Mar 22 2016

Fake Psychics Scam Billions

The Anything Can Happen Recurrence

I know, it’s redundant. All psychics are fake and a scam, but some are worse than others.

When most people think of psychics they conjure an image (see what I did there) of someone dressed in robes in a mystically decorated parlor who reads your palm or the tarot cards for $40. They are making a meager living giving people a bit of harmless entertainment. Some may actually think they have powers, some may know it’s all an act, but what’s the harm?

In truth, however, many psychics are predators who scam people out of hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. They prey on the vulnerable and the desperate and can ruin lives. This is not a benign industry.

A recent report from Toronto is just one of many – a steady stream with no expectation of ending. They report stories of people who have been victimized by psychics promising to turn around their fortunes, while parasitically bleeding them of as much money as possible. 

How the scam works

Encounters usually begin like any street-corner psychic, with a simple reading. Everyone who comes in for a reading is a potential mark. The more desperate the better.

Such psychics (I am just going to use the term “psychic” for convenience, but assume the usual caveats – alleged, fake, etc.) are adept at creating the illusion that they have some magical insight. They are, after all, just mentalists, and usually not very good ones. They don’t really have to be, as their audience wants to believe, often desperately.

Their primary tool is the cold reading. This is the technique of listening to what your mark says, then feeding it back to them as if it came to you magically. You can also make vague statements that are likely to apply to most people, then following up when you get a positive reaction, while glossing over any misses. Simple observation also plays a role. A willing target will do most of the hard work, making all the connections in their own mind. This can seem quite impressive to someone naive to the technique – in fact a skilled mentalist can seem impressive even to someone familiar with it.

This is all part of the grooming, drawing the mark in and gaining their confidence. This is, after all, a confidence game. Once you believe that the psychic has the magical power to fix your life, you are lost.

They then use a variety of tricks to bleed their marks of all their money. They may use some slight of hand, like pretending the water their mark gargled is full of insects, or an egg used in a seeing is full of black ichor. They try to convince their mark that they are cursed, and that the psychic has the power to lift the curse. This frequently involves praying over cash, gift cards, or other untraceable items of value – items the mark never sees again.

In one case a psychic scammed a business man whose girlfriend died unexpectedly out of $700,000.

Don’t blame the victim

It’s tempting to just think that this is the fault of the victim. How can someone be so stupid? In general, it’s not a good idea to blame the victim.

Many of the victims of psychic scams believe themselves to be rational, even educated, people. They are not all rubes. OK, some are, but many are just desperate and vulnerable. Anyone can suffer misfortune and become depressed as a result.

Further, con artists are practiced at their craft. It is naive to think that you could never be fooled. Anyone can be fooled. Sure, people need to be careful and take responsibility for their actions, but that does not mean they are to blame when they are victimized. This is like blaming a mugging victim for not being proficient at martial arts.

The con artist is entirely to blame for the con, and they are the ones who should be held responsible.

I also place some of the blame at the feet of the government. They allow psychics to practice their trade, and, in my opinion, all psychics are somewhere on the spectrum of fraud. Unless they make it absolutely clear that what they are doing is for entertainment purposes only, and they are not exploiting their audience at all (in which case they are just magicians), then there is some level of fraud involved.

The lax regulations also make it nearly impossible to prosecute the truly predatory psychics. The Toronto article details this well. Victims are reluctant to come forward because they are ashamed and feel stupid. Con artists generally depend upon this to continue their craft.

The money that exchanges hands is all in cash or gift cards, without any receipt or paper trail. Victims therefore have a hard time proving their allegations. Prosecutors therefore are not motivated to pursue such cases. They have a poor witness and little evidence. (That, by the way, is another state failure.)

The end result

The result of all this is that there is a multi-billion dollar industry that is based upon fraud that targets vulnerable people, often the elderly, those who are sick, have recently lost a loved one, or who are having family or financial problems.

Predatory psychics are like drug dealers. They are offering a temporary salve to the pain, telling their marks what they want to hear. Visiting psychics can then become a compulsive behavior. The most vulnerable can get sucked into a scam costing large sums of money, and like drug addiction just adding to their problems.

The truly predatory con artists hide behind the perception that the psychic industry is benign, mostly for entertainment. I think the industry is inherently malignant. It is based on lies and deception (even if some psychics are self-deceived).

I get that belief in psychics is like a religious belief, and we cannot ban belief. If an adult wants to waste $40 getting their palm read for fun, I don’t think we should make that illegal. But given the propensity of the industry to foster and harbor predatory con artists, people who can truly destroy lives, we need more effective regulation of the industry.

Essentially we need to make it at least difficult for a psychic to con a mark out of hundreds or thousands of dollars with false promises without that being directly illegal and creating the means for successful prosecution.

The law could, for example, require a disclaimer that psychic readings are for entertainment purposes only. They could illegalize certain claims, like the claim that someone is cursed, or promises of specific outcomes, like getting back together with a lost love. They could require that receipts are given for any transaction, or ban the request for items of value.

The police then need to be proactive in enforcing these laws, with occasional sting operations to check up on practitioners.

It seems to me that the reason these things are not done is because psychic fraud is not taken seriously. This comes from a combination of blaming the victim and accepting the cover that psychics are harmless fun.

Predatory psychics, however, are heartless con artists who prey upon the vulnerable and cause massive harm. It is worth the effort to shut them down.

69 responses so far

69 Responses to “Fake Psychics Scam Billions”

  1. mlegoweron 22 Mar 2016 at 8:55 am

    “This is like blaming a mugging victim for not being proficient at marshal arts.”

    martial*

  2. mumadaddon 22 Mar 2016 at 9:00 am

    I love it when typos inadvertently change the meaning of what’s been said. I suppose you wouldn’t be wise to try to mug someone proficient in either marshal arts or martial arts.

  3. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 10:13 am

    Even though I believe in ESP I think most psychics are fake most of the time. That’s because ESP is controlled by the subconscious mind and can’t be turned on at will. If you want to make a living at something you have to make it seem reliable.

    I have had a couple of psychic readings and they were obviously using cold reading. Since I know about cold reading I never fall for it. All that is really needed to prevent victimization by psychics is educate people about cold reading. It really is not hard to notice.

    As for how easily a desperate person can be conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by a psychic, I don’t know. But I think this is something that happens all the time in the medical profession.

    A patient has advanced cancer, for example, and is offered treatments to extend their life. The patient gets sucked into spending their life savings as they courageously “fight” cancer, in the hope of actually being cured.

    This might be more likely in alternative medicine, where cancer treatments are not covered by insurance. But I think it happens in mainstream medicine also. It is very easy to blast through hundreds of thousands of dollars when getting expensive medical treatments, even if it’s partly covered by insurance.

  4. LittleBoyBrewon 22 Mar 2016 at 11:33 am

    You may believe in ESP, but it does not believe in you.

  5. Ian Wardellon 22 Mar 2016 at 11:53 am

    The statement all psychics are fakes cannot be squared with the evidence.

    It needs to be stressed that merely because some, or perhaps most, alleged psychics are fakes, this in no shape or form provides any reason or evidence — least of all proof — that they are all fakes.

  6. pdeboeron 22 Mar 2016 at 11:58 am

    The statement all wizards are fakes cannot be squared with the evidence.

    It needs to be stressed that merely because some, or perhaps most, alleged wizards are fakes, this in no shape or form provides any reason or evidence — least of all proof — that they are all fakes.

  7. blu28on 22 Mar 2016 at 12:02 pm

    pdeboer, you are half right. There is no proof that all psychics are fakes. But that they are all fakes squares very nicely with the evidence. Just that all it takes to show that they are all fakes is one that can show their powers under controlled conditions, the fact that none ever has is strong evidence that they are all indeed fakes.

  8. pdeboeron 22 Mar 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Excuse me blu28, but I was discussing wizards. You can’t prove they don’t exist. There are no scientific controls that can be applied to wizardry.

    1. Their magic can only work when everyone in the room believes. No skeptics allowed.
    2. Their power can only manifest by their subconscious, so don’t ask for a demo.
    3. All their magics are shrouded in mist, and are indistinguishable from fog machines with strobe lights. Also, a fog machine and strobe light have to be in the room, but I’m assured they are turned off.

  9. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Ian:

    “It needs to be stressed that merely because some, or perhaps most, alleged psychics are fakes, this in no shape or form provides any reason or evidence — least of all proof — that they are all fakes.”

    It also needs to be stressed that merely because I can’t see the Teapot with Keck or Hubble in no shape or form provides any reason or evidence — least of all proof — that it is not orbiting the Sun.

  10. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 1:17 pm

    # pdeboeron 22 Mar 2016 at 11:58 am:

    Why, oh why, don’t I read all the way down first! Now I look like a joke thief….

  11. Kawarthajonon 22 Mar 2016 at 1:19 pm

    You hit the nail on the head, Steve – enforcement is the KEY! Why is it that when people run ponzi schemes, bilking people out of 1000’s or millions of $, the police get involved and charge the people responsible, but when psychics bilk people out of similar amounts of money, the police turn a blind eye? I believe that it is because the victims are blamed and very few people are willing to come forward to report these abuses. I hope the Torstar article helps to open people’s minds to the crimes that are being committed and that the police begin to take these crimes seriously!

    An interesting note on the Torstar article – they interview a “real” psychic, who complains that the other psychics are “not legitimate”, while she is “legitimate”. That part of the article is a fail, although the rest of it is pretty good. Also, many of the psychic victims they interviewed continued to pursue woo, even after getting bilked out of 1000’s of $, including one who went to the Vatican to find an exorcist.

  12. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 1:40 pm

    “Just that all it takes to show that they are all fakes is one that can show their powers under controlled conditions, the fact that none ever has is strong evidence that they are all indeed fakes.”

    I realize we have run around this track too many times already, but … there is extensive evidence that some psychics and mediums can do what they claim. Both anecdotal (and then you have to be wary because people are so often fooled by cold reading, and because they remember successes and forget failures, etc.), but also experimental. The researcher that comes to mind is Gary Schwartz, but if you know anything at all about him you got it from skepdic or jref, which is of course completely biased.

    Look at some objective descriptions of his research, or look at both sides, and you will have to stop saying that all psychics are fake. The experiments are very carefully controlled and computerized. He is a real scientist, not crazy, not stupid.

    There are of course other examples. Many parapsychologists, by the way, started out not believing in ESP, or spirits, etc.

    But of course you only know about Susan Blackmore and a couple of others whose experiments never work.

  13. mlegoweron 22 Mar 2016 at 2:07 pm

    “But of course you only know about Susan Blackmore and a couple of others whose experiments never work.”

    I put it to you that their experiments “work” just fine. They just don’t deliver the results you want.

  14. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 2:19 pm

    If you want to have a good laugh, and know a little about statistics, actually read some of the studies passed off as evidence of psychic ability.

    It’s astonishing that the “researchers” were OK putting their names on them.

    Appending trials from many studies together to take advantage of the weakness of >N in frequentist stats (N=125,456 but p=.049) clearly post-hoc analyses masquerading as planned (turns out 17-24 year old hemophiliacs who once lived in Cheboygan are psychic!), studies that can only be replicated by fellow believers (Bem)… on and on it goes.

    All it needs is a laugh track.

  15. Steve Crosson 22 Mar 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Steve12,

    I don’t know — I used to be pretty skeptical, but as soon as I read the title of this post, I just KNEW that hardnose would have something to say about ESP being real.

    If that doesn’t prove that this psychic stuff is real, then I don’t know what could.

  16. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 3:10 pm

    If you look at the evidence, you will see that some of it is no good. But that is also the case with any other scientific evidence. If you look at more than the tiny fraction of the research that has been trashed at skepdic, you will see that a lot of it is good.

    As I said already, many parapsychologists, including Bem, did not believe in ESP, etc., until they actually read the research and did their own.

    Modern parapsychologists are usually much more careful than researchers in other fields, because they know they will be under a microscope.

    Bem’s research was replicated many times and it was not defective. A mainstream journal would never have accepted it if it didn’t pass careful scrutiny.

    So too bad, you have no easy way to ignore evidence for psi.

  17. hammyrexon 22 Mar 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Yes, Bem can replicate Bem’s research quite well. I don’t think that statement is controversial or contested. The problem seems to be when any other researcher with equal expertise attempt replication.

    Note that replication is not intended to child’s game where you lose and say “best out of 3?” “5?” – if it can’t be replicated consistently, that’s not replication, period. If it’s being replicated some of the time, then they need to figure out their methods better – they don’t get a free pass in the mean time.

  18. Steve Crosson 22 Mar 2016 at 3:54 pm

    “So too bad, you have no easy way to ignore evidence for psi.”

    Except for the fact that it NEVER seems to work when you want it to. You know what would be good evidence? If just one person could ever do something useful with “psi powers”. No one ever has.

    Replication is meaningless when performed by motivated or incompetent researchers. Any field of science that fails to make ANY forward progress, even after hundreds of years of trying, is very likely to be pseudo-science.

    At best, you’re extrapolating from “something I don’t understand yet” to hypotheses for which no plausible mechanism has ever been identified. More commonly, “researchers” simply don’t understand statistics and they find some “anomaly” after the fact.

    Real science provides tangible, measurable results. Pseudo-science simply claims that something is currently unexplained, therefore my pet theory is correct.

  19. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 4:07 pm

    “I don’t know — I used to be pretty skeptical, but as soon as I read the title of this post, I just KNEW that hardnose would have something to say about ESP being real.”

    Sorry Steve, but don’t quit your day job!

  20. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 4:11 pm

    “Yes, Bem can replicate Bem’s research quite well. I don’t think that statement is controversial or contested. The problem seems to be when any other researcher with equal expertise attempt replication.”

    To be fair, there is a meta-analysis:

    http://f1000research.com/articles/4-1188/v1

    I went over this one before – it’s SUCH trash.

    It’s still instructive, though. We have huge problems with p-hacking, peer review, publication bias, etc. that we need to deal with.

  21. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 4:26 pm

    “The problem seems to be when any other researcher with equal expertise attempt replication.”

    That is NOT true. Only the professional debunkers can’t replicate it. Many other labs have replicated his experiments.

  22. Steve Crosson 22 Mar 2016 at 4:36 pm

    “Only the professional debunkers can’t replicate it.”

    So, only the people predisposed to believe in ESP were able to replicate.

    No possibility of bias there … Nope, none at all.

  23. steve12on 22 Mar 2016 at 4:48 pm

    You got it right Steve. Only works for believers. Why would that be a problem?

  24. Steve Crosson 22 Mar 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Steve N:

    The law could, for example, require a disclaimer that psychic readings are for entertainment purposes only. They could illegalize certain claims, like the claim that someone is cursed, or promises of specific outcomes, like getting back together with a lost love. They could require that receipts are given for any transaction, or ban the request for items of value.

    Sadly, none of this could ever become law. If any individuals or groups actually were held responsible for their claims, none could possibly survive unless they could actually live up to their promises. Consequently, every religious body would fight tooth and nail against this type of regulation, and no elected representative would dare vote for it.

  25. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 5:54 pm

    “So, only the people predisposed to believe in ESP were able to replicate.”

    I already said, at least 3 times, that many parapsychologists did not believe in ESP before they investigated it themselves.

    There are a small number of parapsychologists, for example Susan Blackmore, who never get positive results. They are the ones you see on skepdic and jref. You never get a balanced perspective, but you choose to remain ignorant.

  26. The Other John Mcon 22 Mar 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Ok hardnose, we believe you, ESP is real. Now can someone do something demonstrably useful with it?!?!?!?

  27. hardnoseon 22 Mar 2016 at 6:24 pm

    “To be fair, there is a meta-analysis:

    http://f1000research.com/articles/4-1188/v1

    I went over this one before – it’s SUCH trash.”

    We should not even bother to read it, Steve12 says it’s trash and therefore it must be, since he knows all about everything.

  28. Steve Crosson 22 Mar 2016 at 7:34 pm

    “I already said, at least 3 times, that many parapsychologists did not believe in ESP before they investigated it themselves.”

    People fool themselves all the time. As you correctly point out, there is also subpar mainstream science research which does not get replicated. BUT, if the evidence is real, it will still show up no matter who does the investigation, even if the researchers are skeptical (as they should be about everything).

    The most generous assessment of the evidence for ESP is that it is tenuous. People have speculated about the paranormal for hundreds or even thousands of years. But in all that time, no one has ever managed to get any smoking gun evidence or ever do anything useful. That is pretty hard to believe if the evidence is as strong as you would like to think.

  29. zorrobanditoon 22 Mar 2016 at 8:16 pm

    “They could illegalize certain claims, like the claim that someone is cursed, or promises of specific outcomes, like getting back together with a lost love.”

    Seriously? The government is going to supervise and penalize some “psychic” who tells a mark that he/she is going to get back together with a lost love? The police don’t have enough to do? How exactly would this be enforced?

    There really are problems government cannot solve.

  30. DrNickon 22 Mar 2016 at 9:30 pm

    “They could illegalize certain claims, like the claim that someone is cursed, or promises of specific outcomes, like getting back together with a lost love.”

    Unfortunately, such a law would be a pretty flagrant violation of the freedom of speech, akin to laws that require physicians to provide misinformation about abortion, or gag laws that prohibit physicians from asking about guns. There are ways we can combat pseudoscience without throwing the First Amendment under the bus.

  31. BillyJoe7on 23 Mar 2016 at 6:28 am

    Let’s be clear about what Bem is claiming:

    Bem is claiming that what we are doing now can have affected what we did in the past…um…put another way…what we are doing now is being affected by what we will do in the future…or…um…what we did in the past will have been affected by what we will do in the future.

    How is this idea anything but fV<|<€d vp.
    I mean seriously!
    You might do this as a joke, but you would not seriously do this as a scientific investigation.

  32. hardnoseon 23 Mar 2016 at 7:16 am

    “There really are problems government cannot solve.”

    True, but there are many problems government can cause.

  33. hardnoseon 23 Mar 2016 at 7:20 am

    “You might do this as a joke, but you would not seriously do this as a scientific investigation.”

    There have been many investigations of precognition and presentiment, before Bem’s precognition research. He was very skeptical, but after reading the literature decided it was worth trying.

    If you refuse to read the literature, or even some of it, you really can’t have an opinion. Skepdic’s biased summaries will just confirm your bias.

  34. SteveAon 23 Mar 2016 at 8:43 am

    “hardnose: “To be fair, there is a meta-analysis:

    http://f1000research.com/articles/4-1188/v1

    I went over this one before – it’s SUCH trash.”

    We should not even bother to read it, Steve12 says it’s trash and therefore it must be, since he knows all about everything.””

    A bit rich of HN to accuse Steve12 of trying to stifle enquiry when he’s the one who provided the link to the research in the first place. Another example of the double standards HN employs.

    Hardnose – if you’re so sure of the solid research that supports your pro-ESP position why don’t you link to some? I wouldn’t waste my time looking at it, but others here might. Or are you afraid they might find reasons to be critical?

  35. Steve Crosson 23 Mar 2016 at 10:20 am

    “before Bem’s precognition research. He was very skeptical, but after reading the literature decided it was worth trying.”

    Lots of people call themselves skeptics, but they have no idea what real skepticism is.

    “Skepdic’s biased summaries will just confirm your bias.”

    This is rich. Being lectured on confirmation bias by the poster boy for confirmation bias. Oh yeah, might as well try to “poison the well” at the same time.

    Understanding the concepts behind a few logical fallacies isn’t enough — you also need to avoid making the same mistakes yourself.

  36. The Other John Mcon 23 Mar 2016 at 11:38 am

    You are all a bunch of phony skeptic, solid-matter-hugging materialists who think the world is made out of stuff. Just read the literature on ESP and you’ll see!!

  37. steve12on 23 Mar 2016 at 11:58 am

    DrNick:

    “Unfortunately, such a law would be a pretty flagrant violation of the freedom of speech, akin to laws that require physicians to provide misinformation about abortion, or gag laws that prohibit physicians from asking about guns. There are ways we can combat pseudoscience without throwing the First Amendment under the bus.”

    I don’t think so if the speech is in the commission of commerce. Commercial speech is regulated in many ways – you can’t tell outright lies about your products, e.g., say your elixir cures cancer.

    If they passed a law saying that you couldn’t say it at all (commercial or no) under criminal punishment, that woudl certainly violate the 1st of course.

  38. steve12on 23 Mar 2016 at 11:59 am

    “You are all a bunch of phony skeptic, solid-matter-hugging materialists who think the world is made out of stuff. Just read the literature on ESP and you’ll see!!”

    TOJMc: Just, whatever you do, DON’T read Bem’s meta analysis. It’s mad of apple cores and Chinese newspapers.

  39. BBBlueon 23 Mar 2016 at 4:17 pm

    I had a premonition that Hardnose believed in ESP.

  40. BillyJoe7on 23 Mar 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Everything that was written in the comment thread yesterday was influenced by everything written in the comment thread today; and everything written in the comment thread today was influenced by what will be written in the comment thread tomorrow.

  41. BillyJoe7on 23 Mar 2016 at 4:58 pm

    E = mc^2.

    The very act of writing that down at some stage of his life influenced Einstein’s thinking before he wrote it down thereby making it more likely that he would write it down. Think about that. Einstein writing down E=MC^2 made it more likely that he would write it down.
    Watson and Crick’s actual discovery of DNA made it more likely they would discover it.

    Isn’t life amazing!

  42. Steve Crosson 23 Mar 2016 at 5:12 pm

    “Everything that was written in the comment thread yesterday was influenced by everything written in the comment thread today; and everything written in the comment thread today was influenced by what will be written in the comment thread tomorrow.”

    Well, that is true, but only because most of us use our scientifically proven (and completely plausible) time machines to “pre-deliver” tomorrow’s news. That crazy precognition stuff is just not reliable.

    I mean, seriously, without time machines, how else could everyone here ALWAYS stay one step ahead of Hardnose?

  43. RickKon 23 Mar 2016 at 10:37 pm

    “He was very skeptical, but after reading the literature decided it was worth trying.”

    It always sounds better when they say that. The UFO enthusiast never believed until he saw that light. The preacher used to be an atheist. The prophet’s mother was a virgin. These little touches make for a better narrative.

    A skeptic knows this and discounts such statements. A credulous, already-convinced, true believer accepts and repeats them.

  44. Willyon 23 Mar 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Oldie but goodie. Newspaper editor to horoscope columnist: You’re fired, but then you already saw that coming.

    BBBlue: So far, my nectarines are as big as grapes (which is as big as they’ve been period for several years) and they are unblemished!!!!!!!! Looks like spinosad worked (cross fingers). I thinned the snot out of ’em today (boy is that hard on the “soul”). Soon, I’ll beating nectarines the size of grapefruit with my forearms covered in dripping juice…or not.

    BTW, I told you I didn’t think “cat facing” was a good description, but when I reread my Dave’s Garden post, “cat facing” is exactly the term I used. LOL, how inexplicable our (my?) brains–and memories–are.

  45. hammyrexon 24 Mar 2016 at 4:21 am

    “They didn’t believe in psy until they started believing in psy” has to win some kind of award for laziest argument ever. It’s blatantly circular and has nothing to do with anything. Prior attitude is not a good surrogate for prior plausibility and does not have any predictive value on the outcome and its validity.

    In fact, that’s kind of the point – prior attitude shouldn’t be influencing the study outcome drastically in either direction. If the outcome is that malleable it’s a red flag, not a commendation of rigor.

  46. tmac57on 24 Mar 2016 at 10:25 am

    RickK- “It always sounds better when they say that. The UFO enthusiast never believed until he saw that light.”

    Reminds me of “I once was lost but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see”
    ‘Amazing’ how often this chestnut is invoked to bolster faith in the unseen and unprovable

  47. BBBlueon 24 Mar 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Willy- Congrats! Spinosad is a good material. Before that came along, thrips control was a real bottleneck for IPM because we had to use much more disruptive insecticides.

  48. Willyon 24 Mar 2016 at 4:56 pm

    BBBlue: Would I correct in assuming that any nectarine damage that occurs from this point on is NOT WFT? In others words, are the thrips only a problem when flowers are present?

    Apologies to Dr. Novella for hijacking his blog for my personal “e-mail”.

  49. BillyJoe7on 24 Mar 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Yeah you two can’t we savour the non response by the resident troll to Bem’s obvious nonsense.

  50. Willyon 24 Mar 2016 at 7:02 pm

    BJ7–I’d rather savor a ripe nectarine.

    BTW, we spent a couple of weeks down under (north of Brisbane) and LOVED it. I envy you your country!

  51. mumadaddon 24 Mar 2016 at 7:35 pm

    You would all envy the mold on my shower wall if you could see it. I feed it only humidity and occasional encounters with my buttocks, regularly try to kill it with (non-organic) bleach… and yet we’re 2 years from production at this rate.

  52. The Other John Mcon 24 Mar 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I knew you would say that mumadadd….precognition ya dig?

  53. Willyon 24 Mar 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Mumadadd–TMI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. BBBlueon 24 Mar 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Willy- Yes, once jackets (calyx) are off, thrips won’t feed on the surface of developing fruit; too exposed, WFT nymphs live and feed in tight, protected spaces between surfaces. As harvest approaches, you are likely to see them again causing a cosmetic silvering injury as they feed on fruit surfaces where leaves rest on the fruit.

  55. BillyJoe7on 25 Mar 2016 at 12:10 am

    Willy,

    That’s about 1600 km (or 1000 miles in your antiquated system) from where I live!
    Another poster from this blog once invited me for a beer while he was staying in Australia. He was also somewhere north of Brisbane. LOL.

  56. Damloweton 25 Mar 2016 at 2:20 am

    Bloody Cane Toads! 🙂

    Damien

  57. BillyJoe7on 25 Mar 2016 at 7:56 am

    They’re also a thousand miles from here. 😉

  58. Willyon 25 Mar 2016 at 2:05 pm

    BJ7 It is a big country. We only saw things from Brisbane to 1770. We did see roos, a koala, and two mongooses and discovered your beer is more expensive than ours. We’d love to go back again and see more.

  59. Willyon 25 Mar 2016 at 11:14 pm

    BJ& YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!! I said “mongoose”!?!?! I meant “platypus”. How strange is the brain, both from the point of view that I could make such an idiotic mistake AND that I could realize that I had made that mistake without really thinking about it–it just “popped” into my head. OOOOH, it means ESP is real?

  60. mumadaddon 25 Mar 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Aussies police themselves where Castelmaine Xxxx is concerned, just like Brits do with Carrlsberg… severe, brutal policing.

  61. mumadaddon 26 Mar 2016 at 9:11 am

    Sorry about that! What seems to make perfect sense at 3:30am after a combination of rum, Prosecco, beer and whiskey is not what seems to make sense otherwise.

  62. BillyJoe7on 26 Mar 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Yeah, I saw that “mongoose” and fugured you must have been on something. I think they were introduced to control our rabbit and rat population but they were wrecked by the rabbiters and the climate. But you were fortunate if you saw any platypus. I’ve imagined I’ve seen one on a couple of occasions but it was more like a sudden movement followed by a splash.

    Also it’s “Castlemaine” – and that’s only 160km (100 miles) from here.
    Castlemaine XXXX is now brewed in Brisbane, but the original brewery was in Castlemaine, Victoria. The picture on your bottle of “fourex”, as it is called, is of that original brewery.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “policing” but I don’t know why anyone would drink beer when we have red wine and scotch!

  63. BillyJoe7on 26 Mar 2016 at 4:49 pm

    …hmmm…I’ve conflated mumadadd with willy

  64. Damloweton 26 Mar 2016 at 8:31 pm

    BJ7, never conflate mum and dad with your willy! 😉

    Sorry, had to do that.

    Damien

  65. Marcus_Morganon 26 Mar 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Troll rubbish across the broad, any excuse to put people down.
    Novella, get with the program and stop tossing bones to your trolls to make a feeding frenzy.

    This site is a sociologist’s field day, anonymous trolls as fake authorities.
    I have given you and them every opportunity to wise up, but you continue to exhibit this rubbish.

    New (not troll) visitors, just read this free work quick sticks and you can get with the program too http://1drv.ms/1tnKM6f
    New visitors, realize that Novella never ever replies to my challenges.
    He leaves it to the trolls to smear and make a general mess around it.

    As I say, an absolute field day in future for psychologists accessing your archive and searching my name. You will have a notoriety you did not expect when your started this site, and deserved.

    Got you in laser sights Novella, you are heading for a credibility crash and burn.

  66. BillyJoe7on 26 Mar 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Visitors,

    Do not click on that link provided by MM.
    Instead click on the following link, it will tell you all you need to know about MM:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(person)

    And Steven Novella never responds to MM because he spouts absolute rubbish.
    There is nothing of substance to be bothered about refuting.
    He did call him a crank once and left it there, which is about where you should leave him. 😉

  67. hardnoseon 27 Mar 2016 at 5:15 pm

    “Awareness about all of nature including oneself as objects in a
    subjective experience puts one’s own ideas about entity in the
    world in the same terms as we understand the world, by the
    lawful terms of nature set by its fact and logic, founding
    anatomical processes for syntax and semantics. It would be a
    rule that if human understanding of our side of a two-sided
    interface with nature is not subservient to nature’s fact and
    logic, it is unreal and much less useful within nature or to
    understand it. Every creature should know its surrounds as
    intimately as it knows itself by levelling, but we can know
    ourselves specifically in forces’ terms by the design, using rote
    but convenient cues as words, to inform facts by valuable logic
    using plain language rather than jargonized language.”

    F-ck. This guy can write a lot of words.

  68. mumadaddon 27 Mar 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Yep.

  69. BillyJoe7on 27 Mar 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Beside MM, HN, you’re a fV<|<!^g genius! 🙂

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