Saturday, February 24, 2018

Villagers call her: quicklime girl
Behind her back: quicklime girl
Behind the bush: quicklime girl

This is not the first time we remark on the delightful personalities and lofty ethics of the people involved, en passant of explaining why the GcMAF Alt-Med industry features so frequently at Riddled. Usually the topic comes up just before or just after Evangeline van Holsterin (head barmaid at the Old Entomologist) has described the Riddled staff as "All loonies".

Which brings us, by way of illustration, to Kerri Rivera, purveyor of Water Hydroxide alkalinising water concentrate -- which is to say, lime-water -- and other accoutrements to her KerriKeto Diet.*

The last time we looked in on Ms Rivera, she appeared to be collaborating on, a Latin-American franchise or metastasis of GcMAF distribution, along with Trevor Banks (a central figure in the movement).

I emphasise the "appeared" there. The website itself is the work of Banks, and conforms to his stylistic preferences, centred as always on personal testimonials to the wonder-working product (written in the generic but heartfelt conventions of Penthouse Letters); also he moderates the companion Faceborg page. The evidence for Kerri's involvement is limited to those testimonals, many of them addressed to her.

Now Kerri is best-known among historians of Alt-Med shenanigans through her previous gig, where she offered a cure for autism in the form of Chlorine Dioxide enemas -- that is, industrial bleach -- under the scambrella of Jim Humble and his Church of Bleach. Until she abjured her bleach-away-the-illness moneymaker when it attracted attention from consumer-protection agencies.** Now many of the testimonials at thank Kerri for the CD and the enemata, and mention the 'parasites' eliminated by the juvenile recipients of the anal sacrament (which is to say, the sloughed strips of intestinal mucosal tissue). So it may be that Kerri continued to sell CD on the sly, but also possible that Trevor Banks simply copy-pasted testimonials from her CD career and repurposed them for his own grift, forgetting to change all the details because hopeless cockwomble.
Thank you Trevor Banks!!!! I thank god everyday for Kerri Rivera CD and GCMAF! We have our daughter back and we are so close to recovery!!!!
All that is by the way of backstory. still exists, but only as a ghost-town where the denizens are tumbleweeds, coyotes and 'Westworld' cosplayers. For GcMAF was replaced in the Alt-Med scammocopoeia by "GOleic", which in turn was supplanted by a quite a good new thing called Rerum®... which had the advantages that its ingredients are cheaply available, and generally certified as no worse than placebos. So Trevor Banks moved on to parasitising Rerum® with his own cut-price knock-off product, "Omnia". We shall draw a discreet veil over "ReViVe" (Candice Lee-Bradstreet's attempt to latch onto the same moneyteat) for CamelCase is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Anyways, Ms Rivera's current artistic practice was modelled on Heinz Reinwald (Swiss political economist turned Alt-Med entrepreneur), most notably the "ketogenic diet" part; and since Reinwald commands the distribution of Rerum®, it was no surprise to find her aboard the chondroitin sulphate / Oleic acid / vitamin D bandwagon, with her own not-at-all-commodity blend of now-familiar ingredients. Rivera could teach lessons to Depression-era bindlestiffs in "How to leap onto moving wagons".

The webstore informs us (in furthering a price comparison) that established competitors Marco Ruggiero and Trevor Banks are price-gouging charlatans:

That sounds like the way to win over consumers! "Everyone associated with this concoction is an untrustworthy grifter, including its inventor, therefore buy my homebake imitation."

--------------- Source: Dora @ HIVforum ---------------

We also learn from Dora's reportage that Marco Ruggiero is not trying to undercut his competitors at the low end of the market. Recall that his latest step to stand out in the Alt-Med bazaar is "Immortalis", a ready-mixed cocktail of Chondroitin sulphate and bacteria, offering not the mere remission of sickness but immortality itself. Ruggiero's new business associates are finally accepting payment for Immortalis... €6750 for three bottles of pills, a three-month supply.
That's going to add up if you are taking pills for the rest of your (unnaturally-extended) life. But not to fear, larger quantities are discounted, only €12000 for six bottles or €21000 for an entire year's package. For the prospect of saving 22% by buying in bulk might well tip the balance for some wealthy barmpot wavering on whether to pay that sort of $$$ for dried-frog capsules.

* People who bought Hydroxide Water were also sufficiently gullible to buy kilogram bags of clay (for internal use, "only as directed") and of "organic sulphur".

MSM is Methylsulphonylmethane; you know it's natural because of the easily-pronounceable name! It is a well-established part of the Alt-Materia-Medica, possibly a legacy of old folk remedies involving sulphur and socks.

** Kerri Rivera no longer sells industrial bleach herself; she merely promotes it as an Autism Cure out of unalloyed philanthropy, and sells her time by the hour advising how to enemate it properly. Fiona O'Leary has conducted no end of background research on Rivera's determination to go on bestowing bleach baths and enemas upon infants and children, vicariously -- through spreading the Chlorine Gospel to other parents -- now that opportunities to perform them in person arise less often.

Rivera is not formally listed as a participant in Jim Humble's "Spirit of Health" con-man trade-fair in Berlin in early March, but she plans to attend anyway. It will be an emotional reunion from previous scamborees.


Emma said...

My mother believes in the alkalizing powers of foods; what's weird is that the primary substance you're supposed to ingest, according to this doctrine, is apple-cider vinegar, which once gave me a chemical burn on my face when I tried to use it to treat acne as a teenager.

Clearly I'm in the wrong line of work, also. I should be grinding up my dog's pills and selling them for $20,000 a bottle to, I am assuming, Sheldon Adelson. The steroids might even produce actual disease-treating effects! I am going to be a millionaire.

Finally, you should be aware that in the Hero Mom/Homestead Idiot community, one of the top things you can do to become a guru is create a homebaked version of some complex & expensive medicine or skin care/food product for pennies. It is assumed, in these circles, that everyone but themselves is an untrustworthy scammer. They barely even hold it against people. It's odd, but not as noteworthy as many of the subculture's other characteristics.

Smut Clyde said...

The whole Immortalis scam is bizarre.It feels like some plot device dreamed up by a Thomas-Pynchon wannabee. "How could anyone fall for such babblegab?" I ask myself; but the people involved in it are professional con-men, so I suppose they know what they're doing. They only need to batten onto a couple of wealthy suckers to make it all worthwhile, and "being rich" and "being as dumb as a sack of hammers made out of two short planks" are not exclusive.

Emma said...

Speaking of which! I'm just about halfway through Great Mambo Chicken And The Transhuman Condition. It's horrifying. My favorite part is probably attempting to determine the specific moment at which Eric Drexler decided to rely on The Secret to fulfill his vision of a nanotechnological future.* Everything about transhumanism is such a psychologically-creamy reservoir of sadness and Heinlein stanning — it's like the MRA movement, only worse. At least the meneninistists only want to be John Wayne, who was, in all likelihood, an actual person. Also, I think a great deal of this sort of "science" might've failed to develop at all if people had been able to classify themselves as furries in the 70s & 80s and be taken seriously.

A couple of my favorite scifi authors, Octavia Butler and Adam Roberts, seem to rely entirely on this fertile bush of science — and I didn't know it until now. So, that's good. Information is the future.

I'd go on, but unfortunately my computer recently caught on fire & died.

* One does not grow up in the Appalachian Valley and sneer at folk magic. One does, however, expect that one's tax dollars are being funneled into something a little more scientifically specific than self-insert fanfiction.

Emma said...

"Specific" so nice I used it twice.

Smut Clyde said...

I can't remember whether Great Mambo Chicken goes into Drexler's youthful exploits, promoting space colonies and the L5 Society and speculative solar-sail technology.

It was a Golden Age for magical thinking back then, with the L5 Society, and the Life Extension crowd, and the cryogenicists. The AI people had convinced themselves that computer intelligence was an easy problem that would be solved in another year or two. The only intellectual sin was to pay too much attention to facts or the much-maligned laws of physics.

Emma said...

I can't remember whether Great Mambo Chicken goes into Drexler's youthful exploits, promoting space colonies and the L5 Society and speculative solar-sail technology.
Yes, yes, and yes! It was very quaint and romantic, except for the dirt tunnels and paramilitary rocket development.

I was already familiar with O'Neill cylinders because I'd seen them (of a sort) in Jack Glass (one of my most favorite books ever) and in the last book in Anne Leckie's Radchaai trilogy (I think there might be fourth one, now, so I should probably say the 'third in the series'). They didn't look a lot more reasonable when described by a scientist, I'm sorry to say.

The AI people had convinced themselves that computer intelligence was an easy problem that would be solved in another year or two.
What was amazing to me about the cryogenics thing was that its most credentialed proponents adopted a Unified Underpants Gnome Theory of mind-transference based on Heinlein stories. Someone invents a way to download brains ⇒ we put the brains in computers, because "information" amirite ⇒ IMMORTALITY. Jesus Christ.

Smut Clyde said...

Early transhumanism was a bizarre intellectual movement. Not that I am admitting to being there at the time, as that would imply that I am older than dirt, or lunar regolith as the case may be.

I was just inspired to dig out the 1977 Space Colonies edition of "CoEvolution / Whole Earth Catalog". I had forgotten the role of mass-drivers / rail-guns, as the magical technology which will transport the components of the L5 Space colonies away from the lunar metal foundries, up into Earth / moon orbits. There is another recurring SF trope for you.

Now the thing about rail-guns is that people have been building desk-top versions of them since the 1930s, each time thinking "Yay! New weapon / tool for conquering the New Frontier!" (I'm looking at you, Heinlein and Clarke). Then they would find that the technology does not scale up, and things would go quiet for another two decades.

"I personally helped build a model mass driver section, out of ordinary wire (the real one would be superconducting, and hence have higher performance) that reached 34 gravities about three weeks ago. Students are upgrading it to 100 gravities. O'Neil is now talking 1,000, and taking bests on a number in that range."

This is our man Drexler again, at the end of his L5 period, before he decided that self-assembling Nanobots were a less implausible techno vision.

Emma said...

Early transhumanism was a bizarre intellectual movement
Modern transhumanism don't seem to be much to get up in the middle of the night and write home to Momma about, neither.
(I have just heard of Nick Land.) (Yeesh.)

Then they would find that the technology does not scale up, and things would go quiet for another two decades.
Sometimes I get irritated when people "fact-check" scifi, or demand its scientistic magic have a theoretical foundation — but clearly people who bother with this stuff are doing the Spaghetti Monster's work. If somebody doesn't put the brakes on somewhere, apparently, the novels themselves will be non-consentingly recycled into theories, in defiance of the natural order of things. Like, I remember one older dude who was annoyed that the space monsters in movies often look like giant insects (re: "Starship Troopers," I think), whose bodies would collapse under the gravitational strain of giganticness and kill their plans for world domination. That man probably saved Eric Drexler a decade's worth of work trying to come up with plans to turn people into enormous intergalatic spiders.

You might think it's ridiculous now, but you won't be laughing when near-future arachanthromorphs have spun titanium webs between the planets, facilitating space travel for the masses.

Smut Clyde said...

You should know better than to mention invertebrate zoology, as it gives me an excuse for the Explaining Voice.

I've come across all sorts of reasons why insects don't become megafauna. Personally I think it's their fault for never bothering to evolve a proper circulatory system. Invertebrates are not really clear on the concept of "blood", as a way of bringing important stuff like oxygen to all the far-flung musculature of a large body. Most of them have a blood-like internal fluid that soaks up oxygen at Organ A and nutrients at Organ B and then delivers both to Organ C, but it doesn't really circulate, it just sloshes around inside spare body cavities. This results in a satisfying splash when you swat an insect but it doesn't scale up.

Spiders are ahead of the game here, having actually evolved an equivalent of lungs to be Organ A and get the oxygen into the haemolymph, but then getting the haemolymph to Organ B is a haphazard and poorly-planned affair. Insects don't even do that, they rely on a branching system of internal air-ducts to bring the air to the close vicinity of every muscle, and that really doesn't scale up.

So to my mind, having an exoskeleton and (therefore collapsing under the gravitational strain of giganticness and killing their plans for world domination) is the least of the anthropods' worries. I'm sure they could design T-rex-sized exoskeleton anatomy. Just an engineering problem [waves hand airily]. First they need an enclosed circulatory system, which would be a major redesign. But if alien monsters want to look like giant bugs, why not? Fuck those scifi fact-checkers.

Don't start me on sea-spidesr (pycnogonids), they're just weird.

Cephalopod molluscs do have a half-decent closed circulation system so they can grow as big as they like. So be nice to squid.