Sunday, July 1, 2012

10,000 suckers have read this nonsense

        Today Mike Bara announces that sales of his book The Choice have reached the 10,000 mark. It's worth reminding ourselves, then, that 10,000 people have read the following howlers:

  • (p.17) "...if radio waves can be influenced by the positions of the planets, then our own thoughts, moods, and dreams can be affected, too." 
  • (p.32) "Without the Moon's calming influence, the Earth would spin so fast that the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes." 
  • (p.34) "Many of the planet's orbits, which ... should be perfectly circular by now, are highly elliptical. In fact, Mars's orbit is so eccentric that its distance from Earth goes from 34 million miles at its closest to 249 million miles at its greatest." 
  • (p.47) "Neptune's Great Dark Spot, the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, the erupting volcanoes of Jupiter's moon Io, Olympus Mons on Mars... and Earth's own Maunakea volcano ...all were at, or very near, the 19.5° latitude.
  • (p.57) "The human brain is nothing but a complex electrical signal transmitter."
  • (p.60) "Newton's laws of motion ... only work if the object being measured doesn't rotate." 
  • (p.134) "On the surface of the Earth, the magnitude of the gravitational field is more than enough to keep me in place, but if I was in orbit around the Earth, ... the influence of gravity would be so slight that I would be essentially weightless and float freely." 
  • (p.143) "In November 1957 the Soviets had launched Sputnik 1..."
  • (p.202) The Brookings Report of 1960  "detailed how best to inform the public in the event that NASA discovered extraterrestrial artifacts on the Moon or Mars." 
  • (p.214) "An annular eclipse means that the Moon and Sun are in perfect alignment, but the Sun is not totally blotted out because the Moon is a little too close to the Earth..."
        And then there's the sad, sad story of Chapter 12, the entirety of which is based on a totally false proposition. Bara compares the planned vs. actual apogees of Explorer 1 and concludes that, since the latter is 60% greater than the former, this means that the satellite had 60% more energy than planned. He doesn't know enough to understand that the semi-major axis of the orbit -- the correct way to measure it --  was only 6.5% in excess.

        This incredible error alone should have been enough to get him banned from the public media for life. But no, the suckers apparently LOVE to suck.

More detail here.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't even know where to start with this.........

You can see why Hoagie liked working with him so much.

Chris Lopes said...

Yes, the mistakes are embarrassing, even by the sliding scale I normally use with him (how smart do you have to be to pick up a drunken cougar?). What Mike really needed was an editor (any 5th grader would do), as he is apparently too lazy (and has so little respect for his audience) to do any real research. The few examples given in the post were quite cringe-worthy.

As to the Explorer 1 fiasco, I'm putting that down as outright deception. Given the fact that not even Feral House would allow him and Hoagland to devote a chapter to that collection of bad math and preposterous assumptions, Bara had to know what complete nonsense the whole thing is. That he included it anyway shows he has as little concern for the truth as his former coauthor.

jourget said...

What a moron. I've GOT to assume that this is intentional bullshit, as Bara has to have picked up some of this stuff through diffusion, at the very least, while he was employed at Boeing. Otherwise, the misunderstandings are just so basic, that you can't imagine him being able to feed himself, let alone work as an engineer. Mike just decided that since he already damaged his reputation as a legitimate intellect while working with Hoagland, he might as well demolish it entirely and make some money out of it.

expat said...

No, it isn't intentional, he's just very very sloppy and his ego doesn't allow him to contemplate the possibility that he might be wrong. Here's yet another example, from way back in 2007, of his arrogance when corrected:

http://mikebara.blogspot.com/2007/11/stupid-blog-post-of-week.html

I think he was mostly a CAD-CAM tech at Boeing, and wouldn't really have had any contact with physics -- certainly not astronomy.

Chris Lopes said...

I'm sure Mike is more than capable of making basic science mistakes. I'm also sure he is too lazy and arrogant to spend 5 minutes on Google checking things out. Since not checking it out doesn't hurt him with readers (or the drunken cougars for that matter), he has very little motivation beyond a devotion to truth (stop laughing!) to bother with such things.

The Explorer 1 issue is different though. That one was supposed to be a chapter of the second edition of Dark Mission, a chapter Bara would have had to write. When he discovered he didn't have to write it (as Feral House could not ignore the size and scope of the mistakes in the original thesis), he must have wondered why and found out. So he has to know Hoagland's rocket equation stuff is pure BS and just doesn't care. Either that, or he's so intellectually incurious, he was just glad not to do any more work and left it at that.

expat said...

This is Adam Parfrey's version, in a message sent 5/28/2010:

"After discovering remarkable new material from amateur astronomers regarding geographical formation in addition to sixty-seventy pages of new material, the authors decided to shift the von Braun chapter to their next book."

The "remarkable new material" is amazingly unimpressive. I honestly have no idea what Hoagland thinks the amateur photos show. In any case, there's no guarantee that Parfrey is telling the truth.

jourget said...

I guess that does make more sense. Say what you will, Mike apparently knows his audience. If one is writing a paper for a peer-reviewed journal, checking your facts and confirming your results is essential. In Bara's case, why not go off and say whatever he thinks is right? Given his thesis, perhaps if enough of his readers believe the same thing, it will eventually become the case.

Misti Parker said...

Those supposed sales might only be to retailers. Seems that if they don't move off the shelves, they go back to the publisher, with returns deducted from future royalties. Hell, Bara might have even placed those orders himself.

Chris Lopes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
expat said...

Misti: It's worse than that. Publishers actually WITHHOLD royalties due on a hand-waving scale assuming that there will eventually be x% returns. It's extremely annoying to authors, believe me.

However that is not to contradict you-- you're correct that the 10,000 may eventually be reduced by returns.

Chris Lopes said...

Expat,
That's a neat bit of information about the chapter. It may very well be what Hoagland told Parfrey, and the reason he gave Bara for not pursuing it. So Bara may not know (or care to know) just how bad the material is. He's not necessarily a lying then, just being ignorant and lazy.

Hoagland on the other hand, knows very well how mistaken he is. He's been told by too many people in too many venues, not to know. The fact that he hasn't ever revisited the issue (even to "correct" the math) demonstrates that knowledge rather well. Actually, some of us suspect he knew all along, and that the "mistakes" were deliberate.

Anonymous said...

Unless Bara discovered it first, would anyone like to help me start a petition to have the (possibly) soon-to-be-announced Higgs Boson particle discovery by CERN renamed the "Hoagland particle" - after all, if this isn't proof of HD physics, I don't know what is!!... (I'm not sure exactly what Hoagie means by "HD physics", sadly I don't have his dictionary, but it's probably something like this... right?!... he should definitely take at least most of the credit)

strahlungsamt said...

http://mikebara.blogspot.ie/2007/11/stupid-blog-post-of-week.html

I love the comment from "Farouk". Clicked on his profile and got this:
http://www.blogger.com/profile/09413253478115598436

No last name, no credentials and no information of any kind yet he's a former official at NASA. The next poster, robert, sees that as watertight proof that Farouk El-Baz of NASA supports Bara wholeheartedly.

(At least I can sleep soundly knowing Mike would never have written those posts himself).

Chris Lopes said...

Anon,
Hoagland doesn't know what he means by HD physics either. He keeps adding or changing the rules of this "science" as he goes along. Since no one has actually done any real research in this area, one does wonder how he knows what these rules are, but there you go. I am personally looking forward to the Higgs Boson announcement as the opportunity to hear Hoagland explain the Standard Model of particle physics to the C2C audience sounds like pure comedy gold.

strahlugsamt,
What, you think that retired NASA scientists have better things to do than hang out on the websites of former CADCAM technicians? Obviously if I had been a major player in the effort to reach the Moon, Bara would be my go to guy in my golden years.

Tara Jordan said...

Both Hoagland & Bara are sporting some kind of mullet. The genetical meme....

Misti Parker said...

Watch and see if both Hoagland and Bara cite each other as references each of their respective pulps, in vain attempt at building cred.

Anonymous said...

@Chris - you can bet that if the Higgs Boson is officially announced, Hoagie (and his legion of fappers) will be clambering to get on C2C in order to jump on the "told you so" band wagon and claim it is part of some "HD ether" or something, and that it all fits with his acutronometer experiments, barrys secret christmas card, the space nazis, and the tetrahedral goings-on of the Gale crater etc etc...

(I can already feel that 3hr headache coming on......)

Chris Lopes said...

Anon,
I seriously doubt Noory will let Hoagland talk about particle physics for 3 hours. Remember, the people listening to C2C are trying to stay awake at that awful hour, not fall asleep. He might get a 3 minute science update segment, but not a whole show. His annual Apollo 11 show is in a couple of weeks anyway, so he can save the Higgs Boson = HD Physics thing for then.

Anonymous said...

You may be right. I'd have thought the Higgs Boson thing would have been "monumental" in science circles (but then I'm no physicist); and would have been ideal for Dick to drag 3 hours out of, especially when he could tie to all his other stuff as "all part of HD, in these wonderful times of wonderful change" etc... but whether or not an entire radio audience could sit through a 3 hour physics lesson from the grand Professor is a whole other question!

If he has an up-coming show anyway, I'm sure he'll incorporate whatever benefits at the time... you know, if he's not busy "writing a paper" on said particle.

Stay tuned!