[EAS] Fwd: What's New Robert L. Park March 19, 2010
Peter J. Kindlmann
pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Mar 19 17:35:15 EDT 2010
A sobering testament to our society's helplessness vis-a-vis charlatans.
>Approved-By: whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG
>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 17:09:08 -0400
>Reply-To: whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG
>Sender: "Bob Park's What's New" <BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU>
>From: "What's New" <whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG>
>Subject: [BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Robert L. Park March 19, 2010
>To: BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU
> <mailto:LISTSERV at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU?body=INFO BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW>
><mailto:BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW-unsubscribe-request at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU>
>List-Subscribe: <mailto:BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW-subscribe-request at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU>
>List-Owner: <mailto:BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW-request at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU>
>WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 19 Mar 2010 Washington, DC
>1. IMAGINARY SCIENCE: THE GREAT DRUG WAR SOUTH OF THE BORDER.
>The United States and Mexico are separated by a 3000 km border that
>stretches across the most forbidding desert in North America. Mexican drug
>traffickers, for whom the US drug market is El Dorado, are fighting a
>bloody war with the democratically elected government of Mexico over
>control of the border. According to Monday's New York Times, outgunned
>Mexican officials spent more than $10 million to purchase high-tech dowsing
>rods to detect caches of drugs, or weapons or anything else you have in
>mind. The first application was as a golf-ball finder sold in Golf-Pro
>shops, http://bobpark.org/WN96/wn012696.html . The Mexican army says the
>devices are extremely helpful. Made in the UK by Global Technologies Ltd.,
>the GT 200 has no sensors. Priced at more than $20,000, it's a plastic rod
>attached to a hand grip by a swivel, allowing the rod to point in any
>direction depending on the orientation of the handle. That also describes
>the ADE 650 sold by ATSC Ltd., another UK company which recently sold 1,500
>imaginary detectors to the Iraqis to search for explosives at checkpoints
>http://bobpark.org/WN09/wn110609.html . Could Global Technologies and
>ATSC be the same company, switching names and locations to avoid exposure.
>2. IMAGINARY PENALTIES: AT WHAT POINT IS IMAGINARY SCIENCE CRIMINAL?
>The British government took action, notifying Mexico and other countries
>that the GT 200 "may not work." Of course it "works"; it just doesn't
>detect anything. That's not its purpose. Human Rights Watch is worried
>that people are actually being arrested and charged solely on the basis of
>readings from the device. That could happen; in the United States,
>however, local law enforcement agencies use these devices to justify
>probable-cause for searches. Whether it's done with a willow branch or a
>GT 200, dowsing falls in a special category of voodoo science, along with
>homeopathy and prayer, that we might call "pretend science." We treat
>pretend science much too lightly. It ignores the most basic principle of
>science: cause and effect. Causality should be stressed in the education
>of every child. The British government is said to be considering
>legislation to stop exports of the GT 200 and similar devices, but a
>British diplomat in Mexico said of the GT 200, "It's now up to the Mexican
>authorities." Why is it that the people who market imaginary science never
>seem to go to jail? I served several State Attorneys General as a expert
>witness in cases involving charges of fraudulent science. Every case ended
>with a consent decree in which the perpetrator agreed to stop cheating
>residents of that state.
>3. CELL PHONES: THEY CERTAINLY HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE HUMAN BRAIN.
>Whether the effect has anything to do with cancer is another matter. The
>ubiquitous presence of cell phones only started about a decade ago. If
>there is a more lengthy incubation period associated with cell-phone
>radiation we could be headed for a virtual epidemic. Just in case, the
>media has now taken to reporting the relative intensity levels of various
>models. That sort of listing does not put people's minds at rest, but so
>far there is nothing to implicate the cell phone in brain cancer. To the
>observation that microwave photons are not energetic enough to break a
>chemical bond in DNA, several readers observed that that microwaves can
>heat tissue, w evolution which is certainly true. However, the very large
>blood flow in the brain serves as an effective coolant.
>4. NSF: NEW DIRECTOR IS PICKED TO HEAD THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION.
>Subra Suresh, 53, dean of engineering at MIT, is the White House choice to
>succeed Arden Bement as head of the National Science Foundation.
>THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
>Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
>University of Maryland, but they should be.
>Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org
>What's New is moving to a different listserver and our
>subscription process has changed. To change your subscription
>status please visit this link:
More information about the EAS-INFO