Friday, 9 July 2010

They Say the Funniest Things!

The ADE651 detector is the latest in a long list of products to use mind-boggling scientific terms to coax wide-eyed customers into coughing up. But when scientists are left flummoxed by the jargon, the chances are that the customer has been had. The device (ADE651) is said to work through “electrostatic magnetic attraction (or EMA)”. But as one Imperial College physicist put it: “EMA means bugger all to me.”

According to the makers’ website, the device works by “the long-range electrostatic attraction of highly charged ions”. Substances that it can be applied to include used weapons, fireworks, Semtex, plastic, TNT, cocaine, marijuana, ivory and banknotes. For a start, not many of the substances that it lists contain ions. And plastic, ivory and bank notes are not ferromagnetic.

Jim McCormick, the managing director of ATSC Ltd, a former Merseyside police officer, developed the device ten years ago despite having no scientific or technical background. (You would never have guessed)

It works on, ‘Electro Magnetic Ion Attraction’.

It now works on, ‘Nuclear Quadrupole Reasonance’. The principal (sic) by which our equipment works. (Priceless)

It’s now moved back to working on, ‘Electro Magnetic Ion Attraction’. (NQR not sexy enough)

(Thermo redox has even been used as a possible explanation, but that was discontinued when it was discovered that there were REAL detectors using that technology)

Just when you thought it could not get any better this happens:

Djs7566 (On the Ubergizmo site stated):

‘If you aren’t just a spammer paid by the millionaire scam artist that makes this ‘device’, I invite you to take a screwdriver and crack it open. You’ll find a black plastic shell, a cheap telescopic antenna, and a five foot length of coaxial cable – all connected to an empty plastic box tied around your waist, all powered by nothing. If you know anything about electronics – or common sense for that matter – you’ll see why it isn’t possible for this device to work. Now if you do happen to be working for these scam artists, the least you could’ve done is put some flashing lights on the thing and make it vibrate or something.

A short time later in an interview with the press....

McCormick stated, "We have been dealing with doubters for 10 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." (One of the better sayings that will surely go down in history)

Posted by McCormick on the 19th November 2008, the following:

‘There will be testing done over the coming months and this will be done independently of public demand’.

Still waiting, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

McCormick goes on; ‘We will endeavour to use an internationally recognised Authority that will also be willing to go public with their findings, but please sure of this, it will not be anyone who has any remote association with the Randi organisation’. (Now why is that I wonder?)

In a direct challenge to “manufacturers, distributors and retailers”, Randi states: “ADE651 is a useless quack device which cannot perform any other function than separating naive persons from their money.

“It’s a fake, a scam, a swindle, and a blatant fraud. Prove me wrong and take the million dollars.”

McCormick responded with, ‘I have also been questions (sic) as to why I haven’t taken up the JREF $1 Million challenge. Well, firstly, I have no need of the money. Although I am a businessman, I am not solely doing this for the money, (although it helps), but I first developed this product to save lives’. (Hard to keep a straight face for this statement!)

Proof, if it were ever needed that even the fraud master himself, McCormick knows his scam device does not work; when he stated the following;

McCormick states; ‘The JREF ‘challenge’, again as I mentioned in other ‘blogs’, is designed to ensure the equipment, under their test conditions, will fail. I would be the first to admit that, if I were to take this challenge under their terms and conditions, I would not succeed’.

RANDI actually stated in the challenge that, ‘This Foundation will give you our million-dollar prize upon the successful testing of the ADE651® device. Such test can be performed by anyone, anywhere, under your conditions, by you or by any appointed person or persons, in direct satisfaction of any or all of the provisions laid out above by you’.

If McCormick is saying his device cannot pass a double blind test then he is saying it does not work. Bomb detection is a double blind test! He also fails to submit his own conditions for any test.

McCormick goes on to say; ‘I, or my company, do not have to prove to you or anyone else in the Randi organisation, that my technology works as; there is nothing but controversy in everything you see as ‘unbelievable’. (You couldn’t make this stuff up)

Now on to a true believer

“Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs,” said Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives. (Where we would we be without this clown)

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” General Jabiri said. “I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.” (No General, you spell B R I B E S like this, not b o m b s!)

During an interview on Tuesday, General Jabiri challenged a Times reporter to test the ADE 651, placing a grenade and a machine pistol in plain view in his office. Despite two attempts, the wand did not detect the weapons when used by the reporter but did so each time it was used by a policeman. (What could possibly have gone wrong we wonder?)

“You need more training,” the general said. (Ah, the good old default excuses, well done General, have another million $)

McCormick insists that ATSC “only” received $12 million, and the price paid ($85 million) was inflated by commissions and training courses for the operators. (No mention of the bribes though)

McCormick said, “The Saudis told us they used it to find the body of an American who had been beheaded and dumped in the desert. We asked for details but they said the information was classified.” (This statement has not been confirmed by the US or Saudi Arabia)( The old it is, ‘classified’ excuse(default), again)

The US Government says that during tests on a similar device it failed to detect a truck carrying a tonne of TNT when it drove up behind the operator. (What else would you expect?)

The most impressive thing about the ADE651, apart from its enormous price tag, is the black plastic suitcase it comes in. Jim McCormick, the explosive detector’s designer and manufacturer, is very proud of this case and its protective foam inserts. (The only true bit of equipment in the scam)

But it is not entirely clear why a device with only one moving part and no delicate electronic components needs such a high degree of protection. (OK, I’ll tell you, it is to bung up the price)

The device comes with a static meter to measure static levels in the operator’s body. Mr McCormick admitted that this did not actually mean anything. (Another gem)

Mr McCormick listed some of the reasons why his device might fail to detect explosives (Apart from being fraudulent you mean?) or be confused by “false positives”. (Very, very long list)

These include traces of agricultural fertiliser in the surrounding area, the proximity of anyone taking nitroglycerine-based medication, women with peroxide blonde hair(Very high incidence of false positives in Essex, UK), officers who had previously handled ammunition, lack of adequate training(Default excuse, see previous postings) and the tiny traces of explosive which must, presumably, be scattered all over Baghdad.

The gizmo can achieve those remarkable feats, McCormick said in interviews, thanks to a series of programmed "substance-detection cards" that are "designed to tune into the frequency" of the substance named on the card. (Read on for the reality)

However, Markus Kuhn, a computer science expert at Cambridge University, carefully dismantled a card "programmed" to spot TNT for the British broadcaster (BBC). Inside he found an anti-theft tag used to prevent shoplifting – one of the cheapest electrical components available. Kuhn said it was "impossible" that it could detect anything at all and that the card had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT."(Ouch, I bet that hurt, McCormick went missing after this was broadcast!!)

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said that three Iraqi investigations into the devices determined most of the bomb detectors are working, although some are fake and ineffective. (No mention of how he knows which are fake and which simply don’t work)

Iraq's government fell for the jargon-laden sales pitch and bought some 1,500 ADE 651s, paying up to $60,000 for each device – even though ATSC was selling them elsewhere for $16,000.(Well, that’s the free market for you)

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said Friday. "It is a business, the business of security. And there are other rival companies trying to belittle the efficiency of these instruments the government is buying."(Name these ‘rival companies’. No, didn’t think you could)

Another ministry official claimed the arrest of McCormick, who has since been freed on bail, was an act of revenge by Britain and the United States. "The reason the director of the company was arrested was not because the device doesn't work (Heaven forbid), but because he refused to divulge the secret of how it works to the British authorities and the Americans before them," (So he wouldn’t admit they are a scam, how wise) Assistant Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Tareq al-Asl told the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. "I have tested it in practice and it works effectively and 100 percent reliably."(Really, perhaps he can offer his services to our troops in Afghanistan, by walking in front of them with this device, hello Minister, Minister, now where did he go?)

Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, ordered an investigation into the mass purchase of the gadgets. And the security and defense committee of Iraq's parliament is examining whether the tendering process was corrupt. (Corruption involved, surely not?)

For the cost of an ATSC scanner, for example, the country could buy at least eight sniffer dogs. The animals may not look as high-tech as an ATSC wand, but their bomb-spotting skills are undisputed”. (Not much chance of a massive bribe either)

“It is meant to work on the same principle as water-divining rods and has no power source, relying instead on the static electricity generated by the movement of the person holding it”. (Speechless)

The British and American governments, numerous independent experts and repeated tests have shown that the ADE-651, manufactured by the ATSC Company in the UK, does not work. Jim McCormick, the managing director of ATSC, was arrested on suspicion of fraud in January, and the British Government banned the export of the ADE-651. (Not much to add to that statement is there?)

Many Iraqi policemen have ceased to believe that the ADE-651 works. Police Captain Hussein Ali says: "Time and again we have found it is useless." (Is this one of McCormick’s ‘real world testers’ he so often speaks about? (Probably needs more training!)

"We were told it was very modern and would free people from the fear of terrorism. Now we are embarrassed by it."(Surely not after spending all that money?)

Mustafa Emir, a student, said "The sonars (ADE651) are not useful and do not protect people. They should be given to the children as toys." (Very expensive toys)

There are so many more, I will probably do a, 'The Say the Funniest Things part 2' in the near future. If you have any gems you feel I have missed please post them for inclusion in future issues. Apologies to supporters of the ADE 651 scam, no pictures on this post, so you will have to get a grown up to explain the above posts to you.

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