Friday, August 8, 2008

Another "stunning confirmation"?

        Undoubtedly Richard Hoagland's favorite adjective is "stunning", and one of his very favorite uses of it is in the phrase "In a stunning confirmation of [insert one of his crackpot theories], newly published results... bla bla bla".

        A classic example was the 25th June post on the darkmission blog, headed "New Study Confirms More Aspects of Mars Tidal Model". This referred to computer modelling at UC Santa Cruz, suggesting that historically Mars suffered a colossal impact with an asteroid about half the size of the moon. Mike Bara claimed confirmation of the so-called "tidal model" despite the fact that:

  • The collision was in the opposite hemisphere
  • It happened, according to the computer model, 4 billion years ago, cf. 65 million for the tidal theory
  • It was a single object, whereas the tidal theory involves "splattering" of the southern hemisphere by the products of a planetary explosion.
        Mike Bara did, in fact, allow a blog-comment along those lines, responding with his usual substitute for rational argument -- "You're an idiot".

        Now comes the latest of these hilariously false claims: "New Research Reinforces Key Aspects of Hyperdimensional Physics", posted on 6th August. The peg was a paper in a journal of the Astronomical Society of Australia suggesting a spin-orbit coupling between the sun and the giant planets, accounting for some features of the sunspot cycle.

        Bara wrote that this is "a flat-out, indisputable confirmation of the Hoagland\Torun Hyperdimensional Physics model", although, of course, it is nothing of the kind. He also wrote that, at solar max, " sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, ... tend to cluster around the tetrahedral 19.5° latitude".

The following blog-comment was censored, and not allowed to appear:
From the wikipedia article on Spörer's Law: "At the start of a sunspot cycle, sunspots tend to appear around 30° to 45° latitude on the Sun's surface. As the cycle progresses, sunspots appear at lower and lower latitudes, until they average 15° at solar maximum. The average latitude of sunspots then continues to drift lower, down to about 7° and then while the old sunspot cycle fades, sunspots of the new cycle start appearing at high latitudes."
 19.5° is, as usual, in Hoagland's imagination only.

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