Skeptic Van Erp sued by Ruggero Santilli

Ruggero Santilli. (Photo: Globalreach1 at en.wikipedia)

It appears the legal threats of American–Italian fringe scientist Ruggero Santilli to Dutch skeptic Pepijn van Erp are not as empty as first thought. At a Florida court, Santilli has now officially sued both Van Erp, the company that hosts his website, and Frank Israel, president of the Dutch skeptics foundation Stichting Skepsis. He claims to have been ‘defamed’, and demands damages in excess of 15,000 dollar.

Van Erp is quite confident it will not lead to a conviction:

It’s an undeniable fact that Santilli is seen as a fringe scientist by mainstream scientists. And I think it’s a fair and justifiable question to ask about anyone who sells telescopes which simply cannot work as described, whether he does this out of a completely wrong understanding of science (“a mad professor”) or perhaps, more cynical, just to make money fully aware that what he states cannot be true (“a cunning scam artist”).

Lighthouse vs. aircraft carrier hoax resurfaces in Holland

A Canadian lighthouse. Travis D (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This urban legend is so old and has so many variations that it’s gotten a Wikipedia page in five languages. Snopes.com traces the earliest and most primitive version back as far as 1931, and just like Wikipedia it mentions the more elaborate 1995 Canadian version as the most common. The basic story is that a marconist warns a ship, redirecting it a few degrees to avoid collision. The captain angrily and arrogantly replies he won’t change course, and the marconist should change his ship’s course. The latter then reveals he’s not on a ship himself, but in a lighthouse, and he’s telling the ship to steer clear from the coast. However, a recent video shows a more sinister story. (more…)