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. The main topic is comet 67P, the ESA spacecraft Rosetta that rendezvoused with it, and the lander Philae that touched down on it.

        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 (he actually means a cable car, like the Sandia tramway in Albuquerque.)

        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 elements 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.



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.

        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.

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, 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).

        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 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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mike Bara: Nothing to do, so let's make wild accusations

        According to his tweetery yesterday, Mike Bara's Big Event of the Day was flea-bombing his condo in Kent WA. Enough to make anyone testy, I guess. And since Bara's normal state of mind is "aggressive and arrogant", it must have put him in attack mode.

        The result was a blog-post listing 23 of his previous blog-posts in which, in his fantasies, he rebutted the claims of his critics successfully (usually with added insults.) A few of them concerned me, or were so-called rebuttals of my objections to the things this unqualified ex-draftsman has written or said. I guess my favorite is this one, in which he calls me "a demented nutbag" and "mentally unstable," and responds to my objection to a statement he made during a lecture in July 2008.

        His original statement was that there is occult symbolism in the architecture near the intersection of 33rd St and Isis Ave in Hawthorne CA. I pointed out, first, that the "occult symbolism" is a compass rose in the forecourt of a very ordinary airport hotel, and second, that 33rd St and Isis Ave may once have intersected but they sure don't now, thanks to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan rail line that slashes right across the landscape at that point. 33rd St now dead-ends in a self-storage business.

        What makes Bara's "rebuttal" so hilarious is that he posts, as evidence that he's right, a Google map overlay which quite clearly shows that he's wrong. He draws the "intersection" right on top of a passing train, LOL.

 photo credit: Mike Bara

Not so funny
        All very funny, today's internet joke. Much less funny, however, is the part of Bara's blog where he writes that his critics "sexually harassed my female friends and threatened me with physical violence." I once again challenge Mike Bara to provide examples of such messages and threats. I HAVE NEVER MADE THREATS against the Bara boys or anyone else.

        On our side, we have evidence of sexual harassment and threats coming in the other direction.

Sarah Shanae harassing James Concannon.

Dave Bara threatening Derek Eunson, Ph.D.

Mike Bara: PUT UP OR STFU.

Friday, July 25, 2014


        Quite early during Mike Bara's delusional two hours on the woo-woo radio show last Wednesday, he admitted that -- gasp! -- he isn't perfect.
MB: "Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody makes minor errors. I've written -- what? -- five books now, gonna be six next year..."

GN: "You made mistakes? YOU?"

MB: "I actually have made, I think, a couple of errors. A couple of transpositions, a couple of typos. Maybe even an immaterial technical error, in my description of something. It does happen."
        "A couple of typos"???  Pardon me while I fall off my chair laughing. Bara's books are absolutely stuffed with errors both minor and major. After the first edition of Dark Mission, an official list of errata was provided -- 29 items, not too bad for a work of over 500 pages. But second editions are the opportunity to make these good, and in this respect the publisher Adam Parfrey was a dismal failure. There are uncorrected errata on pages 131, 145, 178, 215, 278, 286, 312, 320, 386(2), 430 (all using 2nd edition pagination.) This is inexcusable.

        AAoM2 has, for example, "west and rast" for "west and east" (p.122), "Fortunatley" (p.170), "poured over" for "pored over" (p.183), "side by- ide" (p.186). The latter looks like a copy edit screw-up rather than an author's.

        As I've written before, "typo" is short for "typographical error." Since there are no typographers in modern publishing, a better word for "typo" is "error."

        Well, OK, no author is immune from minor errors. I don't expect Bara's books to be totally free of them, and I assume he wouldn't expect mine to be. However, his estimate of "a couple" in all five books is prevarication in the extreme. Much more serious are the calamitous technical errors that totally mislead the readership. Nor are these just "immaterial technical errors." Let's remind ourselves of some really bad Barrors, just restricting ourselves to one per book:

Dark Mission
 "[O]n the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11 ... [Neil] Armstrong himself had seemed frustrated. He started his highly emotional address by first comparing himself to a parrot--saying only what he had been told to say." (Armstrong actually said the exact opposite.)

The Choice
"Without the Moon's calming influence, the Earth would spin so fast that the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes." (No, other way round.)

(Writing of images of Earth from space)  "the clouds are the highest in the atmosphere, meaning that they are reflecting more light back to the camera and at a faster rate. Since they are returning more light, the clouds are the lightest. The surface areas ... are darker, because they are a bit further away from the camera than the clouds and therefore the light has to travel further before it is reflected back. The deep blue oceans are therefore the darkest, because the light has to travel all the way to the ocean floor before it is reflected back to the camera." (Wrong in so many ways that I don't know where to start.)

"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." (The difference is due to their different orbits, not to eccentricity.)

"Allow me to translate for you. If Phobos is not a captured asteroid ... then it by definition must be an artificial satellite." (There is no such "definition." The consensus is that Phobos was formed by re-accretion of orbital debris.)

Plus, of course, every one of Bara's ridiculous Mars images, purportedly showing "unmistakably artificial" things, is a lie. Moreover, Bara doesn't even have the honesty to cite catalog references so we could go to the NASA sources and find out what they really show.


Monday, July 21, 2014

New inductees to the "Emoluments of Mars" Hall of Shame

Robert Kiviat: Exec. Producer, Producer, Director, Writer

Jeff Sagansky: Co-Exec. Producer

David Kiviat: Co-Exec. Producer

Citation: For creating a 90-minute TV  Special,  "Aliens on the Moon: The Truth Exposed", that commits several crimes against video documentary conventions, and for exposing not truth but lies.

For writing the pre-title script line "Tonight we will examine all the evidence", then notably failing to examine ANY of the modern lunar images from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. 

For swallowing the Apollo 20 hoax and giving it false legitimacy.

A couple of existing members of the Hall of Shame appear as talking heads.

Mike Bara: Laid-off former CAD-CAM technician. In trademark "macho" leather jacket, stuck in front of some kind of fake lunar landscape (Bandelier National Monument?), telling lies.

Ken Johnston: Former Lunar Receiving Lab shipping clerk. In flight jacket, bearing no less than six patches including US Marines Command Pilot wings that he may not really be entitled to. Same backdrop as Bara.

Mike Bara checklist:
        Mike talks a great deal about the "satellite dish" in Mare Crisium. IT'S A LIE. This blog has proved it.

         Mike tells us about the "giant paperclip" in AS10-32-4822, near crater Manilius. IT'S A LIE. This blog has proved it. On the SyFy show, he stated that the version of that frame showing the paperclip came from "negatives we obtained from NASA."In his rant The Inmates are running the asylum, he says it was a print from Ken Johnston's collection. The latter is far more likely -- NASA does not release original negatives.

        Let me do what the producers of this poppycock dismally failed to do -- check the LRO image. Here's a permalink. Zoom in and explore at will. The two craters in the foreground of the Apollo 10 image are Hyginus A and B. The paperclip would be toward the top of that frame. If it existed.

        Mike tells us about the Daedalus Ziggurat. IT'S A LIE. Stuart Robbins has proved it. Once again, check the LRO high-definition image Here it is. The ziggy would be dead center. If it existed. What's worse, Mike claims sole credit for having "discovered" this miracle. No mention that he came across it on the web forum Call of Duty Zombies, or that it was originally "found" by Terry James, a.k.a. kksamurai. MORE LIES.

Three days after the show's première, Mike proclaimed that he was shocked... shocked! to discover that the show gave the impression that he was the original discoverer. He reposted on his blog what he calls the forward [sic] to his previous book, setting the record straight (and putting on display his sheer nastiness, yet again.) In fact, it is credible that the false claim was due to poor editing.

Ken Johnston checklist:
        Ken retells an old hoax about Neil Armstrong getting on a secret "medical" radio channel while on the Moon, saying  “I'm telling you, there are other spacecraft out there. They're lined up in ranks on the far side of the crater edge....” IT'S A LIE. James Oberg has proved it. Moreover, as Oberg also correctly reports, there was no such thing as a "secret medical radio channel." It's true that some conversations with the Flight Surgeon were not released publicly, but that's not quite the same thing.

         Ken tells his oft-repeated story about the alien base in crater Tsiolkovsky. This blog has concluded that it's unlikely to be true. Ken says "Apollo 14 came around the back side of the Moon, cameras rolling." But the film strip in question was not a movie at all, it was from the topographic camera, as this blog explained two years ago.

        On his Faceache page, Ken said he was the "research producer" of the show. The end credits give that accolade to  Don Ecker (he's the joker who referred to the tracks left by rolling boulders as "tank tracks." Great research there, Don.)

Lee Spiegel checklist: 
        Lee believes the "chevron" near crater Belyayev is an artificial structure. IT'S A LIE, and this blog has proved it.

        Lee thinks the "cigar-shaped" feature near crater Diderot is a crashed spacecraft. IT'S A LIE, and this blog has proved it. Once again, check the LRO image. It's cratered exactly like its surroundings.

        Lee refers to NASA Mars probes lost "for unknown reasons." He's talking about Mars Observer (1993), Mars Polar Lander (1999) and Mars Climate Orbiter (1999). These missions were lost, but not for "unknown reasons." The reasons became very clear, as James Oberg has shown.

Nick Redfern checklist:
        I love Nick's Staffordshire accent, but I wish he'd use it in service  of the truth instead of inaccurate speculation. He too says the "chevron" is "man-made." He wonders if Moon aliens are "preparing for an attack" (yeah, sure, Nick. I suggest you take cover, just in case.)

General crimes against tv documentary conventions:
        The producers often mix actual lunar images with artwork and model shots, in such a way as to intentionally deceive the audience by pretending that the "anomalies" are more obvious than they actually are.

        Extremely unconvincing "anomalous" images are overlaid in color so as to appear a bit more convincing. This Apollo 11 image, for example, is zoomed in on about 20 times:

 image credit: NASA AS11-41-6139
        The narrator says over and over again that it shows a flying saucer. IT'S A LIE.

        Altogether some 20 lunar images are shown, with the claim that they show  artificial objects or structures. Not once, NOT ONCE, do the producers see fit to examine the much more detailed imagery of the same areas that is readily available in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image library. Much of that imagery has a resolution of 0.8 m/px, several hundred times better than the images the producers used.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of "Ancient Aliens on Mars II"

"[T]his book ... is about truth."

        Thus Mike Bara, embarking on another 234 pages of recycled drivel on a topic that exists only in the minds of the paranoid, and the credulous audience of Coast to Coast AM. To be fair, he only said the book is about truth, he never promised it was actually true. And of course, it isn't.

The image gallery is here, if you're interested.

Phobos: hollow or porous
        It isn't long before our Mike strays very noticeably from truth. Chapter 1 is almost all about Phobos, the senior moon of Mars. Like his former co-author Richard Hoagland, Bara utterly fails to grasp the meaning of the recent findings about Phobos. He correctly quotes from the report of Mars Express's 2010 fly-by -- "We conclude that the interior of Phobos likely contains large voids. [T]hese results are inconsistent with the proposition that Phobos is a captured asteroid" (Bara's emphasis).  But then he writes this drivel:
"Allow me to translate for you. If Phobos is not a captured asteroid ... then it by definition must be an artificial satellite."
        Elsewhere he writes that Phobos is one third hollow, and this is mind-boggling. But it isn't mind-boggling at all. A paper by Britt et al.note 1 in the Lunar & Planetary Institute publication 'Asteroids' cites 30% as a fairly common figure for the "macroporosity" of one class of asteroid.
Figure 3 from Britt, et al. showing that the macroporosity of Phobos is nothing special

        In fact, neither of the words "hollow" or "porous" quite fits the known facts, and both manage to be misleading. The Mars Express version, "contains large voids," is correct but cumbersome. Imagine a pile of bricks -- not a neat stack of bricks, but a random pile, thrown together. It's not hard to imagine the voids adding up to 30%. And of course Bara is laughably wrong in asserting that the only alternative to "captured asteroid" is "artificial satellite." The final conclusion of the Mars Express science team was that Phobos is re-accreted from orbital debris.

THEMIS: Whodunnit? Whydowecare?
        Richard Hoagland deserves a share of the royalties for Chapter 2, since it's pretty much a straight steal from Chapter 10 of Dark Mission, even including the chapter title, "Mars Heats Up." Both chapters tell an over-detailed story of infra-red imagery of Cydonia from the THEMIS instrument on Mars Odyssey (2002). On one side, the heroes Hoagland, Bara, Laney, Isenberg (the latter eventually defected, if I have the story straight.) On the other, the NASA villains Smythe, "Bamf", Gorelick, Christensen. We are told who posted what on what bulletin board at exactly what time on what date, all to insinuate that the heroes got a bum deal from the villains, but triumphed in the end. Hooray!!

        For all I know, Bara's recitation of this cyber-skirmish is accurate in all respects, and the villains really were villainous. But the thing is, I didn't care when I read this shit in Dark Mission, and I care even less now.

        Chapters 3 and 4 extend the "heroes and villains" theme and Bara uses the opportunity to slag off a few people he regards as his enemies. Mark Carlotto, another defected ex-ally, is "absurd," "unethical." James Oberg is a "charlatan." The astronomer Phil Plait is "a grotesque little toad of [a] man." When a writer flubs even his gross insults by missing out an indefinite article, it's probably time to give it a rest.

That face
        I had foolishly hoped that Mike Bara would go light on Cydonia this time around, having written it to death in AAoM1. Alas, no, he gives it the (almost) full treatment. Just a glance at the Chapter 5 images in the gallery will give you the idea. He hates everything NASA did with the "Face," showing no gratitude for the fact that they went out of their way to re-photograph the damned thing for PR, rather than science, reasons. In fact, he uses the acronym NASA as though it were an adjective meaning "corrupt." He loves the 3-D images from the stereo camera on Mars Express (which was ESA, not NASA, so it isn't villainous, see?) He references the 'Cydonia Geometric Relationship Model' perhaps unaware that Stuart Robbins recently drove a stake through the heart of that highly dubious idea.

        Here's part of Bara's recap of the reasons that the face is a Face, built by Martians:
"[I]t 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...."
        So how does he explain that wonderful 0.25 m/px image taken by the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 5th April 2007? This best-ever image shows that that entire list of features is in Mike Bara's imagination. How does he deal with this fact? Simple -- he reduces it to a 2 x 2.5" thumbnail and darkens it so that it's barely decipherable. Then he writes that its lack of detail is "suspicious."

Here it is. Admire the detail.

The pareidolia game
        The last hundred pages amount to a sort of visual shopping list of bits of images from various Mars cameras that remind Mike of other things. This really is just a game, and Bara is by no means the only person who plays it. From George Haasnote 2 (who calls himself 'The Cydonia Institute') he gets "the parrot," "the roadrunner," and "the Nefertiti." From Joseph Skipper of "Mars Anomaly Research," he gets a vaguely skull-like object which, of course, is a skull. Bara reiterates his scorn for the term "pareidolia" and then falls slap-bang into its tender trap, discerning in "Parrot City" a whole civilization, with bridges, tunnels, a processing plant, a waste-disposal facility.

        This is my absolute favorite bit of "Baradolia" -- a replica of the famous Theme restaurant at Los Angles International airport, right there on Mars. Here it is, compared with its terrestrial original.

image credit: NASA/JPL/Bara
        This is right near the office park, the race track, and the pumping station. No, I'm not kidding. Mike Bara really believes this.

        Then he gets into the Eye of Horus. The dinosaur bones. The tank, the turbocharger. The only problem I see is that some readers of this truly terrible book will believe it too. I comfort myself with the thought that many buyers of this thing (the Faceboo fans) won't actually read it, though they may well write "friend of the author" 5-star Amazon reviews.

Amazon rankings (paperback) on July 23:
Overall: 34,041
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science > Mars: 5
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Earth-based religions > Gaia: 8
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science> Astrophysics & Space Science: 47

Amazon rankings on July 24, after two utterly delusional hours on Coast to Coast AM:
Overall: 12,549
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science > Mars: 1
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Earth-based religions > Gaia: 5
Books > Science & Math > Astronomy & Space Science> Astrophysics & Space Science: 13

[1] "Asteroid density, porosity and structure"
[2] Update: George Haas reports on The Hidden Mission Forum that Bara used seven of his images without permission.