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How long could a big conspiracy really last ?

Posted on Wednesday, 27 January, 2016 | Comment icon 72 comments

Could a moon landing hoax have been kept secret for nearly 50 years ? Image Credit: NASA
A new maths study has suggested that it is very difficult to keep a conspiracy under wraps for long.
From the idea that global warming is a hoax to the notion that man never set foot on the moon - conspiracy theories continue to remain a significant part of today's popular culture.

But just how long could a conspiracy like this really remain a secret in this day and age ?

To help answer this question, Dr David Grimes, a post-doctoral physicist at Oxford University, has developed a mathematical equation based on three main factors - the number of people involved, the amount of time that has passed and the probability of a conspiracy failing.

The equation was derived using data from several known conspiracies such as the Tuskegee syphilis experiment which managed to remain under wraps for several decades.

After applying the equation to a number of well known conspiracy theories he was then able to determine how long it should have taken for one of the conspirators to come clean.

The results indicated that a moon landing hoax would have taken just 3.7 years to be revealed.

"While I think it's difficult to impossible to sway those with a conviction, I would hope this paper is useful to those more in the middle ground who might wonder whether scientists could perpetuate a hoax or not," he wrote.

Source: BBC News | Comments (72)

Tags: Conspiracy

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #63 Posted by unclefred on 20 July, 2016, 16:31
It's obvious that the more people involved the harder it is to keep a secret. However, when the information is compartmentalized the 'secret' is only exposed in small bits of info that often cannot be connected or verified as a whole. That's basic intel procedure. Plausable deniability.
Comment icon #64 Posted by W H I T E on 20 July, 2016, 17:10
Exactly. Just the thought that a single person could spill an entire 'conspiracy', let alone have all the necessary evidence plus a proper channel in which to deliver it, seems a bit simple.
Comment icon #65 Posted by W H I T E on 20 July, 2016, 17:16
If you've got a problem with me, then be specific.
Comment icon #66 Posted by ChaosRose on 20 July, 2016, 17:22
Comment icon #67 Posted by ChaosRose on 20 July, 2016, 17:26
They get it from the bible.
Comment icon #68 Posted by Merc14 on 20 July, 2016, 17:33
Specific about what? You don't say anything in your little one line bromides but they suggest you have some axe to grind that you have yet to announce. I'm just waiting to see what axe you will be grinding but have little doubt what direction it will take.
Comment icon #69 Posted by W H I T E on 20 July, 2016, 17:38
Why don't you pick something I've said, then, and use your little noodle to try to explain why you think it's wrong. I will be happy to discuss it with you.
Comment icon #70 Posted by Merc14 on 20 July, 2016, 17:48
I am guessing you have reading comprehension issues so I suggest you reread what I wrote and realize I am waiting to see what your pet peeve is. I may be completely wrong about youbut I'll wait and see, sooner or later you'll let us know. Why don't you take a look at this thread and post your thoughts
Comment icon #71 Posted by W H I T E on 20 July, 2016, 17:53
To be perfectly frank, and judging by your approach to me, I couldn't possibly care less what you think. It is as meaningless to me as a "post count". Hope that helps.
Comment icon #72 Posted by Merc14 on 20 July, 2016, 18:18
Copy all, and it shouldn't but no, that doesn't help, guess we'll have to wait.

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