I don’t mean that The Spouse has put me on a leash or locked me in the doghouse. I refer to one of my favourite interests, Crank Science.
capable of fogging a mirror back in the sixties/seventies will remember the cardboard pyramid craze. In a nitshell you made a wee cardboard pyramid to the exact proportions (scaled down a bit) of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and if you aligned it precisely on north, and if your sample was at the correct height above the base and on the centreline … you were in business.
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE ABOUNDED
With many quoted examples of all sorts of miraculous events occurring within scaled-down pyramids. Meat wouldn’t rot, milk stayed dredible (new word: it’s the liquid equivalent of edible) for months etc etc but the best of them all was (SFX: TA-DAAAAAH! here please) blunt razor blades correctly aligned therein would resharpen themselves. Or, if you dried your blade after use and popped it in it would never go blunt.
NOT ONE TO ACCEPT
the improbable on face value; and not giving a hoot who might think me a nutter, I tried these good things. Such extravagant claims couldn’t be accepted without a test—nor rejected out of hand. To reject a claim out of hand is to admit to having a closed mind, no?
SO THE SPOUSE
learned to live with little pyramids popping up like mushrooms and soon learned not to disturb their alignments—even if the best I could do for true north was to use a magnetic compass and aim off by the local variation. My boat was rocked quite early when some liver I’d placed in my first test pyramid didn’t rot. Wow~! But let’s not celebrate too soon, neither did the wee control piece I’d placed in a matchbox immediately alongside and aimed off from north just in case. Summer too, in Auckland—I can’t explain it either.
the fun didn’t last long, I had to go back to sea and it’s not easy aligning wee pyramids to true north on a manoeuvring ship. The craze had passed by the time I got home again and in the meantime my test edifices had been quietly buried out back somewhere in a very deep hole, along with my book ‘Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain‘. A pity, I loved that book … especially the young lady who could part smoke in a sealed goldfish bowl (Nelya Nokabolokov or similar) using just her mind. Grist to the mill!
(And on a whim I just discovered that the craze hasn’t died completely and is still with us* . Thank heavens, we need our nuts. And here’s another of interest** , he seems rapt over the concept and even offers a scientifical explanation of why they work. For him. But don’t bother getting all enthusiastic and following his links, they take you to a Squidoo monster that’s gobbled up the sites referred to. Bummer …)
NOW LAST NIGHT
I happened on a webbie extolling the concept of ‘grounding’. Being a pseudo-science nutter of the top rank myself I’ve always known that we are made of star-stuff and it’s actually an electric universe. No quibbles there. Apparently all you have to do to maintain health in an unhealthy world is kick your shoes off and get out there, wander naked-toed through the wet grasses and make contact with Mother Earth. I like it!
wandered lonely as a cloud out into the night with bare feet, torch in one hand and my wee multimeter in the other. I also had a pair of gum-boots (that’s kiwispeak for Wellingtons, aka rubber boots) and the motivation to investigate. My method was simple. A cheap and barely adequate digital meter, one probe driven into the wet soil of the back lawn, one in my fingers and note the reading. Then open the circuit, note the reading. Good heavens. Repeat until flabbergasted—no two readings the same; but—
—but try again, this time with the rubber boots ‘twixt shivering feet and ground. Interesting … certainly the rubber works well as an insulator, but of most interest was when open circuit the stand up voltage averaged at about 1.5mV. When I clamped my fingers onto the probe the reading shot up each time by a factor of ten or much more. Well now …
and pulled in the freebie book the nice people were advertising. I haven’t read it yet (hell, I haven’t even opened it yet) but here above is a piccie of the cover and if you are at all interested you can google and track it down. I also read the transcript of an interview, all very fun but some of their math and concepts and things were just a wee bit … naive.
AND NOW TO PUBLISH
this post and see how this new theme is working out with the blog. (Ol’ Blix didn’t do anything for the photos but I loved its simplicity.)