Saturday, April 22, 2017

Open letter to Richard Hoagland

Dear Mr. Hoagland,

        Your recent re-iteration of a claim to have originated the idea of oceanic life on Europanote 1 prompts me to remind you, and others who may be seeing this text, that this and several other claims you have made are false.

1. Ocean on Europa
In March 2004, in a message to Rob Roy Britt of space.com, you wrote:
"Clearly, I was NOT the first (nor have I ever claimed to be) to propose an original liquid ocean for Europa."
On 4 December 1997, on Coast to Coast AM, you said this:
"[W]hen I was covering the Voyager story out at JPL in the Summer of 1980, actually the Spring of 1979 and the Winter of 1980, we flew this extraordinary spacecraft, NASA did, by Jupiter for the first time and encountered the four moons, you know, Io, Ganymede, Europa, Callisto, and Jupiter itself, and it was as part of that observation that I began work on essentially what turned out to be the first scientific paper, which ultimately appeared in Star and Sky Magazine in the beginning of 1980, which was a prognostication, pulling all the data together, that there might be a global ocean under the ice cover that Voyager had revealed and that in that global ocean there actually might be some extant living life forms." (emphasis added)
        That looks very like a prior claim to me. It is certainly not justified--Lewis (1971)note 2 and Consolmagno (1976) were ahead of you, as were Cassen, Reynolds, and Peale (1979).note 3 I think you know this.

2. Life in Europa's ocean
        This is, of course, a separate question, and there is no doubt at all that you have  repeatedly claimed to have been the first to publish on this conjecture. However, as Greenberg notes:note 4
"On June 19th and 20th, 1979, the conference  "Life in the Universe" took place at NASA's Ames Research Center. Benton Clark gave a lecture Sulfur: Fountainhead of Life in the Universe at that conference in which he discussed the biochemistry of those deep-sea vent communities discovered on Earth, pointing out that they do depend indirectly on sunlight: Photosynthesis near the surface of the oceans produces the oxygen that those communities require. Clark then explained how sulfur could play the role of oxygen, and that deep-sea volcanic emissions could potentially provide all the necessary ingredients for a self-sustained ecosystem. In the final part of his lecture, Clark raised the possibility that life might exist in undersurface oceans on the icy satellites in our Solar System, including Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto in particular." (emphasis added)
In the written version of his lecture, Clark wrote:
 "Consider H2O-rich bodies. In our Solar System, this includes not only Earth, but quite possibly Mars and Triton, and certainly Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.  Liquid water does not exist at the surface of any of these bodies, except Earth,  but we should not discount the existence of "buried" liquid water reservoirs.  ... Habitable zones include not only the surface ocean environment, but also the much more probable subsurface oceanic regions. Earth-like environments as abodes for life may be the exception rather than the rule. Occupation of the much more abundant buried zones is possible, and these should ultimately become an object of exploration. Whether such environments can support life long enough and at a sufficient level of activity to permit the evolution of highly encephalized forms (intelligent life) is conjectural." (emphasis added)
        Prof. Greenberg notes other prior work. You have characterized his comments as political, but in fact they are purely scientific. Claiming credit for other peoples' work is an unattractive trait in anybody, but for somebody who calls himself a scientist,note 5 it is particularly deplorable because of the importance of intellectual priority in that domain.

3. Creation of the Pioneer "message to the Universe"
        On your website you refer to yourself as "co-creator of the 'Pioneer plaque'." (scroll all the way to the bottom of the long page). On 13 July 1990 you said "Carl [Sagan] for many years has been taking public credit for the Pioneer plaque which, of course, Eric Burgess and I conceived." In fact you had no part in the design or creation of the plaque, which was done by Sagan, his then wife Linda, and Frank Drake. As for "conceiving" it (as distinct from "creating" it,) that was overwhelmingly to the credit of Eric Burgess, was it not?

4. The "hammer and feather" stunt on Apollo 15
        On 2 July 2013, on Coast to Coast AM, you claimed that this was your original idea. The truth is that it was, in fact, dreamed up by Dave Scott, Jim Irwin, and Joe Allen.note 6

5. The catchphrase "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog."
        On 11 November 2015, on your digital radio show, you claimed to have "coined" this bon mot. You repeated the claim much more recently, on Howard Hughes' radio show, 11 November last year. The original was a caption to a cartoon in New Yorker published on 5 July 1993. Credit for the phrase belongs to cartoonist Peter Steiner, not you.

         Would you kindly make an early opportunity to withdraw your claims and apologize to those whose work you have falsely taken credit for?

======================/ \=====================
[1]  The Other Side of Midnight (notice)
Partial text: Thirty-seven years ago, in December 1979 (published in January, 1980), I wrote a seminal article in “Star and Sky Magazine” — picked up and sent around the world by AP, lauded by Dr. Robert Jastrow (one of the founders of NASA), and Arthur C Clarke and (later) Ted Koppel — scientifically PREDICTING, decades BEFORE NASA: “The oceans of Europa [one of the four “Galilean Moons” of Jupiter] are the PERFECT habitat [beyond the Earth] for CURRENT non-terrestrial life! ... My article only dealt with the specifics of Europa’s habitability, but it foreshadowed the existence of an entirely new CLASS of habitable worlds, DECADES before scientists or NASA missions had discovered them — “Ice-covered moons … housing ‘world oceans’ … protected by a tens-of-miles-thick covering of ice!”

[2] Icarus, vol. 15

[3] Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 6

[4] An ocean on Europa? by Prof. Ralph Greenberg, 2002

[5] Dark Mission, 2nd edn, p. 224

[6] See this transcript, notes at 167:22:58

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sean and Melissa try crowdfunding their legal predicament

        This is scarcely believable. The Mortons have turned to Indiegogo for funding.


The pitch is as follows:
"Sean is getting ground by the gears of the Department of Justice! Help Sean lawfully stop the DoJ in their tracks and reverse the VOID unconstitutional 650 year sentence! "
        This went up on Friday, and it's attracted two donations totaling $120 so far. Quite how money is going to help is not clear. They face a possible 650 and 625 years in jail when sentenced on 19th June. Perhaps Sean thinks everyone is as corrupt as he is, and a little silver in the judge's palm will make all this go away. Lots of luck with that.

As UFOwatchdog quite rightly says:
"How about raising money for all the people these convicted felons defrauded? Don't give these wanna' be martyrs a penny. This isn't about government tyranny or freedom, this is about two people who ripped off others for countless thousands, got caught, and now they don't want to pay the price for their misdeeds.

I'm sure the people who paid Morton and his wife $10,000 or the person who paid $2500 for bogus bonds and empty promises of resolving their financial problems would like their money back.  Or how about the elderly lady who lost her entire life saving in their psychic investment scheme?  These two have sadly left a path of human wreckage in their wake."
        The rational wikipedia article on SDM has been updated, and is now a readable primer on the whole mess, for those who haven't been tracking this fraud.

Update Shrout:
        Winston Shrout, that other tax protestor  and also a taxation lecturer on the ConspiraSea cruise,  was found guilty in Federal court in Oregon of 13 counts of issuing false financial statements and 6 counts of willful failure to file a tax return. Sentencing is set for 1 August, so the Mortons will go to jail first.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Robert Morningstar predicts, again

James Concannon writes...

        Robert Morningstar's record on earthquake prediction is abysmal. His prediction that a planetary alignment would cause a monsta quake in June 2015 was a fail. On April 3rd 2014 he posted this warning:
"The 8.1 magnitude EQ in Chile yesterday is merely a harbinger of many more to come within the next 3 weeks, with the most severe quakes, volcanic activity and electrical storms to come between Mars' opposition to Earth on April 8th and the Lunar Eclipse of April 14-15 when Mars and Saturn will be in line with the Moon, Earth and Sun."
        Not very much happened. Morningstar claimed a hit on the basis of a swarm of quakes magnitude less than 3 up the California coast. But is there ever a time when there isn't a swarm of little ones in that area?

Today he stepped up to the plate once more with this scary prediction:
"A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN & MOON CROSSING OVER THE NEW MADRID FAULT ZONE COULD CAUSE EARTHQUAKES DURING & AFTER PASSAGE on August 21st, 2017.

I spoke with Angel Espino & Seth Weiler on Skywatchers Radio at length on Monday 4/11 about the earthquake triggering potentials of forthcoming total eclipse of August 21st, 2017.

I've attached a link below with a map of the Earthquake prone fracture lines across the continental United States so that we can plot the course of the eclipse over the US EQ fault line system.
This is in keeping with my theory that the growing strength of the gravitational forces of Sun and Moon at the moment of a total solar eclipse and their subsidence afterward can trigger earthquakes on both in the area of totality and on the other side of the Earth with [sic; presumably he means within] 36 hours of the event.

The article provides a good map of the continental US with the Eclipse track delineated. The link below in the comment section provides the EQ Fault Line map so that you can determine whether or not you are living adjacent to one of the fault zone in the area of totality.

My main concern is that the pinnacle point of totality will occur as the Sun and Moon line up over the New Madrid Fault lines as it passes over Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and points East as it they head toward the South Carolina coast, which is a massive coastal fault zone."
Rubbish
        It should not surprise us that Morningstar's predictions of geo-activity are not very good. He has no training in either seismology, geology or planetary astronomy. His credentials are in psychology, which perhaps makes him think he has a gift for scaring people.

        Specifically, there is no reason to believe that a solar eclipse occasions a danger of large quakes at the sub-solar point. It is true that the gravitational vector from the combined Sun-Moon system at conjunction is very slightly greater than when the Moon is in opposition,note 1 but then, the Moon is in conjunction every month without causing an eclipse, and without noticeably causing seismic activity either. It causes spring tides, so the effect is not zero, but the point is that it happens every month. We do not get scary earthquakes on a monthly basis, no matter what a New York psychologist and frisbee expert might wish upon us. Back in October 2012, Stuart Robbins of Exposing Pseudoastronomy performed a statistical analysis and found no correlation between lunar phase and major earthquakes. He was also looking for a possible connection to lunar perigee, which slightly increases the lunar gravitational vector, and didn't find that either.

        But anyway, I put this on record now so that this blog can assess AM*'s prediction skills when the time comes. 21 August plus 36 hours is 24 August, at 20:01:35 UTC (when totality ends.)

See you then.

Update:
        I came across this article from Nature, 12 September 2016, allowing for some correlation between spring tides and earthquakes. It's a rather subtle effect, not working the way Robert Morningstar imagines it at all. Put simply, the increased load on a coastal region cause by a high tide can convert what would have been a small quake into a much larger one. There is still absolutely no reason to think that a lunar eclipse has any more powerful effect than the regular monthly lunar conjunctions.

====================/ \====================
 [1] Here are the actual figures:

Gravitational attraction Sun-Earth: 3.6 x 1022 newtons
Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth: 0.0189 x 1022 newtons

Friday, April 7, 2017

More recreational math

        I like math, and I strongly suspect Bret Sheppard does not, so I thought I'd do Bret's homework (assigned by myself) for him.

To prove:
In a two-body system in which the smaller body is in tidal lock with the larger body, the radius of a synchronous orbit around the smaller body will always be greater than the distance to the L1 libration point.

Consider a two-body system separated by distance D.

Let M be the mass of the larger body (kg)
Let m be the mass of the smaller body (kg)
Let T be the orbital period of the smaller body about the larger body (sec)

Let r be the radius of a synchronous satellite orbit round the smaller body (m)
Let d be the distance from the smaller body to the L1 libration point (m)


Calculation:

For the smaller body's orbit, by Kepler's third law:
T = 2π √ (D3/GM) where G is the gravitational constant

Since the smaller body is in tidal lock with the larger body, the rotational period of the smaller body must also be T, and so must be the orbital period of a synchronous satellite.
So for the synchronous orbit:

T = 2π √(r3/Gm)
r3/Gm = T2/4π2

Substituting for T
r3 = 4π2GmD3/4π2GM
r = 3√(D3Gm/GM) =  D 3√(m/M)

By a simplified formula for d, the distance of the  L1 libration point

d = D 3√(m/3M) reference

Therefore d < r, Q.E.D.

        The significance of this is that, for a tidally-locked moon, a synchronous orbit is impossible since a satellite would prefer to orbit the parent body. Therefore, anyone who claims to have found a satellite dish on the moon is mathematically full of shit. Thank you.

NOTE:
For the Earth-Moon system, m/M = 0.012 r = 88,465 km d = 61,135 km

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bret Sheppard, the satellite dish on the Moon, and the meaning of "acquisition"

        Bret Sheppard was invited for a long interview on something called Spaced Out Radio last night. He gave an insight into his motivations, and more important for me, his misunderstandings. He related how, as a young art student, he stayed after class one day to hear a presentation by someone from the Stanford Research Institute. He thinks now it must have been in connection with Ingo Swann's remote viewing experiments, that were ongoing at the time. Something about a photograph taken on the Moon impressed him sufficiently that he became something of an expert in the strange field known as "lunar anomalies," and he spent literally years, off and on, scouring Apollo photography. Then he continued...
26:54 "I almost gave up. I almost said "Know what? I'm done with this lunar garbage." I was in there getting all of the anomalies out of them. You know... basically, the reason why I was doing that was to eliminate them from what I was seeing in the image that I remembered when I was 15 years old. You know, so that's what I was doing. And I was hitting a wall because I needed a control image, and the first image I got was actually from Donna Hare.note 1 And she had, er.. I wanna tell this right... she had gotten it out of the Dempsey Dumpster as part of her portfolio. She was allowed to keep that as part of her portfolio. So she had a few.. you know, mostly Apollo 12 images. You know, from Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. And this... this particular image showed the LEM and a satellite dish on the horizon of the Moon. And.. and there's Surveyor in the foreground, and Alan Bean posing next to Surveyor. I believe Pete Conrad was taking the picture. So...um... basically this ...what this image showed me... it was very clear, much clearer than the NASA image that they put on line. I mean, wiki-clear, you know. It was like "Wow! That is a picture!" So, there was this satellite dish in the background. You know, that they couldn't possibly fit in the LEM."
        Well, he must be referring to either AS12-48-7135 or AS12-48-7136, because they are the only shots showing Al Bean beside Surveyor 3.


        As for the satellite dish--well, could it be the S-band antenna that the astronauts erected as soon as they got off the ladder? Here's the actual Apollo 12 dish:



         "They couldn't possibly fit it in the LEM." Sure they could..


Ken was like a father to me
        A little later, Bret got around to talking about his association with Ken Johnston and the whole issue of the (non-existent) 16mm film of crater Tsiolkovsky shot by Ed Mitchell on Apollo 14. The topic of this blog from 19th March. He said he was living in Texarkana, in a house that was falling down, when he met up with Ken. He said Ken was a role model, "like a father to me." Some kind of deal was struck whereby Ken helped Bret move to Belen, NM in return for his and Karen Patrick's help finishing Ken's autobiography.
33:00 "The thing was, that there were a couple of issues with it... with the story. He didn't know at the time what... ahhm... what mission he saw that 16mm film. And so one of the things that I decided to do was to investigate his story. Thoroughly, you know. So anyway I started getting attacked by James Oberg and everything else, for even attempting this. So what I found was... James Oberg said that they never flew over Tsiolkovsky crater. And semantically he's right--the Command & Service Module never really flew over Tsiolkovsky crater, near it, or whatever. They never really filmed except I found a 70mm shot of Tsiolkovsky crater showing the exact sun angle that Ken was talking about from memory. And then, I found out that there were two 16mm cameras in the Lunar Module, and one in the Command Module. [He's right about that] The one in the Command Module was sort-of pointed down and going really fast, skitching across the lunar surface. And it looks just exactly like that... skitching over the lunar surface and grabbing some film. This is the one that Oberg showed Ken at one of the conferences. And that really got me thinking "What did Edgar Mitchell film in the Lunar Module?"
...
I looked up the Apollo 14 onboard voice transcription, because they say everything in those, even when they go to the bathroom. They say everything. [He means the recordings made by the Data Storage Equipment while the astronauts were out of contact with Houston, on the back side of the Moon.] So I looked that up, and I scoured this ... data, you know. And what I found was...um.. that basically right inside this... this transcript, on... let's see. it's... er...on the third day, around 2:29 p.m. and 26 seconds, that's how detailed this is. [He's misunderstood the notation. 03:14:29:26 is the Mission Elapsed Time, not the time of day.] And the Data Acquisition Camera, the 16mm, er... Edgar Mitchell said "I'm going to see... I'm going to see that.. I'm all set up for this acquisition." That doesn't mean anything else but a camera."

        Well, he's totally wrong. It has nothing to do with the camera. They were on the far side, remember, out of contact. "Acquisition" means acquisition of the radio signal from Houston, as they come around the Moon. It was known in NASA-speak as AOS, for Acquisition Of Signal. This becomes totally clear very shortly, although Bret doesn't see it. He continues:

"And then it says minus 39 plus 325..  He said "OK, HIGH GAIN, MANUAL, and WIDE." Those are camera settings."

        Once again, he's wrong. Those are antenna settings, required to get the best possible radio contact. If Bret had continued reading from the transcript, he would have seen this immediately following: "And 6 minutes away from it." Yes, six minutes until AOS. Here it all is, from the actual document:


        And sure enough, a couple of pages further on, we see:

        Another of  Sheppard's misconceptions is that this conversation took place in the LM. Actually, undocking didn't take place until M.E.T. 04:07:47:58, so all three astronauts were still in the CM at that time. Here's the part of the CM control panel concerned with the high gain antenna:


        It's a little hard to see, but the leftmost switch is for antenna tracking. The mid position is for MANUAL. The next switch controls the beam width: up for WIDE, down for NARROW. The two large dials control the pitch and yaw angles of the antenna. Mitchell was reading from the Flight Plan: Yaw -39, Pitch  +325. Those angles are much clearer on the LM control panel.

 

       So that completely explains the above dialog--nothing to do with cameras at all. I don't want to be too hard on Bret Sheppard, but he just keeps revealing his ignorance of Apollo hardware and history. And honestly, if he thinks there is 16mm film of Tsiolkovsky, why doesn't he show it? If he thinks there's an alien base there, why won't he look at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image, which is 40 years newer and 0.5 meters/pixel resolution?

Update:
        Using Google Moon, OneBigMonkey has derived this simulated view representing what Ed Mitchell could see as he spoke the words "That's Tsiolkovsky. OK, I've got it." OBM set the altitude at 90km, somewhat below apolune. Very useful.





Tsiolkovsky is on the horizon. No view inside the crater is possible.


===================/ \=======================
[1] Donna Hare is an important figure in the mythology of lunar anomaly hunting. A so-called whistle-blower, Donna was actually employed on image processing for NASA JSC and alleges that one of her duties was to airbrush out alien structures.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Richard Hoagland comes up worse than empty

        Only Hoagland himself knows how many suckers are still paying him five bucks a month for membership in "Club 19.5," whose sole benefit is access to the archives of his radio show. Since there have been no new shows since last October, it's a rapidly vanishing resource--I imagine that members must have, by now, heard all the shows they have any interest in.

        The Great Mr. Hoagland seems to be feeling just a teensy bit guilty about taking their money, since he feels they deserve some collateral compensation. On the Other Side of Midnight web site, this notice appeared last November:
"[W]e are giving the loyal Club 19.5 members that have stayed with us during our recent hiatus, Richard C. Hoagland’s latest and most anticipated work – just recently completed with The Imaging Team from the show. This gorgeous and pioneering new book, “The Hidden History of Mars: A War In Heavennote 1 with a foreword by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, chronicles the Human Race’s Ancient History on the Red Planet with groundbreaking information that has largely been hidden from the world until now."
Last Friday, this appeared on the Book of Fools:
"Club 19.5 Members!! You've been patient, you've been faithful, and now - the GIFTS will begin! There is a broadcast coming up in the next few days that to even KNOW about you need to be in Club 19.5."
        The chutzpah of the man is world-class, isn't it? He manages to make a notice of an upcoming interview seem like a gift. I hope all those "club members" laughed, as I certainly did.
 
        Well, obviously I'm not a loyal member, but it was not hard to grasp the grapevine and learn that the "gift" was notice of yet another interview with Howard Hughes on talkradio.co.uk. Added to the hyperbolic adjectives "gorgeous,"  "pioneering" and "groundbreaking" we now had "vitally important new discoveries," "revelations,"  "new insights, new information," and "the Ultimate Game Changer." WOW--this must really be something, right?

A Major Let-down
        The interview went on as planned at 11pm BST (Euro-clocks went forward this last weekend, hooray) and I tuned in. I even sent a couple of SMS messages, but they were ignored. Obviously, HH wanted to know right off what amazing revelations this new book contains. My lower jaw hit the ground as Richard Hoagland, instead of showing us game-changing marvels, recounted the whole history of his involvement with pseudoscience, decorated with the name-droppings of Cronkite (3 times,) Roddenberry (twice,) and Sagan (once.) He gave us the detailed history of the so-called Face on Mars (yet again,) and the blow-by-blow drama of the landing of Viking 1 in July 1976 (he was accredited to that event as a writer for an airline magazine.) Pioneering? Insights? Revelations? Not a bit of it. He gave us "The Brookings Report told NASA to hush up evidence of ETs," and "NASA is really an adjunct of the Department of Defense," both well-worn claims, and both wrong. He even repeated his false claim to have coined the phrase "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" (the bon mot rightly belongs to New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner.)


        Considering its build-up, this was a lame, lame failure. I took heart from the few tweets that HH allowed. One said quite frankly, and correctly, that there was nothing new here. Another said basically that Hoagland's well-known conclusions from all this are disputed. At that, Hoagland said "This person is obviously refusing to look at the data. It's all there on enterprisemission.com, all free. If you don't do your homework, you'll end up in the dust of history."

        At that, I got mighty annoyed. It's a repeat of what he asserted in September 2013-- "I am sick to death of my stupid critics saying I'm nuts because they won't look at the data." On that occasion I had a sharp riposte for him. Hoagland, if you're listening, it applies just as much today.


==================/ \====================
[1] I think the title has now been changed but I can't remember the new one

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sean and Melissa Morton have a court date

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
        The above text is Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted on July 9, 1868. Sean David Morton was born in Texas and accordingly his citizenship is established by that law. Yet, when interviewed by Kerry Cassidy a year ago Morton maintained that the charges against him were sure to be dropped because he is "not a 14th amendment citizen."

        Tell that to the judge, as they say. Morton will have his chance to do just that on 4th April, when he and Melissa come up in the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles on 56 counts including conspiring to defraud the United States, filing false claims against the United States, passing/presenting and/or offering false or fictitious financial instruments.note 1 I hope to blog more on this when the time comes. I also hope on behalf of the Mortons' financial victims that they lose in court and both go up the river.

Update
        Morton has filed 22 pre-trial motions  to dismiss the charges against him, allof which have been denied.

Update: Day 1 of the trial
        A jury was empaneled and both sides made opening statements. ufowatchdog has all the details but here's the nub of SDM's testimony:

During his discursive opening statement, Sean Morton told the court that he was being falsely accused of doing something wrong when he did nothing more than “follow the advice of people I respected, who had a deep understanding about the financial system.” He also lauded the first Americans, who wished to “live free from the burdens of the crown” and who wrote the Constitution; said that he and Melissa Morton were not married by law because “that puts more than one person in bed with you”; and exclaimed he’s a film producer and investigative reporter, “who exposed Area 51,” the military site where there’s been claims of UFO sightings.

The government wants to throw the couple in jail for the rest of their lives, he said, “for filing paperwork that didn’t harm anybody,” he said.

Here's the statement on behalf of Melissa:
An attorney for Melissa Morton, Steven Brody of the Law Offices of Steven A. Brody, told the jury that the government has no evidence that his client set out to defraud the IRS or that she “didn’t believe 100 percent in the legitimacy” of the documents she filed. The government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Mortons acted in bad faith, he added.

“They have to prove to you that they set out to lie, cheat and steal,” Brody said. “And you’re not going to see that evidence.”

Update: Days 2 & 3
ufowatchdog reports that the prosecution case is rested. SDM made a motion to dismiss, which was denied.

Update: GUILTY on 51 counts
Details at ufowatchdog. Sentencing 19 June. Bye Sean, bye Melissa.

Thanks to ufowatchdog for the information.

==========================/ \=====================
[1] Here's the full Grand Jury indictment

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mike Bara gets it wrong as usual

        Mike Bara, the world-renowned geneticist and physiologist, was invited once again to blather for three hours on Jimmy Church's podcast Fade to Black this week. 90% of it was discussion of a series of images of odd-looking artifacts on Mars. There was the pistol, the sarcophagus, the fossilized dinosaur, and my personal favorite the 20ft high cat playing air guitar.


        This was just the standard Bara performance. He consistently confuses "looks a bit like" with "actually is," all the while insisting that there's no such thing as pareidolia. The supreme example of his delusion came last May, when in a different podcast he said he knew these exhibits weren't just rocks because "rocks have very specific shapes." Er... I don't think that's really true, Mike.

        It was such standard stuff that I wouldn't be writing it up at all if Bara hadn't strayed off the over-beaten path of Martian artifacts into areas of genetics and physiology. "The human race originally came from Mars," he said, and produced two items of pseudo-evidence. The genetic part was "Our DNA is alien." How does he know that? Well, it's simple. It's often said that human and chimpanzee genomes differ by only 10% (actually it's more like 4%note 1) but 10% amounts to 650 billion base pairs, and you can pack a lot of alien information into that. He didn't get around to actually saying how he knew that the extra genetic information came from Mars rather than, say, from seven million yearsnote 2 of adaptation to life on the ground instead of in the trees, and/or exposure to very different food sources and disease threats.

Adapting to Mars
        The physiology part was this: Astronauts in space, he claimed, tend to adopt a Martian-style circadian rhythm 40 minutes longer than 24 hours. I don't know where he got that pseudo-data from, and it's highly suspicious because astronaut circadian cycles are highly controlled. By default, NASA astronauts stick to Houston time simply because that makes life easier for ground controllers. Unless there's some compelling reason to do something at what would be 3 a.m. in Houston, sleepy time is scheduled in synch with Central Time. The fact that astronauts very seldom sleep the full eight hours is a slightly different story.

        I can say with certainty, moreover, that there's absolutely no evidence that humans are more comfortable with the Martian day length rather than the boring old 24 hours of Mother Earth. The truth is the converse--and I know that because the science teams controlling Martian rovers from Pasadena have a very hard time adjusting, as they must, to the Martian day. Shifting through two time zones every three days turns out to be a very hard routine to keep up: It leads to irritability, lack of concentration and all-around decreased performance. I remember reading an excellent article in Scientific Americannote 3 about this. Seems it became a serious problem at JPL, especially when rover operations stretched longer than expected.  The Pathfinder mission, for example, was initially expected to last seven days but ultimately ran to 85. Nobody had planned for it. Joy Crisp, now a principal scientist at JPL, said  "I just remember getting to day 30 and thinking, 'I can't keep this up.'"  The article continues:
NASA leaders claim they have become more sensitive to the issue over the years. Andrew Mishkin, who helped plan the Curiosity mission, says that for the first time NASA officials decided to put a definitive three-month cap on Mars time. They also scheduled people to work no more than four days in a row, encouraged employees to monitor their own and their colleagues' fatigue levels, and had Human Resources prowl the lab for zombied workers to send home. "But everybody was pretty tired of it by November," when the 90th sol finally set, Mishkin says. And when NASA officials wanted to extend the Mars schedule past the 90th sol because the rover was running behind schedule, they put it up to a democratic vote: The answer was a resounding "No."
        So I reject Mike Bara's idea, on technical grounds. I'm not even going to mention how totally daft it is to hypothesize an intelligent race of Martians who escaped catastrophe by emigrating to Earth. Oh well, perhaps I'll mention it after all. IT'S BUNKUM, MIKE BARA.


============================
[1] ref: Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack. Ajit Varki and Tasha Altheide in Genome Research:2005. 15: 1746-1758
[2] The common ancestor was between five and seven million years ago.
[3] Step into the Twilight Zone: Can Earthlings Adjust to a Longer Day on Mars? Katie Worth, Scientific American 29 January 2013