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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  16:46:16  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
I was reading of the Kil Report, and I just have one question:

quote:
And I can tell a snake oil without checking its viscosity


What exactly is that reffering to? I've never heard a claim with snake oil...

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  16:59:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

I was reading of the Kil Report, and I just have one question:

quote:
And I can tell a snake oil without checking its viscosity


What exactly is that reffering to? I've never heard a claim with snake oil...



Really? A "snake oil salesman" is synonymous with a shyster or fraud, usually selling something medical in nature. Back in the day before the internet, men would travel from town to down selling "cure all" medicines with creative names and little healing properties. "Snake Oil" was a common label for such a concoction. Of course, snakes produce no oil, so what was in the bottle is anybody's guess. Probably morphine or cocain if you were lucky, moonshine or aromatic bitters if your weren't. I don't think snake oil ever referred to one specific product, but I could be wrong.

Anyhow, so snake oil and snake oil salesmen are no longer around, but the legacy of their useless tonics lives on in the term.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 09/28/2004 18:27:19
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25996 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  18:21:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Joe Nickell's article, "Peddling Snake Oil," has a photo of a bottle, though it wasn't real snake oil.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  19:00:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Back in the day before the internet, men would travel from town to down selling "cure all" medicines with creative names and little healing properties.


before the internet..... hehe

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  19:06:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

Joe Nickell's article, "Peddling Snake Oil," has a photo of a bottle, though it wasn't real snake oil.



Interesting article, Dave. In it, he writes:
quote:
In any event, a cowboy named Clark Stanley, who called himself "The Rattlesnake King," sold a Snake Oil Liniment that was reputedly "good for man and beast." [...] Stanley claimed the secret recipe came from a Moki Pueblo Indian medicine man. (Reportedly, some Native Americans, including the Choctaws, did treat rheumatism and other ills with applications of rattlesnake grease.)


So what's rattlesnake grease? Is that just the melted body fat of snakes? Is it possible to turn that into a type of oil? I was under the impression that even the concept (not just the end product) was complete nonsense, like saying "cactus blood" or something like that. Earlier they speak of him slicing up snakes and processing their "juice" for his tonic, though exactly which fluids he extracted are left for the reader to guess.



"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 09/28/2004 19:09:49
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  19:23:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

Joe Nickell's article, "Peddling Snake Oil," has a photo of a bottle, though it wasn't real snake oil.



Interesting article, Dave. In it, he writes:
quote:
In any event, a cowboy named Clark Stanley, who called himself "The Rattlesnake King," sold a Snake Oil Liniment that was reputedly "good for man and beast." [...] Stanley claimed the secret recipe came from a Moki Pueblo Indian medicine man. (Reportedly, some Native Americans, including the Choctaws, did treat rheumatism and other ills with applications of rattlesnake grease.)


So what's rattlesnake grease? Is that just the melted body fat of snakes? Is it possible to turn that into a type of oil? I was under the impression that even the concept (not just the end product) was complete nonsense, like saying "cactus blood" or something like that. Earlier they speak of him slicing up snakes and processing their "juice" for his tonic, though exactly which fluids he extracted are left for the reader to guess.


A healthy rattlesnake has a fair amount of body fat, especally the larger species such as the western amd eastern diamondbacks (Crotalus atrox, C. adamanteus). I read in an article a couple of years ago that this fat is still used in Mexico for dubious medicinal purposes. Of course, ther is a great amount of fraud.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25996 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2004 :  19:51:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
There you have it, H. Humbert, from our resident herpetologist.

Although I'd like to add that greases, fats, oils and waxes are all pretty much the same thing - hydrocarbon chains - just with different lengths, saturations and geometries, and thus different physical properties (like viscosity at certain temperatures, taste, etc.). Of course, you do need to render body fat to get just the fat, as it comes "packaged" inside cells, and typically bonded to other molecules. Gotta get rid of most of that baggage to get pure snake oil.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2004 :  07:16:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Ricky:
What exactly is that reffering to? I've never heard a claim with snake oil...

These guys have done a great job of explaining what a snake oil is. Just want to thank you for even reading the damned thing....

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2004 :  10:04:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
No Kil, thanks for writing it. I loved every line.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25996 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2004 :  10:16:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Oh, and please forgive my manners...

Link to Kil Reports

Link to "I Am the Very Model of a Skeptic Evangelical"

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2004 :  10:57:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
I've been reading the letters Steve Gary, and I'm just wondering, did he ever write back?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 09/29/2004 10:58:43
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2004 :  18:49:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Ricky:
I've been reading the letters Steve Gary, and I'm just wondering, did he ever write back?

No. I was kinda hoping but I never really thought he would. What good would bringing more attention to the letters do for him?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2004 :  21:11:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Hey, I just had an idea! How about suggesting to the song to air on http://www.freethoughtradio.com/ I'm sure you could also get a plug in for the Skeptic Friends Network.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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