Sunday, December 30, 2012

A word of caution when buying used electronics...

Are you thinking about buying a used computer or electronic gaming device for your child as a way to get your child both what they want, and save money at the same time, well, do it with caution first, as you'll see the reason why in this CNN video:

A family noticed racy photos on a 5-year-old's Christmas present, a used Nintendo. KUSA reports.

Now clearly no one wants to give their child any thing like that for Christmas, but the fact is that when you by some electronic device used, you run the risk of the thing being full of porn. This isn't really as uncommon as some of you might think. In fact there was porn on the used netbook computer that I am currently typing this article on as we speak (it was also logged into the previous owner's Facebook page as well, but being the good guy that I am, I emptied the cache and all of the login information).

I also bought a used Nintendo 3DS a few months ago myself, and while it didn't have any porn on it, it did have some pictures and music from the previous owner on it (which I did delete).

Let this be a word of caution for anyone buying a used computer or similar electronic devices, and that while it is cheaper to buy used then it is to buy new, you don't know what is on it, so you need to take some time and do these simple little steps when you first get your new used device:

  • Check the device first and check out all of the areas that normally contain photos and videos and whatever else. Also be sure to check any folders that look suspicious as well. Better to be safe then sorry.
  • Clear out the caches on all of the computer's internet browsers, including download history, passwords, and saved sites.
  • Run a complete disk clean up.
  • Run a virus scan.

Also note, if you find any illegal material on it, do not erase it. Shut down the device, put it back in whatever it came in, get the receipt for it, and take it to the police immediately.

If you do these four steps, the used electronic devices you give to your kids should safe for them use, because the simple fact is that even if a company does have strict quality controls when it comes to selling used electronic devices, there is no 100% guarantee that there won't be something on it that should not be there, and you don't want your kids to see what that is.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Soursop: A cure for Cancer?

This here is a claim about that I recently saw posted on Facebook about some fruit call “Soursop”, that some people claim can cure cancer, and works far better than chemotherapy.

Here is the posting in it's entirety:

"10000 times stronger killer of CANCER than Chemo".. do share it.. can save many lives, fill up hopes and build confidence in the patients...

The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo.

Why are we not aware of this? Its because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale.

So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by letting him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself as prevention from time to time. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely natural and definitely has no side effects. If you have the space, plant one in your garden.
The other parts of the tree are also useful.

The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

How many people died in vain while this billion-dollar drug maker concealed the secret of the miraculous Graviola tree?

This tree is low and is called graviola ! in Brazi l, guanabana in Spanish and has the uninspiring name “soursop” in English. The fruit is very large and the subacid sweet white pulp is eaten out of hand or, more commonly, used to make fruit drinks, sherbets and such.

The principal interest in this plant is because of its strong anti-cancer effects. Although it is effective for a number of medical conditions, it is its anti tumor effect that is of most interest. This plant is a proven cancer remedy for cancers of all types.

Besides being a cancer remedy, graviola is a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent for both bacterial and fungal infections, is effective against internal parasites and worms, lowers high blood pressure and is used for depression, stress and nervous disorders.

If there ever was a single example that makes it dramatically clear why the existence of Health Sciences Institute is so vital to Americans like you, it’s the incredible story behind the Graviola tree..

The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and chances of survival. The future has never looked more promising.

Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be possible to:
* Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss
* Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections
* Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment
* Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life

The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from one of America ‘s largest drug manufacturers, th! e fruit of over 20 laboratory tests conducted since the 1970's! What those tests revealed was nothing short of mind numbing… Extracts from the tree were shown to:

* Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer..
* The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug!
* What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectivelyhunts
down and kills only cancer cells.. It does not harm healthy cells!

The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been extensively researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it? If Graviola extract is

One of America ‘s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree from the Amazon Rainforest.

Various parts of the Graviola tree–including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit and fruit-seeds–have been used for centuries by medicine men and native Indi! ans in S outh America to treat heart disease, asthma, liver problems and arthritis. Going on very little documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and resources into testing the tree’s anti-cancerous properties–and were shocked by the results. Graviola proved itself to be a cancer-killing dynamo.
But that’s where the Graviola story nearly ended.

The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree–it’s completely natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make serious profits from it.

It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients. If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back. Alas, they hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits–or even make back the millions it poured into research.

As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt. Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!

Luckily, however, there was one scientist from the Graviola research team whose conscience wouldn’t let him see such atrocity committed. Risking his career, he contacted a company that’s dedicated to harvesting medical plants from the Amazon Rainforest and blew the whistle.

Miracle unleashed
When researchers at the Health Sciences Institute were alerted to the news of Graviola,! they be gan tracking the research done on the cancer-killing tree. Evidence of the astounding effectiveness of Graviola–and its shocking cover-up–came in fast and furious….

….The National Cancer Institute performed the first scientific research in 1976. The results showed that Graviola’s “leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant cells.” Inexplicably, the results were published in an internal report and never released to the public…

….Since 1976, Graviola has proven to be an immensely potent cancer killer in 20 independent laboratory tests, yet no double-blind clinical trials–the typical benchmark mainstream doctors and journals use to judge a treatment’s value–were ever initiated….

….A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a recent study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea stated that one chemical in Graviola was found to selectively kill colon cancer cells at “10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin…”

….The most significant part of the Catholic University of South Korea report is that Graviola was shown to selectively target the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched. Unlike chemotherapy, which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such as stomach and hair cells), causing the often devastating side effects of nausea and hair loss in cancer patients.

…A study at Purdue University recently found that leaves from the Graviola tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers Seven years of silence broken–it’s finally here!

The Reality

All of this is nothing more than over blown woo. If this plant really was 10,000 times more effective at curing cancer than chemotherapy then drug companies would be growing the trees these fruits come from in huge groves.

I know that some people might say that it wouldn't make the drug companies any money off of it, and that is why they don't use it, but the reality is that the drug companies would make more money off of it because more people would be will to take it then they would going through with chemotherapy because it wouldn't be harsh, and it would be cheaper, which are two of the main reasons why some people don't go through with chemo: It's to harsh on them, and they can't afford it.

It would also keep more people alive longer, thus the drug companies are able to sell more other kinds of drugs to them over their life times.

The fruit does contain large amounts of vitamins C, B1, and B2, as well as fructose, and studies have shown that it may be effective at treating some forms of cancer, but all of these studies have been in vitro studies, and have not been shown to effectively treat cancer in living human beings.

Also, the fruit is apparently much more harmful then helpful as well.

One of the main compounds in the fruit, called annonacin, which is mainly in the fruit's seeds, is actually a neurotoxin that has been linked to causing Parkinson's disease, and maybe even other types of neurodegenerative diseases.

Soursop is simply more harmful then helpful.

Friday, December 28, 2012

7 people who some think lived beyond their date of death

John Wilkes Booth

Everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, and that twelve days later on April 26, 1865 he himself was shot and killed by Union soldiers after he refused to leave the barn that he was in that the soldiers had set ablaze, but there are rumors that Booth was not killed that day, and that in fact a look alike had been shot and killed, and that Booth had actually lived even into the early 20th century.

There is of course no proof of this, but many authors and descendants of Booth have suggested that he did escape, and there have been several attempts by the family to exhume his body to be tested for DNA.

Jesse James

Probably one of the most famous outlaws of the Wild West, Jesse James and his gang robbed a number of banks, stagecoaches, and trains throughout his criminal career, until he was shot in the back of the head in his own house by fellow James Gang member Robert Ford on April 3, 1882 in and attempt to receive the reward on James's head.

Now despite the fact that he was positively identified, there have been rumors going around even from back then that he faked his death, and that he may have lived under an assumed identity even into the 20th century.

John Dillinger

On July 22, 1934 notorious American criminal John Dillinger was shot to death by FBI agents in an alley way in Chicago, but ever since then there have been rumors that he really wasn't shot to death, and that who really was killed was just someone who just looked like him (perhaps even a payed body double).

The reason behind this is because many people said that he really didn't look like he was suppose to. Of course there is a reason behind this: he had plastic surgery so that he wouldn't look like himself (he even tried to get rid of the famous dimple in his chin). The most likely reason behind this is of course so that he could to live as a free man until he died (which in a ironic way is what happened).

Adolf Hitler

Without a doubt the most evil person in history, on April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves in an underground bunker in Berlin, Germany. There bodies were removed by Nazi Party loyalist and set on fire so that the Soviet Army couldn't use them as propaganda pieces.

Despite the fact that the remains were found and that dental records confirm that the remains are that of the mad man, there are many people who believe that he did not commit suicide, and that he actually faked his death, and that he may have even lived past 100.

While most people believe that he escaped to either Spain or Argentina, some of the crazier claims are that he either escaped to Antarctica, or to the Moon, or to the inside of the Earth (which some Hollow Earth believers claim), and even another dimension or time period.

Elvis Presley

Probably one of the most widely believed to be still alive dead people, Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, but many still believe that he isn't actually dead (despite the fact that he was in very poor health and abused prescription drugs) and while various reasons have been given for why he is hiding, the most common is that he is actually hiding from the mafia.

While there have been numerous "Elvis sitings" over the years, these could be attributed to Elvis impersonators, or just people who look like him.

The belief that he is alive could simply be the result of fans who loved him so much that they don't want him to be dead.

Tupac Shakur

On September 7, 1996 rapper Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times in Las Vegas while he was sitting in a car with Suge Knight. Six days later, he died, but some people believe that he did not die, and that he actually survived the attack, and that he has been in hiding every since.

People who believe this point out that multiple albums with new songs by Shakur have been publish after his death, and while his family says that he recorded the songs before his death, many people still believe this not to be true, and that he is actually continuing to secretly make songs.

Osama Bin Laden

On May 2, 2011 in his secret mansion compound in Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden was shot and killed by members of SEAL team 6, and despite the fact that this was even confirmed by Al-Qaeda, because his death photos have not been released, and the fact that he was buried at sea, and the fact that many people unfortunately still believe that he was a government agent, many people believe that his death was faked for political proposes (of course the people who believe that he was a government agent also believe that the government caused the 9/11 attacks...)

His death is also unique in the fact that no only do some people believe that he is still alive, but that many other people believe he died years before his official death (either as a result of natural causes, or via military actions) and that his body has been kept on ice to be later dumped in the ocean for political proposes.
Notable mention: Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney gets a notable mention here not because he's dead and that many people think he's alive, but because he is alive and that many people think he is really dead, and that he actually did die in a 1966 car crash (which he had originally been reported to have died in) and that he was replaced by a CIA body double that would keep an eye on John Lennon (who was critical of the war in Vietnam and had political philosophical beliefs that many in the government object to).

While this is a pretty bizarre conspiracy theory, he isn't the only celebrity that is believed to be really a CIA body double, he just happens to be the most famous case.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mermaids: Why they really are a myth Part 3: How they became a myth

In a previous blog article concerning the Discovery Networks Mermaids: The Body Found I discussed how highly improbable it would be for mermaids to remain hidden for so long, and in another previous blog article I discussed how it was highly improbable that such a creature could even evolve from humans (especially concerning the short frame of time the show gave for mermaids to have evolved from one of our ancient ancestors).

Now despite this, many of you are probably wondering why there are so many stories about mermaids around the world, yet such creatures can not exist?

The most likely reason behind why the mermaid myth even got created in the first place isn't because someone actually saw a real mermaid, it's because some one saw something they couldn't explain, and they told other people what they saw, and the myth spread, which is how I mentioned in another previous blog article about how myths get started in the first place

Most likely what happened was that someone from inland who isn't near any deep bodies of water traveled to either a lake, or a large river, or to the sea, and saw someone swimming. Now for us we would see someone swimming in the water and we would probably think "oh that person is swimming", but for a person that does not swim, and doesn't even know that people can swim, that person just might think "that person must have a fish tail" or "that person must be part fish". This person goes and tells their people what they saw, and thus the myth gets spread. This scenario probably happened all over the world as well, which is why the myth is so wide spread.

This is somewhat similar to how the myth about the centaur got started as well. Someone back thousands of years ago saw someone riding on top of a horse, and because they didn't know that people could ride on horses, and had never seen something like that before, they jumped to the conclusion that the person was half man, half horse.

Now I know that it sounds silly today that a person would think that, but back thousands of years ago when these myths got started we weren't that rational, and we were prone to superstition, and when we saw something that didn't make sense to us, we would make stuff up and jump to a conclusion about what it was instead of trying to figure out just what we saw. Heck, we do that even today!

Now I won't say that this is actually got started in the first place, in fact there are probably a bunch of variables concerning how this myth got started, but the fact remains is that this is a myth that will live on in our hearts and our stories... and Disney movies.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/2012 Fail

Today is the day. Today is the day that so many people thought the world was going to end, and guess what? Nothing happened.

No massive world wide earthquakes.

No super volcanic eruptions.

No massive solar flares destroying the power grid.

No rapture.

No second coming.

No start of World War 3.

No nuclear bombs going off.

No start of a second great depression.

No heavenly bodies crashing into the Earth.

No polar shift.

No Earth crust displacement.

No alien invasion.

No alien ships coming out of a mountain.

No sudden human evolution.

No takeover by the Illuminati/NWO.

No demon invasion.

No world wide pandemic.

And perhaps the most disappointing of all, no zombie Apocalypse.

In other words not a damn thing happened at except for the beginning of winter, and of course there being a few disappointed New Agers and Doomers around the world.

And so I can gladly say that the only negative things that came out of this is that some people made some money out of selling some books about what was suppose to happen on this day, people being scared out of their wits for no reason, dumb people asking the dumbest damn questions about this, and Roland Emmerich making a horrible movie about this (and I'm not ready to forgive the Doomers and New Agers for that last one).

Now some of you are probably thinking "aren't you being a little harsh for shoving this in these peoples' faces" and I say no because they have been shoving this stuff down our throats for about a decade now and they need to be aware of the harsh reality: They are not as smart as they think they are and they know nothing about science, or the Mayans, and that everything that they do know is based upon the hacked together "research" by a few wannabe scientists and historians...

If one good thing comes out of this it is hopefully that some of these Doomers and New Agers will finally wake up and realize just what a  waste of time and money all this believing that the world is going to end stuff has been, and hopefully wise up and get on with their lives.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Embarrassing Conspiracy Theories: Shape-shifting Aliens control the Earth

While there are a lot of strange conspiracy theories out there, perhaps one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories out there is one that the primary promoter of is David Icke: that the leaders of the world (and just about anyone who is famous) are actually shape-shifting aliens.

The aliens are often times described as being humanoid reptilians that are from either another planet or universe (although some claim that they are actually the offspring of alien-human hybrids from thousands of years ago) and have actually been in control for thousands of years, and are using their technology to take on a human form and secretly control the human race.

There are several videos on the internet that claim to show some famous person or politician showing some type of reptilian features for a split second, and the reality is that they do not. Many of these videos allegedly shows a person "revealing" some kind of reptilian features are actually the result of camera angle and light reflection, or even or even natural human bodily actions, such as pupil dilation, and just licking lips with one's tongue. Some of these video are even the result of some special effects put in to the video by someone who wants to prove that shape-shifting aliens are real.

Taking into account the wide scope that many conspiracy theorists believe this to be, many people have been accused of being a shape-shifting alien (this includes David Icke as well, and possible even myself). There are even people who actually claim to be one of these aliens. Of course they never actually turn into an alien, they just act very strange when they are in what they claim to be in their transformation. These "transformations" seem more like acting, or psychosis.

Besides considering the scope of such an alleged conspiracy (in both time and number of people involved) and the sheer lack of any evidence what so ever that any of this is true, it makes no logical sense that any technologically advanced conquerors would even bother to do something like this.

Many skeptics believe that the shape-shifting alien conspiracy theory is actually a modernization and rehashing of the many Jewish conspiracy theories (both of which just so happen to be very similar in their accusations), and have actually accused David Icke of being anti-Semitic and that he uses the reference to shape-shifting reptilians as being a code word for "Jews". While Icke does deny this, he does believe that the book The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (which was proven to be a hoax as far back as 1921) is true, and has apparently been flirting with Holocaust denial.

Regardless of the reasons behind David Icke's allegations (whatever those true reasons may be), many people (both conspiracy theorists and skeptics alike) consider this to be complete nonsense, and have accused Icke of being everything from a scam artist to being outright insane (although some conspiracy theorists have also accused him of being a disinformation agent as well).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Franklin and Sequoyah: Two states that never were

In either a few weeks, or perhaps several years from now, Puerto Rico is set to become the 51st state, but if history (and the heart of congress) had gone differently, Puerto Rico would not be on it's way to becoming the 51st state. It would actually be on it's way to becoming either the 52nd or 53rd state of the Union.

Now there have been multiple proposals for new states over the years that never came to be. There have been several proposals for a state of Jefferson and a state of Lincoln (both in various sites). There have been proposals for the Upper Michigan peninsula to become it's own state, and even Long Island (along with New York City) to become it's own state. There was even a proposal for a state of Absaroka (which would have taken land from Northern Wyoming, South Eastern Montana, and Western South Dakota to form), but the two places that almost became their own states were called the states of Franklin and Sequoyah.

Now Franklin (if you could not tell was to be named after Benjamin Franklin) is part of what is now North Eastern Tennessee, but back when it attempted to become it's own individual state in 1785, it was actually apart of the state of North Carolina, because until 1796 Tennessee was apart of North Carolina.

Back in April 1784 North Carolina ceded what is today Tennessee to the Federal Government in order to pay off debts the state had gained as a result of the War of Independence. The government was reluctant to accept this, and also many frontiersmen in that region were pretty upset about this to, and also feared that the territory might even be sold to a foreign power, so in August of 1784 several counties in what is to North Eastern Tennessee seceded from North Carolina, which resulted in the state of North Carolina to rescind  it's offer of cession, and even ordered judges to hold court in those counties, and send soldiers to the counties that wanted to secede. This of course did nothing to stop the growing secession movement, and on May 16, 1785 a delegation from the region submitted a petition to Congress for approval of statehood.

The State failed to receive the two-thirds majority of approval from the other states that is necessary in order to be admitted to the Union (only seven of the thirteen states at the time voted to admit Franklin to the Union) and couldn't even get the support of Benjamin Franklin himself.

In 1788 the region was finally disbanded and readmitted to North Carolina, and would later become part of Tennessee, but this would not be the last time the area would attempt to become it's own state, the most notable during the Civil War as a result of Eastern Tennessee disapproval of the rest of the state seceding from the union. While the region never did secede from the rest of Tennessee, there were many people there who proposed seceding from Tennessee and rejoining the Union (much like what West Virginia actually did when it seceded from Virginia and rejoined the Union in 1863).

Now as for the State of Sequoyah, which was to be named in honor of Sequoyah, a Cherokee silversmith who invented the Cherokee syllabary (or alphabet), the area which would have become it's own state was part of what is today Eastern Oklahoma, and was from 1890 until 1907 when it was merged with the Oklahoma Territory and became the State of Oklahoma, it's own individual territory known as the Indian Territory, which actually once included most of Oklahoma, but after 1890 a little over half the territory was ceded to white settlers to form it's own separate territory.

In 1905 the territory formed a constitutional convention, and voted to send a petition to the United States Congress for approval of statehood.

The delegation that arrived at Washington D.C. from the Indian Territories did not receive a warm reception, with many eastern politicians not wanting to admit two new western states. Even President Theodore Roosevelt proposed that the two territories be merged back again and become the State of Oklahoma (which is what happened in 1907). Still, all the hard work of the Sequoyah state constitutional convention was not lost as the Sequoyah constitution served as the basis for the Oklahoma constitution.

It should also be noted that if Sequoyah had ended up becoming a state, it would have been the first (and only) state where the majority of the people were Native Americans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How the Electoral College should be done

Probably one of the most controversial aspects of a United States presidential election isn't the money spent campaigning, or the negative ads, but how we actually vote for the candidates itself.

The United States uses a system known as the Electoral College where instead of the population voting for who will be the President of the United States as a whole, individuals called Electors actually vote for who will become the President.

Now the only reason why a presidential election is is even held in the first place is because all 50 states have laws that state that the Electors must respect the wishes of the majority of the voters in the state they are in, and all the Electors usually choose who majority of the voters voted for (although this is not always the case).

Now while this may sound okay to some, this does have several flaws in it.

The first flaw in this is that the way the Electoral College is set up is that it can led to the person who did not win the popular vote to still win the election because they had enough electoral votes (this has happened three times before, four if you count the election of 1824).

The second flaw with this is that a couple of highly populated areas can literally give a candidate all the electoral votes in one state by only a few thousand votes, which in turn creates a huge amount of resentment from everyone else in the state.

There is of course a way to solve this problem.

As most of you may well be aware all states plus the District of Columbia are given a minimum of three electoral votes. This is of course to reflect the number of people that state has in congress (members of the House of Representatives and the Senate).

So here is what I feel should be done. Instead of a presidential candidate winning all of a state's electoral votes if they win the popular vote in that state, they should only be given the two electoral votes that is suppose to represent that state's senators if they win the popular vote, and that the candidate who wins the popular vote in a certain representative district should be given the electoral vote that represents that district, regardless of whether or not they actually won the popular vote in that state.

Doing this would not only more accurately represent the voting population of a state, it would also give a boost to "third party" candidates as more people might be more willing to vote for a candidate they actually want to for instead of voting against a candidate by voting for a candidate they don't necessarily like, but they can not stand the other candidate.

This could also eliminate Faithless Electors as well, as an elector might be more willing to vote for the candidate who won the distract that the elector is assigned to rather then actually becoming a faithless electors. Electors could even become no longer necessary at all and that the electoral votes be given out by the state.

Of course we could just do away with the electoral college completely and go to direct vote...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Embarrassing Conspiracy Theories: The Illuminati controls the Music Industry

One of the big conspiracy theories going around the internet (especially Youtube) is that the music industry is controlled by the Illuminati (mind you of course there is no proof that the Illuminati even exists in the first place).

One of the key pieces of "evidence" that many conspiracy theorists claims is "proof" that the Illuminati is in control of the music industry is that many musical artists tend to use hand gestures and symbols (along also with certain lyrics) that many conspiracy theorists believe contain pro-Illuminati messages, or is being used as some type of brain washing techniques.

Now besides the fact that a very secretive group (such as the allegedly existing Illuminati) probably wouldn't be so bluntly giving away their existence by having a bunch of musical artists basically giving their audience a bunch of little subtle hints of that group's existence, it would kind of defeats the purpose of a secretive group being a secret to the public at large if they gave away their existence so openly.

Musical artists can be a weird kind of bunch. They constantly "reinvent" themselves or evolve in there tastes for two main purpose: To express themselves artistically, and to stay relevant so they can make money from teenagers and young adults, because that is where a large part of where music sales come from. There is even speculation that some musical artist that are accused of working for the Illuminati are actually intentionally using what is considered Illuminati symbols in their acts and lyrics in their music in order to generate controversy, and thus publicity.

There are also other claims by people who claim to have worked in (or currently are working in) the music industry, and that they have actually "witnessed" either what they consider to be Illuminati or other occult type ceremonies occur in private with some of these musical artists. These claims tend to be few and far between, and could be simply the result of misunderstanding the actions of a musical artist (as I said before, they can sometimes be pretty weird and do weird things) or everything they are saying could just be entirely made up (including their involvement with the music industry).

Even if this was true, the music industry would not be a very good industry for a secretive group to secretly spread messages of their existence through symbols (rather then outright saying that they exist).

Besides the shear fact that many musical artists are very independent minded and would most likely never go along with being apart of the Illuminate (some of which are conspiracy theorist minded people who would have no problems exposing this) there are thousands of people who work in the music industry, and there should be a lot more evidence being brought forth, and a lot more people coming forth and claiming that the entire music industry is being controlled by some secretive shadow group.

Also, another reason why the music industry really wouldn't be a good place to do something like this in the first place is because musical artists come and go all the time, with maybe only a few lasting a decade or more (as comedian Chris Rock once put when he was talking about musical artists "here today, gone today" because that's practically how long some of these artists careers last). So with this being said, would you really want to use the music industry to secretively spread a message (without even hinting what that message was)?

From what I can tell this is simply a new spin on old accusations that have been plaguing the music industry for decades about how the music industry is being controlled by secretive and malicious forces, such as Satanists in the 1980's and 1990's, and communists even before then.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is it a Conspiracy Theory, or is it Propaganda?

Conspiracy theories and propaganda tend to go hand in hand, mainly because many conspiracy theories tend to be against something (government, industry, etc) while at the same time trying to promote something (political beliefs, alternative medicine, etc). Sometimes it's difficult to tell which is which. Sometimes they are one in the same.

Some conspiracy theories are obviously propaganda and are generally not believed by most (including those that promote the conspiracy theory) except for those who are to deluded (or have deluded themselves because of some personal bias against a certain person or group) to not accept the conspiracy theory/propaganda, or are not smart enough to figure out the deference between what is real and what is a lies.

Examples of this would be holocaust denial and the allegations the President Obama wasn't born in the United States.

Then there is the flip side of this in that some conspiracy theories have been used as some sort of propaganda. In fact it's not that uncommon that certain politicians, world leaders, and even certain celebrities will use these already established conspiracy theories in order to obtain power, maintain power, and just get attention for themselves.

Sometimes the leaders of one country who is experiencing hostilities from the leaders of another country will use already established conspiracy theories in there propaganda about their rival country as a way to try to make the leaders of that rival country to back off, and to perhaps try to sway the people in the rival country over to their side.

Probably one of the best examples of this would be the 9/11 conspiracy theories, in particular with Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has most likely used the 9/11 conspiracy theories as a way to gain support and downplay the United States, and as a way to get the US to back off from Iran.

Then there are of course conspiracy theories that you cannot tell if they were propaganda that became conspiracy theories, or if they just started as conspiracy theories, and ended up becoming propaganda. In fact many of the anti-government, modern medicine, new world order type of conspiracy theories tend to fall into this category.

This is actually where many conspiracy theories fall under simply because it's difficult to tell whether or not a conspiracy theory began as propaganda that evolved into a conspiracy theory, or vice verse. Examples of this would be FEMA camps, chemtrails, and vaccines causing autism (along with a lot of other things).

Then there are of course conspiracy theories that are so bizarre that most skeptics (and even some conspiracy theorists) suspect that they may have originally began not as propaganda but as a either a hoax or a scam.

Regardless of whether or not a conspiracy theory originally started as propaganda, or if a conspiracy theory is being exploited by someone with an agenda, the fact is that conspiracy theories are used as propaganda, and we should be skeptical of certain people or groups and ask ourselves this: are they promoting this because they seriously believe this, or do they have some type of agenda.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mermaids: Why they really are a myth Part 2: Un-evolvable

In a previous blog concerning the Discovery Networks docu-drama Mermaids: The Body Found I discussed how it isn't possible for mermaids to hide for this long and never be found. Well, there is a very good reason why mermaids have never been found, and why they most likely don't exist in the first place: It's highly unlikely that humans could have evolved into mermaids (at least in the short period of time as the film depicts).

Most mermaids (including the ones in the film) are often depicted as having their legs being fused together into a tail, with their feet having evolved into a large flipper.

While there have cases of infants born with their legs fused, this is not an evolutionary process, but a very rare birth defect called Sirenomelia, and most infants that are born this way either don't live very long, or they are still-born. Those that do manage to live for several years after they were born are only alive because of modern medicine and surgical techniques. Considering this it should be considered highly unlikely that someone born this way could live long enough to have children of their own (if they were even capable of having children in the first place, and most children born with Sirenomelia are usually born with underdeveloped reproductive organs, or none at all) or could even survive in the water. Also, considering the rarity of this birth defect it's highly unlikely that enough people could be born like this in the first place to create a sizable population.

The reality in concerning the evolutionary process when it comes to limbs is that limbs usually do one of two things: they grow or they shrink to the point where they disappear.

Dolphins are a good example of both of this.

Dolphins clearly have no back legs what so ever, but at one point in time did, as clear with the still existent but useless pelvis bone (Author's note: it is quite common among lifeforms to have useless body parts that are left over from an earlier evolutionary form), and that the tail has become elongated and thickened to the point where it is now apart of the main part of the body itself. Even it's flippers have elongated finger bones instead of one fused bone.

Now it is true that our evolutionary ancestors once had tails, and that the remnants of that (tailbones) still exist with us, but our evolutionary ancestors probably lost their tails over ten of million years ago (if not longer), and while it may not take a long time to lose an appendage (on the evolutionary time scale at least) it would take a long time to grow (or regrow) a new appendage, and the time frame the docu-drama (about 2 million years) is most likely not enough time to do it.

Also, even if they did exist, the odds are they really wouldn't look like the way they are commonly depicted.

Most likely a real life mermaid they wouldn't have the lower fish body and the upper human body, as commonly depicted. The heads most likely wouldn't even have a neck, and their bodies would be streamlined with their faces facing forward and inline with their bodies, instead of being parallel to their bodies (which would leave us constantly looking down at the sea floor and running into things). Also, our arms would shorten to the point where there would be nothing left but our hands, which in turn would become flippers.

The fact is that mermaids most likely couldn't have evolved from humans, and even if they could have they would probably look more like dolphins, or seals, then the classically depicted half man, half fish.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who really was the first President?

If you were to ask a bunch of people who was the first President of the United States most of them would probably tell you that George Washington was the first President.

Those people would be wrong.

While it is true that George Washington was the first person to hold the title of "President of the United States of America" there were actually multiple people who were President of the United States before him, they just didn't hold the actual title of "President of the United States of America".

In fact the first Presidents of the United States actually held the title of "President of the Continental Congress" and they were not chosen by the people, but by the Continental Congress (which was the legislative body of the United States before the constitution basically dissolved the Continental Congress and split it into two with the creation the Senate and the House of Representatives) and in reality was closer to what we would consider to be the modern day Speaker of the House than President of the United States, and was more of an honorable title that held little authority. Still, the President of the Continental Congress was the Head of State for the United States, and therefore the Presidents of the Continental Congress were in fact the first Presidents of the United States.

Now Peyton Randolph was the first President of the Continental Congress, but he is not the first President of the United States, and for two very good reasons: One, he was president before the United States declared independence, and two, he actually died before the United States declared independence from Great Britain.

Now John Hanson first President of the Continental Congress to be elected under the Articles of Confederation, but Samuel Huntington was the President of the Continental Congress when the Articles of Confederation was ratified, and therefore many people consider him to be the first President of the United States.

Now of course Elias Boudinot could also be considered the first President of the United States because he was President of the Continental Congress when Great Britain officially recognized our independence on September 3, 1783, and he signed the Treaty of Paris, but the United States government doesn't recognize that date to be the date this country's independence. Instead the government officially considers July 4, 1776, the day the Continental Congress adopted and signed the Declaration of Independence, as the date of this country's independence.

So who was really the true first President of the United States?

It was John Hancock.

The Continental Congress, and the title of President of the Continental Congress was created before the Revolutionary War even began, and when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed, John Hancock was President of the Continental Congress (and of course one of the document's most famous signatories) and was actually President of the Continental Congress for almost 16 months after the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. Therefore since Hancock was President of the Continental Congress during and after signing of the Declaration of Independence, he is really the first President of the United States.

Of course there are others who will say otherwise...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Let the kids get a chance to choose

One of the most frustrating things that I had to deal with when I was a kid wasn't the fact that I was unable to legally smoke or drink booze (although I could have done that illegally if I wanted to, and besides, I don't smoke or drink anyways) or even that I couldn't legally drive a car until I was 16. It was the fact that until I turned 18 I didn't have the legal right to vote.

For years I wanted to vote, and I even asked my parents at certain points in time during my childhood if I could go with them to the voting place and vote for them. They of course always said no, and now I understand why (I wouldn't want someone else to use my vote either, even if it was my kid).

Still, even though I've been able to legally vote for thirteen years now (and have voted in most elections since then, including the four presidential elections I have been legally able to vote in), I still feel that at least certain young people under the age of 18 should be able to vote.

Now of course I don't feel that all teens under the age of 18 should automatically be given the right to vote. In fact I feel that only the ones who should be able to vote are the ones whom have done, or do certain things that in effect should have earned them the right to vote.

First, any one under the age of 18, has a job (and has had one for over six months), pays income taxes, and is in school, should be able to vote in all elections regardless of age. Not only would this encourage kids to stay in school, it would also encourage them to get jobs and earn their own money and get them to be less dependent on their parents at an earlier age. Also it would encourage them not sit around at home wasting their time playing video games and trolling the internet (and yes, I do see the irony in me saying that kids shouldn't spend so much time on the internet because this is posted on the internet, but how else am I going to spread this idea to the vast amount of the American public).

Second, any youth that is currently in the military (the military does allow people as young as 17 to join) or any youth currently in some other type of voluntary civil service (EMT, Fire & Rescue, etc.) should be allowed to vote as well. This would encourage more teens to volunteer to do things that would benefit the community and the nation as a whole, and they could even learn certain skills that could benefit them later in life.

Third and finally, anyone who has graduated from high school before the age of 18 should also be allowed to vote, regardless if they are employed or are involved in the military or a voluntary civil service. Not only would this encourage youth to work harder at school, it might also encourage them to go to collage sooner and work harder at collage as well.

Not only would giving youth a chance to earn the right to vote be beneficial to the youth of the nation, in the long run it might be beneficial to the nation as a whole.

It would not only instill and/or reinforce many positive aspects into the minds and hearts of our nation's teens (like volunteerism, the importance of education, having a job, and if you want something badly enough you need to earn it) it could create a generation of youth who would more benefit the nation then burden it, and instill the belief in them that they shouldn't take for granted certain rights (amongst other things) that we take for granted today.

In the end not only could giving certain teens who have earned the right to vote create a generation better then us in terms of education and financial resources, it could create an overall better society.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Historic Election

While most elections are in their own way historic, the election of 2012 may be a truly historic election (and one that will get it's own chapter in our history books, and not just a page or two) and regardless of what you may feel about the outcomes, there are several reasons why this election will most likely be considered historic.

Here are several reasons why I believe that this election will be considered in the future to be a truly historic one:

Three Presidents, six terms

For only the second time in this nation's history has there been three presidents in a row that have held two consecutive terms. The only other time this has happened was from 1801 to 1825 during the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

Minority Run

For the first time in our nation's history two candidates from two different minority groups (Barack Obama being African American, and Mitt Romney being a Mormon, a minority religion) have run for president under the two major political parties.

Light them up

Washington and Colorado became the first two states in the nation to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use by adults. Of course this doesn't mean that it is completely legal (it is still illegal under federal law, and federal law enforcement agents can still arrest you if you have any pot on you) but it does mean that the local and state law enforcement in those two states can not arrest you if they find a bag of weed on you, or catch you smoking a joint.

The 51st State

For the first time in the island territory's history the people of Puerto Rico voted to become a state. Of course it doesn't mean that it will automatically become a state, as congress must vote on whether or not to approve statehood for the island. This could merely be a formality and could come as early as December, or this could be years from now.

If it does happen this year it will be the first time in 53 years that a new state has joined the United States.

Women in the Senate

There are now more women in the Senate then there have been at any other time in our history. There are now 20 women who are in the United States Senate, or 1/5 of the Senate.

LGBT Rights

For the first time in our history voters in several states approved legalizing same-sex marriage. In the states of Washington, Maryland, and Maine voters approved of a state laws that would legalize same-sex marriage (note: this is also significant because in 2009 it had been rejected in Maine), and in Minnesota voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage (mind you their state laws still outlaws it). Also, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first homosexual to be elected to the Senate.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ten threats to the 1st Amendment

There have been and always will be threats to the Constitution, most especially the 1st Amendment, be it is usually because a person doesn't know, or doesn't care, what is and is not protected by the 1st Amendment.

Here are what I consider to be ten threats to the 1st Amendment:

Anti-Obscenity Groups

There are some groups of people who take it amongst themselves to try to force us to not use any type of language, or dress in certain ways that many of them consider obscene, even going so far as to trying to force (sometimes with success) local governments to create ordinances and laws banning the use of language in public and the wearing of clothing that they feel is obscene.

These groups are also partially responsible the creation of the rating system on television, parental advisory stickers on music CDs, and the anti-pornography laws.


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA for short, was originally intended to keep people from using copyrighted materials. The problem with this law is that often times it is also abused, usually by people (or businesses and corporations) wanting to get certain content that might be critical of them removed, regardless of the fair use laws, and regardless if it contains any copyrighted materials at all. These are usually called DMCA attacks, and happen quite a bit on controversial Vlogs Youtube.

Sometimes people will send out DMCA reports on certain Youtube sites simply because they don't like the content, or because they're trying to find out the true identity of a certain user.

Defamation, Libel, and Slander

While defamation, libel, and slander laws can great laws and force a person to stop lying about you in which the only intent is to hurt you, unfortunately these laws are also some abused.

Normally when these laws are abused it's usually someone or some group who want to hide something, or to try to force someone to stop being critical of them. Even the threat of a defamation lawsuit can sometimes be enough to back someone down, even if what they're is the truth.


There are a lot of people on the internet who's only purpose is to cause trouble. Sometimes these people take what they do to far and they get booted off the site they're trolling on. Sometimes this also results in sites changing their policies and becoming more and more restrictive, such as lessening what is considered acceptable speech and behavior, to ending anonymity. Some states are even creating laws to try stop people from being trollz, but these laws are highly questionable and possible illegal due to the 1st Amendment.


Most free blogs, user uploaded video sites, online forums, and social media sites have ways to report inappropriate or possibly illegal content.

While some sites actually require you to email them, most sites have special icons under each person's posts and all that you're just require to do is that you click on that icon and tell the site why you did that. This may sound good and all to some people, but the problem is that this is often times overly used and abused by others concerning content that they feel is offensive just to them.

Other Countries

With the increase of people making their views known on the internet, these views can sometimes conflict with the laws of other countries.

While most of the time these laws wouldn't effect us at all, sometimes it does, because usually the law enforcement agencies in those countries will contact the host websites to get the content removed. While most of the time this doesn't happen because the content doesn't actually violate the Terms of Standards agreement that the user accepted, sometimes they can get the content removed.


We all know that teachers tend to tell students to be quiet when they are trying to teach something, some schools are becoming more and more restrictive about not only what students can say while on school grounds, but also what they can say off school grounds as well.

Many schools now have rules for students about what a student can and cannot post on the internet. Most of the time what students are restricted from posting is criticism of their school and the school system itself. Also, many schools not only try to restrict in school speech, but also the right to protest as well, often times threatening to punish any students who take part in a protest that happens near their school, or during school time.

Hate Groups

While most hate groups tend to be just a bunch of annoying people at best, sometimes they will use threats and even violence as a way to try to silence their critics, or just something they don't like.

Other less hostile hate groups try to use other forms of intimidation (such as boycotts) to try to get companies to stop certain advertisement campaigns, or sponsorship of certain groups. While these boycotts were sometimes effective in the past (especially when it concerned homosexuality), these boycotts have been proven to be less and less ineffective as most people tend to ignore the calls for boycott (the American Family Association's largely forgotten boycott of Disney proves this).


While some hackers destroy and/or disrupt content on the internet simply because they can, sometimes they do this to remove content that they don't like (regardless if the content is offensive or not) or they will send that person a virus to disrupt that person's ability to post new content.

Sometimes people who don't actually have the hacking skills needed to disrupt and/or destroy content on the internet that they disagree with will actually either try to get other hackers to do their dirty work, even hiring them sometimes, or they'll just learn new hacking skills and try to do it themselves.

Oversensitive People

Sometimes we ourselves can be the biggest threat to the 1st Amendment. If an oversensitive person sees something that they do not like, they sometimes do whatever it takes to get that which has offended them removed, be it flagging attacks, false DMCA attacks, hacking attacks, and whatever else they can think of.

Other times it's trying to get new laws created to in order to place restrictions on things that they find offensive.

Regardless of what they do, oversensitive people are often the biggest threat to the 1st Amendment, because they tend to believe that their senses are more important then the Constitution.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ECT Follow up: FEMA camps: Executive Orders

In a previous Embarrassing Conspiracy Theory post I talked about how many conspiracy theorists believe that the government is going to place citizens who object to government authority in prison camps. One of the key pieces of "evidence" for people who believe in these prison camps that are allegedly being built is that there are Executive Orders that have been made by the President which will give the government, FEMA, and the military the authority to round up citizens who object to government authority and ship them off to these alleged prison camps. Often times they also claim that government will create a disaster that will kill millions of people in order to justify the execution of these Executive Orders.

While conspiracy theorists often times cite real Executive Orders as evidence for what they believe is the planned coming of Martial Law, many of the conclusions they come to about these Executive Orders are very deceptive and quite frankly, incorrect.

First, many of the Executive Orders are often claimed to have been made by either President George W. Bush, or President Barack Obama. In perhaps most of these cases this is incorrect, and is either the result of poor or non research, or even an outright lie.

If you do the research you will find that the Executive Orders that are often cited by conspiracy theorists were not made by either President Bush or Obama, but were actually made by either President John Kennedy, of President Lyndon Johnson. In fact most of the Executive Orders that are commonly cited were made during the Cold War when the threat of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was very real.

Also, most of the Executive Orders that are cited makes no mention of things like "prison camps" or "Martial law" or anything even of the like. The only things mentioned in these cited Executive Orders that would come even come remotely close is that they mention the need to maintain law and order during a disaster.

In fact many of these Executive Orders are for disaster preparedness (either as a result of a massive natural disaster, or a massive attack), what should be done during a disaster, who does what during a disaster, and what needs to be done in order to rebuild as quickly as possible.

In fact the only thing in these Executive Orders that may even give conspiracy theorists any warrant to believe that the government would take over everything is that the President would have the authority to take over temporarily any private industries and other resources in order to help minimize the destruction and damage to infrastructure as much as possible. Most of the time this wouldn't even be necessary due to volunteers and donations that often times that often times come about after a disaster.

Another thing that is often times not mentioned by conspiracy theorists is that while some of these Executive Orders do in fact still exist, many of them have been revoked by later presidents. In fact many were revoked during the Cold War itself, most likely because it was determined that these certain Executive Orders really were not necessary any more, or were never necessary to begin with.

In conclusion the citing of Executive Orders as "evidence" that the government is planning to enact Martial law is nothing more then conspiracy theorists typical paranoia and fear mongering.

Friday, November 9, 2012

10 Facts about Antarctica

10. Land claims

So far eight countries have laid claim to pieces of Antarctica, with three countries having overlapping claims. Despite this, not all of Antarctica is claimed. In fact the largest amount of unclaimed land in the world, Marie Byrd Land, is here.

9. Population

While there is no permanent population on the continent at any given time, there can be anywhere between 1,000 to 5,000 people on the continent, and this doesn't just include scientists and other people who work at the research stations, it also sometimes includes their families. There are even schools at some bases, and as of 2009, eleven children have been born there.

8. Meteorites

Due to the ice sheets, meteorites here are the easiest to find there then anywhere else in the world. Also because of the environment, meteorites there are also well preserved.

Perhaps the most famous and controversial meteorite found there is the ALH84001, which back in 1996 scientists announced it may contained microscopic life from Mars.

7. Industry

Currently there are only two types of industries that exist for Antarctica: Fishing and tourism, the latter which has been going on since 1957 and is usually done by boat and focuses mainly on scenic locations.

Both industries are also controversial. Illegal fishing sometimes yields five to six times much fish as legal, and there has been calls for greater regulation on tourism down there for years.

6. Antarctican dollar

There are Antarctican dollars, and they are in the same denominations as the American dollars, but here's the catch: They're not legal tender anywhere. This includes Antartica.

Antartican dollars are just collectors items produced by the Antarctic Overseas Exchange Office, and can be purchased through their website. The proceeds from the sales fund groups undertaking research and humanitarian projects on the continent.

5. Cold Desert

Despite the fact that most of the land mass is covered in ice, the interior of Antarctica is actually considered to be a desert due to the low precipitation, which is always in the form of snow, and very low humidity. In fact it's one of the driest places on the planet, and cracked lips and dry skins are constant problems for the scientists and explorers there.

4. Ice sheet thickness

The average ice sheet thickness varies depending on which side you are on.

On east Antarctica the average thickness is 2.6 kilometers, while on west Antarctica the average thickness is almost 1.8 kilometers thick, and on the Antarctic Peninsula it's only 0.6 kilometers thick.

3. Mount Erebus

There are several active volcanoes on Antarctica, and Mount Erebus is one of the most active, with the last eruption occurring in 2012.

Mount Erebus is also the site of the worst plane crash in Antarctica. In 1979 Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 people on board.

2. Penguins

While there's not a lot of biodiversity on Antarctica, there is one thing that the continent has a lot of: Penguins.

There are several species of penguins that inhabit or breed on the continent, including the Emperor Penguin, which is the largest penguin species on the planet.

1. A land known before it was known

Despite the fact that the continent wasn't discovered until 1820, speculation about the existence of Antarctica had been around for centuries. In fact speculation of the continent's existence was around since the 1st century AD, and many European maps from several centuries ago showed what at the time was only a hypothetical land mass, despite the fact that no one knew of it's existence.

Due to several earlier maps showing a near accurate outline of the continent there is also some speculation that the continent may have been discovered centuries earlier then what it was, but that it's existence had been lost over time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get out and vote!

Today is the day that the majority of Americans choose whether we keep Barack Obama as President, or if Mitt Romney is to becomes our next President (along of course with other elections to choose to keep or replace governors, senators (state and national), representatives (state and national), delegates, judges, sheriffs, mayors, local councils, and new laws).

At least, this is what we tend to believe...

The reality is that it is not the majority of the American people who choose who will be President of the United States. In fact it is the majority of people who actually can legally vote who's choice really counts (which are United States citizens who are over the age of 18, and are not currently incarcerated, and have not been convicted of any felonies, or have been convicted of felonies but have yet to get their voting rights restored... and of course citizens who are residents of United States territories that are not actually states (with of course the exception of Washington D.C.) ) and not the people who are just to lazy to get up and go vote.

It is important that everyone who can legally go out and vote to actually go out and vote. It is the only way to know at least what the true opinion of what most Americans believe who should be in charge of this country, and thus how the country should be run.

Now there are some people that say, and believe, that their vote doesn't really count, but the reality is that your vote doesn't count if you don't actually go out and vote. No one is going to consider your vote to count if you don't actually vote in the first place.

Others might say that your vote really isn't going to make a difference. Again, this is only true if you actually don't go out and vote. Whether you believe it or not, your vote does make a difference.

Now of course there are others will try to make the "excuse" that there is no one is running that they actually like. Well there are more then two political parties, and in the presidential race there are more then two candidates. You can always check out what one of the other candidates want do and vote for one of them.

While we may have a choice whether we want to go out and vote or not, others will be basically be making your choices for you, unless you go out and make that choice yourself.

The reality is that your opinion about how the country is being run, and should be run, only means something if you want it to mean something, and the only way you can make that opinion mean something is if you actually go out and vote!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Conspiracy Theories: Why they are both easy and difficult to debunk

Conspiracy theories can most of the time be very easy to debunk. Mostly it just requires some research and the use of logic. But, some conspiracy theories can be difficult to debunk as well. This of course has nothing to do with the evidence. As I have already stated that tends to be easy to debunk.

It's the large amount of so called evidence conspiracy theorists tend to present, or the fact that the evidence presented is simply made up. Both of these reasons can actually make it difficult to debunk some conspiracy theories simply because it can be so frustrating and time consuming to prove it's false.

Conspiracy theorists will sometimes present large amounts "evidence" to try to prove what they believe in is real, it can be time consuming for many skeptics who debunk this type of stuff because unlike many conspiracy theorists, they will take the time to do the research to find out if any of this is true or not, rather then rely on someone's accusations that has been seen as solid proof of a conspiracy. An example of this would be the alleged cover up of knowledge of extra-terrestrial technology and contact.

There is a lot of alleged evidence out there that the United States government has extra-terrestrial technology, and has even made contact with aliens. Now while this stuff has mostly been refuted and/or dis-proven, there is a lot of it, and I mean a lot of it, and new "evidence" seems to pop up every year, so debunking this stuff (or any number of conspiracy theories) can become a full time job for some skeptics. This type of thing can wear down a skeptic and cause them to retire from debunking, even the really good ones.

What makes it harder is that often these pieces of  "evidence" that conspiracy theorists presents is completely made up, so sometimes a skeptic will look for something to either refute or confirm that piece of evidence when there is nothing to refute or confirm, and it just becomes a wasteful wild goose chase. An example of this would be FEMA prison camps.

Besides the fact that these locations of where these camps allegedly are usually just nothing more then misidentified buildings and military bases, for a lot of these alleged locations nothing exists at all. In fact when I was doing some co-research into one of them with Autistic Skeptic, I investigated the location of one in Oregon that claimed to be an old Japanese interment camp that was refurbished, and as it turned out, the old interment camp never even existed in the first place, so I was basically wasting my time before I finally found out that this place didn't even exist. Not to mention that fact that I was very frustrated as well trying to find this alleged place.

Another thing conspiracy theorists will sometimes do is that they will add on to already refuted and discredited evidence. A great example of this would be the belief that the World Trade Center towers were brought down in a controlled demolition.

Many conspiracy theorists believe that the towers were brought down by explosives that were planted inside the building. When a skeptic points out that no one ever saw these explosives planted inside the buildings, the conspiracy theorists will claim that it was thermite paint. When a skeptic points out that thermite has never been detected in any independent tests, a conspiracy theorist will claim it was nano-thermite. When a skeptic points out that there is no such thing as nano-thermite, a conspiracy theorist will usually say that is what the government wants you to believe (assuming they haven't declared the skeptic a dis-information agent at some point in the conversation) and will continue to use old, refuted evidence.

At that point most skeptics would declare the conversation a PRATT (point refuted a thousand times) because they know it would be pointless to continue this cycle of refuting claims when the refuting is going to continue to be ignored and they just stop arguing with them. In fact this happens a lot with many conspiracy theorists' claims, and it can be very frustrating and angering for some skeptics (although some, especially those who were once conspiracy theorists themselves, will take pity on them).

So in the end it becomes a battle between people who will do the research and between people who will simply believe whatever they are told when it fits their world view.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Can a tie happen?

Many of you may know that it takes the overwhelming majority of all of the electoral votes in order to become President of the United States. While the amount these votes have varied at times in our history, ever since 1961 we have had 538 electoral votes, so currently it takes at least 270 electoral votes in order to win the presidency. Also, the electoral votes are actually cast by individuals called Electors who are suppose vote for the candidate who wins the majority of the popular votes in the state in which the electors are in (although this isn't always the case).

Now there is a problem with this.

What happens when no one wins the overwhelming majority?

Well, we already know the answer, because this has already happened before.

In the election of 1824 there were four major presidential candidates, all of whom won electoral votes.

Now, Andrew Jackson actually won the most electoral votes, but he didn't have the overwhelming majority of the electoral votes. Due to our laws the election was resolved this the United States Congress. The House of Representatives voted on who would become President (mind you they only got one vote per state, rather then one vote per Representative), and the Senate voted on who would become Vice President (in this case each Senator gets one vote).

In the end John Quincy Adams was elected by the House of Representative to become the President, while John C. Calhoun was vote in by the Senate to become the Vice President.

So back to the question at hand, is it still possible that only two candidates who win all of the electoral votes between that neither one of them still not win the election?

Yes, it is possible.

As you can clearly see the electoral votes are even, and if a candidate was to win the ten states with the highest number electoral votes plus either Virginia, or any combination of states that make up 13 electoral votes, then that candidate will have only 269 electoral vote (as will the other candidate).

Of course this combination isn't actually need, this is just the fastest one I came up with. There are probably dozens of different combinations that can cause this. Plus there is what is called a Faithless Elector who chooses to vote for the candidate other then the one that the other Electors in that state have pledged to vote for (or not vote for anyone if they choose to) and thus you end up getting a tie that way, or neither candidates having enough votes that way.

Then there is of course the possibility of a third candidate (or more) capturing enough electoral votes that it causes the two top candidates to not get enough electoral votes to win.

So in theory it is possible for two major candidates to get a tie in an election (or neither get enough electoral votes) and so what would happen is that for the second time in our history is that our Congress would choose who would become President and Vice President of the United States.

Scary thought, isn't it?

The current Electoral Map of the United States

Monday, October 29, 2012

A letter to Atheism+: Don't go the way of the Religious Right

To the people and the leadership of the Atheism Plus (or Atheism+, as it is more commonly known) while I know you may have good intentions with your movement, I believe that your intolerance towards those who do not share your beliefs, even those who can express their objections to your movement and the principles behind it in a civil manner, is not good.

Already Atheism+ is being criticized by others because of this intolerance (and just simple over sensitivity towards what can be considered common internet behavior) and this criticism isn't coming from just Christians, it is coming from other Atheists, even those who's own beliefs may be similar to those of Atheism+. Some critics are even calling your movement a cult. The fact that your main online forum has published a list of banned members and are attacking people who criticize your movement by labeling them things that they are not does not help.

While I agree that you do not need to tolerate internet trolls who basically make other people's internet experience miserable, you do not need to label everyone as trolls who comes to the Atheism+ forum, or Free Thought Blogs, and does not agree with you. Removing the posts and comments of those who disagree with you, and even refusing to attend Atheism functions who's speakers include people whom have views that you do not agree with doesn't help either with the image that Atheism+ is trying to promote tolerance.

For these reasons I fear that your movement will do to the beliefs that you proclaim in, Atheism, the same as the Religious Right has done to Christianity, and making all Christians look like a bunch of intolerant and science rejecting individuals who only vote Republican, and who use shame to try to force other Christians to follow the Religious Right and it's principles and guide lines.

I am in fact a Christian, but because of the Religious Right and it's actions and intolerance towards others whom do not agree with them, or of a different belief then them, and even intolerance towards things like science, it has become increasing difficult to admit that I am a Christian amongst the skeptics community due to the negative stereotypes of Christians (especially Christians from the south, like myself) created by the Religious Right.

I don't hold many of the beliefs that the Religious Right does, and I will vote for whomever I want to, not just a straight Republican ticket, yet I don't consider myself any lesser of a Christian, but many members of the Religious Right probably do. In fact, the Religious Right may even consider me to be a faux Christian, and perhaps a bad person in general.

While not I'm saying that Atheism+ will go the same route as the Religious Right, it may in fact do so unless it changes it's policies, and acknowledges that just because a person doesn't agree with you then that doesn't mean that they are a bad person, and that they have every right to not agree with you, just as you have the right not to agree with them, but, it is not right to try to show extreme intolerance towards those whom do not share your beliefs and principles.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten bizarre conspiracy theories

There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there, and while most of them are pretty strange, some are truly bizarre, even to the point where a person who believes in the conspiracy theory is suspected of being mentally ill, and that the conspiracy theory itself is believed to be a hoax.

While there is no universal consensus amongst skeptics about which conspiracy theories really are the most bizarre conspiracy theories, here are what may be the ten most bizarre conspiracy theories:

10. The government can read you thoughts and control your mind

For decades now some conspiracy theorists have been claiming that the government can not only control your mind, but can read your thoughts as well, either through electronic and other electrical devices, or even through radio waves, and even light itself.

One of the most common claims by people who believe this is that tin foil hats can combat this.

This type of conspiracy theory is most often believed in by people with untreated schizophrenia, although sometimes it's just people who are very paranoid.

9. The Moon is a hologram

People who claim to believe in this claim that Moon is a hologram, either created by aliens, or the government.

Besides the fact that this conspiracy theories ignores everything we know about gravity and tidal effects (and a whole bunch of other sciences) there is speculation that the whole conspiracy theory itself is nothing more then a hoax.

8. We live in the Matrix

If you've ever seen the Matrix then you probably know what I'm talking about. This theory states that we really live in a simulated reality, and that everything we see, including ourselves, are nothing more then computer generated images.

The problem with this is that there is no proof of this what so ever.

7. No planes hit the World Trade Center towers

Literary considered the fringe section of the 9/11 Truth movement, people who proclaim these theories claim that the WTC towers were not hit by planes, and that what we saw on TV were either holograms or computer generated images, and that the towers were hit by a missile, or destroyed by lasers from space.

This conspiracy theory is considered so insane that other people in the 9/11 Truth movement have debunked this.

6. Shape-shifting aliens control the Earth

This conspiracy theory, which is primarily promoted by David Icke, states that the world is controlled by evil shape-shifting reptilian aliens from either another planet or dimension.

People who believe in this conspiracy theory tend to accuse just about everyone with just a little bit of power of really being an alien, this includes David Icke.

Many skeptics and critics of this conspiracy theory have accused Icke of being anti-Semitic, and that "shape-shifting reptilian" is a code word for "Jews".

5. The Philadelphia Experiment

The conspiracy theory claims that during World War 2 the United States conducted an experiment using the USS Eldridge to try to render the ship invisible, but instead either sent the ship backwards or forward in time, or to another dimension.

There are many claims that when the ship returned crew members were found to be embedded in the ship itself, or later developed mental problems, or just disappeared, sometimes weeks or even months after the experiment occurred, sometimes even in public places with many people around.

The problem with this is that there is no documentation of any such experiment ever occurring, or claims made by other people who said to see crew members disappear out of thin air in these public places. Plus crew members have stated that the ship never left port when this experiment was suppose to be occurring. Because of this many skeptics consider this conspiracy theory to be a hoax.

4. Obama is Osama

While there are a lot of conspiracy theories leveled against Barrack Obama, one of the most bizarre is that President Obama is actually Osama bin Laden.

Other then the fact that Obama and Osama are similar sounding names, the two are not the same person. They don't even look alike.

The conspiracy theory itself appears to be nothing more then an example Obama Derangement Syndrome, in which some people will believe anything negative about President Obama without question.

3. Flat Earth

People who believe that the Earth is flat also usually believe the there is conspiracy by government of the world (or the Illuminate, or aliens) to suppress this information, and create fake photos of the Earth from outer space as proof that the Earth is round.

While the concept of flat Earth is a more modern concept (contrary to popular belief) and has to ignore everything we know about the Earth, the people who do believe this claim the "truth" about about the Earth is being suppressed in order to subvert the Bible (even though the Bible itself says the Earth is round).

2. Project Blue Beam

In this conspiracy theory it's basically claimed that NASA and the Illuminate will use advance technology to simulate an alien invasion, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus, and that the world will be ruled by the Anti-Christ through a New Age religion, and that Islam and Christianity will destroyed within a day's time.

As I'm sure most of you can tell this is a pretty bizarre conspiracy theory. There have also been many predictions of when this is suppose to happen. All of those predictions have failed.

1. Montauk Project

This conspiracy theory claims that scientists at Montauk Air Force Base created an interdimensional portal, and also worked with aliens and Nikola Tesla. It's claimed that these things happened in the 1960's to the 1980's, years after Tesla actually died. There are also claims that there were experiments in time travel, psychic abilities, and that the alleged "Men in Black" corps was created there.

These aren't even some of the more bizarre claims, and it's even been accused of being a hoax created by Jacques Vallée and Preston Nichols as a means to sell books about this conspiracy, being that they are the only two people who claim to have knowledge of this place. Still, it is considered by many skeptics to be the most bizarre conspiracy theory out there.