Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Terrifying Attack On Crop Duster

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

I should start off by saying that we do not know what caused this attack.  It could just be some drunkin idiots who were out shooting skeet and decided to shoot at an airplane.

But these days there are a lot of people who believe that agriculture is ruled by evil corporations who are applying toxic materials with the intent of depopulating the earth.  There are others who believe that aircraft are spraying things into the upper atmosphere for evil reasons.   Many of these conspiracy theorists are at the point where they feel that it’s time to take this battle to the perceived evil-doers.

Incidents like this really make me wonder if that is starting to happen.   Again, we don’t actually know the motives here, but it is definitely worth considering…

Click here for video

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Via Ky3 News:

Crop dusting plane shot while flying over Lawrence County

LAMAR, Mo. -

Lisa Kingsley gets chills when she counts the bullet holes in her friend’s plane

“Here’s one on the wing and then another in the back,” Kingsley said. “It’s scary.”

Kingsley and her husband own a crop dusting business, Kevin Kingsley LLC. The Kingsleys asked a friend to help with her crop dusting business while their plane was grounded for repairs.

On Wednesday, while the pilot was working on a field in Lawrence County, Lisa Kingsley got a terrifying call.

“Someone shot at the plane near the job site.”

There are 16 bullet holes in the plane, a 1997 Thrush 510, and Kingsley says the shots came inches away from bringing down the plane with her friend in it.

“I made it here in I think in less that 30 minutes from Joplin, and I hugged him first thing,” Kingsley said. “He’s a father, a husband, a son and this was an attempt on his life. When you’re a family man like that, his whole life flashed before him.”

Kingsley says the FBI is on the case, because shooting at a plane is a federal crime.

“It is a federal offense, it is being investigated, it’s ongoing and you can face up to five to ten years in federal prison,” Kingsley said investigators told her.

Kingsley says she and her husband are nervous about flying again, but hope their story will stop others from shooting into the skies.

The Babushka Lady: A Critical Missing Wittness to the Kennedy Assassination

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in broad daylight in Dealey Plaza in Dallas TX, in broad daylight and in front of numerous witnesses.  The overwhelming majority of those who were close to the shooting or who saw anything that was of importance were identified immediately and gave statements to investigators.   Many were interviewed by police almost immediately.  Comprehensive testimony was recorded by the Warren Commission.

There were three motion pictures taken that show at least part of the assassination: the Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore films.  There were more than a dozen more films that were taken either immediately before or after the shooting took place.  More than one hundred photographs were also taken in the plaza on that day.  These films and pictures were examined as evidence and are now part of the historical record.

But one remains absent

A woman can be seen in the Zapruder film and on other films and photographs taken at the time.  She was standing just north of Elm street, slightly behind witness Charles Brehm and his son.  This would have made her one of the closest witnesses to the fatal shot.  She appears to be wearing a long coat, perhaps a raincoat.  She wears a distinctive pink headscarf, like those worn by older women in Eastern EuropeHer appearance has earned her the name “The Babushka Lady.”   The Term Babushka means “old woman” in Russian.

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After the shooting, witnesses and photographs show that she moped around the area she was standing for a minute or two before crossing Elm Street and ascending the steps on the grassy knoll, toward the retaining wall.  Shortly after (around 12:40) she is seen as part of a crowd of people who had gathered on the south side of Elm Street.  Her movements are consistent with many of those in the area.  Those who saw the shooting were shocked or confused and most seem to just be talking and trying to get a handle on what had happened.  Some, who had a clear view of the events, such as Charles Brehm spoke to reporters or to members of the public, describing what happened.  At some point, a few of those in the crowd brought out transistor radios and others congregated around them to listen for reports.

Finally the Babushka Lady is seen walking east on Elm Street.  What happened to her after that is unknown.   She has never been identified or come forward.

What may be most important about the Babushka Lady is that she appears to have been taking a movie or photograph(s) at the time of the assassination.  In the Zapruder film and other films, she clearly has a camera to her face.  The fact that she holds it there for a period of time might imply that it is a motion picture camera, but it could also be a still camera.

Many conspiracy theories hing on the claim that there was a shooter in front of the motorcade, with the most common location cited being on the grassy knoll or behind the stockade fence, just south of Elm Street.   A photograph of this area, at the time of the assassination could well prove this to be true or put the issue to rest.  Unfortunately, the photos that exist are not adequate.  There is one photograph, taken by Mary Moorman, at almost exactly the time of the fatal shot, which shows the area of interest. H0wever, the Muchmore photograph is a Polaroid and lacks the quality and range to show anything definitive.  There is also the film taken by Orville Nix, but the Nix film was taken on stock intended for indoor shooting, and not well suited for the lighting conditions.  In the Nix film, the area of interest is obscured by shadows.  The Babushka Lady’s film or photograph may well have captured the area and could, quite possibly, be of sufficient range and quality to prove or disprove claims of a gunman in the area.

The photo has never been found.  However, a tantalizing clue comes from assassination researcher Gary Mack, who testified before Congress in 1994, recounting a story he’d been told by a retired Kodak employee about an unknown film of the assassination.

What I have found living here and talking with people is that there are a lot of people in the Dallas area who, for one reason or another, just would prefer not to come forward. I learned a story just a few weeks ago. A retired Kodak executive remembered that while they were processing Abraham Zapruder’s film out in the Dallas office out by Love Field, that a woman had come in, and this was a woman in her late 30s, a brunette, who had taken a picture at the assassination scene, and her picture was the first one out of the processor, and they were working on this because it was quicker to do stills than it was moving film.

He didn’t catch her name, but he stood next to her while she was explaining her story to some of the Federal investigators who were already there. She was running from Main Street up to Elm Street across the grass, realized she wasn’t going to get there close enough, stopped and took a picture. In the foreground were some people standing on the south curb of Elm Street. The Kennedy limousine was directly behind them, directly behind the limousine was the Book Depository Building. When the picture came out of the processor, the first thing they noticed was the exposure was terrific but the focus was way, way off. It was virtually useless, and she was told that. Well, she apparently went home and whether anyone even got her name or that is unknown.

If this story is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, the man – we sought him out, he did not seek us out, today if we can locate that slide, and this is a color slide, computer enhancement can return it literally to almost the best clarity you could have had at the time. Of course, back in those days nothing like that existed. The Kodak executive’s name is Jack Harrison. Jack said they were pushing the technicians very hard to do whatever you can to sharpen this picture and approve it, and they just said, hey, there is nothing we can do.

There is one individual who has come forward, claiming to be the Babushka Lady.  Beverly Oliver was  a singer and dancer at a strip club at the time of the assassination.  She claims to have been the Babushka Lady and to have taken a film of the assassination.  She has made some other claims, including that she was approached by FBI or Secret Service agents shortly after, who confiscated the film and never returned it.  Her claims cannot be backed up by anyone else and there’s no apparent documentation of this story before 1970.

Many mainstream assassination experts flatly dismiss the stories about Beverly Oliver being the Babushka lady.  I would tend to agree.

Even today, identifying this woman could turn out to be a breakthrough in historical documentation of the assassination.  With 51 years having passed, it’s likely she is no longer alive.  Even if she is, a decades old recollection isn’t likely to do much for the historical record.  But that photograph certainly could.  It’s impossible to know what kind of image could be extracted without seeing the photo.  Certainly, modern technology could provide at least some level of correction for bad focus.

Somewhere in Dallas, there is likely someone who would recognize this woman.  Perhaps she was their mother, aunt, grandmother, neighbor or family friend.

Unfortunately, the only photos we have of the Babushka lady show her from behind.  The exception to this is the Zapruder film.  However, in the Zapruder film, she is holding a camera up to her face, obscuring most of her features.  Zapruder also moved his camera to track the car.

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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.

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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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A Look At Russian Nuclear Icebreakers

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Given that Russian territorial waters include large areas of the far north, it’s no surprise that Russia has some of the world’s largest and most capable icebreakers.  A few of these are of the nuclear-powered variety.

Nuclear power is ideally suited to icebreakers, because it provides nearly limitless energy for propulsion and on board needs like heating and electricity.   Icebreakers tend to consume a lot of fuel, both because of their need for heat and because of the resistance posed by the ice, which requires large and powerful engines.  Nuclear power assures the ships will never be stranded in ice with low fuel and gives them the ability to run at full power without concern for fuel burned.

Russia’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers are the most capable ice-breaking ships in the world.  The icebreaker Artika was the first non-submarine to make it all the way to the North Pole, something few other ships could do.

In recent years, the icebreakers have been used in antarctic and arctic cruises, bringing passengers places few other ships could.  It’s not entirely clear if the contract for cruises on these ships will be renewed in future years, but at present, for the price of about nineteen thousand Euro, you can visit the antarctic from the comfort of a huge nuclear icebreaker.  Accommodations  on board are extremely comfortable, but because these ships were not built to be cruise liners, there’s only room for about one hundred guests.

A look inside really illustrates just what can be done with nuclear energy.  When you have limitless power at your disposal, anything is possible, including providing the creature comforts of home in an extremely harsh environment, with subzero temperatures while easily breaking through the toughest pack ice.

And yes, that is a swimming pool.  A small one, but a swimming pool none the less.  Why did they decide to put a pool on an icebreaker?  My guess is just to show off the fact that these icebreakers are such engineering masterpieces that nothing, not even swimming, needs to be omitted in the arctic and antarctic.   There are also saunas, libraries, gym areas and small theaters on the icebreakers.

Such recreational facilities also provide the crews of such icebreakers with much needed rest and relaxation during deployments in that can last several months.  For an escape from the dark and cold of the poles, they also have conservatory-like rooms with plants bathed in artificial sunlight.

The comforts, however, should not detract from appreciating the extreme capabilities of these ships.  They can cruise at more than twenty knots and break through some of the thickest ice in the world.  Their twin nuclear reactors are capable of delivering more than 350 megawatts of thermal power and providing 75,000 or more horsepower to the ship’s propellors.

These photos are not all of the same icebreaker

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The US Coast Guard operates a fleet of large icebreakers.  They’re very capable by any standard, but they are nothing compared to these nuclear-powered ships.  Like most of the world’s icebreakers, the Coast Guard uses conventional oil-fired propulsion.

One can only imagine the possibilities if nuclear power of this type were more widely embraced and deployed for marine propulsion.  Building a large number would undoubtedly bring the cost down, due to economics of scale.

Sources of Photos:

Natural Habitat
Eformable Nuclear NewsMoby Nova
English Russia
Poseidon Expiditions
Arctic Centre On Flicr

Where Humans Can go in the Solar System

Monday, September 29th, 2014

In recent years there has been much discussion about human space exploration venturing beyond the earth-moon system to take on Mars and possibly other planets.  In light of this, I decided to do a little research to determine exactly what celestial bodies are suitable for human exploration.  Certainly, humans can fly by most any part of the solar system, should they have an advanced enough spacecraft.  But there are a limited number of places where surface exploration is possible.  What qualifies these places is the ability to survive in any current or foreseeable space suite or any kind of reasonable habitation module.

Since we are far from having any kind of faster than light travel (which, if possible at all, requires warping space or using some kind of artificial wormhole) and we are not ready for multi-generational spacecraft, the solar system is pretty much what we are stuck with.

It seems the places we can actually send humans are pretty limited.  There is definitely Mars, but after that, what comes next?   Possibly some of the moons of Jupiter, assuming its worth our while to send humans there in the future.   Mars appears to be the best candidate for any kind of permanent or semi-permanent colonization or station.

Places humans could visit with reasonable habitat modules and/or spacesuits:

Mercury - Possibly on the side that faces away from the sun, but it’s questionable whether it would be worth visiting.

Venus - The temperature and pressure on the surface are far too high for a spacesuit.  Manned flybys, however, have been considered in the past.

Earth’s Moon - Yes, obviously, since it has been done.  The environment is certainly harsh, but well within the capabilities of a spacesuit.

Ceres - A dwarf planet that is the largest member of the asteroid belt.  It could be visited by humans in spacesuits for surface study, but it is so small that it would be possible to jump off it into space.  The gravity is not sufficient to allow walking around on it.  Therefore, it would be more like clinging to the surface and floating around it than it would be “landing” on it in the normal sense.

Other asteroids - Again, lack of gravity makes surface exploration in the sense of walking impossible.  It’s possible human exploration of an asteroid would be worthwhile.  Some asteroids may have orbits that make them easier to get to than mars or other planets.  The scientific value of this may be questionable.  An asteroid does not seem like a good place to position any kind of manned outpost or colony.

Mars - The environment on mars is certainly within the capabilities of a spacesuit.  The gravity is more than sufficient for relatively normal movement.  Mars is also close enough to earth to make a trip to and from Mars practical for a crew.  This is probably the best place for exploration beyond the earth-moon system, although asteroids have been suggested as well.

Phobos - The largest moon of mars, but still much smaller than our own moon and more similar to Ceres in size.  There is no atmosphere and it should be within the capabilities of spacesuits, but again, hard to really walk around on because of the small size and lack of strong gravity.  It has the advantage of being easier to take off from than the surface of mars, due to such little gravity.

Jupiter - No.  The gas giants are out of the question.  Not only is it a massive ball of gas, with nothing to stand on, but the pressure is far too high for survival, not to mention the crushing gravity.  Probes that visited the area around Jupiter discovered that it has powerful radiation belts, which could be a problem for even a manned flyby.

 Io (Moon of Jupiter) - Quite possible.  It is only slightly larger than our own moon, so it has a fair amount of gravity.  Radiation might or might not be an issue.  The distance from the sun would make it very cold, necessitating heated space suits.

Europe (Moon of Jupiter) - Also possible.  Good size, but the surface characteristics are less well known.  It is believed to be covered with either ice or a cold brittle rock.  The surface therefore may or may not be suitable for exploration.  Again, radiation and cold are issues.

Ganymede (Moon of Jupiter) - Similar to Io, but larger and thus more gravity on the surface, but still much smaller than earth.  Possible, but cold and radiation are concerns.

Callisto - Possible, rocky moon similar to Io and Ganymede

Saturn - No.  Again, as with Jupiter, the gas giant has massive gravity and no place to stand.

Titan (moon of Saturn) - It’s hard to say but it might be possible.  It’s larger than our own moon.  It has its own dense atmosphere, which is unusual for a moon.  It would be very cold and harsh, but maybe within the capabilities of future space suits and habitats.   With Saturn and its moons, the distance of the travel and thus the time exposed to cosmic radiation and weightlessness become an issue, although this could be overcome with a powerful enough rocket, such as a nuclear pulsed propulsion system.

Other moons of Saturn - Saturn has dozens of moons, with Titan being the largest.  Most of the moons are small and unappealing for manned exploration.

Uranus - No. It is a gas giant, though smaller than Jupiter and Saturn.

Moons of Uranus - Some might be possible, but the extreme distance becomes a concern.  None appear especially appealing.

Neptune – As with the others, no landing on this gas giant.

Moons of Neptune - Only one moon is of substantial size, Triton.  It might be possible, but cold, distance and radiation are issues.

Pluto and Satellites - Though no longer considered a planet, it could be a target worth investigating.  Probably not worth human exploration.  Not only is it far enough from the sun to be super cold, but the distance would necessitate many years in transit to and from it.   The same is true with other Kuiper belt objects.

Spectroscopy Now For the Everyman

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

For those who don’t know, I have a bit of a side hobby fixing and using radiation detection equipment, such as Geiger counters.   If you’re not into amateur science and nuclear science/energy, this may not seem very exciting.

Geiger counters and other basic radiation detectors are great for getting a general idea what the background radiation is or finding radioactive materials.  However, they have their limitations.  A Geiger-Muller detector only tells you when a gamma photon (or alpha or beta particle) is detected.  It does not provide the energy level of the radiation.  Since Geiger-Muller tubes respond differently to different energy levels of gamma emissions, it’s difficult to get a completely accurate assessment of what the dose rate is.  A rough approximation is still possible, but a reading of the energy levels provides much more information.

In addition to better dose estimates, being able to measure the energy levels of gamma photons allows for identification of isotope which is being detected.  Gamma-emitting isotopes produce emissions at characteristic energy levels, and by measuring these energy levels it is possible to determine what kind of isotope is present.  It is also possible to tune a detector to measure only the desired energy levels and thereby pick up on a desired isotope’s emissions.

Bellow is a graph showing gamma measurements of a variety of radioactive materials.

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Recomended Facebook Groups and Pages

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I have not always been a big social media fan, but I have to admit that Facebook is pretty great for keeping in touch with people and for finding groups of similar interests.

There are some great Facebook pages and groups that are anti-bad science.  Many of these are funny and all are worth checking out

Note that some of these are closed groups, where you have to apply for membership to the group before you can post to it, and, in some cases, read all the posts.

 

Anti Vax Wall of Shame - The worst comments, posts and quotes from anti-vaccine activists and websites.

Australian Vaccination Network – Not to be confused with the actual Australian Vaccination Network, this is pro-vaccine. How they got to use the name, I have no idea.

Conspiracy Theorists Say the Darndest Things – Comically bad conspiracy claims from around the web.

Fundies Say the Darndest things – Comically bad quotes and posts from religious fundimentalists, mostly.

New Age Woos Say the Darndest Things -Similar comically bad quotes, these from newagers, quacks and similar.

GMOLOL - Crazy GMO claims refuted and poked fun at.  Also general advocacy for good science regarding genetically engineering technology.

GMO Skepti-Forum – A place for skeptics of outlanding GMO claims (not as funny as GMOLOL)

Anti-Alternative Medicine – A group opposing and exposing quackery.

 

Please feel free to add recommended groups and pages in the comments!

New and Revolutionary Perpetual Motion/Free Energy Machine!

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Watch the whole thing before commenting…



Click here if your browser does not support embedded video

They do a great job of making the first part seem like a real perpetual motion claim. I found it pretty damn funny, especially the very end.

The sad thing is it makes as much senses as most free energy claims.

Weather Modification Methods That May Actually Work

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

There is much said about modifying weather by various conspiracy theorists and alike.  Often said to be the result of chemtrails or RF weapons, the fact is that the weather is very hard to modify.  It can be modified, but only under certain conditions and in a very localized area.

The best known method of weather modification is cloud seeding.  While data is sparse on the total effectiveness, especially in different conditions, it does seem to work, at least when applied to favorable clouds.   There are some other methods of weather modification.  I’ve listed them to show just how difficult really is.

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Tomorrow Is When I Will (hopefully) Get the Nomination

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Just a brief announcement: Tomorrow is the state Republican Convention. It’s the day when delegates will vote on who the candidates are for state and Federal offices.

I am competing with one other for the nomination to be the party-sponsored candidate for the US Congress. I’m pretty confident I will get it, but a lot can change, even at the last minute.

If you want to watch it happen, you can do so on the Connecticut Network, which has streaming live coverage of the convention caucuses. The Congressional one starts at 4PM Eastern Time.