How to cherry-pick your statistics

Now, this recent post by Travellerev about my ‘trolling’ was presumably kicked off by a comment left by ‘Rua’ on this post: Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout.

The research linked to claims that

An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services.

Wow. That’s a lot. How did they come to this conclusion? Well, they fudged the numbers is what they did, as explained here (and here, here, here, here, to name but a few of the sites that have taken the time to look at the actual numbers).

Basically, the researchers ignored the data that didn’t prove their hypothesis, honing in instead on a subset of the data that did. Interestingly enough, the researchers involved have subsequently admitted to their ‘errors’ in their data interpretation (and made more in trying to keep their hypothesis alive, but that’s another story), but Travellerev…?

Well, obviously, my comment that pointed this out has now been deleted by Travellerev, which makes you wonder, does she still believe in the conclusion of that report, if even the original authors have admitted it’s erroneous? How does deleting any opinions that point out potential flaws in the research help in our quest for ‘truth’?

Earthquakes on a grid?

Another interesting post over at Clare’s notes an unusual ‘grid pattern’ to earthquakes taking place near the Canary Islands and in Eastern Turkey recently.

“Surely this is unnatural” states Clare. And, yes, it certainly looks a bit odd. What could it be? Surely such a clean, delineated pattern must be the result of human interference?!

Well, to a degree, it is. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre website, from which the images of the grid-like pattern are taken, are rounding the longitude/latitude co-ordinates of every single recorded earthquake to 2 decimal points. As such, any swarm of quakes in the same area will appear to be evenly spaced from each other as the rounding effect pushes each quake onto the grid created from that mechanism.

The ‘gridding’ effect only becomes apparent when there’s a lot of earthquakes very close together, which allows for a zoom level high enough to allow it to become apparent, but, rest assured, every single earthquake on the EMSC gmap will appear on the intersection points of that grid. It’s impossible for them to not appear on those points!

Looking at it right now, you can see exactly the same effect is still taking place in the Canary Islands and Turkey. Here’s the snapshot of (at the time of writing) recent Canary Islands quakes, with the long/lat grid overlaid to illustrate what’s happening. (Edit: yes, I mislabelled the first longitude point – it shoud be 18.03W)…

Here’s another one, Turkey this time…

Now, as explained above, you need a pretty large number of quakes in a very small area for the grid to become obvious (you need to be able zoom in close enough for it to really jump out at you), and the only places where that kind of swarm is occurring at the moment is in the Canary Islands, and in Turkey, which have both already been fingered as ‘unnatural’. How about a series of four quakes in the North Atlantic, far from anywhere, and surely off the NWO’s radar? Are they on the grid…?

Of course they are.

Given the way the EMSC is plotting them, they have to be.

(Note: I’ve only drawn on the relevant long/lat grid lines here, as it was going to get too cluttered otherwise. This is a good example of how you need a decent cluster of quakes for the effect to show up in any obvious way. At this zoom level, the pattern is still there, but not so apparent.)

Sky-writing for Jesus

Clare’s posted some impressive photos of sky-writing over the USA, and Rose wonders

What kind of craft do they need to create that

Well, wonder no more, here is the culprit…

It’s a Grumman Ag Cat, a type of which Jerry Stevens has been using to sky-write his religious messages with since 1998.

At least five times a week, sometimes twice a day, Stevens takes to the skies in a yellow crop-duster he says God told him to name “Holy Smoke.” He soars 9,500 feet above Palm Beach County to pen “Love God” out of white smoke. The messages, which span 7 miles, can be seen 40 to 50 miles away, often lingering in the clear blue sky for 15 minutes.

People have offered him money to write advertisements or political messages. But he refuses to do it.

“I strictly fly for God,” he said.

No mention of chemtrails at all. The process is explained…

The messages take about seven minutes to write in long plumes of smoke, produced when he pulls a lever that pours oil into the plane’s exhaust pipe.

You can see more pictures, and find out more about Jerry at his godis4u.net website.

Contrails over Adelaide

Clare’s posted a report and some pictures from ‘CuzzieBro’ that showing ‘trails’ over Adelaide.

Surprisingly, the report contains enough actual facts to make some sort of analysis as to what was going on. Using flightradar24, CuzzieBro established that the plane in question was Thia [sic] Airways THA461, and it was at a height of 37000ft when his pictures were taken. Not surprisingly, neither CuzzieBro nor Clare bothered to take the extra step of trying to figure out if the atmospheric conditions at that time were conducive to contrails.

So, again, using the guide Clare recommends, let’s find the upper atmospheric readings for a nearby weather station (in this case, Adelaide Airport), for that day. The results…?

At a height of 370000ft (11277m), for Adelaide Aiport on the 31st of October:

  • Temperature: -54C
  • Pressure: 223hPa
  • RelH%: 42%
And then we plot that on the Appleman Chart…
appleman chart
…which would make you think that maybe, just maybe, what was photographed were contrails?

How high are you?

Steven Clougher, over at MysteriousNZ, in regards to the cruising altitude of NZ domestic flights, states that…

When on internal flights, around 27,000ft is common
36,000ft for international flights, as I recall

Is this true, I wonder? (Surely it is, after all, Steven is on record as being vehemently against conjecture). How about a quick check on Flightradar.com to find the altitude of planes over NZ airspace at the moment?

It lists one domestic flight – AirNZ Flight 526 from Christchurch to Auckland. Its altitude…?

36975ft.

Click to embiggen

And actually, as I write, I can watch Jetstar flight 261 from Auckland to Wellington (the plane just south of Waiuku in the image above) climbing out of AKL to a height of … 30000ft (as it gets close to passing over New Plymouth).

But, hey, don’t let reality get in the way of your assumptions, eh?

Belief ≠ Science

I see Contrails North NZ has already covered this topic pretty well, but I thought I’d add my own thoughts, as it really is a story packed to the brim with head-against-brickwall ignorance. The gist of the story is such: NZ Member of Parliament Jim Anderton has replied to a chemtrail-hoaxer’s letter by asking for scientific proof. To quote a bit of Jim’s reply…

…I do not have any scientific credentials myself, and is the case in such circumstances I have to rely on those who do. The source you quote does not seem to have any such credentials either, and I have seen no evidence to date to suggest that the claim you make has any scientific foundation.

Well, he wouldn’t have, would he — there isn’t any. Of course, Clare & co. have had to think of how they might get some of this so-called ‘scientific evidence’. Bill Blyth suggests non-scientists using the scientific method might be in with a shot. He undermines this sensible suggestion by alluding to the fact that the existence of ‘chemtrails’ is just blindingly obvious, and draws on this analogy:

…would you need a scientific report if a tsunami was ariving in ten minutes, of cause not.” (sic)

Well, actually, unless you’d felt the earthquake that had triggered the tsunami and suspected one might be on the way, you would need a scientific report; probably relayed by a non-scientifically worded alert from the media or civil defense, but a scientifically-sourced report nonetheless. Anyway…

The problem is, of course, that no chemtrail-hoaxers ever get to the ‘experimentation’ step of the process. Instead of doing any sort of logical scientfic analysis, they tend to see a persistent contrail, at which point they jump straight to the ‘draw conclusion’ step of the process (“it’s a chemtrail!”) and call it quits.

You can see a classic example of such non-science on a subsequent post (in fact, you could just about pick any post at random, but anyway): Person sees ‘chemtrail’. Person gets sick. Thus ‘chemtrail’ has caused ‘illness’. The complete lack of any scientific rationale there is mind-boggling. Has Whitianga really been hit with wave of inexplicable disease? Has anyone checked?

It’s actually a hypothesis that is often suggested by chemtrail-hoaxers (that we’re being sprayed with various diseases in some sort of depopulation programme), and one that you’d think would be pretty easy to analyse. If you see ‘chemtrails’ (A), check hospital admissions (B). If  (A) leads to an unexpected increase in (B) then you’ve got a working hypothesis! This approach was even suggested to Clare Swinney over at Uncensored a while back, but such suggestions just lead to the usual cries of ‘disinformation agent’. Sigh.

Paeroa weighs in with, again, some sensible suggestions, which are, again, undermined by glaring problems:

A team could be assembled to interview on video, people suffering from the classic symptoms of being exposed to the sprays.

Just what are the ‘classic symptoms’? How do you prove it’s caused by the ‘chemtrails’? Oh, hold on, Paeroa continues:

Difficult to prove it’s caused by chemtrails, just need to show there is something very wrong occurring in our environment and the health issues can be linked to the common chemicals used in the spraying.

On the first point – dead right. On the second point, there very likely are problems with our environment that are causing health issues for some people, but to pin it on persistent contrails is a stretch, at best.

Still, maybe it’s a step in the right direction. If some of the chemtrail-hoaxers do apply a little scientific scrutiny to their hare-brained theories, they might well discover they’ve been woefully misguided, and decide to put their energies into some sort of activism that better serves the community. We can but hope.