SAN FRANCISCO — Technology is a good thing, but not when it keeps you from enjoying one of your
passions. Just ask Arun Ramachandran, a technology whiz from India who enjoys politics. Combining his interests, he developed a special political lie detector (PLD) that beeps every time a politician tells a lie.
"I tried to sit down and enjoy the Republican National Convention, but the PLD kept beeping like there was a truck outside backing up," Ramachandran said. "Finally, my wife told me to turn it off. We were unable to enjoy any of the speeches."
Ramachandran's device is connected to a computer and scours the Internet for information that supports or contradicts a politician's statements. "Every home should have one of these," Ramachandran said. "But I'll first have to develop a PLD that just vibrates, because many wives are not going to put up with all the beeping."
When he developed the device, Ramachandran thought it would beep just once or twice during a political speech, but found that it was "as sensitive as a nun." He has since added a sensitivity setting. Users can adjust it to detect lies in four categories: (1) exaggerations; (2) fibs; (3) falsehoods; (4) total and utter BS.
"When it detects a Category 4 lie, as it did when Mike Huckabee said that Sarah Palin 'got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States,' it doesn't just beep," Ramachandran said, "it also screams 'Liar, liar, your pants are on fire.'"
Indeed, as Jim Kuhnhenn of the Associated Press wrote: "Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her
1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the
race after the , but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries."
The PLD also beeped loudly when Palin said, "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to
him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two
memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."
"I'm going to have to adjust the PLD, because it considered Palin's statement a Category 3 lie," Ramachandran said. "But as we all know, it was total and utter BS."
The PLD also beeped during the Democratic National Convention, detecting a Category 4 lie when Barack Obama said that John McCain would not lower taxes for 100 million Americans while he would cut taxes for "95 percent of working families."
Said Ramachandran: "Whether it's a Republican speaking or a Democrat speaking, one thing is clear: you're going to hear a lot of BS."