I came across this article today and it put a smile on my face. A traveling malaria researcher came across an “electronic mosquito repeller” for sale in his in-flight catalog. Being an intelligent man, he realized this was total and utter BS. He also realized this product probably sells best while in-route to malaria ridden countries; and that there were naive tourists walking around with $23 worthless pieces of crap on their belts feeling protected. The airline, KLM, had likely been selling the item with no second though whatsoever, just part of the standard issue crap-on-a-plane shopping selection. So as soon as Bart Knol returned home he began to dig deeper. He contacted KLM and tried to figure out why they were selling this item. Politely, the airline offered a response from the manufacturer backing up the efficacy of the device – and stated that they sell over 1,000 a month. Clearly that couldn’t be acceptable – in fact there has been research conducted to test just this sort of machine – all of which showed zero effect. Again Knol informed KLM of this fact, with evidence in hand, and received a surprising reply. ”The product will no longer be for sale on KLM aircraft from March onwards“.
Son-of-a-bitch. He confronted a company that was selling a scientifically falsified device. Instead of blowing this scientist off – they looked at the evidence – and acted logically. Within 2 months Knol had KLM pulling the product from its shelves. The airline should give Knol a lifetime supply of vouchers for his suggestion. Imagine if you will: a gullible tourist headed to Africa for your first safari. Wanting desperately to avoid the sometimes horrible side effects of anti-malaria medication they see this miracle product that will keep them safe instead. Well, the product failed to work, and he contracts malaria while running from elephants in Kenya. Attempts to sue the company failed since they were based in Sri Lanka – but not to worry, KLM has vast and deep pockets. 10,000,000 euro later, KLM pulls the product form the shelf and the dead tourists kids replace everything they own with gold.
But no, instead, a vigilant skeptic stepped up and saved the day! Thanks for your skepticism Knol, you get a high-five. The action he took provided KLM with evidence they were conducting a wrongdoing. Had the airline been sued in the future and this prior knowledge had come to light, they would have lost. I wish KLM could appreciate it just as much as I do, but at least they took the proper action. Fly KLM.
It’s always nice to see a story like this because this is certainly not how things usually happen. Take for instance the “dowsing for bombs” scandal brought to our attention by the JREF. I guess it’s a bit difficult to call it a scandal because the press only briefly covered it here in the US. Quickly: A British based company was selling dowsing rods, that consisted of nothing more than metal rods and handles, as bomb, gun, knife, drug and even body detectors. The major buyer was the Iraqi government in around tens of millions of dollars. People bet their life on this machine; and it failed, 100% of the time. Even today the Iraqis swear by this device.
But let’s not forget the history of this detector, which is basically the same as the “Quadro Tracker” bought by OUR government in the late 90′s. At least in the QT issue we only purchased 1,000 units and quickly tested them to discover the fraud. The result – the FBI issued a warning against it. The company promptly picked up shop and moved to the UK to re-invent this device sold to Iraq (amongst other countries). Thankfully the scammer, Jim McCormick, was recently arrested in Britain for fraud and the item has been banned for export.
Why did it take so long for this to happen?! Why did the US government not pursue legal actions and let this guy walk? Lives of OUR troops in Iraq may have been lost because of this exact device. I can’t help but to see too many similarities between mosquito repellers and bomb dowsers. Both rely on magic and both are total crap. Perhaps I am stretching the connection, but people may die because they drop their guard and fail to take proper precautions when at risk. At least these aren’t being handed out in Africa, are they?
Go find your own MozStops, Pest Repellers, SunBeams and SOLAR powered mosquito repellers (hey you can be green while being a sucker) and take that store to task! Seriously, this crap is everywhere and it’s 100% fraud.