Monthly Archives: July, 2015

The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

By Henry I. Miller and Drew L. Kershen via Forbes

Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good.
orhanic cost moreMany people who pay the huge premium—often more than a hundred percent–for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides.  If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted. However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic.  As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not.”): “Organic pesticides pose the same health risks as non-organic ones.”
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 13: A label stating ‘Produce of USA’ is wrapped around a bunch of organic carrots at a farmers market on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 13: A label stating ‘Produce of USA’ is wrapped around a bunch of organic carrots at a farmers market on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Another poorly recognized aspect of this issue is that the vast majority of pesticidal substances that we consume are in our diets “naturally and are present in organic foods as well as non-organic ones. In a classic study, UC Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames and his colleagues found that “99.99 percent (by weight) of the pesticidesorganic_150px in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.” Moreover, “natural and synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests.” Thus, consumers who buy organic to avoid pesticide exposure are focusing their attention on just one-hundredth of one percent of the pesticides they consume.
Some consumers think that the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) requires certified organic products to be free of ingredients from “GMOs,” organisms crafted with molecular techniques of genetic engineering. Wrong again. USDA does not require organic products to be GMO-free. (In any case, the methods used to create so-called GMOs are an extension, or refinement, of older techniques for genetic modification that have been used for a century or more.) As USDA officials have said repeatedly:

Organic certification is process-based. That is, certifying agents attest to the ability of organic operations to follow a set of production standards and practices which meet the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the [National Organic Program] regulations . . . If all aspects of the organic production or handling process were followed correctly, then the presence of detectable residue from a genetically modified organism alone does not constitute a violation of this regulation. [emphasis added]

Putting it another way, so long as an organic farmer abides by his organic system (production) plan–a plan that an organic certifying agent must approve before granting the farmer organic status–the unintentional presence of GMOs (or, for that matter, prohibited synthetic pesticides) in any amount does not affect the organic status of the farmer’s products or farm.

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How the Rumor That Paul McCartney Died in 1966 and Was Secretly Replaced by a Look-Alike Got Started

Paul McCartney_600px

Today I FOund OutBy via todayifoundout.com

For a couple of months in the fall of 1969, a persistent rumor that Paul McCartney had been killed two years earlier and replaced with a look-alike captured the imaginations of Beatles fans and the general public.
The rumor began in the winter of 1967 when, after a particularly icy night, reports were flying among Britain’s national press that Paul had been killed in a car crash on January 7, 1967. The tale was reported in the February issue of The Beatles Monthly Book (#43) under the heading of “False Rumour,” and with a denial from the Beatles’ press office. In fact, it claimed that neither Paul nor his black Mini Cooper had even left the house that day.
paul mccartneyFast-forward to September 1969, about one week before the release of Abbey Road (9/26/69), when the student newspaper of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa ran the story Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead? In the article, which is written in the same style with which today’s Ancient Aliens posits its wildest theories, Tim Harper opined that Paul “may indeed be insane, freaked out, even dead.”
Harper supported the statement by examining Beatle’s album covers and lyrics, and pointed to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (6/1/67) where he found two mysterious symbols (a hand over Paul’s head and what is conjectured to be “an ancient death symbol”), a left-handed guitar that “lies on the grave at the group’s feet,” (Paul was the only lefty), on the back cover Paul is the only one not facing the camera, and in the centerfold Paul is the only one wearing a black arm band.
Continuing with the examination, Harper looked at the walrus of The Magical Mystery Tour (11/27/67) (revealed to be Paul in 1968’s Glass Onion), which, at least according to Harper, was a Viking symbol of death. And then turning his attention to The Beatles (11/28/68), he reported that playing Revolution No. 9 backward produced phrases about death.
It’s not clear if Harper was kidding or not with his story, but it certainly captured the imagination of the country.

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Also See: 7 completely legit signs that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike

Chemtrails: What is that $#%@! in the sky?!

23abcBy Jason Meyers via YouTube

Description via YouTube:

This week, Storm Shield’s Jason Meyers ‘keeps up with the chemtrails’… and explains the conspiracy theories and science behind what exactly happens when a jet flies by and leaves a little white streak.

They’re called contrails – at least that’s the widely accepted term for them.

But if you ask around Hollywood, then you might be more likely to hear them called chemtrails – an evil government plot.

For example, Kylie Jenner, of Kardiashian fame, tweeted her concern since all the honeybees are getting exterminated, and even went as far to ask whos is “responcible”?

Rosanne Barr thinks someone’s destroying our food supplies and Prince says it’s all about mind control to cause chaos.

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Mind-Blowing Temperature Fraud At NOAA

Real Science

The measured US temperature data from USHCN shows that the US is on a long-term cooling trend. But the reported temperatures from NOAA show a strong warming trend.

ScreenHunter_10009 Jul. 27 12.16

Measured : ushcn.tavg.latest.raw.tar.gz
Reported : ushcn.tavg.latest.FLs.52j.tar.gz

They accomplish this through a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering, which corrupts the US temperature trend by almost two degrees.

ScreenHunter_10008 Jul. 27 12.08

The biggest component of this fraud is making up data. Almost half of all reported US temperature data is now fake. They fill in missing rural data with urban data to create the appearance of non-existent US warming.

ScreenHunter_10010 Jul. 27 12.20

The depths of this fraud is breathtaking, but completely consistent with the fraudulent profession which has become known as “climate science”

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Galvanic Skin Response Pseudoscience

steven_novellaby via Science-Based Medicine

Selling snake oil is all about marketing, which means that a good snake oil product needs to have a great angle or a hook. Popular snake oil hooks include being “natural,” the product of ancient wisdom, or “holistic.”
Perhaps my favorite snake oil marketing ploy, however, is claiming the product represents the latest cutting-edge technology. This invariably leads to humorous sciencey technobabble. med_xray_specs_300pxThere are also recurrent themes to this technobabble, which often involve “energy,” vibrations and frequencies, or scientific concepts poorly understood by the public, such as magnetism and (of course) quantum effects. Historically, even radioactivity was marketed as a cure-all.
One category of technical pseudoscientific snake oil measures some physiological property of the body and then claims that this measurement can be used for diagnosis and determining optimal treatment. For example, machines might measure brain waves, heart rate variability, thermal energy or (the subject of today’s article) the galvanic skin response.
These are all noisy systems – they are highly variable and produce a lot of random results that can be used to give the impression that something meaningful is being measured. Systems that rely on these measurements to make highly specific determinations are no different than phrenology or reading tea leaves, but they look scientific.

How_Zyto_works_600px

The galvanic skin response

I was recently asked to look into a product called Zyto technology. This is an electronic device that you place your palm on top of so that it can read your “galvanic skin response” (GSR) to specific stimuli. It then uses your responses to prescribe a specific treatment.

The GSR is actually an older term for what is now called electrodermal activity (EDA), which is simply the electrical conductance of your skin (Harriet Hall has written about such devices before). Skin conductance is primarily affected by sweat, as salty water is an excellent conductor. So essentially the machine is measuring how sweaty your palms are.

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Will Half the Children be Autistic by 2025?

Who doesn’t like Myles? 🙂

By Myles Power via YouTube

According to Alliance for Natural Health half of all children will be autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT. Lets see were they got that number from.

10 Amazing bets you will always win

By Quirkology via YouTube

World of Batshit – #4: Fake Planets

By CoolHardLogic via YouTube

Part four in a series examining some of the most ridiculous claims. In this part, we look at a channel claiming (among other things) that the planets don’t exist.

Short of a conspiracy theory? You can always blame the Jews

David Cameron was right to identify antisemitism as a step towards extremism. But how to tackle it remains a major challenge

David-BaddielBy David Baddiel via The Guardian

Conspiracy theory, I said in my last standup show, is how idiots get to feel like intellectuals. I still believe this: conspiracy theory is primarily a way for people, mainly men, to appear in the know, to use their collection of assumptions, generalisations, straw men and false inferences to say, effectively: ah, the wool may have been pulled over your eyes, my friend, but not mine.worldtradetowers_0350px_825
But there are other reasons why it’s so popular these days. It provides lonely men with an online community of like-minded lonely men. It’s comforting; it’s reassuring. It provides order in a disordered universe to imagine that shadowy forces organise horrific events, rather than to have to confront the terrible truth that death and destruction happen, all the time, apparently at random. And, as David Cameron pointed out this week in his speech on extremism, it creates a way into something else that’s becoming increasingly popular these days: antisemitism.
Why do so many conspiracy theories boil down to: it’s the Jews wot done it?
One simple reason is that Jews are quite hard to spot, compared with most minorities. This allows them to be unmasked, and unmasking – to be able to say, “I and no one else (apart from all my mates on abovetopsecret.com) have spotted something hidden” – is the principal drive of the conspiracy theorist. But more importantly, within racial stereotyping Jews occupy a somewhat unique position, with a two-pronged status – both low and high.
Although they can be described as stinking and dirty and vermin, and all the other unlovely appellations ascribed by racists to every ethnicity outside the mainstream, they are the only minority who are also secretly in control, pulling the strings behind the scenes, forever conspiring to promote their own hidden global agenda.
This doublethink, which has existed more or less since we made the silly mistake of preferring Barabbas, has in our own time been turbocharged by the existence of the state of Israel. Those who have always felt that Jews were powerful, controlling and out to destroy the world can now point in the direction of the Middle East and say: there you are.

But for the conspiracy theorists  .  .  .

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The Chess-Playing Mechanical Turk

The Turk 745_600px
An overview of the amazing chess playing robot of the 1700s.

Brian Dunningby Brian Dunning via skeptoid
Read transcript below or listen here

Today we’re headed back in time, all the way back to the Vienna court of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary, in the year 1770. There the scientific polymath Werner von Kempelen, then thirty six years old, brought forth a mechanical automaton: the figure of a man seated at a large wooden chess table, the cabinet below filled with clockwork. A volunteer from the audience stepped forward. Kempelen wound up the machine, and it reached out and made the first move, the clockwork whirring and ticking. The astonished volunteer was quickly defeated. Delighted with the mechanical marvel, Maria Theresa ordered many more performances. In fact, the Turk, as it was nicknamed for its Turkish clothing, toured the world for the next 80 years, defeating the world’s top chess players plus luminaries such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin, without anyone ever discovering its secrets. Although many skeptics published fine articles purporting that the Turk actually contained a child, dwarf, or legless adult chess player, or that it must have been secretly controlled by its exhibitor, the workings of the Turk remained one of history’s best kept secrets.

But all secrets are fleeting, and shortly before the Turk’s destruction in an 1854 fire, its last owner’s son, Silas Mitchell, published the revelation, proving that no skeptic had ever correctly guessed how it worked. In fact, no one had even come close. Over the years, three authors in particular had put forth the best known hypotheses, and Kempelen had fooled them all.

But the most intriguing mystery about the Turk would not turn out to be how it worked, but rather why a man like Kempelen would have built it. Kempelen was no Barnum. He was neither a showman nor a magician; he was an inventor and engineer of the highest caliber and held a series of important public works appointments in Maria Theresa’s government. The last thing he’d do would be to construct some sort of sideshow trick. The first of the three most notable proposed explanations came in 1789, by Joseph Friedrich, Freiherr zu Racknitz. He wrote a book based on his many viewings of the Turk and his friendship with Kempelen. Racknitz noted that the Turk’s exhibitor would always first open and close the cabinet’s various doors for the audience’s inspection. He concluded that a very small human operator was inside the cabinet, lying flat during the opening of the doors; and then, during game play, sat up, played the game on a small secondary chessboard, and watched magnetized needles on the bottom of the tabletop to learn what move the opponent had made. By Racknitz’s measurements, the hidden human would have had to be less than five feet tall, and less than seven inches high when lying flat. Kempelen refused to offer any assessment of Racknitz’s proposed solution.

The Turk 800_600px
In 1821, Robert Willis, an engineer of musical instruments, published a pamphlet with his own explanation of the Turk. Willis noted in particular that the order in which the doors were opened for inspection never varied. This, he proposed, was to allow a hidden human operator to move from one part of the cabinet to another, allowing the various cabinets to be shown empty in sequence. Then, to play, the operator would sit up, place his own hand inside the Turk’s arm, and watch the board through the thin fabric shirt covering the Turk’s chest.

The best known analysis was that of Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1835, which ultimately found in favor of Willis’ explanation but differed in that it offered far deeper reasoned analysis of why it must be so. For example, Poe noted  .  .  .

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This Is NOT NATURAL

By AsapSCIENCE via YouTube

This episode was inspired by the work of James Kennedy. Check out all of his ‘Natural’ food infographics on his website: https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress….

Click image for more infographics like this.

Click image for more infographics like this.

What Is Synesthesia?

I love anything having to do with how the brain works. Enjoy! 🙂 – MIB

By BrainStuff – HowStuffWorks via YouTube

It’s true – some people hear colors, or taste words. But what produces synesthesia?

Six head-scratching Jade Helm conspiracy theories

By Kyle Jahner via armytimes.com

Jade Helm 15, the multi-state, two-month U.S. Army Special Operations Command training exercise, began today, but the conspiracy theories surrounding it have collectively become a story unto themselves — with wild theories to include FEMA death domes and ice-cream-truck morgues.

The Army calls Jade Helm a standard training operation for unconventional warfare. But some have “connected the dots,” and the military’s true motives remain unstated: to either engage in an occupation or at least prepare for war within the U.S.

Whether you have concerns about Jade Helm or simply find the theories and ensuing furor and paranoia entertaining, below are the most striking theories. Meanwhile, skeptoid.com has a primer for anyone looking for more benign explanations to the alleged evidence of nefarious plotting — for those unworried about being labeled “sheeple” by conspiracy theorists.

FEMA Death Domes:

A hurricane dome in Florida in 2012, a structure that was being built in part with money from FEMA. (Photo: David J. Phillip/AP)

A hurricane dome in Florida in 2012, a structure that was being built in part with money from FEMA. (Photo: David J. Phillip/AP)

Some have alleged that new dome-shaped facilities are being built by FEMA for the purpose of detaining insurrectionists. While the Associated Press has written about the shelters, Jade Helm conspiracy theorists have latched onto FEMA Death Domes. Though purportedly hurricane and storm shelters that can protect a large number of people (and in cases provide community facilities like gymnasiums), conspiracy theorists argue that walls designed to withstand hurricanes and tornados make great prisons, and have linked them to Jade Helm.

Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks:

Conspiracy theorists are trying to link Blue Bell with Jade Helm. (Photo: Orlin Wagner/AP)

Conspiracy theorists are trying to link Blue Bell with Jade Helm. (Photo: Orlin Wagner/AP)

If you are going to start a war, you need a place to put the bodies, right? Some conspiracy theorists believe Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks could serve as mobile morgues. While none of the conspirators at Blue Bell balked at the idea and publicized the plot, sleuths found evidence: film of about a dozen Blue Bell trucks traveling on the same highway as a military convoy, apparently I-25 in Colorado.

Blue Bell closed it’s Denver-area distribution center near I-25 in May, the same month as the video was posted. Fort Carson sits about 75 miles down I-25 from Denver. The company has said the convoy convergence was a coincidence. Blue Bell has been reeling from a recall and production shut-down following discovery of listeria monocytogenes in its ice cream. Multiple deaths in recent years have been linked to the outbreak. Still, a conspiracy-minded site called the company’s first-ever recall suspicious and the trucks’ proximity to a military convoy “creepy” while also linking the company to the Bush family and defense contracts, but admitted it couldn’t verify whether the trucks were preparing to be mobile morgues or merely transporting food or just the trucks themselves from a closing facility.

Walmart: Always Low Prices … on bases for martial law:

Walmart stores have also raised suspicions. (Photo: Colin Kelly/Staff)

Walmart stores have also raised suspicions. (Photo: Colin Kelly/Staff)

The world’s largest retailer has become an essential element to any Jade Helm conspiracy site. A handful of Walmarts — two in Texas and one each in Florida, California and Oklahoma — suddenly closed in April for six months, with the company saying they needed to make plumbing repairs. There are actually two groups with conspiracy theories, which note that city officials in the cities said Walmart wasn’t filing for permits for repairs, according to a Florida ABC affiliate. One group expressing doubt is organized labor: some of the closings were allegedly punitive and retaliatory measures against workers agitating for better wages and rights, something they’ve been convicted of doing in Canada.

But Jade Helm theorists remain unsatisfied with either explanation of the closing of five out of more than 4,000 U.S. stores. (In addition, they cite razor wire protecting the roof of an abandoned Walmart in Cincinnati, though some noted it is in a high crime area and that copper and HVAC equipment would be a target for thieves.) Jade Helm theorists say the military plans to enact martial law and use the stores as processing locations or possibly to control the food supply in poorer areas. A theory also involves China using the sites as command centers, as it allegedly tries to replace the dollar as the global currency with its own and disarm Americans during a hostile takeover of the nation.

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Via YouTube

Report: Jade Helm Responsible for Texas Floods

By via Nevada County Scooper

Houston, TX — As more than 11 inches of rain fell in some spots of Houston overnight into Tuesday,  inundating byways and highways, slowing first responders, knocking out power and generally bringing the southeast Texas metropolis to a standstill, The Nevada County Scooper has learned that operation Jade Helm 15 has largely been responsible for the deluges. Although the military takeover of largely defiant Southern and Southwestern states hasn’t officially started yet, military insiders tell the Scooper that Texas flooding is was done to “soften the resistance to ‘Federal Forces’ and make the ‘resistive States more “amenable” to the guiding hand of the Federal Government’.”
GREG-ABBOTT“It was clear that the people of Texas were not going to cooperate and submit to the will of President Obama,” commented Jade Helm Lieutenant Colonel Jason “Jake” Jakeheart. “So we sent in the floods using this Chemtrail technology tested and developed by the eggheads at Beale Air Force base. They sprayed the skies for two weeks and it produced these rains.”

The Jade Helm Chemtrail program, also known as PC-GE234 or “Operational In-Order” has been deemed a tremendous success by military planners and by all accounts, has exceeded expectations.

“I mean, the proof is in the results,” continued  Lieutenant Colonel Jake. “We had the Texas Governor calling their National Guard to ‘monitor’ Jade Helm’s activities a few weeks ago. Now the Governor is calling the President for help with the floods. I’d say that’s the kind of submission and obedience we’re looking for before the great calamity arrives in October.”

According to people in the know, which includes mostly insane people, Operation Jade Helm’s purpose is to  .  .  .

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Real-life Super Powers

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

While it might sound like something out the X-Men (echolocation, super-strength, eidetic memory), a few people really do have what could be described as genuine superpowers.

Homeopathic medicine: What’s the potential harm?

By Emiliano Tatar, MD via philly.com

homeopathyWhat if I told you homeopathy is completely useless? I wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical or feeling that such a statement is arrogant especially when made by an MD. Homeopathy is a multi-billion dollar business and is widely available.

Unfortunately, it is essentially nothing more than distilled water and its use as a replacement for conventional medicine can, in some cases, be dangerous and even fatal. Last March, Hope Delozier, an 18-month-old Pennsylvania resident developed an ear infection. Her parents, who avoid conventional medical practices, tried to treat her with Homeopathic remedies. Hope soon died after the infection spread to her brain. Most tragically, this was completely preventable with inexpensive antibiotics.

The practice of homeopathy has been around since the early 19th century (invented by Samuel Hahnneman). It relies on several basic tenets. The two most important ones are “like cures like” and “potentiation.” Like-cures-like is the idea that, for example, if I eat plant X and it makes me feel warmth, then the plant has a substance that can cure a fever. Potentiation is the idea that the more dilute a substance is the more powerful it becomes medically. There is no other place in modern science where these principles are accepted except for in homeopathy. There is no reason to believe that “like cures like” and the idea of ultra-dilution making something more powerful flies completely against the laws of physics and chemistry.

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