Recent Posts

Conspiracy Theories


Conspiracy theories strike me as an attempt to hold on to a cherished idea when there is insufficient evidence to support it. Rather than consider that the idea is wrong, a person clings to it and invents reasons to explain the lack of evidence.

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Cottingley Fairies

Before There Was Photoshop

In 1917, two girls borrowed their father’s camera and took some photos in their back yard. When the photos were developed, they showed several fairies dancing and playing in the yard as the girls looked on. For the first time there was photographic evidence that fairies exist.

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Cold Fusion

In 1989, chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann reported that they had achieved cold fusion. “Cold fusion” refers to a type of nuclear reaction that takes place at temperatures far below the several million degrees that are usually required for the reaction. It’s not known whether cold fusion is possible. When the report came out it garnered enormous media attention. Fusion would be a source of cheap and relatively safe energy. Any process that could generate fusion energy – cold or otherwise – is big news.

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The Sphinx

The Sphinx

Until recently, the Sphinx wasn’t considered much of a mystery. There it sat, right by the Great Pyramid, a large but ordinary-looking sculpture located close to one of the most mysterious structures ever built. Sure, the Sphinx might have a hidden chamber or two, but mostly it was just this big statue carved out of the rock, no more mysterious than Mt. Rushmore.

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UFOs And Auto Mechanics

I find it annoying when people accuse those who disagree with them of being stupid, crazy, afraid, or otherwise flawed. The assumption seems to be that no one could possibly disagree with them on rational grounds. This is arrogant bullshit.

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Ten Percent

Over the years, I’ve been told over and over again that we only use 10% of our brains – and how wonderful it would be if we could learn to use the other 90%. Sometimes the numbers vary – down to 7%, as much as 20% – but there was always the idea that we could multiply our mind power 5 to 10 times. Imagine how powerful we’d be then.

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Prosper-René Blondlot

In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays while playing around in his laboratory. The discovery made enormous contributions to physics and other sciences. Röntgen received the first Nobel Prize for Physics his work. It also triggered intense interest in rays of all kind, real or imagined.

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Kirlian Photography

Kirlian Photograph of Fingertip

Kirlian photography is a technique of acquiring photographic images through the use of high-voltage electricity. It was developed in the Soviet Union by Semyon Kirlian and his wife Valentina during the first half of the 20th Century.

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I Don’t Know

“I don’t know.” Three of the hardest words to say – except maybe for:


Many of us – probably most of us – seem to approach admitting ignorance with the same enthusiasm we approach a root canal. It is as though we are afraid to confess that we don’t know something, as though it were a moral deficiency or a crime.

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Not Your Usual Chicago Resident

From time to time, authorities in Illinois would receive a call from someone claiming to have seen a cougar. These calls were usually ignored. There were no cougars in Illinois – there were no credible reports of cougars here. That being the case, the caller didn’t really see a cougar. He must be mistaken or lying. Either way, there was no reason to take his call seriously. This state of affairs persisted for decades, right up to the time when a full-grown cougar had to be shot by Chicago police in a densely-populated neighborhood of the City. Suddenly, the possibility of cougars in Illinois became more plausible.

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