Metabunk

Taal Volcano Eruption 2020

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Metabunk 2020-01-12 08-50-54.jpg

(Image source)

Taal is a volcano just 40 miles south of Manilla and is currently spewing large amounts of ash into the air.

Metabunk 2020-01-12 09-08-57.jpg


The local Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) rapidly raised the alert level to 4, meaning ""a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days." (Level 5 is reserved for when a hazardous eruption is underway.) There are also warning of a possible Tsunami.
Source: https://twitter.com/phivolcs_dost/status/1216329536536637440

Besides the obvious science and disaster aspect of the eruption, there's the inevitable disinformation. Interestingly, both the PHIVOLCS Twitter account and their web page...

Plane Shaped "Drone" Caught on Camera. Mead, NE - Cessna Caravan?

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Drone Cessna Caravan Metabunk.jpg


https://www.wowt.com/content/news/CAUGHT-ON-CAMERA-Recent-drone-phenomenon-spotted-in-Saunders-County-566798651.html

The somewhat shaky video shows a plane-shaped object, and it sounds just like a plane, so I'd guess it's probably a plane. But the reporter, Lileana Pearson, says

And a deputy says at one point "It's a V, it's got a V" - which is an interesting illustration of someone subconsciously inferring a shape from an arrangement of lights.

The location is given as "Saunders County, west of Omaha", and "near County Road R, outside of Mead, Nebraska, presumably by the barn shown in the video

Somewhere around here:
[ATTACH type="full" alt="Metabunk 2020-01-08...

"Drone" Photo over Colorado - Actually a Boeing 737

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People are primed to see anything in the sky as a drone, including ordinary aircraft.

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/01/03/drones-mystery-lincoln-county-colorado/

TDP-L-Drone-RJS-0012 (1).jpg


An ordinary airliner with normal navigation lights. You can clearly see the starboard engine. Obviously not several hundred feet up. It's a larger object farther away.

Distances and sizes in a featureless night sky are ambiguous. Witness expectations about the size of the object lead them to see it as much closer than it is.

The people who spotted this airliner may have also heard the distant jet noises as the hum of a nearby drone.

It makes a convincing story.

TFTRH #33 – Anthony Magnabosco: Street Epistemology and Conspiracy Theories

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Source: https://youtu.be/FbdOITMdoiY

Anthony Magnabosco is the most well-known practitioner of the craft of "Street Epistemology", which he defines as: "a dialog where you use questions to explore somebody's claim to see how they concluded that it's true." While commonly associated with atheism (the term comes from the book "A Manual for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian) Street Epistemology can be used to explore any kind of belief. There's actually quite a bit of crossover with how to talk to conspiracy theorists.

Anthony and I discuss our mutual experiences with talking to people, how our approaches are similar, and how they differ. It's a fascinating conversation, and while we go for the full hour, we were actually cut short by a minor emergency, and I hope to continue in the future.

Podcast web Page...

"Mouse" in Space (Ice?)

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Source: https://youtu.be/l8W19r5m_GU?t=2605

At 43:24 in the above live stream of the SpaceX CRS-19 Launch, something slides around the engine. Someone remarked that this looked a bit like a mouse, and some of the more imaginative conspiracy theorists took this to be evidence that the footage was faked.
SpaceX-CRS-19-Launch-Live.gif

The video is shot from two sides, alternating between viewpoints, which makes it difficult to follow exactly what is going on. But it's much clearer if we take just the shots from the "mouse" side, zoom in, and speed them up 10x.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnbSMjFebPk

A real time version of this is here.

Here we see the "mouse" build up at the top...

Mysterious drone swarms over Colorado and Nebraska - Chasing Venus?

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Metabunk 2019-12-31 09-23-03.jpg
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mysterious-drones-swarm-over-colorado-nebraska-unleashes-origin-theories-n1108941
I think there's a degree of mass hysteria going on here. Yes, there's probably some drones been spotted, but the video evidence is rather sketchy. The image above looks like nothing more than some building lights in the distance. There are a few other shots in the NBC video:

Metabunk 2019-12-31 09-28-55.jpg

This one (above) shows what looks like the moon and six lights. But several of them are on a low...

TFTRH #31: Professor Elizabeth Loftus – Memory and Conspiracy

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB6NWdBNjvw

Elizabeth Loftus is an expert on memory. A Distinguished Professor in several fields*, her work focusses on false memories, how they can be accidentally created and how they can be deliberately manipulated. We discuss many aspects of memory and how it sometimes relates to the world of conspiracy theories. We touch on UFOs, Chemtrails, 9/11, Jeffery Epstein, and the moral panics of the 1980s.

*In my introduction, I mangled together the various departments where Professor Loftus is a professor. The correct list is:

  • Psychological Science;
  • Criminology, Law and Society
  • Cognitive Science
  • Law
Links to topics discussed

TFTRH #30 - Tom: 9/11 - Why We Believe and Change

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq-xxf35PzY

Tom has dabbled in a few conspiracy theories over the years, and still thinks there are some significant questions that have never been answered about why the World Trade Center buildings fell down the way they did on 9/11. We talk about how he came to believe what he does, how it has changed over the years, and what evidence it make take for him to feel the question is resolved.

TFTRH #28 - Brian Dunning

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk9C4XkCMD8

Brian Dunning is a prolific skeptical podcaster with his award-winning show “Skeptoid” coming up on its 700th episode. He’s also a writer, with his most recent book Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories, explaining the facts behind 50 different conspiracy theories. He’s also a documentary producer, currently working on Science Friction, a documentary about scientists who get misrepresented by the media. We discuss all these topics and more.

"UFO" Sighting over Downtown San Diego Freeway [DARPA Balloon]

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czCfqZrWgio

I first saw the above video (dated Oct 22, 2019) via a low-resolution crop re-post on one of the UFO sites, where it looked even less identifiable.

Metabunk 2019-10-31 13-28-44.jpg

While it was unfortunately filmed in portrait mode, it was still a 4K video, so I downloaded that and zoomed in:

Metabunk 2019-10-31 13-27-17.jpg


Looks like an advertising blimp, but with an odd white panel below it. THe original video said "San Diego", so I did a search for tethered blimps in San Diego:

Metabunk 2019-10-31 13-29-56.jpg


Bingo! There's a tethered blimp over San Diego, with a white panel type thing underneath it. Here's some local news video:
Metabunk 2019-10-31 13-32-23.jpg

https://www.kusi.com/federal-agency-to-conduct-urban-drone-tracking-system-testing-through-friday/...

TFTRH #27 - Michael Shermer

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvrHX0qRRMs

Dr Michael Shermer is founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic. He's written several books on science and skepticism and his latest work is an audio-only 12-part course, for Audible and The Great Courses, called Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories: What We Should and Shouldn't Believe—and Why. We cover the full spectrum of conspiracies, their history and context, their social and psychological causes and their very real effects. We discuss real and false conspiracies, and how to tell the difference. We then finish up with UFOs, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the Skeptical Movement.

Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories can be found on Audible or via Amazon.
https://www.audible.com/pd/Conspiracies-Conspiracy-Theories-Audiobook/B07XH3YSD7?...

TFTRH #26: UFO Jesus

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1mpwyAsBwY

UFO Jesus is a popular advocate of UFO “disclosure”, the belief that the US Government is close to revealing that it knows that some UFOs actually are the result of alien visitors. We talk about this and our different interpretation of the evidence used to support this case. In particular, we focus on the 2004 case of the USS Nimitz, where, over several days, unexplained sightings and radar returns culminated in two fighter planes observing what one pilot, Commander David Fravor, described as a “white Tic-Tac shaped craft” performing impossible maneuvers. A later video was also taken, which I think shows a distant plane, and UFO fans think is this Tic-Tac. There are rumors of a higher-resolution longer video that shows more.
UFO Jesus closes with six prophecies, and I’m a bit skeptical. But he gives a nice short timeframe of six years, so...

Sept 3, 2019 release of Hulsey's WTC7 draft report: Analysis

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OClixCTdDw
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-DadyW-LR4

The above two videos details some issues raised in the thread below (and in prior threads) regarding Professor Hulsey's study.

Draft report and videos at:
http://ine.uaf.edu/wtc7
http://ine.uaf.edu/media/222439/uaf_wtc7_draft_report_09-03-2019.pdf (mirror)

UFO in Tampa Bay

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxYAze89TG4

Video shows a stationary light with irregular flashing. After 19 seconds the light accelerates and flies off to the right.

Another version of this video says:
Some people interpret this as a larger craft in the clouds, which would mean rather high speed.

However, I think the simpler explanation, as suggested by others, including people...

Identified: Art Bell's "UFO" Aluminum Louvered Sheets - Heat Exchanger Fins

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Vent vs radiator.jpg

"Arts Parts" refers to a collection of objects that were supposedly anonymously sent to Art Bell.
https://web.archive.org/web/20010614020521/http://www.artbell.com/roscrash.html
bild1-1.jpg


The "vent" material is very interesting:
bild4-11.jpg


That's a much more specific look. Very similar to air-conditioning vents, but on a dollhouse scale.

UPDATE Dec 12 2019 - The following is a summary of the identification from the thread below.

It's almost 100% certain this is a sheet of louvered fins for a heat exchanger (like a radiator or air conditioner).

Here's a VERY good match.

Source: http://www.daiwaracinglabo.com/about/

Note the exact same pattern of alternating direction blocks of...

Debunked: The WTC 9/11 Angle Cut Column. [Not Thermite, Cut Later]

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Debunked Angle Cut Column 2.jpg

This image is famous in 9/11 conspiracy culture:

hdanglecutlarge.jpg

The column in the center of the photo (by Sam Hollenshead) has been cut at an angle, presumably during the cleanup process. Yet Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911) still insist it was cut before the building fell, and looks nothing like a normal cut, and hence is evidence of thermite. Here's an AE911 slide they used just a few weeks ago:

upload_2018-1-27_13-52-44.png


Here's Richard Gage, head of AE911, discussing this:
Source: https://youtu.be/cjzZ7Yot_5s?t=1m11s

However other photos of the scene show the exact same column, so we can figure out where it is...

Escaping the Rabbit Hole Book

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Stephen Fry Facebook2.png

Description
In Escaping the Rabbit Hole, author Mick West shares over a decade’s worth of knowledge and experience investigating and debunking false conspiracy theories through his forum, MetaBunk.org, and sets forth a practical guide to helping friends and loved ones recognize these theories for what they really are.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, the most successful approaches to helping individuals escape a rabbit hole aren’t comprised of simply explaining why they are wrong; rather, West’s tried-and-tested approach emphasizes clear communication based on mutual respect, honesty, openness, and patience.

West puts his debunking techniques and best practices to the test with four of the most popular false conspiracy theories today (Chemtrails, 9/11 Controlled...

Quantifying Expert Consensus Against Covert Geoengineering / Chemtrails

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20160811-115134-bqpt2.jpg

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...

Debunked: UFO over Loch Ness [Reflection in Dual Pane Window]

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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.

UPDATE July 10, 2015:

I contacted the owner of the cottage, who graciously agreed to take a few photos and a short video from the same location. These prove conclusively that the "UFO" is simply the reflection of a light in the window:

IMG_0016-bunloit.JPG
IMG_0015-bunloit.JPG IMG_0014-bunloit.JPG



You can see the reflection of the curtain in the window, just like with the "UFO" photo, which demonstrates that the UFO photo was taken...

Debunked: 9/11 WTC: AE911's "Pyroclastic Flow" collapse dust clouds

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A claim by the promoters of the the 9/11 controlled demolition theory is that the dust clouds that were pushed up and out by the collapse of the building were "pyroclastic-like", specifically:

http://www1.ae911truth.org/faqs/347-high-temperatures-persistent-heat-a-molten-steel-at-wtc-site-challenge-official-story.html
The reference that AE911Truth uses to back this up is the site 9-11 Research, a web site that was created in 2003 by Jim Hoffman. Hoffman was a seminal figure in the 9/11 Truth movement, and his early writings were highly influential on the shape that the conspiracy theories took over the first decade after the attacks. Some of his early ideas were quite outlandish, such as...

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