Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Health Food Scam: Colloidal Silver, Part Two

1 August 2009

Alonzo’s note: Rosemary Jacobs posted a reply to the initial blog posting on the subject of colloidal silver. Instead of including it in the comments, I have taken it upon myself to give her message its own blog posting. I have taken the liberty of adding paragraph divisions and a few other modifications. Ms Jacobs is welcome to post to this blog on this topic whenever she wishes.

This blog was brought to my attention and I was asked to comment on it.

I will try to be brief but that will be difficult since I have been researching silver and argyria for decades since I have had argyria for over 50 years. I have had a website warning people about the silver scam for over 10 years. Please look at it and contact me privately if you want references or more info.

While Alonso’s blog is excellent, there are a few errors. Silver was discontinued because it didn’t work and it discolored lots of people. Silver like alcohol, peroxide, clorox, etc. is a disinfectant that kills many pathogens on contact but not inside people who ingest it like an antibiotic does. There are approved topical drugs that contain silver. Without pulling the citation from Ontario, I believe that the authors themselves concluded that the evidence does not actually demonstrate that silver was the cause of the man’s injuries and death. I and most researchers do not think that the large body of evidence available indicates that silver causes other problems besides argyria, gray skin, although it is very possible that it may in some people but not most. No one knows how many people really ingest silver or how much they ingest since the industry is not regulated.

Lab analysis has shown that silver supplements as well as other virtually unregulated “dietary supplements” often carry inaccurate labels. Some silver supplements have no detectable amount of silver. Others have more or less than the label indicates. Neither are the labels correct about the type of silver in them, but that is irrelevant since there is a great deal of evidence indicating that silver and only silver in any form or all by itself is what causes argyria. What is not known is the toxic amount, the amount that will discolor the average person. Silver forms strong chemical bonds with tissue throughout the body including that in the skin. It isn’t the protein that some silver supplements are bound to that does this. It is the silver which many salesmen refer to as “pure silver”. And large particles don’t get “trapped” anywhere.

If salesmen had an understanding of basic chemistry, they’d know that. There are many cases of argyria caused by silver supplements. There are attorneys getting out-of-court settlements on the behalf of those with the courage to admit that they have been conned and hire an attorney to represent them in a timely fashion, before the statutes of limitations expire. But unfortunately, aside from Jones & Karason I only know of one other person who has admitted publicly that she got argyria from a silver supplement. The others are terribly embarrassed. They feel like idiots. As one said to me, “I feel so stupid. I believed the salesman who told me it was nontoxic and that I could take as much as I wanted. I believed him till I turned gray!” Many people who got argyria from supplements took far less than Paul did and many followed the labels on the products they were sold. (This goes for both commercial brands and home brews made from kits.)

There isn’t a shred of evidence that ingesting silver in any form or amount offers any health benefits whatsoever. There is no evidence in the med. lit. and argyric people have the same health problems as other people and we die at the same average age as everyone else. I was told by an ABC producer who interviewed me and Karason that Oprah got Paul to have a physical which showed that he has prostate cancer. I haven’t verified that, but I had breast cancer at the age of 42 in 1984 even though according to many silver promoters cancer is one of the ton of diseases that silver in our bodies is supposed to prevent and cure.

Rosemary
rosemary@rosemaryjacobs.com
http://rosemaryjacobs.com/

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My Ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

29 July 2009

If you go to the website of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office, you’ll find posts reporting and glorifying various “visits” by ALF activists to targeted institutions. Most of these include arson, graffiti, spray-painting homes, vandalizing vehicles, etc.

To be completely fair, no human or animal has ever been physically harmed in an ALF attack. All the damage done has been to inanimate objects (i.e. cars, homes, businesses) and this is in keeping with ALF’s stated goal to avoid harm to all living beings.

While many of us are squeamish about laboratory testing on animals, the simple Truth is that animal testing has yielded many benefits for humans. Medications for all types of diseases and numerous medical procedures (e.g. blood transfusions, organ transplants) were first tested on animals before any human patient ever underwent such a procedure. The simple fact that many people are alive today, who might otherwise have died, shows the value of these procedures validates the animal testing that was undergone during the research stages.

Animal testing is still needed, though there are some out there who make the claim that it is an unreliable or outdated science. The total number of animals currently being used in labs across the USA is dwarfed by the sheer number of ducks we eat in this country, for example. That’s ducks by themselves and we could make a similar comparison to the total number of lab animals versus the number of cows, pigs, chickens, etc that are killed for meat everyday in America. Yet, groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) continue their campaign of terror against research labs and the people who work in them. Researchers have been threatened, their homes vandalized, false rumors have been circulated about them and so on. It takes a lot of courage to work in an animal testing lab these days.

In light of recent attacks at UC Berkely and UC Irvine, I have decided to issue an ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front and its supporters. Here goes:

Dear ALF & Friends,

I see that you have been busy vandalizing homes and businesses, leaf-letting buildings, sending threatening letters, etc to people that are involved, even in the most peripheral way, in animal testing. I am certain that you do this because you think animal testing is bad and you want it to stop. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise, because people who carryout these “visits” are usually True Believers who couldn’t have their minds changed by me or anyone else.

I understand that you don’t want animals to die by human hands for any reason and you would never allow yourselves to be the cause of an animal’s death.

Since the passage of laws and the threats of prison time has not deterred some of you from bombings, arson and vandalism, I have decided to try another method of convincing you to Cease & Desist your attacks on animal testing labs.

See this rabbit?

bunnyCute, isn’t he?

Well, guys and gals of ALF, I have decided that every time you people go out to bomb something, burn something down or send threatening letters/phone calls, I am going to travel to a local farm and pay for a nice, fat, juicy rabbit. This rabbit will then be killed, skinned, gutted, hacked into pieces and wrapped. I will then take this rabbit home, cook it and then eat it.

But, maybe I couldn’t find a rabbit one day. What to do?

No problem.

See this calf?

BabyCalfYou know, it’s been a long time since I had a nice serving of tender veal. Oh, yeah! Makes my mouth water, just thinking about it. I’m think that, if I can’t get a rabbit one day that I might head over to the supermarket and get myself some calf’s liver. My mom used to make the best veal for dinner and I am sure I could figure-out the recipe from memory.

Naturally, if you guys keep bombing, burning and otherwise terrorizing people, somebody is going to notice that somebody (i.e. me) has suddenly taken liking to rabbit meat or veal or goose liver pate, etc and start stocking it regularly at my local supermarket. If I can get enough people to follow-along, then more rabbits will be killed for their meat and more calves slaughtered for their livers. Heck, even goose liver could go down to a reasonable price with the increase in demand.

Now,  I normally don’t eat a lot of rabbit, veal or goose liver. Not out of any moral objections, just because I got tired of eating rabbit all the time at my grandfather’s house when I was a kid. He took me out hunting and that’s how I learned to butcher rabbits myself. I got tired of rabbit meat after eating so much of it. Veal was something we only ate on special occasions and goose liver was too high-falootin’ for our dinner table.

But, I am willing to break my habits if it means ending your reign of terror on animal research labs and their employees. Rabbit meat is pretty cheap and easily found around here, so I’ll stick with rabbit for awhile, especially since I learned so many ways to prepare it.

For every attack on an animal research lab or an employee of same, a rabbit, calf or goose will pay for your actions with its life.

So, if you don’t set fire to a lab, spray graffiti on a wall, set-off a bomb or whatever, the bunnies will live.

If you decide to go ahead with your terrorism campaign, cute little bunnies will die and it will be your fault!

These are my demands. Ignore them and bunnies will pay the consequences.

Their lives are in your hands.

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Creationist Dirty Tricks: Censorship on YouTube

20 June 2009

For the past year or so, various YouTube channels have been the target of a campaign of censorship by Creationists. THis campaign has consisted of the following:

  • filing false DMCA claims. Filing a false DMCA -wherein an person oo organization claims ownership of a video that they do not really own – is considered perjury and is illegal and the filer can face civil and criminal charges in a court of law;
  • False flagging. YouTube has a flagging feature which allows users to mark a video as potentially unsuitable for minors to watch or could be a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service. In theory, a YT moderator is supposed to actually look at the video to confirm this, but due to the large number of videos on the site, it appears that YT simply takes the flaggers’ word for it and marks the video without confirming its content. This has become common knowledge and is an often-used tactic;
  • Down-rating comments. ThHis involves marking a videos comments with a “thumbs-down”. This used to involve marking only the comments that supported the video, but it is far easier to simply mark them all, so the person doing this doesn’t have to read the hundreds or thousands of comments that are posted;
  • Marking comments as Spam. If comment rating is disabled, in order to protect them from the previous tactic, then a user can mark a comment as Spam. With enough marks, the comment is hidden from view, unless some one clicks on Reply. Due to the amount of time it takes to do this, many people might not take that step;
  • Votebotting. This involves using a computer program to rate a video with One Star ratings, in order to prevent the video from appearing in search engines on YouTube. You simply run the program and it goes to each video several times, each time giving it a One Star rating. Supposedly, only registered users can rate a video, but there seems to be a glitch in YT’s system that does allow such programs to function without hinderance. As a result, even though a video may have only a few hundred views, it could still have thousands of One Star ratings. This has become the favored tactic of creationists in their fight against the pro-science (i.e. the side that explains the Theory of Evolution and debunks creationists’ claims) due to the total lack of legal consequences and YouTube’s lack of self-policing, as well as YouTube’s apparent lack of concern that this is even happening.

When YT users, such as Thunderf00t, posted videos calling for viewers to directyl contact YT to complain about the above tactics being used against their channels, YouTube would either ignore the complaints or would retaliate against the channel by suspending them or even closing their account permanently.

As such, the pro-science and atheist channels on YouTube have been censored and harassed with little or nothing they could do in response.

Few Christians have publicly condemned the above tactics being used, as it seeems to make their propagandizing on YT easier by eliminating the opposing side.

As pointed-out by YouTube user cdk007, this camapign of censorship only proves that creationists have no argument against evolution that can stand-up to scientific scrutiny and they must resort to dirty tricks in order to try to win the argument.

However, instead of “winning”, the usage of the above tactics and the failure of the general Christian community on YouTube to condemn them only shows that they have lost the debate and have nothing to bring to the table.

Here is a list of some of the hardest-hit channels on YouTube. feel free to watch their videos and subscribe, if you like:

Thunderf00t
AronRa
Potholer54

DonExodus2
ExtantDodo
AndromedasWake

dprjones
FFreeThinker
djarm67
ThetaOmega
JaguarJ0nes
ZOMGitsCriss
C0ct0pusPrime

These are just a few of the many channels hit by the censorship campaign. You will find links to other channels through them. You can also find a more complete list at the League of Reason webforum.

It seems that creationists have realized that they have no argument against science. So, they have decided to try to silence the opposing side through a cowardly censorship campaign.

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Canadian National Healthcare System: Fact vs Fiction

17 June 2009

TheRealNews is a valuable YouTube channel that reports news stories that may not get much exposure in the American mainstram media. I find most of their reports to be very informative and valuable for me to know about.

Here is a recent video debunking some of the myths about the Canadian healthcare system.

and another video on the same topic from October 2008.

You can visit their website here and even make a donation to help support their work of independent reporting.

http://therealnews.com/t/

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Desertphile Debunking HHO Scammers

14 June 2009

YouTube user Desertphile has devoted considerable time to debunking the claims of people who claim that they can use HHO/water-power to run their cars.

If you do a search of “HHO” in his videos, you’ll find more than 40 videos of him debunking the claims of people who claim to be able to run their cars on water, HHO or who use some sort of phony “gasoline-saving” device, which really don’t work. He has even put out a challenge for anyone who claims to be able to get increased miles per gallon with their homemade device. Few such people have accepted his challenge and those who do usually include additional requirements that he fulfill. However, since it was Desertphile who issued the challenge, anyone who accepts has to adhere to the rules he has setdown. Additionally, he has challnged any of these inventors to have their devices tested by a US government-run facility or even by the James Randi Educational Foundation. So far, none have taken him up on it.

In these hard economic times, it isn’t surprising that some unscrupulous people will come out of the woodwork with inventions thay claim to have designed and built, offering people the chance to save precious dollars on gasoline. What people who fall for this scam often fail to realize is that  even if the device works, which they don’t – they will have to drive for weeks or months, expending hundreds of gallons of gasoline, before they device pays for itself and they can finally begin saving money.

I’m no engineer, so I have a hard time understanding much of what Desertphile explains in his videos debunking these scammers. However, he does his best to explain it to such an extent that I can see the points he is bringing-up and understand, basically, what he is talking about.

Essentially, his points boildown to this: if these devices really worked, then trucking firms and local governments would be buying them up in order to save what little money they have. This is especially true of truckers, who have to save as much money as possible in shipping goods across the states and across the country. This is one reason why truckers drive for extended periods of time, often at the risk of their own lives. If truckers could save money by using these devices, then truckers could get more sleep and the safety of the job would be increased.

All these inventors would have to do is take their devices to a government testing facility, get the results and show them to anyone and everyone who is looking into saving money on gasoline. SInce they refuse to have their devices tested, they usually settle for selling their junk on late-night infomercials or via a YouTube video.

Desertphile is one of my favorite YouTubers. He pulls no punches in his condemnation of frauds and scams. This includes his comments regarding Scientology, creationism, HHO, censorship issues and other things.

Four of my favorite videos are of him cooking various things with chilli peppers.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Four

12 June 2009

I received several replies to previous entries from “Terry Conspiracy” -who I suspect of being Alex Jones or some one who knows him, since he keeps trying to plug Jones’ website in his replies, even though I delete that part – and his replies consist of a mixture of personal insults directed at me, as well as repeats of previous 9/11 Truther misinformation.

Rather than allow him to dominate the reply section of my blog, much the same way as Colloidal Silver proponents tried to do when I wrote about that, I’m going to reply to some of his points here.

It is obvious to me that Terry has never taken the time to watch any of the videos I have linked to in previous entries. It is apparent that he is fully convinced of a conspiracy and will not entertain even the possibility that he is wrong.

 

    Thermite and Thermate 

 

Nano Thermite: the “scientific paper” which is mentioned by 9/11 conspiracists is actually a Open Access website, which bills itself as a scientific journal. The very fact that this “scientific paper” has not been quoted in any other science journal doesn’t bode well for its accuracy. The OA journal, mentioned in a previous blog, is never quoted by other science journals. In the scientific community, if your paper doesn’t get read, it has no value. If it doesn’t get quoted by other researchers, it is pointless to publish there in the first place. The big hue and cry over this paper is that it tells conspiracists what they want to hear. Never mind all the scientists and engineers who present findings to the contrary, this one paper is all they want to hear about. Thermite was used by the cleanup crews to remove the large metal pieces of the structures that could not be removed as a whole pice. The claim that thermite brought the towers down is not backed-up by survivors, who would have seen thermite burning, as well as the large amount of smoke.

Thermate residue: okay, thermite-theorists say that residue from thermite was found on-site, ergo thermite was used. It goes like this: if A, B, C, and D are all components of X, then X was definitely present. This may be true only if A,B,C and D could come from no other source. Let’s go through what the components of thermite would be and see if there could have been other sources from the WTC site.

Thermate ingrediants and their likely sources from WTC:

  1. iron: found in paint and electronic devices;
  2. sulphur: the third most common construction material in the WTC was gypsum-based drywall, which is 18.62% sulphur.
  3. aluminum: WTC facade, the 767s and vehicles;
  4. potassium: used in concrete;
  5. manganese: used in structural steel, paint, batteries and ceramics;
  6. flourine: used in Freon and 200,000 lbs of Freon cooled the WTC complex, which was the largest air-conditioning system in the USA;
  7. titanium: used in paper and paint, which were very common at the WTC. Both 767s used in the attacks were 2% titanium and WTC7 was clad in polished steel and titanium;

So, all seven items from this list were already common at the WTC site prior to the attacks.

About 2 billion pounds of dust covered Lower Manhatten after 9/11. Steven Jones, one of the authors of the “study” estimated that it would have taken 1000 pounds of thermate to bring down each tower, for a total of 3000 pounds of thermate. Since thermate is 2% sulphur. that means 60 pounds of sulphur would be used. Based on Jones’ estimates, the WTC dust would have consisted of 0.000003% sulphur. But, USGC tests showed that the dust consisted of 5.4% sulphur. Where did all that extra sulphur come from?

Okay, if you assume that thermate was used to bring down the towers, then a good way to make that conclusion would be to find the residue of thermate in the WTC dust. This residue is only caused by the use of thermate and there would be no other way to explain its presence. The two main byproducts of thermate use are:

  1. aluminum oxide (41%)
  2. barium nitrate (29%)

What shootsdown the idea that thermate was used to bring down the towers is that neither of these elements was found either by the USGS or by Steven Jones himself. Finding aluminum is not the same as finding aluminum oxide, which has three oxygen atoms.

So, while we can find all seven component elements of thermate at the WTC site, we can easily explain their presence. However, 9/11 Truthers cannot explain the absence of the residue of thermate use at the site. If they could not find aluminum oxide and barium nitrate at the WTC site, then no thermate use occurred. It would be impossible to use thermate to bringdown the WTC towers without leaving traces of these two elements.

Lack of aluminum oxide + lack of barium nitrate = no thermate used at WTC.

Attack on the Pentagon on 9/11

I know I’m wasting my time expecting Terry to watch a video, since he obviously never has. But, you can see the actual damage caused by the 757 as it made its way to the Pentagon, which included:

  1. knocking down a lamp post, which damaged a taxi cab;
  2. knocked down another lamp pole, which fell near some trees;
  3. a third lamp pole being struck caused the light fixture to enter starboard engine intake;
  4. a fourth lightpole was struck, which caused the engine to billow smoke;
  5. a fifth lampost was struck and knocked-down; and
  6. a generator and ground structure were struck and damaged right before the plane hit the building.

All of these are outlined, along with photographs in the following video

If the Pentagon were hit by a missle, as conspiracists like to claim, then how did a missle knockdown all those lamposts, the generator and the ground structure? A missle would have bypassed all of these and simply hit the building.

Despite what 9/11 Truthers claim, there was a lot of  wreckage found at the site of the attack, including airplane debris and personal items of the passengers. Pieces of the 75 fouund after the attack included portions of the fuselage, landing gear, doors, engine parts, and the cockpit.

As far as the damage to the building, as compared to the actual size of the jet, the body of a 757 measures 12 feet, four inches wide. Measurements of the hole indicate that it is about 18 feet wide. Considering how the plane entered the building at an angle, the proportions match-up pretty well. Damage from the wings impacting the Pentagon can be seen in the video linked above.

Despite claims that the building wall is 9 feet of reinforced concrete, the exterior wall is actually only 18 inches thick at the impact site.

Conclusion

You know, I could go on all day with this. But, I don’t have the inclination or time.

Conspiracy theorists believe what they want anmd will not accept any evidence to the contrary. I would like to respond to this statement from Terry Conspiracy

spyderblog, you should retract & apologize or lose all credibility in my eyes.

Terry, in my eyes, you don’t have any credibility of any kind. You refused to watch any of the videos whose links I have provided and I think you were simply looking for a new convert to your cause. You people cherry-pick isolated items and tout them as evidence, when they really aren’t evidence.

I will not retract and I have nothing to apologize for, to you or anyone else.

Believe what you want, but I think the 9/11 “Truth” movement is losing steam and will hopefully soon be relegated along with the conspiracy theories of reptile men and fake moon landings.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Three

8 June 2009

One claim to supposedly prove the views of 9/11 Truthers is that remains of nanothermite were found in the soil around Ground Zero. They support this claim by stating that a scientific paper on the subject, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”, was published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, which is an Open Access online journal published by Bentham Science Publishers. It claims to be a “peer-reviewed journal” whose aim is to “provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in chemical physics”.

It is interesting to note that the chief editor of this publication, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni,  resigned following the publication of the article by Danish chemist Niels Harrit.

Among her reasons was that the paper was published without notifying her and that it deals on a topic unrelated to chemical physics or physical chemistry. Stating,

“I was in fact in doubt about them before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

“There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”, is the harsh verdict.

One thing that lends credibility to any scientific paper is when either it or the journal in which it appears is cited in other scientific journals and Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited in other scientific journals. A journal’s reputation partly hinges on how often it is cited in other journals of the same venue.

Even on their webpage, listing their Endorsements, only one of the quotes provided even mentions Bentham by name. The rest only give their individual endorsements to Open Access Journals.

Now, what people seem to be misunderstanding about scientific journals is that they appear to believe that is something appears in a scientific journal, then it is an official endorsement by the scientific community that the conclusions of the published article. Actually, it is not.

What an article actually does is it puts the conclusions of the researcher out there for other members of the scientific community to read and attempt to either verify or disprove the conclusions presented in the article. If other researchers can replicate the experiments and come to the same conclusions, then the viewpoint of the original author can be considered accepted by the scientific community. If other researcher cannot replicate the results, then the paper and its conclusions are marginalized and eventually ignored.

That’s it. Just because something appears in a scientific journal does not mean that it it accepted as completely factual by scientists. It simply means that the article got through that particular journals peer-review panel. The fact that Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited by other publications in the same field, does not appear on any list of scientific journals for chemistry and its own editor resigned after the article was published does not bode well for this journal.

If you want a better explanation of the Scientific Method and the role of peer review journals, watch this video by potholer54.

Okay, a few questions I have about the article, a complete copy of which I cannot find beyond the synopsis and I quote from it, specifically the portion detailing how the tested samples were collected

One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later.

I’m no scientist, but this paper was published eight years after the 9/11 Attacks and its sample were collected over a period of a week by three different people. The samples were not collected by the authors of the paper, so there is not accountability for how the samples were collected and how they were stored between the time they were collected and when they were tested, which are topics that would come up in peer review.

There is no archive from the website itself for me to study and I’m not a chemist.

But, I think all the hoopla over this paper in the 9/11 Truth movement shows one reason why some real scientific journals oppose Open Source. People also oppose Wikipedia because it is Open Source where anyone can access it, so they doubt Wikipedia’s credibility.

So, let another group of chemists collect samples and test them. This is the replication phase of peer review. If another group of researchers can collect samples and achieve the same results, then we could have something to talk about.

This is one problem I have with the 9/11 Truth movement: it doesn’t matter if a real scientific journal details how the towers fell, showing documentation as how their conclusions were reached and it doesn’t matter if

    thousands

of engineers disagree with what the 9/11 Truth movement thinks. If just one group, consisting on a total of nine people tells them what they want to hear and those nine people write an article that appears in a self-proclaimed “scientific journal”, then they will go with the minority and discount what thousands of other experts say on the subject.

This shows the basic dishonesty of the 9/11 Truth movement. They only believe what they want to believe and will discount any opposing viewpoints. You could show them all the proof there is and they still won’t be convinced. You could build a time machine and take them back to the event itself and it wouldn’t change their minds.

I understand that there will always be people out there who won’t trust official explanations and sometimes that a healthy thing for a democracy. But, in the case of the 9/11 Truthers, it’s just sad and pathetic.

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Debunking Climate Change Deniers

4 June 2009

Here is a YouTube channel I only recently discovered: greenman3610

From his channel profile, we learn a bit more about him:

“Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. An award winning graphic artist, illustrator, and animator, Mr. Sinclair runs Greenman Studio from his home in Midland, MI.

Mr. Sinclairs cartoons and illustrations have appeared in newspapers around the world, and his work has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Utne Reader, and HaAretz of Jerusalem.

30 years of writing and activism in the areas of energy and environment, including extended study in Nashville with Al Gore and the worlds leading climate experts, in addition to skillful creation of audio visual presentations, have made Mr. Sinclairs
presentation on Climate change and alternative energy one which has been called a must see!

Constantly updated information, made vivid with striking, clear graphics and animations, many derived from NASA, The National Snow and Ice Data Center, and top international sources, an expert knowledge of the issues of energy and environment, and an informal, good humored delivery, make difficult concepts easy to see and grasp.

No issue will have a greater impact on the new century than the decisions we make on energy and the impact of global climate change, and Peter Sinclairs presentation makes the critical points dramatically clear and immediate.”

I recently subscribed to his channel and I found the videos to be very well done, informative and present the information so that the average person can understand it. Sometimes, people don’t like Science because it often involves trying to understand complex information and the usage of terms few non-scientists comprehend. But, that is not the case with greenman3610.

He takes-on slogans that are used by people and organizations that deny humans are contributing to global warming or that global warming is even occurring. Each claim is taken in-turn and thoroughly debunked, without using emotional appeals or personal attacks, but with documentable proof from reliable sources, such as NASA. Greenman3610 makes no claim that he cannot prove.

Give him a chance.

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My Thoughts on YouTube User VenomFangX

27 May 2009

If you ever wanted to make a list of the most contoversial YouTube users, you would have to include a young man from Canada who called himself VenomFangX,

Shawn (his real first name, which he openly admitted) is a devout Christian and Creationist. He made numerous videos expounding Creationism, borrowing much of his source material from convicted criminal and former minister Kent Hovind. While Hovind and Shawn may convince those without a scientific backbround, people with scientific educations find such “information” laughable and several YouTube users, posted videos of their own debunking the claims of Shawn, as well as ridiculing him. The most famous groups of video series posted in response to Shawn and other Creationists on YouTube include:

There are, of course, other videos posted by these and other users, but these are the most well-known. Shawn’s initial response to these videos was to attempt to get into “debates” with these posters. However, Shawn’s near-total lack of a scientific education made any sort of debate with him to be a waste of time for the people he challenged and VenomFangX even admitted in one of his videos to Thunderf00t that he simply wanted to try to get Thunderf00t to “get out of his scientific bubble” and get him to try to see the world and universe from Shawn’s perspective. In other words, he wanted to preach Christianity to Thunderf00t in some sort of attempt to convert him. He even asked his subscribers to send messages to Thunderf00t to pressure him into agreeing to watch Shawn’s videos and debate him. However, Thunderf00t rejected the offer.  Shawn’s attempts to contact Thunderf00t and earn his respect seemed to border on the level of an obsessed fanboy, which Thunderf00t found to be rather disturbing and insulting.

While Thunderf00t and the other YouTube users allowed comments and ratings on their videos by anyone, Shawn did not. VenomFangX closed his comments to “approval only”, which meant that only the comments he allowed would be posted and it gave the appearance that everyone who commented on his videos agreed with him. When this point was brought-up, he did not change his practise and he also disabled ratings, so that no one could rate his videos either and neither could anyone post video responses. As such, Thunderf00t nicknamed Shawn “Posterboy from Creationist Stupidity” (PCS) and Shanw has been called PCS by numerous non-Creationists on YouTube ever since.

In an obvious attempt to eliminate the counter-arguments of Thunderf00t and others, Shawn began to file DMCA complaints against over 150 individual videos posted on YouTube. For a time, these videos were removed and a shitstorm of controversy was the result. Shawn tried to claim that “a friend” had filed the DMCAs on his behalf, but this was soon proven to be untrue and Shawn was revealed as the filer of those complaints. This resulted in Thunderf00t calling for Shawn to either shutdown his account for six months or face criminal and/or civil prosecution for his abuse of the DMCA system. At first, Shawn tried to bluff his way out of it, along with encouragement from other Creationists, but eventually was forced to admit his guilt for filing the false DMCAs and lying in an attempt to cover it up.

After receiving this smackdown, Shawn was a bit quieter than he had been before. However, he soon began to find new ways to offend people.

For a few days, Shawn closed his account after claiming that people had obtained his personal information and had threatened his family. Shawn posted a video announcing this, saying goodbye to everyone. However, he did log-into his account over the next few days and eventually returned with a video consisting of clips from his supporters’ videos asking for his return. This bit of drama was derided by his opponents as nothing more than appealing for sympathy.

In one of Shawn’s earliest videos, he appealed for a video camera and soon received one from a supporter. However, in clips of many of his videos, Shawn revealed that he lives in a palacial home with expensive decor, which made such appeals to seem selfish. He was obviously not from a poor family, so was seen as having no business asking for donations of any kind. In my view, even if some one knew that Shawn is from a wealthy family, but still wanted to give him a donation, that was certainly the donor’s choice.

Later, after Shawn claimed to have lost his job at a video store – after having used the store’s equpiment to copy DVDs from Kent Hovind’s organization and playing the DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on the store’s television and giving-away copies of Hovind DVDs to store customers as a way of prostelytizing to store customers – Shawn posted a video asking for people to financially support him so that he could Preach the Gospel as a full-time preacher. Specifically, he asked for at least 500 people to donated $1 each. He said that he would keep $500 for his own use and give anything over the $500 to Sick Kids Hospital. Shawn began to receive donations of more that $5 from several people, including donations of $500 from a couple of individuals, which was far in excess of the $500 he had initially asked for. A YouTube user, ImSoCritical, posted a comment that Shawn should simply put the excess into a savings account to carryover into the next month, rather than giveaway the excess. This account is seen by some, including myself, to be a sockpuppet account that Shawn used to post supportive cooments to himself. Whatever the case may be, Shawn soon abandoned the idea of giving away the money he received in excess of the $500 and began to spend it on other things, whether related to his ministry or not. These expenses included paying for parking at the college he preached at, car expenses and video recording equipment.

When pressure was brought on by people asking why he didn’t donate to the hospital, Shawn’s reply was that he had asked for 500 people to donate $1 each, but he said that, since he had wanted 500 donors, he still had not reached his goal. This flew in direct contradiction of his initially stating that he wanted only $500 per month and instead counted only the number of donors. So, if he received, say, $1000 from 499 people, he did not feel obligated to give any money to charity until he had gotten money from the 500th donor. While he did end-up making donations to various charitable organizations, he did not donate any money to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, but instead to other Christian groups.

In response to apparently fraudulent use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital to raise moeny for himself, YT user UNFFwildcard posted this video.

UNFFwildcard’s video was posted both a response to VenomFangX and as a way to raise money for Malaria No More, whose goal; is to supply bed netting for people in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to combat the spead of malaria.

This same YT user published further criticism of Shawn here

as well as a Thank You to all YouTube users who have helped in the fundraising drive

Unlike VenomFangX’s donation drive, UNFFwildcard’s effort was fully transparent and you always knew how much money had been raised and exactly where it was going.

Not to let Shawn off-the-hook for what was apparently an an attempt by Shawn to get money from people without having to work for it, another YouTube user lordhathor began his own campaign to interrupt the flow of money into Shawn’s pockets and you can view his playlist here

When Shawn began his donation drive, he stated that he wanted to be a full-time preacher and the donations were simply to financially support him while he did that. He posted videos on his channel showing him witnessing to several students at a local college. This was obviously an attempt by shawn to justify his money-raising and show that he wasn’t simply freeloading on the goodwill of others. Howvever, lordhathor uncovered evidence through an interview with a Christian minister who lives close to Shawn that

  • Shawn was offered an actual job as a missionary with a local church, but turned it down;
  • Shawn’s response to the church that offered him the job that he wasn’t interested in it because he didn’t want to answer to the church’s authorities;
  • Shawn also was not satisfied with the salary offer from the church, since he was making more money than that through his donation drive on YouTube;
  • the videos that showed Shawn converting people to Christianity were actually faked and the people he was preaching to were already Christians and, in some cases, had been so for years;
  • despite Shawn’s claims that he wanted to be a minister, none of the college courses he was taking were related to that occupation.

You can hear the interview on this video

We’ll never know how much money Shawn raised or what he did with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, Shawn posted another video on his channel to say goodbye. In this video he stated, once again, that people – Muslims, in this case – had obtained his personal information and sent threats against his life and the lives of his family members. As such , he was shutting-down his channel and deleting all his videos.

He did this…for a few days.

Shawn then reopened his channel, sans videos, and stated that he was giving his channel and its 26,000+ plus subscribers to another YouTube user, known as GEERUP. GEERUP is known as a rather off-the-wall character on YouTube and had less than 2500 subscribers. Now, with Shawn’s subscribers, he has a wider audience. GEERUP believes in the New World Order conspiracy and posted rather strange videos on his own channel. To his credit, CEERUp does allow comments to be posted on his video and allows comments on the VenomFangX channel, which is something Shawn did not. Time will tell if Shawn’s subscribers remain with GEERUP or will tire of his rantings and strange behavior.

Did Shawn really receive threats agaisnt his life and the lives of his family from Muslims, as he claimed? Personally, I don’t think so.

What I do think happened is this:

  • people reported Shawn’s use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital for the purposes of his money-raising;
  • it became obvious that Shawn had given none of the money he collected to that same hospital and had no real intentions of doing so;
  • copies of the video were sent to the Hospital’s legal division, as well as Canada’s Revenue Service and the Toronto police and an investigation of possible fraud was launched;
  • since Shawn lives with his parents, they became aware of what was happening under their roof when they were contacted by law enforcement and/or Sick Kids Hospital as part of this investigation;
  • Shawn’s parents, whom he lives with, were unaware of what he was doing until this contact was made. Since Shawn is over 18, they are not responsible for him or his actions previous to contact. However, now that they became aware, they are now responsible to prevent any further misuses of the name of Sick Kids Hospital by their son while he lives in their home;
  • rather than face criminal and/or civil repurcussions for the actions of their son, as well as damage to their reputations in the community, Shawn’s parents forced him to shutdown his YouTube channel and close his website.

Shawn made one last appeal for people who still wanted to send him money via his Paypal account. It’s anyone’s guess as to how successful this will be for him. For most of us,”Out of sight, out of mind” is how we are and while some of his subscribers will want to help him out, I think that when enough time passes, Shawn will be forgotten by most of his former followers and the money will stop coming in, if it does at all.

Ultimately, here is my assessment of Shawn:

  1. Shawn grew-up in a well-to-do family and his parents indulged him with gifts of expensive items;
  2. Shawn became a Christian recently and became a follower/admirer of Kent Hovind;
  3. Since Shawn was doted-on by his family, he has a strong need for attention and admiration from people around him;
  4. Shawn does not like being criticized by anyone for any reason and reacts badly to it;
  5. Shawn also has a vindictive nature, looking for ways that he can strike back at his detractors with little risk to himself for his actions;
  6. Shawn is a coward and when caught doing illegal or immoral things, will try to bluff or threaten his way out of them;
  7. When Shawn does not receive admiration, he will try to gain sympathy from others. He will settle for people feeling sorry for him, if they cannot admire him;
  8. When Shawn’s parents told him that he had to earn his own money, Shawn attempted to use the job as a platform to garner followers for himself and converts for his religion;
  9. Shawn was always allowed to do whatever he wanted to by his parents and was upset that his employers would not do the same;
  10. Shawn does not like having to work for a living and wanted to find a way to receive money without having worked for it;
  11. Shawn will try to use either people’s admiration or sympathy for him to get money for himself;
  12. He views whatever money he gets as his own money and will be loathe to give it up to anyone for any reason that does not benefit him in some fashion;

Basically, Shawn is just a selfish little punk kid who never had to earn his own money and he discovered that some people would give him money if he asked for it. He’s a lazy piece of shit who doesn’t want to break a sweat on a job and would rather spend his days playing on a computer and living the same carefree life he did when he was a child. Because his parents indulged him, he expects the rest of the world to do the same and he just can’t stand it that we all don’t line-up to kiss his ass.

Finally, it seems that his parents may have realized what a selfish little shit they raised and have taken some belated action to rein him in before he ends-up in prison or the family gets sued. I hope that they sat him down and gave him a good talking-to about how he risked their family’s reputation for his schemes.

Now, I would view this all differently if Shawn lived on his own and appealed for donations from people without mentioning Sick Kids Hospital or any other legitimate charity as a form of leverage to get people to send him money. If he wanted to ask for money on his own and people gave it to him, then I really don’t care. People give money to fake preachers all the time.

But, his use of a legitimate charity’s name to raise money for himself so that he could continue a life of leisure without doing a bit of real work for it just burned me up.

Shawn isn’t even 25 years old yet. I hope the little shit grows-up before his actions land him in criminal or civil court facing real consequences for his nonsense.

He’ll be back, I think. When he’s not getting anymore donations and he feels a need for attention-whoring, he’ll come back to YouTube or some other forum and try to pickup where he left off.

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Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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