British Psychology Society:

Unrelenting faith in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence is a trait of believers in conspiracy theories that has long confounded researchers. For instance, past research has demonstrated how attempting to use evidence to sway believers of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories can backfire, increasing their certainty in the conspiracy. Could it also be the case that knowing that most people doubt a conspiracy actually makes believing in it more appealing, by fostering in the believer a sense of being somehow special? This question was explored recently in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Roland Imhoff and Pia Karoline Lamberty at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

The researchers first asked a sample of 238 US participants recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk survey website to complete a self-reported “Need For Uniqueness” scale (they rated their agreement with items like “being distinctive is extremely important to me”) and a Conspiracy Mentality scale (e.g. “Most people do not see how much our lives are determined by plots hatched in secret.”) before indicating whether or not they believed in a list of 99 conspiracy theories circulating online. Endorsement of the different conspiracy theories was highly correlated: belief in one conspiracy theory meant beliefs in others would be more likely. Participants’ self-reported Need For Uniqueness also correlated with their stronger endorsement of the conspiracy beliefs.

The second study replicated this finding with a further 465 Mechanical Turk participants based in the US, but this time half the sample read a list of the five most well known conspiracy theories and the five least known ones, whereas the other half of the group read the five most popular conspiracy theories and the five least popular. Again, self-reported Need For Uniqueness correlated with stronger agreement with the various conspiracy theories. It’s not clear from these findings whether need for uniqueness was really driving greater conspiracy endorsement so the researchers devised a third experiment to test this.


A final, unforeseen and particularly astounding finding emerged only after the participants had been debriefed. A full 25 per cent of the sample continued to retain beliefs in the made-up smoke detector conspiracy even after they had been told that the theory was false and had been made up by the researchers for the sole purpose of the study. Supporting the researchers’ conclusion further, this continued belief in the made-up conspiracy theory was correlated with the participants’ self-reported Need For Uniqueness. Taken together, the findings provide convincing evidence that some people are motivated to agree with conspiracy theories with an aura of exclusiveness. To them it may not matter in the slightest that their views are in the minority, to the contrary this knowledge could actually amplify their beliefs.

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News report, item on China starts at 1:00, runs about 2 minutes.
Have not seen a US television report on this, other than this local spot.

If you have not seen my video on where this is taking us, you really should. Read the rest of this entry »

Over last week, Hillary Clinton be all up like this.

Get coffee and get comfortable. Prepare to have mind blown.

The above is an hour. If you’re in a hurry, or just want a taste – see 8 minute piece below on solar energy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Katharine Hayhoe restates the case for no “natural cycle” behind warming.

Below, example of how Deniers craft their lies.

If you have not seen, watch. If you have not shared, share.
New video shows why renewables are unstoppable. By Trump, by Putin, by Tillerson, by anyone.

And wait, there’s more.

Cleantechnica:

GE has just launched a new wind turbine that spells bad news for fossil fuel power generation. The “brand new machine” is GE’s its biggest onshore turbine to date, and more to the point, it provides a low cost pathway for harvesting energy from less than ideal wind speeds. That opens up a whole new wide swath of new siting possibilities for wind farms taking advantage of the low-to-medium range, and GE is eyeballing German, Turkey, and Australia just for starters.

The new GE wind turbine will likely rev up the already-hot US wind market, which has been chugging along strongly in spite of President* Trump’s antipathy to wind energy (hello, Scotland!).

Also in spite of Trump, his own Department of Energy has been promoting wind with great enthusiasm — and backing that up with taxpayer dollars, too.

In the latest development, the Energy Department just threw down $50 million for new energy infrastructure resiliency projects, including a pathway for ramping up the penetration of “clean” distributed energy resources in the nation’s electricity grid (to be clear, the agency includes natural gas in the “clean” category).

Bloomberg:

France will stop granting new exploration permits next year as it seeks to end all oil and gas production by 2040, according to a draft bill presented at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »