The Amazing Qlink Science Pedant

May 19th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, electrosensitivity, ITV, mail, patrick holford, qlink, times | 74 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

Normally I’d ignore quack medical devices, but when the catalogue from Health Products For Life – run by vitamin pill salesman Patrick Holford – arrived, I found an unexpected treat waiting for me. Among his usual “special formulation” pill-peddling banter, there was the QLink pendant, at just £69.99.

The QLink is a device sold to protect you from those terrifying invisible electromagnetic rays, and cure many ills. “It needs no batteries as it is ‘powered’ by the wearer – the microchip is activated by a copper induction coil which picks up sufficient micro currents from your heart to power the pendant.” Says Holford’s catalogue. According to the manufacturer’s sales banter, it corrects your energy frequencies. Or something.

It has been flattered by the Times, the Mail, and ITV’s London Today (seriously, follow the link and watch the video) and I can see why. It’s a very sciencey looking pendant, a bit like a digital memory card for a camera, with eight contact pads on the circuit board on the front, a hi-tech electronic component mounted in the centre, and a copper coil around the edge.

Last summer I obtained one of these devices (from somewhere cheaper than Holford’s shop) and took it to Camp Dorkbot, an annual festival for dorks held – in a joke taken too far – at a scout camp outside Dorking. Here in the sunshine, some of the nation’s cheekiest electronics geeks examined the QLink. We chucked probes at it, and tried to detect any “frequencies” emitted, with no joy. And then we did what any proper dork does when presented with an interesting device: we broke it open. Drilling down, the first thing we came to was the circuit board. This, we noted with some amusement, was not in any sense connected to the copper coil, and therefore is not powered by it.

The eight copper pads do have some intriguing looking circuit board tracks coming out of them, but they too, on close inspection, are connected to absolutely nothing. A gracious term to describe their purpose might be “decorative”. I’m also not clear if I can call something a “circuit board” when there is no “circuit”.

Finally, there is a modern surface mount electronic component soldered to the centre of the device. It looks impressive, but whatever it is, it is connected to absolutely nothing. Close examination with a magnifying glass, and experiments with a multimeter and oscilloscope, revealed that this component on the “circuit board” is a zero-ohm resistor.

This is simply a resistor that has pretty much no resistance: in effect a bit of wire in a tiny box. It might sound like an absurd component, but they’re quite common in modern circuits, because they can be used to bridge the gap between adjacent tracks on a circuit board with a standard-size component. I’d like to apologise both for knowing that and for sharing it with you.

Now to be fair, such a component is not cheap. I’m assuming this is an extremely high quality surface mount resistor, manufactured to very high tolerances – well calibrated, and sourced in small quantities. You buy them on paper tape in 7in reels, each reel containing about 5,000 resistors. You could easily pay as much as £0.005 for such a resistor. Sorry, I was being sarcastic. They are very cheap indeed.

And that’s it. No microchip. A coil connected to nothing. And a zero-ohm resistor, which costs half a penny, and is connected to nothing. I contacted qlinkworld.co.uk to discuss my findings. They kindly contacted the inventor, who informed me they have always been clear the QLink does not use electronics components “in a conventional electronic way”. And apparently the energy pattern reprogramming work is done by some finely powdered crystal embedded in the resin. Oh, hang on, I get it: it’s a new age crystal pendant.

·Please send your bad science to bad.science@guardian.co.uk

Video:

I’m not able to upload all the various clips of people mucking about with the Qlink at Dorkbot – people keep making potentially libellous jokes about it in the background and I can’t be bothered to edit those bits out of the clips – but here’s a quick clip of me and James fooling around listening out for electromagnetic emissions from my phone, and then the Qlink. Recorded on a cruddy mobile phone, like a crude form of quackyslapping (my hair is bad because I have been camping for a day or two).

Oh, and here’s a fun picture of Patrick Holford. On a pill bottle. Very classy.


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74 Responses



  1. jackpt said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:27 am

    I wonder when they’re going to add the Ned Kelly inspired all-body Faraday cage suit to the catalogue. It will inevitably mean that customers end up looking a bit like the Borg, but what price safety from electrosmog?

  2. ghiro said,

    May 19, 2007 at 6:34 am

    I’m sorry Dr Goldacre but you really blew it this time. This is not Bad Science. This is Wonderful Science. If you’d had had the time to properly follow up the links on qlinkworld.co.uk, you could have downloaded the 10-page pdf of Further Info which clearly explains, between the pre-introduction and the conclusion how “Subtle Energies act within the dynamic vacuum to influence magnetic vector potentials which in turn influences classical electro-magnetics”, and how thw QLink® “down-converts Zero Point Energy and Zero Point Fluctuations of the vacuum energy into measurable physical energy effects.”. That’s Science, innit?
    And there are heaps of testimonials – many of which from golfers, so they must be true.
    And they’ve done all that other sciency stuff, too: “double-blind, controlled, and in vitro studies have been and are being conducted at some of the finest institutes in the world, including Stanford University, USA, Imperial College, London and the institute of Cancer at the University of Vienna.”
    And it protects your brain from Mobile Phones – although in the 19-page report from the University of Wollongong it says that they used a QLink Ally® which was connected to the mains via a DC transformer, which might make it a bit tricky to use on the n° 5 bus.
    And it works on animals.
    And the word ‘quantum’ is absolutely all over the place, even where you’d least expect it.
    I mean, like, more science than this would be…erm…too much, man.

    Oh, btw, the components are a resonating cell, a tuning board and an amplifying coil, so that little doohickey in the middle is not a zero-ohm resistor nor a microchip but a resonating cell, silly man!. And of course the components aren’t connected in a crassly joined-up sort of way. “Because electrical power is not applied, and because of the unique way a sympathetic resonator works, the cell, tuning board and amplifying coil do not have to be physically wired as they would with a normal Hertzian electronic circuit.”

  3. plugh said,

    May 19, 2007 at 6:48 am

    re:
    The Amazing Qlink Science Pedant
    Is the spelling intentional on this link
    www.badscience.net/?p=413

    I’ve been lurking for several months and enjoy your pages immensely.

  4. Munin said,

    May 19, 2007 at 8:56 am

    More resonant snake oil, again endorsed by golfers (what is it about golfers?).
    www.metacog.co.uk

  5. bad chemist said,

    May 19, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Nadia

    I’m pretty sure ghiro was being sarcastic.

    Enough said.

  6. sockatume said,

    May 19, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Seeing as you’re the power source, it could be argued that should should take the dip with the device.

  7. ayupmeduck said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:29 am

    I know that you can get away with just about anything on websites, as the qlink people have been for some time now. On the other hand if you make wild claims in printed material then I think that the Trade Decriptions Act will normally apply. Are the claims in Holfords Catalogue as wild as the website? For example, if the Catalogue clearly states that there is a microchip, but in fact there are only passive components, then this is clearly a missleading description of the goods.

  8. Mojo said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:46 am

    The trade descriptions law applies just as much to someting sold via a website as it does to any other means of sale. This would be dealt with by the local trading standards department, who would have to satisfy the burden of proof to bring a successful prosecution.

    The printed catalogue, however, may count as advertising, and thus come within the jurisdiction of the Advertising Standards Authority. They can require and advertiser to prove any claims that they make.

    Has a complaint about the catalogue been sent in to the ASA?

  9. Dr Aust said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    jackpt wrote:

    “I wonder when they’re going to add the Ned Kelly inspired all-body Faraday cage suit to the catalogue. It will inevitably mean that customers end up looking a bit like the Borg, but what price safety from electrosmog?”

    Once upon a time, when I started working in NMR spectroscopy, it was not uncommon to have entire copper shielded rooms to keep the NMR machine in. You wouldn’t believe the extra peace we got from aliens beaming in cosmic thought-control rays, not to mention electrosmog.

    Have several Faraday cages in the lab. So far I have resisted the temptation to climb inside, or take one home to put over my bed. But now that you have convinced me it might be a prototype for SALES, perhaps I wil reconsider. Although as some people may recall, the earthing-mat-for-your-bed Woo folk seem to have beaten me to it, at least concept-wise:

    www.nyvatexoil.com/

  10. Littleshim said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Any chance that Stanford College, ICL and the University of Vienna would feel like objecting to this nonsense?

  11. Zephya said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    ….if you want a Faraday cage just get in your car ;)

  12. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    i get the best emails ever, this from today:

    Dear Mt Goldacre

    I think that columns like yours are very much needed to expose
    quackery and increase the understanding of science. Which to me
    includes engineering, and is why I feel your column on May 19 did a
    considerable dis-service to both science and engineering.

    By taking exception to the jokesy location of Dorkbot, which you need
    not have mentioned, and through your own tasteless joke of
    apologising for knowing anything about electronic engineering (you
    could have simply said that a zero ohm resistor is just a microscopic
    wire used in circuits like mobile phones) you have given the quacks
    all the ammunition they need.

    They can now, with some justification, say that you may sneer at
    their “psychic” knowledge but you sneer at the knowledge of mere
    electronic engineers too. So what’s the difference?

    We both know what the difference is, which is why the latter needs to
    be given simple public explanations and respect.

    Martin Gardner and the Great Randi succeeded in being entertaining as
    well as fighting bad science without tasteless sarcasm. Surely there
    is a better style in which to entertain and educate the public than this?

    Yours sincerely

  13. Robert Carnegie said,

    May 19, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Count me voting for reporting them to Trading Standards for claiming a microchip when there isn’t one. Or did yours have a manufacturing defect, i.e. chip missing?

    Electrical induction occurs of course, but not significantly in the non-connected “device” you described, I take it.

    Couldn’t obsolete NHS equipment be recycled as scientific placebos? It would be a kind of recycling.

    For a placebo on a neck cord this one is quite expensive.

    I am disappointed that the device made no difference to electromagnetic radiation, as I hoped it would amplify it, acting as a lens to focus the microwaves on the muscle of the heart.

    dangers such as getting dragged into a paper shredding machine remain available, I suppose.

  14. physics_geek said,

    May 19, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Excellent article Ben, I for one appreciated the sarcasm.

    Zephya, although a car works fine for protecting you from electrostatic shocks, Faraday cages made of mesh only work for radiation with a wavelength significantly longer than the holes in the mesh. As such, those pesky car windows mean that a car will only block radio waves (meaning we can still use phones and see out of them). I for one prefer a simple tin-foil hat for meeting my electrosmog-blocking needs; cheaper than the QLink pendant and so much more dignified ;)

  15. PhantomWriter said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I’ll have you know that I bought one and it cured me of my hypochondria, which was interfering with my golf game.
    Unfortunately, it came into contact with another one and they cancelled each other out.
    (Now I have to buy a third one.)
    And I don’t appreciate your sarcasm, either.

  16. Skeptico said,

    May 19, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    I wrote about this in Oct 95 – Q-Link if you want – summarizing some of the “tests” of this outstanding product.

  17. ludo said,

    May 19, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Direct quote from the website FAQ section:

    “What if I don’t feel it’s working?
    Wear the QLink as constantly as possible. If you think it is having no effect try taking it off after 2 months and see if you feel a difference after a week. Removing it is sometimes the best way of seeing how it has been of benefit. Please use our helpline as well and If you really feel it has been of no benefit, send it back and you will receive a full refund if you return it within three months of purchase*.

    *Valid for New Designs only.”

    Anyone fancy setting up a trial? Get your money back if it unexpectedly supports the null hypothesis.

  18. Humphrey said,

    May 19, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Q Link is a trade mark belonging to Panasonic, describing their system for linking different bits of AV equipment so that they can control each other.

    Perhaps Panasonic may wish to sue the arse off the manufacturer of this frankly tasteless, as well as useless, pendant?

  19. Dr Aust said,

    May 19, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Does anyone have a picture of Cherie Blair, or any other public figure or celebrity wearing one? I think we should be told.

  20. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 19, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    cherie wears the similar “bioelectric shield”.

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/135844.stm

  21. Dr Aust said,

    May 19, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Ben wrote: “cherie wears the similar “bioelectric shield”.”

    Oh dear oh dear.

    While it is perhaps understandable that superstitious and not too bright sports people endorse nonsense like “titanium anti-magnetic bracelets”

    www.neukleus.co.uk/EZ/neuk/neuk/index.php?thispage=page07&sug=0

    -one does always hope that people with a proper brain would know when they are being “Woo-ed”.

    I suppose she has to find something to spend the large legal fees on.

    BTW, anyone apart from me enjoy the Guardian rant on “UK is world capital of hot air” by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson yesterday? Sums up why we get the politicos we do, among other things:

    business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2082749,00.html

  22. flange said,

    May 19, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    but to be fair cherie doesn’t have any significant power/authority, the scary part of the bbc news article is that apparently it was recommended by Hilary Clinton… as in senator and potential US president
    Hilary Clinton

  23. notzed said,

    May 20, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Knowing some (trivial, insignificant) detail of a technology which affects everyone immeasurably (electronic miniaturisation) should be applauded, not apologised for.

    Is it embarrassing to know what a spark plug does or what a dipstick is?

    Anyway – hardly the end of the world either way.

    I just think it was unnecessary posting that lads email (assuming the author is a lad here), it might have been an over-reaction but it isn’t entirely baseless. Instead of just telling him it was a meaningless joke, you’ve made him look like a fool and you look like an arsehole.

  24. evidencebasedeating said,

    May 20, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Hair, Ben??

    Hair????

    since when has superficial cosmetic appearance influenced scientific probity?

    appearance over substance – surely you’re not coming over all woo on us?

    – and I have to say it looked no different at the Dana centre debate, fwiw.

  25. Junkmonkey said,

    May 20, 2007 at 10:20 am

    May I present this as an unsolicited testimonial as to the efficacy of metallic isolation

    eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php

  26. Suw said,

    May 20, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    This might be a bit orthogonal to this particular thread, but I just saw a trailer for this week’s Panorama which is posing the question “Is Wifi in schools dangerous?”.

    Here’s the full listing from Radio Times:

    Panorama

    Monday 21 May
    8:30pm – 9:00pm
    BBC1 London & South East
    WiFi: A Warning Signal

    With twelve cities now completely covered by wireless (WiFi) computer networks, and many secondary and primary schools using WiFi in the classroom, Paul Kenyon investigates claims that the electronic smog of modern living can cause long-term health effects.

    VIDEO Plus+: 4599

    Now… it’s possibly that they could do some sensible reporting on this and debunk the shoddy reporting (it’s not really reporting, it’s more scaremongering) done by the Indie and others, but somehow I have my doubts.

  27. apothecary said,

    May 20, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    I’m sure there’s a link here with Arthur C Clarke’s famous statement that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. In a “flight from science” (as a BMJ editorial memorably put it donkey’s ago), the woo seem increasingly to want to look all sciencey. Does that say more about them, pukka science or wider society?

  28. hadfield said,

    May 21, 2007 at 12:29 am

    Look, someone’s got to say it (and I don’t think anyone has): it wouldn’t work even if were connected.

    Reminds me of something I say on a NZ consumer program recently. A woman bought a device in which the water passing through was energised by its proximity to a vial of water from the Austrian Alps. The vendor was ordered to return the purchase price on the grounds that there was no water from the Austrian Alps. So if there had been, that would have been all right, then??

  29. Robert Carnegie said,

    May 21, 2007 at 3:24 am

    …but is there a moral obligation to respect the beliefs of suckered pendant owners?

  30. csrster said,

    May 21, 2007 at 8:31 am

    I quite agree with you anonymous correspondent, mt. goldacre. No more humour please, it might cause our circuits to overload like Mudd’s androids in Star Trek.

  31. superburger said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Did people panic when radio and TV first started transmitting?

    Or did the fact the TB, polio and the clap were pandemic stop people making up illnesses?

  32. atomic dog said,

    May 21, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Speaking of zero-ohm resistors and “quantum” claims.

    The “Bybee quantum purifier”

    www.bybeetech.com/DIYProducts.asp

    Is a $100-$250 component that does actually go into circuits, typically the output stage of an amplifier. It’s a rebadged .025 ohm resistor. (Go to www.audiocircle.com/ search for bybee and go to page 9 of the first thread that shows up for a picture.)

    From the website: “During transit through the Quantum Purifier, quantum noise energy is stripped off the electrons, streamlining their flow through ensuing conductors.”

    Amazing things, resistors.

  33. woodbine said,

    May 21, 2007 at 10:52 am

    I met a bloke the other day who’d bought a job lot of these. He’d handed them out to his wife, his kids and also tucked them under the saddles of his horses when he played polo. Says it all really.

    Reminder to self: stop going to such rubbish parties.

  34. Mojo said,

    May 21, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Suw said (May 20, 2007 at 12:38 pm),
    “This might be a bit orthogonal to this particular thread, but I just saw a trailer for this week’s Panorama which is posing the question “Is Wifi in schools dangerous?”.

    Now… it’s possibly that they could do some sensible reporting on this and debunk the shoddy reporting (it’s not really reporting, it’s more scaremongering) done by the Indie and others, but somehow I have my doubts.”

    Your doubts semm to have been justified:

    education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2084525,00.html

  35. George said,

    May 21, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Has anyone ever done a study into whether the placebo effect gets stronger, the more you pay for the “cure”?

    Seventy quid is not a trivial sum of money to most people – I think if I had coughed up that much I would be pretty damn determined to believe that it was working!

  36. Ambrielle said,

    May 21, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Leaving aside the shear idiocy of the stupid pendant, the Panorama programme is just the latest example of the shoddy quality of science reporting in this country. You could almost expect this of C4 or Five, but I object to my TV tax being spent on this kind of thing. It’s misleading, deceptive and sensationalist, and the producers deserve to be reprimanded.

  37. superburger said,

    May 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    maybe they could be punished by being forced to spend a week wearing a wire bee-keeping hat thing like that woman in the Mail.

  38. Ambrielle said,

    May 21, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Surely we could be more creative than that. ;)

  39. jackpt said,

    May 21, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    #37 that doesn’t look good. I’m not an engineer but even I know about the inverse square law. It’s as if the people making documentaries have gone out of their way to reject canonical knowledge, and in the process grossly misrepresenting scientific opinion. I know certain quarters of the media believe that they’re brave souls fighting the establishment views, but it’s almost as if they’re just idiots.

    Once the idiots were just the fools gawping in through the windows…

  40. George said,

    May 21, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I think it’s a sad state of affairs that letter-writing groups etc should be necessary.

    As far as I see it, there is pseudo-science, and there is blatant deception. This is firmly in the latter category.

    Shouldn’t the police (or trading standards) be taking an interest in the likes of Mr. Holford? They seem to be very good at catching those fake builders who charge old ladies £1000 a time to sit on their roof and drink tea – isn’t this sort of thing almost as bad?

  41. the_real_dr_bob said,

    May 21, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    This pendant has been around for a while, I remember reading about this in Tomorrow’s World magazine years ago, they performed a (tiny) blinded test and got no results in favour.

  42. Andy said,

    May 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    OK. I’m officially a hardware geek. My first though on seeing the picture in this story, before reading any of the text, was “That looks like an 0805 resistor. Hmmm, can’t quite read the value printed on it.”
    For those that care, if it is a zero ohm part then the writing on the top will be 000.

  43. Suw said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Dear god, that Panorama program was bad, really bad. Probably some of the worst so-called science reporting I have ever seen.

    I’ve now joined the forums, where I hope we can put together a list of flaws in the reporting and science so that I can send a fully informed complaint to Ofcom and the BBC. I am totally disgusted by this scaremongering.

  44. matth said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    If you feel strongly, complain. But remember that your complaint improves its chances of being given serious consideration if you leave your disgust and indignation at the door :-)

    Be factual and precise. Clearly explain each issue you wish to address. Avoid sweeping generalisations and stick to the facts. Also remember that others (unfortunately) don’t necessarily share your world view of the importance or relevance of a scientific way of thinking. To some, saying “the weight of evidence” is given little more consideration than the unsubstantiated opinion of someone else!

    I’ve just done my BBC complaint. Ofcom does sound like a good idea for my next port of call :-)

    Pity its not the under the ASA’s jurisdiction – for the most part they seem pretty clued up when dealing with these kinds of issues!

  45. fifecircle said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Dr Young bears more than a passing resemblance to
    www.phmiracleliving.com/press-kit.htm

    You’ll never guess where his PhD is from !…

    “In 1997, Dr. Young received a Ph.D. from Clayton College of Natural Health. His Professor, James E. Harvey from San Diego State University reviewed and accepted His dissertation as completing all the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition. He continued His studies and research and in 1999. Dr. Young later received an additional doctorate degree in naturopathy (ND) from Clayton College.”

    but don’t panic…

    www.ncahf.org/digest05/05-14.html#young

  46. Geeb said,

    May 22, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    The linked Daily Mail article contains a ringing endorsement from Professor Kim Jobst, who appears to actually be a MRCP, and so should, in an ideal world, have two bits of a clue to rub together.

    Apparently he’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, though.

    Does this chap have any kind of reputation for checking things out before endorsing them?

  47. simongates said,

    May 22, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Had a quick look at the studies described on the Qlink website

    www.qlinkworld.co.uk/reports-listing.cfm

    Suspect they will repay more study when I’ve got more time but one study by David A Eichler of Holos University (where is that?) caught my eye: he measured anxiety levels of school kids using a double blind deisng with active and inactive Qlink units. Now what i’m wondering is, given that the actuve ones do nothing, what exactly did they inactivate to get the sham ones?

  48. simongates said,

    May 22, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Holos University sounds like the sort of institution that Ms McKeith might find congenial

    “Holos University offers Graduate, Post-Graduate, and Easy-Access Certificate programs through distance learning with selected residency requirements. With a focus on energetic & integrative healthcare and spiritual healing, courses and research are centered on exploring the integration of body, mind, and spirit for optimal health and well-being.”

  49. simongates said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Oops, just read my earlier post. That should be “a double blind DESIGN”

    I

  50. fnorman said,

    May 23, 2007 at 9:57 am

    The most exciting thing about the Qlink was its power supply: “a copper induction coil which picks up sufficient micro currents from your heart to power the pendant”

    Sounds like all our energy problems are over!

  51. rightwingprof said,

    May 23, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    What does this do that a good, old-fashioned tinfoil hat doesn’t?

  52. blf said,

    May 28, 2007 at 8:05 am

    “What does this do that a good, old-fashioned tinfoil hat doesn’t?”

    Empties yer wallet faster.

  53. tomcare66 said,

    October 10, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    the “Bad Science” testing of the QLINK looks like a bunch of kindergarted kids trying to understand how a transistor radio functions by attacking it with hammers and screw-drivers. And after a couple of hours disintegrating the radio and still being unavble to understand how the music is produced by the various metallic and plastic parts – they declare this device as “bad science” and instead ascrive the musing source as a little man who usually resides in tehradion but escaped before they attacked it.

    Basically what I am saying is: if “Bad Science” want to appear as serious and address the scientific integrity of a device they should conduct their investigation with a bit more professionalism, do their home work by reading the literature and have someone knowledgeable/professional to conduct the study, rather than a couple of amateurs (=Bad Science editors).

  54. McDorian said,

    October 16, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Dear Ben,

    I have just done a Patrick Holford themed Scientific English lesson here in Nantes. Your Qlink article was the required reading for the first student roleplay, which consisted in a couple of customers in a shop asking the owner what the Qlink does and how it works. Luckily, a sales rep for the Qlink just happened to be there to answer all their questions about the scientific basis of the device. Here is a picture of the poster he used to explain the Qlink’s marvelous properties.

    Sadly, the second part of the lesson was a re-enactment of the discussion at Teesside University, conferring Patrick Holford’s visiting professorship.

  55. jfcicts said,

    April 29, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    drilling into it? surely the smart approach would be to analyse its effects on cells within the body. this experiment has fortunately been done showing dramatic improvement in cell quality. bad science your name seems to sum it up

  56. nixiejames said,

    May 18, 2008 at 1:54 am

    I would also add that Patrick Holford is actually someone who with his nutrition works solely from pure double blind placebo’d science. He is a deeply respected Nutritionist and has helped many thousands of people to better health and wellbeing. I wonder, once again, if any of you have actually read any of his books and checked out the science behind tham. The difference with a scientist such as Patrick Holford and some people who seem to frequent your site is that he is also aware of a life outside of science, the wonders of the natural world and it’s energies.Wishing you all health and happiness.

  57. NotACat said,

    June 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I wonder whether anybody can enlighten me as to what the USB product on the QLink website might actually do.

    My colleagues and I have been puzzling this one around the kettle and we think it does just about as much as the original pe(n)dant but we’d appreciate confirmation of our suspicions.

  58. NotACat said,

    June 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    D’oh! I forgot to leave a link, which in a lucky twist turns out to be:

    preview.tinyurl.com/qusbwtf

    Sometimes TinyURL just works out right!

  59. bigoxygen said,

    August 23, 2009 at 1:04 am

    I think this thing is quackery.

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  70. lucyb said,

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  71. davidgt said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I’ve read through all the comments. I should say that I’m a bit of an outsider here. I’m considering the Q-link and Earthcalm, yes, even after reading all this. One reason is that it seems that cellphones and all EMF producing machines (I think we believe EMF is real) heat up the brain per EEG or whatever. And maybe it’s bad science, but it does cause what appears to be an unhealthy or at least unbalanced cell disorganization.

    Well, that gets to me. So I hear good reason to think these EMF protecting pendants, etc. don’t help. Is there anything that can? And also – this is important (to me) – what about an infrared or picture showing the cells realigned, seemingly in harmony. Is that a lie? Or is it possible. Also, has anyone thought to try a device and test it to see if EMF can be blocked. Seems possible with all the good skepticism out there.

    Can’t wait for a response!

  72. useruser said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:58 am

    @davidgt — I’m in the same boat as you; when I moved into town (near cellphone tower base station with several neighbors featuring WiFi stations), I started feeling a subtle sensation on the surface of my brain. It was subtle, yet definitely not imagined. I slept less, too. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

    I bought a shield I wear at night and during the day when I work (the BrainCoat: lessemf.com/personal.html). Being skeptical at first, I tested the BrainCoat by placing my cellphone inside it to see if this coat could diminish cellphone frequencies from reaching my cellphone; to my surprise, it did. Without even closing the coat, my phone went down from 5 out of 5 bars to 2 out of 5 bars. Works for Wi-Fi, too.

    That said, I’ve been wearing it at night and sometimes during the day and I feel great! Back to my old energetic self.

    Another thing I’ve experimented with is the earthing pad. Seems good, although I can’t tell either way (www.longevitywarehouse.com/Earthing-Connection-Universal-Mat-p/universalearthingmat.htm).

    I’m still experimenting with the Q-Link. Don’t have enough conclusive empirical evidence to say either way.

  73. WiscoBilly said,

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  74. RJCH said,

    June 7, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I was given a q-link pendant recently and didn’t expect much from it. How can a little copper wire in plastic do anything? I put it on out of gratitude for the gift and was most surprised that after a day or two I was feeling so unusually calm and centered, (it is perhaps hard to explain in terms that won’t offend the the skeptic!) I felt very peaceful and contented in a way that was most usual to me and a dramatic improvement. There was a lack of any tension or anxiety. I took the pendant off yesterday and have gradually gone back to feeling ‘normal’ I miss the lovely way I felt when wearing it and will be putting in on again as soon as I can.

    Part of the problem is that most people are overloaded with information and don’t take a moment to slow down and notice how they are feeling beyond mental worries or desires. They don’t trust or consider more subtle perceptions. Many people still don’t seem to have noticed that mobile phones, phone masts, electricity (try taking a vault meter and holding it within a meter of any mass of plug sockets in your house – it is quite frightening!) wifi and uncorded telephones etc can all very much be felt, and they do not feel good. I’ve found an increasing number of people I know are starting to notice though. No doubt due to the steady increase in masts, wifi etc. We are bombarded with these various waves and now we have 4G as well which is even stronger.

    I’m not a doctor but I know that our hearts beat because of electrical impulses. The action of nerve cells is both chemical and electrical. And yet people rubbish the idea of this massive influx of electrical waves and other odd frequencies having any effect on us at all! Even though it has been around for such a very short time. Some things take years to cause catastrophic result. Asbestos, lead and mercury for example.

    Genetically modified foods cause infertility and hair to grow on the inside of the cheeks of in 3rd generations of rodents and yet it is considered perfectly acceptable to flood our food chain with them.

    We are all guinea pigs, make no mistake about that!

    I’ve heard people complain about headaches and lack of sleep and yet they wouldn’t dream of anything ‘so ridiculous’ as it being caused by them having a phone by them constantly. “We would know about it! The government would put a stop to it if it was true!”

    Perhaps it has to get to a point where there is a lot of it about before people start to actually notice, and we truly are reaching that point.

    It is so easy to mock something we don’t understand, or that contradicts what we already believe. Many people actually feel angry, resentful or uncomfortable about anything which has an element they presume to be ‘new age’

    We would do well to consider the history of impossibility before we write it all off though. It’s often prominent scientists who are the fist to scoff at new ideas. Simon Newcomb, an eminent scientist at the turn of the 19th century stated that it was impossible for any machine to fly long distances through the air. Many years ago an editorial in an eastern newspaper has this opinion of the telephone;

    ‘A man about 46 years of age has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people, by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires. He calls the instrument a telephone, which is obviously intended to imitate the word ‘telegraph’ and win the confidence of those who know the success of the latter instrument. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value’

    To assume knowledge to the extent of ridicule over something by dissection alone, without any actual observation is indeed bad science.

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