Nov 072009
 

I saw this article the other day in the New York Times about how the Iraqi security forces have spent an estimated $85 million dollars on crap. The crap is the ADE 651 built ATSC (site under repair!). It’s a two-pronged disaster: 1. a waste of money and 2. the devices don’t detect shit.
Check out the website for the ADE 651. It’s pathetic and full of spelling errors.

Here are some choice quotes from Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives.

“Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs”

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them, I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.”

I’d be inclined to call Jehad al-Jabiri an idiot, but my guess is that the way the device works is that Jehad pockets a portion of the total contract. Either that, or his skull is hollow. This guy is crook or an idiot.

Anyhow, this is just the most recent, depressing incident in the long (and I guess profitable) history of dowsing rods. In the past, these scams were limited to the uninformed prospector and treasure hunter.

Here’s an incomplete list of bullshit dowsing technology websites:

The Sniffex. Notice how similar it is to this golf ball detector.

Here’s a video of the Sniffex in action!

The ADE 651

The ADE 651 blog

Electroscopes

Rangertell

DKL Lifeguard

Here’s an incomplete list of sites debunking Dowsing:

Sandia Labs evaluation of the DKL Lifeguard

Sniffex Questions blog

Carl Moreland has a wonderful series of reports disecting various dowsing gizmos. My favorite is the Ranger-Tell Examiner. It’s got a crappy Chinese calculator glued to the top! What a howler.

Honorable mention is the Lectra Search Model X-50. It’s got mounting holes drilled through the traces of a do-nothing PCB inside the case.

How this stuff survives is a mystery to me.

 Posted by at 5:23 PM
Oct 162009
 

I heard about this yesterday. Here’s the launch video.

Let’s estimate the volume and lifting power of the balloon. The balloon looks to be about 6 meters in diameter and no more than 2 meters tall (I think this is being generous. Look how it tapers towards the edges). So the volume is no more than about 54 m^3 and the lifting power is, best case, 54 kg (the density of air is about 1 kg/m^3). This assumes that the structure weighs nothing. I think a fair value for the volume is more like 27 m^3 (average height of 1 meter). It’s tough to accurately estimate the size from this video and the lifting power is quadratic in diameter.

Cruise on over to the CDC to get the average weight of a six year old boy (nice graphs!) and you’ll find that the kid probably weighed in at about 20 kg.

I was hoping that the numbers would show that there is no way that saucer could lift a kid, but depending on the construction and real volume it was barely possible. However, look at the takeoff again. Check out all that slack in the balloon material. That alone should clue you into the fact that there is no boy in the “basket.”

This thing even had a name: the “3DLAV.” Here’s some “technical” information.

 Posted by at 4:06 PM