Yet another reason to leave Iraq…dowsing for bombs

So it seems as if the Iraqi police are dowsing for bombs and firearms, as covered in the New York Times and James Randi. They are doing this using a device they’ve purchased to the tune of $80 million, and it works no better using a coat hanger!

I think the best quote which summarizes the danger and the bad thinking is:

Major General Jehad al-Jabiri is head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives. “I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” he says. “Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs.”

Of course, if it hasn’t been shown to detect bombs by science, the other option is irrelevant.

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About brianblais

I am a professor of Science and Technology at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, and a research professor in the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems, Brown University. My research is in computational neuroscience and statistics. I teach physics, meteorology, astonomy, theoretical neuroscience, systems dynamics, artificial intelligence and robotics. My book, "Theory of Cortical Plasticity" (World Scientific, 2004), details a theory of learning and memory in the cortex, and presents the consequences and predictions of the theory. I am an avid python enthusiast, and a Bayesian (a la E. T. Jaynes), and love music.
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