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Chemtrails / Contrails - debunk a conspiracy theory

  1. Jul 11, 2007 #1

    baywax

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    Could someone please debunk the idea that there is a secret government dumping viruses, nerve gas, hormones and other irritants from jets at over 30,000 feet to influence everything from voting preference and the weather to birth rates? This idea has been around for a number of years and all you have to do is google "Chemtrails" to see what I'm talking about. As far as I can see this idea may have been spawned by ignorance about the two distinct types of contrails emitting from jets at that altitiude. One is the vapor trail and the other is he trail that doesn't disapate as fast as vapor trails.

    http://www.airapparent.ca/
     
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  3. Jul 11, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    There actually is an effect on weather from jets - google 'global dimming'.
    It is still under scrutiny.

    My opinion is that debunking a lot of the stuff out there is a often a waste of a scientifically trained person's time. YMMV. You already actually gave a good explanation - ignorance of contrails.

    The propagators of junk have something to gain or an axe to grind. Look at all of the posts in the Biology area trying to fight for Intelligent Design or surreptitious attacks on evolution. Evo usually ends up closing 'em.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2007 #3

    russ_watters

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    This is one of the dumbest conspiracy theories ever* and I'm not sure what you are looking for in a debunking. It is too stupid to know even where to begin and I'm certainly not going to go looking for specific sites/arguments to debunk on my own.

    [*caveat: most conspiracy theories are among the dumbest ever.]
     
  5. Jul 11, 2007 #4

    baywax

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    I guess I want the evidence for or against the idea. For instance inspection reports from all of the sited aircraft, transparency regarding payloads and so on. Not that a "secret govt" is going to give true accounts. You'd have to get up to that altitude and collect samples of the trails and no one really has the inclination or the resource to do so. If it is happening its something that is hard to stop, verify, and regulate. I suppose airspace is hard to nationalize at certain altitudes. Who regulates the stratosphere and mesosphere? Who regulates space?
     
  6. Jul 11, 2007 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    The FAA has jurisdiction up to some arbitrary altitude, ~100,000 ft.

    If it were happening, then NASA samples of the atmospheric aerosols would show "weird" chemicals in the stratosphere/troposphere - because the statosphere does not mix rapidly with the troposphere, stuff left up there stays for a while, but would eventually mix down.

    Start here for a description of one method of aerosol sampling:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/aerosol/doc/cmdl_system_description.pdf

    Then google for 'atmospheric aerosol sampling data'

    You do realize that this is a colossal waste of time....
    And that as soon as you point out that the aerosols in question do not show up in those samples, then there will be an 'explanation' of why those chemicals break down.... someday, a good course in logic may be in order.

    Russ hit it right on the nose.
     
  7. Jul 11, 2007 #6

    baywax

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    Right.... I get the picture.... and the same advice might go to then (1997) U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

    http://www.airapparent.ca/

    Who are these highly advance terrorists he's imagining?
     
  8. Jul 11, 2007 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    Do you understand the idea of a logical fallacy?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(logical_fallacy)

    And then compare that with the "point" you just made.

    If you apply the same standard to what the site asserts as correct, then what it asserts can't be proven either.

    I respectfully bow out....
     
  9. Jul 11, 2007 #8

    baywax

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    Likewise. Happy barium showers!
     
  10. Jul 11, 2007 #9

    russ_watters

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    That is an awful lot of effort I doubt you will find anyone to take on.
    Ah - a self-reinforcing delusion! Perfect!

    That's kinda the point here, baywax. There isn't really any evidence for this and though you shouldn't really need evidence against it (that's not how proof works), conspiracy theorists convince you that you should want it. Don't fall for it. Make them prove their point. If there is no hard evidence or the evidence doesn't hold up, there is no basis to the idea. No need for counter-evidence.

    I've heard simple claims on this, though, like that it is a relatively new phenomena. However, contrails can be seen in pictures on WWII aircraft. Similarly, any idiot who has ever been in an airplane has seen contrails coming off the wingtips of his/her plane. That's simple claims and a simple failures.

    Another thing is that their idea doesn't really even make any sense. Jim alluded to it, but the fact of the matter is that the atmosphere is big and it would be pointless to try to gas the public by releasing chemicals at 30,000 feet. There is a reason crop-dusters fly at very, very low altitude.
     
  11. Jul 11, 2007 #10

    baywax

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    Thanks Russ,

    sorry to make you came back to a topic that has little peer review and that would take a large amount of time to "clear up".

    There is a study that was done comparing surface temperatures before the international grounding of all aircraft (barring a few private Saudi jets) after the morning of Sept 11 2001... during the lock down and afterwards.

    They found that the daytime temps went up by 2 degrees more and the nighttime temps dropped 2 degrees more compared to days and evenings when contrails were present due to air traffic. Its too slight of a difference to ground all international flights forever but it showed some differences.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/contrail.html
     
  12. Jul 12, 2007 #11

    matthyaouw

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    The results from the study are interesting, but I'm not sure how they fit in to the chemtrails conspiracy. Clouds have an effect on surface conditions, and clouds form behind high altitude planes regardless of what they may or may not be spraying over the populace. I see no reason to invoke a deliberately added chemical here.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2007 #12

    baywax

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    The study is related to the topic "chemtrails/contrails.

    There are other reports regarding higher levels of aluminium and barium in LA drinking water that correspond to higher levels of contrail activity but these are reports by NBC and not the studies themselves. Here's an example.

    http://www.knbc.com/news/10329066/detail.html?rss=la&psp=news

    There's also a European Space Agency initiative to monitor contrail activity. This goes under the plan to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emmissions.

    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM8GGULWFE_index_0.html

    I could see that the name "chemtrails" would apply to attempts at weather modification and "cloud seeding". Perhaps that is what the following article is reporting:


    http://www.alpenhornnews.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=451
     
  14. Jul 12, 2007 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
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