Friday, August 28, 2009

The incredible 'Dr Maama Mzei Ndimungoma'

Here's another in my 'mad ads' series. This follows earlier postings about The amazing 'Dr Raju', and the (also) amazing 'Dr Mama Simba'. Again, there are some interesting similarities in the services offered, including penis enlargement, crime prevention, court cases and treatment for diabetes and HIV/AIDS, although this one is a little more modest, insofar as there's no talk of a 'guarantee'. You'd think that if she could use super-powers to attract customers, there would be no need for advertising.

Here's the pamphlet, front and back. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The amazing 'Dr Mama Simba'

Not long ago I posted details of the pamphlets of a certain 'Dr Raju' and the remarkable claims made in them. There's more - in fact there are a few regular sources of these amazing adverts. Another that I receive junk from at least as often as from Dr Raju is 'Dr Mama Simba'. Here's the pamphlet (front and back) and then some sardonic comments.

So there's quite a bit of overlap here. Enlarging penises and shrinking vaginas for example. Not to mention assisting with career advancement and winning court cases, and managing the Tokoloshe. But there's some more conventional medical stuff here too, such as claims to help with diabetes, blood pressure, and (especially alarmingly) AIDS.

There's also the 100% guarantee. This is dreadful exploitative nonsense that in most cases is contingently very false: nothing has 100% effectiveness with any medical condition. And in some cases it's necessarily false, unless Dr Simba would honourably refuse to take the money of one side in a court case, having already rendered a service to the first. Perhaps we could do an experiment on this some time...

If you're in Durban, or elsewhere in SA, and have similar adverts please either email me, or if you've blogged them send me links - I'd like to keep on tracking this stuff.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Useful piece on nutrition, science and supplements

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry recently published a useful piece called 'Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice'. It's by Reynold Spector who has held professorships of medicine at Iowa, Stanford, and Harvard-MIT, and is presently a professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The piece discusses what we know about human nutrition (a lot), what we know about the value of supplements (in most cases we know it's little or nothing), and issues relating to who gains and who loses from the massive trade in diet related products, and the often unhelpful reporting and advertorial on these topics.

It's well worth a read, and a link, and being brandished in the face of a popular and pernicious kind of idiocy. Here's the piece: Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The amazing 'Dr Raju'

It could be difficult for people outside South Africa to appreciate the level of popular superstition, and the brazenness of those who exploit it. So I'm starting a little series, showcasing some of the advertising. First up one of the pamphlets promoting 'Dr Raju', who offers an impressive array of services including some top of the line divination, and medical interventions that will change physical proportions (making penises larger, and vaginas smaller, 'like a virgin'). Readers should note that the service comes with a 'guarantee' and includes offers to help at the 'Gambling Cassino' (sic). My favourite, though, is the assertion that the good doctor is able to 'sit on a crocodile and lion skin while floating on water and communicating with the dead'. I would totally pay ZAR200 (about USD 26) to see that.

Here's the front and back of the pamphet. I get these dropped into the mailbox where I live regularly (around once a month) and also get handed them at traffic lights, and find them generally lying about the place. Dr Raju is not the only such service provider - I'll follow up with other examples in the future.

Oh, and ... uh ... I seem to have recovered the will to blog. For a bit. Maybe.