Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Robert Morningstar misattributes news images again

James Concannon writes...

        Shame on you, Robert Morningstar. To make a sleazy political point, you posted this on your FB page today:

        Morningstar, you also added this text from "WarriorCode", dateline 4th November 2:18pm:
"[T]he democrats favorite group of people want to leave their sh*thole and turn our country into one too. Democrats have already been moving it in that direction here. Why not more? Right?"
        These images are in fact years old and have nothing to do with the migrant "caravan" now proceeding through Mexico. The most shocking image, of the bloodied policeman, is taken from a news story about student riots in Michoacan dated 16th October 2012. The page is from the news service EMEXQUIS, and the translation of the lead is as follows:
"In a series of operations carried out early monday morning, state and federal authorities detained 176 students from the [..] schools of Cheran, Arteaga and Tiripetio in Michoacan."
        The top photo is taken from a report of a 2016 teachers' union rally in Salina Cruz, 250 miles away from where the caravan is today.

        It is no excuse that thousands of other right-wingers have tweeted and facebooked and instagrammed these horrible images for propaganda purposes. Morningstar says he's a scholar, an intelligence analyst and an investigative journalist. In my opinion, that gives him an obligation to verify that what he re-posts is genuine. It took me about five minutes to ascertain that these images were misattributed—Morningstar should have made the same small effort.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Yes, Mike Bara, you are crazy

         At 45:40 in his latest vlog, Mike Bara says "People are going to say I'm crazy; go right ahead. Tell me I'm crazy."

YES BARA, YOU'RE CRAZY. You're also, in my opinion...

[x] Ignorant
[x] Insensitive
[x] Arrogant
[x] Lacking in human decency
[x] Unoriginal

        The latest evidence of Bara's craziness, ignorance and insensitivity is the utterly nauseating theory that the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger all survived on 28 January 1986, but for unexplained reasons their survival was covered up and they now have new lives. Ugh. I'm not even going to re-post the pictures that are alleged to show them as they are today, this is such a trashy idea.

        Bara bases this theory—not his own idea, by the waynote 1—on the fact that on CBS video a parachute was seen floating toward the ocean very soon after the spacecraft broke up.

        He says he believes Challenger had an undeclared back-up escape system, and that the parachute was in fact carrying the entire crew cabin safely Earthwards.

        Well, he was dead wrong about the cause of the Columbia diasaster, and he's dead wrong about this as well. Set aside, if you like, the ridiculous ideas that NASA would a) Not come clean about the crew escape systems that had been the subject of so much debate in the technical press, and b) Fail to report that the crew were alive. Set aside, if you like, the public funerals of the crew. The fact is, we know what that parachute was carrying and why, and it was definitely not the cabin.

Nose cap
        The two solid rocket boosters (SRBs), designed for reuse and to prevent major damage after they have flamed out and separated, were equipped with a parachute system to slow the rate of descent. At an altitude of about 15,400 feet, a barometric pressure sensor fired three small thrusters that ejected the nose cap of the booster. The nose cap itself floated back to Earth on a small drogue parachute, and what was seen on the CBS video was the nose cap of the right-hand SRB.note 2

        There's another technical consideration, too. It's unthinkable that something as massive as the fully-occupied Shuttle crew cabin could be controlled by a single small parachute. I doubt if anyone ever calculated the mass of that assembly, since it was never designed to be a separate object, but it must surely be many times the mass of the Apollo Command Module, which required three very large 'chutes to bring it home.note 3 Bara claims expertise in aeronautics and he should know these things.

        These days Bara is describing himself as "a space expert." When I was active in the spaceflight specialist press, space experts actually knew their facts.

....and by the way, Mister Space Expert, the mission was not designated STS-25 as you said in your ridiculous vlog. It was STS-51-L.

Thanks again to Chris Lawrence for monitoring

=====================/ \===================
[1] This, dated July 2015, may be the original
[2] Text partly copied from UPI archives.
[3] There was redundancy. Apollo 15 splashed down successfully with one chute collapsed. Trivia: The third 'chute initially deployed correctly but its risers were damaged by the RCS surplus fuel dump.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Richard Dolan vs. Kerry Cassidy: place your bets

        In July last year, I wrote that Richard Dolan is the "egghead of UFOlogy," and indeed he is. His wikipedia article, complete with a list of his publications, confirms it. His own web site, richarddolanpress, lists more of his analytical essays on paranormal subjects. He completely lacks the borderline hysteria that is a feature of most individuals in the UFO "community", instead taking an academic approach to the subject.

        Kevin Moore is a British researcher and documentary video producer/director who is currently working on a documentary about the murderer Mark Richards, with particular emphasis on Kerry Cassidy's interest in him. Kevin's a good guy in my book. He frames his shots correctly and his audio is intelligible.

To recap the case briefly: 
        On 6th July 1982, Richards conspired with two accomplices to murder Richard Baldwin, a vintage auto dealer who he was on friendly terms with. Evidence included fingerprints on the murder weapons, some of Baldwin's property found in Richards' house and truck, and Baldwin's credit card in Richards' possession. A jury convicted him after four days' deliberation, and he was sentenced to life without parole.

        Since incarceration he has spun elaborate yarns about his own heroism as part of "the secret space program," battling and defeating the alien hordes in outer space, at the helm of exotic space battleships. He has made outrageous and impossible claims of military service, and says his first wife was an extraterrestrial.

        All this has impressed Kerry Cassidy so much that she has made the trip to Vacaville nine times to interview "Captain" Mark Richards, recording long recaps of the interviews on video each time. She apparently believes everything Richards tells her, and regards him as a vital whistleblower revealing information the US Government wishes to keep secret.

        She  has written (blog, 26 September—updated 27 October) that Richards was framed for the crime and is a prisoner of "The Illuminati-Draco planetary governement." What ingrates those guys are, eh? You'd think someone who has saved the planet  from alien invasion on multiple occasions would get some respect.

YouTube preview
        Last Friday Moore vouchsafed us all a preview of his work-in-progress, featuring an edited interview with Richard Dolan. Dolan left us in no doubt that, like Moore (and this blog), he thinks Kerry Cassidy has been utterly bamboozled.
03:03 Dolan: "I don't fault someone, again, for holding to a belief but... but if they're going to persist in excluding evidence because of an ideological blindness then... then yes they need to be taken to account. So I'm very glad that you're doing what you're doing because I believe based on the evidence that I have seen that you... you presented a more than strong case that Mark Richards is... is a deeply, deeply, dangerous, disturbed and sick man ....
04:11 "Now I realize that the other side will say "No, he was framed," but the evidence against him is overwhelming."
One day later, Cassidy reacted, in text on her blog.
KC: "Rich is not the man that I once knew.  What was once a fiery rebel working to expose the secrecy and revealing the role of national security as the proof of the coverup of UFOs in our skies, has now become an apologist for the state, hiding behind a false front masquerading as the voice of paternalistic “reason”.  He has settled for only the most conventional and superficial of explanations for a crime that implicates a top whistleblower who has for the past five years been at the cutting edge of our sector, revealing the very guts of the real truth behind the very craft Rich was so fascinated by as a young man.  And yet strangely, it appears that RD never asks himself the question, can evidence be faked?
"What a coup for the dark side to have recruited this man who once challenged them on every level for their lies and hypocrisy to suddenly join their ranks in pretending that there are no other explanations for this terrible crime than to attack a top whistleblower and officer in the Secret Space Program as being “evil” and “dangerous”?  And why, rather than look deeper into why the state would be well motivated to stop the growing popularity of the Mark Richards disclosures, RD (and others) choose to unquestioningly accept the evidence presented by a man who has no background investigating crimes and little knowledge of the rule by secrecy? Do you not find it the least bit suspicious that in the process RD and Moore are working so hard to discredit me, a journalist who routinely reveals the real truth behind so many of life’s mysteries?"
        It's a mystery where Kerry gets the idea that Dolan is "hiding behind a false front"—in Moore's video he's seen looking relaxed but serious, sitting on a nice soft sofa, presumably in his own home. As to whether she's correct in stating that she "routinely reveals the real truth behind so many of life’s mysteries," that's a matter of opinion. Mine is that she's hopelessly gullible, handcuffed as a journalist by her own paranoia. But I don't think we've heard the last of this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Richard Hoagland and Keith Laney hate NASA

"Why is NASA lying about a major volcanic eruption on Mars?"

        The above is the headline for next Saturday's edition of Richard Hoagland's blogtalk show "Other Side of Midnight." Meanwhile, over on The Hidden Mission forum, Keith Laney posted as follows:
"Arsia Mons has been erupting since about Sept 20th. So far science hasn't said doodly squat about it. Figures, seems heads are so far up assesnote 1 that they can't even see the f'in Millennium Falcon sitting plainly on top of Ryugu."
These two clowns are so obsessed with NASA hatred that they haven't noticed that:
  1. This is not an eruption
  2. The image comes from ESA's Mars Express, not NASA
  3. Dr. Tanya Harrison, one of the "drivers" of the Mars rover Opportunity (and of course a JPL employee) has commented. I see no evidence that Dr. Harrison's head is anywhere close to her ass.
Harrison's comment was as follows:
"It's not a plume of smoke, but rather water ice clouds condensing out over the summit of the Arsia Mons volcano. We see these clouds hang out over the summit of Arsia for weeks at a time during this time of year, every year."
        Dr. Harrison is trained in planetary science. Neither Hoagland nor Laney has any such training, yet they think they know better just from having a look at a rather intriguing image. The guest on next Saturday's blogtalk show (if it happens—Hoagland's technical skills have been failing again lately) is John Brandenburg. Brandenburg has no expertise in this area either—he's a plasma physicist with very strange ideas about Xenon isotope ratios. That show may plumb new depths of NASA-hating ignorance. I will not be listening.

        P.S. The image above is just one of a whole series from the Mars Express Webcam. Check 'em out.

Update 1:
        This page from MSSS dated 20 September 2005 ascribes these seasonal plumes to dust rather than vapor. I'm not qualified to arbitrate between Tanya Harrison and her former employer—the point is, it ain't an eruption.

Update 2:
        Trekker provides this excellent update, direct from ESA. I don't think Keith Laney will be whining about science saying doodly squat any more.

Update 3:
        OSOM was aborted after about six minutes due to technical problems. Hoagland said he had no music and no commercials. "You should never do an amateur program, ever."note 2 It's rescheduled for Sunday night.

Update 4:
        The show completed on Sunday night. It's available (for a limited time, I think) at this link.

Update 5:
        Appearing on the News segment of Coast to Coast AM Oct. 30th, Mike Bara incorrectly stated that the plume's origin was the crater, and said "definitely not water vapor." Isn't it time C2C started calling in somebody who knows WTF he's talking about?

====================/ \=====================

[1] Juvenile obscenity is a standard feature of Keith's forum. The members often behave like nasty little schoolboys.

[2] This will bring a smile to the faces of those who remember his radio shows from 2015/16. The squeaking chair, the ringing phone, the barking dog....

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sean David Morton: heart attack

This from Sean David Morton's blog on Project Camelot:
"Under the massive stress of finally getting my Appellate Brief in, last Thursday night I suffered a mito cardiac infarction, basically a mild stroke. My heart was racing, a massive stabbing headache, bulging eyes and my left arm and hand went numb. I asked to go to the hospital and was told that I was WELCOME to wait for the DOCTOR to come HERE at 0600 on MONDAY. So I may just die in here, and nobody would care." (emph. added)
        So it seems Morton is as error-prone on medical matters as he is on finance. He means a myocardial infarction, not a mito-. And it isn't a stroke, although a stroke can be one of the worst collateral outcomes. It's a common or garden heart attack, and as a 60-year-old grossly overweight American male, it's not at all a surprise, or shouldn't be. However, he's right to be concerned. He needs angioplasty, and delaying it is extremely unwise, possibly fatal.

There's more:
"It also appears that TIME and NEWSWEEK are going to do stories on our situation and what has been done to us…but I can’t trust them to do anything but amp up the smear and describe us as “DANGEROUS DISSIDENTS” and/or “Crazy SOVEREIGN CITIZENS and TAX PROTESTORS” NONE of which we are or have EVER BEEN! Again, I NEVER taught or spoke about TAXES."
        Excuse me, Sean baby, but what exactly were you lecturing about on the 2016 Conspira-Sea cruise? You remember the one—it was that time when you and your wife were arrested as soon as you stepped off the cruise ship.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mike Bara bitch-slaps Jimmy Church

        Jimmy Church is the radio chat-host who runs Fade to Black and sometimes comes out of the bull-pen to substitute-pitch for George Noory on Coast to Coast AM.  Back in June 2016 I commented that I rather like Jimmy—he's a lot better than Noory, anyway.

        Mike Bara's guested on FtB Radio more times than I can easily remember—I've certainly blogged about three or four of them. I definitely blogged when, in February 2015, Mike was on C2C-AM with Jimmy subbing as host. That was when Bara said "I’ve  gotten to the point now where I’ve completely blocked out the people that attack me." Those two boys were very chummy, and not just on the air either. Here they are cuddling up at the Conscious Life Expo that same year—same month, in fact. The fat guy on the left is Tom Danheiser, C2C-AM line producer.

        Here's another, not sure when this was but Jimmy seems the worse for...  wear? This time the guy on the left is Jason Martell, another populariser of ridiculously false information like Bara.

« Nothing turns to hate so bitter as what once was love »
--Laurell Hamilton, paranormal novelist

        Now, sad to say, the hugs have turned to insults. It started on 14th September, with Bara tweeting "If you believe... [insert six standard conspiracy topics]... You might be an imbecile. You might also be a candidate for a guest spot on the Jimmy Church show." 15 days later Bara called Church "a small-time drunk." In answer to Larry Fletcher, he tweeted that he hadn't talked to JC since june, and "I will never speak to him again."

        And yesterday the feud got even hotter.

        Karen McIntyre responded "Get off of my tweet, Mike. Not the best way for you to represent yourself and it doesn't sit well here." Predictably, Bara's rejoinder was "Am I supposed to give a shit?"

        If anybody knows what this bitchery is all about, please let me know. I suspect it's the Gaia "alien mummy" story, but that's just a guess. Certainly that was one of the topics listed in the 14th September tweetery.

Thanks to Chris Lawrence for monitoring the tweetosphere

Kerry Cassidy: Interview Nine

        Kerry Cassidy's interminable videos and other documents generally just make me roll my eyes (see, for example, this and this). But yesterday she came up with some genuinely interesting information: female prison visitors to the California Department of Corrections are forbidden to wear underwired bras. Fascinating... what are they worried about? Weaponry? "I've got a Wonderbra here and I'm not afraid to use it!"

        This TITillating TITbit arose because apparently Cassidy inadvertently violated the dress code on her ninth visit to Vacaville to interview "Captain" Mark Richards. The screws made her go away and find a better (less revealing?) top.

        Her web page covering this event describes Richards as "a political prisoner in the War of Worlds going on here on Planet Earth."  Previously she's claimed that he's a prisoner of the Illuminati-Draco planetary government. The reality is that he's a murderer sentenced to Life without parole because of "special circumstances" (the murder involved a hired assassin and was motivated by financial gain and a burglary plan.)

        You've got to hand it to Kerry—she's nothing if not persistent. Her first Richards interview was November 2013, and her thirst for his bullshitwar stories seems insatiable. Vacaville is between Vallejo and Sacramento, and I believe Cassidy lives in the Malibu area, so it's quite a trek for her. The screws don't let her take her beloved camcorder into the jail, so the format for these things on Project Scamalot—sorry, Camelot—has been Kerry recalling as much detail as she can immediately after her visit, talking into the cam. On this occasion, however, she added her notes in text form, and here are a few highlights:

Galactic warfare
 *    Richards still (falsely) claims the rank of US Navy Captain, but now says he no longer reports to Admiral Inman, instead reporting to "a division of the military that he is not at liberty to disclose." That must come as a relief to Inman himself, who retired in 1982 (the same year Richards was jailed) and is now 87 years old.

 *    There are at least 12 robotic spaceships in Earth orbit, and on four asteroids, defending us against alien invasion. These seem to be the property of the Pleiadians, who wear the white hats in this updated horse opera..

*     The alien wars are intensifying. The Draco, Reptoids and Greys have eaten so many human beings in South America and Africa that they are looking to expand their territory. The devastating wildfires in Northern California last year were part of that. On the other hand our alien allies, the Raptors and Mantids, recently destroyed a Draco moon. Yay!!! The battle has moved to the Orion galaxy (galaxy? Does he mean constellation?)

        What I wonder is this: Is there anything this fraudster could say that Kerry Cassidy would question? She calls herself an investigative journalist, those people are supposed to be good at sniffing out bullshit, aren't they?

Update 14th October
        Geoff Reed, part of Kevin Moore's crew making a video documentary about Richards, posted the following on Kerry Cassidy's FB page:
"Let me clear up some of the more common lies about Mark Richards. First off he graduated from high school in 1972. For the next 4 years he attended Dominican college in San Rafael. That brings us to 1976. We have photos of him on the basketball team and interviewed one of his college buddies and team mate. Soldiers were being pulled out of Viet Nam in 1972. People were not being sent in they were being sent home and that took years to pull everyone out. That war officially ended in 1975. I know several vets and they are not proud of what they did nor do they brag about it. Jo Ann claims he went in the air force first and became an officer. That is a minimum 8 years after re-enlisting for another 4 years to hopefully become an officer. That brings us to 1984.Then she says he went in the navy and also became an officer. That would be another minimum 8 years after re-enlisting for another 4 years to hopefully become an officer again and that would bring us to 1992. The problem here is he has been incarcerated since 1982. He was too young for Viet Nam. His ex-wife says he never went and was never in the military. Its very simple and basic arithmetic. He has never served in any branch of any military. Richards and his wife and KC have so many lies circulating they cannot keep track of all of them. By the way, Mark Richards does not have any kids. Jo Ann states he started writing his SSP fiction for his grand kids in 1997. He had no kids at that time and has no kids of his own to this very day. How the hell could he have grand kids?? I have been with Kevin Moore last month filming our documentary in Marin county and researching our information at the Marin County Civic Center. I must say it was very surreal retracing the footsteps of these murderers and filming what they did. We also have every single piece of paperwork and documents involved in this case. By Mark Richards's own admission his finger prints are all over the crime scenes. Including on the murder weapons and guns he stole from Richard Baldwin's house that were recovered at Mark Richards's home when he was arrested. Why were the wheels to Richard Baldwin's safe found in the bed of Mark Richards's truck? He also admitted to lying to the detectives several times when he was arrested and brought in for questioning. Kerry maintains he was off planet when all of these events took place. Then why by his own admission are his finger prints on every shred of evidence? Why is the murder victim Richard Baldwin's blood in Mark's boat? This was a murder for finical gain and a very tragic shame. They brutally and savagely murdered Mark Richards's best friend (Richard Baldwin) for what amounted to $2000 dollars, a large bag of weed and some guns and credit cards. Kerry maintains we are interviewing the actual killers. Yes thats true. Mark refuses to be interviewed so we will use his willful interview done by detectives working on the case. Mark is one of the two actual killers. Mark could have lawyered up and remained silent but he did not want to do that. He welcomed being interviewed. He was not coerced in any way. The interviews we have and are still getting are from people that were actually there when this tragedy took place. Jo Anne Richards claims these people are all Mark's enemies. His wife at the time, his crime partner that committed this horrible murder and people that knew him or worked for him. She also claims Richard Baldwin was cremated. Thats another lie and we have the paperwork to prove it. We spent a few days at the cemetery. Mark Richards will spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison. He will die there. The only thing that stopped him from receiving the death penalty was he had no criminal record. Our documentary will show and prove that Mark Richards is a pathological liar. He is not capable of ever telling the truth. He lacks empathy as all psychopaths do. R.I.P. Richard Alexander Baldwin. Your good name and memory will soon be restored."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Kerry Cassidy: A cunning stunt

        I just caught up with an hour-long video that Kerry Cassidy recorded on the 17th, more than a week ago. It was a real classic—a stunt in the sense that it had the theatricality Cassidy is famous for, and cunning because it enabled her to pose as being in possession of facts that nobody else is privy to. That's her schtick, and her image of herself.

        She informed us that the devastating fires that hit Northern California a year ago were "cover" for an all-out battle with alien forces, and she knew about this from interviewing "Captain" Mark Richards. Richards is perhaps her favorite whistleblower, and she goes to considerable trouble to interview him. Why? Because Richards is a convicted murderer and is languishing in Vacaville State prison. He's not captain of anything, either— just a humble house remodeler. Why Kerry Cassidy believes his yarns is anybody's guess.

        She spent quite a long time wringing her metaphorical hands over her treatment by Google/YouTube (she says they're bent on stopping her from making a living, see this if you're interested). Then finally she got down to the serious business of claiming to be the only person to report the truth.
18:05: "Nobody else knows this story —I mean, all these other journalists out there are just.. they've got no idea. I'm sorry, you know, but it's...  Now, I have back-channel information, I'm not going to reveal my source, but I've seen very concrete information that substantiates what I'm telling you.  On top of it, Simon Parkes and I both agree—I got a download last night before my interview with him, that actually said that they... that there are craft near the Sun that were affecting the Sun, supposedly, to actually create ...or er... stop a certain frequency from hitting the Earth. And that this would be photographed by all the observatories, not just one, and that that's why the so-called [air-quotes] FBI was brought in to shut down the one in New Mexico, but it's not the only one—there's seven of them. So don't go reading the press. They're going to lie to you. If their mouths are moving they're lying.  They work for the State. The Dark State. And if Trump hasn't made it clear that he and the press do not agree.. Heh! And therefore, what can you say about Trump? He's trying to work for the Light at this time." 
        It must be a treat to be Kerry Cassidy. She says she's an investigative journalist, but sees no obligation to check the stories she hears, or merely concocts. When she said seven solar observatories were shut down, her mouth was moving and she was lying. It's simply not true. As we know, the problem at the Sunspot observatory was a janitor with a penchant for kiddie porn. Alien spaceships near the sun my ass. I think Kerry's "back channel" is the voices in her head.

        So who, I hear you ask, is Simon Parkes? Is he a more reliable source than K. Cassidy? Er... I don't think so. Here's his self-description:
"[A] life long experiencer of aliens, shadow people, elementals and ufo's, these include Mantid (Mantis) beings, Draconis Reptilian, Feline, small and tall Grey creatures, Crystalline beings and other creatures that can't be identified."
I rest my case. These people are crazy.

Update 2nd October:
        Kerry is annoyed about this video report by Kevin Moore, who has just finished investigating "Captain" Mark Richards and declares unequivocally that Richards is a fraud. In a blogpost dated 26th September, Kerry writes that Kevin Moore is obviously mind-controlled, and offers this defense of her imprisoned hero:
"Mark Richards was working for the Secret Space Program at the time of the murder.  He was and still is a Captain in the Navy reporting to Bobby Ray Inman. note 1 He is imprisoned by the Illuminati-Draco run planetary government at this time.  It is notable that Simon Parkes, a former British counselor has said even recently that it is highly likely that he will be pardoned once the indictments and arrests come through as part of Trump’s drive to “drain the swamp”. ::::
Mark Richards spent many years as a Captain of a “starship enterprise” type vehicle, part of the Orion class vehicles owned by the Secret Space Program." (emph. added)
My amateur diagnosis:
Kerry Cassidy - paranoid schizophrenic
Simon Parkes - ditto
Mark Richards - criminal fantasist, outright fraud
Kevin Moore - honest fellow, about half-and-half amused and appalled by what he's discovered

====================/ \======================
[1] Inman retired in 1982, the same year that Mark Richards was jailed. Inman is now 87 years old.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Robert Morningstar in denial

James Concannon writes...

        Robert Morningstar describes himself as  "a specialist in photo interpretation, geometric analysis and computer imaging." Considering how many times he has blundered in the field of photo interpretation, that really is the joke of the decade.

        His latest exhibit is the exact same flim-flam as Mike Bara put on page 117 of Hidden Agenda and page 85 of AA & JFK. It's the LRO image of landslips down the rim of crater Marius, turned upside down and called a "crystal city on the Moon."

        In this case Morningstar adds to the dishonesty by a) Claiming to have discovered it (two years before LRO was in orbit), and b) Identifying it as an Apollo image. He showed this travesty on a recent edition of Richard Hoagland's OSOM blogtalk, and I understand Hoagland claimed he was the discoverer. Apparently they argued for some time over whose balderdash this was.

        Well, last week I asked AM* what the Apollo catalog number of this shot was, telling him that he was mistaken. His answer was to challenge me to provide the cat# of the LRO frame. I couldn't do thatnote 1, but I referred him to the ASU release of the LRO strip.

His response:
"That's malarkey... There's no reemblance [sic] at all. No realtionship [sic]... Not the same place, not the same region not the same forms at all. Pure Balderdash! ... You crash. -> M*."
...and later...
"You are as "blind as a bat" ... Here is the phot I published... They share nothing in kind, complete opposite. Yuu show flats streams of lunar material running along the gorund. This photo of The Crystal City shows upright sprires and raised substructures supporting them. And he shadows cast by the structures prove that hey are upright spires lot lava streams spreading in flat rivulets inside Marius Crater. You are a bogus astronomer. -> M*"
        Well, he's right about the "bogus astronomer" part—I've never claimed astronomy credentials. However, I seem to be more talented at computer imaging than he is, so it took me just a few minutes to post a direct comparison:

        Since he showed no sign of being convinced by that, I went a step further, deriving the entire frame instead of just one section of it.

Reload the page or click on the image if the GIF animation cycle has stopped.

        Is that going to convince this "civilian intelligence analyst"? Probably not—just like Mike Bara, the words "I was wrong" are not in his vocabulary.

        There's one possible mitigating factor. AM*'s version of the dishonest flip is such horrible quality that it's likely he didn't actually do the flipping himself, just claimed credit for someone else's dishonesty.

Update 27 Sept:
        To nobody's surprise, Morningstar has been tongue-tied (keyboard-tied?) on this subject ever since I posted the GIF animation. Just cannot bring himself to type those magic words "OK, looks like I was wrong."

=====================/ \=====================
[1] Thanks to OneBigMonkey for finding what I could not. It's part of Narrow Angle Camera strip M109569228L, acquired in October 2009.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Richard Hoagland: An unpopular opinion


       Clyde Lewis runs a five-days-a-week radio show called Ground Zero. "A powerful voice in parapolitical and paranormal news and commentary," he says about himself. Today his topic was the once-mysterious 11-day closure of the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak in New Mexico. One of his guests was the former museum curator Richard Hoagland, who is also a former radio host of sorts (his weekend-only after-midnight show is now on BlogTalkRadio.)

        The observatory shutdown, which was the subject of delirious speculation by the usual paranormal suspects, turned out to be connected with an FBI investigation of an (as yet unnamed) janitor on the site. In an affidavit, an FBI agent wrote that she was looking at the "activities of an individual who was utilizing the wireless internet service of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico, to download and distribute child pornography." The raid was apparently heavy-handed, involving dozens of agents and a Black Hawk helicopter. The janitor has not yet been arrested or charged with an offence, but cell phones, laptops, an iPad, a hard drive and several thumb drives have been removed from his home.

        On the Ground Zero show today, Hoagland expressed doubt that we are being told the true story. He still thinks alien intelligences could be involved. This is what was said, verbatim:
RCH: "Human nature is human nature. Porn exists because people want it. There's a market and a customer. Is it illegal? See, it's illegal to send it because then you have to put children in the position of—you know, all that. But exchanging images from websites, downloading on your computer, is that illegal?
CL: "There's an issue...I guess you'd say, [?] of exchanging. The problem I have with this is that..."
RCH: "It didn't say he exchanged, it says he was just downloading. It's like freedom of the press. You look at stuff."
CL: "Right."
RCH: "First Amendment!"
CL: "Right."
RCH: "Why make a federal case of it? Why would you make a federal case when the FBI is not investigating Kavanaugh... and this whole, you know,.. meshugga thing in Washington... Why would you dispatch a team of FBI agents and a Black Hawk to land in the most remote observatory in the United States, to look for a janitor who's looking at PORN????"
        Hoagland's opinion that child pornography is protected by the First Amendment is not likely to endear him to his intended audience. Neither is it correct.  Possession, manufacturing, distribution, or "access with intent to view" of pornography portraying minors are all federal crimes. The answer to Hoagland's question "why make a federal case of it?" is that the crime is assumed to cross State lines.  People are already tweeting very negatively, and I don't think we've heard the last of this.

source: NPR

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Robert Morningstar an investigative journalist. Wait.. WHAT???

James Concannon writes...

        This week, on the FarceBook, Robert Morningstar described himself as an investigative journalist. I had a good laugh over that.

A scene that has not yet happened...
[Cue the Harp arpeggios...]

- "Come in Mr. Morningstar, take a seat. So, you want a job as investigative journalist, and you say you have lots of experience?"

- "That's right, I've been doing it for twenty years and my intuition is great."

- "What we're really looking for is facts, rather than intuition. What kind of stories have you investigated?"

- "Paranormal phenomena mostly, anomalies on the Moon and Mars, that kind of thing."

- "For example?"

- "Well, I investigated the Apollo 20 crashed alien spaceship on the far side of the Moon."

- "But you were wrong about that, weren't you? Examination of the high-definition image from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows that this is just a 10km long natural depression, cratered to the same extent as its surroundings.

You also said that the Apollo-era photo that shows it, AS15-P-9625, was from Apollo 12 Magazine P. In fact it's from Apollo 15's Pan camera.

-  "I investigated what are obviously hangars for alien spaceships in Mare Imbrium."

- "Those "hangars" (and by the way you mis-spelled them as hangers in your report) are about 8km wide. Even in lunar gravity, an unsupported roof 8km wide is impossible. Here's a link to the LRO image. Your "hangars" are the two knobby hills at 24.06°W, 19.87°N. Zoom in as far as you like, see if you think there are any UFOs in there. Just like the "crashed spaceship," the hangar roofs are cratered just like all the surrounding terrain. You also said in your report that the image that shows them, AS17-M-2444, is from Lunar Orbiter. In fact, it's from the Apollo 17 Mapping camera. I see, too, that in your report you labeled seven craters in Mare Imbrium and got all seven wrong. We expect better accuracy that that."

- "One of my greatest revelations was of a space station in lunar orbit. I call it "Station Luna" and I have calculated that it must be 166 miles wide."

- "You are wrong about that. The image that shows it, AS10-28-3988, is of an 18-inch piece of mylar insulation that broke away as the Apollo 10 LM separated from the CM. John Young took several shots of it because he was slightly concerned that it was a hazard. Anything in lunar orbit 166 miles wide would be extremely obvious to every astronomer on Earth. This thing cannot be permanently hidden behind the Moon because a selenosynchronous orbit is an impossibility."

- "I investigated an anomaly on Mars that I called TMA-1. The investigation took five months. Finally I published this in UFO Digest: "TMA-1 clearly appears to be an intelligently conceived and designed form.. If so, this alone, of course, would indicate (and prove) the presence or ,more likely, the previous existence of intelligent life on the Red Planet. … I now believe that this artifact, TMA-1, may be a "Time Capsule", or the remnant of a larger one, intended to call attention to the region or, perhaps, to record the circumstances or forces, which caused a cataclysm that destroyed Mars' once Earth-like ecosystem."

- "You are wrong about that. The "anomaly" is "Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)" on 5 April 2004. It shows the mark made by the Opportunity rover's Rock Abrasion Tool. What took you five months?"

- "When you have the world-class intuition I have, you need to be certain. It took me a long time to conclude that AS17-M-2366 shows a 10-mile high clock tower on the Moon. I call it "Big Ben on the Moon."

- "You are wrong about that, too. The version of AS17-M-2366 you analyzed was a preliminary rough, containing scanner lint. In the next frame in series, AS17-M-2367, the lint you call "Big Ben" has migrated off to the right.

Moreover, the technique you used in what you call your investigation—pointing a digital camera at your computer monitor—is highly unprofessional. If you worked for us we would not put up with utter bullshit like that. Anything else?"

- "My intuition has led me to many inexplicable anomalies that NASA has obviously covered up. But those are perhaps my best work."

- "Well, Mr. Morningstar, thank you for coming in today. Be sure to let us know if you ever get anything right. We may offer you the position in the event that all the other applicants are even more incompetent than you. My assistant will show you out."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Point-by-point critique of Mike Bara's "Ancient Aliens & JFK"

        Things are looking up slightly over at Adventures Unlimited Press, where fantasist David Hatcher Childress presides. Bara's new book may still be a load of trash, but in terms of presentation, production and editing this is a much better job than its five predecessors.The whole 230-page book is virtually free of keyboard errors, the running chapter titles are all correct, and three pages of nicely-produced color photos are included. My only complaint is that, as usual, there's no index. If Childress refuses to pay for indexing, I wonder why he doesn't get one of his minions to learn computer-assisted indexing and do it all in-house. He could get a permanent license for TExtract, for example, for $395 (cf. up to twice that for agency indexing, just for one book.) An idea for you, David. Yer welcome, mate.

Thumbnail synopsis: JFK decided to end the Space Race and mount a joint expedition to the Moon with the Soviets. (That part is true). He knew there was useful alien technology on the Moon and wanted to retrieve it for reverse engineering. (That part is bollocks).  Certain political factions were appalled that Kennedy would be willing to share this technology with Russia. (Tiny grain of truth).  One or other of these factions conspired to have JFK assassinated to prevent this from happening. (Highly unlikely). It was probably LBJ. (It probably wasn't). THE END.

         If this all seems familiar, it is. Bara told the same story, at reduced length, in his previous book Hidden Agenda which I critiqued almost a year ago. In last year's book Bara seemed certain that the LEET technology on the Moon was left there by the Anunnaki. This year he's much less certain—in fact if he mentions the wretched Anunnaki at all I missed it. So the title of this new book is deliberately misleading as there's nothing much here about ancient aliens.

Now for the errors and questionable logic...

1. Chapter 1. This is 19 pages of absolutely standard JFK biography which Bara could have copy/pasted from any number of sources, even Wikipedia plus its references. I suppose it had to be done but perhaps 5 pages would have sufficed.

2. p.16. Bara writes of Joe Kennedy Sr that he married off his daughter Kathleen to the son of the Duke of Devonshire, as "a transparent effort to cull favor with the English nobility." Surely you curry favor, not cull it... [Also see Comment #10, it seems Joe wasn't currying or culling]

3. Chapter 2. Another 20 pages of highly unoriginal material, this time about Majestic-12, a favorite topic of gullible UFO fans such as Linda Moulton Howe. In this case Bara's text follows the Wikipage quite closely, but not word-for-word so I should perhaps not asperse plagiarism. Bara is obviously aware that MJ-12 is ridiculed as a hoax by most researchers, but he thinks there's a good chance that it was genuine. He writes (p.33) "If MJ-12 existed—and I believe that it did—then Kennedy, of all people, would have been aware of its existence and purpose." Later, on p.71, Bara strongly implies that MJ-12 itself is a suspect in the JFK assassination. That's poppycock in my opinion.

MJ-12 is all bound up with Project Serpo, which Bara has said he also believes is a true story. There's not the slightest doubt in my mind that Serpo was a hoax designed to sell a book. MJ-12 was either a complete hoax or deliberate FBI disinformation.

4. p.40. Bara writes that The United States was shocked by Gagarin's first spaceflight, on April 12, 1961, "...and six days later, NASA finally delivered a report... commonly known as 'The Brookings Report' to Congress." This is inaccurate. NASA delivered the report on 24th March, to the Committee on Science and Astronautics of the US House of Representatives. It was that committee that read the report into the record of the full House on 18th April. NASA had had the report from The Brookings Institution since the end of November 1960.

That damned Brookings Report. Ever since Hoagland dug it up (with the help of Don Ecker) all the conspiracy theorists have been metaphorically waving it around making totally false claims about it. Mike Bara himself, on Ancient Aliens S4E5, said "The Brookings Report said very specifically, 'Don't tell anyone'" That's completely false, and I thought I saw signs from this new book that he was softening on that point. On p.41 he writes that the report called for NASA "to consider suppression of the discovery of alien artifacts," (emph. added) which is almost true. However, on p.54 we find him backsliding to the point of writing about the report expounding "the necessity for concealing information from the public if need be" (emph. in the original this time). He then re-iterates (p.55) that NASA submitted the report to Congress as a direct reaction to Gagarin's triumphant orbit, which is not the case.

On the same page he writes "...the US wasn't even remotely close to being able to put a man in orbit." I take issue with that. After all, Alan Shepard's suborbital flight in Freedom 7 took place less than a month later. John Glenn was probably in training already, and his first orbital flight, in Friendship 7, would have taken place on 16th January 1962 but for a series of technical and weather delays (it actually lifted off on 20th February.)

5. pp. 73-74. It really does seem as if Bara has his dates all wrong in the early history of the US Space Program. He writes "As we look back on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs he initiated in his May 1961 "We Choose to go to the Moon" speech, it seems to me that Kennedy was very frustrated by his inability to find out what the CIA, MJ-12 and the shadow government were up to." Mercury and Gemini were initiated before Kennedy was president (in the case of Gemini, only just before), and the "We choose to go to the Moon..." was not delivered to Congress in April 1961 but to an audience at Rice University on 12th September 1962. Plus the fact that, in the opinion of many space historians, it was Lyndon Johnson, not Jack Kennedy, who actually decided to force NASA to "take longer strides" (and by the way, be sure to build the new Manned Spaceflight Center in Texas.) The first episode of that lovely 1998 TV series From The Earth To The Moon was accurate on this point. The episode title was Can We Do This?

6. p.76. Bara returns to the subject of that damned Brookings Report again, writing that what it "essentially did was give NASA political cover for what its real mission was all along—the retrieval of alien technology from the surface of the Moon." That's the really bad one. It marks the transition of Bara's writing from mere inaccuracy to total fantasy. There is not, and never has been, the slightest evidence that this was Apollo's real mission. Bara can't produce any such evidence, so by default he merely asserts it.

7. pp78-83. A virtually word-for-word repeat of the section of Hidden Agenda describing Project Horizon, the 1959 military project to place a 20-man permanent base on the Moon. Once again Bara shows that he has no concept of the immensity of the task that would be required. He acknowledges that Horizon was canceled, but he writes "It would have been a fairly simple thing to implement this plan over the next few decades.... My suspicion and speculation is that that is exactly what they did."

As I wrote when critiquing Hidden Agenda, the illustrations in Bara's own book make it obvious that before Horizon was half built every amateur astronomer on Earth would be saying "Er...excuse me.. what's THAT THING?"

8. p.85. I scared the office cat with my explosive reaction when I turned to this page. Here, believe it or not, is this disgraceful bit of flim-flam:

credit: Barefaced lie by Mike Bara

First appearing on p.117 of Hidden Agenda, this nonsense was created by turning a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image upside down. The original shows landslides down the rim of Marius crater, in Oceanus Procellarum. Take a look.

Also on p. 85, Bara seems to have backed off a bit on his often-claimed pseudo-fact that glass manufactured on the Moon is twice as strong as steel. Here he writes "about as strong as steel."  Actually Blacic (1985)note 1 gives the following figures for Young's Modulus:
Lunar glass: 100 GPa, cf. alloy steel 224 GPa, terrestrial glass 68 GPa. So the true statement would be "less than half as strong." We may all pray for the day when Bara makes true statements.

9. pp. 83-87. A repeat of Bara's utterly ridiculous accusation, first trotted out in Hidden Agenda, that the color TV camera on Apollo 12 was deliberately ruined to avoid showing alien ruins. I commented enough about it at the time that I don't feel the need to get all hot under the collar again.

10. 88-94. Here Bara tacks on six pages alleging that the Apollo 12 astronauts conducted a covert and undocumented Standup EVA (SEVA) before the publicly announced EVAs. This fairy story is copied without attribution from somebody using the nickname Luna Cognita. This person posted an hour-long video about the allegation to Youtube in 2011. The video is quite well-made but it rests 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. I commented further on Luna Cognita's (and now Mike Bara's) misapprehensions in November 2014.

11. Chapter 5, "Oswald and the Magic Bullet," and Chapter 6, "The Badge Man and the Beast." Quite why Bara felt it was worth devoting 36 pages of this book to the minute details of what happened in Dealey Plaza and shortly afterward I cannot say. In terms of his overall thesis, who cares what Mary Moorman filmed or what Howard Brennan says he saw?

Oh, wait... I do know why. Because it was only too easy. Bara and his co-author had already written this up, for their 2007 book Dark Mission. Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V is your friend, if you're a lazy author.

Specifically, from "Whenever anyone brings up..." on p.98 to "...to the Soviets" on p.99 is a direct copy from pp.171-2 of Dark Mission, and from "It makes little difference..." to "...the fatal shot" on pp.99-100 is a direct copy from p. 172 of Dark Mission. The only edits are changes such as "It is for this reason that we.." to "It is for this reason that I.." and "We felt compelled to review..." to "I felt compelled to review..." It would be interesting to know what Bara's co-author thinks about that.

12. Chapter 7, "The Wink of an Eye." Finally, Bara gets down to his business of accusing Lyndon Johnson of masterminding the assassination. Frankly, his so-called "evidence" strikes me as pathetic.  The fact that Jacqueline Kennedy was given red roses, not yellow ones, on arrival in Dallas. Bara calls this "a bizarre occult ritual" (p.138.) Then there's the fact that the blue carpet in the Oval Office was replaced (at the behest of Jackie, in fact) with a red one while the Kennedys were in Dallas. Bara writes (p.140):
"What a lot of people don't know is that Lyndon Johnson was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Freemason ... and as such was very aware of the trappings of office and the power of symbolism. To me, the red carpet is symbolic of the blood of the King, Kennedy, who he had killed. He even used Kennedy's old rocking chair in the Oval Office for several years. The symbolism is Johnson sitting on the throne of his predecessor, while symbolically swimming in his blood."
Oh, brother! Talk about stretching a metaphor!!!

13. This famous photograph, from p. 141:

The same pic was used in Dark Mission (p.182) with the same ridiculous interpretation: The interpretation is that LBJ and Congressman Albert Thomas are exchanging a "Got him!" moment. Bara writes that Johnson has "a broad smile" and that Thomas is winking. Other writers have used the word "smirk." I can't do bettter than to refer you to the "Piece of Mindful" blog from 2nd March 2017. The title is One of the Most Fake Photos of All Time.

14. Chapter 8: "Who Mourns for Apollo?" (the title is a nod to a famous episode of Star Trek 1967. That title was "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

This is, unbelievably, 28 pages debunking the many theories that hold that the entire Apollo program was faked. Although I heartily endorse Bara's text here, I'd like to know what TF this material is doing in a book that is supposed to be unmasking villainy in 1963, and to be concerned with ancient aliens?

Once again, the answer is Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V. Huge swaths of this text are directly copied from a long essay Bara wrote in 2001, of the same title. The co-authors on that project were Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy.

15. p.211. Bara here momentarily fools us into thinking he's about to answer the burning question: What exactly were the astronauts sent to look for, and what did they find? Those are his exact words, in fact.

What follows reminds me powerfully of Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip, yanking the football away just as Charlie Brown goes to kick it. Bara makes passing mention of the rock called (by him and Hoagland) Data's Head, and then refers the reader to one of his previous books for details. Any reader not already familiar with the mythology of Hoagland would not have the slightest clue what that's all about. I've written about it several times, including this post from 2007 citing five reasons why Cernan and Schmitt could not possibly have retrieved that rock, or even noticed it.

In the next few pages Bara brings up the so-called "alien spaceship" seen in a stereo pair from the Apollo 15 pan camera. Here's a short briefing on that. It's about 10 km long and hardly an answer to the question What did they bring back? Plus it's nowhere near any of the Apollo landing sites, so why even mention it? Lucy snatches the football again...

OK, enough of the carping from me. I'd just like to add an approximate tally of the pages in this 230-page book that are copied from other sources.

Chapter 1, 19 pp. Copied from standard political history.
Chapter 2, 20 pp. Copied from standard conspiracy theorists
pp. 78-83 Project Horizon, copied from Hidden Agenda
pp. 83-87 Apollo 12, copied from Hidden Agenda
Chapter 5, "Oswald and the Magic Bullet," and Chapter 6, "The Badge Man and the Beast."  36 pp copied from Dark Mission
 Chapter 8: "Who Mourns for Apollo?" 28 pp. Copied from Bara, Hoagland & Troy 2001

I make the total 113 pp, or almost exactly 50% of the book. 

======================/ \====================
[1] Blacic, J. D.; Mechanical Properties of Lunar Materials Under Anhydrous, Hard Vacuum Conditions: Applications of Lunar Glass Structural Components (1985.)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A flagrantly dishonest list

        Maurice Cotterell describes himself, on his primitive web site, as an engineer and scientist—but in reality he's an author who hit upon a genre that turned out to sell rather well. The lead paragraph of his Rational Wikipedia article provides some examples of the anti-science beliefs he holds dear. Click on the label at the foot of this article to see what else this blog has had to say about him.

        Cotterell's ideas are sufficiently bizarre (and inaccurate) to have attracted the attention of the producers of the overnight radio show Coast to Coast AM, who appear to be addicted to inaccuracy.note 1 He's guested on that show no less than 19 times since February 2002, most recently on 5th August this year.

        On that occasion he trotted out a criticism of Isaac Newton's law of gravity that was an illustration of the perils of lèse majesté. If you're going to knock one of the Great Men of Science, you'd better be sure of your ground. On C2C-AM, Cotterell tripped spectacularly. His claim was that, in describing the acceleration of a falling object under gravity, Newton had omitted to take into account the centrifugal force of the Earth's rotation acting contrary to the force of gravity. He's wrong because an object in free fall is not subject to that centrifugal force.note 2

Slamming into Mars
        His intended point was that Newton's mathematical lapse explains why so many spacecraft designed to soft-land on Mars have failed, and his claim was that 10 of 18 such attempts (55%) have failed. I got interested in that statistic since I could not recall as many failures, so I requested his list and he very graciously provided it by e-mail.

        The first thing I noticed was that he listed only 17 missions, not 18, and only 9 failures. The list included some familiar prangs—the early Soviet attempts (although even here he confused Mars 6 with Mars 7) and the ESA's ill-fated Beagle 2. More modern examples include Schiaparelli, also an ESA project.

        But Lookee here—what's this? Phobos 1 and Phobos 2  tallied as failures??? These were Russian scientific space probes of 1988/9, and were indeed (mostly) failures, but they were never intended to land on the planet itself, only on one of its two moons, Phobos. Phobos 1's mission was to orbit Phobos and drop a small landing capsule onto its surface. In one of the most excruciating woopsies of the entire history of spaceflight, a computer technician omitted a hyphen in a line of code and unintentionally sent an "end-of-mission" command to the spacecraft. Phobos 2 returned some excellent images of Phobos but it, too, fell victim to the gremlins of computer software before it could complete its mission.

        So Maurice Cotterell's list of Mars surface landers is inflated by two failed missions that have no business in that list at all. Not only is he wrong about the interaction between gravity and centrifugal force, the entire premise of his argument is, in my opinion, dishonest.

======================/ \======================
[1] Witness their current love affair with Joel Wallach, who is billed as a doctor but is in fact no such thing. He's a pill salesman, making a fortune from his monthly spots on the show.

[2] An object actually attached to the surface is influenced by centrifugal force, which is why things weigh 0.34% less at the equator than they do at the poles.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Maurice Cotterell manages to be even more wrong

        I didn't think my jaw could drop any further than it did back in January 2017, in disbelief that Maurice Cotterell could be invited onto a popular overnight radio show to explain a mathematical idea that was so totally wrong that it "made one gasp and stretch one's eyes" (to misappropriate Hillaire Belloc's very inventive expressionnote 1).

        And yet, here he was, last Sunday night on Coast to Coast AM, going one better. Just like last time, he was only summarizing what is on his web site so you can get the whole thing without having to slog through two hours of audio.

        He seeks to explain why so many Mars landers have crashed instead of soft-landing as intended (10 out of 18, according to him, and for all I know it may be the correct figure - But see Update 28 August). Here are the steps in what he laughingly calls his "logic":
  1. The gravitational attraction a planet has for an object in its vicinity is only partly described by the Newtonian force G.m1.m2/d2
  2. There's an additional term to consider, the centrifugal force generated by the planet's rotation.
  3. This force acts in opposition to the Newtonian force.
  4. Since Mars' rotation rate is 2.5% slower than that of Earth (actually the firgure is 2.8%) it generates less centrifugal force, and therefore more effective gravity, in its vicinity than Earth.
  5. An incoming lander is subject to the sum of the forces of gravity and centrifugal.
  6. Therefore a terminal flight profile calculated to be correct in Earth conditions fails on Mars.

Is he right? No, of course he isn't
        Well, first off let me say that centrifugal force acting in opposition to the force of gravity on the surface of a planet is, indeed, a reality. "It's a thing," in the slang of today. This force can readily be calculated; it is

-(mvcos L)/r 

where m is the mass of an object on the surface of a rotating planet
v is the linear velocity of the planetary surface at the equator (465 m/sec for Earth)
r is the radius of the planet (6.378 x 106 m for Earth)
L is the latitude where the force is measured

        For Earth, the (v2 cos L)/r  term works out as 0.034 m/sec2 at the equator where cos L evaluates to 1. A body, such as a fat woman, of mass 100kg weighs 340 grams less at the equator than at the poles, where cos L, and the centrifugal force, are both zero.note 2

        Statements 1 & 2 are therefore in general correct when considering an object on a planet's surface. Statement 3 is also correct—it's perfectly possible to imagine a planet that rotates so rapidly that anything not tied down at its equator would be flung off into space. We would say that centrifugal force exceeds the force of gravity, in such a case.note 3

        Statement 4 is a problem although Cotterell is basically correct in writing that centrifugal force is less on Mars. It has as much to do with the smaller size of the planet as with its rotation rate. However, that small difference is swamped by the fact that Newtonian gravity is very much less. Here are the figures (at the equator in both cases):

        Earth, acceleration due to gravity: 9.863 m/sec2
        Earth, acceleration due to centrifugal force: -0.034 m/sec2
        Net acceleration: 9.829 m/sec2

        Mars, acceleration due to gravity: 3.721 m/sec2
        Mars, acceleration due to centrifugal force: -0.0171 m/sec2
        Net acceleration: 3.704 m/sec2

         It's in writing Statement 5 that Cotterell has gone completely haywire. He writes "Newton failed to recognize, in his equation, that a falling body is also under the influence of 'centrifugal force' caused by the spinning of the Earth on its axis." He's taken the purely local and surface-based phenomenon of centrifugal force, and made it a property of the planet as a whole, extending beyond the surface into the region where incoming landers start feeling the effect of a planet's gravity. This is as preposterous as Cotterell's prior comments about gravity, and shows complete lack of understanding of physics. Of course a spacecraft having no physical contact with a planet cannot possibly be influenced by rotation of the planet. Neither can a falling apple, come to that, so Newton's equation describes that event accurately.note 4

        Statement 6 suggests that engineers devising flight profiles for soft landings simply don't know about this, and therefore miscalculate. Last Sunday night, even that old softie George Noory demurred in the gentlest possible way. He reminded Cotterell that the landing of MSL and its rover Curiosity in Gale crater six years ago (almost to the day, actually) had been a brilliant success and by no means a miscalculation. Cotterell mumbled something about engineers having learnt that when they completed their calculations they should "add a little bit, just for luck."

        Cotterell is kind-of entertaining I suppose, with his bluff manner and his soft Lancashire accent, but he should be permanently banned from the fields of physics and mathematics lest he do even more damage to them.

Update 28 August:
        Cotterell kindly provided the list from which he derived 10 of 18 failures, or 55%. It turns out he was including Phobos 1 and Phobos 2 as failures, when of course they were never intended to reach the surface of Mars. He also counted the rover "Prop-M" carried by Mars 3, and the rover "Sojourner" carried by Mars Pathfinder, as separate missions. And by the way his list was only 17 missions, not 18, so the percentage ought to be 53%. Small point.

        I now believe the true statistic is 5 of 13, or 38%. Since the failure of Mars 2 was attributed to a computer malfunction, that perhaps should be adjusted to 4 of 13 or 30%.

=================/ \=====================
[1] "Matilda told such dreadful lies"

[2] In fact, there's another phenomenon that affects the acceleration due to gravity on the planet's surface. The equatorial radius is 6378 km but the polar radius is only 6357 km. Since the fat woman is 21 km further away from the center of the planet when she's on the equator than when she's at the poles, gravity has less of a hold on her. The effect amounts to 0.668%.

[3] I'm going to be in trouble with the purists for even talking in terms of "centrifugal force." To them, this force is merely the "equal and opposite" reaction to a centripetal force. They would prefer to say "The force of gravity is inadequate to provide the centripetal force needed to keep objects attached to the planet." See the difference? But Cotterell uses centrifugal, and it's intuitive, so I'm going to stick with it.

[4] Note that as long as the apple is attached to the tree, it is pulled upwards by the small amount attributable to centrifugal force. As soon as it detaches, however, that small upward force vanishes.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Robert Morningstar: FAIL!!

James Concannon writes...

        In my opinion, Robert Morningstar has just suffered the most humiliating failure of his career. The closest approach by Mars for 15 years has come and gone without any of the disaster effect AM* predicted. On Facebook, Morningstar is now dodging and weaving, making up excuse after excuse, but it's pretty much an open-and-shut case. This was his word-for-word prediction, on FB 17th July:
"Mars' passage close to Earth on July 31st, 2018 will created [sic] super storms like Katrina (again, as it did i 2003), along with volcanic activity and intense electrical storms around the globe. Be ready for something and anything."
        Let's take this piece by piece. I'm allowing one day either side of his prediction, to be generous, so I'll be reporting activity for the three days 30th July—1st August.


        The closest thing to a superstorm in the last week was typhoon Jongdari, which caused havoc in Japan on 29th. Hilariously, just as the "Mars effect" hit us on 30th, Jongdari was downgraded to a tropical storm. There were torrential rains in Myanmar but, y'know, it's monsoon season so there's nothing unusual about that.

        Grasping at what straws were in the wind, Morningstar cited what he called "devastation" in Mexico. What a joke. The weather system he spotted was a depression which eventually became tropical storm Hector. Wind speeds were reported as a mere  35 knots, gusting to 45. No reports of any damage, loss of life or even injury.

        When I pointed this out, Morningstar replied "I think a crashed airliner is devastating enough. N'est as, Dumas?" OHH... OHHH.... a crashed airliner, oh yes how silly of me. At 3:45 pm on July 31st, Aeroméxico Connect Flight 2431 crashed almost immediately after take-off from Durango International Airport. A hailstorm was in progress, and the Embraer twin-jet with 103 aboard was probably the victim of a down-draft. All 103 people walked away, although there were 85 injuries.

        Is Morningstar seriously expecting us to equate this incident with Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane that caused catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas in August 2005? The cities of Gulfport MS and New Orleans LA were substantially destroyed, and 1,245 people died from the immediate impact and subsequent flooding. Wind speed of 280 km/h was recorded. So don't give me crashed small airliners with no fatalities, although the incident was no doubt devastating to those involved.

Volcanic activity
None, other than ongoing sequences such as the eruption of Kilauea, which began 30th April.

        Again wriggling, Morningstar cited the 27th July evacuation of Ambae island due to the imminent eruption of the Manaro Voui volcano. In fact, the island had been evacuated already, starting in September 2017 when volcanic activity increased to Level 4, and reinforced in April this year. The island is coated with a deep layer of ash but there are no reports of death or injury. So even if this eruption had happened during the three days of the Mars effect, it would have been pretty unimpressive.

        Morningstar's prediction did not specifically mention earthquakes, but under the general heading "something and anything..." the three days of the "Mars effect" were free of any major seisms anywhere on the globe. The closest was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake at Lombok, Inodnesia that killed 14. That was on the 29th so it doesn't count.

Intense electrical storms around the globe
        This one is interesting. The lightning maps maintained by Blitzortung.org showed that Europe had been unusually sparky during the week prior to Morningstar's predicted effect.

Lightning, Europe, 28th July

By the 31st, Europe had calmed down somewhat

Lightning, Europe, 31st July

As for "across the globe", that one was a busted prediction without doubt. Here's North America and the Caribbean:

Lightning, North America, 31st July

...and as for the Southern hemisphere, calm prevailed:

Lightning, Oceania/Australasia 31st July

         These maps all show the lightning strikes accumulated from noon to 2pm local time on the dates indicated.

Morningstar pleads for more time
        Morningstar got so interested in this topic that he sat down and wrote a pseudo-scientific essay, The Mars Effect: How Mars’ Close Passage Exerts Geo-Magneto-Electric Effects Inducing Electrical Forces in the Earth’s Core.  Here are some excerpts from this woefully ill-informed work, which muddies the waters by conflating the Mars approach and the Lunar eclipse of 27th July:
During an eclipse, whether solar or lunar, there will be a summation of G Forces when in concert (i.e. in the same direction during solar eclipse),  or  as opposing G Forces during lunar eclipses).
When in that celestial configuration, there will be a differential subtraction of gravitational forces, whose buildup and break-down phases will compound the G-stresses on the Earth’s core and the Earth’s mantle as the 2 gravitational forces,
However, in this unique case of July 29th, 2018, with Mars involved, there were  3 sets of contending G-forces, tangling and tugging on each other like rubber bands from different angles at every passing moment as Sun, Earth, Moon transited in lunar eclipse, as Mars raced toward the Earth-Moon system with astronomical speed, interacting with gravitational forces and geo-magnetically with Sun, Earth and Moon during lunar eclipse:
The magnetic fields of all these celestial bodies were forced toward each other, pushing pressing, intersecting, overlapping, and thereby, inducing electrical activity between them and amongst them.
Finally, the Disentanglement Phase of the G Bands, where Mars is concerned, may take weeks to unwind, and so The Mars Effects on Earth’s weather, its plate tectonics and volcanic activities could take several weeks to dissipate, but during this critical phase a new series of super storm could be spawned by The Mars Effect like Mars did in 2003, spawning the super hurricanes, Katrina, Rita and Ophelia, which I announced and predicted on July 5th, 2003 while speaking as guest n the Jonathan P. Casey Radio Show, broadcast in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.
        Morningstar seems incapable of understanding that the Sun/Earth/Moon alignment happens every single month, at New Moon and Full Moon. In gravitational terms, there's nothing special about an eclipse. He also seems unaware that Mars has no magnetic field, and he has the date of hurricane Katrina wrong. When I asked him, on Facebook, what his source was for the information that the Mars effect would now drag on for three more weeks, his hilarious reply was «I am "The Source."»

The mathematics
        I must admit I got a surprise when I calculated the actual gravitational interaction between Earth and Mars. The answer is, with Mars in conjunction, 2.409 x 1016 newtons. With Mars at opposition, its closest approach, 8.76 x 1016 newtons, or 3.64 times as much. Even though a newton is a rather small force (roughly 4.5 to the pound) that's more than I expected. Note that the accelerations produced are 0.403 x 10-8 and 1.47 x 10-8 m/secrespectively—very, very small numbers).

        The gravitational attraction of the Sun is 40,000 times stronger and that from the Moon 200 times stronger. Dreamers like Morningstar should contemplate such data before they go making silly predictions.

        Let there be no doubt about it—regardless of how Mr. Morningstar now spins the data, this one was a total bust.

Update 14th August:
       Hector developed into a category 4 hurricane, and was thought at one time to be a threat to Hawai'i. It holds the record for most time (186 hours) as a cat 4 in the NE Pacific. However, it missed all the islands to the South and rapidly weakened. As of today it's been downgraded to a tropical storm. If Hector had ever become cat 5, and especially if it had done significant damage in Hawai'i, Morningstar would have been jumping up and down yelling about what a brilliant prognosticator he is. As things stand, his talents are seen to be crap.