Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The volcanoes of Io: No joy for Richard Hoagland there either

        Io [pron: EYE-o] is a moon of Jupiter, just a little bigger than our own Moon (mean radius 1822 km, cf.1737 km.) Io's orbit is somewhat eccentric (.0041), and this is enough to cause continual flexing in the colossal gravitational field of Jupiter. The heat this generates has created over 400 active volcanoes, making little old Io the most volcanically active object in the solar system.

        On Monday, reported on some exquisite work by Katherine de Kleer and Imke de Pater of UC Berkeley, tracking volcanic hotspots on Io over more than two years, from 2013 to 2015. The astronomers used two of the world's largest telescopes, the 10-meter Keck II and 8-meter Gemini North, both located on Mauna Kea. The work produced this stunning image:

Credit: Katherine de Kleer and Imke de Pater, UC Berkeley 

        The hotties aren't identified by name, but I bet that biggie is Amirani, at 24.46°N.   A 2001 JPL/Caltech report wrote that Amirani "is responsible for the largest active lava flow in the entire Solar System, with recent flows dwarfing those of even other volcanos on Io."

        Too bad for Richard Hoagland,note 1 who regularly includes Io in his erroneous list of solar system objects that support his claim that excess "hyperdimensional" energy is available at 19.5° latitudes on a spinning spheroid. The list is Table 1 of Hoagland's web page The Message of Cydonia, including the Io volcanoes Loki, Maui, Pele and Volund. He says that Loki, Maui and Pele are all at 19°, while Volund is at 22°. In fact the latitudes are 18.22°N, 19.53°N, 18.71°S and 28.62°N respectively.note 2 So he gets one right, but this recent work from UC Berkeley puts paid to any idea that the 19.5° latitudes are volcanically special. The Keck observatory happens to be quite close to latitude 19.5°N, but that's no help. Note, too, the biggest volcanic events in Earth's known history:note 3

Yellowstone, three massive events - 44° 24' N
Huaynaputina, 1600 - 16° 36' S
Krakatoa, 1883 - 6° 06' S
Santa Maria, 1902 - 14° 45' N
Novarupta, 1912 - 58° 16' N
Pinatubo, 1991 - 15° 08' N
Ambrym Island, 50 - 16° 15' S
Ilopango, 450 - 13.67° N
Santorini, 1610 BC - 36° 25' N
Tambora, 1815 - 8° 14' S

        None of the top ten earthquakes in Earth's known history has been at 19.5° either. So much for hyperdimensional energy upwellings.

Behind the Black
        I would never have noticed this brilliant report if I wasn't a regular reader of Bob Zimmerman's blog Behind the Black. Zimmermannote 4 always keeps it concise and accurate. He's solid on spaceflight history (author of Genesis:The Story of Apollo 8) and he knows more about the commercial space industry than anyone I know. Bob was nominated Science Adviser of Coast to Coast AM after Richard Hoagland drastically overplayed his hand in July 2015.

=============================/ \===========================
[1] A second setback this week for Hoagland. In the early hours (Pacific time) of this morning, he failed to get his radio chat show back on the air as promised. See last blogpost.
[2] ref: There's a list similar to Hoagland's on p. 47 of Mike Bara's book The Choice, but he simply skates over this with a hand-waving "...the erupting volcanoes of Jupiter's moon Io." Useless.
[3] ref:
[4] Not the Bob Zimmerman who recently scored a certain Nobel Prize, of course.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Richard Hoagland off the air, perhaps only temporarily

        On October 14th, this ominous message was posted on the Other Side of Midnight web page:

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to continue broadcasting over KCAA. We hope to return to the air Tuesday morning, 10/18/16 at our regularly scheduled time."

        Well, he didn't return on Tuesday, and he didn't return on Wednesday or Thursday either. It soon became apparent that Hoagland's arrogance had caused his own downfall once again, as it did when he lost his best producer, Ross Campbell, and when he was kicked out of Dark Matter Digital Network a year ago, and took his show to KCAA San Bernardino.

On 17th, Fred Koch posted this on the OSoM FB page:
"The latest news from KCAA's Fred Lund is that Richard is not willing to pay KCAA any more money until the deal with the new network is finalized. KCAA has provided them service at below their costs but can no longer afford to do so. Richard has been very displeased with KCAA's performance so far. Mr Lund personally negotiated the new deal with GCN Live network and stated to me he is "bewildered" by Richard's desire to part ways at this time. Mr Lund was very forthcoming with his explanation of this unfortunate situation. I hope Richard is as well, as we all really want this show to go on. Making the "connections" isn't very easy without RCH! Richard, I hope you won't see this post as someone overstepping his boundaries. I merely wanted to shed some light on the situation. Sincerely, Fred Koch, avid listener, one of your biggest fans... "
(NOTE: He writes "Fred Lund" but he surely means Lundgren, CEO of KCAA. The "new network" refers to the transition from 106.5 FM to 102.3 FM, which is in build-out right now.)

        KCAA's regular rate for a one-hour, once a week live show is $150, so we might speculate that Fred's been offering a deal of a grand for 2 x 5. Figure that has to be paid for by commercials and club memberships, and it's easy to see how the Hoagland lifestyle might be suffering somewhat, in fact the wolf may be at the door. But it's hard to see how he's going to do better elsewhere.

On the Bellgab forum, "Trostol" let us all in on a private exchange between him and Lundgren:
trostol what happened with RCH lol
Like · Reply · 2 hrs
Fred Lundgren payment issue
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
trostol well...i wish you luck in future projects RCH can be..a handful lol
Like · Reply · 2 hrs
Fred Lundgren trostol that is the understatement of the year.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 2 mins
        So it's not hard to see through the spin to what really happened. Hoagland had a lot of help getting "Other Side of Midnight" on the air, and he just continued to bite the hand that fed him. Art Bell either gave him or lent him some expensive broadcast equipment, without which he could never have done the show on DMDN from his little office in New Mexico. Art got precious little acknowledgement for that. Ross Campbell acted as producer without compensation, and did a notably good job of guest booking. Hoagland then bawled Rossy out for putting him on hold while he made an urgent call to his mother, so Rossy quit. Hoagland complained that his DMDN listeners were falling asleep leaving their digital devices connected, thus costing him bandwidth fees uselessly. Now apparently Fred Lundgren has been discounting KCAA's services and has had enough.

        I fully admit that my own prediction, when the show made its debut in July 2015, was way, way off. I said he'd be gone by Thanksgiving. Looks like I may have been only a year too pessimistic.

Update 9 November:
This is pretty hilarious, although not to the victims. Yesterday this appeared on the OSOM web page:
 Tues night/Wed morning 11/9/16 “Dr. Carl Johan Calleman“ What Are The Stakes Of The 2016 US Presidential Election 12:00 - 2:00 AM PST

        In other words, Hoagland was saying "I'm BAAAA--AAAAAACK!!" However, he wasn't. In a superb demonstration of "Now-you-see-it-now-you-don't," that announcement was replaced within three hours with this one:


Reaction from the fans was swift and predictable:

Robert (on the web site comments): "RCH, you have been talking about this election for months, and how it’s the most important one in our lifetimes. Yet when you had a live show lined up to cover and discuss it (while it was happening!) you decided to wait until tomorrow?? That’s the last straw buddy….I find you phony, a liar, and a fraud. FoxNews Radio here I come. RCH, go _ _ _ _ yourself!"

"Nobody" on Bellgab: "Tonight was his last big chance.  No one is going to give a toss about this election 24 hours from now. Congratulations, Hoagland: you blew it, big style.  I hope Fred Lundgren is laughing his head off right now; I know I am.  :D"

Open your wallet and repeat after me: "Help yourself"
        A different type of reaction was typified by Michele Norris on the web comments, 31 October:
"I have been double charged since I subscribed to club 19-5, for 3 months. On 2 separate credit cards, $5 each. The paypal account and a personal bank card. I have tried at least a half dozen times emailing theorganicmike@gmail and have not received a reply. Also tried to call his number listed on your website and it does not answer. I see other people are also having this issue by reading these comments. Please contact me at [redacted]. I don’t want to cancel the subscription but i do want a $15 refund for the overcharges or 3 free months. Please. Your customer service appears to be nonexistent."
        So the summary of this farce is as follows: Hoagland refuses to pay the going rate for access to KCAA's facilities and audience. Hoagland goes off the air for 24 days. Hoagland promises he's back now. Hoagland reneges. Hoagland doesn't respond when members ask for a refund.

Do you see why I use the adjective ARROGANT?

Update 10 November:


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Point-by-point critique of Mike Bara's HIDDEN AGENDA

The full title of this book is Hidden Agenda: NASA and the Secret Space Program, and it's really awful. An embarrassment.

        I think I can guess how this book came about. David Hatcher Childress called Mike Bara up back in March, saying "Well Mike, your last two books sold like shit, but if you want to have another go this year, I'll publish it." So Mike, having no special idea for a book, just looked through stuff he's written before, checked what the hot topics du jour were on ATS, and said "Sure, I'll cobble something together."

        So here we have a real potboiler, and a slim one at that (192 pp., cf. 266 for last year's book.) As far as I know there's nothing original here at all--Bara merely plundered his own archives and those of other people (notably his former co-author Richard Hoagland.) It's what Chris Lawrence (a regular commenter here) calls "Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V scholarship."

        David Childress, the publisher, has been marginally less stingy than usual on this one. He didn't pay the $750-odd it would have cost to make an index, but he stumped up for an 8-page color signature, and he presumably shelled out a bit for copy editing. I only counted five keyboard errors in the whole book, and we know Mike Bara averages way more than that. The chapter header on every page of chapter 7 is incorrect--oops. It's a dead giveaway that the book was composed on Microsoft Word™, whose section header controls are notoriously slippery.

So here goes with 14 specific points:

1. pp. 24-27. Vimanas. This meme is so well-known in woo-woo circles that it's the name of an arcade game released in 1991 ("Taking place in an unnamed solar system, a devastating war overtakes an inhabited alien planet.... bla bla bla".) It's an article of faith for UFO loonies to believe Vimanas were advanced flying machines developed in ancient India, but they are almost certainly mythological, designed to inspire awe but having no reality (why am I thinking of Deepak Chopra and yogic flying?) Almost half the text on these four pages is Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V from internet sources like wikipedia. No sign of anything that might be called a Secret Space Program (SSP) yet.

2. p.85. The EM Drive. In the intervening pages we've scampered through Roswell, the Nazi Bell and Majestic-12, plus other standard UFO topics. There's nothing specifically to criticize here-- Bara is simply treading well-worn paths, and there's still no SSP. Bara writes of the EM Drive that "the results were astounding" when tests were done at the Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xi'an, China. Very funny. These results have now been shown to be experimental error. As Stuart Robbins of Exposing Pseudoastronomy pointed out in July 2015, the largest measured thrust (in the micro-newton range) was from the control experiment. I blogged about this a year ago, and here's a sensible article about it. Here's another one.

Bara writes that superconduction could theoretically increase thrust by a factor of 1,000, but that has not been shown. Interest in the EM Drive has already tapered off, and I expect it to go to zero pretty soon. And by the way, since there's nothing secret about this device, I feel entitled to ask WTF it's doing in this book.

3. pp. 87-89 Explorer 1. These pages are Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V from Bara's own work, as he repeats his catastrophically faulty analysis of the orbit of America's first satellite. The planned orbit was 220 x 1000 miles, and the actual orbit was 225 x 1594 miles. A layman might say "That's a 60% higher orbit than expected," and that's just what Bara, a layman in this science, does say. He writes "I can't emphasize how impossible this is" (missing word there, I believe.) But it's not impossible if the calculation is done right. The 60% excess just applies to the apogee measured from the surface of the Earth. And that's not a very useful factor in assessing the energy in the orbit. That can only be done by comparing the planned vs. actual semi-major axis of the entire orbit. When done like that, with the diameter of the planet included, the answer is 4868 miles actual, 4571 planned; an excess of 6.5%. You only have to look at a diagram to see immediately that +60% is a major, major error.

 credit: Enterprise mission

This is what a 60% larger orbit would look like:

Three more points on this topic. a) Bara rejects all conventional explanations for the excess, insisting that it can only be an anti-gravity effect induced by the rotation of the rocket's upper stages. But Bara himself has the answer to this enigma without realizing it. He writes (p.93) that the reason the upper stages were rotated was "because it had a cluster assembly of solid rocket boosters which had a tendency to fire unevenly." Quite right--those little Baby Sergeant military rockets (15 in all) did indeed have unreliable thrust, and that's all the explanation you need for a 6.5% increase in energy.

b) What Bara fails to realize is that, by the time those solids fired, the stack was traveling horizontally, so anti-gravity effects would not be too much help.

c) Bara writes (p.88) "At the time, there were only three stations in the worldwide satellite tracking network." Not true. The Microlock network had five stations, and the Spheredrop network had five more. The stations were at Antigua, Earthquake Valley (near San Diego), Florida, Ibadan, Singapore, China Lake, Temple City, White Sands, Cedar Rapids and Huntsville.

4. pp.91-2 Luna, Pioneer, Ranger. On these pages Bara Ctrl-C's material from p.30 of his book Ancient Aliens on the Moon. He's fretting about the failure of early attempts to send spacecraft to the Moon. The Soviets went first with Luna 1, missing by 3,725 miles. Then came the DARPAnote 1 project Pioneer 4, missing by over 37,000 miles. NASA's Ranger 3 missed by 23,000 miles. Ranger 4 scored a hit but with dead systems. Bara ascribes all this failure to the fact that these spacecraft were either spin-stabilized or had spinning gyroscopes stabilizing them, and to his layman's mind spin induces surplus speed, accounting for the errors. But, as I wrote in September 2012, Luna 1's problem was an admitted mission management error, and in any case 3,725 miles is just 1.5% of the distance traveled. Pioneer 4 was never designed to impact the Moon-- it was a flyby, carrying a lunar radiation environment experiment. Rangers 3 & 5 suffered a whole series of booster malfunctions which were well understood before NASA launched Rangers 6 & 7 successfully.

What made me LOL was Bara writing (p.91) "Shooting the Moon ... should have been like shooting fish in a barrel. All you have to do is boost the probe into orbit, and then fire the thruster on a trajectory to the spot you know the Moon is going to be in two days." Those two sentences serve to emphasize what a total dilettante Bara is on this topic.

He writes that Wernher Von Braun "must have" figured out that rotation was the problem, and made allowances for it. Elsewhere he has written that Von Braun "sneaked" an additional term into the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation without anyone noticing. That got another LOL, or even a LMFAO. Now we're very close to half way through this book and still no sign of a SSP.

5. p.95 Well, lookee here--rumors of a SSP at last. Bara speculates that by the time NASA was created in 1958, the Russians had perfected anti-gravity technology for spaceflight. He thinks--without citing any evidence whatever--that Kennedy and Von Braun came to a crisis decision. "Rather than develop their own anti-gravity propulsion systems, the quicker solution is to simply go to the Moon, where they will likely find abandoned "Anunnaki" technology, and reverse engineer it."  You gotta love that "simply" there, don'cha? So the Secret Space Program was just a layer of the very unsecret Project Apollo, according to Bara, and this is exactly what he said on Jimmy Church's Fade to Black podcast last June. The only part of the story we lack is EVIDENCE.

6. p.105. Bara writes here of Kennedy's May 1961 We Choose to Go to the Moon speech. He's confusing two different speeches here. May 1961 was the date of Kennedy's "I believe this nation should commit itself..." speech in Congress. "We Choose to Go to the Moon" was delivered at Rice University on 12 September 1962.

7. pp.110-115 Project Horizon.  In my opinion, Project Horizon is a swing and a miss at a SSP. Yes, true, it was a US Army outpost on the Moon, proposed in 1959, to cost $7 billion and be home to 12 personnel by December 1966. Yes, it was canceled before any components were even built. But secret? For how long? The illustrations in Bara's own book make it obvious that before it was half built every amateur astronomer on Earth would be saying "Er...excuse me.. what's THAT THING?"

Bara writes (p.115) "I see no reason why these plans couldn't have been carried out behind the scenes, in parallel with the public NASA space program." You couldn't, eh Mike? How about the 61 Saturn I and 88 Saturn II launches it would have taken to get the job done? Think they could have been secret too? Don't those rocket thingies make a lot of... you know, NOISE?

8. pp. 115-126 Apollo 12.  Now, 60% into the book, we're getting to the nitty gritty at last. Mike Bara alleges that whereas Apollo 11 was purely ceremonial, Apollo 12 was the start of the real seekrit effort to go get the Anunnaki technology. He's about 25% right. Apollo 11 was largely ceremonial, and Apollo 12 had as part of its mission the retrieval of technology. But the technology was ours to begin with--part of the soft-lander Surveyor 3 which had successfully touched down in Oceanus Procellarum in April 1967. Mike Bara offers us not even the ghost of a piece of evidence that alien technology was collected or even contemplated. Instead  he gives us a cock-and-bull story. According to him, the accidental misuse of the color TV camera, shutting it down for the whole of both EVAs, was not an accident but deliberately contrived to avoid showing us plain evidence of alien ruins on the horizon. Well, this is really ridiculous. Quite apart from the hundreds of high-quality 70mm stills that the Apollo 12 astronauts shot, we have the following pseudo-evidence from Bara's former co-author Richard Hoagland. In promoting the book they wrote together, Dark Mission, Hoagland created a web page with some come-ons he thought would make punters buy the book. Among them was this picture, which he said showed Alan Bean deploying the ALSEP experiments on Apollo 12 with a backdrop of... you guessed it, alien ruins!!

Actually of course, those splotches in the sky (which also appear in the astronaut's shadow) are the result of Hoagland's photoshopping efforts with the brightness and curves controls. For comparison, here's an unmanipulated version of that image.

So here we have, on the one hand, Mike Bara telling us that Al Bean was so determined that we should not see what he was seeing that he deliberately ruined a vital piece of equipment, and on the other hand, Richard Hoagland (and Bara must have known about this too) showing us that Al Bean's fellow astronaut, Pete Conrad, was not at all shy about showing us the alien ruins. Both these propositions cannot be true, can they? Actually, neither of them is true. Apollo 12 was a supremely successful lunar mission that brought back only what it said it did, and there are no alien ruins at that site or anywhere else on the Moon.

9. p.117. Crystal towers? Bara here writeth: "I believe the Moon, especially the front side, is mostly covered by towering crystalline, glass-like structures which acted as a makeshift meteor shield for the various alien basses [sic, one of the five keyboard errors] operating on the surface below." By way of illustration, he adds an image, and here it is:

Know the only problem with that image? It's upside down. The original is a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter oblique shot showing landslides down the rim of Marius crater, in Oceanus Procellarum. Take a look. 

This can only be deliberate deception, and as a reader of what's listed as a non-fiction book I don't take kindly to it. David Hatcher Childress, please take note. And by the way, if that's what Mike Bara really thinks the front side of the Moon is like he can't have spent much time studying the thousands of images we now have at a resolution of 0.8 metres/pixel. This error is truly awful.

10. p.123 The "secret radio channel." Bara writes that the Apollo astronauts, while on the Moon, had the ability to talk privately to Mission Control. He writes "One way is to use the bio-medical telemetry feed, which had duplex capability and could be used for private voice communication." Totally untrue. There never was any secret channel. The more mundane truth is that they could arrange to talk to the flight surgeon and/or their families without those conversations being released to the media. But they were conducted over the exact same S-Band link as all the other chit-chat. Mike Bara told the same story on Ancient Aliens S11E11, Space Station Moon. It's just wrong.

11. p.145 Technology transfer. Bara writes that fiber optics, lasers, integrated circuits and transistors were all technologies captured from the Roswell aliens. He believes this because he Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V'd it from Philip Corso's book The Day After Roswell. He writes that these technologies were "far beyond the industrial capacity of the United States at that time." Of those technologies, only the transistor saw any kind of breakthrough development in the second half of the 1940s, and that was undoubtedly due to William Shockley's patient work rather than any alien secrets. Fiber optics was not far beyond anyone in 1947--the technology was known but not mature. It took the idea of doping with titanium to make optical fibers really useful, and that didn't happen until 1970.

12. Chapter 7, pp.145-160. The header of this chapter is "The Whistleblowers," and as I started it, I was getting ready to roll my eyes at Ken Johnston's outrageous claims about NASA tampering with original negative film. In fact, Bara's heros are even worse. They include Bob Dean, who claims that certain of our celebrities are genetically modified Anunnakis. They include--incredibly--Bob Lazar, whose story is so utterly ridiculous that even the wackiest of the ATS crowd won't swallow it. Bara believes (p.155) that there are gigantic secret orbiting space platforms staffed by military officers. His evidence is from Youtube.

13. Chapter 8, pp.161-177. Just when I thought this insanity could get no worse, Bara came at me with an entire chapter on Project Serpo. Serpo was the mother of all space hoaxes, dreamed up by an author as publicity for his new book. It's so excruciating that I can't bear to write it up--readers are directed to the Rational Wikipedia article.

14. p.174 John Glenn. In this blog, February 2012, I had a good laugh at Richard Hoagland for totally misunderstanding John Glenn's guest appearance on the TV comedy show "Frasier" (March 2001.) On the show, Glenn agreed to go along with a joke which had him sitting down in a radio studio and blurting out a spoof confession about seeing aliens in space. The producers provided a laugh track just in case anybody thought Glenn's "confession" was real. Here's the sequence, see for yourselves, folks. Well, guess what? Here in this book Mike Bara totally falls for it, missing the joke. What's worse, he has the goddam nerve to call John Glenn a liar for having denied that same story in public. I nearly shredded this book in disgust. David Hatcher Childress, please take another note: Readers do not take kindly to whipper-snappers like University dropout Mike Bara insulting our foremost national hero. Decorated combat pilot, first American in orbit, oldest man to fly in space (STS-95), Senator for Ohio 1974-1999, Chair of the Senate Committee for Governmental Affairs 1987-1995, candidate for US Vice president 1976. On behalf of Senator Glenn, FUCK YOU, MIKE BARA.

[1] Bara wrote DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.) Actually Pioneers 3 & 4 were joint projects of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (Von Braun's outfit at the Redstone Arsenal, later MSFC) and JPL under the direction of NASA. It's noteworthy that these space probes were launched by Juno II, a rocket stack virtually identical to the one that launched Explorer 1. Although not a perfect performer, Juno II had 4 successes out of 10 launches.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another false claim from Robert Morningstar

James Concannon writes...

        Of all the Apollo Moonwalkers, the late Ed Mitchell is the unquestioned darling of the pseudoscience crowd. In more than one interview, he stated quite categorically that representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations have visited Planet Earth, and continue to keep watch over our affairs right now. He does not claim to have any actual evidence of this, only that he has been told this by senior US military officers and believes them.

        The pseudoscience people often simply project that rather weird claim into areas that they wish were true, like Mitchell's own experiences on the Moon. Yesterday, Robert AM* posted this on the Book of Farces:

" I discovered photos of UFOs taken by Mitchell hlehe [sic] was on the surface of the Moon."

         Challenged to produce these photos, he did not respond. What makes it funnier is that, at almost the same time, he posted a link to part of a Mitchell interview on the Tube that is You. At 1:25 in this video, Mitchell says "I don't have any personal first-hand UFO experience." In plain language, Mitchell saw nothing and heard nothing on the Moon that amounts to any hint of an extraterrestrial presence (unless you count rocks).

        Why does AM*, who bills himself as a "civilian intelligence analyst," make these false claims? I can only guess, and my guess is that he likes his fans to think he's "in the know" about woo-woo affairs. It reminds me of when, in January 2015, he claimed to have a copy of the "1967 edition" of the Brookings Report. There is no such document, and he has never been able to cite any language from it that supports his erroneous interpretation of the 1960 report.

        Just like Hoagland, Bara, Wilcock, Brandenburg, Lainey et al., AM* has a different concept of "truth" from that which most of us share.

Update April 2017
         Just for shits & giggles I asked him about this again. It turns out he means this image of Turtle Rock:

image credit: NASA

        Yes, there's scanner contamination up in the sky, near the second fiducial from left. Ed Mitchell stepped a little to his right and shot the next frame:

Oh look, nothing in the sky.

--James Concannon

Friday, October 7, 2016

John Brandenburg, lost in space

        People often ask, about pseudoscientists, whether they really believe the nonsense they peddle or whether, perhaps, they just pretend to believe as a way of selling books and raking in the conference fees. I've asked that question myself, particularly in respect of Richard Hoagland. Can a man who may not be highly educated but who has accumulated a certain amount of knowledge about spaceflight really think that NASA's launch times are governed by astrology? I don't know the answer but I think the default assumption must be "Yes, he really is that stupid."

        Perhaps the extreme case of this dilemma is John Brandenburg, who was given yet another two hours on Coast to Coast AM last Wednesday night to promote his 2015 book Death on Mars. Brandenburg is a bona fide physicist with real expertise in nuclear fission and fusion, and a real grasp of the realities of interpreting scientific data from unmanned space missions. So why is he still telling us that the so-called "Face" on Mars has eyes, nostrils and a headdress, when we all know that has been falsified (see my blogpost 40 Years of the Face on Mars.) Why is he telling us that NASA/JPL never released the THEMIS imagery of Cydonia returned by Mars Odyssey, when it's so easy to find those images on the net?

        Most puzzling of all, why is this man now devoting his career to the proposition that there is evidence of thermonuclear warfare on Mars? On Wednesday, he took full advantage of the opportunity handed to him by George Noory to trot that pony round the ring once again. I've already pointed out the weakness of his evidence about xenon isotope ratios, and so has Stuart Robbins, so there's no need to torture our brains on that topic today. But another piece of what he claims as evidence is the discovery of glass on Mars. On C2C he said "thousands of square miles were turned to glass, and made radioactive." He did not cite evidence for that, but on another occasion he has said this:
"Vitrified soil, etched with acid, has been found at the sites of both hypothetical explosions, but nowhere else on Mars. This mineral resembles "trinitite", the melt glass found at the site of nuclear explosions. So I consider my hypothesis is being supported by new data." [emph. added]
        When he wrote that (in December 2014) he cited a paper in Geology by Briony Horgan and James F. Bell: "Widespread weathered glass on the surface of Mars." See that word "widespread"? Horgan and Bell offer absolutely no support to his contention that the glass is concentrated at his two nuclear explosion sites. They report volcanic glass over virtually the whole Northern hemisphere, and nowhere state that it is radioactive. Brandenburg has committed the cardinal sin of citing someone else's work as supporting a hypothesis when it in fact does no such thing.

OMG Klingons!
       In the second hour, Brandenburg launched himself even further from science and logic. On the topic of "disclosure," he said this:
05:50 "Let's assume for the sake of argument that the US Government knows we're not alone in the universe.... If there's that much smoke there must be fire... So let's say the government knows this, and it realizes its goal is that some day we're like Startrek. If we're up to speed with the rest of the universe, yeah the Klingons are out there, so are the Romulans, so are the rest of the Federation ... There's a whole zoo out there, but we can get along with them, especially if we keep our powder dry and our eyes peeled. So we can deal with this, but we must become spacefaring, we must become an advanced race. So if that's the government's goal, then they have to eventually break it to the public that we're not alone. And the best way, as it turns out, is to find a primitive, long dead, civilization on Mars. It's the best possible way, because unlike a radio signal... the government I'm sure has a list of radio beacons that they know aboutnote 1. And ... but if you allow those to come to light, then this causes a big fuss.  And a bunch of nitwits will argue "Oh we should send a message back saying that we're friendly."...note 2 So instead of having all that debate [about whether we should reply] ...  and deciphering the message.. Instead of having people trying to decipher the message to try and respond, there's none of that debate. No-- these people are dead. They've been dead for a long time, they were primitive. So that not only makes us feel advanced, it also makes us feel lucky. So there's a positive message there. We're alive, they're dead, and by the way the people depicted on the faces look very humanoid."
        See the inherent fallacy there? He's talking as if the powers that be are vigorously promoting his ideas and those of Hoagland, Bara, Carlotto etc. as a way of gently breaking the news. But that's not at all what's happening. On the contrary, Brandenburg, Hoagland et al. are getting absolutely no encouragement from The White House, Congress, or The Pentagon, still less from NASA or from Malin Space Science Systems.

        So I say Brandenburg is delusional. What's more, not only does he pronounce "nuclear" incorrectly ("nucular") but he pronounces "Mare" (as in Mare Acidalium, for example) like a female horse, instead of the latin "Mah-ray." Credibility gap, anyone?

=======================/ \======================
[1] This is so unlikely that it can be discounted. The government (well, NASA) started a serious SETI program in 1992 but Congress canceled it (ref). What's a serious physicist doing putting out these silly rumors without evidence?
[2] I elided Noory's interjection "Stephen Hawking says 'Don't answer back'". Hawking's warning has had a lot of attention in the media, but it's not new at all. "If the cosmic phone rings, don't answer" was the title chosen by Nick Pope for his report on the 2010 Royal Society 2-day conference, whose full title was “The detection of extraterrestrial life and the consequences for science and society”. I am certain that the first person who said that was an anthropologist, speaking in the 1970s. Unfortunately I can't remember who it was, and Google doesn't recognize life before about 1990.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Morningstar, Bara, not even wrong

James Concannon writes....

"Obama handing The Peoples’ Internet to Communist China" -- headline in Canada Free Press, 30 September, reposted on the Book of Faces with relish by Robert Morningstar.

        The utterly misinformed article under that headline claimed that on October 1st "control of the Internet" was handed to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU)-- an organization that is run by the Peoples Republic of China.

        I guess that must count as what the Rational Wikipedia likes to call "Not Even Wrong"--meaning, a statement so totally unconnected with anything true that it isn't even possible to discuss it. As I'm sure most readers here already know, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the US Department of Commerce lapsed, as had been planned for 18 years. All it means is that the US Govt will no longer have oversight of the Domain Name System (DNS) database. DNS will be curated, as it has been since 1998, by an expert international body. ICANN has no ability, or desire, to control content on the net. The change had the support of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Verizon, organized as the Internet Governance Coalition (largely because they feared that, if this didn't happen, something worse would). The ITU has nothing to do with it, and is not an arm of Communist China in any case.

        Robert Morningstar is not an expert on Internet policy or technical structure, in fact he appears to be remarkably ignorant on both topics. The sole reason he reposted that spectacularly false CFP article is that he thought he would score a political point. Candidate Trump, you see, is one of several American politicians who opposed the ending of ICANN's contract on First Amendment grounds. Morningstar has been frothing at the mouth over the US Presidential election all this year. ICANN itself released the following statement:
"The US government has never, and has never had the ability to, set the direction of the (ICANN) community’s policy development work based on First Amendment ideas ... The US government has no decreased role. Other governments have no increased role. There is simply no change to governmental involvement in policy development work in ICANN."

Mike Bara places his virtual foot in his twitter mouth
        Another of this blog's regular targets, college dropout and world-famous author of unintended fiction Mike Bara, also got this event spectacularly wrong, and for similarly slimy political reasons. Yesterday he tweeted "The first thing that ICANN will block are all the videos showing Hillary using a teleprompter in the first debate."

       Another superb example of not even wrong--and now I hate myself for allowing myself to be drawn into such crass stupidity as the secret teleprompter. Ugh.

Update 2 Oct:
A follow-up piece from Canada Free Press, dated 1 October, reported:
"As quickly as you could say Barry Soetoro the Internet was all but officially stamped ‘Made in China’ at midnight last night."
        The author of both these pieces of shit is Judi McLeod. Ms. McLeod hasn't, apparently, even now understood that the ITU is nothing to do with this story.

Obama’s handing off Internet to China Controlled UN ITU now a fait accompli CFP, 1 Oct
US hands internet control to ICANN C|Net, 1 Oct
Has the US just given away the internet? BBC News, 1 Oct
Y2K 2.0: Is the US government set to “give away the Internet” Saturday?  Ars Technica, 30 Sept

Thanks to Chris L for sources