Divining rod reborn as explosive-detection device

The Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 units of the ADE 651, a bomb detector that makes very questionable claims.

We've all seen how fashion frequently goes full circle and brings back designs our grandparents wore, but we would never have guessed the same for dowsing. Popular during ancient times, it was believed that a pair of simple divining rods could magically detect water underground.


Seems dowsing is coming back, albeit with an unexpected angle. British company ATSC (UK) is selling a portable explosive detection device called the ADE 651, which brings bomb detection technology to another (magical) level with claims it can detect guns, ammunition, explosives, and even contraband items from more than half a mile through obstacles and even planes flying 3 miles overhead.

Amazingly, it uses no power source and all the operator needs to do is hold a pair of metal rods that will point to dangerous items via "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction." ATSC (UK) is selling the ADE 651 for between $16,500 and $60,000 each (depending on the source).

Despite the fact that the ADE 651 has been debunked by journalists and authorities (including Dale Murray, head of the National Explosive Engineering Sciences Security Center at Sandia Labs), the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 units and swears by them. We all know a sucker is born every minute, but are the hoodwinked Iraqi soldiers depending on the ADE 651 to save lives, or the public to pay for these with their tax dollars?

(Source: Crave Asia via The New York Times)

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