You’re not going to get a tan from red light — it’s also not going to make you more manly


Tucker Carlson is a sucker. Here he is promoting “infrared therapy”, or testicle tanning, which basically means shining red lights on your scrotum to supposedly increase your testosterone levels.

Tanning is induced by UV light — that is, high energy, short-wavelength light. Red or infrared light is weak or low energy, long wavelength light. It’s going to gently warm your balls, and that’s about it. Warming is going to actually reduce your sperm count, demonstrated here by the effects of a sauna:

Semen was collected at weekly intervals for 3 wk before and 10 wk after the sauna exposure at 85 degrees C for 20 minutes. The numbers, morphology, ultrastructure, motility, viability and metabolism of the sperm was assessed. Sperm numbers fell within one wk and slowly returned to normal in 5 wk. The earliest ultrastructural change was swelling of the plasma membrane, followed by an increase in the number of immature forms and disorganization of the arrangement of the mitochondria. Motility, glucose utilization and lactic acid accumulation of the sperm rose temporarily immediately after sauna.

A little glowing red light might have a slight warming effect (hey, maybe it feels nice!), but I doubt that it’ll do much at all for your testosterone levels. Besides, testosterone levels in normal, healthy men varies widely with no detectable effect — extremes can have serious effect. This is just another example of the right wing’s bizarre obsession with the trappings of masculinity.

That’s what the wealthy trust-fund goon is promoting now in a video.

Heh. It’s pushing that bogus “hard times create hard men” bullshit. Just what I’d expect from a fascist wanna-be.

Comments

  1. says

    My first thought was that this was Mein Kampf reimagined as fetish porn.
    My second thought was health class–
    Aren’t testicles on the outside to prevent overheating and damage to the sperm? Yes, I think so. That’s what I remember. And one is lower than the other so they don’t go “clang, clang, clang” when a man runs.
    I had a pretty entertaining health teacher. I remember his lessons well, almost 50 years later.
    Interesting that these guys care more about testosterone than the health of the sperm. That says something.
    Good to see you used the screenshot image with Tucker Carlson’s name on it. I think that’s the one we want to take hold and live forever on the internet.

  2. PaulBC says

    Puts a whole new spin on “red light district.” But yeah, this is basically a heat lamp. How dumb are these people? Or how dumb do they think their audience is? They might be right about that.

  3. says

    They’re not tanning their balls, they’re COOKING their balls. Which to be fair cooking is an effective method for killing pathogens and releasing more vital nutrients, so maybe they’re accidentally on to something.

  4. says

    Warming is going to actually reduce your sperm count, demonstrated here by the effects of a sauna:

    Though not very popular (if even approved), there are a variety of male contraception methods based on this principle.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Right, because when I think of “hard” muscular, manly-men, I think of Tucker Carlson or Little Benny Shapiro.

  6. PaulBC says

    Wouldn’t a mini-microwave be more effective in reducing sperm count? I remember someone telling me (possibly an urban legend) that men used to stand in front of radar dishes as a contraceptive. I am skeptical since it seems like a lot of effort and impossible to do inconspicuously, but I don’t feel like looking it up right now.

  7. Rich Woods says

    I hope it was an urban legend that standing in front of a radar dish was an effective contraceptive. There’s a story from the Czech Air Force from when they used to fly Mig-21s, that ground-testing the (then novel) search-and-lock radar could result in dead bunny rabbits in front of the target shed a kilometre down-range. The extra fresh meat was popular in the mess, back in the Soviet era.

  8. christoph says

    Didn’t a judge recently rule that no one in their right mind would take Tucker Carlson seriously?

  9. says

    You’re not going to get a tan from red light — it’s also not going to make you more manly

    C’mon, guys, whaddaya expect them to use? Pink light? PURPLE light? That’d be totally gay, and too close to X-rays!

  10. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    And one is lower than the other so they don’t go “clang, clang, clang” when a man runs.

    Clang, clang, clang go the testes
    Ring, ring, ring go the balls…

  11. moarscienceplz says

    Yep, it sure appears that Tucker is VERY interested in the ends of hard men.

  12. kenbakermn says

    Doesn’t surprise me at all the Tuckster is grasping at such desperate measures to try to man himself up a bit. Clearly nothing else has worked.

  13. says

    On 18 April 2022 at 12:34 pmAkira MacKenzie
    wrote:

    Right, because when I think of “hard” muscular, manly-men, I think of Tucker Carlson or Little Benny Shapiro.

    Just like when I think if intellectuals I think of Dinesh D’Souza.

  14. says

    Sounds nice, warm, and cozy. But then, I’m terrible at thermal regulation, and would love a heat lamp over my bed. Or a heated mattress pad.

    Of course, I don’t expect it to make me a Manly Man™. That’s just silly.

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    Shining red light on your bits? Not impressed. I have nautical lights surgically implanted in my penis. Red on the port, green on the starboard.*

    This is a lie told for comic effect. Kids, do not try this at home.

  16. Rieux says

    Tucker Carlson is a sucker.

    Is he? Or does he recognize that his viewers are suckers and that their credulity can be monetized?

    As PZ likely knows (as do many others here), that’s a very common and longstanding trend on right-wing political media. I’m curious how exactly Tucker benefits financially from this latest in the extremely long line of quack medical treatments marketed to right-wing rubes.

  17. Susan Montgomery says

    @5. I do too. They’re the guys to whom power fantasies in fiction are aimed at. Tucker likely spent all his free time at band camp with Conan the Barbarian comics.

    Although, maybe his obsession aith testicles has a different meaning. Does he have children of his own?

  18. PaulBC says

    Reginald Selkirk@18 Now that’s a posh penis. (And yes, I know that “posh” does not really come from an acronym. See link.)

    Also, maybe you could save a lot of money and trouble by keeping your cell phone “down there.” It might not be exactly the right RF but it lets you set health myths against each other and cancel them out.

  19. says

    Rich Woods@8 the version I heard claimed that the radar in the MIG25 Foxbat could kill rabbits. A quick look indicates there are other variations on the idea, but they seem to all be urban legend.

  20. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Scro-tum… you don’t have to put on the red light
    Those days are over
    You don’t have to warm your nutsack every night

  21. willj says

    Hey, ball-warming is a fine thing, just sayin’. And who cares about testosterone. Feeling… Perhaps it even feels like something to be logical, or… scientific? Nah, it’s all objective.

  22. KG says

    Just what I’d expect from a fascist wanna-be. – PZM

    My first thought was that this was Mein Kampf reimagined as fetish porn. – feralboy@1

    Well, rumour in the British army in WW2 (sung to the tune of Colonel Bogey was that the entire motivation for Nazism was testicular insufficiency:

    Hitler, has only got one ball,
    Goering, has two but very small,
    Himmler, is somewhat sim’lar,
    But poor old Goebbels, has no balls, at all!

  23. Tethys says

    I doubt Tuckums has ever had an original thought in his entire existence, so even its title is a lie.

    Never mind the lingering homoerotic tire flipping shots, why do the ball bakers have Aussie accents? Does that make them ultra manly? Exotic foreigners?

  24. microraptor says

    timgueguen @24: Yeah, the Mythbusters tested it out using the radar on a naval ship. Wasn’t enough to warm a turkey, much less kill one, the turkey’s temperature actually went down after being on the radar antenna for an hour thanks to the cool sea breeze.

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    @8 @24 The only biological effect of radar wavelengths is warming. You have to get down a couple orders of magnitude in wavelength, into the ultraviolet, to find any specific molecular effects (thymine dimer formation which could lead to skin cancer). So unless your radar is so powerful you are actually cooking things, I have to agree it is probably urban legend.
    I have some anti-5G nut cases in my town who have “done their own research.”

  26. lumipuna says

    There’s clearly some bullshit implication that “red light tanning” works because it somehow messes with your body chemistry (like UV light does), not because of the heating effect.

    Also, “bromeopathy”? I gather the allusion to homeopathy here is in the sense of generic health & wellness quackery, and bromeopathy would be a nickname specific products/treatments for men’s health issues (real and imagined). At least that way it makes some sense.

  27. says

    I heard “bromeopathy” and thought, “but bromine is toxic!” I guess it was supposed to be a combination of “bro” and “homeopathy”, though.

    I guess bros diluted to a nonexistent concentration might be somewhat therapeutic, though.

  28. R. L. Foster says

    As any good cook will tell you, toasting heightens the nutty flavor and makes them even crunchier.

  29. lumipuna says

    Traditional European sauna culture involves a peculiar expression of toxic masculinity, where men (rarely women) compete on how much heat they can tolerate before backing out. In Finland this concept was made into an annual international sporting event in the 2000s – all the top competitors were apparently from either Finland, Russia or Estonia. Originally it was done sort of tongue in cheek, but eventually it turned literally dead serious. Some competitors started doping with painkillers, exposing themselves to severe burn injuries. The event was discontinued after a Russian contestant died in two-person final and his Finnish counterpart barely survived after being hospitalized.

    I don’t know how exactly this concept would work with those newfangled infrared saunas (as opposed to traditional hot air and steam), but I can just about imagine US dudebros trying to outdo each other on this crotch radiator thing.

  30. Matthew Currie says

    A propos of nothing, really, but a remark above about port and starboard lights reminds me of a long ago friend, who after an ocean going voyage (as I recall it involved some scientific project involving drilling a hole into the earth, but was interrupted when they lost the enormously expensive drill, but I digress from the digression….) reported that one of the sailors of the vessel had a pair of propellors tattooed on his buttocks with the logo above “30 knots, no smoke.”

  31. birgerjohansson says

    Anyone with a proper education should by now know Tucker Carlson is a charlatan who makes claims that reminds me of the SNL sketch “Theoderic of York- medieval [insert name of profession] “.

  32. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reginald Selkirk @ # 30: The only biological effect of radar wavelengths is warming.

    I met a US Navy veteran, decades back, who had a severe case of narcolepsy which he (& apparently his VA doctors) attributed to his having climbed a mast right in front of a radar dish and staying there a couple of hours while diagnosing and fixing some other piece of equipment.

    Possiby he was fooling me, and himself, but I take his story seriously.

    From today’s urbandictionary.com front page:

    bromeopathic medicine

    When you’re feeling sick or down, hanging out with your bros can provide a therapeutic effect, thus alleviating whatever symptoms you may have been experiencing.

    Yo man, Jeff just broke up with his girl, we should go chill over his place for a while, he could use some bromeopathic medicine.

    Before going to the hospital, always try a little bromeopathic medicine.
    by M Rockwell August 27, 2007

  33. weylguy says

    I’m ready to drop out from the human race now. Tucker’s nonsense about scrotum tanning joins similar talk about increasing semen volume. Why would a man want his penis to turn into a semen fire hose? How much is enough? A quart? A gallon?

  34. blf says

    [T]he phrase “hard man” always makes me think ‘One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble’.

    I tend to think — perhaps especially when it involves Tuckyo Rose — of Horrible History’s “Catastrophic Crackpots” series. (No, as far as I know, Horrible Histories did no such series, albeit there were “Rotten Romans”, “Terrible Tudors”, etc.) Perhaps it should be “Cracked Charlatans” or similar?

  35. birgerjohansson says

    Red light? I read an interesting science article about an organism able to use red- and maybe some infra-red- photons for photosynthesis. It was discussed in the context of biospheres of other planets, but it would be useful to GM it into ordinary algae and plants.
    And I know there is a sea slug that uses the chloroplasts of algae they have absorbed to get extra energy.
    If Tucker Carlson is an alien shape-changing reptile with extra chloroplasts it will explain his interest in red light. He might even get sunburn from it, as his alien dermal tissue tries to protect him from the unfamiliar solar spectrum!
    He is a V- lizard!

  36. Rich Woods says

    @timguegen #24:

    This clearly requires empirical inquiry. You fetch the Foxbat while I go trap the rabbits.

  37. robro says

    For some odd reason, “The Christmas Song” springs to mind…”Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” La de dah law de dah.

    Any way, as an old man with not so great circulation, and a partner that keep the house at 60 degrees, my bed heat is essential to winter time comfort. I also find a moist heat pad helps relax achy muscles. But I’ll pass on red lights on my testicles. Doesn’t seem like that would actually do anything, so it’s just a waste of money.

    Speaking of which…wonder what share The Tuckster gets for this shtick? And wonder what it would take to get him to turn on Master Murdoch?

  38. blf says

    @43, “‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…'”

    Apropos of nothing, street vendors in London, Dublin, and Bristol (at least), when I lived in those parts, at that time of the year, would be roasting and selling what I presume were chestnuts. I always gave them a wide berth, as I couldn’t shake the (possibly entirely imaginary) image of the chestnuts exploding. (So no, I’ve never knowingly tasted a roasted chestnut.)

  39. PaulBC says

    robro@43

    Chestnuts roasting on an open fire … red lights on my testicles

    Hey, the meter works! You may have a hit on your hands.

  40. PaulBC says

    blf@44 Chestnut vendors in Zürich, mid-90s. That was my one successful use of self-taught German. I knew I could probably just apologize in English, but was tired of wimping out on everything. Instead, I rehearsed saying “zweihundert gramen.” Days may have passed before I really got up the nerve. Then I finally acted. It was amazing. The guy sold me a little bag of roast chestnuts, weighing what appeared to be 200g as intended. This didn’t embolden me to try it again. I was more like “Whoa… that actually worked?” and I am not one to press my luck. I’m convinced that being “good with languages” as some people are is less about memory or even listening and a lot more about getting over the social anxiety.

  41. Jazzlet says

    blf @44
    If you put a slit in the chesnut skin they don’t burst when roasted. I used to buy roasted chestnuts from similar vendors in Birmingham, jolly good on a cold day, tasty and warmed your hands.

  42. blf says

    PaulBC@46, Berlin, New Year’s after the wall came down (1989→1990), I was wandering through Alexanderplatz (in what was E.Berlin) and got the munchies. There was a pizza cart staffed by a young lady, and a small queue. Ok, looks promising… Trying as hard as I could to remember my States high-school Deutsch, I asked “ein stück bitte”, and amazingly got it correct, or at least understandable. The young lady seemed delighted and replied something like (this is all from very bad memory) “Hier, danke” — “Danke sehr” — “Gern geschehen!” (and a huge smile). Perhaps the longest conversation I’ve had in Deutsch with a non-bilingual German-speaker without any (mutual) confusion or restoring to English. I’ve always assumed that since I was speaking with an obvious “Anglo” accent, and she was presumably E.German, there was also a certain amount of “an American!” astonishment(/delight?), taking into account the timeframe.

  43. blf says

    Jazzlet@47, Thanks! My fear of exploding roasting chestnuts is probably quite unrational, and I have no idea where it comes from. I’ve never knowingly seen, heard, or read-of such a real incident in modern times, but there’s something about those street vendors which makes me wary…

  44. dbarkdog says

    There may be something to some of the radar stories. My father was an M.D. (with long running feuds with local quacks) who had been a navy radar man in closings months of WWII. He attributed his bone marrow disorder, and some similar maladies among other veterans he knew, to microwave radiation exposure while working on operating high power search radars. He also claimed his buddies would cook hotdogs on the collector located at the focal point of the dish. Under his down home working man’s doc demeanor, he was a very sharp cookie and generally well-informed about results in medical research. I very much doubt he was blowing hot air here. Some of his other yarns, well . . .

  45. dbarkdog says

    There may be something to some of the radar stories. My father was an M.D. (with long running feuds with local quacks) who had been a navy radar man in closings months of WWII. He attributed his bone marrow disorder, and some similar maladies among other veterans he knew, to microwave radiation exposure while working on operating high power search radars. He also claimed his buddies would cook hotdogs on the collector located at the focal point of the dish. Under his down home working man’s doc demeanor, he was a very sharp cookie and generally well-informed about results in medical research. I very much doubt he was blowing hot air here. Some of his other yarns, well . . .

  46. dianne says

    I’m sure it’s been said already, but infrared light isn’t testicle tanning, it’s testicle cooking.

  47. Pierce R. Butler says

    blf @ # 49: My fear of exploding roasting chestnuts …

    Let’s start some stories about exploding Carlsonized tanned testicles! (Maybe I’ve found a reason to get a Twitter account after all…)

  48. hemidactylus says

    The ball tanning vaguely reminds me of a South Park episode. If only the outcome were the same for Tucker and his fawning fanbois. I’ll leave it for the reader to find accompanying video on Youtube or elsewhere:
    “When Randy Marsh learns that South Park’s sole KFC is now a medical marijuana dispensary, he attempts to give himself cancer so he can get a doctor’s referral for marijuana after first gaining a clean bill of health from his doctor since he had assumed permits are given to the healthy. By irradiating his scrotum with a microwave oven, Randy successfully gives himself testicular cancer, making his testicles grow so large that he has to use a wheelbarrow to carry them. Randy obtains his medical referral and starts smoking marijuana regularly. Meanwhile, his testicles continue to grow to the point that he uses them as a hopper ball. Randy finds that his larger testicles are rather attractive to women, including his wife, Sharon Marsh, so he encourages his friends to also get testicular cancer.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicinal_Fried_Chicken

    I was wondering if trolling right wing comments sections on the manly-man benefits of capsaicin cream on the nads would result in an own the libs own goal of epic proportions. If told all it does is burn your skin they might double down…there.

  49. HidariMak says

    “Semen was collected at weekly intervals for 3 wk before and 10 wk after the sauna exposure at 85 degrees C for 20 minutes.”
    I might be missing something, but that doesn’t seem to be right. 85 degrees Celsius would be 185 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be a fatal sauna within 20 minutes for… anybody, wouldn’t it?

  50. John Morales says

    HidariMak, apparently, it’s tolerable in Finland.

    Sauna Guide

    In order to achieve the best health benefits, you should try to use the Sauna on a regular basis, ideally 3-6 times a week. Having consistent practice is more important than going hard, less often.

    As for the duration, we recommend 15-20+ minutes at around 80-85 degrees Celsius.

    When you come out of the sauna, try to relax. You could go for a swim at Prevelly, the local beach, which is a 2-3 minutes walk from the sauna on foot. You can also arrange for a cold plunge right outside the sauna!

    (https://kaarnasauna.com/your-finnish-sauna-guide-faq/)

  51. microraptor says

    dbarkdog @51: As I said in my previous post, the Mythbusters tried testing that myth using the radar array on a Navy ship. After duct taping a turkey to the radar transmitter and leaving it on for an hour, they found that the internal temperature had actually dropped, going from 50 degrees down to 45 degrees. When they did the same test on a TV News van’s transmission dish, they did see an increase in temperature from 40 degrees to 60 degrees after an hour of transmission, but this was due more to being in the San Francisco sun and certainly wasn’t enough to cook anything with.

    If anyone actually heated hot dogs in a radar dish, they probably did so by focusing the sunlight onto the hot dog while in a hot tropical region rather than radio transmissions.

  52. lumipuna says

    HidariMak – It takes a while for the human body to start warming up. Besides, sauna temperature is usually measured at the head/shoulder level of people sitting on the high bench, and it’s less for the lower body.

    How tolerable 20 minutes in 85 degrees is depends hugely on air humidity, and how much sweating cools the body. At high temperatures the relative humidity is very low if there’s no steaming (I’m lacking good English terminology here). People prefer varying combinations of temperature, time and humidity. Certainly, you’d start sweating profusely in 20 minutes and would need to hydrate.

    I mentioned upthread about extreme sauna “athletes” cooking themselves alive. They stayed only a few minutes in extremely high temperatures (over 100 degrees) with some steaming. If they’d had more reasonable temperatures and much longer endurance times, it would’ve been boring for the spectators, and dangerous also because of dehydration.

  53. nomdeplume says

    Tucker’s balls are in the Red Light District…

    But seriously, is there no limit to the idiocy this fool is capable of?

  54. erik333 says

    This metod sure stunds stupid, just sitting with my knees together makes me start to feel sick within minutes.
    TRT seems rather widespread and is considered akin to PED use in some Sports though, is there really no effect?

  55. muttpupdad says

    We need to start the rumor that the 5G wavelength is the best at tanning for your testicles and watch the wingnuts heads explode.

  56. says

    Maybe Mr Scion-of-TV-Dinners just wants that warm-from-the-oven feeling that let to his inherited fortune. Although I’m not gonna be the one to peel back the foil over the “pudding” before putting him in at 375 for 20-25 minutes… or try to guess what he’s gonna do with those MiG-25-precooked lagomorphs.

    Hey, maybe InfoWars can sell gen-u-wine radar-cooked Fweedom Wabbits to get itself out of bankruptcy!

  57. says

    I’m still trying to figure out where Tucker got the idea that he stacks up well in the manliness department. He’s still the same semi-stupid bowtie-wearing radical that pretty much anyone could snap like a toothpick. He’s not very good at self-reflection is he?

  58. microraptor says

    Marcus Ranum @67: If he had self-reflection, he wouldn’t be working at FAUX.

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