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64 | NewScientist | 27 July 2013


A PERSON called Sara from an organisation called the Institute of HeartMath seems to know something that the rest of the scientific world doesn’t. Geraldine Goon directs us to an article in the online publication Care2 entitled “Can You Change Your DNA?” The answer, Sara seems to think, is: “Yes, you can”.

“Institute of HeartMath researchers,” she tells us, “found evidence that the physical nature of DNA strands can change with heart-focused intention.” Indeed, one individual in their experiment became able to “unwind” two “DNA samples”.

Sara goes on to quote the researchers’ report, which assures us that “the results provide experimental evidence to support the hypothesis that aspects of the DNA molecule can be altered through intentionality”. It concludes: “Individuals capable of generating higher ratios of heart coherence were able to alter DNA conformation…”

Our suspicion that this is all fruitloopery is reinforced by the words at the bottom of the page

The Kleo Tanning & Nail Studio in the London suburb of Putney promises us “Crystal Clear Oxygen”. “As opposed to the other kind?” asks Andrew Cartmel

announcing what the subsequent chapter in Sara’s essay is about: “Next – quantum nutrients.”

OPEN access publishing sounds like a good idea: everyone can read research results without paying the subscriptions or per-article fees charged by traditional journal publishers. But someone has to pay. In many open access schemes, that someone is the researcher, whose livelihood depends on being published somewhere. This harsh economic reality has not escaped the attention of scammers.

Mark Tasker points us to the New Ground Research Journal of Scientific Research and Articles, “a peer-reviewed, international multi-disciplinary, open access journal”. A moment’s digital investigation shows that the internet name is registered in Lagos, Nigeria – a city which will, sadly, face an uphill struggle to become a trusted centre of science publishing, following the worldwide plague of so-called “Nigerian” scams.

Meanwhile, Pennie Quinton came

across the oddly titled Wudpecker Journal of Public Administration, part of a stable which includes the Journal of Scientific Research and Reviews. The owner of prefers to give no name at all.

Perhaps readers would like to repeat the experiment carried out by Philip Davis of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who submitted a paper “written” by a computer program to The Open Information Science Journal – which accepted it, then invoiced Davis for a mere $800 publication fee (15 August, 2009).

One line of defence for those tempted by offers of easy publication is to do what we have done here: ask to find out the name of the owner of the journal’s website.

POSSIBLE scams involving open access publishing (above) look positively tame compared to a story in the journal Nature that a colleague alerts us to. The report at says that scammers have impersonated the websites of actual journals and collected fees from “hundreds” of researchers.

A friend of Feedback who manages websites checked out one victim of scamming in the report – Wulfenia, an internationally recognised biology journal published in Carinthia, Austria. Said friend found the fine points of the visual design of the fake website indefinably whiffy, use of “multidisciplinary” in the name smelly, and the fact that a GoDaddy search reveals the website to be registered anonymously, absolutely stinky.

The real journal is at the less memorable:

UNDER the heading “Well ahead of the curve”, William Bains sends us a screenshot of the website of

Sensiotec, a company that develops remote health monitoring systems under the slogan “Unbounded healthcare”. On the site’s landing page is the heading “LATEST TWEET” followed by the information: “about 15897 days ago.”

“Here is a company that was on Twitter 43 years ago,” William observes. They were indeed well ahead…

CLOTHING firm Cotton Traders sent Rodney Bryant this “classic” contradictory instruction: “Your Password: your unique password is only known by you. If you forget your password or want to change it simply sign into ‘My Account’ online. You’ll need your email and password each time you sign into”

THE Bestway Double Height Air Bed with Travel Bag at Argos has an unusual feature, spotted by Grant Denkinson: “This bed offers a higher level of gravity, ideal for those who struggle with getting in and out of bed.”

It probably takes a lot of mental agility to work out what this means. So far, we haven’t succeeded.

FINALLY, the pack of Basics Toilet Rolls that Richard Jowitt bought from Sainsbury’s supermarket bore the inscription: “For Everyday Use”. Richard wonders if he should buy other toilet tissue for use on special occasions.

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