Richard Hoagland’s FAIL


from “expat”

“Mind-blowing measurements…”   “Stunning technology….”   “Will transform this planet…”

That was Richard Hoagland, a former museum curator, author of one and a half books over more than 40 years, unemployed for most of that time, uneducated in any branch of science, now re-born as “science adviser” to C2C. The occasion was last Thursday night, 23/24 May, top of hour 4.

He’s referring, of course, to his Accutron/MicroSet sensor device, which displays a trace of the exact frequency of a tiny tuning fork over time. He did not build this rig himself, although he likes us to assume that he did. The MicroSet timer was designed by Bryan Mumford, and the computer hookup was engineered for him by Bill Alek. On C2C he brazenly trumpeted his stunning success with this lash-up, conveniently eliding the fact that his last two outings have been notable failures. On Mauna Kea for the recent annular solar eclipse, his battery ran flat several hours before the eclipse began and he got no reading at all. At Chichen Itza for the Grand Galactic Alignment last December (actually two days prior) he was ejected from the site because he lacked a permit to run his equipment. The video of that fiasco is on Youtube — fine entertainment.

The Accutron device is described in this web page

Hoagland leads you to expect that, when an eclipse or a transit happens, the tuning fork frequency changes from a steady 360 Hz to some other number, under the influence of the so-called torsion field generated by the eclipse. However, that’s not what happens. What his displays show, instead, is apparently random short spikes, some of increasing frequency, some decreasing. Some of them happen during the eclipse, some continue when it’s all over. In the most egregious example, at Tikal on April 26th 2009, the spikes oscillated between 14.531 Hz and 949.586 Hz over ten minutes. And that was not even during an eclipse.

Imageimage credit: Richard Hoagland

On the face of it, this is so unimpressive that on my own blog I’ve facetiously called the apparatus the Inaccutron, and the Wacky-Acky. Bryan Mumford wrote last December “I am skeptical that any outside influence caused an Accutron to vary by so much unless it’s broken.”

The idea Hoagland came up with last Thursday, that tornados are also a manifestation of torsion, and therefore might be controlled with some sort of anti-torsion device, is the purest fantasy, devoid of the slightest trace of actual evidence.

He’s roughly correct when he says he has schlepped this equipment to many parts of the world. In fact, for the Venus transit of 5th June 2012, he badly wanted to go to the biggest pyramid of them all, at Giza. He budgeted the expedition at $80,000 and in early 2012 began to solicit cash from his Facebook fans. The fans only came up with about $1500, which was not refunded when the trip was cancelled.

Here are the major objections to Hoagland’s experimental protocol (acknowledgement to James Concannon):

1. He has never published any baselines. What that means is that we don’t know what the normal behavior of this wristwatch is. The last Accutron tuning fork movement was manufactured in 1977, so this one is at least 36 years old, very likely as much as 40. For all we know, it may be so defective that it throws these random spikes all the time. The MicroSet timer might be defective as well. Scientifically, the whole of Hoagland’s data is valueless for that reason alone. But there’s more.

2. He has never run any controls or, if he has, he has kept remarkably quiet about them. A ‘control’ would be at least one other Accutron/Microset apparatus running simultaneously but kept away from whatever influence is supposedly causing the torsion wave. In cases where he’s claiming that a pyramid (or a mountain, or a limestone castle) is amplifying the effect, the absolute minimum control would be a second apparatus far enough away from the pyramid to be unaffected by it, and a third apparatus around the other side of the planet which should not vary at all.

3. Many of his frequency spikes go off-scale, and so cannot be accurately assessed. Lack of containment, as it’s called technically, is a very bad no-no in science and would cause any thesis advisor or experimental supervisor to demand that the experiment be re-staged with an appropriate reduction in sensitivity.

4. In the only explanation of the underlying theory Hoagland has ever written, he states that the inertia of the tuning fork should increase (and therefore its frequency should decrease) if it is positioned parallel to the rotation axis of whatever rotating mass (planet, e.g.) is creating the torsion, but its inertia should decrease if it is orthogonal to the spin axis. It follows that the orientation of the tuning fork is of absolutely prime importance in interpreting the results, and yet Hoagland has not considered that important enough to report for any of the ten “experiments” so far conducted. In the video at Chichen Itza, the watch enclosure can be seen adopting all kinds of positions and neither Hoagland nor his companion (who holds the enclosure some of the time) appear to be controlling the orientation at all.

It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got the math

Now here’s a more theoretical objection, which is possibly more important than any of the above. Self-evidently, Hoagland is not showing us the torsion field itself. At the very best he is showing us a secondary effect of the torsion wave on the frequency of the tuning fork. His claim to have measured the intensity of the torsion field would only be credible if he had stated a mathematical relationship between the strength of the field and the density of the metal of which the fork is made. Why do I insist on the density? Because it’s the only term in the equation defining the frequency of a tuning fork which would conceivably be sensitive to a change in inertia.

The equation is:


where l = prong length, E the Young’s modulus, I the second moment of the cross-section to the fourth power, A is the actual cross-section area, and  ρ is the density.

Therefore I am saying that for Hoagland’s claim to have any credibility he would need to establish a relationship like ρ = f(T) where f = “some function” and T is the intensity of the torsion field. In fact, it gets worse for him, because since he is claiming that the orientation matters, T would need to be a vector quantity.

As things stand, he has not even stated what units the torsion field is measured in, let alone elaborated any such equation or made any statement whatsoever that includes actual data. His failure is comprehensive and irreparable.


Coast to Coast AM, May 23, 2013: James McCanney and Electricity Connecting from Saturn


James McCanney is a not infrequent guest on C2C, usually for a quick news blurb in the first hour, or for an hour here-and-there. May 23 saw him in the third hour with questions from the audience in the second half of that.

Trying to explain McCanney’s misconceptions is a bit like saying you’re going to spend an hour debunking Answers in Genesis: It can’t be done. Nearly every sentence he says is just plain wrong. Until I do my own podcast summarizing some of the major issues, I’ll direct you to Phil Plait’s take-down of about half a dozen of them.

In the spirit of this blog, where just a few things that catch our ears each show are things we want to address, I’m going to take on a claim he made in the early part of the hour. To summarize, he stated that we had weird weather in the US throughout Spring and early Summer. Since McCanny believes that all weather on Earth has to do with electrical interactions with stuff in the solar system, he searched and searched for something to explain it. And lo!– he found Saturn. That’s right … somehow, an electrical connection with the ringed planet made it snow here in America in the spring. Please show your work.

That’s a problem with people like McCanney: They claim to make all these predictions (some of which are bound to come true) and therefore claim to overthrow all of science and yet they haven’t shown how the math works out.

In this case, let’s assume we believe Maxwell’s equations and that electricity follows an inverse-square law for intensity (it’s called a “law” for a reason, mind you — it’s a fact that the intensity of electricity falls off with the square of the distance, so if you’re 5x farther away from something, the intensity is 1/25 (1/52)).

Let’s also assume that we have a spacecraft that, gee, operates on electricity that’s in orbit of Saturn. Which we do. It’s called Cassini and has been in orbit since 2004. Cassini does not orbit in a nice, circular orbit, but it’s widely variable. From what a quick search got me, we can put a very rough number of 1 million km from Saturn. For a very round number, Saturn’s a bit over 1 billion km from Earth.

Now let’s apply the inverse-square law: ( (1 billion) / (1 million) )2 = (1 thousand)2 = 1 million.

So an electrical connection with Saturn, at Earth, would necessarily have had to have been 1 million times stronger at Cassini. Even if we’re talking some sort of directed energy weapon like a Star Trek phaser, the electrical discharge from Saturn would have had to have done something to Saturn’s magnetosphere that would have affected Cassini. You can’t get out of this. A 1 million-fold increase of electrical output magically happening from Saturn would have fried Cassini, and yet it’s still operating just as well as before.

That’s about as kindly as I can put this, that it’s just WRONG. And you can now see why a debunking of McCanney would take a very very long time: Just from those two or three sentences, I spent 500+ words.

Welcome and Purpose


Welcome to the “Coast to Coast AM Watch” blog. This is a community blog, written by several contributors. The purpose of this blog is to keep tabs on the Coast to Coast AM (“C2C”) radio program.

“What’s C2C and why are you wasting your time with this?” you might ask.

C2C is a late-night radio program that airs in the United States (and affiliates elsewhere) that was begun in the 1990s by Art Bell (radio hall of fame inductee). It was taken over by George Noory in 2003, after Art retired. The usual format is a first hour news briefing for ~10 minutes with a quick guest or two, and then a first hour guest for the remainder. Usually call-in questions are taken in the latter half of the first hour. The remaining three hours are usually devoted to a single guest with callers phoning in during the final hour. There are numerous various on this format with the most common being the latter half of Friday nights are devoted to (screened) open lines, where callers can discuss any topic they want.

The subject matter is general paranormal and conspiracy. However, when Art ran it, though he definitely believed many of his guests, the tone of the show is what many would think of as “campfire stories,” such as, “Wow, wouldn’t that be neat if what the guest claimed was true!?”

With George at the helm, it has turned into more of a platform for people to make outlandish claims without any questioning other than along the lines of, “Tell us more.” Some of the more recent fill-in hosts, such as John B. Wells, have gone further and actively promote dangerous medical practices and conspiracies, though they claim not to by adding terms like, “What if … ?”

Eventually, some of us grew fed up with this going mostly unchallenged. C2C is probably the largest late-night syndicated talk show in the world with over 550 affiliates and claims of a nightly audience anywhere from 5 to 15 million people. The harm that a show like this can do, with misinformation spread to so many people, is enormous.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a commentary on particularly egregious examples of misinformation. We won’t blog about every show, we won’t blog about every topic. The person whose name appears at the top of the post may have only contributed part of it, and others have gone in and added, almost in a wiki-type setup. We aim to be as objective as possible and to provide references to the actual information or at least other references that discuss the science as opposed to the sensational claims.

Hopefully people who search the internet for more information about the topics discussed and the guests who are on will find this blog and the real information.