Tin Foiled Again

By Phil Plait | November 16, 2005 10:16 pm

Are those pesky government mind-controlling rays getting you down, forcing you to pay taxes, making you believe that Intelligent Design is an actual scientific theory?

Then do I have a paper for you! As only those wackheads at MIT can do, they tested the permeability and opacity of aluminum-foil hats to various emissions, to see how well they actually work to block any telekinetically-imposed outside behavioral patterns on an otherwise innocent population. And then they published their results!

They found that the hats do well blocking some transmissions, but surprisingly appear to have amplified some wavelength ranges of electromagnetic energy… suspiciously, a band reserved by the government for its own (presumably nefarious) reasons!

I think this was an interesting test, but they missed a very obvious problem: they used aluminum foil for their hats, and not tin, as they should have ("aluminum-foil hats" doesn’t have the same ring to it). Without this control, how can we know if we are safe or not? Perhaps someone at MIT reads this blog, and will do the obvious follow-up experiment. Don’t expect government funding, though.

Their results are nonetheless intriguing, and make me even more suspicious of any group who claim to make an off-the-shelf model.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Cool stuff, Time Sink

Comments (23)

  1. Pete

    Hmmm…I think I see a money making idea. A range of government proof hats with a selection of accessories. Perhaps ‘I heart I.D.’ key chains or whistles (for when the spooks bundle you into the back of a van for knowing too much).

    I love these random experiments!

  2. Stuart Greig

    MIT study debunked:


    Is this conspiracy theorist a government stooge? Does he even realise? Is his beanie hat contributing to the control over him?

    Aarrghh I’m going in circles, is my paranoia induced and will it get worse with a paranoiac reducing helmet. Help!

  3. Sid

    Now it is clear why we are inclined to use baggies and ziplocs for sandwiches. Lunch meat must have performed similar experiments much earlier (maybe in the 60s) than we humans and discovered the signal bands that are amplified by the aluminum foil. They then used the bands to transmit instructions to those humans wearing foil hats to create non-foil-based wrappers so that they (the lunch meats) would not be susceptible to any mind-altering communications from the government. This explains the move to plastics instead of aluminum foil. Did the lunch meats also discover some similar issue with wax paper? (MIT – take note – further experiments may be necessary!)

    Which also explains why the government imposed regulations on labeling of packaged foods (such as lunch meats.) The CIA must have discovered the lunch meat plot and used the labeling to try to disuade Americans from purchasing lunch meats, thereby reducing the lunch meat population and their threat to the government. It didn’t work because the government didn’t take into account Americans’ malaise already induced by the lunch meat plot. I’m sure that some of the UFO-related goverment documents from the 60s and 70s that are now being released will shed some light (somewhere in the GPS band) on this.

    I must get more information on the MIT study so I can redesign my fez.

  4. Sid

    More information!

    Someone just mentioned that lunch meats by themselves probably do not have the intelligence to have pulled all this off by themselves. Therefore, this all must have been a conspiracy involving white bread and mayonnaise! OhMyGod! Maybe even Kraft cheese slices!

    (ID reference not intentional. I’m sure they had nothing to do with this.)

    Or it could have been just the bread crusts out of frustration from being left off all those sandwiches!

    Too much research to do. Must design new helmet quickly to reduce food influences on my thoghts!

  5. Evolving Squid

    I’ve always wondered why anyone would think they are so important that the government would make the effort to control their lives with mind control rays… let alone mind control rays that could be blocked by a foil hat.

    To me, that’s a special kind of crazy.

  6. Kim

    That Amway foil hat recklessly endangers people’s lives! Don’t they realize that without a chain of paper clips extending from the hat to the ground, wearers are in danger of electrocution? Please, people, don’t wear an ungrounded foil hat — it’s for your own safety.

  7. aiabx

    Kim, Kim, Kim… why don’t you just unmask yourself as an agent of the Illuminati right now? It’s obvious that a grounded tinfoil hat will let the orgone leak out and render the hat useless.
    -Andy B

  8. BMW

    Heh, there is no way they can get this right, cause everyone knows that you have to PUT THE SHINEY SIDE IN! and they did the opposite.


  9. Irishman

    If you look at the rebuttal site, you find that the investigators clearly didn’t understand the nature of the “mind control rays” that the hats are supposed to prevent. They may or may not pretect against regular radio waves, but since the proposed mind control rays are “psychotronic energy”, the conclusions from the test are invalid. Clearly. 😉

  10. Evolving Squid

    “psychotronic energy�, the conclusions from the test are invalid.

    I’ve heard that CERN is building a large, ring psychotron under the Alps even as we speak. This 200 km diameter ring psychotron will be used to conduct high energy mind control experiments, egg balancing on non-equinox days, and explore the four-corner time-cube theory of life, the universe and everything.

    The ring is being paid for by secret branches of the UN, using the new, secret UN currency that will supplant the greenback in the USA.

  11. THX-1138

    I used to think all these conspiracy theories were amusing, but no longer. They are toxic memes. I’ve met people so addled with them they are almost completely disassociated from reality, and need severe and immediate psychological help (which they are not going to get).

    I met my friend’s nephew last month. The poor kid is so steeped in this nonsense he actually thinks he is living in one of the most totalitarian and oppressive police states ever to exist. I tried to get him to read “Maus” by Art Spiegelman, but no go.

    What’s funny is that they always say, “Oh! Go to blah blah Bush blah Nazi blah dot org and get the FACTS!!!” If you actually go to one of those sites, all the “FACTS!!!” are backed up by links to other “FACTS!!!” on other similar sites. The other sites link back to the one you started out on. It’s a circle of cites beginning nowhere and ending nowhere. It’s a fantasy reality constructed in the form of a Mobius strip.

    And people call me an elitist when I suggest my vote should count more than their vote. :(

  12. Irishman

    Yeah, well my cousin sent me an email wanting me to buy in to his perpetual motion machine. *sigh*

  13. Nigel Depledge

    “…they used aluminum foil for their hats, and not tin, as they should have (“aluminum-foil hats” doesn’t have the same ring to it). ”

    BA, tinfoil is called tinfoil because it has a relatively high tin content. Its principal component is still aluminium (or aluminum). So this is not a problem.

  14. Nigel Depledge

    Stuart Greig said :

    “Is this conspiracy theorist a government stooge? Does he even realise? Is his beanie hat contributing to the control over him?

    Aarrghh I’m going in circles, is my paranoia induced and will it get worse with a paranoiac reducing helmet. Help! ”

    The question, Stuart, is not “Am I paranoid?”.

    The really important question is “Am I paranoid *enough*?” :)

  15. Nigel Depledge

    We should also warn people not to go out in a thuderstorm wearing one of these foil hats ….

  16. Timothy Gaede

    A one thousand-fold amplification at the frequencies used for cell phones?

    I knew it!

    But wearing a foil helmet gets me nervous glances…especially at airports.

  17. George

    Hmmmm…I tried the aluminum foil under my hat to see if this would boost my remote car door lock/unlock range. Sadly, it did not.

    Of course, I am using the method my son taught me over a year ago. Namely, aim your remote unit under your jaw while looking at your vehicle. The range increase, with our without “tin” foil, is 25%.

  18. Nigel Depledge

    That’s ‘cos the transmitter uses you as a groundplane and / or reflector element. All that salty water in your body has to be good for something.

    It should work for all remotes, except for infrared ones, in which case it won’t make the blindest bit of difference.

  19. I have personally made and worn one of those hats. I can declare that they are comfortable and can stand up to any force except that of a pet cat.

  20. Irishman

    One more comment on the aluminum vs. tin thing – the official website promoting beanies is the Aliminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB), so the test was appropriate on those grounds.

  21. I noticed that “Evolving Squid” referred to Time Cube, the ultimate theory of everything. More information about Time Cube is available at Cubic Awareness Online. Hopefully this’ll help evolving squids to evolve into supersquids. Let’s exhort all squids to cube it up real good.

  22. Die geringsten Margen gibts bei Techmania


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar