So it must be true. Today, Bad Science reports how an ex-cop from South Africa (pictured right) has a
magic quantum box that can locate anyone in the world. And he’s been “helping” find missing British child Madeleine McCann (although rather strangely, she hasn’t been found yet). Read the Bad Science link for the details.
Anyway, this bit sounded like a testable claim:
Krugel, of the University of Bloemfontein, claims that his technique is able to locate a missing person anywhere in the world using only a single strand of hair.
Sounds like just the thing to win Randi’s Million, wouldn’t you think? A fairly simple test would work. Give Krugel one strand of hair from each of (say) ten people randomly distributed throughout the world. Krugel is blind to who the hair comes from. He says he is 90% accurate – I say he just has to be right in the location of five of the ten people. Something like that anyway, depending on how accurate (within one mile?) he says he can be. The guy should ace the test. And that would only be the start. The Nobel Prize would surely follow, after all, according to Krugel:
“…this is science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it. It is tied to the science we hear but people didn’t realise it… it’s just science. That’s it.”
So I decided to Email Danie Krugel to see if he was going to apply for the million. I wrote:
I was fascinated to read today of your quantum device that can locate a missing person anywhere in the world using only a single strand of hair. This ability would easily win the million dollars offered by James Randi (details here), and I wondered if you had applied. While I am sure you are not motivated primarily by money, winning this prize would prove to the world that your device works, and would open the door to further beneficial uses of the product in law enforcement and elsewhere. Could you advise me when and if you plan to apply for this challenge?
I’ll let you know if he replies. Of course, there’s nothing stopping anyone else clicking the link and sending him an email too.
Other reading from Moonflake blog
Danie Krugel: First Contact – Krugel phones Moonflake and promises “some big event regarding his device”
Danie Krugel: Officially a Liar? – Krugel fails to make good on the promise detailed in the above link
Pseudoscientists, Psychics, and Pop Psychologists: Danie Krugel resurfaces on Carte Blanche – a skeptical review of Krugel’s recent appearance on South African TV.
Edited to add:
Commenters below gave me two additional links. First, it seems that James Randi has already offered Krugel the million if his device works. Funnily enough, he never replied to Randi. Or to me.
Also, see Danie Krügel Facts (sic).
October 13, 2007 – The Observer apologizes for its credulous article on Krugel. Apparently some bloggers had introduced them to the actual facts about Krugel and his device.
And The Mirror on the parents of a missing man who were considerably less than impressed by Krugel.