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  #1  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:20 PM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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I want to find buried water pipes and/or power lines

And all I have is 2 copper wires 12 to 24 inches long.

Can it be done?

Or it snake oil like dowsing/witching/divining etc?
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:28 PM
Duckster Duckster is online now
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Dowsing.

Your call.
  #3  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:40 PM
alien21010 alien21010 is offline
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As a geophysicist, this directly falls within my area of expertise...

Depending on how deep the items that you want to find are, you can construct a fairly rudimentary metal detector using the two wires and some other components to find the pipes. This should work fairly well... However, if they are pretty deep (more than a few feet) you may need to get something a little more professional, such as a Ground Penetrating Radar, or an instrument such as the Geonics EM-31. You may be able to detect the presence of the power lines, if they are active, by using a magnetometer or a (sensitive) compass.

Or, you can try dowsing.
  #4  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:50 PM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Dowsing is snake oil as far as I'm concerned. I only have 2 copper wires, no other instruments or tools. I have a hard time believing someone could find water or power lines with just the copper wires, but maybe I'm ignorant
  #5  
Old 08-24-2009, 01:26 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Dowsing works by the dowser reading clues in the landscape, some of which may too subtle for the conscious mind to identify.
  #6  
Old 08-24-2009, 01:47 AM
alien21010 alien21010 is offline
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You will have to resort to dowsing if you only have two copper wires...

There have been no real studies on the effectiveness of dowsing (compared to geophysical methods), but anecdotes abound amongst geophysicists about how dowsers are right more often than we are.

In fact, a lot of people prefer dowsing to a hydrological or geophysical study, simply because many dowsers have a better track record than the geologist/geophysicist...

Again though, these are just anecdotes.
  #7  
Old 08-24-2009, 02:18 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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to find electrical wires underground plug an electric drill in, turn it on. Then go outside with an AM radio and tune it off station. The electrical "static" from the motor brushes in the drill will be picked up on the radio. an easier method is to use the copper phone line method. Call your local utility company(s) and they will come out and mark off the lines.

Last edited by Magiver; 08-24-2009 at 02:20 AM..
  #8  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:12 AM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Dowsing works by the dowser reading clues in the landscape, some of which may too subtle for the conscious mind to identify.
How does one look for clues regarding buried pipe lines and water pipes, besides signs warning people not to dig

eta: and I don't mean a hump in the ground where the pipe is....we wouldn't be using our nifty copper wire to find that, right?

Last edited by IAmNotSpartacus; 08-24-2009 at 10:13 AM..
  #9  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:29 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Earlier thread that may be relevant (I have a voltmeter. Can I make a simple metal detector). Edited to add, that in the earlier thread, the OP was looking for a buried piece of rebar.)

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 08-24-2009 at 10:30 AM..
  #10  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:34 AM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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Dowsing is complete bullshit. Its just people fooling themselves via ideomotor action. James Randi addresses this in his book Flim-Flam!. Turns out experienced dousers do no better than chance in a double-blind study. Randi now offres 1mil for those who can prove it.

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/scie...nking-dowsing/
  #11  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:00 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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If you also have a telephone (in addition to your two copper wires) you can get the power company/water company to locate the lines for you. California has a locator number you can call.
  #12  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:09 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alien21010 View Post
You will have to resort to dowsing if you only have two copper wires...

There have been no real studies on the effectiveness of dowsing (compared to geophysical methods), but anecdotes abound amongst geophysicists about how dowsers are right more often than we are.
No dowser has been able to prove their abilities in an objective, blinded attempt and it's been tried many times.

The JREF has conducted tests where they put 10 pipes underground and have a mechanism for switching which one the water is going through. No one has ever done better than chance.

Quote:
In fact, a lot of people prefer dowsing to a hydrological or geophysical study, simply because many dowsers have a better track record than the geologist/geophysicist...

Again though, these are just anecdotes.
Come on, really, a better record? Do you have any sort of evidence or cite?

Dowsing is entirely bullshit. A dowser may be able to legitimately find what they're looking for, but it's only because they know where it is through some observational method and then either lie or fool themselves with the ideomotor effect.

Or you can just have open ended criteria. For instance, I read about a contractor who would on his job dowse for various man made objects. He claimed that the majority of time, when his dowsing tool indicated an area, it was within 10 feet (IIRC) of an electrical line, or water line, or sewage line, or something. Basically anything. But if you just walk around a random construction zone and stop in random places, you're likely to be within 10 feet of something man made.
  #13  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:21 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
How does one look for clues regarding buried pipe lines and water pipes, besides signs warning people not to dig
Different color grass over it, a slight hump or indentation, where it goes in and where it comes out, what's growing and not growing along the line, etc.

This is why dowsers work pretty well in "real" tests (actually trying to find water, pipes etc) but in true double-blind tests like the ones SenorBeef mentioned, they fail.

Many "water dowsers" are dudes who know the area well, and can spot signs such as vegetation, rocks, dips, seeps and whatever else has proved in the past to be a good spot for a well. In this case, the "dowsing rod" just acts as a way for them to remove outside distractions and concentrate on the clues.
  #14  
Old 08-24-2009, 01:32 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Originally Posted by alien21010 View Post
As a geophysicist, this directly falls within my area of expertise...

Depending on how deep the items that you want to find are, you can construct a fairly rudimentary metal detector using the two wires and some other components to find the pipes. This should work fairly well... However, if they are pretty deep (more than a few feet) you may need to get something a little more professional, such as a Ground Penetrating Radar, or an instrument such as the Geonics EM-31. You may be able to detect the presence of the power lines, if they are active, by using a magnetometer or a (sensitive) compass.

Or, you can try dowsing.
Or if you are going to build something it falls in construction which is something I have some experience with.
Rick's fool proof method of finding underground wires, pipes etc:
1. Rent a large, heavy, expensive piece of machinery to dig a trench.
2. Dig said trench.
You will find every damn wire, pipe, hose conduit, sewer line and OG knows what else that is buried there.
3. Pay to repair damages.

Or you might just call a locating service.
  #15  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:20 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is online now
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
How does one look for clues regarding buried pipe lines and water pipes, besides signs warning people not to dig

eta: and I don't mean a hump in the ground where the pipe is....we wouldn't be using our nifty copper wire to find that, right?

I look for fire hydrants, water valve boxes, sewer manholes, gas meters, pad mounted transformers, telephone boxes, pavement cuts, etc.. If you can figure out where the utilities run and where the easements are, you can get a pretty good idea of where things are at.
  #16  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:17 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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Call your local county building codes office and find the locate service. You may also have to talk to the water company and the power company. There should be no charge.

***Anything else and you are likely to get yourself killed, or badly injured, or a whopping damage bill for utilities. You could be next year's Darwin Award winner.

Locate services are usually free for this very reason. It is not a do-it-yourself option.
  #17  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:25 PM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Folks, I'm sorry if my original question was unclear. I don't want to know about dowsing for water (my OP was pretty clear on my opinions of dowsing). I also don't want to know that I can call the local utility office. This is not useful to determining whether or not one can locate buried power lines or water pipes with two copper wires.

I have no tools or materials except two copper wires, 12 to 24 inches long. I have no voltmeter, I have no relays, I have no magnets, I have no coils, I have nothing else.

To rephrase what I am asking, is if the EM field of a buried power line will affect the copper wires in any way observable to the human touch or eye. Or perhaps a grounded water pipe.

My conversation partner in this originally suggested a water pipe will have an EM field because of static electricity, but from what I remember in college, flowing water is too conductive to form any sort of static charge in a pipeline (bolding mine because you can create a 15kV spark with water and some other materials)
  #18  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:10 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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The answer is: No, it won't.

Edited to add: Buried objects are quite unlikely to have a static charge, because 'buried' == 'grounded'.

Furthermore, it is quite absurd to imagine that any effect on the human body that might result in twitchy wires - if such effect existed - would only manifest directly over the buried object.

Last edited by Mangetout; 08-24-2009 at 06:13 PM..
  #19  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:41 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
Folks, I'm sorry if my original question was unclear. I don't want to know about dowsing for water (my OP was pretty clear on my opinions of dowsing). I also don't want to know that I can call the local utility office. This is not useful to determining whether or not one can locate buried power lines or water pipes with two copper wires.

I have no tools or materials except two copper wires, 12 to 24 inches long. I have no voltmeter, I have no relays, I have no magnets, I have no coils, I have nothing else.

To rephrase what I am asking, is if the EM field of a buried power line will affect the copper wires in any way observable to the human touch or eye. Or perhaps a grounded water pipe.
Well, here's the point. There is no scientific way that just "two copper wires, 12 to 24 inches long" could be useful. But they just happen to be the tools of dowsers.
  #20  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:42 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
Folks, I'm sorry if my original question was unclear. I don't want to know about dowsing for water (my OP was pretty clear on my opinions of dowsing). I also don't want to know that I can call the local utility office. This is not useful to determining whether or not one can locate buried power lines or water pipes with two copper wires.

I have no tools or materials except two copper wires, 12 to 24 inches long. I have no voltmeter, I have no relays, I have no magnets, I have no coils, I have nothing else.

To rephrase what I am asking, is if the EM field of a buried power line will affect the copper wires in any way observable to the human touch or eye. Or perhaps a grounded water pipe.

My conversation partner in this originally suggested a water pipe will have an EM field because of static electricity, but from what I remember in college, flowing water is too conductive to form any sort of static charge in a pipeline (bolding mine because you can create a 15kV spark with water and some other materials)
Thank you, I'm glad it's a science question and not a 'how to' question. But I thought I'd state the obvious just in case.

Google searches sometimes lead right to the SDMB, so you can't be too careful, ya never know who might be taking this seriously.
  #21  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:49 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
Dowsing is snake oil as far as I'm concerned. I only have 2 copper wires, no other instruments or tools. I have a hard time believing someone could find water or power lines with just the copper wires, but maybe I'm ignorant

I never could but My mom was fairly good at it and my Dad only fair.
On the ranch Mom found the location to dig to get water. Dad was looking for a water line once looking for a leak. But he came up with a electrical line thaat was buried.

My brother could some times. But no matter how many times Mom tried to show me I could not get it.

She she did not use a wire but a willow switch.
  #22  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:54 PM
alien21010 alien21010 is offline
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Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
No dowser has been able to prove their abilities in an objective, blinded attempt and it's been tried many times.
I never said that they had. AFAIK, there have never been any double blind studies comparing the effectiveness of geophysics to that of dowsing.

Quote:
The JREF has conducted tests where they put 10 pipes underground and have a mechanism for switching which one the water is going through. No one has ever done better than chance.
I am not a proponent of dowsing by any means, but dowsers would be right to neglect this kind of study, as it fails to reproduce ANY of the conditions that they claim success in.

One of the only scientific studies that I can find on dowsing, is available at:
http://www.jse.com/betz_toc.html (search for Dowsing),
(summary available at http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...h/1281661.html). According to them, dowsing was wildly successful during the course of their research, much more so than would be expected. They also tried experiments similar to those carried out by JREF and found that dowsing under those conditions resulted in poor results. Could there be something else at play here? I do not know, but I do know that there is quite simply a tremendous lack of knowledge on the subject.

I would like to note that I am not sure what, if any, scientific legitimacy the above mentioned organization has. They are basically the only ones who have done any work in the field with dowsing and published it.

Quote:
Come on, really, a better record? Do you have any sort of evidence or cite?

Dowsing is entirely bullshit. A dowser may be able to legitimately find what they're looking for, but it's only because they know where it is through some observational method and then either lie or fool themselves with the ideomotor effect.

Or you can just have open ended criteria. For instance, I read about a contractor who would on his job dowse for various man made objects. He claimed that the majority of time, when his dowsing tool indicated an area, it was within 10 feet (IIRC) of an electrical line, or water line, or sewage line, or something. Basically anything. But if you just walk around a random construction zone and stop in random places, you're likely to be within 10 feet of something man made.
I agree that dowsers are most likely using substantial knowledge regarding the geology and/or other markers that indicate the presence of objects (surprisingly these are very common). However, anecdotal evidence is very strongly in the favor of dowsing. See the link below (trained geophysicists using dowsing?!):

http://www.virginiagroundwater.com/i...d=22&Itemid=55


While it makes perfect sense to disregard dowsing at face value, the simple answer is that there is not enough scientific evidence to make a judgment either way. However, I suspect that we will find that dowsing has no legitimate basis in the near future.
  #23  
Old 08-24-2009, 11:08 PM
CurtC CurtC is offline
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Originally Posted by alien21010 View Post
I am not a proponent of dowsing by any means, but dowsers would be right to neglect this kind of study, as it fails to reproduce ANY of the conditions that they claim success in.
Except that they do claim success in the way he tests them. His M.O. is usually to ask someone what they say they can do, then work with them to design a test around that. Of course, on occasions where there have been mass tests, this isn't possible. But he always does the test first with their knowing where the target is, and they always agree that the setup is working for them. Then he blinds it, and they can't find the target anymore.


Quote:
While it makes perfect sense to disregard dowsing at face value, the simple answer is that there is not enough scientific evidence to make a judgment either way.
This brings up the usual points about extraordinary claims, the burden of proof, and null hypotheses. The scientific way is to recognize that dowsing is an extraordinary claim, and unless sufficient evidence is presented to make a convincing case, the null hypothesis (that dowsing is bullshit) must be provisionally accepted, unless/until such evidence is manifested. That's the scientific way to make a judgment.
  #24  
Old 08-25-2009, 01:27 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Magnetometers are used by Archeologists to map the subsurface. Flowing water will certainly deposit minerals over time which should produce a weak magnetic field. Since birds are capable of detecting magnetic variations it is not out bounds to consider it is possible for other mammals be capable of this.

Anecdotal story. A "dowser" was asked to search for water on a historical site in my area. He was not told why. He marked out the most likely locations and it formed a line on the property. They were looking for a water race once used to power equipment. I'm not going to empty my bank account betting on his ability but I thought it interesting. And no, there is no way of knowing if he plotted out the correct location of the race.

I'm not promoting dowsing as fact but I am putting forth the idea that the test should not be for water but for geo-recognizable changes in the sub-strata that could be detectable in the same way other mammals perceive it.

Last edited by Magiver; 08-25-2009 at 01:29 AM..
  #25  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:01 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I took a class on dowsing once. I don't care if it works or not. It is still an impressive trick even for the person that is doing it. A 'Y' shaped branch will practically break off in your hand if you think you sense something.
  #26  
Old 08-25-2009, 10:27 AM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Originally Posted by ghardester View Post
Thank you, I'm glad it's a science question and not a 'how to' question. But I thought I'd state the obvious just in case.

Google searches sometimes lead right to the SDMB, so you can't be too careful, ya never know who might be taking this seriously.
Yeah, despite the fact I was hoping to steer this back towards the empirical evidence side of things, it's unfortunately kept pretty steady with decidedly pronounced un-scientific anecdotes.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:36 AM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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>Since birds are capable of detecting magnetic variations it is not out bounds to consider it is possible for other mammals be capable of this.

Other mammals? A bird is not a mammal.
  #28  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:53 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Other mammals? A bird is not a mammal.
Well, that's true but since they have the brain capacity of a politician I lump them together with other warm-blooded animals.
  #29  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:58 PM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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Look, there is zero proof that humans have any organ that let them sense magentic fields. If you are making that claim then you are making an extraordinary claim and should provide extraordinary proof. For instance, please provide me with evidence that humans have some organ that can sense magnetic fields in the manner you propose.

So far you have zero proof and the few studies that show double-blind (important!) dowsing experiments end up predictably showing chance. Nothing more.

So you can speculate all you want, but youre talking sci-fi, not reality. Anecdotes are not proof. Stories are not evidence. Dowsing is not real.
  #30  
Old 08-25-2009, 07:06 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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However, anecdotal evidence is very strongly in the favor of dowsing.
Yeah, but so what? Anecdotal evidence is talk. Talk is cheap.
  #31  
Old 08-25-2009, 07:18 PM
PlainJain PlainJain is offline
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Well, that's true but since they have the brain capacity of a politician I lump them together with other warm-blooded animals.
Except crows!
  #32  
Old 08-25-2009, 10:36 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Wow
  #33  
Old 08-25-2009, 11:23 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Look, there is zero proof that humans have any organ that let them sense magentic fields.
What organ are birds using to navigate?
  #34  
Old 08-26-2009, 06:01 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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What organ are birds using to navigate?
Cells containing magnetic particles have been identified in the brains of migratory birds.

I don't know if similar things exist in the brains of humans (although I expect not, as humans don't generally migrate by flying).

It's also a bit of a leap from navigation by magnetoreception to the location of buried objects via a magnetic sense evolved for above-ground navigation. Why would that even work?
  #35  
Old 08-26-2009, 11:21 AM
Tully Mars Tully Mars is offline
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Or if you are going to build something it falls in construction which is something I have some experience with.
Rick's fool proof method of finding underground wires, pipes etc:
1. Rent a large, heavy, expensive piece of machinery to dig a trench.
2. Dig said trench.
You will find every damn wire, pipe, hose conduit, sewer line and OG knows what else that is buried there.
3. Pay to repair damages.

Or you might just call a locating service.
There's also the Tully Mars method of finding water mains:
1. Dig a post hole.
2. Stop for a second or two when you see water puddling in the bottom of the hole and wonder out loud, "I must have hit a spring or something?"
3. Soundly thunk the post hole diggers down into the hole one more time, resulting in a four-foot high geyser.
4. Call up Mr. Jimmy, the rural water system manager, and explain to him what happened.
  #36  
Old 08-27-2009, 02:47 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Cells containing magnetic particles have been identified in the brains of migratory birds.

I don't know if similar things exist in the brains of humans (although I expect not, as humans don't generally migrate by flying).

It's also a bit of a leap from navigation by magnetoreception to the location of buried objects via a magnetic sense evolved for above-ground navigation. Why would that even work?
I'm not going to defend dowsing. Just throwing out that it's possible for an animal to perceive more than the standard 5 senses. The brain is an amazing organ that we know little about.
  #37  
Old 08-27-2009, 06:57 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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The best way of using copper wire to find buried pipes/lines is to sell the copper for scrap, and use the proceeds to make a phone call to DigSafe or the equivalent.
  #38  
Old 08-27-2009, 02:18 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
I'm not going to defend dowsing. Just throwing out that it's possible for an animal to perceive more than the standard 5 senses. The brain is an amazing organ that we know little about.
There are certainly more than five senses, e.g. sense of balance, sensitivity to heat, and others.
  #39  
Old 08-27-2009, 03:45 PM
Peanuthead Peanuthead is offline
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Dowsing only works during a full moon. On a friday the 13th, And you must be a Scorpio. Enough with the nonsense! We're fighting ignorance here people.
The only way to find anything underground with your copper wires is to insert said wires into the ground till you hit something hard. The object will more than likely be a rock so this method is pretty much ineffective. Admit defeat and call the utility company.
  #40  
Old 08-27-2009, 04:27 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
I'm not going to defend dowsing. Just throwing out that it's possible for an animal to perceive more than the standard 5 senses. The brain is an amazing organ that we know little about.
Fair enough - but at the end of it all, the problem with dowsing isn't a shortage of interesting and perhaps plausible explanations, it's a distinct lack of properly measurable results. At this stage in the game, there still isn't really anything that demands an explanation.
  #41  
Old 08-27-2009, 05:05 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Or if you are going to build something it falls in construction which is something I have some experience with.
Rick's fool proof method of finding underground wires, pipes etc:
1. Rent a large, heavy, expensive piece of machinery to dig a trench.
2. Dig said trench.
You will find every damn wire, pipe, hose conduit, sewer line and OG knows what else that is buried there.
3. Pay to repair damages.

Or you might just call a locating service.
This is pretty accurate. In my construction career I witnessed the following (off the top of my head): punched through a storm sewer with a power auger; broke innumerable waterlines; ripped up innumerable secondary power cables; pulled up government benchmark caps; shut down power to a high-security naval magazine area by punching through the main communications cable with an auger. And the trifecta: cut through two 800-pair and one 400-pair telecom cables in one swipe with a backhoe.

Oh, and I witnessed a crane operator "find" an overhead primary cable with his boom, which was pretty spectacular.
  #42  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:02 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
There are certainly more than five senses, e.g. sense of balance, sensitivity to heat, and others.
Sense of fashion, sense of humor, sense of entitlement... there are all kinds of senses if you're allowed to redefine the meaning of sense.
  #43  
Old 08-27-2009, 11:09 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Peanuthead View Post
Dowsing only works during a full moon. On a friday the 13th, And you must be a Scorpio. Enough with the nonsense! We're fighting ignorance here people.
The only way to find anything underground with your copper wires is to insert said wires into the ground till you hit something hard. The object will more than likely be a rock so this method is pretty much ineffective. Admit defeat and call the utility company.
I assure you I can dowse for water with 100% accuracy in my area and I've never tried it.
  #44  
Old 08-28-2009, 12:44 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture View Post
Sense of fashion, sense of humor, sense of entitlement... there are all kinds of senses if you're allowed to redefine the meaning of sense.
Sense of balance is one of the defined seven senses, my friend.

As for finding scientifically accurate data on dowsing, all that would be required would be a group of dowsers who try to detect water and a control group that tries to find the same water. You'd only dig it up to see who is right afterward. As far as know, there has not been an experiment like this. So all that has been proven is that dowsing doesn't work because of the tools.

As for the Randi thing, why would it be relevant? That is only for proving the supernatural. If it is caused by experienced dowsers using subconscious clues to identify locations that are likely to have water running under them, that wouldn't be supernatural, and the prize would still go unclaimed.

Sometimes I think the greatest flaw in the way science is treated today is that we assume that our simplifications have not removed the one thing that is necessary for the situation to work. Sure, we've proven that the variables we actually tested aren't relevant, but we haven't tested the other variables that we removed from the experiment.
  #45  
Old 08-28-2009, 12:52 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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I accidentally pressed Post instead of preview. I meant to add a link and quote to my first sentence. I hate quoting from Wikipedia, but it is sourced, and it jives with what I learned in school. Apparently we are up to ten now.

Quote:
There is no firm agreement among neurologists as to the number of senses because of differing definitions of what constitutes a sense. One definition states that an exteroceptive sense is a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived. The traditional five senses Humans are considered to have at least five additional senses that include: nociception (pain), equilibrioception (balance), proprioception & kinesthesia (joint motion and acceleration), sense of time, thermoception (temperature differences), with possibly an additional weak magnetoception (direction), and six more if interoceptive senses are also considered.
  #46  
Old 08-28-2009, 01:58 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HorseloverFat View Post
Look, there is zero proof that humans have any organ that let them sense magentic fields.
Actually, they do. The structure that provides this to you is located behind your nose, IIRC. I read about a recent study where they tested a human's ability to actually use this sense by driving people around in an enclosed van. As long as they were blindfolded, they were able to tell which direction they were facing with surprising accuracy. The interesting thing was that this sense didn't work at all when the blindfolds were removed.

They started testing this when they were looking over aerial photographs and noticed that cows align themselves along magnetic field lines.

I'll see if I can dig up some cites.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 08-28-2009 at 01:58 AM.. Reason: typo
  #47  
Old 08-28-2009, 02:06 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Cows Really Do Have a Magnetic Sixth Sense
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/03/magneticcows/

Do humans have a compass in their nose?
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11..._nose_compass/

These two quotes come from the second article:

Quote:
Some years ago scientists at CALTECH (California Institute of Technology in Pasadena) discovered that humans possess a tiny, shiny crystal of magnetite in the ethmoid bone, located between your eyes, just behind the nose.
Quote:
In any case, when it comes to humans, according to some experts, magnetite makes the ethmoid bone sensitive to the earth's magnetic field and helps your sense of direction
Bio-magnetism: An Awesome Force in Our Lives
http://sg.geocities.com/alex_kew/biomagnetism.html

Quote:
Blindfolded and ordered not to speak, the University of Manchester (England) students were escorted into a van without knowing where they were to be taken--or why. After traveling an hour on winding roads, the van stopped. With their eyes still covered, the students were led into a secluded clearing in a forest in hill country of central England.

R. Robin Baker, a university zoologist, took one of the young women aside and said, "I want you to point in the direction of our campus." Like most of the others with her on that autumn afternoon, she pointed with uncanny accuracy in the direction of her campus home.

The "homing instinct" is known to exist in many creatures, from snails to honeybees to homing pigeons. Baker argues that we humans also have a natural sense of direction, however subtle or ignored, that is as real as our senses of sight, smell or hearing. He is convinced that this sense is magnetic because in his experiments blindfolded students, who otherwise displayed a keen sense of homing direction, became disoriented when magnets were put in helmets and placed on their heads.
  #48  
Old 08-28-2009, 08:55 AM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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Here's a more decent study that shows people literally walk in circles when left to wander. Something tells me the homing instinct is a load of bunk or the study was flawed (light leakage from the blindfolds):

http://www.scientificamerican.com/bl...les-2009-08-20

Those traipsing about in the sun seemed to have little trouble keeping a relatively straight course. But once the sun
Quote:
(or night moon) disappeared, volunteers seemed to get hopelessly lost and meandered about aimlessly—even though they believed themselves to be keeping a steady bearing. Those in the forest turned several circles, often recrossing their own path unknowingly.

"Even though walking in a straight line seems like a very simple thing to do, it's actually very complicated," Souman says. "It's not a very natural thing to do." And because researchers can't very well give verbal instructions to lab rats or birds, it's hard to know whether animals would perform any better than humans at this exercise.

The sun, it seemed was a "really important cue for direction," says Souman, who suggests people used shadows to maintain their orientation. But even that didn't present a clear-cut explanation. In the experiments, subjects were walking for a few hours at a time, during which the sun would move about 50-60 degrees, he explains. A strict adherence to the sun's location would have meant a similarly bent course, but subjects somehow did seem to correct for the movement.
Humans LITERALLY walk in circles without the sun or the moon to guide them. Homing pigeons they are not.

Last edited by HorseloverFat; 08-28-2009 at 08:58 AM..
  #49  
Old 08-28-2009, 08:58 AM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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Quote:
As for the Randi thing, why would it be relevant? That is only for proving the supernatural. If it is caused by experienced dowsers using subconscious clues to identify locations that are likely to have water running under them, that wouldn't be supernatural, and the prize would still go unclaimed.
That is EXACTLY what Randi and others are saying: People are just using confirmation bias and landmark clues to come up with "successes."
  #50  
Old 08-28-2009, 01:03 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Quote:
Here's a more decent study that shows people literally walk in circles when left to wander. Something tells me the homing instinct is a load of bunk or the study was flawed (light leakage from the blindfolds):
I understand that is due to most people having one leg slightly shorter than the other, about a millimeter's difference. So, they take slightly longer strides with one leg than the other. It doesn't say anything about magnetic sense.
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