I don’t usually feel like getting on a soapbox about woo because for the most part, it is harmless belief and we are all a bit susceptible to strange beliefs. However, when those beliefs have devastating consequences for others then it is time to shout out. I wrote about the witch-burnings and albino murders in Africa, but now I return to something a little closer to home.
A couple of weeks ago, a number of us (bad astronomer, Ben Goldacre) blogged about the British company selling bomb detecting devices to Iraq that appears to be nothing more than simply a divining rod. The company, ATSC is registered in Yeovil, Somerset. (That’s my neck of the woods). ATSC’s managing director Jim McCormick, a former police officer, invented the detectors a decade ago. The “ADE651 device” costs around £35,000 ($60k). It appears to be a telescopic car aerial attached to a black box. Inside there is a plastic card that is supposed to be ready programmed with an electromagnetic ‘resonance’ of what needs to be detected. It is claimed to be based on the principles of nuclear quadrupole resonance but from what I understand that would require generating a magnetic field and sending out a strong pulse – something that seems to be absent in the ADE651 – its powered by body energy! Even if it does use NQR then it seems highly implausible that it can work from an airplane 3 miles up as claimed in the product details. Still, they have already sold an unbelievable £51 million’s worth to Iraq.
Not surprisingly, when a guard and a driver for The New York Times investigating this story, both licensed to carry firearms, drove through nine police checkpoints that were using the device, none of the checkpoint guards detected the two AK-47 rifles and ammunition inside the vehicle. Later, it even failed to detect a grenade and pistol in plain view on the table of the General in charge of the checkpoint, who replied that the operators needed more training.
Mr Jim McCormick, who generally does not return calls, is reported as saying, “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.”
Flashing lights? That will make it work then and ready for the festive period. Something for the kids maybe?
Take a good hard look at the pictures Jim McCormick. These are from the largest suicide car bomb since 2007 that took place in Baghdad back in October this year. I only just discovered that the two cars involved passed through a checkpoint equipped with the ADE651. If this is true, then I don’t think a few fairy lights will make the difference.
Techowiz has been particularly vocal in this issue with a whole blog dedicated to exposing ATSC . You might want to look at the response from Jim McCormick. I think this issue is too important to be reduced to a war of words and name calling. Rather, I think this company and its claims needs to be checked out. It is bad enough that we de-stabilized Iraq, but worse if we knowingly allowed unscrupulous businesses to exploit the naive.
If it turns out that ATSC have really developed technology to discover these devices then I think a Queen’s medal for technology is in order. But if it turns out that it is nothing more than divining, then it has to be stopped.
I have contacted David Laws who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Yeovil, where ATSC Ltd is registered to look into this mater. You might want to drop him a line if you feel as strongly as I do.
27 responses to “How To Make A Killing With the Woo Bomb Detector”
Dear (sorry, don’t know your name);
I can appreciate anyones concern over the adverse publicity on this subject and yes, we have been fighting a 10 year battle with the skeptics. You are only right to voice your concerns but you have to understand that this (publicity) has only come about more so because of the large order we recently received from Iraq. We have been active in this reagion as well as other parts of the world for 10 years and in each case, we have been given a lot of praise for the product from the customers. Yes, I do admit that it could look better but the fact remains that it works. I do not know your background but I would hazard a guess and say that you are not military or that you have not been in the region (Iraq) where the focus of all these problems are; but we are not alone in supplying equipment but, as a first-line tool, our product has been chosen after being fully tested by the customer.
I (as you) do not want to see anymore suffering than what we all see but, it is neither me or the equipment we produce that is causing anymore suffering. Would you prefer that companies like ours just ‘let them get on with it?’ No, I am sure you don’t; so this is ‘our’ attempt to try and assist where we can; however, be rest assured, I stand by the product whether you think our theory behind it’s working is correct or not.
If you are ‘in the area’ so to speak, contact me and make an appointment to come and see for yourself……..if your Liberal Democrate wants to see me, I can also make myself available………but don’t judge me on what you read…..
That seems a fair offer. Can I bring along one of my colleagues from the physics department familiar with magnetic fields? I am not an expert so I want to make sure that it is a fair assessment.
OK, call my offices tomorrow and we’ll make an appointment….. 0844 840 3750 (its a local call)
Spoke to Jim’s secretary, Annie today. They will contact me to make an appointment after Christmas so I will update then.
Curious that ‘Jim’ is unable to determine the name of the website owner given that the URL begins with brucemhood, it says Bruce M Hood along the top and there are also ‘About Bruce’ links at the top and side.
Looks like ‘Jim’ put the same amount of rigourous research into his comment as he did with the ADE651.
This is gonna be really interesting! Please keep us posted on any development, can’t wait to hear more!
Bruce, this is highly interesting. Please make sure you go visit them, and bring that friend, and please report back. Take pictures (if you’re allowed). I’d like to go with you if I was in England.
Not only is this a (I emphasize) possible way for skepticism to do away with wasting a lot of money, but your visit and what follows might even save lives.
Thanks for doing this.
Email me with a contact number, I will give you the questions and the test conditions to prove this device is a total scam.
I am really gutted that I cannot make your appointment. I will email another of our supporters and see if he can attend, if that’s ok with you?
Make sure you video the test, don’t take any excuses from McCormick for why you can’t.
I do not know your background but I would hazard a guess and say that you are not military or that you have not been in the region (Iraq) where the focus of all these problems are
Nice, the Argument from Authority… “I’m a military guy, you civilians just would never understand the finer points of divining.” Uh huh. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the military or not, physics is still physics, and there’s no way this device can work.
In fairness to Mr. McCormick, I think it’s quite possible he really believes this thing works, and is not the monstrous fraud that he seems to be.
McCormick is not ex military, he is an ex cop, which makes this scam all the despicable.
Sadly he is also in England.
I do not for one second McCormick believes his scam device works, except in the eyes of the corrupt, the gullible or the plain stupid.
Maybe, maybe not. The reason dowsing and related woo is so prolific is because, if you fail to properly blind the test, it totally and completely works. As long as your sensing device is properly constructed so that minute, nearly invisible muscle twitches can cause it to move, then it’s pretty damn effective at creating a mechanical extension of the unconscious directional thoughts of the user. You know, the whole ideomotor affect.
It’s quite conceivable to me that McCormick has tested the device himself in improperly blinded conditions, fully believing that he was not maneuvering the device, and finding to his surprise and satisfaction that it appeared inexorably drawn to wherever he expected it should be drawn to.
Or he could just be a shameless con-man making a profit off of death. Who can say! 😀
Well done! Really hope that you actually get to meet the mysterious Mr McCormick. A couple of things make me wonder (as I’m sure they do you)
1. If Mr McC is writing personally directly to your blog, why doesn’t he know your name? (as weol points out)
2. If Mr McC is, as he claims, ex U.K security, why can’t he spell or write a sentence with basic English grammar.
3. If he has just secured another large order from Iraq, why is he talking to you? What does he have to gain?
4. Why does he have a non-geographical 0844 number? These provide callers with a contact number which gives no indication as to the geographical location of the line being called…
Call me a cynic if you will, but something tells me that the Mr McC is neither English, nor in England…let alone Yeovil…
I shake your hand Sir!
Great work. Please report back to us after you go and take your expert since you are obviously just some idiot off the street without the background to understand this extremely complicated piece of machinery.
What a moron. He had only to look around your site to see who you are and what your background is.
Sorry to say flashing lights are going to do nothing to enhance this bogus piece of shite, other than to make it appear to be an alarm of some sort. Lights or no lights, there is still nothing but a man behind the curtain.
December 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm Spoke to Jim’s secretary, Annie today. They will contact me to make an appointment after Christmas so I will update then.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for that ‘appointment’. Please email me so I can send you some information prior to any meeting with this fraudster.
eagerly awaiting the next installment
Jim McCormick stated,
“Would you prefer that companies like ours just ‘let them get on with it?’ No, I am sure you don’t; so this is ‘our’ attempt to try and assist where we can”.
Would we prefer that companies like yours just ‘let them get on with it’?
Answer, yes absolutely because you are forcing them into a false sense of security which as we saw on October the 25th caused the loss of 155 lives.
As for your nonsense that you are, ‘trying to assist’, that is pure rubbish. If you really want to assist as you say, then stop charging them ridiculous amounts of money for a total scam device, and keep you fraudulent business away from Iraq.
Nearly 250(and counting) people in Baghdad have lost their lives due to this scam in the last 4 weeks. When will the Iraqi people realise, as the bombers have, that this device does not work?
Still no demonstration yet Bruce?
Suppose we can blame the weather.
Make sure you chase him up Bruce, incase he ‘forgets’.
Still awaiting an invitation for a demonstration. The weather has been so cold but I understand things are going to be hotting up so hopefully, we may see it in operation, yet.
Will keep you posted.
You could be waiting for a long time Bruce – it seems like he has been arrested !! Not before time, it would appear !!
Although on a slightly flippant note, if people ‘think’ that a ‘bomb detector’ may work, there may be some ‘deterrent effect’ in that it may make some of them a bit nervous.
Rather like those ‘fake’ alarm boxes and ‘fake’ car alarm LEDs. Of course, those are only a first line deterrent to ‘proper security’, but it is bizarre how much money was changing hands for these things.
Although disappointing that Jim appears to be an ex-copper from Liverpool – so many stereotypes being re-inforced there..
Mind you, looking at the bright side it is possible that the people who cannot detect the bomb end up getting blown up, so cannot tell the tale of the failed piece of equipment. A tatty piece of plastic ain’t gonna leave much evidence.
It is like that old joke about a preacher saying he has a good track of making converts. When someone demurs he machine guns them and asks “Does anyone else have any doubts in my ability?”
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WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for network
lol Bruce this is truly inspiring, keep up wif your good work man