Monthly Archives: March, 2013

EVP and the Voice of Reason

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.  flashlight_darkFinding 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.

ElmerGhost02_250pxYep, 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.
EVPs 1005
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 . . .

MORE . . .

UFOs Over Texas: Unidentified Floating Fireballs?

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience

aliens-ufo_300pxA strange sight in the Texas night sky over the weekend had many people talking about fireballs and alien invasions. But, alas, the real culprit has been identified, a much more Earthly one.

Police in East Liberty County got a 911 emergency call at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday from a person reporting “red fireballs in the sky.” Responding police officers, along with a dozen locals, described seeing four orange lights moving slowly in a line high in the sky. Police scopes revealed that the objects looked like hot air balloons — complete with flames — but were much smaller and did not have the signature gondola at the bottom.

Even more mysteriously, the lights were estimated to only be a few thousand feet off the ground, and yet they moved silently. No known airplane or helicopter technology could fly that low and remain so quiet. Within minutes the UFOs were gone, having disappeared into the night. They didn’t fly away but instead simply blinked out of existence; some eyewitnesses thought they had vanished behind a passing cloud and would reappear at any moment, but they never did.

Even so, the sighting wasn’t over: A second batch of the strange lights soon appeared, in an identical line and in a more or less identical formation, until they too vanished in the same pattern. Baffled police contacted the National Weather Bureau, the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies, though none of them could shed light on the mystery. No unusual aircraft appeared on radar, and though weather balloons had been launched earlier that day, they were not aloft in the area at that time — and in any event did not match the UFOs description. The National UFO Reporting Center was also contacted, though they had no information to offer.

The Unidentified Flying Objects became IFOs when members of a nearby wedding party informed police that the floating, flaming objects were paper lanterns lit just after their ceremony. Such Chinese lanterns are made of lightweight paper and a candle that provides the heat that lifts the lanterns as well as the light that makes them glow.

That explains why there was no aircraft engine sound, and the flame-like appearance. Each lantern represented a wish made by each of the guests for the new couple. The newlyweds apologized if their wish lanterns scared anyone, and the sheriff took it in stride but noted that the lanterns might pose a fire threat, and asked the public to notify police before lighting such lanterns in the future.

This is not the first time that paper lanterns have sparked UFO reports.

MORE . . .

Also See: UFOs & Psychic Powers: Top 10 Unexplained Phenomena

DMT and Our Brain: What the Scientists Say

Via The Bent Spoon

If you travel around paranormalist circles as I do, or have done a fair amount of reading about consciousness and Near-Death Experience research, you may have come across some confusion online about dimethyltryptamine (DMT).  DMT is a compound that is found throughout the plant and mammal kingdom, and acts as a psychedelic drug when ingested.  Many proponents of its use as a hallucinogen say it is produced naturally in the human brain; specifically, by our pineal gland.  dmt-w199Others believe that is merely speculation.  But is it really true?  If not, why do so many people seem to believe it?  Let’s see if we can find out.

Much of the confusion seems to come from two sources:  Dr. Rick Strassman and Joe Rogan.  In 2000, Strassman published a book called “DMT:  The Spirit Molecule” which offered up this very hypothesis.  Furthermore, he proposed the wild speculation that DMT may provide access to everything from parallel universes to alien beings through the use of superconductive quantum computing of the human brain.  Whatever that means.  Though Strassman was clear that his hypothesis was not proven, and admitted he knew “little about theoretical physics,” it hasn’t stopped many from repeating his ideas as fact.

One of those people is Joe Rogan, a popular stand-up comedian and podcast host who fancies himself something of an expert on a variety of topics which he seems to have limited knowledge about.  He has been, at various times, a staunch moon landing hoax conspiracy theorist, as well as one who gave credence to thoroughly debunked 9/11 myths.  But he also speaks a lot about psychedelics and altered states of consciousness.  Several years ago, when prompted by a caller during a radio show interview, Rogan launched into a roughly 10 minute diatribe about DMT, how it is produced by the pineal gland and how, while using it, “literally you are transported into another fucking dimension.”  The audio of Rogan’s reply went viral, and has been repeated ad nauseam by a number of internet mystics.

So, is it true that DMT is produced naturally by our brain’s pineal gland?  Instead of merely relying on internet resources, I decided to get more information from a couple of neuroscientists.

MORE . . .

Debating Homeopathy Part I

by Steven Novella via Skepticblog

warning-homeopathy-not-medicineSix 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.

medicine badThe 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:

  1. 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).
  2. Positive results that are statistically significant.
  3. A reasonable signal to noise ratio (clinically significant for medical studies, or generally well within our ability to confidently detect).
  4. 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.

Plausibility

homeopathyThe 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.

MORE . . . Debating Homeopathy Part I

• Debating Homeopathy Part II

UFOs or No? The Guy Hottel Memo

FBI Alien Ufos

A single-page March 22, 1950 memo by Guy Hottel, special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office, regarding UFOs is the most viewed document in the FBI Vault, our online repository of public records.
Click image to download PDF copy.

Via FBI.gov
H/T: Brittius

ufo-crash1-200x225It’s the most popular file in the FBI Vault—our high-tech electronic reading room housing various Bureau records released under the Freedom of Information Act. Over the past two years, this file has been viewed nearly a million times. Yet, it is only a single page, relaying an unconfirmed report that the FBI never even followed up on.

The file in question is a memo dated March 22, 1950—63 years ago last week. It was authored by Guy Hottel, then head of our field office in Washington, D.C. (see sidebar below for a brief biography). Like all memos to FBI Headquarters at that time, it was addressed to Director J. Edgar Hoover and recorded and indexed in FBI records.

The subject of the memo was anything but ordinary. It related a story told to one of our agents by a third party who said an Air Force investigator had reported that three “flying saucers” were recovered in New Mexico. The memo provided the following detail:

“They [the saucers] were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.”

Guy Hottel Biography
 
Guy L. Hottel was born around 1902. He was a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was a star football player. He was later inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame. He entered the FBI as a special agent in 1934. In December 1936, he was named acting head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; he was appointed special agent in charge the following May and served until March 1941. Hottel was re-appointed special agent in charge in February 1943 and served until 1951, when he took a position in the Identification Division. He retired in 1955. Hottel was married three times and had two sons. Following his FBI career, Hottel served as executive secretary of the Horseman’s Benevolent Association. He died in June 1990.

After relaying an informant’s claim that the saucers had been found because the government’s “high-powered radar” in the area had interfered with “the controlling mechanism of the saucers,” the memo ends simply by saying that “[n]o further evaluation was attempted” concerning the matter by the FBI agent.

That might have been the end of this particular story, just another informational dead end in the FBI files. But when we launched the Vault in April 2011, some media outlets noticed the Hottel memo and erroneously reported that the FBI had posted proof of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico and the recovery of wreckage and alien corpses. The resulting stories went viral, and traffic to the new Vault soared.

So what’s the real story? A few facts to keep in mind:

First, the Hottel memo isn’t new. It was first released publicly in the late 1970s and had been posted on the FBI website for several years prior to the launch of the Vault.

Second, the Hottel memo is dated nearly three years after the infamous events in Roswell in July 1947. There is no reason to believe the two are connected. The FBI file on Roswell (another popular page) is posted elsewhere on the Vault.

Third, as noted in an earlier story, the FBI has only occasionally been involved in investigating reports of UFOs and extraterrestrials. For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents—at the request of the Air Force—to verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn’t think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it.


Finally, the Hottel memo does not prove the existence of UFOs; it is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated. Some people believe the memo repeats a hoax that was circulating at that time, but the Bureau’s files have no information to verify that theory.

Sorry, no smoking gun on UFOs. The mystery remains…

MORE . . .

Resources (FBI.gov):

Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 17, 2013 Edition

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations. Below is some of their findings. Enjoy🙂

March 17, 2013 Edition

Lima, Ohio
Fema-Camps-300x280

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.

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio

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.

Ft. Sill (Lawton), Oklahoma

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.

McAlester, Oklahoma

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.

El Reno, Oklahoma

FC_fema-1_300pxThe 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).

Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma

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.

Tinker AFB (OKC), Oklahoma

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.

Ft. Lewis / McChord AFB, Washington

Alex Jones believes in FEMA camps.

If Alex Jones believes in FEMA
camps they must be real.

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?

Sand Point Naval Station – Seattle, Washington

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.

Click here for the latest findings at “Is that a FEMA Camp?”

Jersey Devil: Impossible Animal of Story & Legend

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience

jersey-devil

Jersey Devil sightings go back to the 1700s. This image is from a 1909 Philadelphia newspaper.

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 . . .

MORE . . .

Psychic: “I have sex with aliens”

Psychic Stephany Fay Cohen on This Morning tells Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about orgasms with octopus men
Sexy-Alien copy_1oopx

  • 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

By Martha De Lacey via Mail Online

Before the show, Cohen, left, revealed to Philip Schofield that the sex she has with aliens including the Grey race, right, resulted in 'out-of-this-world orgasms'

Before the show, Cohen, left, revealed to Philip Schofield that the sex she has with aliens including the Grey race, right, resulted in ‘out-of-this-world orgasms’

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’.

A drawing, by Stephany Fay Cohen, of the UFO on which she was taken in to space on Tuesday night

A drawing, by Stephany Fay Cohen, of the UFO on which she was taken in to space on Tuesday night

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.

CatPeopleShe 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.’

MORE . . . .

Online Psychic Service Warns Public to Avoid Psychic Scams (seriously)

This is just too funny – like a burglar trying to be upstanding by warning you against other burglars.

Just for sh**s and giggles I visited the Psychic Accesshow to spot a psychic scam” page to see what kind of advice they provide to help us avoid psychic scams.

Under the header Screened, verified and accuracy tested they list these qualifications as characteristics of a legitimate psychic service (presumably referring to themselves):

  1. The psychic has been tested by an independent organization, or
  2. is registered with the local authorities, or
  3. 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.

Via sbwire.com

psychic_250pxCarson 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.

MORE . . . .

The Three Categories of Alternative Medicine

Via The Soap Box

alternative_759_400pxAlternative medicine is a really big business, and is practiced around the world (in some places more than others).

In some place in the world it might be practiced because the people there either can’t afford modern medicine, or more likely they either just can’t get access to modern medicine, or they feel they have no need for modern medicine because they have been taught that their local folk medicine works. In other places in the world it could be just simply that they don’t trust pharmaceutical companies.

So back at the subject at hand, alternative medicine can be basically categorized into three different types:

Ineffective

While many people might say that no forms of alternative medicine work, there are in fact a few that do work to some extent, they just don’t do to the extent that many of the practitioners of that alternative medicine claims, and that there are more effective (and sometimes cheaper) conventional medical practices that can be done.

Examples of this would be acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, and even vitamin supplements can be categorized into this group, and that is if these things done correctly, otherwise some of these things could be not effective at all, or even dangerous.

It should also be noted that this is the smallest category for alternative medicines as most alternative medical practices are like the next two categories.

Non-effective

This is the largest of the three alternative medicine categories as simply put, almost all alternative medical practices just do not work at all, and is mainly based off of anecdotal evidence, rather than real, scientific evidence.

MORE . . .

The Pentagon and the Missile

Some say that it wasn’t an airliner that struck the Pentagon on 9/11, but a missile.

via skeptoid.com
Podcast transcript (below) or Listen

airplane_500px_2Today 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”. agent smith 928_250pxIn 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.

caption

This leaked photo shows a cruise missile, painted like an American Airlines passenger jet, being ferried about a military base. Is this the smoking gun truthers have been looking for? Is this proof the Pentagon was struck by a missile on September 11, 2001?
For the answer, put on your critical thinking caps and click here to find the truth

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.

Rumsfeld_Devil_200pxThe 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.

Flight 77 debris at the Pentagon

Flight 77 debris at the Pentagon

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.

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How Area 51 Works

via HowStuffWorks

UFO Area51_300pxLess 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.

area_510_250pxThe 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.

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Nothing to see here.According to the U.S. government these buildings don't exist.

What buildings? Keep moving along. Nothing to see here.
According to the U.S. government these buildings don’t exist.

I Doubt It and Maybe You Should, Too

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Huffington Post

On the hill behind my yard where I grew up, there was an Arborvitae tree in the shape of Sasquatch — small pointy head, huge shoulders and massive long body.

The outline of this monstrous Bigfoot looming in the darkness caused me a little anxiety as I rushed from the car to the house. I grew up fascinated by monsters, ghosts and strange things. They seemed real, out there in the woods, in the cemetery, or just beyond my senses. in search of title_300pxI checked out every book about monsters, haunted houses and UFOs from my school libraries. I learned about Loch Ness and psychic powers on In Search Of… with Leonard Nimoy. I can’t really explain why I was interested in these things or why I still am. But I’m certainly not the only one. Ghost hunting and monster tracking is a popular hobby these days thanks to cable TV programming.

My views about the paranormal and the mysterious have radically evolved since childhood. My opinion has swung like a pendulum from belief to disbelief and I progressively ended up in the center. I learned how to apply scientific skepticism. Skepticism is a process of evaluating things by emphasizing evidence and the tools of science. It’s an approach that I personally adopted and practiced. Why? Because I didn’t want to be fooled. I didn’t want to swallow a comforting story when I would rather have the truth.

The younger me, the Bigfoot believer, assumed that Bigfoot is out there. Why not? I mean, hundreds of people tell of their experiences of seeing, smelling, hearing or otherwise experiencing something that they attribute to our popular description of Bigfoot/Sasquatch. bigfoot-1Books are filled with stories. Stories are a gift to humanity but they are far from being hard data. Pictures of footprints and dark blobs are questionable. There’s hair here and there. There is also that famous film — named for those who captured the images, Patterson and Gimlin — taken of a large hairy creature striding rapidly across a California creek bed only to glance back and reveal her face for a moment.

I don’t have enough information to make a pronouncement on all the evidence. But it’s a logical error to say “why not?” when we really need to ask “why?” Why should I believe in this extraordinary creature? In the 50 years after that iconic film, the evidence for Bigfoot still consists of mainly lots of stories that can’t be double-checked. The rest of the evidence remains questionable — possible mistakes, misinterpretations, and a slew of hoaxes. After 50 years, we are no closer to finding Bigfoot. There is no body. The clues do not converge on a solid explanation. As much as I want to think that the creature is out there, strong evidence for it is still lacking.

Skepticism is a valuable thing to practice in proportion — not too much, not too little. This approach can be highly valuable when you are dealing with medical treatments, consumer products or investment. You can apply the same approach to other questionable claims like UFOs or psychics.

Sure, there is a downside. When you dig into the mysteries, they become . . .

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(Leonard Nimoy) In Search Of… Bigfoot

Telekinesis: Facts About Mind Over Matter

via LiveScience

Scientific evidence for the psychic ability to move objects or bend spoons remains elusive.

Scientific evidence for the psychic ability to move objects or bend spoons remains elusive.

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

LEVITATION_300pxThe 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.

Uri Gellermade millions in the 1970s pretending to bend spoons with his mind.

Uri Geller made millions in the 1970s pretending to bend spoons with his mind.

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.

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Via illuminutti.com – Uri Geller’s Tonight Show (lack of) performance (courtesy of James Randi):

Conspiracy Theorists Claim Obama Secret Service Agent Is an ‘Alien Shape-Shifter’

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?

Grab the popcorn and enjoy!🙂

via TheBlaze.com

Shape-Shifter Secret Service Agent

Shape-Shifting Secret Service Agent

Why is a video of President Barack Obama’s speech at the 2012 American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference being aired now, a year later? Well, someone has actually scoured the Internet and found footage claiming it to be evidence that a member of his Secret Service detail is an alien shape-shifter.

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.

(Image: YouTube screenshot)

(Image: YouTube screenshot)

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 “reptoidsshould 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?

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Hitler’s South Pole Hideaway

By Massimo Polidoro via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

hitler-adolf_250px“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.

Doubtful Death

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.’ ”

Hitler’s Berlin bunker, after the Soviet army destroyed it.

Hitler’s Berlin bunker, after the Soviet army destroyed it.

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

hitler-uboatsProof 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.

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Genetically Modified Crops

Why the big fuss about GMO crops?
Are they indeed as terrible as some people say?

infact150_cropped

Full transcript and more information.
Related: Mark Lynas, environmentalist who opposed GMOs, admits he was wrong.

Luke’s Change: Was the attack on the Death Star an inside job?

Dear Sheeple,

DeathStar01Do 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!!! 😛

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

Video description from YouTube:

An examination of some questionable events and circumstances leading up to the destruction of the Death Star, through the eyes of an amateur investigative journalist within the Star Wars galaxy. The focus is mainly on the connections between the people who created and operated the Death Star and those responsible for destroying it.

(For those who don’t care for the obvious, this is a satirical spoof of the 9/11 truther video Loose Change.)

Surface of the Sun As You’ve Never Seen It (Geek Alert!)

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.

If the Sun were hollow, it would take approximately 1,000,000 Earths to fill the Sun!
[Source: NASA]
(Click image for larger view)
Click here for another great comparison image.

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.

Astrology

via Mysteries and Science – The Skeptic’s Dictionary

«In a nutshell: Astrology is the idea that the stars, planets, and other objects in the sky shape who you are and what your life will be like. The science doesn’t favor this idea.»

astrology_854_300pxAstrology is a kind of fortune telling based on the positions of stars, planets, and other objects in the deep sky (called celestial objects). Astrologers believe that the position of celestial objects affect what kind of personality you have and also cause such things as forest fires, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Astrology is sometimes confused with astronomy, which is the scientific study of planets, the Sun, stars, comets, galaxies, and other things outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers know that celestial objects like the Moon and the Sun affect the ocean tides but have nothing to do with what kind of personality you have. Astronomers also know that the position of celestial objects has nothing to do with such things as forest fires, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

[…]

Thousands of years ago in Babylon (now in modern Iraq) astrologers charted out the path that the Sun seems to make around the Earth. They divided the path into twelve equal parts. The stars in some of the twelve parts of the sky looked like the outlines of animals to them. The chart is called a zodiac (Greek for circle of animals). I was born when the Sun was in a part of the sky where the stars looked sort of like the outline of a bull’s head to those who were charting the zodiac. According to Sun sign astrology, I am a Taurus. The bull has a reputation for being stubborn. Sun sign astrologers believe that those born under the sign of the bull will have bull-like qualities. Scientific skeptics think this idea is a bunch of bull. When I’m asked what sign I was born under, I say “St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

[…]

In addition to Sun sign astrology, there are several other astrologies, but none of them are scientific. All systems of astrology make unscientific claims about the effects on people or things on Earth by the positions of planets, comets, and other things in the sky.

Confirmation bias: Selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs.

Confirmation bias: Selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs.

Some of these systems are very complicated and involve making charts that connect the positions of many different celestial objects. With many charts covering many different possibilities, it is easy to find one that matches something on Earth like a forest fire, an earthquake, or a tragedy in some famous person’s life.

It is also easier than most people think to find evidence in support of a strong belief. We pay attention to what agrees with our beliefs and ignore what goes against them. If you believe that people born under the sign of Taurus are stubborn, you might pay more attention to stubborn behavior by someone born under that sign. You might even call that person stubborn for not doing something, while calling another person firm for not doing the same thing. You might not pay attention to or remember a Taurus when she isn’t stubborn. Psychologists call this natural bias we have to confirm our beliefs confirmation bias.

Astrologers sometimes make accurate predictions that are really nothing more than lucky guesses. Many astrologers believe that comets, the alignment of planets, or an eclipse are omens that something terrible is going to happen on Earth. Since something terrible happens on this planet every day, it is always easy to find something after the fact that the astrologer can say was predicted.

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Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 10, 2013 Edition

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations. Below is some of their findings. Enjoy🙂

March 10, 2013 Edition

Okanogan County, Washington
Camp+Fema+Roadkill_300px

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.

Seattle/Tacoma, Washington

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.

Andrews, North Carolina

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.

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

escape_to_camp_fema_sticker_bumperThe claim: Special Warfare Training Center. Renovated WWII detention facility.

What it really is: Yes, there was a World War Two POW camp there, and yes, Special Forces do train there, but this does not mean that it is a FEMA.

Even if the POW camp has been renovated, it could just be that the base is using it for barracks.

Camp Lejeune / New River Marine Airfield, North Carolina

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.

Click here for the latest findings at “Is that a FEMA Camp?”

Mystery booms continue in New York state

By Scott DeSmit (sdesmit@batavianews.com) via The Daily News Online

CAPTION

Randy Smith said he has been hearing loud booms near his house for about two years and most recently last week three booms shook his house and startled his dog, Sandy. (Scott DeSmit/Daily News)

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.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… people on “Doomsday Preppers”

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.

bomb_shelter

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.

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Rethinking the Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942

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By Micah Hanks via Mysterious Universe

Few wartime incidents have been so compelling, and controversial, in the eyes of modern ufologists as that famous “battle” which took place in the skies above Los Angeles in the early morning of February 25, 1942. While conventional history maintains that the entire ordeal had been the result of “war nerves,” UFO researchers have scoffed at the assertion that an object allegedly seen in the skies above Los Angeles that evening had simply been meteorological balloons (see Wesley Craven and James Cate’s 1983 The Army Air Forces in World War II: Defense of the Western Hemisphere for more on the official analysis of the incident). 

The story is well known by now: a strange object appears on radar, moving in slowly toward land from off the Pacific, and soon there are reports buzzing about sightings of Japanese planes over California. Artillery fire ensues, lasting until around 4:14 AM, causing damage to buildings, and even a handful of deaths throughout the panic-stricken city, with reports of disabled Japanese fighter planes crashing to the ground.

The story has remained sensational, largely due to the interest and assertions of UFO researchers; in the past, I too have questioned, on occasion, how a misidentified aircraft of any kind might sustain an onslaught lasting nearly an hour and a half, courtesy of 12.8 pound anti-aircraft shells.

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Hoax?
(Click image for larger view)

For all we know, maybe the root of the mystery really does have to do with an exotic aircraft… and to be fair, maybe weather balloons are still just as worthy of consideration. But over the years, there has been enough misinfo presented by both sides–favoring skepticism as well as belief–to almost forever color the waters around this strange and scary incident. So what happened on that February night over Los Angeles, and was California really visited by an unknown aircraft capable of sustaining long-term firing well into the morning hours?

Over the years, there have been a number of bad reports–some of them outright hoaxes–that have been passed along as “evidence” of something strange in the skies over Los Angeles in 1942. Back in 2010, I had taken particular interest in reports appearing at various sites online that alleged the object seen over LA that evening had resembled a giant butterfly. The specific source being cited for these claims had been The Reno Evening Gazette February 26, 1942 edition, thus resulting in a few Fortean scholars who began to draw parallels between the LA air raid of ’42 and later “Mothman” reports emanating from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during the late 1960s. Like many others, I was intrigued by this, and so I decided to see if I could hunt down an old microfilm copy of this edition of the Gazettesure enough, I located the paper thanks to a little help from an amateur historian friend of mine, with the famous headline emblazoned across the frontpage that read, “Los Angeles Confused Over Air Raid Alarm.” My search for a large Fortean fluttering beast had begun, but the biggest surprise came at the end, when it became clear that . . .

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5 Strange Theories About Stonehenge

H/T Thomas J. Proffit

via LiveScience

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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.

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Conspiracy Nut (Alex Jones)

This is a great video, made using a broadcast of my favorite moron – Alex Jones!! Enjoy!!🙂

H/T Brittius

Conspiracy Nut – YouTube.

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Embarrassing Conspiracy Theories: Mind Control

via The Soap Box

HypnotizeAnimatedEver feel like someone else is controlling your mind?

Well, that simply could be the result of stress. Or maybe you have some psychological issues. Or maybe someone else really is controlling your mind…

Yes, there really are some people out there that really do believe that their minds are being controlled by someone else, and I’m not just talking about “brain washing” either (which is very real) but actual mind control, in which someone’s mind is being directly controlled by an outside source (as oppose to brain washing, being more of an indirect control of another person’s mind, and can be broken using therapy, or just an individual’s own will power).

While there are multiple things in the world that people who claim to be victims of mind control (Target Individuals  or T.I. for short, as they tend to call themselves) claim that certain shadowy groups are using to execute this mind control, the two most common forms are telepathy, and radio waves.

Now the telepathy one is easy to explain: It doesn’t exist.

There have been multiple studies to see whether or not telepathy is real, and all of those studies have shown that, despite being popular for comic books and science fiction novels, it is not real, and that we cannot control other people’s thoughts and actions simply with our own minds.While several governments have actually tried to use people who claimed to telepathic (or train people to become telepathic) for the use of espionage purposes (which includes the US government), most of the time these programs are abandoned simply because these programs produce no results, and become they are a big waste of time and money.

mindcontrol_640px_200pxAs for the claim that radio waves (in particular, extreme low frequency radio waves) can control a person’s mind, this one also seems very highly unlikely that this would work as well (even if it could be proven to work in the first place).

For one thing, we are constantly being bombarded by radio waves from multiple sources (including natural sources), and they don’t affect us one bit, most especially our minds. Also, all studies into ELF waves have shown that (despite popular belief by T.I.s, and other conspiracy theorists) they do not affect the human minds, otherwise it would be affecting all of us all the time because many things around us give off ELF waves (one of the most common being power lines).

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Have TED Talks Jumped the Shark?

by Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

ted-logoTED 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.

Bad Science

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.

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Revenge of the Woo

by via NeuroLogica Blog

Sometimes the targets of our skeptical analysis notice, and they usually are not pleased with the attention.

acupuncture_1_250pxLast year the Acupuncture Trialists Collaboration published a meta-analysis of acupuncture trials in which they claim, “The results favoured acupuncture.” The report was widely criticized among those of use who pay attention to such things. In my analysis I focused on the conclusions that the authors drew, rather than their methods, while others also had concerns about the methods used.

The authors did not appreciate the criticism and went as far as to publish a response, in which they grossly mischaracterize their critics and manage to completely avoid the substance of our criticism.

To review, the original meta-analysis concluded:

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.

In my critique I pointed out that the results do not show that acupuncture is effective, nor that it is a reasonable referral option. What they characterize as “modest” differences were, rather, not clinically significant.acupucture_chinese_medicine_cartoon_400px Further, such tiny differences are most parsimoniously explained as the result of researcher and publication bias, two phenomena that are well established in general and specifically within the acupuncture literature. Unblinding alone would be sufficient to explain these results.

What they call “factors in addition to the specific effects of needling” the rest of the scientific community would call “placebo effects,” which are not an indication that a treatment works, but rather the result of bias, noise, and statistical illusions. These results are due to unblinded comparisons with untreated groups in clinical trials – they are not evidence of any kind of efficacy.

Their conclusions are part of a pattern visible within the acupuncture community – attempting to parlay placebo effects into the mirage of a real effect from acupuncture. I commented in my original article that such a conclusion was evidence of pro-acupuncture bias in the authors.

In their response, the authors write:

Although there was little argument about the findings in the scientific press, a controversy played out in blog posts and the lay press.

Only one substantive critique of the paper has appeared in a scientific forum.

We find that there is little argument in the scientific press because most scientists pay little attention to what they consider fringe practices. That is precisely why it is left to those of us who do care and pay attention to fringe medicine to provide a detailed analysis and point out the flaws in reasoning used by proponents.

In fact we did submit a letter in critique of the study, in a traditional scientific forum, but it was not published. Only the brief letter by David Colquhoun was.

This represents a typical strategy by proponents of dubious fringe medicine – interpret lack of resistance by mainstream scientists as acceptance.

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James Randi on Dr. Oz and Homeopathy (VIDEO)

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.

via James Randi on Dr. Oz and Homeopathy (VIDEO).

Is that a FEMA Camp? – March 6, 2013 Edition

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations. Below is some of their findings. Enjoy🙂

March 6, 2013 Edition

FEMA-camp-razor-wired_250pxShawnee National Forest – Pope County, Illinois

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.

Greenfield, Illinois

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.

Marion, Illinois

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.

fema-camps_250pxChanute AFB, Illinois

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.

Pekin, Illinois

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.

Scott AFB, Illinois

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.

Click here for the latest findings at “Is that a FEMA Camp?”

Amazing Water & Sound Experiment #2

Brusspup does it again. Always entertaining🙂

Brusspup on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/158773774166995

Amazing Water & Sound Experiment #2 – YouTube.

Why do some people believe the moon landings were a hoax?

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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?”

Moon-Landing-Hoax-250pxPoring 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.

Discovery NASA: Apollo 8 Mission Overview

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.

MORE . . .

Related: Conspiracy Theorist Convinces Neil Armstrong Moon Landing Was Faked

Skeptics poked holes in acupuncture study which needled the study’s author

By idoubtit via Doubtful News

Accupuncture_250pxAn INTERESTING follow up to this story… A sharp difference: Study of sham vs real acupuncture appear good or bad depending on how you view it.

The lead author of this acupuncture study complains about “ad hominem” attacks from skeptics. Two skeptical medical blogs give him what’s what.

Here is the abstract.

In September 2012 the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration published the results of an individual patient data meta-analysis of almost 18 000 patients in high quality randomised trials. The results favoured acupuncture. Although there was little argument about the findings in the scientific press, a controversy played out in blog posts and the lay press. This controversy was characterised by ad hominem remarks, anonymous criticism, phony expertise and the use of opinion to contradict data, predominantly by self-proclaimed sceptics. There was a near complete absence of substantive scientific critique. The lack of any reasoned debate about the main findings of the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration paper underlines the fact that mainstream science has moved on from the intellectual sterility and ad hominem attacks that characterise the sceptics’ movement.

Nope. Not close to the mark. There was plenty of substance in the critiques at the time include those from Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, who said the study “impressively and clearly” showed that the effects of acupuncture were mostly due to placebo. “The differences between the results obtained with real and sham acupuncture are small and not clinically relevant. Crucially, they are probably due to residual bias in these studies. Several investigations have shown that the verbal or non-verbal communication between the patient and the therapist is more important than the actual needling. If such factors would be accounted for, the effect of acupuncture on chronic pain might disappear completely.”

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Still Getting Hosed: Starfire Water

by Mark Edward via Skepticblog

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.:

Penn & Teller video. Language alert!!

The national obsession with water was beautifully skewered. That should have been the end of the story. Not by a long shot apparently.

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The label design on Aquafina (the best-selling water brand in the U.S.) implies Aquafina is sourced from a mountain spring. In reality, Aquafina is bottled at Pepsi plants as far away as Vietnam using a public water source (tap water). [sources PDF]

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:

Starfire Water!

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Some kind of a new age, double-talking description from the Starfire website:


«… Starfire Water™, a proprietary alkaline, performance water produced using breakthrough 21st-century quantum water technology. Starfire Water™ is treated with ultraviolet ozonation, infrared stimulation and electromagnetism for a negative ion charged water, as in nature, allowing deep, cellular intake through aquaporins, the floodgates to hydration.»

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.

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Exorcism: Facts and Fiction About Demonic Possession

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience

To the extent that exorcisms "work," it is due to the power of suggestion and psychology: If you believe you're possessed (and that an exorcism will cure you), then it just might.

To the extent that exorcisms “work,” it is due to the power of suggestion and psychology: If you believe you’re possessed (and that an exorcism will cure you), then it just might.
CREDIT: udra11 | Shutterstock

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.

Fictional exorcisms

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.

Real exorcisms

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.

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Florida Sinkhole Conspiracy Theory Emerges!

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.

Grab the popcorn and enjoy the Looney Tunes!!🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
(H/T: Thomas J. Proffit)

False Flag Claimed!

via kevingilmour.net

Sinkhole01The recent Florida sinkhole tragedy has now spawned its own conspiracy theory with some claiming it as, a false flag event.

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

MORE (Before Its News Article) . . .

Hindenburg mystery solved after 76 years

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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 . . .

MORE . . .

The vanishing train video illusion

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.🙂

via DECEPTOLOGY

 It might not be quite as impressive as the "Back to the Future" train, but no CGI was involved.

It might not be quite as impressive as the
“Back to the Future” train, but no CGI was involved.

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?

Crystal Skulls Deemed Fake

A potpourri of analytical techniques reveals purported Aztec sculptures are not bona fide

By Sarah Everts via Chemical & Engineering News

Skull 200px

FAKE DENTISTRY
One of the suspicious features of this fake pre-Columbian Aztec skull is the impossibly perfect teeth.
Credit: James Di Loreto/Smithsonian Institution

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.

Goblet 200px

GENUINE GOBLET
Researchers looked at the surface of this real Aztec artifact to help determine that the crystal skulls were frauds.
Credit: Museum of Oaxacan Cultures

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 . . .

Medium

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

“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

psychic 920_250pxIn 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.

[…]

GeorgeAnderson_124pxGeorge 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_150pxJohn 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_200pxJames 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.”

MORE . . .

psychic-john-edward-2012-events_02

Did the moon doom the Titanic?

«What if the iceberg was just a patsy for a larger, celestial conspiracy?»

via How Stuff Works

titanic_300pxIt’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?

titanic-anniversary-3-that-which-remains1_200pxArmchair 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.

MORE . . .

Stop Alien Abductions

What you see below is an excerpt from a webpage i believe is real. Or is it? Read it and decide for yourself. Here is a guy who tells you how to build your very own “thought screen helmet”!!! What is a thought screen helmet, you ask?

«The thought screen helmet scrambles telepathic communication between aliens and humans. Aliens cannot immobilize people wearing thought screens nor can they control their minds or communicate with them using their telepathy. When aliens can’t communicate or control humans, they do not take them.»

Like you didn’t know!!!! *eyeroll* Sheesh!!! Below is a portion of the “thought screen” website. Stuff like this helps me appreciate the small things in life – like my sanity. Enjoy.

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
(H/T: Thomas J. Proffit)

via Stop Alien Abductions

THE THOUGHT SCREEN HELMET STOPS SPACE ALIENS FROM ABDUCTING HUMANS.

IT’S BEEN USED SUCCESSFULLY BY FORMER ABDUCTEES FOR FOURTEEN YEARS.

Inventor Michael Menkin wearing a thought screen helmet and pointing to Velostat protective lining. Photo copyright Michael Menkin 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Inventor Michael Menkin wearing a thought screen helmet and pointing to Velostat protective lining. Photo copyright Michael Menkin 2009. All Rights Reserved.

THIS WEBSITE TELLS YOU HOW TO MAKE A THOUGHT SCREEN HELMET, THE MATERIALS AND TOOLS YOU NEED TO MAKE ONE, AND WHERE YOU CAN OBTAIN THE MATERIALS

There is no malicious software, spyware, spam, virus, or any other destructive software on this site.

IF YOU ARE ABDUCTED BY ALIENS THE HELMET WILL WORK FOR YOU

Full-time employed aviation technical writer Michael Menkin making a thought screen helmet. Construction time for each helmet is four hours.

Full-time employed aviation technical writer Michael Menkin making a thought screen helmet. Construction time for each helmet is four hours.

How The Thought Screen Helmet Works

The thought screen helmet scrambles telepathic communication between aliens and humans. Aliens cannot immobilize people wearing thought screens nor can they control their minds or communicate with them using their telepathy. When aliens can’t communicate or control humans, they do not take them.

MORE CRAZY . . .

10 Attempts to Use Magic and the Supernatural to Win Wars

by Listverse

Anyone who has sat through a course on medieval history knows that there was once a time when people believed in the power of magic, as a tool that could be used to crush their enemies. Eventually people realized how silly such ideas were—and ultimately, magic on the battlefield became limited to nerds LARPing around a local park, the only real magic employed being a powerful anti-coitus charm.

Or so at least you would think. Here are ten real cases of modern governments that tried to harness magic in order to win real wars.

• 10 – John Mulholland and the CIA

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.42.09-PM_300pxSleight of hand is cool and all, but you would never expect anyone to employ a guy like Penn Jillette as an advisor to one of the most powerful organizations in the world. Of course, when we are talking about the Central Intelligence Agency, anything is possible. That’s why during the Cold War, the CIA hired illusionist John Mulholland to write an official manual that would teach its operatives the same sort of sleight of hand he used in his shows.

Called “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception,” the manual taught agents to use misdirection and hidden compartments, and also to use seemingly hidden signals—such as the way a shoe was tied—when working in the field. Of course, the CIA was not interested so much in earning the “oohs” and “ahhs” of a crowd, but something more along the lines of drugging people by discreetly slipping something into their drink. Bear in mind that this is the same CIA which attempted to use LSD for the purposes of mind control; apparently, everything was fair game for these nut-cases.

• 9 – Mexico, Drugs, and Voodoo

Voodoo-Doll-Ritual-Witchcraft-Demons-Evil-Harm-Hate-Spirit-Work-False-Fake-Curses-Hex-Exposed-African-Vodun-Religion-Practice_300pxThis one is a bit different because it’s not about a war in the traditional sense, but rather the so-called “war on drugs”. There have been a tremendous number of casualties in that particular war, at least partially because the battlefield is Mexico. The battle being waged along the US/Mexico border is one of the bloodiest ongoing “war” efforts in the world, with the drug cartels taking lives at an alarming rate. That’s why Mexican officials decided that they could do with a little outside-the-box thinking.

Specifically, they turned to voodoo. In 2010, police in Tijuana were at such a loss as to how they might combat the cartels—and so afraid for the safety of their officers—that they actually turned to ritualistic animal sacrifice in order to turn the tide. As a part of this attempt at harnessing voodoo magic, priests killed chickens under a full moon and proceeded to smear the blood on the police as a sort of protection spell. Some of the police believe it worked, too—claiming that while guns and body armor are ineffective, faith never fails. Even if it’s faith in cutting the heads off chickens and invoking spirits.

• 8 – Houdini the Spy

houdini_article_300pxWhile the other entries on this list are all well-documented, we will say up front that there are no official records that Harry Houdini ever worked as a spy. However, in 2006 a biography was released claiming to have been written with the help of over 700,000 pages of information collected over the years, with all signs pointing to the alleged fact that history’s most famous magician did spy for Scotland Yard and the American government from time to time.

The book claims that Houdini worked closely with William Melville, a British spy who worked at Scotland Yard at the same time Houdini is said to have aided them. Apparently, Houdini would use his act as a cover to travel the world collecting secret information for law enforcement officials, including secret service agencies in both Britain and the US.

• 7 – Britain and the Fake Horoscopes

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.47.37-PM_300pxWorld War II, it would seem, was a wacky time for military strategy. Considering how many schemes involving magical shenanigans took place, it feels in retrospect like those Indiana Jones movies might have been onto something after all. Part of that is due to the fact that Hitler and the Nazis were obsessed with the occult, and that they held a strong belief in the validity of astrological charts.

The British knew this very well, and employed an astrologer named Louis de Wohl to concoct false horoscopes in order to try to throw off the Nazis and get a glimpse into their mindsets. Churchill himself sent de Wohl to America with the aim of convincing the US to join the war effort, but after Pearl Harbor his services were rendered unnecessary.

Declassified documents show that MI5 later came to regret his involvement in any of their efforts, because apparently they figured out that he was full of crap. Considering that’s precisely what they hired him to invent in the first place—crap—it’s a little shocking that Britain’s top spies took so long to sort that out for themselves.

• 6 – Britain’s Psychic Defense

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.48.33-PM_300pxWhen you think about it, it makes sense that the British would partake in supernatural dealings, considering it has access to the Ministry of Magic and a school of wizards. Or was that Harry Potter?

Well, it turns out that the British government takes the whole “magic” thing more seriously than you’d expect. In 2002, the Ministry of Defense conducted a study to determine whether or not soldiers could be trained to become psychics. The goal was to have psychic soldiers working to find WMDs or even Bin Laden himself. If you’re from the UK, keep this in mind that you were probably paying taxes right around that time.

Following the attack on the World Trade Center and the rise of Osama Bin Laden as public enemy number one, the Ministry tried to hire “real” psychics to participate in the tests. Perhaps not wanting to be exposed as the frauds they most likely are, they declined—so some regular people decided to take advantage of the scheme, and get some easy money by partaking in the research. They quickly proved what we all could have guessed: that none of them were any more “psychic” than a rusty doorknob.

MORE . . .

Past Life Regression (PLR)

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

PLR 815_02_250pxPast life regression (PLR) is the alleged journeying into one’s past lives while hypnotized. While it is true that many patients recall past lives, it is highly probable that their memories are false memories. The memories are from experiences in this life, pure products of the imagination, intentional or unintentional suggestions from the hypnotist, or confabulations.

Some New Age therapists do PLR therapy under the guise of personal growth; others under the guise of healing. As a tool for New Age explorers, there may be little harm in encouraging people to remember what are probably false memories about their living in earlier centuries or for encouraging them to go forward in time and glimpse into the future. But as a method of healing, it must be apparent even to the most superficial of therapists that there are great dangers in encouraging patients to create delusions. Some false memories may be harmless, but others can be devastating. They can increase a person’s suffering, as well as destroy loving relationships with family members. The care with which hypnosis should be used seems obvious.

Door to mystical UniverseSome therapists think hypnosis opens a window to the unconscious mind where memories of past lives are stored. How memories of past lives get into the unconscious mind of a person is not known, but advocates loosely adhere to a doctrine of reincarnation, even though such a doctrine does not require a belief in the unconscious mind as a reservoir of memories of past lives.

PLR therapists claim that past life regression is essential to healing and helping their patients. Some therapists claim that past life therapy can help even those who don’t believe in past lives. The practice is given undeserved credibility because of the credentials of some of its leading advocates, e.g., Brian L. Weiss, M.D., who is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. There are no medical internships in PLR therapy, nor does being a medical doctor grant one special authority in metaphysics, the occult or the supernatural.

MORE . . . .

Crypto Creatures And Local Legends Lurk In Destination America’s New Series “Monsters And Mysteries In America”

Via ibtimes.com

DA_80

Sheepsquatch

Sheepsquatch

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.

MORE . . .

M.I.T. Computer Program Reveals Invisible Motion in Video (Geek Alert!)

Pure Geek-O-Rama!!!

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.

M.I.T. Computer Program Reveals Invisible Motion in Video – YouTube.

Also See: Eulerian Video Magnification for Revealing Subtle Changes in the World (MIT) (WARNING: Mega Geek Content)

CAM Practitioners as Primary Care Doctors

(CAM) Complementary and Alternative Medicine

BullShit_200pxComplementary 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.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

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.

MORE . . . .

Why do people believe things that science has proved untrue?

Via HowStuffWorks

Why do some people still believe Earth is flat? Thousands of people across the planet believe that the world is flat. Why? Their 'evidence,' while not convincing, is certainly bizarre. Tune in and learn more about one of the craziest conspiracy theories on Earth in this episode.

Why do some people still believe Earth is flat?
Thousands of people across the planet believe that the world is flat. Why? Their ‘evidence,’ while not convincing, is certainly bizarre. Tune in and learn more about one of the craziest conspiracy theories on Earth in this episode.

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”

The world was going to end on Dec. 21, 1954, in a flood. But the cult members had no fear. They had faith, so they would be saved — rescued by a spaceship and whisked away from God’s wrath.

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.

MORE . . .

Also See: the Flat Earth Society

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