Archive for the ‘Just LAME’ Category

Satellites Do not Exist – Literally the Dumbest Video I Have Ever Seen

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

This video is breathtaking….




 

Yeah.  Really.  People believe that.  It takes the whole moon landing hoax to the next level.
Okay, I want to restrain myself,  because I could go off on this all night and I think most readers will understand these things anyway….

Not only can you detect the radio waves from satellites, but you can actually see them.  You can see them with the naked eye and you can make out details of large ones with a telescope.

In space there is almost no atmosphere, so the temperature of the few molecules bouncing around does not matter.  Space has no ambient temperature.  The temperature of an object depends on the rate it radiates heat, whether it is absorbing heat from the sun and whether it produces its own heat.  Indeed, a thermometer, with no internal heating, placed in space, will get very cold because it radiates heat faster than it is absorbed. However, equipment that generates heat can get very hot because there is no convection cooling.  In fact, thermal management of spacecraft is a very complex engineering challenge.

A rocket engine does not need air to push against. It does not need anything to push against. Its own exhaust is what it is pushing against. Really, you could set off a rocket in a vacuum chamber if you do not believe me. Air is not needed for thrust or control.

Solar cells are not used on spacecraft because of environmental concerns. The sun is very intense in space and provides a lot of power. Solar cells last much longer than fuel cells or batteries and you can’t use a combustion motor in space without bringing along oxygen. Although nuclear power sources have also been used, for most applications in the vicinity of earth, solar cells are the most economical and easiest way to provide necessary power to a spacecraft.

We have tons of photographs of earth from satellites. How many do you want? Most are from low earth orbit and therefore, only a portion of the earth is seen. You need to go much further away to see the whole thing, but there are plenty of those too, taken from deeper space missions. The “Blue Marble” taken during Apollo 17 is iconic as it was one of the earliest full disk pictures of the earth (though not actually the first) and got a lot of attention. There are many others, but it is one of the best know.

The guy talking about radio propagation has it all wrong.  Sky wave propagation only applies to HF signals, and even then it’s fickle and depends on the ionospheric conditions. These signals lack the high bandwidth needed for things like television.  Satellites use microwave frequencies, which are also very directional and usually require a high gain antenna, like a dish.  This is why you get different signals when pointed at different satellites and none when pointed at empty parts of the sky.
Also, satellites really haven’t gotten “larger” or “smaller.” The sizes are highly varied.  Indeed, the first satellites were small, because of limited rocket technology.  By the late 1960′s, satellites the size of a bus could be launched and were used for things like surveillance.  Some payloads, like Skylab, were enormous.  Today some satellites are very big, but the miniaturization of electronics has also allowed some very small satellites to be useful.

Finally, it is possible to find pictures of satellites that are real photographs. However, the issue is that in order to photograph a satellite in detail, you need another satellite flying near it with a camera, and we don’t usually have that. Illustrations are thus easier to make. Also, if you want to show several satellites in relation to the earth, you have to use an illustration, because it’s obviously not going to be to scale. You want a photograph of the entire GPS constellation flying around earth? Not possible. The satellites are too small in relation to the earth.

It’s amazing how little these people understand of basic concepts and how poor they are at researching and educating themselves.  Yet they will declare with authority that everyone else is one of the “Sheeple.”

Yeah.  I have a basic understanding of physics and radio communications.  I must be bought and paid for by the government

Some Revealing Videos from the “March Against Monsanto”

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Around the world, people have come out to events dubbed the “March Against Monsanto.”   The events have happened in hundreds of cities (supposedly) and may involve thousands of people.  Overall, the total number who have come out for these events seems to be relatively small.  Most of them were lucky to draw a crowd of dozens.  But those who did show up certainly are passionate.

The event is supposed to be a demonstration against the Monsanto Corporation.  It’s basically a demonstration against genetically modified organisms, which is the Monsanto product that activists tend to hate the most.  While Monsanto is not the only maker of genetically modified organisms, they have become one of the most the most visible and are certainly the one who is targeted the most by anti-gmo groups.

The protests also seem to oppose modern, conventional agriculture and the production of food on large farms.  It is part of the movement for organic agriculture and the “eat local” campaigns, which promote the idea that food should be grown in a large number of small farms, rather than a smaller number of larger farms.

There are a number of videos that have been taken at these events, including some which interview participants. I would highly recommend checking out those made by Bronson Kaahui, who attended some of these events and interviewed the participants about their beliefs and what they are taking a stand against. There are some others floating around that are also worth watching.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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HAARP Being Retired

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

In 1993, a facility was established in Alaska known as HAARP or High Frequency Auroral Research Program.  It is operated as a joint project by the US Air Force, US Navy, University of Alaska and DARPA.   HAARP was built by BAE Advanced Technologies on a site owned by the US Air Force.  Much of the administration is handled by the University of Alaska.  In it’s two decade history, the facility has cost tax payers roughly half a billion dollars in both construction cost and annual operating expenses.  This is not a huge sum of money for a military research program, given the number of years it is spread out over.

HAARP has a number of different scientific instruments and systems on site.  These include UHF and VHF radars, geomagnetic sensors and radio receivers.  However, the heart of HAARP is a very powerful HF transmitting system, connected to a phased array of upward-pointing high gain antennas.  It directs a beam of up to 3.6 megawatts of RF energy upward at the ionosphere.  The operating frequency is between 2.8 and 10 MHz.

HAARP is an ionospheric heater.  It uses this energy to excite the ionosphere over the site.  The heating and excitement of the ionosphere allows measurements to be taken of the general state of the ionosphere.  Some of the energy is reflected back to the ground and can be received and analyzed. Pumping the ionosphere with RF energy can also produce a temporary controlled plasma turbulence effect.   The overall effect, however, is relatively modest and highly localized.  The 3.6 megawatts of RF energy a facility like HAARP can produce is quite small compared to the effects of geomagnetic fluctuation and solar wind particles on the ionosphere.

haarpimage

HAARP is basically a research facility.  There are a number of types of research conducted at HAARP.  Much of it is public, although some of the activities are military related and classified.

 Some of the classified military-related research that is either being conducted at HAARP or which has been credibly speculated to be conducted at HAARP include:

  • General purpose ionospheric science
  • Measurements of ionospheric bending of radio waves in order to improve HF direction finding
  • The effects of ionospheric disturbances on GPS reliability
  • HF communications jamming and countermeasures to jamming
  • Next generation over the horizon radar
  • Improved understanding of how ionospheric events, such as solar storms or nuclear weapon detonations can impact communications
  • The use of ionospheric stimulation as a means of generating ultra low frequency radio waves, which are vital to submarine communication and typically require very large antennas to transmit

Most of the science that goes on at HAARP is public, but even the potentially classified activities are, by most accounts, pretty innocuous, as far as classified research goes.  After all, it’s really nothing more than a big radio transmitter.  There’s nothing on site that has any real potential to be used as an offensive weapon.

That has not stopped conspiracy theorists.  HAARP is one of their favorite facilities.  It’s been linked to every other bogus claim from chemtrails to mind control.  It’s been said that HAARP can control the world’s weather, that it is responsible for earthquakes or major weather events.  Others have claimed that it is the cause of everything from chronic fatigue syndrome to the downing of aircraft and the 2003 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

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Attempt to Use Solar Power At Protest Fails When Power Proves Inadiquate

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I have little else to say about this. However, it goes to show why there is an electrical grid that feeds reliable power to homes and businesses. Power which is generated by fossil fuels, nuclear or hydroelectric energy sources. If we tried to run things on solar panels like this, similar results would occur.

Perhaps they should have used larger batteries to power the fans. Apparently it’s usually powered with gas-driven generators, which are somewhat cleaner than coal, but still produce emissions and consume fossil fuels.



Excellent Article On the Origin of Chemtrail Conspiracy Theories

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Of all the conspiracy theories out there, it’s one of the strangest and dumbest.  The idea that contrails, which have been a common site since aircraft started flying at high altitudes in the 1940′s, are, in fact, chemicals designed for something evil.  Depending on who you ask, it could be mind control, depopulation, weather modification or something else.  Those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory take it very seriously and think those who don’t must be blind “sheeple.”

But where on earth did this whole concept come from?

IO9 has an excellent article on the history of the chemtrail conspiracy theory, tracking it back to the 1990′s, when a combination of sensational reporting and speculation on weather modification resulted in the first claims that aircraft were actively spraying chemicals in some kind of conspiracy by the government. There is a grain of truth in the original claims – namely, that the military did investigate cloud seeding and other forms of weather modification and even employed them during the Vietnam war.  However, the conspiracy theories quickly went far past that.

Documentaries came later, along with online communities.  There were some “investigations,” if you can call them that, which are cited as evidence of chemtrails.  Among these are analysis reports that found aluminum in rainwater.  This is not surprising, because aluminum is one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust and rain typically picks up some dust, such as soil blown into the wind.

The article is worth a read as a case study in how a wacky conspiracy theory is born and eventually becomes populare.

 

People Panicing Over Military Equipment Shipped By Rail

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Imagine this:  you see a train pass you by and rather than just having nondescript boxcars or inter-modal containers, it has *gasp* military vehicles on it.  It’s as if the military sometimes has to ship vehicles from one place to another!   Well, this has been happening, in fact, it seems that this activity is increasing and the result is about what you might have expected.  Youtubers and conspiracy theorists are posting videos like crazy saying it is a sure sign of impending marshal law/genocide/mass imprisonment or something similar.


The simple answer as to why you might see tanks and large trucks on trains:  they burn a lot of fuel.  Trains tend to be more efficient as a means of transporting military hardware.

Also, treaded vehicles can’t be driven on US roadways, and even if they could, they are too slow to keep up with traffic on highways.  They therefore must be transported by flat bed trucks or railroad.  Rail is the preferred method when moving more than a small number.

There are a number of reasons why tanks and other equipment might be shipped in mass on rail:

  1. There is some kind of realignment or transition in the location of forces which results in it being sent between installations.
  2. It is required for a training exercise or some other temporary function.
  3. The equipment is new and being deployed to the location where it is to be kept.
  4. It is traveling to or from a facility where it has been refurbished or had other major maintenance preformed.
  5. It has recently returned from deployment overseas.
  6. It is on its way to deployment overseas.
  7. It is surplus equipment which is being disposed of, which could include any number of ultimate fates, including scrapping, sales to other armed forces, sales to private entities etc.
  8. It is being placed in long term storage in a location where it will be in “mothballs.”  Typically this is at one of a few large installations located in the Western US.

Transition of equipment by train is quite common and routine.  It’s also nothing new.  During the Second World War and into the height of the Cold War, military equipment trains were a very common site.  Though the practice never really went away, it is not surprising that the practice would have recently increased in frequency.

The United States has withdrawn from Iraq and is currently drawing down troop levels in Afghanistan.  The result of this is that huge numbers of military vehicles have been brought back to the US.  These are likely to be shipped on trains to the facilities where they will be stored.  It has been pointed out that many of the vehicles have been seen in green forest camouflage color schemes, leading to the claim that they must not be related to the activities in the middle-east.  However, these vehicles may simply be those which have been displaced by the return of other vehicles, which has resulted in a huge realignment of assets.

One of the biggest realignments of vehicles is occurring with the MRAP or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Thousands of vehicles of this type were purchased in huge numbers by the US military during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are designed to be highly survivable when attacked by IED’s, landmines, rocket propelled grenades and other such weapons. This was a direct response to the tactics used against the US by insurgents.

The vehicles worked very well and resulted in a reduction in the deaths of soldiers from ambushes on convoys. However, the military now has thousands more MRAP’s than it requires. Although several thousand will be retained, more than 13,000 are in the process of being declared surplus. Some are being given to law enforcement agencies (which does present some concerns of the militarization of police forces) while others are behind sold to allied nations. Still others are off to the scrap heap or the bone-yard.

Transporting all these vehicles to reprocessing facilities and then to their ultimate fate represents yet another huge logistical challenge.

A few other things to consider (if we are to play devils advocate):

  1. Tanks are not very good for urban warfare.  They might work for breaking down some of the initial barriers, but they are too big to go through narrow allies or streets, too heavy for many bridges and overpasses and pavement causes a great deal of wear on the treads (and the treads cause a lot of wear on the pavement).  They’re better for warfare in more open and unsettled areas.   Also, the sheer armor of tanks would not be necessary for war against the population, where they would likely only face small arms fire.
  2. Those big heavy vehicles use a huge amount of fuel, so if they are planning on actually driving them around, they would also be transporting an equal number of tanker trucks.  In modern military activities, the logistics of fuel delivery turns out to be a huge issue.  Raiding the local gas stations won’t keep them moving very long.  The fuel tanks might be large enough to ferry the vehicles off the train cars, but sustained combat means huge fuel requirements.
  3. When military vehicles need to be brought to an area for something urgent, like combat, trains are not generally the best method for transportation.  Trains are cheap, but they are slow, vulnerable, subject to delays etc.  If they wanted to quickly deploy urban combat vehicles, they would airlift them in.  That way, it could be done rapidly, before anyone even knew what was happening.  Tanks can be brought in on large cargo planes.  It’s fast and effective, but expensive.
  4. A train full of tanks is not going to do much good in declaring marshal law unless you can get the tanks off the train.  That is more involved than you might think.  It requires parking the train, separating the cars, with switching engines, rolling the tanks down ramps and removing any equipment used to secure them during transport.  For a large train, this is not a trivial task.  It requires a rail yard with the proper equipment, which exist on military bases, but not generally in random city locations.
  5. If they really wanted to hide them, it would not be that hard to put them in large boxes or just cover them with tarps to make it more discrete.  Do you really think they would be doing this in broad daylight?
  6. Many of these videos are months old.  A few are years old.  This has been going on for a while.  Granted, the government is slow, but that slow?  How long do you think they are going do be doing this evil transportation before they pounce on you?

Don’t Worry, Yellowstone Won’t (Likely) Erupt

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Yellowstone National Park is a true national treasure of the United States and indeed is one of the world’s most unique and majestic natural settings.  The park is home to pristine wilderness and wildlife and to numerous dramatic geothermal features like geysers and hot springs.  The park is visited by more than three million per year and is one of the most popular national parks in the world.

The unique topography and geothermal activity are the result of a massive supervolcano which the park sits above.  It has been more than two million years since the volcano had a “mega eruption” amd 70,000 since it had even a minor eruption event. Still, if it were to erupt, it has the potential to cause devastation to the United States, North America, the Western Hemisphere and even the entire world.  Those outside of North America would likely be spared the most direct effects, although there could be noticeable climate effects.  However, the sheer volume of North American farmland that would be devastated would result in a global food crisis.

There a reasonable possibility that Yellowstone will erupt some time in the next hundred thousand years, but the probability of it erupting in any of our lifetimes is miniscule.

Still, many are becoming extremely concerned after a number of videos showed up online reporting to show bison or other animals fleeing the Yellowstone area.  It must mean the whole thing is about to blow… right?   According to some it does.  Because these original videos were followed by many conspiracy-oriented videos claiming that the government is keeping down the information about the impending eruption.


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The Problem With Not Having a Manned Space Program

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The United States has the worlds most accomplished manned space program.  Not only has the US sent men to the moon, but for decades the United States was the most capable space-faring nation, launching several missions per year and leading the world in manned space capabilities.  Even the Space Shuttle, for all its expense and flaws, was a highly capable spacecraft.

Today, however, the US has no ability to send humans into space.   China has a limited manned spaceflight program and Russia is now the primary space program for crewed spacecraft.  The US, however, does own a large portion of the International Space Station and is under treaty obligation to provide crew and support to the space station.  To fulfill its need to send crew members to the Space Station, the US must pay the Russian government tens of millions of dollars for a seat in a Soyuz space capsule.

Obviously, this is a pretty embarrassing place to be.  Just 20 years ago, it was NASA coming to the rescue of a floundering Russian space program, when, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia found itself unable to support a full roster of missions to its own space station.  Now the tables are turned, and the US is starting to look more like a fallen superpower.

But there is a more practical and problematic issue that arises with the dependence on Russia for space transportation.  When international tensions flare, as they now are, things become highly uncertain for space access.


Via NBC News:

Russia Crisis Raises Space Station Questions, But NASA Has Options

OUSTON — Thanks to its reliance on Russia, NASA is once again confronted with the nightmare of a diplomatic roadblock in a project originally made possible by diplomacy: the U.S.-Russian partnership in space exploration.

And if Russia’s confrontation with Ukraine and the West turns into the worst diplomatic crisis of our generation, as feared, it could have equally profound and disturbing consequences for space exploration.

This month’s comings and goings at the International Space Station highlight the interdependence of the U.S. and Russian space efforts: Next week, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is due to return from the space station aboard a Russian capsule, alongside two Russian cosmonauts. A couple of weeks after that, NASA’s Steven Swanson is to ride another Russian Soyuz craft up to the station, again in the company of two Russians.

Under the current arrangement, NASA astronauts cannot get to and from the station without Russian help, due to the retirement of the space shuttle fleet. The ticket price for each astronaut is $70 million, payable to the Russians.

The United States and Russia are not just “joined at the hip” on the space station. Numerous other rocket projects rely on either Russian or Ukrainian space hardware and services. Even U.S. national security satellites are powered into orbit on an American rocket with a Russian-built rocket engine.

What if the Soyuz spacecraft suddenly became unavailable for use by American astronauts, contract or no contract? Would it be the end of U.S. human spaceflight? Would it kick off a new round of extortionary price-gouging, both fiscal and diplomatic?

Well, maybe not.

Moving away from co-dependence

It’s cold comfort that the Russians rely on NASA almost as much as NASA relies on the Russians. If Russia monopolizes up-down transport, the United States essentially controls the only space destination: Russia’s orbital hardware couldn’t function without U.S. electrical power and communications services.

However reluctant the partners may be in such an awkward “space marriage,” it has until now provided an astonishing degree of robustness and flexibility.

Recent developments have brought the space station closer to the point where it could be operated without Russian involvement if necessary. The current crisis provides good reasons to accelerate that shift and even to push for one crucial near-term capability: crew rescue.

Already, two U.S. commercial cargo delivery projects — SpaceX’s Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule, as well as Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus capsule — have replaced the justifiably retired space shuttle. European and Japanese robot freighters can also resupply the space station. Even though some parts of the Antares come from Ukraine and Russia, and even though the European cargo freighter must dock at the Russian end of the station, Russia’s cargo monopoly has been broken.

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No, An Earthquake Did Not Create the Shroud of Turin or Skew Carbon Dating

Friday, February 21st, 2014

shroud-2_1The Shroud of Turin is one of the most revered and famous artifacts of Christianity.  For centuries, it was claimed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, having been left with a haunting image of the the very face of the savior mysteriously imprinted on it.   The cloth, which is kept in a church in the city of Turin, Italy, gained great attention when it was first photographed, in the late 1800′s.  It was revealed that the image on the cloth is far more easily discerned in a photographic negative than in the normal “positive” direct view.

shrouddateIn 1988, however, enthusiasm for the shroud took a major hit when samples were subjected to radiocarbon dating and revealed the cloth to be of more modern origin.   The final result put the age of the cloth at less than one thousand years old.  The period it was dated to, in fact, turned out to coincide perfectly with the historical record of when the shroud first appeared on the record – about 1350 AD.   The procedure was done by multiple laboratories, using the most reliable radiocarbon dating protocol available, and all analysis was in agreement.  The shroud was thus far too young g to be the burial cloth of Christ.

Almost immediately, objections were raised.  Many of the faithful would go to extreme lengths to explain why the tests might not be accurate.   Some claimed that the samples were contaminated with external organic material.  While this may be possible, it’s a well known issue with radiocarbon dating and procedures therefore exist, and were used, to remove surface contamination.  Others said that the cloth was taken from an area where newer cloth had been added for repairs.  This seems to be at least semi-plausible, but there is no hard evidence that the material was not original to the cloth and the examination conducted at the time indicated that the samples were well representative of the entire cloth.  Others claimed that the cloth could have been contaminated by soot or smoke from a fire or that there had been errors made in the calculations.

In the end, none of these claims have much hard evidence to back them.  Radiocarbon dating has been well tested and is a mature science.  The laboratories that tested the shroud samples were well qualified and followed the highest protocol standards.  Radiocarbon dating does not produce an exact year of origin, but gives a range of probable years.  It’s possible that the actual origin could be outside this period and could be skewed by some environmental factors, but for it to be more than 1,200 years off, there would have to be a major procedural error or confounding factor and no evidence of this has been produced.

Now a new claim has begun to make the rounds.  It’s so unfounded, so unsupported, so speculative and so absurd that it really is not news.  But, despite this, the news media has jumped on it.

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The ELF Solar Bike-Car-Hybride Thingy: Another Vehicle That Makes Me ask “WHY?”

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The Organic Transit ELF has been getting a lot of attention recently.  It’s another vehicle that claims to be poised to revolutionize the way we get around.

Granted, in this day and age of global warming concerns, congested cities and high gas prices, it might seem natural to go looking for alternatives to automobiles.  Using human power also seems like a good idea, given the way to go, since many of us can use exercise anyway.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Elf Electric Pedal Car: When 1 Horsepower Is Enough

Mr. Cotter is the founder and CEO of the Durham, N.C.-based Organic Transit, which makes the Elf: an ovoid, semi-enclosed, solar-chargeable, plug-in, bike-lane-legal, electric pedal car. Got that? With a 1-hp (750-watt) electric motor in the rear wheel hub and a lithium battery pack, or two, snugged into the center frame rail aft of the front wheels—and a plastic canopy to keep the weather off drivers—the Elf proposes a solution for urban commuters who want to leave the car at home but can’t quite hack the rigors of a conventional bicycle.

“We’re creating our own consumer product category,” said Mr. Cotter, whose operation in a downtown storefront in the former tobacco capital is bustling. The company has 1,500 orders in hand—more than enough to reach profitability, said Mr. Cotter, a TED talker who Kickstarted much of the original funding—and soon the company’s retinue of bike gurus and production staff (including some volunteers) will be moving to larger quarters downtown. Prices just went up: the Elf costs $4,995, more if you want the backup battery, the continuously variable transmission rear hub or the better solar panels.

The Elf’s capacity is 350 pounds; top assisted speed is 20 mph (it goes faster downhill); and the 10-amp-hour batteries offer a range of up to 30 miles, but the batteries last longer the more riders pedal. It takes one whole sunny day to charge a fully depleted battery with 60-watt roof-mounted solar panels.

Mr. Cotter and I took a couple of Elfs for a tour of Raleigh recently, and according to the vehicle’s smartphone-app instrumentation, I traveled 15.4 miles at an average speed of 15 mph; burned 586 calories (by pedaling) and displaced 15 pounds of CO2 (using solar watts). It’s a start.

elfbikecar

The vehicle has gotten a huge amount of press and attention. It even managed to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars on Kickstart – apparently from a large group of people who are genuinely convinced this is an amazing and revolutionary concept.   It’s even touted as the “Cleanest, most efficient vehicle on the planet”

 


I do not mean to rain on this parade, but I just don’t get it.  Not only is it not revolutionary, game-changing or the next big thing, but it seems to me that this is just a vehicle which serves the same roll as the bicycle, while being inferior in most respects and considerably more expensive.

Let me know if I am missing something or just wrong…

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