Monthly Archives: August, 2013

Is that a FEMA Camp? – August 25, 2013 Edition

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations.
transparent
Below is some of their findings. Enjoy🙂
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August 25, 2013 Edition

Burlington AEC Plant, Iowa

IAAAP_Sign_200pxThe claim: Burlington, ?

What it really is: The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant is a munitions plant that builds large caliber ammunition for the Army (i.e. big bullets that has to be fired out of a cannon).

The plant itself only employs 20 military personnel, but over 5,800 civilians and 8,300 contractor personnel.

Ames Laboratory, Iowa

The claim: Ames, 10

What it really is: Ames Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory that conducts unclassified research into various areas of national concern.

The laboratory is located on the campus of Iowa State University, and is affiliated with the school.

Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois

The claim: Rock Island, 946

What it really is: Rock Island Arsenal is one of the oldest munitions plants in the country, and is a national historical landmark.

The facility also has 6,000 civilians working there, and only 250 military personnel working there. The site also has it’s own museum.

Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois

Argonne National Laboratory_200pxThe claim: Argonne, 1,704

What it really is: Argonne National Laboratory is the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the United States. It’s five major areas of focus are: Conducting basic scientific research, operating national scientific facilities, enhancing the nation’s energy resources, developing better ways to manage environmental problems, and protecting national security.

The facility is also open to anyone 16 years old or older to take guided tours.

Mountain Home AFB

The claim: Mountain Home, 9,112

What it really is: Mountain Home Air Force Base is a Air Force base that (after looking at it on Google maps) is out in the middle of nowhere.

The only thing there are some farmer fields that surround the base, mountains, housing for base personal and their families, and some buildings that are common with Air Force bases in order to support and maintain the aircraft there.

Robins AFB, Georgia

The claim: Warner Robins, 8,800

What it really is: Robins Air Force Base is a major Air Force Base that hosts the Warner Roberts Air Logistics Center that is used not only for the maintenance of Air Force air craft, but also employs almost 13,000 civilians.

The base also has it’s own museum as well, which has around half a million visitors annually.

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base/Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Georgia

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay_200pxThe claim: (1,600 W76/Trident I warheads; 400 W88/Trident II warheads; 160 W80-0/Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles) Kings Bay, 16,000

What it really is: Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is a major Navy base that is the home port for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet‘s ballistic missile nuclear submarines which are armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons. Whether the base actually keeps any nuclear missiles on site is unknown as such information would most likely be considered top secret, but even if the base did have nuclear weapons on site, it wouldn’t be unexpected considering the base does support ballistic missile nuclear submarines.

While the base does cover 16,000 acres, 4,000 of those acres are protected wetlands.

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

Why do people lie about their belief in a Conspiracy Theory?

Part 2: Ulterior Motives

by via The Soap Box

conspiracies05Why do some people claim to believe in a conspiracy theory, when in fact they do not? In Part One of this two part series, I explained that some people do this out of a motivation of fear (mainly the fear of some sort of lose by no longer believing in a conspiracy theory, or the fear of some type of retaliation).

Of course it is not always fear that motivate a person to claim that they believe in a conspiracy theory when they really don’t. It could be that they have an ulterior motive that tends to be selfish in it’s reasons.

Attention Seeking

seek-attention_250pxConspiracy theorists get a lot of attention, either from fellow conspiracy theorists who may or may not share their beliefs, or from skeptics who debunk their beliefs (while at the same time mocking them for those beliefs), or from the media (and law enforcement agencies) when a conspiracy theorist breaks the law after being motivated to do so by a conspiracy theory.

This attention can be attractive to those whom seek out attention themselves, and will take any type of attention (positive or negative) they can get.

Basically you can think of them as a bratty child who is acting bad simply because no one will play attention to them, and they know that acting the way that they are people will pay attention to them, and they do so without fear of consequences because there might actually be very little in the way of consequences, and even when they do suffer the consequences of their actions, they know it will be either minor and/or temporary, and that there are probably ways around it too.

Financial Motivations

crook_250pxSome people claim to believe in conspiracy theories not because they actually do, but because they’re greedy, and they know that selling products that some conspiracy theorists buy can make them a lot of money.

For example, some one might open up a store that sells alternative medicine. The owner of the store might tell their customers how they “believe” that big pharma is evil, and that the medicine big pharma makes is actually bad for you, and that what they are selling will cure just about anything. The owner might not believe a word they just said, but if it gets them a sale, then they might not care.

Another example would be someone who has their own radio show and/or internet site which is dedicated to conspiracy theories, and lets say that this radio show and/or internet site has several sponsors that sell products that are aimed at conspiracy theorists. This could cause the host of this radio show and/or internet site to constantly spout out conspiracy theories that don’t believe in order to keep money rolling in from those sponsors, and maybe even sell products that they have created (such as videos) to their audience.

MORE . . .

inFact: Immune System Boosting

Can simple foods and supplements actually boost your immune system?

via inFact: Immune System Boosting.

Chemtrails versus Contrails: Do Conspiracy Theories Make Sense?

Via Cliff Mass Weather Blog

contrail 806_200pxSeveral times a month I get an email about chemtrails:  the belief by some folks that white lines in the sky are the result of a secret U.S. government program to alter the climate of the planet (also know as geoengineering).  They suggest that the lines are the result of noxious chemicals being deposited by aircraft and that they pose a dire threat to mankind.  This is a classic conspiracy theory, but it does offer an educational opportunity.

Most of you are aware of contrails (short for condensation trails):  clouds that form behind jets flying high in the troposphere or in the lowest stratosphere.   The picture [above, to the right] shows a typical example.

Contrails occur because combustion in jet engines produce a substantial amount of water vapor and when the vapor escapes into the cold upper atmosphere it condenses rapidly into little water droplets that rapidly freeze, thus producing an ice cloud.  Why does the water vapor condense?  Because the upper atmosphere is cold and cold air can “hold” less water vapor than warm air.  Thus, if you inject water vapor into very cold air, it will rapidly condense, particularly if the air is already close to saturation.  This condensation is aided by the small particles produces by combustion that serve as condensation nuclei to aid the process.

Human contrail?

Human contrail?

Most of you already are pretty expert in producing clouds in cold air:  it happens during very cold days–you can see your breath!  These clouds are generally made of cloud drops.

Contrails can be produced by both jet aircraft and high-flying propeller driven planes.  Contrails were first observed in the 1920s and was a great concern in WWII, since they allowed the enemy to see high-flying bombers.  Also contrails could make it difficult for such bombers to stay in formation!

Sometimes contrails are hard to see, while other times . . .

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Cook’s 97% climate consensus paper crumbles upon examination

Watts Up With That?

Bjørn Lomborg writes on his Facebook Page

pinocchio_puppetUgh. Do you remember the “97% consensus”, which even Obama tweeted?

Turns out the authors don’t want to reveal their data.

It has always been a dodgy paper (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article). Virtually everyone I know in the debate would automatically be included in the 97% (including me, but also many, much more skeptical).

The paper looks at 12,000 papers written in the last 25 years (see here, the paper doesn’t actually specify the numbers, http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/watch-the-pea/). It ditches about 8,000 papers because they don’t take a position.

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How reality caught up with paranoid delusions

Not quite related to conspiracies, but i’m fascinated by the brain and all its foibles. For this reason i enjoyed this piece a lot. I hope you do too.

🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)


Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense

by via Aeon Magazine

psychiatrist_300pxClinical psychiatry papers rarely make much of a splash in the wider media, but it seems appropriate that a paper entitled ‘The Truman Show Delusion: Psychosis in the Global Village’, published in the May 2012 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, should have caused a global sensation. Its authors, the brothers Joel and Ian Gold, presented a striking series of cases in which individuals had become convinced that they were secretly being filmed for a reality TV show.

In one case, the subject travelled to New York, demanding to see the ‘director’ of the film of his life, and wishing to check whether the World Trade Centre had been destroyed in reality or merely in the movie that was being assembled for his benefit. In another, a journalist who had been hospitalised during a manic episode became convinced that the medical scenario was fake and that he would be awarded a prize for covering the story once the truth was revealed. Another subject was actually working on a reality TV series but came to believe that his fellow crew members were secretly filming him, and was constantly expecting the This-Is-Your-Life moment when the cameras would flip and reveal that he was the true star of the show.

schizophrenia 932_200pxFew commentators were able to resist the idea that these cases — all diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and treated with antipsychotic medication — were in some sense the tip of the iceberg, exposing a pathology in our culture as a whole. They were taken as extreme examples of a wider modern malaise: an obsession with celebrity turning us all into narcissistic stars of our own lives, or a media-saturated culture warping our sense of reality and blurring the line between fact and fiction. They seemed to capture the zeitgeist perfectly: cautionary tales for an age in which our experience of reality is manicured and customised in subtle and insidious ways, and everything from our junk mail to our online searches discreetly encourages us in the assumption that we are the centre of the universe.

Truman-Show-delusion_300pxBut part of the reason that the Truman Show delusion seems so uncannily in tune with the times is that Hollywood blockbusters now regularly present narratives that, until recently, were confined to psychiatrists’ case notes and the clinical literature on paranoid psychosis. Popular culture hums with stories about technology that secretly observes and controls our thoughts, or in which reality is simulated with virtual constructs or implanted memories, and where the truth can be glimpsed only in distorted dream sequences or chance moments when the mask slips. A couple of decades ago, such beliefs would mark out fictional characters as crazy, more often than not homicidal maniacs. Today, they are more likely to identify a protagonist who, like Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank, genuinely has stumbled onto a carefully orchestrated secret of which those around him are blandly unaware. These stories obviously resonate with our technology-saturated modernity. What’s less clear is why they so readily adopt a perspective that was, until recently, a hallmark of radical estrangement from reality. Does this suggest that media technologies are making us all paranoid? Or that paranoid delusions suddenly make more sense than they used to?

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Global warming is ‘no longer a planetary emergency’

Watts Up With That?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, reporting from Erice, Sicily

ERICE, SICILY – It’s official. The scare is over. The World Federation of Scientists, at its annual seminars on planetary emergencies, has been advised by its own climate monitoring panel that global warming is no longer a planetary emergency.

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Did someone kill the water-powered car?

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube.

Just imagine: a car that could run entirely on water. Clean energy that could revolutionize the automotive industry – if, of course, it works. Tune in to learn more about the so-called water-powered car, the man who allegedly invented it – and why some people believe it was purposefully suppressed.

Michael Hastings: 5 Conspiracy Theories That Didn’t Pan Out

By Dennis Romero via LAWeekly Blogs

The June 18 crash of Michael Hastings took the life of a talented but troubled journalist. As Gene Maddaus’ excellent feature in the latest issue of LA Weekly demonstrates, people around the L.A.-based writer were truly concerned about his state of mind and reported drug use.

The coroner’s report released last week says blunt force trauma from the collision with a tree ultimately did Hastings in, but it notes that he had drugs in his system, which were listed as noncontributing factors. The conclusion that this wasn’t a homicide, however, hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists.

Hastings’ supporters have pointed to his work covering the military, the NSA and other Big Government institutions as reasons to be skeptical. They’re wrong. Here are the five conspiracy theories or assumptions about the case that haven’t panned out:

5. The FBI did it. The FBI doesn’t normally kill civilians because it doesn’t like the journalism they’re working on. Nonetheless, the federal government has been suspect No. 1 in a case without a crime, mainly because the day before the crash Hastings told colleagues he believed he was being investigated by the bureau. The FBI says that’s not true. Hastings also said he had zeroed in on a big story and needed to go off the grid. So far, though, there’s no evidence of a murder here.


4. His last moments were being videotaped on purpose. A freelance news crew happened to be at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue when its dash cam, which was rolling, captured what appears to be Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe blasting through a red light at high speed en route to his death a few blocks south.

Michael Hastings' Mercedes-Benz burning

Michael Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz burning (source)

Some folks couldn’t believe that a news crew just happened to have tape rolling at that moment. But it happens. Early morning hours are prime time for random news, and freelance crews are the bred-and-butter of local television’s overnight coverage.

3. He was being followed. In the days and even months before his death Hastings expressed increasing concern about government wiretapping. And, yes, he apparently thought he was being watched. Some conspiracy theorists have shared their belief that Hastings was being followed, or even chased, in the minutes before his crash, thus explaining the estimated speed of 75 miles per hour, perhaps more.

If you check out the dash-cam video above, however, you’ll see that nobody was following Hastings’ car as it sped through the red light. And no witnesses have come forward to report that the Mercedes was being tailed or that any other car might have been involved. Police have released no statements indicating this was anything other than a solo-vehicle crash into a tree.

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US spy planes were mistaken for UFOs in 50s, 60s: CIA

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft taking off.

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft taking off.

Via PressTV

A new report by the Central Intelligence Agency has revealed that more than half of the unidentified flying objects (UFOs) so frequently seen in the sky in the late 1950s and 1960s were in fact US spy planes.

project blue book 834During Project Blue Book, the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes were mistaken for UFOs more than half the time, according to the report published by Dayton Daily News.

“There’s no question that a lot of the sightings that take place are in fact our own aircraft, secret military projects or whatever it happens to be,” executive director of the Mutual UFO Network David MacDonald said.

“Whether or not 50 percent can be attributed to one or two aircraft, I don’t know if I could go along with that or not just because of the diversity of what people were seeing,” he added.

The recent declassified CIA report came days after the spy agency acknowledged the existence of the mysterious Area 51, a US airbase rumored to house UFOs.

The site in central Nevada, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas, was used for testing the U-2 spy plane. It was chosen for the U-2 program after an aerial survey was conducted by CIA and Air Force staff.

“After World War II people became increasingly concerned,” said Jeffrey Underwood, a National Museum of the US Air Force historian. “They saw things in the air and they didn’t know what they were.”

alien603_250pxUnderwood added that other UFO sightings turned out to be surveillance balloons high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The U-2, which is capable of flying above 70,000 feet and was often spotted high above airliners in the 1950s, was one of those strange craft. The SR-71 Blackbird flew above 80,000 feet, according to the report.

“High altitude testing of the U-2 soon led to an unexpected side effect – a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs),” the report said.

The mistake was made because all commercial planes flew at 10,000 to 20,000 feet, and it was not believed that an aircraft could fly as high as the U-2 and SR-71 did.

“Air Force investigators then attempted to explain such sightings by linking them to natural phenomena,” the CIA document said.


[END] PressTV

Chemtrails: Real or Not?

What you always thought were simply contrails are really dangerous chemicals being sprayed.

By Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read podcast transcript below or listen here

chemtrail cat_250pxToday we’re going to put on our Men In Black suits, buy a plane ticket, and spray the world with mysterious chemicals as part of an evil government conspiracy. For today’s subject is chemtrails.

Wow. Where to begin. I read a fair amount of skeptical, paranormal, and conspiracy web sites, but I don’t recall ever reading so much vituperation, anger, and name calling as when I read a few forums discussing chemtrails. If you’re not familiar with the term, chemtrails are what some conspiracy theorists call aircraft condensation trails. Most of them don’t believe that conventional contrails exist, and that when you see one, you’re actually seeing a trail of mysterious airborne chemicals sprayed from the aircraft. Those who do concede the existence of contrails often claim subtle differences in appearance or behavior between a condensation trail and a chemical trail.

First, let’s discuss exactly what a contrail is. A condensation trail, also called a vapor trail, forms at altitudes above 25,000 feet in temperatures below -40 degrees when engine exhaust condenses into ice crystals, creating an artificial cirrus cloud. Water is produced by hydrocarbon burning engines in about the same quantity as fuel consumed, and in the right conditions, this extra addition of water into the air pushes the water vapor past the saturation point, and condensation occurs. contrail 806_200pxIt takes a moment to happen, which accounts for the contrail appearing a short distance behind the aircraft, rather than immediately, like you’d see from a smoke pod on an aerobatic plane, or like when a crop duster releases chemicals. Contrails can also be caused at high altitudes by the extreme low pressure areas created by wingtip vortices, which reduce the temperature enough to condense the existing moisture in the air. As previously mentioned, many chemtrail believers claim that there is no such thing as a condensation trail. Since they’re well understood, 100% reproducible, and observable practically any time you look into the sky, the onus is really on the believers to prove that no such thing is possible. In my opinion they have quite an uphill battle on this one.

By the way, in case you’re wondering whether I meant Celsius or Fahrenheit when I said -40 degrees, here’s a bit of science trivia for you. -40 is the point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are the same.

[ . . . ]

chemtrail 819Some chemtrail believers say that the population is being gassed with some unknown chemical for an unknown reason. Others tie into pop culture, suggesting that chemtrails are the active manifestation of one proposal to combat global warming by placing dust into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight. One guy told me “You guys are so full of yourselves just can’t conceive of spiritual warfare can you? Try this fact: malevolent interdimensional entities are involved — project keep the human slave race suppressed.”

Like all conspiracy theories, chemtrails require us to accept the existence of a coverup of mammoth proportions. In this case, virtually every aircraft maintenance worker at every airport in the world needs to be either part of the conspiracy, or living under a threat from Men in Black, with not a single whistle blower or deathbed confession in decades.

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inFact: Ghost Hunting

Via inFact: Ghost Hunting.

Can you really detect ghosts with a few basic instruments? We’re going to look at these tools and find out.

Penn & Teller on The Conspiracy

WARNING: Spicy Language!

Enjoy🙂

▶ Penn & Teller on The Conspiracy™ – YouTube.

HAARP Geo-physical Weaponry Theory

by Asura via Exposing The Truth

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project(HAARP), known for it’s Ionospheric Research Instrument(IRI), is a High Frequency(HF) antenna array using radio transmission as a manner of heating atmospheric layers. With it’s 18 different instruments HAARP performs ionospheric research by means of transmitting and receiving HF radio waves, using the IRI to transmit and the rest for either radar detection or receiving atmospheric data. The projects construction began in 1993, was completed in 2007, and is located in Gakona, Alaska. HAARP is one of many scientifically open source IRIs which grabs the attention of researchers, universities, students, militaries, defense programs and conspiracy theorists alike. Perhaps many people may become confused when reading the terms ‘open source’ and ‘HAARP’ within the same sentence, after reading this article, with hope, that confusion should end.

Conspiracy Theory Origins

484208_502382133156409_1775678422_n_400pxThe origination of the HAARP conspiracy theories all began in 1993 when a man named Nick Begich had read a notice about HAARP in a conspiracy magazine named Nexus. He went on to write a popular book published in 1995 titled Angels Don’t Play This HAARP. This book seems to intentionally convince the public that all theoretical uses for HAARP were already possible and/or in action during the time of it’s writing. Unfortunately, for the book, the theories described in it’s text are just that, untested assumptions of just what a device of this nature may be able to do. It was, after all, self published in 1995 a mere two years after the initial prototype IRI had been established.

The military document titled Owning The Weather was a conceptual theoretical layout for what IRI devices may one day be capable of, little did the military know that this unclassified document would spark conspiracy theories across the globe. It seems that even the government of Russia had become concerned of the capabilities of this device. In the year 2002 a Russian news media site revealed that even the Russian Federation believed the conspiracy theory that HAARP can affect the weather! In September of 2002 the Russian parliament addressed the United Nations with their concerns as to the possibility of geo-physical weapons, they were suggesting the global ban of HAARP.

The largest propagators of HAARP conspiracy theories were, of course, none other than public mass media propaganda and entertainment. HAARP conspiracy theories have been propagated by local newspapers, CBC, by other leaders such as Hugo Chavez, the very first episode of Jesse Ventura’s show Conspiracy Theory, countless made for television documentaries and hundreds of other sources. Conspiracy theorists all over the internet also spread the mainstream media HAARP propaganda, which seems contradictory to the normal work of a conspiracy theorist. It’s highly unfortunate that most sources spreading this propaganda have no idea that HAARP has never had any classified experiments take place there, university students studying radio were able to attend workshops at HAARP every summer and learn about the equipment.

Explaining HAARP and Common Myths

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The HAARP facility in Gakona, AK.

The HAARP facility in Gakona, AK.


inFact: Conspiracy Theories

Via inFact: Conspiracy Theories.

The chemtrail conspiracy nonsense

by via Scripturient: Blog & Commentary

chem trails unveiled_250pxScientists need not apply for membership in the Chemtrail Conspiracy. In fact, scientists will probably be booted out for even walking on the same street where the meeting is being held. That’s because scientists would shine a light into the utter darkness of this nutty conspiracy. According to Wikipedia:

The chemtrail conspiracy theory holds that some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public in clandestine programs directed by various government officials.[1] This theory is not accepted by the scientific community, which states that they are just normal contrails, as there is no scientific evidence supporting the chemtrail theory.

Okay, so does it make sense to you that millions of people are involved in some bizarre worldwide conspiracy that involves every level of government, the military, the medical community, meteorologists, scientists AND private industry in numerous countries simultaneously, and not ONE has ever become a whistle blower? Not ONE has ever gone public with PROOF?

As Skeptoid notes,

Like all conspiracy theories, chemtrails require us to accept the existence of a coverup of mammoth proportions. In this case, virtually every aircraft maintenance worker at every airport in the world needs to be either part of the conspiracy, or living under a threat from Men in Black, with not a single whistle blower or deathbed confession in decades. Or that for all the thousands of traditional media outlets around the world that have the resources and willingness to do solid investigative journalism, not a single one has dredged up as much as a single provable fact that this isn’t just a self-inflicted mass delusion?

chemtrail UFO culprit_250pxCome on – this chemtrail stuff is so wacky it makes creationism and Scientology look smart. But hey, silliness was never a barrier to joining the tin foil hat brigade:

Due to the popularity of the conspiracy theory, official agencies have received thousands of complaints from people who have demanded an explanation. The existence of chemtrails has been repeatedly denied by scientists around the world, who say the trails are normal contrails. The United States Air Force states that the theory is a hoax which “has been investigated and refuted by many established and accredited universities, scientific organizations, and major media publications.” The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has stated that chemtrails are not scientifically recognized phenomena.

In case you wonder where all those folks who believed in the Mayan apocalypse have gone, look no further. They’re filling the internet with more pseudoscientific-conspiracy drivel about how the government is trying to sterilize you, pacify you, experiment on you, make you sick, control the weather, vaccinate you, infect us with nanobot implants, fight global warming, cause global warming, geo-engineering, or make us mindless slaves to the New World Order – or maybe a combination of them, since no two conspiracy theorists seem to agree on WHY anyone would do this (let alone how).

chemcloud_200pxBut the wingnuts are True Believers even if what they believe in is clearly outside the realm of common sense:

So here we are in 2012 and the level of verifiable evidence of Chem Trails and their effect on humanity is staggering, and as more of us become more sophisticated , more awake , more expanded in our ability to see the larger picture , we are starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together as to “Why” they are doing this.

The reason of course is money , profits, and control , so nothing new here, just more sophisticated control mechanisms to manipulate markets, food sources and ultimately the ability to produce food. It turns out that the main reason for the development of weather modification , Chem Trails, HAARP , is to create a situation that puts normal crops at a sever disadvantage through droughts and other extreme weather.

chemtrail cat_250pxEvery expert in aviation and, weather must be in on the cabal, because they only make statements about how ludicrous the theory is:

Experts on atmospheric phenomena deny the existence of chemtrails, asserting that the characteristics attributed to them are simply features of contrails responding differently in diverse conditions in terms of the sunlight, temperature, horizontal and vertical wind shear, and humidity levels present at the aircraft’s altitude. Experts explain that what appears as patterns such as grids formed by contrails result from increased air traffic traveling through the gridlike United States National Airspace System’s north-south and east-west oriented flight lanes, and that it is difficult for observers to judge the differences in altitudes between these contrails from the ground. The jointly published fact sheet produced by NASA, the EPA, the FAA, and NOAA in 2000 in response to alarms over chemtrails details the science of contrail formation, and outlines both the known and potential impacts contrails have on temperature and climate. The USAF produced a fact sheet as well that described these contrail phenomena as observed and analyzed since at least 1953. It also rebutted chemtrail theories more directly by identifying the theories as a hoax and denying the existence of chemtrails.

I suppose people who can readily believe that crop circles are alien messages, aliens crashed at Roswell, or that flu vaccines cause autism, can believe in chemtrails. Once you start drinking the pseudoscience Kool-Aid, it’s hard not to drain the glass and ask for more.

Here’s a quote from one of those crazy Kool-Aid drinker sites:

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Sticking it to the Mann

Watts Up With That?

Global warming has stopped. Get over it.  A response to Michael Mann in the Richmond Times Dispatch

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The collapsed global warming scare certainly has some odd characters coming to its defense in this paper. Michael Mann (Aug. 25), whom the Attorney General of Virginia investigated under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act 2000 after some statistical peculiarities in Mann’s failed attempt to abolish the medieval warm period, now bloops another blooper.

He tries to deny the embarrassing near-17-year pause in global warming because “NASA found the warming continues unabated, with the past decade the warmest on record”. As an expert reviewer for the Fifth Assessment Report of the UN’s climate panel,let me correct his latest gaffe.

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5 Thing I’ve noticed about… Cryptids

By via The Soap Box

Cryptids.

Creatures that are often times so elusive that there is no physical proof of their existence, and has lead most people to believe that they don’t exist at all.

Now despite the fact that there is actually no proof that any cryptids exist, there are certain things that I have noticed about them, and have narrowed down to five things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about cryptids:

5. They are masters at Hide & Go Seek.

finding-bigfoot_250pxIf a cryptid was to ever enter a hide & go seek contest, they would probably win it, because they are masters at hiding.

Despite the fact that many of the areas of the world where various cryptids are known to live are actually very well explored, no one can actually seem to capture a living or dead cryptid.

A couple of good examples of this would be the search for the Loch Ness Monster and the search for Bigfoot.

Despite the fact that there have been multiple explorations of where Bigfoot is suppose to live (which is apparently everywhere now) or the use of motion sensor triggered trail cameras where they are suppose to roam, no one has ever been able to produce any solid proof that Bigfoot exists, other then a few grainy photos taken by people whom weren’t even looking for the creature and could easily be something else entirely, and some photos and videos and footprints that are clear, but have either been found out to be hoaxes, or are strongly suspected of being hoaxes.

As for the Loch Ness Monster, that creature is so good at hiding scientists couldn’t even find it after all of Loch Ness was scanned with sonar devices.

4. They’re big business

ccc

Mothman is a legendary creature first reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from 15 November 1966 to 15 December 1967. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothman)

Cryptids have made people a lot of money.

There have been many popular TV shows dedicated to finding cryptids, or has a cryptid as one of the characters. There have also been multiple products that feature cryptids as well (including shirts and toys). You can even pay people to take you on expeditions into these places where these cryptids are suppose to inhabit, and the sites where some of these creatures are suppose to live (such as Loch Ness) have become huge tourist attractions, attracting thousands of wannabe monster hunters every year hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these elusive creatures.

Of course lets not forget the millions of dollars spent on high tech equipment to try to find these alleged creatures.

Plus, who here can honestly say that the creation of the Star Wars character Chewbacca wasn’t in some ways inspired by the descriptions of Bigfoot.

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The Philadelphia Experiment

Did the US Navy make an entire ship disappear in a 1943 experiment that went awry?

via inFact: The Philadelphia Experiment – YouTube

The Biased Views of Hank Green and SciShow

Myles Power (powerm1985)

Hank has now taken the episode off-line and I have been told that he is putting together a new one…….its now been well over a year😦

By: Myles Power Edited by: Hannah

It would be fair to say that up until recently, I had a man-crush on Hank Green from the YouTube channel ‘SciShow’. I found Hank’s science videos some of the most entertaining educational videos on the web. They are well researched, well put together and made in such a way that they can be enjoyed by all people, no matter what their scientific background. Hank is also a fellow chemist and has the same love for science and knowledge that I do, which makes him awesome in my book. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that YouTube were going to pay for me to fly to San Francisco to attend the same EDU conference that Hank…

View original post 1,405 more words

The Trilateral Commission

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube

With around 390 members, the Trilateral Commission is a fairly small group — so why do they get so much attention from conspiracy theorists? Tune in to learn more about the history of the Trilateral Commission.

Alex Jones: I’ve Been Racially Attacked Forty Times

Well, my favorite moron is at it again. This time he claims to have been racially attacked dozens of times, yet he manages to resist the urge to become a racist.

Myyyyyyy hero!

Enjoy🙂

MIB


by Evan McMurry via Mediaite

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Alex Jones claimed on his radio show that he has been racially attacked dozens of times, but was “smart enough not to become a racist over it,” unlike many who used racial violence as excuse for the further “balkanization” of society.

“I’ve been racially attacked by black people, probably—let’s not exaggerate—thirty-five times?” Jones said. “I’ve been racially attacked by Hispanics, let’s not exaggerate, five times. Let me tell you, that’s when you really get hurt bad. Compound fractures, you name it.”

“I am sick of it,” Jones said. “I am sick of the fact that I have been racially attacked over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And the politically correct thing to do is just offer your kids up to have their noses broken and their eyes blackened and their bones broken, because the one thing you don’t do is ever go stand up against it. That’s what political correctness is in this country.”

Jones blamed racial violence on “tribalism,” arguing that white cops will always beat up black men and vice versa.

“I’m smart enough to not become a racist over this. I’m smart enough to understand the manipulation. I’m smart enough to understand the geopolitical ramifications, and to actually try to bring people together to have a gang—because everybody’s tribal, that’s what it is, we’re designed like that—based on private property and the family and liberty and freedom and being honorable.”

Watch the full segment here, via mofopolitics.com:


[END] Mediaite

Conspiracists Camping

conspiracists camping

In Completely Unforeseeable Coincidence, Anti-Vaccine Church Hit By Measles Outbreak

By Doktor Zoom via Wonkette.com

measles tomjerry_300pxGod works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? Far more mysterious ways than the measles virus does, at least — we know a hell of a lot about the virus, like how to inoculate people against it. But God, He’s mysterious, and one of His earthly servants, Kenneth Copeland, is not a fan of vaccines, instead urging his flock to “teach our children to eat right” as part of “God’s health and wellness plan.” (And yes, in that video, Copeland promotes the completely discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.)

Big surprise: Copeland’s church is at the center of a measles outbreak that has infected at least 10 people in Tarrant County, Texas. As another famous Texan said, oops.

The Dallas Morning News says that Copeland’s megachurch released a statement Tuesday explaining that a “visitor” to the church had been exposed to measles on an overseas trip:

Eagle Mountain International Church, about 50 miles northwest of Dallas, released a statement Tuesday that said a visitor attended a service who had been overseas and was exposed to measles.

“Therefore the congregation, staff at Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the daycare center on the property were exposed through that contact,” the statement said.

Al Roy, spokesman for the county’s Public Health Department, said the 10 cases are connected and the department has “been working with individuals who attend the church.”

In what appears to be first-time concern for vaccination, the church offered two free vaccination clinics so that parents could add a little extra to God’s natural protection from disease.

MORE . . .

Is that a FEMA Camp? – August 18, 2013 Edition

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations.
transparent
Below is some of their findings. Enjoy🙂
fema-camps_250px

August 18, 2013 Edition

Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory

INL_SA04The claim: Idaho Falls, 571,800

What it really is: Idaho National Laboratory is a large laboratory facility controlled by the Department of Energy and operated by Battelle Energy Alliance. The facility it self is used in the development of energy systems, including nuclear energy.

West Loch, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

The claim: Oahu, 12,191

What it really is: West Loch was the site of a disaster that occurred on May 21, 1944, and kill 163. The exact cause of the explosion that caused the disaster remains unknown to this day.

Most wreckage has since been removed and salvaged, but LST-480 still remains. A memorial is also located at the site as well.

Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Hawaii

Nctams1The claim: Wahiawa, Oahu, ?

What it really is: Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific is the provider for the operational direction and management to all Pacific Naval Telecommunication System users.

To put it in layman’s terms, it’s the largest communications relay facility for the US Navy in the Pacific.

Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii

The claim: Oahu, 2,319

What it really is: Naval Station Pearl Harbor is a major Navy base locate next to the city of Honolulu.

The base is a National Historical Landmark, with portions of it open to the public, including the USS Arizona and Utah memorials (which were sunk by the Japanese Imperial Navy on December 7, 1941, and couldn’t be raised up), and the USS Missouri.

Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii

KahoolaweThe claim: Kahoolawe Island, 28,800. Until 1994, the entire island was off limits to civilians and used for bombardment practice, including simulated nuclear weapons.

What it really is: In 1990 the US Navy ended live fire training on the island of Kaho’olawe. In 1994 the island was transferred to the state of Hawaii.

In 1981 the island was added to the National Register of Historic Places due to its archaeological sites. In 1993 the state legislator established the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve, turning the entire island into a nature reserve.

The island itself has no permanent population due mostly to the fact that the island lacks fresh water.

Hickam AFB, Hawaii

The claim: Honolulu, 2,761

What it really is: Hickam Field is an Air Force facility that shares runways with Honolulu International Airport. The base was merged with Pearl Harbor Naval Base and is now part of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii

kauaiThe claim: Kauai, 1,925

What it really is: The Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, is a Navy facility that is also the world’s largest instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range.

While it’s location along the coast makes it ideal for missile testing, the fact that it’s next to sugar cane fields (which could be accessed by the public), and in is on flat land, would make it very hard location to hide a FEMA camp on.

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

Another Princess Di theory we don’t need

If the police must take this seriously, why don’t they check without the fuss?

By Paul Thomas via NZ Herald News

Footage of the Princess and Dodi Fayed in a hotel lift immediately before their fatal drive was among the evidence presented to the inquest that determined their deaths to be an accident. Photo / AP

Footage of the Princess and Dodi Fayed in a hotel lift immediately before their fatal drive was among the evidence presented to the inquest that determined their deaths to be an accident. Photo / AP

Christmas has come early for conspiracy theorists, courtesy of an unlikely Santa Claus: Scotland Yard.

The Yard has announced it’s looking into an allegation that Princess Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed, were assassinated by Britain’s SAS. It would seem to follow that people in high places ordered the hit and instigated the cover-up.

The couple died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. Each year around about this time, a new claim or theory finds its way into the public domain.

This is partly attributable to Dodi’s father, the Anglo-Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed who used to own Harrods. He has long claimed that the couple were killed by Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI6, at the behest of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Fayed snr has reason to detest the British establishment, so it’s not altogether surprising that in his grief he convinced himself that the ruling class would go to any lengths to stop the people’s princess and mother of a future king marrying the playboy son of an Arab arriviste.

But this new “scope” – as the Yard calls it – was prompted by a two-year-old letter from the parents of a former SAS man’s ex-wife. Princess-Diana-e1357368509710It seems he made the claim as part of a campaign of intimidation against his estranged wife and in-laws, along the lines of “we knocked off Di and got away with it, so getting rid of you lot would be a doddle”.

The man, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was discharged from the army after being convicted of illegal possession of firearms. It seems clear that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms of which include delusions and paranoia.

[ . . . ]

Diana and Dodi weren’t wearing seatbelts. Their chauffeur was three times over the drink-drive limit and taking anti-depressants. The inquest, which was preceded by a three-year Scotland Yard investigation and overseen by a jury, concluded their deaths were an accident, as did a separate French investigation.

It’s one thing to claim a British conspiracy, but to believe Britain and France could collude in such an exercise when they’ve hardly agreed on anything for 900 years suggests a perilous detachment from reality.

MORE . . .

No, This Isn’t a UFO — It’s Eerie Footage of One of the Government’s Newest Weapons

By via TheBlaze.com

One feature that makes Lockheed Martin’s F-35B different than other fighter jets is its ability to land on an aircraft carrier without requiring a hook to prevent it from sailing right off the end into the ocean.

The F-35B recently completed its first vertical landing at night on the USS Wasp. When visualized through a night vision lens, the F-35B looked just like what you might expect of a Hollywood-stylized UFO.

The test performed by a Marine pilot took place August 14, according to Lockheed. In 2011, the F-35B conducted its first vertical carrier landing in daylight. The aircraft is designed to go Mach 1.6, which is about 1,200 miles per hour.

The government expects to spend about a trillion dollars on the F-35 program in general over the next 50 years. The project has been criticized for being over-budget, delayed and even having some visibility issues from a pilot’s perspective.


[END] TheBlaze.com

Judging Paranormal Claims: Group-think Is Not a Good Thing

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffingtonpost

When I do interviews for paranormal-themed podcasts or radio-shows, I find myself stressing the difference between my skeptical approach and the paranormalist approach. It’s worlds apart, starting with the core questions we ask. The paranormalist will ask, “Can we find evidence of paranormal activity here?” I start out with, “What, if anything, happened?” I have not begun with the assumption that paranormal activity has played any role in this situation whatsoever. If you do assume that, you are biased from square one. You are far less likely to come to a sound conclusion.

ElmerGhost02_250pxThe paranormal researcher, I have found, often is interested in their subject area because of a personal experience. These experiences are emotional and confusing and probably highly disturbing to the individual. Once a person has this type of personal experience and believes it was of a paranormal nature (a haunting, seeing a UFO, or encountering Bigfoot, for example), it is impossible for anyone to reason them out of that interpretation. The memory becomes ingrained as a paranormal experience. It’s unlikely they will change that interpretation as their life progresses. Paranormal belief can be reinforced by positive feedback from social aspects, such as acceptability of the belief in pop culture or a social group of others who feel the same. Thus, we have diehard fans of paranormal reality TV and members of amateur paranormal research groups all over the place.

group think_150pxThe emotion and time people invest in their paranormal interest is not unlike a church or even a skeptics society — we feel a deep comfort in being around like minds and having our ideas bolstered.

However, being surrounded only by those who see things the same as you do is a severe roadblock to fair assessment of paranormal claims. We end up mired in group think with no innovative thoughts (which is why I also engage with pro-paranormal people). In order to get the best answer, we must put our ideas up for deliberation, engage in critical thought, and eliminate the subjective bias in the approach.

Many of us have grown up believing in the paranormal. We read all the expert’s books. We listened to the gurus and believed the eyewitnesses. Not too many of that crowd picked up the skeptical literature that addressed the flaws in those beloved paranormal ideas. There are good reasons why we tend only to hear what we want to here.

MORE . . .

Climate hustlers destroying our civilization for a lie

By RON ARNOLD via WashingtonExaminer.com | MARCH 20, 2013

global-warming-hoax“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably.”

This private musing between climate scientist colleagues first surfaced along with a whole raft of embarrassing material in 2011, when the anonymous Climategate leaker “Mr. FOIA” leaked his second set of emails from Britain’s disgraced Climate Research Center at the University of East Anglia. Last week, Mr. FOIA emerged for a third time, sharing with the world not only his entire batch of 220,000 encrypted emails and documents, but also, for the first time, his thoughts.

Mr. FOIA had previously released two batches of 5,000 files each in 2009 and 2011. This enormous third batch went to a network of friends for decoding, sorting and publication.

The first and second email batches contained conversations among “scientists” documenting that their claims of a man-made global warming crisis were deliberately contrived for career gain, research funding and “the cause,” as climate scientist Michael Mann calls it. The emails sparked a furious “hide the lies” denial campaign that ironically calls skeptics “deniers.”

“Hide the lies” generated lawsuits and countersuits between believers (what kind of science requires belief?) and skeptics of “dangerous man-made planetary warming” — along with ridiculous conspiracy theories such as “Big Oil hired evil hackers in a plot to discredit angelic climate scientists.”

Mr. FOIA denies these absurd claims in his 3.0 message. “I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again,” he said. “That’s right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn’t plot this. USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK. There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.”

“The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to garner my trust in the state of climate science — on the contrary,” Mr. FOIA continued. “I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.”

The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for an impressive 199 months, or 16 years 7 months.

The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for an impressive 199 months, or 16 years 7 months.
(Source: Watts Up With That?)

Why did he do it? His answer was both angered and anguished: “Climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material ‘might.’ … The price of ‘climate protection’ with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations,” he wrote. “We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it’s not [taking] away from something and someone else.”

Didn’t he fear discovery? “When I had to balance the interests of my own safety, the privacy and career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades … millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. … the first two weren’t the decisive concern.”

Last weekend, London’s Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an outraged feature based on the British Meteorological Office‘s recent admission that global surface temperatures haven’t risen in more than 15 years. Citing a chart of predicted and actual temperatures, the Mail noted: “Official predictions of global climate warming have been catastrophically flawed. The graph on this page blows apart the ‘scientific basis’ for Britain reshaping its entire economy and spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The chart shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions. The eco-debate was, in effect, hijacked by false data.”

And by people who knew exactly what they were doing.

Examiner Columnist Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.


[END] WashingtonExaminer.com

How to improve your odds at the casino by understanding the Gambler’s Fallacy

Via RelativelyInteresting.com

gamblers_fallacy
Imagine you are at a Las Vegas casino and you’re approaching the roulette table.  You notice that the last eight numbers were black… so you think to yourself, “Holy smokes, what are the odds of that!” and you bet on red, thinking that the odds of another black number coming up are really small.  In fact, you might think that the odds of another black coming up are:

0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5 = 0.00195 (a very tiny number)

Or are they?

casino_rouletteThe problem is that a roulette table – if fairly constructed – has no “memory”.  That is, one outcome does not depend on the previous outcome’s result, and so the odds for a red number or black number are just about equal (actually, just shy of 50% each, since there is one or two green spaces on a roulette table depending on American or European versions).

Keeping with our example, if you bet on either red or black for each spin, this type of outside bet pays 1 to 1 and covers 18 of the 38 possible combinations (or 0.474).  A far cry from the 0.00195 number above (a miscalculation that is roughly 243 times too small).  Now your odds of a red coming up aren’t so good anymore…

This fallacy is called the Gambler’s Fallacy, and it’s what the city of Las Vegas is built on.

Random events produce clusters like “8 black numbers in a row”, but in the long term, the probability of red or black will even out to its natural average.

The key to your success at the casino?  Understand that every individual spin (or “event”) has its own probability which never changes.  In this case, 18 in 38.

So the next time you’re at a casino and you see a string of the same color coming up, remember that the odds of that color coming up again are exactly the same as the other color… it might save you a few bucks so you can play a bit longer.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler’s_fallacy


[END] RelativelyInteresting.com

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Chiropractic and antivax: Two quacky tastes that taste quacky together

by Orac via Respectful Insolence

massage_WEB_200pxChiropractic is supposed to be the “respectable” face of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). At least, that’s what chiropractors want you to think. After all, chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and thus their specialty has the imprimatur of the state to make it appear legitimate. Unfortunately, chiropractors are, as I have said so many times before, physical therapists with delusions of grandeur—and poorly trained as physical therapists at that. They just can’t restrict themselves to the musculoskeletal system and can’t resist pontificating about and treating systemic illnesses that they should have no part in treating, such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, and many more. They also have a strong tendency to be militantly antivaccine, although there is a small contingent that is not. The vaccination-friendly (or at least vaccination-agnostic) group of chiropractors appears to be depressingly small, however.

Guess which child was vaccinated.

Guess which child was vaccinated.

Consistent with this, a few days ago I saw a notice on the website of arguably the oldest antivaccine group in the US still in existence, the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which was founded by Dr. Larry Webster and represents doctors of chiropractic caring for children. Leaving aside for the moment the horrific shiver that ran down my spine to learn that there is actually an organization called the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, I got an even more horrific shiver to see the actual notice on the NVIC website:

The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which was founded by Dr. Larry Webster and represents doctors of chiropractic caring for children, has supported NVIC’s mission to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to protect informed consent rights for more than two decades. ICPA’s 2013 issue of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine features an article written by Barbara Loe Fisher on “The Moral Right to Religious and Conscientious Belief Exemptions to Vaccination.”

Lovely. Just lovely. The ICPA is featuring an article by the grande dame of the antivaccine movement in the US, Barbara Loe Fisher, the woman who arguably was key in the 1980s to founding what evolved into the antivaccine movement we know it and detest it today. It goes way beyond that, though.

MORE . . .

National Geographic’s Junk Science: How long will it take for sea level rise to reach midway up the Statue of Liberty?

Watts Up With That?

natgeo_statue_liberty_sea_levelAssuming that it can actually get there?

Today on the WUWT Hot Sheet, we reported that there was more fear-mongering imagery from National Geographic, as seen at right.

Steve Wilent said in a tip:

Have you seen the cover of the September 2013 National Geographic Magazine? Cover story: Rising Seas. Image: The statue of Liberty with water up to about Liberty’s waist — more than 200 feet above sea level.

http://press.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/15/national-geographic-magazine-september-2013/

I wondered if they told readers how long that will take to get to that level, like I did in a previous photo portraying New York underwater here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/28/freaking-out-about-nyc-sea-level-rise-is-easy-to-do-when-you-dont-pay-attention-to-history/

According to the Nat Geo article “Rising Seas”, it turns out that they didn’t tell their readers about how long it would take to reach the level depicted on the cover, so I’m going to do the calculation for you. First, specs on the Statue of Liberty. I found…

View original post 525 more words

The UFO that buzzed the ISS yesterday has been identified

via The UFO that buzzed the ISS yesterday has been identified.

Early yesterday morning, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy was peering through a window aboard the International Space Station when he spotted something strange and unidentifiable coursing through space alongside the orbital outpost.

When he couldn’t discern for himself what the mysterious object was, Cassidy phoned home to mission control. At first, they didn’t know either, but NASA reported later that day that they’d sussed it out.

“Earlier this morning (Aug. 19), Chris Cassidy had noted an object that was floating past the station near the station’s Progress 52 cargo ship,” said the NASA TV narrator. “That object has been identified by Russian flight controllers as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module.”

h/t Ian O’Neill, who originally had his money on a Tribble invasion.

What Our Conspiracy Theories Say About Us

Via ReasonTV – YouTube

Jessie Walker discusses his new book, The United States of Paranoia:

“Political paranoia, and conspiracy theories in particular, have been a part of the United States since before there was a United States,” explains Reason Magazine books editor Jesse Walker, author of the new book The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. “Even when a conspiracy theory says absolutely nothing true about the object of the theory, if it catches on it says something true about the anxieties and the experiences about the people who believe it.”

Rejecting the assumption that these beliefs are the purview of outsiders on the fringes of society, Walker details how even those at the very heart of American power – from John Quincy Adams‘ fear of Freemasons to LBJ‘s insistence that communists were stoking race riots – have held these views.

Area 51 Revealed

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

Area 51 is more than just a subject of UFO conspiracy mongering, it has graduated to a fixture in pop culture. Everyone knows what Area 51 is, or at least what it’s supposed to be. Mention crops up in movies, such as Independence Day.

area51b_300pxAccording to the CIA this facility’s official name is the much less alluring, Nevada Test and Training Range at Groom Lake, a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is part of a 23 x 25 mile area of restricted air space. For decades there have rumors that Area 51 is a secret base where the US government has recovered alien spacecraft and conducts research on those craft.

The government denies these claims, but has never said what Area 51 is really for. It has never been mentioned in any public document, and documents obtained through any freedom of information act (FOI) request have never mentioned Area 51 (any possible mention being redacted).

George Washington University’s National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson made a FOI request in 2005 for information on the U-2 spy plane program. He received a 400 page reports entitled, “”Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and Oxcart Programs, 1954-1974.” In this document the name Area 51 is no longer redacted – it is mentioned as the base at which the U2 was developed and tested.

The document confirms what UFO skeptics have been saying for decades – sure, Area 51 exists and it is shrouded in government secrecy. However, the US must have some secret air bases where they test new aircraft and from which they launch their spy planes. There has never been any evidence of alien spacecraft or advanced technology emerging from the study of alien artifacts. Lacking any evidence for an alien phenomenon, mundane government spying is the more likely explanation.

Of course, this will not end UFO conspiracy theories, involving Area 51 or otherwise. If you believe the government is covering up aliens then no government explanation will convince you otherwise. This in itself is reasonable, once you buy the conspiracy, of course.

MORE . . .

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Why do people lie about their belief in a Conspiracy Theory?

Part 1: Fear

by via The Soap Box

paranoid1134_200px_200pxWhy do some people continue to express belief in a conspiracy theory when they actually no longer believe in that conspiracy theory?

Yes, as hard as it might sound to some people, their are people out there that do in fact lie about their beliefs in a conspiracy theory, and there are actually several different reason why someone does this, but one of the main reasons why someone does this is fear.

In fact not only is fear a major reason why someone would claim to believe in a conspiracy theory that they no longer believe in, there are actually several different reasons (or excuses) for that fear.

What if?

what-if_200pxProbably one of the most common reasons why a person says they believe in a conspiracy theory, even when they do not actually believe in it is the question of “what if?” as in “what if I’m wrong?”

The fear of being wrong about something is often times one of the biggest reasons why someone claims to believe in something when in their minds they actually don’t (or at least question themselves) because they think it might save them in some ways if they turn out to be wrong and it actually is true…

They don’t want to look stupid.

fork decision_200pxFor some people whom believe in a conspiracy theory, but have since stopped believing but continue to claim to believe in a conspiracy theory, they may be continuing to claim they believe in a conspiracy theory due to the fact that they, in a way, would be admitting that they were being stupid, and maybe in their egotistical minds, would look stupid in the process.

Because of this fear, combined with their own ego, it can cause a person to continue saying that they believe in a long after they actually stopped believing in a conspiracy theory, and can cause them to continue to try to prove a conspiracy theory that they no longer believe in is real to other people.

They can also be very sensitive as well and blow up when someone questions their claims, or intelligence, or sanity.

They’re afraid losing relationships.

Some people might claim to believe in a conspiracy theory not because genuinely believe in it, but because someone they are close to, or a group of people they are close to, believes in that conspiracy theory.

relationshipThis relationship could be with a family member they are close to, or their entire family, and they’re afraid that if they speak out and say that they do not believe in the conspiracy theory that the family member (or members) believes in, or do not even express any of the same beliefs in said conspiracy theory, they may lose what relationship they have with that family member, or their family.

The relationship lose might not come from a family member either. It could be a fear of a lose of friends.

Lets say a person has a friend, or a group of friends, who believe in a conspiracy theory. Or, maybe they even joined an organization that promotes a certain conspiracy theory, and they made friends with some of the people in that organization. Some people might continue to claim they believe in that conspiracy theory long after they stopped believing in it simply because they don’t want to lose their friends.

MORE . . .

Not My Cup of Tea: The Tea Ghost

via randi.org

A few weeks ago a security camera video went viral on You Tube that reveals a man shopping in the Whitstable Nutrition Centre, a health food store in southeast England. As he browses, he is oblivious to a box of tea that floats off the shelf behind him and then appears to “levitate” mid-air. A second box flies off the opposite shelf and drops to the ground. The startled man bends over to pick up the box, at which point the box suspended in the air, drops to the floor. The video has some people convinced that this is a case of “paranormal active-tea”, and is the handiwork of a very British ghost who likes a nice cuppa tea.


Shop manager Michelle Newbold discovered the activity when she was reviewing footage from the store’s CCTV. In an interview with the Huffington Post she said, “I was perplexed I suppose. I just couldn’t believe it. I have no idea about how it has happened. It is just a complete mystery. ghost01I have never seen anything like it since I’ve been running the shop.” Newbold adds that she doesn’t believe in ghosts. However, the story has been good for business and the video has received over 800,000 hits and counting.

The Huffington Post interview also includes comments from my fellow investigator Bryan Bonner who suspects that the video is a hoax. He observes, “In the opening shot, it looks like there is one other person at the end of the aisle, but it’s actually two and they are in a perfect position to choreograph the tea bags. Also, the security camera is positioned so it focuses halfway down the shelf, not where it normally would be.” Bryan & Baxter and a few of our friends decided to make several recreations of the phenomena in [this] video:


The first recreation was filmed in a restaurant in Arvada, Colorado. Bryan and Baxter are seated at a table discussing the tea ghost video when a box of tea flies off the table. It is picked up and placed back on the table whereupon it occurs again. Behind them, another box of tea slides off the surface of a table and floats for a few seconds before it darts to the ground. This movement was achieved using . . .

. . . MORE . . .

Pseudoscience

▶ What is the Club of Rome?

via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, – YouTube.

Founded in the late 1960’s, the Club of Rome brings influential members of global business, politics and the intelligentsia together to tackle looming, worldwide problems. On the surface, it sounds it could be almost any other think tank. However, numerous theorists think there’s something more to the story. Why?

(Psychic) Staring Effect

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

In a nutshell: The psychic staring effect is the idea that people can tell by ESP when somebody is staring at them.

Can anyone really tell when someone else is staring at them? Sure, especially if the one doing the staring is standing right in front of you. But what about someone staring at you from behind? looking-back-over-my-shoulder_300pxNine out of ten people say they can “sense” when they are being stared at even when they can’t see the person who is doing the staring. What does science have to say about this ability to sense being stared at?

There have been several scientific studies on staring and all but one of them has found that people are fooling themselves if they think they can tell when they’re being stared at. The one scientist who found that some people can tell when someone else is staring at them is Rupert Sheldrake, the same scientist who found that a parrot and a dog can read the minds of people. If you think about it, you would have to be psychic to be able to “feel” somebody staring at you rather than see them with your own two eyes. That’s why this ability to tell when you’re being stared at is called psychic staring effect (PSE).

The first scientific studies of PSE were done in 1898 by Edward B. Titchener. He wanted to prove once and for all that PSE was a superstition. He did prove PSE is a superstition, but most people didn’t believe him anyway.

After Sheldrake did some tests that showed PSE is real, several other scientists tried to duplicate his work. No one else could find evidence for PSE. It looks like Sheldrake made a mistake or two. Right now it does not look like there is any logical reason to believe that some people can psychically tell when someone else is staring at them.

For more information on the study of psychic powers see A Short History of Psi Research by Robert T. Carroll (psi is what parapsychologists call perceiving or moving things with the mind only).


[END] The Skeptic’s Dictionary

IPCC throws Mann’s Hockey Stick under the bus?

Watts Up With That?

While the media circulates the talking points pre-release “leaked draft” of IPCC’s AR5 amongst themselves, there are a few nuggets of interest coming out here and there we can write about. One such nugget is contained in a series of bullet points on the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang in an article by Jason Samenow:

7) The 30 years from 1983-2012 was very likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 800 years.

That is an interesting statement, not so much for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. A caveat; that’s likely the reporter’s summary, not the exact text from the IPCC “leaked draft”. IPCC verbiage tends to be a bit more bloated. But, I think it is a fair summary.

Bishop Hill points out what was said in IPCC’s AR4 in 2007:

Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very…

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Delusional People See the World Through Their Mind’s Eye

A mechanism for how the brain creates and maintains delusions is revealed in a new study.

By Tanya Lewis via LiveScience

Human beliefs are shaped by perception, but the new research suggests delusions — unfounded but tightly held beliefs — can turn the tables and actually shape perception. People who are prone to forming delusions may not correctly distinguish among different sensory inputs, and may rely on these delusions to help make sense of the world, the study finds. Typical delusions include paranoid ideas or inflated ideas about oneself.

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Having delusions, such as a belief in telekinesis, can influence how people see the world – literally.
Credit: Arman Zhenikeyev | Shutterstock

“Beliefs form in order to minimize our surprise about the world,” said neuroscientist Phil Corlett of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., who was not involved in the study. “Our expectations override what we actually see,” Corlett added.

The prevailing thinking holds that people develop delusions to predict how events in their lives will occur — just as Pavlov‘s dog learned to predict that the sound of a bell ringing meant dinnertime was imminent. Humans update their beliefs when what they predict doesn’t match what they actually experience, Corlett said.

But delusions often appear to override the evidence of the senses. To test this idea, German and Swedish researchers conducted behavioral and neuroimaging experiments on healthy people who harbor delusions.

In one experiment, volunteers were given a questionnaire designed to measure delusional beliefs. Questions included: Do you ever feel as if people are reading your mind?; Do you ever feel as if there is a conspiracy against you?; Do you ever feel as if you are, or destined to be someone very important?; and Are you often worried that your partner may be unfaithful?

The participants then performed a task that tested their visual perception: They were shown a sphere-shaped set of dots rotating in an ambiguous direction, and asked to report which direction it was rotating at various intervals.

People who harbored a greater number of delusional beliefs (those who scored higher on the questionnaire) saw the dots appear to change direction more often than the average person. The result confirms findings from previous studies that delusional individuals have less stable perceptions of the world.

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Weather control conspiracy theories: scientifically unjustifiable

By Dennis Mersereau via The Washington Post (Commentary)

ALEXJONESFOIL_250pxMajor disasters attract major attention. Whenever a plane crashes or a hurricane makes landfall, the event draws international news coverage and countless internet postings. Most of the time, people take experts at face value when they try to explain the science behind why a certain event happened, but for a small and vocal segment of society, the “truth” is hardly that at all. Enter the conspiracy theorists.

No matter how silly or factually incorrect they seem, conspiracy theories represent a very real strain of thought.  Most of these theories involve politics – President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is perhaps the most famous example  – or other seemingly curious events, such as the “Roswell UFO incident” back in 1947. But some of these theories challenge very basic science.

The two main weather control conspiracy theories revolve around the thought that the United States government controls the weather through a technology called HAARP, as well as airplane-produced “chemtrails.”

HAARP, an acronym for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a large array of high frequency radio antennas located in Gakona, Alaska. The program and all associated antenna equipment, which was forced to shut down and go on hiatus this past May due to sequestration, was funded by the Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the University of Alaska.

The HAARP facility in Gakona, AK.

The purpose of HAARP was to determine how the ionosphere, or the upper layers of the atmosphere, affects radio signals, with the ultimate goal of helping to develop more advanced radio communication technology. The project accomplished this by transmitting “a 3.6 MW signal, in the 2.8–10 MHz region of the HF (high-frequency) band, into the ionosphere,” which was then studied by various instruments on the ground to see how the ionosphere affected these radio communications.

Conspiracy theorists beg to differ. A quick Google search (which returns over 7,000,000 hits) shows that HAARP has been blamed for pretty much everything bad that’s happened since the mid-1990s – terrorist attack, car accidents, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, nightmares, toothaches, bad dates, you name it – but the project is most popularly associated with its alleged “weather control” capabilities.

Several popular for-profit websites claim that they have hardware that can detect HAARP-generated energy across the contiguous United States and that severe weather will occur where these “hot spots” show up on their detectors. I’ve made a point of clicking over to these HAARP weather websites near several predicted severe weather outbreaks this year, and found that the so-called HAARP activity maps always show up a few hours after the weather models are run and the Storm Prediction Center releases their latest forecasts. Funny, that.

haarp
Before the project was suspended due to lack of funds, the University of Alaska ran HAARP’s official website, but the website no longer works as of early August. The site had the array’s exact address (Google Maps even shows that the array is located off of “H.A.A.R.P. Access Road”), pictures, information, and even several 24/7 webcams focused on the arrays with a beautiful view of the mountains in the background. The large amount of openness surrounding HAARP takes the wind out the argument that the government conducted this project in secret, like many HAARP theorists assert.

HAARP does not and cannot control the weather. While the frequencies are high powered, it doesn’t have nearly enough energy to do anything over the Lower 48, let alone specifically target communities for destruction like one would see in a science fiction movie. Both common sense and a basic understanding of meteorology debunk the conspiracy theory surrounding HAARP’s alleged ability to control the weather. But what about something closer to home; say, right above us?

Is there something sinister in airplane contrails?

Is there something sinister in airplane contrails?

Contrails, short for condensation trails, form when the hot, moist exhaust from aircraft flying at high altitudes condenses when it meets the extremely cold upper atmosphere and forms a long, narrow cirrus cloud. Contrails can make for a beautiful sky, especially during sunrise or sunset, and are indicative of particularly cold air aloft.

Contrails are harmless (as they consist of water vapor) and tend to stick around for minutes or hours, depending on how favorable the atmosphere is for sustaining such clouds. Conspiracy theorists, however, call these innocuous contrails something more sinister – “chemtrails.”

They believe that contrails are really trails of chemicals (hence the name) sprayed by aircraft for nefarious purposes, usually to control the weather, make us sick, control our minds, or cause general mischief.

The idea that aircraft that produce contrails are really spraying “chemtrails” is preposterous on its face.

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Nope, It Was Always Already Wrong

By Robert Blaskiewicz via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

conspiracyfilesRecently, the claim that the phrase “conspiracy theory” was popularized in the 1960s by the CIA to discredit those who dared to question the Warren Commission has been popping up in the conspiracy-o-sphere. From the original PsyOp, so the story goes, the application of the phrase spread to encompass all sorts of nefarious doings, and now people reflexively think that all conspiracy theorists are crazy. The first version that I heard, in fact, was the claim that the term was actually invented in the 1960s, and that grabbed my attention. Really? Never appeared before the 1960s?

An infuriating feature of conspiracy theory is its propensity to take the standard of evidence that skeptics value so highly and turn it on its head: extraordinary claims no longer require extraordinary evidence; rather an extraordinary lack of evidence is thought to validate the extraordinariness of the conspiracy. It is thinking just gone wrong. Worse still, disconfirming evidence becomes evidence in favor of the conspiracy. I strongly suspect that the “the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ was invented by the CIA” gambit is a fairly radical extension of this tendency, that the mere fact that so many people recognize that conspiracy theorizing is a futile and intellectually unproductive exercise is only more proof to the conspiracy theorists that they are really onto something.

As evidence of this deliberate manipulation of language, theorists offer up a 1967 document released in 1976 via a FOIA request, Dispatch 1035-960. In short, the CIA document outlines arguments that field operatives can use to counter conspiracy theorizing abroad and advises where those arguments might have the largest effect. The document was released to the New York Times, but conspiracy theorists’ seizure of this notion, that what they do has been deliberately stigmatized by nefarious outside agents rather than by the internal flaws of their arguments, ignores both linguistic and historical reality in order to flatter their delusions.

conspiracy-theory-alert_200pxWhile the notion that the phrase “conspiracy theory” was weaponized has been around since at least 1997, it recently received a boost by the Lance deHaven-Smith’s 2013 Conspiracy Theory in America, published by the University of Texas Press. So, with this stamp of apparent academic legitimacy (I have my own opinion about that, and this is not the venue to elaborate), conspiracy theorists have begun citing this work as an authority.

Take for example the recent article by Kevin Barrett, “New studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile,” which was republished at Before It’s News as “CIA Invention of the Phrase, ‘Conspiracy Theory’ to Block Questions on JFK’s Assassination, is ‘One of the Most Successful Propaganda Initiatives of All Time.’” Barrett’s arguments were well and truly destroyed by the rogues on the July 27 Skeptics Guide to the Universe, so I will not rehash the staggering lapses in critical thinking they employ. But Barrett also leans very hard on deHaven-Smith’s work:

Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.” [emphasis added]

conspiracies05Well, we have a claim of fact about the origins of the term “conspiracy theorist.” This is certainly something we can check up on. I will not ascribe this claim to deHaven-Smith. I don’t recall him making the claim that it was invented by the CIA, only that it was deliberately deployed by the CIA.

A quick search of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) finds that the phrase had been used in May 1964:

New Statesman 1 May 694/2 Conspiracy theorists will be disappointed by the absence of a dogmatic introduction.

This is two years before Dispatch 1035-960 appeared. If you go to the magazine, you will find that this sentence appears in an unsigned editorial, “Separateness,” about the London Magazine’s recent transition from being an exclusively literary publication to a more interdisciplinary review of the arts.

So, no. The CIA did not invent the word “conspiracy theorist.” But this made me wonder how far back I could push the use of a term like “conspiracy theory.”

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Oh Mann! Climate baiter Mann claims he is a ‘baitee’

Watts Up With That?

Oh, this is rich. via Junkscience.com, Mann claimed he was “baited” into filing a lawsuit.

Satirical cartoon from Cartoonsbyjosh.com

Michael Mann filed three briefs last week in the ongoing defamation lawsuit. In one he claims:

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Researchers Prove Photo ‘Orbs’ Are Ghost Farts

Fecalogical Foundations Fractured From Flatulence Findings

By Chris McKerracher via The Sage News

ghost fart_250px(SNN) – Scientists from Harvard University’s Faculty of Fringe Research have published a paper in the esteemed scientific journal, “Esteemed Scientific Journal” that appears to provide concrete evidence that orbs that appear in photographs are actually ghostly gas. Lead Researcher, Dr. Pedro M’Kumba-Nordstrom claims in the report that the results of their studies are not only reproducible, but unassailable.

“Our team has managed to account for every variable that may have unintentionally affected the test results, as well as conducted simultaneous blind experiments alongside the monitored ones so none of the research team members could know which were controls and which were the actual samples,” outlined M’Kumba-Nordstrom. “The data is there for any competent scientist to review and critique but so far, no individual or group has challenged our findings or our methodology.”

One experiment conducted by the Harvard group was to shrink-wrap an abandoned pre-civil war building located just outside of Boston; the First Church of the Holy Rastafarian. Locals have long claimed the dusty stone structure was haunted. The plastic film was applied to contain any gasses that might be present but unaccounted for.

After using an electro-mass-spectrometry analyzer to catalogue every molecule of gas in the room, M’Kumba-Nordstrom’s group was astounded to find methane-based gaseous emissions not ever before observed. Using the other eight elements of the experimental programs that were involved, which can be found in the group’s final report, the data was clear that these new methane compounds could only be spirit fluffs. It has also given scientists in related fields what may be the basis for finding the constituents of ‘ectoplasm’, the material ghosts are made of that up until now remained largely regarded as imaginary.

“Our findings open the doors for more amazing discoveries ahead in many different disciplines,” said the professor who is already being considered as a Nobel Prize recipient. “It is wonderful to be on the ground floor of this exciting field and want to thank our private corporate sponsor, the Beano Company, for their long-standing financial support and encouragement.”


[END] The Sage News

Spontaneous Baby Combustion

by via NeuroLogica Blog

Flames3_200pxNews reports are coming out of India of a “rare medical case” involving a newborn infant who apparently spontaneously bursts into flames. This has occurred four times so far. The baby is now in the hospital being treated for these burns.

The International Business Times, with a headline declaring a “mystery baby,” reports:

Rahul, a native of Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu was admitted to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital on Thursday for burns reportedly caused by a rare medical phenomenon known as Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) wherein a person catches fire due to emission of inflammable substances through the body.

They do contain some token skepticism, but then go on to discuss the “controversy” over SHC and the various theories about how it might occur.  The earliest reports of this case did not even contain the token skepticism, which seems to have crept into the later reports.

Some of the doctors treating the baby seem to take the SHC theory as a given – a rare medical condition. They are seeking to explain how a baby can spontaneously burst into flame. The Daily Mail quotes one doctor as saying.

‘We will carry out tests to find out the kind of gases generated by the baby’.’

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. (source)

I think she meant “if” the baby is generating gas. Others speculate that the baby has inflammable sweat. These are nothing but wild speculations, but they are presented as serious medical hypotheses, while SHC is presented as a real medical condition.

The media has apparently been waiting for medical tests that they somehow felt might shed light on the case. As far as I can tell, these were nothing but routine blood tests, perhaps with some specific tests thrown in, to see if there was anything unusual. Unsurprisingly, these tests came back normal. 

At least some of the doctors at the hospital where the baby is being treated understand that SHC is a “hoax theory,” as they are calling it. That is true enough. I have written about SHC previously – there are no confirmed cases and no plausibility to the phenomenon. A typical alleged case involves an infirm overweight individual with an obvious external source of flame, such as a lit cigarette. This is one of those cases when a non-mystery is treated as if it is a mystery and then “explained” with wild pseudoscientific speculation.

Given that the SHC explanation is nonsensical, the most likely (unfortunately) explanation remaining is child abuse.

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Near-Death Experience (NDE)

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

One study found that 8 to 12 percent of 344 patients resuscitated after suffering cardiac arrest had NDEs and about 18% remembered some part of what happened when they were clinically dead (Lancet, December 15, 2001).*

near-death-tunnel_300pxThe term ‘near-death experience’, or NDE, refers to a wide array of experiences reported by some people who have nearly died or who have thought they were going to die. There is no single shared experience reported by those who have had NDEs. Even the experiences of most interest to parapsychologists–such as the “mystical experience,” the “light at the end of the tunnel” experience, the “life review” experience, and the out-of-body experience (OBE)–rarely occur together in near-death experiences. However, the term NDE is most often used to refer to an OBE occurring while near death. Both types of experience have been cited to support belief in disembodied spirits and continued existence after death.

[ . . . ]

Raymond Moody

Raymond Moody

Raymond Moody (1944-), an M.D. and psychology Ph.D., is considered by many to be the father of the modern NDE movement. He coined the expression ‘near-death experience’ and has written several books on the subject of life after life. He is well known for his compilation of a list of features that he considers to be typical of the near-death experience. According to Moody, the typical NDE includes a buzzing or ringing noise, a sense of blissful peace, a feeling of floating out of one’s body and observing it from above, moving through a tunnel into a bright light, meeting dead people (saints, Jesus, angels, Muhammad); seeing one’s life pass before one’s eyes; and finding it all so wonderful that one doesn’t want to return to one’s body. (The typical experience he describes does not, however, include trips to the body repair shop or sexual encounters with spirits.) This composite experience is based on interpretations of testimonials and anecdotes from doctors, nurses, and patients. Characteristic of Moody’s work is the glaring omission of cases that don’t fit his hypothesis. If Moody is to be believed, no one near death has had a horrifying experience. Yet, “according to some estimates as many as 15 percent of NDEs are hellish” (Blackmore 2004: 362). Reports of Christians meeting Muhammad or Muslims meeting Jesus or Jews meeting Guru Nanak, if they exist, have not been publicized.

depths-of-hell-cartoon_250pxThere are numerous reports of bad NDE trips involving tortures by elves, giants, demons, etc. Some parapsychologists take these good and bad NDE trips as evidence of the mythical afterlife places of various religions. They believe that some souls leave their bodies and go to the other world for a time before returning to their bodies. If so, then what is one to conclude from the fact that most people near death do not experience either the heavenly or the diabolical? Is that fact good evidence that there is no afterlife or that most people end up as non-existing or in some sort of limbo? Such reasoning is on par with supposing that dreams in which one appears to oneself to be outside of one’s bed are to be taken as evidence of the soul or mind actually leaving the body during sleep, as some New Age Gnostics believe.

What little research there has been in this field indicates that the experiences Moody lists as typical of the NDE may be due to brain states triggered by cardiac arrest and anesthesia (Blackmore 1993). Furthermore, many people who have not been near death have had experiences that seem identical to NDEs, e.g., fighter pilots experiencing rapid acceleration. Other mimicking experiences may be the result of psychosis (due to severe neurochemical imbalance) or drug usage, such as hashish, LSD, or DMT.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… Cult Leaders

by via The Soap Box

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Heaven’s Gate Cult Leader, Marshall Applewhite

Cult leaders.

I’m sure everyone has heard about them and the groups that they form around them and their “teachings”. I’m also sure you’re aware of how they act…

Well anyways, I’ve been examining cult leaders for a long time, and people who act like cult leaders as well. During my observations I’ve notice certain traits that most of them have, and from that I’ve come up with five things they all tend to share.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about cult leaders:

5. They’re narcissistic.

If you were to ever meet the leader of a cult they will tell you that all of their teaching are for you to help better your life, and on the surface that sounds great… except this is a lie.

In reality it is all about the leader of the cult, and the power that leader has over you and the members of that cult.

Charles Manson “was pathologically deluded into believing that he was harbinger of doom regarding the planet’s future.” (source)

The leader doesn’t actually care about you, they only care bout what you can do for them, and how much you respect (or fear) them.

And as for their teachings? Well, just remember this is something that THEY created, and therefore can change at any time they want to (which most do) to suit whatever needs that they have, and they do this while telling you it’s for your own good.

4. They like to surround themselves with important people.

Because of a cult leader’s narcissism and their need to feel important, and also feel the need to gain influence (as well as new members), they tend to try also try to surround themselves with people who are either important, or they feel are important. This of course could be politicians, community leaders, celebrities, Playboy models (which I can’t really blame them for), and especially people who are rich.

They do this because not only does it help them get new members (via influence of the important person), they also do this because they feel it gives them a kind of bubble of protection (which does work sometimes).

Now, if they can’t actually get important people into their cult, then they’ll do the next best thing: make members of their cult important and rich (as this helps get them more money).

3. They try to destroy their critics.

scientology volcanoctopus_190pxProbably one of the most well known and enduring practices that L. Ron Hubbard created for his Church of Scientology was the Fair Game policy, which is basically guidelines on how to destroy a critic of Scientology using whatever means necessary to silence that critic. This policy is still used today (although some in the cult claim it isn’t), but it is far less effective than it was years ago as most people are no longer afraid of the Church of Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard isn’t the only cult leader whom did this, or something similar to this. In fact many, if not all cult leaders do this, mostly because they see their critics as their enemies (although this might not be to far off in some cases, it’s usually for good reason).

While most have a direct hand in their handling of critics, most of the time they aren’t the one whom actually handle their critics. In fact the actual handling of their critics is done by other followers, they just give out the orders on whom they feel should be targeted, and how, and this is because…

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Also see: Dangerous Cult Leaders | Psychology Today

Sea Ice News Volume 4 number 4 – The Maslowski Countdown to an ‘ice-free Arctic’ begins

Watts Up With That?

A grand experiment is being conducted in the Arctic this year that may not only falsify a prediction made in 2007, but may also further distance a connection between Arctic air temperature and sea ice decline.

You may have noticed the countdown widget at the top of the right sidebar. I’ve been waiting for this event all summer, and now that we are just over a month away from the Autumnal Equinox at September 22, at 20:44 UTC., (4:44PM EDT) signifying the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, this seemed like a good time to start the countdown. If there is still significant ice (1 million square kilometers or more as defined by Zwally, see below) in place then, we can consider that this claim by Maslowski in 2007 to be falsified:

2013_ice_coundown

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7139797.stm

What is most interesting though, is that Arctic temperatures seem to be in early…

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