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Suspicious0bservers is the general name for the group of people that follow the Suspicious0bservers YouTube channel. The channel was founded by Ben Davidson in 2011, and later incorporated as SpaceWeatherNews, LLC. The channel has received over 110 Million views and has more than 350,000 subscribers (December 2018). Ben Davidson has a degree in economics from Denison University and a Juris Doctorate from Capital University Law School. He has no formal science training.
Davidson's ideas have not been well-received by the mainstream science community, although some are becoming increasingly accepted. The delivery and totality of what comprises his hypotheses is often described as confusing since SpaceWeatherNews has books, an App, social media and a daily 'show' about the Sun, Earth and science—all of which have been used to communicate ideas at various times. They also have various websites that prevent easy interpretation of their lexicon; they operate Suspicious0bservers.org, SpaceWeatherNews.com, MagneticReversal.org, QuakeWatch.net, ObservatoryProject.com, and OTF.selz.com—where they sell their books and tickets to their annual conference—two more places full of dubious stuff. The direct links were not provided because none of the websites are worth visiting. In summary, this man (and his followers) are a bit delusional.
Pillars of bollocks
The Suspicious0bservers claim to have four pillars of success, which in reality, are four concepts that are either original to them or are considered outside of the mainstream science viewpoint. They claim that the Sun plays a role in earthquake processes, that electrical activity on Earth can help you "predict" where earthquakes will occur, that climate change is massively flawed due to improper accounting of 'solar forcing', and that dark matter is actually normal matter we can't see—overtly stating that the entire dark matter search has been an expensive waste of time.
Let's begin with climate change. To show fairness to fact, he does begin almost every climate discussion by imploring everyone to stop being wasteful and to stop polluting the Earth, and he has an almost-equally strong opposition to many other climate-deniers who quite obviously are moved by financial interests. His opposition to climate science appears to be motivated entirely by mistake in fact. That is where the logic stops. He cites that the hundreds of solar-forcing papers published over the last few decades, which are not currently modeled in the data, as a critical omission. He also points to the fact that only wave energy (not particle energy) is modeled into the climate as proof that the natural-variability attribution to the atmospheric/oceanic energy budget is inaccurate. This plainly contradicts the majority viewpoint of climate scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the planet continues to get warmer every day while we put more carbon into the air. Unfortunately for the rational world, Ben Davidson's only student (only one parent trusted him apparently) Faris Wald won the 2017 Broadcom MASTERS, a national middle school science championship, for demonstrating that solar coronal holes modulated the number of tropical cyclones on Earth. This has been used as a point of pride by their community, and another notch to the crazy idea that climate change science is somehow wrong.
Cosmology is where Davidson is truly out of his element. Davidson and most of the Suspicious0bservers collective are in the minority viewpoint that dark matter does not exist, and little evidence going back to the start of the YouTube channel that this has ever been different. What they mean to say is that they do not believe it is some new particle like a WIMP or an axion, and instead believe it to be normal matter we cannot see. They say this is a function of dust and plasma being difficult to detect, to dusty plasma acting as a lens of trickery around the Solar System and the Milky Way galaxy, and that the failure to properly account for electromagnetic forces at large scale in the universe causes apparent gravitational attraction that should be attributed elsewhere. To this day dark matter has not been discovered, numerous other theories like MOND or Bose-Einstein condensate structures exist to explain the Universe without dark matter, but this is in no way an accepted idea. The consensus that the dark sector must account for a large portion of the universe is well-tested and is above any reputable dispute.
Davidson's work on earthquakes is perhaps the only place where he deserves credit (apart from successfully duping hundreds of thousands of people into watching his program). In 2015 he published with Dr. Chris Holloman (Statistics, Ohio State University) and Dr. Kongpop U-yen (NASA/Goddard) stating that the solar polar magnetic field, which has peaks in strength and polarity reversals over time, was temporally correlated with M8+ earthquakes. The journal in which it was published is not at all respected. Davidson claims that the various citations of his work (including by other NASA scientists), the continued success of the model over time (which has not yet been published in any journal, only on YouTube), and the launch of the Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite in 2018 are proof that there is merit in further investigation. The problem is that the Sun is 93 million miles away, the gravity just doesn't work to be able to cause earthquakes. The apparent temporal correlation aside, it is widely known that the solar polar fields may be indicative of interplanetary magnetic field character at lower latitudes, but do not interact with earth directly—only through indirect effects on the heliospheric current sheet.
Davidson began discussing what he calls "electroquakes" as early as 2013, but possibly began in 2012 based on the earliest found citation. In his 2016 model (presented here in 2017), he claims to have used the work on pre-seismic electromagnetic anomalies to develop a model of large earthquakes using (1) the global atmospheric electric circuit, as denoted by pressure cells, and (2) earthquakes at the low velocity zone of earth. He claims that by narrowing down the global fault system to 10-15% using this technique one finds 80 to 90% of the M7+ earthquakes occurring in those areas. This is where appearances can be deceiving. Davidson claims that anyone can go and check the daily risk zone and earthquake logs to verify their accuracy — he maintains tools on QuakeWatch.net and uses the twitter account Ben@TheRealS0s to post the findings — but there is no evidence that anyone has actually ever looked through it all (other than Davidson himself) and there is no independent verification of the statistics. Davidson also claims that mainstream science has caught on to his concept of electroquakes because (1) a team of NASA and ETH scientists began using electromagnetic precursors to study the predictability of earthquakes in late 2017, a paper which has yet to be published in a mainstream journal, (2) the Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite, and (3) the 2018 book by the AGU on the subject, which does heavily involve electromagnetic pre-seismic anomalies. Unfortunately for Davidson, none of the three cite his 2015 paper, and there is no evidence at all to suggest that he had any influence on these revelations. Davidson claims that dozens scientists from universities, NASA, NOAA, the USGS, and more attend his conferences and converse with him privately, but apart from the speakers from NASA/universities there has only been one notable name at any of their — John Coleman, another notable climate denier.
- Davidson, Ben. Weatherman's Guide to the Sun, 2nd Ed. (2018) SpaceWeatherNews
- 2017 Announcement of National Middle School Science Champion. https://www.abqjournal.com/1082606/santa-fe-student-wins-25000-stem-prize.html
- Davidson, B., Holloman, C., U-Yen, K. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN M8+ EARTHQUAKE OCCURRENCES AND THE SOLAR POLAR MAGNETIC FIELDS, New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal, v3. n3. 2015 http://suspicious0bservers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Paper-1.pdf
- Urata et al. (2018) GEOMAGNETIC KP AND EARTHQUAKES. OJER, v7, n1 https://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=82421
- Davidson discusses 'electroquakes' in 2013 https://youtu.be/qRZLaQ_OxBE
- Freund et al. (2017) Earthquake Precursors in light of proxy defects theory. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.01780.pdf
- Ouzoinov et al. (2018) Pre-Earthquake Processes. Wiley/AGU, Geophysical Monograph Serieshttps://www.wiley.com/en-us/Pre+Earthquake+Processes%3A+A+Multidisciplinary+Approach+to+Earthquake+Prediction+Studies-p-9781119156932