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

skephu

Senior Member
I have calculated the standard deviations of the element/aluminum ratios from the Moreno data, and they are huge.
Herndon calculated the 99% confidence intervals for the means, and performed a statistical test based on this. I can't reproduce what he did because he omits the rainwater data from his paper. But I can calculate the 99% confidence intervals for the means for the Moreno data. These are huge, and their lower limits are often negative, which doesn't make sense as you can't have a negative amount of an element, so I replaced the negative values by zero. Using this, the confidence intervals for the 7 "fingerprint elements" to aluminum ratios are below (Herndon says 8, but one is the Al/Al ratio which is 1 so makes no sense):

Ca/Al ratio: 0 to 15,773
Fe/Al ratio: 0.03 to 0.17
Mg/Al ratio: 0 to 28
S/Al ratio: 0 to 5,425
B/Al ratio: 0 to 18.5
Ba/Al ratio: 0 to 28
Sr/Al ratio: 0 to 271

So Herndon's method would identify any material with elemental ratios in these ranges as coal fly ash.
Interestingly, all the ranges are huge except that for iron. And here, there is a large discrepancy between the rain data and the coal fly ash data in Herndon's figure:
upload_2015-8-25_18-7-36.png
According to the figure, the iron to aluminum ratio is ~50 times as much in rain as in coal fly ash. The rain value is also well outside the 99% confidence interval shown above. Now of course if this ratio varies a lot in rain (we don't know because Herndon doesn't report the full rain data set) then the difference may not be significant.

Aside from the iron values, all the other ranges are so huge that "Herndon's method of coal fly ash recognition" would identify Earth's crust and virtually all rocks and all soils as made of coal fly ash.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
Weidan Zhou has asked me to post this clarification here:
Ah, another violation of MDPI policy for their papers:

With this sort of violation I'm wondering if he had a funder who wasn't mentioned. We may never know.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
Aside from the iron values, all the other ranges are so huge that "Herndon's method of coal fly ash recognition" would identify Earth's crust and virtually all rocks and all soils as made of coal fly ash.
Wangen(1981) noticed the same thing

Here's a little gold mine of data on elemental composition of atmospheric dust compared to coal fly ash, dust in California, China and various places, includes the Wangen data:
https://books.google.com/books?id=6...xaSCh1JVws0#v=onepage&q=wangen (1981)&f=false
 
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Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
This morning I visited with Dr. Paul B. Tchounwou of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. He is Associate Dean there and Editor of the IJERPH which published Herndon's second paper. I was passing through Jackson on a trip and decided to take a half-hour to see him.

He told me that he had read the paper and was aware that it has become controversial. When asked his personal opinion of the paper he seemed hesitant to comment and did not mention anything specific. He was also aware of the publication in Current Science.

DSC00407.JPG I gave him a printout of the paper on which I had handwritten some notes about issues that have been mentioned here and at Jeffrey Beale's Blog, then I expressed my own concerns. I did give him my contact information and offered to help explain more if he desired. The meeting was brief and I thanked him for his time. He expressed that he would consider what to do very soon and thanked me for the information.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
One thing about the Herndon paper puzzles me. He contends that the leachate from Moreno is similar to the rainfall in respect to both containing "mobile" aluminum. This could be a real problem for him. Here are his statements from the two papers:

The problem I see is:
The leaching procedure used by Moreno, DIN 38414-S4, entails soaking the fly ash in distilled water for 24 hours while mixing, then filtering the solution using a 0.45 micron filter and then the ICP-MS element analyzer.

Herndon's rain water sample analysis is described as, "Two commercial state-of-California certified laboratories, Babcock Laboratories, Inc. and Basic Laboratory, were engaged for the San Diego rainwater analyses by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. [ICP-MS]"

Typically, the chemtrail believers using Basic Laboratory in Redding, CA get results for "Total Metals" using EPA Method 200.8, which takes the rain water sample, then digests it in nitric acid, followed by ICP-MS, or takes a direct analysis of unfiltered sample followed by ICP-MS.

There is a difference! The Moreno results come from a true leaching test over a 24 hour agitation and filtration of solids to yield what can be considered "mobile" elements. The EPA 200.8 test takes rainwater which fell through the atmosphere for minutes, then digests the sample in acid which dissolves anything inert into a soluble "mobile" form.

Essentially, EPA200.8 takes whatever is not soluble or "mobile" and dissolves it thus making it mobile.

It seems to me that Herndon cannot make the claim that what he is finding in the rainwater is "mobile" using EPA 200.8 because that test is a "Total Metals" test, NOT a soluble metals test.

This is significant because Herndon does admit that crustal aluminum is "highly immobile", yet he doesn't make any attempt to address the ordinary crustal aluminum known to be commonly found in rainwater which confounds his conclusions.

Typical Troposheric aerosols.jpg


Can anyone with more detailed chemistry background provide further input?
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's unclear what he actually means by "chemically mobile aluminum". A quick search for "mobile aluminum" and "water" largely returns results about Herndon's articles.

Where "Mobile Aluminum" is actually used in the scientific literature seems to be synonymous with bioavailable aluminum, i.e. Al(III) (Al3+), the ion of aluminum that forms in acidic water. But this is a function of acidity, not aluminum (which is ubiquitous in soil).

https://books.google.com/books?id=08JkCSXX_14C&lpg=PA36&ots=1hOt4HwIwX&dq="mobile aluminum" water&pg=PA36#v=onepage&q="mobile aluminum" water&f=false


Al3+ is generally measured in very small amounts, like 1ppm (1 mg/L, or 1,000 µg/L) - because anything higher would indicate such a high acidity level that you'd have far more serious issues than aluminum toxicity.

Herndon instead seems to loosely use the term to mean very small particles of aluminum.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
Herndon has tried to tie his Indian paper into relatively high mobile aluminum found in a river in India. One problem with that is that the problem is localized and seasonal, and besides being in surface water is also in groundwater. They think that the aluminum dissolves out of mineral Biotite(black mica). If global geoengineering were taking place, the aluminum problem wouldn't be in a local groundwater or a unique river system, it would be global.

You'll find some details about it here:
http://www.researchgate.net/publica...mati_River_Basin_implications_to_human_health
 

Attachments

Belfrey

Senior Member
It's unclear what he actually means by "chemically mobile aluminum". A quick search for "mobile aluminum" and "water" largely returns results about Herndon's articles.

Where "Mobile Aluminum" is actually used in the scientific literature seems to be synonymous with bioavailable aluminum, i.e. Al(III) (Al3+), the ion of aluminum that forms in acidic water. But this is a function of acidity, not aluminum (which is ubiquitous in soil).

https://books.google.com/books?id=08JkCSXX_14C&lpg=PA36&ots=1hOt4HwIwX&dq="mobile aluminum" water&pg=PA36#v=onepage&q="mobile aluminum" water&f=false


Al3+ is generally measured in very small amounts, like 1ppm (1 mg/L, or 1,000 µg/L) - because anything higher would indicate such a high acidity level that you'd have far more serious issues than aluminum toxicity.

Herndon instead seems to loosely use the term to mean very small particles of aluminum.
I agree - when biologists talk about "mobile" or "available" aluminum, it generally refers to aluminum that is in a soluble form that will move with water and can be absorbed by plants and other living things. The solubility of both plant micronutrients and other molecules & elements in the soil (such as aluminum) will vary with pH (image source):
AG1182-fig3.JPG

I agree with Jay that the two analyses are not equivalent, and that the EPA Method 200.8 will give a result for total aluminum in the sample, not just soluble aluminum.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The Jigyasu paper Herndon references in CS describes their analysis as:

https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/current-science-108-3-434-438-pdf.14719/
Which appears like it would dissolve aluminum with the nitric acid before filtering. I'm not sure how they can say they are measuring dissolved aluminum when they will dissolve additional aluminum from suspended solids with their test procedure?
 

skephu

Senior Member
It seems to me that Herndon cannot make the claim that what he is finding in the rainwater is "mobile" using EPA 200.8 because that test is a "Total Metals" test, NOT a soluble metals test.
He is not aware of that. He argues that the rainwater samples are filtered through a fine filter in the laboratory before analysis, so there cannot be any solids in there.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
The "identification" of "chemtrail" substances allows testing these substances for their capability of persistent trail formation. If it indeed were coal fly ash, an experimental demonstration of the persistence of a trail formed upon spraying the actual said substance in the air would be the strongest possible evidence for its use in the alleged geoengineering activity. However, so far, neither Herndon, nor his supporters have come with the (positive) results of such a simple experiment.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The "identification" of "chemtrail" substances allows testing these substances for their capability of persistent trail formation. If it indeed were coal fly ash, an experimental demonstration of the persistence of a trail formed upon spraying the actual said substance in the air would be the strongest possible evidence for its use in the alleged geoengineering activity. However, so far, neither Herndon, nor his supporters have come with the (positive) results of such a simple experiment.
And some really useful evidence would be photographs of the "ash" being sprayed from one of the planes over San Diego. Herndon could very easily take a close-up photo of one of the planes with a relatively cheap camera like the Nikon Coolpix P900.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member
The Jigyasu paper Herndon references in CS describes their analysis as:

https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/current-science-108-3-434-438-pdf.14719/
Which appears like it would dissolve aluminum with the nitric acid before filtering. I'm not sure how they can say they are measuring dissolved aluminum when they will dissolve additional aluminum from suspended solids with their test procedure?
This is a standard practice when sampling for total Al in surface waters, because otherwise there is often an issue with aluminum compounds adsorbing or precipitating on the wall of the container. However, it is generally not done when the goal is to determine the amount of dissolved aluminum, because an acid preservative will change solubility.

As explained in Determination of Dissolved Aluminum in Water Samples (1982):
The EPA procedure for Method 3005A, Acid Digestion of Waters for Total Recoverable or Dissolved Metals for Analysis by FLAA or ICP Spectroscopy, clearly states that filtering should be done before acidification: "When analyzing for total dissolved metals filter the sample, at the time of collection, prior to acidification with nitric acid."
 

JRBids

Senior Member
But how do you move it around to follow the plane when it's on a tripod? You can see I'm a total moron when it comes to cameras.
 

Mark Barrington

Active Member
But how do you move it around to follow the plane when it's on a tripod? You can see I'm a total moron when it comes to cameras.
Most tripods allow you to pan along one axis while the other axes are locked, but it's hard to move smoothly unless you have a more expensive tripod with some damping. you can either be quick, as Dierdre says, or use something like a monopod which steadies the camera but doesn't keep you from moving it.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
This note was recently attached to Herndon's paper:

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
On Aug 25th a new version of the paper was uploaded with the following text removed:

There seems to be no other changes, although the PDF was saved with different settings/software, so is considerably smaller (presumably the images are more compressed)
 

Attachments

skephu

Senior Member
This note was recently attached to Herndon's paper:

I can't see this note there.
 

Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
This note was recently attached to Herndon's paper:

No one likes retractions, so I guess they're dragging their feet. But I've never seen a journal distance itself from a paper because of 'controversy' alone, so it looks like they're already convinced it's probably bunk.

That said, if they do eventually retract it, that could turn many chemmies against the scientific establishment itself, so it may be politically pragmatic to avoid that.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That said, if they do eventually retract it, that could turn many chemmies against the scientific establishment itself, so it may be politically pragmatic to avoid that.
I would think that's not a major concern of the Journal. They want to try to salvage their reputation somewhat.

Of course it will be viewed as "censorship", because the chemtrail believers will continue to think the paper is correct (largely without actually reading it, or the objections listed here). Ultimately though it's best not to have such obvious bunk in scientific journals (even if the journals don't have a good reputation).
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member
The paper at MDPI has been retracted - MDPI Retraction.

Many (all?) of the errors seem to have been those identified here so well done all you boffins :) And Jay for bringing it to their attention.

Ray Von
 

NoParty

Senior Member
...the chemtrail believers will continue to think the paper is correct (largely without actually reading it, or the objections listed here).
Absolutely. To hard-core "chemtrail" believers:

A) MDPI publishing Herndon's Coal-Fly-Ash paper = "We are proved right!" and
B) MDPI retracting Herndon's Coal-Fly-Ash paper = "We are proved right!"

"All roads lead to our belief!" But for the marginal folks, this could be significant:
The big "proof" chemtrailers have been saying makes their case, shown to be bad science
 

skephu

Senior Member
Hmmm, it seems to me there are some errors in the retraction, too :)

This was not the leachate concentration but the unleached one, and it wasn't used (presumably) for all the figures mentioned, only Figures 4 and 5.
 

MikeG

Senior Member
Absolutely. To hard-core "chemtrail" believers:

A) MDPI publishing Herndon's Coal-Fly-Ash paper = "We are proved right!" and
B) MDPI retracting Herndon's Coal-Fly-Ash paper = "We are proved right!"

"All roads lead to our belief!" But for the marginal folks, this could be significant:
The big "proof" chemtrailers have been saying makes their case, shown to be bad science
Agreed. The true believers will blame the retraction on the machinations of the "global power structure" and their minions.

As for other people on the fence or still seeking answers, perhaps the retraction will spur some important doubts about chemtrail "science" and how it should stack up against peer-reviewed research.

We'll see.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
Most people will never know about the retraction, since they will just be looking at cherry-picked bit of it published on conspiracy sites.
 
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