Friday, November 28, 2008

Fern-C Sodium Ascorbate Alkaline Diet and the Deceptive Sales Presentation

An agent of Fern-C visited the office, invited by a peer of mine to present the wonders of Sodium Ascorbate (Chemical Formula C6H7O6Na), claiming to aid or cure various ailments by urging us to drink megadoses of Vitamin C.

He mentioned our bodies need to take in more alkaline food and less of acid producing ones but never the rationale for the change in diet. Since I'm already fmailiar with it, it's called the Alkaline Diet that aims to maintain the proper acid alkaline balance in the body results to weight loss as claimed. No medical study however proved the effectiveness of the diet.

On with the presentation, the man has some sort of mini-laboratory of Chemistry and Physics with him for maximum impact to all of the people in the room except me.

He mixed Sodium Ascorbate with Iodine to demonstrate how Fern-C cleanses the body allegedly of toxins, in this case, iodine. Iodine, when mixed with Sodium Ascorbate, lost its color, drawing applaud and awe from the audience, but the truth is that even if the mixture is now clear, it doesn't necessarily follow it's now cleansed of toxins. No idea yet of the chemical reaction involved but the clear mixture may not exactly be good-- it looks like water but definitely not water.

On the Physics demonstration, he brought out a black box, with electrodes and incandescent light bulb, that he plugged into the AC mains outlet. He then mixed powdered Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in water then put the electrodes of a black box to it to demonstrate lighting a light bulb.

He repeated the same light bulb experiment using water laced with Fern-C, the bulb lit brighter than with Ascorbic Acid. When immersed in distilled water, the bulb didn't light up. He even plugged an electric fan on the balck box's socket, the fan did rotate although slow and the bulb lit dimly.

Now the deceptive part is when he claimed there's more energy in Fern-C than the Ascorbic Acid solution. This is a fallacy since it only proved that Fern-C is a better conductor of electricity than ascorbic acid and has nothing to do with
energy content of the solution whatsoever. I checked the box after the presentation and noticed it was plugged into the mains socket where it gets the power. The electrodes aren't electrodes at all but merely copper wires with gaps that needed the solution to conduct electricity.

In the end, I didn't buy Fern-C due to their deceptive ways of presenting their products. I can't comment on Fern-C's efficacy but the way he "proved" its efficacy is easily proven to be false. I'm no doctor nor dietitian but I can see the veiled attempts at deception in the chemistry and physics part.

I didn't become an engineer to be fooled so easily by such antics.


1. Ascorbic Acid mixed with Iodine also will create the same effect as Sodium Ascorbate, the "proof" is not really proof at all since the highly-complex human body can't be simulated by a cheap trick in a test tube.

2. On the lighting trick, the Fern C solution did not really produce electricity as discussed above. In order to produce electricity as in a simple cell, you need an electrolyte plus two electrodes of different make like nickel and cadmium for NiCd batteries and lead and carbon for lead-acid batteries, the ones used in automobiles.

the following words are not mine but quoted from official websites of Government agencies, scientific experts, dietitians and nutritionists


Acid/Alkaline Theory of Disease is Nonsense, Dr. Mirkin, Georgetown University School of Medicine: " Anyone who tells you that certain foods or supplements make your stomach or blood acidic does not understand nutrition.

You should not believe that it matters whether foods are acidic or alkaline, because no foods change the acidity of anything in your body except your urine. Your stomach is so acidic that no food can change its acidity. Citrus fruits, vinegar, and vitamins such as ascorbic acid or folic acid do not change the acidity of your stomach or your bloodstream. An entire bottle of calcium pills or antacids would not change the acidity of your stomach for more than a few minutes.

All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. Then they enter your intestines where secretions from your pancreas neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline."

Stephanie Vangsness, M.S., R.D., L.D.N, senior clinical nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital says "You cannot change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control acidity in a very narrow range. Anything that changed acidity in your body would make you very sick and could even kill you. Promoters of these products claim that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment and that is true, but neither can any of the other cells in your body...If you hear someone say that your body is too acidic and you should use their product to make it more alkaline, you would be wise not to believe anything else the person tells you." ( Reviewed by Faculty of Harvard Medical School on October 3, 2008)

Ask the Nutritionist:"...neither the Blood Type Diet nor the Alkaline Diet have scientific evidence to support the purported health benefits made by advocates of these plans. The Blood Type Diet and Acid/Alkaline Diet lack what we refer to as biologic plausibility. In other words, given the medical community's understanding of how the body works, these diets don't make sense. Without well designed, human research studies showing that these diets actually do what they say they can, qualified dietitians, nutritionists and other health care professionals can not recommend either of these diets to their patients."


U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Many uses for vitamin C have been proposed, but few have been found to be beneficial in scientific studies. In particular, research in asthma, cancer, and diabetes remains inconclusive, and no benefits have been found in the prevention of cataracts or heart disease."

Vitamin C Requirements: Optimal Health Benefits vs Overdose: "High levels / Overdose / Toxicity / Negative Side Effects - Symptoms and/or Risk Factors:

Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, high stomach acid, increased urination, insomnia, irritability, joint pains, osteoporosis, headaches, hypoglycemia, weakness, anemia, PMS, may increase infections by causing copper deficiency, reduced estrogen, reduced progesterone, reduced prolactin,"

UK Food Standards Agency: Vitamin C: "You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take vitamin C supplements it's important not to take too much because this could be harmful."

Vitamin C Cuts Cancer Drug Treatment Effectiveness:"researchers urge that it is vitamin C supplement conflicting with cancer treatment, natural vitamins in fruits and vegetables will never conflict with any treatment. This is why those undergoing chemotherapy should avoid taking supplements, but they (and everyone else) are always encouraged to eat vitamin rich food."

BBC News: The truth about vitamins: '"For most people there's absolutely no benefit in taking high dose vitamin supplements," said Catherine Collins, chief dietician at London's St George Hospital.

"At best they are a waste of money and at worst they could seriously affect your health."'

New York Times: Taking Too Much Vitamin C Can Be Dangerous, Study Finds: '''There should be caution about taking too much vitamin C,'' Dr. Lunec said. ''The normal healthy individual would not need to take supplements of vitamin C.'''



In order for the advocates of Sodium Ascorbate to push their agenda beyond using demonstrations that deceive their audience, I recommend conducting a scientific study in a controlled environment and publishing the results in various prestigious and respected scientific publications to validate their claims (claims that's only topped by Quiapo's snake oil). Note that publishing scientific studies and medical journals will be subjected to the required peer-review, intense scrutiny and systematic review. It's in the proper scientific forum where you'll find victory (or defeat) in this debate, not by leaving comments on this post (at times illogical and nasty) that has become some sort of a religious debate one based on faith and anecdotal evidence and not on solid, scientific evidence.

For now, take the word of recognized experts and authority on this matter: Acid/Alkaline Diet is a quackery; megadoses of Vitamin C to cure/prevent illnesses as claimed by advocates doesn't have solid scientific and medical basis and is just a waste of money. Scientists are still debating on this one so better stick to the approved safe level.

Please top wasting my time and your own time to comment on this post. I no longer read them and just ignore them whether for or against. I will only change my stance on this matter IF I find the government authorities and experts I quoted above changed theirs...listen to one of your advocates who left a comment that my mind's already closed, well, not totally since I'm just following the advice of experts on Vitamin C RDA/DRI, the same commenter who falsely believe dragonflies are ephemeral creatures.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GoDaddy Domain Hijacking Using Gmail Security Flaw

An exploit was recently posted where miscreants can hijack domains hosted by GoDaddy using a flaw of Google's Gmail filters.
For the xploit to work the miscreant must know the email address of the domain owners registered with GoDaddy to receive Support emails, a bit of social engineering to trick your target to visit a website with malicious code to get the session authorization key.

Difficulty of Exploiting:
Medium to Hard, too complex for script kiddies,

1. Force Gmail to use SSL (https) to avoid snooping on your emails. Google's default setting is https for authentication and unsecure email after.
2. Avoid visiting untrusted websites.
3. Use a Firefox plugin called NoScript (like I do) so as not to allow scripts executing XSS code for hackers to steal your Google account ID and session ID.

2010 Automated Elections Security: DRE or OMR

We've all been awed anew with the speed of counting votes during the last US presidential elections where my candidate won. One and a half years from now, the Philippines will again hold new national elections in May 2010 to elect a new president (that is if assholes in Congress take it away from us through charter change to serve their own interests).

During the ARMM elections last August, there were two technologies pilot tested: optical mark recognition (OMR) and direct-recording electronic machine (DRE). DRE is more expensive for it uses touch screen machines that allows voters to key in their votes directly while OMR uses scanners that read ballots filled out by voters and transfers the data through a network.

How to choose among the technologies? It should not be on cost and a logistics alone but focus also on security. How secure is the system? Is it "immune" from hacking and cheating? Due diligence of the people behind the company/suppliers, source code audits, proper procedures, and so many things.

The hardest part here is do you trust the COMELEC? But at least traditional politicians with PhD in electoral fraud will be relegated to newbies once this system is in place. But be on guard always as some can be so smart they'll get a masters degree in no time :(

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gagambino Writers Need Lessons on Biology

Here's my usual Kapuso rant on the latest superhero series of GMA 7: Gagambino

I've always maintained that television, including teleseryes ought to write the truth and educate people even if it's just entertainment. I always see plots and twists on legal matters that's so twisted from reality that I partly blame writers and directors for the ignorance of their viewers who think teleserye plots and twists happen in real life.

The latest of these is not legal stuff but merely on biology, they keep on calling the four bida of the series as insects: a bee, praying mantis, scorpion and the spider.

Well...spiders and scorpions are not insects, they're arachnids! they have four pair pairs of legs compared to insects with three...

Now I see small children thinking spiders are insects and so thus they're parents. Thanks to Gagambino! :(

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Slowdown, Recession, Depression and St. John's Wort

Recent news about the Philippine economy to experience recession next year but the government quickly announced a slowdown, not a recession next year.

Slowdown is defined as a smaller growth rate of GDP (gross domestic product) while recession is already there when GDP shrinks for two consecutive quarters.

to further add to the definition, here's how to define recession and depression, according to a friend of mine: "Recession is when your wife loses here job; depression is when you lose your job."

'Til then I don't know if St. Johns Wort can cure your depression, much more the economic depression.

Cheep up, people! a little sense of humor to lighten up these gloomy days.

NBC Heroes Season 3 Trailer or RPN9 Crime/Suspense Channel

I just can't get enough of Heroes! It makes me think, unlike the usual teleseryes on Philippine TV with their recycled stories and much too predictable twists made for stupid audience (or also stupid writers and directors)

Am longing for Heroes Season 3 on Philippine free tv that'll end the mystery of Nathan Petrelli's assassination.

While watching tv channel-surfing, I chanced upon a teaser on Crime/Suspense channel/RPN 9 with Heroes.

I know Season 3 is alreay airing in the U but i don't want spoilers, just teasers on which I saw this online to watch for now.

I just wish I can watch Heroes online freeor just make do with getting home at 9pm again every Monday to watch in on free tv.
Will watch out for it on Monday, November 17, 2008.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Free Load from Globe AutoLoad Max

It's weird but I'm not complaining...I have a prepaid SIM card that came from an iPhone 3G from Globe that I only loaded P100 when I was in Ormoc last month.

As I was about to give it away since I got a new postpaid line, I checked the load balance and found out I still have P477.00 load and 60 free text messages.
As the SIM card is new, I sent some load credits via Globe's Share a Load to my father in Paete, Laguna and also to my sister for I don't know what to do with the extra load after talking to them for about 30 minutes.

Yesterday, I again received a text message from Globe Autoload Max that I got P200 woth of load with no information where it came from. Normal load transfer give the mobile phone number of the retailer SIM or that of the number tho used a Share-a-Load facility. It's looks like a system generated message from Globe.

Did I just got lucky? At least I shared my gift with those around me. I expect more loads to come my way unless Globe discovers a "system error" on their part.

perhaps it's an early gift from Globe "kasi tight kami."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bayani Fernando: Celebrity Duets Grand Champion

Got the chance to tune in to GMA7's Celebrity Duets a few hours ago that I found out was the grand finale where the grand champion was picked

I only got the part where Celebrity Duets hosts Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid were about to announce the winner and as I expected, it was Bayani Fernando or BF, won besting Joey Marquez and JC Buendia.

Wonder why BF won? Just my guess. He's a politician, used to elections. Joey Marquez also was a politician but he lost.

Don't take me too seriously though :P

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How to Export/Backup Blog to Hard Disk in Blogger in Draft

For quite some time now, I'm outsourcing making backups of my blog to Blogger since the feature is not available for Classic Blogger, it's only for New Blgger (previously called Bl0gger Beta).

When I explored again Blogger in Draft, I found a simple way to backup my Classic Blogger-based blog by these simple steps:

Login to Blogger in Draft:
Click Basic tab
Click Export Blog
Click Export Blog button
Select the place to for Blogger to store your blog in XML format

Just in case you need to revert to your old blog, you can restore it using your backup by just using the Import Blog link instead of the Export Blog feature.

Barack Obama: The First Black American President?

As of posting time, John McCain conceded defeat and congratulated his rival, Barack Obama, as the 44th president of the United States of America.

I see Obama's election as a breath of fresh air. I hope to see positive developments in world politics as well as the end of American occupation of Iraq and Afganistan.

I also want a policy shift in the US as well as better treatment of other races in the giant multi-racial country not only African-Americans and Latinos but also Asians like Filipinos.

Regarding the question Who's the first black president of the USA? It's not Barack Obama, but it's Morgan Freeman. He's been US president for so many terms already.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Blogger Comment Form Embedded Below Post Error

My blogs acting weird lately for I noticed I haven't been getting comments here and in my main blog. When I tried to reply to the comments, the drop down menu of the user name on the comment form does not work

It's not isolated to Firefox for it's the same using Internet Explorer. What I did was to temporarily revert to the pop up window when users like to post a comment.

I'm using classic blogger and maybe that's where the problem is, I don't know if it's the same for New Blogger.

Will have to check again and revert to the old comment form when the problem's solved by Google or I find the cause and solution.

How to embed comment form below post?

login to Draft Blogger at
Click Settings Tab
Select Comments
on the Comment Placement Form, check the Embedded Below Post
Click Save Settings.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wrong TIN Inquiry from BIR

What would you do if you discovered one day that you're paying your taxes and yet the TIN (tax identification number) you're using is incorrect? Past income tax forms 1902, 1905 and 2316 were already lost.

A friend of mine found this out the hard way. His company has been remitting income tax returns for years and when he got married, he needed to update his TIN from single to married in order to avail of the increase in personal exemptions and thus lower taxes. Problem is that the online TIN inquiry of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is not working and calling individual BIR offices, called RDO, is a pain in the ass when most government employees are a pain in the ass to talk to when it comes to inquiries from "lowly" citizens of the Philippines that they're supposed to serve.

It's a good thing that an officemate of mine had a good day and called one of the four RDOs in Makati by giving the invalid TIN and the full name of my officemate and chanced upon a rare good mood of the BIR employee. It's great the RDO she called up was the one where my officemate registered more than ten years ago...

Case solved!

to BIR: why on earth can't you detect income tax returns with invalid TIN? SSS can detect remitances with SSS number and name mismatch. No wonder you can't run after tax cheats. Your former commissioner also had that stupid and backward policy of shifting back BIR corporate payments from online to over the counter, undoing the hard work of Parayno. Think twice!