The Placebo Effect

A placebo is an innocuous substance which has no medicinal properties… often the proverbial ‘sugar pill’.  It can also be a procedure, or an injection.  While placebos do not actually act on a disease, disease agent, or other condition; many people report feeling better or otherwise enhanced by taking them.  This is the placebo effect, a trick of the mind or the ability of the mind to naturally relieve pain and produce other temporary effects.  There is an opposite effect also, called nocebo effect where the placebo causes adverse side effects like aches, vomiting, etc.  In other words, the effects of the placebo are caused by the patients expectations.

The placebo effect does not work on animals, since they have no expectations about it.  However, an animal’s owner may think his pet dog is doing/feeling better after giving the dog an unknown placebo based on his own subjective judgements about the animal.

A Harvard medical school professor, Ted Kaptchuk, did a study comparing the effects of acupuncture versus an albuterol inhaler for treating asthma symptoms.   While the patients receiving acupuncture treatments reported being less short of breath, lung function tests showed no improvement.  Patients receiving the albuterol did show positive lung function improvements.  This points out a danger of the placebo effect…. patients receiving the acupuncture treatments did not know they were not any better, and could be in serious life threatening trouble.

Because of the placebo effect, testimonials about health/drug products are useless and prove nothing.  People who buy into a drug or device based on testimonials already have a psychological investment in that product.  Because of this psychological (and monetary) investment, they are more likely to experience a positive placebo effect, and then make a positive testimonial about it.  On the other hand, if no positive effect is produced, the user/buyer simply discards it, and most importantly doesn’t waste time and energy writing a negative testimonial.  Psychology biases the testimonials to be positive.  Because of this, scams abound.  Some examples include taking minute (teaspoon) sized doses of ionic silver, Hulda Clark’s zapper, electrolytic foot baths, etc.

Scientists know that the gold standard method of ruling out the placebo effect with drugs is the double blind study.  In a double blind study, neither the patient nor the clinician knows whether the drug he is dispensing is a real drug or a placebo.  If the test results show that the positive effects for the real drug are about the same as the placebo, then the researcher knows that the drug is not really effective.  Double blinding is especially important when dealing with subjective symptoms such as pain as opposed to measurable signs like blood parameters.

While the double blind testing procedure works  for drugs, it of course cannot be used for everything.  Its impossible to double blind a surgical procedure for example.  The cardiac surgeon knows whether he bypassed an artery or not.  This has lead to some totally ineffective procedures.  For example, when X-rays were first becoming available, people were x-rayed in a standing position, and doctors would diagnose them with sagging organs.  To correct the ‘sagging organs’, surgeons would open up the patient and tie their internal organs to their rib cage.  The patients reported feeling better, but of course their organs were not out of place to begin with…. doctors thought they were because doctors trained in anatomy with their cadavers lieing down on a table top.

Even heart catheterization may be a placebo effect.  The Mayo clinic had this to say about stents:


Balloon and stents are suitable for reducing complaints, i.e. for relieving symptoms.
Balloons and stents do not prevent heart attacks and do not prolong life.
Stents prevent the development of renewed stenoses at the same location in the vessel, but do not reduce the frequency of heart attacks or deaths.

Then if the only positive effect of stenting coronary arteries is reducing symptoms, its quite possible that it is merely the placebo effect.
So why is stenting so prevalent?  It produces huge amounts of revenues for doctors and hospitals.  Follow the money trail is always good advice.

Then, in the absence of double blind studies, we have to rely on testable scientific evidence to determine whether a substance or procedure works.  As an example, chelation treatments to remove calcified plaques from arteries has not been studied using double blind techniques.  However, the reduction of calcium in the coronary arteries has been proven by the Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test, which is an objective, quantifiable test procedure.

This is also the case with colloidal silver, as to my knowledge there has never been any double blind testing.  With colloidal silver, there is a multitude of laboratory research showing not only that silver nanoparticles kill pathogens, but also important insights into how they do it.  So colloidal silver is not dependent on anecdotal testimonial evidence for validation.   Compare that to a Hulda Clark zapper which has no bonafide scientific research and backing, but only relies on testimonials, driven by the placebo effect.

The cost of the placebo effect is bad drugs, bad devices, expensive health care, and poorer health.

Posted in Science | Comments Off on The Placebo Effect Misinformation Dispelled

Recently, Mike from answered a customers question about an excellent youtube video by zerofossilfuel that was full of Mike’s disinformation.  Zero was demonstrating making true colloidal silver using a constant current system with sodium carbonate as an electrolyte and corn syrup as a reducing agent to convert ionic silver to colloidal silver.  This is a tried and true method, and a similar method is used by bonafide lab researchers when researching the properties of silver colloids.

You can see this misinformation post here.

Lets look at the 3 main responses by Lifeforce Mike:

  1. Mike says the bubble coming off the cathode are from electrolyzing water.  Well Mike, I’m afraid thats not true.  At the cathode, sodium ions are being reduced to sodium metal, but sodium metal reacts violently with water creating sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.  This is where the hydrogen comes from. Mike goes on to claim that the yellow color of the colloid comes from silver carbonate, but this is also untrue.  If Lifeforce Mike actually knew his chemistry, he would know that dissolving sodium carbonate in water produces sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid.  But carbonic acid is a weak acid with a kA (acid dissociation constant )of about 4.3X10-7. That means that only 1 out of 2.2 million carbonic acid molecules dissociate into ions, whereas all of the sodium remains as ions.  IE:  There are 2.2 million more hydroxide ions than carbonate ions.  So the amount of silver carbonate created is negligible
  2. Next, Lifeforce Mike goes on to say that the Karo corn syrup together with the sodium carbonate make sodium gluconate.  This is also untrue, as all sodium compounds in water totally dissociate.  What does happen is that the sodium hydroxide from hydrolyzing the sodium carbonate converts the glucose molecule from a ring structure to a linear structure activating it as a reducing agent for silver.  Mike goes on to say now that the sugar caramelizes which causes the yellow color in the solution.  Of course, this is easily disproven simply by mixing the sodium carbonate and Karo to see if it turns yellow…. it does not.  I guess Mike is too lazy to test that.
  3. Mike goes on to criticize Zero for not using the Tyndall test to see if a colloid was produced.  Zero did not have to do this test because he already knew what he had made, as he had followed the scientific method of producing it.  Also, a strong positive Tyndall effect is not really desirable.  The Tyndall effect shows large particles, large enough to reflect light.  Silver nanoparticles are much smaller than light waves and hence do not reflect light.  So a positive Tyndall means the particles are not small enough to be therapeutically effective.  Silver nanoparticles instead exhibit the Plasmon Resonance effect which makes them filter out light of a specific frequency/wavelength, normally blue light.  This leaves red and green which the eye sees as yellow color.Mike yet makes another mistake by saying that ionic silver is tasteless while silver nanoparticles taste metallic.  The human tongue’s taste buds are sensitive only to ions and very small proteins.   Being much larger than ions or proteins, silver nanoparticles cannot trigger taste buds, and therefore are tasteless.Mike’s last bone of contention is that ZeroFossil used 0.999 pure silver instead of 0.9999.  Mike thinks this bad because of the possible contaminants in 0.999 silver.  The truth is that any contaminants caused by the 0.999 silver will be in the parts per billion range, which is far purer than any drinking water, and is absolutely no health hazard.  There is nothing wrong with using 0.9999 purity silver, but there is also no need to worry about it.

In summation, Lifeforce Mike is a good example of how a little knowledge without understanding is a bad thing.

In 2008, I started the colloidal silver forum to combat the plethora of misinformation about colloidal silver which pollutes the internet.  It seems to be a losing battle.

Posted in Science | Comments Off on Misinformation Dispelled

How Colloidal Silver Works, The Unified Theory

Copyright (c) W. G. Peters, 2015

The effectiveness of silver nanoparticles (colloidal silver) has been proven many times in the laboratory, and a rich history of use. But how it works has mostly remained a mystery. Researchers tend to look at specific aspects of the action that silver nanoparticles have on pathogens, but don’t take a step back and look at the broader picture. This is colloquially known as not being able to see the forest for the trees.

An example is the in-vitro research using ionic silver solutions to kill ecoli bacteria. The effect of the silver solution is quite good at killing the ecoli in the test medium. However, other researchers have proven that ionic silver is very susceptible to being reduced to metallic silver simply by the respiration byproducts (exudate) of ecoli bacteria. IE: The ionic silver is converted to metallic silver nanoparticles before it actually contacts the bacteria. So while it is true that the ionic silver killed the ecoli, it was converted to metallic silver beforehand by the very bacteria which it killed.

So this is an attempt to see the forest without being blinded by the trees.


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Why Raising The Minimum Wage Does Not Help Anyone

Early in my career, I was an engineer and middle manager in an electronic company. At the time of an increase in the minimum wage, I had 10 technicians who directly worked for me. None of my employees made minimum wage, and in fact were substantially above it.

When the new rate was announced, people who were already paid at the new rate were suddenly very unhappy because now they were working for minimum wage again. They all thought they should get a raise too. Then the group immediately above them also wanted a raise because not getting one put them one step lower on the ladder.

And so it went. Everyone wanted and got a pay increase because of a raise in the minimum. All well and good, except for two things. One is that some people lost their jobs because their employers could no longer afford them at the new rates. The second is that it caused the prices of all goods and services to go up because of the new pay scales.

The bulk of the costs in producing any product is wages and taxes. Its not profits which nation wide across all economic sectors is only about 9%. Mostly, its wages and taxes. So, taxes also had to go up to account for the increase in the wages of government employees.

The net result was that a year later, some had no jobs, and no one else was wealthier because of the inflation caused by the minimum wage increase.

On top of that, these increased costs made American companies less competitive in foreign markets, leading to even more job loss.

I witnessed the same phenomenon every time the minimum wage was increased.

So this actually does no good for the people it is supposed to help.
It hurts people on fixed incomes because of the inflation.
It hurts American business in the global economy.

This is liberal economics a work. Great for buying votes, but terrible for the country.

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Tax rate in America

There are hidden taxes in everything a person buys. In the end, only the consumer pays these taxes, and at that, only private consumers. Government workers, people on welfare or other public assistance are paying these taxes with tax money collected from private workers. Businesses do not actually pay taxes, but pass on any taxes they pay to the consumer. In the end, only the private worker pays taxes because thats where the buck stops.

What is the actual tax rate in the US?

In 2013, the sum of all taxes collected at all levels of government was $5.4 trillion (from which was 33% of the Gross Domestic Product. Total GDP was $16.8 trillion

What is GDP?

Gross domestic product (GDP) is defined by OECD as “an aggregate measure of production equal to the sum of the gross values added of all resident institutional units engaged in production (plus any taxes, and minus any subsidies, on products not included in the value of their outputs).*

IE: A business buys $100 worth of raw materials to make a $300 product, which leads to $200 addition to the GDP. The $100 cost of materials includes all the hidden taxes the suppliers pay when making the raw materials. It is not possible for any business or individual to separate out all of the taxes, and neither can the government.

So to find the actual tax rate, we need to subtract the total taxes from the GDP, and then divide the total taxes by that amount.
Doing so, we find 5.4/(16.8 – 5.4) = 0.47 or 47% !

So when I buy a loaf of bread for $3, $2.04 is for the bread, and $0.96 is tax! Buy a house for $200,000, and you are paying $64,000 in taxes.

In the year 2000, the tax rate was 41%

The trend is clear, the tax rate is climbing and this is why we are becoming a third world country with no jobs and decreasing wealth.

* From Wikipedia

Edited to reflect updated data.

Posted in Economy | Comments Off on Tax rate in America — My experiences — Part 1

I live in the country and have a deep well for my water source.  The water is very acid, with a pH of about 5, and loaded with iron.  So I have to treat my water to bring the pH up to an acceptable level to prevent my copper piping from eroding.

But, I still had the problem of large amounts of iron in the water, which stained everything, and clogged up the water sediment filter (5 micron, 20 inch whole house sediment filter) every few days.  The filter cartridges cost about $8 each, so I was spending $2 a day for filtering my well water.

Shopping around for a solution, I came across and saw they had a selection of iron filters.  After talking to one of their technicians, it was decided that the only solution which would work for me was a greensand iron filter because all the other technologies required a pH of the water above 7.  So I ordered a large greensand system, with a 12″ diameter tank, and a Logix 268 valve/controller system.

The system came with 2 cubic feet of greensand which was put into the tank, and the system plumbed into my house.  The chemical tank was filled with potassium permanganate which is used to regenerate the filter.  Basically, the system is like a water softener, except there is greensand in the filter, and the chemical tank holds potassium permanganate (Pot Perm) instead of salt.

The system worked for almost a year, until one morning when we were taking our baths, the water came out of the faucet pink in color.  Potassium permanganate colors the water pink.  So I went into the basement, and found that when the unit recycled in the night, it had pumped the sand from inside the tank into the drain, which plugged it up, and kept the filter from backwashing.

This was a new one on me, so I called up the BudgetWater techs, who had never heard of this problem before.  They were totally unhelpful, so I had to figure out how to fix this problem.   Two of their suggestions were: a broken pipe inside the tank, or using water from a faucet in the middle of the night.  A broken pipe was unlikely, but I had to check that.  Using water would not cause sand to go down the drain; if anything, it would have pulled sand into the house plumbing which would have filled up and clogged the sediment filter.  Because of the valves inside the controller, the only thing using water while the system regenerated would cause is unfiltered water to go into the house plumbing.

The bottom line is that the technical support at was not much help.

First, I bypassed the system, so was back to $2 a day for sediment filter cartridges.

Next, I was faced with the problem of removing the remaining wet sand and water from the filter tank.  BudgetWater suggested using my shop vac.  This did not work well at all, and made quite a mess.  Finally though I did get enough of the sand out of the tank to see that there was no broken pipes inside.

After that, I had to figure out how to get about a cubic foot of sand out of the drain pipe that was buried in the basement concrete floor.  This took me 3 days to get the drain open again.  I was not happy at all.

I certainly didn’t want to pay over $700 a year for sediment filters, so I really needed to get the greensand filter working again.  Taking stock of what I had or didn’t have, showed me that I would have to buy new greensand, and since I couldn’t be absolutely certain that the tank was ok, I should replace the tank.

Greensand is expensive.  BudgetWater’s price was $96 per 1/2 cubic foot, so it would be almost $400 to buy from them.  A local supplier had it for 1/2 the price, so I bought it from a local source.  The tank was not available locally, so I bought a new one from BudgeWater.  They gave me a small discount, and it cost me almost $200 for a new tank.

Continued in part 2.

Posted in Product Review, Science | Comments Off on — My experiences — Part 1 — Part 2

So I loaded the new tank with 2 cubic feet of greensand (about 200 pounds), reinstalled the valve/controller and hooked up the greensand filter to my house plumbing.  All should be well.  I cycled the filter to clean the sand and make sure it worked before turning off the bypass valves.

Everything appeared to work correctly, so I thought I was done with this project.

A week later, when the unit regenerated again, I woke up to pink water!  What now?  This time there was no sand in the drain pipes, but it did not backflush correctly, or it used more permanganate than it was supposed to.  I temporarily solved the problem just by running water from the taps until it was no longer pink.

Next, I put the filter through another regeneration cycle, but this time, I watched it closely as it went through its stages.  I have a 2000 lumen flashlight which is bright enough to see through the tank.  During the first stage of regeneration, the water flows in reverse through the filter, down through the center pipe, through the screen on the bottom, and up through the sand to the drain pipe.  As I watched, the sand lifted all the way to the top of the tank!  A little more water pressure, and it would have washed out into the drain!  This was not right.

As I watched the next stages, I could see the permanganate being sucked out of the chemical tank, and into the top of the filter tank.  It took about 2 minutes for all the permanganate to be sucked into the filter, and then water continued to trickle through the filter for another 90 minutes.  But the flow rate was so slow, that there was still permangate left in the filter.  This also was not right.

It was time to investigate the control head and valves.  Luckily I had the manual with the parts list and drawings.

Again I put the filter on bypass, and removed the plugs which covered up the internal parts of the control head.  Comparing what I had with the parts list and drawings revealed that there was no flow controller for the backflush cycle installed in my control head.  This allowed too much water flow through the tank, and was the cause of the first failure where the sand got dumped into the drain!  So BudgetWater never installed the flow control.  These are calibrated to the tank size, so have to be chosen and installed when the control head and tank are put together.  Thanks BudgeWater for costing me another $400 for a new tank and sand.

While I was inspecting the control head, I also removed the jet which creates suction to pull permanganate from the chemical tank and meters rinse water.  It was very dirty, and the jet was almost plugged.  They are supposed to be color coded, but this was black.  I soaked it in Iron Out and discovered it was blue in color.  Blue is the jet size for a 10″ tank water softener.  The correct one for my system is much bigger.  So this was the cause of my pink water.  With the jet already too small, and then being plugged with some dirt, the tank never rinsed fully.  I ordered a new jet and a backflush flow controller from another company and installed them in my control head.

After everything was re-assembled, I put it back in service, and ran another regeneration cycle.  This time, I could see that the sand only rose in the tank a few inches leaving almost a foot between the top of the tank and the top of the sand.  Problem 1 is now solved.  During permanangate cycle,  all the permanganate flushed out fully with about 20 minutes to spare.  Problem 2 solved.

I think though that I will have to clean the jet every few months in an Iron Out bath.  The permanganate tends to plate the jet with manganese over time, and thats what plugged it up.

The bottom line is that BudgetWater’s incompetence caused me a lot more money and work than I was expecting because they did not set up my unit correctly before they shipped it.  I did not get any bargain.  In short, I cannot recommend them.  Find a local plumber who is experienced with greensand filters (many are not).


Posted in Product Review, Science | Comments Off on — Part 2

19 Kids and Counting

In my lifetime, the population of planet Earth has tripled. There is no way that the planet can withstand that kind of growth.

19 Kids is a TV show which should not be on the air because it glorifies having large families. Promoting large families is actually an immoral act, in that large families endangers the whole of humanity.

The present population of Earth is over 7 billion people and at the present rate of growth will reach 14 billion in a mere 40 years. Can anyone seriously believe that the Earth can support 14 billion people?

Morality is based on survival: survival of self, survival of family, survival of tribe, and survival of species. Any act which threatens survival at any level is immoral. All moral codes can be reduced to just survival.

Every species which outgrows its resources experiences a severe die off. Man is no exception, as witnessed by what happened at Easter Island.

We are at the point where we have exhausted most of our resources, such as food and fuels. There have been no major oil fields developed in the past 30 years, and nuclear power development is stagnant. Without fuel, modern farming stops, and with it, food production plummets.

Every time the population doubles, it uses more resources than all of history before it. Don’t believe it? Here is an illustration.

Start with 1 unit of population, which uses 1 unit of resources.

Now double it and you have 2 units of population which use 2 units of resources.

Double the population again, and you have 4 units of population, using 4 units of resources, but the entire preceding 3 units of population used only 3 units of resources.

The next doubling gives 8 units of population using 8 units of resources, and again, the total of all preceding populations used only 7 units of resources.

So you see, in the next 40 years, we will need more resources than all of humanity has previously used. That cannot happen. What can happen is massive depopulation due either to starvation, disease, or more likely war over the remaining resources. Either way, humanity loses.

Even zero population growth cannot be sustained, so having more than 2 children per family is certainly an immoral act because it endangers us all.

Posted in Economy, Food | Comments Off on 19 Kids and Counting

National Debt — $17,500,000,000,000

I took a look at the debt clock this morning! According to the debt clock, this means that on average, each American owes $55000 in debt. This is for each person, so a family of four owes $220,000 towards the debt.

But wait! Only private workers actually pay taxes. That’s right, only private workers. You see, workers on the public payroll only forward taxes to the government, but every penny they pay in taxes first came from a private worker. Take away the private worker, and there is no money to pay the government employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 134 million private workers in the US. So all of the debt lands on this 134 million, making their debt $130,000 for each private worker.

Then of course, there are all the people on welfare. At the end of 2011, there were more people (108 million) on welfare than people working. Being the grocery shopper in the family, it looks to me like the people on welfare are living better than the working people. The war on poverty has been a war on the worker.

So why bother working? Quit today, and you will shed $75,000 in debt instantly! I am not really serious about quitting your job, but its easy to see why the US is in such a downward spiral. We have become a nation of takers instead of makers. We deserve to go down the economic toilet.

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Spammer of the Week

I have my own email server, so I can make up as many email addresses as I want. So I make up a new unique email address for every company I do business with. That way, if I get spam email I know where it came from.

I have been doing this for years, and have about 12 companies that either sold my email address, or had a security breach that allowed my addresses to be stolen.

This weeks spammer of the week award goes to KFC. In the last 5 days, I have received 106 spam emails to the address I used to complete a KFC survey. All of the ip addresses from the spam came from Romania.

Shame on you KFC!

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