MAGIC HATS

Popular Science investigates: “Can tinfoil hats actually prevent the government from reading your thoughts?”

Posted by Tim B. on 05/30/2006 at 10:53 PM
    1. Perhaps the most credible theory since 15% of the Air America listening audience believed that the weather was controlled by the CIA using a fleet of black helicopters.

      Posted by Hank Reardon on 2006 05 30 at 11:12 PM • permalink

 

    1. Tin foil hats work great if you make them with a left-hand twist and carry a large magnet in your pocket.
      The only downside is many women will ask: “Do you find me attractive, or is that a large anti-mind reading magnet in your pocket that amplifies your tin foil hat?”

      Posted by perfectsense on 2006 05 30 at 11:17 PM • permalink

 

    1. A great source of large magnets is broken microwave ovens.  Such magnets have the bonus of being ring-shaped, which in light of #2 opens up surprising possibilities…

      Posted by ChrisPer on 2006 05 30 at 11:23 PM • permalink

 

    1. Obviously this is not a legitimate scientific test, as the proper method of making what is technically referred to as an Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie involves coating the device in copious amounts of scotch tape, which adds yet another layer of protection. I’d have thought those Popular Science guys would have tested the state of the art version…

      Posted by ballison on 2006 05 30 at 11:25 PM • permalink

 

    1. For some reason, even though the tinfoil amplifies the brain signal, it is still heavily scrambled and incomprehensible.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2006 05 30 at 11:30 PM • permalink

 

    1. There have previously been academic studies into this important question.

      See Rahimi, Recht, Taylor and Vawter: On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study, MIT 2005.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 05 30 at 11:31 PM • permalink

 

    1. Sorry, I only use tinfoil to wrap cucumbers.

      Posted by andycanuck on 2006 05 30 at 11:31 PM • permalink

 

    1. Oh, wait. I just read the Popular Science article and can see they referenced the same paper, yet it took them over a year to notice it.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 05 30 at 11:32 PM • permalink

 

    1. Tim, I think it’s about time you struck a blow for Australian English. I don’t mind American usages when they make better sense than Australian usages, but TINfoil?! It’s aluminium foil. And it’s not spelt aluminum. (Although come to think of it, aluminum makes sense as it’s consistent with platinum etc… I think I’m just rambling… as you were folks.)

      Posted by quillpen on 2006 05 30 at 11:37 PM • permalink

 

    1. Now that the global warming debate is ‘over’ our scientists and there sponsors have simply taken the next logical step.

      Posted by Mattofact on 2006 05 30 at 11:47 PM • permalink

 

    1. Sorry, I only use tinfoil to wrap cucumbers.

      My dad tried that.  Six kids.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 30 at 11:48 PM • permalink

 

    1. I don’t mind American usages when they make better sense than Australian usages, but TINfoil?!

      my vote is for the word ‘tinfoil’ as it was used here. Sure, it’s made of aluminium, not tin, but tinfoil sounds like a word, goddammit, a regular, knockabout word, that you can wrap your lunch in. Tinfoil is a common household object, so it needs a common household name. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 05 30 at 11:57 PM • permalink

 

    1. #11, cling wrap and a rubber band has got to be better.

      Posted by closeapproximation on 2006 05 31 at 12:00 AM • permalink

 

    1. Aww, maaan! There go my Alcoa shares!

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 05 31 at 12:01 AM • permalink

 

    1. For some reason, even though the tinfoil amplifies the brain signal, it is still heavily scrambled and incomprehensible.

      that’s just what they want you to think.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 05 31 at 12:06 AM • permalink

 

    1. People actually wear those hats? I thought it was more of a metaphor. this is funnier than ever.

      Hey, doesn’t aluminium come from Gaia? Is that ethical? Doesn’t aluminium invlove the production of, gasp, gas?

      Posted by Nic on 2006 05 31 at 12:15 AM • permalink

 

    1. #11 Your dad was in Spinal Tap, Richard? Wow! Someone famous Another famous person at Tim’s blog.

      Posted by andycanuck on 2006 05 31 at 12:20 AM • permalink

 

    1. Quick off the mark again– get an RSS feed for fucks sake!

      Posted by Habib on 2006 05 31 at 12:24 AM • permalink

 

    1. #13

      Isn’t that dangerous? I mean, if the rubber band is/gets too tight…

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 31 at 01:15 AM • permalink

 

    1. Who the hell paid for this experiment?  Was tax money involved?  You know, money from the government.

      I’m trying lead next.  (You don’t want to be known as a lead-head, do you?) What?  Whozat?

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 05 31 at 01:43 AM • permalink

 

    1. People who wear tin foil hats probably don’t have any thoughts worth reading anyway.

      Posted by Rory on 2006 05 31 at 01:44 AM • permalink

 

    1. must… stop…. laughing…..

      MarkL
      Canberra

      Posted by MarkL on 2006 05 31 at 02:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’m with Nic.

      You mean it isn’t just a metaphor; that there are real people who actually wear these things?

      No, it’s a satire, isn’t it?

      Posted by tertius on 2006 05 31 at 02:26 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’ve seen footage from an anti-war protest in SFO, and there was a whole phlanx of ageing nut pies with their empty heads encased in alfoil. Hilarious- the funniest thing is that aluminium is unaffected by magnetism, a phenomena reserved for ferric compounds.

      Try looking for bodyfiller on a Landrover or Rangerover using the old magnet test- according to that, the whole vehicle appears to be made out of bog. (Aluminium panels you see).

      I might start an urban myth that gang nails inserted into your sinuses act as an antenna for transmissions from friendly aliens, who want to pass on vital data about making alternative energy viable and halting global warming- that’d be a jolly jape.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 05 31 at 02:42 AM • permalink

 

    1. Assume the absurd for just one small moment: that the “government” can actually read everybody’s thoughts.

      Now spare another small moment to think about what a lousy job sifting through all that drivel would be for some poor civil service saps in a “government agency.”

      Posted by JJM Ballantyne on 2006 05 31 at 02:51 AM • permalink

 

    1. Actually here’s one who should be wearing foil on at least one of his heads; he has some form of beanie, but some sort of cooking wrap around where apparently most of his synapsing is occuring would prevent shrinkage due due the cold.

      What’s more, should he adopt the religion he is supporting here, he’s assured of some action at his reward, if he decides to martyr himself all over some crowded shopping precinct or public transport vehicle.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 05 31 at 02:55 AM • permalink

 

    1. It’s not the authorities I don’t want reading or listening in to my thoughts/brainwaves.  If my wife ever knew what I really thought of the hot divorcee next door, well….

      Posted by stickit on 2006 05 31 at 03:03 AM • permalink

 

    1. Wrapping your head completely in cling film will also stop the government reading your thoughts… and pulse.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2006 05 31 at 03:45 AM • permalink

 

    1. Professional paranoids don’t use foil for their helmets.

      But why stop at the head? If you really wamt to be safe, shield the whole body.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 2006 05 31 at 03:48 AM • permalink

 

    1. The only sure way to prevent the government from reading your thoughts using the tinfoil hat and microwave technique* is to insert your head inside the microwave after donning the hat, set the power to high and the timer for 3 minutes.

      *some post operation clean-up required

      Posted by Texas Bob on 2006 05 31 at 03:58 AM • permalink

 

    1. #29

      EP, I am gobsmacked. What is up with these people?

      MarkL
      Canberra
      (For God’s sake don’t tell Deborah at Bartlett’s)

      Posted by MarkL on 2006 05 31 at 04:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. #25, JJM Ballantyne,

      Assume the absurd for just one small moment: that the “government” can actually read everybody’s thoughts.
      Now spare another small moment to think about what a lousy job sifting through all that drivel would be for some poor civil service saps in a “government agency.”

      But this is exactly what some folks in Congress think is going on with the NSA’s “domestic wiretapping”.  I want to know just where they’ve put all of the people they’ve had to hire to listen to all of the billions and billions of phone calls.

      P.S.  Ha Ha!  I wrote that some folk in Congress actually think.  It’s early and I’m tired.

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 05 31 at 04:36 AM • permalink

 

    1. Dunno if it stops them being able to but it might just stop them wanting to.

      Posted by Looneyc on 2006 05 31 at 05:21 AM • permalink

 

    1. 13 closeapproximation

      cling wrap and a rubber band has got to be better.

      No, no…Geez. That is reserved for Halloween. And it is not so much on the head, as it is over the face.

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 05 31 at 05:33 AM • permalink

 

    1. Evil Pundit

      DELUXE SHIELDING DRESS SHIRT

      Planet of Pluto Government Warning
      You must take care in not wearing any such Shield Ware® Product in, near or around areas with Electromagnetic fields. In fact You should not wear Shield Ware® near refrigerator magnets, either.

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 05 31 at 05:44 AM • permalink

 

    1. fools! it’s not thought control waves you should be worried about – it’s subliminal suggestions from the radio the aliens implanted in your head after that last bucket bong

      o/t – the uncyclopedia has branched into strine

      Posted by KK on 2006 05 31 at 06:34 AM • permalink

 

    1. This goes far to explain the magic CIA hat:

      “They gave me a hat,” Mr. Kerry says. “I have the hat to this day,” he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. “I have the hat.”

      Posted by mark from monroe on 2006 05 31 at 09:11 AM • permalink

 

    1. #’s 13, 14, 17 — Not to mention, the crinkling noises kept the whole block awake…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 31 at 09:34 AM • permalink

 

    1. More thrilling . . . Tales From the Magic Hat

      John Kerry and his magic hat enjoy a three-day furlough.

      Hat: What’s he doing now? Oh, Lord!, he’s writing in his diary again. Let’s see what today’s exercise in fiction will be.

      “Dear Diary” –

      Finally, I get a few days off from winning this illegal war single-handedly! I’ve really come to hate this river-boat detail. The humidity is making my hair curl, and while that’s good for giving me the boyish aura so vital for attracting rich widows, it’s likely to signal ‘youth and inexperience’ back on the campaign trail.

      Saw Ensign Smith committing an atrocity, today; he was handing out some left-over c-rations to the natives. God, those things are nasty! He’ll never win their hearts and minds that way. They’d be much better off eating some of this delicious tinned quail. Which I would have shared if I’d had enough. Which I didn’t.

      I wonder why cousin Eustace sent me this ridiculous hat (Hey!)? It looks like some kind of K-Mart Blue Light Special. Hmmm. Special . . . special . . . I know what I’ll do! I’ll fob it off on my future constituents as a gift from one of those Special Forces wackos. Maybe I can even work it into some story about going on a secret mission into Laos, or whatever that country is across the river. Man, by the time I get back home, I’ll make Audie Murphy look like some kind of malingerer!

      Posted by paco on 2006 05 31 at 09:46 AM • permalink

 

    1. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if more attention had been paid to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and the Space Preservation Act of 2001 had been passed into law. Among other things, it would have banned implementation or even research into systems capable of:

      (ii) Inflicting death or injury on… a person … through the use of land-based, sea-based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations…

      This visionary politician was at one time a contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2006 05 31 at 09:50 AM • permalink

 

    1. Sorry, I only use tinfoil to wrap cucumbers.

      My dad tried that.  Six kids.

      Obviously your dad didn’t know the answer either.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 05 31 at 09:55 AM • permalink

 

    1. They did it wrong. It’s been demonstrated many times…

      TIN-foil hats protect you from Them.

      ALUMINUM-foil (the Americans invented it, let’s say it their way) hats amplify the nefarious rays.

      Why do you think aluminum is ubiquitous and tin use has almost completely died out? Duh! The Man obviously developed and promotes aluminum foil so His mind-controlling technology works, even better on those who are against Him.

      Note that all is not lost. In many supermarkets you can still buy real tin-foil. If you value your brain and free-thought, check the label!

      (I can’t believe I registered to post this.)

      Posted by jabberwocky on 2006 05 31 at 10:16 AM • permalink

 

    1. jabberwocky

      I can’t believe I registered to post this

      Well neither can we, ummmm, I, meaning we and I did the same, probably for the same strange desire to set the record straight on tin or as the Brits say aluminium, OR equally important other things, (such as does the rhythm method, have a Bass Guitar, OR can one really ignite farts).

      Oh and welcome and as a newbie, you get to sweep the stables….lol.

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 05 31 at 10:39 AM • permalink

 

    1. Paco–after he ate the quail, did he suck the tiny bones?

      I have a titanium plate in my cervical spine.  I like telling people my radio reception is much better now, just to see the looks on their faces.

      Posted by ushie on 2006 05 31 at 11:39 AM • permalink

 

    1. 8 Dan Lewis

      I just read the Popular Science article and can see they referenced the same paper, yet it took them over a year to notice it.

      Peer review is a time-consuming process.

      Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 2006 06 01 at 12:06 PM • permalink

 

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