Archive for the 'Ethics' Category

Twitter is a Dangerous Place for Scammy Diet Gurus

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I had never heard of Gillian McKeith until this morning. She is a Scottish TV star - here is a quote from her own website:

Gillian McKeith is the internationally acclaimed Holistic Nutritionist and presenter of You Are What You Eat hit Channel 4 series that took the nation by storm

She is a little bit extra famous, at least for today, because she had a weird hissy fit on Twitter.

There is no evidence of the debacle on her twitter account except for an easily refutable tweet implicitly denying that it is her twitter account. There is, of course, ample screen caps and links to cached pages.

Here is what happened in chronological order:

As an aside to the drama, the school that granted Gillian a “PhD” is now closed and is the subject of a page on Quackwatch.

Check out the Guardian for more…

Don’t Buy Cut Flowers for Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

With gifts it’s the thought that counts. When you send someone flowers, do you ever think about where they came from? I haven’t thought that much about it myself. Well, I thought about the fact that they would die and be thrown away within a week, but that’s about it.

Now that I have done some research I am shocked at how the global cut flower industry works. Here are a few points that night make you think twice about buying flowers for your mom.

  • The vast majority of cut flowers sold in the USA are imported from Colombia and Ecuador.
  • During production and packing, South American farmers often use pesticides that are banned in the USA.

  • Researchers have found pesticide residue 300m underground near rose farms.
  • Working conditions on large flower farms have been compared to sweatshops by workers rights groups.
  • Flowers are shipped to Miami by air creating a substantial carbon footprint.
  • The USDA routinely fumigates flowers with toxic chemicals when they arrive in the US.

If your mom is expecting flowers, you can still give her a thoughtful gift. Choose a plant gift delivery company that carries American grown living plants. Your gift will last longer and it won’t have the negative impacts on the environment associated with the global cut flower industry.

Present FTC Regulations and

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Here is a concise explanation of what the FTC does, taken from Wikipedia:

The FTC carries out its mission by investigating issues raised by reports from consumers and businesses, pre-merger notification filings, congressional inquiries, or reports in the media. These issues include, for instance, false advertising and other forms of fraud. FTC investigations may pertain to a single company or an entire industry. If the results of the investigation reveal unlawful conduct, the FTC may seek voluntary compliance by the offending business through a consent order, file an administrative complaint, or initiate federal litigation.

Reports from consumers is first in the list of things to which this great big independent government body responds. In the absence of consumer complaints, a misleading online sales pitch can thrive indefinitely. Here is a video tutorial on how to file a complaint with the FTC:

Interestingly, this video recently celebrated its second anniversary an Kimkins is still not in compliance with the current FTC regulations. The FTC has a page of good advice for people shopping for weight loss products and services. Nobody who reads that page carefully will pay for a Kimkins membership but at this point it’s not the careful consumers that we are worried about. If Heidi Diaz had been around in the 1800s, we’d probably be debating whether she had coined the phrase about suckers and their reproductive rates. Kimkins doesn’t comply with the FTC because it simply wouldn’t work. The FTC disapproves of fantastic claims of weight loss and asks instead for typical or average results. Please leave some comments with wording suggestions for the typical results of Kimkins. My suggestion is as follows:

I lost $39.99 in just 3 months!!!