Question: Has Ireland’s biggest newspaper lost its goddamn mind?

NOTE: If you haven’t yet voted Unshaved Mouse for Best Blog Post at the Blog Awards Ireland 2013 this week, you can do so HERE.

Alright, so let me set the scene for you. I’m on Facebook, minding my own business, wondering what the hell “twerk” and “Miley Cyrus” are, when I see that a friend of mine has linked this article called “Wave Goodbye to Global Warming, GM and pesticides.”

Now, the first rule of any news story you come across on the internet is of course, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some fourteen year old kid in Tanzania has discovered a cure for cancer in his garage? Yeah, I’ll believe it when he’s up on the podium accepting the Nobel prize. But this story actually gave me pause because it was on the Irish Independent’s website. See, the Irish Independent isn’t some fringe blog or rag like the Daily Mail that will publish literally anything because, fuck it.

Daily-Mail-Logo

 The Indo is a Big Serious Paper, actually the second Biggest Seriousest Paper after the Irish Times. For an Irishman, seeing this headline would be like seeing it in the Washington Post or USA Today for an American. It’s not the NY Times, but still. This is a paper with some not inconsiderable prestige. So I think, okay, maybe the headline is a little hyperbolic but what if it’s true? What if they actually have discovered some new technology that will solve the problem of climate change, the single greatest challenge facing the human race? Hell, it’s in the Indo, it’s got to be true! So I clicked on the link…and entered a world of MADNESS.

I’m going to quote the article pretty extensively here, because I have a feeling once whatever drugs have worked their way through the systems of the Indo’s editorial board this thing’s going to get taken down right sharpish. I’ll take you through the article piece by piece and as I go I’ll leave footnotes as to what Google has been able to tell me about the various persons, institutions and “scientific”…no, wait, that needs another set of quotation marks “”scientific”” concepts mentioned. The article is written by “Tom Prendeville”(1) and is in the Business section. Not the Science section. Not the environment section. Not the “Hey hey I saved the world today” section. The business section.

“A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.”

Holy shit! Really? Wow! I mean, I may not be a farmer, but I am WELL aware of the importance of ploughs. Without ploughs, what have we got, farming wise? Jack shit is what! Also, this technology is Irish?! We just revolutionised agriculture as we know it?! Excuse me for a moment.

Please, continue.

“The technology – radio wave energised water(2)– massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.”

Radio wave energised water? Tell me more! Also, nice choice of “30%”. It’s big, but not crazy big.

Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.”

Um…you do know pesticides don’t just protect crops from disease? That they also kill “pests”? As in, bugs and shit? And the only way they could be pest-resistant would be if the pests couldn’t eat them. Maybe the radio wave energised water renders them invulnerable like Superman?

Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world.”

Several other countries, sure. But Ireland did all of the important work, don’t you dare hone in on our glory, Several Other Countries. Lookin’ at you Djibouti!

Fuck did I do?

“The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warming fear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.

GM’s obsolete?! But they’d just gotten back on their feet after the Obama administration bailed them out and now they’re one of the top car manufacturers in America….oh wait, you mean “Genetically Modified”. And not “Genetically Modified Food”. Just “Genetically Modified”. Anything genetically modified is now obsolete.(3). Also, I love how it addresses “the whole global warming fear”. That’s such an Irish way of putting it. “You know, that whole global warming thing. You know that thing?” Also notable that it “simply” converts excess CO2 into edible plant mass. That’s not simple. That’s fucking black magic, dark and eldritch. But who cares? Not only are we solving Global Warming, we’re getting a meal out of it!

“Developed by Professor Austin Darragh (4) and Dr JJ Leahy (5) of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.”

It’s not even a technology, man. The earth just,like,…provides.

“The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – “

Wow. That is the smallest technology I have ever heard of. I mean, digital technology is so big they have to keep it in a barn, and it’s one of the smaller technologies! Also, while I don’t doubt that “Vi-Aqua” means “life water”, is that in a real language or one you made up?

 “…converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose, thousands of gallons of water can be charged up in less than 10 minutes at a cost of pennies.(6)”

If you have the antenna, why do you  need the hose? To spray the water at the antenna? Or, is the hose used to transfer the now magically imbued water away to where it is most needed? Because then, why does it have to be a hose? Seems like a large pipe might do the job better.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Again please.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Last part.

“Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

I…I…I…I…have I gone mad?

“…and introduces atmospheric nitrogen into the water in the form of nitrates – so it is free fertiliser. It also produces the miracle of rejuvenating the soil by invigorating soil-based micro-organisms.”

It produces miracles. There you have it.

The Messiah

HE IS THE MESSIAH!

“We can also make water savings of at least 30 per cent. When the water is treated it becomes a better solvent, which means it can carry more nutrients to the leaves and stem and percolate better down into the soil to nourish the roots, which in turn produces a better root system. Hence the reason you need less water and why you end up with larger and hardier crops,” explains Professor Austin Darragh.”

30 per cent again. Marks for consistency. Fuck it, after the miracle of “wetter water” this paragraph feels like a beacon of rationality and cold scientific objectivity.

Extensively tested in Warrenstown Agricultural College (7), the technology is being hailed as a modern day miracle.

For I tell you most solemnly, the compact biscuit-tin-sized technology has given up the blind to see and the lame to walk. It has cleansed the leper and led the faithful to rejoice in the sight of Radio Wave Energised Water.

Harold Lawler is Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist (8). As Director of the National Botanical Gardens (9) and former Master of Agricultural Science at Warrenstown Agricultural College (10), he has carried out more research on Vi-Aqua growth-enhancing technology than perhaps anyone else in the world.(11): “In the bedding plants we really saw a difference in the results; they were much hardier and tougher. You could drop a tray of these plants on the ground and they would not shatter, like ordinary plants.”

Does…does Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist think that plants shatter when dropped? Has he confused vegetables with fine bone china? Well, with Agricultural Specialists of this caliber, that must explain why Ireland has never had a famine.

The iceberg lettuces were far superior with faster germination, and with carrots for example, the crops were on average 46 per cent heavier,” explains Harold Lawler.

46%!? What are you doing?! The bullshit cannot exceed 30%! Dammit, there are rules!

“During recent successful tomato crop field trials in Italy, three of the country’s largest Agricultural Co-op’s were so impressed with the results that they have now decided to recommend the technology to the country’s farming community.”

Hey Italy! We’re watching you! Don’t go stealing our biscuit sized technology. They’re always doing that. Fucking Italy.

“Elsewhere, the Indian government have now concluded their own tests, which confirm that they are able to boost tea (plant) production by over a third while using far less water.”

Elsewhere. Maybe…in India?  Also, I’m so glad they were able to boost tea(plant) production as tea(plant) is my favorite drink(beverage).

In recognition of the groundbreaking technology, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, recently took the hitherto unheard-of step of granting Professor Austin Darragh and his team the right to use their official centuries-old coat of arms on the new technology – the first time ever that Kew Gardens has afforded anyone such an honour.”

Ahem.

Excuse me.

The Kew Gardens botanists were not just impressed with the research; they used the technology to restore to life a very rare orchid which had been lying dormant and practically dead in a greenhouse bell jar since 1942. Amazingly, the orchid is now flourishing once again.

Flourishing and hungry for brains! THE DEAD GROW AMONGST THE LIVING!

Intriguingly, chickens and sheep fed the energised water turned into giants. . . but that’s another story!

Giant farm animals, huh? May have buried the lede there just a bit.

"Whoops, outta time. We'll tell you about this next week."

“Whoops, outta time. We’ll tell you about this next week.”

Limerick University off- campus company ZPM Europe Ltd (12), who are based in the National Technology Park, Limerick, is now manufacturing the Vi-Aqua technology.”

Soooo…

This is a joke right?

No, I’m actually leaning more in the direction of “con”. See, the ZPM Europe Limited site leads to  a Vi-Aqua site where you can actually pay for a water radio energizer. With money. That you presumably earned. Oddly enough, on the Vi-Aqua site it simply markets the biscuit sized technology as a way to improve your garden, which seems kinda small potatoes for something that’s GOING TO SAVE EVERY ONE OF US FROM GLOBAL WARMING.

Okay, I’m cracking jokes here but I am actually, no lie, really freaked out. As I said before, the Irish Independent is not the Daily Mail. It’s not World Net Daily. It is a real, serious newspaper that people trust. This article has been shared over 20,000 times. Somehow, an obvious con artist has managed to get a clearly ridiculous scam and cloak it in the reputation and respectability of Ireland’s largest selling daily newspaper. That is fucking terrifying. In the modern era, with the internet drowning us non-stop in a sea of never ending half truth, cons and sheer bullshit we need, more than ever, legitimate, trustworthy news sources. If I see “Asteroid Headed For Earth” on Mayanprophecy.net I won’t give it a second glance. If I see “Asteroid Headed for Earth” on the front page of the The Times I’m running for my wife and daughter to hug them goodbye. We need the grownups. We need to know who we can trust, and who we cannot.

The Irish Independent has incredibly, spectacularly failed that test.

Thanks for reading,

Mouse

(1) For a journalist, he seems to have a very humble web profile. I did find some articles he wrote for Hotpress magazine with titles such as “September 11. Terrorist Outrage or sinister conspiracy ?” and “The World’s Secret Rulers are Coming to Town”. And yes, ladies, I hear he’s single.

(2)  Searching “Radio Wave Energised Water” gets you plenty of results. All either this article, or people talking about this article.

(3) Side note. Number of people who have been saved from famine by Genetically Modified Food: Over 200 Million. Number of people who have been saved by “Radio wave energised water”: -52. I’m assuming some people killed themselves after reading this idiocy.

(4) Real guy, apparently. Seems to have a connection to the University of Limerick. Five year old CV on their site where he does claim to be researching “The development of technologies to increase the productive recycling of CO2 to enhance the availability of edible and energy crops through amplifications of photosynthesis by Electro Magnetic stimulation of water. The effects produced are visible, tangible, and quantifiable, and water supplies are conserved in the processes.

(5) Again, google takes you to what seems to be a University of Limerick site, listing details for a Dr JJ Leahy. But the more I look at it the more I think this is a dummy site that links to the real University of Limerick site. The main UL site seems to be a lot snazzier. And if this site is fake, who the hell is going to all this trouble?!

(6) That could be a problem. Ireland hasn’t used pennies since 2002.

(7) That was quite a coup for Warrenstown, considering it’s been closed since 2009.

(8) I don’t think he is, but I’ll bet he knows a lot about manure.

(9) The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland is a real place. Near my parents. Really nice, you should see it if you’re ever in Dublin. Free entry. Free of Harold Lawlers too. Harold Lawlor is a lecturer there though.

(10) Did teach there, apparently. “Rate My Teacher” opines that “This man takes all criticism personally and never listens to what really is being said” and “hmmm interesting fellow but has the personality of a pencil.” It’s not all bad. One past pupil says that Harold Lawler is “a true OG when it comes to planting.” Word.

(11) Undoubtedly true.

(12) This is their website. Which leads to this website for Vi Aqua. Behold the GeoCities hosted glory of our saviours.

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98 thoughts on “Question: Has Ireland’s biggest newspaper lost its goddamn mind?

  1. from my reading, vi-aqua doesn’t solve global warming, rather it addresses the fear of global warming. subtle difference.

    i think someone should contact kew gardens to see if they really took hitherto unheard-of steps and granted the use of their coat of arms, as well as used the treated water on a practically dead orchid.

    finally, someone should write a limerick about this.

      • i wrote to kew gardens and asked if they endorsed the vi-aqua product. i received this reply:

        Dear Morgan

        Thank you for your email dated 29 August. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has not endorsed the Vi-Aqua products since 2009. A recent press article in the Irish Independent that mentioned this endorsement and activities by Kew around it, was inaccurate.

        Kind regards

        Katrina Roche
        Customer Information Supervisor

  2. I’m delighted you looked closer at this, Mouse. It’s true that if we all just *REALLY* belieb…I mean *BELIEVE*, then anything is possible. Until then though, we can be thankful for such concise de-bunking. What were they thinking? What was Miley thinking?

  3. Making produce grow faster means the produce is lower in essential vitamins and minerals. . . . but hey, it makes water wetter so that means we’ll need to drink less water to quench our thirst, right?

    *commiserates*

  4. Thanks for the commentary. This howler from the Indo dropped into my inbox yesterday as part of my daily catchup from home and the article was first in their list of ‘most shared’. I made the mistake of reading it and honestly I couldn’t concentrate on much else for the morning I was that angry, both that a national broadsheet would publish this nonsense and that Limerick University would associate itself with such quackery. As an expat living overseas it’s tremendously embarrassing and I just hope global news media don’t pick up on it. This pseudoscientific claptrap is designed to do one thing and one thing only and that’s to separate the gullible from their cash (although some people do deserve to have their money taken off them for their own protection). Somebody deserves a hefty slap for this, both at the newspaper and most certainly at the ‘University of Limerick’… I don’t know (of) Professor Austin Darragh but Google suggests he carries genuine credentials, so WTF?? Reading some of their ‘proof’ at , an undergraduate student would make a better job of it, again WTF?

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and if half of what they’re suggesting were true it would walk into a reputable, credible, peer-reviewed scientific journal of high impact factor? Where’s the Nature/Science paper?

    A scam of the highest order (and not even a new one, see ) and if University of Limerick care one iota about their reputation they’ll be distancing themselves from these goons pretty damn quick and if they are genuinely employees of the institution then hopefully not for much longer.

    • I know how you feel. I actually took the unprecedented step of writing a LETTER TO THE EDITOR and instantly aged twenty years. Seriously though, I have complained to the Indo, and if they don’t respond in two weeks I’ll be taking it up with the press ombudsman. As a great man once said; “This will not stand. Man.”

  5. Good on you. There’s a (remote) possibility that the article was intended as satire I suppose, but if that’s the case it’s a pretty poor effort (the article references real people at a real university after all) and requires clarification lest it lead the credulous to the Vi-Aqua website which is very real and open for business. A retraction and apology is in order. If it wasn’t satire then heaven help us all.

  6. Also from the Sindo (if you search for Vi-Aqua…)
    It even influences the bounce of the ball! Amazing stuff altogether.

    Aideen Sheehan – 21 March 2002
    LIMP lettuce could be a thing of the past after Irish farmers successfully tested a new system that has been dubbed Viagra for plants.
    Superquinn’s vegetable producers have been the first in the world to trial the Vi-aqua device that makes lettuces bigger, stronger and longer-lasting by electrostatically charging the water used in their growth.
    The new, perkier lettuces are now on sale in Superquinn.
    The Vi-aqua system enables the plants to absorb more nutrients from the soil, improving their size and resistance to disease, and reducing the need for pesticides. The device passes an electric current through the water, breaking surface tension, improving the rate it absorbs the soil’s nutrients.
    __________________________
    Playing on green grass of home
    24 March 2009
    On Saturday we exulted in the magnificent performance of our players in the Millenium Stadium. Our players may not have realised that they were effectively playing (with apologies to Tom Jones) on the green, green grass of home.
    Because for some years now the Millenium Stadium has been receiving electromagnetically stimulated irrigation water by means of the Vi-Aqua process developed at the Plassey National Technological Park and the University of Limerick. The excellent surface will have influenced the bounce of the ball for Tommy Bowe’s try, and certainly Ronan O’Gara will be glad that he had such a firm base for his drop goal that lifted the spirits of a nation. The Vi-Aqua technology also helped to make the K-Club a wonderful showcase for Ireland as the playing surfaces held up during inclement weather at the Ryder Cup competition.
    Mick Hayes
    Labasheeda, Co Clare
    __________________________
    Darragh firm sees losses almost double
    Jim Aughney – 10 July 2001
    ZPM Europe Ltd, the company controlled by entrepreneurial doctor Austin Darragh, increased its accumulated losses from £222,264 to £435,256 over the two years to June 30, 1999, the last period for which accounts have been filed in the Companies Office. ZPM Europe received government grants of £83,400 over the two-year period, a major increase from the £6,678 received in grants in the preceding period.
    During the two years to June 1999, the called up share capital of ZPM Europe was increased from £1,000 to £148,000. At June 1999, ZPM Europe had creditors totalling £511,400, compared with creditors totalling £406,200 at June 30, 1997.
    Mr Darragh, described as a physician with an address in Co Meath, had 27,750 shares in the company at December 31, 1999 and lists the Irish Cancer Society and National Council for the Blind as his other directorships. Fabian Cadden, with an address at Slane, Co Meath, held 9,250 shares in ZPM Europe. Anna Darragh, who was described as a farmer with a Meath address, had 9,250 shares, while Canadian national Joseph Fitzgeorge, who was described as a chemist with an address in California, had 150 shares. The latest return shows four other shareholders: D Morse and M Barr, with 1,850 shares each; Palone Investments with 41,625 shares and Tadmore Enterprises with 60,125 shares.
    Two directors of ZPM Europe – accountant James McDonald with an address at Douglas, Isle of Man and Daniel Tynan of Governor’s Hill, Isle of Man – were also directors of ZPM Leasing, registered in Shannon.
    ZPM Europe has been testing a new system for increasing the growth of plants called the Vi-Aqua.
    The system uses electromagnetic radiation to charge water, thus facilitating photosynthesis. ZPM Europe has spent up to £1m on testing the system on ten premiership football pitches throughout the UK. The system was developed six years ago by Californian scientist Dwain Morse, who introduced electromagnetic energy water in order to help plants grow faster. Dr Darragh has purchased patent rights outside America for the system.

    They gotta stop making fools of themselves by printing this sort of stuff.

  7. It would also be interesting to learn which genius authorised government grants to assist this enterprise…

    ‘ZPM Europe received government grants of £83,400 over the two-year period, a major increase from the £6,678 received in grants in the preceding period.’

  8. Don’t blame the journalist or paper, unshavedmouse. It’s obvious enough that the one who wrote the article smelled something fishy by that line about giant animals.

    Do blame Professor Darragh. The Vi-Aqua stuff is a blatant fraud. Shockingly blatant. How he’s been able to spout that rubbish for ten years without anyone at The University of Limerick picking up on it and making a huge fuss over it I don’t know. Frankly the reputation of the University of Limerick for quality science is in tatters now. They are a laughing stock since that Independent.ie article appeared on the internet and got shared around the world.

    As a fraud it’s not much better than the guy who sold dodgy golf ball detectors as bomb detectors to Iraq. He’s now in prison for it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22380368

    Please contact your TD and MEP about it. The fraud needs to be stopped not least because it is making Ireland look like a joke, but also because the Vi-Aqua junk is being peddled around other EU countries making it an international matter not just a local one.

      • No. The journalist did what they could to make it obvious they didn’t respect what had been presented to them. Journalists generally don’t like to stick their necks out too far in case they get sued for libel or get an earful from their bosses, but putting the article out in that form did the job. It’s gone round the world and people are talking about it and plenty can see the fraud for what it is. That should be enough to get the ball rolling if people in Ireland kick up a fuss about it to politicians and to the Gardai if they have been fooled into buying one of those nonsense boxes.

      • The problem is not that they’re hucksters. There have always been and will always be hucksters. The problem is that they’re hucksters who have just been given the credibility of the most widely read broadsheet in Ireland. Last I checked it was still the “Editor’s choice”. That’s why it’sbeen spread to the four corners of the Earth, because the Indo stands over this nonsense.

  9. I do not believe any of you half wits have even a single class in science; to busy writing bull shit on the web and not enough learning. No one has stooped it because it is a School and the people there are intelligent, unlike what i find here! If any of you had payed attention to even the introductory classes of science you would understand what they are saying. But hey, there where people who though Ben Franklin was mad trying to make light, thinking it was which craft and such just as you people do here-i am sure your a limb to that family tree of in-bread, skeptics.

    • In response to this, I’m not well versed enough in botanical science to pick apart the jargon in this document. I’ll just address the broad principle that radio waves can activate special properties in water. This planet, the oceans, and everyone of us, are constantly being bombarded with electromagnetic radiation every day. If it did have an effect on water, it would already be active.

      • I checked some of the references in this documents, and the ones I could track down were genuine scientific papers, and one indeed talked about the effects of electromagnetic waves on the properties of water, which turns out to be an effect on microscopic bubbles in water. But it takes a lot of wishful thinking and defiance of common sense to go from there to believing the claims in the article.

    • You should be depressed. This should blow up to be a major scandal. It reflects on you, the reputations of all the current staff and students of the University of Limerick, and on the international reputation of the university itself.

      Frankly you need to be raising Cain with UL over this. That they haven’t chased Darragh and Leahy out the door with a flea in their ears over this a long time ago makes the faculty and all UL graduates whose degrees were related to that department for the last few years a laughing stock. If you care anything for the job prospects of the current student population you should stir up the UL Student’s Union about it too.

      There’s no point blaming the messenger (The Independent) for it either. It’s not their reputation that is on the line here. All they did was bring it to light so everyone around the world can see what kind of bunkum it is. The responsibility for it lies with Darragh, and more widely with UL for not seeing it for what it is and doing something about it.

      • Frankly I think that’s giving the Indo far, far too much credit. If the intention was to expose this hoax, it’s probably the most incompetent expose in history as it reads like a press release for Vi-Aqua. The Indo are not heroes here. They’re rubes at best, accomplices at worst and have seriously damaged their reputation and the nation’s.

    • I also studied and worked under Leahy. Crackpot is my experience of him. I would actually show this to people I work with but Depressed in Oz is right, it does reflect badly on me by association with the University. To think that tax payers have funded part of this. Also i think I know you Depressed in Oz! You would be surprised of the amount of rubbish that is spoken by people that should just know better.

  10. It is bound to work, man, don’t knock it… or have you never listened to radio in the bath tub? You did, didn’t ya… Did you not find that soap use reduced immensely? That the properties of water kept changing depending on the station you have listened? It is all there, really.

    Fuck, even plough trees have deeper roots when grown next to radio towers!

  11. if the machine produces negatively ionized hydrogen in the water it would increse the nutrient absortion of plants or animals and it would make water wetter in the context that they say, why don’t you think it could not work?

    • Because “wetness” is not a property of water. It’s not like temperature or PH or chemical composition. “Wetness” is just the name we give to the sensation of water moving on your skin. So you can’t make water “wetter”.

      • Just to clarify…”wetness” is a term that is used by the unscientific to describe the property of water known as surface tension. Farmers around me talk about making water “wetter” by adding certain things (soaps, adjuvants). This helps the water to deliver the chemicals to the plant more efficiently. I will have to let them know that they only need to play a radio while spraying!
        I loved reading this blog.

      • Thank you. I’ve been thinking about doing another post actually debunking the science rather than just mocking the hyperbole but I don’t have much of a scientific background.

  12. It’s a terribly written article as journalism – it reads like a barely rewritten press release. The writer didn’t even check the Kew Gardens reference! I am amazed that this would make it past the editor!

  13. Hah! One of the BEST take-downs EVER! And yes, my first question (being one of the unwashed American hordes) was, isn’t this newspaper supposed to be *reputable*?? Wow…

  14. Seeing as this product would use any water hose to actually broadcast a 27 MHz signal out into the air, and seeing as I’m pretty sure that is a protected band for CB or some such other radio thing in the area concerned, then this product would be illegal to use. I’m not sure if Ireland has an FCC though.

  15. Hi Unshaved Mouse,

    I would like to comment on your (3) footnote.
    Where do you get the number of 200mln saved ppl by GMO?
    To my knowledge it has saved jack shit, apart from the companies producing it.

    With kind regards,
    Timo

    • Good question. The figure is obviously an estimate but it basically comes down to the fact that there is no longer a devastating famine in India every year. Up until quite recently this was always the case because it was simply not possible to grow enough food to feed that many people with the available farmland. That all changed with the introduction of genetically modified high yield grain, and it’s estimated that saved 200 million lives (give or take). It’s also important to remember that what we call GM is just a sped up version of what we’ve been doing for millennia: selecting the genes we want and ensuring they carry on. Orange carrots, tiny chihuahuas, cows that give more milk, chickens that lay bigger eggs…all the result of a slower, more laborious version of genetic engineering. This is an animation blog so I’ll put it in animation terms. GM is the CGI to farming’s stop motion animation.

      • Of course this is off-topic. So I will not drag on for too long.
        Would you happen to have links to statistics backing this up?

        GMO is NOT the same as seed breeding. GMO is injecting plant-foreign genes directly into their gene structure by force. Up to now we don’t know the side-effects of doing so. We do know it alters more than just the replaced genes, since it is done by a form of “gun method”: shooting the new genes into place, altering the complete gene structure. The research I’ve been reading suggests that the forthcoming ‘new’ plants produce proteïnes that we are not used to digest.

        Therefor, if you can give me some statistics about the health benefits of GMO, that would counter the balance a bit. Up to now GMO is for me not CGI, but Agent Orange used to grow A.O.-resistant crops. Feeding A.O. to the consumers in the process. Just like the polio vaccin injects a light version of polio so that resistance can grow in a human body. With 1 big difference: the polio vaccin is given only once. GMO is fed continuously. As if you are injected with the polio vaccin daily…

      • Don’t have access to a PC here (I’m in work), but Google the work of Norman Borlaug and you should come across it. While you might be right.about not knowing the health risks involved, the health risks of not eating are pretty apparent.

      • I do agree. That is why I would like to see the results of Golden Rice. But I am totally opposed to the pesticides-enriched crops of chemical companies. I don’t want Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF and IG/Farben to control our food stock. It just doesn’t seem right: the main producers of Agent Orange and toxic paint that create our food?

        Not to my brain…

      • I absolutely get where you’re coming from and those companies need to be watched like absolute hawks. But I think on balance the impact on human life of these technologies has been overwhelmingly to the good, with negatives that can be worked on or mitigated. And I REALLY don’t want people to dismiss these technologies out of hand for magic radio waves.

      • Oh, so very true!
        It’s like homeopathy; how can left-stirred water with 1 particle per million be effective?

        I just read the science behind GMO and the main thing I read (f.i. this independent study: http://www.comsdev.canterbury.ac.nz/rss/news/?feed=news&articleId=888) is that the way GMO is done today is contra-productive. It does not lead to more crop/better yields, but does lead to the use of more chemicals. Which is exactly what thrives these chemical companies: their profit is on chemicals and patents.

        I am all for GMO done the right way; if food quality can be improved by using GMO, please do. For now though, I see the situation getting worse instead of better.

        ps. Norman Borlaug introduced the “green revolution” in Azia and Africa, not GMO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution). This “green revolution” was basically using large plants with optimised single-crop cultures using an abundance of pesticides, introduced in the ’60s and ’70s. And indeed, that saved millions of lifes. But not thanks to GMO.

      • Yep. And since we have predators (hawks) on the market now, I would like to make a difference between genetically optimised (cross-breeding) and genetically modified (GMO). The first is horizontal (combining 2 strains), the second is vertical (taking 1 strain, altering it with f.i. fish-genes, which would never cross-breed, and growing it downwards from there on). The first is what we did for millenia, the latter is what they call Frankenfood.

        Having said that, for the rest I totally agree with your article about this utter jibberish about radio-waved water.

  16. Pingback: Irish Company Solves World Hunger, Climate Change, Small Chickens | The Winnipeg Skeptics

  17. so.. Austin Darragh and Tom Prenderville are no strangers to each other when professing on the sublime http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books-arts/review-the-facts-of-light-by-austin-darragh-26831397.html

    “According to the author, light has a profound impact on all aspects of life on this planet…” hang on, maybe this guy really is a visionary after all.

    “The Facts of Light begins at the Book of Genesis, when God decreed that there be light…” uh oh, i think i can see where this is going…

    “Dr Darragh calls God the Grand Original Designer and takes the reader on a journey where they discover that everything from sunlight to RTE TV’s radio waves…” yup… he did just say that. I presume his aqua-vi is also divine (pun potential aplenty there)

    grief…. “the author even discusses how our souls may be an indestructible mass of electrons which carry the code of our entire being onwards for eternity”

    Darragh Austin is not a rigourous scientist, and has found his own tame cheerleading journalist to help profess his own personal brand of psuedo-science nonsense on the world. Worst of all this is done through the Sunday Independent. Does the editor there actually read anything this guy Prenderville writes? Its drivel at best.

  18. Pingback: Vi-Aqua - magisch water uit Ierland laat planten sneller groeien - Kloptdatwel?

  19. This ‘article’ is STILL tops the Indo’s most shared list in their daily e-mailout. Sorta makes you wonder how much money changed hands… Why haven’t other media jumped all over this???

  20. If you haven’t already seen it, this RTE “Ear to the Ground” video is worth a watch. In the last section, the device itself is demonstrated. It’s very similar to the ADE-651 bomb detector devices, touted by James McCormick. McCormick is now in jail for perpetrating a massive fraud.

    http://www.pepijnvanerp.nl/2013/09/vi-aqua-turning-water-into-snake-oil/

    After watching it, I honestly find it hard to take these people’s intentions seriously. A lot of customers presumably spent big money on these devices.

    Questions remain for Kew, UL and the Indo to answer. I look forward to finding out how you get on with your questions to the Indo.

  21. Pingback: Recant, Retract, Remove: My open letter to the Irish Independent (and what happened next) | unshavedmouse

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  25. Really pleased I found this blog while looking into the article – you’re spot on about the Indo but it’s a little worrying to see UL dragged through the mud: I’m surprised John Waters hasn’t commented on the article yet, though…

      • Commenting on a major subject implies knowlege.
        Shouldn’t a conversation commenting on global warming issues, include references to the fact that
        there has been no global warming in more than a decade and we have gained 19,000 ‘Manhattans’
        of polar ice in the last 12 months.

        I am not suggesting a gap in your interpretation of
        data presented to you…merely that said data was
        arguably fraudulent.

        I refer you to a recent US stock scandal that sent
        many to prison. It was ImClone Systems. The
        foci were insider trading, lying and falsification of data.

      • “Commenting on a major subject implies knowledge.” No, no it does not. As I’m afraid you’ve demonstrated. I didn’t include references to the fact that there has been no global warming in more than a decade because that would be a lie. Of the hottest fourteen years on record, twelve were in the 2000s. You’re right that there has been an increase of polar ice since last year, but you left out the rather important fact that 2012 had the lowest level of polar ice ever recorded. That’s kind of a cheat, don’t you think? I mean, if three people read my blog one day, and thirty read it the next I could technically claim an increase of 90% in one day but that’s making it sound a lot more impressive than it is. Especially if I used to pull in 6,000 views a day and I’m start touting the fact that I’m back up to 30 as a “record increase”. I’m genuinely fascinated by your point of view. What exactly is it about Global Warming that you doubt? Do you doubt that humans generate carbon? Do you doubt that carbon causes the atmosphere to retain more heat? Do you think that carbon doesn’t really exist (careful with that, if you believe that too hard you may just vanish in a puff of unlogic)? Thank you for referring me to ImClone systems. That had nothing to do with anything but it did remind that Martha Stewart has spent time in jail.

      • “Of the hottest fourteen years on record, twelve were in the last decade.” Were there really 12 years in this last decade?

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  27. Pingback: Vi-Aqua – Turning Water into Snake Oil » Pepijn van Erp

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