by Mick West at 6:56 PM
(3,824 Views / 2 Likes)
consensus vs target.
In the recently published paper Improving Climate Change Acceptance Among U.S. Conservatives Through Value-Based Message Targeting, (Dixon, et al, 2017) the authors describe the problem of communicating established science regarding climate change to a conservative demographic.

by Mick West at 11:10 AM
(7,651 Views / 1 Likes)
4x vertical scaled. Lunada Canyon, Rancho Palos Verdes, California. 33.767482853°, -118.408898009°

The horizon is visual line that separates the earth from the sky. On land this is usually nearby hills and is quite uneven, but if you have a good view of the ocean the horizon appears as an essentially flat line between the sea and the sky.
Image Source:

It looks flat, and in fact the horizon IS geometrically flat. Since all the points on the ocean horizon are the same distance away from you, and the same distance below you, the horizon forms a flat circle with its center some...
by Mick West at 1:15 PM
(45,026 Views / 0 Likes)

A documentary from claims that what looks like a mummified corpse is evidence of a new species, possibly of extraterrestrial origin.

Now several red flags pop up. Most immediately that has a history of creating videos promoting the idea of ancient aliens, none of which panned out into actual evidence.
But what of the mummy itself? It's claimed that it was found in the Nazca region of Peru. This makes some sense as similar human mummies have been found in the region (which is very dry, and so bodies protected from the elements are naturally preserved by drying out).
by Mick West at 4:56 PM
(6,192 Views / 4 Likes)


This video by YouTuber LouB747 has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, and many people think it shows some kind of deliberate spraying, a "chemtrail".

The video looks very odd if you don't know what you are looking it. It's a Boeing 787 that's flying more or less on an opposite track to Lou's plane, but about 1,000 feet lower. It starts out looking like this:


Similar videos have show up before, when the conditions, lighting, and angles are right. This one is from 2010.


In the new video there's a similar combination of the right angle,...
by Mick West at 8:34 AM
(5,358 Views / 3 Likes)
Fallacies overlay title metabunk.

I just read an article by Maarten Boudry, where he argues that the practice of spotting and pointing out fallacies is over-used in the skeptical community.
by Mick West at 9:33 AM
(5,787 Views / 0 Likes)
Phone Accelerometers around the world - Metabunk.
In a video titled "*** 4,519 MILES & NO CURVE! Globe Debunked Once And For All *** RESEARCH FLAT EARTH", Youtuber Paul On The Plane uses a phone with a virtual bubble level app in two locations: Seattle, in the North West of the United States, and Dublin, Ireland.

He first resets the level in Seattle with the phone of the floor, and then switches off the phone. Then after arriving in Dublin he turns on the phone on the floor, and the level reads about the same as it did in Seattle. He claims this is proof that the Earth is flat.

Of course it's not, simply because the phone is measuring which direction is down, i.e. it's measuring the direction that gravity pulls things, which is towards the...
by Mick West at 9:58 PM
(5,158 Views / 3 Likes)

Cody Don Reeder, a science educator, did a nice experiment to show that gravity (and hence weight) changes based on your location. The two main things that affect gravity are latitude and elevation, and you should be able to detect these with a sensitive enough scale and a large enough change in altitude and/or location.

Cody uses a 295g cube of non-magnetic tungsten, and a jewelry scale that weighs up to 500g with an accuracy of 0.030g (30mg). He weighs this in Logan UT, and Manchester NH.

wieght varies by location Metabunk.
The weight varies as expected. At higher altitudes you are further from the center of the Earth, so the gravity and weight decrease. At higher latitudes (more North) the effects of the spin of earth are less, and so apparent gravity is...
by MikeG at 6:33 AM
(7,035 Views / 0 Likes)
Stone Cold Truth.
A number of websites, led by Roger Stone, are claiming that former Clinton White House official John Podesta received $35 million from a Russian company while working for Hillary Clinton and president Obama.

A careful examination of the facts, already made by a number of media outlets, reveals that Podesta received no such money and, although carefully skirting existing federal law, did not violate it.

According to the Stone Cold Truth website:

by Mick West at 8:10 AM
(91,460 Views / 1 Likes)
Level Plane Title Metabunk.

Youtuber Darryle Marble, a believer in the "Flat Earth" theory, recently took a spirit level on a plane to attempt to demonstrate that the world was flat by showing the pilot never had to angle the plane down to compensate for the curve. Somehow the story went viral and the internet reacted as you would expect, with incredulity and mockery.

Unfortunately most of the reaction seemed to boil down to "what an idiot, of course the world isn't flat", when really the situation arose from a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings of flight and physics that are shared by many people. Very few people really think much about things like gravity, acceleration, or the curvature of the earth. Despite getting everything wrong, Marble is at least doing an experiment, so I think it's...
by Mick West at 2:52 PM
(36,100 Views / 7 Likes)
One problem I have in telling people that contrails can actually persist, and can even spread out to cover the sky, is that people tend to be suspicious of random people on the internet. So I decided to simply let 70 years of books on clouds speak for themselves.

Result: Every single book on clouds that I could find for the last 70 years says that contrails can persist for hours.

So next time some random guy on the internet tells you contrails can't persist and spread, then ask them why 70 years of books on clouds say the opposite.

My cloud book collection:

Selected References:

1991: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather

1988: Exploring the Sky By Day,...