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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mermaids: Why they really are a myth Part 1: Why they can't hide

Recently the Discovery Networks produced a fictional movie in the form of a documentary called Mermaids: The Body Found. While the movie was indeed a work of fiction, many people thought it was real, and it attempted to present that mermaids could theoretically be real.

The reality is that mermaids are not real. If they were indeed real, we would have known about them by now, despite the fact that they would be close to intelligent as us, if not as intelligent as us.

Mermaids would most likely be sea mammals, and despite the fact sea mammals can often stay under water for long periods of time, they would still need air to breath, and thus must come up to the surface occasionally.

Mermaids would also require a viable breeding population in order to keep the species going. Even endangered animals are occasionally seen in the wild. This includes sea creatures who would have a easier time staying hidden. Sea mammals especially, because as I said before hand, sea mammals must come up air, making it harder to hide from us if they intended to do that. The amount of ships on the oceans, and even the great deal of the population that lives along coast, would make it even harder for an sea mammal to remain hidden.

Another reason why mermaids most likely do not exist is because no bodies have ever been found beached.

Sea mammals occasional swim up onto beaches and usually die for various reasons. This has been going on for as long as we can remember, and most likely even longer then that. Despite this there has never been one recorded instance of a mermaid ever beaching itself.

Also, considering how common it is to have a camera, the ability of the government to keep mermaids a secret if one or two were to ever beach themselves would be very difficult. This ability would go down year after year as more and more buy mobile devices that have inbuilt cameras that can upload photos to the internet.

Another thing to consider is that they would most likely eat fish, same as we do. They would probably even hunt for fish in the same areas as we do. It's highly unlikely that such creatures could exist into the 21st century and never been caught in a fisherman's net.

Dolphins, which are suppose to be the smartest creatures in the oceans, are caught in fisherman's nets all the time, so even a mermaid should at least occasional get caught. With the increase of commercial fishing throughout the past few decades the odds of a mermaid never being caught decrease year after year.

While there have been many alleged "sightings" of mermaids they have been few and far between, and are most likely the result of mis-identification, mass hysteria, or an outright hoax. In fact most alleged mermaid sightings occurred before the 20th century. People back then usually misidentified things if they didn't know what they were looking at, same as they do today. People also tended to embellish things back then, same as they do today.

The fact remains is that such a species, no matter how intelligent they are they are, can not remain hidden for this long of a time.

And one more thing: Our oceans have a lot trash in it. Won't an intelligent species like a mermaid have tried to do something to get us to stop polluting their homes with our garbage?

Friday, October 19, 2012

ECT Follow up: FEMA camps: American Holocaust

Note: Special thanks to Autistic Skeptic for sending me some information on this and then putting this into movie form.

In a previous Embarrassing Conspiracy Theory article I talked about how many conspiracy theorists believe that the government is going to declare martial law and place dissenters into large prison camps run by FEMA, often times called FEMA camps. These conspiracy theorist also believe that the government is stock-piling plastic burial vaults in order to place large amounts of bodies in what is suppose to be the mass killing of millions of citizens via biological weapons, or some other more violent means.

There are multiple photos floating around the internet showing thousands of these plastic burial vaults in highly visible, outdoor storage facilities. Some of these vaults are along major roads and highways, and are very easy to find and access. Many of these facilities don't even have fences around them, and would allow anyone who wanted to, to go up to one of these places and have a look around.

It seems a tad bit odd the government would have them out in the open like this if they were going to be used in a massive conspiracy to kill millions. This leads to the question that if this was part of some huge conspiracy to kill off millions of people, then why would they be out in the open like they are?

Also, if the government was planning to murder millions, then why would they bother to put the bodies in plastic burial vaults in the first place, when it would be easier and cheaper to bury the bodies without a burial vault?

The only purpose for burial vaults is to protect the casket and the body inside from the dirt outside of it, which would also explain why these vaults are so large and look like they could hold three or four people. So it makes no sense that the government is willing to protect the bodies of millions of people that it's going to allegedly murder.

Now the government does in fact buy burial vaults, but it's through the Department of Veteran's affairs, and they're to bury solders who have been killed overseas and veterans who fought in past wars and earned the right to a free military funeral.

The reality is that these burial vaults that are in these photos are not owned by the government, but are owned private companies who also manufacture these vaults, and these places that are in these photos where they store their finished product.

The reason why there is such large amounts of these burials vaults at these facilities is not because they are being stored for a future mass murder, but because it is necessary due to fact that 2.5 million people die every year in the United States.

If the government was going to kill the millions that conspiracy theorists claim they would, they would require a lot more burial vaults then whats being held at these facilities.

Another one of the claims made by conspiracy theorists is that trains will be used to transport the plastic burial vaults and the bodies within to where ever they are going to be buried, or be used to either deport people to prison camps.

One of the most common types of train cars that is claimed the government will use to haul these bodies in is called the Autorack. By the name alone most people can tell that they are to be used for hauling... cars, and that's all they're used for. In fact, that's all they're designed for, and they're quite common.

There are many videos on Youtube that show these trains with something like "FEMA train" in the title. The problem with these videos is that they never show burial vaults ever being put into them, or unloaded. Most of the time these trains going are just going by, and you can't really see into them very well.

There is simply no evidence that these "FEMA trains" exist, and that in reality they're nothing more then car transports.

With these claims shown to be nothing more then severe misunderstandings it can be easily dismissed as being nothing more then anti-government paranoia.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gary McKinnon, threat to America, or another victim of conspiracy theories?

A British man by the name of Gary McKinnon, who ten years ago hacked into NASA and US military computers (apparently damaging some of them in the process) was spared from being extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom by United Kingdom Home Secretary Theresa May.

Now the reason cited for this isn't because the crimes he has been accused committing wasn't enough extradite him. The reason stated is because he has Asperger's syndrome (which is a mild form autism) and depression, and it has been determined that there is a high likely that if he were to be brought over here that he would most likely try to commit suicide.

Now many of you are probably asking why exactly did he hack into NASA and US military computers in the first place?

Well apparently back when he did this (which was about ten years ago) he was obsessed with UFOs and a alleged cover-up by our government, so he hacked into our government and military computers to find out any information about aliens that he believed the United States was covering up.

I have no doubt in my mind that Gary's autism caused him to become so obsessed with these UFO cover-up conspiracy theories that it caused him to do something that most people who do not have this neurological disorder, or any other type of neurological or mental disorder, would not do.

But, the existence of these conspiracy theories, and those who promote them, are also partially to blame as well.

Now most people don't take these UFO conspiracy theories that seriously. They might believe in it, but they usually don't obsessed with it to the point where they would commit a crime. Heck, I even once believed in them, but I never took it seriously enough to even buy a book on UFOs, much less do something that is as highly illegal as what Gary McKinnon is accused of doing (he admits to hacking into our computers, but not damaging them) but, if these conspiracy theories didn't exist then people who are like Gary who can become obsessed to the point where they have a great amount of difficulty controlling themselves and their actions, and thus they do stuff like this.

In my opinion this is another example of how destructive conspiracy theories can be, and how it can cause a person to rune their life.

The Slate article about this story

Gary's Wikipedia article

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ten closest U.S. Presidential elections

10. 1844

While Whig Party candidate Henry Clay may have lost to Democratic Party candidate James K. Polk by 65 electoral votes, in popular votes he only lost by 1.4%.

This wouldn't be the first time Henry Clay has lost a presidential election too. In fact he has made five serious runs for the presidency, and three times as a major party's candidate, and he lost every time. He has even run for president under three different political parties: The Democratic-Republican Party, the National Republican Party, and the Whig Party.

It should also be noted that Polk also lost his home state (North Carolina) and his state of residence (Tennessee) in this election, and still won, making him the only person to do this.

Polk also only ran for one term.

9. 1968

While Democratic Party candidate Hubert Humphrey may have lost to Republican Party candidate Richard Nixon by 110 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.7%.

Some people might believe that George Wallace, the American Independent Party candidate who had won 46 electoral votes, and 13.5% of the popular vote, may have acted as a spoiler for Humphrey, but at that time in our history the south (where Wallace had won all of his votes) was going over from the Democrats to the Republicans. In fact Nixon had won 6 states in what was once the Confederate States, while Humphrey only won Texas.

8. 1884

While Republican Party candidate James G. Blaine may have lost to Democratic Party candidate Grover Cleveland by 37 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.3%

This election ultimately came down to New York, Cleveland's home state, which he won by only 1,047 votes out of 1,171,312 votes casts, narrowly securing him the election.

This is also the first time since the Civil War that a Democrat had won a presidential election.

7. 1960

While Republican Party candidate Richard Nixon may have lost to Democratic Party candidate John F. Kennedy by 84 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.2%.

This election also had several controversies with it.

The margin of Kennedy's victories in several states was very narrow, even to the point where many on Nixon's campaign staff urged him to demand a recount in those states. Also there were allegations of voter fraud in several places, most notably the city of Chicago and the state of Texas.

Also in this election Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, a Democrat who opposed racial desegregation, won 15 electoral votes, even though he wasn't an announced candidate, and didn't even seek out any votes.

6. 1880

While Democratic Party candidate Winfield Scott Hancock may have lost to Republican Party candidate James A. Garfield by 59 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.1%.

This is the smallest popular vote victory in United States history. In fact Garfield only won the popular votes by less than 1,900 votes.

5. 1796

In this election Federalist Party candidate John Adams may have defeated Democratic-Republican Party candidate Thomas Jefferson by 6.8% of the popular vote, he only won the election by three electoral votes.

This election was also a tad bit strange. Because of the way our election laws were at the time the person who came in second place in the election could become Vice President. So instead of John Adams's running mate, Thomas Pinckney, becoming Vice President, Thomas Jefferson became Vice President.

4. 1888

While President Grover Cleveland lost the 1888 presidential election by 65 electoral to Benjamin Harrison, he actually won the popular vote by 0.8%, making this the third time in United States history where a person who didn't win the popular vote won a presidential election.

Despite his loss, President Cleveland did make a come back, and defeated President Harris in the 1892 election by 132 electoral votes, making him the only president to win two non-consecutive terms.

It should be noted that James B. Weaver, the presidential candidate for the Populist Party may have cost President Harris the election as it could be argued that many of the people who voted for Weaver would have voted for President Harris, who only lost the popular vote by 3%, while Weaver managed to win 8.5% of the popular vote (and 22 electoral votes).

3. 2000

This is one of the closest elections in United States history, and one of the most controversial too.

While Democratic Party candidate Al Gore only lost the election by five electoral votes, he actually won the popular vote against Republican Party candidate George W. Bush by 0.5%.

Ultimately the election came down to Florida, where after several recounts in several counties, the Florida Supreme Count awarded Bush the state, and the presidency. This ruling is still controversial even to this day, with many critics stating that if a full state wide recount had been done, Gore might have won the state, and the election.

It should also be noted that many people consider Ralph Nader, who ran as the presidential candidate for the Green Party, may have also cost Gore the election, as he had gotten about 2.7% of the popular vote, which most likely would have gone to Gore if he had not run.

2. 1876

Democratic Party candidate Samuel J. Tilden may have won the popular vote by 3.1%, but he still lost the election to Republican Party candidate Rutherford B. Hayes by one electoral vote.

This is the closest election in United States history, and is the only one where a candidate received the absolute majority in the popular vote (51% in fact) and still didn't win.

The election was also very controversial too, with 20 electoral votes that were disputed, all of which were ultimately awarded Hayes.

This election also led to the creation of the temporary Electoral Commission and the Compromise of 1877.

1. 1824

While the election of 1876 is the closest in United States history, the election of of 1824 is probably one of the strangest in United States history.

Besides the fact that it had four candidates that all won electoral votes, all four candidates were from the same political party, the Democratic-Republican Party.

This election gets even stranger, as the person that won both the electoral and popular votes, Andrew Jackson, still didn't win the election. The reason for this is because he did not win enough electoral votes to be legally declared the winner, so it was up to Congress to decide who would be winner.

Ultimately Congress gave the victory to John Q. Adams, who was second in both electoral votes and the popular votes.

This is the only time in United States history where a person who won neither the popular vote, nor the electoral vote, still won the presidential election.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cleavage 4 The Cure

Playboy model Ashley Alexiss recently began has a Twitter hashtag #Cleavage4thecure. While the hashtag may sound a little humorous and perhaps provocative to some people, it is for a very good cause: To help spread awareness about breast cancer and to encourage people to donate money for breast cancer research.

Ashley has also began several Ebay auctions in which every dollar raised will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which in turn funds breast cancer awareness and research, and eventually find a cure for this horrible disease.

Breast cancer can affect everyone, not just older women, but women of any age. Even teenagers can get this disease. Men can even get this disease as well. In fact even though women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer then men, men are more likely to die from it because they tend to think of this as a disease that only affects women, and thus fail to get diagnosed until it is to late to do anything.

Breast cancer accounts for 22.9% of all cancers in women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and 13.7% of all cancer deaths in women, so you can see why it is so important find a cure this. Most of you probably even know someone who has had breast cancer, and even died from it. Some of you might have even been related to someone who has either had, or even died of breast cancer, be it your mother, or your sister, or your grandmother, or your cousin, or your aunt, or your daughter.

The common and most effective way to get rid of breast cancer is to remove the breast itself, and while this will usually work, it also leaves a woman disfigured, and thus can be psychologically painful for some women. Plus, it doesn't always work, so finding a cure is important.

Also, if you find a cure for this type of cancer, it makes finding cures for other types of cancer easier as well.

If one can be cured, then all can be cured.

Ashley's Ebay auctions
Ashley's article in "The Smoking Jacket"
Ashley's Twitter Page
Ashley's Facebook Page
Susan G. Komen Foundation

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pseudo-TV: Ten shows that promote non-sense

Over the years there have been a lot of television shows that promotes things that are either non-sense, or just bizarre (I myself even admit that I loved these types of shows) and even today these shows seems to be more popular then ever.

Not only has the amount of these shows seemed to have increased, the amount of topics these shows are based on has also increased as well. Everything from conspiracy theories to psychics are now covered on these shows, and not just ghosts and UFOs anymore.

Here are what I consider to be the ten biggest TV shows that promote non-sense:

10. Brad Meltzer's Decoded - History Channel

This show examines mysteries and conspiracy theories that in a way have become a part of American folklore. What makes this show unique from other shows that examine conspiracy theories is that after the investigation is over, Meltzer will sometimes comes to the real, or at least a logical conclusion.

9. Doomsday Preppers - National Geographic Channel

This show profiles people who are getting prepared for some sort of doomsday event, which they are not only certain will happen, but they are usually certain what type of disaster it will be (some even almost seem to be happily anticipating that it will occur). While some of the people on this show do appear to be some what rational, there are others that appear to need some sort of mental health treatment for their paranoia.

8. Finding Bigfoot - Animal Planet

This show follows a group of bigfoot hunters, and their attempts to find the legendary creature. The bigfoot hunters use multiple tools, such as night-vision technology and FLIR cameras, in their attempts to find bigfoot. In fact they do just about everything to find bigfoot... and still can't find him.

7. Haunted Collector - SyFy

This reality show follows demonologist John Zaffis as he travels around the country, investigating allegedly haunted homes and buildings in which the haunting may be being caused by a certain object, or objects, within the property. After Zaffis has "determined" what object is causing the haunting activity, he then usually removes object (which is usually pretty nice looking and expensive) at the owner's request, and puts it into his own private museum.

6. Chasing UFOs - National Geographic

This show profiles three people, one skeptic, one believer, and one not quite sure what to believe, as they travel the world investigating claims of UFO sitings, and trying to capture UFOs on video. Basically this show is not much more than your typical UFO hunting TV show that fails to prove that aliens are visiting the Earth.

5. The Dead Files - Travel Channel

Featuring psychic medium Amy Allan, and former NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi, this show features the two conducting two "independent" investigations, first with Allan going through a walkthrough of an alleged haunted site (after her husband Matt goes through the place prior to her arrival to remove any objects that might "influence" her). During this time it is shown that DiSchiavi is interviewing people who have had paranormal experiences at the location of the investigation. The two then meet up and share the information they got. By all appearances this show seems to be nothing more then an attempt to prove that psychic powers are real.

4. Ghost Hunters - SyFy

One of the longest lasting shows on TV about ghost hunting (and one of the longest lasting shows on SyFy) this series flows members of "The Atlantic Paranormal Society", or TAPS for short. Often times they will debunk soft targets that are easy to debunk in an attempt to seem credible, yet don't bother to debunk things that are tougher to debunk for those who don't have enough knowledge into what might be causing such activity. This show has also spawned several spin offs.

3. Long Island Medium - TLC

The show follows Thersea Caputo, a woman from Long Island, New York, who claims to have psychic powers and can talk to dead people. The show showcases her randomly going up to people when she claims to feel a "pull" towards them. After talking to that person and asking them questions for several minutes (which looks an awful lot like a cold reading) she finally gives that person a message that she claims is from one of their loved ones from beyond the dead.

2. Ancient Aliens - History Channel

This show is one of the most criticized shows on TV, and with good reason. The show and the people on it do nothing more then promote pseudoscience and suggest that our ancestors were a bunch of idiots who don't know how to build complex structures or tools. The show and the people on it uses deceptive means, misunderstandings, and shoddy research in order to try to prove their claims. Most of the claims on this show have been dis-proven and discredited a long time ago.

1. Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura - TruTV

The only show that beats out Ancient Aliens in terms of non-sense and deceptiveness. Many of the subjects on this show have also been dis-proven or discredited. The show has one skeptic on it (versus four who are not) in what I suppose is an attempt to make the show at least seem some what credible. The only thing this show is really good for is scaring people into believing things that aren't real, and making conspiracy theorists feel their paranoid beliefs are justified.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why I'm remaining silent on who I'm voting for

The next presidential election is less than a month, and I'm pretty sure many of you have already decided on who you are going to vote for, myself included.

Now some of my friends are voting Barack Obama, and some of my friends are voting for Mitt Romney. I even have one friend who is voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

As for the person that I am voting, I have decided to keep that to myself.

I have learned over the years that telling people who you are going to vote for can usually cause only one of two things: it will either make that person happy, or it will make that person very angry at you (especially if the person you vote for wins, and the person they vote for loses).

While some people might be okay with whomever I choose to vote for, even if the candidate isn't the person that they are voting for, there are some people out there who are just way to sensitive about politics, and have a great amount of difficulty handling the fact that someone isn't voting for the person that they are voting for, even at times taking it personally. Sometimes they make comments in an attempt to get that person to go over to their side, but usually ends up becoming nothing more then long and obnoxious rants that are full of propaganda and even conspiracy theories. Most of the time no one really reads these rants. Sometimes these rants end up become nothing more then flame wars filled with fear mongering, personal attacks, insults, and sometimes even threats.

I do not wish to get into any of that with anybody, be it a friend, or just a random person on the internet.

In all honesty I don't really care who you are voting for in this election, just as long as you are voting for the person that you feel is best.

I do care about the reason why you are voting for the person you are voting for, especially if those reasons are based upon conspiracy theories about the person you are not voting for, which I consider to be a very poor reason to vote for someone. In my opinion that is a very ignorant way to vote, but even then I will be silent, because I know it will probably not do any good, even if I feel you should have better reasons for voting for someone.

I also do not wish to influence someone's vote as well.

I feel that a person should vote for a candidate that they feel is the best person for the job after reviewing the issues, where the candidates stand on those issues, and whether or not you agree or disagree with them on their stances.

I do not however believe that a person should vote for someone simply based on who else is voting for them.

My blog might not be the most popular blog in the world, but people do read what I post here, and I don't want people to vote for someone simply because I plan on voting for that person. I want people to vote after making an informed choice.

People need to vote for who they want in office, and not because someone else told them who to vote for in this, or any other election.

Friday, October 5, 2012

8 Questions for people in the 9/11 Truth Movement

As everyone knows, the 9/11 Truth movement is a loose group of people who believe that the United States government committed the 9/11 attacks.

Now despite the fact that they have never been able to prove that the government committed the 9/11 attacks, they still hold steadfast to the belief that the government did.

It seems to me that most people in that movement have never really sat down and asked themselves some serious, logical questions about the attacks.

Here are eight questions that I feel that people in the 9/11 Truth movement should ask themselves, as well as should be asked by others:

1. If the government did commit the 9/11 attacks, then why would they hit more then one building?

Hitting one building with a plane would have been more then enough for the government to justifiably giving it an excuse to go to war. More then one would be overkill.

2. If the government did commit the 9/11 attacks, then why did it attack the Pentagon for?

The Pentagon is the United States top military headquarters. Hitting it with a plane could have killed our top military leaders and seriously harmed our ability to fight. The government attacking the Pentagon makes no sense both logically and militarily.

3. Assuming that the Twin Towers were brought down in a controlled demolition, then why would they be brought down in the first place?

There would be no reason for the government to bring down the towers. Not only would flying a couple of planes into the towers would have been more then enough to justify going to war, but bringing down the towers would be another example of overkill. Also, it would have been cheaper to repair the towers then it has been to clean up the rubble and build new buildings at the site.

4. Why would WTC 7 have been intentionally brought down?

Wouldn't intentionally bringing down WTC 7 have been a pointless action? There would have been no reason for the government to ever bring that building down and create a bigger mess. Not to mention many in the 9/11 Truth movement see that building's collapse as a "smoking gun" for a controlled demolition. If the government did do this, shouldn't they have had the foresight to see that it might look suspicious to some people?

5. Assuming that drones were used, then how come the forth plane crashed in a field instead of hitting another building?

If the government had complete control of all the aircraft, then why didn't they crash the last one into a building? Why would they just waste it and crash it into a field for no reason what so ever?

6. If the attacks were allowed to happen so we would have an excuse to go into Afghanistan and Iraq and gain control of those two countries natural resources, then why haven't prices on things like oil gone down?

One of the biggest claims from the 9/11 Truth movement is that the attacks were staged so that we would have an excuse to go into Afghanistan, and eventually Iraq, and gain control of those countries oil fields, along with other natural resources. The problem with this is that the cost of oil based products (gasoline, diesel, home heating oil) has kept going up instead of going down since the invasions of those two countries. So if we invaded those countries for their oil, then how come our oil prices have been steadily rising? And how come very little oil has ever actually come out of those two countries since we invaded them?

7. Why haven't we seen a serious decrease in our civil liberties?

While it's claimed that our civil liberties have decreased since the 9/11 attacks, in fact they really haven't in most cases. Most people haven't even been impacted at all by the Patriot Act. You can still create blogs that speak out against the government. You can still claim the government committed the 9/11 attacks. You can still belong to anti-government organizations. So why haven't people like this ever been thrown in jail? Wouldn't they be the government's biggest enemies?

8. How come the 9/11 Truth movement has never presented any evidence that has not been dis-proven?

One of the main problems with the 9/11 Truth movement is that it constantly presents old evidence that has been discredit and dis-proven, and rarely, if ever, presents any new evidence. So why hasn't the 9/11 Truth movement ever revealed any real evidence of what they consider to be the real culprits behind the 9/11 attacks and would prove what they were claiming is at least possibly true?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is an Embarrassing Conspiracy Theory?

For several months I've been writing a series of blog articles called Embarrassing Conspiracy Theories, which by the title alone most of you can tell are about conspiracy theories that have been dis-proven to the point where there is no reason for anyone to continue to believe in them, or just sounds insane, and thus anyone who continues to believe in these conspiracies should be embarrassed that they believe in them.

Now, I don't list all conspiracy theories as being embarrassing to continue to believe in (although many of them are). In fact I have a list of criteria that a conspiracy theory needs to meet at least 3 parts of in order to be considered an "embarrassing" conspiracy theory.

So, here is a list of what I consider to be the criteria for what a embarrassing conspiracy theory is:

1. The conspiracy theory has no evidence to back it up.

Many conspiracy theories simply have no evidence what so ever to prove that they exist, be it physical evidence (real or made-up) or eye witnesses (credible or non-credible).

2. All evidence presented has been discredited and/or dis-proven.

Many conspiracy theories are based upon evidence that, while might be accepted to many conspiracy theorists, has been either discredited and/or dis-proven through a scientific process, an independent investigation, or is shown to be a logical fallacy.

3. Some or all evidence that has been presented has proven to the fraudulent.

While some conspiracy theories are based on evidence that has been discredited and/or dis-proven, there are some conspiracy theories that are actually based on evidence that has been proven to be either fraudulent, or is at least strongly suspected of being fraudulent, or may even be a hoax that has just gotten out of hand.

4. Eye witnesses have been proven to be unreliable and/or liars.

Some conspiracy theories have eye witnesses who either claim to have witnessed certain portions of a conspiracy happening, or to have been part of the conspiracy itself. The problem with this is that many times these people either cannot back up their claims, or others have proven their claims to be false, or they constantly change their claims.

5. The conspiracy theory appears to be propaganda.

There are some conspiracy theories out there that do appear to be nothing more propaganda created to promote some sort of political or ideological agenda, or some type of pseudoscience or medical quackery.

6. The conspiracy theory has an obvious bigoted slant.

There are in fact some conspiracy theories out there that are obviously made up simply for the purpose of justifying one's continued hatred towards a certain group of people, or to continue to justify the discrimination against a certain group of people.

7. The conspiracy theory itself sounds ridiculous.

As the old saying goes "if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is" and in a sense the same can be said for a conspiracy theory. If a conspiracy theory sounds to crazy and to illogical to be true, then it probably is not true.