Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Doing Hoagland & Bara's math for them

        Recall that a vitally important tenet of Richard Hoagland's mythology, endorsed by Mike Bara, is that the number 19.5 arises naturally from the geometry of a tetrahedron.

        Hoagland & Bara are both dunces at math, and could never show you the proof of this theorem — the original math was done by the cartographer Erol Torun. However, I enjoy math and I present for your entertainment and edification a simple proof:

        Theorem: If a tetrahedron is inscribed within a sphere, with one vertex at the North pole, the other three vertices will lie on the 19.5° South latitude (and of course the same goes for the South pole/North latitude).

        Work. It can be shown that the center of a tetrahedron divides its vertical height in the ratio 3:1 — if h is the height, the center lies 3h/4 from each vertex.
This is proved by similar triangles—one proof can be found here.

The center of a tetrahedron must obviously also be the center of an exscribed sphere, so 3h/4 then becomes the radius of the sphere:

The latitude of the three lower vertices is given by the angle θ.

By inspection, sin θ = h/4 × 4/3h = 1/3

∴ θ = arc sin 0.3333 = 19.47277°


        Hoagland & Bara are welcome to use this proof in their future work, preferably with attribution to The Emoluments of Mars, although we know they think nothing of "borrowing" other people's work and slapping their own © on it. They can probably draw better diagrams than I can. Cheers.

NOTE THAT this merely confirms the geometric fact. It in no way endorses Hoagland & Bara's mystical ideas about energy appearing at the 19.5° latitudes. That's still as much balderdash as it ever was.

Update 10th April:
        Last night, in the course of a two-hour stint on Coast to Coast AM, Hoagland spoke about the "lights" on Ceres, photographed by the Dawn  spacecraft back in February.

credit: NASA/JPL

        I rolled my eyes as he said—perhaps inevitably—that the lights are at 19.5°. The text on the C2C web site is as follows:
Enterprise Mission analysis, using the latest refined "Ceres cartography," has discovered that the lights, remarkably, light at ~19.5 degrees North ... and are aligned north of due east by ~19.5 degrees. 
        I can't confirm that so I'm calling it a barefaced lie for the moment. If it later turns out to be true I'll let you know and do a mea culpa.

Research by binaryspellbook shows that the lights are at "about 19 degrees North." OK, good enough. MEA CULPA.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Report on what Richard Hoagland has described as his "new book"

        During Richard Hoagland's"interview" last Friday night with Coast-to-Coast host Richard Syrett, I lost count of the number of times he plugged what he called "my new book", Pluto: New Horizons for a Lost Horizon. (I place "interview" in quotes because Hoagland's obnoxious arrogance was front and center, as he talked over Syrett and basically attempted to take over the whole show.note 1)

        Well, I don't usually blame C2C guests for plugging books—they get no other compensation for giving up most of a night's sleep (and by the way, it really works, as I have reported passim.) But in this case the plugging was strident and the problem is that IT'S NOT HOAGLAND'S BOOK. It's Richard Grossinger's book. Grossinger was the original publisher of The Monuments of Mars after Simon & Shuster reverted Hoagland's contract for non-performance. Grossinger wrote at some length about his pal Hoagland in 2010. Here's an excerpt:
"Hoagland is a unique mixture of amateur scientist, genius inventor, scam artist, and performer, blending true, legitimate speculative science with his own extrapolations, tall tales, and inflations. He is a brilliant and glorious myth-maker and a evidence-based scientist at the same time."
New Horizons for a procrastinating author
        The book is 300 pages long and contains 31 essays by a smörgåsbord of writers. None of the names ring a bell with me except Jason Martell and Grossinger himself, who contributes #2 in addition to a 44-page introduction (which is quite well-written, in fact.) Hoagland himself is #3 up, strutting around the book for 64 pages. His chapter title is New Horizon ... for a Lost Horizon, and it's recognizably Hoagland but ever so slightly toned down. We get lots of "extraordinary," "astonishing" and "stunning." There are the unmotivated italics and the bizarre ellipses, but no all-caps overemphasis and no exclamation points. Deo gratias.

        Well, here's a flavor of the sheer mendacity of this material, as Hoagland tries to substantiate his thesis that the solar system is replete with evidence of a now-dead advanced civilization:

"Our research has now revealed that this stunning, new solar system reality first became known to the U.S. Department of Defense under the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s—in part via a pioneering, top-secret JPL (U.S. Army) effort at a first unmanned circumlunar reconnaissance mission, "Project Red Socks." We believe the shocking results of this clandestine mission formed the real reason behind NASA's sudden public emergence after Sputnik, and the rapid congressional authorization, only one year later in 1958, of NASA as the loudly-proclaimed, lead "civilian space agency of the U.S.A."

"This was the perfect cover—in the 1950s world of perpetual Soviet pursuit of any and all technological supremacy over the West—for NASA's real, long-term covert mission:
To secretly ascertain ... from NASA's inception ... the full extent of (potential) military threats (or benefits) of these long-abandoned, ancient ET derelicts ... as well as those ancient surface installations still partially preserved on various planets and moons (Cydonia et al.); the surviving riches of an entire, astonishing Type II Civilization in our own backyard—whose extraordinary legacy and scientific potential was only fully accepted (even within NASA) when Apollo astronauts fulfilled their real Kennedy Mission and clandestinely returned, beginning in 1969, unquestionable intelligently-designed and manufactured ET artifacts to Earth—from the Moon."note2


        He writes of "the shocking results" of Project Red Socks. The most shocking result was that the project never happened. It was way too ambitious for a group of people who would not even succeed in orbiting a tiny 14kg satellite for another three months. Red Socks was a panic reaction to the Soviet success with Sputnik 1, conceived as a series of nine lunar orbiters which would, at a minimum, return photographs of the far side. It was even suggested that they might deliver a nuclear weapon to the surface, then wait patiently for some of the debris to come flying back to Earth by sheer good luck (I almost added an exclamation point there, tsk tsk.) Some vestiges of Red Socks were folded into the Pioneer 4 mission in 1959, but basically, it was a non-starter.

        As for that utterly daft allegation that Apollo returned the technical artifacts of a lunar civilization—he made the same claim in the introduction to Dark Mission. He did not then, and does not now, produce one scintilla of evidence for that assertion. On the contrary, the evidence is all against him. We know what was brought back from the Moon. It was meticulously catalogued in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, where Hoagland's pal Ken Johnston worked. Surely Ken could set the Hoaxster straight on that. It's all very well him saying "Ah well, that's what they want you to think"—without some evidence, he just looks like a buffoon. In Dark Mission he further alleged that the lunar goodies were then subjected to reverse engineering. Well, where are the results, Richard?

        I love the fact that Amazon categorizes this work as Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Folklore & Mythology. Yes indeed, Amazon.

Update 10th April:
        Oy veh, Coast to Coast saw fit to give Hoagland yet another two hours last night to mention "my book" a dozen times. He talked at some length about private enterprise Moon landings, then added:
"Another reason to buy the book is that part of the proceeds will go toward funding this enterprise."
        FACEPALM. There are 31 authors to pay. After publishing costs the book might generate as much as $50,000—probably less. How much use does Hoagland think the residuals would be to a manned lunar landing mission?


[1]  Everything in the show is recycled Hoaglandiana, but it's worth following that Youtube link, just to enjoy the mocking comments.

[2] That second half is all one sentence. That's Hoagland for you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The gullibility of bigots like Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar

        Both Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar have today enthusiastically promoted a phony report that Andreas Lubitz, co-pilot of Germanwings 9525, was a convert to Islam. I'm not even going to put in a link to the report, but I'll just say that its provenance instantly labels it as provocative rubbish.

Bara's comment, on Twitter, was:
"And now we have proof of what we all knew 3 days ago"
        If that isn't a confession to bigotry, I can't imagine what is. Robert AM* merely shared to Facebook without comment, and I'm glad to say at least a couple of his fans didn't buy it.

        Here's my message to both these logic-challenged people: The flight was scheduled to last 90 minutes. At the time of the crash, only 40 minutes had elapsed. If Lubitz is supposed to have planned a jihad-style mass murder, how in the name of all that's scientific could he have predicted when and if his colleague was going to need a piss?

I will just add this link.

Update: After Mike Bara's brief commentary, brother Dave got in on the act, with his trademark belligerent intolerance.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Big Ben wrap-up

James Concannon writes...

I just posted the following to Robert AM*'s Fartbook page:
The image containing the feature you call "Big Ben on the Moon" is AS17-M-2366.

You have made yet another nomenclature error, and yet another image interpretation error. This is not, as you said, MAGAZINE M. All images from that mag would have the ID AS17-142- followed by five digits. Instead this is from the Mapping Camera, revolution 65. The location of "Big Ben" if it existed would be NE of crater Neper. Please check the LRO image library to see if you can find a clock tower.

Your image interpretation error is that you examined a bizarre version of this image, not realizing that it was over-brightened, Here is a correct version FYI. ====================================================
        Here, by the way, is the over-brightened version, and there's the smudge he thinks is Big Ben, on the limb of the Moon (zoom in.)

        And I thank 'Trekker' who found this for us and did the geo-location (seleno-location?)

Update 3/18: Today I asked the star of the morning what he thought the thing actually is, and what he estimated as its height. He replied that it was definitely not a clock tower -- probably an Earth observation post, or a Tesla tower. Although he promised to answer the second question, he never did.

Update 3/20: Happy Vernal Equinox.'Trekker' points out that in the very next frame, AS17-M-2367, Big Ben has floated off into space. I posted this comparison of the two frames to FB-AM*.....


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Robert Morningstar's weird math

James Concannon writes...

        A series of videos  has just been released, on the Tube that is You, of last summer's Secret Space Program Conference in San Mateo, California. I reviewed Mr. Robert Morningstar's presentation hoping to find a catalog # of the image that he has called "Big Ben on the Moon."

        Not to my surprise, I had to wade through quite a series of errors and misunderstandings on my way to that goal. Right at the beginning, he covered the famous Brookings Report, getting the date wrong, the title wrong, and utterly garbling the report's main message. I covered that already, in this blog on 22nd January. He still hasn't come up with any examples from what he called "The 1967 edition" and, of course, he never will since there ain't no such animal.

        At 52:15, he got around to his most embarrassing error. It concerns the Apollo 10 photograph of the piece of mylar that came adrift during the undocking in lunar orbit.

photo credit: SSP conference video

        AM* likes this a lot. So much that he slaps it up front on his Farceboo page. He calls it "The Sentinel," and insists that it's a space station in lunar orbit. The image ID is AS-10-28-3988 and the size of the mylar is about half a metre. Here's AM*'s explanation for why it must be larger.

        "See that shadow, on the left?" he says, marching up to the screen and pointing. "That's either the shadow of the Moon or of the spacecraft. But the sun is coming from the wrong direction for it to be the spacecraft, so it must be the Moon. Now, that arc is about ten degrees. Ten degrees is 1/36th of a circle. 1/36th of about 6000 miles (actually 6779) -- the circumference of the Moon -- is 156 miles. This object is about 156 miles in the vertical."

        So, unbelievably, this man who calls himself a "civilian intelligence analyst" and an expert in photography somehow doesn't understand that a half-lit floating piece of mylar can have a curving shadow just because of its shape, and can look at the horizontal limb of the Moon and relate it to a vertical shadow. Not only that, but implicit in his logic is that shadows of things must always be the exact same size as the things themselves. Mind-boggling.

        I had to wait all the way to 56:28 for the image he calls Big Ben. He said it was from Apollo 17, Mag N, image #2366. Well, here's everything from that mag. Damned if I can see a Big Ben.

Update: 'Trekker' found it, it's from the Mapping Camera, not the Hasselblads. See next thread.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Prior work?

        Yesterday NASA put out a news release announcing that Mars once had more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean. Mike Bara immediately blogged that of course he and Hoagland published this back in 2001. He wrote, in his usual ungrammatical style:
"I'm gratified that NASA has finally admitted that Hoagland and me were correct all those years ago."
        Stuart Robbins points out that a search of the literature reveals prior work on this going back to 1988. Robbins covers this so well that he's saved me the effort of writing today.

Read this please.

        The only thing I would add is the hilarious fact that the 2001 "paper" by Hoagland & Bara is the one that looks like this in Firefox and Chrome:

        They've now made a pdf version, dressed up to look like a real science paper, identifying Bara as "Executive Director, Formal Action Committee on Extraterrestrial Studies."


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reflections on the Moon

        In a lecture at the Earth-Keeper 2014 Star-Gate Event in Arizona late last year, Richard Hoagland attempted to deal with a logical objection to his interpretation of this lunar image:

image credit: China National Space Administration, corrupted by RCH

        The image is from the Chinese Chang'e 3 lunar lander that touched down in Mare Imbrium on 14th December 2013. Hoagland loaded it into Photoshop™ and used the EQUALIZE tool. I commented on the technique a year ago when Hoagland first explained it, and astronomer Stuart Robbins did his typically rigorous job on it, on 1st May 2014. Hoagland tells his fans that the CCD detector noise in the sky is not noise but part of a vast glass dome over Mare Imbrium.

        The logical objection (other than the simple fact that the whole idea is crazy) is that the same noise pattern can be seen everywhere else in the left half of the image where there is black. Specifically, in the deep shadow under the spacecraft. In the Arizona lecture, Hoagland pre-empted this objection  (at 1:27:00 in the Youtube vid) by reminding us that the lunar regolith is rich in micro-particles of glass, and that therefore it's not surprising that we see that pattern down there. It's simply a reflection of the sky.

Proposition: Lunar regolith is reflective.

Corollary: From chest height, standing on the Moon, the all-black sky will be seen, reflected, in the lunar surface.

Experiment: Go to the Moon, take a good quality photograph from chest height.

 image credit: NASA/JSC
The proposition is falsified.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The pseudomind of Jason Martell

        I'm obliged to Mike Bara for Youtubifying the "Ancient Aliens" panel at the recent Conscious Life Expo. It gave us all a chance to contemplate the howling factual errors presented during those two gruelling hours.

        First up was conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs, who perhaps should have stuck to JFK assassination theories, a topic on which he still has a modicum of credibility. On this occasion he told his audience that NASA offers us no better resolution of images of the Moon and Mars than 100 yards, and at that, they all have "blurred out areas." One wonders where he's been for the last 20 years.

        Jason Martell was an unfamiliar name to me — although I guess I must have seen him on the all-bullshit cable TV show Ancient Aliens, and I probably read Jason Colavito's scholarly put-down in 2013. On the basis of an Arts degree from Mira Costa (a minor community college in S. California) Martell styles himself an expert in ancient technology. His youchoob demo of the Baghdad battery has given many a laugh to people who actually understand electro-plating. His ideas about astronomy are mind-bogglingly incorrect. Here he goes, on the subject of precession and binary star systems:
51:06 "Over 30 ancient cultures used astronomy, and basically used the 12 houses of the zodiac that we have today as like a grand celestial clock. And I've been starting to come in alignment with the idea that the ancients knew a lot more about the rise and fall of civilization, the repeating pattern that seems to happen here on Earth. You guys have heard of the Dark Ages, and the Golden Age -- well, these seem to be terms connected to a larger cycle of time, that the ancients were aware of. Precession today is based on what they call some wobble on the Earth caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon, and various things. And there's like 2,000 variables to it -- to describe the precession of the equinoxes. It's really kind-of out of control. There's a new model that's been catching a lot of publicity, based on some of the new science we have in space -- looking externally at other solar systems. Most solar systems are binary. We're starting to see that they have at least two suns -- sometimes even six, an intricate  dance. So it's very possible that we are a binary solar system -- that we actually have two suns. Our second sun would probably be a brown dwarf -- a dark star at this point, not giving off a lot of heat, not very easy to detect. But a lot of the evidence is pointing to the fact that if we are a binary solar system, the model to explain precession is getting disrupted. If we are a binary, that means that we have two suns in orbit around each other .... so that means that our Sun is literally orbiting around another sun. ?? concept, because that means that we too are moving along through space. If we're orbiting the Sun, we're going along on that journey as its orbit takes place. So there seems to be a correlation between the orbit of these two suns -- and when the suns are at their farthest point we're in the Dark Ages. When the suns are at their closest point we're in the Golden Age. [gesture indicating two objects coming together] Now, if you think about this for a second, this is a very large cycle of time -- a 24,000-year cycle -- and the ancients watched this by every 2,000 years we kind-of point to a new north star, a new direction.

[repeats the point]

If you think about that, all the energy we get from the sun -- you wake up in the morning, you feel the sunlight, gets us going... plants that lean towards the sun. Everything slows down when it's cold. What if we could introduce the electro-magnetism, or whatever these energies are, of two suns, and it exponentially wakens us, so gives us the ability to tap into a higher consciousness. And this is what seems to be taking place."
        Well, let's see... The mathematics of precession are very well understood. Lunisolar precession is caused by the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun on Earth's equatorial bulge, causing Earth's axis to move with respect to inertial space. Planetary precession is due to the small angle between the gravitational force of the other planets on Earth and the ecliptic, causing the plane of the ecliptic to shift slightly relative to inertial spacenote 1. There is absolutely nothing "out of control" about it.

        Binary stars are reasonably common in the universe but it's by no means true that "most" solar systems are binary. It'snote 2 entirely false of Mr. Martell to suggest that our sun has a dark-star binary companion that we haven't detected. Infra-red telescopes would see such a companion star, and visible-light telescopes would see occultations  caused by such an object on a fairly regular basis. There are three possible planetary orbits around a binary systemnote 3, and in all three cases the presence of the binary would announce itself by very much more extreme annual temperature variation than we actually observe.

        But Martell's biggest screaming error was in describing the two suns as varying from a very distant approach to a very close approach over a cycle of 24,000 years, giving rise to a cycle between Dark Age and Golden Age. In fact, stars in binary formation rotate about their common barycenter, and the distance between them does not necessarily vary greatly or even at all. As for "tap into a higher consciousness," I don't know what that means and I bet the panelists don't really know either, although I don't doubt that they all use that phrase or something similar.

        The audience applauded at the end of this train-wreck of a lecture. If I'd been there I'd have thrown rotten fruit. Binary tomatoes, perhaps.

[1] OK, I confess. I copied those two sentences from wikipedia.

[2] Astroguy corrects me on this point -- see first comment.

[3] The three are orbit around just one of the stars (S-type orbit,) orbit around both (P-type,) and orbit alternately around star A and star B (the figure-eight orbit.)