Monday, March 30, 2015

Report on what Richard Hoagland has described as his "new book"

        During Richard Hoagland's"interview" last Friday night with Coast-to-Coast host Richard Syrett, I lost count of the number of times he plugged what he called "my new book", Pluto: New Horizons for a Lost Horizon. (I place "interview" in quotes because Hoagland's obnoxious arrogance was front and center, as he talked over Syrett and basically attempted to take over the whole show.note 1)

        Well, I don't usually blame C2C guests for plugging books—they get no other compensation for giving up most of a night's sleep (and by the way, it really works, as I have reported passim.) But in this case the plugging was strident and the problem is that IT'S NOT HOAGLAND'S BOOK. It's Richard Grossinger's book. Grossinger was the original publisher of The Monuments of Mars after Simon & Shuster reverted Hoagland's contract for non-performance. Grossinger wrote at some length about his pal Hoagland in 2010. Here's an excerpt:
"Hoagland is a unique mixture of amateur scientist, genius inventor, scam artist, and performer, blending true, legitimate speculative science with his own extrapolations, tall tales, and inflations. He is a brilliant and glorious myth-maker and a evidence-based scientist at the same time."
New Horizons for a procrastinating author
        The book is 300 pages long and contains 31 essays by a smörgåsbord of writers. None of the names ring a bell with me except Jason Martell and Grossinger himself, who contributes #2 in addition to a 44-page introduction (which is quite well-written, in fact.) Hoagland himself is #3 up, strutting around the book for 64 pages. His chapter title is New Horizon ... for a Lost Horizon, and it's recognizably Hoagland but ever so slightly toned down. We get lots of "extraordinary," "astonishing" and "stunning." There are the unmotivated italics and the bizarre ellipses, but no all-caps overemphasis and no exclamation points. Deo gratias.

        Well, here's a flavor of the sheer mendacity of this material, as Hoagland tries to substantiate his thesis that the solar system is replete with evidence of a now-dead advanced civilization:

"Our research has now revealed that this stunning, new solar system reality first became known to the U.S. Department of Defense under the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s—in part via a pioneering, top-secret JPL (U.S. Army) effort at a first unmanned circumlunar reconnaissance mission, "Project Red Socks." We believe the shocking results of this clandestine mission formed the real reason behind NASA's sudden public emergence after Sputnik, and the rapid congressional authorization, only one year later in 1958, of NASA as the loudly-proclaimed, lead "civilian space agency of the U.S.A."

"This was the perfect cover—in the 1950s world of perpetual Soviet pursuit of any and all technological supremacy over the West—for NASA's real, long-term covert mission:
To secretly ascertain ... from NASA's inception ... the full extent of (potential) military threats (or benefits) of these long-abandoned, ancient ET derelicts ... as well as those ancient surface installations still partially preserved on various planets and moons (Cydonia et al.); the surviving riches of an entire, astonishing Type II Civilization in our own backyard—whose extraordinary legacy and scientific potential was only fully accepted (even within NASA) when Apollo astronauts fulfilled their real Kennedy Mission and clandestinely returned, beginning in 1969, unquestionable intelligently-designed and manufactured ET artifacts to Earth—from the Moon."note2


        He writes of "the shocking results" of Project Red Socks. The most shocking result was that the project never happened. It was way too ambitious for a group of people who would not even succeed in orbiting a tiny 14kg satellite for another three months. Red Socks was a panic reaction to the Soviet success with Sputnik 1, conceived as a series of nine lunar orbiters which would, at a minimum, return photographs of the far side. It was even suggested that they might deliver a nuclear weapon to the surface, then wait patiently for some of the debris to come flying back to Earth by sheer good luck (I almost added an exclamation point there, tsk tsk.) Some vestiges of Red Socks were folded into the Pioneer 4 mission in 1959, but basically, it was a non-starter.

        As for that utterly daft allegation that Apollo returned the technical artifacts of a lunar civilization—he made the same claim in the introduction to Dark Mission. He did not then, and does not now, produce one scintilla of evidence for that assertion. On the contrary, the evidence is all against him. We know what was brought back from the Moon. It was meticulously catalogued in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, where Hoagland's pal Ken Johnston worked. Surely Ken could set the Hoaxster straight on that. It's all very well him saying "Ah well, that's what they want you to think"—without some evidence, he just looks like a buffoon. In Dark Mission he further alleged that the lunar goodies were then subjected to reverse engineering. Well, where are the results, Richard?

        I love the fact that Amazon categorizes this work as Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Folklore & Mythology. Yes indeed, Amazon.

Update 10th April:
        Oy veh, Coast to Coast saw fit to give Hoagland yet another two hours last night to mention "my book" a dozen times. He talked at some length about private enterprise Moon landings, then added:
"Another reason to buy the book is that part of the proceeds will go toward funding this enterprise."
        FACEPALM. There are 31 authors to pay. After publishing costs the book might generate as much as $50,000—probably less. How much use does Hoagland think the residuals would be to a manned lunar landing mission?


[1]  Everything in the show is recycled Hoaglandiana, but it's worth following that Youtube link, just to enjoy the mocking comments.

[2] That second half is all one sentence. That's Hoagland for you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The gullibility of bigots like Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar

        Both Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar have today enthusiastically promoted a phony report that Andreas Lubitz, co-pilot of Germanwings 9525, was a convert to Islam. I'm not even going to put in a link to the report, but I'll just say that its provenance instantly labels it as provocative rubbish.

Bara's comment, on Twitter, was:
"And now we have proof of what we all knew 3 days ago"
        If that isn't a confession to bigotry, I can't imagine what is. Robert AM* merely shared to Facebook without comment, and I'm glad to say at least a couple of his fans didn't buy it.

        Here's my message to both these logic-challenged people: The flight was scheduled to last 90 minutes. At the time of the crash, only 40 minutes had elapsed. If Lubitz is supposed to have planned a jihad-style mass murder, how in the name of all that's scientific could he have predicted when and if his colleague was going to need a piss?

I will just add this link.

Update: After Mike Bara's brief commentary, brother Dave got in on the act, with his trademark belligerent intolerance.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Big Ben wrap-up

James Concannon writes...

I just posted the following to Robert AM*'s Fartbook page:
The image containing the feature you call "Big Ben on the Moon" is AS17-M-2366.

You have made yet another nomenclature error, and yet another image interpretation error. This is not, as you said, MAGAZINE M. All images from that mag would have the ID AS17-142- followed by five digits. Instead this is from the Mapping Camera, revolution 65. The location of "Big Ben" if it existed would be NE of crater Neper. Please check the LRO image library to see if you can find a clock tower.

Your image interpretation error is that you examined a bizarre version of this image, not realizing that it was over-brightened, Here is a correct version FYI. ====================================================
        Here, by the way, is the over-brightened version, and there's the smudge he thinks is Big Ben, on the limb of the Moon (zoom in.)

        And I thank 'Trekker' who found this for us and did the geo-location (seleno-location?)

Update 3/18: Today I asked the star of the morning what he thought the thing actually is, and what he estimated as its height. He replied that it was definitely not a clock tower -- probably an Earth observation post, or a Tesla tower. Although he promised to answer the second question, he never did.

Update 3/20: Happy Vernal Equinox.'Trekker' points out that in the very next frame, AS17-M-2367, Big Ben has floated off into space. I posted this comparison of the two frames to FB-AM*.....


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Robert Morningstar's weird math

James Concannon writes...

        A series of videos  has just been released, on the Tube that is You, of last summer's Secret Space Program Conference in San Mateo, California. I reviewed Mr. Robert Morningstar's presentation hoping to find a catalog # of the image that he has called "Big Ben on the Moon."

        Not to my surprise, I had to wade through quite a series of errors and misunderstandings on my way to that goal. Right at the beginning, he covered the famous Brookings Report, getting the date wrong, the title wrong, and utterly garbling the report's main message. I covered that already, in this blog on 22nd January. He still hasn't come up with any examples from what he called "The 1967 edition" and, of course, he never will since there ain't no such animal.

        At 52:15, he got around to his most embarrassing error. It concerns the Apollo 10 photograph of the piece of mylar that came adrift during the undocking in lunar orbit.

photo credit: SSP conference video

        AM* likes this a lot. So much that he slaps it up front on his Farceboo page. He calls it "The Sentinel," and insists that it's a space station in lunar orbit. The image ID is AS-10-28-3989 and the size of the mylar is about half a metre. Here's AM*'s explanation for why it must be larger.

        "See that shadow, on the left?" he says, marching up to the screen and pointing. "That's either the shadow of the Moon or of the spacecraft. But the sun is coming from the wrong direction for it to be the spacecraft, so it must be the Moon. Now, that arc is about ten degrees. Ten degrees is 1/36th of a circle. 1/36th of about 6000 miles (actually 6779) -- the circumference of the Moon -- is 166 miles. This object is about 166 miles in the vertical."

        So, unbelievably, this man who calls himself a "civilian intelligence analyst" and an expert in photography somehow doesn't understand that a half-lit floating piece of mylar can have a curving shadow just because of its shape, and can look at the horizontal limb of the Moon and relate it to a vertical shadow. Not only that, but implicit in his logic is that shadows of things must always be the exact same size as the things themselves. Mind-boggling.

        I had to wait all the way to 56:28 for the image he calls Big Ben. He said it was from Apollo 17, Mag N, image #2366. Well, here's everything from that mag. Damned if I can see a Big Ben.

Update: 'Trekker' found it, it's from the Mapping Camera, not the Hasselblads. See next thread.

 Update 2: I calculated, based on the known fact that the Hasselblad camera had an 80mm lens and a 70mm square frame, that the "space station" would have to have been 2,338 miles away to appear that size, assuming it is 166 miles high.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Prior work?

        Yesterday NASA put out a news release announcing that Mars once had more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean. Mike Bara immediately blogged that of course he and Hoagland published this back in 2001. He wrote, in his usual ungrammatical style:
"I'm gratified that NASA has finally admitted that Hoagland and me were correct all those years ago."
        Stuart Robbins points out that a search of the literature reveals prior work on this going back to 1988. Robbins covers this so well that he's saved me the effort of writing today.

Read this please.

        The only thing I would add is the hilarious fact that the 2001 "paper" by Hoagland & Bara is the one that looks like this in Firefox and Chrome:

        They've now made a pdf version, dressed up to look like a real science paper, identifying Bara as "Executive Director, Formal Action Committee on Extraterrestrial Studies."