Sunday, 30 April 2017

WW2 german nuclear program

 (Article under construction)

When germany invaded poland on september 1, 1939, the heersewaffenamt (HWA) devised a program to explore the possible development of nuclear weapons. The first meeting was organised by kurt diebner, a nuclear physicist who advised the HWA, and was held on september 16, 1939. The second meeting drew in major players like otto hahn and werner heisenberg, and was held on september 26, 1939. Before the year was out, diebner had assembled a fairly large team of scientists, formed a consenus on what goals they should pursue, and organised everyone into teams to carry out theoretical and applied research. In the early years of the war, the german nuclear program made alot of progress, and was actually ahead of the british and americans until 1942 or so. From that point on, though, the americans began to rapidly outpace them with their manhattan project and the huge resources marshalled toward it. While germany eventually lost the war and any hope of winning the nuclear race, the achievements made by their scientists under the difficult conditions of the war were considerable. Even with limited financial support from the nazi regime, and the frequent bombing of their laboratorys by the allys, the germans were making slow and steady progress towards a nuclear industry. This was especially true for the team run by paul harteck, as we will eventually see. At the time, there were known to be just two approaches to weaponizing the strong nuclear force.

The first method is to enrich natural uranium by separating U-235 from U-238. The U-235 isotope is fissile, but makes up only 0.72% of natural uranium by mass. If uranium is to be used in a bomb, its U-235 concentration must be raised to 90%. The second method is to bombard natural uranium with neutrons and transmute it into plutonium. The U-238 isotope is fertile, and if it captures a neutron, it will turn into U-239, which then decays into Pu-239. If plutonium is to be used in a bomb, its Pu-239 concentration must be raised to 93%. Uranium can be enriched to weapons grade by a variety of techniques, but uranium can only be transmuted into plutonium by a reactor. In hindsight, the german nuclear program made significant steps towards uranium enrichment, but were lagging in their efforts to make a reactor. The details of this subject are complicated and sometimes convoluted, since many historians have offered many appraisals that are mutually exclusive. Authors like paul lawrence rose, for instance, have such prejudice for the nazis that it interferes with their ability to even tell a coherant narrative. Other writers go in completely the opposite direction. As always, though, only some of these appraisals can be corroborated. This article will focus on a number of myths about the german nuclear program and how it measured up to the manhattan project.

A german uranium pile of 1945


The germans never measured the fission cross section of uranium-235: Hence, they were never able to properly estimate the critical mass for an atomic bomb.

This claim is not only illogical, but also contradicted by certain facts. After the conquest of denmark and france in mid 1940 (among other unfortunate victims of the blitzkrieg), germany had access to machines called cyclotrons at vienna, copenhagen, and paris. Cyclotrons are a type of particle accelerator that can be used to separate U-235 from U-238, thus enabling scientists to perform experiments on the isolated sample: In this case, measuring the fission cross section. Moreover, it is known that each of these laboratorys had been visited by german researchers at several points in the war. Apparently, we are expected to believe that the nazis never took advantage of the very machines that would have enabled them to determine the critical mass of U-235, a key parameter for which much of their subsequent work would hinge on! But of course, such a ridiculous claim is unsupported by the evidence. In august of 1941, an individual named fritz houtermanns (who was working in the laboratory of manfred von ardenne) wrote a paper which discussed runaway chain reactions and the possibility of transmuting uranium into plutonium. This paper was circulated among members of the uranverein, eliciting a flurry of discussion. By february 1942, the HWA team run by kurt diebner had published a document outlining the critical mass for a U-235 bomb: The estimate was 10 to 100 kilograms, comparable to the american estimate of 2 to 100 kilograms! However, the HWA report also stated that the difficultys of separating U-235 from U-238 were such that a crash program could not be recommended, because there was no guarantee that such investments would yield a bomb before the wars end. This pessimistic interpretation was reinforced by a meeting that werner heisenberg () had with albert speer in june of 1942, when he flat out stated that a bomb could not be delivered in a reasonable time, and that the nuclear program should only receive modest funding.


The uranverein never developed an effective means of enriching uranium to weapons grade.

This is simply not true. Early in 1943, the research team under paul harteck had created a double centrifuge which was being used to separate isotopes of xenon gas, and then to separate uranium hexafluoride. This machine was able to enrich several grams of uranium to 7%, good enough to warrant funding from the reich research council (RRC). More centrifuges were built, and the design was constantly tinkered with. By may of 1944, a company in freiburg had built and successfully tested the MK III centrifuge, which compelled harteck to move his laboratory there. The team set up a facility in the nearby town of kandern, where a few centrifuges were assembled into a cascade that could enrich several kilograms of uranium to 0.9% each day. After a few months, however, allied bombings forced them to stop work and relocate to a town called celle. Early in 1945, the facility only had 30 or 40 of these machines, but was still enriching 50 grams of uranium to 15% each day, very good for a laboratory effort. While there were plans to put the MK III centrifuge into mass prodution again, the war ended before this could take place. Other research teams in germany had experienced similar ups and downs. By june of 1943, erich bagge had created an 'isotope-sluice' machine that ran uranium hexafluoride through two shutters revolving at high speed, allowing the lighter U-235 to be separated. This was a novel approach which never occurred to the americans, using a combination of electromagnetism, centrifugal force, and thermal diffusion.

While his first two prototypes were destroyed by air raids, bagge was able to relocate to butzbach and set up another machine. By july of 1944, the 'isotope-sluice' had undergone an endurance test lasting 120 hours, yielding several grams of much enriched uranium. The models indicated its efficiency could be greatly increased. At around this same time, manfred von ardenne was testing a magnetic isotope separator, not unlike the calutrons used at the Y-12 plant at oak ridge. Both machines used magnetic fields to deflect charged particles and separate them based on differences in mass, but the germans used an ion source to sublimate the uranium, a design which was superior to the calutrons. Ardennes laboratory was located underground in his manor, which protected it from air raids. And since he was supported by the post office, work on it was able to continue unimpeded. However, only one of these small machines were made during the war. Putting the technical details aside for now, it should be clear that the uranverein had made major progress in their knowledge and ability to produce U-235. The problem was that these efforts were all confined to laboratorys, and were never expanded to the industrial scale that was needed for an atom bomb. There were not enough scientists and engineers working on uranium enrichment, and there was not enough funding from the RRC to produce these machines in anywhere near the numbers required.


The germans never generated a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, much less a working reactor.

This point requires some background. One of the things needed for a nuclear reactor is a substance which can act as a neutron moderator, and allow a chain reaction to continue unabated. During WW2 there were only two known substances that could fulfill this role: Graphite and heavy water. Allied and axis scientists investigated each of them. In january 1941, walther bothe had performed experiments on the purest graphite available, to see whether it could slow down the neutrons without absorbing them. Eventually, he determined that the capture cross-section of graphite was too large to make it an effective moderator. The americans actually came to the same conclusion as him, but would quickly learn that this was due to trace amounts of boron, which could be removed by making the graphite out of petroleum instead of coke. The germans never did this extra step, and were now totally dependent on a supply of heavy water, which was synthesized at only one location in all of europe: The norsk hydro plant. By may of 1942, enough heavy water had been assembled to make a uranium pile at leipzig. Heisenbergs teams detected a neutron increase of 13 percent, meaning that the pile emitted more neutrons than what had been injected into it. 

This was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the containment vessel exploded soon after the experiment, leaving the scientists with no heavy water left. While the basic research problems had been overcome, no new reactors could be built without an adequate supply of heavy water. Progress on this area stalled as a result, and results came at an agonisingly slow pace. Conditions were only worsened when the allys conducted raids against the norsk hydro plant, interrupting the supply of heavy water. The months and years dragged on, and optimism soon gave way to pessimism. By early 1945, the germans had two crude 'reactors' that were on the verge of sustaining a chain reaction. One of these uranium piles was at stadtilm under diebner, while the other uranium pile was at haigerloch under heisenberg. Both of these reactors were assembled under very difficult circumstances while the scientists were on the run from allied armys, and contained only what materials could be loaded onto truck. The cavitys they were lowered into had been pre-constructed, but everything else was basically assembled on the fly. Heisenbergs reactor could have went critical if he had been given 50% more uranium and heavy water, which was locked away in a warehouse for safety. And diebners reactor may have briefly went critical, before being forced to shut down.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Animorphs FAQ

This is another entry into what is quickly becoming a large catalogue of thoughts on the animorphs series. The first post was an overview of what the storys were about, how they set a high bar in childrens sci fi, and have never really been surpassed in terms of thematic content. I also offered some thoughts I had about certain dilemmas that had plagued readers of the series. The second post was an attempt to determine whether the animorphs hometown had a real world analogue. I was able to firmly prove that the descriptions of their city matched those of ventura, californa. This post will take more of a FAQ format, and answer some questions that were never addressed in the books. Mostly about those big, sciency questions that people tend to shy away from. Alot of this is about the yeerk species, and how they evolved in a biological and cultural manner. When K.A. applegate sat down to wrote the animorphs series, her aim was to provide the young heros with a unique race of aliens to fight against. At first glance, they are your standard group of evil alien parasites trying to enslave humanity, thus yielding the moral high ground to the humans who were fighting in self defense. But as the series progresses, applegate presents the yeerks in an increasingly sympathetic light. Their natural bodies are so inadequate that they cannot see, hear, or do any of the things that humans take for granted. They are a race of cripples that have no choice but to enslave others.

Alien races from the series


How is it possible that a self aware race like the yeerks evolved to become parasites, and control the functions of another creatures brain? 

Were they parasites before they became sentient, or were they sentient before they became parasites? This is something that has always perplexed me. Yeerk nature is at the core of the animorphs series, the reason they came to earth and put humanity in their sights. Their parasitic nature is what compelled them to infest other self aware beings, denying them freedom so that they could be free themselves. I have a speculative theory on how this might have happened. While details from the book are scarce, what we do know is that they are hermaphrodites that reproduce through epigamy. Putting it simply, they only reach sexual maturity in very specific conditions, because the metamorphosis is irreversible and reproduction is fatal. During the spawning process, yeerks merge together and somehow 'fuse', and from them emerge juvenile 'grubs.' There appear to be both male and female yeerks, even though they carry both pairs of sex organs. Most importantly, they are an aquatic species that can move through an animals ear canal and into their actual skull, sinking into its every crevice. By attaching their neurons to those of the hosts brain, the yeerks are able to take complete control over their bodys and use them as a puppet. Can natural selection provide a explanation for such a bizarre race? My answer is an emphatic yes. 

Before we go any further, though, I would like to posit two separate claims. 1) That the ancestors of yeerks had a 'neural patch' as part of their anatomy. 2) That these proto-yeerks could only reproduce by migrating to some ancestral spawning ground. If both these claims are true, then we can venture the following theory. Like salmon, the yeerks must travel from an ocean up into a river, and hence, swim against strong tides and up into waterfalls. I imagine this would require incredible exertion on their part, and that some of the yeerks wouldn't complete the journey back. If so, then the bottleneck for reproduction is limited to those who can succesfully migrate back to the spawning grounds. Maybe the yeerk ancestors faced a crisis at some point, something which caused the journey to become more dangerous and more difficult? If so, it would hardly be surprising if some of the yeerks managed to cheat and find another way to get upriver... Maybe they swam into the ear canal of some creatures (like the gedd) who were taking a drink, using their 'neural patch' to direct them towards the spawning ground? * This approach would have given the yeerks in question a major advantage over their peers who were trying to swim upriver the hard way. Perhaps it created a selection pressure great enough that the yeerk anatomy changed, so successive generations had a larger 'neural patch' that could take more and more control over the gedd brain? We have seen similar instances of parasitism here on earth.


Did the yeerk empire have conflicting needs when it came to the species they tried to conquer?

Absolutely. After they set up their colony on the hork-bajir world, and their population grew to number in the billions, the yeerks faced a catch-22 situation with regards to their hosts. They have five different classifications for potential host species. Class 1 are those which are physically unfit for infestation. Class 2 are those which are fit for infestation, but suffer from severe drawbacks. Class 3 species are those that would make excellent hosts, but are few in number and can't be bred quickly. Class 4 are those that would make excellent hosts, but are too formidable to conquer. Class 5 are those fit for infestation, are large in numbers and able to breed quickly, and cannot fight back. The existential crisis plaguing the yeerks is that despite decades of searching, they had seen no examples of the desperately needed class 5 species. You see, it all comes down to agriculture. If a species doesn't have agriculture, then its population will number roughly the same as neolithic humans, I.E about 5 or 10 million. This is why the hork-bajir were rated as class 3. Their small numbers and lack of technology made them easy to conquer, but it also meant that they couldn't supply the full needs of the empire. But if a species did have agriculture, then its population would quickly explode in numbers, developing better technology and a state apparatus to manage them. (This usually implys a military) This is why humans were rated as class 5. They were harder to conquer than class 3 species, but also yielded a much greater payoff for the empire.

The huge problem here is that within just a few centurys, a species can go from type 5 to type 4 status, just as the andalites did. Technological evolution would rapidly allow a type 5 species to leave its planet, build an armada of spaceships, and colonize other worlds, which means they are no longer type 5! The central paradox for the yeerks is that the type 5 species they coveted so badly were unstable and transitionary: They were nothing more than a brief period of adolescence that was eventually grown out of. Both the yeerks and andalites believed that humanity was nearing the end of its type 5 status, and would quickly mature into a type 4 species like them. This must have been incredibly frustrating to the yeerks. Even after they had picked a needle from a haystack and discovered earth, they would not get an effortless victory over mankind. Conquering them would require scarce resources that were needed elsewhere. And the situation wouldn't have been any better if they had somehow went back in time and discovered humanity back in the 1800s (when its population only numbered 1 billion). The yeerks would have an easier time conquering earth, yes, but the payoff in hosts would be smaller. It takes about 18-19 year for humans to grow to maturity, and they literally didn't have the time to wait that long. The empire had an immediate need for huge numbers of hosts to stem back the advancing tide of the andalite fleet. It was an unenviable situation for them.


*In the movie avatar, the alien na'vi use a neural cord that can attach to those of other species and control their behaviour. Its an interesting analogue, if nothing else.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Radio jamming

This article will aim to clear up some myths about electronic warfare (EW), particularly as it pertains to radio jamming. Radio engineering is a really complex subject which people have a bad habit of skipping over. They don't take the time to understand it at all, and instead would rather jump right to the applications. Military morons love to write long winded articles about EW and how it will allow their army of choice to dominate the battlefield. They like to bloviate on how their cutting edge equipment will effectively neutralise the enemys ability to communicate by radio, without exception and without the possibility of counter-measure. Unfortunately, the reality is alot more complicated. Before you can make any sort of predictions, you need to know the specifications of enemy radio sets, and the specifications of friendly EW equipment. You also need to know the basics about radio engineering. First off, the range of an emitting radio depends on its frequency, power output, antenna type, and how clear its line of sight (LOS) to the receiver is. Second, these factors heavily influence your sides ability to actually detect the enemys comms and triangulate them. If they are using low power backpack sets in the confines of a forrest, and your receivers are located miles away on top of a mountain thats getting alot of interference, then you won't be aware of their presence at all.


Line of sight (LOS) is a very important
factor in radio communications


Lets use a less extreme scenario that puts you and the enemy on flat grassland, with a good LOS to each other. [1] They are carelessly using an omnidirectional antenna that your receivers can actually detect. What happens then? If you have something like a AN/TLQ-17 jammer, it can find the emitting radios position, match its emission frequency, and bathe the surrounding area in white noise. As a result, nearby radios will have their reception disturbed and won't be able to receive any signals. Does this mean that they are no longer able to communicate with each other? Not at all. If the enemy becomes aware of jamming, they can re-orient the antenna to try and lessen interference, and if that fails, switch to a backup frequency and issue a briefing message. [2] Both the emitter and receiver can then relocate to a different position, somewhere less prone to interference, to continue sending radio messages to each other. Keep in mind, this ignores the possibility that enemy radios may actually be able to defeat the jamming through brute force! They can do this by keeping the distances between emitter and receiver short, by using radio repeaters, or by cleverly using antenna masking. So even in ideal situations where you have flat terrain, good signal to noise ratio, and a high concentration of jammers, a competent enemy can bypass persistent attempts at jamming.

That last point (about the number of jammers in an area) is quite important, because the enemy may have many different radio sets communicating on many different frequencys at once. Going after all of them presents a workload so high that impractical, broad spectrum jamming will be needed. [3] And if the enemy is a real jerk, he might develop a habit of triangulating your jammers, finding their position, and bombarding them with artillery. This would force you to keep them many miles behind friendly lines for safety, reducing their effective radiated power. Thats very undesirable when the enemy uses AM radios, which do not distinguish noise and interference from the true signal, and make the task of jamming them alot harder (since you need to completely saturate the receivers with white noise). At such a great distance, your jammers will have a reduced area of dominance, and might not be able to reliably blot out their communications. So again, people need to realise that electronic warfare is a complicated endeavor whose success is dependent on many variables, including how you and the enemy interact. Despite what military morons claim, you can't just press a button at divisional HQ that blots out all their comms on all frequencys. Even with a high concentration of radio jammers, they have ways of getting around this!


 Antenna masking is useful for evading
enemy receivers and jammers


[1] This ignores situations where the enemy needs to send only a single report over radio, as the messages brevity makes it impossible to stop. Instead, we'll focuses on the steady flow of radio traffic, and how well it can be disrupted.

[2] Thus enabling them to temporarily bypass the jammer, which needs a few seconds to analyse and match the new radio frequency being used.

[3] Broad spectrum jamming is best done with multiple jammers, rather than one by itself. After all, the larger the spectrum being jammed, the less power is available to create noise.

Note: Because of the length of their transmissions, the peculiarity of their signal, and power output, jammers are easily located and identified as targets for attack by suppressive fires.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Donald trump victorious!

A phenomenal victory for donald trump, and a spectacular defeat for hillary clinton! Trump fought against washington, fought against the media, fought against all the naysayers who said he had no chance, and he won the election fair and square. Democrats (and some republicans) used every under-handed and manipulative trick they had to marginalize trump and boost hillary. They created false dilemmas, engaged in illegal campaign co-ordination, instigated violence at political rallys, and coerced dozens of celebritys to support hillary, and they still couldn't win! Their decision to nominate and support clinton was a collossal error in judgement, as was their immense overconfidence in victory in the weeks leading up to this day. They counted their chickens before they had even hatched.

The democratic party has now suffered a major setback and loss of credibility, and they have NO ONE to blame but themselves. Trump and pence did a phenomenal job on the ground of convincing ordinary americans to vote for them, while clinton and caine bought their votes through proxies and committees. So disingenous... In any case, america has taken a major step in the right direction. Disaster was certainly averted, but the battle is not yet over! The fact that hillary clinton was able to embark on a presidential race, much less come close to winning at one point, is an alarming sign of how much corruption there is in america. The mainstream media needs to be punished for their absurdly biased reporting that verged on propaganda. Hillary clinton needs to go to prison for all the laws she broke in aiding her globalist friends. Its time to drain the swamp!


Onward to victory!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Science fiction plausibility

This post will examine numerous works of science fiction, and determine where they rank in terms of accuracy. The entrys herein will involve movies and games rather than books. About 15 years back, alan kazlev published an excellent guide to this subject on his personal website. The chart uses multiple criteria in order to come to a rating, so even if the story is accurate in terms of physical laws (no superluminal travel without time travel), it can still run afoul of other blunders (like a galaxy full of alien civilizations). The scale is balanced in a way that penalizes the more speculative technologys and phenomenon, resulting in an inherently lower score: Anything involving femtotech, time travel, or the like will qualify for this penalty. Consequently, futuristic space operas get lower ratings than techno-thrillers because more ambition equals a greater amount of risk taking WRT accuracy! Of course, just because a film is set in the current day doesn't mean it can't get a very low rating. For instance, armageddon has a plausible set up involving astronauts sent to destroy an asteroid heading for a collision with earth, but makes so many mistakes and errors along the way that it devolves into sheer absurdity. Scientific accuracy is not as simple as it might seem at first. While the guide is very good at establishing its criteria, there are a few headscratchers present. For instance, kazlev says that plausibly hard sci fi should have no unobtainium, but then goes on to place reactionless drives in the plausibly hard category... Even though they require exotic matter (unobtainium) to work. *


Ultra hard

Metal gear solid. Why does it qualify for this ranking? MGS1 has crude nanomachines used for communication and medicine, genetically engineered viruses that can select targets based on their DNA (!), and walking battle tanks that can launch nuclear ordnance. MGS2 has sentient artificial intelligence, 4th generation nuclear weapons, and virtual reality simulation. That last point is especially relevant, if you subscribe to the VR theory.

Plausibly hard

The 6th day. Why does it qualify? This is a typical spy thriller with the usual near-future setup, I.E, self-piloting cars, affordable VTOL craft, energy weapons, holograms. What sets it apart from others is the weird, pseudo-cloning technology that features prominently in the story. An individuals DNA is implanted into an adult sized 'embryo', which rapidly grows into an exact duplicate of them. This would probably require nanotechnology rather than mere biotechnology.

Firm

Avatar. Why does it qualify? Avatar posits outrageous growth of the economy by 2154, such that a fleet of interstellar ships like the ISV venture star can be supported. While the ship doesn't violate relativity by traveling FTL (faster than light), it does handwave away problems with waste heat. The alien na'vi are also very human like in their appearance, despite the astronomical unlikelihood of evolution following such similar paths. There are also minor problems like the floating mountains of unobtainium, the mental link between avatar and human, etc.

Medium

Alien. Why does it qualify? Alien is the prototypical space horror film starring a very realistic alien species. The xenomorphs are different enough that they obviously don't originate from earth, but not so different that they are morphologically and biochemically impossible, either. (Hence, they manage to stay within the golden middle) The story would get a higher rating, were it not for the non-explained FTL travel, and rapid technology development early in the 21st century.

Soft

Soldier. Why does it qualify? The society in question develops very advanced technology early in the 21st century (including FTL travel), uses a planet many light years away for a rubbish dump, and posses fridge-sized bombs that can destroy an entire planet! Even star wars managed to be more realistic in this regard, since it took a battlestation the size of a small moon to do that. However, their depiction of superhuman soldiers was both realistic and disturbing.


* Case in point: Objects that have a negative mass are just as absurd as objects with a tensile strength equal to the strong nuclear force. Nevertheless, larry nivens ringworld gets a lower rating than stephen baxters xeelee sequence.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Hillary clinton? Go to hell

Clinton to Resettle One Million Muslim Migrants During First Term Alone
Banned by HuffPo, David Seaman calls media collusion with Hillary Clinton ‘Orwellian propaganda’

Its time for this lying, psychotic bitch to get the #$%^ off the stage and check into the geriatric ward... Or prison. Shes done so much shit in just the last 6 months its absolutely staggering. She blackmailed the dips at the FBI to clear her of charges on the email scandal, behaviour which is still being investigated by trey gowdy. She bribed the democratic national committee to knock bernie sanders out of the running: Then when information about this was leaked by sources within the DNC, she orders a hit on the man responsible and blamed the leak on russian hacking. LOLWUT?! Hillary lied through her teeth about her brain damage and pill addiction, while encouraging her cronys to go after dr drew who rightly called BS on that. Humorously, she then collapsed on the streets of NYC (a freudian slip for the traitor), later covering it up with fictitious claims of pneumonia. Clinton accuses her opponents of creating wild conspiracy theorys, even though she is more guilty of this than anyone else. Then she goes before national television and claims that donald trump is a thief, forgetting how she pocketed up to $200,000 worth of goods from the white house after her husband vacated it back in 2001 (and was forced to return it after a court demand). And now, clinton wants to follow in the foot steps of the marxist bitch angela merkel and import a million 3rd world immigrants into the U.S. Even though the vast majority want to establish sharia law, and continue massacring homosexuals like they did in the pulse nightclub. How stupid can these people get?! Whats more disturbing is the mainstream medias failure to hold her accountable for these scandals: Some of them are pushing narratives that border on outright propaganda, while google is censoring bad information about her. This dangerous collusion needs to stop. Its time for american citizens to end this farcical campaign of hers and chuck hillary in prison. No more criminals in chief. No more toadys for the international bankers.


Kick her in the ass, donald! Kick 
hillary right to the goddamn curb

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The plausibility of fringe theorys

This post will be an examination of fringe theorys and determine where they each fall on the plausibility index. For those unaware, this is basically a hierarchical ranking for science and pseudo-science, and an explanation of what sets them apart. The index is pretty damn useful and allows researchers to avoid the pitfalls of what some have called 'undiscriminating skepticism.' It has ten different levels, with 0-4 being the most reputable, and 5-9 being the least reputable. There are simple criteria for determining the plausibility (or lack thereof) of different scientific and historiographic theorys. This includes their adherence to mathematical proofs and measured certaintys, their internal consistency, their predictive power, and so forth. For the purposes of this article, we'll look at the less-reputable ideas, explain their core thesis, and why they deserve their respective rank. Some may be less objectionable than is immediately apparent: They sound ridiculous when spoken aloud, but in fact posses as much evidential support as the competing theorys. Others are filled with contradictory claims that put them on the bottom of the hierarchy, though.

While immensely useful, the plausibility index isn't perfect. One of its core tenets is very questionable: Namely, the assumption that widespread adoption of a theory automatically makes it more accurate and rigorous than those which are not adopted. This betrays an ignorance of the kuhn cycle and scientific paradigms. We must remember that germ theory was not universally adopted until the 1880s, even though plausible arguments for it had been formulated roughly 120 years earlier. [1] Its not uncommon for certain fields to enter a dead end with regards to their working theory: This continues to happen even though the scientific method was crystalised centurys ago. Truth be told, some concepts that are in widespread use within a field (I.E, a level 3-4 idea) actually have the characteristics of a level 6-7 idea. A good example of this would be keynsian economics and trickle down effects. These models are popular with banks throughout the world, but are based on irredeemably flawed logic. Unfortunately, this quibble over kuhn cycles and reformation will have to wait for another day. Out of necessity, we'll just use the index as it currently is.

Above: The plausibility index 
Below: The structure of scientific revolutions


Level 5: Fringe
-911 conspiracys (MIHOP). Thesis: That the september 11th attacks were perpetrated by elements of the U.S. government. Validity: Logically consistent, strong supporting evidence, and no solid rebuttals. [2] However, it fails to pass through the overton window.
-Cold fusion. Thesis: That nuclear reactions can occur at or near room temperatures. Validity: Sound reasoning on the nature of low energy nuclear reactions, and promising results from experiments. But it remains heavily stigmatised after the pons and fleischmann controversy.

Level 6: Sketchy
-Environmental determinism. Thesis: That geography is the main factor in determining how societies develop and compete with each other. Validity: Jared diamonds explanation for why the fertile crescent was destined to become the first center of agriculture is terribly unconvincing.
-Aquatic ape hypothesis. Thesis: That human ancestors spent much of their time in the water, which influenced how we came to evolve. Validity: Weak evidence, low explanatory power, and logically inconsistent.
-Moon landing hoax. Thesis: That the apollo program never achieved its purpose of landing astronauts on the moon. Validity: Most of the claims have been rebutted, and there is strong evidence that the moon landings actually did happen. [3]

Level 7: Weird
-Superluminal velocitys. Thesis: That particles can be made to travel faster than light under certain conditions. Validity: Irregardless of all the supporting math, superluminal velocitys would require that either causality (a level 0 concept) or relativity (a level 2 concept) is fundamentally incorrect.
-Revolution in military affairs. Thesis: That expensive weapons systems give militarys a huge advantage over rivals that aren't similarly equipped. Validity: Its a highly deterministic, technocentric theory that downplays the importance of human agency and the viability of countermeasures to weapons systems.

Level 8: Inherently unprovable
-911 conspiracys (no planes). Thesis: That the september 11th attacks did not actually take place, and were fabricated through the use of CGI and actors. Validity: It is unfalsifiable by its very nature. That makes it an entirely self defeating hypothesis, because it has no predictive power and cannot be proven or disproven.
-Simulation hypothesis. Thesis: That reality as perceived by human beings is a projected fiction. Validity: There is no conceivable experiment that would determine its authenticity, although it claims to be supported by the many worlds interpretation.

Level 9: Delusional
-Creationism. Thesis: That darwinian evolution is fundamentally untrue. Validity: Not only does it posit no mechanism for speciation, it actually denys the existence of this well documented phenomenon! It does this by creating a false distinction between 'microevolution' and 'macroevolution.'
-Free energy devices. Thesis: That perpetual motion machines are possible. Validity: Laughable for the simple reason that they violate the laws of thermodynamics (a level 1 concept). In a closed system, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, and entropy will always increase.


[1] In 1762, marcus von plenciz wrote a treatise on contagion which postulated that colonys of micro-organisms were responsible for the spread of disease (as evidenced by certain germs being found in ulcerating wounds). This contradicted the prevailing theory of miasma at the time, and did not find any sway with the medical community. Episodes like these demonstrate that the validity of the science alone doesn't determine whether an idea is accepted or rejected.

[2] Its important to note the divide between MIHOP and LIHOP. The former is level 5, while the latter is level 4. This isn't all that surprising when considering that the official story has plot holes which are inexplicable without some degree of government complicity. If the CIA and FBI had been allowed to function normally, the alleged hijackers would have been apprehended before they could launch the attack. If the FAA had not been impaired by all the military exercises and drills (and fed disinformation by moles), they would have successfully intercepted all four planes.

[3]  There are certain exceptions to this, though. Some of the theorys involve only the first landing  being faked, due to unspecified technical issues. Other variants acknowledge that while the landings did happen, it wasn't in the manner claimed by NASA. This theory was lamp shaded in the transformers movie, dark of the moon. Consequently, this makes them into more of a coverup than an outright hoax.