# Does Damage to MH17 indicate or exclude a Particular Buk Launch Location?

#### jonnyH

##### Senior Member.
Which is a bit nonsensical from a use of energy point of view, as a chunk of the KE of the explosion is then cancelled out by the KE of the missile. To get a sideways velocity of 2400, you'd need it angled back at 22° and starting at 2600 m/s

This was my back of fag packet calculation:

#### Pete Tar

##### Senior Member.
What's the goal of this analysis? It's starting to seem a bit abstract, albeit fascinating.
I'm seeing what seem to be only minute changes in dispersal patterns, but I don't understand what they either prove or rule out about the launch location?

#### Rob

##### Member
What's the goal of this analysis? It's starting to seem a bit abstract, albeit fascinating.
I'm seeing what seem to be only minute changes in dispersal patterns, but I don't understand what they either prove or rule out about the launch location?

It's difficult to completely rule out launch from either Snizhne or Zaroshens'kye until we understand two important "static" (seen from the missile) distributions of how fragments leave the warhead :

The "static" VELOCITY distribution (how fast do fragments leave the warhead in any particular direction).
Almaz Antey presents a graph of what they say is the "dynamic" (which takes missile and plane speed into account) velocity distribution, but that graph does not make any physical sense as Mick points out very convincingly.
Maybe the graph presents the "static" velocity distribution after all ?

But even more important is the "static" DENSITY distribution (how many fragments leave the warhead in any particular direction). That is the "spread" in Mick's animation.
Almaz Antey explains that for the static case, 96% of the fragments leave in a 56 deg spread roughly symmetrical around a right angle away from the missile.
They also mention also that 42% goes into a much narrower spread (a "lancet"), but it is not entirely clear how wide that spread is nor if it is also roughly perpendicular to the missile path.

It is really unfortunate that Almaz Antey is so ambiguous about these two important "static" distributions of the warhead, which make all the difference between ruling out one launch location or the other.

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#### william wiley

##### Member
It's difficult to completely rule out launch from either Snizhne or Zaroshens'kye until we understand two important "static" (seen from the missile) distributions of how fragments leave the warhead :
What trajectory do you propose for a Snizhne launch, and where do you propose the missile exploded.
Almaz Antey has to their credit proposed a testable hypothesis. There is no testable hypothesis for a Snizhne launch. All we have is a "maybe it came from Snizhne, but we don't have a falsifiable hypothesis"
It is really unfortunate that Almaz Antey is so ambiguous about these two important "static" distributions of the warhead,
Well they do give quite a bit of information, for a press conference.
which make all the difference between ruling out one launch location or the other
I think Snizhne could be ruled out, unless there is a way the damage can be explained by a missile from Snizhne

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#### jonnyH

##### Senior Member.
What's the goal of this analysis?
AA conclude Zaroshens’kye is the likely launch site having estimated the location and orientation of the missile at detonation by analysing the pattern of damage to the plane, and; extrapolated back to the launch site.

In order to estimate to position of the missile AA present the following evidence:

(a) the maximum velocity of the shrapnel (somewhere between 2000 m/s and 2400 m/s)
(b) the angle at which the shrapnel spreads when a warhead detonates at rest (56 degrees), and
(c) a full velocity profile of the shrapnel spread of a warhead travelling at 1000 m/s.

Mick used (b) and (c) to calculate a figure for (a) but found the result was nearly 3 times that stated by AA.

I used (a) and (c) to estimate a velocity profile for the warhead at rest but what I found is completely incompatible with what AA tell us about (b).

It looks like their numbers just don't add up. At least one of the three bits of evidence that AA rely on in making their estimate of the missiles position must be very wrong and thus their estimate itself must be wrong. It follows that the subsequent extrapolation cannot reliably conclude that the launch site was Zaroshens’kye.

#### Mick West

Staff member
What trajectory do you propose for a Snizhne launch, and where do you propose the missile exploded.
Almaz Antey has to their credit proposed a testable hypothesis. There is no testable hypothesis for a Snizhne launch. All we have is a "maybe it came from Snizhne, but we don't have a falsifiable hypothesis"

Well based on analysis so far, it seem like their hypothesis has been falsified, as it has been shown their velocity profile makes no sense.

And how is their hypothesis testable exactly?

The Snizhe hyposthesis is quite simple. The missile came in at about 314 degrees, it exploded roughly as shown here:

There's lots of unknowns. But AA's velocity vectors are inconsistent nonsense, so it's impossible to base a hypothesis on them.

#### Rob

##### Member
For a launch from Zaroshens'ke, the missile would be heading at 20 deg, (85 deg from the right of the plane's heading).
Since the fragments blast almost exclusively forward, this makes it very difficult to find a detonation location on the left and above the plane where ANY damage would be done.

In fact, the only detonation location where some serious damage could be done to the left side would be smack ON the left pilot's window. Assuming the 56 deg spread that Almaz Antey says holds 96% of the fragments, that would result in this pattern :

Note that the main blast of fragments (along the dotted orange line) rips out the entire left front of the plane.

Also note that this picture is only valid if the missile exploded RIGHT ON the left pilot's window, and BELOW the plane's ceiling.

If it exploded a couple of meters ABOVE the cockpit, or a few meters IN FRONT of it then the main blast would have missed the plane completely (since also along the z axis, the fragments move away from the plane).

And that is just the first issue that casts doubt on the Zaroshens'ke launch location.

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#### william wiley

##### Member
For a launch from Zaroshens'ke, the missile would be heading at 20 deg, (85 deg from the right of the plane's heading).
Isthat the same angle Almaz Antey propose?
Since the fragments blast almost exclusively forward, this makes it very difficult to find a detonation location on the left and above the plane where ANY damage would be done.
Do you have the missile in the horizontal plane in your calculations (as I think Mick's model does) or still rising as AA seems to (not that that helps them)
If it exploded a couple of meters ABOVE the cockpit, or a few meters IN FRONT of it then the main blast would have missed the plane completely (since also along the z axis, the fragments move away from the plane).
This sounds strange. It sounds strange because AA tell us that they went to quite a bit of trouble over quite some time to design a missile that would take out a plane.
Yet according to what you are saying they could fire the missile well within range from the side have it detonate within a couple of metres of the cockpit and yet miss the plane completely.
I'm wondering on that basis if something is being missed here.
they deliberately designed the missile to hit a narrow area, so there must be some way they make sure that narrow area will hit the cockpit where ever the missile comes from.

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#### vitorino

##### Member
This sounds strange. It sounds strange because AA tell us that they went to quite a bit of trouble over quite some time to design a missile that would take out a plane.

Your trust on the manufacturers is dumbfounding.

What have they ever done? Build a missile? that blows up airplanes? What kind of expertise does that give them? Do you really think more than internet-people that can learn about anything online, build models and acquire proficientness on tackling the complexities of mid-flight explosion, shrapnelling and satelite picture forgery?

#### william wiley

##### Member
Your trust on the manufacturers is dumbfounding.
What have they ever done? Build a missile? that blows up airplanes? What kind of expertise does that give them? Do you really think more than internet-people that can learn about anything online, build models and acquire proficientness on tackling the complexities of mid-flight explosion, shrapnelling and satelite picture forgery?
I guess you're right. Internet people probably know more.

#### Rob

##### Member
This sounds strange. It sounds strange because AA tell us that they went to quite a bit of trouble over quite some time to design a missile that would take out a plane.
Yet according to what you are saying they could fire the missile well within range from the side have it detonate within a couple of metres of the cockpit and yet miss the plane completely.
I'm wondering on that basis if something is being missed here.
they deliberately designed the missile to hit a narrow area, so there must be some way they make sure that narrow area will hit the cockpit where ever the missile comes from.

Thank you for bringing this point up.
Yes, of course Almaz Antey designed the missile in such a way that it will take out an airplane, no matter which direction the missile approaches the plane.

For that, detonation of the missile is controlled by a proximity fuse, which triggers if the missile is a set distance (typically 10-15 meters) from the target.

That is why the Almaz Antey assessment of the detonation point (right in front of the left pilot's window), does not make any sense at all.

If the missile would have come from Zaroshens'ke, and it would have operated properly, it would have detonated on the RIGHT side of the plane, with a blast pattern something like this :

But there was NO significant damage on the right side of the cockpit, and there was significant damage on the left side, so for the Almaz Antey conclusion (that the missile detonated smack in front of the left pilot's window) to be correct, the missile's proximity fuse should have malfunctioned, to the point where just a few milliseconds later the warhead fragments would have missed the plane entirely.

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#### Rob

##### Member
I guess you're right. Internet people probably know more.

William, this is simple physics. Nothing to do with "Internet people", whoever they are.

#### Ole

##### Member
For that, detonation of the missile is controlled by a proximity fuse, which triggers if the missile is a set distance (typically 10-15 meters) from the target.

Around 17:00 in the video AA explains why their fusing logic is different. According to them, they use a delay of 3-5 meters between the proximity fuse detecting something abeam and the triggering of the detonation. This is to hit the center of the target and not the heavyly armoured cockpit.

#### william wiley

##### Member
Around 17:00 in the video AA explains why their fusing logic is different. According to them, they use a delay of 3-5 meters between the proximity fuse detecting something abeam and the triggering of the detonation. This is to hit the center of the target and not the heavily armoured cockpit.
Ok so why do they allow for the missile hitting the cockpit, rather than the middle?
The distance makes sense though

#### Rob

##### Member
Around 17:00 in the video AA explains why their fusing logic is different. According to them, they use a delay of 3-5 meters between the proximity fuse detecting something abeam and the triggering of the detonation. This is to hit the center of the target and not the heavyly armoured cockpit.

Ole. In that screenshot, they talk about detonation 3-5 meter from the "top part (the cockpit) of the plane".

How is that detonation 3-5 meter from the cockpit achieved with a "delay" fuse regardless of the direction the missile approaches from ?

And if that "delay" fuse that you suggest was supposed to hit the "less protected" areas of the plane rather than the cockpit (as the interpreter explains), why did the missile explode right in front of MH17's left pilot's window according to Almaz Antey ? Did that "delay" fuse system fail as well ?

Or is there simply a 3-5 millisecond (3-5 meters for the missile) delay between the proximity fuse triggering and the fragments leaving the warhead ?

If so, the picture they present is misleading, and the delay has nothing to do with any attempt to target any particular part of the plane...

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#### Ole

##### Member
And if that "delay" fuse that you suggest was supposed to hit the "less protected" areas of the plane rather than the cockpit (as the interpreter explains), why did the missile explode right in front of MH17's left pilot's window according to Almaz Antey ? Did that "delay" fuse system fail as well ?

Taking into account the 777 fuselage width of 6.20 meters an explosion in front of the captain's window sounds reasonable with a delay of 3-5 meters.

I don't like to be in the position of defending neither AA nor the quality of their presentation, but to asses their statements one should consider (among other) the following:
- Missile manufactures in general shall be reluctant to have information about their intercepting and fusing algorithms in the public domain.
- The presentation was probably made by the tech people, then revised by security and "political" people, presented by some marketing guy and translated to English by an interpreter who has little idea of any of the above. That wouldn't help to enhance the presentation's quality.

#### Rob

##### Member
Taking into account the 777 fuselage width of 6.20 meters an explosion in front of the captain's window sounds reasonable with a delay of 3-5 meters.

I don't like to be in the position of defending neither AA nor the quality of their presentation, but to asses their statements one should consider (among other) the following:
- Missile manufactures in general shall be reluctant to have information about their intercepting and fusing algorithms in the public domain.
- The presentation was probably made by the tech people, then revised by security and "political" people, presented by some marketing guy and translated to English by an interpreter who has little idea of any of the above. That wouldn't help to enhance the presentation's quality.

Sure.
That does not make their assessment right, though.

And in fact, based on simple physics (such as Mick's animation tool) a launch from Zaroshens'ke would imply a failing proximity fuse and a bizarre detonation smack in front of the left pilot's window, below MH17's ceiling.

And that is even without looking at damage details.

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#### Rob

##### Member
Taking into account the 777 fuselage width of 6.20 meters an explosion in front of the captain's window sounds reasonable with a delay of 3-5 meters.

No Ole, that does NOT sound reasonable.

Please give the missile designers some credit will you ?
After all, the designers KNOW the time it takes between the proximity fuse triggering and the fragments leaving the warhead.

That is why the fuse is designed to trigger 10-15 meters BEFORE the target, so that the fragments leave the warhead early enough (7-10 meters ahead) for the bulk of the fragments to cause maximum damage knowing the cone of expansion.

Which means that IF MH17 was shot down by a missile from Zaroshens'ke, that the warhead would still have exploded on the RIGHT side of MH17, similar to what I pictured in post #92.

And since there was NO significant damage on the right side of the cockpit, the missile cannot have been launched from Zaroshens'ke if the proximity fuse operated properly.

Is that so hard to accept ?

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#### Ole

##### Member
Is that so hard to accept ?

Well yes, it's always hard to accept arguments by authority, be it the authority of the manufacturer or the authority of somebody else.

With a perpendicular pattern of fragments it makes more sense to trigger the warhead when the target is abeam, with a forward pointing cone it makes more sense to trigger the warhead when the target is still ahead.

This thread established that AA's explanation of the way the warhead produces a perpendicular pattern is inconsistent/misleading/wrong. It would be nice to establish more facts on the actual fragmentation pattern other than that its explanation is bad or that we would like it to be a cone.

#### william wiley

##### Member
Sure.
That does not make their assessment right, though.

And in fact, based on simple physics (such as Mick's animation tool) a launch from Zaroshens'ke would imply a failing proximity fuse and a bizarre detonation smack in front of the left pilot's window, below MH17's ceiling.

And that is even without looking at damage details.
Yet somehow a missile from Snizhne managed to detonate on the far side of the plane after passing the nose of the plane. Interesting.

#### Mick West

Staff member
Yet somehow a missile from Snizhne managed to detonate on the far side of the plane after passing the nose of the plane. Interesting.

That depends on the missile's criteria for detonation, and where it actually ends up. If it's just a certain distance from the center of mass of the target, then there's a variety of scenarios:

#### Mick West

Staff member
Perhaps though it's simply proximity to anything, meaning 3-5 meters, if AA are correct here:

#### Mick West

Staff member
Here I've added a 3m ring to the missile (the inner black ring, not the green angle indicator):

Updated sim:
http://tube.geogebra.org/student/m1349555

(to verify the circle is to scale, the 777 fuselage is 244" wide, or 6.2m)

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#### william wiley

##### Member
Perhaps though it's simply proximity to anything, meaning 3-5 meters, if AA are correct here:
The translator says..at around 15.30 to 15.40
and the explosion point was on the distance 3 to 5 metres from the top part of the plane..from the cockpit of the plane

It's not clear that this is specifically what will always happen or what happened this time, according to their calculations

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#### Mick West

Staff member
Perhaps though it's simply proximity to anything, meaning 3-5 meters, if AA are correct here:

Ah, missed this post.

Around 17:00 in the video AA explains why their fusing logic is different. According to them, they use a delay of 3-5 meters between the proximity fuse detecting something abeam and the triggering of the detonation. This is to hit the center of the target and not the heavyly armoured cockpit.

But they don't actually say that. Can you quote what they say, and where they say it?

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#### Mick West

Staff member
Some detail on the fusing mechanism here:
http://www.whathappenedtoflightmh17...he-buk-sa-11-which-could-have-shot-down-mh17/ (http://archive.today/8Rfi3)

The proximity fuse

The proximity fuse detects the distance to the missile its target. It detects the first metal part which is closest to the missile. For a BUK missile at around 17 meters from the target the fuse will let the explosives in the warhead explode. Because the explosives are in the core of the warhead and surrounded by fragments, the fragments will spread out.

The proximity fuse in a missile like BUK is “side looking” rather, than “front looking” (probably at an angle of about 60deg from missile axis to both sides). It is designed to detonate when it passes close to target, there is no point to detonate ahead of a typical aircraft target. The speed of shrapnels from the warhead is much higher than closure speed of the missile/target, so the warhead doesn’t work like a “shotgun shot”. It just explodes passing close to target and the shrapnels are thrown to the sides fast enough to hit it (shrapnel is several times faster than the missile).

Type of proximity fuses are 9E241, 9E241M1 and most recent 9E346.

So if the missile was going head-on horizontally or from above with slight side offset, then the warhead detonated as soon as the cockpit came into field of view (FOV) of side-looking proximity fuse antennas. And looking at the cockpit damage, it was only few meters, so most of the shrapnel was absorbed by front part of the fuselage with very high fragment density. The spread pattern of warhead shrapnels is not omnidirectional, almost all of the fragments are directed to the sides. Nearly all other plane parts were outside of the shrapnel kill-zone, only one wing and it’s engine could get some.

The image below shows the proximiy fuse angles of detonation (for type 5E50).

5E50 is a proximity fuse which is almost equal to 5E241M1 with some improvements near ground surface.
Depending from relative speed of the missile and target, the proximity fuse will give a command to detonate warhead.

The figure below shows how the detection angle depends from speeds. Basically, the faster the speed of the target, the more narrow the angle of detection, the more difficult to detect the target and thus the more unlikely missile will detonate.

On high speed angle near 30 degree, on slowest close to 60.

What is the x-axis. What is relative speed missile-target?

On the x-axis the sum of the speed of the missile plus the speed of the target is shown. The radar in the missile is able to calculate this speed based on the speed of the radar return from target.

The line numbered 2 is the scenario with MH17 (no electronic counter measures). A BUK missile is designed to attack enemy fighter aircraft which will execute electronic counter measures to distract the rader of the missile.

This article ^in Russian language has a lot of info on proximity fuse.
Content from External Source

#### william wiley

##### Member
Ah, missed this post.
But they don't actually say that. Can you quote what they say, and where they say it?
I could not hear that either, is it lost in translation?

#### mvdb22

##### Member
It would be good if that site sourced it's information.
That could be more valuable
The source is someone who appears to know a lot about the working of the BUK system.

This thread is BTW one of the most informatives ones on MH17. Well done everyone. And big thumbs up for Mick for making the model.

#### Mick West

Staff member
At 3:15 into this (70 year old) video, there's a description of how proximity fuses worked back then. The basic principle is still the same, trigger the warhead where it will do most damage, so the fuse looks where the fragments will go, not just forward, or around.

The fuse has a zone of sensitivity shaped like this, and extending all the way around it. Any large object passing with this zone of sensitivity will cause the fuse to function. Moreover, the greatest concentration of fragments from the burst will follow roughly the same path as the zone of sensitivity of the fuse.
Content from External Source

#### Mick West

Staff member
Another inconsistency in the AA presentation. Overlaying the A10 graphic for scale:

For it to detonate in their claimed location, it would have to be triggered much earlier than it is in the A10 diagram.

#### Ole

##### Member
Ah, missed this post.

But they don't actually say that. Can you quote what they say, and where they say it?

This is my transcript of the video, begining at 16:15 ending at 17:42 :
It's an open secret that SAM is a device which should provide damage for all aerodynamic means. These device of the missile was designed in the 1980s and its most difficulties was special jet fighters which had quite heavy armour and doubling and redundancy of different control units of the plane. And to provide sufficent attack independent from the approach angle this so called scalpel/lancet was taken as a basis. This scalpel/lancet independent from the orientation should damage the less protected parts of the aircraft, wings, engine, the bottom parts or the flaps. And the explosion point was on the distance of 3-5 meters from the top part of the plane, from the cockpit of the plane.
Content from External Source
During the later part of that sequence this sketch is shown:

The sketch depicts a warhead detonating after having traveled 3-5 meters from the point where it first had a part of the plane abeam.

#### Ole

##### Member
Another inconsistency in the AA presentation. Overlaying the A10 graphic for scale:

For it to detonate in their claimed location, it would have to be triggered much earlier than it is in the A10 diagram.
The scale of this sketch is screwed:

According to the scale on the bottom right, the blue arrow has a length of ~8 m and not 3-5 m.

#### mvdb22

##### Member
The fragment damage done to the seat of one of the pilots (I believe this is the co-pilot seat) gives some clues about the position of the missile. Very likely the missile exploded just a few meters left, and above the cockpit.

#### Robert E

##### New Member
A few questions:

Could the pattern be (more or less) compared to a Gaussian distribution (or "normal distribution)?

if spreadingpattern is indeed comparable with a Gaussian distribution, would it be possible to include this (roughly) in the vectormodel?

Is it unlogic to assume the missile is guided to the centre of the object, based on radar reflection which could differ from the metric centre of the object?

- 3 verticale angle of missile:
the verticle angle of the missile has much influence on the actual distribution of the fragment, is it possible to make a vectormodel with a front view of the plane?

-4 proximity fuse
In post #107 is written the proximity fuse used line 2 (no electronic counter measures). Why is assumed line 2? MH17 clearly an aircraft without electric counter measures, but i assume "they" didn't not intend to shoot down a civil aircraft, but a military aircraft, with possible electronic counter measures. Does the missile itself contains enough 'intelligence' to detect the presence of electronic counter measures and adjust functioning of the proximity fuse during the flight of the missisle to its target?
Is it possible to make a model for proximity fuse, with the different relevant variables for both possible launchsites and with topview and frontview?

#### mvdb22

##### Member
This photo also helps to position the missile

#### Ole

##### Member

The caption of this image is :"Static distribution of splinters". It is from here. The original of the scan has the look and feel of a book for the army of the former GDR which maybe was translated from russian.

Translation (by "google translate" with corrections by me) of the text below that image:

The size of the static scattering sector of the splinters depends mainly on the ratio length/diameter of the warhead and its shape. The shorter a warhead with a constant diameter, the more scattered is the detonation energy in the direction of the longitudinal axis, and the static scattering angle is larger. Increasing the length of the warhead at constant diameter, decreases the static scattering sector of the splinters. The transition from cylindrical to spherical warhead shape (while maintaining the end surfaces) also leads to an increasing sector.

With a given missile, the static scattering sector of the splinters usually remains unchanged.
The orientation of the of static splinter sector with a predetermined shape of the warhead depends on the position of the point where the detonation is initiated.

If the detonation is initiated in the rear part of the warhead, then the scattering angle of the splitter is tilted forward (WST <90 °). If the the detonation is initiated from the front part of the missile, then the scattering field of splitter tilts backwards. (WST> 90 °). If the detonation is initiated in the middle part or in several such points symmetrical to the center, then the WSTI angle = 90 °.
Content from External Source
So a splinter cone pointing to the stern of the missile doesn't seem to be something unusual. A backward pointing cone is achieved by locating the primer on the forward side of the waread. This image is from here:

My russian is nonexistent but by the look of it, I would guess that "3 - ПНМ" is the primer, 4- is the connection to it and 10- is the electrical cabel to the primer whereas 17- Безопасность is something like a safety mechanism.

If that is the case, the primer would be located at the front end of the warhead, thus producing a backward pointing cone?

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