Case of bogus science – By Pervez Hoodbhoy
COMSTECH is the Organisation of Islamic Countries’ highest scientific body. It has received millions of dollars from OIC countries, including Pakistan.
Comstech’s magnificent headquarters are located on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad. It has been headed by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman since 1996. Although its performance has been consistently mediocre, the organisation has now descended to an all-time low.
Recently Dr Rahman published an eye-popping article entitled HAARP (Dawn, Oct 17). The article claims that a physics research project, based in Alaska, may have been used by the US to trigger earthquakes globally, and could also have caused the catastrophic floods in Pakistan. Dr Rahman concludes with a chilling question: “Is the HAARP then, a harmless research tool — or a weapon of mass destruction far more lethal than nuclear weapons? We may never know.”
Given Dr Rahman’s prominent place in Pakistani science, and that he is fellow of the Royal Society, one must consider seriously his claim that HAARP can cause earthquakes and floods. But even the briefest examination makes clear his claims make no scientific sense.
HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programme. Its website states it is a research programme run by the University of Alaska in collaboration with various US colleges and universities. If HAARP is a secret military project conceived by evil and diabolical minds, it is hard to see why visitors, including foreign nationals, are said to be allowed on site. The website says that the last open house was on July 17, 2010.
At least on the face of things, HAARP does not have the trappings of an American secret weapons facility. (Google Earth, which I used, blacks these out.) Readers will see a field of antennas, as well as some cars and two ordinary looking buildings.
No security barriers are visible. This does not appear to be a classified project.
But, of course, appearances can be deceptive. So let us simply use common sense and physics. Assume therefore that the power of the transmitters is many times that declared on the website (3.6MW). This may mean HAARP could potentially disrupt radio communications during war, or blind incoming missiles. But science cannot accept Dr Rahman’s claim that “It (HAARP) may also affect plate tectonics causing earthquakes, floods through torrential rains and trigger tsunamis.”
Does the good doctor believe in magic and demons? How else can massive tectonic plates be moved by radio waves? Will HAARP tickle a sleeping subterranean monster that awakes and sets off earthquakes? This kind of thinking was what irate and ignorant village mullahs used after the 2005 Pakistani earthquake. They blamed cable television, after which followers smashed thousands of television sets.
Weather change simply cannot be caused by HAARP’s radio waves. …
Read more : DAWN