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Magnetic “Woo” and James Randi

Magnetic “Woo” and James Randi

Peter Fotis Kapnistos

 

 

darwin

“The Amazing Randi” recently poked me for a million-dollar award he has promised to anyone with proof of paranormal powers (shrugged off as “woo” by skeptics). Numerous theorists describe the collective subconscious, a sense of the greater good, or the trust of instinct as what mainly determines humankind´s evolving nature.


 

 

A tall man wearing an officer´s uniform courteously entered the ship´s dining room. He introduced himself as an admiral of the Dutch navy and said he was an emissary for a top-secret committee of the United Nations. “We need you to decipher something for us,” he cautiously requested.

“What is it?” the Oxford cryptologist inquisitively asked.

“A blank page,” the admiral softly replied.

“But I´ll need a symbol,” the professor objected. “At least a line, or a few dots, something…”

Nightfall touched the horizon after a day´s journey. A group of persons trekked along a tapered footpath into untried woodland.

“Why must we meet here?” the weary professor asked.

“A blank page,” replied a Canadian voyager clutching his field glasses.

They sat by a campfire and continued their discussion. “I was a firmware engineer for a global digital provider,” the clean shaved Canadian said. “During maintenance I found a blank web page that was receiving a huge amount of daily visits.”

“Did you check the IP addresses of the visitors?” The professor inquired.

“At first it seemed to be another dirty bunch sharing raunchy erotica,” the engineer carefully watched the footpath trail as he spoke. “They used an odd astronomy recipe, like Morse code. If a recurrent IP failed to visit the blank page or made more than one visit per day, a communication port would robotically open. I think that may have allowed them to exchange sex-torture subject matter.”

The sound of a crowd drawing near invaded the evening stillness. The Chinese negotiator and an Italian envoy remained standing at a tent porch as the familiar admiral paced into the campsite without airs, wearing grubby khakis and a snug jacket. “We need to know what´s behind the CIA tortures,” the admiral tersely beckoned the professor.

Thus began the unlikely mission of the Oxford cryptologist and an undisclosed group of United Nations representatives from assorted homelands such as Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Japan, and Russia –– to name only a few. At long last it was discovered that the CIA had made use of “psychics” during the 1970s. But due to the affluent demands of lobbyists, some influential “skeptics” were eventually substituted instead, partly because they supposedly knew more about how to tackle and resolve religious overloads. Opportune cynics scorned straight morals. They effortlessly became the foremost producers of explicit representations of sexual activity. Paradoxically, the leading consumers of pornography according to later press reports were excessive religious traditionalists. The ominous partnership of supply and demand traded immense stockpiles of capital. Members of an intelligence sector of the US government were charged with sex abuse and torture in interrogations. Behind closed doors, the CIA destroyed nearly 100 graphic videos of such interrogations.

Margie Schoedinger was a young woman from Houston, Texas who made a complaint in 2002 that she had been repeatedly drugged and raped by clandestine US government agents that wore face covers. They purportedly exposed her to indignity and trauma. But due to the “far-fetched atmosphere” of her allegations, the local authorities presumed that Margie Schoedinger was in all probability psychologically disturbed.

Two years later, horrible Abu Ghraib prison photos were seen around the world. Images of US government agents wearing face covers while fiendishly afflicting prisoners looked just like Margie Schoedinger´s original descriptions. Evidently, she had counseled us wisely. But by then, Margie had passed away from a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide.

A medical helicopter waited above the isolated encampment to airlift a photographer who had suffered a head injury. The Oxford professor examined some photos an Australian supervisor had given him. A Brazilian mediator watched on. They were demonstrations of water boarding. “Notice anything absent?” The Australian abruptly asked and paused for a long moment. “There are no boards in these photographs,” the Brazilian finally pointed out.

boards

“They didn´t let slip ––on how they joined together two wooden boards,” the professor remarked. “One of the earliest reported victims died of asphyxiation and had water and blood flow out of his lung when his side was pierced.”

A new boss looked out of a window over Washington D.C. An advice-giver selected a list of files and speculated: “Freeze the Sandstone Foundation´s assets? Probably more witnesses might be made known with new disclosures of entrenched elements.”

At length, the rundown Abu Ghraib prison would finally serve as a museum. Near the secluded entry of a dim corridor flickered a single candle on a small plaque that said: “Memorial of Margie Schoedinger.”

 


But she would not think of battle that reduces men to animals,
So easy to begin and yet impossible to end.
For she the mother of our men did counsel me so wisely then
I feared to walk alone again and asked if she would stay.
(Uriah Heep, “Lady in Black,” 1971)


 

James Randi recently posted an article on his “Swift Blog” with the title, “A Champion Grubby Speaks Out” (April 22, 2009). In that article, Mr. Randi automatically criticized me for a story I had published on the Internet about “Uri Geller and the YouTube Video Smear.”

I must admit that Randi did pay me a Freudian accolade by calling me a champion of sorts. The slang word “grubby” is regularly used to describe dirty work clothes. Perhaps James Randi instinctively compared me to a blue-collar protagonist (unless he meant Myxocephalus aenaeus, a fish that looks like a red bass).

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all,
A working class hero is something to be.
(John Lennon, “Working Class Hero,” 1970)

 

 

For readers who don´t know who James Randi is, the Amazing Randi (an 80-year-old native Canadian who merrily sports a Charles Darwin style beard) is a stage magician and professional skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims. One of his much-loved objects to complain about is Uri Geller, an Israeli-British performer who claims to be able to bend spoons with the psychic power of his mind.

James Randi began his blitz of opposition with: “I hardly know where to start…” And that´s a good sign for working class enthusiasts. From the onset, the challenger is confused, bewildered and disoriented. He hardly knows. Randi claimed that “a neodymium magnet contained in a plugged-on thumb tip” can move the needle of a compass at an outlying distance. Randi even said he would demonstrate how it´s done. Indeed, if I had further evidence of such a gadget, I would certainly have mentioned it in my original article. I have nothing to lose by exposing swindlers. I only said that the video Randi refers to is not sufficient evidence to prove that Uri Geller cheated. The swollen thumb visual impression in the YouTube video that many observers have commented on was due to blurred motion-capture and appeared on both of Uri´s thumbs (something Randi didn´t seem to get but nonetheless badgered me for).

In one part of the video clip, Uri Geller rubbed his left thumb. Randi and his followers claim that´s where Geller plugged in a magnetic thumb tip. But if you watch the video again you will notice that Geller actually made three attempts to move the compass needle. It slightly moved during the first two tries, but moved more after he rubbed his thumb and asked everyone in the audience to join hands. So, how did the compass needle shift in the first shots if Uri was not allegedly wearing a thumb tip yet? Of course we can speculate all we want. Perhaps Uri Geller rubbed his thumb for a perfectly innocuous reason –– because it just so happened to itch. Or, as Uri´s fans might claim, because students of acupressure regularly massage their finger tips to remove blockages from their meridians and to increase the circulation of Qi (bioforce) through their hands. Of course, with the first mention of “Qi” James Randi and his loyal cohorts will cry, “woo” aloud, and call it a “scientific howler” because in their opinion, bioforce simply doesn´t exist. It´s too bad for them, however, that the Japanese Ministry of Health regulates a thumb technique developed by Tokujiro Namikoshi as a licensed bioforce medical therapy. For centuries now, watchmakers have reported cases where common people halted timepieces only by touching them.

Perhaps Randi made the supreme sacrifice of wrongness when he insisted, “There is no such thing as a human magnetic field,” and called me an idiot and an ignorant reporter for mentioning it. Regrettably, the so-called leader of an “educational club” is apparently still bootstrapped to the world of 19th century mechanics. There is definitely such a thing as the human magnetic field. Researchers began to systematically measure the magnetic fields produced by the human body in the 1970s, after the first accurate measurement was made in 1963 (see: Baule G.M, McFee R. “Detection of the magnetic field of the heart,” American Heart Journal, 1963). Today, international conferences in magnetobiology are held every two years with hundreds of important scientists attending. Most conferences focus on MEG (magnetoencephalogram), or the measurement of the magnetic field of the brain.

We shouldn´t be too harsh on James Randi for lagging behind with his bio-magnetic reviews. Although he claims to lead an informative institute, we shouldn´t forget that the Amazing Randi is perhaps the top professional conjurer of our times. Having started off as a carnival and nightclub magical performer, Randi soon managed to sway entire departments of the US government (via the MacArthur Fellowship) and leading scientists to stop funding research in pioneering fields. America has now fallen behind China in the scientific study of psi phenomena. What more could be said of a head teacher misguidedly claiming knowledge? In a squabble, James Randi suggested that I go back to being a “fashion photographer.” If the popular demand grows, perhaps I will release some never-before published photos of famous personalities. But I certainly won´t return Randi´s boorishness. Asking James Randi to revisit his old playing field of debased nightclubs and saw dust restaurants would be too unkind.

Peter Fotis Kapnistos worked with Professor Spyridon Marinatos, the archaeologist who excavated the ruins of Akrotiri on the island of Thera (Santorini). Peter was the assistant of Spiros Tsavdaroglou, an official photographer for the National Archaeological Museum of Greece. They photographed Minoan and Mycenaean sites and artifacts for Professor Marinatos, who was one of the premier Greek archaeologists of the 20th century (his name is mentioned in the video game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis). Peter also assisted the team that photographed the royal tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, discovered in the 1980s by the archeologist Manolis Andronicus. If you happen to come across encyclopedias or history books with monochrome pictures of small trinkets from the Tomb at Vergina depicting the father of Alexander the Great, you can be sure those photos came out of Peter´s darkroom work.

It would be thoughtless of anyone to deny that James Randi has done a good turn to modern society by exposing the trickery of some religious pretenders who have robbed the wealth and dignity of many believers. But Randi is neither a scientist nor an educator. He and his committed followers make the mistake of assuming that if there´s a reported phenomenon that can´t be reproduced or explained, it must be a clever trick.

For example, if one of Randi´s young fans were to dive into a tank filled with freezing water at a temperature below zero Celsius, they would suffer cardiac arrest almost immediately according to modern scientific literature. That´s a medical fact. Thus, anyone able to do this without injury, according to Randi´s pointed logic, must somehow be cheating. But Lewis Gordon Pugh, a British lawyer, would strongly disagree. Pugh is perhaps the only man in the world that can increase his core body temperature at will, only by thinking about it. Scientists are now trying to explain how it´s achievable and are absolutely astounded that Lewis Pugh “the ice-man” doesn´t even shiver (an involuntary reflex for mortal humans) while swimming almost naked at the North Pole.

Shrewdly enough, James Randi completely avoided talking about Pugh in his criticism of my original article. Randi has promised to give a million dollars to anyone who can prove paranormal powers. Lewis Pugh says that he can alter his body temperature simply by “visualization.” Ironically, one of Randi´s supporters (who doesn´t even believe in psi) sent me a frenzied message in a befuddled attempt to redefine the dictionary meaning of psi. Others thought they could at last solve the enigma by declaring that William Tell never existed.

But what exasperated James Randi the most was none of the above. He wound up when I wrote that someone using the name “Randi Schimnosky” was posting on the Internet message boards concerning atheism, kinky sex, and child abuse and making at least some people wonder if it had anything to do with James Randi. This is absolutely true. I made up not an iota of what I reported. Instead of thanking me for tipping him off that a potential cyber teaser might be pestering his prestige, James Randi intimidated me. (I assure you I´m not Randi Schimnosky.)

The weird Schimnosky character emerged through a Canadian Internet service provider and could prompt attention for building fake profiles because Randi Schimnosky sometimes poses as a man and sometimes as a woman. Nevertheless, James Randi apparently believes I should be hauled over the coals for mentioning it. The Amazing Randi agitatedly recalled a time when he had the gratification of “flooring a nasty chap” and intimidated me on his Swift Blog:

“One shot, to the chops. He went down, and was carried out. VERY satisfying, I assure you. Want some, Mr. Kapnistos? I got some…”

How am I supposed to answer that menacing question? Of course, I don´t think an elderly man might be waiting to mete out a serious head injury to me the minute I walk out of a restaurant or movie theater. But I´m not sure about his messy group of tough followers. “Rule No. 5” of the James Randi Forum website states: “You will not post anything that demonstrates a clear and present danger to the welfare of another person, or otherwise tends to create alarm or apprehension that the welfare of any person is in imminent jeopardy.” James Randi did not obey his website rules but instead threatened physical harm. Being a resident of the European Union, I sought qualified opinions. I watched the marvels of an English lawyer that just might make James Randi and his group of heavies “shudder.” His name is Lewis Gordon Pugh.

I looked to Lewis Pugh´s paradigm because it coincidentally asked for “two birds with one stone.” Lewis Pugh could lift a (cool) million from James Randi for his evidence of the power of the mind. I could take a shot to the chops and turn the other cheek to prove that those who show off violence are not leaders in education, but dishonor the MacArthur Fellowship. Fist bullying is an endorsement to harm.

Harassment by computer is a crime in several U.S. states –– especially if the communication threatens bodily harm. In “Destructive Crowds: New Threats to Online Reputation and Privacy,” Danielle Keats Citron from the University of Maryland School of Law says that online attackers can release the sense of a mob thrashing. Persons who are driven by fear sometimes find short-term relief by expressing their rage. Statements of annoyance and dislike that swamp some web forums might sway a number of confused school bags, but they can´t stand up in a court of law or influence a genuine educational organization. Scientific advances come about by exploring the unknown. Those who fear and spurn the unfamiliar can hardly contribute new research.

Since Lewis Pugh says that his one-in-a-billion talent to withstand sub-zero contact is mostly because of mind over matter, James Randi and his team could possibly attempt to debunk him. Like the fire walking “stunt,” (which Randi says is due to wood ash under the feet that has very low specific heat and is similar to a heat shield ceramic), Pugh´s paranormal defiance to freezing could be imagined as a clever stunt by some professional skeptics. For example, they could say that something in Pugh´s swimsuit produces heat from the combustion of metallic elements, to warm the water around him.

If that doesn´t work, Randi´s team might assail the scientists who bear witness to the newly discovered phenomenon of “anticipatory thermogenesis.” As Randi did to the Stanford Institute researchers who investigated the Geller Effect in the 1970s, the skeptics could accuse Lewis Pugh´s researchers of a controlled deception to promote the awareness of climate change and global warming, which he represents in the media. The various wires and monitoring devices strapped to Pugh´s body could be alleged to function somewhat like a neodymium heat apparatus, warming up the icy waves as he swims.

In contrast, scrupulous researchers seeking to scientifically confirm Lewis Pugh´s resistance to freezing are studying molecular groups that rotate within vacuum cavities in such a way that thermalization occurs. The possible existence of long-lived rotational states of some molecules inside protein structures (the electromagnetic partitioning of DNA) could be responsible for increasing core body temperature. Pugh´s paranormal ability may in truth be a variant of the Geller Effect, because excitable tissues are now regarded as true generators of thermalization and magnetic fields.

Despite the top-notch skeptics´ best efforts, today many common people are happy to accept the possibility of magnetic “woo.” But faith certainly includes an undeniable “weirdness.” For example, a portrayal of Jesus as a merchant selling jewelry and promoting cosmetics certainly seems pretty weird: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18). Even more weird is the ceremonial buzz that he´s forecast to arrive with space clouds and a completely different name: “And I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelation 3).

Is the magnetic attraction of “woo” a strange spot in the pursuit of happiness? Or could the extraordinary sense of a greater good actually determine life´s evolving nature?

I’ve paid my dues –
Time after time –
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime –
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face –
But I’ve come through
(Queen, “We Are The Champions,” 1977)

http://reporter.blackraiser.com/

http://www.alienseekernews.com/articles/magnetic-woo-james-randi.html

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/100377

http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0409/randi.php

 

(APRIL 2009) PETER FOT K KAPNISTOS, ICARIAN SEA, GR, 83300.

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULUHbO60mOY

 

silva

 

 


 

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