Difference between revisions of "Texas A&M - A Research University"
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Revision as of 15:24, 26 August 2016
Texas A&M's focus on research is largely a product of the 1961 Blueprint for Progress and school President Earl Rudder's selfless efforts to, at long last, find a direction for what had long been an institution drifting aimlessly in the academic wilderness.
As part of the Blueprint for Progress, Rudder asked
- What kind of student does Texas A&M seek to produce?
- What is the mission of the college?
- To what degree of academic excellence should the faculty and staff aspire?
- What should be the scope and size of the A&M College by the centennial anniversary in 1976?
The decision was that A&M should recognize the nation's space program was ushering a new era of government sponsored academic research. Rudder decided that A&M would actively participate in that era and would become a research university.
By the school's Centennial celebration in 1976, the school had made strides toward that goal, but it was not until the early 1990s that the school's true position in the panoply of publicly-funded research universities would become clear.
Perfecting Cold Fusion
By late April 1989, most every claim of a breakthrough in the field of cold fusion had been thoroughly debunked. In an article published on 30 April 1989, cold fusion was declared dead by the New York Times. The Times called research into cold fusion a circus. The Boston Herald attacked cold fusion the following day.
On 1 May 1989, the American Physical Society held a session on cold fusion in Baltimore, including many reports of experiments that failed to produce evidence of cold fusion. At the end of the session, eight of the nine leading speakers stated that they considered claims to anyone having advanced research into cold fusion dead, with the ninth abstaining. A highly respected Caltech researcher called an earlier report claiming to have materially advanced research into cold fusion a result of "the incompetence and delusion of the researchers." This opinion was met with a standing ovation. Douglas R. O. Morrison, a physicist representing CERN, was the first to call the episode an example of "pathological science."
While the most esteemed researchers in the field of cold fusion had considered the evidence and rendered their opinion, they hadn't yet been introduced to what is known in Texas as "aggy research."
Undaunted by the May 1989 American Physical Society meeting, researchers at Texas A&M University represented to the world their research into cold fusion was delivering results. In June 1989, Texas A&M researchers invited the U.S. Department of Energy to visit College Station and see what "aggy research" looked like up close. DOE scientists left highly unconvinced. Texas A&M researchers continued to announce advancements in their cold fusion research throughout the rest of 1989. The During this time, the A&M received sizable funding grants and applied for many more.
In short order, the Texas A&M research was found to be "uncontrolled and so sloppy the results meant nothing." One scholarly publication said of A&M "The administration's laissez faire response to worries about possible fraud raises questions about the proper balance balance between academic freedom and the need to guarantee the integrity of research."
Solving The Mystery of Alchemy
As explained in a Houston newspaper-
"On a mid-October morning in 1992, three Americans, all connected in one way or another with Texas A&M University, stood up in front of a gathering of press people at the El Presidente Hotel in Mexico City to make what they claimed would be an important announcement. The first to speak was Dr. Joe Champion, a large man in an open shirt and dark jacket, who introduced himself as the lead scientist for something called the Philadelphia Project. At first, Champion played to the journalists' worst fears by launching into a highly technical discourse, tossing off phrases such as "Through careful nuclear predisposition, the isotopic compositions of base minerals could be selectively transmuted through electromagnetic resonance" and "This fission or separation is in all cases equivalent to the separation of an alpha particle within the nucleus of the atom."
Gobbledygook, most of the reporters thought. But then a phrase stuck: "For example, if we placed mercury in a field of resonance, two of its seven isotopes are converted into platinum."
Platinum? Interesting. The reporters looked at their watches and silently prayed for a mild earthquake. A moment later, they got it.
"However," Champion said, "one of these new isotopes of platinum is not stable. It converts to gold within a period of six days."
Within a year, Joe Champion would be jailed on criminal fraud charges in an unrelated case. A benefactor funding the work of another researcher involved in "solving the mystery of alchemy" was jailed for selling millions in fraudulent and unregistered securities to investors.
As of today, Texas A&M University researchers have still failed to perfect or fully commercialize their groundbreaking research into alchemy.
Trinity Highway Products, based in Dallas, manufactured the system and sold it for installation in federal highway projects. The energy-absorbing cap is placed on the ends of highway guardrail segments so that the rails collapse away from an oncoming vehicle during a crash. State highway departments all over the country have used the rails for years.
Since the guardrails were first installed, ET-Plus guardrails have been blamed on at least five deaths and dozens of horrific crashes. In several cases, the guardrail pierced the car like a spear and sliced through the driver’s legs or torso.
In October 2014, a jury in Texas found Trinity liable for fraud and ordered the company to pay $663 million. As of August 2016, the award is being appealed.
The Texas A&M Radiation Safety Office issued a statement stating they had never received the shipment, even though FedEx records showed the package was signed for by a "KHOUSELY" on August 21. Federal and state authorities were notified and put on alert for the missing nuclear material.
When a frantic search on the A&M campus failed to locate the material, a joint federal and state task force was launched to locate the deadly material. On Monday, August 31, 2015, the Texas A&M Radiation Safety Office issued a statement confidently asserting the package had never been received.
At Noon on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, the Texas A&M Radiation Safety Office issued a follow-up press release stating the package had been found on a storage shelf in an office where it has been since first signed for upon delivery by FedEx two weeks earlier.
As reported in Texas Monthly in January 1983, The Center for Strategic Technology at Texas A&M University sent the Defense Department in Washington, D.C. an unsolicited plan they had researched and developed for the invasion of Cuba.
FYI, in that same issue, it was reported that students in a food science and technology course at Texas A&M have developed guacamole made from English peas. There was no word as to whether it was artificially maroon-colored or not.
Speaking of weird aggy food research...
The Texas A&M school colors are maroon and white. In the early 1990s, Texas A&M agricultural researchers began work to develop a maroon carrot.
After years of research, the aggy Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (yes, that's actually a real thing) in fact managed to produce a maroon carrot.
Little did aggy researchers know, cultivated carrots originated in Afghanistan some time before 900 AD. Their original color was a maroon-like deep purple.
Researching (Besmirching?) the Alamo which claimed Davy Crockett was in Texas on a nature expedition at the time of the siege of the Alamo in 1836 and had only wandered into the Alamo to seek refuge.
The book claimed Crockett had hidden out in the Alamo, survived the battle as a non-combatant and meekly surrendered to Santa Anna, only to be executed afterward.
Numerous on-line reviews have skewered the research and the motivations for this tome, yet aggy continues to promote it on their own website.
The defenders of the Alamo did not have bayonets mounted on their rifles. There is no hip deep snow in the south Texas desert. Unless global warming is much worse than we think, there is no way a trek through south Texas would remind anyone of Napolean's retreat from Moscow. The above "facts" mentioned by de la Pena make me doubt that he ever set foot on Texas soil. Mexican military records do not list a Lt. Col. de la Pena in the Texas campaign.
David Crockett surrendered at the Alamo? Why didn't de la Pena mention that in his diary that was published many years before this work was mysteriously "found". Because no one in Mexico knew who David Crockett was at the time of the Alamo. Only later was it learned that the first USA media star died there.
So he surrendered and was taken to Santa Anna's tent where Santa Anna ordered him killed on the spot. That would come as a big surprize to Mrs. Lt. Dickenson who identified Crocket's body at his assigned post within minutes after the battle was over. How would de la Pena, who even admits he did not fight in the battle, know what Crocket looked like.
For a good refutation of the Crockett surrender read "The Alamo: An Epic" by Michael Lind. de la Pena's diary is unfortunately not available in print.
Texans revere the heroes of the Alamo - and aggy allows the publication of a book that demeans their memories.
Space Shuttle Motion Simulator
As with most things aggy, lack of planning and understanding of the magnitude of the project has led to yet another failure. They were surprised by the power needs and the physical space required for reassembly and presentation, both of which were clearly understood when the agreement was signed with NASA in 2011.
“We have not yet located the appropriate space large enough to hold this massive piece of machinery where the public can view it,” (Marilyn) Martell said.
...and as usual, aggy spins failure as some sort of conspiracy against them:
“If the public was interested in seeing it set up as a public attraction, I would think there would be more public interest in supporting it,” (John) Kochan said.
The sad truth is that this should never have been entrusted to the embarrassing failure that is aggy. Other museums across the country that have received these historical Space Shuttle artifacts have been able to reassemble, display, and provide access to the general public in extremely short order.
Meanwhile - the SMS gathers dust in an aggy warehouse, never to be seen again.
- "Cold Fusion Conundrum at Texas A&M", New Energy Times, June 15 1990, http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/taubes-fraud-depiction/SCIENCE-ColdFusionConundrumAtTexasA&M.pdf
- "Aggie Alchemy", Houston Press, April 7, 1994, http://www.houstonpress.com/news/aggie-alchemy-6573101
- "Alchemy Altercation at Texas A&M", Science Mag, Nov 26 1993, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/262/5138/1367
- "$663 Million in Penalties for Maker of Guardrail", New York Times, June 9, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/business/663-million-in-penalties-for-maker-of-guardrail.html
- "Bum Steer Awards 1983", Texas Monthly, http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/bum-steer-awards-1983/
- "With Santa Anna in Texas", Texas A&M University Press, http://www.tamupress.com/product/With-Santa-Anna-in-Texas,1081.aspx
- One-Star reviews of "With Santa Anna in Texas", Amazon.com, https://www.amazon.com/Santa-Anna-Texas-Narrative-Revolution/product-reviews/0890965277/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=one_star&showViewpoints=0
- "Funds shortage has NASA simulator collecting dust", The Battalion, Sept 8 2014, http://www.thebatt.com/science-technology/funds-shortage-has-nasa-simulator-collecting-dust/article_10942037-a873-5c2d-a4e7-44d29bf52c54.html