Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Maurice Cotterell manages to be even more wrong

        I didn't think my jaw could drop any further than it did back in January 2017, in disbelief that Maurice Cotterell could be invited onto a popular overnight radio show to explain a mathematical idea that was so totally wrong that it "made one gasp and stretch one's eyes" (to misappropriate Hillaire Belloc's very inventive expressionnote 1).

        And yet, here he was, last Sunday night on Coast to Coast AM, going one better. Just like last time, he was only summarizing what is on his web site so you can get the whole thing without having to slog through two hours of audio.

        He seeks to explain why so many Mars landers have crashed instead of soft-landing as intended (10 out of 18, according to him, and for all I know it may be the correct figure). Here are the steps in what he laughingly calls his "logic":
  1. The gravitational attraction a planet has for an object in its vicinity is only partly described by the Newtonian force G.m1.m2/d2
  2. There's an additional term to consider, the centrifugal force generated by the planet's rotation.
  3. This force acts in opposition to the Newtonian force.
  4. Since Mars' rotation rate is 2.5% slower than that of Earth (actually the firgure is 2.8%) it generates less centrifugal force, and therefore more effective gravity, in its vicinity than Earth.
  5. An incoming lander is subject to the sum of the forces of gravity and centrifugal.
  6. Therefore a terminal flight profile calculated to be correct in Earth conditions fails on Mars.

Is he right? No, of course he isn't
        Well, first off let me say that centrifugal force acting in opposition to the force of gravity on the surface of a planet is, indeed, a reality. "It's a thing," in the slang of today. This force can readily be calculated; it is

-(mvcos L)/r 

where m is the mass of an object on the surface of a rotating planet
v is the linear velocity of the planetary surface at the equator (465 m/sec for Earth)
r is the radius of the planet (6.378 x 106 m for Earth)
L is the latitude where the force is measured

        For Earth, the (v2 cos L)/r  term works out as 0.034 m/sec2 at the equator where cos L evaluates to 1. A body, such as a fat woman, of mass 100kg weighs 340 grams less at the equator than at the poles, where cos L, and the centrifugal force, are both zero.note 2

        Statements 1 & 2 are therefore in general correct when considering an object on a planet's surface. Statement 3 is also correct—it's perfectly possible to imagine a planet that rotates so rapidly that anything not tied down at its equator would be flung off into space. We would say that centrifugal force exceeds the force of gravity, in such a case.note 3

        Statement 4 is a problem although Cotterell is basically correct in writing that centrifugal force is less on Mars. It has as much to do with the smaller size of the planet as with its rotation rate. However, that small difference is swamped by the fact that Newtonian gravity is very much less. Here are the figures (at the equator in both cases):

        Earth, acceleration due to gravity: 9.863 m/sec2
        Earth, acceleration due to centrifugal force: -0.034 m/sec2
        Net acceleration: 9.829 m/sec2

        Mars, acceleration due to gravity: 3.721 m/sec2
        Mars, acceleration due to centrifugal force: -0.0171 m/sec2
        Net acceleration: 3.704 m/sec2

         It's in writing Statement 5 that Cotterell has gone completely haywire. He writes "Newton failed to recognize, in his equation, that a falling body is also under the influence of 'centrifugal force' caused by the spinning of the Earth on its axis." He's taken the purely local and surface-based phenomenon of centrifugal force, and made it a property of the planet as a whole, extending beyond the surface into the region where incoming landers start feeling the effect of a planet's gravity. This is as preposterous as Cotterell's prior comments about gravity, and shows complete lack of understanding of physics. Of course a spacecraft having no physical contact with a planet cannot possibly be influenced by rotation of the planet. Neither can a falling apple, come to that, so Newton's equation describes that event accurately.note 4

        Statement 6 suggests that engineers devising flight profiles for soft landings simply don't know about this, and therefore miscalculate. Last Sunday night, even that old softie George Noory demurred in the gentlest possible way. He reminded Cotterell that the landing of MSL and its rover Curiosity in Gale crater six years ago (almost to the day, actually) had been a brilliant success and by no means a miscalculation. Cotterell mumbled something about engineers having learnt that when they completed their calculations they should "add a little bit, just for luck."

        Cotterell is kind-of entertaining I suppose, with his bluff manner and his soft Lancashire accent, but he should be permanently banned from the fields of physics and mathematics lest he do even more damage to them.

=================/ \=====================
[1] "Matilda told such dreadful lies"

[2] In fact, there's another phenomenon that affects the acceleration due to gravity on the planet's surface. The equatorial radius is 6378 km but the polar radius is only 6357 km. Since the fat woman is 21 km further away from the center of the planet when she's on the equator than when she's at the poles, gravity has less of a hold on her. The effect amounts to 0.668%.

[3] I'm going to be in trouble with the purists for even talking in terms of "centrifugal force." To them, this force is merely the "equal and opposite" reaction to a centripetal force. They would prefer to say "The force of gravity is inadequate to provide the centripetal force needed to keep objects attached to the planet." See the difference? But Cotterell uses centrifugal, and it's intuitive, so I'm going to stick with it.

[4] Note that as long as the apple is attached to the tree, it is pulled upwards by the small amount attributable to centrifugal force. As soon as it detaches, however, that small upward force vanishes.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Robert Morningstar: FAIL!!

James Concannon writes...

        In my opinion, Robert Morningstar has just suffered the most humiliating failure of his career. The closest approach by Mars for 15 years has come and gone without any of the disaster effect AM* predicted. On Facebook, Morningstar is now dodging and weaving, making up excuse after excuse, but it's pretty much an open-and-shut case. This was his word-for-word prediction, on FB 17th July:
"Mars' passage close to Earth on July 31st, 2018 will created [sic] super storms like Katrina (again, as it did i 2003), along with volcanic activity and intense electrical storms around the globe. Be ready for something and anything."
        Let's take this piece by piece. I'm allowing one day either side of his prediction, to be generous, so I'll be reporting activity for the three days 30th July—1st August.


        The closest thing to a superstorm in the last week was typhoon Jongdari, which caused havoc in Japan on 29th. Hilariously, just as the "Mars effect" hit us on 30th, Jongdari was downgraded to a tropical storm. There were torrential rains in Myanmar but, y'know, it's monsoon season so there's nothing unusual about that.

        Grasping at what straws were in the wind, Morningstar cited what he called "devastation" in Mexico. What a joke. The weather system he spotted was a depression which eventually became tropical storm Hector. Wind speeds were reported as a mere  35 knots, gusting to 45. No reports of any damage, loss of life or even injury.

        When I pointed this out, Morningstar replied "I think a crashed airliner is devastating enough. N'est as, Dumas?" OHH... OHHH.... a crashed airliner, oh yes how silly of me. At 3:45 pm on July 31st, Aeroméxico Connect Flight 2431 crashed almost immediately after take-off from Durango International Airport. A hailstorm was in progress, and the Embraer twin-jet with 103 aboard was probably the victim of a down-draft. All 103 people walked away, although there were 85 injuries.

        Is Morningstar seriously expecting us to equate this incident with Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane that caused catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas in August 2005? The cities of Gulfport MS and New Orleans LA were substantially destroyed, and 1,245 people died from the immediate impact and subsequent flooding. Wind speed of 280 km/h was recorded. So don't give me crashed small airliners with no fatalities, although the incident was no doubt devastating to those involved.

Volcanic activity
None, other than ongoing sequences such as the eruption of Kilauea, which began 30th April.

        Again wriggling, Morningstar cited the 27th July evacuation of Ambae island due to the imminent eruption of the Manaro Voui volcano. In fact, the island had been evacuated already, starting in September 2017 when volcanic activity increased to Level 4, and reinforced in April this year. The island is coated with a deep layer of ash but there are no reports of death or injury. So even if this eruption had happened during the three days of the Mars effect, it would have been pretty unimpressive.

        Morningstar's prediction did not specifically mention earthquakes, but under the general heading "something and anything..." the three days of the "Mars effect" were free of any major seisms anywhere on the globe. The closest was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake at Lombok, Inodnesia that killed 14. That was on the 29th so it doesn't count.

Intense electrical storms around the globe
        This one is interesting. The lightning maps maintained by Blitzortung.org showed that Europe had been unusually sparky during the week prior to Morningstar's predicted effect.

Lightning, Europe, 28th July

By the 31st, Europe had calmed down somewhat

Lightning, Europe, 31st July

As for "across the globe", that one was a busted prediction without doubt. Here's North America and the Caribbean:

Lightning, North America, 31st July

...and as for the Southern hemisphere, calm prevailed:

Lightning, Oceania/Australasia 31st July

         These maps all show the lightning strikes accumulated from noon to 2pm local time on the dates indicated.

Morningstar pleads for more time
        Morningstar got so interested in this topic that he sat down and wrote a pseudo-scientific essay, The Mars Effect: How Mars’ Close Passage Exerts Geo-Magneto-Electric Effects Inducing Electrical Forces in the Earth’s Core.  Here are some excerpts from this woefully ill-informed work, which muddies the waters by conflating the Mars approach and the Lunar eclipse of 27th July:
During an eclipse, whether solar or lunar, there will be a summation of G Forces when in concert (i.e. in the same direction during solar eclipse),  or  as opposing G Forces during lunar eclipses).
When in that celestial configuration, there will be a differential subtraction of gravitational forces, whose buildup and break-down phases will compound the G-stresses on the Earth’s core and the Earth’s mantle as the 2 gravitational forces,
However, in this unique case of July 29th, 2018, with Mars involved, there were  3 sets of contending G-forces, tangling and tugging on each other like rubber bands from different angles at every passing moment as Sun, Earth, Moon transited in lunar eclipse, as Mars raced toward the Earth-Moon system with astronomical speed, interacting with gravitational forces and geo-magnetically with Sun, Earth and Moon during lunar eclipse:
The magnetic fields of all these celestial bodies were forced toward each other, pushing pressing, intersecting, overlapping, and thereby, inducing electrical activity between them and amongst them.
Finally, the Disentanglement Phase of the G Bands, where Mars is concerned, may take weeks to unwind, and so The Mars Effects on Earth’s weather, its plate tectonics and volcanic activities could take several weeks to dissipate, but during this critical phase a new series of super storm could be spawned by The Mars Effect like Mars did in 2003, spawning the super hurricanes, Katrina, Rita and Ophelia, which I announced and predicted on July 5th, 2003 while speaking as guest n the Jonathan P. Casey Radio Show, broadcast in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.
        Morningstar seems incapable of understanding that the Sun/Earth/Moon alignment happens every single month, at New Moon and Full Moon. In gravitational terms, there's nothing special about an eclipse. He also seems unaware that Mars has no magnetic field, and he has the date of hurricane Katrina wrong. When I asked him, on Facebook, what his source was for the information that the Mars effect would now drag on for three more weeks, his hilarious reply was «I am "The Source."»

The mathematics
        I must admit I got a surprise when I calculated the actual gravitational interaction between Earth and Mars. The answer is, with Mars in conjunction, 2.409 x 1016 newtons. With Mars at opposition, its closest approach, 8.76 x 1016 newtons, or 3.64 times as much. Even though a newton is a rather small force (roughly 4.5 to the pound) that's more than I expected. Note that the accelerations produced are 0.403 x 10-8 and 1.47 x 10-8 respectively—very, very small numbers).

        The gravitational attraction of the Sun is 40,000 times stronger and that from the Moon 200 times stronger. Dreamers like Morningstar should contemplate such data before they go making silly predictions.

        Let there be no doubt about it—regardless of how Mr. Morningstar now spins the data, this one was a total bust.

Update 14th August:
       Hector developed into a category 4 hurricane, and was thought at one time to be a threat to Hawai'i. It holds the record for most time (186 hours) as a cat 4 in the NE Pacific. However, it missed all the islands to the South and rapidly weakened. As of today it's been downgraded to a tropical storm. If Hector had ever become cat 5, and especially if it had done significant damage in Hawai'i, Morningstar would have been jumping up and down yelling about what a brilliant prognosticator he is. As things stand, his talents are seen to be crap.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Richard Hoagland and numerology

        I'm getting a bit bored with pseudoscientists who begin their sentences with "What if..." What follows is invariably the grossest speculation without any supporting evidence, but somehow the whole sentence acquires some sense of authority—or at least, that is what is hoped. I guess my standard reply is "What if you're totally wrong about that?"

        We have a brilliant example before us, in Richard Hoagland's reaction to the recent announcement by Orosei et al, in "Science" 25 July 2018 of an extensive underground "lake" (probably more like a sludgy deposit, in reality) 1.6km under the Planum Australe region of Mars. On his Other Side of Midnight web page Hoagland writes:
What if, in fact, the Europeans actually have detected the radar signature of an ancient, buried, long-abandoned Martian city … the last surviving one … before “the Martians” were forced to come to Earth?
Richard, what if that's a load of bollocks?

        For extra hilarity, Hoagland has again totally distorted his own theory about the number 19.5. According to his writings, it has significance as a latitude (either N or S) on a spinning sphere.  But he's had no hesitation about drawing attention to the number when it's a longitude, a time, the apparent magnitude of a comet, the inclination of an orbit, the NASA budget in $billion, or the price of a shirt at Old Navy. He also apparently can't perceive any difference between 19.5, 195, 1950 and the times 19h30min and 19h50min.

        The sub-surface sludge on Mars is centered at 193°E, 81°S, and that's apparently close enough for Hoagland, since he also wrote that this was another 19.5 "hit."

Hoagland needs to be reminded that:
* 193 is not the same number as 195
* 195 is not the same number as 19.5
* A longitude is not the same as a latitude


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mike Bara: Maximum hubris

        This morning Mike Bara tweeted "Thanks for the confirmation of my work guys..." He was referring to the announcementnote 1, yesterday, that Italian scientists analyzing data collected by the MARSIS radar of the ESA's Mars Express have confirmed the existence of a substantial sub-surface lake below the Planum Australe region of Mars.

        By "my work" he meant the so-called Mars Tidal Model, according to which the planet Mars was once tidally locked to a sister planet which then exploded, splattering one hemisphere of Mars with debris. This blog has critically reviewed the theory passim, noting that the hemisphere that is so obviously splattered is NOT the one that would have been pointing toward a hypothetical companion.

Not his work, not relevant anyway
        Well, for one thing, the Tidal Model is not Bara's work. He's credited as second author but the work, such as it is, was accomplished by the primary author, Richard Hoagland. For a second thing, the announcement of liquid water 1.6 km underground near the south pole has no connection whatsoever to the tidal model.

        This is far from the first time that Hoagland and/or Bara have blown their own false trumpets in reaction to astronomy news of the day. I think back to this claim from August 2008, and this one from October that year, in which Mike Bara stated that the hexagonal rings around the North pole of Saturn are "an inherent and specific prediction of the Hoagland\Torun Hyperdimensional physics model."note 2

Planum Australe: WHAT geometric structures?

        Bara was even given most of the first hour of Coast to Coast AM last night to comment on the Italian announcement (although, typically, he did not credit the authors.) He said "geometric structures" in the same region make him suspect that this area was once inhabited by a now-dead civilization, and perhaps the underground lake was a water source for them. George Noory invited him to extend his comments to Mars, and the Moon, more generally ("What's goeeeen on, Mike?") To my mind, conferring the status of "expert" on someone who is so totally wrong about the nature of the Moon is an admission of failure.

========================/ \========================
[1] Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars: Orosei et al, "Science" 25 July 2018

[2] This is what astronomers refer to as "bullshit." There is no documentary evidence that either Hoagland, Torun or Bara ever predicted the phenomenon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Morningstar predicts

James Concannon reports...

        Today, the self-styled "civilian intelligence analyst" and "specialist in photo interpretation, geometric analysis and computer imaging" (who can't tell the difference between a 166-mile wide space station and a 2ft sheet of mylar insulation) posted this prediction:
"Mars' passage close to Earth on July 31st, 2018 will created [sic] super storms like Katrina (again, as it did i 2003), along with volcanic activity and intense electrical storms around the globe. Be ready for something and anything."
We'll be watching.

Update 20th July:
Severe tornadoes ripped through Iowa, partly destroying Marshalltown. Nothing to do with Mars.

A different storm sank a boat in a Missouri lake, drowning 17. Nothing to do with Mars, either.

6.0 magnitude earthquake, Papua New Guinea. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 21st July:
Scorching (110°F) weather in Texas, persistent drought in the UK. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 22nd July:
5.9 magnitude earthquake, Kermanshah, Iran. Nothing to do with Mars.
Floods/landslides in Vietnam kill 21. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 23rd July:
Record-breaking heatwave in Japan, dozens dead. Nothing to do with Mars.
5.9 magnitude earthquake, mid-atlantic ridge. Nothing to do with Mars.
Reports that Germany is running out of beer bottles because of a heatwave. Mars?

Update 24th July:
60 dead in Greek wildfires. Nothing to do with Mars.
Dam collapses in Laos. Hundreds missing. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 25th July:
Exceptionally heavy rain on the East US coast brings flooding. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 27th July:
Ambae island in Vanuatu evacuated as the Manaro Voui volcano began spewing ash. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 28th July:
Severe storm (but not "super-storm") continues on US East coast. 500 buildings destroyed by fire in Redding, CA. Notable (although perhaps not "intense") electrical storm over the North Sea, extending into Germany. Nothing to do with Mars.

Update 29th July:
6.4 magnitude earthquake, Lombok, Inodnesia. 14 dead. Typhoon Jongdarinote 1 caused chaos in Japan. Mars is coming!!! (allegedly)

Robert Morningstar has now written that the effect of close approach will last for "at least three weeks." Clever — he hopes thereby to give himself a lot more time to claim that his predictions were accurate, and to guarantee that everyone will have forgotten his exact prediction by the time his window closes. I'm not buying it.

30th July ======== ZONE OF CLAIMED MARS INFLUENCE ==========
Typhoon Jongdari downgraded to "tropical storm."
California brush fires continued (having begun a week ago). The volcanic sequence in Hawaii continued (having begun 30 April). Some Indonesian volcanoes continued to belch (as they have been doing for a few thousand years).
A fairly impressive belt of lightning persisted over Europe, but electrical activity over the Americas was normal, and that over Oceania and Australasia abnormally quiet.

Lightning map, Oceania/Australasia 30 July 2018. Pretty peaceful.

That's about it for today.

31st July: 
Nothing to report today.

Morningstar reminds me that there's a tropical cyclone over Mexico, but, y'know, it's the season for that. There's nothing remotely unusual about this one.

1st August:
Nothing going on today. No major eruptions or earthquakes worldwide. Even the European lightning map shows much less activity. The Mexican tropical storm developed into a named event, "Hector," but it's a very junior hurricane with winds 35 knots gusting to 45.


Now please see Robert Morningstar: FAIL!!! for an assessment.

=======================/ \======================
[1] July and August are peak months for typhoons (a.k.a. Pacific tropical cyclones). Over the period 1959-2015, those months saw average numbers of 3.9 and 5.4 respectively. In other words, it would be highly surprising if there were not any typhoons during this period (ref: Wikipedia).

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Robert Morningstar's fake-everything page

James Concannon reports...

        Robert Morningstar has written "I manage my Facebook page like a newspaper." What a joke. The truth is that he's turned his page into an aggregator of totally fake news. His sources include such laughable peddlars of propaganda as Pamela Geller, yournewswire.com, wnd.comdailycaller.com and zerohedge.com. He sometimes writes a little text himself, but more often just re-posts the lead from his source.

       The majority of the garbage he re-posts is straight Republican talking-points. It's no secret that Morningstar's politics are slightly to the right of Adolf Hitler, so readers of the page get reminded daily that Donald Trump is a saint, and that Obama and the Clintons are serial child-killing maniacs.

        Last month expat was lamenting the fact that, these days, Internet arguments so often deteriorate into accusations of pedophilia. I guess the general idea is "Since pedophilia is the worst thing we can imagine, let's accuse our enemies of it and see if it sticks." So, for example, just yesterday Morningstar posted this from zerohedge:

Ex-Clinton Foundation Official Tied To Chinese Kindergarten Embroiled In Bizarre Sexual Abuse Scandal

        The actual story is highly tenuous and the connection to the Clinton Foundation non-existent. It dates from 26th November 2017, and Morningstar seems unaware that CNN covered it three days later, reporting that the police investigation concluded that the parents were making up the stories of abuse for whatever reason. But this is what passes for "news" in the world of Robert Morningstar.

        Another major theme Mr. Morningstar has willingly sucked up from his sources is Islamophobia. These sources include the blogs jihadwatch.org and creepingsharia. As expat reported back in Januay 2016, AM* thinks nothing of deliberately misattributing news images, labeling them as evidence of the crimes of Islam when they are, in fact, no such thing.

        Snopes.com monitors those sources and, under the tag creepingsharia, documents another flagrant case of misattribution, this time involving video coverage of a religious procession in Bradford, Yorkshire. The procession was not, as alleged, a demonstration in favor of Sharia.

        Morningstar hates snopes.com because it frequently contradicts his prejudices. But instead of countering its analysis with logical rebuttal, he simply writes the catchphrase "Snopes is for dopes" and leaves it at that. His followers don't seem to mind, and they probably agree.

It's all a conspiracy
        Those twin major themes have almost pushed science and medicine off this horrible page, but those themes do still have a foothold, especially when the news can be twisted to imply a cover-up by governments or large corporations. A few days ago we saw this headline:

Cancer Institute Finally Admits Marijuana Kills Cancer

The source was ushealthmagz.com and the lead was as follows;
"In August 2015, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) released a report on their website which stated, “Marijuana kills cancer”. Yes, you read that right – marijuana kills cancer."
        Except that the NCI report cited did not state that. Read the actual report, or the abstract anyway, and you'll find a 6-point bullet list ending with this very, very guarded statement:

* Cannabinoids may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.

        Why does an educated man—a scholar, no less, he tells us—re-publish such trash without batting an eyelid? I've thought about that question, and here's the picture I have. Morningstar doesn't care about the truth. He has all these sources, and he gets up in the morning and reviews them. He truly sees himself as an editor/aggregator on behalf of a readership that's as bigoted and intolerant as he is, so he just picks whatever stories he thinks will appeal to that readership. The question of whether they are true or not doesn't cross his mind. Snopes is for dopes, for the simple reason that checking out unlikely news stories is a ridiculous and quite unnecessary activity.

        There's also, I think, some element of wishful thinking. He wishes he would be the one to discover a mysterious 10-mile high tower on the Moon, so he fastens on a piece of lint caught in a scanner and makes it so. He wishes he would discover a huge space station in lunar orbit, so an Apollo 10 image of a piece of floating mylar insulation becomes that space station and he calculates its size as 166 miles across. It doesn't occur to him that such an object would be extremely well known to every astronomer both amateur and professional in the world (and by the way, it could NOT be permanently hidden behind the Moon since a selenosynchronous orbit is an impossibility.)

Morningstar's 166-mile space station (public domain)

        If I'm right, it's a waste of time trying to convince him that he's wrong. I will continue to snap at his heels, however, whenever I have time. My hope is that some of his followers may one day see how bamboozled they have become.

Update: Morningstar now accuses me of sympathy with pedophiles

8th July: AM* re-posted a "story" from yournewswire with the headline:

British Man Gets Prison Sentence For Exposing Political Pedophile Ring

        The story concerns a con-man known only as "Nick." This person, now 50 years old, made allegations of sex abuse against a number of public figures, alleging multiple incidents of pedophilia and even murder, dating back 30 years. "Nick" filed a claim for £20,000 compensation.

        The police investigation of these claims, known as Operation Midland, found no evidence to support the allegations and was closed in 2016. Compensation was paid to those who had been harrassed by the investigation.

        Now "Nick" himself has been charged with twelve counts of perverting the cause of justice and one of fraud. He will appear in court in September.

        The yournewswire piece falsely reported that "Nick" has already been sentenced, adding "It’s not the first time the British legal system has conspired against those in society determined to bring pedophiles to justice."

When I posted to AM*'s fooboo page, correcting the yournewswire story, he replied:
"But we all know that what he exposed ("Nick") was true, and the British police are only protecting the guilty."
I replied
"No we don't "all know" that, Robert, that's just your fantasy. Nick's stories were pure fabrications."
AM* then came back with:
"Of course, "You all" don't know about the rampant pedophilia in Britain because you sympathize with pedophiles and so you blind yourself to their crimes."
I demanded that he produce evidence that I sympathize with pedophiles, or retract the accusation.

So far he has done neither.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Bret Sheppard displays first his ignorance, then his vindictiveness

        If you feel the need to listen to three hours of two guys who basically agree about everything shouting at each other, check out Gary Leggiere interviewing Bret Sheppard on The Martian Revelation Show, recorded last Saturday. Bret Sheppard is the guy who knows nothing whatever about spaceflight or physics, but who wrote and self-published a book strongly supporting Ken Johnston's claim that the Apollo 14 astronauts made 16mm film of an alien base in the lunar crater Tsiolkovsky. Naturally, he cannot provide this film sequence as evidence for his claim, nor can he provide any other documentation as backup.

        Sheppard's book, Flyover Tsiolkovsky Crater, has now been withdrawn from circulation, but while it existed it attracted just one Amazon review. That review probably tells you all you need to know about the wretched thing.

        During the Martian Revelation interview, Sheppard did his best to defend the idea that a balloon might be useful on the Moon. He referred to a 1950s-era technology that used a helium balloon to hoist a rocket into the stratosphere, thus avoiding the need to expend large volumes of rocket fuel for the first 1% of a flight, when the pull of Earth gravity is at its strongest.
01:58:03 Sheppard: "NASA used that same thing later to test the atmosphere on the Moon, Mars and Venus. And what would happen is, they would have the balloon, with their [..] diagnostic equipment or whatever on the bottom, and when the Sun would come over the edge of the terminator it would heat up the balloon. The balloon would rise, and—keep this in mind—that we do not know what the atmosphere is. We're completely dependent on what NASA tells us."
        One of the many things that Sheppard does not understand is that science experiments may be carried by NASA spacecraft, but the experiment packages themselves are not built by NASA but by scientists who have successfully applied to have their experiments carried. The principal information we have about the Lunar atmosphere comes from the Lunar Atmosphere Composition Experiment, part of the ALSEP array carried on Apollo 17. It is not NASA telling us these results, but the Principal Investigator of LACE, Dr. John H. Hoffman of the University of Texas, Dallas.

        Much later (2013), the  Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) basically confirmed the ultra-low atmospheric pressure on the Moon. The atmosphere is very comparable to that at 400km above the Earth's surface, where the ISS orbits. The Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) on LADEE was designed by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It is them that are telling us the results, not NASA.

        It goes without saying that the experiment Sheppard describes never happened. I'm giggling about the balloon on Venus, a planet whose mean surface temperature is ~460°C.

        Before the Martian Revelation interview ever happened, I suggested to Gary that he might show Bret Sheppard this modern high-resolution image of Tsiolkovsky, from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter NACs, and ask him to point out where the aliens are. On Gary's foo boo page, Sheppard posted:
"You want me to show you on a map that is completely sanitized with CGI for the satisfaction of a bunch of debunkers who protect pedo's in court with false memory syndrome?"
         I lament the fact that Internet argument has now deteriorated to the extent that a belligerent and ignorant person losing a purely technical argument thinks it's all OK to accuse his opponent of advocating pedophilia without any evidence, purely to score a point. I challenge Bret Sheppard to provide evidence that I have ever advocated pedophilia, or retract the accusation publicly.

"I never said that"
        In the same foo boo dialog, Sheppard wrote:
"I never said they used balloons for safe touchdowns. I said they used them for atmospheric experiments like NASA has on both Venus and Mars."
        From Flyover Tsiolkovsky Crater by Bret C. Sheppard, pub. CreateSpace, 2016. ISBN 978-1541162624
"Questions have arisen about the reality of the Lunar landing due to there not being any blast zone under the L.E.M. The craft looks like it touched down gently ... Was it gently deposited on the surface by a balloon?"
        I'd cite a page number but the editor (Karen Patrick) quite forgot to paginate the book.

Thanks to "The Orbs Whiperer [sic]" for leading me to the quotes above.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Mike Bara responds to his critics

The following exchange is copied verbatim from Mike Bara's author facebooboo page:

Doug Brokaw: Dude, what is it with you and all these non-existent conspiracy theory's and government cover-ups? And why do you have to insult two of the Apollo Astronauts, calling them liars? Is it about selling books? You know if you applied the same effort towards writing the truth you would probably sell a lot more books. That and you wouldn't be laughed at by the scientific communities. And what was this photo of "Crystal spires" on the moon? You took a NASA photo of landslides in a crater, then turned them upside down and claimed they were your Crystal spires! Disgraceful! I didn't come to your site to write a comment, just curious about what people were saying about you at other sites (not very complimentary). It never ceases to amaze me how low people can go in an attempt to convince others of whatever nonsense it is they believe themselves.

Mike Bara (Author): Lick my balls, assshole [sic].