Sunday, April 1, 2018

Farewell to the wacky-accy

        At the half-hour mark during yesterday's rather turgid Other Side Of Midnight, Richard Hoagland drew the attention of his listeners (all four of them, perhaps) to a new feature of the show's website.

        Not very original, I hear you say. Right, and I seriously doubt that he's going to see the floods of $$$ that are in his dreams. OSOM "members" are already paying $9.95 a month for a show that often fails to get on the air (although to be fair, he's had a run of good luck lately—nine more-or-less glitch-free shows on the trot.) But you had to laugh when he came up with one very good reason for the new Donate button:
32:45 "My Accutron broke. I've used it for years—I made a mistake the other day and dropped  the damn thing on a hardwood floor. It obviously has incredible fine wires. It broke. To send it out to specialists who do Accutron reconstruction—surgery, whatever—is going to require several hundred dollars. To get a new one is going to require something like a thousand bucks. So we need funds...."
        Now, it's possible that I've been April-fooled, but I'm assuming that was genuine, and he's been deprived of what he once called "a technology that can save the world." Last night he blathered on about wanting to put the wacky-accy in an orgone accumulator, to see what that does to the so-called "torsion field." Two bits of ridiculous pseudoscience, one inside the other—perhaps they'd cancel each other's nuttiness out and provide something of actual value (but I doubt it.) However, we'll never know now.

        There's a lovely irony in this. In the highly unlikely event that Hoagland does raise lots of lolly—and if he spends it on the wacky-accy rather than Las Vegas crap tables—you can bet your bottom dollar he'd never be able to repeat the bizarre results he's already "published." The plain fact is that he didn't just break it, it's been broken all along. That's why it shows such wild frequency swings even in the absence of any eclipse or transit. It's in the data.

        In case anybody reading this has no clue what "The Accutron" is, here's a briefing from the Rational Wikipedia, and here's Stuart Robbins of Exposing Pseudoastronomy critiquing Hoagland's protocol. Also, thanks to blogspot's labelling system, you can click on the label hoagland Accutron nonsense at the foot of this post, and bring up everything I've ever written about that damn wristwatch. WARNING: It's a lot. 23 posts.

        Chris L found this long discussion from October 2012. Plenty of good points made, and some good fun Hoagland-bashing.

Thanks to Stuart Robbins for the audio


Chris said...

Post #34 by Beanbag, a horologist who has worked on Accutrons, is very interesting. It leads me to believe that even if Hoagland obtains funds from people to have his watch repaired he'll be unable to do so due to the lack of spare parts. If he later announces that it was repaired and is fully working again I will be sceptical of whether it ever broke and what the funds were used for.

Two Percent said...

Chris said...

"Post #34 by Beanbag, a horologist who has worked on Accutrons, is very interesting."

Indeed. As described by Beanbag, the 'Tron was a remarkable development, for its day. Creating a mechanical drive from a 360Hz signal using such a small battery, back then. Wow.

But this story reminds me of a similar one, from when I was working for a large US computer company. This was way back in the day, long before LCD screens appeared. We were trying to sell PCs to a large media organisation, and I had sent them a Demo Unit. A day or two later, I received a call - the PC is playing up. I duly visited.

Walking through the door to the "test room", I immediately figured out the problem. The guy doing the "testing" was an extremely ham-fisted character. It's this fact that reminded me of Hoagie and his 'Tron "experiments". Mr HamFisted had opened up the PC, which was a slim desktop model. Leaving the steel lid off, he had then taken the accompanying CRT monitor, and without attaching the swivel base, had placed it directly on top of the open PC.

Obviously, the EHT/Line Output transformer inside the plastic monitor case was now in close proximity to the now unshielded Hard Drive, which had an aluminium alloy body and cover. The multi-kHz EMF from the EHT/LO xfmr was obviously giving the Hard Drive hell. Fortunately, not strong enough to bulk erase the platters, as I simply moved the monitor and the problem resolved.

Hoagie's 'Tron-based "Torsion Field Meater" is in exactly the same league. The whole idea that the shadow of the eclipsing body and its gravitational field are precisely aligned reveals his glaring lack of understanding. The heating and cooling of his equipment is clearly all he's recording. That he's willing to stand up before the whole world and claim some great discovery using his old 1960's timepiece shows just how little he knows about the most basic science. He doesn't know enough to feel even slightly embarrassed or ashamed of himself.

Pseudoscience? Is kindergarten-grade finger-painting pseudoscience? Okay, it's not quite as interesting!

Actually, what this really reveals is the mentality of his sheeple. Put anything up on a plinth, and a few will come to look. To the blind, the one-eyed is king. There's no real hope for either.

And since he can't afford proper equipment (and wouldn't know what to do with it anyway), and his subscriber base is apparently down to a subsistence survival level, I think your work there is almost done, expat.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

2%, the example you give of your personal experience with the computer, may or might not be one of heat and cooling, but it could have been the result of impedance modulation of Circuit Constants.

Patrick, may we please have a recap of the gear that Hoagland uses to measure HDP on his Accutron and how he uses it, so that we can consider what if any Circuit Constants might come into play?

expat said...

Here's your recap.

For a schematic, go to this page and scroll down 32 screens. Alternatively, search for the string "A friend and colleage".

expat said...

The misspelled word is Hoagland's error not mine.

expat said...

Direct link to the schematic:

Two Percent said...

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

" 2%, the example you give of your personal experience with the computer, may or might not be one of heat and cooling

Nothing to do with heating and cooling. It was simply an example of incompetence and lack of knowledge and understanding, as we clearly see with Hoagie. (Why they appointed that clown to decide on which PCs they should buy is beyond me. Someone else probably had to suck his dick!)

Sorry, I didn't spell it out - I thought everyone here would understand. It was simple inductive coupling.

The LO transformer produced a strong, alternating magnetic field of a few kilo-Hz (the frequency depending on the Video output line rate at the time), emanating through the bottom of the monitor.

The read-write heads that float over the surfaces of hard disk platters are basically inductive coils, highly amplified to read back the data (as magnetically induced voltage) pulses from the "tracks" on the platters. (The aluminium cover, being non-magnetic, would not provide inductive shielding.)

Introducing a strong alternating magnetic field in the vicinity of those heads is going to create extraneous output pulses from the read-write heads, which the hard drive error-correction system will generally not be able to correct. So, the hard drive controller will keep on retrying to read the requested track/sector until it gets an apparently error-free result, which it will then feed to the computer. Then it will try to read the next sector, with the same issues. This will massively slow down the hard drive performance, if not bring it to a complete standstill.

It was merely a similar example of ham-fistedness, being fooled by something completely unrecognised, and thinking it means something else.

Two Percent said...

FWIW, I can give you another example. Not directly related to heating and cooling (I have too many of those to bother mentioning). In my younger days, I had a job repairing digital watches. Most of the faults were mechanical, due to the shoddy designs by that manufacturer. Sometimes we got more interesting ones, in particular, the following.

Watch returned under warranty. Claimed to play up when outside. Weird, right?

Well, it turned out this model was photosensitive. If you placed it directly in bright summer sunlight, it would go haywire. The digital watch chip was bonded to the underside of the ultra-thin PCB inside the watch module, and was protected by a lump of hard, thick, black "stuff". However, the PCB was translucent. Sunlight, filtering through the display, the display scatter-filter rear screen and the PCB was getting into the chip and disrupting it.

This is more like Hoagies 'Tron setup, as far as I can tell. Something unexpected and not allowed for, producing spurious results.

The fix for the watch was black sticky tape over the back of the PCB. Hardly ideal, but did the trick.

Hoagie's problems are a bit bigger.

I suspect DePalma's 'problems' were very similar. When the orientation of the 'Tron to the spinning metal mass was changed, the signal changed. The 'Tron has magnetic coils in it. I'm willing to bet that the same results would have been obtained from the experiment if the mass was stationary.

As Beanbag says, even the watch's own hands can affect its instantaneous accuracy.

The reason here is that the magnetic coils (or at least one of them) drive the watch. See photo. The magnetic fields no doubt extend outside the watch. Placing the watch so that the magnetic field(s) impinge on a conductor (a large metal mass, spinning or not) will "load" the magnetic field. Loading the field will load the drive circuitry which will affect the watch's operation. Rotating the watch will affect how much the magnetic field is exposed to outside influences as the two coils appear to run across one end of the watch.

This is the principle of the typical metal detector that people have used to find gold nuggets. When metal is encountered, energy is absorbed from the search coil's magnetic field. Detecting this energy loss enables the location of buried (or not) metal objects.

Enough already!

Two Percent said...

expat said...

" Direct link to the schematic:

I LOVE the loopy cables! They give the whole 'schematic' a real air of amateurishness.

Make that Loopiness!

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

2%, are you saying that Hoagland's Accutron is heating up from close proximity to the Microset 3, time control device, and/or the laptop computer, rather then being affected by Circuit Constants? In any case, how close of proximity are they to the vintage wristwatch?

expat said...

Meaningless comment from theadora disallowed

Chris said...

I found some interesting info on the Bulova Accutron. First of all, a great video showing it working close up in slow motion. The level of miniaturisation for the day is incredible, the index wheel being 2.4mm in diameter yet with 300+ teeth cut into its circumference. That constant 360Hz hum would bug me though.

You can see why Beanbag, the horologist, said that the index wheel was the part that most usually wore out.

I love those old school huge brown resistors crammed in there!

Next, if you skip to 11:50 in this Accutron servicing video you can see a zoomed photo of the index wheel and how tiny and delicate those teeth are!

There is some good news for Hoagland. In dropping his watch he can take comfort in knowing that he was finally able to use it to positively demonstrate the inertia of a rotating planet. DePalma would have been very proud!

WildCard said...

As much as these GD's (Genetic Defectives) get Hacked I wouldn't trust them with my CCN or any Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

BTW he "could" pick up a used Accutron on ebay for less than $200.00 AND I also saw someone selling various Accutron watch "movements" (guts of the watch) at very reasonable prices. Thousands of $$'s my ass...

Anonymous said...

Some of my favorite "send your money" scams from RCH back in the Art Bell days: 1) The big movie deal with RKO Pictures. Donors might get a chance to be extras in the film! 2) RCH was going to sue NASA and use the discovery process to get all the incriminating photos and documents. But alas, The Enterprise Mission needed funds for lawyers... 3) RCH going to rent telescope time at the Lowell Observatory one night when Mars was especially close to Earth. When the big night came, RCH claimed he had been banned from the facility because of his reputation, so he did the live broadcast from a friend's backyard. His friend had something like a Celestron C8 RCH used instead.

George Benkel said...

I see Accutron Quartz Movement watches on Ebay - Accutron II is their designation. You don't have Quartz timing with the Tuning fork ... They stopped making the Tuning fork models in '78 I think.

Two Percent said...

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

2%, are you saying that Hoagland's Accutron is heating up from close proximity to the Microset 3, time control device, and/or the laptop computer, rather then being affected by Circuit Constants? In any case, how close of proximity are they to the vintage wristwatch?

Hi Orbs,

Sorry, not ignoring you, but only just 'back on deck'.

It's a fair question as I didn't explain that my (temperature) comment related to the post by Beanbag [] in the linked thread given in the post Update.

"They have a black dial watch laid out in open air on top of the pickup for their rate machine. Stay with me here -- what happens when a black object is left in the sun? And what happens when the black object left in the sun suddenly goes in the dark, like when an eclipse occurs?"

Apart from that, and the fact that an antique timepiece is really not suitable for the purpose, I think the entire "experiment" is hopelessly ill conceived.

Let's say you are in a space ship accelerating towards the speed of light. You have your trusty Bulova Accutron on your wrist. What does it tell you about the passage of time? Won't you get exactly the same effect as you stand / sit under the shadow of a (lunar) eclipse? Even / especially if it's on top of a pyramid.