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quantum ag broadcasting tower

 
steward
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I am really tempted to put this in the "meaningless drivel" forum. 

Is this for real?  I'm looking at the october 2009 full page ad in acres usa.

It is some sort of electronic contraption that broadcasts something. 

"more rain - cleared skies"

"higher yields with less inputs"

"harvested two weeks earlier"

"Counteracted damaging EMF effects"

The ad never says what it is or what it does.  There are pictures of solar powered contraptions sitting out in a field. 

I wanna say it's a steaming pile of horse potatoes, but I think in ag, a steaming pile of horse potatoes would cost less and be of more value.

I'm trying to keep an open mind.  Anybody have anything to say about it?
 
pollinator
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Caveat emptor comes to mind.
 
paul wheaton
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Yeah, it smells strongly of "a fool and his money are soon parted."
 
jacque greenleaf
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I am sure you have noticed that there's a streak of an odd combination of conspiracy theory and woo in Acres USA. I read it whenever I can (can't right now, the library where I am spending the winter does not subscribe to it), but I'm careful about what I read there. And of course, just because something is advertised in Acres USA doesn't mean they vouch for it.
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:
It is some sort of electronic contraption that broadcasts something. 

"more rain - cleared skies"

"higher yields with less inputs"

...

The ad never says what it is or what it does.  There are pictures of solar powered contraptions sitting out in a field. 

...

Anybody have anything to say about it?



I am reminded of wind-powered contraptions that Tibetan Buddhists set out, to automate the process of prayer. Those have a much longer track record, and much less embodied energy.

I also feel that some things benefit from the human touch. There may be machines that pray and give massages, but that just isn't the same.

Whatever they're doing, the advertised machines are intended to influence systems which are large enough (and warm enough, and made of stable-enough atoms) that quantum mechanics is an unnecessarily complicated sort of physics to use. If what you've learned from Newton's system doesn't explain the way they act on the weather, I don't think reading Planck will help you much, either.
 
steward
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not really on topic, but the bulb farm in my home town uses some sort of cannon to prevent rain during tulip season.  makes a lot of noise.  don't know how or if it really works, but my grandma's friend complains that it makes it rain more on her place.
 
                          
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Any product on the consumer market right now with "quantum" in the name or in the description of how it works is a scam. Advertisers use this word because they can be certain that most consumers know nothing about what the word "quantum" actually means. It's sort of like how in the early 20th C. every kind of snake oil could be peddled with the claim that it worked through "magnetism" because understanding of the actual principles of magnetic force was thin on the ground among laymen. When you read the word "quantum," unless you're reading the work of actual physicists in a peer-reviewed journal, replace it with "marketing." i.e. "This device works through the AMAZING scientifically-verifiable power of MARKETING!"

There isn't yet a practical application for quantum physics that has been translated to the consumer market. Provided we somehow manage to keep advanced high-energy physics research going for another fifty years in the face of energy descent, economic instability (at least), and changing priorities, then we might start to see some actual products making use of practical applications of quantum physics insights, but so far the physicists I know are pretty skeptical about practical applications emerging anytime soon.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Kerrick wrote:There isn't yet a practical application for quantum physics that has been translated to the consumer market.



LEDs are nifty, IMHO. Transistors have their place. And CD and DVD  players (and the related laser pointers) come in handy sometimes, too. Photovoltaic cells can be an amazing product in some circumstances.

But all these things use quantum mechanics in their design because the particles they're handling have noticeable quantum behavior. And you're right, they aren't marketed as quantum mechanical devices at all.
 
                          
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Whoops, yes, of course, Joel. Thanks for helping me make sense. I think this is where I was coming from: As far as I understand how these things function, and the bounds of quantum theory, my understanding is that their function can be explained using conventional physics—it doesn't matter to understanding the basic function of a laser that light can be either a particle or a wave; it only matters that light waves can be concentrated in such a way that they don't scatter like ordinary light does. A reputable physicist wouldn't put their name to packaging that declared that a laser pointer is a "quantum" laser pointer, because it's a "quantum" laser pointer in much the same way that this apple (that you can't see) is a "quantum" apple. Quantum physics affects its function in pretty much the same way it affects the physical function and properties of matter and energy in general, it doesn't make it able to do something it would not ordinarily be able to do.

(On the other hand, since you can't see this apple, how do you know it's not a QUANTUM apple after all?! You can't prove it isn't—and it can be yours for the low price of $30,000 plus s&h! Guaranteed to repel tigers in non-tiger-inhabited biomes and make rain fall or not fall under certain weather conditions. Also tasty.)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Kerrick wrote:
As far as I understand how these things function, and the bounds of quantum theory, my understanding is that their function can be explained using conventional physics—it doesn't matter to understanding the basic function of a laser that light can be either a particle or a wave; it only matters that light waves can be concentrated in such a way that they don't scatter like ordinary light does.



Nope. I hate to nitpick, but I agree with you in spirit, but not in fact.

I've taken a graduate-level class in laser design. We built several lasers in the lab portion of that class, of different varieties. The basic guts of the laser work according to an effect that classical physics cannot comprehend: stimulated emission. Without quantum physicists and their calculations of laser transition energies, cross sections, homogeneous broadening etc. to guide the laser designer, the damn things would never work.

Same goes for LEDs and transistors, with a few minor caveats: the class was not about design, so much as fabrication; it was undergraduate-level; we only made one sort of LED and one sort of transistor in that class; and after taking the class, I was an instructor for one quarter.

Kerrick wrote:in much the same way that this apple (that you can't see) is a "quantum" apple.



Sort of. Quantum physics informs chemistry, and the finer details of protein folding and metal ion chelation that keep the apple's enzymes chugging away probably need some QM to really understand in detail, but I think a much better case could be made for calling it a "chemical apple," or even better, a "biological apple."
 
                          
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Thank you for the comprehensive correction. I apologize to anyone I might otherwise have misinformed. And also to the quanta for belittling their contribution.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Kerrick wrote:
Thank you for the comprehensive correction. I apologize to anyone I might otherwise have misinformed. And also to the quanta for belittling their contribution.



Urg. I don't like the tone of my comment.

It reads like an insecure assertion of authority.

Authority can be asserted in a good way, but I think I failed. You apologizing is definitely not what I intended. I think people are used to philosophical peace of mind and technological merit going hand-in-hand as regards science. Quantum physics offers none of the former, so it makes sense to expect none of the latter from it.

I'm a little upset at "quantum" being mis-used to prop up the credibility of charlitans, especially in contexts like "What the Bleep do We Know," but my view of the subject is very complicated. One of the things I love best about quantum physics is that it has crushed any aspiration a physicist might have to use their discipline to force the acceptance of a particular metaphysics: it isn't like Newton's system, which packages a particular alchemical worldview with the laws of motion. Good, practical QM can be done from any of five, mutually contradictory metaphysical frameworks, or with no metaphysics at all. Twisting that liberating development into evidence for one's own metaphysics, the way J. Z. Knight did in her film, is to my understanding akin to citing an ancient holy man's message of peace in an effort to stir up war.
 
                          
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I didn't take it that way, Joel. One of the things I liked best about living with a physicist for a housemate for awhile is some of the interesting things I learned about everything from weather patterns on Jupiter to the science of cooking french fries, but my own formal science background is uneven, to say the least. I just had to take the opportunity to set up a not very good joke about "belittling" the smallest things in the universe, that's all.

I feel unhappy with the people who use the word "quantum" for every little thing in part because I come from the pagan community--I know and love many good-hearted and intelligent people whose critical thinking skills are often sidelined by good feelings and an intuitive sense of everything in the Universe fitting together in an aesthetically pleasing manner. I really value those good feelings and intuition, but I've also noticed that feelings and intuition are easily influenced by targeted marketing. I deeply resent my friends and loved ones being abused to make scads of cash for people who don't have the moral courage to admit that their weather-making dohicky works on MAGIC, not science.

If you ask me (and why shouldn't you, I know everything!) if you're going to do MAGIC you should do it the way granny did it--standing on a hill in her knickers with nothing but determination and a broom!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Kerrick wrote:their weather-making dohicky works on MAGIC, not science.



I pretty much agree.

The only big company I know of that openly sells magic is ABC/Disney, but I don't think even they are selling it in an honest way.
 
                          
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Well there's me told.
 
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An apple is indeed a quantum apple.  Granted, it's a macroscopic apple, but it is discretely different from all other apples and is either here or eaten, but not in between .
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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tamo42 wrote:
An apple is indeed a quantum apple.  Granted, it's a macroscopic apple, but it is discretely different from all other apples and is either here or eaten, but not in between .



Two of the quantum mechanical aspects of an apple are its pigments, which function on quantum principles, and its aroma, which interacts with scent receptors in ways that are best described by quantum mechanics.

Maintaining quantum entanglement between an eaten apple and one that has not been eaten, like you allude to, would be a very difficult technical challenge. The most difficult part would be keeping whatever creature might (or might not) eat the apple alive under conditions where quantum entanglement can be maintained.
 
Neal McSpadden
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I think it confirms that I'm a total dork because I laughed at that!
 
              
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Paul, I thought the same thing when I first read about this.

Has anyone tried one of these or have any first hand knowledge of one in use?

A site I found that might give a little better explanation of the device.

Anyone tried out a cloud busters with orgonite? are they the same thing?


On a side note, there are people who claim all disease can be cured in a similar manner.

If everything is just a frequency, and everything resonates at a different frequency, and frequencies have overtones, then maybe it all does make sense. I believe that is similar to how metal detectors can tell the difference between different metals and music gets different colors associated with notes and moods associated with modes. Did I say that right?
 
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I do a lot of public outreach about consumer advocacy. To date I've never found any product that invokes quantum anything that wasn't a complete and purposeful scam.
 
              
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Emerson, good to know. Any word on nano technology?
 
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I took several QM classes in university.  And, I don't like to see it misused in popular culture.  QM is vital to much of our existing technology, some of which of which Joel mentioned.  I would add the transistor which is the fundamental building block of computers.

These broadcasters are very popular among the bio-dynamics crowd.  Much like the cow horn mixtures, or water witching, everyone is skeptical when they first hear about it.  Nevertheless, the quality of the food convinces me that sometimes the bio-dynamics people are on to something, even if their theories are junk sometimes the discoveries are not. 

I have no opinion on the field broadcasters.
 
Emerson White
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What kind of QM class did you take?
 
Wyatt Smith
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University of Illinois, Physics 486 and 487.

http://courses.illinois.edu/cis/2011/spring/catalog/PHYS/index.html?skinId=2169

When I took them back in 2000, they were 386, 387 but it is the same course.
 
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I personally believe that this quantum ag broadcasting tower and much of Bio-Dynamic theory and practices are a bunch of hooey.

That said, given the choice between a Bio-Dynamic vegetable and a USDA Organic vegetable, I would choose the Bio-Dynamic vegetable every time.

None of the things I find questionable in Bio-Dynamic theory are in any way harmful.

Almost everything used in conventional agriculture IS harmful, and often quite dangerous.

If these towers make farmers feel better about their crops, then I think they might be well worth the money spent.
 
Emerson White
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@Mangudai, what from those classes leads you to think that these towers might have the kind of effect they are advertised to have?

@Frankenstoen, what really destroys permaculture is not pesticides or herbicides, it's costs. All these towers do is make the food cost significantly more, which makes the market for it significantly smaller. How is that not harmful?
 
Wyatt Smith
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Emerson White wrote:
@Mangudai, what from those classes leads you to think that these towers might have the kind of effect they are advertised to have?



Nothing.  And I am not convinced these broadcasters do anything.

I read and read about farming for a long time before going into it full time.  All the science put forth by the USDA sounds really good in theory, in practice its crap.  The Biodynamics community have many completely crackpot theories, in practice their food is outstanding. 
 
              
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Mangudai wrote:
Nothing.  And I am not convinced these broadcasters do anything.

I read and read about farming for a long time before going into it full time.  All the science put forth by the USDA sounds really good in theory, in practice its crap.  The Biodynamics community have many completely crackpot theories, in practice their food is outstanding. 



Oh no, not one of those people who believes in results. (joking of course)

I will have to look up some of the tidbits I have heard about them and see if I can find some research on them, as I was told it exists, some of it should be easily reproduced.
 
Franklin Stone
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@Frankenstoen, what really destroys permaculture is not pesticides or herbicides, it's costs. All these towers do is make the food cost significantly more, which makes the market for it significantly smaller. How is that not harmful?



Excellent point. However, this is where the power of the free market comes in. If the towers do not work, then the added cost should naturally limit their use.

Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are all known to be poisonous, and persist in the soil for generations to come. And these things are quite expensive too - the reason conventional agriculture produces cheap food is not because it is cheap to do, it is because farmers have absolutely no control over what they get paid for their crops. (Which is why they continue to go out of business at alarming rates.)

I do worry that new-age pseudo-science might turn people's reasoning faculties to utter mush, yet perfectly rational people make the terrible choice to mis-use science and apply toxic chemical to their fields every day.
 
Emerson White
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@Mangudi, I've had some great sustainably grown food, and I've had some crap sustainably grown food (mealy apples, I hate! mealy apples) I've had good conventionally grown food and crap conventionally grown food.

I think that it's down to anecdote that biodynamic is better than another form of little o organic.

Surely you must look at their literature and see that what they are selling has nothing at all to do with actual quantum? Do you not get offended when someone is lying about what they are doing? Would you not be offended in Monsanto started labeling roundup as "permaculture weed spray"? These folks are committing intellectual theft, and not actually testing their product. They aren't actually building anything quantum, so they much have a fantastic profit margin (80% markup is what I'd guess based on product size and price) they could spend some of the money they are making to actually test something, but it would kill their market share. Scammers never put their products to any sort of real test.

@Frankenstoen, Yes the free market does work, but there are other forces at play. What the free market will do, nay is doing, is putting the hard working farmers who buy this crap at serious disadvantage. They are committing fraud, and free market forces punish those who fall for fraud, or those who do not commit fraud stealthfully enough.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather the farmers who grow the best food for the cheapest price stay in business, not the farmers who happen to pass on filling the pockets of a scam artist who uses a word that people don't understand but sounds scientific.
 
Wyatt Smith
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Emerson White wrote:
@Mangudi, I've had some great sustainably grown food, and I've had some crap sustainably grown food (mealy apples, I hate! mealy apples) I've had good conventionally grown food and crap conventionally grown food.

I think that it's down to anecdote that biodynamic is better than another form of little o organic.

Surely you must look at their literature and see that what they are selling has nothing at all to do with actual quantum? Do you not get offended when someone is lying about what they are doing? Would you not be offended in Monsanto started labeling roundup as "permaculture weed spray"? These folks are committing intellectual theft, and not actually testing their product. They aren't actually building anything quantum, so they much have a fantastic profit margin (80% markup is what I'd guess based on product size and price) they could spend some of the money they are making to actually test something, but it would kill their market share. Scammers never put their products to any sort of real test.



I am offended by lying advertisements.  And I don't take the theory seriously.  However I have met people who take these field broadcasters seriously, and I am advocating on their behalf... devils advocate. 

Among the biodynamics crowd there are many folks with heightened sensitivity.  For example, they will say they feel the energy radiating out from a cypress tree.  When I inquire about the theory they usually do not make serious distinctions between auras, chi, aetheric energy, chakras, quantum fields, or whatever.  They feel something.  The same sorts of concepts are invoked for alternative healing of the human body.  I personally am not very sensitive to this sort of thing.  But I have met enough respectable people who are, that I don't dismiss their feelings.  Sometimes I have been very impressed with the results.

Most of the believers in this sort of thing would not use them anywhere.  Just as in acupuncture or feng shui, location is the most important variable.  An advertiser who promises it will work anywhere is just an unscrupulous salesman.  If people are sensitive to this sort of thing, then go for it.  For people who are not very senstive, like me, it is probably not worth using. 


 
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Hundreds of years of observation and experiment have shown that the beating of Tom-Toms causes the sun to re-appear after a solar eclipse.

 
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sgbotsford wrote:
Hundreds of years of observation and experiment have shown that the beating of Tom-Toms causes the sun to re-appear after a solar eclipse.




however so does sitting quietly in the corner

for a very low value of experiment
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