Debunked: J. Marvin Herndon's "Geoengineering" Articles in Current Science (India) and IJERPH

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
It is interesting that he only "began to notice" traile in spring of 2014. Supposedly the "program" has been going on for how long? Some people say the 50s, some the 90s. He says these are tanker jets but never says how he identifies them as tanker jets. That's enough for the chemtrail crowd though. They've posted the paper everywhere.
It seems the professor is not terribly observant. I just clicked a random point on a freeway in San Diego on Google Maps and looked back through the historical Street View imagery (of which there is a lot to choose from in this area).

This is from an image captured in October 2011:

upload_2015-8-20_11-37-57.png

The same spot in summer 2014, after the start of the alleged spraying campaign. :)

upload_2015-8-20_11-39-53.png
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
The problem is the believers begin with the position that Chemtrails exist and then proceed to collect evidence to support their beliefs. They don't question whether there are alternative explanations for their assumptions. Also, they reject emotionally that their assumptions supporting the existence of Chemtrails has a lower probability of being correct than the scientific explanations they reject. Herndon seems to have fallen into this rut.

Once someone believes the government or "they" are capable of lying and doing things to the people without their consent some people assume the worst first and it clouds their objectivity. Herndon may also fall into this category, it was certainly a trap I fell into.
 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I think they will cite it everywhere; and that might not be a bad thing. Why?

1) It gives them a motive to further investigate science as a tool to support their positions.

2) This particular paper can be challenged using sound scientific principles which they now have ownership of. A position they have, until now, rejected except in the most limited ways. Turning to fringe websites and YouTube videos instead of NOAA, NASA, FAA, and academic sources, etc.
I think you are giving chemtrail believers too much credit. It doesn't matter whether it's credible, or even what it actually says. All that matters is that it got published and it appears to back up their position. End of story.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I think you are giving chemtrail believers too much credit. It doesn't matter whether it's credible, or even what it actually says. All that matters is that it got published and it appears to back up their position. End of story.
I really don't disagree for the vast number of believers; however, the rare one that will grasp that if one uses science to justify their position they are obligated to validate the correctness of the evidence. Sort of "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword."
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
I think you are giving chemtrail believers too much credit. It doesn't matter whether it's credible, or even what it actually says. All that matters is that it got published and it appears to back up their position. End of story.
Absolutely! How many videos do they repost with the word "PROOF!" in the title which say nothing at all what the claim of proof is.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
The problem is the believers begin with the position that Chemtrails exist and then proceed to collect evidence to support their beliefs. They don't question whether there are alternative explanations for their assumptions.
I agree with you, George. Herndon's well was poisoned by the commonly accepted, though totally incorrect assumption
that crustal elements would not be found in air or rainfall.

He designed his experiment exactly as you describe:

No background research seems to have been done regarding what else might be the source, past data on what has previously been established for common elements found in dry or wet deposition.

The closest he comes to approaching that subject is this false claim for which he cites no reference:




 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Herndon has a long history of his ideas being rejected, for decades in fact. He may just be so desperate to find success that when he found a belief system within which a set of people would accept rather than reject him he is willing to give them what they want to hear and vice versa. He may feel that since he has always been rejected, further rejection by mainstream is a small price to pay (or one which doesn't even matter) for acceptance by even a small number of people quite willing to have their biases confirmed. It wouldn't surprise me at all that the ACP fees normally charged by MDPI journals, several thousand dollars, were paid by some interested party and not Herndon at all.

But skephu is correct, and even children in lower grades are told about falsification.

Herndon's hypothesis could have been easily falsified by looking at what is ordinarily found in wet deposition(rain and snow) and dry deposition (ordinary dust in the wind). He didn't try to do so, he wanted to re-invent something which had already been established and well known.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
There is an interesting 2012 review by John Timmer of Herndon’s book Indivisible Earth.

http://www.downloadtheuniverse.com/dtu/2012/07/ebooks-and-the-democratization-of-crackpottery.html

Timmer makes the point that self-publication is an ideal way of avoiding the scrutiny of peer review.

I liked how he put one of the consequences of this process:


 

Chew

Senior Member.
So Herndon could directly compare the fly ash leachate from his reference [10] to the rainwater collected in San Diego he converted the units to µg/L for his Table 1. His fly ash leachate values comes from Table 8: http://www.researchgate.net/profile...es/links/00b495253c011d9e5d000000.pdf#page=12

Here are the values for aluminum from his reference [10]:
38.3 0.1 218.2 0.2 5.2 114.8 129.1 1.2 87.4 35.9 37.6 0.5 1.5 43.3 5.2 26.3 2.4 2.8 271 0 1.8 193.9 18.2

(he used 0 for the single reading of "<0.1")

Those values have an average of 53.7 µg/g. To convert that to µg/L multiply it by the number of grams in a liter of rainwater. The proper conversion is 53,700 µg/L.

But Herndon's Table 1 for leached aluminum reads only 5370 µg/L:

Herndon Table 1.png

He converted wrong! He only used 100 g per liter of water when he tried to convert to µg/L.

I checked half a dozen of his other "leached" elements in his table and he made the same mistake for each one. They're all off by a factor of 10.

"99% confidence interval" indeed.
 

Chew

Senior Member.
Note: the above doesn't invalidate his conclusions. He was comparing ratios; he could have converted the original source by multiplying by pi and it wouldn't change the outcome.

But looking at the range of values does invalidate his conclusions. The leachate of aluminum ranged from <0.1 to 271 µg/g but he only compared the average. If his claim that the two statistical tests have greater than 99% confidence intervals is true then that means there was a greater than 99% probability that equal quantities of coal fly ash from 23 coal-fired power plants from 4 different European countries were mixed together, transported to the US, and sprayed hundreds of miles downwind from San Diego and timed just right that it would mix with clouds that were getting ready to rain when it reached San Diego. And these 23 coal-fired power plants that were used in this study just so happens to be the only 23 power plants in the world that could create this unique mix.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Can someone check this:

He gives Arsenic, Leached, at 8.35 * 10^-2 µg/L (8.35E-02 in scientific notation as Excel displays it))

Arsenic in Moreno is given in ng/g, the values are:

260 13 315 1211 212 685 415 107 890 304 12374 44 64 370 511 958 64 51 176 10 11 138 14

an average of 835 ng/g, or 0.835 µg/g, or 835 µg/L that 8.35E+02, yet he has it at 8.35E-02, which is 0.0835 µg/L, off by a factor of 10000

Which DOES invalidate his results. They seem to be all off by differing amounts.
 
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Chew

Senior Member.
No, arsenic is off by 10. Like his aluminum.

ETA: Mick is correct.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
My reasoning here is that, ng/g is the same units as µg/L (assuming 1L = 1,000g), so the µg/L is just the straight average of the values listed for the trace elements. For As (Aresnic) that's 834.65, or 8.35E+02.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I wonder if the off-by-10 thing might be related to

 

Chew

Senior Member.
@Mick West, you are right. He evidently is off by a factor of 10 for the major elements and off by a factor of 10,000 for his trace elements ("major" and "trace" as listed in Table 8 of reference [10]).

As for the leaching test, I would say no. His units are µg/L, not µg/100g.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Take the more relevant Barium figure. In Table 1 he has Barium in leachate at 5.34E-01 µg/L which 0.534 ppb (there are a billion micrograms in 1L/1Kg)


Moreno have Ba in ng/g in Table 8.

ng/g is ppb (parts per billion, as one ng = 1 billionth of a gram).
Notice the sizes of the number for Barium. Their average is 5335.7, so 5335.7 ppb (5340 ppb rounded)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
However he seems to be using the correct ratios in his charts, type just don't match his table.
 

skephu

Senior Member.
I noticed earlier that something is wrong with his data in the table. For example, his strontium data in the table is wrong, but I assumed he just forgot to append the multiplier. However, his figure seems to be generated from the correct numbers, and then hopefully the statistical test was also done correctly, even though he interprets it incorrectly.
It's interesting that the Moreno data show that the mean strontium value is almost the same as the mean aluminum value. In rainwater, strontium is much lower.
By the way, the Moreno data show very skewed distributions, so I wouldn't even use means, I would have used medians instead.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
How is he getting the Un-leached figures?


For aluminum 7.00E+04 µg/kg is 7,000µg/Kg, or 7000/1000000000, or 0.0007%

But Moreno has roughly 25% Al2O3

Or roughly 14% Aluminum.

 

Chew

Senior Member.
I played with the Al un-leached number too and saw he was off by a factor of 2 too. I haven't played with the other elements yet.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And Moreno has Barium median value at 1302 mg/kg. (mg, not µg) 1302/1000000 = 0.13%


Herndon has it at 1.38E+03 µg/kg 1,380,000 mg/kg


Herndon's un-leached coal fly ash Ba/Al ratio is on the diagram as being between 0.1 and 0.01

His figures from the table put it at 1.38E+03/7.00E+04, or about 0.02 (0.0197)

But Moreno's Ba/Al ratio is 0.13/14, or 0.0092

The Hepa filter results are
http://losangelesskywatch.org/lab-test-results

So 344/5030 (0.068)

And actual figures for abundance in the Earth's crust put the Ba/Al ratio at 0.0052
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick, you should not compare the mean with the median.
I'm not. I was just ballparking the "average" for the Aluminum values, as I'd not digitized that sheet, then the median value for Ba matched the value Herndon used (except his unit are wrong). I though there was a greater magnitude of error when I started down that road.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Actual Moreno figure for un-leached fly ash Al2O3 is average (mean) 26.6%, or 14% elemental aluminum, which is the figure I used above when ballparking. There's a possible extra 0.5% from the Si02/Al2O3 column (which is about 2% average) but it's not clear what the division is there.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I think this thread needs a debunk summary in the OP, as most of the debunking happens in the course of the discussion; and the current discussion needs to be translated for the non-statistically inclined as to how it affects Herndon's claim.
 
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