Monday, July 30, 2018

Richard Hoagland and numerology

        I'm getting a bit bored with pseudoscientists who begin their sentences with "What if..." What follows is invariably the grossest speculation without any supporting evidence, but somehow the whole sentence acquires some sense of authority—or at least, that is what is hoped. I guess my standard reply is "What if you're totally wrong about that?"

        We have a brilliant example before us, in Richard Hoagland's reaction to the recent announcement by Orosei et al, in "Science" 25 July 2018 of an extensive underground "lake" (probably more like a sludgy deposit, in reality) 1.6km under the Planum Australe region of Mars. On his Other Side of Midnight web page Hoagland writes:
What if, in fact, the Europeans actually have detected the radar signature of an ancient, buried, long-abandoned Martian city … the last surviving one … before “the Martians” were forced to come to Earth?
Richard, what if that's a load of bollocks?

        For extra hilarity, Hoagland has again totally distorted his own theory about the number 19.5. According to his writings, it has significance as a latitude (either N or S) on a spinning sphere.  But he's had no hesitation about drawing attention to the number when it's a longitude, a time, the apparent magnitude of a comet, the inclination of an orbit, the NASA budget in $billion, or the price of a shirt at Old Navy. He also apparently can't perceive any difference between 19.5, 195, 1950 and the times 19h30min and 19h50min.

        The sub-surface sludge on Mars is centered at 193°E, 81°S, and that's apparently close enough for Hoagland, since he also wrote that this was another 19.5 "hit."

Hoagland needs to be reminded that:
* 193 is not the same number as 195
* 195 is not the same number as 19.5
* A longitude is not the same as a latitude



David Evans said...

"A longitude is not the same as a latitude"

It can become one after a pole shift.

expat said...

That does nothing whatever to make Hoagland any less wrong.

Unknown said...

That's entirely irrelevant unless Mars's poles suddenly unanimously decided to shift at Hoagland's request. Somehow I doubt he's that talented.