# Locklin on science

## Kickstarter: muppets threaten lawsuits!

Posted in fraud by Scott Locklin on March 5, 2013

I received this childish threat via email today from Mr. Tommy Joseph. Obviously, he has never heard of SLAPP laws.  I’ll remove the photo of his dumb idea, because I am a nice guy, though it certainly does not infringe on any copyrights, and provide a link instead. The text of my assessment of their project will remain unaltered, as is my “fair use” quote from his pitch.

I’ve been threatened with lawsuits by scarier people than Mr. Tommy, and would dearly love for him to attempt to follow through with this. As far as I know, the laws of physics are still protected by the laws of the United States. This will also be forwarded to kickstarter and kicktraq. Mr. Tommy is encouraged to defend his project online, though I’m happy to take his money should he attempt to follow through with this lawsuit.

*****************************

CEASE AND DESIST DEMAND
Sent by Certified Mail and Email

March 5, 2013

Dear Scott Locklin,

I am writing on behalf of Epiphany Laboratories LLC (Epiphany) to notify you that your unlawful copying of Epiphany’s materials on your website infringes on Epiphany’s exclusive copyrights and trademarks. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to CEASE AND DESIST ALL COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT.

All copywrightable and trademarkable aspects of Epiphany’s materials, including its logos, names, word marks, images, and videos are protected under United States intellectual property law and Epiphany Laboratories LLC is the owner of such copyrights. Under United States intellectual property laws, Epiphany’s copyrights and trademarks have been in effect since the date that the materials were created.

It gets worse. Imagine you could build a good spectrometer out of all this junk; one which does their claimed resolving power of 200. Congratulations; you have just spent a lot of time and energy building something you could purchase for a few hundred dollars. Without shopping around, I found a really awesome one, designed by people who are not walking, grinning tomatoes,  with much better sensitivity, resolving power, software and bandwidth, calibrated by real optical engineers, brand spanking new and with intelligent technical support for a grand total of $2k. How much money is your time worth? If I wanted a mini spectrometer, I’d get a job at MacDonalds and purchase one that is guaranteed to work. I mean, I could actually build a really badass visible light mini spectrometer in my workshop, but … why? Oh yeah, we’re saving the environment with our cardboard cutout spectrometers. Right. Are visible light grating spectrometers useful for environmental remediation? No, they are not. If you want something like that, you need a much more powerful spectrometer. Best bet is to use a mass spectrometer, which is another sort of spectrometer. Second best, and distant relative, maybe an FTIR. Finally, for a couple hundred bucks, the amateur environmentalist can buy a useful spectrophotometer and do Real Things, rather than jerking off with costly open source nonsense that will never work. “Kickstarter the startup” is probably a great idea. The way the world presently works, people will fork out money for good intentions and bullshit that sounds cool. Kickstarter ideas… A functioning market would allow me to short things. ## Nano on the pink sheets: anatomy of a pump and dump Posted in fraud, nanotech by Scott Locklin on December 8, 2012 I don’t remember how this got into my browser window, but it got there somehow. Nanotech. Someone wants me to invest, like, cash money into Nanotech. They want this so much they registered a domain name dedicated to … some obscure company called “Nano labs” or CTLE on the OTC pink sheets. Please click on this link for some high comedy. Here’s a snapshot for posterity, since I’m pretty sure this website and the half dozen others I found will be nuked after the pump and dump. They’re not even clever about it. I’m not the only person to notice: someone over at SeekingAlpha has noticed. Someone who specializes in pinks at Boston.com was also suspicious. What boggles me is, this outfit is apparently worth$230.6 million dollars. The post-November publicity pump has added  more than $200m notional to their market value. They have no assets. They recently issued 100 million shares to their new CEO, Dr. Victor M. Castrano in exchange for “new nanotechnology.” Since lying to the SEC is a serious crime, they, to their credit, do say that it “involves a coating that can be applied to almost any surface, has low thermal conductivity and protects surfaces from water leaks, corrosion and rust. Nanotechnology involves mixing microscopic particles into paints, coatings and films that can be applied to most surfaces to provide temperature resistance and increased structural integrity.” Yes, in fact, later press releases reveal they’re talking about the nano-invention known as “house paint.” Dr. Castrano is a graduate and professor of physics at a Mexican university whose physics department webpage is broken. A literature search turns up some actual references written by this guy, published in perfectly respectable journals. Though it is the usual dreary “nanotech” stuff which cheeses me off so much; one of those links involves goop made of chicken feathers. What Doc Castrano does is considered respectable “nanoscience.” The journal titles are legitimate and even impressive. Yet this company is an obvious fraud based on the sheerest nonsense. “Nano Labs” was originally founded in 1995 … to “sell and install stone, tile and marble products used in residential and commercial buildings.” Yet, somehow, in spring of 2012, they reorganized, , sold themselves for …$500, issued a zillion shares, and renamed themselves “Nano Labs Corp.” Why did they do this? I haven’t the slightest idea. I am guessing the CTLE ticker was already listed on the pink sheets; OTCQB is almost respectable; only one step away (via OTCQX) from NASDAQ, as they do some limited SEC compliance.

These clowns aren’t even bothering to change the wording of the marketing bullshit in their 10-Q. In the most recent 10-Q, they use the same line as in the above screenshot, “The Company is pursuing opportunities for global market leadership in the field of nanotechnology, a sector with the prospect of $2.6 trillion in global revenues – representing 15 per cent of all projected global manufacturing – by 2014.” It is my considered opinion that the field of nanotechnology will not be worth$2.6 trillion globally in 2014; not even if the dollar were to experience Zimbabwe-style inflation between now and then. I think it very close to an established fact that the  only way nanotech will represent 15 per cent of all projected global manufacturing by 2014 is if we are nuked into the stone ages by nanotech-weilding space invaders.

They  mention in their 10-Q that they only have one part time and one full time employee … yet their notional is \$230.6 million dollars on the pink sheets market. And get a load of their 10-K statement, listing cash flows, debts and assets in the tens of thousands of dollars. Their company financial records look somewhat like my credit card statements on a bad year.

The way I see it, there are two and a half possibilities here. One is that the principals are frauds. Considering the nature of nanotechnology and “nanoscience” and the type of clown involved in hyping their “nano” research, and considering the preposterous websites and press releases pumping this stock, this seems a very strong possibility. The other possibility  is that the principals have been kidnapped by the Mexican Mafia for some other purpose; perhaps this company is being used for money laundering, or perhaps it is outright fraud perpetrated by mobsters rather than “respectable” nanotechnologists. I don’t know much about Mexico, but these guys are based there, and some very scary news reports come from that part of the world. If that is the case, I call on Doc Castrano’s “respectable” nanotech colleagues to send General Pershing  to his rescue. Finally, I count it as a half possibility that Doc Castrano and company are in earnest,  and are not familiar with the SEC regulations on fraud, or are not connected in any way with the publicity campaign going on in their name. This only seems like half a possibility, as their website, complete with links to 10-K and 10-Q financials, seems completely bonkers. I mean, what on earth is a “Nano mellon?”

I  proclaim myself an agnostic as to which of the two and a half possibilities is the actuality, though I will vehemently maintain that these are the only two and a half possibilities which exist in reality. Their wave function  has only two and a half states. Unless you’re  long their stock or are involved in law enforcement, it doesn’t matter which possibility is true. What really matters is, this is a completely shady situation involving a seemingly legitimate nanotech researcher. A  legitimate nanotech news aggregation website, run by members of the Foresight institute, touts a “Nano labs” press release as something worthy of attention. This is a “respectable” website on the subject of nanotechnology, with actual venture capital experts  advising it. Yet, somehow these nanotech experts and big dollar VC types cannot see what I find completely obvious: this “Nano labs” CTLE company is an egregious and embarrassing fraud.

I think “nanotechnology” is a fraudulent concept, over sold by snake oil salesmen who should be reading comic books in their parents basements instead of bothering sensible people. Despite my horse laughs at the pretensions of “nanotechnologists,” I never expected to see something this preposterously brazen.  It is actually much worse than the imbeciles attempting to convince the world they have a working quantum computer, as at least some of the quantum computing community laughs at them in public. This is flim-flammery on a  significant scale, and abetted by the Nanotech hype machine. Other than  a few watchers of penny stocks and my own bad self, nobody seems to have noticed.  Shouldn’t real-life nanotechnologists care that their precious ideas are being perverted by frauds? Shouldn’t they be policing their own?

Naaaah! Why dull the nano fireworks?

I’ve never tried to short a pink sheet. I’m not sure what the downside risks are of that if the SEC shows up and legally notices that this is being run out of someone’s boiler room. If they were traded on a real market, I’d short the shit out of them.

Edit add: this morning I notice the very same professor made the news a few years ago for allegedly turning Tequila into Diamonds.  I give up. Humanity is a pack of credulous numskulls without hope. That was linked everywhere from Arxiv to the BBC. I am picturing this guy with his bottle of Tequila,  a bucket full of chicken feathers and sporting a preposterous Speedy Gonzales sombrero counting stacks of greenbacks.