Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Ancient Aliens," where facts never spoil a good story

        The History Channel continues to beat the truth until it cries UNCLE, with Aliens and the Secret Code, Season 3 Ep 13 of Ancient Aliens. This episode (available on Youtube) involved drawing a lot of lines on a lot of maps and globes in an attempt to show that prehistoric man knew stuff he didn't oughta have. Archaeology is a field of study I've had the merest whisper of contact with, but some of the line-making seemed a little expedient to me, and I decided to research one of their straight lines.

        Scattered across what is now Denmark and South Sweden, archaeologists have found a series of Wikingerburgen, or Viking ring fortresses. The Ancient Aliens script-writers, Kaylan Eggert and Rich Monahan, wrote this about  them:

1] They have identical construction, being a fortified ring enclosing a number of long-houses arranged in a characteristic pattern.

2] The design includes an internal cruciform wall, oriented precisely North-South-East-West.

3] The four main sites Trelleborg, Eskeholm, Fyrkat (which they mis-spell as Frykat) and Aggersborg are in a dead straight line stretching for 218 km across Sjælland, Jutland, and the Kattegat. Here's the line they drew:

Image credit: History Channel

        Here's the result of my research with Wikimapia:Trelleborg is the most classic design, showing the main features very well, however the internal walls are not compass-aligned.

Fyrkat is better-aligned and does conform to the general plan:

Aggersborg, the most Northern site, has the look of being unfinished:

        So what of the alignment between these widely-separated sites? This is how Google Earth sees it -- pretty damn good.

         However, they cheated. They simply OMITTED the Wikingerburgen that didn't fit their story -- namely, Nonnebakken, the other Trelleborg, and Borgeby. Here's the real map of these sites:

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

        Not content with faking the data to that extent, they actually added a site which is not generally included as a Wikingerburg, and doesn't conform to the pattern -- Eskeholm, in a fjord on the island of Samsø. Here it is:

        Fortified ring? Long houses? Cruciform walls? I don't think so...

Bring on the experts
          So why, I'm sure you're already asking, is this blog taking an interest in Vikings? Just that one of the "world-class experts" commenting on this piece of flim-flam is none other than Mike Bara, who helpfully speculates "Perhaps they were able to fly" (at 24:35 in the Youtube video.) Yeah, Mike, or perhaps they had a 218 km long piece of string.

        Has Mike Bara ever studied Scandinavian archaeology? No. Has Mike Bara been to Trelleborg, Eskeholm, Fyrkat and Aggersborg to study these places on the ground? I very much doubt it, just as I doubted that he's ever been to Aramu Muru in Peru, which he commented on in a previous ep of this anti-science, anti-truth series.

        My question to the History Channel would be "What is this unemployed draftsman doing, commenting on subjects he knows nothing about?" They'd probably reply "Well, we were looking for someone who has no respect for the truth. We read Dark Mission and The Choice, and Mike seemed like just the man."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review of Ken Johnston on Coast to Coast AM, Christmas night

        Ken Johnston (see this blog passim) turned up like an unwanted Christmas present on the night of December 25th, to trot out his well-rehearsed schtick accusing NASA of covering up the artifacts of a lunar civilization, and of summarily dismissing him from the all-volunteer Solar System Ambassador program. This time he added a counter-attack on James Oberg (joint founder of this blog) and a confirmation that yes, he did indeed get a bona fide Ph.D. from the Reform Baptist Theological Seminary. James Oberg has identified this place as a diploma mill, pointing out that the link to Ken's certificate online,, rather ostentatiously mis-spells the word "diploma."

        Last night, the audio quality of Ken's contributions was so atrocious that I can only assume Tommy Danheiser and Lisa Lyon were comatose beside empty bottles of egg nog and the remains of several turkeys. No sane and conscious radio producer would have allowed that rubbish to continue for more than 10 seconds. However, it was possible to grasp the gist of his accusation, with the help of two images posted on the C2C web site. The first was from the Russian lander Lunik 13.

        Evidence of a lunar civilization, or part of the spacecraft? Step forward, please, Friar William of Occam, and bring your razor with you. Ken Johnston, as former Data Control Officer in the Lunar Receiving Lab in Houston, has no special expertise that would allow him to get away with claiming this is alien technology.

Now you see it, now you don't

        The second "incriminating" image was one this blog has commented on before. It's frame AS14-66-9301 from Apollo 14 lunar surface photography, shot by Commander Al Shepard, showing Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell standing on the surface. Up in the sky, a blue flare is plainly seen and Ken Johnston either thinks it's a UFO (a "Blue Ship") or it's something suspended above the lunar surface (he appeared to hedge his bets by espousing both theories.)

        Well now. The Apollo 14 image library makes it plain, to those willing to accept the documented facts, that this was one frame from the third of three 360° panoramas shot by Al Shepard.

        The first pan encompassed frames AS14-66-9236 through 9252, the second was frames 9271 through 9290, and the third frames 9294 through 9316.

        Blue flares similar to that seen in 9301 are also visible in frames 9286, 9290 and 9295 (the latter is very pronounced.)

        Moreover, I can prove that the "Blue Ship" in 9301 isn't real. Because of overlap, the same portion of the sky appears in the previous frame, 9300. Here's 9301 with the blue flare marked (click to embiggen):

        Here's 9300 with the marker in the identical position relative to the ground.

        Presto-change-o! Blue flare gone in the second it took Shepard to swivel and click. You can perform the same trick with 9302, actually, but once is enough. So here are the questions that George Knapp ought to have asked (but didn't):

1) Ken, how can you possibly accuse NASA of "covering this evidence up," when the so-called evidence is right there on the NASA History web site?

2) If, as you say, this object is "suspended" then it represents a major hazard in the immediate vicinity of the landing site. Are you telling us that the astronauts knew nothing of it?

3) Why is the object not in frames 9300 and 9302? Why are similar flares in three other frames, showing different parts of the sky?

4) If your credentials as stated to Solar System Ambassadors were correct, why were details of your military service edited when Dark Mission was republished as a second edition? The first edition identified you as a jet fighter pilot with the US Marines, but the second edition merely stated that you "trained in" US Navy planes. (ref. James Oberg's comment to this post.)

I found another flare. This one's in the very first panorama frame, AS14-66-9236, and it's superimposed on the lunar surface, right by the shadow of the high-gain antenna. Explain that away, Ken!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pay up or else

        As if Richard Hoagland's little corner of Facebookistan weren't entertaining enough this holiday season (see comments on the previous post here,) yesterday we got this priceless piece of pure comedy in response to somebody who asked when Moon With a View Part 7 would be forthcoming:

[W]e get many requests about this. Here is your answer. These articles have been published for free. If you want special attention focused on a particular area of research, you are welcome to fund the length of time necessary to complete the paper. Please write to if you are interested. If not, please be patient.
         The response was written by Robin Falkov the homeopathist (who also wrote, recently, "Measles does not kill" in defiance of extremely well-established medical knowledge.) However, I think we can safely assume that it has the approval of "The Big Man," as Hoagland once described himself on that very page.

        The Moon With a View series was started back in 2005, as a kind of homage to "my long-time friend, Arthur C. Clarke"(he probably worked in a reference to "my dear friend Carl Sagan" somewhere, too.) It concerns Iapetus, the moon of Saturn, and very predictably Hoagland comes up with a pseudo-argument that Iapetus's extraordinary equatorial ridge is the deliberate construction of a prior civilization. In way more words than necessary, Hoagland tells us that Iapetus, like Phobos, Hartley-2, Tempel-1, Vesta, Elenin, and YU55, is a spaceship. Yet even more words were promised, as Part 7 "coming shortly."

        So Hoagland wants to be paid up front to tie up some loose ends on that web site, of which it has been said "The 1980s called. They want their HTML back." There's plenty to do and I suggest the following scale:

Moon With a View Part 7 : $12
Correcting the math in Von Braun's Secret Part 1: $2
Writing Von Braun's Secret Part3: $4
Writing The Bees' Needs Part 2: $4
Junking the whole site: $200

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Phobos-Grunt, from Izvestiya

James Oberg posts this rather rough translation of an article in Russian from Izvestiya. The translation by "Moskit" appeared on the NASA Spaceflight forum. If I'm doing my phonetics correctly, the author is Viktor Khartov, Lavochkin's General Director and General designer.
        Every mission has three parameters: complexity, resources and risks. If we ask someone to send a complicated mission with little risk, it will involve huge resource. If you plan to send a mission to Mars in such a way, you would first test hardware on Earth orbit, then Lunar orbit, then model all aspects of the target mission. With F-G situation was a bit different - we did not fly to other planets for 25 years. There was a huge amount of new hardware without flight history. Practically only fuel tanks from Fregat were previously flown.

        Project itself was very complex, with a large number of instruments and many algorithms.  Maximum complexity and minimum resources translated to maximum risks.    It was decided the risk is ok to fly F-G. Apparently we stumbled right in the beginning of the flight. F-G flew well for two hours after the launch. It turned itself on, extended elements (solar panels), orientated to Sun and began to receive energy. It turned on all required hardware, and the Chinese satellite. It was all confirmed by telemetry. And then... it flew out of Russian zone of communication. Burn did not happen.    Our communication stations are designed for deep space and could not track fast-moving object in low orbit long enough to complete long link establishment procedures.

       In the beginning we could not target the satellite. It was tracked only by ground means, and position was inaccurate, calculated up to 6 degrees. That's why us, and European stations had to add modified antennas emitting wide beams. As a result we had a few sessions and received some telemetry.    It said that radio module works, link with onboard computer is up. Photos of on-orbit F-G showed that it was not tumbling, meaning Sun orientation module worked correctly.    We do not know when and why burn sequence was aborted. There could be many hypotheses, but fact is only one: F-G is Sun-orientated, onboard computer fulfills its function.    Logic says that when sequence is aborted, F-G will await commands from ground. Apparently it is still in that mode and we will continue attempts to make it alive.    As for the failure, there are many possibilities. For example it could be a programming error that could not be detected during modeling on Earth. Difference between model and real situation could be large enough to "stupify" computer.    It could have also been a hardware problem. Before we lost contact with F-G we enabled power to several modules, and theoretically damage during launch (?) might have caused problems with power supply.    But those are all working versions, official reason should be established by appropriate commission.

      As far as we know the rocket worked nominally. However we think that launcher should have been chosen differently, not Zenit, but Proton, which could take F-G directly to required orbit. Then F-G could be turned on and verified module by module, new comms line would be tested, and trajectory corrections made.    Decision about launcher was taken in 90s, and project was based on that.    F-G was a sort of jumping forward (cavalry charge?) over 25 years gap. It was understood that risk was high, but imagine if it were a success! However it is necessary to work step by step, systematically. That's why we should go back to Lunar exploartion.

        I would not get fixated on F-G. We have many projects. This year we launched Electro-L, a new generation sat. Our Fregat boosters have done their job on 8 launches from 3 locations, with one more launch from each location by end of this year.

"Moskit" provides this translation of an article in an online journal. Author not known.

        670 seconds after launch F-G separated from the rocket. It worked correctly, but afterwards F-G survived only two hours. When station "saw" Sun it should move "head" towards it. This means two onboard Sun detectors worked correctly. One hour later sunny zone ended, and those two detectors stopped working. Shadow lasted for 30 minutes, and unexpectedly F-G came out of it facing away. We did not expect it, F-G should have kept Sun orientation while in the shadow. Detectors saw Sun again, and started rotating F-G once again, but soon link was lost.

        It seems that star detectors, that so many blamed failure on, never got a chance to operate. They should have been turned on 4 minutes after link was lost, but F-G stop giving sings of life earlier. Star detectors found on F-G are reliable, they work on 20 space objects for 10-12 years.

        F-G was not ready for the flight. Many saw that, and many told to the management that flight control system made by Lavotchkin was not ready. Specialists simply did not have enough time to complete complex software running the mission.

        People blame youngsters at Lavotchkin, but this is unfair - they did not have a chance to learn. 15 years ago when Mars-96 was launched, it was assembled in -5C (with -20C outside) in Baikonur, in a room with broken windows. These were not conditions... there was not even toilets. Spaceship failed right after launch due to booster malfunction - completely logical final.

        Today we see a birth of Russian space program practically from ashes, with all the growing pains. You should have seen glowing eyes of the young people working on F-G... they only recently began to be paid decently.

        If there will be repressions, all will be lost again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is Kerry Cassidy even more wrong than Hoagland & Bara?

Make you own mind up. KC blogged this last Thursday:
Lastly, with regard to Elenin and YU55: all the Camelot whistleblower info with regard to both these so called asteroids is that they are and were CONTROLLED by someone. That means they are able to change course etc. The entire group of contacts Hoagland was dealing with---with regard to YU55 went black right after it was supposedly crossing our atmosphere. At the same time, Obama and the whole APEC conference was going on in Hawaii... Simultaneously, Hoagland's sources were seeing a SUBSTITUTION in the skies... with a metallic overlay, going along the original NASA trajectory. We were live on Livestream when this was happening. This is what his sources told him they were getting... All info on YU55 went black and then, a substitution appeared. According to Hoagland it wasn't even a good decoy... It was as if, those who are running YU55 wanted the scientists and white hats who were tracking it to KNOW they were being lied to... Where did the real craft go? Did it rendezvous with one of ours? Was there something on board being dropped off? All these are good questions but where are you going to get the answers? Listening to channelers who are as easily programmed as anyone else is not the answer.

Of course Hoagland looks like he's wrong if the people behind the scenes can change the game at any moment! And that goes for a lot of good people right now making bad predictions. Hoagland is following the clues and doing so meticulously and at great personal risk.
A few points:
        1. Elenin was not a "so called asteroid," it was a comet.
        2. Neither body changed course.
        3. YU55 never crossed our atmosphere and nobody ever said it would, not even RCH.
        4. President Obama did not get to the APEC conference until 4 days later.
        5. All info on the asteroid did not "go black" after the close approach.
        6. Hoagland is not, and never has been, meticulous.
        7. Hoagland's "great personal risk" is a self-aggrandizing fantasy.

        Hoagland doesn't just look like he's wrong, Kerry, he really is wrong. No "people behind the scenes" changed the latitude of the Port-au-Prince earthquake. It was 18.5°. When Hoagland said it was 19.5° he was simply lying. No "people behind the scenes" changed the propulsion technology of STS-133. It was H2/O2. When Hoagland said it was hyperdimensional torsion physics he was simply lying. I could go on.....

        Absolute proof that Kerry Cassidy is immune to logic and truth is contained in her wrap-up:
.... what resonates with your heart and spirit is where the truth is.. .not in superficial details that don't add up or painting a logic trail with a broad brush saying this is black and this is white.
        New Age loonies apparently allow themselves the freedom to sense truth with their hearts and spirits. I guess to them  the latitude of Port-au-Prince can be whatever "resonates." Too bad they have to live in the real world where latitudes are established facts, where their landlords demand real rent and their children demand real love, not the woo-woo kind that isn't worth second-hand toilet paper.

Fair use quotes from Kerry Cassidy/ Project Camelot Productions