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That's One Way to Go

The incoming CEO of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian research agency, says he isn't afraid of discussing "out there" ideas, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Indeed, Larry Marshall, a physicist and venture capitalist, says the agency should explore technology to improve dowsing, or divining for water, shocking some researchers.

"I've seen people do this with close to 80 percent accuracy and I've no idea how they do it," he said in an ABC radio interview. "When I see that as a scientist, it makes me question, 'is there instrumentality that we could create that would enable a machine to find that water?' I've always wondered whether there's something in the electromagnetic field, or gravitation anomaly."

John Williams from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists tells ScienceInsider that he is "appalled." He adds that rather than focusing on extracting water, CSIRO needs to concentrate on conserving it.

Marshall is to replace Megan Clark, who is stepping down in December.