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No. 125: Sep-Oct 1999

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Two Non-Falls

Sometimes things that are predicted to fall or respond dutifully to gravity's dictates do not.

No house-size snowballs. Back in 1985, L. Frank saw dark spots on satellite images of the earth's atmosphere. He interpreted them as huge splotches of water created by incoming cometary snowballs. (SF#112, 114, 118, and earlier) Although some other data supported Frank's theory, many scientists scoffed. After some mildly acrimonious debate, a consensus decided that the spots on the satellite photos were merely instrument artifacts.

Any lingering doubts as to Frank's house-size snowballs or "icy minicomets" impacting our atmosphere have been dispelled by a radar search by S. Knowles and his colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory. Using the Naval Space Surveillance System's powerful radar, their scans of the upper atmosphere detected nothing resembling giant snowballs. According to Frank's estimates of the flux of incoming minicomets, the radar should have seen 800-5,000 of them.

If Frank responds, we'll let you know. This may be the end of this decade-long debate.

(Anonymous; "No Snow Show," New Scientist, p. 25, June 12, 1999.)

Where water and vehicles run uphill.

"Chinese scientists are baffled by a slope in north-western Gansu province where water runs up the incline rather than down, the official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
"The 60-m-long slope at an angle of 15 degrees was discovered by Army officer Zhao Guobiao in a desert region of Yugur autonomous county, it said."

Unpowered vehicles, too, are said to roll up this mysterious slope, just as they seem to at Spook Hill, Florida, and many other places. (SF#99 and earlier) Physics professor Fang Xiaoming from Lanzhou University, who investigated the phenomena, speculated that geomagnetism or changes in air pressure might explain the contrary flow of the water!!

(Anonymous; "Water Flows Uphill on Gansu Slope," Singapore Sunday Times, November 8, 1998. Cr. C. Ginenthal)

Comments. The gravity-defying phenomena at Spook Hill and all "magnetic vortices" that have been carefully investigated are definitely illusory. The road at Spook Hill slopes downward despite what our eye-brain computer tells us.

Also pertinent is the uphill flow of water in irrigation channels. A sight to be seen in the American west. Of course the water loses some kinetic energy in the process.

From Science Frontiers #125, SEP-OCT 1999. � 1999-2000 William R. Corliss