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No. 34: Jul-Aug 1984

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George Gamow once said of his fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli that "apparatus would fall, break, shatter, or burn when he merely walked into a laboratory." Some people just seem to have adverse effects on machines. When they appear on the scene, computers crash, copying machines jam, and telephones go on the fritz. Robert Morris, an experimental psychologist at Syracuse University, has been collecting such anecdotes and finds them far from rare. On the other side of the coin, other individuals seem to have phenomenal positive rapport with machinery, like those favored few who can fix anything.

Of course, bulging files of anecdotes prove nothing. Many of the stories are likely embellished with each retelling. And some people are singularly clumsy, careless, and ignorant about machines. These types are always pushing the wrong buttons and otherwise mishandling the man-machine interface. Obviously, objective tests are required to determine of there is really anything to this curious business.

(Huyghe, Patrick; "Techno-Jinx," Omni, 6:20, May 1984.)

Comment. Even typewriters can be %r/ lim-.!

From Science Frontiers #34, JUL-AUG 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987