From the annals of samsara

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Ben
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From the annals of samsara

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:31 pm

Just in:

'Bomb detector' a golf-ball finder

When James McCormick told armies, police forces and governments that his bomb detectors worked from 30 metres underwater or a plane five kilometres up, it might have sounded too good to be true. Especially when he said they needed no power except the ''electrostatic energy from the human body''.

Still, he found customers. He sold £37 million ($55 million) worth to Iraq. The United Nations paid £46,000 for five of them to find bombs in Lebanon.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/bomb-det ... z2RNpXaCkT
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
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but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 pm

Hilarious. A close relative of mine once worked for the UN and....let's just say I'm not surprised.

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:39 pm

That may have had terrible consequences, but I can't help to laugh. This McCornik is a wise guy but he was able to fool a lot of people from many backgrounds.

I'm reading a book by Carl Sagan that I think should be mandatory to read in all highschools in the world: The Demon-Haunted World. It's much more valuable than any actual scientific facts that you can learn in school in one year. If people read that book, in the long run they will know more about science than if they have regular science classes in school.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:08 pm

You'd think they would have tested them before buying.
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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:29 pm

I can certainly see the humour in the situation but my over-riding thought was that it could be disasterous.
Modus.Ponens wrote:That may have had terrible consequences.

And indeed it can. People believing that the devices (which are no more useful than divining rods) will protect them.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:27 am

Sorry for being flip about it earlier... I'm a bit Aspergian at times. I was more struck by the farcical aspect of the story -- particularly since no one actually got hurt, except the bureaucracies that forked out the quid.

It's a thin line between farce and tragedy, though.

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby Dan74 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:34 am

One of my favourite scams was the infamous Japanese poodle hoax which made the news around the world and even made it Downunder:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/they-must-be-baaking-mad/2007/04/27/1177459927942.html

No one was more surprised than Japanese film star Maiko Kawakami to hear that a fluffy poodle that she supposedly owned was really a lamb in disguise.


The best thing about it was that no one was hurt because the whole thing was in fact made up:

http://www.snopes.com/critters/lurkers/poodlesheep.asp
_/|\_

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby manas » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:57 am

McCormick.deliberately.and.knowingly
endangered.the.safety.of.many.people
who.might.have.been.given
a.false.sense.of.security.by.the.device

he.might.be.clever.at.scamming
but.he.has.severely.misused.his.cleverness
and.a.substantial.jail.term
seems.fitting.imo

i.feel.for.all.the.Iraqis
men,women,children
and.soldiers.of.either.'side'
who.have.lost.limbs
or.their.lives
to.explosive.devices.

what.McCormick.did
was.a.serious.matter
whether.or.not.his.devices
actually.resulted.in.anyone.getting.hurt
(note.however.that.we.might.never.really.know)
the.point.is.he.recklessly.endangered
the.lives.of.others
for.personal.gain

kind.regards :anjali:

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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby BlackBird » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:25 am

It's really a sad case. Iraq purchased 50 or so million dollars worth of these fake bomb detectors from that Charlatan McCormick They were nothing more than a bit of plastic with a radio antennae attached. The device was proven not to work, and yet Iraqi police are still using it, and seem to be unaware that it's completely useless in finding bombs.

I watched a vice documentary recently on Iraq, and when they were going through the checkpoints a lot of the officers were still using this device. The interviewer asked the police man what it was and why he was still using it, and the officer insisted that it did work, although only in about 40% of cases. He showed the VICE guy how it worked, you had cards that you inserted into the device for whatever you wanted to detect - C4, dynomite, urea nitrate, drugs, whatever - The cards were just paper that had been laminated and said "c4" on it, or whatever it was. The whole thing was tragic. Unfortunately iraq just can't afford to train and house enough sniffer-dogs to have one at all the checkpoints, so they only have dogs at about 10% of them. This means that bombs can slip through 90% of the checkpoints unnoticed, while these iraqi police hopelessly scan cars and vans with their bunk divining rods.

How this man can live with himself, profiting off of these. His actions have no doubt resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis who have died as the result of car bombs, and whos lives might have been saved had the money been invested in something that actually works, such as more sniffer dogs that would actually have detected the bombs.

Here's the vice doco, which I highly recommend: http://www.vice.com/vice-news/in-saddam ... ull-length
and the fake bomb detector: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651
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Re: From the annals of samsara

Postby James the Giant » Fri May 03, 2013 6:59 am

Today the greedy (evil?) businessman got sentenced to ten years jail.
Tragically, it appears his fake detectors did lead to a large number of deaths:
In October 2010, Baghdad was hit by a series of huge blasts that killed more than 150 people. It is believed the perpetrators of several deadly attacks in Iraq attacks passed through checkpoints that used the fake devices.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/20 ... 80977.html
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