Thai military chief defends use of magic wands

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 23 2010 10:00 AM

Thai military chief defends use of magic wands

Some people cannot learn.

Thai army chief General Anupong Paojinda is defending the use of what are essentially magic wands to detect bombs, even though the specific device they use has been tested repeatedly and failed to perform. This device is essentially the same as the ones used in Iraq and Afghanistan which have been proven worthless, and for which the head of the manufacturing company, Jim McCormick, has been arrested for suspicion of fraud.

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Paojinda is convinced the dowsing rods work, even though it's little more than an antenna glued to a plastic box. In the meantime, thousands of people are dying in bomb attacks in Thailand near the Malaysian border. Incredibly, the devices cost millions of dollars, when it would be far cheaper and far more effective to employ sniffing dogs at the checkpoints.

Antiscience kills. You might think that dowsing rods are a cute diversion or at worst a waste of money, but in fact believing in them is leading directly to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people across the world.

Tip o' the crystal pendulum to BABloggees Claude Works and Jimmy Reynolds.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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