Monday 11 June 2007

Let them down gently

James Randi's latest Swift commentary has this piece about Street Light Interference:

It reminded me of something I read recently while browsing the JREF forums, concerning an applicant for the million dollar challenge:

Marcus Tisdale, a 19-year-old student, applied for the challenge in January 2006, claiming that he could control street lights "by paranormal or otherwise unknown circumstances."

What struck me about the email exchange was not the claim itself, or the conviction of the applicant that he was able to do this thing, but the sensitivity with which Kramer dealt with the application: "Perhaps the answer you seek is simpler than the one you have imagined."

Occam's Razor, yet again.