Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Funeral march for HAARP and orchestra

In fiction, when an evil villain against whom you have fought long and hard is finally vanquished, you are generally depicted as being pretty happy about it.  When the Ring was destroyed and Sauron defeated, there was, as I remember, a great big ol' party afterwards.  The slaying of the Emperor, and the Death Star being blown to smithereens, was followed by a feast, complete with dancing Ewoks.  Even Jean-Luc Picard, not known for his effusive outbursts of emotion, stopped for celebratory cup of Earl Grey tea after the Borg cube self-destructed.

I find that in real life people don't react that way.

Last week it was announced that the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, HAARP for short, was closing due to lack of funding.  HAARP, which journalist Sharon Weinberger calls "the Moby Dick of conspiracy theories," has been accused of almost everything evil you can imagine -- creating hurricanes, generating earthquakes, spawning tornadoes, triggering droughts (and floods), and even exerting direct-into-your-skull mind control over the innocent citizens of the U. S. of A.  So when Deborah Byrd, of EarthSky Science News, announced that HAARP was shutting down, you'd think there would be Great Rejoicing, right?

Here's a direct quote from Byrd's article:
The 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska – 200 miles north of Anchorage – shut down in early May 2013. HAARP has an antenna array used by scientists to study the outer atmosphere by zapping it with radio waves generated by 3,600 kilowatts of electricity. Not sure how, but HAARP became infamous among conspiracy theorists and some environmental activists, who believed it was responsible for intentional weather modification. Dire events – such as Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 – have been blamed on HAARP by people called “uninformed” by scientists and other commentators. But no more. HAARP’s program manager, Dr James Keeney, said in a July 15, 2013 press release: "Currently the site is abandoned. It comes down to money. We don’t have any...  If I actually could affect the weather, I'd keep it open."
"Ha!" you would think the conspiracy theorists would shout.  "The American people have finally triumphed!  HAARP is no more!"

Nope.  You should read the comments on Byrd's article.  The conspiracy theorists are pissed.  They also don't believe she's telling the truth, so they're really pissed.  Here's a sampler, in case you don't want to risk valuable cells in your prefrontal cortex reading through them all.  You'll just have to believe me that spelling and grammar have been left as-written, because I didn't want to write "sic" 548 times.
This is the facility for the public to see. The real HAARP culprit is in Gakona, Alaska. Does anybody know if that facility is shut down. I don't think so. It's like we have two space program. NASA and the military. The military is functioning real well unlike NASA which is a shell of its former self.

READ: According to Keeney’s press release, the only bright spot on HAARP’s  horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research in fall 2013 and winter 2014. DARPA has nearly $8.8 million in its FY 14 budget plan to research:

there are MULTIPLE facilities, not just Alaska!! Stationed GLOBALLY.

most scientists deny obvious Facts all the time.
most scientists are afraid to "loose credibility" if they dont repeat the nonsense they had to learn to graduate...
most scientists forget to try to disprove their own Thesis.

There is no right or wrong, just people who want to believe it's all A OK and those who suspect that it's not.

the moon is waxing to waning in a single night,doubt it,look at 3 hour intervals top lit at rise bottom lit at set,this isnt caused by cow farts .stop being stupid for a minute and think about it,,why is the moon flipping a 180 each night,it is the earth tilting on axis nightly,,face N mark spot u stand.then find earth bound 2nd optic reference and then the big dipper,,dipper N. of Polaris"N star as earth rotates always to the left big dipper north of N star should be moving W-E,,as the stars S of Polaris move E-W,,the big dipper and Polaris and the rest of the star field clearly dip ofer 70 degrees west moving against the normal ball like star pattern,our axis is being pulled 70 degrees a night or more,this is easily seen with your own eyes,,why dont you wake up and see the signs in the sun the moon and the stars
I speculate that the reason for all of this angst over HAARP's imminent demise is partly because in order to believe that HAARP is being shut down from lack of funding, you have to accept that it must not have been that important to the government in the first place.  If they really had developed the ability to create earthquakes, hurricanes, et al., do you think that the powers-that-be would have just... given up?  To accept this press release as true, the conspiracy theorists would have to do something unimaginable:

Admit that they have been wrong all along.

No way can they do that.  It's too big a revision of their worldview.  So the press release is an outright lie.  Or the facility is being relocated elsewhere, because too many non-sheeple figured out what they were up to.  Or the government has moved on to even more evil things, like making the moon flip over once a night.  (Can anyone tell me what the hell that guy was actually trying to say?)

So, they'd much rather believe that the Enemy is still out there, and still ultra-powerful, rather than settle in and enjoy their victory.  It reminds me of the line from C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, in which Lord Feverstone implies that the college bureaucrat Curry actually likes having obstructionists to complain about: "'Damn it all,' continued Feverstone, 'no man likes to have his stock-in-trade taken away. What would poor Curry do if the Die-hards one day all refused to do any die-harding?'"

In any case, I don't think there is going to be any celebrating tonight.  No party, no Ewoks, not even a nice cup of Earl Grey tea.  Because, you know... you can never let down your guard.  Not even for a moment.

It will be interesting, though, to see what they turn their attention to next.  It's probably too much to hope for that it will be something that actually has a basis in fact.

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