Category Archives: Physics

Is Earth Actually Flat?

By Vsauce via YouTube

25 Mind Bending Scientific Truths To Challenge Your Brain

By list25 via YouTube

From the video description:

It doesn’t take much to realize that science is awesome! For example, you probably already know that everything is made up of atoms. Those atoms have a few protons and neutrons in the nucleus and then they are surrounded by electrons that orbit the nucleus like little moons (simplified explanation). At any rate, the most interesting thing about atoms is that they are about 99.99% empty space. That’s right. This screen consists of atoms. And those atoms consists of almost nothing. So why is it that you don’t see right through the screen. In fact, how is it that we can see/feel/stand on anything at all? It’s because of forces. Those atoms in the table (in spite of just being mostly empty space) actually repel the atoms (aka empty space) in your hand. So what you are touching isn’t actually a “thing”. When you touch something you are actually experiencing a repulsive force, kind of like gravity. And since those empty atoms reflect photons, you cannot see through them. You only see the photons being reflected off of what is essentially empty space. Crazy right?!

See we told you science was awesome! Just wait til you read about all the other scientific truths found in this list! So if you’re ready to give your brain a challenge, read on! These are 25 mind bending scientific truths to challenge your brain.

For the undying 9/11 MORONIC JET FUEL ARGUMENT – YouTube

Would Headlights Work at Light Speed?

By Vsauce via YouTube

If you were driving at the speed of light and turned on your headlights, what would happen?

Is Earth Actually Flat?

By Vsauce via YouTube

The earth is not flat, it is round, otherwise travelers would be falling off the edge. Right?

Wrong!

The Conspiracy That Isn’t: Debunking Chemtrails

chemtrails_FEATURE_IMAGE-1
By Phil Derner Jr. and John Steffen via NYCAviation

contrails 01_250pxThere are several conspiracy theories that involve aviation. The most famous of these involve the aliens of Roswell and the tragic events of September 11th.  However, there is one conspiracy theory that has a measurable amount of believers that is easily refuted with the simple laws of science and statistics. This is, of course, chemtrails.

Those who subscribe to the Chemtrail theory believe that the entire aviation industry, military and civilian, are tasked by the U.S. government to spray artificial clouds high above the ground in our atmosphere with the intent of altering our climate or inoculating the population with inhalable drugs. This theory is based on the visible identification of the common aircraft contrail, and a reliance on the fallacy that it can be identified as something else.

So in a final sweeping motion, what do you say we explain-away this whole chemtrail thing after all, shall we?

The Science & History

When an organic material is burned, it will produce different compounds: soot, smoke, and various oxides.  What is produced will vary depending on the material that was burned and the process in which it was burned.  However there are two things that are generally universal in the burning of organics; water and carbon dioxide.

Generally, neither of these can be seen with the naked eye unless temperatures are cold and the steam condenses into visible water vapor.  This is common from smoke stacks, the tailpipes of automobiles, or even your breath in the winter months.

Not a chemtrail: Contrails stream out of the four Wright 1820 radial engines on these B-17 bombers during World War II.

Not a chemtrail: Contrails stream out of the four Wright 1820 radial engines on these B-17 bombers during World War II.

The gasoline engine creates about one gallon of water for each gallon of gasoline consumed.  When the engine is shut down, the remaining water oxidizes (or rusts) the exhaust and the engine’s cylinders.  This limits the life of the exhaust system and the engine, but is not a major problem and is accepted as part of the normal process and life cycle of the internal combustion engine.

This water, seemingly innocuous, became lethal in the Second World War for the crews of the Boeing B-17 bomber.  The four Wright turbocharged engines in the B-17 allowed it to climb above 30,000 feet.  The humid exhaust of the engines quickly froze in the minus 40 degree air (temperatures become significantly colder at higher altitudes) leaving long white clouds behind the bombers indicating their presence and precise location to the German fighters.  The safety of being at altitude was compromised by these telltale condensation trails, or contrails.

The military worked to find a solution and discovered that certain acidic compounds injected into the exhaust eliminated contrails.  This solution became available after the conclusion of the war and was immediately obsolete with the advent of radar, which allowed airplanes to be “seen” regardless of the time of day or weather.  This idea was later briefly resurrected with the Northrop B-2 stealth bomber, though ultimately not incorporated into the design.

The Commercial Jet Age

Not a chemtrail: A KLM 747-400 leaves four distinct contrails in its wake as it flies over Russia. Image courtesy Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons.

Not a chemtrail: A KLM 747-400 leaves four distinct contrails in its wake as it flies over Russia. Image courtesy Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons.

The post-war, high altitude commercial airliners typically operated around 25,000 feet.  Only the low production Boeing 377, though still propeller-driven, could climb above 30,000 feet and was most commonly operated as an intercontinental airliner.  Because of this, contrails were rarely seen in the United States prior to the 1960s.

The year 1958 was a watershed year in commercial aviation.  Boeing introduced the 707 and Douglas the DC-8, while a year later Convair debuted the 880.  The turbojet engines on these airliners thrived in the cold thin air found above 30,000 feet and they were routinely operated in these flight levels.  In the 1960′s, contrails became commonplace across the United States, especially along designated jet airways between ground based navigation aids.  When the temperature is low enough and the humidity high enough, the 1,500 gallons of water produced every hour by these jetliners was transformed into four cirrus clouds.

When the humidity is very high, the contrails will remain for hours.  In moderate humidity the contrails may last  .  .  .

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chemtrail UFO culprit_400px

A Rather Embarrassing Night for Psychic Sally in Middlesbrough

Earphone claims: Psychic Sally is seen removing a microphone from her right ear, circled, and what appears to be an earpiece from her left ear.

Psychic Sally is seen removing a microphone from her right ear, circled, and what appears to be an earpiece from her left ear.

Myles Power (powerm1985)

I recently went to to see the ‘psychic to the stars’ Sally Morgan at Middlesbrough town hall, and if there was one word I could use to describe my night it would be ‘boring’. First off I feel I have to say that I personally don’t believe that psychics exist so, as you can imagine, I find people like Sally distasteful. This, however, was not the reason why I found the night boring as I do love this kind of thing and was genuinely excited to not only see her, but to gauge the audiences reaction to her show. The reason that it was boring was because the audience did not respond well to her after relatively early on in her performance, she showed the level of her psychic abilities.

Psychic Sally Middlesbrough

For those who don’t know, psychic Sally Morgan is a British television and stage artist who claims to have (you guessed…

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Quantum Jumping, or Bullshit Overload

Story H/T: @ Skeptic Wars


QJ-624x282
Via Enduring Beta

I stumbled upon the website Quantum Jumping from an ad for wooey pseudoscience that just seemed… too out there. But oh how I underestimate scammers! I was struck by the techniques used to trick readers into buying into the product and story, and then felt like tearing down some of the nonsense I was reading. Come join me for a hearty laugh, a face palm, and a clenched fist.

Here’s an opening quote from the site to get an idea of what they’re saying:

I would like to share with you a technique that has completely changed who I am. It has brought me everything I could have ever asked for in life – success, talent, wealth, wellbeing, happiness – you name it.

It stems from the aforementioned idea of ‘another you’ living in ‘another reality’. Whether or not this is possible will be debated for some time, and the answer may never be known, but it creates the mindset of what’s called…

The Most Advanced Creative Visualization Technique Ever Created

Now just imagine for a moment you could find a way to ‘jump’ into these alternate universes. That you could meet an infinite number of alternate versions of ‘you’…

Imagine that you could examine their ways and learn their methods, draw upon their skills, experience and wisdom, find out how they become so happy, talented or successful.

caption

This quantum disclaimer is from the quantumjumping.com customer reviews page.

Emphasis mine. This is a hallmark of pseudoscience to rope people in with a sensational claim like the title “Quantum Jumping” and buttress against criticism with a nod to the fact that it’s “still debated”. Or, in other words, “We’ll sell you on the idea without regard for if it’s real at all.” Legitimate self-help techniques and medicine should wait for the justification through evidence before making claims like this site does!

Burt Goldman says he developed the skills of painting, photography, writing, and business through, effectively, simply visualizing himself with those skills over time. I won’t deny that this mental technique might help with motivation, perseverance, clarity, and focus. But if you don’t have the skills to paint in your head and hands already, they’re not going to be revealed to you just by meditating. There are limits that the tone and language of this site refuse to address.

What’s further agonizing about this site is the dancing they do around whether or not they claim to Actually Contact Other Universes. For example:

[A]t its core, Quantum Jumping is simply an advanced visualization exercise. You’re tapping into your subconscious mind, where are infinite number of realities and possibilities are waiting to be discovered. Anything that can be, is.

“If a universe can be imagined, it exists.” Professor M. R. Franks

“There are vibrations of many different universes right here, right now. We’re just not in tune with them. There are probably other parallel universes in our living room–this is modern physics. This is the modern interpretation of quantum theory, that many worlds represents reality.” Dr. Michio Kaku

They tap Michio Kaku, Einstein, Planck, and more for fake science credibility. The site has moments of near-honesty, but they are sandwiched by the same vague language that can be interpreted in different ways and hollow appeals to unrelated experts and testimony:

Now I hate having to burst anyone’s bubble of having adventures through space – and Quantum Jumping was made to be an out of this world experience – but no, you wont actually leave this planet.

But what does one make of the first block? Are they claiming it or not? The real answer, of course, it that they are being intentionally vague to let the reader come to the most charitable conclusion. They are mentioning science related only in “theme” to give the quick reader, the casual glancer, the illusion of . . .

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Malaysia Airlines Expands Investigation To Include General Scope Of Space, Time

Assuming the actuality of wavefunction collapse, Malaysia Airlines officials say flight MH370 could currently be located in any possible alternate future.

Assuming the actuality of wavefunction collapse, Malaysia Airlines officials say flight MH370 could currently be located in any possible alternate future.

Via The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

‘Why Are We Even Here?’ Officials Probe

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA—Following a host of conflicting reports in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 last Saturday, representatives from the Kuala Lumpur–based carrier acknowledged they had widened their investigation into the vanished Boeing 777 aircraft today to encompass not only the possibilities of mechanical failure, pilot error, terrorist activity, or a botched hijacking, but also the overarching scope of space, time, and humankind’s place in the universe.

The airline, now in its fifth day of searching for the passenger jet carrying 239 passengers and crew, has come under fire for its perceived mishandling of the investigation, whose confusing and contradictory reports have failed to provide definitive answers on everything from how long the missing plane remained aloft after losing contact with air traffic controllers, to whether the flight made a radical alteration in its heading, to the very dimensions of space-time and the nature of reality, and what exactly it is that brought us into existence and imbued us with this thing we call life.

disappeared
Additionally, the airline confirmed it had expanded its active search area to include a several-hundred-square-mile zone in the Indian Ocean as well as each of the seven or 22 additional spatial dimensions posited by string theory.

“We continue to do everything in our power and explore every possible lead—both Cartesian and phenomenological—to locate the aircraft as quickly as possible,” said Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, who went on to say that authorities were still actively seeking tips from anyone claiming knowledge related either to the flight, or to the mechanisms by which consciousness arises, or to the question of why anything physical and finite exists instead of nothing at all. “At this stage, we can’t rule anything out: not crew interference with the transponders, not a catastrophic electrical failure, not the emergence of a complex topological feature of space-time such as an Einstein-Rosen bridge that could have deposited the flight at any location in the universe or a different time period altogether, nothing.”

“Could a parallel universe have immediately swelled up from random cosmological fluctuation according to the multiverse theory and swallowed the flight into its folds, or could ice have built up on an airspeed sensor? Those are both options we are currently considering,” Rahman added. “Everything’s on the table. That is, insofar as anything exists at all, which we’re also looking into.”

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Can Thinking Change Reality

Story H/T: @ Skeptic Wars


steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

I love the documentary series, The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke. It’s a follow up to his equally good, Connections (I know, they have their criticisms, but overall they are very good). The former title is a metaphor – when our collective model of reality changes, for us the universe does change. When we believed the earth was motionless at the center of the universe, that was our reality.

James Burke The Day the Universe Changed

James Burke
The Day the Universe Changed

But Burke was not arguing that the nature of the universe actually changed, just our conception of it. Thinking alone cannot directly change external reality. That is magical thinking.

Such thinking, however, lies at the center of much new age spiritual claims. The secret of The Secret is that you can change your world by wishing. Proponents of such ideas are desperate for scientific validation of their basic premise. Such evidence does not exist. In fact over a century of such research shows rather conclusively that there is no such effect in operation in our world to any significant degree.

A recent article claiming that there is such evidence has been making the social media rounds – 10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World. After some flowery Eastern mysticism, and rather gratuitously abusing the memory of Nikola Tesla, the author gives a quick summary of what they believe to be ten lines of evidence supporting the notion that consciousness can alter physical reality. It would take a full-length post to debunk each of these ten claims adequately. I am only going to give an equally quick summary here, but will link to longer articles when possible.

1 – Quantum Double Slit Experiment

Double-slit experiment, artworkYou knew this had to be on the list. The claim is that the classic double slit experiments prove that consciousness affects reality at a fundamental level. Light (or other elementary particles, and even small atoms) traveling through one slit will shine as a blob on the other side, as if the particles of light were all piling up after the slit. If two adjacent thin slits are open, however, then we don’t see two blobs but rather an interference pattern, as if the light were traveling like water waves and interfering with each other as they traveled through the slits. This is the core experiment that demonstrates the wave-particle duality of light – it travels like a wave but then interacts like a particle.

These experiments are often distorted into the claim that the experimenter has to be watching, that their consciousness affects the outcome. This is simply not true, however. All that is required is a detector, which physically interacts with the particles. “Detecting” forces the wave function to collapse into a particle. I discuss this further here.

2. Government Sponsored Psychokinesis Experiments

The claim is that government experiments demonstrated the ability to bend spoons and forks with the mind. The links provided as references, however, do not establish such claims. This, of course, is a theme of the article, providing links that give the appearance of evidence, even though they do not establish the claims being referenced.

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ALSO SEE: NeuroLogica Blog » Can Thinking Change Reality Part II.

Where is the Proof in Pseudoscience? (Op-Ed)

H/T: (Skeptic Wars)


By Peter Ellerton via LiveScience

homeopathy 803_250pxThe word “pseudoscience” is used to describe something that is portrayed as scientific but fails to meet scientific criteria.

This misrepresentation occurs because actual science has creditability (which is to say it works), and pseudoscience attempts to ride on the back of this credibility without subjecting itself to the hard intellectual scrutiny that real science demands.

A good example of pseudoscience is homoeopathy, which presents the façade of a science-based medical practice but fails to adhere to scientific methodology.

Other things typically branded pseudoscience include astrology, young-Earth creationism, iridology, neuro-linguistic programming and water divining, to name but a few.

What’s the difference?

science 824_200pxKey distinctions between science and pseudoscience are often lost in discussion, and sometimes this makes the public acceptance of scientific findings harder than it should be.

For example, those who think the plural of anecdote is data may not appreciate why this is not scientific (indeed, it can have a proper role to play as a signpost for research).

Other misconceptions about science include what the definition of a theory is, what it means to prove something, how statistics should be used and the nature of evidence and falsification.

Because of these misconceptions, and the confusion they cause, it is sometimes useful to discuss science and pseudoscience in a way that focuses less on operational details and more on the broader functions of science.

What is knowledge?

 John Dewey Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.


John Dewey
Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The first and highest level at which science can be distinguished from pseudoscience involves how an area of study grows in knowledge and utility.

The philosopher John Dewey in his Theory of Inquiry said that we understand knowledge as that which is “so settled that it is available as a resource in further inquiry”.

This is an excellent description of how we come to “know” something in science. It shows how existing knowledge can be used to form new hypotheses, develop new theories and hence create new knowledge.

It is characteristic of science that our knowledge, so expressed, has grown enormously over the last few centuries, guided by the reality check of experimentation.

In short, the new knowledge works and is useful in finding more knowledge that also works.

No progress made

Contrast this with homeopathy, a field that has generated no discernible growth in knowledge or practice. While the use of modern scientific language may make it sound more impressive, there is no corresponding increase in knowledge linked to effectiveness. The field has flat-lined.

At this level of understanding, science produces growth, pseudoscience does not.

To understand this lack of growth we move to a lower, more detailed level, in which we are concerned with one of the primary goals of science: to provide causal explanations of phenomena.

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▶ Debunking 9/11 conspiracy theorists part 1 of 7 – Free fall and how the towers collapsed

This is a seven (7) part series by Myles Power debunking the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

This is part 1 – Free fall and how the towers collapsed – in the YouTube playlist.

If you have the time, Myles is worth watching.

Myles Power confronts 9/11 truthers to see if their claims can stand up. In this video he discusses the World Trade Center’s Design to withstand airplane impacts, fuel or oxygen-starved fires, how the World Trade Center’s Collapse, the twin towers falling at free fall speed and the damage to the lobbies.

Basic maths fail
I said if you triple the speed, you get eight times the energy. That should be nine times!

Some Questions About the Fake Snow

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

fake snow 834_250pxOn January 30th, as the South and East of the US were shaking off the effects of a monster cold wave (the second major storm that month, in fact) videos starting popping up on YouTube purporting that the snow that had fallen in said storm was not snow at all, but actually a synthetic chemical spray meant to look like snow, but delivered via artificial weather for evil purposes.

The videos, dozens of them in all, had titles like “Georgia Fake Snow!!!” and “FAKE SNOW being Reported all over the U.S. SINCE WHEN DOES SNOW TURN BLACK????” and “Fake Snow that won’t melt is really Nanobots 2014.” Soon, regular conspiracy blogs like Before It’s News ran with it. What these clips showed was, admittedly, pretty strange. People would go outside, grab a handful of snow, ball it up, take it back inside, take a lighter to it…and it didn’t melt. Instead, it turned black. And the video-makers complained of a plastic smell.

The science behind the fake snow (MetaBunk.org)

The science behind the fake snow (MetaBunk.org)

This chemical-laden, non-burning, plastic “snow” could only be nefarious geoengineering at work, a New World Order false flag attempt to control our climate and our minds and our freedom through HAARP and the chemtrails that the globalist controllers and their minions relentlessly spray around the world and around the clock, all designed to keep us docile and slumbering sheeple who won’t question being sickened and fattened and loaded down with toxins and GMOs and vaccines and toxic GMO vaccines and false flags and crisis actors and Agenda 21 and propaganda and aspartame and Monsanto and all of it ending with a guillotine blade and a plastic tub AND A FEMA DEATH CAMP!!!!! AHHGGHHHH!!! RUN!!! OPEN YOUR EYES!!! DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!

Or, you know, it’s science.

Really, really basic science.

Mick West, the chemtrail skeptic who founded metabunk.org jumped on this nonsense right away, and posted a simple, really sound explanation for why the snow in the videos blackened and didn’t turn into water. I’ll quote it here:

A) The snow is melting, but the very loose fluffy structure of the snow wicks away the water, turning dry snow into wet snow, and eventually turning the snow into slush.

B) The snow is blackened when a lighter is held underneath it because of the soot from the lighter (the products of incomplete combustion). It’s not burning.

C) The smell is fumes from the lighter (also from incomplete combustion) and/or people briefly burning nearby objects like gloves.

So, there you go. Other than being a pretty good example of why basic science education is so important, these videos show nothing even remotely unusual.

But what if they did?

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Proposed Time Machine Could Also Clone Objects

vortex 911

Access to the past would open all sorts of new possibilities of more than travel.

By Charles Q. Choi, ISNS Contributor via Inside Science

time_250px(ISNS) — Time travel is often a way to change history in science fiction such as “Back to the Future” and “Looper.” Now researchers suggest a certain kind of time machine could also possess another powerful capability — cloning perfect copies of anything.

However, scientists noted the way these findings violate what is currently known about quantum physics might instead mean such time machines are not possible.

We are all time travelers in that we all move forward in time. However, scientists have suggested it might be possible to move back in time by manipulating the fabric of space and time in our cosmos. All mass distorts space-time, causing the experience of gravity, a bit like how a ball sitting on a rubber sheet would make nearby balls on the sheet roll toward it. Physicists have proposed time machines that could bend the fabric of space and time so much that timelines actually turn back on themselves,  forming loops technically known as “closed timelike curves.”

These space-time warps can develop because of wormholes — tunnels that can in theory allow travel anywhere in space and time, or even into another universe. Wormholes are allowed by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, although whether they are practically possible is another matter.

A key limitation of this kind of time machine would be that any traveler using it cannot go back to a time before the device was built. It only permits travel from the future back to any point in time after the machine was constructed.

Scientists have for decades explored what closed timelike curves are capable of if they are possible.

One complication they would encounter is the no-cloning theorem in quantum physics, which basically forbids the creation of identical copies of any particle one does not know everything about to begin with.

wormhole_by_stefitms_250pxIn classical physics, one can generate a perfect copy of anything by finding out every detail about it and arranging the same components in the same order. However, in the bizarre world of quantum physics — the best description so far of how reality behaves on its most fundamental levels — one cannot perfectly measure every detail of an object at once. This is related to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which notes that one can perfectly measure either the position or the momentum of a particle, but not both with unlimited accuracy.

Nearly 25 years ago, theoretical physicist David Deutsch at the University of Oxford in England suggested closed timelike curves might actually violate the no-cloning theorem, allowing perfect copies to be constructed of anything. Now scientists reveal this might be true in findings detailed in the Nov. 8 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

To understand this research, imagine one builds a time machine in the year 2000. One could place a letter into the device in the year 3000 and pick it up within this box in 2000 or any year between then and 3000. From the perspective of the letter, it goes inside this time machine into one mouth of a wormhole in the future and comes out the other mouth of the wormhole in the past.

However, theoretical physicist Mark Wilde at Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, and his colleagues found this scenario may be more complex than previously thought. Instead of the time machine containing just one wormhole, it could possess many wormholes, each at some point in time between the future and the moment of its creation. A letter entering the box in 3000 might exit from a wormhole in 2999, instantaneously go back into that wormhole and emerge in 2998, and so on.

“It’s like there are 1,000 different particles emerging from all the wormholes, but in fact they’re all the same particle you sent in the beginning,” Wilde said. “You just have all these temporary copies emerging from and going back into these wormholes.”

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Fukushima vs Chernobyl vs Three Mile Island

Years after the disaster, some claim that Fukushima radiation is still going to cause widespread death.

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid.com
Read Podcast transcript below of Listen here

In March of 2011, an undersea earthquake sent tsunamis thundering across Japan, killing nearly 20,000 people and creating the most expensive natural disaster in history. Among the casualities was the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was almost completely submerged by the tsunamis; an unprecedented event. Power was lost (obviously), cooling systems stopped, and the net result was a complete meltdown of three of the plant’s reactor cores. It was a perfect storm of worst case scenarios. And now, even years afterward, some are calling it a worldwide radiation disaster, worse than even Chernobyl, that will produce a staggering death count for decades or even centuries. Today we’re going to evaluate these assertions and see if we can separate fact from fiction.

Fukushima_250pxWith the shocking end-of-the-world-scenario headlines — such as “Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over” and “28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima” — either Fukushima was the worst environmental disaster ever, or some of the worst misinformation ever is being trumpeted. To find out which, we’ll put it into context with the two other best known nuclear disasters: the 1986 explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine, and the 1979 partial meltdown of a reactor at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania.

The most important technical point to understand about various reactor kinds is the moderator. The moderator is a substance that slows down the fast neutrons being shed by the radioactive uranium fuel, converts the kinetic energy into thermal energy, and turns them into slow, thermal neutrons. A thermal neutron is much more likely to strike another uranium nucleus. This allows a chain reaction, in which the fuel produces enough heat to power a conventional steam generator. Most nuclear reactors use water as the moderator. Put uranium fuel rods into water, in the proper configuration, and you’ll get a chain reaction.

Chernobyl, however, was a very different type of machine. It was what we call an atomic pile, the devices first designed during World War II to produce plutonium for atomic weapons. The atomic pile is literally a pile of graphite blocks, half a meter long and a quarter meter square, with a hole bored through the long axis. These graphite blocks were used as the moderator.

chernobyl_mapThe problem with building a reactor out of graphite blocks is that graphite burns. Contain burning graphite within a concrete structure, and it explodes. This is exactly what happened at Chernobyl, and it’s exactly why nobody would ever build a graphite-moderated reactor today; the whole reactor core was literally a bomb waiting to go off.

Three Mile Island and Fukushima were both water moderated reactors. This was one of the most significant safety improvements of the early 1950s. Fukushima’s basic design is one of the earliest, called a BWR (boiling water reactor). The moderating water, which is also the cooling water, is directly boiled and drives a steam generator. The reason the Fukushima accident happened is that all sources of power were destroyed by the tsunami, including backups, backups, and their backups; and without the pumps to keep the system circulating, the cooling water boiled completely away, and the fuel melted. For months, firehoses sprayed water into the open reactors to prevent open flames from pumping radioactive smoke into the atmosphere. This contaminated water was barely containable; it leaked into the ocean, and was stored in anything that could be used as a tank.

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Inertial Propulsion and Other Delusions

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

Some ideas are so compelling and seductive it seems there will always be those who succumb to their siren song. We easily understand how transformative these technologies will be and can’t help feeling that if we work hard enough, we can achieve them – the panacea, free energy, anti-gravity, and regeneration to name a few.

perpetual motion 7043BFree energy and anti-gravity machines attract engineers and tinkerers who cannot help but think that if they can figure out the proper arrangement of moving parts, they can bypass the laws of physics. Over the decades they have produced often complex and sometimes elegant machines that seem like they might work, but always always they miss something subtle.

The pattern by now is very clear, and depressingly repetitive. The inventor spends years developing a machine to exploit some physical property, such as the interaction of magnets, or the seemingly funny physics of rapidly rotating systems. Their scale models seem to do what they are supposed to – usually they spin. At some point the inventor believes they are ready to show their incipient invention to the world, perhaps now they are ready to attract major investors to help build the full scale operating versions of their technology.

What they present to the world are complex diagrams, and scale models that do something, but never what they are claimed to do. We never see a free energy device actually producing energy and running electrical devices without any outside input or burning of fuel. We never see anti-gravity devices levitating.

Of course, if the inventors could actually produce what they claim, they would garner serious attention. Instead they are largely ignored and criticized – their years, even decades, of loving labor dismissed. How can this be? They must simply be too far ahead of their time for the rubes to understand their genius. Plus, there must be some sinister conspiracy working against them – Big Oil or whatever.

It’s sad – another mind, perhaps even brilliant in their way, lost to the allure of the impossible.

Inertial Propulsion

perpetual motion 702BThere are many phrases that are used to refer to impossible technologies. What seems to happen is that proponents come up with a term for their invention. Their invention is found to be nothing but a fantasy, and the term becomes associated with negative connotations. The next generation of proponents then come up with a new technical term, and the cycle continues.

So perpetual motion machines become free energy machines, then zero-point energy, then over-unity machines, etc.

Last year, January of 2013, an inventor by the name of Rick R. Dobson revealed his “closed loop propulsion” technology – the product of 27 years of development. Closed-loop propulsion is a synonym for inertial propulsion, or massless propulsion. He also calls his technology centrifugal propulsion.

The idea behind such technologies is to produce propulsion without any propellant. Propellant is one of those annoying necessities of physics.

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10 People Who Claimed To Be Time Travelers

vortex 911
By Jackie Fuchs via Listverse

“The distinction between the past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” –Albert Einstein

These days, even respected physicists like Stephen Hawking are being forced to admit that time travel may be possible. But has it already happened? These people say it has.

10 • A Visit To Mars With Barack Obama

163113514-e1387065394814_250pxSeattle attorney Andrew Basiago says that when he was a child, he and William Stillings were “chrononauts” in a secret United States government time travel program called Project Pegasus. The purpose of the program was threefold—to protect Earth from threats from space, to establish territorial sovereignty over Mars, and to acclimate Martian humanoids and animals to our presence.

The best part of Basiago’s and Stillings’ claim, however, is that one of their fellow time travelers was none other than a 19-year-old Barack Obama, who went by the name “Barry Soetero.” In 1980, the three men and seven other youths from their “Mars training class” at California’s College of the Siskiyous (a real institution) traveled to Mars via a top-secret teleportation “jump room” modeled on technical papers found in Nikola Tesla’s apartment after his death. They jumped through a field of radiant energy into a tunnel, and when the tunnel closed, found themselves at their destination.

The White House has officially denied that Obama ever went to Mars.

9 • An American Soldier From The Future

178803217-e1387065965310_250pxIn late 2000, posts began appearing on the Internet from someone claiming to be an American soldier from the year 2036. John Titor, as he called himself, was on his way back to 1975—using a device installed in a 1987 Chevy Suburban, naturally—to obtain an IBM 5100 computer to fight a computer virus destined to destroy the world. Titor hinted at a world beset by conflicts, culminating in a series of Russian nuclear strikes in 2015 that would kill almost three billion people.

Titor’s posts abruptly ceased in 2001, but Titormania continued. In 2003, a bound edition of Titor’s 151 message board posts was released under the title John Titor: A Time Traveler’s Tale. Though no longer in print, one can still buy a new copy for an eye-popping $1,775, or a used one at a more modest $150. The book was published by the John Titor Foundation, a for-profit corporation run by Florida entertainment attorney Lawrence Haber. The Foundation also owns the copyright to the purported insignia of Titor’s military unit, the Fighting Diamondbacks, which is inscribed with a quote from Ovid: tempus edax rerum, meaning “time devours all things.”

Except, it would seem, the myth of John Titor.

8 • Christ’s Personal Photographer

177729044-e1387066193469_250pxFather Pellegrino Ernetti was a Benedictine monk and respected authority on archaic music. He also claimed to have co-invented—as part of a team that included Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi and German rocket scientist Werner von Braun—the “chronovisor,” a device that looked like a television but could tune in to events from the past.

According to Ernetti, he had observed the last supper and Christ’s crucifixion, as well as Napoleon and Cicero. The team had later voluntarily dismantled the device, because in the wrong hands, it could create “the most fearsome dictatorship the world has ever seen.” It had been inspired, he said, by Nostradamus—who had personally related to him the device’s possibilities.

When pressed for evidence, Ernetti produced a picture of Christ on the cross reportedly photographed through the chronovisor. After the photo’s resemblance to a carving by Cullot Valera was noticed, however, Ernetti was forced to admit the photo was a fake. Nevertheless, Ernetti insisted the chronovisor was real.

7 • The Pilot Who Entered A Parallel Dimension

87779040-e1387066436503_250pxIn 1935, a wing commander with Britain’s Royal Air Force named Sir Victor Goddard flew his open-cockpit biplane from Scotland to England on weekend leave. On the way, he passed over Drem Airfield near Edinburgh, which had been constructed during World War I. The tarmac and four hangars were in disrepair and barbed wire divided the field into numerous pastures filled with grazing cattle. Returning home a day later, Goddard ran into a violent storm and lost control of his plane. When he finally recovered from a downward spiral that should have resulted in his death, he was just several feet above a stony beach.

As Goddard climbed back up through the rain and fog, the sky suddenly filled with sunlight. Below him was the Drem Airfield—only the farm had disappeared, and the hangars were no longer decrepit. At the end of the restored tarmac stood four bright yellow planes, one an unfamiliar monoplane. These were surrounded by mechanics in blue overalls, notable to Goddard since RAF mechanics only ever wore brown.

Had Goddard—considered one of the founders of the RAF—simply been confused about his location, as some skeptics suggest? Or had he traveled forward in time? Goddard died in 1987, so we may never know the truth. Unless, of course, he returns from the past to tell us.

6 • The Sole Survivor Of The Philadelphia Experiment

177444045_250pxIn the fall of 1943, the USS Eldridge was allegedly made invisible and teleported from Pennsylvania to Virginia in an incident that came to be known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Of course, the incident never occurred—but that didn’t stop Alfred Bielek from achieving notoriety as Eldridge’s reputed lone survivor. His memories were “buried” until he saw the movie The Philadelphia Experiment in 1988, at which time he “remembered” that he was born in 1916 as Ed Cameron.

As Cameron, he’d been recruited in 1940 for an alleged Navy Project called Project Rainbow, whose purpose was to figure out how to make ships invisible. For reasons not entirely clear, “black ops” soldiers later sent Cameron through a portal at the Pentagon to Alpha Centauri One, where aliens interrogated him and then “physically regressed” him into one-year-old Al Bielek in 1927. Bialek claimed he later became director of mind control for the Montauk Project, whose members in the ‘80s traveled through a time vortex and changed the outcomes of various wars. When they returned to their own time, they would decide if they’d changed things for the better. If not, they would simply restore the status quo.

MORE – – –

Why the WTC towers fell at almost free-fall speed

OR . . . Static Versus Dynamic Loading

By Dave Burton via Burton Systems Software – (burtonsys.com)

WTC_Tower_2_collapse_200pxSome conspiracy theorists are puzzled about why the WTC towers fell at almost free-fall speed on Sept. 11, 2001. They suppose that the speed of collapse is evidence that something or someone must have destroyed the structural integrity of the undamaged lower part of each tower.

After all, they reason, “only the upper floors of the building were damaged, so why did the lower floors collapse, and why did they fall so fast?”

This web page answers those questions, simply enough for even a conspiracy theorist to comprehend (I hope). I do use some simple math and some very basic physics, but even if you don’t understand that part you should still be able to comprehend the basic reasons that the towers fell so fast.


What the conspiracy theorists apparently don’t understand is the difference between static and dynamic loading. (“Static” means “while at rest,” “dynamic” means “while moving.”)

If you don’t think it can make a difference, consider the effect of a stationary bullet resting on your chest, compared to the effect of a moving bullet striking your chest. The stationary bullet exerts a static load on your chest. A moving bullet exerts a dynamic load.

bullet apple 03_flat

As a more pertinent example, consider a 110 story building with a roof 1,368 feet high (like the WTC Twin Towers). Each floor is 1368/110 = 12.44 feet high, or aproximately 3.8 meters.

Now, suppose that the structural steel on the 80th floor collapses. (Note: I’m using as an example 2 WTC, which was the building that collapsed first.)

The collapse of the 80th floor drops all the floors above (which, together, are equivalent to a 30 story building!) onto the 79th floor, from a height of aproximately 12 feet.

Of course, the structure of the lower 79 floors has been holding up the weight of the top 31 floors for many years. (That’s the static load.) So should you expect it to be able to hold that same weight, dropped on it from a height of 12 feet (the dynamic load)?

The answer is, absolutely not!

Here’s why.

MORE . . .



Download HD version of this video for reposting: http://tinyurl.com/7rjrsjr

When Noam Chomsky says that’s an idiotic idea, he’s probably right

Sharon_hill_80pxby  via Doubtful News

One of the world’s most prominent intellectuals says it’s nonsense to buy into 9/11 conspiracy theories – get off the internet and think for yourself.

Noam Chomsky slaps down 9/11 truther: People spend an hour on the Internet and think they know physics | The Raw Story.

During a lecture on “Policy and the Media Prism” at the University of Florida a few weeks ago, 9/11 truth activist Bob Tuskin said the mainstream media had covered up evidence that Building 7 imploded in a controlled demolition. Tuskin asked Chomsky if he was finally ready to “jump on board with” 9/11 conspiracy theories.

“You’re right that there’s a consensus among a miniscule number of architects and engineers,” Chomsky replied. “They are not doing what scientists and engineers do when they think they’ve discovered something.”

“There happen to be a lot of people around who spend an hour on the Internet and think they know a lot physics, but it doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason there are graduate schools in these departments,” he continued.

Chomsky dismissed the claim that scientists and engineers hadn’t followed typical procedures because they felt intimidated by the government. He said publishing an article in an academic journal was virtually risk-free compared to other forms of political activism.

“There is just overwhelming evidence that the Bush administration wasn’t involved,” Chomsky added. “Very elementary evidence. You don’t have to be a physicist to understand it. You just have to think for a minute.”

Chomsky is advocating obtaining expertise and considering that the consensus view is most likely the right one. This is a good lesson – consider authorities who have specialized knowledge and see that it makes the most sense. Don’t rely on unrefereed stuff on Google. Anyone can publish crap on the Internet. Have some sense of reliable sources.

Michael Shermer has a piece that fits in well with this today. He talks about how people will want to subscribe to conspiracies anyway.

Conspiracy theories: Why we believe the unbelievable – latimes.com.

Why do so many people refuse to accept this simple and obvious conclusion? The answer: psychology.

There are three psychological effects at work here, starting with “cognitive dissonance,” or the discomfort felt when holding two ideas that are not in harmony. We attempt to reduce the dissonance by altering one of the ideas to be in accord with the other. In this case, the two discordant ideas are 1) JFK as one of the most powerful people on Earth who was 2) killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone loser, a nobody. Camelot brought down by a curmudgeon.

That doesn’t feel right. To balance the scale, conspiracy elements are stacked onto the Oswald side: the CIA, the FBI, the KGB, the Mafia, Fidel Castro, Lyndon Johnson and, in Oliver Stone’s telling in his film “JFK,” the military-industrial complex.

A second psychological effect is the “monological belief system,” or “a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network,” in the words of University of Kent researchers Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Robbie M. Sutton in a 2012 paper titled “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories.” A conspiracy theory, they wrote, is “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal.” Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.”

A third psychological effect is “confirmation bias,” or the tendency to look for and find confirming evidence for what you already believe and to ignore disconfirming evidence. Once you believe, say, that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration, you focus on the handful of anomalies that fateful day and connect them into a seemingly meaningful pattern, while ignoring the massive evidence pointing to Al Qaeda. JFK conspiracy theorists ignore the massive evidence pointing to Oswald while seeking deep meaning in trivial matters, such as the man with the umbrella on the grassy knoll, or the puff of smoke behind the picket fence, or the odd noises echoing around Dealey Plaza. Each become pregnant with meaning when the mind goes in search of cabals.

We are never going to not have people who believe in conspiracies. But we can make it embarrassing. There is no shame in telling people that their ridiculous conspiracy theories are RIDICULOUS NONSENSE. Belief in conspiracies take us off track and we waste our time and efforts on useless dead ends.


[END]

More Fukushima Scaremongering Debunked

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

Another day brings another science-free but hysteria-packed screed of terror about how radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant incident will bathe all of us in torrents of cesium-soaked death. Fukushima_250pxA few months ago, I took on one of these rambles, Gary Stamper’s not at all melodramatic “At the very least, your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over” and determined that nothing of the sort is even close to true, with the evidence behind it either willfully misinterpreted or simply incorrect.

Now it’s time to get the knives out for a newer piece of Fukushima scaremongering, published just over a week ago on “Activist Post.” While it’s just as wrong and hysterical as Stamper’s piece, it’s also just as popular, with 28,000 shares on Facebook already. It’s sad that far more people are drawn in by crap than in the debunking of said crap, but that doesn’t mean we stop spreading the correct message: that the radiation released by Fukushima, while serious enough to be cleaned up and monitored, is having a negligible effect on everyone but the unfortunate people living in that area.

28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima

fukushima bread 02_200pxAnd we’re off to the races: specifically, the Gish Gallop, a fallacious debating technique that involves overwhelming your opponent with information, without any regard for its accuracy. Also, I’d like to know what “absolutely fried” means. Is it measurable? Is there a unit that denotes “absolutely fried” as opposed to “mostly fried” or “somewhat fried?” How many AF’s (absolutely frieds) does the radiation from Fukushima contain? And what’s a survivable dose of AF’s? I have many questions about the science underlying this clearly scientific measuring tool.

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

According to his blurb on Activist Post, Michael Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

Snyder’s site appears to be some kind of Christian doomsday prepper clearinghouse, and his novel is about (surprise) the economic collapse of America. So if you’re looking for a way to incorporate hoarding precious metals into your fellowshipping, Snyder is your man. None of this is a knock against him, but he does seem to have a vested interest in trying to convince you the world is about to end. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

The map below comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center. It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated. As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States.

map_600px

The name “Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center” sounds a lot like a government regulatory body. It’s so incredibly the opposite of that. The website is a slapped together map of the supposed radiation levels at nuclear sites around the world. It’s got no indication where it’s getting its information or what it means, but it does have a fee based service that will alert you to radiation spikes anywhere in the world. And Bible quotes.

Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. That means that the total amount of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.

I already covered this in the Stamper piece, and why it seems much worse than it actually is. The short of it is that 300 tons of radioactive water is literally a drop in the bucket compared to the 187 quintillion gallons that make up the Pacific Ocean. Whatever radioactivity is in that water will be diluted to the point of harmlessness.

[…]
We are talking about a nuclear disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and it is constantly getting worse.

It’s not unprecedented. Chernobyl remains the worst nuclear disaster in human history, much worse in virtually every measurable way than Fukushima.

The following are 28 signs that the west coast of North America is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima…

Bring it, list. Bring it.

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores…

Stamper referenced the same article that Snyder does. And if I may be so bold as to quote myself: “The article Stamper links to specifically says ‘Reuters noted that preliminary studies do not support a theory that the disease is due to contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.‘”

Citing an article that specifically refutes the point you’re trying to make is not the way to make that point.

2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…

There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the west coast, happening for as-yet unknown reasons. But it’s sea lion PUPS dying, not sea lions as a whole. Radiation does not distinguish whether an animal is young or old, so it’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, that Fukushima has anything to do with this.

3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low. Many are blaming Fukushima.

Sockeye salmonSockeye salmon numbers have been in decline for decades.[/caption]And they would be wrong. Sockeye salmon stocks are low in Canada’s Fraser Basin, with experts in the field researching a number of causes for it. But it’s a decline that began in 1992, long before Fukushima was scaring the crap out of people.

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

Just as “many” does not equal “people who understand this stuff,” “something” does not equal “Fukushima.” The link Snyder sites doesn’t even talk about “fish all along the west coast of Canada.” It mentions one school of herring found to be mysteriously bleeding. The cause of this is unknown right now, but even the biologist who discovered the herring isn’t blaming Fukushima – and she discovered them before the plume of radiation would have reached Canada.

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

I don’t know where the “size of California” bit comes from, and I can’t find any reputable source to back it up. There is a large field of debris from the post-earthquake tsunami that will hit the west coast, but interestingly, the link Snyder cites has another link to a BBC article that says it won’t happen until March, 2014. And the debris is not likely to have anything more than traces of radioactivity.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

True, and nothing to be concerned about, given how low the current radioactivity level of the west coast is. To quote Dr. Claus Boning from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany: “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima. […] But we cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima.”

7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

This is entirely expected and in keeping with a radioactive leak. The amount of radioactivity in the plankton will continue to decay as it moves up the food chain, staying well within Japan’s newly-raised acceptable levels of becquerels per kilogram of foodstuffs.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

Yet another link Snyder cited without actually reading. It references a CNN article that states: “Tissue samples taken from 15 bluefin caught in August, five months after the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, all contained reactor byproducts cesium-134 and cesium-137 at levels that produced radiation about 3% higher than natural background sources.” (Emphasis mine)

A 3% increase in radiation is negligible. It’s around the same amount of additional exposure you get flying in a plane, or sleeping next to someone. If that worries you, then it’s time for separate bedrooms.

MORE . . .

Quantum Physics: Teleportation and Holograms

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

In countless works of fiction, authors use quantum mechanics to explain things like telepathy, teleportation or the shape of the universe. Why? Tune in to learn more about quantum physics — and why, in some cases, the truth may be stranger than fiction.

3 Simple Ways to Time Travel (& 3 Complicated Ones)

Every now and then i just geek out on science:)

▶ 3 Simple Ways to Time Travel (& 3 Complicated Ones) – YouTube.

Image Authentication and Forensics – The Moon Landing Photos

By Hany Farid via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

By some counts a surprising number of people believe that the 1969 moon landing was a hoax. These dis-believers point to, among other things, purported inconsistencies in some of the moon landing photos. I’ll describe the application of a new forensic technique that refutes some of these claims.

Shown below is the iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin in which the physical plausibility of the lighting and shadows has been called into question.

moonlanding

I have previously described how cast shadows in an image can be analyzed to determine if they are consistent with a single light source. In order to determine if shadows are authentic, we connect points on a shadow to their corresponding points on the object. These lines should all intersect at a single point (or in the special case, be parallel) — this point is the location of the light source projected into the image. The application of this forensic technique (as shown here) requires a clearly defined shadow to object pairing (e.g., the tip of a cone). Such shadows in the above photo are in short supply thus limiting the application of this forensic technique.

In collaboration with Dr. Eric Kee (Columbia University) and Prof. James O’Brien (UC Berkeley) we recently developed a new forensic technique that can be applied to ambiguously defined shadows [1]. In this analysis, we start at any point on a shadow and draw a wedge-shaped constraint that encompasses all parts of an object to which the shadow may correspond. Shown below is one such constraint. The constraint encompasses the entire sphere because there is no systematic way of reasoning about which part of the sphere is associated with a particular spot on the shadow.

moonlanding2

In the above figure, the shaded red region constrains the projected location of the light source. While obviously not as specific as a single line constraint, this approach allows us to analyze all cast shadows in an image.

Because we can now handle ambiguous shadow-object pairings, we can also exploit attached shadows to determine the location of the light source. An attached shadow occurs when an object occludes the light from itself (e.g., a non-full Moon). Shown below, for example, is an attached shadow on the sphere’s surface. The line that is tangent to an attached shadow constrains the projected location of the light source to be on the illuminated side of the object.

moonlanding3

Multiple cast and attached shadow constraints can be specified in an image. If the shadows are physically correct, then all of the constraints will share a common intersection (this consistency check is automatically determined using standard linear programming). Any violations of these constraints is evidence of photo tampering.

Shown below is the result of this new shadow analysis applied to the moon landing image. The cast shadow constraints are shown with solid red lines and the attached shadow constraints are shown with dashed lines. All of the constraints are consistent (the triangular region outlined in black denotes a common intersection). Despite some claims to the contrary, the lighting in this spectacular photo is physically consistent.

moonlanding_analysis

—————————-

[1] Eric Kee, James O’Brien and Hany Farid. Exposing Photo Manipulation with Inconsistent ShadowsACM Transactions on Graphics, 32(4):28:1-12, 2013.

[2] Eric Kee’s presentation at SIGGRAPH, 2013.


[END] via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

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.

MORE . . .

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

Quantum Quackery

quantum-physics-lecture_600pxQuantum physics is claimed to support the mystical notion that the mind creates reality. However, an objective reality, with no special role for consciousness, human or cosmic, is consistent with all observations.

By Victor Stenger (1997) via Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

quantum_physicsCertain interpretations of quantum mechanics, the revolutionary theory developed early in the century to account for the anomalous behavior of light and atoms, are being misconstrued so as to imply that only thoughts are real and that the physical universe is the product of a cosmic mind to which the human mind is linked throughout space and time. This interpretation has provided an ostensibly scientific basis for various mind-over-matter claims, from ESP to alternative medicine. “Quantum mysticism” also forms part of the intellectual backdrop for the postmodern assertion that science has no claim on objective reality.

The word “quantum” appears frequently in New Age and modern mystical literature. For example, physician Deepak Chopra (1989) has successfully promoted a notion he calls quantum healing, which suggests we can cure all our ills by the application of sufficient mental power.

Photo courtesy Daniel Johansson

Photo courtesy Daniel Johansson

According to Chopra, this profound conclusion can be drawn from quantum physics, which he says has demonstrated that “the physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world” (Chopra 1993, 5). Chopra also asserts that “beliefs, thoughts, and emotions create the chemical reactions that uphold life in every cell,” and “the world you live in, including the experience of your body, is completely dictated by how you learn to perceive it” (Chopra 1993, 6). Thus illness and aging are an illusion and we can achieve what Chopra calls “ageless body, timeless mind” by the sheer force of consciousness.1

Amit Goswami, in The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World, argues that the existence of paranormal phenomena is supported by quantum mechanics:

. . . psychic phenomena, such as distant viewing and out-of-body experiences, are examples of the nonlocal operation of consciousness . . . . Quantum mechanics undergirds such a theory by providing crucial support for the case of nonlocality of consciousness.

(Goswami 1993, 136)

Since no convincing, reproducible evidence for psychic phenomena has been found, despite 150 years of effort, this is a flimsy basis indeed for quantum consciousness.

MORE . . .

Update: Cloud Anomaly Explained | Ghost Theory

Watch the video below to see the strangest cloud phenomenon you will ever see! Guaranteed.

Then click the link below the video for the explanation from the good people over at Ghost Theory. Cool stuff.

➤➤➤ Cloud Anomaly Explained | Ghost Theory.

Understanding Coincidence

By Kyle Hill via randi.org

Many people have a legitimate fear of numbers, equations, and probability. This “math anxiety” keeps much of the lay public from ever willfully learning about mathematics; indeed, ignorance in this regard is often touted. Commonly used phrases like “I’m not a numbers person” and “I hate math” betray that fact that a good portion of society does not understand math and consciously avoids it.

Comprehending this deficit and doing something about it should be taken up within our school system; we should engage students with math early, often, and more rigorously.

23 peopleBut mathematical illiteracy plays a role in perpetuating not just equation ignorance, but pseudoscience. Not understanding just how much of your life is governed by randomness generates many a fallacious belief about the way that the world works. It should be clearly understood that randomness creates coincidence. That is to say, if there were no coincidences in life, we could speculate that some outside force is controlling the events in our lives. However, with true randomness comes the expectation that coincidences will happen: there will be cancer clusters, your friend will call you just when you were thinking about them, and last night’s dream will have somehow “predicted” the events of the following day. It is with the last example, predictive dreams, which I would like to press on with. With a short lesson in randomness and probability, we can see that so-called predictive dreams (and any other event “too amazing to be a coincidence”) are nothing more than random happenings. You don’t have ESP, it’s not fate, and it’s not magic.

“I Dreamt This Would Happen!”

The purpose of this example is to show that many pseudoscientific ideas about the way the universe works are driven by a misunderstanding of randomness and probability. While predictive dreams are harmless, I would suspect that this belief characterizes the kind of thinking that underlies pseudosciences like astrology, ESP, and parapsychology.

coincidence invented

Let’s overcome our math anxiety with a dreaded word problem. Let’s stipulate that the chance of a dream to some extent matching the events of the following day is 1 in 10,000. This means that out of 10,000 dreams, the vast majority, 9,999, will not match any future events. Let’s also assume that having a non-matching dream one night will not affect the dream of the next night, so each night is independent from one another. So given these stipulations, the odds of having a dream that does not match any real life event is 9,999/10,000. When people speak about predictive dreams, it is not as though they have them every night. If this were happening, we might consider it to be more than coincidence. However, anyone who has experienced this phenomenon (myself included) will probably tell you that they do not hit a homerun every night. It is this fact, that an amazingly serendipitous event only happens once in a while, that alludes to chance as the rational explanation.

Remembering the odds above, the chance of having a dream that does not match any real life event for two nights in a row will follow the multiplication principle of probabilities, meaning that the probability is (9,999/10,000)*(9,999/10,000). Likewise, the probability that you will have a dream that does not predict anything for three nights in a row is (9,999/10,000)*(9,999/10,000)*(9,999/10,000). Following this principle, the chance that you will have successive dreams that do not match reality can be expressed as (9,999/10,000)N, where N is the number of nights. As I said above, I don’t think that anyone would say that these predictions are a common occurrence, so let’s consider a time period of one year. The probability that you will have successive dreams every night for a year that do not predict anything would be (9,999/10,0009)365, with N equal to the number of days in a year. This results in a 96.4 percent chance that people who dream every night of a year with not have any predictive dreams. 57 peopleThis of course means that over a period of one year, 3.6% of people who dream every night will have at least one dream that matches reality in some way. Consider that for a moment. Even though coincidences like these can drive people to believe in fate, precognition, ESP, etc., using our definition here we can say that these probabilities in large population would produce literally millions of predictive dreams each year! Even if we relax our standards and make a predictive dream a one-in-a-million event, it would still produce thousands upon thousands of predictive dreams each year by chance alone.

It’s not magic, it’s not fate, it’s not a spiritual connection with someone else; if there’s a likelihood that something will happen, however small, it is explained by chance alone that it is bound to happen to some people at some time. Look at what happened with the supposedly prophetic Nostradamus. He threw out a claim that had to do with two towers coming down and . . .

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Can Humans Really Feel Temperature? (Geek Alert!)

The answer is obvious, right? Not so quick you little geek!!! Enjoy:)

Can Humans Really Feel Temperature? – YouTube.

Mystery, Mayhem, and Quantum Physics: The Bermuda Triangle and the Hutchinson Effect

bermudatri
By via Lucid Dreams and Saturn Skies

Well, it was inevitable. Anyone who writes about the weird stuff that happens in this world has to, at some point, tackle two topics: Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle. Not that the two are in anyway related; rather, they’re both arguably the most popular paranormal subjects out there. Usually I try to find more exotic fare for the blog, but when a friend mentioned the Bermuda Triangle in conjunction with something called the Hutchinson Effect, I decided I’d dive in since it was a two-fer.

The Bermuda Triangle is such a facet of pop culture at this point that I won’t spend a ton of time describing it. It is described as a big slice of ocean (between half a million and 1.5 million square miles) that forms, big shock here, a triangle, with the vertices centered in Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan. The Triangle is alleged to be the site of strange phenomena: metallic fogs, strange magnetic disturbances, freak storms, and unexplained lights in the sky. Believers claim that the Triangle swallows ships and planes whole, leaving not a trace for befuddled rescuers to recover.

Believers posit various reasons for the phenomena. Perhaps Atlantis sank beneath the waves under the Triangle, or there’s an alien colony on the sea floor abducting people for nefarious purposes. Since those of us who don’t regularly sport tinfoil hats can easily discount those two, let’s move on to a third, more entertaining option: the Hutchinson Effect.

Known was the H-Effect, it was allegedly discovered by an eccentric inventor named John Hutchinson, who was monkeying around with the various electronic gizmos that he packed his apartment with over the years when, lo and behold,  something (it’s never said what) whacked him in the shoulder! Turns out whatever it was had started levitating due to…something. Something that can also cause unlike materials (metal and wood, for example) to meld together, metals to melt without heat, and other strange phenomena, including metallic fogs similar to those allegedly reported above the Bermuda Triangle.. The best explanation that supporters can come up with for the alleged effect is that scalar waves tap into zero point energy, thus producing the phenomena observed. How exactly that happens, they have no explanation.

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What are chemtrails, and should you be scared of them?

via HowStuffWorks

Is there something sinister in airplane contrails?

Is there something sinister in airplane contrails?

The trail of clouds that billow from an airplane streaking across the sky can be mesmerizing for children and adults alike. Jet engine traffic has become so common that it’s not unusual to see several lingering streaks in the afternoon. And though many consider the streaks beautiful against a bright blue sky, others are alarmed about them. Concerns range from the idea that these streaks could exacerbate global warming to more elaborate theories that the government has secretly been dumping harmful substances on the land.

Before we get into the various theories about the possible harmful effects, let’s discuss the scientific explanation for these streaks. Jet engines spew out very hot air. And, because water vapor is one of the byproducts of the exhaust, the air is also very humid. However, high in the atmosphere where these jets fly, the air is typically very cold — often lower than -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the atmosphere up there is often of low vapor pressure, or the force exerted by a gas on the surrounding environment.

When a jet engine is spewing out hot, humid air into an atmosphere that is cold and has low vapor pressure, the result is condensation. The water vapor coming out of the engine quickly condenses into water droplets and then crystallizes into ice. The ice crystals are the clouds that form behind the engine. This is why the streaks are called contrails, short for “condensation trails.” To help explain it, scientists liken it to seeing your breath on cold days. You may have noticed that puffs of breath dissipate quickly on dryer days. The same is true of contrails: When the atmosphere is more humid, the contrails linger, but when the atmosphere is dry, the contrails disappear more quickly.

This explanation makes sense. But, as author and airline pilot Patrick Smith tells readers, the contrails consist of not just ice crystals and water vapor but also other byproducts of engine exhaust. These include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfate particles and soot (source: Smith). Some point out that these, in addition to the extra cloud cover, can have negative environmental effects. And conspiracy theorists have nicknamed contrails “chemtrails” under the suspicion that the government is taking advantage of this scientific phenomenon to secretly release other substances into the atmosphere.

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HAARP – The Military’s Mystery Machine

The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, has been called a missile-defense tool and a mind-control device. The truth is a bit less ominous

By Abe Streep via Popular Science
Posted June 18, 2008

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Northern Exposure: With HAARP, an antenna array located 200 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, scientists study the outer atmosphere by zapping it with radio waves generated by 3,600 kilowatts of electricity. Appropriately, it has a great view of the aurora borealis. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

If the paranoid blogosphere is to be believed, every morning a group of plasma-physics grad students wakes up at a research facility in Gakona, Alaska, 200 miles north of Anchorage, and prepares for another day of playing God. It’s cold, dark as a mineshaft in winter, and the day’s work does little to cheer the mood. Depending on the unpredictable agendas of military scientists, this group of technicians must shoot radio waves into the upper reaches of our atmosphere to create missile shields, eviscerate enemy satellites, set off the occasional earthquake, or control the minds of millions of people.

Skywave Propogation: Radio waves travel in straight lines, but the Earth isn’t flat, so sending radio signals to the other side of the world is tricky. HAARP’s findings could lead to ways to extend the range of radio signals by creating irregularities in the ionosphere that would bounce signals across long distances.  Paul Wootton

Skywave Propogation: Radio waves travel in straight lines, but the Earth isn’t flat, so sending radio signals to the other side of the world is tricky. HAARP’s findings could lead to ways to extend the range of radio signals by creating irregularities in the ionosphere that would bounce signals across long distances. Paul Wootton

The truth is, though, that the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP—the 180-antenna array that became fully operational (in 2007) when the defense-systems contractor BAE finished installing transmitters—is nothing more sinister than a research station. And now, 15 years after construction on the station began, HAARP’s managers are seeing what the fully powered system can do; most recently, they’ve begun zapping the moon with the hope of determining the composition of its soil. “It’s up, it runs, it performs beautifully,” says Ed Kennedy, the former HAARP program manager for the Naval Research Lab. “HAARP is a great example of a project that from start to finish stayed on schedule and on budget.”

HAARP’s purpose is to study the ionosphere (the section of the atmosphere beginning about 50 miles up in which ultraviolet radiation temporarily strips atoms of their electrons), the magnetosphere (the region in space above the ionosphere where the Earth’s magnetic field affects the behavior of charged particles) and the Van Allen radiation belts (bands of highly charged particles contained in the magnetosphere beginning some 400 miles up). Scientists are interested in the ionosphere because of its ability to affect radio signals; the Van Allen belt, because the radiation there damages satellites, and a better understanding of it could lead to ways to make satellites last longer. “It’s an open plasma-physics laboratory,” says Dennis Papadopoulos, a physics professor at the University of Maryland who helped conceive the idea for HAARP with the Naval Research Lab more than 30 years ago. “You test ideas and scientific theories. Then, if something’s important to the Department of Defense, you apply it.”

Ionospheric Manipulation Made Easy: HAARP’s ionospheric research instrument comprises 180 aluminum antenna towers [1] on a 40-acre plot. Together the towers beam radio waves into the ionosphere, which begins about 50 miles up. There, sunlight temporarily strips gas molecules [2] of their electrons, creating charged particles [3]. Scientists tweak HAARP’s signal [4] to stimulate reactions in the lower ionosphere, causing phenomena such as radiating auroral currents, a.k.a. “virtual antennas,” which send extremely low-frequency waves back to Earth. The waves can reach deep into the ocean and could improve submarine communication. At night, the absence of sunlight causes the lowest layer of the ionosphere to temporarily disappear [5]. This allows HAARP to conduct experiments that could lead to better ways to use a process called skywave propagation.  Paul Wootton

Ionospheric Manipulation Made Easy: HAARP’s ionospheric research instrument comprises 180 aluminum antenna towers [1] on a 40-acre plot. Together the towers beam radio waves into the ionosphere, which begins about 50 miles up. There, sunlight temporarily strips gas molecules [2] of their electrons, creating charged particles [3]. Scientists tweak HAARP’s signal [4] to stimulate reactions in the lower ionosphere, causing phenomena such as radiating auroral currents, a.k.a. “virtual antennas,” which send extremely low-frequency waves back to Earth. The waves can reach deep into the ocean and could improve submarine communication. At night, the absence of sunlight causes the lowest layer of the ionosphere to temporarily disappear [5]. This allows HAARP to conduct experiments that could lead to better ways to use a process called skywave propagation. Paul Wootton

One application government scientists are particularly interested in is turning the lower ionosphere into a tool for broadcasting radio signals or bouncing them around the curvature of the Earth. By beaming a signal ranging from 2.8 to 10 megahertz into the ionosphere and then pulsing the signal, HAARP stimulates what’s called a “virtual antenna”—a radio interaction that causes the ionosphere to send a very low-frequency signal back down to Earth. The phenomenon could theoretically improve submarine communication. Because salty, conductive seawater absorbs high-frequency radio waves, submarines currently operate with wires that reach up into shallow depths to receive usable radio signals. Low-frequency signals like the ones HAARP generates in the ionosphere could allow subs to operate at much deeper depths. “It’s a real signal that comes from space as though there were an antenna up there,” says Paul Kossey, HAARP program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate. “But there’s no wire doing it.”

Of course, a vocal minority of HAARP-watchers have their own ideas about the purpose of the $230-million, taxpayer-funded antenna array . . .

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What is Gravity? (Geek Alert!)

Time for some Geek TV!!! :)

One Minute Physics provides an energetic and entertaining view of old and new problems in physics — all in one minute!

In this episode, we discuss the basic nature of gravity, one of the four fundamental forces in our universe.

Via Minute Physics: What is Gravity? – YouTube.

The Philadelphia Experiment

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know

Nowadays many people are familiar with the legend of the Philadelphia Experiment — but how did it all begin? Tune in to this Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know video and learn more.

New videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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The True Science of Parallel Universes (Geek Alert!)

Major, major GEEK ALERT!!!!!😉

via The True Science of Parallel Universes – YouTube.

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