Potassium article activates BS-meter

One thing that activates my BS-meter is a miracle treatment with too many claims. Consider the following extract from an article, The Nutritional Benefits of Potassium Citrate, by John Gibb, from (search for “potassium citrate”).

A paragraph entitled Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency reads:

“Some of the symptoms of potassium [deficiency] to be noted are: tiredness, high and low blood pressure, acne, dry eyes, irritability, irregular or rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, depression, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, frail skeletal structure, bone and joint pain, decreased reflexes, constipation, high cholesterol, water retention, respiratory problems, excessive thirst, evidence of protein in urine, less than adequate growth, infertility and headaches are other symptoms of potassium deficiency.”

The funny thing is that I have many of the same symptoms and have always ascribed them to increasing age.

Another funny thing is that I do believe that we don’t get enough potassium in the typical NZ diet. Since potassium can counteract the hypertensive effects of salt, the anti-salt campaigns here in NZ are seriously imbalanced by not mentioning potassium.

Jay Mann

Letter to Timaru Herald

It has long been known that you should never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.

“An alternative way to clean ears”, run recently in this publication (Not us! The Timaru Herald! -ed.), must be branded as unscientific, and possibly dangerous, nonsense. By what mechanism can ‘ear-candling’ possibly be beneficial?

Does the updraft from the burning candle draw wax from the ear? Apparently not, because “warm smoke circulates in the ear canal”. So, no updraft but, rather, falling smoke.

Is there capillary action drawing wax out of the ear? If so, the candle would be trimmed at the lower end to clear this wax. However, it is clear that the top end is trimmed and relit, so no capillary action then. The claimed amount of wax removed from each ear should have given your reporter some inkling of the nonsense she was paying for. How on earth would she get a tablespoon-full out of each ear? Oh, wait, we have a burning candle here. Look at the waste wax. Does it look like candle wax? Yes it does. Now we have a clue as to the amount and its source.

All together now… “It’s melted candle wax!” As Bart Simpson would say; “Duh!”.

This writer is astounded at the numbers of ‘New Age’ peddlers of modern equivalents of snake oil allowed to go about their dishonest business without critical comment. I refer to ‘clairvoyants’, ‘psychics’ , tarot readers, mediums, reflexologists and naturopaths and their variants.

Please make sure that these charlatans do not rip off you or your friends.

Clive A Shaw

PBRF assessments flawed

The Tertiary Education Commission has again issued flawed Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) assessments of academic research, sparking anger at its inaccurate labelling of hard working researchers as “Research Inactive” if they do not play the system. The United Kingdom has given up its similar scheme, and academics in Greece went on strike rather than accept the introduction of such nonsense there. For how much longer are New Zealand scholars going to put up with this insulting bullshine?

Raymond Richards