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There's no such thing as chemtrails

My first exposure to the madness of the "chemtrails" movement came in a vacation a few years ago to Montreal and New York City.

While my girlfriend and I were climbing Mont Royal, we came across a bench that had a large amount about of 9/11 conspiracy theory-type stuff scrawled on it in Sharpie. This would have been in either 2007 or '08, I can't remember which.

But the bench also had a website on it, inviting people to learn more. I took a picture, so I could remember the website and check it out later.

Note: Not because I actually believe any of the "WTC inside job" nuttiness, but because I wanted to laugh at the REST of the nuttiness!

(Aside: For the longest time, the single stall in the men's room at the Double Decker also had a faded website address markered on it. It's long painted over now, but I stared at it so many times, I still remember what it was: I assumed with every pee that it was some kind of sketchy singles dating site, but I just checked, and it's an online bulletin board for hitchhikers. The more you know!)

Anyway, the website on the Mont Royal bench led to a crazy conspiracy theory site, but most prominent the day I visited was chemtrails.

In case you are blissfully living your life in the assumption that most people are rational, I'll explain: "chemtrails" are the nutso belief that jets overhead leaving a white trail (actually called a contrail) are spraying some type of chemical over us all, on behalf of the U.S. government (or maybe the One World Government, or the Illuminati, or the Reptilians — whatever).

It's bonkers, of course. The white tails are condensation, as I've known since Grade 6 or so.

Apparently, though, the sight of a few jets overhead in Brandon on Wednesday sent some locals into a tizzy.

I hope they were being ironic, but people apparently called the radio station and posted online about the crazy chemtrails.

FACT: It wasn't the army spreading chemicals over Brandon (remember — they don't even come spray malathion like they used to) but instead some live-fire practice. The contrails are normal. They're just the natural results of hot humid air from the engines of the planes meeting the cold, dry air of the atmosphere.

It is, by the way, the exact same process that happens when you throw boiling water outside in winter.

The latest permutation of the weird chemtrail theory (some people will believe ANYTHING) is that the snow which fell in the southern U.S. was actually a chemical "fake", maybe nanobots. Or genetically engineered snow. Or something.

As "proof", some loons have been posting videos of their crazy attempts to burn the snow, and when holding a lighter under it for a second or three doesn't turn the snowball instantly into water as if they popped a water balloon, it's obvious that the snow is actually a styrofoam hybrid. Or something.

Oh, and the lighter leaves a scorch mark (uh, soot) which is further proof that the snow is some kind of chemical. Like there's no such thing as dirty snow.

Anyway, here's a good video debunking of the snow:

Ironically, there really is a problem with airplane contrails. According to some theories, contrails act as a "seed" for cloud formation, and air travel is responsible for an overall increase in the amount of high-level cirrus clouds since about 1960 or so.

That's right — it's cloudier now than it used to be, and contrails are the reason.

These high-level clouds have two effects, according to a study by a Pennsylvania State researcher. The first is that they shade the Earth a little bit, reflecting some sun away and reducing the amount of light and heat that reaches the surface. That means daytime highs are a little less warm than they would otherwise be.

But the second effect is that they trap the heat that does make it through, thus keeping overnight lows a little less cool than they would otherwise be.

In general, the temperature swing between the warmest part of the day and the coolest part of the night is reduced.

And, because these cirrus clouds are better blankets than they are mirrors, the overall effect is to contribute a little bit to global warming.

So yes, conspiracy theorists, the white trails behind planes are spewing out chemicals (mostly fuel exhaust and the "chemical" of H20) and they are definitely causing a man-made effect on the ground.

It's just not what you think it is.

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Please, I beg you to inform me.

Also, please avoid personal attacks.

Good thing small minds know their limitations. Try researching in the deep end of the information pool for your next article.

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