Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mike Bara, utterly delusional on Mars water

        As every reader of this outpost of the blogosphere surely knows, NASA staged a major announcement yesterday confirming that recurring slope lineae (RSLs) on the walls of Martian craters, and the slopes of some Martian  mountains, are indeed caused by recent flows of brine, as has long been thought. The visual evidence has been apparent at least since 1999. The difference now is that the CRISM spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has added solid chemistry to dynamic seasonal morphology. Craters where RSLs were studied included Gari, Horowitz and Newton.

Time-lapse animated gif of RSLs in crater Newton (released Aug.2011)

        A couple of days before the formal announcement, when inspection of the list of speakers was an obvious spoiler, Mike Bara was already screaming on Twitter: "NASA is trying to steal my work ... from 15 years ago!"

        Last night, on Jimmy Church's internet radio show Fade to Black, Bara went into full delusional hypermind. Church asked him "how did you feel about the way that it was presented?"

127:45 Bara: "They're telling us now what people like me, and people that listen to shows like this, knew 15 years ago. Which is that that there's water on Mars -- these dark slope streaks that you see coming down the insides of craters, and off mountain tops and stuff, are liquid water. Quite honestly, I was I think the first person in the world that said that's what it was, and this is the reasons why, and basically it was really gratifying on the one hand to read these articles on space.com and stuff basically confirming everything that I published along with my co-workers.. you know, 15 years ago. There's a certain gratification in being confirmed like that but... on the other hand it's really aggravating. Because, you realize that you're going to be swept aside or swept under the rug with "NASA now says this is true so now you can believe it" It's really kind of annoying. I'm trying not to let my ego get the better of me here, but it's really annoying sometimes to read my Facebook, and all thse people "Ooohhh, there's water on Mars!" They're my FB friends and I'm like "Do you folks not read my books? Why are we FB friends if you don't know what I do and why do we constantly have to fight? Why do we have to fight for the spotlight when we were first?"

131:28 Bara: "..the alternative researchers, the people on the outside, have been right all along. Tonight we should stick a feather in our cap and say "We won this one. Because we've turned out to be right and all of the NASA supporters really have turned out to be wrong." Because NASA's finally come around to the truth doesn't mean they were ever right about this -- they've been wrong all along.
  Yes, folks, you read that right.

      He didn't exactly specify when and in what medium he made this historic announcement, but since he named the date as 2001, and since he also mentioned Effrain Palermo as a co-worker, it's a safe bet that he was referring to the long web page authored by Richard Hoagland and himself, A New Model of Mars as a Captured Satellite -- often referred to as "The Mars Tidal Model" and reviewed by this blog passim.

The real history
        Well, let's see. The dark streaking on Martian slopes shown by the camera of Mars Global Surveyor was noticed by authors Lori K. Fenton et al. in September 1998, just short of a year after MGS arrived at Mars. They published in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 30, p.1054 a paper beginning:
"The narrow angle MOC images from MGS show dozens of examples of dark streaks on Martian hillsides that may be indicative of fluid flow."
        Fenton et al. allowed that water was not the only possible explanation for what they observed. The most formal proposal that slope streaks were likely to be caused by recent running water was announced on 22 June 2000, and published in the 30 June issue of Science. The features of interest in that study were at Terra Sirenum and Centauri Montes — and the authors had waited a whole Martian year before making the announcement, so they could compare the terrain through the seasonal cycle and establish that the appearance of streaks coincided with warm weather. In other words, they had been tracking this phenomenon since March 1999. This was NASA,note 1 and the data was from Mars Global Surveyor.

        On 19 July 2000, a month after the NASA announcement, Richard Hoagland issued a press release on slope streaks he had observed in Frame SP2-33806 from MGS. The location was the Eastern edge of Terra Arabia. Hoagland also claimed prior work in social media yesterday, proclaiming "I saw it first!" on the basis of this web page, although the fact that, in the press release,  he specifically refers to the previous month's announcement by NASA makes him into a liar out of his own keyboard.note 2

        The Mars Tidal Model essay is not precisely dated but it seems to be from almost a year later. It does include images of slope streaks  (not at all the same thing as RSLs, as Stuart Robbins has pointed out on his blog), but it does not describe the formation of brine and does not, of course, include the chemical data from CRISM which has only very recently become available.

       I don't mean to imply that Bara & Hoagland should be somehow prevented from telling these horrible self-serving lies. I believe in freedom of speech. I just think they deserve to be mocked for it. As long and as hard as possible.

[1] Although actually the authors of record were Michael Malin and Kenneth Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems. The paper was "Evidence for Recent Groundwater Seepage and Surface Runoff on Mars" Science 288 (5475): 2330–2335. 

[2] I'm told he also stated on his own digital radio show last night "There are no craters on Mars." 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ken Johnston - the Life & Times

        Ken Johnston, the so-called "NASA whistleblower", popped up on Youtube a couple of weeks ago, interviewed for nearly two hours by Janet Kira Lessin & Dr. Sasha Lessin. The original interview was from what is variously known as Revolution Radio, Aquarian Radio, and Sacred Matrix -- and was first podcast on freedomslips.com, 30 August.

        Rather curiously, I thought, Janet Lessin introduced Johnston by reading verbatim from the RationalWiki article about him. Johnston didn't demur, other than correcting his birthplace from Hart TX to Corpus Christie. So the rational wiki is authenticated up to a point, and any readers who have NFI who this gentleman is can follow the above link and read.

        Among the many topics that came up for discussion was Johnston's story about the Apollo 11 astronauts being greeted by alien creatures on the Moon. He said, quite rightly, that he had been challenged on this story by space historian James Oberg. Oberg has been associated with this blog since the very beginning, and he now gives me permission to reproduce an open letter from him to Ken Johnston originally written on 17 November 2014. Here it is in toto:


Dear Ken: 
I was glad for the chance to express my admiration for the way you have inspired many different groups of young people in space and aviation careers, and to repeat my admonition that us geezers need to have a lot of slack cut for embellishment and exaggeration. And in reminiscing over our bldg 4 conversations in 1977-80 or so, I'm  glad for the chance to dispel your recollections about any Masters thesis I was working on about media propaganda - there was no such thesis, no such Masters program, so there could never have been such a discussion.

In discussing the way we both give credit to space pioneers, I think we should focus on factual differences of what we recall. Specifically, I asked you about how you learned of your story of Armstrong's secret Apollo-11 UFO report, which you told me you'd heard from your former LM buddies. That doesn't make sense to me, let me explain why.
Here's how you gave the story on the Syfy channel. (At 00:32:52, crawler "Ken Johnston;  label "FMR. NASA PHOTO MANAGER")
"There have been a lot of rumors about what actually took place during the lunar mission. while Neil and Buzz were on the lunar surface. Back at the Johnson Space Center [sic! Wasn't named that until years later] during a couple of minutes of broken communications, Neil switched over to the medical channel to speak directly to the chief medical officer of the mission. And at that, the comment was, he says , 'They're here, they're parked around the rim of the crater and they're watching us. "
Since you have described how you watched Apollo-11 from the home of your wife's family in New Jersey, while on terminal leave after being laid off, I also deduced that Grumman couldn't have rated your "LM test pilot" experience all that highly, since as I recall it, ALL those real test pilots were on duty during the landing to run test procedures for contingencies. How was it possible, if you were really the crew's ALSEP trainer as you have claimed, that you weren't there on duty for the mission you had trained them for? All of the real trainers were, every one. But by your own disclosure, YOU weren't.

Now about that secret conversation you attested to in front of a world audience. I can't see how that could be authentic, since the original version of the secret communication had been published in a grocery store tabloid newspaper a few months later, and it's easy to see that the terminology used was clearly fictional since it didn't follow normal NASA space-to-ground protocols that both of us were familiar with.

[left, myth of meeting moon aliens; right, Johnston on opening sequence of Kiviat's "Alien Bases on the Moon", July 2014.]

I had written up this very hoax "secret transcript" in my 1982 book "UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries", and that section is reproduced here. It includes an alleged quotation, "I'm telling you, there are other spacecraft out there. They're lined up in ranks on the far side of the crater edge...." along with a torrent of gobbledegook meant to SOUND outer-spacey to the tabloid's readership:

The speakers use the call sign "Mission Control", but as you know, this was never a phrase used [by] astronauts, who instead referred always to "Houston." Technical-sounding gibberish such as "field distortion," "orbit scanned," "625 to the fifth," "auto-relays," etc. were never found in real transcripts.

The speakers call out "Repeat, repeat" but that is never used on the radio; instead, astronauts and Mission Control use the phrase "Say Again." They refer to "three of us"...actually, only two men were on the lunar surface.

So way back in 1982 I had concluded, "The unavoidable conclusion is that [the tabloid] either fabricated the fake "transcript" himself or used very poor judgment in allowing himself to be victimized by somebody else's fake. … Fortunately, the hoax was so rickety that it collapses under its own weight."

Also, there's no attempt to reconcile these claimed transcripts with the thorough documentation at "The Apollo 11 Flight Journal"  which have been annotated by the crew and by Mission Control veterans - and has become the authoritative chronicle of what was said on the Moon.

[Sep 11, 1979] 

[Sep 9, 1979 London 'Sunday Mirror']

But thirty years later, 45 years after the original event, a recognizable mutation of this original hoax came out of your mouth on cable TV.
So I asked you why you thought it was true. "Darn those guys," you shook your head when I explained it, "They must have been teasing me." Glad to see you agreed the story was bogus.

The more important point I should have made then was that how could you possibly have fallen for the story to begin with -- because what you SHOULD have known as a trained LM expert would have exposed the story's fatal flaw.

Armstrong didn't HAVE a secret "medical channel" to switch to, as the story claimed. He could NOT have 'switched' to it.

As I'm sure you realize, during Apollo, whenever an astronaut requested a private medical conference, the request was made over the open loop and approved in Mission Control. The voice loops in the MCC building were then physically reconnected at a plug board so the voice link was transferred to and only to the Flight Surgeon console and back room. Everyone else heard nothing but they were still aware a private conference was in progress.

The Apollo crew did not have a switch selector or any other control over communications privacy, it all was controlled from within the Mission Control Center. But there's no record on the public loop of ever requesting a private loop, and no time gap in the on-going air-to-ground chatter heard live by hundreds of journalists in Houston.

Whereever the downlink audio was routed to in Houston, the actual comm transmission would have continued unencrypted [as a LM expert you would have known there was no voice encryption on the actual signal]. However, the completeness and authenticity of the released air-to-ground was independently verified by one talented amateur named Larry Baysinger who listened in to a long segment of the VHF transmission [see http://www.arrl.org/eavesdropping-on-apollo-11]

A recent retrospective article included a relevant paragraph:

I asked Baysinger whether he found anything that NASA edited out - comments about things going wrong, the astronauts being loose with their language or exclamations about meeting space aliens. He said no - absolutely everything was transmitted to the public on TV. In fact he said, "that was kind of disappointing." Part of the idea of the project was to hear the unedited "real story," and it turned out there was nothing edited. Indeed, Rutherford's story makes no mention of hearing anything unusual.

 Now, if there really had been a dedicated private channel selectable by the Apollo crew, that would go a long way towards authenticating the basic premise of the story that you told on national television. It would disprove what I think is a refutation of it. I'm open to persuasion when shown documentation, so please give it a try.

Technical specs of the LM comm system can be found here:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720023255.pdf &

Apollo Operations Handbook Lunar Module (LM 11 and Subsequent) Vol. 2 Operational Procedures http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19710071423.pdf
Apollo experience report: Lunar module communications system // Sep 01, 1972,

That would be very helpful, if you want to argue the authenticity of the story [which maybe you don't]. From other comments you've made over the years, I can see no indications that you originally recalled awareness of any credible evidence of the crew encountering landed UFOs at their own touchdown point. I consider an alternate possibility that you read a version of the secret conversation years later, and gradually amalgamated it into your own stories and, eventually, into your memory itself. Like my imaginary MS thesis, for example.

Second issue of fact - the smoking alien base on the moon's back side. You have described seeing a film of an alien moon base altered to remove the sighting, apparently under command of astronomer Thornton Page. I had prepared for our discussion of this by studying the image manifest of the mission you named, Apollo-14, and borrowing a DVD of the 16-mm "Reel B" that contained the only from-orbit imaging of the surface.

[right photo by Antonio Huneeus, who did a fine interview with Page at http://www.openminds.tv/exclusive-interview-with-member-of-cia-panel-on-ufos-1053/22302 ; left, Page and Oberg lighter moment.]

Here's how you had first told it on the July 20 SYFY "Alien Bases on the Moon" program, about 34 minutes into the show:
Narrator: Yet another NASA mission, the one ET believer Edgar Mitchell was on, might have filmed the definitive evidence of aliens on the moon.
KJ: "The Apollo-14 mission was a really pivotal mission. Most people don't realize that only two of the astronauts actually were, walked on the surface, the other one stayed on board in the command module and continued to circle around and around the moon, and taking filmstrips and photographs completely covering all of the backside of the moon.
Narrator: Back on Earth, the film was shown to one of NASA's top astronomers… During the viewing, an extraordinary sequence came on screen.
KJ   The Command Module was coming around the back side of the Moon, the cameras rolling, and there's a cluster of five little domes with a light shining inside, and there was one with something looked like a column of steam or something [gestures with hand going up and down] projected up from the top. So, there was something really there, I guaranty, it was certainly something that was not natural. On the surface of the moon."
Narrator: "But when the footage was played again the next day for NASA engineers the key section, with the mysterious domes, had somehow disappeared.
KJ: "I took the film out [mimes holding strip in both hands level], and there were no splices, there were no cuts, and all the holes lined up. That means that within twenty four hours they had to have taken the film out, cut the portion out, made a copy, airbrushed it out, spliced it back in, and then made a duplicate of it, and had it available for me. "
Well, Ken, I showed you the only Apollo-14 16-mm cine of the lunar surface, a 6-minute sequence of landmark tracking exercises through the sextant, with craters and rilles and mountains zooming by. But you quickly said you didn't recognize it as the film you had shown Page and the others. "That reel came from the Service Module," you told me.
"That's impossible," I replied, "There wasn't any imaging hardware back there on Apollo-14, the observation package wasn't installed until Apollo-15, 16, and 17. All the Apollo-14 cine surface imaging was part of landmark tracking tests through the Command Module sextant"
You paused to ponder, then shrugged: "Maybe I'm misremembering the mission number." That was it. 

The problem now is that the cameras in the "SIM bay" on subsequent missions don't seem to have been taking the 'gun camera' mode motion views you described. Here's the Apollo-15 press kit that describes them.

24-inch Panoramic Camera (SM orbital photo task): Gathers stereo and high-resolution [l meter) photographs of the lunar surface from orbit. The camera produces an image size of 15 x 180 nm with a field of view 1l° downtrack and 108° cross track. The rotating lens system can be stowed face-inward to avoid contamination during effluent dumps and thruster firings. The 72-pound film cassette of 1,650 frames will be retrieved by the command module pilot during a transearth coast EVA. The 24-inch camera works in conjunction with the 3-inch mapping camera and the laser altimeter to gain data to construct a comprehensive map of the lunar surface ground track flown by this mission---about 1.16 million square miles, or 8 percent of the lunar surface. 

3-inch Mapping Camera: Combines 20-meter resolution terrain manning photography on five-inch film with 3-inch focal length lens with stellar camera shooting the star field on 35mm firm simultaneously at 96° from the surface camera optical axis. The stellar photos allow accurate correlation of mapping photography postflight by comparing simultaneous star field photos with lunar surface photos of the nadir (straight down). Additionally, the stellar camera provides pointing vectors for the laser altimeter during darkside passes. The 3-inch f4.5 mapping camera metric lens covers a 74° square field of view, or 92x92 nm from 60 nm altitude. The stellar camera is fitted with a +inch f/2.8 lens covering a 24° field with cone flats. The 23-pound film cassette containing mapping camera film (3,600) frames) and the stellar camera film will be retrieved during the same EVA described in the panorama camera discussion. The Apollo Orbital Science Photographic Team is headed by Frederick J. Doyle of the U.S. Geological Survey, McLean, VA
So there's no record of any camera in the SM instrument bay capable of taking the type of full-motion scenes you claim to have seen. There aren't ANY such sequences of ANY other regions on ANY of the released imagery from all three of those later missions.

[Oberg and Johnston viewing Apollo-14 lunar backside video, Aug 10, 2014]

The crater name just seems more confusing to me, first you said Tsiolkovskiy, then you told me last month that it was actually a nearby crater with another Russian name you wanted to misreport to protect your sources, or something. Can you name the crater now, and also check on the following chart [to see if even was scanned by any of the last three Apollo missions?

Whatever else that map shows, it also shows you again seriously misremembered the photography mission when you stated these missions were "taking filmstrips and photographs completely covering all of the backside of the moon." [Most of the backside was in shadow anyway, and thus unphotographable, because our guys wanted daylight on the front side for landing visibility].

Red = Apollo 15; Yellow = Apollo 16; Blue = Apollo 17 http://history.nasa.gov/afj/simbaycam/simbaycameras.htm]

 And that issue brings up an even more serious problem with your story - both the Lunar Orbiter-4 and -5 missions and decades later, mapping missions by European Space Agency, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian probes, plus several new NASA probes [and maybe Clementine?], mapped and re-mapped these regions at much higher resolutions than the Apollo missions, and none of their images show anything where you seem to say you saw [and then didn't see, after it was supposedly removed] something artificial-looking. 

If you're going to seriously expect anyone to believe your story, you'll need better explanations for decades of contrary imaging. Especially now that you're no longer even sure what year and what mission your lone glance occurred on.

I don't want to quibble over job titles and personal experiences, Ken, but statements by you that put you in the position of accusing other program participants [such as Neil Armstrong or Thornton Page] of deception and fraud really need more solid, error-free testimony, as well as independent corroboration. Otherwise, as you already know, I think such comments are a disservice to the history of space exploration and without more firmly based substantiation, put all the rest of your tales of Apollo lessons in doubt.

You have had such distinguished and honorable service during a challenging period of history, and I'm proud of you, and of us all who played our parts. Your future prospects are exciting and I wish you success and satisfaction in however far your dream leads you.

Jim Oberg


        Ken Johnston replied briefly on 20 November. Since I don't have his permission, and the text is not in the public domain, I won't reproduce it verbatim. His suggestion was that, since Oberg still lives in the Houston area, he might like to go to JSC and search the archives for confirmation of the Thornton Page story. Oberg thought that task would be more appropriately assigned to Johnston himself.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Mike Bara is definitely wrong" says French prosecutor

        The flaperon that washed up on the beach of RĂ©union is now confirmed to be from the missing flight MH370.

"Investigators learned Thursday that a series of numbers found inside the plane flaperon matches with records, held by a Spanish company that manufactured portions of the component, linking the debris to MH370, the office of Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said.

"Consequently, it is possible today to affirm with certainty that Mike Bara is full of shit," the office said.

        The citation is from CNN but it may not have been accurately transcribed. WINK..

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Robert Morningstar in la-la land

James Concannon writes...

        A very fetching young lady by name of Tiffany Rae Larkin just recently  finished editing a video interview she recorded with the nutcase psychologist Robert Morningstar, and she posted it on her Foo-Boo page. It seems to have been shot in a very large hangar, on a single camera, at last year's Secret Space Program conference in San Mateo before AM* gave his presentation. So he was in a sense selling himself.
credit: Dream Tree Productions
 02:00 AM*: "What I discovered are the most important photographs of the Apollo project, and they laid buried in archives for, now, 42 years. Since the last flight, Apollo 17 and 16 in 1972. And these photos ... they were difficult to access for many years. And even when you see them, if you don't look deeply into them you'll not find what's really recorded there. What I'm going to show you are towers on the Moon. For years -- decades -- we've heard legends of towers on the far side of the Moon ... UFOs, space stations, and that's what I'm going to show you. I'm going to show you a constellation of space stations ... on the far side of the Moon. Towers that are, in my estimate, almost 100 miles high, all over the Moon. And it indicates an extraterrestrial presence because these things could not be ours -- they're not of this Earth. It also explains why Apollo missions 18, 19 and 20 were canceled.

TRL: "When were those missions?

AM*: "They were supposed to be after 17, but 17 was the last one.

TRL: "But what year?"

AM*: "1972 was the last year. The Apollo mission was only supposed to be the beginning of Lunar exploration. We were supposed to then establish a Moon base, perhaps set up a space station, but as was reported during the conference, one of the astronauts said "Their ships were bigger than ours, faster than ours, menacing, and after we saw them there was no question of us having a Moon base." They were frightened off the Moon.  The other thing I'm going to show you is what frightened them off the Moon."
         During the video Tiffany or her editor cut away to what she thought were some appropriate things:

- Morningstar's depiction of Mare Imbrium, in which he mis-labeled all the craters.
- The "crashed spaceship", which we now know is just a dune feature.
- "Big Ben," which we now know is not a tower at all.
- The so-called "alien base" photographed by the Chinese Chang'e orbiter. Not only is this NOT an alien base, it isn't even a Chang'e image. It's a detail from Frame 3085 from Lunar Orbiter 3, dating from 1967.

OMG!! Mylar!!! Let's get outta here!
        As for showing us  "what frightened them off," perhaps he meant the 18-inch piece of floating mylar from Apollo 10.  He still insists that it's a space station 166 miles wide, and refuses to give his estimate of how far away it is (my estimate, based on knowledge of the optics, is 2,338 miles.) Actually it's 18-20 feet away.

        On FB, I asked him who exactly  was frightened. James Fletcher, the NASA Administrator? George Low, the Deputy? Remember it was George Low who made the very, very bold decision to send Apollo 8 round the Moon, even though the Lunar Module wasn't ready. This does not seem like a person who would get scared by any unexpected lunar discoveries. His reply:

The man who killed Apollo, managed & executed the dismantling of the Apollo Program was, eventually leading to the destruction of the blueprints and production tools was -> James C. Fletcher 'Nuff said" -> M*

        So then I asked him what evidence he had that Fletcher was scared, and he replied "Yes, James -> "Scared" ... Just like you. -> M*

        There was more in Tiffany's video, and it went on to a Part 2 in which AM* explained how the extraterrestrials ("The Greys") communicate with us. Honestly, I'm not a trained psychiatrist but he really did look and sound like a crazy man to me. Just my amateur opinion.

Today (15 Aug) I put erickson's good question to the Morningstar person. Here's how it went:
James Concannon: Robert my dear chap, do you not see that your story is self-contradictory? If NASA was "frightened" in 1969, WHY DID THEY LAND FIVE MORE MISSIONS????????

Robert Morningstar:  James, That one of the most stupid quearies [sic] that you have ever posed. It is unworthy of reply. -> M*

I tried.

Thanks to Carolb for additional info.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Richard Hoagland contradicts himself, Mike Bara goes to Church

        It's been a fun week on internet radio, to be sure. First, Stuart Robbins (that's DOCTOR Stuart Robbins to you) got through on the call-in line to Richard Hoagland's new digital radio  show and scored some good points before being drowned by Hoagland's appallingly rude, overbearing, debating style. To nobody's surprise, Hoagland eventually cut him off with "You're just wrong."

        Robbins wrote the experience up at some length on his blog. Personally (although I wasn't listening live) I was delighted that he was able to bring up one of my favorite topics—the question of contamination on Hoagland's office scanner. I think that's exactly what Hoagland is looking at when he says he sees glass skyscrapers on the Moon.

        I mean, come on—which is more likely? Glass skyscrapers or shazz on the scanner? The exchange went like this:

SJR: "You have the Apollo images... I know that you completely disagree—some people have argued that what you're looking at is noise from your scanner. "

RCH: "They're idiots!"

SJR: "..."

RCH: "No no no. There are some things people—critics—say that are totally stupid. The idea..."

SJR: "..."

RCH: "Hang on, hang on. You asked the question. The idea that I would put negatives or prints on a scanner, and a) not clean the screen, and b) not make sure there was no dust on the negatives etc. etc.— is ludicrous. That is a straw man that people are putting out there—it's not true. These are real artifacts recorded by the Apollo astronauts, both in orbit and from the surface, and all we've done is take that data and subject it to modern technology, to bring it out and to present it in terms of web posts."

SJR: "But that's not what I'm asking. I'm saying 'Some people say that, that you're using these Apollo images, and that's one explanation that your critics make, and'...."

RCH: "But that doesn't mean it's right. They can claim anything... Look, you can hold these photographs up to the light and see it on the analog..."

SJR: "..."

RCH: "Hang on, hang on. You don't have to scan. I can't show you an analog print because you're not in the same room. So I have to scan it and put it on the web. But the originals show what we're showing. All you have to do in the dark room is basically bring out the low-level detail from the negative, and Bingo! There it is on an analog print."

        So he's saying the skyscrapers are there, not just on the digital scans but on Ken Johnston's 30-year-old 10x8 prints, as well. I wonder how he reconciles that with this passage from Dark Mission p. 226:
"In scanning Ken's priceless Apollo 14 C-prints, [I'd] discovered that the computer could "see" what the human eye could not—incredible geometric detail in the pitch black areas, like the lunar sky. The sensitivity of modern CCD imaging technology, in even commercially-available image scanners, coupled with the amazing enhancement capabilities of state-of-the-art commercial software—like Adobe's Photoshop—allowed the invisible detail [emph. added] buried in these supposedly black layers, of these thirty-year-old emulsions, to ultimately be revealed—a "democratization" of technology that no censor at NASA could have possibly foreseen over more than thirty years."
Go clean that scanner glass right now, Hoagland.

We're all Mundanes
        Mike Bara, meanwhile, was one of a gallimaufry of small-time guests on Jimmy Church's 300th Fade to Black internet radio show. They fell to discussing their sense of duty to all the true believers who feel isolated from society because they believe in rubbish like restaurants on Mars. Here's most of it:

Bara: "What we're doing is important ... it's really really important ..Without shows like Fade to Black they have no place to go, they have no sense of community, they have no sense of family. In many ways we have to replace the family members of the people that don't accept them and don't acknowledge them or recognize that they're different. And then the next thing, once we do that, is to turn it around and force all of the Mundanes out there to understand and to recognize that they're the ones that are weird, not us. They're the ones that live in fantasy land, because they simply do not see, or refuse to look at, all the amazing things that go on around us all the time. All the paranormal, supernatural, alien stuff that's happening."

[Church: "It's Us against Them"]

"And eventually Jimmy, what we have to do is create a forum where there is no "Them," there's only "Us" ... We're the normal ones, because we understand the way the universe really works. We appreciate it, we experience it. So that's what we're working toward, that's what I'm working toward anyway, and I think everyone else in their own way is doing the same."

Church: "Do you feel different about "Them"? ... Are they starting to take Mike Bara seriously?"

Bara: "No, and I don't think they ever will. I think the biggest thing we have to get away from is caring what they think of us, and caring whether we have their approval ... I guess I just do not care whether they recognize us or not. We've got to form our own thing, go our own way, and just let the truth be the truth."
        So just like Hoagland, Bara accuses us "mundanes" of refusing to look at the data. Excuse me while I shout something from the rooftops:


Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Ancient Aliens" -- Your show for barefaced lies

        I suppose nobody tunes in to Ancient Aliens (History Channel) expecting to be shown the truth. So I can't really pretend I'm shocked—shocked!—that Season 8 Ep 2 "NASA's Secret Agenda" was full of balderdash.

        And yet, when that sorry excuse for a television "documentary" series touches on a subject you know well, it gives a special kind of pain. Watching "NASA's Secret Agenda," I felt like Jason Colavito does when the series covers his special subject, history of mythology (follow that link and you'll see Colavito describing this episode as a "steaming turd." That's not nice, Jason. Oh, perhaps it is.) This episode devoted itself to saying, about 20 times in 20 slightly different ways, that Wernher Von Braun was such a genius that he had to have acquired some secret knowledge from—you guessed it, I'm sure—Ancient Aliens. As Colavito correctly notes, the Soviets of that era seem to have done very nicely without alien intervention. Calculation of how to get to the Moon on an elliptical semi-orbit is mathematics, folks, not mysticism.

        The history of early spaceflight (well, some of it) was told with only a few minor errors. Then  around the 30:00 mark, on came Mike Bara and the lies came thick and fast. Describing the Apollo 17 mission yet again, in a narrative he stole from Keith Laney, Bara talked about the "mysterious" hexagonal-shaped mountain astronauts Cernan & Schmitt spent some time at. The video showed us this:

credit: Prometheus Entertainment

He was talking about South Massif, which actually looks like this:

credit: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter WAC

Is that honest television documentary reporting? Or pure bullshit?

        Then it was on to the skull-like rock in crater Shorty, which Richard Hoagland dubbed Data's Head. This blog has covered that piece of nonsense again and again. The narration said "Bara and Hoagland obtained early-generation negatives from NASA..." However, IT'S NOT TRUE. Here's what Hoagland told Kerry Cassidy about his perfunctory research:

[W]e've gotten two copies of film - not just the web but film, (which is really crappy copies that were sent to us), and what I was able to do was a computerized robot comparison with C3PO.

        NASA does not hand out "early generation negatives," especially not to hostile nincompoops. To be fair to Mike Bara, those sins were committed by the producers and writers, not him personally. But for me, re-telling the lies about South Massif and Shorty is quite bad enough. Ugh.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Aaaaannnddd just like that, Mike Bara's daft ideas go out the window

"I’m completely confident that I can prove there’s no such thing as the laws of physics."
        Thus Mike Bara in September 2010, in a promo interview for his appalling book The Choice. Mike never got around to proving that or anything like it. Instead, he reminded us all about such frippery as Kirlian photography, Plant emotions, and the Princeton EGGs, as though they were brand new challenges to mainstream physics. Which they ARE NOT. Neither brand new nor challenges, other than as a sort of parlor game "Spot the logical flaw."

        Ever since, Mike has apparently been on the lookout for fresh challenges to physics—without, of course, having the slightest understanding of the subject. Today he latches on to the EM Drive, the "miracle" rocket propulsion system that the Daily Telegraph assures usnote 1 could get to the Moon in four hours.

        Unfortunately, The Daily Torygraph is not only counting chicks before they hatch but before the eggs have been laid, and possibly before the mother hen herself has cracked out. If this works, then pretty soon sitting in your car and pushing on the dashboard will work, too. As Bob Zimmerman correctly pointed out last night on Coast to Coast AM, the Abstract of the new paper by Tajmar & Fiedler (AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference)note 2 includes these golden words:
"Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurement methods used so far."
        The EM Drive "works" by bouncing microwaves around inside a closed chamber. A thrust of around 20 micro-newtons has been observed.note 3 Your computer mouse probably exerts a thrust of around 1 Newton on the desk—it sure ain't going to take you to the Moon any time soon.

Mike Bara's tweetery on the subject was "Aaaaannnddd just like that the "laws" of physics go out the window.." LOL, as they say.

[1] 'Impossible' rocket drive works and could get to Moon in four hours --D.Tel. yesterday, by Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

[2]  Direct Thrust Measurements of an EMDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects
M. Tajmar & G. Fiedler

[3] As Exposing Pseudoastronomy points out today, the largest measured thrust was from the control experiment.
No, scientists haven’t invented a space engine that breaks the laws of physics RawStory

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Richard Hoagland: Rockets, lies, and e-mail

        I don't subscribe to Richard Hoagland's new chat-show on digital radio. I don't mind listening to arrogant pseudoscientists in the wee hours of the morning, but that's on the pocket radio tucked up in bed, and for free. I draw the line at getting out of bed and paying for it, no matter how little. So I won't be reviewing The Other Side of Midnight unless somebody pirates it to Youchoob.

        Binaryspellbook, being in a very different time zone, evidently does listen, and on his blog yesterday he wrote this:

"Then Hoagland mentioned Explorer I and his explanation of it on his website. He then quickly admitted that there were some errors in the calculation, but there was still an over-performance of the rocket. He then went on to state that if anyone had emailed him regarding this error he would email them back with corrections."
        Here's the complete collection of my e-mails to the pseudoscientist on this topic. He never replied to any of them.

1 July 2013
Subj: Your mathematical errors in 'Von Braun's Secret'

I believe it has been nearly two years since you admitted, on Facebook, that you had made serious mathematical errors in your web page, Von Braun's Secret part 1.

At about the same time, also on Facebook, you wrote of your "decades-long, demonstrated scientific competence." I am writing to express my surprise that a man who seems proud of his scientific rigor would allow these catastrophic errors to go uncorrected for so long.

Just in case you need reminding of the nature of the errors, you misapplied the Tsiolkovsky equation by using it on all three solid upper stages of the Juno rocket at once. You also failed to evaluate a natural logarithm which forms a well-known part of the equation. When the equation is applied and evaluated correctly it does not support the ideas that you wish to communicate. That is because those ideas are wrong.

May I know why you have allowed this travesty to survive so long (and any answer along the lines of "I've been busy" or "I haven't had time" will be greeted with derision)?

13 August 2013
Subj: Von Braun's Secret FALSIFIED

Well, I see the mendacious web page is still uncorrected. Still delta-V = 3520 ft/sec.

You can't correct it, can you Richard, because if you did work the math correctly you'd arrive at delta-V  = 14,189 ft/sec. The 600 ft/sec excess velocity at orbit injection would be an error of, not 17%, but just over 4% -- easily within the tolerance of the military polysulphide aluminum/ammonium perchlorate fuel.

Are you not JUST A LITTLE BIT ASHAMED to have a theory which has been mathematically falsified published under your name?

28 September 2013
Subj: Another reason to withdraw Von Braun's Secret

Not only is your math unforgivably wrong, but your map of the tracking stations is totally at variance with the actual truth.

The Microlock network consisted of:
Antigua (doppler)
RED - Earthquake Valley
GOLD - AFMTC Florida
BLACK - Ibadan, Nigeria
SILVER - Singapore

The Spheredrop network had stations at:
China Lake, CA
Temple City, CA
White Sands, NM
Cedar Rapids, IA
Huntsville, AL


30 September 2013
Subj: Another reason to withdraw Von Braun's Secret

By the time the second stage fired off the vehicle was traveling horizontally, therefore any so-called anti-gravity boost would be irrelevant.

Do you understand that?

Source: Technical report on Juno.