From Area 51 to the JFK assassination, conspiracy theories have long been a part of America's history and are constantly referenced in pop culture. In fact, entire TV shows and movies are even based on them (X-Files, Enemy of the State, JFK, etc). This fascination with the possibility of a truth beyond that which we are told is not limited only to the United States by any means, but it is so ingrained in our psyche that some people have a hard time distinguishing truth from fiction. Some conspiracies are insidious and spell out the possibility of deep-rooted issues within our government, while others could simply provide explanations for otherwise unexplained events. Regardless, they're all pretty damn interesting!
Listen to the Retrospectical Podcast Ep 14 – Modern Conspiracy Theories
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. Only a few hours later, it disappeared from air traffic control radar only to reappear on military radar screens and then fall out of contact entirely, over the Andaman Sea (northwest of Malaysia, west of Thailand). Afterwards, people searched everywhere in a huge grid and it became an unbelievably popular topic on the internet, sparking many debates and offering many theories about what could have happened.
Here are the facts that we know of:
- To date, no physical evidence of the Boeing 777 has been found.
- The official stance is that all of the passengers are dead and that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.
Theories as to what could have happened vary wildly, but here are a few of the possibilities that we discussed on the podcast:
A pilot named Chris Goodfellow came forward to offer up one explanation of the missing plane. He suggests that after a fire broke out in the cabin, the pilot may have changed direction to the west in order to fly to a nearby airstrip to land the plane. An electrical fire may have explained away the fact that after a certain point in their flight pattern, all communications from the cockpit ceased. In this theory, it's possible that passengers and crew of the airplane passed out or were killed by the fire and/or smoke in the air and that the plane flew ahead on whatever course was locked in until crashing.
It should be noted that, although, Goodfellow is a pilot, this theory is pure speculation and there have been plenty of articles out there that refute many of his points.
Seized by Russian Special Forces
This theory (although admittedly quite convoluted) explains how hijackers could have gotten on board the airplane as first-class passengers, then accessed the electronics and equipment bay with the purpose of sabotaging the flight and spoofing its flight data. From that point on, they may have been able to take over the plane and redirect it to another location. The ultimate purpose is not entirely clear, but there are certainly many uses for a Boeing 777. You can dive into more about this theory here.
Other Theories We Discuss
Among the other possible explanations for the plane's disappearance are that the US military shot it down, it's in Pakistan as part of a jihadist plot or last but not least, it was somehow taken via supernatural forces
The latest news is that a piece of debris found to be part of a Boeing 777 (not necessarily MH370, though) washed up on an island in the Indian Ocean just this past week. Just maybe, this thing might get put to bed rather than staying out on a limb like so many other mysteries.
The belief in anti-vaccination conspiracies requires a belief that the governments, health organizations, scientists, politicians, pharmaceutical groups and humanitarian groups around the world may all be involved in a giant cover-up for one reason or another. Ok, the politicians and pharmaceutical groups may not be so hard to believe – but that everyone else could be in on it seems too far-fetched, right? Let’s look at a few of the theories floating around:
Continued Exposure to Mercury in Vaccines
Some anti-vaxxers use the argument that vaccines contain mercury and that these high levels of mercury that build up in the body can cause diseases and conditions that may affect people for the rest of their lives. This is because a compound called Thimerosal, which contained mercury was included within vaccines for many years.
Thimerosal was removed from almost all vaccines beginning in 1999, leaving flu vaccines as the main pediatric vaccine that still used thimerosal as a preservative.
It is extremely unlikely that many kids got each and every one of their yearly flu vaccines with thimerosal. It is more likely that they got just a few with thimerosal and the rest without, as thimerosal free flu vaccines became more widely available. After all, a flu vaccine with reduced thimerosal was available as early as 2002.
And Other Wacky Stories
Listen to the podcast to get the full scoop on the other popular theories from the anti-vaccination crowd, including such hits as 'Fake Vaccination Operations Meant to Gather DNA Samples', the government's secret plot to 'Reduce the World's Population' and the ever-popular 'Vaccines Don't Work, Diseases Just Disappear by Themselves'.
Here's the Fun Stuff..
After a somewhat serious conversation, we generally like to loosen things up a bit and there is a good bit of that to go around on this subject. Here are a few great links to check out next time you find your self bored or in a bathroom stall. Maybe both, you never can tell!