Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keep those e-mails coming, folks... UPDATED

        Back in 1998, Richard Hoagland believed he had scored a real coup. He believed — and still believes to this day — that he had single-handedly influenced NASA/JPL/MSSS to re-photograph the so-called 'Face' on Mars by adroit manipulation of his radio audience. Mars Global Surveyor did indeed image the Face on April 5th, and Hoagland believed it would not have happened without the storm of FAXes and e-mails he had incited his audience of millions to send to NASA HQ. Dr Michael Malin, the NASA contractor in charge of the camera, specifically denied this, but the belief persists among the 'Branch Hoaglandians.'

        Ever since then, Hoagland has been trying to repeat this pseudo-achievement, and his calls for a FAX-flood have become a regular feature of 'Coast to Coast AM.' On May 26/27 he appeared with Buzz Aldrin and immediately started a campaign to have all the living moon-walkers promoted to General. Perhaps he had forgotten that the most important moonwalker, Neil Armstrong, is a civilian and cannot benefit from this idea.

        Last Monday night, in another appearance, he turned his attention to the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher. Proclaiming that there was a 15-20 mile wide bubble of gas at a pressure of 100,000 psi threatening to burst and cause a catastrophic tsunami, he urged his supporters to press for release of what was either called the "mud log" or the "mud dog" from Deepwater Horizon in order to confirm this. As to how he knew about this gas-bubble monster menace, it was back to his old standby, "inside information." Whenever he claims to have this you can be fairly sure he's merely guessing. He had "inside information" that President Obama was going to announce a national commitment to a manned Mars landing, to cite one recent example.

        I may possibly be surprised. Perhaps Col. Aldrin will soon be Gen. Aldrin. Perhaps there really is a 20-mile wide killer gas bubble -- but the latter seems unlikely given that pressure is being relieved all the time by the escape of thousands of gallons of oil and gas per hour. Does anybody seriously think that if Hoagland actually obtained this "mud log/dog" he'd be qualified to interpret it?

        On Coast to Coast AM June 19/20 Peter Ward theorized about a methane bubble of a completely different kind. He said that enormous amounts of methane are now dissolved in the lowest 20ft of that area of the Gulf. There's a possibility that this could come out of solution and become a gas, rising as a bubble and then being ignited by lightning. If that happens — and similar things have happened in lakes — it could mean bye-bye Miami.

        Peter Ward, unlike Richard Hoagland, is a qualified scientist (see his bio at the C2C-AM link) and so must be taken seriously. BUT PLEASE NOTE: If this nightmare scenario actually happens, Hoagland has absolutely NO right to told-you-so. The mechanism he speculated about earlier is totally different.