Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a chemtrail of dihydrogen monoxide, known to cause suffocation as well as accelerated corrosion in certain circumstances, and now it’s in the very air you’re breathing! But to what end? What nefarious plot has the government hatched to control the lives of you and your loved ones this time? Listen on as we get to the bottom of this chemtrail conspiracy!
Welcome to Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show where Jordan and fact-checker, comedian, and podcast host David C. Smalley break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up, and debunk common misconceptions.
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- What is dihydrogen monoxide, and why are aircraft continually depositing it into the air we all breathe?
- Are government scientists really geo-engineering our weather? If so, to what end?
- If we’re supposed to believe so-called chemtrails are just condensation-created contrails, why did a weatherman admit on live television that the military was spraying chemicals into the atmosphere?
- If chemtrails are just contrails, why are there sometimes breaks in the streams? Wouldn’t the temperature difference between an airplane’s exhaust and the air create consistently solid trails?
- Aluminum found in the soil proves beyond a doubt that the government is spraying us with toxic chemicals to control the population — or something — right?
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, on Instagram, and on YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at email@example.com and let him know!
- Connect with David at his website, on Twitter, on Instagram, on TikTok, and on YouTube, and make sure to check out The David C. Smalley Podcast here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts! If you like to get out of your house and catch live comedy, keep an eye on David’s tour dates here and text David directly at (424) 306-0798 for tickets when he comes to your town!
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
Miss our out-of-this-world conversation with Bowie-strumming astronaut Chris Hadfield? Catch up with episode 408: Chris Hadfield | An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division | DHMO.org
- Thomas Kostigen | Hacking Planet Earth | Jordan Harbinger
- Flight Plans Could Help Climate Change | BBC News
- How Many Planes Are in the Air? | Travel + Leisure
- Fact Check: Weatherman Proves Chemtrails | USA Today
- Cloud Seeding | Science
- Shasta Wildfires 2008 | Wildfire Today
- California Air Resources Board | The Guardian
- Debunked Shasta Aluminum Tests | Metabunk
- Soil Acidity and Aluminum | Government of Western Australia
- pH levels and Aluminum | Clemson University
- Shop Doritos | Amazon
660: Chemtrails | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to McDonald's for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to the show I'm Jordan Harbinger, and this is Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show where fact-checker and comedian David C. Smalley and I break down a topic you may have never thought about open things up and debunk common misconceptions — topics, such as why the Olympics are kind of a sham, why expiration dates are nonsense, why tipping makes no sense, and a whole lot more.
[00:00:29] Normally, on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We normally have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes to authors, thinkers, to performers.
[00:00:49] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our episodes organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, disinformation and cyber warfare, abnormal psychology, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or take a look in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:14] Today on this episode of Skeptical Sunday, chemtrails, what are these? These are the trails that flow behind airplanes. Why do we sometimes see them, other times we don't? Are they just clouds or is it a chemical sprayed on us by the government for mind control? Now, we all know that clouds are just trapped moisture or these frozen crystals suspended in the air. But of course, it freaks people out when they see clouds being made right before their eyes, conspiracies run wild. And the next thing you know, you have thousands of people believing we're being poisoned by our government.
[00:01:43] Comedian and skeptic David C. Smalley, of course, is here today to talk about chemtrails or as I've been calling it all afternoon, hem trails. Hey David.
[00:01:52] David C. Smalley: Hey Jordan. Yeah, look, the government is definitely poisoning us, but it's because they let us eat Doritos.
[00:01:58] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Okay. We need a legal disclaimer if you're going to do stuff like that.
[00:02:02] David C. Smalley: Sorry. Red pointy, nacho cheese tips. Got it. So it's like working with an attorney.
[00:02:07] Jordan Harbinger: Actually, I was just going to add Takis and Funyuns to the list because there's a lot more where that came from.
[00:02:12] David C. Smalley: Okay. Look, hey, we definitely need to do an episode on foods that are allowed in the states, but should be banned, like they are another country. So people need to write in if they want to hear that, I would love to ruin your snacks for you and do one on that.
[00:02:24] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that's interesting. I bet you that Cheetos are not allowed in places where they have universal health care.
[00:02:30] David C. Smalley: Or there are Cheetos, they're just ugly and weird and taste like garbage, which is why they won't suck the chemicals out of them here. But I can't wait to do one. I want to be able to write in and tell Jordan, let's do one on banned foods because I think it would be a blast,
[00:02:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I'm down. All right. Okay, so if people want it, we're going to give it to them.
[00:02:47] Chemtrails, the government conspiracy to douse Americans with whether altering chemicals or was it to control our minds? I forget.
[00:02:54] David C. Smalley: No, I think that's what CNN is for, but yeah. Okay. Look, let's start with some truth I found in this. Okay. And this is going to shock some people because they tune in for skepticism and for facts. And sometimes you're not going to hear what you think you're going to hear or what you want to hear. There's going to be some uncomfortable truths on this podcast.
[00:03:14] So when you look up and you see those trails behind planes, what you're seeing is a potentially dangerous chemical known as oxidane. In some circles, it's referred to as dihydrogen monoxide. It's been known to cause suffocation as well as accelerated corrosion. And there's this growing movement, aiming at shutting it down. It's in our lakes, it's in the pipes, under our homes. It's even in our toilet. You can buy bumper stickers and t-shirts that say, band dihydrogen monoxide to do your part. So we have a pretty short episode today. Yeah, that's what the trails are oxidane.
[00:03:50] So be careful out there, kids don't look up with your mouth open.
[00:03:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I've heard of that stuff, David, dihydrogen monoxide. Aren't there some other names for it as well?
[00:03:58] David C. Smalley: Water. Jordan, it's literally water. When it gets cold, though some people referred to it as ice.
[00:04:04] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, I do have some in my kombucha right now, speaking of the things that rot your teeth and also are delicious.
[00:04:10] David C. Smalley: But oxidane and dihydrogen monoxide are both names for water.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: I never heard the oxidane thing. You had me at oxidane. The t-shirts are still fun though because they make the point that people will get all riled up over stuff without knowing any of the science behind the claims.
[00:04:26] David C. Smalley: Yeah. A funny thing about that, I sent it to one of my friends, who's like super conspiracy on Instagram. And I was like, "There's literally oxidane and dihydrogen monoxide coming out of these airplanes. And she was like, "Oh my god, that's effing terrifying. You finally believe something. Welcome to the club." And I'm just waiting for her to hear this episode and realize what it actually is.
[00:04:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:47] David C. Smalley: Those claims lead us to the fun stuff that the conspiracy theorists say, which I would love to dive into. So I'm fortunate that I have been doing my podcast, my skeptic bay show for about 12 years. And I stay pretty respectful over there.
[00:05:00] Jordan Harbinger: You do. It drives me nuts but — okay.
[00:05:01] David C. Smalley: As opposed to over here where I'm very disrespectful, but no, it's allowed me to create a lot of friends over there.
[00:05:08] Jordan Harbinger: In camp kook, you mean?
[00:05:09] David C. Smalley: Yeah, yeah.
[00:05:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:11] David C. Smalley: And I've developed relationships with those people and they have incredibly crazy conspiracies and I love them for it. But what that means is I get my own like personal access to like a private stash of crazy humans I can just reach out to and ask them questions about what they believe. And yes, they know, I call them my crazy humans and they often tell me I'm going to be Satan's bitch in hell. And we have a laugh and that's those kinds of relationship, you know?
[00:05:33] Jordan Harbinger: That is what your show is about, so—
[00:05:34] David C. Smalley: Yeah, yeah.
[00:05:35] Jordan Harbinger: Fair enough.
[00:05:36] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So the main argument we hear from the conspiracy theorists is that, "We clearly see chemicals being sprayed from airplanes. And when we test the soil, we find aluminum." And this is backed up by proof that giant science conferences often talk about geoengineering or ways to control the weather and alter the climate. I know I started this episode off joking, shocker, I'm a comedian, but that part is actually true. Scientists are geoengineering our weather to help combat climate change and we should be, our earth is heating at a rapid rate. And by the way, there are certain politicians who won't get on board with helping with climate change. So we need scientists to kind of step up and address it and push the science and do something innovative to help combat climate change.
[00:06:18] And unfortunately, some conspiracy theorists will go to a science convention like that, and they'll take videos of scientists talking freely and openly about different ideas and possible ways to do deal with this. And then they play, you know, these 30-second clips out of context and out of order in a YouTube video and stir conspiracies about what's really going on, or, you know, without really understanding the science behind the presentations.
[00:06:42] Jordan Harbinger: We did an episode of the show a long time ago, episode 348 called Hacking Planet Earth and it's about geoengineering. And I did get emails after that from people that were like, "Love outside-of-the-box thinking." Some of these ideas are really dumb because of all these knock-on effects. So I get that, but none of it was really like, "No, they're going to secretly use these chemicals to control our minds." I mean, but yeah, you're right. At these conventions, scientists speak openly and freely because they're not married to their ideas. They're used to brainstorming and experimentation and throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks and they're not afraid to toss out an idea that they haven't necessarily thought all the way through or worked all the kinks out and have it get shot down or never go anywhere. Like that's normal. That's science.
[00:07:22] David C. Smalley: You know, that's a great point. And you're exactly right. They don't think about being filmed in a got-you moment. They're just talking about ideas and climate change, and then they inadvertently get blasted in a conspiracy video.
[00:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So you've said the trails are just water. I've done some research into this as well. I know, I think I know what you mean, but break down what we are actually looking at, because I'll be honest, my son, Jayden, the other day was like, "What is that?" And I was like, "Oh, it's an airplane." He's like, "No, what is that?" And he's pointing to the trail and I was like, "It's a cloud." He's like, "That's a cloud." He points it around fluffy thing and I'm like, "Oh, it's so hard to explain, especially to a two-and-a-half-year-old with limited vocabulary, but I also didn't really know the answer.
[00:07:57] David C. Smalley: You supposed to go, "It's oxidane," and run, you know, just to terrify him and traumatize him as early as you can.
[00:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: We have to go inside and eat dinner now.
[00:08:06] David C. Smalley: Okay.
[00:08:06] Jordan Harbinger: Let me try that.
[00:08:06] David C. Smalley: It's the same principle as you see in your breath on a cold day. So the air is cold. Your breath is hot and a steam is created that you can see. It's really that simple. It's like your morning coffee being so much hotter than the air in your home. So you see a little steam rising, right? We see that pattern. So we know that hot stuff forced with cold stuff makes the air around it visible. It's pretty much that simple.
[00:08:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay. So a car exhaust pipe on a cold day, you get a little steam rising.
[00:08:32] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:08:32] Jordan Harbinger: Sometimes a little water dripping off.
[00:08:33] David C. Smalley: Exactly. Now, take that same concept and imagine that the exhaust is 500 degrees Fahrenheit. And it's in atmospheric air, that's at 40,000 feet. That's anywhere from minus 40 to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
[00:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:08:47] David C. Smalley: So you have extreme cold plus extreme hot plus humidity equals clouds. When you told your son that was clouds being made by the airplane, you were exactly right. It is literally a cloud. That's being made in the moment.
[00:09:01] Jordan Harbinger: So that's called humid air up there.
[00:09:03] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So the plane is just increasing the humidity in an already humid environment because when a plane comes passing through it's hot and it's heating up the moisture in the air, which is going to be humid.
[00:09:16] Jordan Harbinger: The engine heats the air and pushes it into a more cold air with force.
[00:09:19] David C. Smalley: Yeah, right. So cold moisture is sucked into the giant jet engines at high pressure. And then that pressure naturally heats the air whenever you're condensing it.
[00:09:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:09:27] David C. Smalley: That hot air, then blows through the jet engine and out the exhaust into the freezing cold atmosphere, which creates those frozen crystals that are essentially cirrus clouds.
[00:09:36] Jordan Harbinger: Got it. So it's just extreme condensation done by a powerful machine.
[00:09:41] David C. Smalley: Right. And that's where they get the name contrails. That's literally what they're called. They're contrails. That stands for condensation trails. It's just a lot of condensation. And in those conspiracy videos, they'll play a real clip from a real scientist, say something like, "We do things in the stratosphere all the time." And as he says that they show a video clip of a contrail being formed by an airplane. And I mean, it's just emotional manipulation at the hands of crafty video editing. Because as he's talking, you believe he's talking about what you're looking at on the screen. In fact, they have these basic scientific variables that allow us to easily explain what we actually see. And it has nothing to do with experiments in the stratosphere or atmosphere, but the video producer wants to manipulate you. So that's the tactic. You know, you think they're doing some sort of experiment up there on your soil or on the weather.
[00:10:27] Jordan Harbinger: Since contrails are based on all these variables. There's probably a way to mathematically predicted or at least estimate where they're going to show up, depending on which jet is flying through certain parts of airspace and how high and all that stuff, right? It's got to be.
[00:10:40] David C. Smalley: Yes, yes. So when 9/11 happened and all the planes were grounded for a while. It was discovered that contrails actually have a pretty dramatic effect on the temperature of the earth. So NASA has a contrails forecasting website predicting where they will be, and you can even do it yourself with a little math and figuring out where the relative humidity will be along with general flight paths. So for anyone saying, "Oh, of course, NASA knows where the chemicals are going to be sprayed." You can just do a little math and you can predict which parts of this sky they're going to show up in. And the reason NASA cares and has this forecasting website is because of global warming.
[00:11:16] Jordan Harbinger: How do controls affect climate? They're small. I mean, I know there's a lot of them, but they're just like these thin lines in the air.
[00:11:21] David C. Smalley: Right. So at any given time, there's about 8,000 airplanes in the sky. It'll range, some low numbers say 6,000 to 7,000. Some are up as high as you know, 18,000 to 19,000. A good solid average, a conservative estimate is about 8,000 planes in the sky at any moment.
[00:11:37] Jordan Harbinger: Globally.
[00:11:38] David C. Smalley: Globally, yeah. And these contrails or these clouds produced by the planes are heating up the earth by blocking outgoing radiation that's trying to leave our planet at night. And they actually blocked both ways. So during the daytime, planes actually help cool the earth because it's blocking incoming radiation.
[00:11:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, like a cloud. It's blocking the sun.
[00:11:58] David C. Smalley: Exactly, exactly. And then at night, those same ones are like a blanket, right? As the blanket is laying over the earth, the heat is trying to leave and radiate out into the atmosphere and the contrails sort of hold it in, in certain pockets. So that's why NASA studies and tracks the contrails. The idea is that if we only fly during the day, the contrails will block a portion of incoming radiation. And then if we stop flight, let's say around 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m., and we didn't fly any more during the night, the earth would actually begin to cool a little because the heat can escape better at night without extra clouds to block it. But who's going to actually shut down every flight from 4:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
[00:12:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I mean, it's not a horrible idea in my totally an educated "haven't thought this through at all" opinion. But when scientists talk about geoengineering, aren't they — they're mostly talking about manipulating that concept to the benefit of the planet?
[00:12:48] David C. Smalley: Right. So that's one of the things conspiracy theorists latch onto is the admission from scientists that we are in fact, focusing on geoengineering. What they actually mean when they say it is that now that we can somewhat accurately predict the location of contrails, we could alter flight paths to intentionally create contrails during the day, and then try our best to avoid making contracts at night by flying through low moisture paths, to allow more radiation to escape at night and then cool the planet. So that would technically be geoengineering.
[00:13:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's fascinating. So a flight may take longer, cost a little more fuel, but the benefit in theory, in some cases would outweigh the cost and they could of course calculate all that in advance.
[00:13:26] David C. Smalley: Absolutely. And assuming we could get corporations to give a damn about the planet, which would probably have to come in the form of a tax deduction, but yeah, it's fine.
[00:13:35] Another form of geoengineering is cloud seeding where we kind of help it rain more than it would, but we can get into that later. I know what's going to come back in some of the challenges posed by conspiracy theories. So I'll address that in a moment.
[00:13:48] Jordan Harbinger: And now for some real mind control, namely a word from our sponsors.
[00:13:54] This episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show is brought to you by McDonald's, proudly serving communities since 1965. McDonald's is more than a place to just get tasty food, it's a place where people connect. And for me, a place to feel a little bit like home when I lived abroad in Serbia, Germany, Mexico, even Ukraine, and some other places. My dad, of course, also loves McDonald's. My dad is a senior and he gets a Happy Meal. He says, it's the perfect amount of food for him. He actually saved up this huge bag of Happy Meal toys for my son, Jaden. And he brought them last time he came to visit. So now, we have this huge collection of McDonald's prizes. So my dad, he'll get a senior coffee and you have never seen anyone so happy to tell somebody else that they are old, by the way. Like, "Hey, you guys got senior coffee discount here? I'm a senior. Yeah, I'm over 65. Yeah, give me a senior coffee." I mean, it's just like we get it. All right. And he always gets a Happy Meal with a burger whenever he goes up to the lake house. And he told me, I was asking him about this spot ad. I said, "What should I say? You know, what's your experience?" He goes, "I want everyone to know they give you an option to get apple slices or they'll give you an extra small fry." And I'm like, "Dad, when have you ever gotten apple slices? Let's be real." We all know how much you love McDonald's fries. And if you have a double fry option, you're taking it. And last but not least, my dad recently was going up north. He goes through the drive-thru, doesn't order anything, of course, right? He just forgets to order anything. He goes all the way to the window. And the guy's like, "Hi, you didn't order anything." And he's like, "Oh yeah." So, of course, he gets his famous senior coffee and the guy's like, "Just park over there because you're holding up everyone else who did, you know, actually follow the instructions." And my dad parked the car and the manager came out with his food and delivered it to him. And my dad's like, "That was the nicest thing anybody's done for me in a while." Because I would imagine it's a little embarrassing, you know, ordering your senior coffee and being like, "Sorry, I forgot to use the machine that you're supposed to use to order." so, my dad took a good ribbon from us on that one, but yeah, thanks to McDonald's for putting up with all of our antics over the years.
[00:15:50] Jen Harbinger: After all, it's your crowd, your community, and your relationship with the McDonald's crew that make it your McDonald's. So thank you to the McDonald's crew members who help make McDonald's a place where communities come together. Share your crew story at mcdonalds.com.
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[00:16:22] Now for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[00:16:25] I've seen some of these folks show videos of meteorologists, claiming that the military is dropping aluminum from planes and that's proof of chemtrails. And they're even showing it on the radar and the local TV station. You know, what's going on with that?
[00:16:38] David C. Smalley: So just some of the many conspiracies, there's always some element of truth and there have been a few different meteorologists kind of pop up in the news talking about this. There's one clip though, that you use the most often, it's from 2010 and there's a weatherman who points at what looks like rain on his like weather wall. And he goes, "That's not rain, folks. I assure you, military aircraft is flying through the region and dropping chaff." And then he makes a point about being in the Marines and says, he knows all about it. And then he just moves on and people freaked out about him about what he said. They got everyone up in arms. And now, that clip from 2010 gets used in almost every chemtrail video.
[00:17:13] And it's true. It was real. What he's talking about really happened, but chaff is essentially glass silicate fibers. That's coated with aluminum that create a radar reflective cloud that disrupts missile technology. It's essentially anti-aircraft missiles. So if people are trying to shoot down our aircraft, this is to anti those missiles. And sometimes, they do military tests where they do drop these things and they run tests to make sure they work properly. But there's no evidence suggesting that they're taping that stuff to the bottom of spirit airlines to Dallas Albuquerque with magic juice.
[00:17:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And if that were the case, we'd see it on radar maps all the time on every weather report covering the country.
[00:17:51] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:17:52] Jordan Harbinger: Another thing they say is that you can watch a plane leave chemtrails and then turn them off and then they turn them back on a few hundred meters away, which according to them shouldn't happen if it's just hot air combining with cold air.
[00:18:02] David C. Smalley: By the way, you made a great point about that. If this was happening, it would be showing — like you won't even be able to see rain on a map, right? Every time the weather map came on, it would be flooded with clouds everywhere and it would constantly look like rain. It's just not feasible. But the people who say what you just said about—
[00:18:17] Jordan Harbinger: Turning them on and off.
[00:18:17] David C. Smalley: —it shouldn't be able to stop and start.
[00:18:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:20] David C. Smalley: Then they just don't understand atmospheric moisture which is just all over the place. And the existence of clouds is proof of how random moisture is on any given day. I mean, if you see clouds, there is heavier moisture there than where you don't see clouds. So just like you're driving along and, you know, you hit a few bumps here and there in the road. When you're flying at 40,000 feet, you'll have patches of moisture and then patches of dry air, and that's essentially what's happening.
[00:18:43] Jordan Harbinger: So the moisture is essentially already there and the heat from the plane is just making it visible because it's blending it. It's like how Jell-O is see through. And then you stick a knife in it and now there's that little ripple in it. And now, it's not completely transparent anymore, or it's not, yeah.
[00:18:57] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:18:57] Jordan Harbinger: That's kind of what getting at.
[00:18:58] David C. Smalley: You're right. So one scientist explained it by saying that the plane is like one of those magic markers that looks invisible, but it reveals the picture that was already there. So if you see a contrail, there was already moisture there. Some have referred to it as like an invisible cloud. The moisture was already there. And then when the trail stops, the cold air was dryer in that section of the atmosphere. And when it starts back up, there's more moisture there again, it's just that simple.
[00:19:21] Jordan Harbinger: Are these the only moving parts here that determined where the trails will be? It's just moisture, hot air, et cetera.
[00:19:27] David C. Smalley: Yeah, mostly but it also depends on the size of the plane, the type of engine. You know, some engines don't heat as fast or as hot as others. The composition of the exhaust could be different based on the manufacturer. Some could contain more carbon dioxide or sulfur or nitrogen or unburned fuel, or just microscopic metal bits that are ground up inside the engine or water vapor. Things that come from a giant jet engine, they all play a role.
[00:19:52] Jordan Harbinger: So when one trail stays in the sky longer, what does that mean?
[00:19:56] David C. Smalley: It just means it's more humid in that altitude.
[00:19:58] Jordan Harbinger: And the ones that all spread out, kind of, you know what I'm talking about? They get wider.
[00:20:02] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:20:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:02] David C. Smalley: That one freaks people out.
[00:20:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:03] David C. Smalley: They think that that's like proof that it's all coming down. All that means is that it was very humid in that area. If there was a high moisture area that increased the humidity when a jet came blasting through and then because it was humid, a lot more crystals formed in that area and it froze making a cirrus cloud. And then the humidity held it in the air while the wind blew it around for about an hour, spreading out the particles. So what you're seeing is one that's been there a long time. It was really solid, really humid, and then the wind spread it.
[00:20:30] Jordan Harbinger: Some conspiracy websites, they tackle the whole size of the plane issue saying, they've seen small planes create huge clouds of chemtrails and they got it on tape. So if those engines aren't big and they're not that hot to create contrails, like what's going on there?
[00:20:44] David C. Smalley: Yeah. I knew we'd get here. This is a really common claim from conspiracy theorists. And so this is what brings me back to the cloud seeding that I teased a moment ago. Areas that don't get a lot of rain or they need more rain, in general, can participate in what's called cloud seeding. It's S-E-E-D. Like you're putting a seed in the ground, which is when a plane has these special fittings of flares. And inside those, they have silver iodide inside there, which is a condensation nuclei that helps collect moisture, which basically just helps the cloud condense and form thicker clouds than it would have. And then that'll produce 15 to 30 percent more rain than that cloud would have done without the cloud seeding.
[00:21:23] Jordan Harbinger: Sort of like making clouds that will essentially.
[00:21:26] David C. Smalley: They can make clouds from scratch but usually with giant machines. These planes are typically flying into storms of existing clouds. It's better to just start with something that's already there and kind of make it condensed more, right?
[00:21:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:39] David C. Smalley: So they fly into storms like that. Because as high-pressure systems move in, these clouds seeders, they wait for the signal from the meteorologist and then the meteorologist will tell them, you know, where to go, how much to do, and they just go up and release this stuff into clouds and it makes them extra thick.
[00:21:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And that sounds a lot like chemtrails and geoengineering can really confirm some suspicions for some people who want chemtrails to be true.
[00:22:01] David C. Smalley: Yeah. And it's important to point out that you can see a small plane because they will use small planes to do the cloud seeding. They go up and literally squirt stuff out of their wings. And when people talk about chemtrails, that's what it looks like. So there — you could go on YouTube and look up cloud seeding, and it would look exactly how you expect it to look from, quote-unquote, chemtrails, but using a jet to do it would be incredibly expensive and ridiculously not worth the fuel costs. So they use the little planes that like, you know, fertilized areas and things like that. These little stunt-looking planes, small planes to do it. It at least proves in theory that it could work if the government wanted to do that. But it doesn't suggest that it would be an effective way to poison a population or commit genocide, nor does it prove any sort of motive, or that anyone has even actually really started to try to poison us. All we know is that cloud seeding that takes place is very good for the people in that area because it is helping with rain and crops and it helps dry arid climates, that need rain for their communities.
[00:22:59] Jordan Harbinger: In one documentary, there was a big deal made of elevated aluminum. I think it was like Mount Shasta in California here showing the soil samples had like 61 times the recommended maximum amount of aluminum. And they claim that because of chemtrails. Have we explained that?
[00:23:14] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So I haven't found anyone else explaining it. I got to the bottom of this issue because that was probably — that's the big thing that connects a lot of conspiracy theorists is that the government's trying to put terrible things in your body, whether it's, you know, food splicing or the vaccine or chemtrails or whatever it is because they—
[00:23:33] Jordan Harbinger: Fluoride in the water.
[00:23:34] David C. Smalley: Yeah. Fluoride in the water, the same idea. This is like, they're trying to poison us all the time for population control. And I watched that documentary. I know what you're talking about and I watched it to address this issue. And that claim made the rounds for a while in multiple different, other videos as well, not just that when you're talking about, so I did have to do some digging, but the deal is those reports were legit. There were definitely elevated levels of aluminum in that Mount Shasta area in California. But what they conveniently leave out of the film is that if you look at the report, when they briefly show the paper, if you'd like pause it and focus on it, it says the sample was taken July 9th, 2008.
[00:24:09] Well, you can go online and you can look at reports from that area around that date and see that leading up to that there were hundreds of wildfires. They were extremely high winds. There was drought. The pH levels of the soil were all over the place. And nature was an absolute crisis. The Guardian cites a report from 2021 operated by the California Air Resources Board, which is known as CARB, showing that smoke from wildfires can significantly increase the amount of hazardous toxic metals present in the air, and it can travel for miles. It goes on to say levels increased up to 50 times above the normal average. And these metal particles can travel over 150 miles away from the fire.
[00:24:50] Jordan Harbinger: And there were fires in that Mount Shasta area just before the tests were taken.
[00:24:54] David C. Smalley: Yeah, literally for weeks leading up to it. Thousands of acres burned within, and even within days of the samples being taken. I have an article here from June 29th talking about the hundreds of wildfires in the Mount Shasta area.
[00:25:07] Jordan Harbinger: And the samples were taken on July 9th, yeah?
[00:25:09] David C. Smalley: Right, 10 days from the article. There's even a point in the documentary where this guy points to like this hazy sky off in the distance. And he's like, "It's so cloudy as if there's some sort of wildfire, but that's chemtrails, man." And there were fires in that area for months at that time. So of course, when the pH levels are off balanced, the aluminum and acidity in the soil rises. And multiple reports show that when your soil is acidic, the aluminum becomes soluble. It rises and it becomes detectable and plants die. Soil becomes more toxic. And if you test the soil, aluminum will spike on those tests. But the water department tested the water repeatedly in the Mount Shasta area, I confirmed it on their websites. No additional aluminum or toxic metals had made it into the actual water supply. So it's so easy to confirm that the elevated levels of toxicity from aluminum must have come from the wildfire.
[00:26:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's an aluminum sort of — they side stuff about aluminum causing Alzheimer's and things like that.
[00:26:10] David C. Smalley: Yeah. There's a lady in that same documentary that just blatantly says that she comes out and says, "Patients with Alzheimer's have elevated aluminum levels in the brain." And then she talks about her concerns for a family member who suffered with it. And then she, of course, blames chemtrails for it. There's no evidence that aluminum is increased in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. I grabbed this from alc.org, which is the Alzheimer's Association website, where they answer basic sort of FAQ about the disease. And here's the quote from alc.org. It says, "During the '60s and '70s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in Alzheimer's." The suspicion led to concern about exposure to aluminum through everyday sources, such as pots and pans and beverage cans and antacids and antiperspirants. But since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer's.
[00:27:01] Jordan Harbinger: And the claims about the chemicals, killing the trees. What about that?
[00:27:04] David C. Smalley: Yeah, they actually go knock on the trees and pull parts off and they say that it's silver and it's metallic and it's causing the trees to die. If you watch that same documentary we're talking about, and I don't want to promote them. I don't want to send people that direction—
[00:27:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:15] David C. Smalley: But if you already know what documentary we're talking about, there's a moment where he shows very briefly a screenshot of an article. I think the headline says, "Trees dying in the west at record rates." The screenshot is only up there for maybe three seconds, four seconds. If you can pause it specifically, I paused for 3 minutes and 39 seconds. You can actually read the top paragraph of the article. And if you just read that paragraph, which you have to pause to do, it says that this is linked to the rising regional temperatures, destructive forces of early snowmelt, drought, forest fires, and deadly insect infestations brought on by global warming in the article.
[00:27:55] Jordan Harbinger: So not only is the evidence right in front of their faces, they even put it on screen. And just like in classic sort of conspiracy fashion just didn't bother reading it.
[00:28:03] David C. Smalley: Apparently.
[00:28:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Look, we could go step-by-step and debunk each claim, but this episode's going to be seven hours long if we do that.
[00:28:09] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:28:09] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, there's so many baseless claims built in pseudoscience. A lot of it's just, most of it is just nonsense.
[00:28:15] David C. Smalley: Yeah, look, if the government wanted to sneak some sh*t into your body, there are much more effective ways to do it than dropping chemicals all over you.
[00:28:22] Jordan Harbinger: And over land that no one's using for anything.
[00:28:24] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:28:25] Jordan Harbinger: Miles of it.
[00:28:25] David C. Smalley: They literally control the water supply you shower in. Inspectors go to factories where food is processed. They could sprinkle that sh*t in your barbecue sauce, and we'd all have it by the weekend.
[00:28:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:36] David C. Smalley: It could be in ketchup. It could be in your precious bottled waters, stuffed into hotdogs. And you just be like, "Mmmm," without a clue in the world. So just stop with chemtrails. It makes no sense.
[00:28:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Geoengineering is a thing, but nobody's poisoning it. Well, actually — I mean, sorry, Doritos, other than Doritos, all those other folks, no one's poisoning you at least not from the sky but a hashtag ban dihydrogen monoxide.
[00:29:01] David C. Smalley: Yeah. Hey, go watch my TikToks and stay skeptical, my friends.
[00:29:04] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you, David.
[00:29:07] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into here's a trailer for another episode with retired astronaut, Chris Hadfield.
[00:29:15] Chris Hadfield: I watched the first two people walk in the moon and I thought, "Wow, I'm going to grow up to be something. Why don't I grow up to be that? That's the coolest thing ever." It is purely the direct results of all of those little minute by minute decisions that I've made since starting when I was a kid, just turning 10.
[00:29:34] When I got the telephone call asking if I would like to be an astronaut, I was at the top of my profession, I was the top test pilot in the US Navy as a Canadian, and then to be selected as an astronaut, suddenly, I'm a guy who knows nothing. I sit in my office and I'm like, I'm a complete imposter. I have zero skills right now.
[00:29:56] Whenever anybody has offered to teach me something for free, I've always taken a lot from it.
[00:30:01] How are you getting ready for the major events in your life? The things that matter to you, the things that have consequences, are you just sort of waving your hands and go, "Oh, probably, it'll turn out okay," or are you actually using the time available to get ready for it?
[00:30:12] Maybe it will turn out okay but if the stakes are high, to me, that's just not a gamble I willingly take. If at some point in life you think, you know, everything you need to know then you're just in the process of dying. What astronauts do for a living is visualize failure, figuring out the next thing that's going to kill you, and then practice it over and over and over again, until we can beat that thing. If we know how to deal with it, then you do a much better job and a more calm and comfortable way of doing it as well. You don't miss it. You're not overwhelmed by it. It's something you could do while thinking of something else. You'll notice how beautiful it is, how magnificent it is, how much fun it is. You're not completely overwhelmed by the demands of the moment.
[00:30:55] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how Commander Chris Hadfield managed to stay focused on his dream, starting at age nine, to become the first Canadian to walk in space, check out episode 408 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:31:07] Well, I'm glad to hear that we're not being poisoned by the government at least not from the sky, probably in myriad other ways, but we'll leave that for other additions of Skeptical Sunday. Thanks, David.
[00:31:16] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn. You can find David C. Smalley at @davidcsmalley on all social media platforms and at davidcsmalley.com, or better yet on his podcast, The David C. Smalley Show. Links to all that in the show notes as well.
[00:31:37] The show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who needs to hear it. You know, like somebody who thinks the trails from airplanes are caused by the government and are poisoning us. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you do, and we'll see you next time.
[00:32:13] And thanks again to our sponsor McDonald's. Share your crew story at mcdonalds.com.
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