What a great Skeptic the winter edition is, thorough forethought all around, with even a hint of hope about the clairvoyant decision. Which is good because although I enjoy reading the magazine it’s often quite depressing.

I would just like to say that, yes Hugh I did read that article, but it wasn’t what prompted my rave on stereo equipment. That was a result of trying to explain to a technically qualified, stereo component developer friend why I would not accept the results of a review on cables when I did not know if the person reviewing the cables could tell one from another without knowing which had been plugged in. He seemed totally unable to grasp the fact that the reviewer may well have been influenced by other factors, or just blowing smoke. That was what caused me to write to various electronic/stereo magazines and Consumer to try to find out what sort of testing was done. The length question can be solved simply by buying stereo cable off large reels having measured the distance between your amplifier and your speakers however. Strip the ends, shove them in the holes, and screw them down – which gives just as good a connection as anything according to a physicist friend of mine. The other guy is hot on deoxygenated cable whatever that is. (Expensive though I bet.)

I presume that John Welch realises that Hermann Goering was much slimmer in World War I, in fact he couldn’t fit into a World War II fighter plane by 1943 even though they were marginally larger. My own father settled down into civilian life without a great deal of trouble, but I had a teacher who had earned a DFC, who had definitely been affected by the war. I wouldn’t criticise someone who’s been traumatised by war without walking a mile in their shoes. On the issue of what people put into their mouths he should get hold of Muscle: a writer’s trip through a sport with no boundaries, by John Hotten, as a doctor he would be horrified at what these people do to their bodies. Parts of it are very funny too. His comment about pharmacists rings bells with me as I went to the chemist the other day for some hydrocortisone for a small rash which I hope is caused by shaving. I was offered some sort of homoeopathic cream if that’s not a contradiction in terms, but when I said “I prefer drugs thanks” I got a very grudging “Oh I suppose that will clear it up a bit quicker”.

Thanks for the lift guys.

Bob Metcalfe

More curly water

It is always satisfying to have one’s scientific hunches validated by other researchers. A few years ago I wrote on “Curly Water” for New Zealand Skeptic, in which I suggested that cucumbers grew in a circular shape becuse the water used to irrigate passed through a coiled hosepipe between tap and garden.

Now, thanks to Ben Goldacre (www.guardian.co.uk) I can report on the properties of “spiralised water”, as described by Jacqueline Young on the BBC Health website: “Water may also be used in healing. Some people believe water is a powerful messenger that can hold electromagnetic traces as a type of ‘memory’. This principle is applied in homeopathy, where it’s believed that the more a substance is diluted the more potent it becomes. However, this theory remains controversial.

“Implosion researchers have found that if water is put through a spiral its electrical field changes and it then appears to have a potent, restorative effect on cells. In one study, seedlings watered with spiralised water grew significantly faster, higher and stronger than those given ordinary water. Using this technique on drinking water is said to be beneficial for health.”

There is one important difference between my writing and Young’s. My piece was a spoof; Young and, sadly, the BBC, appear to be serious.

Bernard Howard


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