First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Knucklehead Blog-Off Rd 2: Science-y is Everywhere.

 Welcome to Rd 2 of the Knucklehead Blog-Off. This week's category is observational humor. You can vote here. The voting begins today at 10 am Pacific time and goes through Wednesday evening. Please read all of the entries and vote based on merit and not on the fact that I would give each and everyone of you a kidney. Based on my regular stats, that's a total of nearly one dozen kidneys. Thanks everyone. As always, your readership is much appreciated.

Science-y is everywhere. As I type this, all over the world actors are posing as scientists to deliver us the latest in vaguely scientific sounding bullshit. It's like pseudoscience without the effort. If pseudoscience is like astrology or economics, then science-y is like Shape-Up Shoes.

Shape-Ups show us a dramatization of someone wearing the shoe and we can see the flexing calf muscle. The advertisers toss out the word "kinetic," and Joe Montana tells us it works. Suddenly, it's a billion dollar a year market -- for Frankenstein shoes. We had a name for those when I was a kid. We called them orthopedic shoes and the people who wore them had bad feet.

There is this Wisk commercial out now. The claim -- Wisk doesn't just clean dirt; it cleans "particulates." Then a fake microscopic "reveal" shows the offending particulates, and little hexagons start bouncing all over the screen. The hexagons have two letter abbreviations in the center: Pt for particulate, Oi for oil. Clearly, we're supposed to be reminded of molecules and more specifically, the periodic table of elements.

"Oooh" we'll gasp, "That stuff has to work. It's like . . . science and shit."

The thing is, last I checked, "Oil" is not on the periodic table. Neither is "Particulate."  The periodic table has stuff like gold (Au) and, uh, other things.You can't just make shit up and pretend it's on the periodic table. I wish you could. I'd have done much better in high school chemistry. And there would be an element called Cakeium. (Ck)

Oh and a particulate can otherwise be defined as soot or dust particles suspended in the air. It's dirt. That's not science, Wisk. Not even a little.  That's Science-y.

We had a personal experience with science-y sales when we bought our mattress at a store called Sleepy's. Before they would show us the mattresses, they made us each lie down on another mattress connected to a big computer-esque machine. This was supposed to tell us what our perfect mattress would be. It whirled and chirped and lights flashed and I'm pretty sure I saw an Oompa-Loompa. I asked what the science behind the machine was because I'm a douche bag like that. The salesman said, "Well, it's from the Sleep Institute."

Whoa, the Sleep Institute. Really? Well then. I'll never forget when Dr. Von Snoozenburg won the Nobel Prize for Sleepology for his work on pillow drool.

Science-y is very useful for selling us shit. Show us an x-ray of the human body or a drawing of a pulsing red quadricep and we're convinced your product is the one for us. It's gotta work, it's science. 



  1. Bill Nye just rolled over in his grave.

    Oh wait, he's still alive.

    Never mind.

    (I can't believe you went to Sleepy's. Bob's, Bernie & Phyl's, and Jordan's not good enough for you?)

  2. Cakeium?


    And thanks for the earworm. Now I can't get the song and the image out of my mind.

    Ooompah loompah doopity dee...

  3. They do try to convince us it's authentic bullshit!

  4. Sooo...wait. Particulates aren't real??? You mean, if my clothes LOOK clean, and SMELL good, that's all I need??? Whoa.

  5. Cakeium. Brilliant. Just think, we could rewrite the lyrics to MacArthur Park:

    "Someone left the cakeium in the dihydrogen oxide . . . "

    Sometimes the gags are just for me.

  6. Cakeium. Love it. I think they should have a show like Biggest Loser for wacky scientists and they could do experiments and challenges and stuff. I'd watch. Okay yeah, obviously I didn't really think this through. Just rambling. Gotta go....

  7. It's all Paul Harvey's fault. He did a Bayer Asprin ad about how ancient Babylonians chewed willow bark for pain relief because it contained acetylsalicylic acid. That much was all actually true. But, now we believe anything as long as it sounds like something Paul might say.

  8. Okay. How did I spell acetylsalicylic right and screw up aspirin?

  9. If I thought those Shape Ups worked as promised, I'd get a pair and never leave my house. That, of course, defeats the company's hypothesis, since I'm pretty sure you're supposed to walk around once those things are strapped on your feet. Science is super hard, yo!

  10. I'm going down the list of post applicants and this is the best observation yet. Science-y, I like it! And I love when people make up new words.
    Like your blog!

  11. cakium sounds yummium. ck + me = ym

  12. In the 50's, children's shoe stores would have x-ray machines. You see, they would x-ray the kids' feet to determine the proper shoe. They didn't seem to understand about overexposure to radiation back then.

  13. I'm going to have to Science-y up my blog to get more traffic. I think I'll start by changing my tag line to something like "Cardiogirl: 9 out of 10 doctors would choose Cardiogirl over bypass surgery."

  14. Science-y, I like it. And I agree with cardiogirl, it seems to work as an advertising tool and I should try something science-y on my blog....

  15. Oh, Big Pink. You are wrong. I believe the term you were looking for was "scientificy" ..I coined that one years ago.. =P

    Also, please let me know when you are doing your next experiment with Ck, because I'll totally be there =D

  16. Great post. In HS I was all into Puffium. The cheese kind, not from actually puffing anything.

  17. All of this is bad, and laughable, but as an editor, I'm often asked to edit docs that claim to contain actual science when they're really just asbab as commercials. Then I just cry.

  18. Meant as bad. Hey, didn't say i was a good editor.


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