Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reason Why Alternative Medicine is Bad #2753

I'm not a fan of alternative medicine in the sense that I don't think there is any such thing. If it works, it's medicine. If it doesn't work, it's nonsense. But you sometimes get this argument from proponents: "If it seems like it is helping the person taking it, and it isn't harming them, why not let them take it?" Well, one of the main reasons stems from their taking some type of alternative medicine to begin with. The average partaker of alternative medicine never looks at a plant and says to themselves, I should ingest this to help with my shin splints. No, they get testimonials from others- word of mouth leads them to believe that x will help with y. But once you start believing in testimonials as a good reason for trying a certain *cough* treatment *cough* then you are more likely to rely on this in other cases than your shin splints.

This leads to problems such as believing that the bones, skin, hair... of albinos will help cure what ails you because others claim it does. Yes, in Tanzania, witch-doctors are kidnapping and killing and/or mutilating albino people to use their body parts for medicine. The government of Tanzania has banned the practice, but when your dealing with people who (not completely at their own fault) believe this alternative medicine works you should not be surprised when the witch-doctors ignore the ban. If you have the testimonial of your neighbors and from those who are supposed to be an authority on the matter (witch-doctors) and you are in the habit of not critically thinking about the problems of blindingly believing such things, or of the errors of reasoning that people are prone to about their own experiences, then you shouldn't be suprised when you end up with this kind of horror show. 

The Rational Moderate

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Solutions: Your Shrinking Investments

Howdy, howdy, howdy. S&P is back after the end of year holidays and a nice bout of sickness. To kick of the year I'm starting a new column entitled Solutions, where instead of my normal complaining about ridiculous garbage spewed by politicians and other public figures I'll attempt to offer what I think are some genuine fixes to what ails us. Today, I'm going to offer a quick tip for all of you wanna be investors who are scared out of your minds about the markets right now.

When we go through economic downturns, be it recessions or what not, people tend to spend less money on frivolous things which means going out to dinner less and maybe skipping that new movie and perhaps just spending more time at home... bored...
*wink wink nudge nudge*

I coined the term "Bailout Baby" as soon as I heard that the government was considering stepping in to prop up the failing banking institutes during the presidential election and stuck with that term as "TARP Baby" lacks the alliteration and sounds like some sort of sticky disease. Come June we are going to start to see the outcome of this recession in maternity wards across the nation. So my solution for those who are looking at the rock bottom stock prices and are thinking that there must be something worth while investing in and holding on to for a rainy day: any large company that specializes in baby necessities such as food and diapers (ala Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson...) 

Keep in mind the necessities bit and avoid such nonsense as Baby Mozart or Einstein or DeSade or whatever nonsense they are trying to sell as that leg up your kid needs to get into Harvard. If people are trying to tighten their wallets they become a little bit better informed about products and will recognize snake oil for its slither. 

The Rational Moderate

(Oh, the picture of that beautiful baby is of my Best Man Pat's new little girl Katherine Anne. Congratulations Pat!!!)