Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

June 24, 2008

Kanzius Redux

Filed under: culture, media, science — Tags: — codesmithy @ 9:40 am

From the I can’t believe this story hasn’t died yet file, John Rossi III pointed out that the Naples Daily News ran an article on John Kanzius.  The headline asks: “can this man cure cancer?”  The answer is, of course, no.

As I wrote before:

[T]he difficult part is developing the nano-machines or viruses that will attach themselves to cancer cells, not killing the cancer cells after they have been tagged.

Apparently, Kanzius is getting some help from medical professionals on that part.

Somewhat more amazingly, the device is being touted as a way to desalinize water.  As I wrote in a comment.

Kanzius’ device is horrible for desalination. Breaking the hydrogen-oxygen bond is an awful road to go down from an engineering perspective, because the remainder of the process is going to be spent trying to recover that energy. Not to mention of radio waves that will invariably miss the bonds.

However, because one Professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University examined the device, Rustum Roy, the article is able to report that research is ongoing.  According to Roy’s general biography, he is described as “the leading contrarian” among U.S. scientists. Being a “leading contrarian,” he doesn’t seem to answer the most basic scientific question when he examined the device, what is the device’s output/input efficiency.

Kanzius’ device can be used for desalination, but it has an incredibly low probability of being practical given the technology that already exists.

Tellingly, what should have been a minor intellectual curiosity has become a phenomenon through repeated credulous reporting.  Case in point:

The possibilities about what the machine might accomplish run rampant. Can it defeat viruses? Heart disease? No research has begun on those hopeful thoughts, but Kanzius has submitted patents for the treatment of other diseases. “One of those viruses could be HIV,” Kanzius says. “The viruses are actually easier to work with than cancer cells,”

Kanzius also says it may be possible to target plaques in arteries.

The article later provides information on where to donate.

No big company has stepped in to fund research into Kanzius’ machine, so the money has to come from somewhere else. He’s established the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation. Its Web site — — has drawn a rash of donations as media reports on the device have spread.

It never ceases to amaze me how circularly driven this whole enterprise surrounding John Kanzius is, how the media repeats the most outrageous speculation unchallenged, then seeing little pieces sprout up from the credulous.  How do you counteract that?  How can we promote critical thinking when we are constantly assaulted with the most credulous, mindless blather.  What is the speed of stupidity?  Here is one clue.  RF Induced Hyperthermia (apparently the name for Kanzius’ desalination method) has a stub on the Wikipedia page for desalination.

1 Comment »

  1. The de-salinization and fuel from water has destroyed much of kanzius’s credibility, however, there is definitely promise with the cancer research. Unfortunately, even that has been misreported. It is not a cure for cancer, however, it is a very, very promising treatment.

    Comment by Steve Prusik — June 30, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

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