Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No, Actually it DOESN"T work,!

I'd like to tackle a bit of bullshit that I'm tird of hearing about on jobs.

The Divining rod. I know what your thinking..."Joe, no one takes that shit seriously anyway" and you'll think I'm creating a controversy that doesn't really exist...

But, I shit you not, there are currently at least 3 people in my office that "believe" this shit works.


As a professional geologist, we do a lot of invasive work in the earth: trenching, drilling, excavator work etc... and Utility locates are actually pretty critical to alot of jobs. I've been on rigs that have hit utilities, and it tends to make everyone nervous - (is that just an old concrete storm sewer, or a high pressure gas line?)


I've talked with a few people who swear, that no matter what, they ALWAYS can find utilities using divining rods.

But I've taken a dramatic stance on them: if anyone pulls divining rods out on a job I'm on, they are immediately off the project. I do that for 2 main reasons:

1. if a client comes by and sees us standing around with divining rods trying to find where we will be digging, what will they think?

2. We are supposed to be fucking professionals whose job it is to use SCIENCE to find what's in the earth.

Most recently, I've been working in Sacramento on a field job doing geophysics: using a method that is commonly used to find buried utilities in abandoned industrial areas, or on military bases, or whatever. I'm out here working with a Geophysicist, he's 37 years old, has an MS degree in geophysics, and does UXO removal for a living.

He Believes that the use of Divining rods works. He is also a dumbshit.

SO I ask him:

1. If they work, why have you never included them in any job you've done?

2. if they work, why not use them rather than pay for real geophysical equipment? A bent coathanger is alot cheaper than the $40,000 resisitivity system we are currently using.

3. why haven't you patented this new technology? if there really aren't any studies out there, but you know it works, why not write that article demonstrating their use? you'd be famous! you'd also be Rich for developing a technology that industry could certainly benefit from.

4. and i tell him, "if you pull those divining rods out on this job, I'll have you off this project tomorrow..."

naturally he got all pissed and provided the following arguments to me:

1. Despite the fact that there is not a SINGLE reference in a peer reviewed journal to the successful deployment of divining rods, he "knows" they work.

(I actually contacted my Brother-in-law Scott, a graduate student in physics, to search some journal databases and he found no positive papers that reference the sucessful use of divining rods, for ANY purpose. I couldn't find anything on google scholar either...and a general google search only revealed a "straight dope" article talking about how it doesn't work.

2. He personally knew This guy who lived in Hawaii who could locate buried utilities or metal 80% of the time. This is quite possibly the most juvenille and stupid argument for anything I've ever heard.

3. like the hypothesis of Plate tectonics as proposed by wegner lacked sufficient data to support it when it was proposed. Divining Rods also work, they just lack supporting data. Actually its nothing like that, because even plate tectonics was used to explain existing observational data (fossils, stratigraphy, and continental geometry)...thats how science works.

4. I just haven't tried to to it myself and therefore I don't know that it can work. Oh believe me, I can make that thing work 100% of the time over areas where I know there are utilities, and I"m not going to spend my time trying to find unmarked utilities.

Normally, I'd let this shit slide and just shrug it off, but this is a guy whose ONLY job in life is to Find buried items using geophysical methods.

I finally had to end the argument. I bet him, and I'm extending that bet to ANyone:

if you can show me that this method works: peer reviewed journal, or even a technical article from a private industry that can demonstrate a positive correlation between divining rods the location of buried utilities, water, or ore bodies, I'll pay you $100. No grey literature will be accepted, and full datasets must be available for scrutiny.

I don't even want to hear shit like "I know this guy really good at it" or "dude...seriously, shit works."

there you have it, its on the internet now, I can't retract it. Don't worry, I have the $100, and I have if you can show me the science, I'll show you the money.

until then, Piss off with your folklore and quackery. yeah, I said "quackery". ass.


Collin said...

Shit, I wish you would have posted this yesterday because I just used my life savings to invest in 'Divining rod Inc.' I met this geophysicist and he swore up and down that they worked so I thought "fuck it, they must work".

No but seriously, one of my good friends knows a guy who found the lost city of Atlantis with nothing but a set of divining rods, a compass and a unicorn.

Anonymous said...

dude.... seriously, shit works.

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