Via The Bent Spoon
Once upon a time, there was a wannabe ghost hunter. She watched TV shows featuring paranormal investigators going into haunted locations and capturing real ghost voices on their recorders. Finding this incredibly cool, she visited websites where ghost hunters from all over uploaded creepy recordings of spirit voices. She bought a recorder like the ones she saw on TV and did her own EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) experiments. She lived in a house where a previous owner died on the dining room floor. Lights went on and off by themselves, faint disembodied voices and footsteps were heard and unexplained shadows were glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. So obviously, it had to be haunted. She wanted to prove to others that the ghosts were actually there, and she also wanted to hear what they had to say. Why were they there? Were they “stuck” from unfinished business? Were they attached to the house or something in it? So, just like the investigators on TV, she held her inexpensive recorder and asked questions. On playback, she was excited to hear responses. It was hard to make out the words, but as some ghost hunting experts will explain, sometimes the spirits just don’t have enough “energy” to speak clearly. One night, she got a reply which sounded more like a snarl. It scared her, and after stinking up the house with burning sage, she stopped doing sessions in her own home.
Yep, that was me several years ago. Back before I took the time to learn about recorders, recording techniques, what environmental factors can affect recorders, and what physiological and psychological factors affect how a person can misinterpret sounds. Luckily, I can laugh at myself now. But what isn’t funny is the fact that there are paranormal investigators going into people’s homes or businesses and, because they are making the same mistakes I once made, presenting frightened clients with false positives and calling them ghost voices. As I mentioned in my article “The Evocative EVP” (http://carolynscreepycorner.blogspot.com/2012/06/evocative-evp.html) while more ghost hunting groups are finally acknowledging that there are natural explanations for orb photos, many of these same people are still clinging to their EVPs with a death grip. I believe this might be because listening is more subjective; you can easily see how orbs are recreated, but replicating false positive EVPs may be more complicated due to various factors. There have been reliable scientific studies showing that people hear things that are not there. One study, discussed in Mary Roach’s book Spook, illustrates this and is relevant to EVP review. Subjects were asked to transcribe a poorly recorded lecture. Many were able to hear words and even complete phrases. However, in reality, the recording was nothing but white noise. Ambient sounds can easily be misinterpreted as voices especially with priming, and when they are within certain frequencies and rhythms causing the brain to automatically switch to speech mode. Personally, I’ve participated in many audio reviews where people swore they heard a meaningful response when all I heard was something akin to “Glarmpht”. So even if something sounds like a voice or a phrase, it doesn’t mean that it is. And even if it is, you still have are left with the task of proving that it belongs to a ghost.
Priming and expectation influence what we hear. If we expect (or really want to) hear a voice or certain response, it is likely we will, because our brains are wired to make random information fit into patterns. Understanding speech is much more involved than just our ears hearing what sounds are being produced by vocal cords. We perceive speech by using other senses and the brain processing the combined sensory information, as well as drawing from our memory. One interesting example of how other senses can influence hearing is the McGurk Effect. Subjects watch a video of a person saying one phoneme while the audio is playing another. Subjects see the person say, “Fa fa fa”, and they hear, “Fa fa fa.” However, the audio is actually playing “Ba Ba Ba.” When the subjects close their eyes, they hear “Ba ba ba”, but interestingly, when some open their eyes again and watch the video, they again hear “Fa fa fa” even though they now know that’s not correct.
Bobby Nelson, co-founder and contributing writer for The Bent Spoon Magazine, has conducted experiments demonstrating how priming and expectation influences what we hear. In one experiment . . .
- Report: Things Get Spooky While Ghost Hunting at The William Heath Davis House in San Diego (dreadcentral.com)
- Paranormal Corner: Do you believe in ghosts? (nj.com)
- Spirit Bilocation: Is it possible? (bigseance.com)
- Paranormal group reports signs of ghosts (newsnet5.com)
- Thoughts on Ghost Hunting the Crawl Space (phergoph.wordpress.com)
- The people who think they tune into dead voices (sott.net)
- EVP – Speaking With Dead (vineoflife.net)
- Back to the Basics – How to Record EVP (thehauntedvoice.wordpress.com)
by Steven Novella via Skepticblog
Six years ago I was asked to participate in a group debate over the legitimacy of homeopathy at the University of CT (there were six speakers, three on each side). This year I was asked to participate in another homeopathy debate at UCONN, but this time one-on-one with Andre Saine ND from the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy taking the pro-homeopathy side. (I will provide a link when the video is posted online.)
While the basic facts of homeopathy have not changed in the past six years, the details and some of the specific arguments of the homeopaths have evolved, so it was good to get updated on what they are saying today. In this post I will discuss some overall patterns in the logic used to defend homeopathy and then discuss the debate over plausibility. In tomorrow’s post I will then discuss the clinical evidence, with some final overall analysis.
Believers and Skeptics
As with the last debate, the audience this time was packed with homeopaths and homeopathy proponents. When I was introduced as the president of the New England Skeptical Society, in fact, laughter erupted from the audience. But that’s alright – I like a challenge. It did not surprise me that the audience, and my opponent, were unfamiliar with basic skeptical principles. Andre, in fact, used the word “skeptic” as a pejorative throughout his presentation.
The difference in our two positions, in fact, can be summarized as follows: Andre Saine accepts a very low standard of scientific evidence (at least with homeopathy, but probably generally given that he is a naturopath), whereas I, skeptics, and the scientific community generally require a more rigorous standard.
The basic pattern of Andre’s talk was to quote from one of my articles on homeopathy declaring some negative statement about homeopathy, and then to counter that statement with a reference to scientific evidence. The problem is, his references were to low-grade preliminary evidence, and never to solid reproducible evidence.
That is one functional difference between skeptics and believers – the threshold at which they consider scientific evidence to be credible and compelling (there are many reasons behind that difference, but that is the end result).
I was asked what level of evidence I would find convincing, and that’s an easy question to answer because skeptics spend a great deal of time exploring that very question. In fact, I have discussed this in the context of many things, not just homeopathy.
For any scientific claim (regardless of plausibility) scientific evidence is considered well-established when it simultaneously (that’s critical) fulfills the following four criteria:
- Methodologically rigorous, properly blinded, and sufficiently powered studies that adequately define and control for the variables of interest (confirmed by surviving peer-review and post-publication analysis).
- Positive results that are statistically significant.
- A reasonable signal to noise ratio (clinically significant for medical studies, or generally well within our ability to confidently detect).
- Independently reproducible. No matter who repeats the experiment, the effect is reliably detected.
This pattern of compelling evidence does not exist for ESP, acupuncture, any form of energy medicine, cold fusion or free energy claims, nor homeopathy. You may get one or two of those things, but never all four together. You do hear many excuses (special pleading) for why such evidence does not exist, but never the evidence itself.
The reason for this is simple – when you set the threshold any lower, you end up prematurely accepting claims that turn out not to be true.
The less plausible, the more outrageous and unconventional a scientific claim, the more nitpicky and uncompromising we should be in applying the standards above. This follows a Bayesian logic – you are not beginning with a blank slate, as if we have no prior knowledge, but rather are starting with existing well-established science and then extending that knowledge further.
To clarify – if a new claim seems implausible it does not mean that it is a-priori not true. It simply means that the threshold of evidence required to conclude that it is probably true is higher.
Scottish philosopher David Hume sort of captured this idea over two centuries ago when he wrote:
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.
I like to think of it this way: The evidence for any new claim that contradicts prior established scientific conclusions must be at least as robust as the prior evidence it would overturn. You can also ask the question – what is more likely, that the relevant scientific facts are wrong, or that the new claim is wrong?
What is more likely, that much of what we think we know about physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, and medicine is wrong, or that the claims of homeopathy are wrong? I think this is an easy one.
- Debating Homeopathy Part I (skepticblog.org)
- Keeping Up the Pressure (illuminutti.com)
- Teaching Chemistry With Homeopathy (randi.org)
- Keeping Up the Pressure (randi.org)
- Debating Homeopathy Part I (theness.com)
- Debating Homeopathy Part II (theness.com)
- What is Homeopathy? (nomadicvet.wordpress.com)
- Evidence Thresholds (sciencebasedmedicine.org)
- HumanistLife : Homeopathy – Faith or Science (humanistlife.org.uk)
The claim: FEMA detention facility. Another facility located in/near old stone quarry near Interstate 75. Railroad access to property, fences etc.
What it really is: Using Google Maps I took a look at the two stone quarries that were located in the general area, and what I found was that they were nothing more than stone quarries. Nothing located at these sites are anything you wouldn’t find at a stone quarry.
The claim: FEMA detention facilities. Data needed.
What it really is: These are three very large cities that have multiple construction projects going on, with any one of them being easily mistaken for a FEMA camp by anyone who thinks that anything with fencing around it is a FEMA camp.
The claim: Former WWII detention camps. More data still needed.
What it really is: Ft. Sill is one of the oldest military bases in the country. The site itself was founded in 1869 and was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
While the fort was the site of a POW camp during World War Two, the lack of any data tells me that the site is only accused of being a FEMA camp is because it is a military base that had a POW camp located there.
The claim: near Army Munitions Plant property – former WWII German / Italian POW camp designated for future use.
What it really is: According to Oklahoma Historical Society the site of the POW camp was built north of the city, while the munitions plant was built south of the town. As for the former POW camp itself, it’s most likely been torn down and now used for public use.
The claim: Renovated federal internment facility with CURRENT population of 12,000 on Route 66.
What it really is: There is a is a medium security Federal Correctional Institution there called FCI El Reno (with a minimum security prison camp), but it does not have a current population of 12,000, but a population of 1,000 (with a population of 265 in the prison camp).
The claim: FEMA’s main processing center for west of the Mississippi. All personnel are kept out of the security zone. Federal prisoner transfer center located here (A pentagon-shaped building where airplanes can taxi up to).
What it really is: Yes, there is a transfer Federal prisoner transfer center (although it’s hexagon shaped, not pentagon shaped) but just because this place exists (which is public knowledge) it does not mean that it is a processing center for FEMA.
The claim: All base personnel are prohibited from going near civilian detention area, which is under constant guard.
What it really is: It’s a military base, and all military bases have sites on them that you are not allowed to go to unless there is a need for you to be there and would need to be constantly guarded, such as say the hangers where they store the E-6B Mercury airplanes there.
The claim: near Tacoma – This is one of several sites that may be used to ship prisoners overseas for slave labor.
What it really is: These claims are highly questionable at best, and most likely bogus. Besides the fact that there is no evidence what so ever to back this claim up, it doesn’t really make any logical sense.
Why would the government ship people over seas to be used as slave labor when they could be used here?
The claim: FEMA detention center used actively during the 1999 WTO protests to classify prisoners.
What it really is: The base (actually called Naval Station Puget Sound) was closed down in 1995, and was divided amongst several entities, including the city of Seattle.
The site itself is now apart of the National Register of Historic Places.
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 10, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 3, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 22, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Many Common Traits I’ve noticed with FEMA Camp claims (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 6, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 8, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 16, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 13, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Why Does The US Government Need 30,000 Guillotines And Over 600 Million Rounds Of Hollow Point Bullets? (thetruthsoldier.com)
A devil is said to haunt the wooded Pine Barren of southern New Jersey. Dubbed the Jersey Devil, it has never been photographed or captured, but has appeared in dozens of books, films, and television shows including “The X-Files.”
Most accounts suggest that the creature has a horse-like face with antlers or horns sprouting from the top of its head. It walks on two legs, ending with cloven hooves or pig’s feet. The overall body shape resembles a kangaroo, though it also has wings like a bat. Some say it has a tail like a lizard; others say it has no tail at all. The monster is said to kill dogs, chickens and other small animals, as well as leave spooky cloven hoof prints in snow, and bellow a terrifying screech in the wooded darkness.
History of the Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is the subject of a legend dating from the early 18th century. There are several variations, but a common story holds that a woman named Mother Leeds (who was believed to have been the wife of a Daniel Leeds) gave birth to her 13th child on a dark and stormy night. Rumors claimed that she was a witch, and bore the Devil’s child. Shortly after birth, it changed form, growing wings, hooves and an equine head. It flew into the air with a bloodcurdling shriek, killing a midwife in the process, and headed toward the woods.
It sounds like a scene from a horror film or novel, too bizarre to be true. And indeed Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast notes that there are holes in the popular story of the Jersey Devil: “In looking at the historical sources, we soon find that this story is not possible. … There appears to be no contemporary sources connecting Daniel Leeds or either of his wives to a devilish character of any sort, and … Although newspapers of the 1800s did occasionally print the Mother Leeds story as given in the legend, we seem to have a total lack of factual basis to anchor it to any real history.”
Despite its origins in legend, several people have claimed to have seen or encountered the Jersey Devil over the past 250 years. In a section on the topic in the encyclopedia “American Folklore,” folklorist Angus Kress Gillespie notes that “The Jersey Devil remained an obscure regional legend through most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, until 1909 when a series of purported ‘Devil’ sightings inspired a Philadelphia businessman to stage a hoax. He painted a kangaroo green, attached fake wings to the helpless creature, and had it exhibited to the public.” The 1909 hoax (and others like it) inspired further sightings and reports, which continue to this day.
What Is the Jersey Devil?
Could the creature be real? The Jersey Devil’s diverse features are strong evidence that it does not — and cannot — exist as a real animal. The most obvious biologically implausible feature is its wings: they would need to be much bigger, and anchored in a much more massive musculoskeletal structure, to lift the animal’s body weight into the air. Birds and bats can fly because their bodies are relatively lightweight; the reputed heavy muscles and thick limbs of the Jersey Devil would never work; you’d have better luck putting butterfly wings on a rhino. Most images of the Jersey Devil look like a monster that a high school Dungeons & Dragons player might dream up as a composite of different, unrelated animals whose features could never actually exist in the same animal, but look weird and scary.
So what’s the explanation for the Jersey Devil? There’s very little to “explain”; we have a monster whose origin is obviously . . .
- Stephany Fay Cohen discussed alien adventures on This Morning
- Claims she visits other solar systems on a UFO at night
- Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield tested her psychic powers
A psychic who claims to have sex with aliens who sneak into her room while she sleeps appeared on live TV to discuss the ‘out-of-this-world orgasms’ she has with ‘octopus men and cat people’.
Stephany Fay Cohen discussed her adult adventures with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield on today’s This Morning, as part of a week of features celebrating the supernatural.
Cohen even drew pictures of both the UFO she travels in with her ‘spirit guides’, and a Grey, one race of alien with whom she interacts.
Before the show, Cohen had revealed to Philip that the sex she has with aliens resulted in ‘out-of-this-world orgasms’.
Explaining her story, Cohen said that the aliens sneak into her room at night: ‘My group, I call them Team Spirit, we have a UFO, a flying saucer, and we go off to planets within our own solar system but also way out. We go in mind. It happens when my physical body is asleep but my spiritual body travels.
Holly then asked: ‘Could it be a dream? Isn’t that what most people call dreaming?’
To which Cohen replied: ‘A dream is a friendly way of letting you know what you’ve been doing without scaring you. That’s what they are. Because otherwise people would be afraid if they were face-to-face with an alien.’
Cohen explained that the various types of alien races include the Greys, the reptilians, the cat people and the octopus men, all of whom come from different planets in the Canis Major solar system. She has a particularly close octopus man friend named Ian.
She said: ‘He stays close to me, kind of like a spirit boyfriend – but I don’t call him my boyfriend, he’s more a good spirit friend who happens to be from the octopus race.
‘All of the races indulge in sex, but particularly the cat people are highly-charged sexually – and it’s part of our culture.’
- ‘I have sex with aliens’: Psychic Stephany Fay Cohen on This Morning tells Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about orgasms with octopus men (dailymail.co.uk)
- I have out of this world alien orgasms (img.thesun.co.uk)
- Woman Has Sex, Orgasms With Alien (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
This is just too funny – like a burglar trying to be upstanding by warning you against other burglars.
Under the header Screened, verified and accuracy tested they list these qualifications as characteristics of a legitimate psychic service (presumably referring to themselves):
- The psychic has been tested by an independent organization, or
- is registered with the local authorities, or
- the site clearly has a strict selection and hiring policy available to the public.
Most people would read this list and believe each psychic meets all 3 of these qualifications and is therefore Screened, verified and accuracy tested, right? You would be wrong.
Note the header DOESN’T SAY: “Each psychic is screened, verified and accuracy tested”.
Also note the word “OR” placed between each of the 3 qualifications. This means, to be considered a true statement, ONLY 1 of the 3 qualifications need be fulfilled – NOT all 3. So, as long as the Psychic Access website “clearly has a strict selection and hiring policy available to the public (qualification #3),” they’re technically not being deceptive.
So rather than promising real, verified and tested psychics, these words only promise a website with a clear, strict selection and hiring policy available to the public.
Am i the only one seeing the irony of this deception coming from a psychic service warning us to avoid deceptive psychic services?
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
P.S. The fact Psychic Access doesn’t have a money back guarantee didn’t escape my notice.
Psychic Access, a trusted global leader in online psychic reading services, has issued a public warning against fake psychics, fortune-telling scams and con artists.
Carson City, NV — (SBWIRE) — Psychic Scams conjured up by fake fortune-tellers continue to be a major concern for legitimate, professional psychic companies. Every day unsuspecting members of the public are conned into forking out ridiculous amounts of money to line the pockets of con artists, despite the fact that potential victims have access to online information on the subject.
“We often deal with the tragic aftermath of psychic scams, when the victim finally finds her way to us for skilled help and guidance,” says Doug Christman, CEO and President of Psychic Access, Inc. “Phony psychics not only damage the reputation of other legitimate psychic services, but they also wreak havoc in the lives of innocent, vulnerable people. Our team of readers at Psychic Access too often has to clean up the confusion and distress caused by these fraudsters. ”
In an effort to combat the prevalence of online psychic fraud and swindles, Psychic Access has now published a set of useful tips and guidelines on their website. The new information page offers a detailed anti-scam checklist informing consumers on how to spot a psychic scam. The set of red flags and danger signs was compiled from actual cases encountered by the experienced team at PsychicAccess.com and is made available online in an attempt to inform and educate the general public and potential customers who are interested in locating legitimate psychic reading services.
- Secrets of the Psychics – James Randi (illuminutti.com)
- Only the REAL psychics can tell you how to avoid the fraudsters (doubtfulnews.com)
- Psychic Source Launches Campaign Against Psychic Scams (virtual-strategy.com)
- Psychic in Louisiana relieved a woman of $10,000 in a scam to “cleanse” the cash and remove a curse [Weird] (fark.com)
- Online Psychic Reading – A Complete Overview (yourkeysecrets5.wordpress.com)
- Selecting The Best Online Psychic Reader (bestonlinepsychic.wordpress.com)
- ‘Psychic’ Twice Arrested for Fraud Completely Avoids Legal Punishment by Paying off Her Victims in Both Cases (thewordofjc.wordpress.com)
- Quickest ways to become a Psychic reader (bestarticleonline.wordpress.com)
- 5 Myths About Psychics (tucsonpsychicaz.com)
Some say that it wasn’t an airliner that struck the Pentagon on 9/11, but a missile.
Today we’re going to delve once again into the depths of conspiracy theories. We’ll take yet another look at the events of the September 11 attacks, this time focusing on the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia. According to the generally accepted account of what was witnessed and recorded on September 11, 2001, the Pentagon was struck by American Airlines Flight 77, a hijacked Boeing 757 on its way from Dulles to Los Angeles. 59 people on board the airplane plus 125 workers inside the Pentagon were killed, plus the 5 hijackers. And as pop culture would inevitably have it, alternate claims have arisen: mainly that the Pentagon was not hit by a hijacked plane at all, but by an American cruise missile fired as a false flag operation. Years later, is there sufficient reason to doubt the official story?
First of all, the phrase “official story” has become problematic. All it really refers to is the generally accepted explanation or definition. For example, the “official story” is that the human body has 206 bones. The “official story” is that an atom of radon contains 86 protons. The “official story” is that Hiroshima was destroyed by the Little Boy atomic bomb in 1945. Just by referring to any observation or result as the “official story”, it makes it seem to be shrouded in doubt or tainted by political corruption. Thus, virtually all web sites promoting an alternative version of the September 11 attacks will start by dismissing all observations and evidence as the “official story”. In this sense, “official story” is what we call a weasel word; terminology intended to communicate something other than what the words actually mean. In the strict sense, the official story is the one that’s most authoritative and best supported; but in common usage, it’s only employed when the intent is to cast doubt.
And casting doubt seems to be the strongest reason to believe that it was a missile and not an airliner. There are mountains of evidence confirming what so many people witnessed on that day, evidence that’s all rock solid and that has no real flaws. This is the case with a lot of conspiracy theories, yet it never detracts from the popularity of the conspiracy theory. It’s not possible in one show to cover all the many objections raised to the official story, but we will look at a handful that are representative of the whole. With the exception of a couple claims that are simply factually wrong, each specific objection is based simply on the possibility that some observation might be consistent with an alternate version of events. Unfortunately, “consistent with” is not “evidence of”.
Let’s look at the most popular such example:
Myth #1: The security video shows a missile hitting the building.
Of the 85 video tapes seized by the FBI that may have shown the plane strike the building, only one actually shows the impact of an object with the building. This is a Pentagon security camera pointed at a traffic gate along an access driveway. In the background is a white streak, visible in only a single frame, which is far too small and of low quality to make out any useful details. Missile theorists believe the depicted object is too small to be a 757, and is more consistent with a cruise missile.
So far as the object in the video appearing to be too small for a 757, that’s correct, it is. But this is to be expected, since the lens of the security camera is ultra wide angle. The camera was intended to see as much of the vehicle driveway where it was positioned as possible, side to side. Thus it did not produce a rectilinear image with straight lines; the lines on the Pentagon building are clearly curved in the video. Yet, missile theorists have superimposed straight lines of perspective onto this image, in an effort to show that the height of the incoming object was too small for a 757. Because of the lens used, the plane does in fact appear far smaller than it would with a normal lens, consistent with what we’d expect of an ultra wide angle lens and a full-sized airliner.
Myth #2: Donald Rumsfeld‘s office was on the opposite end of the building.
The implication being that Rumsfeld, presumed architect of the false flag attack, was carefully protected by having the plane hit a far-away part of the building.
This is a perfect example of “consistent with” not being “evidence of”. Sure, if Rumsfeld had masterminded the attack, he might well choose to preserve his own office. But by this same logic, you could point to anyone anywhere in the world whose office was not in the immediate vicinity of the crash site. This factoid is so irrelevant that I didn’t even bother to look up where in the Pentagon Rumsfeld’s office was. Whether it’s true or not, it’s useless information.
Now for an example of a claim that’s just simply wrong:
Myth #3: There was no debris from an airplane at the site.
Thus there was no plane, thus it must have been a missile (even though that in itself is fallacious logic). Even after so many years have gone by, I still hear this assertion being made, in blatant defiance of virtually every photograph taken that day. Debris from the plane was everywhere, including easily identified mechanical parts from the landing gear and engines and lots of twisted aluminum painted in Boeing BAC452 Green Epoxy Primer. It’s trivial to do a Google image search for “flight 77 debris” to see exactly what was reported by dozens of Pentagon employees, rescue personnel, and reporters, and observed live worldwide by millions of television viewers.
- Skeptoid #354: The Pentagon and the Missile (skeptoid.com)
- Is There Fake Video Footage in The 9/11 TV Coverage? (collective-evolution.com)
- This is why the Pentagon attack witnesses thought they saw a plane hit the Pentagon (planet.infowars.com)
- Disclosure: Multiple Proofs That No Passenger Jet Ever Hit the Pentagon on 9/11 (21stcenturywire.com)
Less than 100 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada is the most famous secret military installation on the planet. Rumors swirl around this base, much like the mysterious aircraft that twist and turn in the skies overhead. Although it’s known by many names, most people call it by the Atomic Energy Commission‘s (AEC) designation: Area 51.
There are several theories about how Area 51 got its name. The most popular is that the facility borders the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The AEC used the NTS as testing grounds for nuclear bombs. The NTS is mapped as a grid of squares that are numbered from one to 30 (with a few omissions). Area 51, while not part of this grid, borders Area 15. Many say the site got the name Area 51 by transposing the 1 and 5 of its neighbor. Another popular theory is that the number 51 was chosen because it was not likely to be used as part of the NTS system in the future (in case the NTS expanded later on).
The first documented use of the name Area 51 comes from a film made by the company Lockheed Martin. There are also declassified documents from the 1960s and 1970s that refer to a facility called Area 51. Today, officials refer to the facility as an operating location near Groom Lake when speaking to the public — all official names for the site appear to be classified.
The name alone inspires thoughts of government conspiracies, secret “black” aircraft and alien technologies. Facts, myths and legends weave together in such a way that it can become difficult to separate reality from fiction. What exactly goes on in this installation? Why did the government alternatively acknowledge and deny its existence until the 1990s? Why is the airspace over it so restricted that even military aircraft are forbidden from flying through it? And, what does it have to do with Roswell, New Mexico?
Each question seems to have a million different answers. Some answers are plausible, while others stretch credulity so far that if someone said it out loud, you might feel the urge to back away from them slowly. In this article, we’ll look at the facts as far as anyone outside of the facility can determine them and examine the more popular theories about Area 51.
Where is Area 51?
Area 51’s coordinates are 37°14’36.52″N, 115°48’41.16″W. You can get a great view of it using Google Earth. Just type “Area 51” into the “Fly To” field and the map does the rest. For decades, the base remained hidden from almost everyone, but in 1988 a Soviet satellite photographed the base. Several publications acquired the photos and published them. The secrecy of the base is still of paramount importance, but as far as satellite coverage is concerned, the cat is out of the bag.
- Area 51 UFO : Bright UFO Filmed Hovering Near Area 51 (ufo-blogger.com)
- Area 51 (cyberleague.wordpress.com)
- Area 51 Declassified (globalelite.tv)
- America’s Top Secret Bases (usahitman.com)
There are several claimed types of psychic powers, including precognition (knowing future events before they happen); pyrokinesis (creating fire with the mind, popularized in Stephen King’s novel and film “Firestarter”); and telepathy (describing things at a remote location). Among the most dramatic of these is telekinesis (also called psychokinesis, or PK), the ability to move objects through mind power. Though many Americans believe in psychic ability (about 15 percent of us, according to a 2005 Baylor Religion Survey), scientific evidence for its existence remains elusive.
History of telekinesis
The idea of people being able to move objects through mind power alone has intrigued people for centuries, though only in the late 1800s was it seen as an ability that might be scientifically demonstrated. This occurred during the heyday of the early religion Spiritualism, when psychic mediums claimed to contact the dead during séances, and objects would suddenly and mysteriously move, float, or fly by themselves across the darkened room, seemingly untouched by human hands. Sometimes small tables would tip or levitate, disturbed either by unseen spirits or the psychic’s mind.
Though many people were convinced — including, ironically, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes — it was all a hoax. Fraudulent psychics resorted to trickery, using everything from hidden wires to black-clad accomplices to make objects appear to move untouched. Magician Harry Houdini investigated and exposed many fake mediums, and even wrote a book about it titled “Miracle Mongers and Their Methods.”
As the public slowly grew wise to the faked telekinesis, the phenomenon faded from view. It was revived again in the 1930s and 1940s, when a researcher at Duke University named J.B. Rhine became interested in the idea that people could affect the outcome of random events using their minds. Rhine began with tests of dice rolls, asking subjects to influence the outcome through the power of their minds.
Though his results were mixed and the effects were small, they were enough to convince him that there was something mysterious going on. Unfortunately for Rhine, other researchers failed to duplicate his findings, and many errors were found in his methods.
A few decades later, in the 1970s, a man named Uri Geller became the world’s best-known psychic and made millions traveling the world demonstrating his claimed psychokinetic abilities including starting broken watches and bending spoons. Though he denied using magic tricks, many skeptical researchers observed that all of Geller’s amazing feats could be — and have been — duplicated by magicians. In 1976, several children who claimed to be able to bend spoons with their minds were tested in controlled experiments at the University of Bath in England. At first the results seemed promising, and experimenters believed they might finally have found real scientific evidence of psychokinesis. However the children were caught cheating on hidden cameras, physically bending spoons with their hands when they thought no one was watching.
This is some of the funniest stuff i’ve seen and heard in a long time. The last video at the bottom is the best, the seriousness of the narrator just had me rolling on the floor! Who says this kind of stuff with a straight face?
No, we’re not making this up.
Several blogs have been reporting about the video over the last few days. It appears that the hoopla over it might have started because of a segment from Obama’s speech was re-aired in February by Jewish News One. It was in this footage that the agent in question appears to have been spotted.
Here’s the footage (Note: the agent appears in the crowd at 0:37):
Here’s footage from the speech showing the Secret Service agent from another angle:
Since discussion about these videos began percolating this year, compilation videos of the speech have been cropping up on YouTube as well.
Check out this video complete with a voice-over that speculates perhaps his “shape-shifting device failed during Obama’s speech” or that he could be an Illuminati member or a reptilian humanoid:
One blogger, who noted that they first found out about this information from this extraterrestrials forum, pointed out that not all “reptoids” should be considered evil. The blogger continued that because Obama is the “one chosen to lead us through the dark and into the Light of Ascension” and due to the death threats made against him and his family, “it’s probable that he has a bodyguard who is not human.”
How serious are these claims?
- Man In Black : Reptilian Shape Shifter Spotted At Obama Speech (ufo-blogger.com)
- Does Obama have a Reptilian Bodyguard? [videos] & Some Op-Ed (2012thebigpicture.wordpress.com)
“Searching for Hitler’s DNA in Antarctica.” This is the bizarre headline that made the news a few months ago, launched by Russian news agency Ria Novosti and picked up by the world media after scientists were able to successfully drill into Antarctica’s Lake Vostok. The lake, a massive liquid reservoir cut off from daylight for fourteen million years and buried beneath two miles of ice, is the object of a years-long project to study its waters, which may house life-forms new to science. But what immediately caught the imagination was what seemed to be a revamping of the long-held myth that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in his Berlin bunker in May 1945 but was able to escape via submarine to a secret base at the South Pole.
Such an idea started circulating immediately after the end of the war. In 1952, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “We have been unable to unearth one bit of tangible evidence of Hitler’s death. Many people believe that Hitler escaped from Berlin.” Stalin’s top army officer, Marshall Gregory Zhukov, whose troops were the first to enter Berlin, flatly stated after a long thorough investigation in 1945: “We have found no corpse that could be Hitler’s.” The chief of the U.S. trial counsel at Nuremberg, Thomas J. Dodd, said: “No one can say he is dead.” Former Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes in his book Frankly Speaking stated that, after the war, at the Potsdam Conference of the Big Four, he met Stalin, who “left his chair, came over, and clinked his liquor glass with mine in a very friendly manner. I said to him: ‘Marshal Stalin, what is your theory about the death of Hitler?’ Stalin replied: ‘He is not dead. He escaped either to Spain or Argentina.’ ”
If so many Nazi officers and criminals, like Adolf Eichmann or Joseph Mengele, were able to escape undisturbed from defeated Germany, who’s to say that a diabolical mind like Hitler’s could not have set up a plan in order to simulate his own death? After all, it was known that, like many dictators, he used doubles in order to disorient his enemies. What if he had left the body of one such double in Berlin while he was fleeing to the South Pole?
It appears that in the early 1930s, the imaginations of Nazi hierarchs and maybe Hitler’s as well was captured by theories that the Earth was hollow inside and inhabited by a superior race. In particular, Madame Blavatsky’s esoteric theories had inspired the notorious Thule Society, the extremist right-wing German secret group that later reorganized and became the Nazi Party. Anxious to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race, theorists accepted legends of advanced civilizations living inside the Earth: such a superior breed had to be the Reich’s progenitor.
Nazis on Ice
Proof is lacking, but some claim that Hitler had ordered an expedition aiming to find the entrance to the inside of the Earth and that this had been located at the South Pole. Admiral Karl Doenitz referred to this during the Nuremberg trial when he stated: “The German submarine fleet has even now established an earthly paradise, an impregnable fortress, for the Fuhrer, in whatever part of the world.” Although he did not specify where the exact location was, many believed it was Antarctica.
After the war, Nazi sympathizer Ernst Zundel claimed that Hitler and a trusted group of men had been able to escape aboard a ship in which they entered the Earth through a hole at the South Pole. Inside the Earth, Nazi scientists worked to build a new army with which to take over the world. An army that could count on revolutionary round, flying vehicles: UFOs.
- Tokyo denied role in Hitler’s reported plan to escape to Japan: declassified documents (japantimes.co.jp)
- Hitler assassination plotter dies (bbc.co.uk)
Are they indeed as terrible as some people say?
- Whole Foods, others to shun genetically modified seafood (reuters.com)
- Growing concerns: Rise of modified plants raise questions (poststar.com)
- Poll Shows What Americans Think Of GMOs (huffingtonpost.com)
- A founder of the anti-GM food movement on how he got it wrong (macleans.ca)
Do you still believe the “official” story of the Death Star‘s destruction? Do you still believe a lone, inexperienced tie fighter pilot like Luke Skywalker could have pulled off a proton shot once characterized as “impossible, even for a computer” by none other than the legendary starfighter, Wedge Antilles?
Think about it – Who provided the blueprints for the Death Star so the attack could be planned? Princess Leia!! Princess Leia is the daughter of Darth Vader!! Darth Vader was the sole survivor of the Death Star’s destruction! Coincidence or conspiracy?
Wake up Sheeple!!!! Open your eyes!! Learn the truth! Demand the truth!!!
This video examines the “coincidences” and contradictions in the “official” story and asks … no, DEMANDS to know … was the attack on the Death Star an inside job?
Watch with an open mind!!! Prepare to see behind the curtain!!! :P
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
Yes. I am geeking out. :)
To help you appreciate the sheer awesomeness of the following video, consider just how large the Sun is compared to our humble earth. Do note this image only compares the sizes of the Earth and the Sun, it does not depict how close the Earth is to the Sun. If we were actually this close to the sun our popcorn would be popping whether we wanted it to or not.I recommend viewing fullscreen in HD. Enjoy :)
This extraordinary video looks back on the 3rd year of operation of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Since its launch in 2010, SDO’s data and imagery have exceeded everyone’s hopes and expectations, providing stunningly detailed views of the sun. The observatory has continued to return breathtaking pictures and movies of eruptive events on the sun. These images are more than just pretty. By highlighting different wavelengths of light, scientists can track how material on the sun moves. Such movement, in turn, holds clues as to what causes these giant explosions.
SDO is the first mission in a NASA’s Living With a Star program, the goal of which is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to address those aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect our lives and society.
On YouTube: Surface of the Sun As You’ve Never Seen It.
- NASA SDO: Year Three (milkandcookies.com)
- NASA Video: CME, Solar Flare & Coronal Rain In Unison (guardianlv.com)
- NASA uses different wavelengths of light to create solar patchwork (foxnews.com)
- Super-Hot Plasma ‘Rain’ Falls on Sun in Amazing Video (space.com)
- The Sun’s Different Light: How Scientists Study Our Closest Star (livescience.com)
- NASA’s newly published images of the sun make for the perfect Android wallpaper (phandroid.com)
- Video: Watch coronal rain fall on sun’s surface (earthsky.org)
The claim: Borders Canada and is a site for a massive concentration camp capable of holding hundreds of thousands of people for slave labor. This is probably one of the locations that will be used to hold hard core patriots who will be held captive for the rest of their lives.
What it really is: I’ve used Google maps to search along the border of this area, and I can find no place that even comes close to looking like a massive concentration camp. Also, the lack of any photos of this alleged facility, and an exact location leads me to believe that this claim is bogus.
The claim: SeaTac Airport: fully operational federal transfer center
What it really is: There is no federal transfer center at this airport, and is most likely being mistaken for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection faculties located there.
The claim: Federal experiment in putting a small town under siege. Began with the search/ hunt for survivalist Eric Rudolph. No persons were allowed in or out of town without federal permission and travel through town was highly restricted. Most residents compelled to stay in their homes. Unregistered Baptist pastor from Indiana visiting Andrews affirmed these facts.
What it really is: The area was heavily searched in 1998 by the FBI and state law enforcement agents because it was believed that the terrorist Eric Rudolph was there (in fact he was captured in the nearby town of Murphy in 2003).
As for the claim that the town was under siege during the search, and that travel was highly restricted and that no one was allowed in or out of the town without permission from the government, this is probably just an exaggeration and an misinterpretation of what one person observed. Also, I can find no other claims to back this claim up.
The claim: Special Warfare Training Center. Renovated WWII detention facility.
Even if the POW camp has been renovated, it could just be that the base is using it for barracks.
The claim: facility has renovated, occupied WWII detention compounds and “mock city” that closely resembles Anytown, USA.
What it really is: First, the claim that the sites were World War Two detention compounds (or POW camps) is false. There never were any POW camps there.
As for the claim that the facilities have been renovated, well, both bases are 70 years old, so it isn’t surprising that the buildings there are occasional renovated and update from time to time.
There is also no evidence to suggest that the bases have mock cities located on them, and even if they did it still wouldn’t mean the place is a FEMA camp, just that it’s a place to train in urban combat.
- Many Common Traits I’ve noticed with FEMA Camp claims (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 16, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Obama’s Brown Shirt FEMA Army (itmakessenseblog.com)
- Readers weigh in on FEMA camps (lissakr11humane.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 3, 2013 Edition (jericho777.wordpress.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 6, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- FEMA Camps: Locations and Executive Orders (amresolution.com)
- Ex-wardens: Mixing inmate groups a safety risk (sfgate.com)
- Illinois prisons setting up temporary housing (kmov.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 22, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
ALABAMA (NY) — It was about midnight on a night last week when Randy Smith took his dog outside and for the third time this year, heard the mysterious booms.
“Three times in a row I heard it,” Smith said. “It sounds as loud as a sonic boom. Maybe louder. As soon as it goes off, the dog starts growling and gets startled.”
Smith and his father, Laverne Smith, live at 748 Lewiston Rd. (Route 77) and have been hearing the booms for nearly two years now.
They cannot pinpoint the source of the noise.
“You can’t tell what direction it’s coming from,” Laverne Smith, 76, said. “The last good weather we had I was out near the shed and heard it.”
Last year they heard the booms about 10 times, sometimes during the day and sometimes at night.
“It seems to be just around here,” Randy Smith said. “I asked my sister who lives in Alabama Center and she hasn’t heard it.”
It is a phenomena that has sparked curiosity throughout the country for several years now.
The booms, however, have grown more frequent.
In December, people in Rhode Island, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma reported hearing unusual booms and explosions.
Newspaper reports revealed no unusual seismic activity in those regions and all the noises have yet to be explained.
In January, hundreds of people in northern Utah called emergency dispatchers reporting booms and shaking of the earth.
The cause remains a mystery, though the Air Force said it had done training exercises, dropping bombs in the desert.
Locally, 911 dispatchers in Chautauqua County were inundated with calls on Jan. 13, all reporting hearing a loud boom that shook houses.
- Mysterious ‘booms’ still unexplained (sott.net)
- Western New York State residents baffled by mysterious ‘boom noises’ (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- Western New York State residents baffled by mysterious ‘boom noises’ (thedailysheeple.com)
- Mystery booms continue in New York state (doubtfulnews.com)
- Mysterious boom shakes houses across Rhode Island (sott.net)
- Loud unexplained boom heard by residents of Alice, Texas (sott.net)
- West Virginia boom remains a mystery (doubtfulnews.com)
via The Soap Box
Doomsday Preppers is a popular show on the National Geographic Channel that profiles people that are preparing for what they believe is going to be a major disaster that will lead to the end of civilization as we know it. Most of the people on that show tend to have many common traits amongst them.
Here are five things I’ve about people on the show Doomsday Preppers:
5. They love guns
Almost everyone on that show seems to own several guns (and lots of ammo too), usually ranging from hand guns to semi-automatic assault rifles. Even the ones that don’t own any guns still tend own other types of weapons, and even make their own weapons as well.
4. They are very disaster specific
Almost every prepper on that show not only believes that some world altering disaster is going to happen, but they are also very certain what type of disaster will be, many of which (but not all) tend to be highly improbable. Because they are so disaster specific, whatever supplies they get tend to be what they believe will allow them to survive that disaster that they believe will happen, while ignoring the fact that if a different type of disaster were to occur, their prepping efforts might not save them.
3. They almost seem to want Doomsday to occur
Not only do these people believe that a disaster is going to occur, many of them act like they want it to occur! Some of them even even toast what they believe is the coming Apocalypse!
There are probably a couple reasons why they want the Apocalypse to occur: One, they don’t want everything they have been working for and what they have believed in for so long to have been a waste, and two, they want to rebuild the world.
- CDC: Doomsday Preppers and how to prepare for actual disasters much more likely to occur (yubanet.com)
- ‘Doomsday Preppers’: The Survivalists Next Door (mensjournal.com)
- Rise Of The Preppers: 50 Of The Best Prepper Websites And Blogs On The Internet (thedailysheeple.com)
- 50 Best Prepper Websites (theburningplatform.com)
- Stop Demonizing Preppers (reason.com)
Thousands of years ago, an ancient civilization raised a circle of huge, roughly rectangular stones in a field in what is now Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge, as it would come to be called, has been a mystery ever since.
Building began on the site around 3100 B.C. and continued in phases up until about 1600 B.C. The people who constructed the site left no written records and few clues as to why they bothered to schlep the stones to this spot.
Wild theories about Stonehenge have persisted since the Middle Ages, with 12th-century myths crediting the wizard Merlin with constructing the site. More recently, UFO believers have spun theories about ancient aliens and spacecraft landing pads.
But Stonehenge has inspired a fair number of scientifically reasonable theories as well. Here are five major (and not necessarily mutually exclusive) reasons Stonehenge might exist. [Gallery: Stunning Photos of Stonehenge]
1. A place for burial
Stonehenge may have originally been a cemetery for the elite, according to a new study. Bone fragments were first exhumed from the Stonehenge site more than a century ago, but archaeologists at the time thought the remains were unimportant and reburied them. Now, British researchers have re-exhumed more than 50,000 cremated bone fragments from where they were discarded, representing 63 separate individuals, from Stonehenge. Their analysis, presented on a BBC 4 documentary on March 10, reveals that the people buried at the site were men and women in equal proportions, with some children as well.
The burials occurred in about 3000 B.C., according to study researcher Mike Parker Pearson of the University College London Institute of Archaeology, and the very first stones were brought from Wales at that time to mark the graves. The archaeologists also found a mace head and a bowl possibly used to burn incense, suggesting the people buried in the graves may have been religious or political elite, according to The Guardian newspaper.
2. A place for healing
Another theory suggests that Stone Age people saw Stonehenge as a place with healing properties. In 2008, archaeologists Geoggrey Wainwright and Timothy Darvill reported that a large number of skeletons recovered from around Stonehenge showed signs of illness or injury. The archaeologists also reported discovering fragments of the Stonehenge bluestones — the first stones erected at the site — that had been chipped away by ancient people, perhaps to use as talismans for protective or healing purposes.
3. A soundscape
Or perhaps Stonehenge’s circular construction was created to mimic a sound illusion. That’s the theory of Steven Waller, a researcher in archaeoacoustics. Waller says that if two pipers were to play their instruments in a field, a listener would notice a strange effect. In certain spots, the sound waves from the dual pipes would cancel each other out, creating quiet spots.
The stones of Stonehenge create a similar effect, except with stones, rather than competing sound waves, blocking sound, Waller reported in 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Legends associated with Stonehenge also reference pipers, Waller said, and prehistoric circles are traditionally known as “piper stones.”
Waller’s theory is speculative, but other researchers have confirmed that Stonehenge had amazing acoustics. A study released in May 2012 found that the circle would have caused sound reverberations similar to those in a modern-day cathedral or concert hall.
- 5 Strange Theories About Stonehenge (livescience.com)
- Stonehenge was ancient rave spot, new theory says (richarddawkins.net)
- New Stonehenge theory: Stonehenge was built over a graveyard (csmonitor.com)
- 5 Strange theories about Stonehenge (sott.net)
This is a great video, made using a broadcast of my favorite moron – Alex Jones!! Enjoy!! :)
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to the dissemination of, as their slogan says, “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Supported by many prominent thinkers, scientists, and entrepreneurs including Bill Gates, evolutionary biologist Steven Pinker, and philosopher Daniel Dennett, TED began in 1984 as a collaboration between thinkers from three enterprises — technology, entertainment, and design — and has since broadened its scope globally.
“The two annual TED conferences, on the North American West Coast and in Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers,” according to the website, “who are challenged to give the talk of their lives.”
TED talks have been popular for years, highlighting interesting and thought-provoking speakers on a wide variety of social and scientific issues. However, TED has increasingly come under fire for promoting pseudoscience and misinformation.
A spin-off department of TED, TEDx, licenses individuals across the country and around the world to stage similar events, record the talks on video, and submit the videos to TED for inclusion on their website. As TED and TEDx talks became more and more popular, the standards began slipping.
One notorious series of TEDx talks in Spain invited speakers to discuss a long list of conspiracy and New Age topics such as “Basic Mind Control,” rebirthing therapy, “Angelic Reiki,” and even something called “Egyptian Psycho-Aromatherapy and Transpersonal Homeotherapy.”
This list of pseudoscience apparently did not set off any red flags for TEDx organizers at the time, but it did for scientists and journalists who demanded to know why these were considered to be “ideas worth spreading.”
Concerns that the once-prestigious TED brand was being diluted and contaminated by sloppy scholarship and bad science grew so loud that in December 2012, TED representatives issued a letter to TEDx affiliates about it.
- How Visionary is Too Visionary? (realitysandwich.com)
- A victory for real science over woo: TEDx removes Sheldrake and Hancock talks from YouTube channel (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- Are TED Talks Like a One Night Stand with Ideas? (socialinnovationmn.com)
- I kind of hate TED talks (mathbabe.org)
- TEDx’s guidelines for science and pseudoscience, and how to participate (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
Written by JREF Staff
In the latest installment of our ongoing video series The Randi Show, James Randi goes in-depth on Dr. Oz‘s recent support of homeopathy. Should a medical doctor with a large television audience promote baseless pseudoscience? Randi thinks not.
- James Randi on Dr. Oz and Homeopathy (VIDEO) (randi.org)
- Homeopathy Again Strikes Out In Style (randi.org)
- Keeping Up the Pressure (illuminutti.com)
- James Randi Videos Added! (illuminutti.com)
- Secrets of the Psychics – James Randi (illuminutti.com)
- Dr. Oz’s journey to the Dark Side is now more than complete: It’s homeopathy time! [Respectful Insolence] (scienceblogs.com)
- Keeping Up the Pressure (randi.org)
- Has Dr. Oz Jumped the Shark? (sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com)
The claim: This area has seen heavy traffic of foreign military equipment and troops via Illinois Central Railroad, which runs through the area. Suspected location is unknown, but may be close to Vienna and Shawnee correctional centers, located 6 mi. west of Dixon Springs.
What it really is: Completely bogus. Using Google maps I can find nothing that resembles a prison camp inside the national forest that is near the two correctional centers.
As for the claim of foreign military being in the area, none of these claims come from reliable sources, it’s just all copy and pasted from other sites without any additional information to back up the claim.
The claim: Two federal correctional “satellite prison camps” serving Marion – populated as above.
What it really is: The site itself is called FCI Greenville, and is a medium security prison that has a separate minimum security prison camp for female inmates, making it necessary for there to be two completely separate facilities.
The prison itself holds 1,180 inmates, with 320 inmates in the prison camp.
The claim: Federal Penitentiary and satellite prison camp inside Crab Orchard Nat’l Wildlife Refuge. Manned, staffed, populated fully.
What it really is: With the exception of the facility being located in Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, everything else is technically true.
The actual facility is called the United States Penitentiary, Marion, and it actually use to be maximum security prison that was built replace Alcatraz, and houses and housed multiple famous and high profile criminals, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El, Zachary Chesser, John Gotti, Viktor Bout, Tony Alamo, and even Pete Rose.
The site itself is now a medium security prison, with a minimum security prison camp. The prison holds over 1,000 inmates, with 350 people in the prison camp.
The claim: Rantoul, near Champaign/Urbana – This closed base had WWII – era barracks that were condemned and torn down, but the medical facility was upgraded and additional fencing put up in the area. More info needed.
What it really is: The base was closed in 1993, but many of the buildings were converted into civilian and commercial use, from light manufacturing, to retirement communities.
The former base also includes a museum called the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum.
As for the actual claim about the hospital, well, hospitals tend to be expanded to accommodate the population, therefore it is necessary to construct new additions to a hospital, and because construct sites tend to be dangerous places (and has equipment that tends to get stolen) it is necessary to put fencing up around such a site.
The only military presence left at the site is a youth boot camp for troubled youths ages 16 to 18 called the Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy that is run by the Illinois National Guard and Air Guard.
The claim: This Federal satellite prison camp is also on the Illinois River, just south of Peoria. It supplements the federal penitentiary in Marion, which is equipped to handle additional population outside on the grounds.
What it really is: There is a federal prison there with a prison camp on grounds. The prison is called FCI Pekin, it’s a medium security prison, it holds 1,200 prisoners, and it’s prison camp holds 300 minimum security prisoners.
The claim: Barbed wire prisoner enclosure reported to exist just off-base. More info needed, as another facility on-base is beieved to exist.
What it really is: No such facilities exist on the base, nor near the base. In fact the airfield there is open to commercial aircraft, and other civilian facilities there as well, including colleges.
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 13, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Is that a FEMA Camp? – February 22, 2013 Edition (illuminutti.com)
- Illinois prisons setting up temporary housing (kmov.com)
- Ex-wardens: Mixing inmate groups a safety risk (sfgate.com)
- FEMA Camps: Locations and Executive Orders (amresolution.com)
via How Stuff Works
Ever since NASA broadcast its visits to the moon between 1969 and 1972 to millions of people around Earth, conspiracy theorists have debated endlessly over photographs and video of the journey. Judging by the dedication some have to the cause, the subject of whether or not the moon landings were a hoax rivals only the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the presence of Area 51 in popularity. The Fox Network even aired a television special in 2001, nearly 30 years after the last Apollo mission, titled “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?”
Poring over every single detail for inconsistencies and potential government tampering, people who buy the moon landing conspiracy theory strive to prove NASA never went to the moon — instead, they believe the organization filmed a series of fake moon landings in a studio, complete with props, astronaut costumes and intricate lighting setups.
But why would NASA and the U.S. government pull off such a strange stunt? The moon landings took place during the Cold War and a tense point in the nuclear arms race, an era in which the two world superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union (or what is now Russia), competed for technological superiority. Some believe that because sending astronauts into outer space and onto the moon would be incredibly expensive, the U.S. didn’t have enough money to complete the project. According to the conspiracy theorists, faking the moon landings would be much cheaper — if it were convincing enough, it could still send a message to Russia that the United States had the better technology.
What are some of the claims by the moon landing conspiracy theorists? What have they pointed out, and do their arguments have any validity? And what do scientists have to say about these conspiracy theories? To get answers to these questions and more, put on your tin foil hats and read the next page.
The Moon Landing Hoax Evidence
So what sort of evidence have conspiracy theorists gathered that might suggest the whole event was a fake? Nearly 40 years of research has given them some interesting points:
1. There aren’t any stars in the background.
One detail doubters often point to is the background of many of the NASA photos. In pictures of the moon’s landscapes, there aren’t any stars in the sky — it just looks like a big, black void of space. Since the moon has no atmosphere, shouldn’t there be millions of stars dotting the background of these photos? If the landings were faked on a studio stage, did the photographers make a huge mistake and just forget to “turn on” the stars?
Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, the nature of photography strikes down their argument.
- “Moon Hoax Not”: Short Film Explains Why It Was Impossible to Fake the Moon Landing (openculture.com)
- One small step for man, requires one giant leap of faith (bizgovsoc6.wordpress.com)
- Fake moon landings, Lib Dem Kool-Aid and my row with Peter Hitchens (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Short Film Explains Why It Was Impossible to Fake the Moon Landing. (thetruthiswhere.wordpress.com)
- Why the Moon Landing Could Not Have Been a Hoax – It Wasn’t Technologically Possible to Fake It (scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org)
- Why a Moon Hoax Would Have Been Impossible (disinfo.com)
The quest for the ultimate in hydration has now reached a high-water mark in surrealchemy. After the hype of fog-drip, coconut water, charcoal water, smoked water, vitamin water, gogi water and even “black water,” America continues getting hosed with a steady stream of scientific claims and the height of medicine show quackery. Can you say “snake oil?” One of my favorite episodes of Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” is “The Truth About Bottled Water.” That classic featured a ”Water Sommelier” at a high-end restaurant.:
The national obsession with water was beautifully skewered. That should have been the end of the story. Not by a long shot apparently.The purveyors of woo knew that few of the people searching for the Fountain of Youth would pay much attention to to scallywags like Penn & Teller, and so the river flows on. Take the claims of “Isklar,” Norwegian glacier water:
“The people behind Isklar claim that while most of our planet’s water evaporates into the atmosphere and is recycled in a seven-year period – picking up pollutants on the way – the water frozen inside glaciers was formed thousands of years ago when the air was far cleaner. But some reviewers on Amazon say Isklar water (£8.44 for 24 500ml bottles) never tastes better than when mixed with whisky. ”
I suppose the “frozen inside” theory makes sense of a sort and the taste test from Amazon would depend largely on the whisky and amount you drink. We all have blind spots. Back in my single malt drinking days, I had to have that special bottle of Scottish “Highland Spring Water” to truly complete my solemn drinking ritual. I bought into the hype. What garden hose it came from didn’t matter to me as I fancied myself a connoisseur of fine regional “waters of life” and wouldn’t think of sullying my fine dram with mere tap water.
Today you can even get genuine “Loch Ness Water.” Never mind what the locals say when you read about the loch. They warn visitors boiling for 5 minutes before drinking any loch water owing to the algae and other pollutants present in the murky depths. Visitors are further advised to take any water from the center of the loch rather than the surrounding edges for that reason. I’m not sure how far out in the loch or what part of the purveyors of “Genuine Loch Ness Water” syphon their bounty from, but I’m guessing it’s close to the shore.
But now we are assured have the ultimate:
Yes, it’s here – and no less a personage than Mayor Villaragosa himself heartily endorses it!
If you aren’t sitting down while you read the next paragraph, I would advise it. I haven’t seen such a load of non-stop woo bullshit since the power bracelet hit the streets. Here’s the label in it’s entirety:
THIRST THE FIRE
“Legend has it that the mystical “Starfire” was the liquid manna of the divine, used by the ancients for ultra-focus, extreme performance, and even enlightenment. In that vein, we introduce STARFIRE WATER, a propiratary alkaline performance, bio-holographic “living” water produced using breakthrough 21st century, quantum water technology. STARFIRE WATER is treated with ultraviolet, ozonation,infra-red stimulation and electromagnetism for a negative (-) ion charged water, as in nature, allowing deep cellular intake through your aquaporins, the floodgates to hydration.Vortex induced, using a solar -helix and pyramid-grid system. to give it a hexagonal structure, and infused with monatomic elements, we are able to achieve a water with cosmic healing energy. This water is amplified with psionic wave oscillation tuned to the Universe’s frequency, helping to synchronize you with the heartbeat of our Earth. STARFIRE WATER is treated with Sacred Sound Resonance Transmission to vibrationally transform you on the deepest molecular level. Altogether we’ve created the world’s first premium alkaline . performance, “living,”” hexagonal super-structured water.”
It isn’t just water – it’s structured water. It’s also infused and energized.
- Still Getting Hosed: Starfire Water (skepticblog.org)
The belief that demons exist and can possess people is of course the stuff of fiction and horror films — but it is also one of the most widely-held religious beliefs in the world. Most religions claim that humans can be possessed by demonic spirits (the Bible, for example, recounts six instances of Jesus casting out demons), and offer exorcisms to remedy this threat.
The idea that invading spirits are inherently evil is largely a Judeo-Christian concept; many religions and belief systems accept possession by both beneficent and malevolent entities for short periods of time as uncommon — and not especially alarming — aspects of spiritual life. Spiritualism, a religion that flourished across America in the 1800s and is still practiced in a few places today, teaches that death is an illusion and that spirits can possess humans. New Agers have also long embraced a form of possession called channeling, in which spirits of the dead are said to inhabit a medium’s body and communicate through them. Hundreds of books, and even some symphonies, have been allegedly composed by spirits.
Hollywood, of course, has been eager to capitalize on the public’s continued fascination with exorcism and demonic possession with films often dubbed “based on a true story.” There are countless exorcism-inspired films, including “The Last Exorcism,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “The Devil Inside” and “The Rite” — wildly varying in quality, originality, and scariness. The greatest cultural influence, of course, came from the classic “The Exorcist.” In the weeks after the film came out in 1974, a Boston Catholic center received daily requests for exorcisms. The script was written by William Peter Blatty, adapted from his best-selling 1971 novel of the same name. Blatty described the inspiration for the film as a Washington Post article he’d read in 1949 about a Maryland boy who had been exorcised. Blatty believed (or claimed to believe) it was an accurate account, though later research revealed the story had been sensationalized was far from credible.
Michael Cuneo, in his book “American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty,” credits Blatty and “The Exorcist” with much of the modern-day interest in exorcism. As for historical accuracy, though, Cuneo characterizes Blatty’s work as a massive structure of fantasy resting on a flimsy foundation of one priest’s diary. There really was a boy who underwent an exorcism, but virtually all of the gory and sensational details appearing in the book and film were wildly exaggerated or completely made up.
While many Americans think of real exorcisms as relics of the Dark Ages, exorcisms continue to be performed, often on people who are emotionally and mentally disturbed.
- Exorcism: Facts and Fiction About Demonic Possession (livescience.com)
- Exorcism (godextinguisher.wordpress.com)
- 11 Movie Exorcisms That Went Poorly (buzzfeed.com)
- Seven Things You Didn’t Know About… Exorcisms (moviesblog.mtv.com)
Well, you had to know it was only a matter of time before some loon would come forward and make his claim to fame as the genius who figured out why and how a sinkhole in Florida is really a secret government false flag operation. That’s right. The government decided (again) to round up a bunch of actors and patsies to fake the existence of a sinkhole in Florida. Why? Isn’t it obvious? Come on, get with the program. Okay, okay – i admit, i don’t have a freakin’ clue why the government would want to fake a sinkhole, but does it matter? This is just pure, crazy fun!!!
I was only able to get 3 minutes into the video at the end of this post. It was just too painful and pathetic – like listening to a patient in a mental ward trying to make sense to the outside world.
A video has recently appeared on youtube user LogicBeforeAuthority’s channel making some startling claims surrounding the appearance of the sinkhole.
Many of the claims made by the video author are frankly astonishing, with him at one point even trying to compare this event with the Sandy Hook shooting.
The main thrust of this video claims its author is to divert attention away from the Louisiana sinkhole.
The video also claims the victims brother to be a “Sandy Hook” type actor put in place for the benefit of mainstream news media and that the 911 audio tapes to be “produced in Hollywood”
Another claim is that the rescue workers are in fact making no serious attempt to rescue the victim and then goes on to claim the rescue services are lying about the reasons to enter the house.
The most startling claim made is that “they” are “gonna blow up Louisiana sinkhole” he then elaborates that March 22nd is the suspected date of the event.
An associated article has also appeared on the alternative news website beforeitsnews.com listing the reasons and “facts” backing up the conspiracy theory.
The beforeitsnews article lays out the following observations:
- 30 ft sinkhole no one can see…. the house is not even a big house.
- No apparent structural damage to house.
- Conditioning the public to accept sinkholes as act of nature, which many are, but not all.
- Diane Sawyer gets in on it?…. prestitute extraordinaire!
- No footage of bedroom…. what about using drones?
- How does a sinkhole suck someone through a rebar reinforced floor?
Watch the video below and make your own mind up. What do you think? Conspiracy theory? False Flag? Does this guy need a psychological evaluation? Leave your comment below.
FL. SINK HOLE : The Real Truth
- Second Sinkhole Appears Near Florida Home (fox8.com)
- House, Debris Being Removed from Florida Sinkhole That Swallowed Man (insurancejournal.com)
- Death by Sinkhole (evolvenews.net)
- Could a deadly sinkhole happen again in Virginia (wtvr.com)
- These Are The Places You Are Most Likely To Be Swallowed By A Sinkhole (zen-haven.com)
- Conspiracy Theory (therealgrandmothersofcharlotte.wordpress.com)
- First pictures of Florida sinkhole revealed, new sinkhole opens miles away (macleans.ca)
- Why Sinkholes Are Eating Florida (livescience.com)
Scientists believe a series of events sparked by static electricity lead to the 1937 explosion
via The Independent
The dream was a fleet of hydrogen-filled airships criss-crossing the globe, silvered hulls shining in the sunlight. And for a while the fantasy became reality, For the Hindenburg was the Concorde of its day – able to cross the Atlantic in about three days, twice as fast as going by sea.
With nearly 100 on board, the 245m airship was preparing to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937, when the age of airship travel ended. In front of horrified onlookers, the Hindenburg exploded and plunged to the ground in flames. Thirty-five of those on board died.
Now, 76 years later, a team of experts claims to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century: the real cause of the Hindenburg air disaster. And they name static electricity as the culprit.
Led by a British aeronautical engineer, Jem Stansfield, and based at the South West Research Institute in the US, the team blew up or set fire to scale models more than 24m long, in an attempt to rule out theories ranging from a bomb planted by a terrorist to explosive properties in the paint used to coat the Hindenburg.
Investigations after the disaster concluded . . .
- Hindenburg Mystery Solved After 76 Years? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Hindenburg Explosion Now Attributed to Static Electricity After 76 Years (scienceworldreport.com)
If you know me, you know i like anything that messes with our brain. This one is pretty good. If you think you know how it’s done leave a comment. :)
This trick train video is from neuroscientist Al Seckel, who says that it’s of an actual model train going into a tunnel, without the benefit of any computer tricks. So what’s really happening in this optical illusion?
- Check Out 10 Funny Optical Illusions (illuminutti.com)
- Check Out 10 Funny Optical Illusions (rubinoworld.com)
- Cat Can See Spinning Optical Illusion, Tries To Attack It (geekologie.com)
- A Cat’s Reaction To An Optical Illusion Is Priceless (americanlivewire.com)
- Optical Illusion: normal faces turn into monsters before your very eyes (lostateminor.com)
- Check Out 40 Funny Optical Illusions (oddstuffmagazine.com)
A potpourri of analytical techniques reveals purported Aztec sculptures are not bona fide
Humans seem to have a predilection for fake quartz-crystal Aztec skulls. Since the 1860s, dozens of skull sculptures have appeared on the art market purporting to be pre-Columbian artifacts from Mesoamerica, that is, created by the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America prior to Spanish exploration and conquest in the 16th century. Three such skulls have graced the collections of major museums on both sides of the Atlantic: the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the British Museum in London, and the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
As early as the 1930s, some experts began to have doubts about the authenticity of the skulls, says Margaret Sax, a conservation scientist at the British Museum. But for a long time researchers “didn’t have the scientific means to follow up” on their hunches, she adds. Over the past two decades researchers at all three museums have capitalized on analytical science innovations to show that these peculiar skulls are not unusual Aztec artifacts but post-Columbian fakes.
Nowadays the market for crystal skulls is limited to Indiana Jones fans, New Age devotees, and people in the goth and punk subcultures. But in the 1860s, when the skulls appeared on the market, many people in Europe sported little skeletons on rings, pendants, or other personal trinkets to remind them of their own mortality, says Jane Walsh, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. It was a French dealer named Eugène Boban who capitalized on this fascination with the macabre, as well as Europe’s growing interest in and ignorance of Mesoamerican artifacts, to slip some of the first sham skulls into museums.
Walsh has traced fake crystal skulls at the British Museum and the Quai Branly Museum back to Boban, who sold them to art dealers who then sold them to the museums more than 100 years ago. The Smithsonian skull, however, showed up in the mail in 1992, as an anonymous donation. Its arrival motivated Walsh to contact the British Museum to discuss the skulls. That conversation catalyzed the scientific and historical research that finally proved the objects were phonies.The British and American team were particularly suspicious of the skulls because they hadn’t come from documented archaeological sites. And something was wrong with the skulls’ teeth. Although skulls do appear as motifs in Aztec art, most representations of teeth in authentic pieces reflect the dentistry—or lack thereof—of the time. The teeth in the suspect skulls seemed too linear, too perfect, Sax explains.
So the team took a closer look at the skulls’ surfaces. As a benchmark, they borrowed a legitimate Mesoamerican crystal goblet from the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, in Mexico. Then they used scanning electron microscopy to compare these surfaces.
It turns out that the surface of the authentic goblet has irregular etch marks, a sign that the pieces were carved with hand-held tools. But the surface of the suspect skulls have regular etch marks, evidence that they were made with rotary wheels and hard abrasives, which appeared only after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Walsh says.
Looking even closer at the British Museum’s skull, the team discovered green, wormlike inclusions in the rock. Raman spectroscopy revealed that the inclusions were an iron-rich chlorite mineral. Although this kind of trace impurity is found in rock crystal from Brazil or Madagascar, it is not found in Mexican crystal, Walsh says.
The team also noticed a small deposit of something curious in the Smithsonian’s skull. By using X-ray diffraction they discovered . . . MORE . . .
- Crystal Skulls: Legend, Vodka & Indiana Jones (illuminutti.com)
- Chemistry of the crystal skulls confirms their fake origin (doubtfulnews.com)
- Fake crystal Aztec skulls (cenblog.org)
- How science debunked the ancient Aztec crystal skull hoax (eurekalert.org)
- Crystal Skull Should Be Returned to Mexico. (astroshamanics.wordpress.com)
“Death is a part of life, and pretending that the dead are gathering in a television studio in New York to talk twaddle with a former ballroom-dance instructor is an insult to the intelligence and humanity of the living.” –Michael Shermer
“…we [psychics] are here to heal people and to help people grow…skeptics…they’re just here to destroy people. They’re not here to encourage people, to enlighten people. They’re here to destroy people.” —James Van Praagh on “Larry King Live,” March 6, 2001
“I’ve never heard of a skeptic helping anybody with their skepticism. To a large degree, they just want to shame somebody so they can feel greater than them. But they’re not going to shame me. I’m very proud of what I do.” —Allison DuBois in an interview with Allen Pierleoni
“…nearly all professional mediums are a gang of vulgar tricksters who are more or less in league with one another.” —Richard Hodgson
In spiritualism, a medium is one with whom spirits communicate directly. In an earlier, simpler but more dramatic age, a good medium would produce voices or apports, ring bells, float or move things across a darkened room, produce automatic writing or ectoplasm, and, in short, provide good entertainment value for the money.
Today, a medium is likely to write bathetic inspirational books and say he or she is channeling, such as JZ Knight and the White Book of her Ramtha from Atlantis. Today’s most successful mediums, however, simply claim the dead communicate through them. Under a thin guise of doing “spiritual healing” and “grief counseling,” they use traditional cold reading techniques and sometimes surreptitiously gather information about their subjects to give the appearance of transmitting comforting messages from the dead. Subjective validation plays a key role in this kind of mediumship: The mediums rely upon the strong motivation of their clients to validate words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate. The clients’ success at finding significance and meaning in the sounds made by the medium are taken as evidence of contact with the dead.
George Anderson, a former switchboard operator and author of Lessons from the Light: Extraordinary Messages of Comfort and Hope from the Other Side (2000), got his own ABC special featuring celebrities who wanted to contact the dead. Some mediums even get their own syndicated television programs, such as John Edward and James Van Praagh, although the latter’s show was canned by Tribune Media Services after only a few episodes.
John Edward established himself as the first clairaudient to have his own show that featured deceased loved ones contacting audience members: “Crossing Over with John Edward” on the Sci-Fi Channel. Edward has been described as a fraud by James Randi [Skeptic, v. 8, no. 3] and Leon Jaroff [Time, March 5, 2001] to no avail. He may be a fraud, but he is an attractive and impressive one. Edward’s show was syndicated and for some time he joined Xena the Warrior Princess and Jerry Springer on the USA Network. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the animated series South Park, named Edward the Biggest Douche in the Universe in episode 615.
James Van Praagh is a self-proclaimed medium who claims he has a gift that allows him to hear messages from just about anyone who is dead. According to Van Praagh, all the billions and billions and billions of dead people are just waiting for someone to give him their names. That’s all it takes. Give Van Praagh a name, any name, and he will claim that some dead person going by that name is contacting him in words, fragments of sentences, or that he can feel their presence in a specific location. He has appeared on “Larry King Live,” where he claimed he could feel the presence of Larry’s dead parents. He even indicated where in the room this “presence” was coming from. He took phone calls on the air and, once given a name, started telling the audience what he was “hearing” or “feeling”. Van Praagh plays a kind of twenty-questions game with his audience. He goes fishing, rapidly casting his baited questions one after the other until he gets a bite. Then he reels the fish in. Sometimes he falters, but most of the fish don’t get away. He just rebaits and goes after the fish again until he rehooks. The fish love it. They reward Van Praagh’s hard work by giving him positive feedback. This makes it appear to some that he is being contacted by spirits who are telling him that being dead is good, that they love those they left behind, and that they are sorry and forgive them everything.
Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine calls Van Praagh “the master of cold-reading in the psychic world.” Sociologist and student of anomalies, Marcello Truzzi of Eastern Michigan University, was less charitable. Truzzi studied characters like Van Praagh for more than 35 years and describes Van Praagh’s demonstrations as “extremely unimpressive.” (“A Spirited Debate,” Dru Sefton, Knight Ridder News Service, The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 10, 1998, p. E1.) Truzzi said that most of what Van Praagh gives out is “twaddle,” but it is good twaddle since “what people want is comfort, guilt assuagement. And they get that: Your parents love you; they forgive you; they look forward to seeing you; it’s not your fault they’re dead.”
- Does An Organ Transplant also Transplant Donor Memories? (bobsnewheart.wordpress.com)
- The Next Wave: Psychic Comics (skepticblog.org)
- Psychics…what’s up with that? (tnnlvisn.com)
«What if the iceberg was just a patsy for a larger, celestial conspiracy?»
via How Stuff Works
It’s a tale as old as crime and as cold as the heart of the sea: One dark and moonless night, an innocent young luxury liner wanders into a dangerous North Atlantic alley — a known haunt of iceberg gangs. Heedless of warnings about this dangerous element, the ship hurries onward, possessed of that sense of invulnerability to which the young are prone.
On any other night, the White Star liner might have made it through unscathed, but tonight — April 14, 1912 — the icebergs are out in force, and the infamous, inevitable rendezvous with destiny occurs. The Titanic succumbs to its wounds within hours, leaving around 1,500 people to die in the icy waters on April 15, 1912.
Case closed — or is it? What if the iceberg was just a patsy for a larger, celestial conspiracy? Who — or what — was ultimately to blame for the Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage? Should we blame it on Rio? The rain? The bossa nova? Or was it an act of lunar-cy?
Armchair sleuths and industry experts have reopened the case countless times. Over the past century, researchers, authors and filmmakers have blamed the incident on everyone from White Star management and Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard to Captain E. J. Smith and helmsman Robert Hitchins. But there’s a difference between proximate (close, direct) cause and ultimate cause. The proximate cause of the Titanic sinking? Filling with too much water. The ultimate cause? An iceberg opening holes in its side.
Ultimate causes tend to chain backward to other causes, and still others, inviting more questions along the way. What forces, for example, brought that iceberg to that particular stretch of sea at that fateful moment?
According to one hypothesis advanced by a team of astronomers from Texas State University-San Marcos, the iceberg might have been the button man, but our celestial companion was the one who ordered the hit. More than that, the moon had accomplices.
Granted, our nearest neighbor has an airtight alibi: It was roughly a quarter of a million miles away at the time. In fact, the Titanic sank on a moonless night. Why was the moon concealing its face? What did it have to hide?
It’s time to crack this coldest of cold cases.
- Billionaire To Build “Unsinkable” Titanic II (rewindonnet.wordpress.com)
- Meet Titanic II: everything you need to know about Clive’s Ark (crikey.com.au)
- Australian Billionaire Unveils Blueprints Of Titanic II (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Titanic replica plans unveiled by billionaire (cbc.ca)
- Eccentric Aussie billionaire unveils Titanic II plans in NYC (nypost.com)
- Inside the new Titanic: Photos of the cruise liner replica expected to set sail in three years (mirror.co.uk)
Crypto Creatures And Local Legends Lurk In Destination America’s New Series “Monsters And Mysteries In America”
SILVER SPRING, Md., March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Mysterious shadows. Screams in the night. A hair-raising sense that something is watching. Stories of the unknown capture our imagination and curiosity in Destination America’s new series MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, premiering Sunday, March 24 at 10 PM E/P. From all across the country emerge tales of close encounters with legendary creatures, from horrific monsters and ancient spirits to alien sightings and unexplained paranormal phenomena. Thirty percent of Americans believe that a beast such as Bigfoot is living in our forests*; in a quaint Montana town, reports of an elusive lake serpent have persisted every year since 1889; last year, UFO sightings were reported in 36 of 50 states in one week alone.** Featuring first-person accounts with everyday people who believe they have come face to face with real-life folktale fiends, MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA travels our country’s untamed wilderness to tell of its storied past.
“Each legend in MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, including those of Sheepsquatch, Batsquatch, Skunk Ape, and Mothman, may have been passed down from generation to generation but these aren’t your average scout master’s campfire tales,” said Marc Etkind, SVP of Content Strategy for Destination America. “Local legends are a product of their environment and no country is a better muse for this kind of fear than America, with its dense forests, desert wasteland, and hundreds of miles of uninhabitable wilderness where any evil could hide.”
Each episode focuses on a different American region and features stories of people who claim to have encountered creatures of local legend. The first two episode includes:
Appalachia premieres Sunday, March 24 at 10 PM E/P
- Sheepsquatch (Breckenridge County, KY) – The border between southwest Virginia and West Virginia is an area shrouded in mystery and folklore, but few mysteries are more unusual and intriguing than that of the Appalachian white beast known to the locals as Sheepsquatch. Dakota Cheeks and his best friend Ricky Joyce become prey to the legendary white beast during a weekend hunting trip.
- UFO/Little Green Men (Kelly and Hopkinsville, KY) – One quiet summer evening in 1955, the Sutton family farm is invaded by unexpected visitors. The family is hardly prepared for what they encounter – a small, green creature with glowing yellow eyes, about 3.5 feet tall with pointed ears and long arms raised high in the air. And he’s not alone. At first, the family is captivated by this transcendental moment… but evil quickly takes over.
- Mothman (Point Pleasant, WV) – An innocent drive down a country road turns into a nightmare for Faye LaPort and her siblings as they come face to face with the legendary Mothman. Sightings of the Mothman began in 1966 and continued for more than a year, electrifying and baffling the entire region of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Although the hype has died down since then, the sightings have not.
- New Americana TV show on Monsters and Mysteries (doubtfulnews.com)
- Mothman Mystery (cyberleague.wordpress.com)
- Sheepsquatch in Alaska (visionaryliving.com)
- Chupacabra (mysteryworlds.wordpress.com)
- Freak Out Over Hairless Mystery Beasts (idoubtit.wordpress.com)
- Monsters Inc: Scottish lochs and their creatures (bbc.co.uk)
Finding the Visible in the Invisible: A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a computer program that reveals colors and motions in video that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
Also See: Eulerian Video Magnification for Revealing Subtle Changes in the World (MIT) (WARNING: Mega Geek Content)
- M.I.T. Computer Program Reveals Invisible Motion in Video (nicholasgspencer.wordpress.com)
- Incredible algorithm reveals invisible motion in everyday video (io9.com)
- MIT researchers reveal a world of “invisible motion” (vr-zone.com)
(CAM) Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary medicine is another expression for “alternative” medicine, though the two are often linked as complementary and alternative medicine and referred to as CAM. (sCAM is sometimes used to refer to supplements and complementary and alternative medicine, since much of CAM promotes taking supplements as essential to good health.) The term ‘complementary’ seems to have been introduced by the purveyors of quackery in an attempt to produce the bias that untested or discredited treatments should be used along with scientifically tested medical treatments. There really is no such thing as “alternative” medicine; if it’s medicine, it’s medicine. ‘Alternative medicine’ is a deceptive term that tries to create the illusion that a discredited or untested treatment is truly an alternative to an established treatment in scientific medicine. By adding ‘complementary medicine’ to the repertoire of misleading terms, the purveyors of quackery have improved on the illusion that their remedies somehow enhance or improve the effects of science-based medical treatments. (source: The Skeptic’s Dictionary)
by Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog
Chiropractors and naturopaths would like to be your primary care physician. They are tirelessly lobbying to expand their scope of practice, with the goal of achieving full parity with actual physicians. This would be an unmitigated disaster, for reasons I will detail below.
Oregon is setting up coordinated care organizations to help promote improved care at reduced cost. The idea sounds plausible and is a good experiment in how to reduce health care costs. The idea is to set up local groups of health practitioners who work in a coordinated way to take care of the local population, including physical and mental health, with dental health on the way. These CCOs would focus on preventive care with the goal of reducing illness and ER visits.
With any new health care initiative (including Obamacare, and this CCO initiative) so-called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners see them as an opportunity to expand their power, reach, and scope. Unfortunately they have been largely successful – they know how to talk to both ends of the political spectrum, and the relevant science seems to get lost or distorted in all the propaganda.
A recent commentary in the Washington Times is a great example of this. The article was written by Peter Lind, a “metabolic and neurologic” chiropractor. Chiropractic neurology is pure pseudoscience, it relates to actual neurology as alchemy does to chemistry, or astrology to astronomy. Lind writes:
Governor Kitzhaber’s philosophy and current Oregon law says that CCOs cannot discriminate against complementary and alternative health providers (CAM) such as chiropractic physicians, naturopathic physicians, licensed acupuncturists, and licensed massage therapists. Governor Kitzhaber has said repeatedly that CAM providers cannot and will not be discriminated against in the new health care system and that chiropractic and naturopathic physicians will act in the capacity of primary care providers for those who wish to practice at the top of their licensure. These providers will help address the primary care provider shortage that is only going to grow when Oregon’s CCOs come fully online.
“Not discriminate against” is code for – abolish the standard of care. There are several political codes which ultimately just mean to get rid of the standard of care, or to create a double standard. “Health care freedom” is another. I have seen such “anti-discrimination” laws in effect with disastrous results. They mean, for example, that insurance companies are forced to pay for useless and sometime fraudulent treatments by CAM practitioners, and then have to write absurd rules (that apply to everyone, including physicians) in an attempt to limit the damage.
- Why Do People turn to Alternative Medicine? (illuminutti.com)
- CAM Practitioners as Primary Care Doctors (skepticblog.org)
- Alternative Medicine Use Common In Kids With Chronic Conditions: Study (prn.fm)
- Does Adding Alternative Medicine Cost Health Insurers More Money? (alternativendhealth.wordpress.com)
Nearly half of Americans are sure that life began no more than 10,000 years ago [Diethelm]. This would have humans and dinosaurs co-existing, make carbon-dating a fraud and outright dismiss any evidence of evolution.
Creationists are not alone. About one-fifth of Americans believe vaccines can cause autism, even after the discovery that the study data used to make the connection was faked [Gross, CNN]. A 2010 Gallop poll found that half of the U.S. population thinks human actions have nothing to do with climate change, despite the countless studies linking the effect to CO2 emissions [Rettig].
Don’t forget these, either: Smoking does not cause cancer; sex positions can help you conceive your gender of choice; raw milk can’t really do any harm.
The thinking might be rational in people who don’t buy science at all — no germs leading to illness, no evolution or genetic code, no “heat-retention” nonsense. But in those who do believe in the principles of science, in the scientific method and in most of its conclusions, how does this happen?
Psychologists call it “belief perseverance,” and it’s a widely studied phenomenon. All of us fall prey to it to some extent, but some people are more prone to it than others.
What exactly is at work here? To put it very simply, the human mind will go to great lengths to keep the peace.
Now That’s Perseverance
At the Flat Earth Society Web site, an open membership list reveals a group about 500 strong, all of whom apparently believe the society’s core theory: “Earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the Earth”
On Dec. 22, 1954, some of those cult members felt pretty foolish. But, to the shock of psychologist Leon Festinger, who had been studying the cult, others went the opposite way: They believed even more strongly than they had before the prophecy failed. In fact, to these true believers, the prophecy had not failed at all. They, the cult members, had managed to stop the flood with the power of their faith [Mooney]. That there was no flood was proof that they were right to believe.
In 1957, Festinger coined the term cognitive dissonance to describe what he had seen.
Also See: the Flat Earth Society
- Are there secret messages in da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’? (illuminutti.com)
- Fill Thy Vat of Knowledge! (stressingoutcollege.wordpress.com)