Metabunk

Jul
20
by Mick West at 1:00 PM
(33,141 Views / 2 Likes)
232 Comments
The political spectrum is not one dimensional left-right. There have been many ways of attempting to describe it, but the Political Compass model is probably the simplest, while still capturing some of the complexity. Take the test and see where you are:

http://politicalcompass.org/test

(To copy the image into a post, just right click on it, then "Copy Image", and then you can post it directly into the editor here)

This is me:
http://politicalcompass.org/printablegraph?ec=-5.00&soc=-6.10
Economic Left/Right: -5.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.10


upload_2013-7-20_12-52-6.

Some relative positions:

upload_2013-7-20_12-53-39.

Other people:

upload_2013-7-20_12-52-41.

I've found the skeptical movement seems to be populated with social libertarians, which makes sense as we are skeptical of arbitrary rules and moral codes - especially when based in religion. However there seems to be a good left-right spread on economic...
Jul
19
http://metabunk.org/sk/skitched-20130719-125042.jpg
by Mick West at 1:01 PM
(8,020 Views / 7 Likes)
67 Comments
Some recent reports make it seem like the CIA is funding some kind of secret weather weapon. The somewhat mainstream Mother Jones posted a story with this ridiculous graphic:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/07/cia-geoengineering-control-climate-change
[​IMG]

It's ridiculous because it's a picture of a Tsunami, which was caused by an earthquake, and is absolutely nothing to do with either climate or the weather. The actual article is not too bad, but ends with a nod to conspiracy theorists.
Jul
16
by Mick West at 9:59 PM
(3,315 Views / 6 Likes)
13 Comments
The Amazing Meeting (TAM) is a four day conference on skepticism organized by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). It's been running for 10 years, and this was the first year I attended, so I thought I'd quickly write up my impressions.

Conferences generally serve two functions, firstly as a way of learning more about a subject, but secondly as a social and networking opportunity, where you can meet like-minded people and discuss the topics with them. If your only concern is the former (learning more), then you really don't even need to go to the conference. All of the talks will be available on YouTube (the TAM 2012 talks are there already) The rather concentrated nature of the large number of talks crammed into four days makes it rather hard to take it all in.

So for me, really the most valuable parts of the conference were in meeting other skeptics and debunkers, conversing with...
Jul
08
by Mick West at 6:58 AM
(24,320 Views / 5 Likes)
43 Comments
This reporter makes a rather startling claim about how the engine in the Hasting car crash "broke the laws of physics" by ending up behind the direction of travel.


http://www.sandiego6.com/story/details-of-reporter-hastings-death-remain-elusive-20130708

Except she got it wrong. The engine...
Jul
06
http://metabunk.org/sk/Google_Earth-20130706-134350.jpg
by Mick West at 1:48 PM
(19,311 Views / 0 Likes)
99 Comments
Lots of news coverage right now:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2013/07/06/airline-crash-san-francisco/2495099/

Here's the FlightAware log:
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/HL7742/history/20130706/0730Z/RKSI/KSFO

I was looking at in Google Earth, and it seems to show a too steep approach. Might just be the data though.
[​IMG]
Jun
30
http://metabunk.org/sk/skitched-20130630-094429.jpg
by Mick West at 9:43 AM
(17,570 Views / 15 Likes)
40 Comments
To "debunk", according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is to

"Remove the ‘nonsense’ or false sentiment from; to expose false claims or pretensions"

[​IMG]

Debunking has been a hobby of mine ever since I was young, when I grew up reading a magazine called "The Unexplained - Mysteries of Mind Space and Time", a magazine published in 1980 that told tales of UFOs, ghosts, magic, and strange beasts. For many years these things were causes of great fear to me.

When I was a child I used to lay awake at night, literally trembling with the thought that some alien could enter my room, and spirit me away to perform experiments on me, or that ghosts might actually be hovering around me, ready to shriek into existence, or softly stroke my face with disembodied hands reaching out of the darkness.

In particular one small book, written for children, really scared me. It contained...
Jun
25
by Chuck at 8:29 PM
(163,244 Views / 0 Likes)
290 Comments
Today, I received the following video in an email. The sender was almost apoplectic. Doing a quick search "NASA War Documents Exposed", a boatload of conspiracy sites popped up with the below video. Seems to be fairly new "revelation". http://beforeitsnews.com/eu/2013/06/pre-911-war-on-america-plan-exposed-2526158.html At the www.beforeitsnews.com site, I found the following:





Anyone have any knowledge about these claims? They sound completely preposterous but I'd like to have something concrete to rebut this stuff. It's all about hyper weapons that supposedly the U.S. govt is planning to use on it's own people. Unless she's a academy award winning actor,...
Jun
23
by Mick West at 3:34 PM
(30,021 Views / 5 Likes)
19 Comments
Manchester Museum is getting a lot of publicity for a video of a statue that slowly rotates through the course of the day. It's on a glass shelf, and it only moves when there are people walking nearby.

[​IMG]

This raises the obvious suggestion that the rotation is simply due to the vibration. The statue is hard uneven stone, and the glass shelf is very hard and perfectly flat. When two hard substances are in contact with each other, then there's not much friction because there are limited points of contact. I suspect that the base of the statue is uneven, which allows it to tilt and pivot very slightly from the vertical vibration from people walking by. The shelf is very slightly tilted towards the front, so the statue rotates until the center of gravity is at the lowest point, and then it stops.

Firstly the...
Jun
23
by FreiZeitGeist at 8:58 AM
(13,289 Views / 0 Likes)
28 Comments
Anybody noticed, that the official HAARP-Website http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/index.html seems to be offline since a week?

There´s a copy of the site in the "Internet Archive":
http://web.archive.org/web/20130531040626/http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/index.html

Only GodlikeProdutions has a small thread about it (with the wrong conclusion that they moved to the faked "Haarp-Status" at theweatherspace.com)

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message2268857/pg1

Does anybody has some facts about?!

EDIT BY MICK: Answered in post below:
May
24
by Mick West at 9:25 AM
(28,934 Views / 2 Likes)
10 Comments
HAARP is a favorite target for conspiracy theorists. It's an easy target because the science behind it is rather difficult to understand and even harder to explain to people with no background in science. So I'm starting this thread to:

A) Gather useful resources that can help explain what HAARP actually does and how it does it
B) Explain why HAARP can NOT do the various things that are claimed (change the weather, create earthquakes, mind control).

First a very brief attempt at an understandable explanation of what HAARP does:
About 60 miles up the atmosphere is very thin. The radiation from the sun here is so powerful it knocks electrons off the air molecules creating an ionized layer called the ionosphere. HAARP is square grid of antenna that transmit radio waves straight up. The radio waves are absorbed by the electrons in the ionosphere. This heats them up slightly (but a lot less than the normal heat from the sun). HAARP does not affect the 60 miles of atmosphere...​