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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Judy Wood: pathway to absurdity

        How can you tell if an idea is seriously, irreparably wrong? When its implications lead to completely absurd conclusions. We were treated to a beaut example of that last Thursday, the 13th anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center.

        Bizarrely, Coast to Coast AM chose to mark the occasion by giving two hours' air time to Judy Wood, the former adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson who went totally off the rails and declared that the impacts of two fully-fueled jetliners were insufficient to bring the towers down. Instead, she says, an external directed-energy weapon turned the towers to such fine dust that they literally blew away on the wind. Her self-published book is titled Where Did the Towers Go? Evidence of Directed Free-Energy Technology on 9/11.

        To be more accurate, she 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.

        This blog reviewed Wood's previous C2C appearance, in May 2011, contributing a very rough estimate of the total tonnage of drywall that would have been in each tower. That would certainly have dustified all right -- but the steel and concrete is another matter. Over a million tons of it was trucked out of the site altogether. But in order to make her thesis credible, Judy Wood has to persuade us that images like this don't really exist.




A good question
        Toward the end of Judy's second hour last Thursday, a caller asked a pretty good question.
GN: Peter is truck driving in California. Go ahead, Peter. West of the Rockies. Go ahead Peter.

Caller: I don't know where to start. I was going to ask you, if everything was pulverized that badly, why did it take two years to haul it off one dump truck at a time?

JW: The bathtub was cleaned out by May. It's actually... it was cleaned out faster than they thought it would be [[she's right about that]]. But they would also truck in dirt. Dump it down, turn it around, take it out, bring in more dirt, dump it down... I was there in 2007, dirt was still coming in and out.
        So you see where Judy's crackpot idea leads? Since according to her there was no steel and concrete wreckage, obviously the teams clearing the site had to keep up the pretense for eight months by needlessly trucking soil backwards and forwards. I think that tells us all we need to know about the woman and her theory.

Her rational wikipage has further info.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Refacing the face on Mars, by Mike Bara

        Mike Bara took dishonesty to new heights today, posting to his blog under that title, and pretending to make a solid scientific case for the face. I'm here to refute that case point by point.

        Starting as he intends to go on, namely to tell half-truths, Bara offers this progression of historic images of the "face."

image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Ariz./ESA

        From left to right, we have the Viking Orbiter image (1976, ~250 m/px), the Mars Global Surveyor image (2001, ~2 m/px) and the ESA Mars Express composite (22 July 2006, 13.7 m/px). Can you guess what's missing? Yes, of course, it's the best-ever image taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 5 April 2007 with a resolution of 0.25 m/px. Here it is in the non-map-projected gray scale version, rotated and cropped:

image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Ariz.

        So now that we have the best evidence before us, as opposed to Mike Bara's deliberately degraded evidence, let's look at his claims.

"[I]t rests on a bi-laterally symmetrical platform, it 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, there are geometric, cell-like structures around the eye, the two halves of the Face make up two distinct visages when mirrored, one human, one feline."

bi-laterally symmetrical platform
No. The mesa is quite symmetrical about a N-S axis, perhaps remarkably so, but it is not symmetrical about the E-W axis. The NW and NE corners are much more squared than the SW and SE corners. A child could see that.

two aligned eye sockets
Not at all. There's what looks like a highly eroded crater in approximately the position for a western eye, but nothing comparable on the other side. Look.

If by "eye socket" he means that approx 90° arc over to the right, it's actually a slump line and not matched on the other side, so that won't do.

the tip of the nose is the tallest point on the structure
It does not appear so in the Mars Express 3-D representation. A knob in the forehead area seems much taller.

there are two clearly defined nostrils in the nose
There's not even a nose, let alone clearly defined nostrils. Look -- ever seen a nose looking like that?




the west eye socket is shaped like a human eye including a tear duct
No it isn't. See third image.

there is a spherical pupil in the eye
No there isn't.

there are geometric, cell-like structures around the eye
No there are not. The structures to the East of the "eye" are far from geometric.



the two halves of the Face make up two distinct visages when mirrored, one human, one feline.
That was sort-of true of the MGS image at ~2 m/px. Now that we have an image that is four times better, it is seen to be an illusion.

...and by the way...
I notice he has nothing  to say about the mouth, and the teeth that were once said to be "obvious." Even the totally science-ignorant Mike Bara has given up on those, apparently.

More dishonesty
Bara references an article by Dr Phil Plait in Slate.com, and writes of Plait:

"He's a well established, inveterate liar who never argues science, logic or facts, but rather prefers to use the time honored debunking techniques of character assassination and personal attack."

THE ONE AND ONLY reference to anyone by name in Plait's piece is this:

"Mostly the idea was promoted by Richard Hoagland, about whom I’ve pretty much said everything there needs to be said."

In Bara's blogpost, we find this:

"For some reason last week, Phil "Dr. Phil" Plait, that grotesque little toad of a man, decided to bring up the Face on Mars."

Later, he characterizes the Slate piece as "just an opinion, and we all know what opinions are like, don't we?" He then posts a picture of Phil Plait, captioned "Opinion..." The clear insinuation is that Phil Plait is an asshole.

This totally fits the pattern of personal attack. Attack BY Bara ON his critics, NOT the other way round.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Hoagland: They come in threes

        Reports of Richard Hoagland's eternal silence, it seems, were grossly exaggerated. The self-described "Big Man" was back yesterday, for two hours on John Wells's Caravan to Midnight internet radio shownote 1. This makes it even more surprising that he hasn't been on Coast to Coast AM since late April. Speculative explanations such as mortal illness are now down in flames, so maybe there really is some bad blood around.

        Anyway, back he was, and as crazy as ever. He reported progress on his new book, The Heritage of Mars: Remembering Forever, which he first announced back in November 2000, then announced again in April 2012. The progress -- "I'm working on it, hoping to have it out by 2016"note 2. Not exactly a fast worker, our Richard.

        The conversation was very wide-ranging, taking in world politics as well as the "face" on Mars, the "glass" on the Moon, and other silliness. Hoagland proclaimed, as he has on several previous occasions, that we are in a "pre-disclosure" situation. His main thesis was that three separate space agencies are "leaking like crazy," and that must mean something. Here are his data points.

1. NASA - the femur on Mars

2. ESA - Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. "Not a comet but an ancient space station."

3. Chinese National - "glass towers" on the Moon


        John Wells just rolled over and played Noory. In other words, he lapped up this nonsense as if it were true. He didn't remark, for instance, that there is no contextual support for the "femur." Sure, it looks a bit like a human femur, but if it were, wouldn't there be other bones lying around as well? Wouldn't the house this human once lived in, the place where he went to work, be visible?

        Wells didn't so much as ask how Hoagland thought he knew that 67P was a space station. Nor how publication of an image exactly as had been long anticipated could amount to "disclosure." He didn't understand image processing well enough to understand how Hoagland had manipulated the Chang'e picture to make the "glass" appear (this blog explained it back in April).

Isis
        So then we moved on to world politics. Hoagland made some very strong statements about the apocalyptic threat posed by the Islamic Caliphate Army, currently rampaging through the Middle East making the heads of infidels roll.

        Hard to disagree with that. But then he went off into cloud-cuckoo land over the name ISISnote 3. It won't surprise readers of this blog to know that he instantly connected it with the Egyptian god Isis. Neither he nor Wells stopped to think that a) an acronym is not a name, or b) that ISIS is only a transliteration of whatever is the arabic equivalent of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or c) that more recently these thugs have been referring to themselves as just the "Islamic State", implying that their brutal ambitions may stretch beyond the I and the Snote 4. Hoagland misunderstood everything to the point of saying this:

"My colleague Stan Tenen, who's been doing for 30 years amazing language studies ... he is of the opinion that what you name something is very close to its intrinsic hyperdimensional torsion field wave packet."

To me, that  sentence has no conceivable meaning. Hoagland added:

"I know this sounds like mumbo-jumbo to most people, because they haven't studied it."

        He's right about that. It does sound like mumbo-jumbo. Actually it is mumbo-jumbo. Where would I study hyperdimensional torsion field wave packets, assuming I wished to?



========================
[1] That link may not work for long, since the show is supposed to be pay-per-view.

[2] According to Hoagland, 2016 is the "key year" when all the things that didn't happen in December 2012 will really happen. He didn't say how he knows that. And I guess he forgot that he claimed that 2010 was "the year of disclosure."

[3] At one point he was playing the same game with the International Space Station, calling it IS(i)S.

[4] The original arabic is ad-Dawlah l-'Isla-miyyah .

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Mike Bara Collection

        Jimmy Church handed Mike Bara yet another opportunity to plug his latest book for two hours this week, on Fade to Black internet radio. Bara said it was a shame that his critics descended to insults and personal attacks rather than sticking to the facts -- a hilarious statement and the polar opposite of the truth. Mike has referred to me as "idiot",  "douche bag", "moron", "psychopath", "dumbass", and "deranged" -- those are just from memory. I don't use epithets when addressing him. I just tell him he's wrong.

        I thought maybe Jimmy Church would have more spine than, say, George Noory, and perhaps challenge Bara over his wild fantasies. As it turned out, he did balk at the miles-high glass towers on the Moon, but willingly lapped up all the "unmistakably artificial" Martian objects that Chapter 8 of the book is all about.

        Mike presented his usual argument from (very dubious) authority -- "I'm an engineer and I know a mechanical object when I see one." He's deluded. I made a list of the figures from Chapter 8 so you can interpret the online gallery without having to buy the wretched book. Numbers at left are page numbers.


The Martian Junkyard

192 (2 images) Banyan trees
193 Sand slides
194 Palm trees (upside down)
195 Slot rock
196 Slot rock with metallic gleam
197 Three "mechanical objects" from the Spirit rover (extremely fuzzy)
198 Machined fitting (extremely fuzzy)
199 Martian "blueberry" compared with a pentremite fossil
200 Martian "crinoid" compared with a crinoid fossil (sourced)
202 Dinosaur skulls (sourced)
203 Dinosaur skulls compared with real skulls
204,205,206 The "humanoid skull" (sourced)
208,209,210 The figurine
211a An air conditioning unit (fuzzy)
211b Bent sheet metal
212a Partly buried "technological objects" (sourced)
212b The "spoke"
213 A wrench
214 A cowbell and a gearbox
215 Sheet metal cased objects with circuit boards
216 Metal cased object
217 Circuit boards
219 Object with rectangular slot
220 Hubcap and valve stem
221 Eroded sheet metal
222 A turbocharger
223 A tank and a cylinder (also shown in the 8-page color signature) (sourced)

        Here's the point. Mike Bara cannot possibly know that these objects are what he says they are. In reality, the most he can say is that they look like "a wrench, a circuit board, a hubcap....etc." As one of the Amazon reviewers wrote, it isn't enough that it looks like a duck. It has to walk like a duck and quack like a duck, too, before you can be fairly confident that it's a duck. Translating that into science reality, to be remotely convincing he'd have to give us supporting data. Geochemistry, metallurgy, for example -- even some context and scale would help. Does such data exist? Maybe -- we can't tell because 90% of his images come at us without any reference to the original images in the various online libraries. Bara himself has written on more than one occasion that random imagery without such references is useless. So Chapter 8 belongs in the bin along with the rest of the book.

The debate that almost happened
        Stuart Robbins, the astronomer who Mike Bara hates and insults even more than he does me, has given up trying to stage the radio debate with Mike on Coast to Coast AM that was agreed to last year. He has half-persuaded Jimmy Church to host such a debate, and the prospect was discussed this week. Jimmy said he thought it would "make good radio," and Mike seemed to agree, but then backed off somewhat with "What's in it for me?"

        Late in the show, with only about 12 minutes to go, Stuart got through on the call-in line and it seemed a deal might be made there and then. However, Jimmy Church inadvertently dropped the connection to Bara so that was that.

        To make conversation, Jimmy asked Stuart to comment on an image that Bara says is a flying saucer on the Moon. It's one of his details from AS11-38-5564.
 

        Stuart played it exactly right, saying "I have no idea [what it is]" and adding "That's what we do in science -- if you can't really pull it out of your data, then you have to say 'I'm not sure, we need better data.'" If only Mike Bara the infallible engineer would understand that.

PS. Here's the "flying saucer" in context, at the extreme left edge of the Moon, showing how those angular shadows get created.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Hoagland 2-1/2 years later -- Big Talk vs. reality

The Big Talk

Coast to Coast AM, 20 February 2012 (Vimeo)

GN: "Let me ask you this before we take calls. How many Facebook followers do you have now?"

RCH: "Over 30,000."

GN: "Good for you."

RCH: "That's not counting my friends -- I have 5,000 friends."

GN: "How d'they find you?"

RCH: "They just go to Facebook. And... Richard C. Hoagland. And they will take you right to my Facebook page. Or you can go to enterprisemission.com. There's a link to my Facebook page. The public page -- the 'fan page' as they call it. Right at the very top.  I love to have lots of new people because the conversation that I engage in  -- and I engage in a lot of conversation with folks that come on, and want to talk to me. This is important, because if this is going to unfold the way I think it's going to unfold, it will save civilization. It will do all the things that we have to do to put America back at #1, and to set a tone for the planet, so that we, united, as a human species, reach out and figure out who the hell we are by touching ... with a human spaceflight program that will be heir to the Apollo program that John Kennedy gave us because of his vision; that everybody can be proud of, and will lift all boats. We need something as big as a war, but not a war. And this is it. If our scenario projections are accurate."

Now for the reality
Number of FB 'fans' Hoagland blocked for asking questions he didn't care to answer: Unknown, but MANY.

Last time Hoagland posted anything: 22 May 2012.

Did he save civilization? Well, civilization hasn't come to an end -- but I don't think Hoagland can claim any credit for that.

Did he put America back at #1? No.

Did a new Apollo-type space project emerge? Far from it.

Were his projections accurate? Don't make me laugh.

Overall assessment: HOT AIR.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Those evil NASA goons will stop at nothing

        So the power went out just before Mike Bara's presentation of his crappy Powerpoint slides at the Woo-Woo conference yesterday. Annoying.

        Mike blames NASA. Presumably he thinks the following conversation took place.... [cue the harp arpeggios]

--"Please hold for the NASA Administrator."

--"Good morning, Mr. Perala."

--"Good morning, General Bolden. To what do I owe this distinct pleasure?"

--"I'll come right to the point. You're organizing a conference of pseudoscientists and dreamers in early August, correct?"

--"Yes sir, it's the second annual Contact in the Desert. This year we have a particularly fine line-up including...."

--"Yes, including a speaker named Michael Bara, is that correct?"

--"Oh yes, Mr Bara will be showing images from his recent book Ancient Aliens on Mars Part 2. He's a very knowledgeable man and an excellent speaker. I'm personally looking forward...."

--"Mr Perala, it is not in the interests of this nation that those images be shown."

--"Really? I don't...."

--"I'm telling you, we cannot allow this public display. I speak with the full knowledge and support of the United States Government. Do I have to spell it out?"

--"But General, the images have already been published. The horse is out and galloping across the moors already. It's a bit late to be closing the stable door now."

--"We believe that this Michael Bara person, thanks to his great skills at research and interpretation, and his fine understanding of planetary astronomy, may have much more to show. Information that might cause an invasion by... let's just say a very powerful intergalactic invasion force."

--"Wow!! So what do you want me to do?"

--"A convenient power outage is my suggestion. There's no need to get physical with Mr Bara. In fact, my understanding is that his prowess at self-defense would make that a foolhardy enterprise. He has a twin brother, you know, who could single-handedly defeat a platoon of Marines. Plus he has pet cats. With sharp claws."

--"I see. Well, it is true that power outages are a fairly frequent feature of life here. It's 106° out there, and the demands of our air-conditioning systems are very great. I'm sure that could be arranged."

--"Thank you, Mr Perala. We will be watching. And everything you have just heard will be expunged from your memory afterwards, using the same techniques we used on those Moon-walking astronaut patsies, to stop them blabbing about the alien cities on the Moon.."

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.