It would be hard for me to pinpoint my favorite single moment of this 10-minute long video of a woman squirting vinegar into the air to hurt clouds. I guess it would have to be the son holding the camera, who is at once annoyed at his mother and yet somehow in agreement with her that this is an appropriate use of their time.

I think this is my favorite exchange, around 1:44:

“This gives us more credibility.”

“No, it’ll be too long!”

“Uggggh”

This isn’t one lone nut job – this woman is just one of hundreds of seemingly sane, normal people who think that 1. the government is spraying chemicals into the air using passenger planes and 2. they can get rid of the chemtrails 30,000 feet away using a squirt bottle full of vinegar.

What you’re seeing is classic confirmation bias and post hoc ergo propter hoc in action, which is par for the course for conspiracy theorists. When scientists tried to tell these people that “chemtrails” are actually just regular contrails, clouds that form behind planes flying in cold, humid skies, the conspiracy theorists claimed that these are a recent phenomenon. Really, they’re not – it’s just that the conspiracy theorists are now noticing them more. Increased air traffic and bigger jet engines contribute to more visible contrails, adding to the illusion that this is anything new.

The conspiracy theorists also claimed that these “chemtrails” last longer than they used to, because they started noticing when the contrails stuck around and ignoring when they disappeared quickly. Really, that’s all due to the atmospheric conditions.

So now they think that squirt bottles are helping break up the contrails. Now they’re noticing when the contrails disappear “quickly” (as in the video, it takes about 30 minutes, which is normal). They assume that this is unusual and attribute it to their squirt bottle. Sure, the squirt bottle only has a range of about four feet, but there’s little room for logic in superstitious thinking. “The Bills must have won because I’m wearing my lucky socks!” “I must be nice to animals because the moon is in Virgo!” “Those clouds broke up because I cleaned my kitchen counter!”

I should mention that according to the site where I found this video, a bunch of the vinegar-sprayers are Ron Paul supporters, but when I search the Googlez for “Ron Paul vinegar chemtrails” (I can’t wait to see what ads Google starts serving me) all I see are links to the original article. Counter Contempt links to this debate at the Daily Paul, but I have no idea how many people that site really represents. I think the safe bet is to just note that there’s some overlap between Ron Paul supporters and Alex Jones listeners, which should surprise absolutely no one, and leave it at that.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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43 Comments

  1. Profile photo of rjblaskiewicz
    January 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm —

    I went to a 9/11 Truther conference a few months back, and it was packed with Ron Paul supporters, as evidenced by their t-shirts. [To be read aloud in an Australian accent] But that’snot a crazy video. THIS is a crazy video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cDCuQrMoAbs

    Be warned, no person should ever watch this for any reason. The fact that she decided to deliver this information in a swimsuit in her bathroom is the most rational part of the rant. Oh, and all the semen! (Shudder.)

    RJB

    • Profile photo of pentatomid
      January 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm —

      Why did I watch that? Why?! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

    • Profile photo of dysomniak
      January 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm —

      Wow, at first that video had me worried, but then I read that it was just a clone of Vladimir Putin. Very relieved.

    • Profile photo of phillyrp314
      January 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm —

      Wow. The vinegar people (can we call them that?) are crazy, but this lady takes the cake. I must admit that I’m strangely intrigued. Do you know of any objective info on her? I shall dig deeper but an initial google search is only returning more crazy.

      • Profile photo of rjblaskiewicz
        January 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm —

        Fools! I told you not to watch it!

        She says she has a novel out, and the novel exists on Amazon. It’s apparently making millions of dollars but the Jesuits are taking the money away so that the film version, which Matthew MaConuneghey (or whatever) has already agreed to be in, will never be made.

        • Profile photo of zhinxy
          January 18, 2012 at 1:07 am —

          She’s also the secret wife of Data from Star Trek.

          I’d forgotten about her. We had a run in a long time ago. Scary.

    • Profile photo of Ellkjell
      January 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm —

      8-O Princess Diana has an evil clone?

      What’s the thing with all these Jesuits then?

    • Profile photo of Lizzy
      January 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm —

      Sweet mother of god, that is some special insanity. Did you go to her website?

    • Profile photo of tayla
      January 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm —

      wow…. just wow, though its neat that matthew mcconaughey was able to get over aids

    • Profile photo of eilish99
      January 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm —

      Thank you rjblaskiewicz! I laughed enough in the 5 minutes I was able to stand listening to this nut that I think I can skip the gym today!

      Also, I have one question about the part about the Jesuit having ORAL sex with Michael Jackson’s nose: wouldn’t that be NASAL sex?

  2. Profile photo of smikey
    January 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm —

    I’ve attempted to obtain evidence that the Bills only win when I wear my lucky socks, however, they don’t win often enough to generate a statistically significant experiment.

    As a Buffalo-native, I’m proud to say that the first chemtrail video I ever saw showed up when I was noodling around Youtube for Buffalo videos. I can’t find it at the moment, but the camera looked at several trails, then panned over to a statue of Abraham Lincoln that’s in one of our parks. “Honest Abe…he’d be crying now” was the only line of dialog I could hear before I cracked up.

    In any case, Lisa, I would like to buy your rock. #simpsonsquoteforeverysituation

  3. Profile photo of batou
    January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm —

    Obviously chemtrails are a conspiracy created by the the vinegar-industrial complex to sell more vinegar.

  4. Profile photo of zoonerd
    January 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm —

    I am absolutely 100% in favour of this course of action. In fact I urge anyone who is concerned about government sponsored chemtrails to stand out in their front yard and spray vinegar at the sky. It has proven quantum mechanical effects you know.

    Really, it just makes it so much easier to spot the people I need to avoid from now on. Rarely are the kooks so easily identifiable.

  5. Profile photo of ineedavacation
    January 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm —

    why? why must all videos like this disable the comments? I have way too many chemtrail/fart jokes to share

    • Profile photo of curbhalb
      January 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm —

      I signed up to comment on SC just to say exactly that. Well, without the fart jokes…

  6. Profile photo of n8jay
    January 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm —

    After watching this video I think a strong case could be made for vinegar attracting dandelions in your back yard.

  7. Profile photo of israelkwalker
    January 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm —

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  8. Profile photo of yarro
    January 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm —

    Well, I thought I’d seen it all until I clapped eyes on this little gem. These people surely hopped on the crazy train to nowhere. How do they get so f*ucked *p?
    There must be something in the water.

    Anyone watched the follow up videos?

  9. Profile photo of greenstone123
    January 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm —

    I get it, vinegar cleans stuff, like around the house, so of course it cleans the sky! I think these people were totally failed in science class. I have a soft spot for people who fall for conspiracy theories as I have family members that ask me about these sorts of things regularly.

  10. Profile photo of andiis
    January 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm —

    How do we KNOW that was vinegar?? It could have been just plain water. I only watched up to 1.50.. without proof it WAS vinegar, I’m not buying it!!

  11. Profile photo of Filias Cupio
    January 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm —

    In reality, they’re all just shills for the Big Vinegar industry.

    • Profile photo of emerson7
      January 25, 2012 at 12:49 am —

      i don’t think reality in any way figures into the equation.

  12. Profile photo of quarksparrow
    January 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm —

    This is so batshit that I find it completely adorable.

  13. Profile photo of cosmicender
    January 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm —

    My favorite part is at time index 2:37, Ha Ha Ha this little gem(yarro).

  14. Profile photo of nora d
    January 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm —

    I thought it was pretty amusing that they thought the dog was annoying for barking at something that was real. Or maybe it was barking to be rescued from the vinegar assault.

  15. Profile photo of spaceghost
    January 18, 2012 at 12:33 am —

    You of little faith. So skeptical!

    I can PROVE vinegar works, and not just for chemtrails, but for all kinds of other evil too! Watch my video and believe!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFoOy3HuDK0&context=C34bb025ADOEgsToPDskIUOMH0RF2Ird_LRg7AaVXq

    :)

  16. Profile photo of fudgeh0g
    January 18, 2012 at 2:31 am —

    Seriously – this needs to be embraced as an OPPORTUNITY.

    Somebody needs to sell these people some diluted, rebranded, high-activation, scientifically proven, natural, enzyme enhanced anti-chemtrail solutions at an appropriately extortionate price.

    And also something to neutralise all the acid they are spraying on their lawns.

  17. Profile photo of lochaber
    January 18, 2012 at 4:11 am —


    I don’t even know where to begin…

    though, I did find the repeated dismissive comments about the dog’s barking rather amusing given the context (“oh, it’s just a bird”(vs: “oh, it’s just some condensation”)).

    and a squirt bottle affecting things thousands of feet away? how old is this person? I could understand that coming form… I dunno, a toddler, or something? but not from someone old enough to be in a water-gun fight. (then again, maybe these are the same people who think the sun is smaller (much smaller) then the earth, but it’s hard to tell since its so high in the sky. like, 500 feet or so.)

    Also, if one person can clear so much of the sky with a squirt bottle, wouldn’t the easy answer to the ‘chemtrail’ issue just to have a couple people for each metro area spraying vinegar for an hour at a time. (hell, I’m sure there are a couple of them that are handy enough they could set up a mist system on timers).

    I imagine a few hundred alert sprayers ever hour could rid the continental U.S of these chemtrails.

    -also, where do they go? maybe the bad stuff is just invisible now, so it’s still there to harm you, you just won’t know when you are inhaling/eating/having sex with it.

  18. Profile photo of Buzz Parsec
    January 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm —

    Okay, I haven’t read the other comments yet, so maybe someone has addressed this…

    We all know we shouldn’t be dicks, engaging people in rational discussions and using logic and evidence is the only way to convince them (and more importantly, naive onlookers who haven’t formed an opinion yet and are open to arguments) of the truth of such matters, and, more importantly, the importance of critical thinking in all aspects of life. But seriously, this woman is totally nutso, and mockery and derision are the only ways to deal her rationally.

    Okay, now onto matters of Science. This lady can destroy chemtrails at 40,000 feet with her little spritzer of vinegar, in just a few minutes. Since they aren’t directly overhead, the cross-range is probably about 12 miles (20 Km) and it’s claimed to be effective in 20 minutes, so the vinegar is traveling at least 60 Km/hr or 16 m/sec, against gravity! Which brings up the important issue, how powerful are her farts? Would this be good subject for an AI?

  19. Profile photo of jory
    January 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm —

    This is awesome! A friend sent me your page after I confronted the lunatics at the Fairfax, California Town Council Meeting.

    They are currently “considering” (that’s code for “it will pass, regardless of what anyone with a brain has to say about it) a resolution declaring the Town of Fairfax a “Chemtrail-Free Zone”.

    See for yourself:

    http://town-of-fairfax.org/pdfs/council/council_packet/2012/011112/Item%2016%20Chem%20Free%20Zone%20Reso.pdf

    So I went to the Council Meeting and suggested that they need to address the extreme fire danger in town by passing an emergency resolution (I drafted and brought to the meeting) declaring Fairfax a Dragon-Free Zone. After all, dragons breathe fire, are airborne, and we are surrounded by redwood forests. In fact, it’s an emergency, since the Chinese New Year is fast approaching and it will be the Year of the Dragon!

    Needless to say, my suggestion wasn’t well met by the 40 or so lunatics who showed up to support the idiocy of our elected officials’ actions. One guy told me as I left the podium that I needed to “pull [my] head out of [my] ass” and that “chemtrails are real!” I said, “It’s an unfounded conspiracy theory, but thank you so much for the personal abuse!”

    But, keep a watch on the Town of Fairfax. We’re going to be in the history books as the first morons to ban fictional harm from our town. And we’ll still allow dragons. Go figure.

    • Profile photo of pegity
      January 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm —

      What about Inglis Florida, the town that banned Satan?

  20. Profile photo of rjblaskiewicz
    January 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm —

    To be fair, Jory, it WILL be a chemtrail free zone. See? Democracy works. ;)

  21. Profile photo of lesterballard
    January 19, 2012 at 1:22 am —

    The woman who is concerned with the Jesuit rapists and all their semen? What did she do before the internet?

    • Profile photo of Madfishmonger
      January 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm —

      A long time ago, in the 1990s, I found a tract left by a weirdo in a photocopier. The tract had been started a quarter of the way down the page, written around on to the back and finished back on the top of the page. They would write these things, photocopy them and leave them laying around.

  22. Profile photo of 25121642
    January 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm —

    This… this is some sort of poe right? This can’t possibly be real….

    I need someone to tell me that wasn’t real.

  23. Profile photo of sohcahtoa
    January 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm —

    Videos like this demonstrate why we need a good near-Earth gamma ray burst. Clear out all the silliness.

  24. Profile photo of jsbennett86
    January 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm —

    Ugh. I was a member Ron Paul’s Texas Campaign for Liberty caucus. One of the things that turned me off about the whole thing was the number of conspiracy theorists there. The one guy in my little group would not shut up about chemtrails, leaving those of us who were interested in politics facepalming.

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