Link to video. I have seen this sort of image passed off as a lake monster so I thought I’d mention it. The effect may remain for several minutes after the boat is out of sight and may be misinterpreted by the credulous or by those “primed to believe”.
Regarding WTC 7: The long-awaited US Government NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) report on the collapse of WTC 7 is due to be published at the end of this year (although it has been delayed already a few times [ adding fuel to the conspiracy theorists fires!]). That report should explain the cause and mechanics of the collapse in great detail. Early on the afternoon of September 11th 2001, following the collapse of WTC 1 & 2, I feared a collapse of WTC 7 (as did many on my staff).
The reasons are as follows:
1 - Although prior to that day high-rise structures had never collapsed, The collapse of WTC 1 & 2 showed that certain high-rise structures subjected to damage from impact and from fire will collapse.
2. The collapse of WTC 1 damaged portions of the lower floors of WTC 7.
3. WTC 7, we knew, was built on a small number of large columns providing an open Atrium on the lower levels.
4. numerous fires on many floors of WTC 7 burned without sufficient water supply to attack them.
For these reasons I made the decision (without consulting the owner, the mayor or anyone else - as ranking fire officer, that decision was my responsibility) to clear a collapse zone surrounding the building and to stop all activity within that zone. Approximately three hours after that order was given, WTC 7 collapsed.
Conspiracy theories abound and I believe firmly that all of them are without merit.
Regards, Dan Nigro
Chief of Department FDNY (retired)
More at link. Case closed.
Visionary, crank, or an unholy hybrid of the two?
“Despite my occasional harsh criticism of Fell’s treatment of individual inscriptions, it should be recognized that without Fell’s work there would be no [North American] ogham problem to perplex us. We need to ask not only what Fell has done wrong in his epigraphy, but also where we have gone wrong as archaeologists in not recognizing such an extensive European presence in the New World.” -David Kelley, contributing editor to The Review of Archaeology
Holy diffusionism, Batman!
Interesting paper from 2009 in which Herbert uses Einstein’s lightspeed limits and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to proscribe fundamental limits on psychic powers, if they exist:
The purpose of this essay is to derive a constraint on the value of P.
Situation #1. ALICE sets her Beam Splitter A to UPRIGHT and generates a local sequence of H and V photons. The EPR set up guarantees that when BOB measures the corresponding photons (using his UPRIGHT detector) he will get the same sequence as ALICE. Thus the value that BOB will measure (and which he will try to guess thru psychic powers) already exists in advance. It is as fixed as the value of a coin (heads or tails) hidden under a saucer. For BOB this situation is an example of CLASSICAL IGNORANCE in which a value exists known to others, but not to you. BOB’s psychic powers when confronted with classical ignorance will be called P(C).
Situation #2. ALICE sets her Beam Splitter A to SKEW and generates a local sequence of D and S photons. The EPR set up guarantees that an identical sequence of D and S photons will impact BOB’s detector. But BOB’s detector is always set on UPRIGHT. And UPRIGHT is an observable that’s complementary to SKEW. So when a D photon hits BOB’s UPRIGHT detector, IT IS COMPLETELY UNCERTAIN whether it will emerge as an H or as a V photon. This situation is an example of QUANTUM IGNORANCE and BOB’s psychic powers when confronted with purely quantum uncertainty will be called P(Q).
The question now arises: Are psychic powers more effective in discovering knowledge that is hidden by classical ignorance or by quantum ignorance? Or in other words is it easier for BOB to get big P(C) scores or big P(Q) scores?
Since we know absolutely nothing about how psychic powers operate we can only speculate here.
Classical Psi is easier: One might argue that the P(C) score is easier for BOB to increase because he is trying to guess the value of something that actually exists rather than trying to guess at the value of something “that not even God knows”.
Quantum Psi is easier: Here one might argue that the P(Q) score is easier to increase because the mind might be a quantum thing and hence might possess a more natural affinity for quantum-uncertain targets. Also if there is any merit to the vague “you create your own reality” hypothesis, BOB might be able to PK (psychokinesiate) a quantum target and make of it what he desires which he certainly could not easily do with a fixed classical target as in situation #1.
Now suppose BOB has robust and measurable psychic powers and furthermore his P(C) score is different from his P(Q) score.
Armed with this information (a difference between P(C) and P(Q)) BOB would be able to discern AT A DISTANCE how ALICE has set her detectors. But ALICE could be located half-way across the galaxy and if BOB can ascertain her detector setting she could then send him messages coded in these sequences FASTER THAN LIGHT.
But one of the strongest physics “thou shalt nots” is Einstein’s prohibition against faster-than-light signaling.
Therefore P(C) must equal P(Q).
This is the promised new fundamental restriction on psychic powers. If the laws of physics are valid, the power to psychically uncover quantum ignorance must be precisely equal to the power to psychically uncover classical ignorance.
Article about Vitamin D recommendations winds up discussing one of science’s big Achilles’ heels: conservatism.
The conclusions are deliberately very conservative based on requirements for absolute proof, not implications from all the collective research. The IOM places the burden of proof on those who would suggest that higher levels are effective or safe. However, given the evolutionary human experience of sun exposure and the high doses of vitamin D we used to get from fatty fish — equivalent to up to 10,000 IU a day — perhaps, the burden of proof should be on scientists to prove that lower intakes of vitamin D are, in fact, safe over long-term.
The Gonzo Science position is that we should apply this logic across the board and maybe we’d really start getting somewhere.
The problem is that scientists frequently confuse “what can be proven absolutely” with “the Truth”, when in fact “what can be proven absolutely” is quite limiting. The implications of collective research should be a larger part of the discussion - in our view, much larger.
“It is not implausible that, with natural selection refining their diagnostic skills, females could glean all sorts of clues about a male’s health, and robustness of his ability to cope with stress, from the tone and bearing of his penis.”
…So the penis bone evolved away because girls say real men do it without a bone? I don’t get it, but then again I’m not a mechanistic reductionist like Dawkins here.
a survey that measured Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term “blind faith.”
Actually that’s the old meaning.
STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - A man who was with about a dozen people who were looking for a legendary “ghost train” in Iredell County was hit by a locomotive and killed early Friday morning.
There’s a lesson in here somewhere…
Analysis here. We’ve been saying this since at least 1998, so our patience with reductionism/mechanism is wearing thin.
I like this comment from TPM’s coverage of the story (1st link):
I think tenure is important, but I think this case illustrates the power of a robust peer review process. Mann has a very strong publication record in excellent journals including Science, Nature, and Proceeding of the National Academy of Science. It is his track record of publication and funding (again, peer reviewed) that led him to his post at UPenn. The reason climate change deniers are pissed is because they can’t seem to publish their nonsense (non-science?).
Good scientists should welcome, not fear, scrutiny of their taxpayer-funded work. It’s in everybody’s interest that the nation understands climate change. One potential up side is that maybe a little more light will shine on good science.
TPM has the goods on the case of the VA AG hassling a climate change scientist.
Best part is the open letter to the VA AG from a fellow climate change skeptic:
Climate-change skeptic Thomas Fuller co-wrote a book on Climate-Gate, published earlier this year, which was harshly critical of Mann and other climate scientists. But in an open letter to Cuccinelli, Fuller urged him to call off the dogs, writing: “No matter what has prompted your investigation, there is no doubt that it will be interpreted as a witch hunt.” He continued: “[B]eing wrong is not a crime, and intimidating scientists not a path that this country, including I presume Virginians, should ever pursue. You may consult with colleagues in Salem to determine how long it takes to live this type of thing down.”
There is no movie that will ever be made about this incident in which the VA AG will be portrayed as the good guy.
This quote from media analyst blog Atrios’ Eschaton is a good one:
…we live in the accountability-free era, where nobody could have predicted except those who did and were right for the wrong reasons. Those who didn’t were wrong for the right reasons and are therefore still Very Serious People in good standing.
It is intended as a sarcastic comment about how the cheerleaders of the Iraq War and the financial crisis still have jobs in many cases, and in many other cases they have actually failed upward - while those who predicted the crisis somehow still remain outsiders.
That’s how politics in science works too. For instance, Fred Hoyle’s ideas are being appropriated under different guises, while his name is still mud. He was right for the wrong reasons, but once his stuff is rebranded, it can safely be used by establishment figures who were wrong for the right reasons. And so it goes.
Around these parts, we are used to disagreeing with that mechanist reductionist dog Richard Dawkins. Liked him a little better as bulldog-athiest-with-a-camera-crew, but it’s still easy to dislike him on style. But whereas I’m sure the Pope won’t be arrested, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say right on dude.
National Geographic brings the science in this episode of NatGeo Explorer.
A Non Euclidean Rumination On Subliminal Rationalists and Recalling Robert Anton Wilson
“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”
-Robert Anton Wilson
“Positivists decline to acknowledge any a priori knowledge. They wish to reduce everything to sense perceptions. Generally they contradict themselves in that they deny introspection as experience. … They use too narrow a notion of experience and introduce an arbitrary bound on what experience is”
Kudos to The Anomalist.
India rejects genetically modified crop. I especially like this paragraph about it from Beyond Pesticides:
Advocates of genetically engineered crops have argued that they are the only way to meet the world’s growing demand for food, and that they reduce the need for pesticides, while increasing yields. Studies have shown these claims to be false. The widespread adoption of GE crops in the United States has actually increased pesticide use but failed to increase yield. Recent studies have also linked GMO consumption to organ failure.
Those are the facts. God forbid the press - and the scientific press - should be so objective.
He’ll be amazed to read this science article that attributes the creation of the “holographic universe” theory to these dudes in 1990s. That’s funny to me because Bohm published a vigorous scientific case for the holographic universe, the book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, in 1980.
Basically, the 1990s dudes published their work in a peer-reviewed journal, as an offshoot of well-accepted black hole work. So they get official credit. Meanwhile, although Bohm was a giant among quantum mechanics, Wholeness and the Implicate Order was a “popular” book and so doesn’t count, if you can call a book with tons of equations in it “popular.”
Seems like you would give the guy a mention is all.
Happens a lot where the heretical theories become accepted just a few years later, with the heretic not allowed a shred of acknowledgment - certainly not from the scientific press, who really are just mouthpieces for the establishment.
When Bohm said it, it was heretical and involved some “challenges to prevailing views”. Now that we know he was right about the whole holographic universe thing, maybe those challenges should get a second look too.
News video report at this link.
This is of particular interest to us at Gonzo Science as reports of BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) phenomena have multiple scientific explanations.
Zeitoun was previously the scene of some famous BVM reports (over a Coptic Church as in the current flap). They were correlated to distant seismic phenomena by Michael Persinger, which seemed to support his Tectonic Strain Theory (TST)of the paranormal (wierd lightshows and psychological effects from geophysical-electromagnetic causes). The TST was later retrofitted by Paul Devereaux into the Earth Lights theory.
This current BVM report makes a pretty good case for a simple mass hysteria explanation, however - certainly not unheard of in these cases and we have a first-hand witness of BVM mass hysteria in our Black Casebook. At any rate, it looks like the so-called “doves” that appear to luminously accompany the Virgin in these reports may simply be disregarded as white pigeons flying around. And the one piece of footage here of the glow that is reportedly the Virgin is not even in the air - it’s easily seen as a light source sitting on top of the church.
If this is the same thing that happened the first time around, Persinger may have been correlating it with seismic data for nothing, and the criticisms of him overreaching may have some merit.
The Gonzo Science CD has a pro-TST track about this, number 3 at this link, and yes that’s “Sweet Jane.”
In this episode of dark matter skeptic, we cast scorn upon a BBC article. Look, this whole dark matter flap boils down to this:
“While this result is consistent with dark matter, it is also consistent with backgrounds,” said Fermilab’s director, Pier Oddone. … Commenting on why he felt the scientists had made the announcement before they could confirm their findings to be dark matter, (Professor Carlos Frenk) said that there was a competition among scientists to be the first to make the discovery.
In other words, they got bubkiss, and every time somebody farts, they all yell “Dark Matter!!!”
TPM’s Josh Marshall considers the limits of skepticism in the context of global warming. Some good stuff in here, like:
to maintain a skepticism which is rooted in the inherently tentative nature of all scientific knowledge is quite different from assuming that the science is wrong and that what’s right is what I’d prefer to be true even though I don’t know anything about the science at all — which is where a lot of the public discussion of climate change seems to occur.
What I’ve been thinking about for a while is how it is that very few people doubt physicists or oncologists when it comes to their areas of specialty even though theories come and go in those fields as well. There’s little doubt, for instance, that physicists at the end of this century will know a lot of things today’s scientists got wrong or don’t know. And they’ll know how many things today’s physicists believe that are just wrong. Still, I’m pretty confident nuclear warheads will go off, even if, as far as I know, one’s never been tested on the tip of an ICBM. Perhaps more to the point, medical science today clearly has only a very limited understanding of cancer. But how many oncology skeptics do you know who choose to take a pass on chemo or radiation if they get sick?
His follow-up post here.
This all has bearing on the finer points of the Gonzo Science method, where we regularly exhibit skepticism of mainstream science positions. When we do that, it’s because (in our judgement) there is a.) room to doubt the mainstream position b.) a well-developed alternative or c.) both. None of that appears to be in play with regards to climate change.
We’re not skeptical of the scientific method. It isn’t practiced super well all the time, and that’s where we focus a lot of our science criticism and commentary. But your average climate change denier has little room to doubt the mainstream position (there are good reasons to regulate emissions even assuming global heating is no big deal!), and no well-developed alternative (cherry-picked data and wacky conspiracy theories instead).
As I explained to a religious anti-evolutionist once, the alternative to bad science is not the Bible, it’s better science. And as per issues in science like GMO crops, better science would include adoption of the precautionary principle - a principle the climate change deniers should consider adopting.
Now can we just move on and find Bigfoot please?
Article contains this tasty smackdown of the Hobbit skeptics:
“Attempts to dismiss the hobbits as pathological people have failed repeatedly because the medical diagnoses of dwarfing syndromes and microcephaly bear no resemblance to the unique anatomy of Homo floresiensis,” noted Dr. Baab.
New study out says:
Their results showed a slow decline in megafauna that began about 15,000 years ago and appeared to last for about 1,000 years.
This discovery rules out one idea that the extinction might have been caused by an extraterrestrial object striking Earth 13,000 years ago.
Like that impact did them any favors.
Contriving abiological origins for all phenomena just got a little bit trickier (cough cough Martian Meteorite cough cough).
Since this study found a non-thermal biological effect from cell phones and other wireless phones, it is clearly poorly designed. Just ask any physicist; what is this medical researcher trying to do, overturn quantum mechanics? Maybe medical papers should be submitted to physicists for review.
Alternatively, physicists might be bothered to learn a little biology.
A hilarious skeptical takedown of homeopathy et al.
Even if you’re a homeopathy fan this video demonstrates why allopaths should maybe run the emergency room.
Seen first on Bayblab.
Wanted to make sure everybody saw this from Scientific American:
In the 1990s scientists such as himself, he explains, were too caught up in the promise of gene therapy to realize that they did not know enough about it to warrant human testing. “We were drawn into the simplicity of the concept. You just put the gene in,” Wilson says.
He may as well be talking about GM crops, and it’s still going on. Short version: The very premise of genetic engineering is a simplistic, reductionist, mechanistic model of genetics that is now known to be incorrect and is the source of biotech’s mounting problems.
More on that here in our definitive takedown of New Scientist writer/biotech booster Michael Le Page.
New Scientist catches up with cold-fusion pariah Martin Fleischmann.
MARTIN FLEISCHMANN can still remember the morning he entered his lab and saw the terrific hole in the workbench. It was about the size of a dinner plate. Beneath, nestled in a shallow crater in the concrete floor, were the remains of a chemistry experiment that had been fizzing idly for several months without incident. “It had obliterated itself!” he recalls.
It happened overnight, so no one witnessed the meltdown that took place in a basement lab at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 1985. But for Fleischmann and his longtime colleague Stanley Pons, there could be only one cause: room-temperature or “cold” fusion. If they were right, the chemists had made a reaction that nuclear physicists had thought next to impossible, one that potentially held the key to almost limitless clean energy. Yet four years later, and just weeks after they had announced their discovery at a now infamous press conference on 23 March 1989, their work was dismissed from mainstream science. Cold fusion became a pariah field, and Fleischmann and Pons fell under the shadow of disrepute.
At his home near Salisbury, UK, 82-year-old Fleischmann looks too beaten to entertain suggestions that, after two decades, cold fusion might actually be gaining acceptance. He has Parkinson’s disease, and although he still speaks in his usual measured phrases and Czech accent, he is slow and often loses his train of thought. “All my activities are devoted to giving up,” he laughs, glancing at his coffee cup performing another involuntary rattle on its saucer.
Now that we know hobbits were alive until at least 8,000 years ago, and the evolution editor of the incredibly conservative “Nature” is admitting that this is making him reconsider whether or not Bigfoot is just folklore, I thought I’d revisit the most scientific Bigfoot material on the web: the work of Jeff Meldrum (now linked to in our sidebar under Cryptozoology). Additionally, here is “Scientific American” evaluating the Meldrum situation, from December 2007 (after the hobbits were discovered, but before they were generally accepted as a real human species - an acceptance that has seemingly rapidly dawned just this year in the face of multiple studies).
The point: the discovery of hobbits has strengthened the case for Bigfoot. The evolution editor of “Nature” said it, not me.
…looks like Loren Coleman (”America’s Greatest Living Cryptozoologist”) and his Cryptomundo site have been on this story for a while. Here’s the search results for “hobbit” at Cryptomundo.