Snake oil
Snake oil is a topical preparation made from the Chinese Water Snake (Enhydris chinensis), which is used to treat joint
A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constructed to allow movement and provide mechanical support, and are classified structurally and functionally.-Classification:...

 pain. However, the most common usage of the phrase is as a derogatory term for quack medicine
Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices. Random House Dictionary describes a "quack" as a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or...

. The expression is also applied metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

ically to any product with questionable and/or unverifiable quality or benefit.


Snake oil originally came from China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, where it is called shéyóu (蛇油). There, it was used as a remedy for inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks synovial joints. The process produces an inflammatory response of the synovium secondary to hyperplasia of synovial cells, excess synovial fluid, and the development...

, bursitis
Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless...

, and other similar conditions.

Snake fat also played a role in ancient Egyptian medicine, mixed with the fats of lion, hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

, crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

, tomcat
Tomcat may refer to:* A male cat, known as a tom or tommiecat* Tomcats , a 2001 comedy film* Apache Tomcat, an open-source Java Servlet Container developed by the Apache Software Foundation* Beretta Tomcat, a small .32 caliber pistol...

, and Nubian ibex
Nubian Ibex
The Nubian ibex is a desert-dwelling goat species found in mountainous areas of Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, and Pakistan. It is generally considered to be a subspecies of Alpine ibex, but is sometimes considered specifically distinct...

 into a homogeneous mass believed to cause bald men to grow hair.

Chinese labourers
Historically, a coolie was a manual labourer or slave from Asia, particularly China, India, and the Phillipines during the 19th century and early 20th century...

 on railroad gangs involved in building the First Transcontinental Railroad
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

 first gave snake oil to Europeans with joint pain. When rubbed on the skin at the painful site, snake oil was claimed to bring relief. This claim was ridiculed by rival medicine salesmen, and in time, snake oil became a generic name for many compounds marketed as panacea
Panacea (medicine)
The panacea , named after the Greek goddess of healing, Panacea, also known as panchrest, was supposed to be a remedy that would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely...

s or miraculous remedies whose ingredients were usually secret, unidentified, or mis-characterized and mostly inert or ineffective.

Patented remedies originated in England, where a patent was granted to Richard Stoughton's Elixir in 1712. Since there was no federal regulation in the USA concerning safety and effectiveness of drugs until the 1906 Food and Drugs Act
Food and Drugs Act
Food and Drugs Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada regarding the production, import, export, transport across provinces and sale of food, drugs, contraceptive devices and cosmetics...

 and various medicine salesmen or manufacturers seldom had enough skills in analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry is the study of the separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. Qualitative analysis gives an indication of the identity of the chemical species in the sample and quantitative analysis determines the amount of...

 to analyze the contents of snake oil, it became the archetype
An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

 of hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...


The snake oil peddler became a stock character
Stock character
A Stock character is a fictional character based on a common literary or social stereotype. Stock characters rely heavily on cultural types or names for their personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. In their most general form, stock characters are related to literary archetypes,...

 in Western movies: a travelling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling fake medicines with boisterous marketing hype
Hype may refer to:*A media circus*Hype , 1981 album by Robert Calvert*Hype , American comedy television series*Hype!, documentary about the popularity of grunge rock in the early to mid 1990...

, often supported by pseudo-scientific
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 evidence. To increase sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a shill
A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization...

) would often attest to the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would leave town before his customers realized they had been cheated. This practice is also called grifting and its practitioners are called grifters
Confidence trick
A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...


The practice of selling dubious remedies for real (or imagined) ailments still occurs today, albeit with some updated marketing techniques. Homeopathy
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners claim to treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient...

 is sometimes referred to as a modern snake oil, since most studies show it to be no more effective than placebo
A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient...

. Claims of cures for chronic diseases (for example, diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

) for which there are reputedly only symptomatic treatments available from evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine or evidence-based practice aims to apply the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making. It seeks to assess the strength of evidence of the risks and benefits of treatments and diagnostic tests...

 are especially common. The term snake oil peddling is used as a derogatory term to describe such practices.

Composition of snake oil

The composition of snake oil medicines varies markedly between products.

Snake oil sold in San Francisco's Chinatown
A Chinatown is an ethnic enclave of overseas Chinese people, although it is often generalized to include various Southeast Asian people. Chinatowns exist throughout the world, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. Binondo's Chinatown located in Manila,...

 in 1989 was found to contain:
  • 75% mostly unidentified carrier material, including camphor
    Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel , a large evergreen tree found in Asia and also of Dryobalanops aromatica, a giant of the Bornean forests...

  • 25% oil from Chinese water snakes, itself consisting of:
    • 20% eicosapentaenoic acid
      Eicosapentaenoic acid
      Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 20:5. It also has the trivial name timnodonic acid...

       (EPA) - an omega-3
      Omega-3 fatty acid
      N−3 fatty acids are essential unsaturated fatty acids with a double bond starting after the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain....

       fatty acid
    • 48% myristic acid
      Myristic acid
      Myristic acid, also called tetradecanoic acid, is a common saturated fatty acid with the molecular formula CH312COOH. A myristate is a salt or ester of myristic acid....

    • 10% stearic acid
      Stearic acid
      Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

    • 14% oleic acid
      Oleic acid
      Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable fats. It has the formula CH37CH=CH7COOH. It is an odorless, colourless oil, although commercial samples may be yellowish. The trans isomer of oleic acid is called elaidic acid...

    • 7% linoleic acid
      Linoleic acid
      Linoleic acid is an unsaturated n-6 fatty acid. It is a colorless liquid at room temperature. In physiological literature, it has a lipid number of 18:2...

       (18:2ω6) plus arachidonic acid
      Arachidonic acid
      Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid 20:4.It is the counterpart to the saturated arachidic acid found in peanut oil, Arachidonic acid (AA, sometimes ARA) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid 20:4(ω-6).It is the counterpart to the saturated arachidic acid found in peanut oil,...


Stanley's snake oil—produced by Clark Stanley
Clark Stanley
Clark Stanley , the self-styled "Rattlesnake King," was known for popularizing snake oil as a patent medicine.In 1879, after 11 years as a cowboy, Stanley studied for more than two years with a Moki medicine man at Walpi, Arizona. This included learning the secrets of snake oil...

, the "Rattlesnake King"—was tested by the United States government in 1917. It was found to contain:
  • mineral oil
    Mineral oil
    A mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of alkanes in the C15 to C40 range from a non-vegetable source, particularly a distillate of petroleum....

  • 1% fatty oil (presumed to be beef fat)
  • red pepper
    Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, but they are now also cultivated worldwide, used as spices, vegetables, and medicines - and have become are a key element in...

  • turpentine
    Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene...

  • camphor
    Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel , a large evergreen tree found in Asia and also of Dryobalanops aromatica, a giant of the Bornean forests...

This is similar in composition to modern-day capsaicin-based liniments.

Claims of efficacy

Snake oil is still used as a pain reliever in China, but not heavily in the United States. Richard Kunin
Richard Kunin
Richard A. Kunin , is an American physician specializing in orthomolecular medicine. Kunin has written books and articles on nutrition and orthomolecular medicine. He was a co-founder of the Orthomolecular Medical Society with Dr. Linus Pauling in 1976...

, a proponent of orthomolecular medicine
Orthomolecular medicine
Orthomolecular medicine is a form of complementary and alternative medicine that seeks to maintain health and prevent or treat diseases by optimizing nutritional intake and/or prescribing supplements...

, Chinese snake oil is higher in eicosapentaenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 20:5. It also has the trivial name timnodonic acid...

 than the black
Black rattlesnake
Black rattlesnake may refer to:* Crotalus horridus, a.k.a. the timber rattlesnake, a venomous pitviper species found in the eastern United States.* Crotalus o. oreganus, a.k.a...

 or red rattlesnake
Red rattlesnake
Red rattlesnake may refer to:* Crotalus ruber, a.k.a. the red diamond rattlesnake, a venomous pitviper species found in southwestern California in the United States and Baja California in Mexico....

, and also slightly higher than salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

, a popular food source for omega-3. Kunin believes that this high concentration of omega-3 could make snake oils effective for the relief of some joint pain and arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

, and may provide an explanation for the traditional use of snake oil, but research has not confirmed his predictions.

In popular culture

Poppy (1923 musical)
Poppy (1923 musical)
Poppy is a musical comedy with music by Stephen Jones and Arthur Samuels, and lyrics and book by Dorothy Donnelly, with contributions also from Howard Dietz, W. C. Fields and Irving Caesar...

: W. C. Fields
W. C. Fields
William Claude Dukenfield , better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer...

's film about a Western frontier American snake oil salesman complete with a surreptitious crowd accomplice. His demonstration from the back of a buckboard
A buckboard is a four-wheeled wagon of simple construction meant to be drawn by a horse or other large animal. The "buckboard" is the front-most board on the wagon that could act as both a footrest for the driver and protection for the driver from the horse's rear hooves in case of a "buck". The...

 (transparently fraudulent to the movie audience) of a miraculous cure for hoarseness ignited a comic purchasing frenzy.
Disney's Pete's Dragon
Pete's Dragon
Pete's Dragon is a 1977 live-action/animated musical film from Walt Disney Productions and the first Disney film to be recorded in the Dolby Stereo sound system...

 : The greedy "Doc" Terminus, played by Jim Dale
Jim Dale
Jim Dale, MBE is an English actor, voice artist, singer and songwriter. He is best known in the United Kingdom for his many appearances in the Carry On series of films and in the US for narrating the Harry Potter audiobook series, for which he received two Grammy Awards, and the ABC series Pushing...

, gave a testament to the persuasive power of the snake oil salesman. Dealing with a crowd of people he had conned on a prior visit, Terminus turns them from angry vengeance seekers to believers once more, paying top dollar for Terminus's products despite their previous ineffectiveness.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer : Mark Twain presents Aunt Polly as a true believer in various sorts of snake oil, though not always in the form of an alleged medicine. She also adopted cold showers as a cure-all at one point in Tom's childhood. For a time, she insisted that Tom Sawyer take a painkiller
An analgesic is any member of the group of drugs used to relieve pain . The word analgesic derives from Greek an- and algos ....

 every day, simply because she thought it would be good for him; Tom finally gave some to Peter the housecat, who reacted to the dose with extreme and comic agitation. After seeing the cat vanish in a frenzy out the window, Aunt Polly no longer forced Tom to take the painkiller.
Little Big Man (film): The main character, Jack Crabb, works as the apprentice of a travelling snake oil salesman for a while.
Say Say Say
Say Say Say
"Say Say Say" is a pop song written and performed by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. The track was produced by George Martin for McCartney's fifth solo album, Pipes of Peace...

s music video : In a more modern appearance of grifting in pop culture, the collaboration of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson in 1983 produced a music video for Say Say Say, which depicts McCartney as the salesman selling a dubious strength elixir from the back of a truck and Jackson as his accomplice amongst the audience.
Beachcomber may refer to:* Beachcomber * Beachcomber , a nom de plume used by several humor columnists* Beachcomber , the name of multiple characters in the Transformers universe...

: Many of J. B. Morton
J. B. Morton
John Cameron Andrieu Bingham Michael Morton, better known by his preferred abbreviation J. B. Morton was an English humorous writer noted for authoring a column called By the Way under the pen name Beachcomber in the Daily Express from 1924 to 1975.G. K...

's books and radio programs included short spoof advertisements for Snibbo, a fictional treatment allegedly tackling various unlikely human conditions.
Flåklypa Grand Prix
Flåklypa Grand Prix
Flåklypa Grand Prix is a Norwegian stop motion-animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino. It was released in 1975 and is based on characters from a series of books by Norwegian cartoonist and author Kjell Aukrust...

 : In this animated movie, Snake Oil is used as a name for a shady oil company.
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas : In this Muppet Christmas special, Emmet and Ma periodically reminisced about his deceased Pa, the unsuccessful snake oil salesman, because "Pa couldn't find anyone who would want to oil a snake."
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die is a metalcore band from Buffalo, New York, formed in 1998. Their musical style is rooted in technical hardcore with strong southern metal and mathcore elements, and is also characterised by their cryptic, bitingly sarcastic lyrics. The band announced on July 14, 2008 that they had...

 : The New Junk Aesthetic CD uses a line in the song "Host Disorder" containing the term. "Open your heart to the snake oil peddlers".
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
"Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" is the first single released by Cher for the album of the same name, her seventh solo album. It was her first chart-topper as a solo artist in the United States.-Song information:...

 : The lyrics describe that, Papa would do whatever he could / Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good. "Doctor Good" is most often interpreted to be a kind of snake-oil elixir.

Steve Earle
Steve Earle
Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and Texas Country as well as his political views. He is also a producer, author, a political activist, and an actor, and has written and directed a play....

's "Snake Oil": Singer-songwriter Steve Earle
Steve Earle
Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and Texas Country as well as his political views. He is also a producer, author, a political activist, and an actor, and has written and directed a play....

 recorded a song critical of the Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 administration entitled "Snake Oil" for the album Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road is an American country music/country rock album released in 1988 by Steve Earle. Often referred to as Earle's first "rock record", Earle himself calls it the world's first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass, while in their January 26, 1989 review of the album Rolling Stone suggested...

, released in 1988 : "Well ain't your President good to you/ Knocked 'em dead in Libya, Grenada too/ Now he's taking his show a little further down the line/ Well, 'tween me and him people, you're gonna get along just fine."

English musician and comedy writer Vivian Stanshall
Vivian Stanshall
Vivian Stanshall was an English singer-songwriter, painter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his surreal exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and for narrating Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.-The great...

 satirized a miracle cosmetic as "Rillago—the great ape repellent".

The band Alkaline Trio has recorded a song entitled "Snake Oil Tanker".

The song "Please Come Home to Hamngatan" by The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats is an American indie rock band formed in Claremont, CA by singer-songwriter John Darnielle. For many years, the sole member of the Mountain Goats was Darnielle himself, despite the plural moniker....

 from the album Ghana
Ghana (album)
Ghana is third in a three-part series of compilations of songs by The Mountain Goats that have appeared on various releases. It is preceded by Protein Source of the Future...Now!, and Bitter Melon Farm.-Track listing:# Golden Boy# Pure Gold...

 references snake oil and snake oil peddlers.

The character Nigel West Dickens in the game Red Dead Redemption, by Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games is a major video game developer and publisher based in New York City, owned by Take-Two Interactive following its purchase of UK video game publisher BMG Interactive. The brand is mostly known for Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, L.A...

, is a con man who sells bogus miracle cures and elixirs, and he is referred by many characters in the game, derogatorily, as a snake oil vendor. Ironically, there is an in-game item called "Snake Oil" that, when taken by the character, temporarily improves shooting efficiency (it refills the Dead-Eye Meter).

The band Big Audio Dynamite
Big Audio Dynamite
Big Audio Dynamite are a British musical group formed in 1984 by the ex-guitarist and singer of the Clash, Mick Jones. The group are noted for their effective mixture of varied musical styles, incorporating elements of punk rock, dance music, hip hop, reggae, and funk...

 recorded a song entitled "Medicine Show" in which they describe a singer that sells dubious medicine. It is presumed that this is snake oil.

The song "Acid Tongue" by Jenny Lewis
Jenny Lewis
Jennifer Diane Lewis , is an American singer-songwriter musician and actress. She was the primary vocalist of the indie rock band Rilo Kiley, and has released two solo albums. She currently performs as part of the duo Jenny & Johnny with boyfriend Johnathan Rice...

 from the album of the same name makes reference with the lyric, 'there was no snake oil cure for unlucky in love'.

The band Oilsnakes plays off of the intended metaphorical definition of "Snake Oil", with the style of progressive avante guarde music and arte performances and releases of their three albums "Eye Don't Know", "Eye Don't Care", & "Eye Don't Listen"

See also

  • Alchemy
    Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

  • Crocodile oil
    Crocodile oil
    Crocodile oil is extracted from the fatty tissues of crocodiles and has been used both as preventative and a treatment for a number of human ailments and conditions for many years and across numerous cultures, including Ancient Egypt. It is somewhat red in color, and less viscous than alligator...

  • Elixir
    An elixir is a clear, sweet-flavored liquid used for medicinal purposes, to be taken orally and intended to cure one's ills. When used as a pharmaceutical preparation, an elixir contains at least one active ingredient designed to be taken orally....

  • Goanna
    Goanna is the name used to refer to any number of Australian monitor lizards of the genus Varanus, as well as to certain species from Southeast Asia.There are around 30 species of goanna, 25 of which are found in Australia...

  • Golden hammer
    Golden hammer
    The concept known as the law of the instrument, Maslow's hammer, or a golden hammer is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."-History:The first recorded statement of the...

  • Homeopathy
    Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners claim to treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient...

  • Patent medicine
    Patent medicine
    Patent medicine refers to medical compounds of questionable effectiveness sold under a variety of names and labels. The term "patent medicine" is somewhat of a misnomer because, in most cases, although many of the products were trademarked, they were never patented...

  • Quackery
    Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices. Random House Dictionary describes a "quack" as a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or...

  • Scareware
    Scareware comprises several classes of scam software with malicious payloads, or of limited or no benefit, that are sold to consumers via certain unethical marketing practices. The selling approach uses social engineering to cause shock, anxiety, or the perception of a threat, generally directed at...

  • Silver bullet
    Silver bullet
    In folklore, the silver bullet is supposed to be the only kind of bullet for firearms that is effective against a werewolf, witch, or other monsters...

  • Traditional Chinese medicine
    Traditional Chinese medicine
    Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

  • Universal panacea

Further reading

  • Kunin, R.A. "Snake oil." West J Med. 1989 Aug; 151(2):208.

External links

  • The Snake Oil FAQ by Matt Curtin
    Matt Curtin
    Matt Curtin is a computer scientist and entrepreneur in Columbus, Ohio best known for his work in cryptography and firewall systems. He is the founder of Interhack Corporation, first faculty advisor of , and lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State...

    and others; pertaining to cryptographic snake oil
  • "Snake Oil Salesmen Were on to Something" (Scientific American)
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