Science, Computers & Tech - Comment

Richard HortonHalf of Scientific Literature is a Lie - Editor of The Lancet (Apr 2015)
When Richard Horton, editor of a leading medical journal The Lancet, admits that half of what is reported in scientific journals is simply not true, you know that the cat is out of the bag. We must start being more critical of science and stop this polarity between either completely rejecting it or accepting it as gospel. Science is just rational investigation of reality and one that can and is easily influenced by money. We all have a duty to keep science on the straight and narrow. Horton's comments
BOOK: The Higgs Fake / Alexander Unzicker
We all wistnessed the media frenzy over the discovery of the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Somehow it was heralded as one of the greatest discoveries in physics. Unzicker convincingly argues that modern particle physics has losts its way, becoming an over-complicated and contrived theory with little regard to the rigorous processes of science. Results from CERN and other accelerators are being selected and interpreted to fit the standard model, and very few dare to question these theoretical contrivances because there is so much money and so many careers involved. This is a book that will teach you what science is and, most importantly, what it is not. And it certainly has little to do with what is currently going on at the atomic scale.

Evidence of Explosives Being Used on 9-11 is Irrefutable (Mar 2010)
An academic paper published in "The Open Chemical Physics Journal" last year conclusively proves that a variant of the demolition explosive thermite was found in all dust samples collected from the ruins of the World Trade Center. The paper — Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe — gives solid scientific backing to the numerous 9-11 truth movements that are calling for an independent enquiry. Click to view

BOOK: 13 Things That Don't Make Sense / Michael Brooks
This fascinating book looks at thirteen anomalies in modern science that are currently confounding the scientific community. The book is stylishly-written, thought-provoking and meticulously researched, making it not only highly enjoyable for those with open minds, but one that is bound to stir up controversy. What is important about examining anomalies such as those highlighted by Brooks is that they may be hinting at scientific revolutions just around the corner, revolutions as profound as quantum theory was in the last century.
Quackbusters Exposed As Scientific Frauds (Jan 2008)
Many of you will be aware of the US based quackbusters Stephen Barrett, who runs Quackwatch, and Michael Shermer, the director of Skeptic organisation. Both these quackbusters will put down anyone and any theory that disagrees with current orthodoxy. Less well known but a rising star on the UK quackbusters stage is Ben Goldacre, who has a skeptics column in The Guardian national newspaper and a blog called Bad Science. What all these quack-busters have in common is that they appear to be defending science, when in fact their are defending ideology. The difference is subtle and easy to miss for someone not scientifically literate, but these men are actually political rather than scientific animals, working feverishly to defend the interests of powerful industrial, technological and political organisations. Investigative journalist and author of Dirty Medicine, Martin Walker, has now written an esposé on this sort of quackbusting called Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism in which he shows that quackbusters like Goldacre are actually scientific frauds with political motives. This book is available as a FREE download at Slingshot.
BOOK: The Body Electric / Robert Becker & Gary Selden
In almost every text book on the human body, its bioelectric aspect is almost completely ignored in favour of chemical and biological perspectives. Electricity, however, is a fundamental component of all living cells, organs and organisms, and a thorough understanding of its role in our bodies will undoubtedly be central to future medicine and methods of healing. Berker's discoveries are pointing to the day when human limbs, spinal cords and organs may be regenerated after they have been damaged, and equally fascinating is the story of his struggle to do this original research, and the government's resistance to funding it.

NEW SCIENTIST has done an interesting piece (Mar 2005) on "13 things that don't make sense" in the scientific world. We can think of a lot more, but considering this is an orthodox science magazine, we felt it was worth summarizing their list here:

  1. The Placebo Effect: Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin has done some excellent work on the placebo effect by showing that a morphine-blocker, naloxone, works even if the a saline placebo is being used instead of morphine!
  2. The Horizon Problem: How did the universe become so uniform in its background radiation when its size and the limit to the speed of light prevents any hot or cold spots evening out their temperatures?
  3. Ultra-Energetic Cosmic Rays: Physicists in Japan have reported over the last 10 years cosmic rays so powerful that there is nothing in the universe scientists can think of that might have caused them.
  4. Homeopathy Research Results: Madeleine Ennis, a pharmacologist at Queen's University, Belfast, wanted to prove once and for all the homeopathy was bunkum. Only problem was that her research shows that it works.
  5. Dark Matter: If our understanding of gravity is correct, then the galaxies should spin apart with centripetal forces. To fudge this one, scientists have invented "dark matter" — matter that cannot be detected (very scientific!).
  6. Mars' Methane: In 1976 the Viking Landers picked up carbon-14-containing nutrients in the Martian soil. This has not been corroborated by other missions but some scientists stick by the claim.
  7. Tetraneutrons: Four years ago scientists at the Ganil accelerator in France detected six particles that should not exist according to current laws of physics — tetraneutrons.
  8. The Pioneer Anomaly: Now that both Pioneer spacecraft have done their bit of planet studying, they should be drifting off predictably into deep space. Problem is that they are accelerating away slightly faster than they should.
  9. Dark Energy: For the expansion of the universe to agree with General Relativity, it was proposed in 1998 that dark energy was hidden in empty space. Problem is it has never been pinned down so Relativity itself may need altering.
  10. The Kuiper Cliff: Beyond Pluto there is a region of space called the Kuiper belt that is made of icy rocks. These rocks stop suddenly as you go out which hints that there might be a large 10th planet sweeping them. But it remains unseen.
  11. The Wow Signal: On 15 Aug 1977 scientists at Ohio State University looking for intelligent signals coming from space came across one so unnatural-looking that one of them wrote "Wow!" by the data print out. It has never repeated.
  12. Variable Physical Constants: Australian astronomers researching light from quasars in 1997 noticed anomalies in their data that can only be explained if Alpha, a physical constant that determines how light interacts with matter, once had a different value.
  13. Cold Fusion: This one was viciously dismissed by the scientific community when Fleishmann and Pons at Utah University first unveiled their lab results in 1989. Now, even the US Department of Energy is giving it the thumbs up.
BOOK: Science and Sanity / Alfred Korzybski
Few people manage to get through this tome of a book, but it is well worth the effort as those who manage to stumble through find themselves seeing the world in a completely different light. Korzybski's book is more to do with the limits of perception and the assumptions endemic in the language. He presents a quantum mechanical alternative which canters around our use of the verb "to be", for this verb makes the huge and unjustified assumption that what what we use it on has an objective reality independent of our perception.

   "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
   "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
   "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
   "The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
   "It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994 (Source: www.planetary.org)
BOOK: The Fabric of the Cosmos / Brian Greene
This is one of the best books that gives a highly readable synopsis of twenty-first-century physics, including the multidimensional nature of reality and the ambitious claims of String Theory. Greene takes on the deep questions on existence: What is reality? Could we exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past? What are the limits of the universe? Greene's gift is to bring fundamental physics alive with his entertaining, imaginative and highly readable style, in a way that Hawking was never quite able. (The book's only fault is Greene's Einstein-worship when in fact Einstein was a plagiarist and did not originate Relativity.)
BOOK: Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist / Christopher Jon Bjerknes
If you think that Albert Einstein was a genius who single-handedly invented the physics of Relativity, which smashed the scientific paradigm at the beginning of the 20th century, you have fallen for one of the biggest and most outrageous masquerades. This book undeniably documents Einstein's prolific plagiarism and paints a picture of him as a second-rate scientist who conned his way to the pinnacle of physics. Nearly every formula and theory attributed to him, including the famous E=mc2 and Relativity, was invented by others that remain largely unacknowledged. The core of the physics community knew this, which was why he never received the Nobel Prize for these discoveries.
News: Einstein — Genius or Plagiarist? (5 Dec 2004)
Professor Friedwardt Winterberg has recently published a paper in German scientific journal Z. Naturforsch showing that Einstein may well have plagiarized David Hilbert's work in the development of General Relativity. A 1997 paper published by Corry, Renn and Stachel in Science had argued that Hilbert had amended his paper on seeing Einstein's finished work, but this has now been disproved. In fact, Einstein continued to put forward his incorrect derivation of General Relativity after Hilbert had derived the correct equations. But Einstein may have had some underhanded allies: Hibert's original proofs for his paper preceding Einstein's have been deliberately mutilated, with key sections cut out that have helped obscure this issue. Science is almost invariably a collaborative venture with each person building on another person's work. Einstein's name has been synonymous with genius because he had the knack of deriving highly original theories out of thin-air, with thought experiments. Now we may know where his "genius" came from. (For more information, read Christopher J. Bjerknes's book, Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist (see above) or visit his website.)
BOOK: 25 Big Ideas / Robert Matthews
This is not an alternative science book but one that looks at the 25 central components of 21st century orthodox science, including quantum mechanics, parallel universes and GM crops. Matthews is one of the best science writers around and tackles even the hardest of topics with lucid alacrity. He also shows himself to be a true open-minded scientist by not having a knee-jerk need to defend too much orthodox thinking. This book is a must for anyone who really wants to understand the foundation ideas of modern science — where they came from, how they evolved and where they are headed.
BOOK: The Field / Lynne McTaggart
The book is a marvellous introduction to some of the most important alternative scientific research that has been conducted over the last century in the area of an all-pervading field of quantum energy called the zero-point field which connects everything in the universe, and neatly presents a single theory for such diverse systems as the workings of DNA, homeopathy and ESp. Although it sounds far out, this theory is backed by some brilliant minds and first class research. This thoroughly researched book will change your perception of the world forever.
BOOK: The Seven Mysteries of Life / Guy Murchie
This book is encyclopaedic: if you were to take a single book on science, society and everything with you to a desert island, this would have to be it. As the San Francisco Review of Books commented, "One could spend four years in college and probably not encounter all of the information found in these pages." Murchie not only has a huge scope, but writes eloquently and poetically, presenting a noble vision of the world and our place in it.
BOOK: The Biology of Belief / Bruce Lipton
This book turns much of orthodox biology on its head: instead of having immutable genes controlling the cell, which is the orthodox biological model, genes have been found to merely be an information copy for the sole purpose of reproduction — a bit like a disk drive in a computer. Lipton shows how genes are constantly being changed by the environment (including our thoughts), and that the cell's real brain is actually the membrane — the interface between the environment and the cell itself. What is so exciting about this book is that Lipton was an orthodox scientist who was changed his views on the basis of recent discoveries in orthodox science. Darwin is out and Lamarck is back in vogue!
BOOK: The Conscious Universe / Dean Radin
Tired of reading those unconvincing "proofs" of psychic phenomena? This is perhaps the most scientifically convincing book for the existence of psi or psychic phenomena that has so far been written. The author, Dean Radin, is an academic parapsychologist, and he has meticulously compiled overwhelming scientific evidence in this well-written book, giving short change to both New Agers and professional skeptics. If you are a person who needs scientific validation, this is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are more New Age inclined, you might find it a little pedantic. There is a great chapter on the methods used by skeptics and one on the implications of psi.
BOOK: From Science to God / Peter Russell
A clear and concise account by a gifted science writer and philosopher into how we need to reexamine the role and place of consciousness in the reality that we experience. Russell himself went from being an atheist, studying maths and physics at Cambridge, to a man able to blend the mystical with the scientific. This gives him the perfect credentials to lead the reader into a more profound vision of reality, whilst not falling into any of the pat spiritual teachings of either most conventional religion or New Age philosophy. This is definitely an important book to read.
BOOK: Sync / Steven Strogatz
In this fascinating read, mathematician Steven Strogatz gives us a compelling and first-hand account of the emerging science of sync — self-organization across time. Sync explains many startling phenomena such as how fireflies are able to flash in unison and why the moon's spin is precisely in sync with its orbit so we only ever see the same side. In fact, when you start looking for sync, it seems to be everywhere. What is also interesting are systems where there is no sync. Heart pacemaker cells are in sync to generate heartbeats whereas brain cells are not — otherwise we would be having an epileptic fit.
BOOK: The Holographic Universe / Michael Talbot
Talbot shows us, step by step, how modern physics is leading us to the conclusion that the entire universe is actually a giant 3-D image projected into space — a hologram. Using this model, he manages to neatly include paranormal experiences such as telepathy, out-of-body experiences and mystical experiences. The scope of this book is daunting indeed, and has the potential to completely change our perception of reality. It is such a breath of fresh air to read something scientific that is inclusive of human experience and not so exclusive of it.
BOOK: Secrets of the Soil / p.Tompkins & C. Bird
When this book was published in 1989, it firmly put soil management at the forefront of ecological revival. Tompkins and Bird introduce the revolutionary methods of Rudolf Steiner's biodynamic agriculture, showing how they could be used to revitalize previously barren areas and to achieve amazing feats of productivity, before moving on to other systems of ecological agriculture that present solutions to our current ecological / farming crises. Soil sounds boring, but this book actually moves on at a fast and fascinating pace. Well worth a read.