Wind & Water, Inc. — Candace Czarny — is doing business as artofplacement.com. She has invented a wonderful marketing gimmick. It works well on the gullible — probably the same 20 percent of American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, think the sun revolves around the Earth, or generally aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. Czarny’s gimmick is called The Inaccuracy of Reading the Degrees on a Compass.
Americans’ poor science literacy means that science and technology exist in a walled garden, a geek ghetto. We are a technocracy in which most of us don’t really understand what’s happening around us. We stagger through a world of technological and medical miracles. We’re zombified by progress. — Joel Achenbach
|What She Says||Reality Check|
|Earth has an electromagnetic field. Our solar sun also has an electromagnetic field.||The American Heritage Science Dictionary explains electromagnetism:
Geomagnetism (Earth’s magnetic field) is produced by the geomagnetic dynamo (more on that later).
However, the Sun’s field is called the solar magnetic field, not the “solar electromagnetic field” or the “solar sun electromagnetic field.”
|Our solar sun goes thru 11year cycles of solar fluctuations called sun flares that create solar wind. In 2003 two of the strongest flares ever recorded flashed. National Geographic says that we are in the height of the sunspot cycle.||According to Nasa, the sunspot cycle results from the recycling of magnetic fields by the flow of material inside the Sun. The Schwabe cycle is 10 to 11 years; the Hale cycle is roughly 22 years. There are longer cycles as well, such as the 88-year Gleissberg. (National Geographicworks from the same information.)According to the physics department at the University of Montana,
Solar maximum occurred in 2000-2001, as did a reversal of the sun’s magnetic field (a Hale cycle). Solar minimum has been with us since 2004, according to Nasa. (Remember, solar minimum is “the lowest ebb of solar activity.”) The next solar storm cycle is expected to begin in March 2008 and to peak in 2011. The fractal signature in the solar wind helps scientists understand the cycle.
You can look at movies and data from 1996 to 2007 to see whether the “two of the strongest flares ever recorded” truly occurred in 2003. Note that the BBC says a flare in October 2003 was the “third largest detected since regular solar monitoring began 25 years ago” and “the strongest flare since 2001 which itself was the most powerful since 1989.”
|The fluctuations from our solar sun have a major impact on the planet earth. This solar wind creates a vibration that disturbs the electromagnetic field of the earth. The greater the intensity of the solar fluctuations and the amount of fluctuations will determine the amount of disturbances of the earth‚Äôs electromagnetic field.||The solar wind is a continuous stream of plasma (mostly protons and electrons) flowing outward from the Sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere, which is structured by strong magnetic fields. (Earth has a corona as well, called the geocorona.) Notice the word continuous: every few hours the Sun spews billions of tons of electrically charged particles — the wind. You can watch the solar wind and auroras.The Space Weather Center says
The solar wind contains magnetic clouds during solar eruptions known as flares and coronal mass ejections. And every eight minutes there is a flux transfer event, which opens a magnetic portal between the sun and the Earth.
A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun, caused by magnetic field lines around sunspots crossing and reconnecting with an explosive release of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum (from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays). Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. In 2000 a massive flare was dubbed the Bastille Day Event.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a gas bubble with magnetic field lines. These can disrupt the solar wind and trigger major disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere known as space weather. Space weather begins on the Sun, disrupts the space between the Sun and Earth, touches the atmosphere above Earth, and sometimes reaches the ground.
However, not all CMEs cause space weather. The Space Weather Center explains:
|The history of these solar fluctuations can be found in the earth‚Äôs tectonic plates. It is believed that at one time all of the continents of the earth were connected. It is also believed that the effects from on solar system and galaxy have caused the shift to the separate continents.||How did the Schwabe cycle get mixed up with plate tectonics? The lunatic fringe! Czarny seems to have read some armchair pundits’ anti-global-warming sites and websites maintained by cranks (like this!), and arrived at the assumption that people look at the plates and see solar fluctuations, galactic influences, and more.Scientists haven’t found any “history of solar fluctuations” in the plates — they found magnetic striping. They haven’t found solar system effects (or galactic effects) — they know tectonics enable the magnetosphere on this planet. In fact, tectonics would stop if the temperature on Earth jumped 60 degrees Celsius.A primer on geomagnetism from New Scientist.|
|The Earth‚Äôs electromagnetic field is created by a solid iron inner core and a molten outer core. These two cores move in opposite directions. It is this movement of the cores that creates the energy that moves in the magnet pole that creates the earth‚Äôs magnetic field and magnetic north.||What’s next, a chewy nougat center? Here is a realistic explanation from NOVA’s program Magnetic Storm.
|Magnetic North and True North (the Earth’s axis) although thought to be one in the same, are not. Magnet North moves an average of 40 kilometers every year. In the last 100 years Magnetic North has moved approximately 1200 kilometers.||True north is a navigational term that expresses the relationship between where you are now and the direction of the north pole on the celestial sphere. The difference between magnetic direction and the direction on the celestial sphere has been known for nearly 2,000 years — but evidently Czarny just discovered this.Actually the magnetic pole can wander as much as 80 km in a day — and that’s not including the “jerks” or “impulses.” Here is one reason why San Yuan is called Space and Time School not “Compass School”!Czarny’s cherry-picked claims don’t tell you the whole story. Here is the complete quote from the Geological Survey of Canada:
Because people have known about polar wandering for centuries yet still use compasses, then the compass is not irrelevant.
Obviously, merchandisers do not believe the compass is irrelevant or they would not be releasing numerous gadgets with compasses, like this one that Wired raved about.
Electronic devices are affected by solar winds and CMEs. Czarny should be saying that mobile phones and GPS are irrelevant, too.
What a coincidence — feng shui is concerned only with the local environment and the feng shui compass was invented to read the local environment! We’re not taking readings off the twin poles of Earth — we’re reading what is occurring in the local environment!
“D’oh!” as Homer Simpson says.
The convention in physics is that the end of a dipole magnet where the magnetic field emanates outward is termed the “north” pole of the magnet; the end where the magnetic field goes inward is termed the “south” pole of the magnet. The geomagnetic field flows out of the South Pole, and runs back into the North Pole (in this computer simulation of Earth’s magnetic field, inward field lines are blue and outward field lines are yellow).
On Earth, geomagnetic north is actually at the geographic South Pole.
This is not a typographical error: the magnetic pole in the Canadian Arctic is really the south pole of Earth! The Western convention is to call the Canadian one the North Pole.
A Western compass has a needle painted to look like it is pointing north … but it is actually pointing south just like a Chinese compass. And a compass “pointing” to either pole is a figure of speech — nothing more.
To put it another way:
In 1265, Peter Peregrinus noted that one pole of a magnet suspended in water pointed to the pole star. Ancient Chinese discovered this more than a thousand years earlier, with the south-pointing spoon — the original magnetic compass invented for feng shui. The handle pointed south, the ladle pointed north, and (like earlier feng shui devices) the device aligned with the stars of Beidou (the Dipper or Ladle) to align with the pole star.
When premodern Europeans obtained the compass, they emphasized the end of the compass needle that they believed pointed to the north pole star, calling it the “north seeking pole,” which was eventually shortened to “north pole.”
When William Gilbert discovered why a magnet behaved this way Europeans realized that
This confusing mindset is thought to have prevented the Eurowest from proving the nonconservation of parity and winning the Nobel in physics.
All Czarny’s blather about “magnet [sic] north,” etc., shows that she does not understand real feng shui, and she does not understand the science — even at an elementary-school level.
It is as if Czarny lives in the Dark Ages — and wants all of us to live that way, too.
The secular variation of the magnetic field and declination have been known since Chinese invented the compass for feng shui. That’s why the old masters said to take compass readings early in the morning or just before sundown. We know now that the particle stream at those times is less likely to affect the compass. The old feng shui masters weren’t physicists, but they were keen observers of nature.
There are rings on a Luopan that correct for deviation and declination. How can Czarny be so ignorant about feng shui and yet claim to be a feng shui expert?
For example, on a San He luopan (what Czarny would call a “Form School” luopan), the Earth Plate Correct Needle is the “baseline” and contains the needle housing or Central Pool of Heaven (the name is an allusion to the polestar). The needle is magnetized to the main field of Earth of the date of manufacture so the baseline — the Correct Needle — is current geomagnetic conditions.The Human Plate Central Needle compensates for declination.
This plate was added during the Tang era and shows declination as 7.5 degrees west of true north (“north” as in Western convention). During the southern Song era the Heaven Plate Seam Needle was added for magnetic deviation, 7.5 degrees east of true north (magnetic deviation is the error induced in a compass by local magnetic fields).
Joseph Needham suggests these were observed declinations. Why were feng shui practitioners the first to notice declination? For the same reason that the Shang palaces at Yinxu are roughly ten degrees west of “true north” (western convention). Feng shui people were siting the buildings and tombs, and in the transfer of knowledge from master to student people noticed changes. Just as they noticed precession moved the stars, they observed that the magnetic field moved, and that the needle did not align with the polestar.
The Seam Needle and Central Needle also mark even divisions of 15-degree sectors around the pole. The sun appears to move 15 degrees an hour — 15 degrees/hr = 360 degrees/24 h — and at night, the stars move 15 degrees an hour. There is a relationship with the celestial circle — after all, there are 24 primary lines of right ascension, located at 15 degree intervals along the celestial equator. Wow — no wonder you could tell time with a feng shui device! The Red Cross lines on a luopan are Great Lines or Great Circles on the celestial sphere — the colures.
Tony Smith makes some interesting observations about these rings:
Tony might be a crank, but at least he’s done his homework — in that regard, Czarny would benefit from his example.
Christopher Columbus knew about declination — so has every other explorer since. “True north” is an astronomical indicator — the polestar!
That is why the liuren astrolabe — a “feng shui compass” before the magnetic compass was invented — used sightlines to mark astronomical features with local features of the landscape. Those sightlines were transferred to every feng shui device since then. Both baguas are ancient star maps, and astronomy is part of real feng shui and the three types of feng shui compasses.
The feng shui compass known as the Sinan and later as the Shipan — the original magnetic compass or zhinan zhen — was shaped like a ladle because it was paying homage to the Ladle or Bushel in the skies — Beidou — which pointed to the polestar.
|If you are determining placement of furniture based upon magnetic north, the degrees are not critical, the overall direction is. However, if you are determining your property or site location based upon Magnetic North your compass reading will not be specifically accurate in reading the actual degrees of the location.||
Only Czarny and her fellow cranks believe compasses are no longer useful because the Earth’s magnetic field fluctuates. She makes bizarre statements like this because she doesn’t know how real feng shui uses a compass, and she doesn’t understand the science behind how a compass works.
To paraphrase Napoleon Bonaparte,
The rest of the world that actually uses a compass doesn’t see the problem. People still have to calibrate aircraft with the compass swing. Large ships still carry compasses (here is a great manual on compass swing for ships, courtesy of the US Geospatial-Intelligence Agency).
Many cars are equipped with compasses. Ocean oil rigs carry compasses. Surveyors have recourse to them as well.
It seems that Czarny has not yet discovered these amazing facts about 21st-century life.
Czarny emphasizes her ignorance with her bizarre claim of aligning furniture with “magnetic north” and claiming that the Western convention of “magnetic north” is the basis of authentic feng shui.
|The addition or subtraction of the Magnetic Declination to your compass reading will give you a close reading, however, it will not be accurate degree because magnetic north is in constant movement.||Declination is useful when you are going somewhere — which is why airports have runways named for degrees of declination. Runway numerals are determined from the approach direction to the runway end and are equal to one-tenth of the magnetic azimuth of the runway centerline, measured in a clockwise direction from magnetic north.Amazingly, Czarny doesn’t see the logical flaw in her claim: if she has ever flown in an airplane, she has benefitted from “accurate degree” on a compass. Otherwise she would not have made it to her destination!A similar lame-brained thinking occurs among boaters assuming that because they have GPS, they don’t need a compass.Today, a good practitioner who doesn’t follow the rule of the old masters can take advantage of space weather notifications, because a severe incident could exert a profound influence on the compass. The solar flare in October 2003 changed compass variation at the Lerwick geomagnetic observatory in Scotland by 5.1 degrees in only 25 minutes.|
|The rings and reading of the Lo Pan Compass, includes measurements as small as 1 degree. Two or more of the 36 compass rings are lined up to divine your fortune.||She has no clue how a Luopan is used!The degrees on a Luopan are important with authentic feng shui.