by Mick West at 4:11 PM
(19,850 Views / 1 Likes)
A common claim regarding 9/11 was that the fires were not very serious because there was some black smoke and some of the flames looked "dark orange". The claim is that this indicates an oxygen starved fire.

However, this was no basis in reality. Here's an example of a fire in open air, with thick black smoke and dark orange flames creating temperatures of nearly 2000F


The "black smoke = cool" myth is just based on wood-burning stoves. The buildings contained a large amount of plastics, which burns with black smoke at all temperatures. And they had a ready supply of oxygen though the impact hole, and many broken windows.

This fire of plastic containers in an open field is clearly not lacking oxygen.

And while certainly not white, the fires on 9/11 were nowhere near even the open air black seen above:...
by Mick West at 1:17 PM
(17,146 Views / 2 Likes)
I just did the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which is an interesting format, a three hour casual discussion of whatever springs to mind, with a loose focus on conspiracy theories and debunking. We ended up covering a very wide range of topics.

by Mick West at 9:58 AM
(12,306 Views / 2 Likes)

The fuel for this massive rocket is pure hydrogen and oxygen. Meaning it will make a contrail of pure water (no exhaust particulates required). It will be visible from all over Southern California, and maybe some of Nevada. Here's the last one from Orange County (south of LA)

I'll post updates in this thread, and then see if there's any fallout from people spotting the trail, and thinking it's suspicious.

Here's one of my better photos. More below.
by Mick West at 11:01 AM
(24,025 Views / 7 Likes)
Episode 4 of Joe Rogan Questions Everything was on the "Biopocalypse" - the (not entirely unreasonable) idea that there might be some major biological catastrophe in the near future, either from a natural pandemic like airborne ebola or bird flu, or a terrorist attack, or from something that escapes from a lab, like weaponized smallpox.

The last segment of the show was on "Morgellons", which is a list of symptoms that some people are suggesting is actually a distinct disease characterized by finding unusual fibers on the skin. The CDC did a study a couple of years ago, and concluded there was nothing to indicate a distinct condition.

The most significant part of the segment consisted of Joe taking some samples that a woman had sent him, and having them examined at a lab. They basically found four things:
  1. Flakes of skin (which were not really...
by Mick West at 10:46 AM
(19,342 Views / 4 Likes)
People who suggest there is some kind of covert geoengineering program going on (the term "geoengineering" is often used to refer to a variant of the "chemtrails" theory), often point to global dimming (a reduction of the amount of sunlight hitting the earth's surface) as evidence of this. Here's an example:
The problem with the above assertion...
by Mick West at 5:44 PM
(12,607 Views / 9 Likes)
The recent segment on Joe Rogan's Question Everything (JRQE) with Brooks Agnew was supposed to demonstrate how HAARP could alter the weather.


It came about because of a thread here on Metabunk.

That thread was looking into a couple of times that Agnew had appeared on TV to show off his cloud chamber experiment, where it looked he basically made air move around by heating it up. Nothing to do with HAARP at all, but his claims were breathless repeated by Jesse Ventura, and the History Channel.

There was a brief discussion of the science (hot air) his credentials (seemed to be mail-order), and then came this post,...
by Mick West at 9:20 AM
(9,687 Views / 2 Likes)
An entertaining look at some typical logical fallacies and mistakes in reasoning:


by Mick West at 1:00 PM
(62,921 Views / 2 Likes)
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:

(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:
Economic Left/Right: -5.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.10


Some relative positions:


Other people:


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...
by Mick West at 1:01 PM
(12,692 Views / 7 Likes)
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:

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.
by Mick West at 9:59 PM
(5,066 Views / 6 Likes)
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...