the study of Martian clouds and dust devils.

. . .

Another novel skill, called “visual target tracking”, enables a rover to keep recognising a particular landscape feature as the rover moves.

Go read the full article for the other upgrades and features. There is no mention of the martian enslavement upgrade, but the other features lead naturally to this functionality, and since machines helped with making the software work, I expect some hidden back doors are there for the robots’ later self-extension work.

[tags]Mars rovers get upgraded software, Robots working to enslave martians as well, More news on the robot uprising[/tags]

Wired’s Vaporware 2007 list

Another year, another vaporware of the year list from Wired. I like these lists, but after 6 years on the list, I think we can just drop Duke Nukem Forever – we all get the point by now.

10. Optimus-103 Keyboard

Last year, we noted that the Optimus Keyboard — an infinitely configurable input device with a tiny display screen on each key — would be a strong candidate for this year’s list because it was promised in 2006. Well, guess what — it never arrived, so the Optimus earns a spot for the first time.

All the rest of the list sucks, except maybe number 4 (Spore). Don’t read the list. Don’t bother. I’ve covered every important vaporware product they put on their list. Hopefully next year Wired will make a better list.

[tags]Wired’s vaporware 2007 list, Vaporware list becoming obsolete or just boring?[/tags]

Windows Vista – vulnerable already (permanent activation hack, too)

Well, normal consumers haven’t even received the product and we find industrious types working to show us security flaws in Windows Vista. This should surprise no one, but I guess it does, or news of it wouldn’t be such a big deal. “Complexity = insecurity” generally. Vista is an extremely complex system. There will be lots of security flaws discovered. It is unfortunate, but likely unavoidable in software the size of the latest Microsoft OS release. And yet, here I am posting about it.

Microsoft is facing an early crisis of confidence in the quality of its Windows Vista operating system as computer security researchers and hackers have begun to find potentially serious flaws in the system that was released to corporate customers late last month.

On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.

In a separate article, elsewhere on the gr3at int4rweb, we find that there is already a permanent activation hack for Windows Vista, too. This allows you to avoid the “must activate within 14 days or functionality will be reduced” problems.

Until now, Microsoft has an upper hand, with no permanent or foolproof ways to crack or bypass Windows Vista activation request emerged. Instead, various workarounds and tricks to bypass, skip, delay, disable or spoof Vista activation has been suggestion, to various degree of success, such as extend evaluation period, rearm method, install Vista in future year, ‘frankenbuild’ Vista by replacing RTM build WPA files with RC build files, activate against spoofed KMS server, or run and activate Vista with own local KMS server and etc. Now, there is new crack method that able to permanently stop the countdown timer of time left to activate Windows Vista, effectively running Vista OS in full functionality evaluation mode forever.

[tags]Windows Vista security vulnerabilities, Windows Vista activation bypass[/tags]

Top 10 Astronomy Images of 2006

Yes, end of the old year/start of the new means time to cover “Best XYZ of 2006” or “Most anticipated QRS of 2007” lists. Expect to see a lot of these over the next few weeks. Unlike many people out there, I don’t get tired of such lists when they are unique. That is – I get tired of the 341st “10 most anticipated diuretics of 2007” article, but the first time or two I see “Most wished for random star pattern of 2007” I’m all for checking them out. And for the record, I haven’t seen a most anticipated diuretic of 2007 list, so if you happen to find one, send it my way please.

All the blabber done, the Blahg-master gets to the point: Phil, at Bad Astronomy, has posted his “Top 10 astronomy images of 2006” list. By the way, the site is called Bad Astronomy because he works to debunk bad astronomy, not to promote more of it.

Number 9: Painting the eclipse

I thought I’d seen ’em all, but then I saw this one and it floored me:


Number 7: The Face Defaced

Ah, the “Face” on Mars. Where would Richard Hoagland be without it? Shilling some other snake oil, I would guess.

But that’s a dream; people promoting antiscientific garbage always find some way to offload their claptrap. Still, it’s always nice to see them slapped in the face – or the Face – by reality.

This next dose of reality comes courtesy of the European Space Agency, whose Mars Express orbiter took some great high-resolution images of the Cydonia plain on Mars where the face is located. By taking images from different angles and with varying solar illumination, they were able to create a three-dimensional image of the “Face”. Perhaps when this image was released Hoagland waited with bated breath to see his ravings confirmed, but that’ll be a long, long wait:


Number 4: Direct Evidence of Dark Matter

This next picture takes a moment to set up, so please forgive me. Plus, I like to lecture sometimes.

As I was perusing images, I realized I didn’t have many that had strong scientific value, which was ironic. But that happens: most scientific images aren’t published because they’re pretty, and pretty pictures sometimes only get in the news because they’re pretty. But there was one image this year that has both beauty and a far deeper scientific significance.


Now I’ve left out a ton of information, especially on the number 4 snip there. The reading of why these pictures made the list are worth it. I’ll also point out the numbers 2 and 1 are exceptional in my eyes. Even if you don’t read the descriptions of everything else, go see those. (via Eric Higgins-Freese, posted at Dubious Quality)

[tags]More top 10 lists, Top 10 astronomy images of 2006[/tags]

Disable Snap preview

If you’ve noticed some of your web sites recently putting a “feature” in place that causes a small preview pop-up when you hover your mouse pointer over a link, you’ve found the annoying technology that is Snap. If you hate this annoyance, it turns out you can easily disable it just by visiting the disable Snap preview link at the Snap web site. Don’t click anything else on that page, and refresh any page with a Snap preview enabled after you visit the link.

I suppose there are people out there who appreciate this tool – I’m not one of them.

[tags]Simple method to disable Snap preview, One less annoyance when browsing[/tags]