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.

        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..

        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 detectors 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.

Sincerely,

-Abe

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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hoagland shamed, Bara mocked

        As my internet-friend binaryspellbook rightly says (or rightly writes, to be right), the former museum curator Richard Hoagland has some back-pedaling to do in respect of Comet 67P Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is now screamingly obvious that the ten-trillion kg rubber ducky IS NOT an abandoned space station and DOES NOT feature "ruins and eroded jagged metallic structures ... skyscrapers ...buildings," as Hoagland claimed earlier this year.

        Time for some public recantation, you'd think -- unless you already knew Hoagland's standard behavior of hiding when his pronouncements and predictions are shown to be false. As a matter of fact, right now he's doing an unprecedented job of hiding.

* Last update of his primitive web site: April 2014
* Last update of his Fartbook fan page: May 2012
* Last update of his Fuckbook "personal" page: Too far off to find
* Last appearance on Coast to Coast AM: 22nd April 2014 (there are rumors that George Noory is pissed off with him)
* Last known public appearance: 31st August 2014, Caravan  to Midnight (when he made the claim about 67P)
* Update: He was on something called the Tom Anderson Show much more recently (7th Nov) peddling the same story. Again, unchallenged.

Update 22nd Nov: Noory announced last night that RCH is not on the naughty chair and will be back soon. Apparently he moved house "and it did not go well," whatever that means.

Well done, ESA
        This blog adds its congratulations to the tidal wave sweeping over Arianespace, Astrium, ESA and its many, many collaborators. As of this writing, Philae may be on its side and rapidly running out of battery power, but to have got it that far is a gigantic achievement. Update: Turned out that it wasn't lying on its side after all, but the batteries failed on 14 Nov.

NOT well done, Mike Bara
        Mike Bara, the world-renowned theoretical physicist, came up with a blogpost this week that clanged somewhat like Big Ben would if it fell onto Westminster Bridge (yes, folks, the term Big Ben technically refers to the bell, not the tower it sits in). He gave us his analysis of the physics implied in the recently-released movie Interstellar, and in the process reiterated his well-known opinion that modern astrophysics is mostly rubbish, and physicists are idiots -- especially Neil deGrasse Tyson, who Bara calls a "science choad" no less than eight times (a choad being a short fat penis).

        He's not 100% wrong about physics -- I share his skepticism about dark matter/dark energy, for instance. But in writing that wormholes are nonsense because nobody has ever seen one, he's missing the point so spectacularly that the point is rumored to have committed suicide in despair. Quite likely wormholes don't exist, or if they do it's extremely hard to see how human space travelers could put one to effective use. But a wormhole, or an Einstein-Rosen bridge to give it its posh name, is a legitimate solution to the equations of General Relativity, and thus is of interest to theoretical physics. That arcane discipline, almost by definition, does not require the things it studies to be actually observable. Mike dear, think of a wormhole as a way of teaching relativity, not something that will necessarily ever be confirmed to exist.

        Time dilation is another matter. Well understood and accurately measured, this phenom is responsible, for instance, for the fact that GPS satellites have their time-keeping  adjusted to account for the reduced gravity field at 20,000 km altitude. Mike Bara the world-famous engineer wrote this:
"[T]here is some evidence to support time dilation, but it is pretty sketchy. As an example, identical nuclear clocks have been used to measure the passage of time on Earth relative to the passage of time in orbit, in near weightless conditions. The clocks farther away from the 1G gravitational field of Earth were found to operate faster than the ones on Earth. But this is categorically NOT proof that time passes more slowly under the influence of gravity. It is only proof that clocks operate more slowly under the influence of gravity. Since no one has a clue what time really is, the idea that we can measure it is a fairy tale. None of these experiments have actually measured the speed of time. They have only measured the effects of gravity on mechanical instruments, i.e. clocks."
       I can assure Mike Bara that a GPS satellite does not function by mechanical clockwork. In fact, there are no moving parts at all.

        Bara then quoted himself, in a passage from his book The Choice which demonstrated his utter ignorance of the nature of gravitation, and ended with this dictum:
" Science is observation, experimentation, measurement and insight."
        I posted the following comment, with no expectation that Bara would allow it to be seen:
"Quite right. You'd do well to remember that precept before expounding on the false pseudo-science you call hyperdimensional physicsnote 1. A few notes:

- None of the examples you cite of energy upwelling at 19.5° latitude are valid.
- Hoagland thinks nothing of lying in order to promote this idea -- as he did in respect of the Port-au-Prince earthquake.
- None of the top ten earthquakes or volcanic eruptions in history have been at 19.5°.
- Hoagland's Accutron "experiments"note 2 are a joke. No controls, no baselines, no data on the orientation of the device. The maximum recorded frequency excursions he ever reported were recorded at a time when there was no eclipse and no transit.

- In summary, neither you nor Hoagland has either observed or measured HD physics. Neither you nor Hoagland has conducted any meaningful or acceptable experiments.  It's a fraud."
====================================
[1] See this summary
[2] See this

Friday, November 7, 2014

Three bad weeks for Mike Bara

        Poor Mike. First, in a blog-post on 14th October, he was fooled by Luna Cognita's utterly misleading video about the so-called Stand-up EVA on Apollo 12. It never happened, as James Concannon explained right here. And btw, Mike still hasn't delivered on his promise to tell us what the Apollo 12 astronauts "were really looking for."

        Next, on 6th November, he made a total fool of himself by declaring that the Sol 3720 image from the Opportunity rover on Mars is a valve handle. He even showed us one in case we've never seen a valve.

photo credit: JPL/Bara

        As Mick West of Metabunk explained on 23rd October, the "valve" is in fact the impression of a Phillips-head screw in the casing of Opportunity's x-ray spectrometer. The head of the instrument is pressed firmly into the dirt in order to get a good reading.

 photo credit: JPL


        To complete Mike Bara's three weeks of misery, this magnificent image appeared yesterday:

photo credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

       The image was acquired by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and it shows a protoplanetary disc around the young star HL Tauri, about 450 light-years from us in our home galaxy the Milky Way. In other words, we are seeing here a process that Mike Bara the world-famous astronomer has said does not happen. Bara, following the late Tom Van Flandern, has written that planets do not accrete from rings around a forming star, but are flung off in pairs after the star has completely formed. Van Flandern called this process solar fission.

        Blogging on 26th August last year, Bara hilariously cited the observation of a single exoplanet GJ 504b as good support for solar fission. As I wrote at the time, that's like somebody who believes there are two Moons circling Earth watching a single Moonrise and saying "See? That fits my theory perfectly!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Two videos from Luna Cognita

James Concannon writes...

        Two videos by "Luna Cognita" have re-surfaced in the blogosphere recently. Both make accusations of NASA-Apollo cover-ups, both are quite well put together, and both are utterly wrong.

        Luna Cognita might be José Escamilla, or maybe John Lear, or someone funded by one of those specimens. His (or her?) production values are way above standard Youtube quality. The editing and scripting are quite close to broadcast quality. Here's the video index.

Stand-up
        The first one to be given new exposure was "APOLLO 12's COVERT EVA - Proof of NASA's Off-The-Record Lunar Surface Operations," dating from October 2011 and over an hour long. The allegation is that the Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean conducted a clandestine Stand-up EVA shortly after landing. The notoriously error-prone Mike Bara drew attention to this in a recent blog post, remarking "Yes, they did. But not for the reasons the narrator believes... The truth is, they were looking for something." In a tweet the same day, he added "And I will show you what they were looking for soon." So far, he hasn't delivered.

        A Stand-up EVA (SEVA) involves depressurizing the Lunar Module, suiting up, and opening the docking tunnel hatch over the astronauts' heads. By standing on the ascent engine cover, one astronaut can then get an unobstructed 360° view of the surroundings. Only one SEVA was ever actually performed -- that was by Apollo 15 astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin. Here's the transcript of that event. Note that the whole process takes from MET 106:41:20 to 107:16:23 -- some 35 minutes.

        There was no SEVA in the Apollo 12 flight plan or in any of the mission transcripts. Luna Cognita anchors his hour-long accusation of an Apollo 12 coverup on a document dated September 2006: The Apollo Experience: Lessons Learned for Constellation Lunar Dust Management by Sandra A. Wagner. And indeed, on page 1 we find this paragraph:

"The blowing dust caused by the Apollo 12 LM landing appears to have been worse than that of Apollo 11. In fact, a standup extravehicular activity (EVA) was performed by the crew to assess the site prior to performing lunar surface EVAs because blowing dust completely obscured the view during landing."

        Seems straightforward. However, Robert Pearlman, editor of collectSpace, contacted Sandra Wagner about this and she confessed that it was an error. She simply wrote 12 when she meant 15. Scroll down to Pearlman's 3-19-2014 post in this forum.

        Wagner's assumed reason for the Apollo 15 SEVA is at odds, by the way, with Dave Scott's own comments (following MET 106:50:01 in the transcript) and the fact that the SEVA was in the flight plan well before any dust problems occurred or were even contemplated. But that's a side issue. To me, the bottom line is that there is not sufficient "missing time" in the 12 transcript to allow for a clandestine SEVA. The radio silence from MET 04:15:09:31 to 04:15:18:34 just doesn't cut it.


        Luna Cognita claims that the SEVA happened a bit later, from MET 04:15:39:57 to 04:15:58:43 -- a stretch of 18:46. But this is still not enough time, and in fact the astronauts spent that time re-programming the computer, correcting an error they had made when tracking the star Pollux.note 1
        Here's Mission Control (from the Tech Air-Ground transcript) giving them clearance for the re-program at the exact time at which Luna Cognita claims the SEVA began:

        Perhaps Mike Bara will astonish us all with a complete explanation in a few days. But given Bara's past performances, we're likely to get either nothing at all or ignorant bullshit.

Music behind the Moon
        The second Luna Cognita vid was The stunning Apollo 10 coverup - The Music Behind The Moon. This is mercifully less than nine minutes, and originally posted May 2008. It was recently promoted by the error-prone psychologist Robert Morningstar on 29th October, on Fussbook.

        It beats me how this "Luna Cognita" fellow (or female?) can claim that an event was covered up while simultaneously showing us the transcript of it, freely available to anyone with a computer and net access. But there you are -- conspiracy theorists have their own logic.

        Apollo 10 was the "dress rehearsal" for the Moon landing. Astronauts Stafford, Cernan and Young went into low lunar orbit, separated the LM from the CSM, and flew it to within 8.4 nautical miles of the surface before backing off and redocking. While behind the Moon, out of contact with Houston, all three astronauts made several remarks about "weird music" audible on the VHF radio channel. The source of these sounds was almost certainly artifacts of VHF ranging at a time when there was no line-of-sight between the two spacecraft.

04 06 13 02 LMP That music even sounds outer-spaeey, doesn't it? You hear that? That whistling sound?
04 06 13 06 CDR Yes.
04 06 13 07 LMP Who0ooooo. Say your - -
04 06 13 12 CMP Did you hear that whistling sound, too?
04 06 13 14 LMP Yes. Sounds like - you know, outer-space-type music.

04 06 17 58 LMP Boy, that sure is weird music.
04 06 18 01 CMP We're going to have to find out about that. Nobody will believe us.
04 06 18 07 LMP Yes. It's a whistling, you know, like an outerspace-type thing.
04 06 18 10 CMP Yes .... VHF-A ...

        At AOS (Acquisition of Signal), when the LM was once more contactable from Earth, this dialog took place.


        Luna Cognita makes the following allegations: 1) Some incriminating material was edited out just before the PAO said "That was John Young", and 2) What Young actually said was "Boy, you wouldn't believe this, Frank" (meaning Frank Borman.)

        Well, the idea that some substantial dialog was edited out is laughable. The audio was released in real time to accredited news media. There was even a feed to guest rooms at the Nassau Bay Hotel, the favorite haunt of NASA junkies (and groupies). As for the remark being addressed to Frank Borman, the problem with that is that Borman was not even in Houston at the time. He was in Prague, accepting a gold medal from the Czech Academy of Sciences. If you don't believe me, read the mission transcript, page 671 (by pdf count), 118:58 GET.

        This blog has commented before about Mr. Morningstar's inaccuracy in respect of the DSE and DSEAnote 2 tapes. He should find himself some sources that are more credible than Luna Cognita.

==========================
[1] Verb 32 initiates the Coelliptic Sequence, meaning the calculation needed to perform the circularization burn, nominally one hour after LOI. Very fortunately for Apollo 12, VERB 32 did not start the burn itself -- that required a separate VERB 41.

[2] DSE, Data Storage Equipment, was installed in the Command Module. It stored  voice and data during the times that the CM was out of contact behind the Moon. DSEA, Data Storage Equipment Assembly, was likewise installed in the Lunar Module. The purpose of both systems was to provide information in the event that some serious anomaly occurred behind the Moon and the astronauts were never heard from again. Morningstar has stated on several occasions that the astronauts were not aware of this -- an allegation that is easily refuted.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mike Bara's choice

        Mike Bara, the hilariously error-prone author, wrote his first book as sole author, The Choice, between March and June of 2010. The major theme was that we are all free to make the world into whatever we wish, merely by choosing. His exact words were:

 "We have, each of us, enough energy to make this world into anything we wish it to be." (p.217)

        Since then the world has changed to include the Islamic Caliphate sweeping through the Middle East beheading journalists; Algerian maniacs beheading a tourist; Russia invading parts of Ukraine; Israel bombing the shit out of Gaza; ebola threatening to depopulate Africa; Boko Haram threatening to do much the same; a 777 disappearing and several governments collapsing.

        Who made these choices? Certainly not me. Mike Bara himself? I doubt it. Seems to me that entire book can be consigned to the bin marked POPPYCOCK.

        Here's a link to my original point-by-point critique. 24 documented factual errors, and I'm sure I missed some.