Metabunk

Jul
06
by Mick West at 1:10 PM
(411 Views / 2 Likes)
5 Comments
20150706-122200-jyxj5 copy.

The Mars Curiosity Rover has taken tens of thousands of photographs, and in those photographs are millions of rocks. It's inevitable that if you stare at millions of rocks for long enough, then you'll find a rock that resembles something.

In this case it's a pyramid shaped rock. "Life on Mars" fans have been quite enthusiastic about this, with some quite extreme claims:
http://exopolitics.org/nasa-curiosity-rover-photographs-pyramid-on-mars/
Jul
05
by Mick West at 1:00 PM
(676 Views / 9 Likes)
5 Comments
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A photo of a bright light seemingly hovering over a counter is being presented as an unexplained apparition by the Stony River Hotel's new owners. Unfortunately a brief inspection shows that this is just the light in the fridge behind the counter, and it's quite likely that it's a deliberate publicity stunt by the owners trying to improve their business.

The fridge in question features quite prominently in the local news video about the "ghost"
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Suggesting it was the light is pretty obvious, but the owners claim there was no light:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-dai...host-haunts-okato-pub--makes-pictures-crooked
Jun
20
by Chew at 6:51 AM
(1,273 Views / 4 Likes)
16 Comments
Taken from Glacier Point ( 37.73083, -119.57278 ) at 09:44:29 PDT (16:44:29 UTC) with an iPhone 4. Center of image is azimuth 080°.

Yosemite.JPG
Jun
13
by Mick West at 12:17 PM
(8,961 Views / 10 Likes)
42 Comments
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A recent photo proports to show a UFO over Loch Ness in Scotland, however it's almost certainly just the reflection of a light inside the room, doubled up by dual pane window.

The story accompanying the photo described the photo as being taken "at a holiday cottage near Urquhart Castle". A brief examination of possible viewpoints in Google Earth let me to determine the viewpoint was near Bunloit.
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Then a quick search for holiday cottages led me to Bunloit Farmhouse, the web page for which having a photo that matched the view:
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The layout of the cottage indicates the photo was most...
May
30
by Mick West at 11:20 AM
(2,480 Views / 9 Likes)
34 Comments
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This interview of me (Mick West) by Tristan Albrecht was conducted on September 5th 2013 in Venice, California. I made an audio recording of the interview with Tristan's permission. The interview was for the "Overcast" documentary.

Audio is of poor quality, but audible: https://www.metabunk.org/sk/Overcast_-_Mick_West_-_Full_Audio.MP3

[00:00]

Mick: ... sure this is recording, yeah. I'm gonna stick it down there, alright

Tristan: Okay, so the first thing I need from you is just present yourself, say what you do, age, where you're from, things like that

Mick: alright,

Tristan: whenever you want

Mick: My name is Mick West, I'm 46 years old and I live in Venice, California, and I'm a...
May
25
by Mick West at 9:10 PM
(13,719 Views / 3 Likes)
54 Comments
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Kylie Jenner tweeted the left half of the above image to her 10 Million Twitter followers yesterday, and it has already been retweeted four thousand times. I added the answers on the right.

It's quite a simplistic version of the "chemtrail" theory, but given the amount of attention it has received because of Jenner's celebrity status, I think it's worth addressing directly, and in way that can be reused, hence the above anti-meme.

The text of the above questions and answers:

Q) Why did I see 75 planes spraying white stuff into the sky on my 15 minute drive to work?
A) Everywhere in the US sees from 100 to 500+ jets fly nearby every day. Often water in the...
May
15
by Mick West at 1:05 PM
(2,647 Views / 8 Likes)
13 Comments
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The above chart is based on data from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP_ database of eruptions, it's a count of all the eruptions that started in each year, from 1945 to 2015. It shows about 35 new eruptions per year, but with a lot of variation from about 25 to 50 per year. The trend over the full period is basically flat, and while there was a slight increase on average from about 1997 to 2008, this is balanced by a decline in recent years.

This year, 2015, shows only 12 eruptions so far, if it continues at that rate we will have about 33 this year, a bit below average. The 12 confirmed eruptions are:
  • Tara, Batu
  • Tungurahua
  • Ubinas
  • Turrialba
  • Turrialba
  • Chikurachki
  • Fournaise, Piton de la
  • San...
May
12
by Mick West at 9:25 AM
(3,575 Views / 6 Likes)
32 Comments
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When investigating dubious looking claims on the internet one of the most common challenges is in finding out where the claim actually came from. There are a very large number of sites that simply repeat the content that is on other sites. Sometimes they repeat it verbatim, but usually they will post excerpts, and add some commentary, and often link to their source of the story. Sometimes though they simply re-word the story, with a few quotes, so it's not really clear where it came from.

The key part of finding the original source of a claim is simply being familiar with the way stories spread. The evolution of stories can be though of as being something like a family tree - except for any given individual story, there is usually one parent story (although there can be two or more), and each...
Apr
23
by Mick West at 11:02 AM
(2,152 Views / 8 Likes)
4 Comments
A recent article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine^ is being widely reported, with varying degrees of accuracy. One piece of data in the article in particular seems to suggest that if you consume an extra 150 calories of sugar daily (e.g. one extra can of soda) then you get an 11-fold increase in your risk of type two diabetes:

However this is not correct, the article gives the source of this claim:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3584048/ (http://archive.is/wGmbO)
Which says:
Apr
20
by TEEJ at 3:03 AM
(1,364 Views / 0 Likes)
7 Comments
Stumbled upon this one. Rather silly as they are claiming that lack of smoke means that it was staged! Obviously they have never heard of the different rounds and variations of powder.



[Update by @Mick West ] This is debunked on examination of the original video. While the smoke is not visible on low resolution YouTube copies, it's certainly there on the original
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