Tag Archives: Russia

Birth of a Conspiracy Theory: There Is No Finland

A study of how a conspiracy theory as absurd as “There is no Finland” can even exist.

by Brian Dunning via Skeptoid

We’ve all heard a lot of really weird conspiracy theories about the world — the Flat Earth, the Hollow Earth, and the world’s governments all conspire to cover up the truth, for some reason. Some of these are so bizarre that they can only be jokes. None more so than the claim that Finland doesn’t exist. The idea here is that where we all think Finland is is actually just ocean, and that Japan and Russia conspired to persuade the world there’s a country there, to cover up the fact that Japan does unlimited fishing and whaling there with no international oversight. Today we’re going to study why a tale so trivially disproven as that can actually survive to become passionately believed by a small but vocal group of conspiracy theorists.


On any map, Finland borders Russia to its east, and its south and west borders are in the Baltic Sea. To its north, Finland connects to Sweden and Norway. Believers in the conspiracy theory have drawn a new map in which most of Finland is simply erased, extending the Baltic Sea all the way to the Russian border; and the northern third of Finland is simply renamed as more of Sweden, thus extending Sweden’s territory significantly. And thus is the Baltic Sea greatly expanded as well, giving those Japanese fishing boats plenty of space to do what they do, unpestered by fishing regulators.

How would such a thing come to be? According to the conspiracy theory, after World War II, Russia found itself short of food (and this is quite true). Japan was facing a related problem, in that they found they’d been overfishing and needed new waters. So they approached Russia with the idea of granting them secret fishing rights in the Baltic; and to hide it from the rest of the world, they’d mutually agree to tell everyone that much of the Baltic Sea was actually a landmass called Finland so there’s no need for anyone to try and regulate fishing there. Russia agreed, and together they built the Trans-Siberian Railway to facilitate the endeavour, and as a quid pro quo, Japan donated much of its catch to Russia.

Continue Reading (or listen) @ Skeptoid – – –

10 Unexplained Paranormal Events

By Alltime10s via YouTube

From the mysterious death of Elisa Lam, who’s body was found in a hotel water cooler, to the real life events that inspired The Exorcist, check out our terrifying list of the top 10 unexplained paranormal events.

Crowdfunding Pseudoscience

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

Indiegogo is rapidly earning a reputation for not caring whether or not they fund pure pseudoscience. This, in my opinion, is a bad business model, not to mention morally dubious.

I wrote previously about an Indiegogo campaign to fund a free energy device – a “home quantum energy generator.”  Indiegogo claims to have a process to weed out fraud from their campaigns, but this one apparently slipped through their process. When I e-mailed Indiegogo to question them about this campaign, I received nothing but a generic response.

Now pandodaily has been covering a new Indiegogo campaign for a “miracle” device – the GoBe by Healbe. The company claims on their Indiegogo page:

GoBe is the only way to automatically measure calorie intake—through your skin. Simply wear it to see calories consumed and burned, activity, hydration, sleep, stress levels, and more, delivered effortlessly to your smartphone.

"I found a publicity shy company, operated remotely from Russia, promoting a device unsupported by any medical or scientific evidence whatsoever."

“I found a publicity shy company, operated remotely from Russia, promoting a device unsupported by any medical or scientific evidence whatsoever.”James Robinson @ Pandodaily

They have raised almost a million dollars. Pandodaily has done a great job of investigating the company. It looks as if they are a Russian company with a minimal footprint in the US. They have no patents, have not published any data, and have no history of producing real medical devices. No one outside the  company has seen or tested a working prototype. Read the article for all the sordid details. I want to delve a bit further into the alleged science behind their claims.

One huge red flag for any scientific claims – especially one involving a working device – is when there is no trail of scientific progress leading up to the alleged device. Scientific advances tend to proceed through necessary steps. You have to establish the basics before you get to the more advanced applications.

For anyone following a particular scientific field you can see the paper-trail of a scientific advance as each incremental step is published and debated by the community. It’s a dynamic process. When a company or researcher claims to have made a breakthrough that is many steps ahead of the public transparent science, this is a red flag. Companies coming out of nowhere with advances that are 10-20 years or more ahead of their time is the stuff of movies, not reality.

MORE – – –


Also See (April 9, 2014):

As media outrage grows louder, Indiegogo scampaigners launch PR counter assault

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With just six days of scampaigning left to go, Indiegogo-fraudsters Healbe have launched an all-out PR assault to stem the tide of refunds. (source)

Joseph Stalin and the Human-ape Army

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

Tasked with building Stalin’s new army of super soldiers, Russian scientist Dr. Ilya Ivanov attempted to breed monkeys and human beings. Learn more about humanzees — and the people who think they already exist — in this episode.

HAARP Geo-physical Weaponry Theory

by Asura via Exposing The Truth

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

Conspiracy Theory Origins

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

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

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

Explaining HAARP and Common Myths

MORE . . .

The HAARP facility in Gakona, AK.

The HAARP facility in Gakona, AK.

Meteorite Fall in Russia Hurts More than 500 People

via LiveScience

Hundreds of people are reportedly injured, and hundreds of buildings damaged, after a meteorite streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains Friday morning (Feb. 15) and exploded in a massive blast.

The meteor explosion was centered around the Chelyabinsk region, which is about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) east of Moscow.

Meteor_300pxMost of the hundreds injured were reportedly hurt by falling glass in the blast, 112 of whom have been hospitalized, due to cuts from the shattered glass resulting from the blast. In addition, an estimated 297 buildings were damaged, including six hospitals and 12 schools, according to translations of updates by the Russian Emergency Ministry.

Scientists think a meteoroid entered the atmosphere above Russia’s southern Chelyabinsk region, where it exploded and broke up into meteorites scattered across three regions of Russia and Kazakhstan, according to news reports. [Photos of Russia’s Meteor Fireball Blast]

“I would think that this is likely an exploding fireball (or bolide) event caused by the atmospheric impact of a small asteroid,” Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program, told SPACE.com. “If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs. the trailing side.”

Basically, Yeomans added, the meteor “pancaked and exploded.”

(A bolide is an extraterrestrial body ranging in size from 0.6 to 6 miles, or 1-10 km across that hits Earth at velocities faster than a speeding bullet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.)

“This bolide event probably had nothing to do with the upcoming close Earth approach of asteroid 2012 DA14, which is due to pass closely (and safely) past the Earth at 19:24 GMT today,” or 2:24 p.m. ET, Yeomans wrote, adding that the Russian bolide trail did not travel south to north as the asteroid will.

“And the separation in time between the fireball and 2012 DA14 close approach is significant,” Yeomans said.

A large chunk of the space rock has reportedly been discovered in a lake in the Chelyabinsk region, CNN reports.

A report by the Russian television news agency Russia Today showed video of the meteor, which included what appears to be a fireball streaking across the sky from several vantage points. At times the object is so bright it casts shadows.

MORE . . . (includes more video)

James Randi Videos Added!

James Randi is one of my heroes.

I’ve just added a new series of James Randi videos from the “James Randi: Psychic Investigator” series from 1991. There were 6 episodes, Randi investigated Mediums, Astrology, Psychic Surgery, Dowsing, New Age, and Psychometry/Graphology – all in front of a live audience.

These video links are now permanently located above, in the pulldown menu links just below the iLLumiNuTTi banner. Enjoy!!! 🙂

Who is James Randi?

Biography*

JamesRandi_300pxJames Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.

Randi has pursued “psychic” spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water “with a memory,” and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1986.

On October 19, 1993, the PBS-TV “NOVA” program broadcast a one-hour special dealing with Randi’s life work, particularly with his investigations of Uri Geller and various occult and healing claims being made by scientists in Russia.

He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His lectures and television appearances have delighted — and vexed — audiences around the world.

In 1996, the James Randi Education Foundation was established to further Randi’s work. Randi’s long-standing challenge to psychics now stands as a $1,000,000 prize administered by the Foundation. It remains unclaimed.
randii_600px

*From the official James Randi FaceBook page.

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