Monday, October 31, 2005

Pseudoscience - The Wine Clip

I was going to do a little piece on this piece of crap. Then i googled for 'the wine clip review' and found this little gem at Dan's Data. I don't know what Dan does during his off hours, but he obviously knows the rudiments of a good double-blind.
When something that sounds too good to be true and sell for USD40 odd bucks, you'd think you'd invest at least hmmm, 3 seconds seeing if it's worth shelling out any of your precious food tokens. The downloadable video of the taste test should be compulsory viewing for anyone who hasn't heard of a double blind experiment (where neither the tester nor the testee have any idea what the answer is). I've seen plenty of gimmick shows where people can influence your actions just by a phrase or some subtle body language. Even well meaning people have influence tests purely because on some level, they just want it to be true (and give them the result they need for their paper/thesis etc). I especially love the way they turn over only one page during the tasting, you don't need to be paranoid to wonder what's under page number 2.
Yet another example of 'bad' business: when the end result of scamming people out of their cash is exactly the same as doing something real (and possibly hard), it's no wonder there's so much crap out there (but strangely, a never ending supply of people willing to be fleeced...). NZ'ers - don't feel so smug, we can stand proud as having some of the most gullible people on earth being fleeced for their cash right here.

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