Friday, November 4, 2011

The wisdom of Youtube commenters

              Youtube comments are not noted for their wisdom. Quite the opposite, in fact. But one of the many current Hoagland videos attracted this comment a few days ago:

Has anything Richard Hoagland predicted ever come true?

As far as I know, the answer is NO. Here's a partial checklist:

  • NASA will never resolve the Shuttle ECO fuel sensor problem using conventional engineering (Web page, December 9, 2007) WRONG
  • STS-125 will be canceled (C2C-AM, March 16, 2009) WRONG
  • Ares 1-X will never reach the launch pad (C2C-AM, October 16, 2009) WRONG
  • The EPSC conference in Rome in September  will announce that Phobos is artificial (C2C and Facebook ad nauseam throughout the summer of 2010) WRONG
  • President Obama will make a Kennedy-style national commitment to a Mars mission (C2C-AM, May 26, 2010) WRONG
  • The failure of an ammonia pump on ISS will spell the end of the program (C2C-AM, August 15, 2010) WRONG
  • STS-133 will be powered by "torsion physics, etc. etc." (C2C-AM, December 2, 2010) WRONG
  • President Obama will be [insert  verb indicating non-survival] at Ground Zero (FB, May 4, 2011) WRONG
  • YU55 will do its close pass "while everyone's attention is distracted by Elenin" (Project Camelot pseudo-conference June 24, 2011) RIDICULOUS
  • Vesta will be clearly shown to be artificial when better resolution images are taken (FB, many times in July 2011) WRONG
  • Comet Elenin will deliver a message to humanity and entrain "something wonderful" (ad nauseam through several conferences, DVDs, and FB bulletins) WRONG
              The forthcoming close pass of asteroid YU55 has sent him into paroxysms of prediction. The fact that YU55 and Elenin reached perihelion at approximately the same time has allowed him to speculate that, "in our calculations" (FB, November 3) YU55 has changed course enough that it will impact the Moon. Considering that no information on the asteroid's trajectory has been available since perihelion, WHAT CALCULATIONS CAN HE POSSIBLY BE TALKING ABOUT??

              Also, having (quite rightly) mocked the doom-sayers over Elenin as merchants of "fear porn," he does seem to be peddling something very similar himself now. Today he posted as follows:

Get prepared!

Extra food and water (think "preparing for a hurricane" ...), candles, medicines, etc.. etc. -- bought NOW -- will save a lot of aggrevation[sic] later ... IF this Event unfolds as the numbers say it will next Wednesday morning, before dawn .... :)

And,--a timely visit to an ATM now -- to withdraw some extra cash -- is also a VERY good thing to actually do.

"As the numbers say it will." WHAT FUCKING NUMBERS????

Update:  Goldstone produced a new ephemeris yesterday, 6th November. So there are "the numbers," and they offer no support to Hoagland at all.

I'll be blogging more on this after YU55 has not hit the Moon.


Chris Lopes said...

On YU55, Hoagland is talking out both sides of his mouth. While he's talking up the idea of it hitting the Moon with great glee, he's also constantly saying it is only a possibility. The faithful only hear the first part of course, that's what Hoagland is counting on. When it goes by without even a whimper, he'll say he never said it would, just that it might.

Yes, the head for the hills talk is irritating. It reminds me of the Gulf Oil Spill, where he advised the people on the coast to evacuate before the tsunami (caused by the giant gas bubble he just KNEW was waiting to explode) hit. It was stupid nonsense designed to generate drama through fear. Fear porn is as good a description as any.

expat said...

On Revvo Radio last night, Francis Walsh was a docile interviewer but at least he did ask "What if nothing happens?"

Hoagland replied "Define 'nothing'," and then proceeded to give his own definition, which was that YU55 proceeds exactly on the JPL-predicted trajectory.

Of course, he didn't actually answer the original question.

Chris Lopes said...

Yes, I was just listening to that nonsense. First his "sources" suddenly "went to ground". Then he's redefining "success" down to a point beyond ridiculous. For those playing at home, it means he knows this one is going to go south and he's covering his behind.

Walsh seems much too impressed with the myth and legend that is Hoagland, yet he's still grounded enough to know nothing is really going to happen. I also thought his mentioning his wife was interesting. One does wonder how Hoagie's fans handle interacting with family and friends who haven't drank the kool-aid. It's easy to forget just how crazy most of stuff sounds to the uninitiated.

In any case, I look forward to the YU55 postmortem.

Chris Lopes said...

In last night's interview with Francis Walsh, Hoagland mentioned he was getting together with his "team" to remove artifacts and such from the radar image of YU55. Hoagland has now posted that image here:!/photo.php?fbid=10150918340070089&set=a.218146655088.264076.213984790088&type=3&theater

Here is an image of something kind of similar:

Any guess at the copyright implications here? I seriously doubt he bothered with asking anyone's permission. Oh and some of the faithful see the comedic possibilities here. Very funny. :)

Chris Lopes said...

To give credit where credit is due (and I apologize in advance if this gets him voted off the Island), the second image was found and posted by Michael Latimer.

strahlungsamt said...

XKCD just summed up Hoagie and Mike's business plan.

Biological_Unit said...

I'm not bothered by fancy book-learnin either!

Chris Lopes said...

This is beginning to look more and more like the ultimate "jump the shark" moment for Hoagland. If you read the thread associated with that image he posted, you'll see a lot of ridicule and derision. So much so, that Hoagland couldn't even bring himself to respond beyond a snippy comment about people not having open minds. It was not his finest hour and it's likely to get worse. When YU55 doesn't hit the Moon (or anything else), his critics will be vindicated, again.

Oh sure, he'll come up with some excuse that the most faithful will buy, but the people on the fence have seen enough I think. They've seen him outright lie to them (an "artist's rendering" indeed!), and they'll see him once again fail. In the end, he'll be preaching to a much smaller choir.

expat said...

Absolutely right, Chris.

Anonymous said...

Just In: NASA’s Latest Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55

"NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 as it begins its close pass by Earth. The image above was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the asteroid was approximately 1.38 million kilometers (860,000 miles) or about 3.6 lunar distances away from Earth."

expat said...

Thanks, anon. I was hoping for better definition but I guess it's coming later. Doesn't look "as smooth as a beach ball" (Hoagland, on Coast to Coast) any more, does it?

Chris Lopes said...

Doesn't look much like a Borg Sphere either. Too bad, I was looking forward to greeting our new 7 of 9 overlords. :)

Chris Lopes said...

Hoagie was just on C2C (for a couple of minutes) with some lame story about a possible launch at Vandenberg to "deflect" YU55. He used his or so accurate sekrit sources again. It was a desperate move from a desperate man who is trying to stay in a game that has passed him buy. Pathetic.

P.S. The planetary scientist(Daniel Durda) they had on after him to actually talk about YU55 was pretty good.

expat said...

He's setting up for "It would have impacted the Moon EXACTLY AS I PREDICTED but NASA deflected it."

Pretty good. He could have had a career as a science fiction writer (assuming he had an editor to fix his appalling spelling/grammar).

Chris Lopes said...

I'm sure that's his aim, but it sounded pretty weak. The faithful will buy it(for the most part), but it won't help his credibility with everyone else. Listening to him was kind of sad and funny at the same time.

I agree, he could have made money as a pulp sci fi writer, much like L. Ron Hubbard before Scientology. He just didn't have the discipline to actually do the hard work of putting together an interesting and self consistent story. It's easier to let the news write your plot for you and just fit it in your narrative.

Anonymous said...

SLOOH remote scopes will have a live webcast of asteroid 2005 YU55

Binaryspellbook said...

And since he banned me from his page I can't even post a laugh in his lying face after YU55 does shag all.

Oh well c'est la vie. I guess We will all have to wait and see what bollocks Hoaxland makes up after the aforementioned "shag all" happens.

The comedy factor should be good again. I'm waiting with baited breath to hear what he says not only about YU55, but Elenin also. In particular the other "important dates" he had set up for it. Do they still count. After it's disintigration. Or maybe it didn't disintigrate. Perhaps it just turned on it's torsion field generator and cloaked itself.

The man is a complete and utter money grubbing thieving tit.

Chris Lopes said...

I'm sure the faithful will accept whatever explanation he chooses to give them. They're a gullible lot after all, carefully selected by Hoagland (in a reverse Darwin kind of way) to be that way. So if he tells them that NASA and the Air Force managed to launch an Atlas Centaur in the middle of Southern California without anyone noticing, they'll buy it. If he further tells them that the rocket changed to course of YU55, again they'll accept that reality.

The problem is, by the time he's managed to cull the heard so only the most gullible survive, he's not left with much in the way of an audience. And what is left, can't have a whole lot of disposable income to give him in return for his words of wisdom. It's not a sustainable business model over time.

strahlungsamt said...

I read somewhere Hoagland had an L. Ron Hubbard moment when he realized that making up complete nonsense was waay more profitable than regurgitating boring science facts all the time.

Funny. Phil Plait and Neil DeGrasse Tyson stuck with science facts and they seem to be doing fine.

strahlungsamt said...

On a different note, every time I see Hoagland's ID, I think what a bummer it must have been when Ron Jeremy got that movie role. :)

Chris Lopes said...

Plait and Tyson have the advantage of being real scientists. They have credibility in that world, so people are willing to listen to what they say. No one questions whether or not they know what they are talking about.

Hoagland can make no such claim. His last connection with real science was back during Apollo. He could never compete against the well educated science journalists of today and he knows it. That's why he only plays at being a scientist.

Even the world of pseudo-science though, isn't without it's down sides. Since it's so easy to be an "expert" in that world, you get a lot of people playing at it. Hoagland therefore, is facing some pretty tough (and energetic) competition in the woo field now. Competition he's proving less and less capable of handling.

Anonymous said...

On the evening (US time) on November 8th, as YU55 had passed, not hitting earth or the moon, Hoagland was doing a live broadcast with Project Camelot talking about this.

The initial 30m broadcast and the full 1h26m stream can be viewed from

In this discussion you will hear Hoagland talking about how the YU55 the world was looking at was in fact a [metallic] decoy, and the real one is still "out there somewhere" (according to his super secret sources)...

In fact, if you skip to around the 32min mark of the longer broadcast, you'll hear Hoagland state that it's quite 'possible' the President was in fact secretly meeting with the beings inside the real YU55 in the Mojave desert whilst the world was looking towards the skies (a-la Truman 1954 story)...

And his evidence for such a "possibility": (1) the White House recently put out an official press release saying there was no UFO cover up, (2) the President's whereabouts schedule is not listed on WH site, and (3) the President will soon be in Hawaii for APEC, which is at 19.5 degrees.

If this isn't cast-iron proof of his theories being correct, I don't know what is!


Anonymous said...

Whilst being careful not to commit himself to anything beyond "my theories are possibilities" (whilst implying the alternatives are unlikely), until he gets 'absolute data' [quote] (and by 'data' I can only assume he means stuff he can tie to 19.5 or stuff that fits his preferred theories, and dismissing everything else), Hoagland went on to discuss why the "possibly true" trajectory of 'real' YU55 hitting the moon would have been a positive thing...

As, according to Hoagland around 40min, the "natural chain of events" would have meant the debris kicked up from the impact would have been pulled to Earth's gravity and 'sandblasted the satellites' [quote] the global economy relies upon, which would in turn have meant the President would have re-invograted and fixed the global economy by announcing a new NASA direction of building new satellites and creating a fully financed asteroid warning system (after all, the President did say he wanted NASA to look at putting men on asteroids, not the moon) AND starting a 'real space program of tourism and hotels' [quote] that would come along with that - effectively the President would 'do a Kennedy' [quote] and achieve what he set out to, by advancing humanity into space...

Alas, I can only assume -from Hoagland's trail of logic- "the real YU55" was diverted away from impacting the moon (which would have obviously and naturally then resulted in the President instantly fixing the world economy) by evil Republicans who don't want to fix the world economy...

(Unless the 'absolute data' shows otherwise, in which case, the theory is not wrong, it has simply been advanced in an alternative direction).

Anonymous said...

And just incase anyone was wondering, YES - 10 mins before the end of the broadcast, Hoagland did advise everyone to 'stay tuned' as 'something big *could* happen on 11/11/11' as the numbers are encoded on Elenin, which will be in a planetary alignment on that date, and as followers of Hoagland must surely know 111 is "code" for 19.5

I look forward to November 12th when I can hear Hoagland tell us the REAL story of why "something wonderful" didn't happen (or did but in secret... or why it's still coming), as suggested time and time again.......


Chris Lopes said...

I'm of two minds about this. I can't decide whether or not Hoagland has become completely unglued, or just incredibly desperate. The facts would seem to fit either hypothesis.

If it's the first, we are likely to see more of this kind of thing as we go along. Without someone to pull him back, Hoagland is likely to become increasingly incoherent. In which case, this blog is going to look like it is picking on the insane.

If it's the second, there is still some hope. Hoagland may have just found himself in a position where he had to explain (to a very gullible audience) why the asteroid was exactly where it was supposed to be. Since he couldn't admit that he made the whole thing up, he buried himself further with this latest bit of nonsense. In which case, all he has to do is wait a week and step back from this ledge.

Of course in either case, his credibility with the more reasonable among his fans has been shot. That's the risk you take when you make a prediction that is actually testable. If you're wrong, you're wrong. People will remember that.

Anonymous said...


I do not wish to come across as "picking on the insane", but I know what you mean.

I'm not saying Hoagland is 100% all out wrong 100% of the time, and I don't believe he does what he does to seek "fame in the alternative community" or simply sell books (although most of his recent blanket answers to various questions on his FB page were simply "have you gotten my $10 presentation yet")...

BUT he is definitely in an area where a growing number of people are seeing a lot of holes in the things he says as well as noticing how relentless he is in refusing to entertain anything that doesn't fit with his model... (unless you happen to be one of his FB "fans" who will blindly believe whatever he says, without any need for independent thought or verification, and will not tolerate anyone for suggesting otherwise or pointing out any inaccuracies).

So, as not to appear as though I am "Hoagland bashing" or being biased, what I will say is that during the LIVE broadcast the vast majority of people (aprox 1700) in the co-running live chat were all advocating similar concerns over what I posted about on this thread. The audience for that broadcast was far from gullible in my opinion, as most were extremely familiar with Hoagland's work and the direction it's been going in lately.

I wouldn't go as far to say Hoagland has become or is becoming "unglued" (yet!), but there is definitely an air of increasingly self-indulgent obsession about him lately; and this for me is where the problem is - separating the ego from the information, the truth from the fiction eg. he says he only gives likely theories not predictions (yet says "something wonderful IS coming" for months), or "the numbers prove Elenin is a messenger from our ancient ancestors" (but if you find fault in his mathematical process you're simply "refusing to accept the truth").

Last night's broadcast is yet another reason why the phrase "clutching at straws" has come to mind increasingly more often when I watch/listen to him... although I'm sure his rising number of FB fans would disagree (as I'm yet to see 1 post calling him out or even asking him probing questions about anything he stated/theorized in last night's broadcast).


Chris Lopes said...

I noticed the negative chat room attached to the feed. It was so pronounced that fans on his FB page even commented on it. I guess the desperate rationalizations did not sell well with even those who wanted to believe.

The problem here is that Hoagland put himself in a very difficult position. He made claims that could be easily proven wrong in very short order. YU55 was either on track or it wasn't. It would either be where it was supposed to be or it wouldn't. With no chance at ambiguity, he was headed for trouble. His answer was beyond the absurd.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I was thinking when watching: either YU55's trajectory had changed or it had not, either the JPL data was accurate or was not, either 1 astronomer on the planet noticed something wasn't quite right or was etc.

And yet, we have Hoagland himself saying he does not say for definitely what will or wont happen, only what possibly/probably might/could happen - according to 'the data' (which in fact should be his INTERPRETATION of what he CHOOSES to present as accurate data - whether it comes from official resources or his "secret sources"). For a "scientist" who deals only with 'hard data', the conclusions he draws from reading between the lines and the "connecting of the dots" has become increasingly way, way-off.

All one has to do is look at his FB page for these "half predictions" about it maybe hitting the moon, or maybe giving the greatest light show ever, or maybe forcing ET disclosure - all of which his followers will defend as non-definitive predictions, whilst at the same time accepting anything close enough; or accepting Hoagland's post-event reasons why not as evidence he is still right about a bigger game being played to which we can only grasp at the pieces.

Of course, in the interest of fairness to Mr Hoagland - can you *PROVE* Elenin wasn't put on a course 13000 years ago to raise human consciousness and start the Occupy Movement; or that there isn't a decoy of YU55 and it's really not cloaked in our orbit or maybe landed to meet the President??......

I guess we will have to 'stay tuned', as he likes to say, until his next interview, where he can tell us all the things only he knows and we can see where we've all been going wrong in assessing his "predictions".


Chris Lopes said...

While Hoagland was saying "it might happen" he was talking and behaving (even to the point of using someone else's image as an "artist's rendering) as if it was a done deal. He was more than willing to use the fema test, Obama's presumed whereabouts on November 8, and various magic numbers to prove it would happen. He seemed so convinced that he tried to wrangle Francis Walsh and his follow amateur astronomers to help him prove it. Walsh (apparently thanks to his sane wife) was able to stay above the fray a bit.

Someone who really believed this stuff would be asking himself what was wrong with their calculations, where did his "sources" mess up, or maybe even questioning the whole magic numerology thing. Hoagland is doing nothing of the kind. Instead, he's come up with more pulp science fiction (a third party is screwing with the elites) excuses for his massive failure.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Spot on indeed!


jourget said...

Fascinating discussion!

Chris and Anonymous, I constantly find myself going over the same ground regarding the believes-it-himself/increasingly-unhinged possibilities.

Considering the former, it is clear when you watch his early stuff, (such as the early 90s pre-Internet VHS presentations about the face on Mars), that he's playing to a more conventional audience. In these, he speaks in a very calm voice throughout, and though some of his later hodgepodge comes through (tetrahedrons, the ruins of an entire civilization), it is obvious he is speaking for a more conventional audience. It is, of course, impossible to tell at this point whether he believes in all of the later stuff he brings to the fore and it keeping it under wraps in order to keep his audience, but I suspect not. In one of his 1990 videos (no I did not spend money to find this, fear not) he suggests future work be done at Cydonia to ascertain "which star" the makers of the face came from, a statement that is distinctly at odds with his later beliefs about exploding planets and the "we are the aliens" trope. In all, Hoagland's early stuff is out there, but not the astonishing swing-at-every-pinata-in-sight-to-see-what-falls-out behavior that he has increasingly manifested over the past few years.

I must confess that I find Hoagland absolutely fascinating. Being a space enthusiast myself, I initially found his blatant inaccuracies infuriating, but he's really an amazing example of what Michael Barkun of Berkeley calls a "superconspiracist". This subtype of conspiracy theorist really came to the fore with the advent of the Internet, and I do believe it was at that point that Hoagland began his "descent", for lack of a better term.

Hoagland is absolutely right that the Internet is an amazing tool, but he uses it in a way that pulls together all the diverse documents he now has access to into this vast cat's cradle of connections that only the initiates are smart enough to see. We now have Hopi prophecies, the space Nazis (God, I love that term), the Masons, and hyperdimensional physics (the very gall of the man, who can't even juggle a Tsiolkovsky equation, thinking he's undone Newton and Einstein) stuck together in a massive superconspiracy of what's really going on in world history. This would not have been possible without the Internet.

Which brings us back again to the original question: true believer or nutball? Maybe it's true he believes it himself, having done it so long and being able to now insulate himself from blows to the ego inside the womb-like environment of his conferences. But it is also equally likely that he realizes that in the Internet age, the desire of the true believers to have continuous stimulation to maintain interest requires him to see a new giant spaceship in every new planetary image to come through the DSN.

I, personally, find the guy impossible to ignore. He's by turns absolutely infuriating (I went to school for God knows how many years to learn how to do science RIGHT, and the way he bandies about the terms "numbers" and "data" every day is maddening) and fascinating, because he so exemplifies the perfect conspiracy theorist who has a place for everything.

I apologize for the length of this initial post, but I've been a lurker here for a while. This blog is exactly the kind of anti-Hoagland forum that is needed; Facebook is both too limiting and too vulnerable, with the proverbial lunatic in charge of the asylum.

expat said...

Please don't apologize for the length of your comment -- it was very appropriate. Thank you.