Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mike Bara: "I never said that"

        In his preamble to yesterday's angry blogpost, Bara included this:

"As you will see, I never said that orbital eccentricity was measured from the Earth, that centrifugal force makes you heavier,..."

        So what, pray, is this, if it isn't a statement measuring the orbital eccentricity of Mars from the Earth??
 "Because of its highly "eccentric" ... orbit ... Mars' distance relative to Earth varies a great deal. In fact, Mars' orbit is so elliptical that its distance to the Earth can be as much as 249 million miles at its farthest to as little as about 34 million miles at its theoretical closest approach." --Ancient Aliens on Mars, p. 42

        ....and what, pray, is this, if it isn't a statement  that centrifugal force makes you heavier??

"Without the Moon's calming influence, the Earth would spin so fast that the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes."  --The Choice, p.32
        I must admit I LOL'd  -- maybe even LMFAO'd -- when he deliberately misquoted himself on p.1 of Ancient Aliens on the Moon:
"As I put it in my previous book The Choice .... Without the Moon's calming influence,the Earth would spin so fast that the winds caused by the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes." [emph. added]
         I think that counts as a triple lie, doesn't it? Lie #1 in The Choice, Lie #2 in Ancient Aliens on the Moon, Lie #3 in his blog.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mike Bara: Nothing to do, so let's make wild accusations

        According to his tweetery yesterday, Mike Bara's Big Event of the Day was flea-bombing his condo in Kent WA. Enough to make anyone testy, I guess. And since Bara's normal state of mind is "aggressive and arrogant", it must have put him in attack mode.

        The result was a blog-post listing 23 of his previous blog-posts in which, in his fantasies, he rebutted the claims of his critics successfully (usually with added insults.) A few of them concerned me, or were so-called rebuttals of my objections to the things this unqualified ex-draftsman has written or said. I guess my favorite is this one, in which he calls me "a demented nutbag" and "mentally unstable," and responds to my objection to a statement he made during a lecture in July 2008.

        His original statement was that there is occult symbolism in the architecture near the intersection of 33rd St and Isis Ave in Hawthorne CA. I pointed out, first, that the "occult symbolism" is a compass rose in the forecourt of a very ordinary airport hotel, and second, that 33rd St and Isis Ave may once have intersected but they sure don't now, thanks to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan rail line that slashes right across the landscape at that point. 33rd St now dead-ends in a self-storage business.

        What makes Bara's "rebuttal" so hilarious is that he posts, as evidence that he's right, a Google map overlay which quite clearly shows that he's wrong. He draws the "intersection" right on top of a passing train, LOL.

 photo credit: Mike Bara

Not so funny
        All very funny, today's internet joke. Much less funny, however, is the part of Bara's blog where he writes that his critics "sexually harassed my female friends and threatened me with physical violence." I once again challenge Mike Bara to provide examples of such messages and threats. I HAVE NEVER MADE THREATS against the Bara boys or anyone else.

        On our side, we have evidence of sexual harassment and threats coming in the other direction.

Sarah Shanae harassing James Concannon.

Dave Bara threatening Derek Eunson, Ph.D.

Mike Bara: PUT UP OR STFU.

Friday, July 25, 2014


        Quite early during Mike Bara's delusional two hours on the woo-woo radio show last Wednesday, he admitted that -- gasp! -- he isn't perfect.
MB: "Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody makes minor errors. I've written -- what? -- five books now, gonna be six next year..."

GN: "You made mistakes? YOU?"

MB: "I actually have made, I think, a couple of errors. A couple of transpositions, a couple of typos. Maybe even an immaterial technical error, in my description of something. It does happen."
        "A couple of typos"???  Pardon me while I fall off my chair laughing. Bara's books are absolutely stuffed with errors both minor and major. After the first edition of Dark Mission, an official list of errata was provided -- 29 items, not too bad for a work of over 500 pages. But second editions are the opportunity to make these good, and in this respect the publisher Adam Parfrey was a dismal failure. There are uncorrected errata on pages 131, 145, 178, 215, 278, 286, 312, 320, 386(2), 430 (all using 2nd edition pagination.) This is inexcusable.

        AAoM2 has, for example, "west and rast" for "west and east" (p.122), "Fortunatley" (p.170), "poured over" for "pored over" (p.183), "side by- ide" (p.186). The latter looks like a copy edit screw-up rather than an author's.

        As I've written before, "typo" is short for "typographical error." Since there are no typographers in modern publishing, a better word for "typo" is "error."

        Well, OK, no author is immune from minor errors. I don't expect Bara's books to be totally free of them, and I assume he wouldn't expect mine to be. However, his estimate of "a couple" in all five books is prevarication in the extreme. Much more serious are the calamitous technical errors that totally mislead the readership. Nor are these just "immaterial technical errors." Let's remind ourselves of some really bad Barrors, just restricting ourselves to one per book:

Dark Mission
 "[O]n the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11 ... [Neil] Armstrong himself had seemed frustrated. He started his highly emotional address by first comparing himself to a parrot--saying only what he had been told to say." (Armstrong actually said the exact opposite.)

The Choice
"Without the Moon's calming influence, the Earth would spin so fast that the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes." (No, other way round.)

(Writing of images of Earth from space)  "the clouds are the highest in the atmosphere, meaning that they are reflecting more light back to the camera and at a faster rate. Since they are returning more light, the clouds are the lightest. The surface areas ... are darker, because they are a bit further away from the camera than the clouds and therefore the light has to travel further before it is reflected back. The deep blue oceans are therefore the darkest, because the light has to travel all the way to the ocean floor before it is reflected back to the camera." (Wrong in so many ways that I don't know where to start.)

"Because of its highly "eccentric" ... orbit ... Mars' distance relative to Earth varies a great deal. In fact, Mars' orbit is so elliptical that its distance to the Earth can be as much as 249 million miles at its farthest to as little as about 34 million miles at its theoretical closest approach." (The difference is due to their different orbits, not to eccentricity.)

"Allow me to translate for you. If Phobos is not a captured asteroid ... then it by definition must be an artificial satellite." (There is no such "definition." The consensus is that Phobos was formed by re-accretion of orbital debris.)

Plus, of course, every one of Bara's ridiculous Mars images, purportedly showing "unmistakably artificial" things, is a lie. Moreover, Bara doesn't even have the honesty to cite catalog references so we could go to the NASA sources and find out what they really show.


Monday, July 21, 2014

New inductees to the "Emoluments of Mars" Hall of Shame

Robert Kiviat: Exec. Producer, Producer, Director, Writer

Jeff Sagansky: Co-Exec. Producer

David Kiviat: Co-Exec. Producer

Citation: For creating a 90-minute TV  Special,  "Aliens on the Moon: The Truth Exposed", that commits several crimes against video documentary conventions, and for exposing not truth but lies.

For writing the pre-title script line "Tonight we will examine all the evidence", then notably failing to examine ANY of the modern lunar images from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. 

For swallowing the Apollo 20 hoax and giving it false legitimacy.

A couple of existing members of the Hall of Shame appear as talking heads.

Mike Bara: Laid-off former CAD-CAM technician. In trademark "macho" leather jacket, stuck in front of some kind of fake lunar landscape, telling lies.

Ken Johnston: Former Lunar Receiving Lab shipping clerk. In flight jacket, bearing no less than six patches including US Marines Command Pilot wings that he may not really be entitled to.

Mike Bara checklist:
        Mike talks a great deal about the "satellite dish" in Mare Crisium. IT'S A LIE. This blog has proved it.

         Mike tells us about the "giant paperclip" in AS10-32-4822, near crater Manilius. IT'S A LIE. This blog has proved it. On the SyFy show, he stated that the version of that frame showing the paperclip came from "negatives we obtained from NASA."In his rant The Inmates are running the asylum, he says it was a print from Ken Johnston's collection. The latter is far more likely -- NASA does not release original negatives.

        Let me do what the producers of this poppycock dismally failed to do -- check the LRO image. Here's a permalink. Zoom in and explore at will. The two craters in the foreground of the Apollo 10 image are Hyginus A and B. The paperclip would be toward the top of that frame. If it existed.

        Mike tells us about the Daedalus Ziggurat. IT'S A LIE. Stuart Robbins has proved it. Once again, check the LRO high-definition image Here it is. The ziggy would be dead center. If it existed. What's worse, Mike claims sole credit for having "discovered" this miracle. No mention that he came across it on the web forum Call of Duty Zombies, or that it was originally "found" by Terry James, a.k.a. kksamurai. MORE LIES.

Three days after the show's première, Mike proclaimed that he was shocked... shocked! to discover that the show gave the impression that he was the original discoverer. He reposted on his blog what he calls the forward [sic] to his previous book, setting the record straight (and putting on display his sheer nastiness, yet again.) In fact, it is credible that the false claim was due to poor editing.

Ken Johnston checklist:
        Ken retells an old hoax about Neil Armstrong getting on a secret "medical" radio channel while on the Moon, saying  “I'm telling you, there are other spacecraft out there. They're lined up in ranks on the far side of the crater edge....” IT'S A LIE. James Oberg has proved it. Moreover, as Oberg also correctly reports, there was no such thing as a "secret medical radio channel." It's true that some conversations with the Flight Surgeon were not released publicly, but that's not quite the same thing.

         Ken tells his oft-repeated story about the alien base in crater Tsiolkovsky. This blog has concluded that it's unlikely to be true. Ken says "Apollo 14 came around the back side of the Moon, cameras rolling." But the film strip in question was not a movie at all, it was from the topographic camera, as this blog explained two years ago.

        On his Faceache page, Ken said he was the "research producer" of the show. The end credits give that accolade to  Don Ecker (he's the joker who referred to the tracks left by rolling boulders as "tank tracks." Great research there, Don.)

Lee Spiegel checklist: 
        Lee believes the "chevron" near crater Belyayev is an artificial structure. IT'S A LIE, and this blog has proved it.

        Lee thinks the "cigar-shaped" feature near crater Diderot is a crashed spacecraft. IT'S A LIE, and this blog has proved it. Once again, check the LRO image. It's cratered exactly like its surroundings.

        Lee refers to NASA Mars probes lost "for unknown reasons." He's talking about Mars Observer (1993), Mars Polar Lander (1999) and Mars Climate Orbiter (1999). These missions were lost, but not for "unknown reasons." The reasons became very clear, as James Oberg has shown.

Nick Redfern checklist:
        I love Nick's Staffordshire accent, but I wish he'd use it in service  of the truth instead of inaccurate speculation. He too says the "chevron" is "man-made." He wonders if Moon aliens are "preparing for an attack" (yeah, sure, Nick. I suggest you take cover, just in case.)

General crimes against tv documentary conventions:
        The producers often mix actual lunar images with artwork and model shots, in such a way as to intentionally deceive the audience by pretending that the "anomalies" are more obvious than they actually are.

        Extremely unconvincing "anomalous" images are overlaid in color so as to appear a bit more convincing. This Apollo 11 image, for example, is zoomed in on about 20 times:

 image credit: NASA AS11-41-6139
        The narrator says over and over again that it shows a flying saucer. IT'S A LIE.

        Altogether some 20 lunar images are shown, with the claim that they show  artificial objects or structures. Not once, NOT ONCE, do the producers see fit to examine the much more detailed imagery of the same areas that is readily available in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image library. Much of that imagery has a resolution of 0.8 m/px, several hundred times better than the images the producers used.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of "Ancient Aliens on Mars II"

"[T]his book ... is about truth."

        Thus Mike Bara, embarking on another 234 pages of recycled drivel on a topic that exists only in the minds of the paranoid, and the credulous audience of Coast to Coast AM. To be fair, he only said the book is about truth, he never promised it was actually true. And of course, it isn't.

The image gallery is here, if you're interested.

Phobos: hollow or porous
        It isn't long before our Mike strays very noticeably from truth. Chapter 1 is almost all about Phobos, the senior moon of Mars. Like his former co-author Richard Hoagland, Bara utterly fails to grasp the meaning of the recent findings about Phobos. He correctly quotes from the report of Mars Express's 2010 fly-by -- "We conclude that the interior of Phobos likely contains large voids. [T]hese results are inconsistent with the proposition that Phobos is a captured asteroid" (Bara's emphasis).  But then he writes this drivel:
"Allow me to translate for you. If Phobos is not a captured asteroid ... then it by definition must be an artificial satellite."
        Elsewhere he writes that Phobos is one third hollow, and this is mind-boggling. But it isn't mind-boggling at all. A paper by Britt et al.note 1 in the Lunar & Planetary Institute publication 'Asteroids' cites 30% as a fairly common figure for the "macroporosity" of one class of asteroid.
Figure 3 from Britt, et al. showing that the macroporosity of Phobos is nothing special

        In fact, neither of the words "hollow" or "porous" quite fits the known facts, and both manage to be misleading. The Mars Express version, "contains large voids," is correct but cumbersome. Imagine a pile of bricks -- not a neat stack of bricks, but a random pile, thrown together. It's not hard to imagine the voids adding up to 30%. And of course Bara is laughably wrong in asserting that the only alternative to "captured asteroid" is "artificial satellite." The final conclusion of the Mars Express science team was that Phobos is re-accreted from orbital debris.

THEMIS: Whodunnit? Whydowecare?
        Richard Hoagland deserves a share of the royalties for Chapter 2, since it's pretty much a straight steal from Chapter 10 of Dark Mission, even including the chapter title, "Mars Heats Up." Both chapters tell an over-detailed story of infra-red imagery of Cydonia from the THEMIS instrument on Mars Odyssey (2002). On one side, the heroes Hoagland, Bara, Laney, Isenberg (the latter eventually defected, if I have the story straight.) On the other, the NASA villains Smythe, "Bamf", Gorelick, Christensen. We are told who posted what on what bulletin board at exactly what time on what date, all to insinuate that the heroes got a bum deal from the villains, but triumphed in the end. Hooray!!

        For all I know, Bara's recitation of this cyber-skirmish is accurate in all respects, and the villains really were villainous. But the thing is, I didn't care when I read this shit in Dark Mission, and I care even less now.

        Chapters 3 and 4 extend the "heroes and villains" theme and Bara uses the opportunity to slag off a few people he regards as his enemies. Mark Carlotto, another defected ex-ally, is "absurd," "unethical." James Oberg is a "charlatan." The astronomer Phil Plait is "a grotesque little toad of [a] man." When a writer flubs even his gross insults by missing out an indefinite article, it's probably time to give it a rest.

That face
        I had foolishly hoped that Mike Bara would go light on Cydonia this time around, having written it to death in AAoM1. Alas, no, he gives it the (almost) full treatment. Just a glance at the Chapter 5 images in the gallery will give you the idea. He hates everything NASA did with the "Face," showing no gratitude for the fact that they went out of their way to re-photograph the damned thing for PR, rather than science, reasons. In fact, he uses the acronym NASA as though it were an adjective meaning "corrupt." He loves the 3-D images from the stereo camera on Mars Express (which was ESA, not NASA, so it isn't villainous, see?) He references the 'Cydonia Geometric Relationship Model' perhaps unaware that Stuart Robbins recently drove a stake through the heart of that highly dubious idea.

        Here's part of Bara's recap of the reasons that the face is a Face, built by Martians:
"[I]t has two aligned eye sockets, the tip of the nose is the tallest point on the structure, there are two clearly defined nostrils in the nose, the west eye socket is shaped like a human eye including a tear duct, there is a spherical pupil in the eye...."
        So how does he explain that wonderful 0.25 m/px image taken by the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 5th April 2007? This best-ever image shows that that entire list of features is in Mike Bara's imagination. How does he deal with this fact? Simple -- he reduces it to a 2 x 2.5" thumbnail and darkens it so that it's barely decipherable. Then he writes that its lack of detail is "suspicious."

Here it is. Admire the detail.

The pareidolia game
        The last hundred pages amount to a sort of visual shopping list of bits of images from various Mars cameras that remind Mike of other things. This really is just a game, and Bara is by no means the only person who plays it. From George Haasnote 2 (who calls himself 'The Cydonia Institute') he gets "the parrot," "the roadrunner," and "the Nefertiti." From Joseph Skipper of "Mars Anomaly Research," he gets a vaguely skull-like object which, of course, is a skull. Bara reiterates his scorn for the term "pareidolia" and then falls slap-bang into its tender trap, discerning in "Parrot City" a whole civilization, with bridges, tunnels, a processing plant, a waste-disposal facility.

        This is my absolute favorite bit of "Baradolia" -- a replica of the famous Theme restaurant at Los Angles International airport, right there on Mars. Here it is, compared with its terrestrial original.

image credit: NASA/JPL/Bara
        This is right near the office park, the race track, and the pumping station. No, I'm not kidding. Mike Bara really believes this.

        Then he gets into the Eye of Horus. The dinosaur bones. The tank, the turbocharger. The only problem I see is that some readers of this truly terrible book will believe it too. I comfort myself with the thought that many buyers of this thing (the Faceboo fans) won't actually read it, though they may well write "friend of the author" 5-star Amazon reviews.

Amazon rankings (paperback) on July 23:
Overall: 34,041
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science > Mars: 5
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Earth-based religions > Gaia: 8
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science> Astrophysics & Space Science: 47

Amazon rankings on July 24, after two utterly delusional hours on Coast to Coast AM:
Overall: 12,549
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science > Mars: 1
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Earth-based religions > Gaia: 5
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science> Astrophysics & Space Science: 13

[1] "Asteroid density, porosity and structure"
[2] Update: George Haas reports on The Hidden Mission Forum that Bara used seven of his images without permission.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Steve Quayle, your source for totally wrong information

        Steve Quayle is yet another of those "put a penny in the slot and away he goes" mouth-offs that radio shows love these days. He guested on Coast to Coast AM last night on a variety of topics, none of which he was remotely qualified to comment on -- "biowarfare, a new Ebola outbreak, viruses, chemtrails, and genetic experimentation" (says the official C2C summary.)

        No mention in Quayle's C2C bio of any qualifications in microbiology or molecular genetics. He's just an author (one I admit I haven't actually read) who feeds the public appetite for alarmism. Moreover, one with several really annoying speech mannerisms ("The point being, is....")

        Well, there's nothing new about C2C inviting annoying and unqualified people to pontificate. It happens every time Richard Hoagland or Mike Bara make their appearance. Why, back in August 2008 Hoagland did a complete four-hour show based on a calculation that was fundamentally incorrect (Von Braun's Secret). It made every single thing he said for four hours totally invalid.

        Quayle might be right that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is due to a new strain that's particularly dangerous. He might be right that publishing the complete genetic sequence of the spanish flu virus was not a great idea. He might be right that illegal aliens could be importing dangerous viruses to the USA, although mere tourists are just as much of a threat. Even bona fide citizens returning from exotic locations could be viral time-bombs.

        However, he's surely wrong about the secret base in Nevada where all the chemtrail planes are loaded up with their nasties. He's definitely wrong when he says that a rainbow is not a spectrum created by water droplets but a view of various components of the chemtrail mix. And he's wrongest of all about the microwave bombardment of the US Embassy in Moscow from 1953-1976.

        What he said about that, paraphrasing, was that the Russians knew enough about viral infection to have projected specific viruses through thin air based on "quantum frequencies, harmonics." I agree with the general precept expounded in the Rational Wikipedia that the word quantum uttered by anyone other than a specialist in the subject is a cue that what follows will be rubbish.

        The facts are that microwaves of 2.5 to 4.0 GHz were aimed at the US embassy building in Moscow. The intensity was above normal background (even by today's elevated standards) but below what is considered hazardous. There was concern that the intended effect was to impair the health of embassy staff, but that was never proved, and an equally plausible idea is that it was a form of radio-interference. The idea that specific viruses were thereby transmitted directly into the embassy is a total fantasy. It's quite simply an impossibility. An epidemiological study was commissioned by the Department of State to investigate possible health effects on the staff and their families. It was carried out by Abraham Lilienfeld (deceased, 1984) and colleagues at the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. The study compared the Moscow embassy staff and their dependents with the staff and dependents at other eastern European U.S. embassies, who would have had similar selection procedures, and many similarities in their work and lifestyle. In this retrospective cohort study, the exposed group were staff who had served in the Moscow embassy during the period January 1 1953 to June 30 1976, and their dependents who lived in Moscow; and the comparison group were staff who served in other selected Eastern European embassies or consulates during the same period of time, and their dependents; in Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Leningrad, Prague, Sofia, Warsaw, and Zagreb. These posts were chosen for their general similarity to Moscow in climate, diet, geographical location, disease problems, and general social milieu.

The results were negative.
“To summarize, with very few exceptions, an exhaustive comparison of the health status of the state and non-state department employees who had served in Moscow with those who had served in other Eastern European posts during the same period of time revealed no differences in health status as indicated by their mortality experience and a variety of morbidity measures. No convincing evidence was discovered that would directly implicate the exposure to microwave radiation experienced by the employees at the Moscow embassy in the causation of any adverse health effects as of the time of this analysis”.
        Steve Quayle stated last night "the science is there" and said he'd slap it up on his web site. I'll keep checking, but nothing's there yet.

        Viral terrorism is, I suppose, a legitimate topic for C2C. Why, I wonder, do they not find someone to explain it who knows what he's talking about?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Morningstar displays his dismal misunderstanding of microbiology

        Internet woo radio, it seems, is falling over itself in its eagerness to give a platform to Robert Morningstar and his erroneous ideas. Today it was the turn of The Higherside Chats to offer us all an hour of our lives that we can never get back.

        AM* happened to touch on two topics that I know a lot about, and in both cases showed such a calamitous misunderstanding that it almost literally took my breath away. Here's the first, in his exact words:

18:39 "About three years ago, a few NASA scientists came out and said that they had found a special form of life in Mono Lake, California, which was based on arsenic. It was a cell, or a culture, that reproduced itself and its metabolism and its life cycle was based not on carbon but on arsenic of all things ... And the premise of this revelation was --- her name was Dr. Wolf, and she had a hyphenated name, but I only remember Dr Wolf, or Wolfson. But she said a very interesting thing. She said the important thing about their finding was that the search for life as we have conducted it for the last 40 years -- life on Mars, life on the Moon, life anywhere -- has been conducted through too narrow a window. We've been looking only for carbon-based life. And this showed that there is another form of life that was based on arsenic. And then she made the most amazing statement. She said "Now this life-form cannot thrive on Earth because the temperature is too hot. It needs all of its energy just to maintain its steady state, so it cannot expand, propagate, reproduce, it just has to keep accumulating the arsenic to maintain its steady-state existence. However, on another planet where the temperature was much colder than Earth...." and she then said "perhaps on some place like Saturn's moon Titan, where the temperature is 167 below zero it might be possible for such an organism to thrive and propagate." That was [an] Earth-shattering statement. And really the important thing was pointing out that perhaps the paradigm was wrong -- that our assumption that all life, any life, must be based on carbon is a fallacy, it's an erroneous assumption. So they called for reviewing all the previous work that we've done, and to start expanding, opening the window a little wider, in order to see whether or not we missed something."
        Well, of course he's here  referring to the fetching Dr Felisa Wolfe-Simon, known as "Iron Lisa," and the extremophile bacterium she called GFAJ-1. The only things Morningstar got roughly right were "about three years ago" (actually December 2010) and "Mono Lake." The rest of it is absolute balderdash -- he managed to get the story even more wrong than Richard Hoagland did when he reported it at the time.

        Iron Lisa never made the claim that GFAJ-1 was not carbon-based. The organism is carbon-based without any question at all. The claimed arsenic substitution was for phosphorous, not carbon. Duhhhhh.... She never even claimed that arsenic was incorporated into the nucleotide bases which are the four letters of the genetic codenote 1 (that's the part Hoagland got wrong.) All she said was that, in the low-phosphorous, high-arsenic environment of Mono Lake, this organism has found a way of substituting arsenic for some of the phosphorous in its DNA structural backbone.

        I saw the whole of the press conference on 2nd December 2010, and followed the story carefully. To my knowledge Wolfe-Simon never said that GFAJ-1 was more suited to Titan than Earth, or that it could not thrive in Mono Lake. As most readers of this blog already know, her findings were later discredited by Rosie Redfield and Alex Bradley. "GFAJ" turned out to mean "Get Felisa A Job." The story is quite well told in wikipedia.

        Moving right along, here's AM* again, on a subject I really know a lot about.

21:10 "Dr Levinnote 2, who is in charge of the Mars Viking Life research project, and they think they found life, back in 1976 when Viking landed. They did an experiment, and the experiment was to scoop up some dirt and to drop in some nutrients that had a little bit of radioactivity in. And the premise was that if there were any microbial activity in the soil that it would eat the nutrient and exude gases that could be picked up because they were radioactive. Indeed they did. And an announcement was made that there was life on Mars. Then NASA quashed that finding and said that the experiment was wrong, and that they did another experiment that proved it was wrong. Well, the experiment that they did was a different experiment, and it was intentionally conducted to kill any life that was in the soil. I was watching Dr Levin on a show on the Science Channel --it was called "NASA's Secret UFO Files" And he said that what they had done was they had taken soil and cooked it. And then tested that soil for life. And he said "How can you find any life in soil that has been heated in such a way that it would kill any microbial life?" "
        I wrote that I really know about this subject. Yes, indeed -- I was personally right there at JPL as all this was unfolding, making a TV documentary about the very subject of extraterrestrial life for the BBC. So to say I was interested would be an understatement.

        First of all, Gil Levín was not  "in charge of the Mars Viking Life research project." Harold "Chuck" Klein held that position, and Gerry Soffen was overall head of Viking Science. Dr Levín was one of three PIs whose life-detection experiments were carried on each of the two Viking landers.

        Morningstar's description of the Labeled Release experiment is correct, and it's also correct that its results were arguably positive for life. However, his description of the other experiment is woefully, hopelessly, wrong. He must be referring to the Pyrolytic Release experiment -- which, by the way, was not "a NASA experiment" any more than Levín's was. Norman Horowitz of CalTech was the PI.

        Horowitz's strategy was to test for carbon fixation by micro-organisms. He fed the soil water in the presence of radio-labeled carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. After several days, he tested to see if any labeled carbon had been "ingested". The way of doing this was to heat the soil to 650°C and see if any labeled carbon was given off. To say that the experiment "killed microbial life" is thoroughly misleading. The answer to the question "How can you find any life in soil that has been heated in such a way?" is "Very easily. It was done over and over again in trials with all kinds of microbial life before Viking ever flew."

        I blogged about this as long ago as April 2008. Read it again if you want to know why Gil Levín's experiment was not considered definitive in the end.

Now for the good news...
        At the very beginning of his Higherside Chat, Morningstar allowed that he was fallible. That he might make mistakes. He correctly said that being wrong isn't a crime, and that he "welcomed corrections."

Consider yourself corrected, Robert.

1] There is no phosphorous in adenine, thymine, cytosine or guanine.
2] Small point -- Morningstar mispronounces Dr Levín's name. The accent is on the second syllable. But you have to be a real space buff to know that, not a dilettante like AM*.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Robert Morningstar misinforms the public again

        Robert Morningstar, the "civilian intelligence analyst" who doesn't spend enough time analyzing his own intelligence, popped up on internet woo-woo radio again last night, this time on Darkness Radio.

        His main motive was to promote his upcoming Secret Space Program conference, but in fact it was the usual performance, even including his ridiculous fantasy that Apollo astronauts weren't aware that the DSE (in the Command Module) and DSEA (in the Lunar Module) were recording their conversation when out of touch with Houston on the far side of the Moon.note 1

        Unchallenged by Darkness's host, he went through a buffet of the usual lunar anomalies. My face hit the desk when he stated that "NASA doesn't show" images of Ukert crater (at 7.8°N, 1.4°E) because there's a symbol in it "like the eye on the pyramid". My question to Morningstar is this: "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK THIS IS, INTELLIGENCE ANALYST GENIUS?"

photo credit: NASA/LRO image library

        Here's a permalink so any readers can zoom around and NOT see an eye on a pyramid.

        Ukert has been photographed by NASA many times. Here's a partial list.

Lunar Orbiter frame LO-IV-102H (the white dots are photo processing errors)
Apollo 10 frame AS10-32-4822
Grail image #MK12_03

Old, old, old stories
        Morningstar claims to have a "photographer's eye." Why, then, does he say that the lack of stars in the sky of Apollo photography is a mystery, no doubt done to deliberately obscure UFOs. The answer is so simple I can't even bear to write it.

        Again unchallenged by Darkness, he told us about the "mysterious object" that followed Apollo 11 during the first two days after trans-lunar injection. Everyone in the world except AM* knows that it was one of the four panels of the LM adapter shroud, discarded after LM extraction.

Truly this man is a danger to the truth.

1] Once again, here's the CM instrument panel with the DSA switches clearly labeled TAPE RECORDER in the bottom row of Panel C. Here's the LM instrument panel with RECORDER ON/OFF equally clearly labeled on Panel 12. DSE stands for Data Storage Equipment.

Here's page 3-83 of the Apollo 11 Flight Plan. It captures the moment when Armstrong and Aldrin are preparing  to leave Tranquility Base. GET 116:00-116:36.

A task for Mission Control is 'DUMP DSE'. This is in the Flight Plan. And Morningstar claims the astronauts weren't aware of it?????