Stuff and nonsense

The BBC are reporting that a study involving allegedly haunted vaults under South Bridge (oh, and also some palace or other in London) has found evidence of clustering in reported experiences similar to hauntings. What they don't say is what people were apparently experiencing. Given that those vaults have been empty for most of their history, I do wonder what that happened there would be said to be affecting people - was it the ghosts of indie clubs past, perhaps, or ectoplasmic music characterised by a succession of regular beats?

In other news, I've been reading a couple of historical essays on the idea that Odin was a historical figure. I'm not convinced, but the ground they tangentially cover's very interesting.I got given some Ecoballs too. These, in case you're not familiar with them, are plastic balls (well, balls with a collar that make them look slightly Saturnine) containing small pellets, which are claimed to clean your clothes without normally needing any washing powder.

I'm not convinced. In fact, as far as I can tell they rely entirely on people not being familiar with how clean warm water and agitation can get their clothes. I will, though, just quote you some of the guff that comes along with them.

You're gonna like this.

Q. How do the Ecoballs™ work?

A. Ecoballs™ increase the degree of alkaline.

In the water Ecoballs™ will react with stain/dirt under saponification [ . . . ] the Activated water molecule filters easily into the inside of clothing fibre and and makes combination between filth and fibre[1] loose [ . . . ] I.e. the Ecoballs™ makes the molecule of the water smaller which returns the water to having its brilliant hydrating properties, high solubility and good permeability.

So there you go. We've been using soap all these years when all we needed to do was shrink the water. How foolish we've all been.

Went for a walk around town yesterday in opposition to current events. Bumped into Nuala and Alex (and little Aisling, who mostly slept). Ken was apparently there too, but I didn't see him.

[1]: "Filth and fibre". I think I've got an EP by them.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Music: Public Image Limited - The order of death
With a brand name like "Ecoballs™", the manufacturers are just asking for trouble. Paging Dr. Ben!
It had occurred to me to just forward the whole package to Dr Ben.
that damn EcoBalls scam shows up every five years or so, and always making the same idiotic claim. The cleaning effect isn't even just from warm water and agitation: the sales are dependent upon the number of people who don't know how much soap residue builds up on a washing machine. (Seriously, if you use a commercial laundromat, you could theoretically never need to buy soap ever again.)
I never use as much detergent as the packet recommends - I usually find about 1/3 to 1/2 the suggested amount is perfectly effective. I mean, obviously the manufacturers have a vested interest in making you use more of their product than is strictly necessary - while at the same time making increasingly dramatic claims for its 'effectiveness' and 'value for money' that somehow never equate to a lower cost-per-wash.
I have found one (count them, one) laundry detergent that I really do use the amount they say, because the amount for a full wash is something like three tablespoons. I was a bit apprehensive at first, having decided to try it because it's not artificially scented (I'm allergic), and it's brilliant. Does at least as good a job as leading brands (tm) and, while expensive, is all plant based.

Now all I have to do is convince them to stop using palm oil.
Re: Hmm...
Indeed they would be, yes. You're not suspecting them of a certain inconsistency, are you?
Re: Hmm...
when I got ecoballs I went on their ability to clean and ignored the 'science'..perhaps this explains why
Re: Hmm...
I've seen mixed reports on their cleaning ability, and I suspect them too deeply now to be willing to go to the trouble of arranging even a simple test.
Re: Hmm...
Fair enough.

Personally I'm greatly influenced by advertising, and go out of my way to avoid products whose ads are annoying ("HI, I'M BARRY SCOTT, AND I'M CONFUSED.....DOT COM), misleading ("...contains no pesticides except the ones we put in to kill the headlice - models styled with lash inserts and enhanced in post-production), utterly bizarre ("Contains NO CHEMICALS"), or powered by distilled essence of pseudoscience.

I realise this may occasionally be my loss, but it's worth it.
Re: Hmm...
models styled with lash inserts and enhanced in post-production)

Do you buy much mascara, then? Enquiring minds...

The majority of shampoo and cosmetic advertisements use some degree of pre-production (false lashes, hair extensions) or post-production (airbrushing) enhancements. It's only recently, though, that they've been called on it and made to state some aspects of it in the small print. is good on this sort of guff.
Re: Hmm...
To be honest, no - and I don't expect to be troubled by headlice, what with being bald & all 8-)

I realise why the disclaimers are in the adverts now (in small print, in the corner, with plenty going on elsewhere to distract your attention from them) but at the end of the day they're still selling mascara using false lashes & Photoshop, and I can't understand why the ASA let them get away with it! 8-/

And as for the 'anti-ageing' products to use "if you're not ready for cosmetic surgery yet"... grrrrr!
Re: Hmm...
*nods* The basic assumptions have shifted - women are now expected to spend more and do more dramatic/permanent things to their bodies to 'improve' their appearance.

I vote that 'dermabrasion' is renamed 'flesh sanding' and then see how many people sign up for it.
Re: Hmm...
And thanks for the linkie - very interesting. I didn't know about the dumbass rules the EU are trying to push through, which would make most MRI scanning illegal.
Re: Hmm...
So, ingredients that people have been using for centuries, then?

Reminds me of the whole 'Boswelox' thing - the innovative 'new' face cream ingredient that turned out to be an extract from the Boswellia plant. AKA frankincense. So only in use for a few THOUSAND years, then!
Re: Hmm...
Non-ionic surfactant certainly is. "Surfactant" is one of them fancy science words for "detergent".
I have some and they seem to work. It could, of course, be a placebo effect, but never mind, my clothes are clean.

Just keep them away from black tshirts - one got wrapped up in my black motorhead tshirt and now I have a black tshirt with bleached brown splodges.
Sounds like they could just be dropped into a glass of water and drunk for a kind of eco-detox. Is it patented?
"In the water Ecoballs™ will react with stain/dirt under saponification"

Erm, doesn't this mean that they work if you add soap?