Archive for the 'Kookiness' Category

Two Examples of How You Can “Prove” Anything with Low Standards of Evidence

A lot of wacky ideas seem to be supported by evidence, but when you look at what’s used as evidence it often amounts to a bunch of unimpressive coincidences.

Take the following two examples:

1. Kubrick’s “The Shining” is his confession for staging the moon landing. Some of the “evidence” given:

We have to begin to understand Kubrick’s story from his use of symbols. As I like to say: if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a symbol is worth a thousand pictures. For it will be through the use of symbol that the real story of The Shining can be revealed.

A cold winter storm has now blown over the Hotel. The oncoming storm is a symbol of the Cold War between Russia and the United States. Of course the Cold War is also one of the driving forces for the entire reason for faking the moon landings.

As Danny stands up, the answer is revealed in an instant. Danny is wearing a sweater with a crudely sewn rocket pictured on the front. On the rocket clearly seen on Danny’s sweater are the words: APOLLO 11.

The audience watching the film literally sees the launch of Apollo 11, right before their eyes, as Danny rises from the floor. It isn’t the real launch of Apollo 11, it is, of course, the symbolic launching of Apollo 11. In other words – it isn’t real.

May I humbly suggest that the word “All” in this repeated sentence actually stands for “A11″ that is: “A-One-One”, or Apollo 11?

“A11 work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

May I suggest that the nickname, or the code name, for the faking of the Apollo Moon Missions was A11?

Accepting that this is true we can see what Stanley is really telling us:

“Apollo 11 work and no play makes Jack (Kubrick) a dull boy.”

I’ll give him one thing, though, Jack Nicholson and Kubrick do look a lot alike!

2. Lady Gaga is an Illuminati Puppet:

The symbolism surrounding Lady Gaga is so blatant that one might wonder if it’s all a sick joke. Illuminati symbolism is becoming so clear that analyses like this one becomes a simple exercise of pointing out the obvious. Her whole persona (whether its an act or not) is a tribute to mind control, where being vacuous, incoherent and absent minded becomes a fashionable thing.

“Gaga” is probably the easiest word to say in the English language, as it is often the first sound emitted by babies trying to imitate speech. So her name basically says: I’m a lady and I’m empty-headed. This empty head can filled with any crap you want. Imitate me young people. This state of mind is achieved after successful mind control.

You only need to look at a couple of Lady Gaga pictures or videos to notice that she is constantly hiding one of her eyes. Most people will simply interpret this  as ”a cool thing to do” or a “fashion statement”. Those who have passed the 101 of Illuminati symbolism know that the All-Seeing Eye is probably its most recognizable symbol. The gesture of hiding one eye, usually the left one, goes way back in occult orders.

The comments  under the Lady Gaga article are hilarious, you have to read them.

These articles are both entertaining reads, but ultimately they’re just picking out anything that fits their theories. Using their standards for evidence I bet I could easily prove that Barack Obama is a Muslim or that there are hidden messages in the Bible or that Paul McCartney is dead. Oh wait…

add to del.icio.us Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It!

Psychic Predictions for 2010 – Sylvia Browne

I always enjoy listening to the SGU‘s New Year’s podcast and their take on psychic predictions for the coming year (and for the past year), but since for some reason iTunes isn’t letting me download it (GRRRRRR!!!), and also since I’m not sure if they’ll do that this year, I decided to look for myself at one of the most famous psychics, the despicable Sylvia Browne‘s psychic predictions.

And here are her brilliant insights

Around 2009 to 2010, I predict Americans will start working on what I like to call our “buts.” There are problems that we are aware of that make the global community smaller. We have liked to say, “Our system works”..but……Children are not properly fed, clothed, educated, protected or given adequate medical care.

…Many in our population do not have a place to call home.

…Some of our youth get more attention from gangs and drug dealers than they do positive role models.

…People who are ready, willing and able to work cannot find decent jobs.

…Our elderly are not cared for properly either financially or medically.

…Some death row inmates are innocent.

…Some elected officials and large corporations do not think of the welfare of the people as a high priority – they’d rather just increase their bank accounts.

I predict we’ll develop strong resolve and resources to address these problems and come up with some good solutions.

She does go on to give some actual predictions, rather than just statements of what’s already happening and what won’t change any time soon:

I predict a great rise in skin cancer in children until 2010. There is a lot of media coverage about the UV rays and many products to protect people against them. But people are still often careless when it comes to the sun. Then again, people could pay attention – and reverse this prediction right out from under me. I would certainly be all for that!

Great technique, Sylvia, make sure to make excuses for your predictions before they fail.

I predict the President elected sometime between 2008 and 2020 will die in office from a heart attack. The Vice President who will finish their term will have an unpopular and mistaken intention to declare war on North Korea. By that time, North Korea will have weapons of mass destruction. In the middle of efforts to declare war, I predict the Vice President will be assassinated.

This is a pretty bold prediction, that both the President and the Vice President will die or be killed in office, but she gave herself a nice big window of time. It’s unlikely that anyone will call Sylvia up in 2020 and say “ha! Your 2010 prediction was soooo wrong!”…maybe I will…

I’m pretty ignorant of North Korean issues at the moment, but don’t they currently claim to have WMDs? Anyways…

There will be a worldwide investigation into the Vice President’s death with both pleasant and unpleasant surprises. A lot of attention will be paid to one of the investigative congressional committees and serious accusations will be made regarding missing funds. Finally, it will be revealed that their accusations are part of a conspiracy to damage the American people’s faith in their government, with the media manipulated to “fan the flames,” and the committee will be vindicated in the end.

Politics as usual, no?

I predict we can truly say “goodbye” to the common cold in 2009 or 2010. The solution to the common cold involves heat. Keep in mind that the body’s first response when we develop a cold is to come down with a fever. Many doctors today no longer rush to push patients to take temperature reducing medications when they come down with a fever, unless the fever is dangerous. They feel the immune system is the patient’s best medicine and should be given a chance to fight back. So as the immune system fights a cold with heat, the cure for the common cold certainly may lie in this first signal to heal.

Okay Dr. Browne…but last time I checked a fever is not one of the symptoms of a cold.

I predict that a small cubicle will become available in doctor’s offices sometime in 2009 and it will be heated to a very precise temperature. There may be a special vapor placed into the cubicle. Patients will stand in the cubicle for approximately five minutes and the rhinitis germ will be destroyed.

Medical researchers everywhere are rushing to their labs to test out Sylvia’s amazing idea! Why did none of them think of this sooner?? A warm vapour cubicle, of course!

Another wonderful bit of good news on the health front with this discovery – since this cubicle can easily take on the rhinitis germ, many people that have breathing problems with allergies and asthma complications will find some breakthroughs as well. We will see this cubicle discovery used for healing for those with breathing disorders. The cubicle will become available in 2009 or 2010.

I wonder when the magic vapour cubicle will become available at the Sylvia Browne store?

I predict hypnotic past-life regression will become available through a group of trained psychologists on both the east and west coasts of the U.S.A. in 2009. It will prove to be quite a success and will be widely practiced by 2011.

Sorry about the lolcats, but I have one more…the resemblance is uncanny:

Separated at Birth?

Ear Candling with Jessica Simpson

One of the first exposures I had to skepticism was through the Skeptic Zone podcast, in particular the episode about ear candling. It struck a cord with me because ear candles had been recommended to me by a couple of people, but I found out in the episode that it’s actually illegal to sell them in Canada because they’re so dangerous (not to mention completely useless).

Today I was looking at Perez Hilton’s blog to see what the scoop is on poor Brittany Murphy when I saw this video that was tweeted by Jessica Simpson today of her using an ear candle.

It’s actually the first time I’ve ever seen ear candles in action and…wow…I mean it just looks ridiculous, and she’s screaming the whole way through! Seriously you have a candle right over top of your hair, it’s not even relaxing! Even if they did work I would just stick to Q-Tips.

Ear candles are hollow candles that you place over your ear…you light them and the premise is that the heat creates a vacuum that sucks the wax up out of your ears. Here’s what Dr. Rachie has to say about that:

I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that good science from proper scientists and doctors has been wasted testing these things. The seminal study on the safety and efficacy of ear candles was published in the journal Laryngoscope in 1996. The authors were particularly interested in the claim that the candles create a vacuum so they used a pressure device to measure changes in pressure for the duration of the burn. In 20 trials with 2 different candle types, they detected no negative pressure at any point during the trial.

In a clinical trial also conducted as part of this study, 4 people (2 with ear wax and 2 without), the authors reported the candles did not remove ear wax as proposed and in fact, in some cases candle wax was actually deposited in patient’s ears (2).

The authors also conducted a survey of 122 ear nose and throat specialists and found 21 cases of serious injury caused by ear candling. In 6 of these cases, patients temporarily lost their hearing. Other problems reported among the group included, 13 cases of burns, 7 cases where the wax from the candle had blocked the ear canal and 1 case of a punctured ear drum (2).

You can read more about ear candling in Dr. Rachael Dunlop’s blog post on the topic here.

I’m optimistic that this video of Jessica Simpson using ear candles will make people scared of them…but then again, people are silly.

[follow me on Twitter @EnlightningLinZ]

What’s the Deal? – ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Okay I have to ask…

2 or 3 of the total daily views of this blog come from people who type “ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss” into a search engine.

I don’t get it…help me out?

Worst UFO Photo I’ve Seen!

Honestly…

If UFO believers want to be taken even a little bit seriously they really shouldn’t be trying to pass off pictures of clouds as alien spaceships…

mothership

Moose Mania

So the other night my husband was checking his email and saw something he thought was really cool. He said “you have to see this!” and, us being a modern family, he forwarded it to me (sitting 10 feet away) on my laptop.

The contents of the email were these two pictures:

big moose 1

big moose 2

Along with this text:

Look at this Moose! By the length of his beard and the grey legs, I figure he must be over 10 years old. He looks to be well over 8 feet at the top of the shoulder hump,and with his head up the height to the top of his antler must be about 12 feet .This guy is king of the forest, no bear or pack of wolves would dare come after him when he has this rack……Considering that a dirt road can fit 1 1/2 cars across … this fellow is HUGE …THIS IS ONE BIG BOY!

Now I’ve never seen a male moose before, but my dad’s work has taken him to all sorts of small towns in Northern Canada where moose are common, and he’s told me about moose whose legs were as long as he is tall (and he’s a big guy), so I had no reason to be skeptical.

Every Monday, PZ Myers posts an animal picture for his “Monday Metazoan” on Pharyngula, and I thought this was a cool enough picture for that spot, so I forwarded it on to  him. I was happy on Monday morning to see that he had used it. But my happiness was short-lived when I saw the comments claiming that the picture was photoshopped!

The whole thread turned into a big debate over whether the picture was real, but I think Pharyngula commenter Steven Mading did a good job of summarizing:

Sigh: The obvious rebuttals to the arguments being used here claiming this is done with an image editor:

1 – Complaint: “But on other sites they’re claiming it’s from other locations – the location keeps changing! It’s an urban (or rural) legend and therefore the image is faked!” Obvious Rebuttal: Just because the claim of the location the photo was taken is incorrect doesn’t imply the image itself is edited. Editing the image and telling the truth about where it is from are two entirely different issues. I could take a very real photograph of Lake Mendota where I live, and simply put a caption on it saying “This is in Saudi Arabia – amazing that there’s a lake here!” and that still doesn’t mean I photoshopped the image.

2 – Complaint: “But you can’t see the moose’s shadow on the ground!” Obvious Rebuttal: It’s already standing in a shadow! The woods are already casting a shadow on the road, as you can plainly see. Putting an additional object into the umbra of another object doesn’t make the shadow any darker than it already was.

3 – Complaint: “The second image is clearly just a rotated copy of the first!” Obvious Rebuttal: No, it’s not clearly rotated since if it was then one picture would look like a flat cardboard cutout since it would be rotating a 2-D image.

4 – Complaint: “Moose don’t get that big!” Obvious Rebuttal; Yes. They Do. Check your encyclopedia.
Now, none of that means the image can’t have been photoshopped – just that the reasons being quoted here for making that conclusion are pretty weak.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Most likely the location was wrong or inaccurate, but why would somebody photoshop an image that could possibly be real?

I got over my disappointment in the skepticism over the image, and took amusement in the controversy, especially when I saw that this online newspaper had done a story on the moose photo:

Is there really a moose this big? Or is it a hoax?

This picture, purportedly taken by someone named Lindsay of a rather ginormous moose “near Elliot Lake, near Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” was posted this morning on ScienceBlogs.com, which describes itself as “the largest online community dedicated to science.”

At time of writing (9:44 a.m. on Monday) 27 readers had posted comments on the picture, some rather skeptical.

“PhotoShop is one of my favorite software programs,” writes Neil B. “I wonder why Lindsay didn’t include a silly squirrel with that moose. :-)”

I didn’t say that I took the picture, nor did PZ’s post, so somebody wasn’t reading too carefully!

As for the title of the article, writer David Helwig only needed to check Wikipedia to find out that moose can get that big. If it is a hoax, then I’ve been had, but it’s the lamest hoax ever!

There was an editor’s note added after I made a comment on the post at Pharyngula:

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after SooToday.com posted this article, Lindsay, the purported photographer, posted this comment on ScienceBlogs.com: “I didn’t Photoshop it, but why would I need to when moose really get that big? I didn’t take the picture, it was passed to me in an e-mail. If I were there I would probably have been running as fast as I could in the opposite direction!)

I think we’re all just so jaded because of previous photoshop hoaxes that people are quick to call any surprising image a fake. For your amusement:

shark helicoptor

worlds largest dog hoax

moose harness hoax

Charlie Sheen Writes an Open Letter to Obama…about 9/11 Conspiracies

Here’s a weird example of why we shouldn’t be looking to celebrities as a source of information…

Charlie Sheen has posted an open letter to President Obama on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones‘s website.

Well, it’s more of a transcript of an interview Sheen did with the president…an interview that happened in Sheen’s head…yes, Charlie Sheen, the Two and a Half Men actor, has written a fictional account of himself telling the President the “truth” about what happened on September 11th.

It’s long, but worth reading simply for the wacky entertainment value of Charlie Sheen’s fantasy world. My favourite part was the end (PBO = the President, CS = Sheen):

(The Senior aide appears again beside the President whispering in his ear. He then quickly moves off).

PBO – Well Charlie I can’t say this hasn’t been interesting. As I said earlier you’ve showed up today focused and organized.  Regardless how I feel about the material you’ve presented, I must commend your dedication and zeal. However, our time here is up.

(the President rises from his chair , I do the same).

CS – Mr. President! One more second!

(The President starts towards the door – I follow him quickly step for step).

CS – Mr. President, I implore you based on the evidence you now possess, to use your Executive Power. Prove to us all Sir, that you do, in fact, care. Create a truly comprehensive and open Congressional investigation of 9/11 and its aftermath. The families deserve the truth, the American people and the rest of the free world deserve the truth. Mr. President -

(He pauses. We shake hands).

CS – Make sure you’re on the right side of history.

(The President breaks the handshake).

PBO – I am on the right side of history. Thank you Charlie, my staff and I will be in touch.

(I watch as he strides gracefully out of the room, the truth I provided him held firmly by his side; in the hand of providence.)

Sheen

Charlie Sheen writing his masterpiece

You know, I just wish actors would stick to acting. He has a successful show, why does he have to bring the crazy???

9/11 was not a home-grown conspiracy. I recently stumbled upon this YouTube channel, which is debunking the 9/11 conspiracy theorists’ claims one by one. It’s fairly easy to see that the conspiracy theorists are pretty much wrong about everything.

It’s not a coincidence that this letter was put out only a few days before the 8th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. It’s despicable that these conspiracy kooks are using the anniversary to draw attention to themselves. Instead we should be remembering the victims and the brave heroes that died that day.

Another Bigfoot Photo

My bullshit detector went off as soon as I saw this story…what a pathetic bit of journalism.

It begins…

A Kentucky man said his surveillance camera captured something in his back yard last week, but no one is sure what it is.

Here’s the picture he captured:

Bigfoot

Ok…why is this in the news? It’s a fuzzy black blob, and you can’t tell what it is. The owner of the picture says:

“It looked like it had the outline of a head, and, like, gorilla-type shoulders, and then the arms crossed is what it looks like to me,” Mahoney told WAVE-TV Monday.

Yeah it vaguely resembles that, but gorillas in Kentucky? The story goes on…

Mahoney said he doesn’t think he captured Bigfoot on film. But that doesn’t explain what the camera saw, either. Mahoney said whatever it was smashed down weeds and grass as it passed.

If he doesn’t think that it was a Bigfoot picture, where did the reporter get the idea to put the word “Bigfoot” in the headline?

Where are the pictures of the smashed down weeds and grass?

The story also links to a slideshow of images which are telling. The first image is this one:

Bigfoot BS

And then they keep getting more and more zoomed in (they get more and more blurry). When you see it to scale it’s obviously not big enough to be a gorilla as it barely goes any higher than the low brush.

One commenter on the story suggested that it may be a bird coming in for a landing. I can see this as if you look at the more zoomed in picture above it looks kind of like a bird coming towards and to the right of the camera with its wings folded in front of it. The makes sense to me as the camera is meant to take wildlife photos (according to the article), and a bird is fast-moving enough that it would create a blurry image whereas land animals would be slow enough that he could get a clear picture of them.

The story concludes with this gem:

His wife took the photo to a wildlife expert on black bears, who said that whatever it was, it was fur-covered. But she told Mahoney’s wife that she couldn’t say for sure it was a bear, either.

How anyone can tell that that’s anything fur-covered from such a blurry and far-away image is beyond me. And then of course since they can’t say for sure that it’s a bear, the person writing the headlines decided to go with Bigfoot.

I wonder how many of my fudged up photos I could get published in the newspaper?

There’s even a poll attached to the story…

Poll

Come on, WLWT.com, not even an “I don’t know” option?

Bigfoot’s Footprint? Or Pereidolia?

I noticed a cute little fluff piece in my local paper the other day: a man in BC had discovered a rock with an indentation that looks like a footprint:

Masthead--footprint-find-au

That’s pretty cool, but I think it might just be a coincidence, a case of pereidolia. There are hills where there should be valleys. The people who found it did the right thing and sent pictures to anthropologists and paleontologists to verify whether or not it is a real fossil.

I didn’t think anything of the story until today when I saw this article in the Calgary Herald, which speculates that it may be Bigfoot’s footprint. What the hell, Calgary Herald?!

1. It hasn’t even been confirmed that this is a real footprint.

2. The guy who found it said his foot fit perfectly in the indentation…if it is a real footprint it’s probably human.

3. Bigfoot? Seriously? Maybe if Bigfoot were found to be real and residing in BC it would be reasonable, but there’s no reason why this reporter should be speculating that this is Bigfoot’s footprint.

A pathetic bit of reporting on what is otherwise a fun story.

Newspaper Apologizes for Starting Prime Minister’s Wafer “Scandal”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a very strange news story in which there were reports of outrage over Prime Minister Stephen Harper not eating a communion wafer.

Communion Wafer Stephen Harper

Now, the newspaper that ran that story is apologizing to the Prime Minister,

The Telegraph-Journal, based in Saint John, yesterday disavowed the tale, saying it “sincerely apologizes to the Prime Minister for the harm that this inaccurate story has caused.”In a rare front-page apology, the newspaper said the story “should not have been published.

“We pride ourselves in maintaining high standards of journalism and ethical reporting, and regret this was not followed in this case,” the newspaper said.

Kudos to the paper for not burrying the retraction in the back pages.

This story is no longer about the communion wafer, but instead about the state of journalism in our country. This is an example of how accurate reporting gets lost in the editing process:

“Our reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras, who wrote the story reporting on the funeral, did not include these statements in the version of the story that they wrote. In the editing process, these statements were added without the knowledge of the reporters and without any credible support for them,” the newspaper said.

It’s difficult to trust newspapers with the knowledge that editors are sometimes willing to simply make something up in order to sell more copies. We’re living in an interesting time in which print journalism is in decline and the best reporting is now sometimes coming from amateurs posting on blogs (I’m not talking about mine here!).


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