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November 4, 1974
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; Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09 : - . OA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6 Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09 : CIA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6 Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09: CIA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6 r r New Flap Over Uri The title of the report printed in Nature magazine seemed innocuous enough: "Information transmission un- der conditions of sensory shielding." But to the world of parapsychology, publi- cation of the paper, the first claimed proof of extrasensory powers to have ap- peared in that prestigious scientific jour- nal for many years, was nothing short of a sensation. Parapsychologists and others who believe in the existence of such psychic phenomena as telepathy, psychokinesis and precognition were ju- bilant; in their view, Nature had be- stowed upon them the recognition and respectability that the scientific estab- lishment has so long withheld. Some skeptics were dismayed; they felt the mere publication of the report in Nature would lend legitimacy to many of the hotly disputed tenets of parapsychology. Submitted by Physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, the Nature ar- ticle emphasized experiments at the Stanford Research Institute involving the controversial Israeli psychic and nightclub magician Uri Geller (TIME, March 14, 1973). Among other things, the report claimed that Geller correctly called the roll of a die inside a steel box eight out of ten times; on the other two rolls he declined to pick a number. The odds against his performing that feat by chance, Targ and Puthoff calculated, were about a million to one. Geller was also reported to have sketched remark- ably accurate versions of drawings picked at random by researchers hid- den in another room. Those claims, printed in Nature, did seem to make a case for extrasensory perception. Lengthy Expos?What was gen- erally overlooked?or purposely ignored ?in the reaction to Nature's publica- tion, was the unprecedented almost apologetic editorial that accompanied the Stanford Research Institute report. In the editorial, Nature's editors not only criticized the SRI paper but also point- edly called attention to the same week's issue of another respected British mag- azine, New Scientist, which carried a lengthy expos?hat undermined both Geller and the SRI report. Nature said that the original SRI pa- per was "weak in design and presen- tation," that its details were "disconcert- ingly vague," that some methods used were "naive," and that the experiment- ers showed "a lack of skill." Nonethe- less, after sending the paper back to SRI for modifications, the magazine finally ISRAELI PSYCHIC URI GELLER One in a million. decided to publish it. Why? It had been submitted by "two qualified scientists" with the backing of a major research in- stitute; the subject was "worthy" of in- vestigation; the paper would allow other researchers "to gauge the quality of the Stanford research and assess how much it is contributing to parapsychology." Nature also praised as a "service" the concurrent publication of the 16- page New Scientist article, which was PALL MALL GOL LONGER... YET MILDER. Warning :The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous toYour Health. 21 mg. "tar". 1.5 mg. nicotine an per cigarette. FTC Report March'74. 100 TIME, NOVEMBER 4, 1974 Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09: CIA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6 Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09: CIA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6 Al ? TEST DRAWING (LEFT) & URI'S VERSION written by Physicist Joseph Hanlon af- ter a two-month investigation of Gel- ler, and the SRI experiments. Hanlon, who delayed publishing his article until Nature printed the SRI paper, cited ex- amples of Geller's evasiveness and re- ports of his cheating on television and during interviews with journalists. He also criticized the controls that Targ and Puthoff used in their experiments. Han- lon noted that Geller's sponsor, Andri- ja Puharich, a doctor, holds 56 patents, primarily in medical electronics. He sug- gested that Puharich might well have implanted a tiny radio receiver in one of Geller's teeth; it could have been used to give Geller information about draw- ings being selected in another room. Hanlon also questions Geller's success with the die. "Knowing the inability of the SRI scientists to control the other ex- periments," he says, "I can only con- clude that this one was just as badly organized." Hanlon, who was somewhat in- dined to believe in some of Geller's pro- fessed powers when he began his inqui- ry, now insists that "no matter how good they are as laser physicists, Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff are no match for Uri Geller." Furthermore, he says, the SRI paper published in Nature "simply does not stand up against the mass of cir- cumstantial evidence that Uri Geller is simply a good magician." The Pollution of Space When the two new satellites were launched last May, NASA hailed them as the latest example of space-age tech- nology benefiting life on earth. One sat- ellite, dubbed ATS-6 (for Applications Technology Satellite), is relaying edu- cational TV programs to remote regions; the other, SMS-1 (Synchronous Meteo- rological Satellite), is a new breed of weather satellite equipped with infra- red cameras that can shoot remarkably detaad cloud pictures even at night. Both satellites are performing splen- didly, but both are producing unexpect- ed and undesired side effects: they are creating so much electronic interference that radio astronomers are sometimes virtually "blinded"?unable to distin- guish the celestial radio signals so cru- cial to their work. "It can cost us time, money and lost observations," grouses Radio Astrono- mer Frank J. Kerr of the University of Maryland. What makes the situation even worse, he explains, is that the sat- ellites use a portion of the radio spec- trum especially important to radio as- tronomy. Sms-1, for instance, operates near the 18-cm. band, which is the nat- ural wave length of hydroxyl, one of the first molecules discovered in space. It is from the signals of the hydroxyl mol- ecule (which consists of one atom of hy- drogen and one of oxygen) that radio astronomers have been learning about star formation and the nature of the clouds of gases between the stars. ATS-6 broadcasts near an even more important frequency: the 11-Cm. band, which has been specifically set aside by the International Telecommunica- tions Union for the use of radio as- tronomers in their explorations of qua- sars, pulsars, distant galaxies and even the sun. Trouble is, the signals from these celestial sources are often so faint that they can be easily overwhelmed by signal spillover from the satellites' powerful radio transmissions, even when the complex craft are in a dif- ferent part of the sky. Kerr, who has been studying this new form of electronic pollution for the National Academy of Sciences, echoes the concern of his fellow radio astron- omers: "We can perhaps live with one or two satellites, but if they put up 20 or 100 satellites that interfere in this way, it would be catastrophic." TIME, NOVEMBER 4, 1974 101 Declassified and Approved For Release 2014/01/09: CIA-RDP79-00999A000200010081-6