Archive for category Divination

Dowsing For Danger: ‘Grosvenor Scientific’ Raided

Last night I got a very interesting phone call, just as I was about to rush off to Manchester for the Greater Manchester Skeptics In The Pub talk with Simon ‘Quacklash’ Perry (which was, as expected, brilliant). The call was from a journalist at ITV, regarding the bomb detectors which don’t actually detect bombs, and what I knew about a company called Grosvenor Scientific. The answer, alas, was pretty much zilch, although a quick Google got me the following:

Exporters raided in bomb detector fraud inquiry

Police have raided three companies suspected of selling ineffective bomb detectors to overseas markets, in a case that raises questions of whether Britain has done all it can to curb the much-criticised trade.

City of London police said yesterday that they had raided five properties and planned to interview a number of individuals as part of an expanding investigation into the sale of the hand-held devices, which critics say have endangered lives in Iraq and elsewhere.

The police action was launched after Britain introduced a ban in January on the export of the devices, but applied it only to Iraq and Afghanistan because it said it lacked the power to extend it to countries in which UK and allied forces were not engaged.

The police said they executed five search warrants at premises in Kent, Devon and Nottingham linked to the companies Grosvenor Scientific, Scandec Inc and Global Technical, seizing a large amount of cash and several hundred explosive detection devices and their component parts – Source: Financial Times

Now, Global Technical I had heard of – in fact I wrote about their GT200 back in April. It’s great to see the police taking action, finally. Still, while we’re aware of the actions of ATSC (whose CEO Jim McCormick is still on police bail after his arrest earlier this year over the same charges these new companies now face), and both Scantec and Global Technical are well documented too, Grosvenor Scientific appear to be somewhat off the radar – with very little information to be found on them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Druid, Where’s My Car Crash?

The modern world has given us all manner of road safety initiatives, from speed cameras to road bumps, all the way down to that 70s Green Cross Code advert where Alvin Stardust told some girls they’re out of their tiny minds. Look it up on youtube, I’m not even kidding.

Still, having 70s glam rockers with chipmunk names yelling patronising insults at children isn’t the stupidest method employed in an attempt to promote road safety, given that reports from Austria this week suggested that druids have been working with local road safety authorities in an attempt to mitigate the dangers of accident blackspots.

As the Metro explains:

“Austrian authorities say druids have been so successful in dealing with motorway accident blackspots in one area that they plan to extend the project nationwide.  As well as using quartz standing stones to restore the area’s ‘natural energy’, the druids have come up with a cheaper modern-day option – burying plastic slates with magnets in the ground.

Arch druid Ilmar Tessmann was called in as a last resort after a high number of fatal accidents were reported on a straight stretch of motorway near Salzburg.  He said the crashes were caused by radiation from a nearby mobile phone mast disrupting the area’s normal ‘terrestrial’ radiation.  Installing the monoliths has successfully counteracted that, he claimed.”

The Metro reports that the rate of accidents has decreased from 6 per year, to zero in the 2 years since the druids have been applying their magic. Scientists, surprisingly enough, are somewhat skeptical, with a range of questions springing to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dowsing For Danger: Is The ADE651 Still On The Market?

A little while ago, our good friend and past guest speaker Trystan Swale covered the ADE651 – the so-called bomb detector that didn’t, well, detect bombs. The story had been widely reported, with prominent skeptic Bruce Hood working with the BBC to expose the inefficacy of the devices, culminating in the arrest of ATSC CEO Jim McCormick. James Randi, of course, had long since identified the ADE651 as little more than a dowsing device, having slapped the $1million challenge on the table if McCormick were able to prove him wrong – an offer which was, unsurprisingly, refused.

All this is well-known, and can be found in greater detail elsewhere on the web, so I won’t bore you by re-hashing the details. However, there is something I can add to the story – we here at the MSS were recently contacted by a journalist wanting to know a little more about the device, specifically if it’s still on sale. Always happy to oblige, I got to doing a bit of digging, and having found – unsurprisingly – the ATSC’s website down ‘for repair’ (I can only assume it’s the company’s morals that are undergoing repair), I was kindly pointed in the direction of the online trade outlet ecplaza, and specifically the page for the ATSC ADE 651.

Well, what better way to find out if this disgraced and disproven device is still on sale, than to call up the manufacturers directly? Luckily enough, ecplaza lists the phone number for the sales department of WooBombDetectorsRUs as +44 207 681 2036… which is a number out of service. Presumably, the phone lines are also down for repair. Still, on the page there’s this lovely, shiny, inviting orange box titled ‘Inquire Now’… so I did. Presumably, I thought, if the website is down and the CEO under investigation for fraud, then the email enquiries would either bounce back an auto-reply saying ‘this device is no longer on sale’ (or word to that effect), or it would simply disappear into a black hole.

As it turns out, I was wrong Read the rest of this entry »

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Dowsing For Danger: Pseudoscience On The Frontline

Friend of the MSS and presenter of Righteous Indignation Trystan Swale offers his take on the pseudoscientific bomb-detection devices currently in use in Iraq.

As America continues to mourn deaths of its troops in Iraq, the New York Times has published an astonishing story regarding a device used by Iraq’s security forces in detecting explosives carried by vehicles at roadside checkpoints. Costing up to $60,000 per unit, the ADE651 is manufactured by British based ATSC who is believed to have shifted 1500 of the devices to the Iraqi authorities.

Despite claims by the manufacturers that the device can also detect illegal drugs, it seems the device is no more than useless for detecting either explosives or narcotics. Dale Murray of America’s National Explosive Engineering Sciences Security Center said the organisation had “tested several devices in this category, and none have ever performed better than random chance.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Moon Drivel

Two weekends ago it was Halloween, which seems to be going from strength to strength of late. The streets normally patrolled by scallies in hoods were patrolled by small children wearing binliners and demanding sweets from strangers. I think the idea is that kids demanding things for seemingly no reason is supposed to be cute on public holidays, but bugger that, I remember trick-or-treating as a kid and I just remember feeling like a prick. There I was, in a plastic mask, demanding money and sweets from neighbours whose garage doors I had repeatedly kicked a football against for about five years. I felt dirty, evil and wrong. And you should, too.

Anyway, this Halloween didn’t just bring out small wannabe witches and devils, it also brought out those absolutely terrible articles that papers like the Daily Mail and the Express seem to wheel out at least once a year when they think they need to rouse their readers from their dark and terrible slumber. Here, have some woo… enjoy its tasteless additives… it will take your mind off hating immigrants and single mothers….
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Geopathic Stress: Where EHS meets All-Natural

Debbie Rye, of www.alternativeways.co.uk, describes herself as a “natural health therapist”.

I’d be more readily able to comment upon her job description if I could make sense of it.  A natural health therapist?  What does that even mean? What is “health therapy”?  What makes it “natural”?  Is “natural” a good thing?  Who knows.

Debbie was suffering from severe headaches.

I also experienced 2 miscarriages and developed pregnancy related diabetes during the subsequent successful pregnancy. The diabetes returned about 4 years after the birth of my son and gradually worsened from being treated by diet alone, to diet and tablets and eventually insulin.

Although she was being treated for diabetes by the NHS, Debbie decided to seek “alternatives” and was subsequently diagnosed with “candida”, by parties unknown.

I followed a herbal cleanse and build up programme which cleared the candida from my body and restored my health almost completely.

Candida albicans is a normal part of the human flora, often found in the gut and genitourinary tract. Occasionally, the growth of candida albicans can get out of control, causing a condition known as candida overgrowth, candidiasis, or (most commonly) thrush.

It’s very common, and very treatable.  It’s odd though, don’t you think, that her doctors had somehow missed candidiasis, and were treating her instead for diabetes? Read the rest of this entry »

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