Dying is Bad for Business
An Auckland law firm was going to court late last year (Dominion Post, November 1) to block the opening of a funeral parlour opposite it. Death (or dealing with it) offends against the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. Contact with death can lead to bad luck and negative energy could flow from the funeral parlour into the law firm. The firm was concerned it would lose its Asian clients if the parlour opened. The parlour, meantime, said it had been granted resource consent. Haven’t heard the outcome yet…
Ringing in new changes
And while on the subject of feng shui, here’s a tip for Telecom. Feng shui specialist Honey Lim says the company should relaunch its new logo in February to capture the powerful energy of a new age in the feng shui calendar. In the Dominion Post (November 26) Ms Lim says she approves of Telecom’s new logo, which is in harmony with feng shui. Telecom spent $140,000 on the logo, and will be happy to learn its green and blue squares underpinning the yellow rectangle have good karma. Ms Lim says the old one featuring three coloured spears stabbing the company name, which told her that, “despite the company’s own colourful and innovative efforts, their initiatives were hurting themselves more than spurring them forward.” She reckons they really should relaunch themselves in the New Year — an act which would generate “awesome feng shui”… . February 4 marks the beginning of ‘period 8’ in the feng shui calendar, a period of new energy. And in order to benefit from it, people or organisations need to undertake renewal or change after that date. Now there’s an idea…
ET – Wait a Tick
The mayor of a Brazilian town says he had cancelled a planned landing by aliens during an important soccer match last year (The Press, November 24). Elcio Berti said he cancelled the landing of the alien spaceship because he was worried they may abduct one of the Brazillian footballers. Berti, the mayor of Bocaiuva do Sul, claims to be in regular touch with aliens and is preparing a UFO landing pad for them in town.
“Con” Man Speaks Out
It was good to see Australian skeptic Richard Lead in the Dominion Post (September 22) following our conference last year. In a small article the “professional cynic” explained how he has tackled cons, from the Nigerian scam to property investment.
“I was living in Samoa in 1994 when I first saw the Nigerian scams. I used to attend a businessmen’s lunch and would pass the letters around and we would have a good laugh. I later found one of the guys had got taken for $90,000.”
This and similar scams, he said, work by the “Concorde fallacy” — the only chance you have of getting back the money you’ve already invested is to put in more. “They just keep sucking you in and the losses keep getting bigger and bigger. I used to say ‘how could people be so stupid?’. I don’t say that any more. I’ve seen it happen so often.”
He told the paper the hardest part of the job was dealing with people who had lost life savings, something he was not equipped to deal with. “Nothing in my accountant’s training prepared me for people with tears in their eyes because they’ve lost everything.”
The best way to avoid being taken in was to exercise common sense and carefully evaluate everything. “…if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
Not a Prayer of a Chance
The biggest scientific experiment on prayer has failed to find any evidence that it helps to heal the sick.
Doctors in the US said that heart patients who were prayed for by groups of stranger recovered from surgery at the same rate as those who were not (Dominion Post, October 17).
The three-year study led by cardiologists from Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, involved 750 patients in nine hospitals and 12 prayer groups around the world.
The prayer groups included American Christian mothers, nuns, Sufi Muslims, Buddhist monks in Nepal and English doctors and students in Manchester. Prayers were emailed to Jerusalem and placed in the Wailing Wall.
Earlier, less extensive, research had suggested prayer could have a beneficial effect.
The news brought swift reactions. The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, said “Prayer is not a penny-in-the-slot machine. You can’t just put in a coin and get out a chocolate. This is like setting an exam for God to see if God will pass it or not.”
Red Tape for Health Pills
The Herald reports (December 8) that the $200 million-a-year health supplements business is up in arms over a Government plan to join with Australia to regulate the industry.
Under this plan, all dietary supplements and alternative remedies would be classified as pharmaceuticals and regulated through a new transtasman agency.
New Zealand has about 10,000 complementary and alternative health practitioners. Health Minister Annette King said the move was about quality, public safety and standards. “We require standards about the food we sell… we require standards for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. And one of the hard lessons I learned last year was that the public demanded standards and regulations for complementary healthcare.”
Opponents say New Zealand will lose control of decision-making to Australia, Kiwi dietary supplements firms will be hurt, and customers will have less choice.
Green MP Sue Kedgley and NZ First MP Pita Paraone are upset the Government is including alternative medicines and supplements before the health select committee report is out.
“Slimming Water” the Latest Fad
Forget about cutting out carbs on Atkins or replacing meals with a milkshake — the latest dieting phenomenon to hit the shelves is bottled water which claims to help people lose weight (Rotorua Daily Post, January 13).
Contrex is being marketed as Britain’s first “cosmetic water”, on the basis that it works as a slimming aid. Nestle, its maker, claims that the mineral water contains natural sources of calcium and magnesium which can eliminate toxins, fight fatigue and help people stay in shape. The calcium can also increase the body’s metabolism and improve weight loss, according to Nestle.
Health experts dismissed the idea of a “diet water” as ridiculous. Amanda Wynne of the British Dietetic Association said: “Drinking water will not make you slim, even if it is fortified with calcium and magnesium. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Despite this criticism, industry insiders are predicting that so-called “aquaceuticals” will be the boom dieting products of 2004. The fad started in Japan and hit America last year, with several brands planned for launch in Britain this year.
A spokeswoman for Nestle said, “It is selling like hot cakes. Contrex has been sold in France for years and women there call it the slimming water. You get the minerals you need without putting on weight.”
Other aquaceuticals to go on sale recently include Blue Water, which costs an incredible £11 a litre and claims to improve skin conditions and general wellbeing. It has been developed by an Austrian naturalist, Johann Grander, who says he “removed the negative memories from water and transferred beneficial energy patterns to it”.
Some fans say they feel better simply by sleeping next to a glass of Blue Water at night. Other products have celebrity endorsements, such as the Kabbalah Mountain Spring Water favoured by Madonna. It claims to have been transformed into a “living” water through modern technology and the wisdom of ancient texts used by the Cabbala, a Jewish mysticism.
Lakeland Willow has also been launched as an aquaceutical in the UK. According to its marketing blurb, it contains salicin, a natural painkilling substance found in willow bark.