Today, I’ll be offering up another entry in my continuing series of reviewing a company / product that had a presence at the Whole Life [and wallet] Expo, 2009 in Toronto a few weeks ago. This entry is all about the baffilingly expensive and inefective product line to come out of the “Earthcalm” company, and in particular, their “Omega Laptop Protector“.
EarthCalm is a company which claims to (or doesn’t claim to, but makes every connection possible with) be able to prevent electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) from doing whatever it is that magnetic fields do to you. From their brochure (which clearly states “no part of this brochure may be reproduced without written permission”, but that just means I can’t scan it and show you…I’m still able to pull small quotes from it for educational purposes), their comprehensive line of products can supposedly help you deal with / prevent / lessen the frequency of reasonably serious symptoms like asthma attacks, panic attacks, arthritis and joint pain and blood pressure (all symptoms that might imply a more serious underlying condition), and the less-easy to pin-down symptoms like concentration, school grades for children, “overall well being”, and yes, the dreaded “Brain Fog!” (I’m not making this up)
Its products use what they call “Scalar Resonance Technology”, which I’m pretty sure means “Professor Dumbledore says an incantation in pseudo-latin and your non-symptoms will vanish as quickly as you were told you had them!” But from their website, “Scalar Resonance Technology is the process whereby each EarthCalm circuit is matched to its mirror circuit, which exponentially increases resonance to the earth.” That sure is a lot of sciencey-sounding words, mixed in with a sprinkle of mother earth-type language. Their website continues, “A scalar wave is by definition a wave that is exactly matched by another wave, i.e. has the same frequency and the same height or amplitude but has the opposite direction, such that one wave exactly cancels out the other”. Actually, that’s called “phase cancellation,” and it works with any two set of waves. The problem is that phase cancellation is a process that does the exact opposite what the earth-calm people seem to think it does. Their notion of this is, “A biological example of the generation of scalar waves can be found in the brain, when the left and right sides of the brain come into balance. A person who has access to both sides of their brain is generating scalar waves and is therefore more in touch with higher levels or higher dimensions of functioning.” No, because when waves do what the EarthCalm people are describing, the output of the waves equals zero:
When I was studying to be a recording engineer, we had to regularly be very aware of phase cancellation because it can result in the sound suddenly vanishing for no apparent reason. So if you had the left and right hemispheres of your brainwaves “exactly matched”, you would be comatose. Or dead.
Okay, so the theory behind this stuff is bunk on its face, what about the goods? Can they deliver what they say?
Before we get get into that, we have to first work out what they’re actually claiming. Aside from the specific and vague health claims listed above, they also claim that (in their brochure)
Computers, cell phones and most recently, WiFi are generating untested electromagnetic fields in which we now all have to live….these disruptive fields have created a dangerous form of pollution that diminishes our sense of well-being, increases stress levels and even contributes to diseases, headaches, arthritis and some forms of cancer.
Once again, the peddlers of pseudo-science get to make up a huge number of statements, and the science-based community has to spend time picking it apart piece by torturous piece. If you listened to this passage, you’d think that your iPhone is secretly trying to grow you a third arm, but the sellers get around this by not actually naming what “field” they’re talking about. Is it some sort of “Cell-Phone field?” Are cell phones today safer than older ones, or are they more dangerous because you can do more with them, and they’re so much more cell-phoney? Ostensibly, they’re referring to EMFs here, but I think you know where this is going: no link whatsoever between EMF’s and harm in humans. Sadly, their brochure continues,
The manmade [sic] electrical grid we live in has robbed us of our bioelectrical [sic] connectedness to the earth. EarthCalm revolutionizes protection from EMF pollution by manufacturing products that dramatically enhance a person’s grounding in the electromagnetic field of the earth….EarthCalm products strengthen and restore the body’s nervous and acupuncture meridian systems. Deeper levels of healing are once again possible as nature designed.
The symptoms of the worried well strike again! Not only is it highly likely that EMF Sensitivity is a psychosomatic disorder, but this company seems hell-bent on dazzling the reader with as many pseudo-sciences and logical fallacies as they can. Acupuncture? Check. Appeal to naturalism? Check. Lying? Check.
Normally, I would refrain from accusing a pseudo-scientific practitioner from being a liar, as it implies intent to decieve, or having foreknowledge of an untruth. But here, I believe I have good cause. Their characterization of EMF pollution as harmful and “pollution”, and that EMF’s contribute to things like cancer and arthritis is directly contradicted by their own brochure and website (in absurdly small-print, of course).
The most glaring example of this cognitive dissonance can be seen in this passage from their brochure: “Household EMFs are not recognized by the FDA as a health hazard”, and this, from their website, “These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”. These statements seem in stark contrast with this, also pulled directly from their website (and presented without further comment):
The Scalar Home Protection System is recommended for all children and families because it combines maximum EMF protection with the three progressive states so as to minimize any possible discomfort from an adaptation period. For severe hyperactive or asthmatic children, or severe autism, this is the product of choice. For mild to moderate symptoms, you might begin with one Home Protector…
EarthCalm has all manner of products based in the ancient, time-honored method of thinking that sorcerers are real. They have the “Infinity Ring“, which “is created by multiple coils and a mobius circuit in the form of an infinity sign, which has long been recognized for many special properties“. Why those ‘special properties’ work are never really discussed beyond a “just because” level of explanation. I would think that the Green Lantern’s symbol would have a little more power than the infinity symbol, but I guess I’m not the one making stupid amounts of money here. There is also the Multi-Phase Shield, which is a metal cord that you wrap around your bed, allowing you to “boost your protection from AC and micro-wave wireless radiation while sleeping” …because of magic. For some real first-class wizardy though, you need to drop $150 on the Galaxy Gem, which you can attach to the bottom of a metal stick (which they call a “Resonator”), and works by “projecting a double pyramid around you, enveloping you in a diamond of protection wherever you are, whatever you are doing. The pyramid mirrors the phi and pi ratios of the earth”. Wow! Projected pyramids! Phi and pi! I didn’t think Gandalf the Grey worked in the pyramid business, but it’s got all the same earmarks: fancy material (that isn’t actually fancy), and a gemstone that you can put in a socket to give you magical powers!
My favorite item in the company’s arsenal is the Omega Laptop Protector. It has “Omega” in its name! To look at it, it resembles a typical 8GB flash drive. But, thanks to magic, you can “Surround yourself with a vortex of protection combining EarthCalm’s proprietary Scalar Resonance Technology with EarthCalm’s Resonant Transformer Technology. When inserted into a USB port in your laptop, the Omega actually transforms the highly hazardous microwave field emitted from the laptop into a powerful healing field of protection around you.“ So it’s a bit like having your druid cross-train as a sorcerer, allowing you to get both divine AND arcane magic, respectively.
But don’t let that attractive studio-promo photo fool you. The piece that was brought for sale at the expo looked a little odd to me, see if you can spot it:
Notice anything odd, unusual, special, or downright hilarious about what I’m holding in my hand here? Because I noticed to two things: 1) The little green thing on the inside is not attached to anything, 2) the USB port is attached to the cork holding it in place and nothing else! I noticed this little oddity and pointed it out to the salewoman:
Me: What’s this little green thing made of?
SalesWoman: It’s mostly resin and our patented combination of elements.
Me: But…it’s not attached to anything!
Me: Look! It’s not hooked up to anything! It’s just sitting there!
SW: Oh, it doesn’t need to! (literally waving her hand)
Me: Why not?
SW: It doesn’t need to (again, waving her hand)
Me: But….the USB is also not attached to anything!
SW: I need to step over here and help this gentleman.
The price of this little device? I could tell you, but I think it’s more effective demonstration if I just show you:
$200? That’s just in my price range….for an ipod
$200 and they get to re-sell $3.45 worth of plastic, resin and metal. Remarkable how profitable doing nothing at all can be.
EarthCalm has pseudo-science written all over it, and it has all the red-flags of a scam: science-sounding words, over-priced products that claim to treat vague symptoms, appeals to nature, obvious misunderstandings of even the most basic scientific principles, and even outright lying. With the kind of quality control that allowed for illegal ear candling to be sold, it’s small wonder that the Expo allowed this kind of naked fraud to operate within its walls.