ROTATING STRAW TEST
In this exercise it is claimed that TKers are able to rotate a straw that is balanced on a bottle. I think the bottle is used because its shape and surface offers minimum friction for resting the straw on, both the straw and the bottle having a smooth, rigid and curved surface. Its a bit like the psi wheel test in that both are made as frictionless as possible and finely balanced, therefore they will move very easily and thus take the least TK effort.
TKers tend to progress to this exercise after having gained the art of rotating the uncovered psi wheel, which we now know anybody can do by using the heat from their hands, or even some mugs of hot water. But can anybody rotate the straw? Maybe this will sort out the non TKers from genuine TKers?
I appreciate that it would be a far more definite test of TK if I tested a rotating covered psi wheel, that would be a lot more convincing. (See The Covered Psi Wheel Video ) However, in order to test a thing it is of course a necessary requirement that it is demonstrated. Unfortunately, I am unable to rotate a covered psi wheel so therefore have no way of testing it. It would be a different matter if I knew someone nearby who could do it, I could ask them to pop round and give me a demonstration, but alas, I don't. So it's the rotating straw for now.
Plastic straw on glass bottle
As soon as I tried to set up this test I ran into a problem, and I have a feeling , that as far as this test is concerned, it is going to prove to be THE problem. In a word, STATIC. I found it hard to even place the straw on the bottle, it wanted to follow my hands. When I did get it to balance it wouldn't stay where I wanted it, which was at right angles to the axis of the bottle, forming a bottle/straw cross. Instead, as soon as I let go it would rotate itself around until it was lined up with the bottle, as shown in the photo above. Eventually, the static seemed to have gone and it would stay in position. BUT.... as soon as I put my hands near it the straw would follow my finger. By just pointing a finger at it, about an inch from the end as though about to manually push it around, it would be attracted to my finger and follow it, first one way then the other. Most impressive, but nothing to do with TK, it's just static, nothing more.
It was interesting to note that on some occasions it appeared that the static was working in the 'opposite direction' and moving the straw away from instead of towards my finger. This turned out to be just my finger/hand moving towards the straw a little too quickly, the draught moving the straw away. I think that's what is causing it anyway. When balanced correctly the straw is VERY sensitive to air currents, just as the psi wheel is. Care is needed when doing these tests as the slightest air current or static charge will move the straw. I am already taking the view that this arrangement is far too sensitive to provide any reliable results at all.
I am amused to note that one TKer posted a very excited comment recently to say he had managed to get a straw to follow his hand and rotate it first one and then the other. I wonder how many hours or weeks of 'practice' it took? Took me all of one or two seconds! Damn I'm good!
To make sure it was static in my test, which it obviously was simply by observing the way it moved and 'stuck' to the bottle, I held the end of the straw next to the end of one of the points of my paper psi wheel, paper being attracted by static. (Remember as a young kid combing your hair with a plastic comb and then picking up pieces of paper with the charged comb?) Anyway, the psi wheel was attracted to the straw and by moving the straw I had the psi wheel following like an obedient dog and rotating nicely.
So how to get rid of the static? I tried 'grounding' my hands on the bathroom taps,(as was recommended to me) but that didn't work, the straw still followed my fingers. I tried grounding myself holding the radiator. No, the damn straw was still attracted to me! I tried to attract the psi wheel to my finger but it wasn't interested, so it must be the straw that is charged and not me. To see if this was correct I held the straw to the psi wheel again and sure enough it was attracted to the straw. The STRAW is charged with static.
This is the problem. With a straw that can hold a strong static charge how is it possible to claim ANY movement is due to TK? Before you get all annoyed, THINK about it.
1)You may say that you are aware that static is a problem, but you 'ground' yourself first. Sorry, this does not work, the straw is still charged. I have not (yet) found a way to discharge the static from the straw and be certain it is no longer charged. But it is only a short time into my first test at this stage.
2) You can say that because you are an experienced TKer you know the difference, it FEELS different when you use TK instead of just letting static do it. Sorry, not good enough. How can we accept that your 'feeling' means for sure it is TK and not static. This argument is the same as TKers saying that it was my subconscious TK moving the psi wheel. We need proof. We can't allow anything subjective to form part of a controlled test, otherwise we may as well all give up now and say, yes, TK proven/not proven by science.
3) You could say that as an experienced TKer you don't use your hands any more, you can make it rotate just by looking at it, or whatever it is you do. Sorry, not good enough. If you just leave the straw alone, it will now and again move. This is because the static is trying to line up the straw with the bottle.
The only way forward in this test is to use a straw that does not carry a static charge, then we can rule out static completely and will need to look for a different force acting on the straw. To continue with a straw that could be holding a static charge would be pointless, sceptics (like me) would always argue that any rotation was due to static. All we need to do to prevent this argument is to use a paper straw. Simple.
I do not happen to have any of the old fashioned paper straws, so instead made one by rolling up a strip of paper and sticking it with Sellotape. Time to start the test again, with a non static straw!
Paper (non static) straw on glass bottle
This is better. The straw stayed where I put it because there is no static in the straw. Now we can start the test!
I have run into another problem. Now it's a non statically charged paper straw I can't get it to rotate. I carefully made sure I put a strip of Sellotape around the middle (point of balance) of the straw so that it would rotate easily, realising that paper would create more friction than Sellotape. I tested it by giving it a little tap and it did spin easily, although, to be honest, not as well as the plastic straw. It will not however budge at all when I hold my finger near it, or both fingers, one at each end on 'opposite' sides. I am concerned that my home made slightly lumpy straw with bits of Sellotape on it is not a fair test, it just doesn't spin as well as the plastic straw. I will have to see if I can get hold of some paper straws. Do they still make them?
I have been thinking about the straw problem. Why does it have to be a straw? Why not anything that is round, rigid, smooth and will rotate easily? Now I know that it is common practice to move a wooden cocktail stick or toothpick that is floating on water. Why not use a cocktail stick instead of a straw? A cocktail stick has a number of advantages.
1) It does not hold a static charge.
2) Having such a small surface area it is not so easily moved by air currents.
3) It actually weighs less than a straw, in case you may think that being made of wood it may be heavier. No, it's lighter!
4) When balanced right it rotates just as easily as a straw, especially when placed on a more sharply curved surface than the bottle. Balance it on a marker pen for example and it is every bit as responsive as the straw.
5) Wooden cocktail sticks are already used to demonstrate TK in other applications.
Using a wooden cocktail stick would be a much better way of testing for TK. SO much better I am surprised it's not already advocated as the next step up from the psi wheel. So why the straw? Sceptics like myself could argue that the very reason the plastic straw IS used is BECAUSE it will move without TK being used, just as the uncovered psi wheel in the previous test will move without TK
TKers are going to have to take a good long hard critical look at their methods at this point. Can any of you come up with a good reason for not using the cocktail stick instead of a straw, when it has so many advantages in helping to prove or disprove TK on this particular test? Please let me know. Thanks.( Not surprisingly no one came back with a reason. Hmmmm)
I have placed my cocktail stick on the bottle and once properly balanced it does spin nicely if I give it a little tap. At the moment it's just sitting there and I can't get it do do anything at all so I can't start testing it. The important question now is, can you TKers get it to spin? ( No response!)
Please let me know how you get on it. If you do get it to spin please let me know exactly how you did it so I can attempt to replicate it here. Good luck. Thanks again, Keith.
I have another go at making a paper straw and this time it's much better. I cut a strip of paper then rolled it around a straw and then stuck it down with glue, and then pulled it off the plastic straw. It made a nice firm and even paper straw. It performs almost (but not quite) as well on the bottle as the plastic straw. It also rotates in the smallest of air currents but is not as sensitive as the plastic straw. I start to test the straw.
The first thing that happened is that the straw was attracted to my finger when I placed it near to one end of the straw. It only moved a small amount - about an inch - but enough to demonstrate a definite attraction. Okay, the straw can't be static, but I can be holding a charge of course. I must have some static. I touch the radiator and try again. This time the straw moves away from me, by a similar amount. I try again and it doesn't move. I touch the radiator again and it still doesn't move. I now try with my left finger pointing at the other end of the straw and it moves away quite fast. I keep trying different hands and get the same result, it moves away sometimes and other times doesn't move at all. I try again with the plastic straw this time. Same result, it moves away from me. I put the straw on the desk, type up this section then put it back on the bottle. This time it (plastic) moves towards my fingers. Try again after typing another sentence and this time it moves away so fast it spins right off the bottle.
This is interesting because on day one the plastic straw was mainly attracted to me, but today it mainly moves away. The paper straw shows similar results, but on a much reduced scale as it is not so easily rotated. It would appear that static can work ether way, sometimes attracting, sometimes repelling. It also apparent that static can be picked up just sitting at your desk typing. By way of experiment I have just touched the mouse - its one of those that tracks with a red light - and then tried the plastic straw, it spun so fast again it fell off the bottle. I tried again straight after but only small movements this time -because I had already taken the static from the mouse?
The effects I am getting appear to exactly duplicate the claims made by TKers. They also say that sometimes they can move the straw towards them and at other times it moves away. They also say that 'control' is difficult.
I am going to do some research on static.
I Googled static. It's an interesting subject and not as clear cut as I thought it was going to be. Anyway, here is the summary:
Static is the difference in 'charge' between objects. Under normal circumstances objects have no overall charge, they have a neutral charge. By rubbing to neutral objects together it is possible to strip away some of the electrons from one object and transfer them to the other. Electrons carry a negative charge so the object that now has more electrons has an overall negative charge, while the object that has given up some of its electrons now has an overall positive charge. Opposite forces attract so the two objects are attracted to each other. If you bring objects together that have the same charge, ie.both positive or both negative, they will repel each other.
When you walk on a carpet you collect some of the electrons from the carpet and thus build up a negative charge. When you then touch the metal door knob you receive a shock as those extra electrons that you collected discharge into the metal. This static spark is usually in the region of 1,000 volts and can go up to 10,000 volts. I know it sounds as if 1,000 volts should kill you, but it isn't the volts that fry you, its the amps. (At least I think it's the amps, but don't quote me!) Okay, so far so good? It does get a little more complicated in as much that some materials give up electrons much easier than others. Plastic for example gives up and collects electrons very easily, which is why plastic combs are good at carrying static. While combing the hair the comb collects electrons from the hair and builds up a negative charge. This charge can than pick up small neutral charged objects such as pieces of paper. However, this process of transferring surplus electrons and coming into contact with different materials results in objects being positively charged one minute and negatively charged the next.
Just a couple more things you need to know about static before we return to the straw test. Static builds up a lot easier in a dry atmosphere, a wet damp atmosphere tends to discharges any build up of charge. A steamy bathroom is the least likely place to get a static shock. Walking across a carpet (nylon and wool both give up electrons easily) in a room with a dry atmosphere is an easy way to build up a charge if you are wearing rubber soled shoes. However, it is not necessary to walk about, you can get a positive or negative charge just sitting at your computer. Moving about on your chair can do it, or even picking up objects around you. You may at any one session at you computer vary from being positive to neutral to negative, and vary greatly in the amount of charge.
If we now apply our knowledge of static to the rotating straw test we begin to get some explanations.
STATIC AND PLASTIC STRAWS
The plastic straw is almost certain to be carrying a static charge when you first place it on the bottle, although as you will see it really doesn't matter. At this stage you may, or may not, depending on the circumstances, be carrying a static charge. If you both are then the straw will be repelled, it will move away from you very quickly, and if one or other of you is carrying a high charge the straw may even fly off the bottle. On the other hand, you may be neutral and the straw charged in which case the straw will be attracted to you. The same attraction will also take place if it's the other way around of course, ie. you charged and the straw neutral. Also, because of the way the electrons flow, drain away into other objects and so on, the next time you approach the straw you may get the opposite effect to the last one you had. If say the straw repelled, it is possible during the same test a few seconds later for the straw to be attracted. In the same way, it may be that a few seconds later, both you and the straw are neutral and the straw will not move at all. From the stage of not moving at all, you may pick up an object, or simply pick up a small charge from you chair, and the straw will start to move a little again.
Get the picture?
No matter what you do to rid yourself of static it is a waste of time. Just the act of walking back from the bathroom after 'grounding' yourself on the taps may be enough to charge you up again. Even if you ground yourself, as I have done, by touching a radiator without leaving your seat, that doesn't help. You can get re-charged simply by moving in your seat, moving your feet, picking up objects, etc. etc. Even just sitting there can change your charge.
Attempting to demonstrate TK by rotating a straw is absolutely pointless. It is as pointless as placing your hands round an uncovered psi wheel and claiming the rotation is due to TK. My first idea of using a paper straw instead of a plastic one has proved to be a pretty stupid idea, as paper is a very easy material to be attracted by static. Sometimes I make silly mistakes, same as everyone, but I get there in the end.
Rotating a straw has nothing to do with TK. Sorry guys, anyone can do it. If you are struggling to 'improve your TK' after moving the uncovered psi wheel, I recommend that you get a little static, then you can be as good as me!
I am not suggesting for one minute that those of you that claim to move the straw by TK have been cheating and charging up your straw, not at all. Either you, or the straw, is getting charged without you having any knowledge of it. But, like me, your circumstances are such that you pick up a charge easily. It could be your building, the dry atmosphere, your carpet, your shoes, your clothes, many things. Sometimes the straw will rotate, sometimes it will not, it's just a matter of charge.
If any of you have so far been unable to rotate a straw, then read the next section to learn how it's done. It isn't that you don't have TK and the others do, it's just that you are not getting as much static as they are, for a number of reasons.
DIY STATIC TEST
Here is a simple way you can prove for yourself the effects of static on the straw. If after placing the plastic straw on the glass bottle it does not move when you put your hands near it - and it will happen immediately if it is going to - that is only demonstrating that you and the straw have an equal or neutral charge. The easiest way to get a charge is to simply take a sheet of toilet tissue from the bathroom and rub the straw with it to generate a charge. I'm talking about the nice, soft, dry paper toilet tissue here. Place the straw on the bottle and as soon as you let go it will line itself up along the length of the bottle. At this point it is carrying too much charge to be of any use. Now pick up the straw and keeping it in your hand ground yourself with that hand. I touch the radiator because it is next to me but any metal plumbing will do. That will discharge most of the charge and the straw will now sit nicely on the bottle, but still have enough charge left to enable you to move it about at will just by putting a finger near one end of it. You can experiment with this and see how one hand may attract the straw while at the same time the other repels it. It does look much more impressive though if you sort of cup your hands near both ends, it looks more like TK and less like static. This can be used to really impress your friends. You will notice how what you are doing exactly duplicates the effect you see on the vids.
A STRAW ROTATES DUE TO THE EFFECTS OF STATIC AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TK
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