One of my “guilty pleasures,” if there is such thing, is the ABC show Shark Tank. Some of the lines are so ridiculous they just can’t be scripted, and I really enjoy the diversity of personalities in the different investors. In a nutshell, five ridiculously rich investors hear pitches from people across the country with interesting ideas; most of which I think are utter trash, but a few that are cool. Clean Bottle was on there, for instance, and that’s pretty big in the cycling world right now.
Mark Cuban is a pretty outlandish guy as it is, and his remarks are often patriotic (he supports keeping jobs in the US) and family-oriented. Still, he’s a business-man, like they all are, and at the end of the day looking to make a solid investment to return a nice profit. I can appreciate that, but it reminds me that the show is really little more than a money maker for a ABC, and a driver for capitalism as a whole. Damn you CrimethInc, raising my consciousness on stuff like that!
All that aside, Cuban stepped way outside the box last week and absolutely trashed a guy selling “negative ion” watches. I’m not gonna link the watch or the guy because, true to form, he generates revenue from SEO wizardry and more back-links would only help his cause. After the guy makes his pitch and “proves” the technology with the falling-over trick, Cuban responds:
No, I’m allergic to scams. Seriously, this is not new. It’s been disproven. What you saw is the placebo effect. There’s athletes that wear it. It’s a joke. It’s a scam. It’s not real. I’m out. Okay. Thank you.
The digs continue as fellow investor Robert Herjavec jokes that the ions are put in by “waving a wand.” When asked if he has independent laboratory testing, Cuban responds for him, “Hell no, hell no!” He’s firmly committed to how much of a bullshit claim this is.
For once, some intellectual content on a reality T.V. show! I would expect this sort of reply from Joe Nickell or my friends at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, but Cuban cuts through the delicacies and delivers the one-two punch: this is bullshit, this is pseudoscience, and this kind of quackery does not need to be invested in. For a more solid debunking of “negative ion” products, see: “Epic Power Band Scam” (video), “Health-Giving Jewelry” (Australia), or a lengthy discussion of the very similar “Q-Ray” bracelet. I knew that Mr. Cuban enjoys himself some Naked Pizza, but now the world knows he’s got a streak of skepticism in him!