Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

What the F Nouri?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 24, 2010

What is wrong in the head of the Iraqi prime minister? Why does he insist on endangering the lives of his people? Can one man’s stubbornness, blind him so much that he’d much rather keep using a magic stick to detect BOMBS that are used daily to kill his people, than admit he was wrong?

The survey, ordered by Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, found the British device, known as ADE651, generally worked. However some of the gadgets, found to be ineff­ective, would be replaced.

A government spokesman later said only 50% of the devices worked.

Replaced with what? Other ineffectual magic sticks? And just how exactly was the survey conducted? I wonder if they had two containers, one with explosives and one without. That would explain the 50% pass rate. Mr. al-Maliki, please stop making it easy for the bad guys to kill innocents.

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Breaking News: Australian antivax group to shut down

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

The great news keep on coming! First the bomb dowsing magic stick was discredited, then Andrew Wakefield first got torn to pieces by the GMC and then the Lancet retracted his 1998 paper that sparked the MMR-causes-autism scare, thus dealing a deadly blow to the anti-vaccine movement. And today we get news that Meryl Dorey the head of the grossly misnamed Australian Vaccination Network is resigning and unless huge amounts of donations come in the AVN itself will close its doors by the end of February. Woot!

After almost 17 years of running the AVN, it is my bittersweet duty to inform you that within the next 3-4 weeks I will tendering my resignation as President of this great organisation and moving on to the next stage of my own personal development as mother, wife, activist and researcher.

Alternatively, if a benefactor or series of benefactors come forward to establish a fund that would guarantee the AVN’s existence for at least the next 2-3 years, or if donations were to be come in during the next week that would give us the same financial sustainability, then I would be willing to continue in my role for the foreseeable future.

If nobody comes forward to take on the role of President or if the funds are not provided to allow us to continue however, the AVN will be ceasing operations on or about the 28th of February.

Yeah, they’re asking for all their supporters to give up 1% of their incomes to support the AVN. I hope that does not happen. The AVN, while it may be guided by a desire to do good, is seriously misguided and what it does is hurt the very same children it aims to protect. Unfortunately bad deeds can be done out of the best of intentions, so while I don’t doubt that the motivations of most of these folks are to do good, that doesn’t make them any less dead wrong! So yes I am happy to hear this news, and can’t wait to see what Thursday and Friday will bring us. Chalk another one up to reason!

The only bad news is that Dory hasn’t seen the light, metaphorically speaking. The decision to resign and possibly shut down the AVN was a purely financial one; it appears she intends to keep up her fight for the right to spread misinformation as a “researcher” and writer, which roughly can be translated in “there’s a book coming out soon enough”, am I right? It would have been better if she’d actually understood that she is wrong and had decided to accept reality, especially in the wake of the Wakefield scandal, but that does not appear to be the case, but I’m keeping hope alive. You just never know!

UK warns world about useless ‘bomb detectors’

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 27, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

A UK government ban on the export of “magic wand” bomb detectors to Iraq and Afghanistan becomes effective on 27 January, as the BBC reveals further shocking evidence of the shortcomings of these devices.

The restriction is being imposed following a BBC Newsnight investigation which showed that the supposed detectors were incapable of detecting explosives or anything else.

There are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks which have killed hundreds of people.

The British Foreign Office has told the BBC that they will now be urgently warning all governments who may have bought devices such as the ADE651 and GT200 that they are “wholly ineffective” at detecting bombs and explosives.

The ADE651 is made by a company from Somerset called ATSC. The director of the company, Jim McCormick, was arrested at the beginning of this month on suspicion of misrepresentation.

The GT200 is sold by Global Technical in Kent.

Global concerns

Despite advice from the British embassy in Baghdad, the ADE651 is still in use on checkpoints in Iraq, while an investigation ordered by the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues.

In the past three days, 58 people have died there in bombings.

In Pakistan, which is not covered by Britain’s export ban, rows have broken out after newspapers highlighted the continued use of similar devices at Jinnah International Airport in Islamabad.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on January 26, 2010

But that’s not the funny part. The funny part is this comment from company spokesman Jim “Out on Bail” McCormick:
“He added: ‘We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.'”
Oh, flashing lights! That’ll look nice as the bombs drive past…
Teacherninja
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FURTHER SUPPORT OF QUACKERY EXPRESSED!

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on January 25, 2010

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

Concerning the current ADE-651 dowsing-rod brouhaha in which the “inventor” and manufacturer James McCormick was arrested and then released on bail, BBC news has just quoted a senior Iraqi interior ministry official, Assistant Deputy Minister General Tareq al-Asl, as stating:

The reason the director of the company [James MCormick] was arrested was not because the device doesn’t work, but because he refused to divulge the secret of how it works to the British authorities, and the Americans before them.

Well, I don’t think so.

It was because UK agencies finally looked into this farce and found that the ADE-561 is one example of the widespread delusion so many people have that they can use sticks, twigs, wires, rods, or pendulums to detect people, explosives, lost dogs, gold, oil, or almost anything else. Ah, but Iraqi Assistant Deputy Minister General Tareq al-Asl is now eligible to win the JREF million-dollar prize, folks!

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

James Randi Speaks: Dowsing, the Ideomotor Effect

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 21, 2009