Thursday, November 5, 2009

Electrostatic magnetic ion attraction: The ADE 651

A story ran in the New York Times claiming that the Iraqis are using divining rods at checkpoints--a "small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel" can apparently detect bombs.

Since the device employs the principle of "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction," it must be effective.

I'm still not convinced this is not an April Fool's prank with a calendar problem, but I guess if the world's leading expert on bombs (just ask him) tells you a divining rod can detect bombs a kilometer away (as well as ivory and truffles) and only costs $16,000, well, I got to have one!

It's worth it for the truffles alone.
(Do you have any idea how much it costs for me to maintain Snuffles my truffle pig?)

OK, this is too easy, and I figure a lot of bloggers will jump on the obvious, but that's not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about our military's response:
“I don’t believe there’s a magic wand that can detect explosives. If there was, we would all be using it. I have no confidence that these work.”

Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr, who " oversees Iraqi police training for the American military"
As reported by the New York Times, November 4

We tested it--we spent our hard-earned tax dollars and spent it testing a divining rod. Our DoD used the National Explosives Engineering Sciences Security Center at Sandia Labs to check out the claim.

And this is where I am supposed to sputter and spew about how tax dollars are wasted.

But I won't--because I teach science, and that is exactly how science works. You empirically test things. Especially things that are being sold to monitor checkpoints that might save the lives of our soldiers.

“Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs”
Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri
Head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives.
NYT, November 4

Go us! Despite our love of psychics, astrology, and Dr. Phil, our military still practices science.

If the Iraqi government wants to stake its citizens' lives on magical devices, that's their business. If they want to risk our soldiers' lives by ignoring science, that's ours.

Time to find a magic carpet and get ourselves home.


Techowiz said...

Since the device employs the principle of "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction," it must be effective.
Thye have now changed the working principle to,
Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance".
Apparently Electrostatic Magnetic Ion Attraction just did not sound sexy enough!!!!!

John Spencer said...

I'm thinking we should higher a phrenologist to analyze our soldiers and perhaps a palm reader at every checkpoint.

Term said...

lol i agree with john between good very good article..!

doyle said...

Dear Techowiz,

I didn't realize they changed the working principle, though I like "nuclear quadrupole resonance" enough to need to figure out a way to use it in the next week or so,

Thanks for the update!

Dear John,

Do you have any idea what palm readers charge? You sound like a spend, spend, spend LIBERAL!!!!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Techowiz said...

The Director of the company behind the ade651 has his own blog at:

That is where the information regarding the change of principle come from.

Considering that McCormick thinks he knows about scientific principles it is rather amusing that he cannot spell principle.
You will also note, for some reason he does not like me!!!!

Techowiz said...

McCormick (Director of ATSC) is fighting back against all the negative publicity, he is soon to introduce an upgrade to his scam device, ADE651 that will convince everyone it works. He is going to be fitting it with.........'Flashing Lights', sounds like a winner to me. See below for the story:


Techowiz said...

Nearly 250 people in Baghdad have lost their lives due to this scam in the last 4 weeks. When will the Iraqi people realise, as the bombers have, that this device does not work?

Techowiz said...

Great news the scammer-in-chief behind this scam has now been arrested, see the link for the story:


doyle said...

Dear Tech,

Glad to hear it--and thanks for staying on top of this.

Techowiz said...

See the total destruction of the scammer McCormicks's argument at Bruce Hood's blog: