Monday, February 13, 2006

News from the Science Front

In some very interesting science news (thanks TW), physicist Dr. Franklin Felber will present his new exact solution of Einstein's Gravitational Field Equation to the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) in Albuquerque. While this sounds very dry and uninteresting, one of the consequences of the solution is the revelation that any mass travelling at over about 0.57 times the speed of light creates an anti-gravity field.

This is totally cool for a number of reasons:
  1. It's anti-gravity. How is that not cool?
  2. Because it happens for any mass, and is only dependant on speed, it can actually be tested in particle accelerators where small particles can be accelerated to the required velocity.
  3. From the abstract of the paper (pdf): "At relativistic speeds, a suitable mass can quickly propel a heavy payload from rest nearly to the speed of light with negligible stresses on the payload." Translation - high speed space travel.

Now obviously this is all in the early stages and there's plenty of hammering out that still needs to be done. Felber doesn't see it resulting in any meaningful tests of actual massive payloads (i.e. spacecraft) until around the end of the century. But still... so damn cool.

Also, George Deutsch continues to make an utter fool of himself.

In personal news, I actually told my sister's boyfriend this weekend that colloidal silver causes argyria. There was a brief struggle where i considered if it was worth it to wait for his fingernail to start going grey before i did, but since that can take years i though i'd better get around to it sooner. Naturally, he gave the only response alternauts know: that it was all a conspiracy by the big pharmaceutical companies, that FDA trials (and all medical trials conducted by non-alternauts) are by definition biased and under the control of the evil pharmaceutical companies, and that there's no such thing as argyria.

I actually laughed. Really. I tried not to, but it was so perfectly verbatim from so many of the fanatical websites and comments i've seen. He's obviously been reading the altworld manual.

When you think about it, though, it's a very good example of the lengths people will go to in resolving cognitive dissonance. The idea that colloidal silver works and has no side effects, and the idea that it doesn't work and has pretty bad side effects, cannot both be held at the same time. Something's gotta give. Most rational people will realise that evidence for the second greatly outweighs evidence for the first, so will abandon the first. But there are those who (for reasons that can only be described as faith) cannot dismiss the first, so must find some way to dismiss the second. And along come a wealth of conspiracy theories about how the evidence has to be faked, or the real evidence is being suppressed, by those greedy capitalist companies who just want to keep selling their evil anti-biotics.

But let's really think about the logic. Let's say a company runs some trials on a new alternative medicine, and discovers that it is not only easy to manufacture (it must be, those alternauts don't have big pharmaceutical companies backing them, so one can only conclude it's being made in someone's garage), it's also very effective and has no side effects. Now, what is the most logical choice if you're a greedy corrupt company that only wants to make money:

  1. Register the patent, quit making the expensive stuff and start selling the cheap stuff, only at a higher price because it's safer (people love that safety crap), thereby making a killing. Also avoid all possible lawsuits revolving around side effects. Save even more money. OR...
  2. Suppress all knowledge that it works. Spend extra money funding some more tests to show that it doesn't work. Pay off a whole lot of people to lie and say it gave them argyria. Pay for some more tests to show argyria exists. Keep manufacturing expensive anti-biotics at the same profit margin.

I know if i were a money-grubbing, amoral pharmaceutical company, i would definitely go with option 1. The fact that everyone who buys into this fairy tale disagrees with me only goes to show their conclusions are not based on any kind of logic. Because when it comes right down to it, what makes more sense:

  1. There exists a worldwide conspiracy by health practitioners to pretend that colloidal silver doesn't work and is bad for you, because the worldwide health community, made up of people who have dedicated their lives to helping people, is somehow threatened by the possibility that there might be safe drugs with no side effects. OR...
  2. Joe Bloggs, whose entire career is staked on telling people colloidal silver works, will do anything to pretend that it still does in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because to admit to the evidence means admitting he has been poisoning people for years.

Really, let's be honest. We know, for a fact, that when the medical community finds evidence that a drug has side effects that outweigh its helpfullness, that medicine is off the shelves faster than you can say 'see you in court'. Think Thalidomide. Not so alternative medicine. No matter how strong the evidence, they keep selling it. Ban it, they will move to a country where the drug laws are less stringent, and keep selling it.

Who, then, comes across as the greedy, amoral industry?


Blogger totalwaste said...

ooh! i contributed! w00t ^_^

of course, i agree with your rating system :)

February 15, 2006 11:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home