Fear among the quacks....

James Randi --- Wizard (JREFInfo@ssr.com)
Fri, 30 Oct 1998 23:52:32 -0500 (EST)

STEP RIGHT UP!

The centennial meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) is
coming up. I'm proud to say that I'll be one of the speakers. When I
was asked to suggest a possible speaker from "the other side" of
rational thinking, I named Dr. George Johnson, the science honcho of
the DKL company (look them up on the Internet at
<http://www.dklabs.com>). DKL manufactures and sells a dowsing rod --
the "Lifeguard" -- that contains electronics. The electronics are not
connected or powered, but the "idea" is there, the "vibrations," very
much as in homeopathic notions. Dr. Johnson, a trained physicist,
could have appeared at the APS meeting and explained the science
behind the DKL rod, and how (in his expert opinion) Sandia Labs in
Albuquerque flubbed the tests they recently conducted of this silly
device, on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE). Those tests were
negative. Failures. Rejections. It didn't work, even though the top
official of DKL himself operated the Buck Rogers toy.

Dr. Johnson has declined the APS invitation, saying that his financial
backers would not permit him to attend. Now, Johnson is a full member
of the APS. To speak at their Centennial is a distinct honor, and if
there were nothing amiss here, he should have embraced the
opportunity. The actual fact is that the scientific claims for the
DKL "invention" are spurious, the device does NOT work, and in my
opinion the creators of this farce should be charged with fraud. They
are selling this useless thing to federal agencies, and should be
taken to task for that reason alone. Why doesn't it happen? For one
reason, Senator Arlen Specter's office has fired off a letter to the
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), who are investigating the matter,
inquiring why they are "bothering" DKL. The NIJ's reply was that they
have compared two reports, the one from Sandia and the other from an
independent agency hired by DKL, and concluded that the Sandia report
was good, and the other report was junk.

One further bit of perhaps significant evidence: though I have offered
DKL the opportunity of taking the JREF one-million-dollar prize by
performing a simple 2-hour test of their claim, they have declined.
Why? You may be able to arrive at a probable solution to this
question.

Now, as the most recent development, the NIJ has funded Sandia Labs to
do an analysis of the electronics -- unconnected and unpowered -- that
are sealed into the LifeGuard. Alert, Senator Specter! They may
discover -- again! -- that the DKL LifeGuard is a piece of
technological junk, a re-invention of a medieval notion that pops up
among quacks every few years. Time to fire of another senatorial
letter to quash an investigation?

The last dowsing rod version of any note was the "Quadro Locater" that
the FBI put out of business last year ONLY after I alerted them that
FBI employees were buying franchises to sell the toy. Until that
morsel of data was dropped before them, they ignored my complaints.
Seems a fraud has to hit the home office before it's worth going
after.

An open challenge, here formally stated: the James Randi Educational
Foundation (JREF) will pay Howard Sidman, president of DKL
Enterprises, or any of his officers, customers, or colleagues, or
anyone from the office of Senator Arlen Specter, or the good Senator
himself, OR ANYONE, the sum of one million dollars immediately upon a
successful demonstration of the DKL Lifeguard device. No ifs or buts.
Our address and telephone number is below. We await any takers. And
for those who might want to contact Senator Specter:

Senator Arlen Specter
711 Hart Building
Washington DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-4254
fax: 202-228-1229
email: Senator_Specter@Specter.senate.gov

James Randi

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