An Arizona couple has built a device that allows people to “bathe” in moonshine. By which I mean, mirror-concentrated light from the moon. While this is the sort of thing that skeptics often have a good laugh at, I think we should probably cut these folks a little slack.
What they did really is just plain cool, conceptually and from a pure geek standpoint.
Of course, things are definitely inching into woo territory with the visitors claiming that the moonbeams have curative powers. It seems that the concentrated light is warming, which of course feels nice. But unless someone can provide evidence that this warm light is any better for you than standing in front of a heat vent, lets just hope this doesn’t develop into another unproven “natural” treatment for every self-limiting condition under the sun. Er, or under the moon.
I also noted with dismay that the story’s one named skeptical voice on these purported healing powers strayed a bit from the proper tut-tut attitude we generally hope for:
“But whether or not it’s the placebo effect or the light, I don’t think that matters as long as people feel like they are having a positive effect, then it’s worth it to them to do it,” she added. (emphasis added)
No. Bad scientist! Naughty! Don’t endorse the placebo effect!
I guess I should just be happy that the article didn’t mention the mythical Full Moon effect. I mean, the “instant and profound sense of euphoria” that one visitor experienced might actually be a sign of something sinister. After all, if full moons are supposed to increase homicide rates, shouldn’t we be afraid that concentrated moonlight might turn aging hippie hypnotherapists like Eric Carr into serial killers?