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Russia's Dyatlov Pass Incident May Have Been Explained By Modern Science 110

swellconvivialguy writes "Fifty-five years ago, nine young Russians died under suspicious circumstances during a winter hiking trip in the Ural mountains. Despite an exhaustive investigation and the recovery of the group's journals and photographs, the deaths remained unexplained, blamed on 'an unknown compelling force.' Now American film and television producer Donnie Eichar believes he has solved the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Working in conjunction with scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, CO, Eichar developed a theory that the hikers died because they panicked in the face of infrasound produced by a Kármán vortex street."
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Russia's Dyatlov Pass Incident May Have Been Explained By Modern Science

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  • Tornado did it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paziek ( 1329929 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @06:24PM (#46130433)

    So he claims that tornado produced infrasounds and it itself would be scary, but probably not that much with all that wind and hikers inside tent. From what I read, it is not confirmed that infrasounds induce fear or anxiety in humans, at least not to everyone. Those were experienced hikers and I guess they are used to bad weather... hard to believe that all of them would run away like that just cause of some noise outside of tent.
    He wrote a book, wants to sell it, so we have this story as promo.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @07:22PM (#46130721)

    Because they were not IN an avalanche area, and experienced hikers would not set up tents in an avalanche area. So if year heard a rumble you would exit cautiously, knowing that you were in a safe place.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @07:24PM (#46130729)

    All of the "obvious answers" there were written be complete idiots ignoring the facts of the situation.

    But then, it was Cracked. So you knew that was the case going in.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @07:56PM (#46130931)

    He was simply echoing what many others have been saying about the incident. Every "weirdness" that was actually documented at the time has a rather mundane explanation.

    I read the whole thing before after reading through the facts of the incident.

    None of the explanations given make the slightest bit of sense when the actual facts are considered, when you look at the real facts of the thing every single one of the mundane explanations is absurd.

    Paradoxial undressing doesn't explain why someone would be wearing SOMEONE ELSE's clothes for example.

    But the pointing to an avalanche to explain anything is just really the most idiotic thing of all. It utterly ignores the terrain of the area. It ignores the experience of the hikers (who would not camp in an area that could be affected by an avalanche). Even if there WERE an avalanche it doesn't explain why they would walk, not run, from the camp. In a real avalanche they would simply be gone, not have time to partially dress and then just stroll away. It's also utterly stupid since nothing at all was buried.

    The tanning explanation is horrifically stupid, and ignores an entire civilizations history of what happens to corpses after they die. Oh I see it was just a long tan that happened even after they were dead! Try putting a dead body out in the sun under any conditions and see if you can reproduce a tan.

    Basically the very existence of that article offends me with such egregious and unnecessary levels of complete idiocy. I am ever sadder that anyone else bought into the pack of poorly made up conjectures.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:22PM (#46131807) Homepage Journal

    The party had been half lost in bad weather, and stopped when they realized that they weren't where they expected to be. It was an unplanned, emergency camp site. The tent was knocked down and partially buried. That seems to indicate that they believed that they were in imminent danger of being swept away when they exited. They were pretty obviously NOT in a "safe place". If they really wanted to be in a "safe place" they never would have gone hiking into the mountains in the winter time. As a group, the party believed itself to be capable of meeting life threatening challenges.

    Sometimes, shit happens.

  • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:12PM (#46134587) Homepage Journal

    Occam's Razor suggests that the more mundane the explanation, the greater the likelihood of its truth.

    Although I agree the Cracked explanation is perfectly plausible and very likely, Occam's Razor says no such thing. It's a pet peeve of mine when people state it that it that way. Occam's Razor makes no claims at all on likelihood of correctness.

    What Occam's Razor does say is that when choosing between hypotheses which all give the exact same predictions, you should pick the one that involves less variables. Not because it's more likely to be true than the others (it's not, there's no requirement on nature to make things simple), but because there's no point in doing extra work to achieve the same result. The moment there's any difference at all between the predictions, Occam's Razor can no longer be invoked. At that point, you've got to eliminate theories by attempting to falsify their predictions. For example, if one theory says the incident was the result of an avalanche and another says it wasn't, you should now look for characteristic signs of an avalanche at the site. The evidence should rule out or support an avalanche theory, but "an avalanche is the simpler explanation" isn't evidence for anything.

    When you do invoke Occam's Razor is when the hypotheses make no testable difference. For example, you and I examine a black box that allows us to input a number via a keyboard, and watch a screen for an output. We type in 1 and get 3. We type in 24 and get 26. We type in 127 and get 129. Now you develop a hypothesis: "The black box outputs the input plus two." I develop a differnet hypothesis: "the black box first adds 5 to the input, then it subtracts 3." The predictive power of both hypotheses are exactly equal, and you can't devise a test to figure out what the exact computation happening inside the black box is. So, Occam's Razor says we should pick your hypothesis in order to make predictions, because adding the extra work is unecessary. However, it could very well be that my hypothesis is the one that is just doesn't matter.

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