What next, horses? Hold on, I just found a picture of one of those too. Thanks to a piece by a big-service health and science writer we learn what those often-colorful stripes are that have been appearing criss crossing a lot of athletes' bodies in recent years. It looks phony as can be. The Olympic Games are full of examples. I've heard a few sportscasters say the decor is supposed to speed healing from old injuries and prevent new ones. Then they stop talking as though this ritual behavior makes sense. This sound like a cheap version of the body-squishing tightsuits that swimmers setting world records have become fond of even if they do take forever to pull on and are dreadfully uncomfortable. Except there is some evidence, I guess, that the shrink-wrap suits work. Ditto I suppose for compression bands or fully taped ankles etc. that stabilize minor pulls and sprain to make them less likely to go major. But a stretch of tape just laid along or across a muscle on the skin? That stretches one thing for me: credulity.
- Reuters - Kate Kelland: Scientists skeptical as athletes get all taped up ; Filed from London. The piece is suffused with doubt. One thinks Kelland might have put an even sharper edge on this - maybe could've called up sources until one of them came right out with it: This looks stupid. My goodness, a reporter could write that without even hiding behind a quote.
Next up for Kelland or some other reporter (actually and surely, these have been given the gimlet-eyed treatment in press before): Those things so many baseball players wear like tiny hula hoops around their necks. One learns that the manufacturer, Phiten, suffuses them with some kind of titanium brew to enhance performance. Or something. This appears about as sensible as wearing a bracelet with magnets in it to jack your chakras up or something. Jeez. Bring back the orgone box!
Late addition. The neck things did get sober writeups already. Here's one from a few years ago at WebMD by Salynn Boyles. Of courfse, baseball players and fans are known for superstition. One day, watching the Giants on TV, I turned a regular hat into a RALLY CAP, inside out with the bill reversed. Didn't work.
A science writer could do worse than vow to write at least one debunker yarn per month. So much idiocy, so little time.
- Charlie Petit