Things got off to a bad start when Wells said "So, remind me, it was Viking that took the original photo of the Face on Mars, right?" "No-no," replied the pseudoscientist. "Viking was in two parts, an orbiter and a lander. It was the orbiter that took the image." You could almost hear Wells' thoughts -- "Oh I get it, three hours of one-upmanship."
Then it got zanier. The pseudoscientist went on to describe the image taken by Mars Global Surveyor in April 1998. He and his henchpersons have nothing but contempt for this image, because weather conditions at the time were about as bad as they can be on Mars. Only with extreme skill could Malin Space Science Systems (PI of the MOC) retrieve anything worth looking at at all.
image credit: Malin Space Science SystemsLast night, unbelievably, instead of giving MSSS due credit for giving it their best shot, the pseudoscientist accused. He said "Malin waited until the fog was so thick that nothing could be seen, before taking that photo." That statement reveals such total lack of understanding of the general principles of orbital imaging that a knowledgeable host would have sent him away immediately, on grounds that he had nothing meaningful to offer. John Wells was NOT that knowledgeable host. We had more to suffer. Somehow, the really excellent image of Owen Mesa (as I prefer to call it, honoring Tobias Owen who first noticed the "face-like mesa") didn't get mentioned last night. I refer, of course, to the one shot by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2007, at about 100x the resolution of the original Viking pic. It didn't get mentioned because it totally falsifies the pseudoscientist's proposition that NASA has dragged its feet ("fought tooth and nail," I think he said) on giving us images.
image credit: HiRISE/JPL/Univ. Ariz
Well, inevitably, we finally got to the very recent imagery of Gale crater, returned by the Curiosity rover in full color and very high resolution. The pseudoscientist says these images undoubtedly show ruined apartment blocks. They show clear evidence of "geometry, parallel lines, symmetry. Features that natural landforms simply cannot have." There was much confusion about where these images could be found -- not on the C2C web site, and not on enterprisemishmash either. It was left to Greg Ahrens, who seems to be a Hoagland alter ego in Facebookistan, to provide links to eight images. Here's a typical one:
image credit: JPLOh, I see. Stratification. What a disappointment.
Off the scale
Along around Hour 3, we got to the Accutron toy. The pseudoscientist persists in saying that he measured the torsion field with this apparatus, when of course he did nothing of the sort. Last night's explanation was, in fact, a denial in itself. He said (not verbatim) "The Accutron tuning fork normally vibrates at exactly 360 Hz. When I've taken it up pyramids, or to Stonehenge, it has shown readings of as much as 1000 Hz and as little as 14 Hz."
image credit: Richard HoaglandIt may be difficult to read the y-axis scale, so let me make it clear that its range is 359.269685 Hz to 360.750945 Hz. I don't doubt that it's quite possible to adjust that somewhat, but the proposition that it could be extended to a range of 1000 to 14 does rather stretch the old mind. In what sense does the word MEASURE have any meaning in the context of such wild excursions?
I e-mailed Bryan Mumford, MicroSet™ engineer, to ask if the apparatus was in fact capable of measuring such an enormous frequency range. His reply:
Yes, MicroSet could measure such excursions. But I am skeptical that any outside influence caused an Accutron to vary by so much unless it's broken.
Well, finally, a Link to the Conscious Life Expo 90-min talk (which included the sneaker on Mars) did in fact appear on Enterprise Mash. Here it is -- somebody please let me know what it's like. I've had enough for now.