by Mick West at 12:14 PM
(1,235 Views / 4 Likes)

In a widely shared tweet two identical pieces of curved train track appear to be different sizes.


This has been widely explained as an example of the Jastrow Illusion, something that's commonly illustrated with toy train tracks. And indeed that that's part of it, however there's more to it than that. Compare the top segment to the bottom segment here.


It looks smaller, right? Now everyone is telling you this is just an illusion. It's quite true that the Jastrow illusion makes the bottom piece look bigger. But in this image (and the video) the bottom piece actually IS bigger. It's bigger because it's closer to the camera:

This may seem like a minor point (after all the Jastrow Illusion IS partly why it seems...
by Mick West at 4:31 PM
(2,384 Views / 4 Likes)
I saw this contrail heading towards me and thought it would pass overhead, giving me a clear shot of the plane.


Instead it began a turn to the north (the plane's left)

Quite a dramatic one, from where I was standing.

Turns out it was this:

Identified on FlightAware as NASA502,

It's an earthquake fault mapping flight.
by Mick West at 11:44 AM
(5,236 Views / 3 Likes)

The Carbon Monoxide overlay on appears to show a sudden spike in CO levels over most of California on 2/26/2016. There's a large area shown at off-the-scale levels.

The previous day looked like:

i.e. basically none. So what's going on here? Was there a huge spike in CO? I'm right in the middle of that black area, I did not notice anything on Feb 25th (last Thursday).

It turns out it was just a glitch in the data. Here's NASA's statement:
by Mick West at 11:25 AM
(2,534 Views / 11 Likes)

I saw the above image shared on Facebook with the description: 'Death Valley is coming to life as a direct result of the rains caused by El Niño. Called a "superbloom".'

The problem is it's not Death Valley, and it's not this year. It's actually from 11 years ago, and was taken in the Tremblor Range in California (170 miles from Death Valley) in march 2005 by Frank Kee.

Even back in 2008 the image had been widely and misleadingly shared on the internet, as the photographer himself describes:
by Mick West at 11:52 AM
(4,575 Views / 6 Likes)
Philanthropist Manoj Bhargava plans to distribute 10,000 stationary electricity generating bikes in rural India. The bikes power an electric generator which charges a battery, which can then be used to power a few lights and charge some mobile devices in homes that often do not have any electricity.

Unfortunately this story has been shared many times with the suggestion that it can power your home, typically with the suggestions that just one hour on the bike can power your home for 24 hours. Example:

The reality however is that the bike is designed for very small houses in rural India, and the actual usage is limited to a few very low powered...
by Mick West at 4:40 PM
(1,337 Views / 1 Likes)
Various news reports say that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested a "New World War" was possible in Syria. However the Russian government english translation of the interview simply says "a new war in the world", which suggests simply an additional war. The official Russian transcript says: "очередную войну на Земле." which might possibly be translated as "a new ground war", which makes sense in context, but is vastly different to "a new world war".

Typical western news story with quotes and paraphrasing:
by Mick West at 5:42 PM
(4,127 Views / 4 Likes)
Half of all chemtrail believers did not notice persistent trails until after 2010. So if there was a chemtrail spraying program that started in 1995, then why did they not notice it?


Four years ago, in January 2012, I started a survey to try to discover when people first noticed persistent trails being left by aircraft in the sky. These trails are generally agreed by scientists and the general public to be aircraft contrails - condensation of water vapor which triggers cloud formations which can persist and spread if conditions are right. However there are a significant number of people who believe the theory that these trails are...
by Mick West at 11:00 AM
(17,712 Views / 4 Likes)
The hacking group AnonSec recently posted a text file, accompanied by a large data dump, in which they claim to have hacked NASA servers while looking for evidence of "chemtrails". Here's how they put it:

This text file (a pruned version of which is attached to this post) and data release has been used by many groups that promote the "chemtrails" theory as "proof" that chemtrails are real, and that there's some kind of secret geoengineering program going on.

Here's the...
by Mick West at 8:52 AM
(9,108 Views / 3 Likes)

LaVoy Finicum was shot by the FBI. Depending on your interpretation of the video he was shot either before or after he put his hands down and reached across his body with his right hand to an area on the left side of his body. His left hand is either reaching for the same area, or pulling his jacket aside.

A common meme being shared is show above, on the left. The claim is that since Finicum carried his gun on the right, then he would not have reached for his left side unless he had been shot there.

This is incorrect. While Fincum was well known at the Malheur refuge for having a gun slung on his right hip (his open carry gun), he also commonly wore a concealed carry 9mm on his left...
by Trailspotter at 2:59 PM
(2,288 Views / 7 Likes)
A week ago, on January 9, 2016, a vast contrail grid was formed over the Southeastern Australia. Its images were captured by all three satellites in the NASA Worldview: Terra, Aqua and Suomi NPP. The Terra image below is a composite of two swaths, the right one was taken at 23:55 (8-Jan-2016) UTC and the left one at 01:30 UTC:
The Aqua and Suomi satellites passed over this area later, at about the same time, 04:05 and 4:00 UTC, respectively. Separated by a few hours, these images give us just snapshots of the grid, the older contrails in which probably dissipated and were replaced with younger ones.

Fortunately, it was possible to follow the evolution of this particular contrail grid thanks to the Japanese weather satellite Himawari-8. It is located on a geostationary orbit above the Equator and a meridian...