by Mick West at 5:57 PM
(4,410 Views / 0 Likes)

Ghost Balloons Title Metabunk.

Videos shared on Facebook show white balloons drifting towards mourners. The videos were widely reported in the tabloid media earlier this year.

The first video shows a balloon move a short distance, and then stop at one mourner.

The second video shows a balloon floating towards another mourner, stopping briefly as the string hooks onto the chair, then proceeding.
(The top image is a partial panorama made from this video)

What is happening here is that the balloon are simply moving with the currents of the air in the room. There's an AC unit at one end of the room which is probably blowing air out, and taking it it....
by Mick West at 8:24 AM
(39,394 Views / 4 Likes)
US Repainting jets training.

A clickbait story that claims the US is painting Fighter Jets in Russian colors is being shared on social media. It is accompanied by four photos of jets with similar paint schemes. The bottom right image shows a Russian Su-34. The other three images show the same F/A-18 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC. The claim goes like this:
In fact the plane shown IS being used for training, the three photos of the repainted F-16 are from Top Gun jet fighter training at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC....
by Mick West at 10:55 AM
(4,682 Views / 9 Likes)
EDC Contrails today vs. yesterday.
Today (Thursday Oct 6th, 2016) marked the first significant contrail morning for several months here in El Dorado County, Northern California. The above photo on the right of criss-crossing contrails was taken at 7:30AM, and planes continued to leave trails for the next few hours. I took photos of the jets, and they were just regular air traffic, mostly Alaska or other regional jets flying north or south, often to or from Los Angeles. They were all in the range 36,000 to 39,000 feet.

Various Planes over EDC this morning.

But it's Thursday, and the air traffic on Wednesday was pretty much identical. So why were there trails this morning, but not yesterday morning?

The answer is quite straightforward. It's the upper air weather!

Upper air weather is different to the weather on the ground. At 35,000 feet up it's very cold (usually below -40°F/-40°C),...
by Mick West at 8:07 AM
(3,355 Views / 0 Likes)
Encounters Per population.

In a misleading article on, Brandon Darby attempts to portray a relatively small number (7,700) of positive matches that were made against the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database (1,877,133 people) as evidence that "terrorists" are streaming across the border, particularly in Arizona.

In fact the number of matches (which were generally from routine things, like traffic stops, and TSA passenger screening), generally matches the population of the states (highest in the states with the highest populations: New York, Florida, California, and Texas). When ranked by matches per head of population then Arizona actually ranks behind...
by Mick West at 9:14 AM
(6,806 Views / 3 Likes)
The idea of a Flat Earth is firmly at the far end of the conspiracy spectrum. It's an extreme conspiracy theory because the belief requires that you accept that the entire space program is a fake, designed to cover up hundreds of years of an even deeper scientific conspiracy to hoodwink people into thinking the earth is round (for no good reason). On the Flat Earth GPS does not work by satellites, but from radio towers, flights between Australia and South America are fake, the sun sets via a bizarre interpretation of "perspective", and Antartica does not exist.

To the person first looking into this theory it can be difficult to believe that the proponents actually take themselves seriously. And indeed many of them do not. Many Flat Earth popularizers are simply doing it for fun, or to make a philosophical point about people's over-reliance on...
by Mick West at 5:28 PM
(9,247 Views / 8 Likes)
Ae911 Billboard Quote Metabunk.
AE911's new billboard (on the left), with some additional quotes for context.

The group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911) is devoted to popularizing the theory that the World Trade Center buildings were secretly demolished by explosive devices that were placed in the building ahead of time, somehow survived the plane impacts and an hour of raging fire, and then triggered to make the buildings collapse in a way that fooled most experts into thinking that there were no explosives.

To promote this theory, AE911 likes to rent billboard space in New York's Times Square (AE911 has a yearly income of around $500,000). In particular they like to rent a billboard opposite the offices of the New York Times, admonishing the NYT for ignoring them. Here's the billboard in place:


This latest...
by Mick West at 5:27 PM
(6,621 Views / 4 Likes)

After a two year hiatus, HAARP (The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) has returned. HAARP is a powerful transmitter array that uses radio waves to slightly heat a bit of the ionosphere so it can be studied. It was previously run by the US Navy, but they completed their work there and closed it down. After some negotiation for funding control of the site was turned over to the University of Alaska, it was refurbished, and is now set to re-open.

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, they will hold an open house, mostly for the locals, as it's in a remote area of Alaska.

HAARP is the source of many conspiracy theories, mostly because it's very complicated, and far beyond the understanding of the majority of people. So it's quite easy to bamboozle people into thinking it is something it is not. In...
by Mick West at 9:23 AM
(4,589 Views / 7 Likes)

Aerodynamic GEW Debunk.

In a recently published paper, atmospheric scientists specializing in contrails were asked what caused various photographed phenomena that "chemtrail" believers frequently identified as evidence of a secret large scale atmospheric spraying program. They unanimously identified the photos as ordinary contrails, and gave physical explanations for the various things shown in them.

As a response to this paper (which also covered chemical tests, and of which I am a co-author), the web site "Geoengineering Watch" published a response, the most prominent part of which being a video of a jet leaving a...
by Mick West at 8:09 AM
(4,069 Views / 2 Likes)
Chemical Test for Metals Like Aluminum Metabunk.

Believers in the "chemtrail" theory (the theory that the trails behind high-flying aircraft secretly contain chemicals intended to alter the climate or weather) often point to chemical analyses done on soil, air or water. Typically these tests are done for three metals: Aluminum, Barium, and Strontium (the fallacious "geoengineering signature"). Since these elements are all naturally found in the Earth's crust, they usually find some of each. Experts in geochemistry recently analyzed a typical set of these results, and determined they did not come from a secret spraying program.

However a very...
by Mick West at 8:34 AM
(14,440 Views / 7 Likes)

In a paper publish in Environmental Research letters, August 2016, 77 scientists with expertise in atmospheric science and geochemistry were asked to give their expert opinions regarding the most common claims of evidence put forward by proponents of the "chemtrail" or "covert geoengineering" theory (referred to in the paper as a "secret large-scale atmospheric program (SLAP)". The evidence being photos of trails left by planes, and chemical analyses of air, soil, and water. The scientists overwhelming rejected the idea that the photos and tests were evidence of a secret spraying program. All of the atmospheric scientists and all but one of the geochemists saw nothing suspicious about the proffered evidence. The photos were all identified as contrails, and the...