James Randi on the ADE651 aka Quadro Tracker

Amazing story about sale of Dowsing rods to detect bombs. These sticks have been used for years in attempts to find water, oil, missing people and all manner of things.

James Randi has offered the manufacturer, and even people who bought the device, the opportunity to win $1 Million prize for demonstrating it’s efficacy. This testing process is customised to test the claim of super-natural ability made, with agreement of the claimant, and designed to test that claim with statistical significance.

Read about THE ADE 561™ DETECTOR on James Randi’s website.

Quote from that article:

The reason I contacted you because I was most concerned to hear that these “detectors” had been sold to the Lebanese Army for use in sniper detection and landmine detection. I have a contact in the Lebanese military and he showed me soldiers detecting explosives with them. I set up a simple test whereby I had five boxes. One contained TNT. I then placed the card-carrying part of the ADE651 into a rucksack onto the operatives back. I had three ADE 561™’s. For one of the carriers I removed the card so it was effectively blank, on another unit I disconnected the cable – so it shouldn’t work at all – and on the 3rd unit the cable was actually connected, with the proper card inserted. After seeing the video of this unit and the demonstration by the soldiers, I would have thought this was an easy test for them to pass.

Twenty soldiers in all tried the test. Every one FAILED.

The Lebanese army paid nearly one million USD for these units. I asked my contact what the response of the senior military officers was at the conclusion of my test. He said simply, “Not good.”

I have also just learned that ten of these “ADE 561™” units have been sold in Niger in Africa, and that the Iraqi Police have nearly 100 units. I have also obtained a quantity of the specimen cards that go into the reader, allegedly to program the unit to look for a particular substance. How can a company sell this rubbish that puts brave soldiers’ and police officers’ lives at risk?


CNT: Classical nucleation theory

Nucleation might sometimes be difficult, and significant super-cooling can occur before growth starts.

Water freezes when poured.

Beer freezes in bottle when knocked.

Water Freezes when bottle is opened

Water freezes in bottle when banged

Google search “Islam is…” Censored?

I wanted to add this as a comment to the blog posting at Science Blogs: Pharyngula but I can’t comment there with out registering (as I found after typing out the reply as I have written below).

The story points out that after typing “Christianity is”, “Hinduism is”, “Atheism is” etc in the google search field, will result in a list of further options, some of which are negative, however for “Islam is” this doesn’t occur.

The author claims that google is being sensitive about Islam, however I think the problem may be more to do with the difficulty of guessing what it is people want to search for.

To quote what I wanted to post:

Hi, interesting, but…

I think this is more to do with the word is and the ending ist.

With my spelling “Islam is” could well be confused with “Islamist”.

It seems any word I tried which can have an “ist” ending has this problem. Doesn’t seem to be censorship, nothing to see here, move along please.

Here is an example, try typing “Alarm is” and you run into the same problem.

You can find a list of words ending ist by searching the web. I think any of these that are also words without ist will exhibit the same behaviour.

Examples with no suggestions from google.com:
Absurd is
Alarm is
Anticapital is
Cornet is
Czar is

These words have results with is and with ist ending.
Consumer is
Creation is
Dada is
Defeat is
F is
Governmental is
L is
M is

This word suggests results that don’t have ‘is’
Chart is — this suggests Chartism and other results (Nothing ‘Chart is …’)
Dual is
Gradual is
Harp is
Ideal is
Ocult is

Find any more examples?