Dunning - Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena
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Wiseman - How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things
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SWIFT July 25, 2008
Written by James Randi
Friday, 25 July 2008
AN ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENT
Our readers will recall a tedious matter that occupied this site for several months. It was yet another “dowsing stick” farce, this one headed up by a Paul B. Johnson, CEO of the “Sniffex” company. Johnson eagerly sued the JREF when we published the facts about the fraudulent toy he was marketing as a bomb detection device, obviously hoping to benefit from the growing public concern with security. In fact, in September of 2006, he actually changed the name of his company to “Homeland Safety International Inc.,” keeping up to date with the latest media headlines, and perhaps hoping to imply connections with federal government agencies. He issued a series of 33 news releases that contained mostly false information about the product and about the company's financial situation. This maneuver drove the share price of the stock from 80 cents to about $6, earning a combined $32 million in illegal profits.
Recent changes in fortune have brought the present market value of the company’s shares to $.001 per share…
The company has now been charged with violations of securities-registration provisions and the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] is seeking permanent injunctions against future violations of federal securities laws, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, civil monetary penalties, penny-stock bars, and accountings. In short, the company is charged with using “pump-and-dump” market manipulation techniques…
We ask you to bear in mind the bottom-line fact here: lawyers have made, and continue to make, fortunes on this matter. Johnson and his cohorts can afford the fees and costs, the JREF cannot. Though our involvement with this swindle is now over, we paid out some $12,000 in legal costs just to defend ourselves. Now, years later, Homeland Safety International Inc. merely has to weather an imminent shutdown of their fraud, tuck away their profits in offshore accounts, and wait for better weather.
We believe that our exposure of the scam helped bring about the process of Johnson et al being caught by the SEC, but we have to continue to wonder why the agency has such inertia. I’ll add that Johnson – as happens with so many of these harassing suits – gave up his lawsuit against the JREF just before it went to court, yet when we sought to obtain costs for this blatantly frivolous legal action – brought merely to intimidate us and cost us money – we were refused by the judge.
Johnson and his cohorts used every trick in the book to pump up confidence in their product. In June of 2005, he issued a press release announcing the
…results from field tests of Sniffex… performed by the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center [EMRTC].
This is a legitimate state testing institution associated with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. In Johnson’s release, he stated
…several of the tests showed that Sniffex was able to detect nitro-based explosives from behind walls and inside cars from distances of 10 to 30 feet. [CEO Johnson said] the results were impressive.
Included was a web-based link to an excerpt of an EMRTC report prepared by Johnson. His press release was misleading in several respects. First, it falsely stated that the tests, which actually took place on March 3, 2005, were performed by EMRTC. In actual fact, the involvement of EMRTC engineers was limited to concealing the explosives for the detection trials, observing the tests, and recording the results. Johnson and his assistant actually operated the device during the tests.
I wrote to the head engineer at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology to inquire about the results of the tests they were said to have conducted on the Sniffex. I was answered immediately and dismissed, told that this information was unavailable to me, and that was the end of it so far as the Institute was concerned. Note: They knew that the Sniffex had failed their tests, definitively. Was that the reason they were shy about revealing the data? Or were they more deeply involved with Johnson and Sniffex?
Second, the release stated that the tests showed that the device was shown to have been able to detect explosives. According to the EMRTC engineers, however, their tests were flawed, and therefore inconclusive. They noted that they could not determine whether positive results were the product of (a) the device's technology, (b) conscious or subconscious manipulation of the device by Johnson or his assistant, (c) mere chance, or (d) other factors. I can assure you that option “a” is wrong: this fancy stick had nothing in it. Options “b” and “d” should be examined…
Following their tests, an EMRTC engineer advised Johnson that at least two to three rounds of additional tests were necessary before any conclusions regarding the device's efficacy could be drawn; those tests never took place. Note that this fact was not mentioned in Johnson’s press release…
Third, the press release did not accurately reflect Johnson's true opinion of the tests. Indeed, after the testing, Johnson registered his dissatisfaction with the tests' outcome to the EMRTC staff. Moreover, on March 6, 2005, Johnson sent a memo to colleagues, stating
We tested for seven hours straight, non-stop, and I am sorry to say we had very mixed results.
Well, “mixed results” is one way to put it, but “fiasco” would have been more accurate.
Finally, Johnson's excerpt from the report of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center – associated with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, remember – described ten of the more favorable test results, but it omitted results from sixteen others which were less favorable! As a whole, the excerpt published in the media release gave the misleading impression that independent testing from a recognized test lab had proven that the device could detect explosives, when in fact this was far from the truth.
To indicate just how dismissive CEO Paul Johnson was of the JREF’s criticisms, here are snippets from some of his pompous and presumptive letters to us, while he was riding high, and well aware that we could not access the actual data from EMRTC:
Your commentary on my company's product from in August 2005 has now cost numerous lives around the world (I believe). Homeland Safety Intl., formerly Sniffex, Inc. has been damaged beyond anyone's ability to calculate it because of one commentary on a product you never saw, never talked to anyone who had used, or tested with your team.
He wrote this at a time when we at the JREF – and Johnson himself – had already been informed by authoritative, dependable sources that the U.S. government – as well as a foreign outpost of the U.S. Army – had thoroughly tested the Sniffex toy and declared it to be useless. This hand-wringing over the loss of life brought about by the JREF exposing the true nature of this silly toy, is farcical. The thing just doesn’t work, it never worked, and it can’t work because it has no power source, no operating parts, nor any sensing circuits! It’s a total fake. Here’s more of what Johnson wrote to us:
I am going to tell you that if you hadn't written that commentary, and it still didn't come up at the top of a search for "sniffex" and "paul johnson", many lives would have been saved. Thank God there are people and groups and governments that don't believe everything they see on the internet and have bought the device. Thank God we saved military peoples lives in Thailand as they were about to cross a bridge with a mine under it. Thank God we found material evidence (spent shells) in a killing field in this country. And, let's see, there's Beirut, Iraq, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, the US Military, etc, etc. using the product successfully. ... maybe, just maybe, you have gone too far and have risked people's lives by discrediting a product you have never seen, discussed with anyone who has, or even really done any research on. ... It will NOT sooth [sic] your conscience to know that in most situations where there is a threat of terrorist attack, Sniffex could be a valuable tool to keep people out of harms way.
This is all pure invention; ask Johnson to provide the documentation for the episode in Thailand, and/or the data from Lebanon, Iraq, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, or the US Military. You see, the JREF has direct, authentic and extensive data from one of those sources, data which contradicts his fatuous claim. And, Johnson – 3 times in the above paragraph – sanctimoniously thanks a deity for events that are fictitious, and that neither he nor the deity brought about. The toy didn’t work. Johnson got all this from his imagination. Also, we’d been reliably informed, by a person very much on the inside of official U.S. Army tests of Sniffex at a foreign outpost, that after the failed double-blind test they conducted, the Sniffex representative was called back to the regional distributor in [country] for “retraining.”
The Sniffex patent papers – read by yet another obviously incompetent examiner in the U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office – claimed that the device emitted some type of “radio frequency” and detected “resonance along the zero field gradient,” apparently the one device both transmitting and receiving. That’s an outright lie; a U.S. Navy report on their tests of the Sniffex confirmed that there were no parts in the device corresponding to a frequency generator or a transmitter, nor any power source. It was officially tested by the U.S. Navy, and they found that it did not emit any measurable signal! (Despite those results, the U.S. Navy subsequently purchased the device! And another military branch bought 8 of them, for $6,000 each! We can only hope that this was done for purposes of examining the Sniffex, not using it!)
There were five other persons charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission: Mark B. Lindberg, Petar D. Mihaylov, Yuri P. Markov, and Nicolas and Ilona Klausgaard. The Commission said in a news release that its investigation is “still under way.”
Ironically enough, the Sniffex “patent” – #6,344,818 – expired two years ago, due to nonpayment of maintenance fees…
THE NETHERLANDS SCENE
Reader Olaf Goorden, in the Netherlands, tells us:
Thought you might find it interesting to hear that the Dutch socialist political party (the SP) set up a telephone service where the general people can complain about so called "Astro-TV," which is a daytime television show where people can phone in and get astrologers’ advice – in exchange for a few Euros, of course. The complaints are rolling in, so they say.
The disturbing news yesterday, though, was that my country has more people working as psychics than any other European country. Maybe that's got to do with the churches going out of style and people still looking for spirituality. Ah well, can't win ’em all, I guess.
From reader Ryan Hulshof comes what I think is a compliment. While I’m not one who admires human skin adorned with tattoos, maybe I can make exceptions... Says Ryan:
First I would like to say that you are a huge source of inspiration to me. From a young age I was raised very religiously, then fell into general woo-woo, then after finding this site have become a rationalist. Anyway, I have been thinking about getting a tattoo for about 4 years, strangely enough about the same amount of time I have been an atheist. I'm 23, if you’re wondering. I finally decided to get one. A Randi Fish.
Well, this Friday – the 19th – I booked an appointment and headed downtown with a friend of mine, a fellow atheist and debunker who almost got kicked out of a parapsychology course for questioning the material. About a block away from the parlor, and 10 minutes away from my appointment time, we got into an insane car accident. A man was going too fast, and thought the light would have changed, while we were going at an appropriate speed, though not wary of the speeding driver. The front end of the car was crushed, and the rest of the car was in general disarray. Long story short, we were reminded time and time again of how lucky we were to be alive, especially considering that my friend, the driver, who normally always wears a seat belt, happened to not be wearing one.
Well, after that I found out that my appointment was cancelled, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. A few phone calls later I’d booked an appointment for later that night. And I got my Randi-fish tattoo – which looks pretty good, I may add – in a tasteful area, on my back shoulder, nothing like the drop-kicking faith healer I read about in this last week's SWIFT.
I won’t vouch for how attractive Ryan’s back shoulder might be, but the fish could have shown up in less “tasteful” parts of his anatomy. In fact, I shudder to contemplate the possibilities... Ryan continues:
A couple of points I’d like to make about this situation:
1. I can't count the number of times I heard people go on about "someone looking out for me" or something of that nature. First, whoever they’re talking about – let's call him Gee Whiz so as not to offend anyone – could have easily avoided that entire situation. I mean, I’m pretty banged up. This is a perfect example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.
2. I was looking out for me; the driver had an airbag. The only thing that kept me from smacking my face off a bunch of things, is that I saw the van in enough time to brace my arms against the dash, and the door. The bruises are on my arms, not on Gee Whiz's. Give credit where it’s due, people.
3. “There are no atheists in fox holes,” is a debunked cliché. I honestly thought I was going to die. Now, I grant that this was due to a cup of soda in the car; during the accident, the flying ice seemed to be glass, and the soda made me feel as if I were soaked in blood, but I didn't find this out till later. And I didn't suddenly see that I have been "sinning," or fear the fires of some strange hell, or even beg to some god who has never bothered to show his face, and the resounding reason why, is that it wouldn't have done any good. I’d like to point out, for the record, that there are atheists in all kinds of fox holes – taking it as the obvious metaphor it is. We’re the ones ducking our heads when the shells go past.
Keep ducking, Ryan...
Reader Juan Rey, in Spain, reports:
I could hardly believe it. It was yesterday (07/15/08), on Spain's most-watched news bulletin, on TVE, the biggest – and public – TV channel. The Director of DGT, Mr. Pere Navarro, was shown together with some buddhist monks from El Garraf promoting their new "tantric safety helmet." He then declared that this idea "is in line with our efforts to increase safety." The helmet will sell for €150 [US$236], and part of the profits will go to the monks themselves.
I had to double-check, so I today I had a look at the official magazine published by his office – and paid for with my taxes – only to learn that this helmet features two "protection mantras": Manjushri, conveniently placed directly above the head "where one of the most sensitive human chakras is located," and Kalachakra, the wheel of time, you see.
Of course the monks offer lots of additional advice to bikers: "No helmet provides absolute safety," "Check tires and oil," "Avoid stress," "Keep your concentration," and "Don't get angry." It seems that the mantras need a little help to be effective. And for sure nobody had thought about that before.
The buddhist monks do what is expected from them. It's their right to do it, and to sell millions of helmets if they can. What disturbs me is the official endorsement, and the announced cooperation for future, similar projects. The worse part is that no piece of news about this showed any hint of criticism. I hope this will be my drop in the ocean...
NEXT EPISODE DOWN UNDER
Reader Robert Matic of Melbourne, Australia, gives us his perceptive review of Episode 3 of “The One” – the TV series that features our Richard Saunders as its resident skeptic. As we’ve mentioned, Richard is not able – due to contractual restraints – to keep us informed of behind-the-scenes material that would of course be of great interest to us; all that will come later, and we’ll look forward to it. Presently, we’ll benefit from the observations of Robert Matic, who of course sees all this from the viewer-at-home perspective, and has to make allowances for the very careful, selective, and often misleading editing process that might take place before each program is transmitted to the public. Here’s Robert’s “take” on Episode 3:
A short introduction of “hits” from the previous week opened the third episode of “The One” here in Australia. Once again, the “misses” were edited out of the introduction. However, a short preview of what would later be seen on the show was included. This showed a guess during a cold reading – “Your father had cancer?” – with a reply from an audience member – “Yes, he had three forms of cancer.” When the segment with this reading was later shown in its entirety, it was revealed that the question had been addressed to an audience member who replied “No” before the psychic moved the reading to another woman, who was no doubt nodding emphatically and confirming that the psychic’s guess applied to her. This raises the question: Why couldn’t at least the audience-reading segments of these episodes be aired live? The first test for the episode shows the segments are short enough for a live format.
Randi comments: This is an often-used ploy by the “psychics,” a sudden switch to another person who believes that a missed guess applies to them. And, as you can imagine, it’s the delight of videotape editors, who can slant the content to the advantage of the woo-woo element. One correspondent – who told us that he accepted psychic powers as real – informed us that he had given a definite “no” head-shake to a guess made by “psychic” John Edward during a studio taping, only to subsequently see one of his energetic “yes” nods edited in as a response to that guess when the program was aired! “Creative Editing” is not a lost art...
Test 1: Speed-reading
The psychics had to speed-read members of the audience in five minutes, and only direct hits would be awarded, with a tally shown at the bottom right of the screen. Judge and skeptic Richard Saunders added an example where “Your boss’ name is David” would be counted as a hit, but “Who is David?” would not, with host Andrew Daddo replying, “So, no fishing?” That reply from Daddo caught my attention, because “fishing” is typically a word used by skeptics when discussing cold reading, and it may be an indication that Richard Saunders is providing a lot more input than is making it to the screen – as we expected was the case.
Randi comments: Robert next uses the term “shotgun” in his report. This may require some definition. It’s a technique used by “psychics” whereby they throw out a stream of quick guesses, names, words, initials, cities, situations, conditions, etc., and pause only when they see a reaction to any item, and zero in on that one to develop it, ignoring the misses. Here’s a hypothetical example of “shotgunning” I created to illustrate this technique:
I’m seeing a loud argument here, the name “Matthew,” some sort of contract, or a signed document, there’s a “J” or an “M” involved, perhaps something to do with Paris, maybe a financial condition, or a tightness here in the chest...
During the speed-readings, the psychics showed how quickly they can “shotgun,” move the target, and make excuses for misses. Disappointingly, the psychic mentioned in my introduction was awarded hits after moving the target. The answers to her first five guesses provided one hit and four misses before she moved it to another audience member and was awarded hits for all five guesses! One poor performer was more interested in “helping people,” because “it’s not about scoring points.” One might ask: “Then why enter a psychic competition?” Oddly, the best cold reader from the previous week – who was credited with making “no misses” and a very specific hit with “Malta” – said, before making her reading, that speed-reading was new for her, and was very difficult. The Reiki practitioner said, “He sees colors and energy, but can’t always get specifics.” Without specifics, however, the colors are meaningless.
The judges’ comments: Richard said he thought the psychics were just making a whole bunch of guesses, with some getting hits. Witch Stacey Demarco denied that psychics merely guess, and said that the high number of misses was due to the pressure of the five-minute time restriction of the test.
Test 2: Finding the location of Ned Kelly’s remains
Randi comments: The name Ned Kelly may not mean much to the average non-Australian reader. Kelly was perhaps the most famous outlaw in Australian history, a man who wore body-armor while astride his obviously overburdened horse. He’s well-known Down Under. Richard continues:
The possible remains of famous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly were recently unearthed at a former prison. They had been moved in the 1920s from their former resting place. The excavation site where the remains were found was approximately 4,500 square metres [50,000 square feet] according to Stacey Demarco, and the exact location of the find is not widely known – although the find itself received a considerable amount of media attention, as a quick Google search will reveal. The psychics were taken to the Old Melbourne Gaol [Jail] where Kelly was executed for his crimes, to make a “spiritual connection” before traveling to the excavated site to attempt to find the location of the remains.
The “readings” made by the psychics at the Old Melbourne Gaol were ridiculous. Ned Kelly – rightly or wrongly – has become an icon of Australian history. Making a reading of Ned Kelly would be like asking an American psychic to make a reading of Jesse James or Billy The Kid. All specific information provided by the psychics during this segment was widely known and useless in gauging psychic abilities.
Randi comments: Again, though I understand that the producers of “The One” want to provide color and depth to their program, it seems that the contestants are not doing that, so they’re being allowed to pad their performances with material that does not fit the requirements. They were required to locate the spot where the remains of outlaw Ned Kelly had been interred. Instead, they blathered on and on, giving material that Google does much better...
The excavation site, where the remains were found, hugged the walls of a section of the former prison giving the appearance of a backward L-shape with a small section coming off the end. Of the five psychics, three of them came to the general area of the correct location, but were still considerably far away from the exact spot.
Randi comments: I see no reference here to why there are suddenly only five out of the seven “psychics” being involved in this divination, but there are multiple mysteries to be found here in “The One”...
Judges’ comments: Although Richard Saunders said the choices made by the psychics seemed like pure guesswork and raised the likelihood of a group of non-psychics achieving similar results, Stacey Demarco predictably counted this as three amazing hits, triumphantly declaring, “Three people got to within twenty metres of the location on a 4,500 square metre site!”
Let’s have a closer look at what this means. If we were to draw a circle around the guessing psychic with a radius of twenty metres, the area of the circle would be 1,257 square metres or a whopping 28 per cent of the excavation site, giving the psychic half-way between a one-in-three and a one-in-four chance of being within twenty metres of the correct location! Also – thanks to poster “EoR” on the excellent “Thinking Is Real” blog at tinyurl.com/62bpbj which covers “The One” in more detail – the general location of the grave had been revealed back in March 2008 at tinyurl.com/3yvmgemas “near the eastern end of the old F Division.”
Test 3: Reading from personal items formerly owned by deceased rock stars
The psychics were able to touch – but, not see – items formerly owned by deceased rock stars, and then make a reading. Luckily, the psychics were blindfolded for this test – the items were a pair of pants, a music award statuette, a guitar, sweatband and jacket! As we know, many of these items feel alike, making the reading very difficult.
Generalizations that could apply to any rock star were thrown about willy-nilly. If the audience had not been shown which item – and former owner of the item – the psychics were reading, it would have been impossible to link the readings to the rock stars. In fact, if the psychics had to attempt to link the items to the owners after the readings – even with a one-in-five chance of choosing correctly, and knowing what the item was – I think the psychics would have struggled.
Randi comments: Again, the same problem presents itself. These “psychics” should have been instructed – specifically – to match the items to the owners, though it’s not clear from this description whether the “rock stars” had been identified in advance of the test. This is an old stunt known as “psychometry,” whereby the performers are supposed to pick up “vibrations” and “auras” that identify an object with an individual.
Elimination: The psychic who found the lost boy in under three minutes in the first episode was the next psychic to be eliminated from the show. It appears that the three-minute wonder was just a lucky guess after all, since her performance in episodes two and three was very ordinary – or, at least, even more ordinary than the other four contestants. We must remember – these contestants were chosen as Australia’s best. With only two episodes to go, I think the JREF million dollars and Australian Skeptics’ $100,000 are both safe.
Robert, neither I nor Richard Saunders had any doubt of that last comment, believe me. If things continue to go in this way, we’ll simply have another example of how “psychics” fail when actually tested. There must be some panicking going on in “The One” offices, and that could lead to desperate measures designed to save a semblance of a win... I’m happy that Richard is in place, but I cannot see him becoming too much in demand on future test-the-psychic productions!
I’M SHAKING IN MY BOOTS
Some fantacist named Henk Middelraad has contacted me to ramble on about his notions concerning “psi weapons” that he advocates should be used by governments to deter and/or destroy evil folks. Sigh. As if I didn’t have enough distraction... I simply told Mr. Middelraad to “Grow up,” but he decided not to do that, and launched into an exchange he hoped would intimidate me. Not much chance of that.
Here’s a part of our exchange. Any reader can easily see just how nutty this person is, from this sample...
Ambush Strategy by Henk Middelraad
With the ambush strategy by "insurgents" in Iraq continuing, the Western alliance keeps practicing extremely expensive tactics costing huge treasure in blood and money. The military keeps "bringing it on" with more troops and ever larger investments in equipment that was perhaps practical and useful during the Cold War, but [is] obviously an outdated strategy for the current situation. The abysmal results indicate that a constant battle is maintained between both sides practicing attrition and destructive activities due to lack of creative leadership and more interested in maintaining lucrative and power seeking positions.
The collateral damage in broken homes in Iraq and the USA are the tragic result of people blindly following the lead of elected demagogues or self appointed power seekers. No consideration is given to alternate ways of slowing down the slaughter and/or destruction of private property. The stronger side wins a questionable temporary victory that may last only a short time. Human made laws are twisted to accommodate the objectives for the moment and may be violated at any given time in the future when it does not serve its purposes anymore. The elites [sic] enjoy the position of unaccountability and pursue self enrichment by raping the national treasury for their selfish well protected bank accounts preferably in a foreign country with tax heavens [sic]. It provides the opportunity to exchange the weakening dollar into the rapidly increasing value of the Euro. What if there was a technology that would make these treasure and political power hunters accountable?
Okay, here we go, friends. Now he really goes off the deep end...
That technology exists! As pointed out the application of para-psychology [sic] provides the opportunity to reach anyone in this world without being in immediate personal contact. With that established: How can it be used? When accepting that anyone in this world can be reached and manipulated there are some interesting strategies opening up for scrutiny and application. As established before, the target of para-psychological attack temporarily (this may lasts for weeks or longer) loses control over his senses and when in a decision making position will create confusion.
He/she will be inconsistent or more clearly expressed: unstable and seen that way by his peers and subjects; long distance hypnosis may be a good word to describe this para-psychological activity. A properly trained "para team" can deliver a devastating blow to a targeted individual when accurately timed and individually positioned around the world. The location of the target has not been found to be important as I discovered in past exercises. Our many intelligence organizations (I believe there are 16 of them) individually carry undoubtedly many highly paid PhD's on the payroll.
Randi comments: Yes, I certainly agree that “The location of the target has not been found to be important.” Since these powers don’t work at all, location doesn’t count. Ah, but I interrupted Henk’s tirade... We’ll skip the next 200+ word paragraph, which only inveighs against the government’s stubborn failure to apply psi powers against the enemy. Then our genius makes a substantial leap into even deeper woo-woo by suggesting – no surprise – that astrology should also be a weapon of choice...
The weak points of an individual can easily be established (no need for PhD's) by just a simple study of the horoscope of the targeted individual, which also allows the timing of the attack. Instead of moving armored divisions with appurtenances, infantry brigades, hospitals, truck drivers, mobile kitchens, ammo supplies and whatever else the military needs to pursue its claim to victory a better solution can be found by staying away from mass movement of this sort. When a "para" team (located not even anywhere near the target) does its work properly, any upsets around the target will and cannot be blamed on the country of origin of the team. The cost of just moving a dozen people without excessive baggage inconspicuously around the world is a far cry in cost from the super billions (and still counting) to maintain a fragile toehold in Iraq and Afghanistan. The individual locations for these professionals can be accurately calculated by individuals with a solid astrological understanding and background. Instead of ambushing the people on the lower levels you ambush the leaders. An organization of much less than 100 people would accomplish more than the entire Department of Defense.
The efficiency of the "data mining" by the National Security Agency is probably in the range of nano-percentages with as usual the excessive cost billed to the taxpayer. A small organization collecting birth data on the relatively small group of decision makers in the world can bring that percentage definitely up out of the nano range and push it into nearly 100% success range when "para teams" are properly used. The CIA would be more efficient in collecting birth data from generally publicly available archives for detailed study by the astrological experts.
A para team would not need to subject a target to water boarding to make him bubble up with "secrets." Our country has many experts that can interpret the birth data. No doubt that para-psychological abilities are also available. This organization would require higher integrity and commitment to peace than can be found in Washington.
I think you’ll see just how juvenile this person can get. He accepts all woo-woo as fact, and pictures “para-teams” armed with horoscopes and crystal balls spreading about the world like Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in the 1984 film, “Ghostbusters.” Following my response of “Grow up!” he wrote me suggesting that I grow up. I replied:
No, I've already grown up. I asked YOU to grow up. I've no interest in children's games.
He fired back withn this terrifying message
Okay, evidently you like to play games. You are on!!! You will be the target! No agreement needed for this one. You asked for it!
Best wishes and regards, Henk
Apparently, in an attempt to convince me, Henk then mentally directed some deadly psi force my way, but I must admit that I didn’t even notice it. After transmitting his “missile” to me, he triumphantly wrote:
Do you need any more "attitude adjustment?” You are fortunate; I selected a mild one out of my arsenal of para-psychological missiles!
Please note that Henk’s previous “Best wishes and regards” closing was missing from this communication, which indicates just how serious he is, of course. But, not at all cowed by his threats, I immediately wrote back:
Henk, just do your worst. Choose the very deadliest "psi missiles" you can summon up, direct them at me, and let's see what happens, okay? Vibrate me to shreds, send heavy rays, thoughts, curses, bad thoughts, hatred, horrible images, poison, anything – but GET ON WITH IT! I have lots of work to do, and arguing with a juvenile is not one of my favorite hobbies! JUST DO IT!
And then shut up!
In a sudden burst of generosity, this powerful psi-wielder took pity on me. He decided:
You are off the hook! Perhaps you found out what the binary activity of para and astro can do to you.
No hard feelings on my part.
Best wishes, Henk
Um, no, the dreadful effects of those combined para and astro forces didn’t do a thing, Henk. But aren’t you late for your weekly session with the psychiatrist...? The one with the tom-tom and the rattles, I mean.
Then it occured to me that perhaps Henk Middelraad actually is simply a juvenile with access to a keyboard and the Internet, in which case he should be spanked and grounded for a week. So, if the Middelraads have a kid named Henk, please take away his keyboard and save me time devoted to more hysterical laughter. Thanks.
So it’s bye-bye Henk...
I just returned from another encounter with the set of young scientists who annually attend the Summer Science Program [SSP] in Ojai, California. It’s been my delight to speak to them for many years now. The SSP was developed to encourage scientific literacy among gifted students, who this year were brought in from several different countries, and many states. Many such kids feel trapped economically, geographically, or socially, and the SSP provides them with the opportunity of meeting others to whom they can relate, as well as gifted teachers who will inspire them. Go to tinyurl.com/6f8mymto see more.
Students at SSP are required to calculate the orbits of asteroids, using the wonderful astronomical instruments and computer facilities available to them, and under the guidance of gifted teachers. The late astronomer George Abell and Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman are only two of those who I’ve known, and who taught at previous SSPs. They first brought me to the attention of the Program directors.
Meeting these young people is always exciting for me, and to have been invited to address them at the 50th anniversary of this fine organization, was a distinct privilege. I thank the directors.
Life is good...