Sunday, September 8, 2019

Richard Hoagland, statistics dunce

James Concannon writes...

        Richard Hoagland, the former museum curator who hasn't had a job since 1972, appears to be (metaphorically) frothing at the mouth over the way Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Bahamas this month. Promoting his blogtalk show The Other Side of Midnight yesterday, he wrote:
« Dorian was -- beyond any reasonable doubt, now -- a "controlled weather, genocide event."
The evidence is overwhelming; just look at the horrifying ground images of the Bahamas ... and the bizarre track of Hurricane Dorian itself--
A Category 5 ... sitting -- MOTIONLESS -- over ONE tiny Atlantic island ... for over two full DAYS!
UNPRECEDENTED -- according to the National Weather Service -- in all the annals of over a century of meteorological science!
Join me -- and my guest "geo-engineering analyst," Dane Wigington -- as we continue to explore, and document-- with striking NASA evidence (!) -- the vicious genocidal agenda being played out right before our eyes ... to kill a LOT of human beings ... if not planet Earth itself! »
        Well, look. Yes, it was a catastrophe by any measure, and I hope richer nations (you know who you are) will step up with some dollar help. But "just looking at the horrifying images" and "the bizarre track of [the hurricane]" does not constitute overwhelming evidence of attempted genocide.

        My learned friend Mr. Google tells me that the death toll is currently 43. The normal deathrate is 7.2/1000, in a total population of 403,337. So 16 deaths are to be expected in any two-day period. To call a death toll only two-and-a-half times the expected norm "vicious genocide" marks this man Hoagland as an alarmist nincompoop with no flair for statistics.

        Moreover, the meaning of the word genocide is the deliberate extinction of a race or sub-race. Bahamas is racially 92% African, but are all the deaths African? I don't know the answer to that and I bet Richard Hoagland doesn't either. There would certainly have been a lot of visitors on the islands in early September. And then, there are about one and a half billion people with African ethnicity in the world. The race isn't even going to notice 43 fewer members.

        As for an "agenda to kill planet Earth itself", LMFAO. Richard, go to your room.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

"I'm a lunatic" said Robert Morningstar

        He was just joking, of course—giving a facetious answer to George Noory's question "Why are you so interested in the Moon?" on Coast to Coast AM, 19th August. But many of the things he had to say during that two-hour interview made me think "lunatic" was close to the truth.

        Morningstar was expounding a theme that there's some kind of "new honesty" in NASA now that Jim Bridenstine is Adminstrator (since April 2018). He said that, in NASA's image library, old fuzzy images are gradually being replaced by higher resolution versions, which to my knowledge is totally untrue. He didn't give any specific examples, but he did OOOH and AAAH a lot over this image, which he says he found in a Polish astronomy magazine in 2018.


        Morningstar enthused over the gorgeous color, which he said the "old, dishonest NASA" would never have allowed to be seen. In answer to Noory's question "Why would they suppress color on the Moon?" he replied "If people could see how beautiful the Moon really is, they'd all want to go there." Well, y'know, since there's no possible way the general public can get to the Moon anyway, where's the harm in that? Besides, now that the cat's out of the bag, so to speak, why aren't people clamoring for transport to the Moon?

       Later in the show he returned to this topic, saying that he's being asked why we don't see these colors during full Moon at night. In a spectacular display of his misunderstanding of optics, he said that it's the same reason the sky is blue in daytime. The atmosphere filters out all but blue light. We are left to wonder whether Mr. Morningstar, the "specialist in photo interpretation," has ever looked at Mars in the night sky.

        By the way, anyone can make a full Moon digital photo as gloriously colorful as they like. Here's an article showing how. The result is no more real than Mike Bara's pathetic attempt to convince us that increasing color saturation of an image is "just like turning up the volume on a radio."

Turtle rock
        Morningstar repeated a claim he first made in October 2016, that "My friend Ed Mitchell" photograhed a UFO while on the Moon. He means this photo of turtle rock, AS14-68-9472:


        Morningstar said the UFO has "a geometric pattern." Oh yeah? If you're having a hard time even seeing a UFO, let alone a geometric pattern, look in the sky just above the second fiducial from left. There's a small piece of scanner lint. Ed stepped a little to his right and shot the next frame, AS14-68-9473:


        Bye-bye Mr. UFO.

        There was plenty more lunacy in the show, but I think that's enough to make the point.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Hoagland's numerology

        Richard Hoagland was interviewed by some dude called Robert Stanley—he calls himself a "Jedi journalist"—for two hours on Unicus radio, 12th July. Hoagland made me giggle a bit by declaring that 2019 is "the year of disclosure" (wasn't that 2017?), and even more by taking personal credit for President Trump's directive to send American men and women back to the Moon by 2024. Hoagland, you see, has created a three-hour video titled The Presidential Briefing and had it "personally delivered".note 1  It includes, naturally, Hoagland's well-known fantasies about alien ruins on the Moon and Mars.

        Yes, I'm sure we all believe that Trump sat down for three hours, digested this message, then sent immediately for the NASA Adminstrator telling him to get moving Moon-wards.

Two megatons under China Lake
        At the time of the Unicus interview, the sequence of earthquakes at Ridgecrest and China Lake was still fresh on everyone's minds. Mag 4.6 on July 4th, 5.4 on the 5th, finally 7.1 on the 6th. Depths were 1.9km, 7km and 8km respectively. Hoagland declared that the energy of the big one was equivalent to a 2-megaton nuclear weapon, and it could only have been achieved by creating a huge void at 8km depth, which then collapsed. This, he said, was done the same way as the World Trade Center was "dustified"—with a torsion field weapon.
1:33:32 RCH: Where's my proof that this is what was done? Look at when it was done. 20:19. Take those two numbers, take [...] 20:19 military time. Add those two numbers together. What do you get?
RS: 39.
RCH: Divide by two. 19.5!!!. The signature of hyperdimensional torsion field physics! Whoever did this communicated the message of how it was done.
        I swear, from the tone of voice and the way he made this statement, he was not just having a joke. He really believes some evil galactic warlord worked through the reverse numerology and planned this event for 8:19 pm. Only he, Richard C. Hoagland, is smart enough to figure it out. Since the other two major seismic events in the series were not at that time, I guess he'll have to work out a different numerology for them.

        What I don't quite get is how a weapon can create a huge void at a depth of 8km. Even if the ground is "dustified", as he puts it (quoting JudyWood), surely the amount of material would be unchanged. It's not like the World Trade Center, where 80% of the towers can simply blow away on the breeze, as Judy Wood claims.

        Hoagland next drew attention to the fact that there wasn't much structural damage, and only one death (some unfortunate guy was fixing a jeep, which then fell on him).
1:34:55 Somebody went to great lengths to make sure there was no collateral damage. Now what does that tell you? It tells me someone was trying to be benign... was trying to raise the threat level without killing people but showing overwhelming technological supremacy, because in the [.?.] we have nothing that can match this.
1:35:29 Here's the capper. I have a report from one of my contacts on the East Coast ... One of her students reported that among other bizarre stories coming out of Ridgecrest was that the bees—ordinary honey bees—were observed on the ground, dazed, writhing around, and dying. Now bees do not respond to earthquakes in this way. But bees ... this would have been a side effect of the detonation of a torsion weapon, the bees would have been discombobulated and/or killed, 'cause bees resonate to those frequencies.note 2
Dazed and dying bees right after the Ridgecrest earthquake to me was a "ding-ding-ding" that this was a technical torsion field weapon being demonstrated to our guys, basically saying "stop doing whatever you're doing or it'll get a lot worse."
        So far I haven't noticed the U.S. Navy stopping anything, unless you count an Iranian patrol boat in the Strait of Hormuz. Either they're foolhardy for brushing off this dire threat, or perhaps Richard Hoagland is a nincompoop who lives in the fantasy land of sci-fi comics, and nothing he says or writes is true.

========================/ \========================
[1] The video starts with a caption that will go down in the annals of brown-nosing:

« The President who finally ends NASA's 60 years of 'deep state' cover-up of its real solar system discoveries — beginning with 'ancient ET ruins on the Moon and Mars' — will inevitably go down in history as 'the greatest President of the United States ...'  "If not the World...." »
[punctuation exactly as in the orig.]

[2] Hoagland is bullshitting here. Bees have chordotonal organs that allow them to respond to ultrasonic fequencies, but these would have a range of a few metres only. There's not a shred of evidence that they can detect or react to high-frequency transmission of any kind.

He made the same bullshit allegation in his 2007 web page The Bees' Needs—writing that torsion waves were responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder. Neonicotinoids are now generally accepted as the main cause of CCD, which hit its peak in 2006 and is now perceived as less of a problem than was thought then.

Part 2 of "The Bees' Needs" never appeared.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Exploring the outer reaches of ignorance with Joseph A. Olson

        Olson is a civil engineer, one of eight authors of Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory (Stairway, 2011) and a climate change denier. In an undated online article, and in a guest appearance on Coast to Coast AM on 1st August, he turned out to be an Apollo denier as well.

        I haven't read Olson's book, and I have no plans to (an Amazon user reviewer wrote "A collection of blog posts wrapped in a self-published vanity piece by a bunch of bat-shit insane conspiracy theorists"), but if his climate denial is anything like his Apollo denial, ignoring it is the kindest treatment you could give it.

        The undated article is titled Perplexing Apollo Questions for NASA, and it's a brilliant example of why you should never believe what you read on the Internet. Olson pops up an infographic of the 3-stage Saturn V rocket, and takes us through the fuel loading of each stage and the contribution each stage made to Apollo's journey, ending with "NASA claims that the third stage, called S-IVB, then boosted speed to 24,500 mph and carried the Apollo capsule to the Moon." He then continues with this astounding nonsense:
"Neglecting the necessary first and third stage fuel, we will for layman discussion, assume that the 340,000 gallons of stage twonote 1 are all that was needed to escape Earth’s gravity, therefore 1/6 of that would be necessary to escape the Moons gravity. Given that Apollo must use a similar amount of fuel to slow approach, and use retrorockets to land with another 1/6 to land. Therefore to land and take off, the Lunar Lander would have required at least 1/3 of stage two volume, or 110,000 gallons of fuel.
NASA WHERE IS THE LANDER FUEL STORAGE?"
        Well, let's see. Stage 2 (S-II) only got Apollo as far as Earth orbit. In "neglecting" the third stage (S-IVB) Olson has neglected exactly what he should be using as the basis for his dodgy calculations. That stage is what enabled Apollo to escape Earth gravity, with 66,000 gallons LH2, 19,000 gallons LOX (85,000 gallons total). And then—astonishing for a man who has some sort of training in engineering—he utterly neglects the comparitive masses of what the S-IVB and the LM descent and ascent engines needed to accelerate.

Acceleration toward the Moon
The mass the S-IVB propelled Moonwards included:
Itself, 123,000 kgnote 2
The Command and Service Modules (CSM) 30,332 kg
The Lunar Module (LM) 16,400 kg
------------------------------------------
TOTAL 168,732 kg

The thrust of the S-IVB's engines (200 series) was 890,000 newtons
Theoretical acceleration: 5.27 m/sec/sec
Burn time (2nd ignition): 355 sec.

Deceleration on arrival
The CSM/LM stack was initially decelerated by the Service Propulsion System (SPS) engine.
Mass to decelerate: 46,732 kg
Thrust: 91,000 newtons
Theoretical  deceleration: 1.95 m/sec/sec
Burn time: 357 sec LOI, 17sec Circ.

The LM descent engine, thrust 45,040 newtons throtlleable, had to decelerate only itself, 16,400 kg. The fuel load was 8,200 kg, approx. 2,000 gallons
Thrust-to-weight in lunar gravity: 1.68
Burn time (Apollo 11): 754 sec.

Acceleration on lunar lift-off
The LM ascent engine, 16,000 newtons, had to accelerate 4,700 kg. The fuel load was 2,353 kg, approx. 540 gallons
Thrust-to-weight in lunar gravity: 2.124
Burn time: 435 sec.

Finally the SPS engine fired again for Trans-Earth Injection. Load 30,332 kg (minus the mass of already-expended fuel), burn time 151 sec.

SUMMARY:
The SPS engine needed to decelerate 27.7% of the mass the S-IVB had to accelerate, with 10% of the thrust and roughly the same burn time.

The LM descent engine only needed to decelerate 9.7% of the mass the S-IVB had to accelerate, using ~2.3% of the fuel volume (albeit fuel of a completely different kind) and 212% of the burn time.

The LM ascent engine needed to accelerate 2.8% of the mass the S-IVB had to accelerate, using ~0.63% of the fuel volume and 122% of the burn time.

Olson's hand-waving fuel arithmetic is utterly ridiculous.


It gets worse

        Olson then shows this drawing, and comes up with this breathtakingly ignorant objection to NASA's description of the mission:
"The claim is that the crew (astroNOTS) boarded the Lander, but there is a rocket engine between these two crafts. ...  and it is doubtful that Armstrong and Aldrin ever spacewalked from the Command to the Landing module before and after their “giant leap” ... There is no airlock on the Apollo capsule,note 3 so the cabin pressure would have gone to zero for both exit and entry to the capsule.
NASA HOW DID THE ASTRONAUTS GET BETWEEN THE MODULES?"
        Of course, the answer is that, once they were on a Moon-bound trajectory and had had the full benefit of the S-IVB's engines, the CSM turned through 180° and docked with the LM, pulling it clear of the S-IVB. I'm pretty sure that many 6th grade schoolkids could tell Olson that, if he asked them.

        C2C has seen many ignorant guests in its time, starting with Richard Hoagland, moving on through Mike Bara, Robert Morningstar, Billy Carson, Maurice Cotterell, Clyde Lewis, Bret Sheppard. I think we've found a new paradigm of ignorance.

==================/ \=================
[1] The actual figures are 260,000 gallons LH2, 83,000 gallons LOX. Close enough, perhaps.

[2] Actually somewhat less, since a part of the Upper stage fuel had already been expended in achieving Earth orbit.

[3] On Coast-to-Coast AM, unbelievably, he actually said "The command module has no docking mechanism".

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Bang-bang! DOJ shoots down Sean David Morton

        Government attorneys Hanna, Aull, Makarewicz and Hughes did a first-rate job of answering Sean David Morton's appeal against his conviction and sentencing on fraud charges. On 22nd July, they filed an Answering Brief with the Ninth Circuit. It's 78 pages of enlightenment for everyone, plus amusement for those of us who believe that Morton is a despicable shyster who ought to be in jail for even longer than he already is.

        I got a big kick out of this, from page 53, commenting on what the attorneys wrote were Morton's "self-aggrandizing proclamations":
"On multiple occasions during his closing argument, defendant claimed that he was being persecuted based on his efforts to bring hidden truths to an uninformed populace suffering under the heel of government oppression and a corrupt financial system. Viewed as a whole, the totality of the evidence introduced at trial reveals a much more mundane justification: defendant was selected for prosecution based on his continued pattern of fraudulent behavior in the face of repeated government warnings."
        Can't you just imagine Morton swaggering around the courtroom yelling that he was being unfairly persecuted, utterly disregarding the clearly-stated charges against him?

"The tax returns were all completely false"
        Speaking of which, this brief laid out a clearer version of Sean and Melissa's flagrant cheating than I think we have seen previously:
"Between March and April 2009, defendant and MM submitted a series of federal income tax returns ... claiming false federal tax refunds based on nonexistent income tax withholdings. The returns all followed the same pattern: On each return, the listed defendant would claim that he or she had received interest income from various financial institutions, and that substantially all of this income had been withheld and paid over to the IRS on their behalf. While the income reported by defendants resulted in applicable income taxes, these taxes were dwarfed by the withholdings alleged to have been made by the listed financial institutions. On their returns, defendants requested that the IRS refund the balance of the reported withholdings, net of the reported tax liability. As substantiation for their claimed income and withholdings, defendants included IRS Forms 1099 purportedly issued by the financial institutions listed on defendants’ tax returns. In total, defendant submitted returns for the years 2005 through 2008 claiming refunds of $3,930,811 (2005 - $136,077; 2006 - $1,560,634; 2007 - $1,754,594; 2008 - $479,506). The tax returns were all completely false. ... [N]o withholding payments were ever made to the IRS on their behalf. The Forms 1099-OID submitted by defendants were also utter fabrications, and had never been issued to defendants by the listed financial institutions.
Of the five false tax returns submitted by defendants in March/April of 2009, four were caught by the IRS and identified as frivolous, thus resulting in the denial of defendants’ claimed refunds.  However, defendant’s 2008 income tax return slipped through the IRS review process and resulted in a refund.  On April 17, 2009, the IRS direct deposited $480,322.55 into a joint bank account held by defendants with Bank of America."
         Prior to his conviction, at a time when he was claiming "all this will go away soon," Morton several times stated "It was the IRS's error, not ours." That statement must rate as world-class in the category of disingenuousness.

Estoppel
        The brief did not specifically address Morton's claim of judicial estoppel,note 1 other than to remark that Morton had never been portrayed by them as a victim of crimes committed by Brandon Adams and Gordon Hall (Adams and Hall are the villains who originally came up with this scheme to defraud the IRS—they were separately prosecuted in Arizona).note 2

        They were, however, at pains to rebut Morton's claim at appeal that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to be represented by counsel. That wasn't, in fact, very hard—they merely had to cite from the trial transcript (4th April 2017):
DEFENDANT: I knowing and unequivocally wish to represent myself.
THE COURT: I'm sure Ms. Cader has described to you the pitfalls of doing that, haven't you, Ms. Cader?
MS. CADER: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: The case has more than the ordinary complexity for a criminal case. If you're not trained in the law, you'll be up against a prosecutor who is. There are Rules of Evidence that have to be observed, and you may find yourself unable to present your defense effectively because of your lack of knowledge and experience in laying a foundation and presenting evidence. Likewise, you may be at a lost [sic] to prevent evidence that shouldn't be admitted by the government. The trial is an exercise that requires experience and skill, and I can't tell you -- at least in my view -- how foolish your decision is. On the other hand, I can't prevent you from even making a foolish decision.
DEFENDANT: I understand all that, sir.
THE COURT: That is still your wish?
DEFENDANT: Yes, it is.
        It was more than five months later, at the end of the sentencing hearing (18th September 2017), that SDM suddenly realized what a bloody fool he had been.
DEFENDANT: [R]eally at this point, Your Honor, I'm completely loss here, and I'm beginning to realize that in this proceeding, ... I'm not capable of representing myself, and I request either a federal defender – have appointed to review so that I can respond to this, because you've completely lost me. ... So at that this point, I have to represent -- I have to request counsel because I have no idea what you guys are talking about, 91s and 109snote 3 and how this comes to that and the other thing, and I think I have a right to presentation. ...
THE COURT: Okay. I'm now going to proceed to sentencing.
DEFENDANT: Even though I've requested counsel, sir?
THE COURT: Too late, Mr. Morton.
DEFENDANT: Too late?
THE COURT: I told you at the outset that you were making among the most foolish decisions you could possibly make by not having a lawyer.
        The Ninth Circuit will, in its plodding way, eventually rule on the appeal. If they find for Morton, I'll eat my hat.

Thanks to AE once again for monitoring

=======================/ \=======================
[1] See "Sean David Morton takes his best shot" 29th November 2018

[2] Morton testified that he paid Adams and Hall $6,000 to concoct the scheme

[3] The judge and the prosecutors had been discussing the admittedly arcane question of sentencing guidelines.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hyperdimensional mendacity

        Mike Bara has written a book about the Bermuda Triangle. What's that I hear you say? There are already at least ten books in print about that bloody triangle, why do we need another?

        Ah well, you see, this one's unique because it reveals the true hyperdimensional physics of the setup. As any fan or critic of Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara knows, the latitudes 19.5° and 33° have special significance in HD physics. And behold, on p. 153 we find this, TA-DAAAAA!

© 2019 Adventures Unlimited. Apologies for slight distortion

        The caption is "The Triangle, with northern and southern boundaries marked," and the text talks about the triangle resting exactly inside "...these two mystically critical latitudes where the walls between the dimensions are thinnest."  *facepalm.

        Well, I've learned not to take figures in books written by Bara and published by David Childress at face value. As I've reported here, in both Hidden Agenda (p.117) and Ancient Aliens and JFK (p. 85), a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image was inverted and made to look like a crystal city on the Moon. So I checked.

source: Wikimapia/Google Earth

        Sorry to disappoint, but the stunning hyperdimensional explanation for the triangle is just another lie.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

James Oberg on the myths of Apollo

        James Oberg sent me a review copy of a Powerpoint presentation he's giving at the Apollo 11 splashdown party in Houston tomorrow night. Here's an adapted excerpt.


"According to hitherto unconfirmed reports, both Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin saw UFOs shortly after that historic landing on the Moon in Apollo 11 on 21 July 1969. I remember hearing one of the astronauts refer to a "light" in or on a crater during the television transmission, followed by a request from mission control for further information. Nothing more was heard."

—Above Top Secret: The worldwide UFO Cover-Up by Timothy Good (Quill, Sept. 1989)

As the original story spread and greatly ‘improved’, more and more people stepped forward with claims they had heard even more spectacular versions.

"Well, it happened. Close friends and very close family members of both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have separately told me that indeed there were numerous, large UFOs around the crater where the Lunar Module landed and that these were seen by both Armstrong and Aldrin. I have also spoken to military officers that have seen the footage of this event — but it has never been made public."

—Dr. Steven Greer.


National Bulletin tabloid [September 29,1969] "Phony Transmission Failure Hides Apollo 11 Discovery. . . . Moon is a U.F.O. Base!" by Sam Pepper

Armstrong: “I'm telling you, there are other spacecraft out there. They're lined up in ranks on the far side of the crater edge.... “

Charles Berlitz, THE ROSWELL INCIDENT, 1980: “When Apollo 11 landed inside a moon crater two unidentified spacecrafts appeared on the crater rim and then took off again.

Ken   Johnston, “Alien Bases on the Moon” [Science Channel, 2014] “There have been a lot of rumors about what actually took place during the lunar mission. while Neil and Buzz were on the lunar surface.      …Neil …says , ‘They’re here, they’re parked around the rim of the crater and they’re watching us. “

The Real Story
Actual transcript during Apollo 11 moon walk:

110:37:09 “I did see a suspiciously small white object.”
110:37:25 “Go ahead with the coordinates on the small white object.”
110:37:28 “ It's right on the southwest rim of a crater . I think they would know it if they were in such a location. It looks like their LM would be pitched up quite a degree. It's on the southwest wall of a smallish crater

WELL, KEEP IN MIND...
During the moon walk by Armstrong and Aldrin, there was also a conversation going on with Collins, and these two independent conversations were interleaved on the same voice channel.

Collins describes the search, from Apollo 11 Crew Technical Debriefing p. 11-2

"The problem was I didn't know where the LM was , and the ground didn't either . There is too much real estate down there within the intended landing zone to scan on one, two, three, or four passes.

On each pass , I could do a decent job of scanning one or two grid squares on the expanded map. That map is the 1:100 000 map called LAM 2. The ground was giving me coordinates in the grid square coordinate system that were as much as 10 squares apart. This told me they didn't really have much of a handle at all on where the LM had landed.

As I say, it was just too large an area for me to visually scan . I used AUTO optics each time I looked at the area they suggested.

I never did see the LM."




Thursday, July 18, 2019

Robert Morningstar does something disgusting again

James Concannon reports...

        In January 2016, Robert Morningstar posted on his Faceboo page a disgusting image of a decapitated woman in a lake of blood. The accompanyhing text read:
"Islam is a religion of pieces of human beings, left scattered, with many other victims maimed across the world in the Name of Allah, the merciless and despicable, a demonic deity who demands and condones subhuman barbarity and depravity such as this."
        As expat reported at the time, the image was in fact taken in an isolated village in Brazil, and depicted the crime of a frantically jealous young man who caught his girlfriend posting photos to another man on WhatsApp. Thus, it had nothing to do with Islam and was nothing but a revolting piece of propaganda.

        Today, Morningstar is at it agin, reposting what purports to be an image of the bloody remains of a woman stoned to death. The caption is "Muslims rape, stone 60-year-old Christian woman to death," and the accompanying text from The Geller Report has today's date.
"Islamic terrorists from the Jihadist organization Jabhat al-Nusra stoned to death an Armenian Christian woman living in the Syrian province of Idlib. Christian and human rights groups reported over the last week that the 60-year-old Suzan Der Kirkour was found dead outside of her village, al-Yaqoubiyeh."
        In fact, the image is a still from a Persian-language drama movie released in 2008. The title was "The Stoning of Soraya M". I have asked Morningstar to remove this offensive item and apologize.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Kerry Cassidy reports from a Greek island

"Something told me not to return to the states on July 2nd as planned so I took a week off.. flew to a lovely island...China Lake connection to CA quake indicates man-made... Series of CA quakes to destablize grid..."
        Thus Kerry Cassidy, projecting her paranoid fantasies from an Aegean beach. Do you think she'll ever provide any source citations for her outrageous statements? No, me neither. Later, she added:
"Look at this series of CA quakes to destablize grid...War underground bases, undersea ET races and more continues.. We saw LOTS of ufo traffic in clear skies over this Greek island last night... Lots going on."
        Wait a minute, though... I thought Kerry was supposed to be broke, begging for donations. I'm sure she didn't use any donation money to get her to the land of moussakà and retsina (yum-yum). That would be quite unethical.

Update 10th July
        Kerry, now back on US soil, has posted a guide which she claims enables her followers to tell the difference between real and man-made earthquakes. She seems sure that the recent pattern near Ridgecrest is the latter type, and suggests this as the motive:
"It may be they are building toward creating what people like to call "the big one” to take down the Greater Los Angeles area… I have seen this quake happen in my minds eye and in visions.  Why they want this I do not know.  It may be part of an overall desire to weaken the infrastructure and clear out California for further infiltration and takeover by an alien race.  This is no joke."
        There's a problem with this thesis. Kerry cites several precursor phenomena in a "real" quake—cloud formations, feelings in her feet (she's an "Earth Sensitive", whatever that means), headaches, nausea, and others. But since she's been guzzling retsina and scoffing moussakà for the last week, and in the UK before that, how would she know that the Ridgecrest sequence is not real?

Wrap-up of "Truth Behind the Moon Landing"

"Seeing how much time and effort was wasted to placate an idiot that is just too stupid to understand how telescopes and cameras work. This show is more or less just an indictment of the education system."
        That's one of the user reviews of Truth Behind the Moon Landing on IMDB, signed "codydwyer". There are some even less polite ones. In my humble opinion "codydwyer" is one smart man, and absolutely right. The series ended last night, with Mike Bara, Leland Melvin and Chad Jenkins all fist-bumping saying "Case closed. We went to the Moon". Earlier in S1E6 the three spent a ridiculous amount of time debating why the US flag appeared to flutter on the Moon (Mythbusters did a far better job of that and, indeed, of almost everything else this sorry excuse for a TV show touched). Chasing the theory that the film and TV record was all created in Hollywood, the trio interviewed Peter Hyams, Director/Writer of Capricorn One, and Doug Trumbull, legendary visual effcts designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey among other masterpieces. Trumbull politely said that No, Kubrick wasn't hired by NASA to create a total fake. Trumbull would know.

        Throughout the series Mike Bara has been promoted as the Big Skeptic, pushing all the well-known fallacies such as that Apollo couldn't have survived the Van Allen radiation belts, that the Lunar Module couldn't have landed, bla-bla-bla. But we know this is all total pretense. Not only did Bara co-author a long two-part essay titled Who Mourns for Apollo?, he also wrote not one but two book chapters using that same title and vehemently affirming the reality of Apollo (Ancient Aliens on the Moon ch.6, and Ancient Aliens and JFK ch.8—the two texts are virtually identical).

       Another IMDB reviewer wrote "Is Mike Bara really that stupid? Because if it's an act...he sucks at it."

        I agree.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oberg vs. Bassett

        James Oberg was recently interviewed by a journalist with the delightful name Faye Flam, for an article for Bloomberg Opinion about the recent reports of UFO sightings by US Navy pilots.

        Ms. Flam noted that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have both tentatively proposed that these sightings are evidence of alien visitation. She then wrote:
"But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called god of the gaps. The UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but the errors are undermining the effort.
The first error made in most of the news coverage was to claim that Navy pilots observed craft that accelerated, rose upwards or turned faster than was physically possible. But pilots can’t know any object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things, seen close up, or bigger things, that were farther away. It’s just one clue that the vocabulary is being blurred.
James Oberg, a former NASA engineer turned space journalist, pointed out: “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.” To start an investigation from a conclusion rather than from data is, he says, “a recipe for confusion and frustration and dead-ended detours.”
        Stephen  Bassett is one of the foremost believers in the alien invasion and a tireless advocate of official disclosure. His org, The Paradigm Research Group, proclaims that it represents "the people's right to know the truth regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race." Another slogan is "It's not just about lights in the sky, it's about lies on the ground."

        Reacting to the Bloomberg article, Bassett wrote:
"This article's argument rests on two serious errors. One is a deep ignorance of the history of the phenomena. The other is calling on James Oberg who hasn't been right about anything since the Nixon administration".
       Oberg's comment was that he took criticism from Bassett as a mark of honor.

Update:
Here's a NYT article dated 26th May this year detailing what the Navy pilots have reported. Leslie Kean, who Oberg says is clearly biased, is one of the authors.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Hoagland resurfaces, Part 2

        The "Other Side of Midnight" web page features the following hyperbolic mini-bio of the Man himself:
His vision has inspired a whole new generation of pioneers of thought and form and opened the way for Citizen Scientists around the Globe. His work is emulated by cutting edge thinkers around the world. He is a thought leader and pioneer, breaking the bonds of stagnant archaic scientific models. His willingness to challenge the accepted norm has blazed a path for thousands of citizen explorers. He has a way of drilling down to the fundamental question that provokes the unexpected revelation.
        "Stagnant archaic scientific models" — such as that the Moon is lifeless and always has been? Such as that numerology is worthless poppycock?

        Hour 2 of Hoagland's "welcome back" interview on OSOM, hosted by the fragrant but prolix Laura London, was quite a mixture. The first topic was methane on Mars, and here Hoagland gave a decent and straightforward account of what it would mean if methane were found to be abundant, and what's been discovered so far. Then it was on to an assortment of speculations about solar system civilizations and similar non-facts. Hoagland kept promising us some dramatic revelations in an Apollo 11 anniversary show he's planning. As experience shows, Hoagland's promises and Hoagland's deliveries are horses of two different colors.

Jules Bergman was hung over
         Almost all of the the second half of the hour was anecdotal, about his experiences with CBS News as a consultant/researcher with the Apollo production team. He re-told a story I've heard before, and it's seminal to an understanding of the origins of his hatred of NASA. Since he gave an over-discursive version (surprise, surprise) I'm going to paraphrase it rather than transcribe his exact words.

        He says, correctly, that the general rule during Apollo was that the only person at Mission Control who could actually speak to the astronauts was the Capcom, who was himself an active-duty astronaut. However, as a PR stunt, an exception was planned for Apollo 15 at a time when the astronauts were not particularly busy, on the way back from Moon to Earth. It was arranged that they would conduct an actual press conference from space, and senior correspondents from the major TV networks, news agencies and newspapers would be allowed to ask questions directly, just as in a normal press conference. Hoagland was with the CBS-TV group as they waited for this event to begin. There was delay after delay, and finally their producer got on to NASA public affairs asking what the problem was. The answer they got was that the spacecraft was not yet visible from Goldstone.

        Hoagland says he made a swift calculation with pencil and paper, and concluded that this could not be true because the mountains obstructing the view would have to have been 5,000 miles high. Much later he discovered that the true reason the press conference was held was that Jules Bergman, correspondent for ABC TV, was struggling with a killer hangover and was not in place. Hoagland says this was "a wake-up call" for him personally, being the first time that he realized NASA was not always honest.

         I find that story a bit suspect, for a couple of reasons. First, the calculation he claims to have done on the back of an envelope is not at all an easy one to do. You'd need a great deal of information about the spacecraft's trajectory and a very good knowledge of geography (add to that the fact that Hoagland's incompetence at math is fairly well-known). Second, perhaps more telling, every Apollo mission timeline was planned and controlled to the second. If such a press conference was planned—and I have no reason to doubt that—it would have been approved by a whole bunch of people, written into the Flight Plan, and implemented like any other planned event. It's extremely hard to imagine that the Apollo 15 astronauts' time budget had enough slop to allow a significant delay.

        So, to go back to the puffery I quoted at the top, perhaps Hoagland's "way of drilling down to the fundamental question" is better expressed as "a way of drilling down through the truth to a story that makes him look good."

Update: Hoagland's story falls apart
        Thanks to very useful research by James Oberg (thanks Jim) we can see how well Hoagland's story syncs up with the documented facts. The answer is, not at all.


        The Press conference, of course, appears in the flight plan. It shows that TV is acquired at M.E.T. 270:20 (very likely through Goldstone)note 1, and the conference is scheduled in the window 270:20-270:50. The annotated transcript shows that TV was acquired at 270:22:31, the conference actually began at 270:23:15 and ended 270:50:12. There is no extraordinary delay at all.

        Moreover, it is not true that media correspondents spoke directly to the Apollo 15 astronauts. The questions were written and Capcom Karl Henize read them in order. Henize explained:
"The questions you will be asked in this news conference have been submitted by newsmen here at the Manned Spacecraft Center who've been covering the flight. Some of the questions they raised have been answered in your communications with - with Mission Control, but the public-at-large has not necessarily heard them. The questions are being read to you exactly as submitted by the newsmen, and in an order of priority specified by them."
        The only open question is whether Jules Bergman had a hangover that day. Bergman's been dead for 32 years so we can't ask him. It's more than possible—the bar at the Nassau Bay Hotel was responsible for endless naughtiness in the Apollo years. I know whereof I speak, or write, believe me.

        I'm e-mailing this information to Hoagland, requesting his comments. Don't hold your breath.

Update 2: Wrong mission?
        Just in case Hoagland's error was simply mis-remembering which mission this story relates to, I checked the records for Apollo 16 & 17 (there was no transearth presser on earlier missions)

Apollo 16: Planned M.E.T. 243:30-50 / Actual 243:25:30 Capcom Hank Hartsfield
Apollo 17: Planned M.E.T. 284:07-37 / Actual 281:27:19 Capcom Gordo Fullerton

=====================/ \======================
[1] CORRECTION: Not Goldstone but Madrid. If TV had been coming from Goldstone the vertical dashed line indicating TV coverage would have been to the left of the MSFN solid line. So Hoagland's story is wrong in another detail.

Richard Hoagland resurfaces, Part 1

        Richard Hoagland has been in private mourning ever since his companion's death from cancer on 3rd March, and nobody could possibly fault him for that. As a 74-year-old, he surely must have expected Robin Falkov to outlive him. Sad.

        Well, he obviously thinks it's now time to emerge from his grief, because he appeared as a guest on his own blogtalk show last Saturday night. Hosting was the ineffably glam Laura London. Laura talked too much but at least they didn't interrupt each other, which was a blessing.

Laura London, from Facebook

        There was much chat about the commercialization of space, and the prospects for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin enterprise, that may be Moon-bound before you know it. Hoagland opined that Blue Origin must have been forced to sign an agreement to censor any close-up photos of the Moon, as NASA has always done, so as not to "give the game away" about the... you know, the alien ruins. He forgets that the thousands of excellent images at a resolution of half a metre per pixel from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have already blown it. The "game" is that there is no game.

19.5
        The only notable thing about the number 19.5 (19.47277 if you want to be picky) is that it's the angle whose sine is 1/3, or 0.3333333 etc. It is not some mystical, transcendental property of the Universe, as 3.141596 and 2.7182818 are. It was mere human beings who decided to divide a circle into 360 things called degrees, after all. A corollary of that trigonometric fact is that if a tetrahedron is inscribed in a sphere with one vertex at the north pole, the other three vertices will be at latitude 19.5°S (I proved this geometrically back in 2015, doing Hoagland's math for him since he has no talent for it.)

        So, let's be clear. There is no justification whatsoever for attaching significance to this number when it's a longitude, the rotation period of an asteroid, the magnitude of a comet, or the time (either 19h50 or 19h30) of some event. Hoagland has made all those associations in the past, and even once famously drew attention to the fact that shirts at Old Navy were on sale for $19.50.

        On the show last Saturday night, he excelled himself in irrational flim-flam, discussing "disclosure."
50:35 RCH "Let me tell you something else that I think is interesting [for] symbolic pathways ... This is 2019, right?"
LL: "Mmm-hmmm"
RCH "OK. So... 2019... If you ...If you multiply 19.5 by two you get 39, right? So... so the July month of this year ... actually it's June ...er, is the...is the half-way point in 2019. Scrambled all together, June is the beginning, in this model, of more and more and more overt disclosure."
        I had to run that three times before I even got a feel for what he was trying to allege. Here's what I think. First of all, forget the 19.5 x 2 = 39. That was just random neurons firing in Hoagland's tiny brain. Now, he's saying that since June is half-way through the year, we're now at the year 2019-and-a-half. Then just discard the 2000 and call that insanity a "model."

        Phew... If there's one thing more invalid than numerology, it's botched numerology.

Brookings, again
        Another perennial source of error in Hoaglandia is that damned Brookings report. Hoagland insists that the report pretty much required NASA to keep quiet if it ever found solid evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. On saturday night he was even wronger than that.
52:42 RCH "If you read Brookings, there are sections particularly in the footnotes, where it is specifically recommended to Congress that the people were not ready. [...] This is how they could be made ready. So in 1959, this document [...] they basically laid out a prescription for how to get people ready. And they recommended in this footnote, which again you can read on the Enterprise Mission website, a series of things that had to be done. Production of radio, television, commercials, movies, all acculturating people to accept the idea that we are not alone. And then you have, if you look at mainstream pop culture, you've got Startrek, you've got The Outer Limits, you've got Twilight Zone, you've got Star Wars, you've got an infinite number of movies now, Marvel Comics Universe. People are so ready."
        It's true that he's put up pictures of selected pages from the report on Enterprise Mission—check 'em out. But you aren't going to find what he says you are. The footnotes from pp.225-6 make no mention of  mass media. I can do better than that, too. Here's a searchable pdf of the entire thing. The footnotes occupy pp.218-227. Within those pages the occurrences of the strings "movies" and "television" are both ZERO. There is ONE occurrence of "radio"—in the expression "National Radio Astronomy Observatory" (p.225). Hoagland was in fantasy-land.

        Well, there are two little gems from hour 1. I hope to get back to this tomorrow, with clips from hour 2.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The flying bedstead


         Ask anyone what the acronym LLTV means, and they'll either say "Whaaaaaa??" or refer to this epic crash on 6th May 1968, when Neil Armstrong used the ejection seat from ~200ft to escape his Lunar Landing Training Vehicle which was out of fuel tank helium pressure and out of control in high winds at Ellington AFB.

        Sticklers for accuracy will quickly note that this was not actually a LLTV, but its forerunner the LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle)—Armstrong's was the last of the LLRV flights. Three LLTVs were built by Bell Aerosystems, the helicopter people. Only one survives (and is on display at Armstrong Flight Research Center adjacent to Edwards AFB) because Armstrong's was not the only crash. The chief test pilot Joe Algranti ejected from LLTV#1 in January 1968, and Stuart Present likewise survived the prang of LLTV#3 in January 1971.

        The training program sounds like a failure, when narrated like that emphasizing the prangs. But in fact, it was considered a resounding success at the time. Not only Armstrong but all the other Apollo commanders completed several very successful training flights in the bedstead. It was a requirement.  Armstrong later said his practice flights in the LLTVs gave him the confidence to override the automatic flight control system and control Eagle manually during the epic Apollo 11 descent to the Sea of Tranquility.

Apollo 12 CDR Pete Conrad hovering the LLTV

More pretense on TBTLL
        Mike Bara, the world-renowned jet aircraft designer and mendacious self-promoter, clearly does not understand the LLTV program and what it achieved. Last night's episode of Truth Behind the Lunar Landing (Science Channel) focussed on that one spectacular crash by Armstrong, and Mike Bara commented "I call bullshit on the lunar landing based on the fact that Armstrong could not control the training aircraft." 

        Not only is that portrayal of the program a complete travesty and Bara's statement untrue, but, just as in Episode 1 of this show, Bara is only pretending to be a disbeliever. In the second part of his essay Who Mourns for Apollo?, co-written with Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy in 2004, he devotes three paragraphs to explaining the sophisticated inertial control system that made soft landing of the LM possible. Bara can never resist the opportunity to insult somebody, and in this case he calls conspiracy theorist Ralph René "a complete idiot" for questioning the stability of the LM in lunar gravity. 

        Fans of this show should be aware that Bara is here functioning as a mere actor rather than any kind of expert (and astronaut Leland Melvin is, at times, so obviously delivering a memorized script that it's a joke).


source: Dryden Flight Research Center fact sheet

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sloppy compilations for the Apollo anniversary

James Oberg writes...

The recent blizzard of Apollo-11 anniversary programs was a fine tribute to that historical achievement of the American space program. The events of half a century ago came back to life in the dramatic portrayal seen on millions of television screens. But at the same time, many of the programs also displayed the sloppy errors, distortions and revisionist dramatizations which have come to characterize much of television journalism.

The wrong ship
To put the shortcomings of many of these programs into perspective, imagine the following practices for other historical documentaries or news, and ask whether they would ever be considered acceptable.

A Civil War film discusses Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but since there is no photograph of Lincoln actually giving the speech, a photograph of him at his 1865 inauguration is shown instead.

A program on the loss of the Lusitania in 1915 needs dramatic video of an ocean liner sinking, so with a voice-over describing the Lusitania, news film is shown instead of the Andrea Doria going down.

A sportscast of the World Cup is in progress, but since video difficulties prevented receipt of the views of the Colombia-Rumania game which was the subject of the report, an already-used clip of a goal from the recent Germany- Thailand game is shown instead.

Clearly, none of these hypothetical cases can be considered acceptable. Anyone trying to do so would be considered irresponsible, even unethical. And since there are legions of history buffs, ship buffs, and sports buffs out there, any such attempts would be immediately recognized and widely criticized.

"Apollo Two"
But since spaceflight has always been an esoteric subject with a relatively short "history" and usually only superficial news coverage, similar misrepresentations are easier, even if by accident. Catching them and complaining about them is harder. But an effort must be made both to discourage future historical errors and to encourage those other programs which took the extra effort and got it right.

There's no need to exaggerate the inevitable innocent "bloopers" that any human effort is prone to. A TV network had a national newscast where the announcer kept seeing "Apollo-11" on the teleprompter, misinterpreted it as "Apollo-II", and pronounced it "Apollo Two". The N.Y. Times deserves minor embarrassment for twice referring to the "Apollo-1 moon landing" in a book review a few weeks ago. That's life.

In illustrating a Mercury splashdown, the TBS special 4-hour program "Moon Shot" used views of a Gemini splashdown instead. The difference is that Mercury capsules landed vertically beneath a parachute while Gemini capsules were slung horizontally from two separate lines. On July 20, CNN showed Apollo-11 graphics of a moon-walking astronaut whose spacesuit had red leg stripes not introduced until Apollo-13. "Space buffs" gleefully spotted the errors, but viewers were unlikely to be misled by these minor slipups.

Such naive bloopers even struck the White House during the July 20 ceremony honoring the Apollo-11 astronauts. In an otherwise fine speech, President Clinton related in his folksy style how "on the third day" Armstrong and Aldrin's Eagle lunar module descended toward a dangerous boulder field and Armstrong had to take manual control. But since July 16 was the first day of the flight, the landing on July 20 actually occurred on the fifth day. But again, it was no big deal.

Some historical visual scenes are certainly "interchangeable" by even the tightest standards, since no viewer is misled by showing one Gemini launch for another, or one group of engineers in Mission Control for another (unless, say, their actions are allegedly keyed to some event being described), or one "out the window" Earth or moon view for another. The criteria is clearly whether viewers will gain an authentic impression of the event, or not.

The serious distortions of space history which characterized many -- but by no means all -- of the anniversary documentaries went beyond this allowable flexibility, and include outright historical falsifications such as the following:

To compress events, Neil Armstrong's comments about making "One small step" have often been matched with video of him dropping down from the Lunar Module ladder. Actually, he landed on one of the vehicle's footpads, made several comments, jumped back up on the ladder to make sure he could, jumped down a second time, discussed his impressions of his surroundings, and only after that did he make the "small step" onto the moondust. So the rearranged video completely misrepresents what he meant by "one small step". For similar time compression, the dozens of immediately post-landing words from the crew about their spacecraft status are usually edited out, so that viewers get the false impression that "Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed" were the FIRST words from the Moon.

To make use of a recently released Russian filmclip showing burning men running from a rocket pad fire, Ted Turner's "Moon Shot" used the shocking scenes to illustrate a 1969 Soviet moon rocket explosion, with a narrator comment about reminders of the dangers of space flight. The horrible film was actually from a military missile mishap in 1960 that killed 165 men, but really had nothing to do with the Russian space exploration program. The "Moon Shot" producers must have known this, yet evidently decided to misrepresent it for dramatic effects, even though nobody was killed in the actual 1969 Russian moon rocket explosion which was the subject of the sequence.

Flag-waving at the wrong time
To stress the "ordinary humanity" of excited space workers, they were often falsely shown behaving unprofessionally. In the prize-winning film "For All Mankind", right after the Apollo-11 landing, the Mission Control Center is shown erupting in cheering, flag-waving, and cigar-smoking. The historical truth is that the duty controllers stuck to their jobs, and the filmclips which were used really show them celebrating four days later after the successful splashdown of the crew and the end of their official responsibility.

Also, for the sake of visual impact and dramatic effects, film has often been misrepresented for what it was not. Viewers were told they were seeing authentic footage of space events which were not actually there.

Beginning with "For All Mankind", and copied by "Moon Shot", a striking view of the reentry plasma trail behind a descending Gemini capsule was presented as the rocket plume trail of an Apollo capsule heading for the Moon. The film invokes a marvelous image of speed across Earth's surface, but the Apollo's Saturn booster actually left no trail, and was never filmed since there was no view in that direction.

To stress the dangers of early manned space shots, sequences of rocket explosions are shown. Most of the explosions were identifiable as Jupiter and Titan rockets which had no connection at all with the Mercury program. But for colorful excitement and tension enhancers, they have been widely presented as unsuccessful Mercury tests.

The most egregious misrepresentation in "Moon Shot" was during the treatment of the Apollo-1 fire in 1967. As the narrator discusses the death of the three astronauts inside their burning capsule, a video is running of flames dancing behind a spacecraft window. TV critics who previewed the show called the scene "wrenching". But the video was actually a view from inside a Gemini capsule looking outward during the flames of reentry, and it had nothing to do with the Apollo fire. Instead, for emotional impact. the view was falsely described.

Some of these Apollo-11 historical video howlers have wider national implications, beyond mere questions of TV documentary ethics and practices. At the "Space Center Houston" museum developed for NASA by Disney consultants and their contractors, the feature movie "On Human Destiny" uses the false Gemini reentry plume for the Apollo lunar burn, then falsely portrays the flight control team in an orgy of irresponsible celebration immediately after the lunar touchdown, and then inaccurately overlays the view of Armstrong's descent down the ladder with his later words about "one small step". The film was reviewed and approved by NASA public affairs officials, who evidently did not recognize the errors. But if this is the level of Disney's historical reliability, it bodes ill for any similar Disney history projects elsewhere.

Accuracy sacrificed
Documentaries such as these shows have presented exciting views of the dramatic historical events, but providing entertainment was clearly their primary goal. Historical accuracy was repeatedly sacrificed to do so. These measures certainly are acceptable when the goals are well understood, such as in the delightfully entertaining Hollywood version of "The Right Stuff", where all pretence of respecting the book's historical accuracy is subordinated to clear-cut visual stereotypes and amusing oversimplifications. And deadline- driven TV news programs often use stock footage, not always carefully labeled as such, to "fill in" for unavailable authentic scenes. But when TV programs pose as "true history" and are presented as documentaries, a higher standard of authenticity should be required.

The Apollo-11 anniversary programs showed again that such standards are not universally met. Some programs, such as Discovery's "One Giant Leap", were strikingly accurate, showing signs that some producers took the extra trouble to "get it right", and knew how to do so. But the widespread misrepresentations in other shows are more reminders that people should seek truth where it can be found, and the TV screen, with its need for visual excitement and compressed action, is not an environment always conducive to historical accuracy.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Follow-up on Mike Bara's dishonesty

James Concannon writes:

        We don't need to go back 15 years to what Mike Bara wrote in Who Mourns For Apollo to understand how dishonest he was on last week's ep of Truth Behind the Moon Landing. In a book he wrote just last year, he copy/pasted the same text as this blog cited on 3rd June, and added this:
"NASA spent millions to develop the necessary technology to insure [sic] that the astronuats that went to the Moon were protected from the the physical threats of deep space and they were monitored at all times with dosimeters while travelling to and from the Moon. So the notion that the Van Allen belts would have turned the astronauts to crispy critters is simply false."
--Ancient Aliens and JFK (2018), p.183

        So his pretense to be a Van Allen skeptic for the purposes of television production exposes him as a charlatan (technically, the reverse of a charlatan—an anti-charlatan, perhaps), willing to say anything a tv producer asks just for the thrill of being seen. Pathetic.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Review of "Truth Behind the Moon Landing" S1E1

        The first of six eps of Truth Behind the Moon Landing (Science Chan) went on the air last night. It featured Mike Bara as one of three supposedly clued-up gents investigating whether the Apollo 11 landing really happened. Bara was billed as a "former aerospace consultant", which is a bit of a stretch considering that his experience in aerospace was as a contract CAD-CAM technician, with Arrowhead Products.

        The other two gents were NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (STS-122, STS-129) and former FBI agent Chad Jenkins. The three charged around the country (Portland, Seattle, Florida, Washington DC) in search of witnesses who could clear up some of the doubts that have been expressed about Apollo. This engendered far too many shots of our intrepid lads driving cars as they talked about space history.

Long-cancelled military projects
        First up was Clyde Lewis, whose dodgy opinions I wrote about last April in "Clyde Lewis: Ignorant speculator".  Lewis is a radio host in Portland OR, and Bara/Melvin interviewed him in his studio. As I wrote in the April piece, he went way out on a limb about secret military space ops. Here he re-iterated the fairly well-known facts about Project Horizon, and we saw (too briefly) all the declassified drawings and other artwork. But what in the name of all that's holy does this have to do with Apollo? Given that Horizon was cancelled in 1959 just as NASA was born, and long before any plans for a manned lunar landing were made, I'd say the answer is "nothing at all".

Paperclip Nazis
        What next? Oh, a long, long segment about Operation Paperclip—the US government scheme to swipe all the best German rocket scientists at the end of WW2 before the Russians could get them. It was a stunning success, netting around 1,600 rocket boffins, among whom Wernher Von Braun and Kurt Debus are the best known. The Science Channel investigators went off to Florida to interview Linda Hunt, who as a journalist (not to be confused with the distinguished actress) wrote extensively about Paperclip. Hunt declared "They covered up the Nazi past of these scientists", which as far as I know is not true. I think the very term "paperclip" came from the fact that a note about their service to the Third Reich was attached by paperclip to their immigration papers. The point was to waive restrictions on immigration by possible war criminals (NOTE: No paperclip scientist was ever convicted of war crimes).

        All this apparently came as fresh news to astronaut Leland Melvin, for he said "It's really hard to come to terms with that". Again, though, I have to ask what this has to do with Apollo? Chad Jenkins had a brave attempt to connect Paperclip to Apollo by stating "It shows what our government was willing to overlook in order to get to the Moon". I LOLd at that, because at that point the USA hadn't even put a satellite in Earth orbit—manned lunar landings weren't yet on anyone's To-Do list.

Van Allen radiation
        Finally, almost half way through the show, we got some material that was actually relevant to the questions about Apollo. The investigators confronted head on the question "Could Apollo astronauts have got through the Van Allen radiation belts unscathed?" They went to the Seattle Museum of Flight, where the actual Apollo 11 Command Module is on display, and measured the thickness of the shielding with a Lidar device. Then it was off to the Carnegie Institiute for Science for some experiments.

        Dr. Michael Walter took them through the science of the question, showing that even plexiglass attenuates alpha particles by about 50%, and about 3mm of aluminum is pretty good shielding against both alpha- and beta-particles. Walter also made the point that Apollo was free to select the least dangerous path though the belts, and make sure the astronauts were exposed to potentially harmful radiation for the minimum time.

        This sequence was quite good, and at the end of it, Mike Bara said "It changed my mind. It seems it was possible to go through the Van Allen belts." At that I didn't just LOL but LMFAO. Bara was completely faking skepticism about Apollo. Fifteen years ago, in an essay titled Who Mourns for Apollo, Bara wrote this:
"[T]he scientists working on the problem of Van Allen radiation considered it to be minor compared to other design hurdles to be conquered. Their solution was simple -- avoid exposure by keeping the spacecraft at low Earth orbit altitudes while in parking orbits and then send it through the belts at high speed. The eventual escape speed, some 25,000 miles per hour, would have passed them through the belts in less than an hour, keeping their dose well below 1 rad. There was a modicum of shielding from the equipment, but in the end this was not necessary as the extraordinary transition speed kept the dose below harmful limits -- both going to and returing from the Moon."
         So for Bara to now go on television and proclaim that he had doubts about the Van Allen passage should have brought on a severe case of Pants on Fire. It remains to be seen whether he'll keep up this totally fake attitude for the rest of the series.

Update 1:
        In S1E4, Mike Bara came across as a right moron as he continued his daft pretense. He faked not understanding why there are no stars visible in Apollo still photographs. In Who Mourns For Apollo?, the same Mike Bara wrote this:
"Anyone with the slightest knowledge of photography can easily put this one to rest. Any brightly lit foreground object must be photographed with a very short exposure time. Otherwise, the image will be badly overexposed. Any background pinpoint light sources -- like, say, stars that are literally trillions of miles further away -- will not show up at all."
Update 2:
        The overriding theme of S1E5 was the race between USA and USSR to see who could build the biggst moon rocket. Melvin, Jenkins & Bara visited an abandoned facility in the Florida Everglades which was once the development site of a biggie solid rocket when "Direct Ascent" was the plan. The script makes it sound as though Von Braun's competing design of the multi-stage, liquid-fuelled Saturn V was a brilliant new idea. It was brilliant all right, but new? I remind the scriptwriters that Von Braun was also the designer of the Juno rocket that launched USA's first satellite back in January 1958, long before any detailed plan for a manned Moon landing was in place. Juno was 4-stage, mixed liquid and solid motors.

        In March 1959, Juno took Pioneer 4 all the way to the Moon

"Truth Behind the Moon Landing" was produced for Big Fish Entertainment by Mick Kaczorowski, David Bruinooge and Steve Bronstein.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sean David Morton "Completely incompetent"

        That's his own self-description, taken from the apellant brief filed with the Ninth Circuit US appeals court on May 23rd.

        The 18-page affidavit that I wrote about last November was not an appeal as such, but what he called an expedited motion for summary disposition. It was denied on 12th April this year, so now he has no recourse other than a formal appeal. This document runs to 15 pages, and even a summary of the whole thing would be a trial to read. Here's the opening sentence, word-for-word:
Sean David Morton presented his own defense whilst completely incompetent and unable to properly prepare a defense due to not being informed the nature or having discovery.
        That's his badly-worded argument for appeal, in a nutshell. He writes that he was denied counsel although it was at his own request that he appeared as his own attorney. Basically he's saying the judge erred by allowing him to appear pro se because the judge ought to have recognized that he was incompetent

        This is quite an impressive climb-down for a man who boasted "I'm a legal scholar" during the 2016 Conspira-Sea cruise (YouTube link, quote  at 06:16).

Thanks again to AE for tracking this case

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mike Bara tells us about another "Secret Space Program" that never happened

        Mike Bara is just obsessed with the false idea that there's a secret US moonbase. He's totally wrong, as I pointed out in critiquing his books Hidden Agenda and Ancient Aliens and JFK. Just last month, I reviewed a long article by Clyde Lewis that repeated a couple of Bara's fantasies, namely:

  • Project Horizon may not have been cancelled but secretly built.
  • Wikileaks posted a reference to a report that the USSR destroyed a secret US moonbase (but not the report itself, or even a link to it).

Tell the truth
        In last night's vlog, titled "Tell the Truth Wednesday", Bara mentioned both those fantasies all over again, and spent quite a long time talking about what he called another US secret space program. "It was totally secret," he stated. It was something "that nobody ever told you about." He even said "we were lied to back in the 60s".

        OMG, a real secret??? What could this be??? Well, it turns out that he was talking about the USAF's dream project, the Manned Orbital Laboratory. Just like Project Horizon, the point to bear in mind about MOL is that it never flew. As for its secrecy, it might have been classified for a year or two but it became public knowledge in December 1963. It was cancelled in 1969.note 1





        Bara got all excited about this image posing 14 of the 17 MOL astronauts. This, apparently, is what he meant when he said "we were lied to"—meaning, we weren't told about these astronauts. Well, we sure were when this picture was released, weren't we?

        See that guy in naval uniform, bottom row extreme right? That's Dick Truly, who switched to NASA immediately MOL was cancelled and flew STS-2 and STS-8. He became the 8th NASA Administrator, in office 1989-1992.

        Other Shuttle astronauts in that picture are Henry Hartsfield , Bob Overmyer, Gordon Fullerton, Bob Crippen, Don Peterson and Karol Bobko.

        So if Mike Bara wants us to believe that MOL, like Horizon, may not have really been cancelled, he's going to have to explain how it could have continued when at least seven of its key crewmen had moved on to NASA.

Bait 'n' switch
        Bara obviously thinks dark hints about seekrit space programs have consumer appeal, and perhaps he's right. But his problem is, he can't deliver what he promises his consumers. In 2016 he wrote Hidden Agenda: NASA and the Secret Space Program, but he was forced by lack of honest material to pad it out with Vimanas, The EM Drive (which not only has nothing to do with space but is also notably UN-secret), Explorer 1 (which he totally mis-reported for the third time), the early unmanned moonshots, and technology transfer from the Roswell "crash." When it comes to actual space programs, all he has in his black bag is these military dreams that were cancelled before ever coming to fruition. I hope his readers are suitably annoyed with him.

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[1] Personally I doubt it would ever have worked as intended. The crew would have been launched in a modified Gemini, then had to float through a hole in the heat shield into the main space. A very dangerous design.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Solution to the Spring acrostic

"As she watched him work, Andrea wondered what it would be like to be his girlfriend. She knew he had money, that much was obvious from the way he dressed and the silver-gray Maserati he always drove up in. But more than that, he was sophisticated, mysterious and interesting."

Mike Bara, Lightbringer

A. M*A*S*H Theme
B. Isleworth
C. Kvass
D. Everywhere else
E. Bathhouses
F. Adam Parfrey
G. Rat without
H. Ancient Aliens on the Moon
I. LeHigh University
J. ITtude
K. Godaddy
L. Hyperdimensional
M. Tobias Owen
N. Backwards
O. Reacted with
P. Inkwashed
Q. Netherwards
R. Ghost of Tsushima
S. Edward White
T. Rumbaed

Lightbringer is Mike Bara's first and so far only work of fiction. I chose this excerpt to mock Bara for his simplistic views about women. Feel free to roll your eyes as I did when I first read these words.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mike Bara does something useful for once

        I guess we all know by now that, whatever nonsense Mike Bara writes and talks about in his books and TV appearances, at least he's a firm advocate for the reality of the Apollo program. Many years ago, he co-wrote with Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy a 2-part essay titled "Who Mourns for Apollo?" (the title echoes the Startrek saga Who Mourns for Adonais?). It's still up, and you can have a look if you wish:

Part 1
Part 2

       Bara copied large swaths of that text into a chapter in his book Ancient Aliens and JFK. It was bizarre, I thought, because the chapter had no justification in a book that pretended to reveal the villains behind the assassination. It was just makeweight, I guess, and I wonder what Bara's co-authors thought about that.

       Well, now Bara's one of three frontmen re-hashing that material, just in time for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, in a six-ep TV series for The Science Channel, Truth Behind The Moon Landing. First ep coming up on June 2nd.

        His co-presenters are former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and former FBI agent Chad Jenkins. The online announcement continues:
Produced by MGM-owned Big Fish Entertainment, the six-episode series tests evidence and applies scientific reasoning to conspiracies.
The program will also test claims about how the Apollo 1 fire started; study one of NASA’s last existing Lunar Lander prototypes that Neil Armstrong trained on; gain access to NASA archives to uncover photos and footage never-before-seen by the general public, and more.
Dan Cesareo, Lucilla D’Agostino, Rick Hankey, Ron Bowman and Pat Twist serve as executive producers. Executive producers for Science Channel Caroline Perez and Neil Laird.
        Let's hope this six-parter gets a decent audience. Far too many people now believe the bullshit theory that the spectacular Moon landings of 50 years ago were all a spectacular hoax.

P.S. There's that dodgy "never-before-seen" claim again. It was made on behalf of the recent Apollo 11 movie. As a die-hard fan of spaceflight, I loved the movie but I didn't see any film sequences that were totally unfamiliar. The compo included higher-definition film than TV usually shows, but that's a different claim, isn't it? I'll watch Mike Bara's series but I'm not expecting to see anything new. Clavius Moon Base covered all this material very well years ago.

P.P.S. It's been pointed out that many of the shots of the spectators at the launch were original. OK, I guess I have to concede that.