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  #101  
Old 11-11-2017, 10:15 PM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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Having spent altogether much too mush time in the past fighting audiodfool woo I have a few thoughts on the matter of woo in general. I find the silliness tends to fall into a range of camps, not all of them are what I would call "woo", but certainly count as foolishness, or just plain fraud.

Woo whereby real scientific results that did something useful is misapplied and used to justify stupid ideas.
An example in audio is negative feedback in amplifiers. Build an amplifier with negative feedback that doesn't have the slew rate on its output devices to maintain the demand gain over the needed bandwidth and you get into trouble, and the amplifier will distort horridly in some circumstances. The science tells you how to design an amplifier to avoid this problem. The woo became "negative feedback is to be avoided at all costs." So you have an entire genre of supposedly zero negative feedback amplifiers. They sure sound different, but it isn't because they are quantifiably more accurate.

Woo with real science misapplied. This usually comes in by over-promoting a second or third order effect that is real, but is simply so miniscule that it is in the noise.
Skin effect in speaker cables is a good example. Skin effect is a real thing. You can calculate the skin effect for your speaker cables, and you can get a number for the frequency dependant attenuation. But it is so utterly miniscule that you would be hard pressed to measure it in even the best of circumstances. But it is sagely quoted by audiofools and charlatans as a driving reason for insane cables.

Woo from quoting real science totally incorrectly.
You can be sure that the moment you see the word "quantum" you are in this arena. Quantum Purifiers is a favourite. Purveyors act as if they have deep knowledge of physics unattainable by mere mortals, and you simply have to believe that their product does what it claims. And its quantum, so it must be true. Green markers probably belong here. The phrase "not even wrong" might be usefully employed.

Woo from made up psuedo-science.
Shatki stones, Mpingo discs. Stuff that is supposed to work due to a whole load of made up words that sounds impressive or otherwise bamboozles the potential audiofool client.

Woo from alternative science. Little short of religion.
Crystals, water filled speaker cables, stuff that realigns the spiritual component of the sound, etc etc.

Woo from gut-feel or belief in personal intuition above all else.
People who just dream something up because it feels right to them. They refuse to have their faith in their personal correctness challenged no matter what the evidence. Intuition rules over all else.

Woo from anti-establishment politics.
Not so much in audio - although there is a bit. In many areas of life we see people who feel somehow powerless or are kicking back at a perceived power hierarchy, and they latch onto non-scientific or pseudo-scientific, or just plain woo, justifications for taking stance that is basically little more than kicking back at the man. Clearly medicine and health are one of the most fertile feeding grounds for this. The anti-vaccination crowd are clearly based upon such beginnings. Obviously this cut across a great deal of the above.

Woo from outright fraud.
Deliberate willfull misrepresentation of something. A different problem to any of the above. Lies masquerading as real science.


Of course you get overlaps, and the above isn't going to be complete. But you get the idea.

Last edited by Francis Vaughan; 11-11-2017 at 10:19 PM.
  #102  
Old 11-12-2017, 12:44 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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That's a nice synopsis, Francis.
  #103  
Old 11-12-2017, 01:17 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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That's a nice synopsis, Francis.
It's a very nice synopsis. I can apply most or all of those to medical woo without change:

Woo whereby real scientific results that did something useful is misapplied and used to justify stupid ideas: This comes up when early studies are taken too seriously and applied too broadly. For example, resveratrol is known to help plants heal injuries. Its evidence of helping humans is shaky at best. Using it as an excuse to drink wine is entirely understandable, but, still, bullshit.

Woo with real science misapplied. This usually comes in by over-promoting a second or third order effect that is real, but is simply so minuscule that it is in the noise: Vitamin supplements probably fall here for most generally healthy people. Most people don't need supplementation. Having extra vitamins in your system doesn't help. It probably won't hurt, unless you have a major surplus, but all a surplus of vitamin C does, for example, is make your urine slightly more expensive.

Woo from quoting real science totally incorrectly: Yes, quantum bullshit exists in alt-med, too.

Woo from made up pseudoscience: Homeopathy. Osteopathy. Chiropractic. Things that were taken seriously in the 19th Century, perhaps, but which are known to be bunk now.

Woo from alternative science. Little short of religion: Traditional Chinese Medicine. Reiki. Anything with the word "Qi" or "Chi" in it. Herbal medicine falls here, too.

Woo from gut-feel or belief in personal intuition above all else: A cross-cutting concern, something common to most if not all of the little sub-fields. Especially if it's on Facebook or "mommy blogs" or similar.

Woo from anti-establishment politics: A very common sales tactic: "They don't want you to know this stuff! The AMA is suppressing it! The MDs are all in on it together! Western science is racist! Buy this now!" Ignored is the fact people from every ethnic and cultural background have contributed to "Western" science, so calling it "Western" is, itself, insultingly racist.

Woo from outright fraud: Supplement makers know damned well the FDA would drive them out of business, that their pills are useless at best and probably dangerous, and they're damn glad their friends in Congress can keep them going.
  #104  
Old 11-12-2017, 03:26 AM
thirdname thirdname is offline
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Ethan Weiner had a wonderful article explaining why subjective audio testers hear the differences they claim. In short, it's not the cables, but the fact that their ears are not in the exact same place twice, and they hear the acoustic comb filtering effects of the room.
That claim, of course, has not been scientifically tested, so it may be even more woo itself.

(I've never heard of any audio comparisons done with the listeners' heads in a clamp vs. without. Not to mention the difficulty of building a double-blind head-clamp.)

The thing is, while there is a lot of woo in audio, what is not woo is the fact that there are vast differences in the quality of different speakers and headphones. You don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most people have no idea how good a stereo system can sound. The speakers are the biggest factor, followed by the room acoustics, as well as the recording quality but the listener can't control that.

Most people would be astonished by the sound quality you can get from the right pair of bookshelf speakers in the $300-600 range. Of course, if you want deep bass, high output, and surround sound, the costs increase to several thousand dollars.
  #105  
Old 11-12-2017, 05:19 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is online now
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Originally Posted by thirdname View Post
That claim, of course, has not been scientifically tested, so it may be even more woo itself.

(I've never heard of any audio comparisons done with the listeners' heads in a clamp vs. without. Not to mention the difficulty of building a double-blind head-clamp.)

The thing is, while there is a lot of woo in audio, what is not woo is the fact that there are vast differences in the quality of different speakers and headphones. You don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most people have no idea how good a stereo system can sound. The speakers are the biggest factor, followed by the room acoustics, as well as the recording quality but the listener can't control that.

Most people would be astonished by the sound quality you can get from the right pair of bookshelf speakers in the $300-600 range. Of course, if you want deep bass, high output, and surround sound, the costs increase to several thousand dollars.
Nobody has ever disputed that there are differences between different speakers and headphones, so maybe there’s also the woo of “misdirection.”
  #106  
Old 11-12-2017, 06:32 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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Ethan is mostly on the side of the angels, but he doesn't come to these arguments with totally clean hands. He has a business selling acoustic treatments for rooms. So he has a habit of of making lots of claims about room acoustic effects as being the only thing that matters. No doubt, room acoustics are insanely underappreciated and critical. But they are not all there is to the issue. Ethan has done a few other tests and "proofs' over the years claiming to show that other parts of an acoustic chain were transparent, and has made a few technical blunders whilst doing so.

There is real science done of acoustics as it relates to sound recording and reproduction. But it isn't an easy thing to do, and the results are only applicable in a limited range past the scope of the experiments. Most science is done directed at professional audio - cinema sound being the big one now. The Harman company has done a lot. But there is little doubt that when it comes to domestic audio a lot is still to be done. It is hard to go past "Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms By Floyd E. Toole" if you want a start on the science. Floyd is pretty much the elder statesman of the art.
  #107  
Old 11-13-2017, 08:25 PM
Jennshark Jennshark is offline
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That's a good individual practitioner in a field that's inherently woo. And, yes, acupuncture is woo: It doesn't matter where they stick the needles in. Sticking needles in isn't the whole of acupuncture, they have a more elaborate theory, and the theory as a whole is bullshit.

I'm taking a hard line because soft-soaping this stuff just confuses people. The acupuncturist your mother went to sounds like a good person who probably wouldn't deliberately scam people, and he definitely did good work. It would have been better had she found her doctors more approachable. Bedside manner matters.

This has to be qualified a bit.

Getting an expensive undergraduate education should be a waste of money if you discount the value of networking. That's what accreditation should control: An undergraduate degree from any accredited post-secondary institution should have exactly the same value if you compare like-for-like. However, what job interviews it opens up still depends on who you know, and that has traditionally been the value proposition of Harvard or Yale.

Postgraduate education depends on your advisors. PhDs, in fact, can be traced in lineages, such that this doctor got their doctorate from working under that doctor, who got their doctorate from working under the other doctor back before the Earth had cooled. Thus can you trace the intellectual continuity of the field, and the important lines of descent won't be found in obscure freshwater universities you've never heard of. Or not in theory, anyway.

I wonder about the whole field of martial arts as distinct from military unarmed combat techniques.

In the military, there's at least a theoretical risk of having to use your unarmed combat techniques in, you know, unarmed combat what happens without no weapons. That isn't a tournament. There ain't no Cobra Kai, there's just live or die. In theory, that keeps them honest about which punches actually work and which will totally explode the other guy's heart from just a touch but will kill you if you try to use them in reality.

Martial arts, as taught to normies, looks like either dance meditation or Internet Tough Guy Mall Ninja Technique sold on the basis of defeating the omnipresent stalker mugger what will stab you up and do unspeakable things to your credit card, unless you use said card to purchase this handy-dandy black belt. Oh, and maybe some light cardio with yelling an shit. Order now. Even the ones that aren't outright scams are oriented to winning tournaments, tournaments where everyone goes home uninjured unless something actually goes quite wrong. If you optimize for tournaments, and point-scoring, how do you know what works outside that realm?

My point is, there's a disconnect. In theory, it's possible for someone to be more skilled than someone else in the ancient art of not dying when you are faced with a credible threat and you left your gun in your other pants. In practice, there seems to be a disconnect between being able to win a tournament and being able to avoid getting knifed in an alley.
I attended karate classes with a wonderful guy who attempted to use some moves we learned in class to disarm a mugger who pointed a gun at him. Poor Phil got shot through the heart and was killed instantly. Perhaps it would have happened even if he hadn't tried a disarming move, but our school lost most of its students and closed.
  #108  
Old 11-13-2017, 09:56 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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I attended karate classes with a wonderful guy who attempted to use some moves we learned in class to disarm a mugger who pointed a gun at him. Poor Phil got shot through the heart and was killed instantly. Perhaps it would have happened even if he hadn't tried a disarming move, but our school lost most of its students and closed.
Well, that's just terrible.

Anyone (outside maybe Special Forces or police, and I doubt police would be quite so stupid) who says their unarmed combat techniques can work against a combatant armed with a firearm is a fraud. Firearms caught on among militaries for a reason, and it wasn't because the brass didn't think their troops had enough to carry. As the old ad copy said: "God created men, but Sam Colt made them equal."

Anyway, that's one place my skepticism comes from, in addition to the obviously woo-infested "spiritual" crap like the punch that makes the other guy's heart explode through some blatantly non-physical mechanism. I'm willing to believe there are people out there teaching non-police civilians techniques which will even up the odds in a bar fight or similar, particularly against someone substantially drunker than you are, but once the knives and pool cues come out, the safe bet is to run.
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  #109  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:40 PM
bump bump is offline
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Chains rust. They also squeak when dry.
Beyond that, the main thing I've always read about chain lube wasn't that the more expensive ones were somehow more lubricating and made you pedal faster, but that they were better at lubricating and preventing wear (the dreaded "chain stretch").

Combine that with a desire to not frequently do chain maintenance, and you have a fertile ground for the latest dry/semi-dry/wet lubes for various conditions guaranteed not to attract dirt and be slicker than snot on a doorknob within the chain.

Truth be told, the best option would probably just be to get a missing link/master link and pop your chain regularly, clean it well with solvent, and lube it with some kind of relatively inexpensive light machine oil.

After all, bike chains don't experience high temperatures at all, don't have anything approaching extreme pressure conditions, and really are only challenged as far as being out in the open and exposed to all manner of crud during operation.

As far as motor oil goes, I don't know if I'd call it woo, so much as I'd call it the latter-day argument about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. On one oil-centric bulletin board I occasionally read, they get all wonky about esoteric specifications on oils that *already* far exceed the manufacturers' specs. It's that "hobbyist mentality" that makes these guys try and find the perfect oil, when in fact with modern engines and oils, you can more than likely run the cheapest oil you can find that meets the specs and change it according to the recommended interval and have the engine outlast the rest of the car. Using the latest super-duper synthetic oil is maybe going to have your engine running for 400,000 miles instead of 300,000 miles. Great, but who really runs their car that long?
  #110  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:57 PM
blondebear blondebear is offline
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I'm aware of high-end audio woo, stuff like monster cables and people posting DR results of the latest releases, but...

I recently upgraded to a modest 5.1 SACD/DVD-A capable system with good speakers and I have to say some of those "high end" discs sound absolutely amazing. I'm listening to the Blu-ray of Hypnotic Eye right now and it sounds like I'm there in the studio with them. I can hear the vocals and every instrument in the mix clearly and cleanly. The "normal" stereo version seems dull and a bit bland in comparison. I just wish I could crank it up some more without getting complaints from the neighbors.

Last edited by blondebear; 11-13-2017 at 11:02 PM.
  #111  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:06 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Truth be told, the best option would probably just be to get a missing link/master link and pop your chain regularly, clean it well with solvent, and lube it with some kind of relatively inexpensive light machine oil.
I've used wax-type dry lubes for years. The big advantage is that besides dirt not sticking and grinding down the chain, it's also much cleaner when you fix a flat. No sticky gunk on the hands.
On the handcycle, the chainrings are less than a foot from my chest and wet lubes fling off onto my shirts and ruin them.
  #112  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:07 PM
Herdthiscat Herdthiscat is offline
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[QUOTE=gregorio;20589492]Cycling. Like electronics where you pay more to get less (electronics=smaller, cycling=lighter). Sometimes you pay more, to get . . . nothing.

One example, chain lube:
[INDENT]"The Johns Hopkins engineers made another interesting discovery when they looked at the role of lubricants. The team purchased three popular products used to "grease" a bicycle chain: a wax-based lubricant, a synthetic oil and a "dry" lithium-based spray lubricant. In lab tests comparing the three products, there was no significant difference in energy efficiency. "Then we removed any lubricant from the chain and ran the test again," Spicer recalls. "We were surprised to find that the efficiency was essentially the same...

While I'm the first to admit that the biking industry sometimes has fairly dubious products, I cannot think of products that fully qualify as 'woo'. Sure, entire lines of consumer products built are built on barely perceptible/highly individualistic gains (Di2, biopace, ceramic rollers), but using the wrong chain lube, like wd40, over other types can attract tons of dirt. Not good for a regular rider.

The stuff they want to sell you as energy bars/gels while out riding... that's a totally different story.
  #113  
Old 11-14-2017, 01:16 AM
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I think any hobby that involves equipment will be subject to woo, for a couple of reasons.

1. The practitioners are really, really interested in the subject and want to explore any way of increasing the areas they can study. Everyone knows that the major interest in the extreme hi-fi world is not in listening to music, but in setting up the system in the first place (or continually tinkering with the set-up). Cycling - can be much the same. Vintage and classic cars - almost entirely about the set-up, rather than what the actual car is for (driving).

2. The suppliers of that equipment are really, really interested in making you spend more money, and will invent all sorts of crap to grab the hobbyists attention. And the hobbyists will pay attention (because it's their hobby - particularly in the setting up of the system), and so some will spend money. Some will spend lots.

There's a wonderful anecdote by Stephen Potter about a keen fly-fisherman in the highlands of Scotland, who sits in his lodge performing calculations relating to the weather, stream flow rate, probable age of fish, age of fisherman, distance from nearest active tractor, percentage of solid deposits in stream etc, and works our exactly which fly, rod and line to use. He then provides detailed instructions to the gillie and leaves him to catch the fish.
  #114  
Old 11-14-2017, 04:28 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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Originally Posted by blondebear View Post
I recently upgraded to a modest 5.1 SACD/DVD-A capable system with good speakers and I have to say some of those "high end" discs sound absolutely amazing. I'm listening to the Blu-ray of Hypnotic Eye right now and it sounds like I'm there in the studio with them. I can hear the vocals and every instrument in the mix clearly and cleanly. The "normal" stereo version seems dull and a bit bland in comparison. I just wish I could crank it up some more without getting complaints from the neighbors.
The thing to be very conscious of when comparing both BluRay and SACD to ordinary CD formats is that no only have the new disks got a higher information bandwidth, but they will have been remastered. It is very unlikely that you are really comparing like with like in terms of the source material.

Conventional 16/44.1 CD sits on the ragged edge of human perception. There is no wiggle room, but it gets pretty much to the limits of what a human can resolve. (In order to do so you need noise shaped dither - but any proper mastering has done this for decades.)

SACD is a weird beast. If you actually record something with the DSD process you can't do anything with it. You can't remix it in anything but the most simple ways. So what happens is it gets converted to 24/96 or something similar, mixed and back converted. Which is a bit of a white lie about the "purity" of the process.

High data bandwidths like 24/96 and so on are way better than human perception, but they provide the mixing engineer with a huge margin to work with, and they may well feel the freedom to drop the amount of level compression used, and generally leave things more alone, which is usually a good thing.

For a company releasing the same recording on multiple formats there is some pressure to mix and master the releases differently, if only to address perceptions in the marketplace. Done right the conventional CD should be very very close to the high-res version. But don't assume differences are just down to the format.
  #115  
Old 11-14-2017, 12:41 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Beyond that, the main thing I've always read about chain lube wasn't that the more expensive ones were somehow more lubricating and made you pedal faster, but that they were better at lubricating and preventing wear (the dreaded "chain stretch").

Combine that with a desire to not frequently do chain maintenance, and you have a fertile ground for the latest dry/semi-dry/wet lubes for various conditions guaranteed not to attract dirt and be slicker than snot on a doorknob within the chain.

Truth be told, the best option would probably just be to get a missing link/master link and pop your chain regularly, clean it well with solvent, and lube it with some kind of relatively inexpensive light machine oil.

After all, bike chains don't experience high temperatures at all, don't have anything approaching extreme pressure conditions, and really are only challenged as far as being out in the open and exposed to all manner of crud during operation.
Pro timetriallists run coated chains nowadays to mitigate very small drivetrain losses, and this has filtered down to the rank and file athlete. My mate just sent his chain off to be waxed for next season (to some general piss-taking from his clubmates, it has to be said), but he's v close to sub 20 min for 10 miles so is legitimately in the game of saving 5 W here and there. For the rest of us, it does sound a bit silly - although that never stopped any tester from spending money on their bike tbh.
  #116  
Old 11-14-2017, 01:30 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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As someone who enjoys games on my PC, I have long suspected there is a lot of woo around gaming performance. I'm not super knowledgeable in this area, but beyond a good graphics card, a reasonably well-performing hard drive, and adequate memory, what else do you really need?

What made me think about this was trying to explain mechanical keyboards to a friend of mine. Now, there are obvious measurable and specific differences in switch types, I switched from cherry MX red to cherry MX speed switches because the reds were killing my hands when I typed. It makes logical sense that different switch types are going to affect typing fatigue, depending on your typing style. But these keyboards are marketed predominantly toward gamers, not typists. And they are expensive. The one I bought yesterday with the cherry MX speed switches was $181.00 (for what it's worth, it is immediately and already my favorite thing ever.)

So as I attempted to justify the new purchase to my friend, using jargon phrases such as ''actuation point,'' I thought distinctly: "I sound like I'm full of shit." Is there really going to be a hugely measurable difference in gaming performance between the reds and speeds? I haven't given it a gaming test run yet, but I very much doubt it.

The sheer abundance of crap marketed toward gamers, with claims of performance superiority over products that seem more or less the same, makes me wonder. (I see Wallaby caught on before I did.)

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 11-14-2017 at 01:31 PM.
  #117  
Old 11-14-2017, 02:08 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Pet stuff. Rich people will pay crazy for useless shit for Muffy.
  #118  
Old 11-14-2017, 02:36 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Oh, and that reminds me of a historical example: data compression. Back in the 1990s, when digital storage space was at a premium, a lot of companies claimed to have invented lossless data compression algorithms that offered incredible ratios (say 100 to 1) and that were guaranteed to work on arbitrary—even completely random—data. But this is a mathematical impossibility: if you really had an algorithm that could losslessly reduce an arbitrary file down to 1% of its size, you could simply apply it over and over again until the file was down to just one bit in size. The idea that you could regenerate the original file from this single bit is absurd. (In fact, it's reminiscent of homeopathists' claim that molecules of distilled water retain the memory of the substances they were once mixed with.)

The products offered by these companies turned out to be vapourware or otherwise fake. (For example, at least one company put out a "compressor" that left the original file data intact, but fiddled with the file system to make it underreport the size.) However, that didn't prevent these companies from parting a lot of investors and customers with their money.
Oh, I remember those! - and the repeated cycle of 'all the others are fake but this one is for real, honest!
I recall one wacky compression proposal that was supposed to be able to compress absurd volumes of data losslessly by representing it as a collection of printed shapes on a single sheet of paper that would survive photocopying and faxing. (sort of like a 2D barcode, but supposedly able to send gigabytes of data over a fax line in the time it takes to fax a page.
  #119  
Old 11-14-2017, 05:19 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Pet stuff. Rich people will pay crazy for useless shit for Muffy.
Or for Muffy herself: Cloning Now An Option For Pet Owners.

To be fair, this may not be woo.
  #120  
Old 11-15-2017, 03:45 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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Oh, I remember those! - and the repeated cycle of 'all the others are fake but this one is for real, honest!
I recall one wacky compression proposal that was supposed to be able to compress absurd volumes of data losslessly by representing it as a collection of printed shapes on a single sheet of paper that would survive photocopying and faxing. (sort of like a 2D barcode, but supposedly able to send gigabytes of data over a fax line in the time it takes to fax a page.
Glad to be able to reminisce with someone.

In case anyone else wants to read more about compression snakeoil, there's some interesting (albeit dated) coverage in the comp.compression FAQ. That document covers some of the common claims made by purveyors of compression woo, along with explanations of why they are woo.
  #121  
Old 11-15-2017, 08:50 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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Pet stuff. Rich people will pay crazy for useless shit for Muffy.
A sampling of offerings from these woovets:

Medical Ozone & UV Light Therapies
Acupuncture
Homeopathy/Homotoxicology
Spinal Manipulative Therapy
Laser Therapy
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Neoplastic Index Cancer Panel
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Alpha-Stim Therapy

They do offer coffee, tea (holistic varieties only, I'm sure) and cookies to their "clients", but I'm unsure if that refers to owners or their beasts.
  #122  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:17 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Going back to "why high-end audio?" we also have the fact that for some reason (envy perhaps) our individual level of contempt for woo seems to be related to how expensive the woo is.

$6/lb Himalayan salt woo: Ho hum. Dumb woo.
$200 healing crystal woo: She's a total ditzoid. Always has been; always will be.
$20,000 speaker cable woo: Holy shit Batman! That's some kinda insanity right there. Alert the Internet! Hey y'all: let's all laugh and point at this clueless dweeb with more money than brains!

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-15-2017 at 09:18 AM.
  #123  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:40 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is online now
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For a non-audio guy like me, it was interesting to wind up a sales manager for pro audio equipment in Japan (Neumann, Lexicon, and Eventide were part of the line). It was actually easier to sell to professionals than the guys down in the consumer department because the pros only wanted to hear the device and would often do blind A-B testing to see if they liked it or not.

I couldn't hear what they could, of course, but developed the art of listening intently with nod or two at random points. I did find out that even someone with zero musical ability and not a particularly good ear for pitch could develop a better sense with some exposure.

The consumer side was something else. All snake oil, smoke and mirrors.
  #124  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:50 AM
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Is this an example of very well done woo?

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/t...g/x/15976179#/
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  #125  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:12 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
For a non-audio guy like me, it was interesting to wind up a sales manager for pro audio equipment in Japan (Neumann, Lexicon, and Eventide were part of the line). ...
Did the Japanese customers, either pro or consumer, evidence any of the "imported is better" snobbery so common in the US for cars, wine, beer, etc.?

Given Japanese chauvinism and their large and until recently all-conquering consumer audio industry I'd have thought not. OTOH, human nature is universal and "imported => rare => special => insider knowledge => ain't I cool!" is a pretty universal idea. As is the idea that, much like the US attitude to, say, cheese, they might choose to believe: "We make all the mass market high volume stuff and have the biggest industry, but they make the special small-batch artisan stuff that's really, really good."

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-15-2017 at 11:12 AM.
  #126  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:27 AM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I immediately thought of Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do. Bruce was never tested in a full contact tournament.
This is an interesting one because it challenges one potential woo source (martial arts with a charismatic person as its brand) with another woo source ('real fighting' with marketing and hype behind it).

It is fallacious to call 'full contact tournaments' as some sort of vetting process when those tournaments are designed with rules and gear to protect their own participants from serious injury. UFC, for example, uses padded gloves, bans biting, throat strikes, groin, eye strikes, etc. You have to 'submit' someone rather than just cranking further to break that bone or joint. Jeet Kune Do, in contrast, teaches and relies on those techniques for its effectiveness.

A fellow student got jumped out in the normal non-ring world by 4 guys wanting to thrash him and rob him. He fought them off, hurting two of them rather badly and the other two ran away. This IMO vetted Jeet Kune Do more convincingly than any ring fight ever could.
  #127  
Old 11-15-2017, 12:49 PM
sachertorte sachertorte is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
High end Restaurants.

It's very similar to audio gear.

You pay 2 grand for a stereo, you'll convince yourself those measured specifications (SNR, Crosstalk, THD) are superior. Regardless of the human ears known limitations.

Same with Restaurants. Spend $175 a person for a meal. You'll convince yourself that chef is doing something magical in the kitchen. You'll also forgive the absurdly tiny portions they put on the plate.

The food is better prepared. But is it really that superior to a restaurant that costs $25 a person?
Yes. You bet a 175 dollar meal can be way better than a 25 dollar one.
While eating at an expensive restaurant may not make financial sense, it isn't woo. That is, no one goes to an expensive restaurant expecting to receive something that they don't. (Barring outright fraudulent ingredients).
There are several factors that lead to higher costs in 'fancy' restaurants.
(1) Expensive ingredients: you could save money by just nom-nom-noming on a bucket of KFC, but for more expensive ingredients one needs to pay more. The fact that steak costs more than chicken does not make steak woo.
(2) Service: perhaps one doesn't need to have their napkin replaced simply because they got up to go to the bathroom (or have a cloth napkin at all!), but that is part of the experience. It may not be of a great dollar value, but it isn't woo. Those servers really are there, and they really are serving you.
(3) Labor: along with those expensive ingredients, there was a lot of labor (and time) in making that sauce and putting it all together.
(4) Dining room: you are essentially renting space, and expensive restaurants have a lower density of guests in the dining room. Nicer stuff too.

Yeah, that bucket of chicken can be pretty darn tasty too, but that isn't the point.
  #128  
Old 11-15-2017, 02:16 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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What other fields besides high-end audio are susceptible to 'woo'?

I have to say Marijuana.

Those of you who live in states that have recently legalized pot completely, or just allowed medical marijuana probably know what I am talking about. The stuff will cure cancer and just about everything else ailing you. You can make your clothes out of it, roof your house, pave your driveway, give your dogs coat a healthy sheen, regrow arms and legs, and make you realize once again that you DO love donuts.

There is a gap between the new industry and the regulation part of these food stuffs and pseudo medications. It is the Wild, Wild, West of snake oil out there until some kind of monitoring is in place. Although the FDA is starting to tell providers that you can't say it cures cancer. Now, if you are sick you generally feel bad. If you get high you probably feel a bit better. And there are some apparent applications of CBD that help with aches and pains and in my opinion that option should be available to ease your discomfort or suffering.

But come on! It is likely to be beneficial to some people for some applications. The rest is just the "makes you feel better" part. Which is enough for me.

I have been a recreational pot smoker for 40 years and I don't have cancer yet, don't even get sick, never spent a night in the hospital, no broken bones, happily married, own my own home, maybe it is coincidental or maybe it is not.

Do you want to take that chance?
  #129  
Old 11-15-2017, 02:19 PM
BeenJammin BeenJammin is offline
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Originally Posted by sachertorte View Post
There are several factors that lead to higher costs in 'fancy' restaurants.
Just like every other restaurant regardless of the price point, these cost drivers apply to all. But you forgot the one thing that makes mundane restaurant operational expenses higher in the places you are trying to justify: snobbery. Many lower-tier eateries have surprisingly good fare while some very expensive joints aren't really worth it. You can believe the latter have some woo going for them.
  #130  
Old 11-15-2017, 02:22 PM
BeenJammin BeenJammin is offline
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Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
I have to say Marijuana.
Nobody should be saying anything about that until they've done the research. You know - like the scientific medical clinical trials and so forth that goes along with FDA approval enabling Big Pharma to peddle their poison.

Last edited by BeenJammin; 11-15-2017 at 02:25 PM.
  #131  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:36 PM
eschereal eschereal is offline
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Originally Posted by BeenJammin View Post
Nobody should be saying anything about that until they've done the research. You know - like the scientific medical clinical trials and so forth that goes along with FDA approval enabling Big Pharma to peddle their poison.
Tell you what, though, when I was a teenager, Pharma (probably not quite so big) was greatly restrained from the peddling. There was some kind of ethos about who could advertise. There was that thing where tobacco was shoved off the air, but then, some time in the '80s, I think it was, we started seeing ads for Dewey, Cheetham & Howe, and then things like lipo and lasik, then Nerblagadol and Sutriffidan and so forth.

Technically, those ads are not woo, as such, but there is so much hucksterism going on, the practical difference is vanishing.
  #132  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:16 PM
bump bump is offline
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
I've used wax-type dry lubes for years. The big advantage is that besides dirt not sticking and grinding down the chain, it's also much cleaner when you fix a flat. No sticky gunk on the hands.
On the handcycle, the chainrings are less than a foot from my chest and wet lubes fling off onto my shirts and ruin them.
Well, a handcycle is probably a bit of a different case. I dabble in XC mountain biking, and dirt isn't something that can be avoided, so that's why I was speculating that just doing frequent chain cleanings followed up by inexpensive lubrication might be the "best" in the sense of good at reducing wear, and not costing an arm and a leg.
  #133  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:31 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump;20604436[B
]Well, a handcycle is probably a bit of a different case.[/B] I dabble in XC mountain biking, and dirt isn't something that can be avoided, so that's why I was speculating that just doing frequent chain cleanings followed up by inexpensive lubrication might be the "best" in the sense of good at reducing wear, and not costing an arm and a leg.

Actually, my handcycle uses standard mountain bike Shimano Ultegra(circa 2004-2005) components.
I use White Lightning Clean Ride. It's not a weird hyper-expensive treatment, just an ordinary OTC lube. Goes on wet and when it dries, it leaves a waxy coating.

I can't vouch for extended life over wet lubes but I've never needed to clean gunk from the chain, cassette/chainrings or the derailleur.

Last edited by running coach; 11-15-2017 at 09:33 PM.
  #134  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:41 PM
Mr. Nylock Mr. Nylock is offline
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
Actually, my handcycle uses standard mountain bike Shimano Ultegra(circa 2004-2005) components.
I use White Lightning Clean Ride. It's not a weird hyper-expensive treatment, just an ordinary OTC lube. Goes on wet and when it dries, it leaves a waxy coating.

I can't vouch for extended life over wet lubes but I've never needed to clean gunk from the chain, cassette/chainrings or the derailleur.
Ultegra is a road group. Stop spreading the woo!!!
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  #135  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:59 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Originally Posted by Mr. Nylock View Post
Ultegra is a road group. Stop spreading the woo!!!
It's three chainrings/9-speed cassette and a long cage derailleur.. I figured that was a mtn.bike version. Maybe it's a touring version.

I don't actually care all that much about the various group levels but that was the only group the bike was offered with.

ETA: Just went out to check, it's all marked Ultegra.

Last edited by running coach; 11-15-2017 at 11:02 PM.
  #136  
Old 11-16-2017, 10:18 AM
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Swimming pool care. Walk into almost any pool store, especially the well known national chains, and you'll walk out with 100s of dollars in unnecessary chemicals.


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  #137  
Old 11-16-2017, 01:01 PM
Surreal Surreal is offline
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Most of the social psychology "theory of everything" studies that you frequently see discussed here as if they were the gospel truth have turned out to be complete nonsense. The Implicit Association Test has been debunked, "Stereotype Threat" doesn't seem to be replicating well at all, the notion that the legalization of abortion in the US caused the crime wave to recede has been debunked, and "Power Posing" has been shown to be completely bogus.

I have my doubts about the lead/crime theory as well but so far that one hasn't been debunked.
  #138  
Old 11-17-2017, 08:46 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Same with Restaurants. Spend $175 a person for a meal. You'll convince yourself that chef is doing something magical in the kitchen. You'll also forgive the absurdly tiny portions they put on the plate.

The food is better prepared. But is it really that superior to a restaurant that costs $25 a person?
If I could draw a graph, I'd show a "diminishing returns" graph for restaurant prices.

A place that's $175 a pop absolutely is going to be better than a place that's $25 a pop unless you are very unlucky, but I am not totally convinced it'll be better than a place that's $75 a person. I have examples a of a $150/person restaurant and a $75/person restaurant within walking distance of my house, and the $75/person place is as good as the $150/person place. However, no $25/person place compares with either.

But you can go way beyond $175. Celebrity chef restaurants can run you a tab of $750 and up for a couple - and there is simply no chance at all their food will consistently win a blind taste test with my favourite $75/person place.

You know those Iron Chef shows, where some shlub went up against a celebrity chef and almost always lost? I am 100% convinced that had the judges been forced to judge blind - not knowing who cooked what - the winning percentage of the celebrity chefs would have been 50-50.
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  #139  
Old 11-17-2017, 01:11 PM
swampspruce swampspruce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
Well, a handcycle is probably a bit of a different case. I dabble in XC mountain biking, and dirt isn't something that can be avoided, so that's why I was speculating that just doing frequent chain cleanings followed up by inexpensive lubrication might be the "best" in the sense of good at reducing wear, and not costing an arm and a leg.
Me too and have been since 1986 and my first MTB, an 85 Bianchi Grizzly. I've tried a bunch of different lubes (Teflon, White Lightning,WD-40, machine oil, Tri-Flow,etc..) over the years and what I've found works is the following:

At the beginning of the riding season I remove the chain, clean it (and all the pointy running bits) with a heavy duty degreaser, thoroughly dry them, dip the chain in liquefied paraffin wax, let it warm up and remove it and hang to dry. A very light coating of Boeshield T-9 spray on the cassette and front chain rings, and re-assemble. After a particularly mucky ride I'll rinse off the driveline with a low pressure garden hose and a scrub brush, let dry and a quick spray. Since it dries, it doesn't attract dirt.

The study with the dry chain doesn't surprise me at all, as the main reason for the lube on a chain at all is primarily corrosion protection.
Cycling is rife with woo and I'm ashamed that for a very long time I lusted after many shiny, unobtanium parts that would make me the next Ned Overend. My biking buddy pointed out that if I lost 25 lbs it would be the same as riding a zero mass bike. If I could have caught him I would have killed him... Even if he was /is right. Roadies are even worse that the MTB crowd, though. Without that $10000 Colnago frame you just won't be allowed in the peloton for the weekend ride...


Is Ultegra still a road group if it's on a cyclocross bike?
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Last edited by swampspruce; 11-17-2017 at 01:14 PM.
  #140  
Old 11-17-2017, 02:17 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Probably old news to most people, but all fields of medicine, including cardiac surgery, are susceptible to woo. It turns out ineffective surgery is still a veryy powerful placebo.

Last edited by scr4; 11-17-2017 at 02:18 PM.
  #141  
Old 11-17-2017, 09:46 PM
Mr. Nylock Mr. Nylock is offline
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
It's three chainrings/9-speed cassette and a long cage derailleur.. I figured that was a mtn.bike version. Maybe it's a touring version.

I don't actually care all that much about the various group levels but that was the only group the bike was offered with

ETA: Just went out to check, it's all marked Ultegra.
Ultegra is a great group, when I used to ride a lot I had the 11 speed, always shifted flawlessly. Even though your crank has three chainrings, it is still a road group. Triple is used for touring and also entry level road riding - most experienced road cyclists use a double so I can see why you would have thought it was a mountain bike group. Probably the mountain equivalent would be XT - but I'm guessing on that.
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  #142  
Old 11-17-2017, 10:03 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Originally Posted by Mr. Nylock View Post
Ultegra is a great group, when I used to ride a lot I had the 11 speed, always shifted flawlessly. Even though your crank has three chainrings, it is still a road group. Triple is used for touring and also entry level road riding - most experienced road cyclists use a double so I can see why you would have thought it was a mountain bike group. Probably the mountain equivalent would be XT - but I'm guessing on that.
I was never more than a marginal cyclist, mostly commuting and a partial Fred. At best, I was aware the component groups had a hierarchy but I didn't worry much about the specifics.

Last edited by running coach; 11-17-2017 at 10:03 PM.
  #143  
Old 11-17-2017, 10:10 PM
Mr. Nylock Mr. Nylock is offline
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
I was never more than a marginal cyclist, mostly commuting and a partial Fred. At best, I was aware the component groups had a hierarchy but I didn't worry much about the specifics.
Well . . . let me tell you, if you get the right component group it will change your life.

Just kidding
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Last edited by Mr. Nylock; 11-17-2017 at 10:12 PM.
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