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Science

Why Weather Control Conspiracy Theories Are Scientifically Ludicrous 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the mad-scientist-union-still-on-strike dept.
barlevg writes "The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang breaks down two popular conspiracy theories: that HAARP is responsible for severe weather and that contrails from commercial airliners are actually 'chemtrails' sprayed for nefarious purposes. The article shows why each is preposterous to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or an iota of common sense. The author readily acknowledges that his analysis will do nothing to convince the tinfoil-hat-wearing, vinegar-spraying members of the populace."
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Why Weather Control Conspiracy Theories Are Scientifically Ludicrous

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  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday August 16, 2013 @03:18PM (#44587347) Homepage Journal

    The sad thing about conspiracy theories and the internet age is that no matter how far out or whackjob the theory may be, you can find a dozen videos documenting "proof" of the theory and entire forums full of people who believe in the lunacy and who circle-jerk each other in a frenzy of panic.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Friday August 16, 2013 @03:25PM (#44587439)

    The article shows why each is preposterous to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or an iota of common sense

    Actually, it doesn't. The closest I saw was this:

    HAARP does not and cannot control the weather. While the frequencies are high powered, it doesn’t have nearly enough energy to do anything over the Lower 48, let alone specifically target communities for destruction like one would see in a science fiction movie. Both common sense and a basic understanding of meteorology debunk the conspiracy theory surrounding HAARP’s alleged ability to control the weather.

    So the question is, how do we know how much energy is being pumped into the ionosphere? The whole article seems mostly of ridicule. "Well, of course it doesn't, you'd have to be crazy to believe otherwise, but we're not going to provide any evidence."

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think HAARP is part of an evil shadowy conspiracy to create tornados and tsunamis or whatever. But I'm also not a meteorologist... so a breakdown of the physics required to perform such a feat compared to what we know would be pretty useful. I remember a Weekly World News article claiming hackers can turn your computer into a bomb... and as a computer professional, I know exactly why that's impossible and might even giggle at the thought. But I can't expect the general public to explicitly know that there's no real-life equivalent to the HCF instruction.

    Kind of like What If at xkcd [xkcd.com]... putting things to scale such as a hair dryer [xkcd.com] that just happens to draw 11 petawatts of power can really hit the understanding home.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 16, 2013 @03:29PM (#44587485)

    They affect weather. Words matter.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday August 16, 2013 @03:34PM (#44587565) Homepage Journal

    The sad thing about conspiracy theories and the internet age is that no matter how far out or whackjob the theory may be, you can find a dozen videos documenting "proof" of the theory and entire forums full of people who believe in the lunacy and who circle-jerk each other in a frenzy of panic.

    The other side of that double-edged sword is that it's now trivial for trolls and misinformation agents to convince the masses that an actual, legitimate conspiracy is "bunk" merely by publicly and regularly lambasting anyone who brings it up. For example, every person who claimed the NSA was spying on Americans, prior to Ed Snowden's recent disclosure.

    Not saying that's the case here, just pointing out the flip side.

  • by cusco (717999) <brian...bixby@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 16, 2013 @04:17PM (#44588151)
    That technique is called "poisoning the well" and has been a psyops technique for decades. The rise of the Internet has made the operation orders of magnitude cheaper and easier, and it's no longer just the realm of government either. Corporations have jumped on it in a big way, stuffing online polls, flooding online forums with fake posts, and creating false product recommendations on buying sites. The weird thing to me is that people refuse to believe that it's going on, even when presented with the confessions of people who had been paid to do it.
  • Re:Fact. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Friday August 16, 2013 @04:58PM (#44588599)

    I live very close to Chicago (less than five miles and O'Hare (which is #1 or #2 of world's busiest airport depending on year). some days many contrails happen to look like grid pattern just because so many jets fly in different directions. But all made by different jets, not a single jet passing back and forth. Since a contrail is just a cloud, whether visible or whether it lingers depends whether a cloud at that same altitude would linger. that could be a short time, could be a long time.

    In illinois there were indeed experiments done with cloud seeding with silver iodide, even into the 1980s. Not done from jets, but you can read about them online, they were small experiments and downstate not near chicago. *yawn*

    in short, nothing suspicious regarding contrails seen in half a century by me and I am aviation buff. This year's airshow in Chicago to be a bit strange due to lack of military craft. see you there

  • Re: Stupid article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slick7 (1703596) on Friday August 16, 2013 @07:15PM (#44590083)

    So the conspiracy is even more stupid than the straw man version? That's quite an accomplishment.

    These are not the truths you are looking for, move along.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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