Archive for category Conspiracy Theories

Get out of debt free… or, not

Guest post from Emma, an MSS member.

I and my partner recently moved to a new house. It went relatively smoothly aside from the usual stress of packing, unpacking and remembering what addresses to change, that sort of thing. After the move a large volume of post for the previous owner kept arriving at our address. At first I diligently gave it to the estate agent to forward on as we didn’t have a forwarding address. After a while this became irksome so we began just returning to sender. Alas the deluge of post continued and I began to recognise some of the return addresses and some worrying looking ones (with red ink) didn’t have a return address.

I found that most of the letters were from creditors of the previous owner seeking repayment of various debts. They were threatening and I must admit I would have been scared to receive them if they were addressed to me. The previous owner is apparently in some financial distress and I found myself feeling quite sorry for them and the difficulties they were presumably having.

Following the financial crisis more and more people have found themselves in this position and there are fewer and fewer places where people can get help and advice given cuts to public services and legal aid.

BTBATBJMU

People receiving debt letters can turn to social media for answers – unfortunately, not always good answers.

For example, in 2013 all legal aid for debt matters was taken out of scope – meaning that it is very difficult to get professional advice with debt matters. In the same way that we see people given a terminal diagnosis turning to miracle cure peddlers in the form of Burzynksi or ‘Yes to Life’, in the debt world the equivalent is the Facebook page and website ‘Beat the Bailiffs and the Banks’ (BTBATB). At the time of writing this group has over 20,000 members. Every day there are dozens of requests for help from people who have received letters similar to those being sent to the previous owner of my house. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dogs, Doom and Dictators

Last weekend, the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool hosted a day of events under the title Views From The Grassy Knoll. It was a mixture of talks, screenings and performances covering everything from conspiracy theories and art, to science and politics. It also included an overview of what Skepticism is by Gavin Schofield from the Greater Manchester Skeptics, which I sadly missed but which I heard was a very good talk.

The headline lecture was 2012 by Dr Bill Aitchison, a performance artist and researcher. I was lucky enough to be able to make this one, albeit fifteen minutes late, and found it a very interesting and entertaining, if strange, experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mad Journalist Syndrome

On the 14th January, Simon Jenkins published an article online at the Guardian’s Comment is Free section entitled: “Swine Flu is as Elusive as WMD. The Real Threat is Mad Scientist Syndrome.”, in which he criticised both scientists and the government for what he saw as scare tactics and misinformation in the handling of the swine flu outbreak. The article annoyed me a little, but I had food in the oven, and as I’m a man who lives on his stomach (to paraphrase Dr. Bruce Banner, you wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry), I forgot about it and went about my merry way.

A week later, the article began to surface from the sea of my subconscious and I grew increasingly irked. I gradually came to realise that it was a much more frustrating article than I had initially given it credit for. Read the rest of this entry »

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Of Men and Pterosaurs

So there I was, roaming ‘teh interwebs’ one last time before entering an extended Christmas weekend and going off radar, when I came across a link tweeted by a fellow Skeptic. It referred to something called ‘Project Pterosaur’. Interesting, I thought. I wonder what that’s about? So in the interest of simple human curiosity I clicked on the link.

Oh, and what glories did I behold! This site is the most fantastically bonkers and bewildering woo-stew I have ever seen. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, vacate the Earth or simply join in the fun these people seem to be having.

The main site is something called objectiveministries.org, and it is an ‘educational resource’ for Creation Science. These kinds of sites are everywhere, the most well-known being answersingenesis.org. They’re all attempts to push very skewed versions of reality onto the public under the pretense that science is some kind of ungodly blight that hides the ‘truth’. This site is no exception. The link above takes you to a particular article on the site, detailing the aforementioned Project Pterosaur.

So, what is this project? I’ll let Dr Richard Paley, the leader of the project explain it in his own words:

“The goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI). Furthermore, the rookery facility will establish a breeding colony of pterosaurs in order to produce specimens that could then be put on display by other regional institutions or church groups.”

Yes, you read that right. Project Pterosaur is an expedition to kidnap living pterosaurs – a clade of creatures the fossil record implies hasn’t existed since the cretaceous period – and put them in a special zoo. Presumably with a big sign saying: “Nur nur! Silly Evolutionists!” Read the rest of this entry »

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And The Pseudo-Medical Vultures Circled…

Patrick Swayze, courtesy of http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/gq/6

Last Monday, actor Patrick Swayze lost a long fight with pancreatic cancer and passed away. Having been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in late January 2008, Swayze died on September 14th.

The news was met with a sadness from his fans, mostly girls I’ll needlessly add, but certain sections of the pseudomedical community have taken his death with an altogether different message. In an item posted to NaturalNews.com by editor Mike Adams, the self-proclaimed Health Ranger, Swayze’s death is in fact a chilling warning as to the dangers of Chemotherapy.

Quoting the article:

“Having put his faith in conventional chemotherapy, he largely dismissed ideas that nutrition, superfoods or “alternative medicine” might save him, instead betting his life on the chemotherapy approach which seeks to poison the body into a state of remission instead of nourishing it into a state of health.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Unidentified Substances + Wishful Thinking = UFOs

Earlier this month more UFO files were released as part of a three year ongoing project between the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives. The files can be viewed here. They range from the more usual “I saw some lights in the sky and don’t know what they were” type of report, to the more extravagant “Flivob the Venutian wanted my sperm to repopulate his planet” kind of story. Ok, I obviously made that last one up, but those kinds of stories do crop up. I believe whiskey is normally involved. And a prior tendency to spout nonsense.

The files range from the years 1981 to 1996, and we get some cool stuff in there. We get waves of sightings recorded across Belgium in 1989 – 1990, which led to F-16 jets being scrambled by the Belgian Air Force. The F-16s obtained lock-ons with their radars but were unable to explain the phenomena. We also get a 1994 report by an air crew flying from Moscow to Tokyo, which describes a huge object entering the Earth’s atmosphere over the Arctic, creating a shockwave supposedly 200 miles long. The crew reports that the UFO came in over the North Pole at an estimated speed of 10-15,000mph. There are numerous records in the files of reports by pilots and air crews, including near-misses between UFOs and airliners. Read the rest of this entry »

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