Thursday, January 22, 2015

Robert Morningstar squeezes the truth again

with apologies to Randall Munroe of xkcd

James Concannon writes...

        There, I fixed up a famous internet cartoon, to bring it up to date.

        Appearing on blogtalkradio, 20 January, Robert Morningstar the "civilian intelligence analyst" and Regents Scholar of Fordham University was mostly rapping on about the Kennedy assassination, but he took a little time to drop one of his famous misunder-standings. On the subject of disclosure (of the presence of ETs) he said this:
"The question was decided by the Brookings Institution a year before Apollo 8. It said we shouldn't tell the world because it would be too disruptive.... etc."
        On the Book of Farces, I pointed out, first, that the Brookings Report was submitted to congress eight years before Apollo 8, and more importantly, that it didn't say what AM* thinks it said. I wrote:
"Morningstar grossly mischaracterizes what the report said. It recommended that the question of disclosure SHOULD BE STUDIED but did not itself express any opinion on the matter. In fact, no such study was ever carried out so the idea that Brookings somehow muzzled NASA is completely wrong."
...and I cited an article from Rational Wiki in support.

        After some banter, in the course of which AM* called me "a persnickity nit-picker, who loves to snipe with a little snicker" (which I took in good part), he came up with this beauty:
"The fact is that the Brookings Report began to issue recommendations in 1960, but it was revised regularly through 1967. I use the 1967 Editon of the Brookings Report, not the 1960 edition. Is that clear to you yet, or do I have draw you a pictuRe? ->M*"
        THE 1967 EDITION?????? If that exists I'll eat my hat. It appears that what Mr. Morningstar mostly learned at Fordham was how to wriggle out of admitting one's boners.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dear Kerry Cassidy: The names are known

        The year is not yet two weeks old, and Kerry Cassidy, professional hater of governments and world-traveler subsidized by her fans, has almost certainly nailed the prize for "Most Obtuse Blogpost of the Year."

        Writing in the Project Camelot Portal yesterday, Cassidy proclaimed that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was obviously a False Flag government set-up, and asked this question:
"Among the questions that remain are who was actually killed within the offices of the paper if anyone and if they weren't killed, where are they?"
Here's the answer, Kerry dear:

Stéphane Charbonnier, 47 -- Editor in chief, nom-de-plume "Charb"
Jean Cabut, 76 -- cartoonist, nom-de-plume "Cabu"
Phillippe Honoré, 74 -- cartoonist,  nom-de-plume "Honoré"
Bernard Maris, 68 -- columnist
Bernard Verlhac, 57 -- cartoonist, nom-de-plume "Tignus"
Georges Wolinski, 80 -- cartoonist, nom-de-plume "Wolinski"
Mustapha Ourad, 60 -- copy editor
Elsa Cayat, 54 -- columnist
Frédéric Boisseau, 42 -- building maintenance worker
Franck Brinsolaro, 49 -- Charbonnier's bodyguard
Michel Renaud, 69 -- guest 

(Source: L'Express, 8 Januarynote 1)

        Cassidy must be the least well-informed person frequenting the blogosphere. She already took the 2014 Grand Prize for misinformation with this piece of nonsense, part of her interview with the Australian magazine Sneaky:
"Soldiers who are alleged to be going to Iraq or Afghanistan are actually being sent off planet to places like Mars to fight battles alongside other alien races. Those men and women will have their minds wiped when they come back. This is why we’re having a lot of suicides with ex-soldiers. In some cases their minds have been wiped so many times they become unbalanced as a result. When they return, they don’t know where they’ve been. They think they’ve been to the Middle East, but they’ve actually been elsewhere." 
        For more Cassidy drivel on the Charlie Hebdo affair, see this blogpost and its comments.

        My own comments here are somewhat out of the remit of this blog, since what Kerry Cassidy practices is not so much pseudoscience as pseudo current affairs. Cassidy is a dangerous liar and the only consolation is that traffic on her blog is now extremely low, and she is continually begging for donations. I sincerely hope her operation dies for lack of funding, but -- of course -- freedom of speech applies as much to her as it did to the Charlie Hebdo victims.

Je suis Charlie. Je ne suis pas Kerry.

Update 25 Jan:
        Interviewed on The Higherside Chats a few days ago, Kerry again insisted that the whole event was stage-managed, and asked "Where are the bodies?" as if she wouldn't believe five cartoonists were dead without seeing corpses. Wasn't that gruesome picture of blood on the floor enough for her?

        Kerry also said "Why haven't we heard from the wounded?" Kerry dear, it's because your research is shit. French Google rapidly produces their testimony. Here's an example -- the blog of Fabrice Nicolino, a writer who was wounded badly enough that his life was in danger.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The hollow Moon, and the brain of Rob Shelsky

         If you want to do any kind of successful spaceflight operation on, or near, the Moon, you absolutely need to know some facts about it. If you need to orbit it, land on it, and/or take off from it, the primary data you need are:

- Mass
- Diameter

        Once you have those two, it's a simple matter to figure out how much lunar gravity is available to keep your spacecraft in orbit, hold down your lander and maybe your astronauts, and resist your attempt to escape from it to get back home.  Well, NASA has done some pretty successful stunts up there over the years—not just Apollo but many photographic and scientific orbiters. The Russians have had their successes with the Luna and Lunakhod missions. The Chinese have Chang'e and the Jade Rabbit lander—the Indians have two Chandrayaan landers to their credit.

        So I can tell you with 100% confidence that we know how big the Moon is and how heavy it is. Here's the data:

- Mass 7.35 x 1022 kg
- Diameter (mean) 3474 km

        Since the volume of a sphere is given by 4πr3/3, it's a trivial matter to calculate:

- Volume 2.2 x 1019 cubic metres

...and from that...

- Density 3340 kg/m3 (since density = mass divided by volume)

More rubbish from George Noory
        I mention this—and I repeat, this data is not guesswork but certainty—because Coast to Coast AM last night donated three hours of broadcast time to an ignoramus called Rob Shelsky. Shelsky is described as an investigative journalist. His proposition was that the Moon is hollow, and he wanted us to know that there were three pieces of evidence for this idea. The first of them was that the overall density of the Moon was much less than it could be expected to be if the whole thing was solid.

        Well now, that's quite an easy factoid to check, now that we know with certainty what that density is. We happen to have, down here on Earth, 382 kg of moon rocks from Apollo, 326 grams from Luna, plus a few bits from meteorites. We can measure their density and see if the density of the whole Moon really is a surprise. People in white coats and face masks have indeed done that, and here's what they found:note 1

Mare basalts: 3270 - 3460 kg/m3
Feldspathic highlands rocks: 2510 - 2840 kg/m3
Breccias: 2360 - 2520 kg/m3

        We can pretty much forget the breccias because by definition they are highly porous — full of air (actually vacuum, since this is the Moon.)  Then once we realize that most of the Moon is basalt, the conclusion must be that there is no reason at all to think that the Moon is hollow on the basis of its density.

        The investigative Mr. Shelsky was perhaps misled by the fact that the overall density of the Moon is only six-tenths that of Earth. But that's because the Moon lacks that really heavy iron core that is siting there under our feet, giving us weight in addition to our inherent mass.

Like a bell
        The second part of Shelsky's "evidence" was that, when Apollo 13's SIVB upper rocket stage was deliberately crashed into the Moon, the seismometer left there by the Apollo 12 crew reacted and went on reacting for more than 10 minutes. Clive Neal, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, entered the annals of sound-bite history by remarking that the Moon "rang like a bell." However, that has more to do with the Moon's perfect dryness than its inherent musicalitynote 2. It is not credible evidence for the hollow Moon.

        Finally, the ill-informed Mr. Shelsky told us that even the Great Carl Sagan thought that maybe the Moon was hollow, and his co-author Ivan Shklovskii agreed. Shelsky cites Shklovskii—try saying that 12 times quickly. Wrongly, as it turns out. The booknote 3 he's thinking of speculated that Phobos, the moon of Mars, might be partly hollow. That was based on orbital data available at the time which has since been discredited. Now the error-prone Richard Hoagland is the only person who thinks Phobos is hollow, and even he would scoff at Shelsky's pseudo-data.

       Would somebody please tell George Noory and Lisa Lyon, his Exec. Producer, to stop misinforming their audience? Thank you.

[1] Kiefer, W. S., Macke, R. J., Britt, D. T., Irving, A. J., and Consolmagno, G. J. (2012) The Density and Porosity of Lunar Rocks. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 39, L07201, doi: 10.1029/2012GL051319.


[3] Sagan, Carl, and Shklovskii, I.S. (1966) Intelligent Life In the Universe. Dell. ISBN-13: 978-0440540564

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Blocking and warming

        Try posting a comment to Mike Bara's blog today. Chances are you'll be blocked with the message

Comments are restricted to team members.

        I wonder which team he means. Surely not his favorite sports teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Manchester City football club. No, I think it just means he really doesn't want to hear any dissent from his amateur opinions. Not that he actually gets any supportive comments anyway — the last comment he allowed was from his brother Dave back in June 2014.

        I found this out because I wanted to dissent mildly from his latest attack on global warming, and specifically on the widely-reported fact that 2014 was the hottest year ever, if ocean temperature is taken into account. I'm not really qualified to argue the point — I freely admit  it — but I just wanted to offer up this link — one of many that my learned friend Prof. Google told me about. Here's another one.

credit: Dana Nuccitelli
        Why is Mike Bara the world-famous astronomer so set on claiming NO WARMING SINCE 1998? In my view, it's simple. The global warming meme is associated with Al Gore, and Al Gore is a Democrat. Mike Bara, as anyone who studies his tweets will know, is so hysterically hostile to the Democratic Party that he tweeted 'BIH Mario Cuomo' instead of 'RIP Mario Cuomo' last week.

        I think that's childish. I think blocking all dissent from a blog is childish, too. Just my opinion.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The wisdom of Facebook commenters

        As I write this, there are 184 FB comments attached to the Coast to Coast announcement of Richard Hoagland's return to the show last night. Very likely more to come, but the trend is obvious. Even the very few supportive comments don't take Hoagland's opinions seriously, but are more in the nature of  "very unlikely, but we should keep an open mind" (and regular readers will know what I think about the "open mind" business.)

Here's a more representative selection:

"What a crock." --Lonnie Rowe

"That guy is a F-ing crackpot. His "theories" hold as much fact and are as real as Santa Claus" --Chad Garcia

"Mount Sharp is an ancient habitation. Good grief no wonder the guy's broke." --Vince Denny

"I think Hoagland is off his meds - again." --Michael Lonergan

"Hoagland...a legend in his own mind." --Steve Knox

"Hoagland would find man made structures on his own pile of *#@&." --Manny Ochoa

"Hoagland  is a real ego maniac and a fraud ! He loves the sound of his own voice. He needs to go away" --Jill Gartland

"Here we go again,no wonder nasa banned him,he is batshit crazy..." --Richard A. Martin

"Ridiculous. Is this guy on crack? Where do they find these delusional people? Where?" --David Jefferson Pearcy

"This guy is full of crap." --Joel BiJeaux

"Is it just me, or does Hogland take FOREVER to get to a point?" --Rance Sullivan

"But "I have analyzed all the data" and you sir are nuts. Has anything he ever said come to truth or actually been proven in "real" science?" --Matt Smith

"This guy is a delusional idiot" --Mark Miller

Lazy blogger?
        I pull out those quotes not to shirk the hard graft of actually writing this blog, but to point out that Hoagland has really lost his audience. It isn't just me and my fellow skepti-bloggers who see that the Emperor has no clothes, scientifically speaking. I heard all of last night's show, and I do have my own comments. The main topic is comet 67P, the ESA spacecraft Rosetta that rendezvoused with it, and the lander Philae that touched down on it.

        First, he was absolutely correct in reporting that the Philae lander is not dead. As soon as comet 67P's orbit brings it into a different orientation with the Sun (and closer to it,) there's a very good chance that the lander's solar panels will get enough energy to wake the spacecraft's systems up again. Hoagland isn't wrong about everything.

        He was wrong, however, in saying that 67P has no ice. True, the Rosetta orbiter wasn't able to see any surface ice as it approached, but when the lander attempted to use its MUPUS hammer to probe the surface, it encountered hard ice pretty soon. It looks as though the surface dust is perhaps as much as 20cm thick, overlaying a core that is predominantly ice and gets more porous toward the center of the comet. I refer you (and Hoagland, if he's reading) to the ESA blog posted a month ago, headlined Philae settles in dust-covered ice. There's been a lot of fuss about the HD ratio in 67P's water (that's the deuterium fraction, much higher than Earth water.) At a temperature of -153°C, does anyone think this water could be liquid?

        I laughed into my pillow when Hoagland spoke of "artificial gravity machines" inside the comet, and laughed again when he mentioned his buddy in Los Angeles who's an ace at digital image enhancement. This guy, according to Hoagland, has developed a way of removing "the blurring mask that NASA and ESA superimpose on all the space pictures" (not verbatim). Oh dear. Pure paranoia, that one.

        A bit later, Hoagland excitedly mentioned that comet 67P is sending out audio signals -- a song, he called it. Here's what he's talking about.  He forgot to mention that, to make this audible, the frequency was artificially raised by a factor of at least 1000. The true frequency of these magnetic oscillations is around 50 millihertz (that's one beat per 20 seconds.) Hoagland is either dishonest or ignorant. Maybe both.

Worthless imagery
        The images Hoagland provided to C2C to accompany his interview had no credibility whatsoever. Skyscrapers my ass. Take another look at this one, that Hoagland thinks is a tramway on Mars (he actually means a cable car, like the Sandia tramway in Albuquerque.)

        I'm obliged to another commenter -- this time from the Coastgab forum -- for pointing out what the tramline actually is. If you look at the whole strip that this image is part of, it's totally obvious that this is a boundary between two of the CCD elements in the HiRISE instrument.The line extends well outside the feature nicknamed Waffle City.

        The commenter was Georgie for President 2216, who also posted "It's a sad day for C2C when Richard C. Hoagland is the biggest draw in months." Thanks, GfP. The bottom line here is that Richard C. Hoagland, the unemployed museum curator, is pig ignorant. When even Farcebook commenters know it's true, it's true.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why Robert Morningstar didn't get his Time Magazine cover this year

His prediction about the Mars opposition causing major earthquakes was a bust.

He got all seven crater names wrong when labeling a shot of Mare Imbrium.

He totally botched the story about the arsenic-tolerant extremophile GFAJ-1 on Offplanet radio.

He made everyone laugh by saying NASA doesn't show images of Ukert crater.

 He made everyone laugh even harder by repeating the well-debunked fantasy about a UFO following Apollo 11.

He repeated his atrocious error claiming that the Apollo astronauts were not aware of the tape recorders recording their conversations behind the Moon.

In a Facebook exchange with Don Davis he got the title, the date, and the meaning of the "Brookings Report" wrong.

Better luck next year, AM*

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Judy Wood cleans house

James Concannon writes...

        Back in mid-September, expat blogged about Judy Wood's bizarre suggestion that there was so little débris at the World Trade Center site that the contractors had to keep themselves busy by needlessly trucking soil back and forth. I liked this point:

[S]he states that the upper 80%, approximately, of each tower was dustified. It seems to me that if that were the case, the load on the lower ~20% would have been instantly alleviated, and that portion of the towers should have been preserved undamaged. Since that demonstrably did not happen, I think it's a very serious problem for her idea.
        I made the same point in a brief post to Wood's FooBoo page. I didn't keep a record of the date or text of it, but it would have been quite soon after expat's bloggery. Well -- today I find this:
Abe here: Although I appreciate your interest in this very important topic, and your attempt to share what you feel is relevant or helpful information, I have removed your post for promoting false statements on this page. Dr. Judy Wood's observation that the top majority of the Twin Towers were transformed to fine dust in midair is absolutely correct. She has never claimed that his process happened "instantly" like you claimed, and she also never claimed that the dust "did not fall to the ground". The vast majority of the Twin Towers were transformed to fine dust in midair within a matter of seconds, and if we take into consideration the well-documented "lathering up" process, we see that the process technically took even longer. Please spend some time correcting your misunderstandings rather than spreading misunderstandings and false statements on this page.

This page is for discussing the conclusive body of empirical evidence from 9/11 and for showing our support for Dr. Judy Wood, so off-topic posts, false statements, rumors, theories, spam, and disrespect are not allowed on this page. We must present and discuss the empirical evidence from 9/11 as accurately and precisely as possible, so that others will view this important evidence with serious consideration. This is not a warning, but please still refrain from posting off-topic information, false statements, rumors, theories, spam, and/or disrespect in the future.



Abraham Hafiz Rodriguez, M.D.
PGY2 Neurological Surgery
B.S. Biology/Neurobiology
Wow. Sorry I spoke, Abe.

       Of course, Dr Rodriguez is a long way from refuting the point. He is admitting that the dustification process happened in a fraction of the total time it took each tower to disappear. Therefore, as expat and I say, the load on the "undustified" part of each tower would have been relieved.

        I am far from the only victim of Rodriguez's intolerance. He dealt out the exact same treatment (on behalf of Judy Wood, I assume) to the following contributors:

Mark Jonas
Alex Bratcher
Barry O'Daniels
Richard Kelly
David Kaas
Maurice Herald
Ian Hilpus
Stephen Gadsun
Micah Zeidman
Pop O'hAodha [sic]
Kevin Hartin
Karen Boudriault

Friday, December 5, 2014

Jolly good show, NASA

        Today's first test flight of the Orion spacecraft, launched by a Delta IV heavy, was a complete success in every respect. Well done, chaps.

        Richard Hoagland, guesting on his girlfriend's awful internet radio show, went into hyperbole mode even before the flight was over. "This changes everything," he gushed. "It will save the world." Just as I was thinking his narration of the test flight -- officially designated  EFT-1 -- was reasonably accurate, however, he revealed his ignorance once again by looking forward to the days when Orion will take men to the Moon to rediscover the technology of that ancient Lunar civilization he dreams about. The one destination Orion does not have is the surface of the Moon -- the Augustine Commission plus President Obama (well, his advisers, anyway) nixed that.

        Orion is all that we have left of the cancelled Constellation Project, and it will eventually be launched on the all-new Space Launch System toward asteroids and the planet Mars.

        I'm just bummed that we'll have to wait until September 2018 for the next Orion flight -- a trip around the Moon and back designated EM-1. Even then, it will not be manned. The manned asteroid rendezvous is projected for 2021-ish. But, you never know -- if the Chinese start doing very visible things with men (and women) on the Moon, the US Congress might have an epiphany.

Update 12/6:
        Hoagland took it up a notch by appearing in the news segment of Coast to Coast AM last night. Evidently the slight feud between Hoagland and Noory is over, and we can look forward to more bullshitnote 1. Last night he took most of his allotted time recounting how a 22-year-old  Hoagland attended a NASA press conference in January 1967 and got to ask The Great Von Braun a question. Just as he had earlier on the freedomslips show, he misinformed the audience about Orion's mission, and made the crazy statement that Orion was the technology of the 22nd century. Dear Richard: The 22nd century is 86 years away. Nothing will be left to show for Orion by 2100. I promise you.

        Since I'm annoyed that he got back on the air, I'll nit-pick by saying that his reference to the mighty Saturn V rocket was wrong, too. A January 1967 press conference at the Cape would have been about AS-204, later designated Apollo 1 -- the tragic mission that killed Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in an oxygen firenote 2. The rocket was a Saturn 1B, not a V.

[1] Specifically, bullshit about comet 67P Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Hoagland said he would blow Noory's mind with his revelations about what Rosetta's cameras revealed. Here we go again -- Nike sneakers, apartment blocks, motels....

[2] Hoagland himself would, many years later, make the inexcusable claim that the AS-204 fire was no accident, but something contrived by NASA management. His evidence? Astrology.