Friday, March 24, 2017

Mike Bara gets it wrong as usual

        Mike Bara, the world-renowned geneticist and physiologist, was invited once again to blather for three hours on Jimmy Church's podcast Fade to Black this week. 90% of it was discussion of a series of images of odd-looking artifacts on Mars. There was the pistol, the sarcophagus, the fossilized dinosaur, and my personal favorite the 20ft high cat playing air guitar.

        This was just the standard Bara performance. He consistently confuses "looks a bit like" with "actually is," all the while insisting that there's no such thing as pareidolia. The supreme example of his delusion came last May, when in a different podcast he said he knew these exhibits weren't just rocks because "rocks have very specific shapes." Er... I don't think that's really true, Mike.

        It was such standard stuff that I wouldn't be writing it up at all if Bara hadn't strayed off the over-beaten path of Martian artifacts into areas of genetics and physiology. "The human race originally came from Mars," he said, and produced two items of pseudo-evidence. The genetic part was "Our DNA is alien." How does he know that? Well, it's simple. It's often said that human and chimpanzee genomes differ by only 10% (actually it's more like 4%note 1) but 10% amounts to 650 billion base pairs, and you can pack a lot of alien information into that. He didn't get around to actually saying how he knew that the extra genetic information came from Mars rather than, say, from seven million yearsnote 2 of adaptation to life on the ground instead of in the trees, and/or exposure to very different food sources and disease threats.

Adapting to Mars
        The physiology part was this: Astronauts in space, he claimed, tend to adopt a Martian-style circadian rhythm 40 minutes longer than 24 hours. I don't know where he got that pseudo-data from, and it's highly suspicious because astronaut circadian cycles are highly controlled. By default, NASA astronauts stick to Houston time simply because that makes life easier for ground controllers. Unless there's some compelling reason to do something at what would be 3 a.m. in Houston, sleepy time is scheduled in synch with Central Time. The fact that astronauts very seldom sleep the full eight hours is a slightly different story.

        I can say with certainty, moreover, that there's absolutely no evidence that humans are more comfortable with the Martian day length rather than the boring old 24 hours of Mother Earth. The truth is the converse--and I know that because the science teams controlling Martian rovers from Pasadena have a very hard time adjusting, as they must, to the Martian day. Shifting through two time zones every three days turns out to be a very hard routine to keep up: It leads to irritability, lack of concentration and all-around decreased performance. I remember reading an excellent article in Scientific Americannote 3 about this. Seems it became a serious problem at JPL, especially when rover operations stretched longer than expected.  The Pathfinder mission, for example, was initially expected to last seven days but ultimately ran to 85. Nobody had planned for it. Joy Crisp, now a principal scientist at JPL, said  "I just remember getting to day 30 and thinking, 'I can't keep this up.'"  The article continues:
NASA leaders claim they have become more sensitive to the issue over the years. Andrew Mishkin, who helped plan the Curiosity mission, says that for the first time NASA officials decided to put a definitive three-month cap on Mars time. They also scheduled people to work no more than four days in a row, encouraged employees to monitor their own and their colleagues' fatigue levels, and had Human Resources prowl the lab for zombied workers to send home. "But everybody was pretty tired of it by November," when the 90th sol finally set, Mishkin says. And when NASA officials wanted to extend the Mars schedule past the 90th sol because the rover was running behind schedule, they put it up to a democratic vote: The answer was a resounding "No."
        So I reject Mike Bara's idea, on technical grounds. I'm not even going to mention how totally daft it is to hypothesize an intelligent race of Martians who escaped catastrophe by emigrating to Earth. Oh well, perhaps I'll mention it after all. IT'S BUNKUM, MIKE BARA.

[1] ref: Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack. Ajit Varki and Tasha Altheide in Genome Research:2005. 15: 1746-1758
[2] The common ancestor was between five and seven million years ago.
[3] Step into the Twilight Zone: Can Earthlings Adjust to a Longer Day on Mars? Katie Worth, Scientific American 29 January 2013


Anonymous said...

" So I reject Mike Bara's idea, on technical grounds. I'm not even going to mention how totally daft it is to hypothesize an intelligent race of Martians who escaped catastrophe by emigrating to Earth. Oh well, perhaps I'll mention it after all. IT'S BUNKUM, MIKE BARA. "

Surely and by no means in defense of Mike "Cartman" Bara but your statement falls within the category of "All Swans are White"


Dee said...

Hmmm, it's true that at least for for a while the theory was there that the human circadian clock tends to crawl towards the 25 hours if not "tuned" by eg external daylight cues. But I think later research is more conservative with that. This link is from 1999: Human Biological Clock Set Back an Hour and settles for 24 hours, 11 minutes. Also it's known caffeine can add incidentally around 40 minutes to a clock cycle, depending on when you drink it during the day, which for some people can really mess things. It's all very interesting stuff and there might be more recent numbers, but the clock might, without feedback loop, run indeed a bit over 24 hours for whatever reason.

As for the human genome, not alien DNA perhaps, but I did see interesting research about DNA of bacteria and viruses ending up in there, even during later stages of evolution. It's possible that viruses are instrumental for this mutation process. Gene-swapping means you have alien DNA inside you (BBC). It's not that different from how it's done in laboratories so the question always will come up about alien guidance of some sorts. And if alien DNA would arrive through some mechanism (rocks, ice) like with panspermia, the concept of it ending up in our DNA is not that crazy after all.

The percentage game is trickier: one could argue there's more genetic difference in percentage between men and women than between male human and chimpanzee. The source of a lot of jokes but even when technically it's probably true, it shows the devil always sits in the details.


expat said...

Thanks for the interesting comments. Dee, I would just add that it's one thing to insert a gene, quite another to get that gene actually expressed. Medical researchers struggling to make gene therapy work have found how hard that can be. I think the BBC piece was way over-optimistic on that score.

F.C. Trevor Gale said...

I do trust that my comment on this is at least as clear, helpful, explanatory and time-consuming as the quoted contributor to 'Fade to Black' (Mike Bara) was in his efforts.

Now, looking at the image it was immediately clear to me that it's been received and decoded from the ancient radio signals of the time (oops, sorry, dreaming).

Remember, please, that the propagation of radio signals into space occurs at a fixed speed* of 300,000km/S whilst space itself can be considered as being of infinite dimensions. (* This velocity is altered in the presence or effect of certain dielectrics but for our purposes here we can safely assume the free space velocity since free space is over 99% of the path).
That is why we can receive some of the Cosmic Microwave Background, representing what was emitted just a few moments from the dawn of beginning as it were. Such waves can also be reflected from objects, even returning to the area from which they were emitted.

To return to the subject, the actual signals to which I refer above were generated and emitted by the broadcasting (eons ago) of the television programme "Mars Got Talent". Television at that time on Mars was normally sent out with the standard 'MAB' [#1], remarkably similar to the American standard of today, 'NTSC' [#2]. It was therefore relatively easy to adapt our earth technology to decode these signals.

Ancient alien artistic talent was far more advanced than is commonly recognised: in the received screen-capture image you can clearly see the cat is actually dancing, something which even today in our world is not a normality even in tropical climes with tin roofs [#3] on buildings. You may not immediately realise it, but if you view the image properly, making a scientific observation, you can see the show host seen in the picture to the left of the cat - clearly a very distant predecessor of a tall, long-headed Egyptian King, looking on as the cat shows off its dancing. That, by the way, is backed up by the well-known fact that even high-level Egyptians in society held cats in high regard and with much respect [#4].
So, with all this unrefutable evidence duly considered the image shown provides absolute proof that in all likelihood we ourselves (and our cats) are descended from these beings who had such advanced scientific knowledge and ability on Mars so many eons ago. Naturally, due to the passage of such a long time, some of these abilities and the knowledge behind them have decayed during the journey and during the adaptation to the new and different conditions on the new planet, Earth. That is why we now have what are still inferior television broadcasting standards which to this day have not evolved to the point where all countries share the same advantageous standard. Knowledge is quite a delicate matter and can get rubbed off due to the erosion of time. (sorry, off dreaming again).

F.C. Trevor Gale said...

Okay, here I didn't mention the chimpanzees, but there's a reason for that. It's difficult. First off, adult chimpanzees are frightened when they see a half-size model of a chimpanzee head (Hebben & Thompson 1954 et al). Do we in general have a similar fear? No. Secondly, on the other hand, chimpanzees are frightened by snakes and certain reptiles - which is fairly logical as they represent possible danger. Do we in general have similar fears? Yes. Thirdly, chimpanzees will always avoid fouling their own nest or residence, often by leaning over the edge of the same. However, it is indeed accepted that we as humans differ only by some 5% in our genomes from chimpanzees.

So my difficulty in approaching the matter of alien content in our genomes versus evolved changes from chimp genomes comes from the lack of a reference sample: Taking the programme contributor (M.B) as a prime typical example of a human, I find it impossible to determine if he suffers from a fear of half-sized models. I also find it impossible to determine if he fears reptiles. On the other hand it seems quite obvious that he has no worry concerning the fouling of his own nesting area [#5]. Therefore in summary it is very difficult to arrive at any reliable conclusion concerning the genome make-up of this 5% on the basis of a sadly lacking and inconsistent reference sample.

To end, at last, let's face it, any kid can chuck a load of pebbles onto the grass and chances are you could act the 'artist' and suggest that the result shows 'a sort of' something - maybe a space station, maybe a dinosaur in the kitchen, anything. I used to build sandcastles on the beach as a kid, never did get to see any little warriors firing arrows over the walls though. Oh, and rocks? Sure they can have specific shapes, or 'formations' - of just about an infinite different kind but so can screwed-up bunches of tissues of piles of cut grass in the fields or whatever else springs to mind. I suppose if it looks like an arsehole it must be an arsehole...

[#1] - MAB : 'More Antiquated Bull', an attribute which can be well applied to the outpours of certain pseudoscientist authors.

[#2] - NTSC : 'National Television Standards Committee' - the video standard for television commonly adopted in North America and certain other parts of the world. Sometimes referred to as 'Never Twice the Same Color'.

[#3] - 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', a play by Tennessee Williams but also an expression for someone or something which moves rapidly and irregularly.

[#4] - Cats, felines, called "Mau" in old Egyptian, were seen as and treated as sacred in ancient Egyptian society. Some were eventually elevated to the status as deities.

[#5] - The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores ...
By Richard Estes

Eye opener said...

I have to agree with Bara on this bogus and contrived debunking term "pareidolia". Ashwin Vasavada and other NASA sycophants are so drunk on their flavor of Mars kool-aid saying everything we see on Mars is just a rock. Humans may indeed have a psychological weakness in that the brain tries to make sense out of abstract imagery, but I can tell you that Vasavada and others like Oberg suffer from a more debilitating condition known as denial. Defined as refusal to accept factual information that conflicts with strongly held beliefs. I met Jimmy Church last year at the UFO festival in Roswell as he came by my booth to examine my Martian artifact replicas, and I have to say Church and Bara are not idiots!

expat said...

Thanks for the comment Eye opener. Pareidolia is not a weakness but an adaptive advantage. It enables us to recognize members of our family and of our tribe. Think about the total number of people that you recognize on sight, including family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, celebrities. It's probably several thousand, and isn't that amazing?

I say Bara is an idiot because he makes statements like "John Glenn is a liar" (Hidden Agenda, p.174) and he's dishonest because he took an image of a landslip on the Moon, turned it upside down, and claimed it is a "crystal tower" (Hidden Agenda, p. 117.)

Trekker said...

Pareidolia isn't a 'weakness', Eye Opener, but a perfectly normal trait of the human brain to make sense out of random noise. Bara won't accept such a neutral, non-judgmental definition, but lashes out instead at anyone who calls him out on it. He has to, of course. To do otherwise would be to admit his books, based on pareidolia, are a pile of nonsense.

Chris said...

Isn't it funny, Eye opener, that all the supposed artifacts seen in Mars rocks are things which make sense to alien hunters on Earth in 2017? I mean, surely we'd be seeing artificial relics all over the place with no idea what they do, but clearly not natural? What is this odd looking device made of some kind of alloy? Is this perfectly cut glass? That metal object isn't natural! Is this infrastructure? Is that a factory?

But no, there's curiously none of that at all. This advanced alien species which escaped into space left zero evidence of their technology. But what's that over there, is it a partly fossilised rocket, or perhaps a broken and eroded pipeline? No, it's a cat playing air guitar!

This is bara and his kind doing mental gymnastics and fitting whatever he can to any pattern that is half usable. He is pathetic, a joke, and I think even he knows it deep down. It's not denial to reject the idea of aliens based on no evidence for their existence. If you think it's something more then you need to come up with some evidence for it. It's as simple as that. I want to see hardcore alien technology and unattural objects, not endless rocks, a fossilised sneaker-looking thing or a cat with bizarrely long legs playing air guitar.


Trekker said...

Chris, good point about the 'artifacts' making sense only to 21st century humans. If Galileo or William Herschel, or any of the great observers of past centuries had access to these images, I wonder what they'd see? They certainly wouldn't recognize his 'satellite dishes', or anything else that hadn't been invented before the 20th century.

Eye opener said...

Trekker and Chris, how to respond to you guys is a bit of a challenge as always when confronting skeptics. Sometimes a statue is still a statue even if it is broken and lying on the ground. Are sure when you look at Mt. Rushmore that you are seeing the faces of great presidents? We have been told that somebody spent years carving them into the mountainside, but it could still be just a trick of light and shadow or better yet-- "pareidolia". I would like to personally invite you guys to attend the UFO Festival in Roswell, NM. this coming 4th of July weekend for the 70th anniversary of the saucer crash. I will have a booth there, and I will be happy to show in detail how my replicas of ancient Martian artifacts are faithful reproductions of unquestionably artificial objects on Mars. Natural geologic processes can not create the intricate details (such as reptilian scales) that depict a crocodile, a snake, or create a temple archway with a satkona yantra (six pointed star) in the center of the archway. All of my artwork is copyrighted but by the hardest as the Library of Congress mysteriously "misplaced" my deposit copies, requiring me to resubmit copies directly to the director Juanita Jackson for special handling. It seems that maybe there are some "heavy hitters" in prominent institutions that would prefer the public not see the truth about Mars. Peace.

expat said...

I'd love to see your model of the air-guitar-playing cat. However, I will not be in Roswell in July.

Trekker said...

I have no intention of going to any such conference a) so far from home and b) so lacking in interest to me.

Your Mt. Rushmore analogy doesn't fly as it's not an example of pareidolia, but of sculpture of known provenance. There were no 'tricks of light and shadow' involved in its creation.

You still didn't address my point about recognition of anomalous 'artifacts' on Mars. Besides the satellite dishes (on the moon, but a claim by Bara nontheless), how would an astronomer from a century previous to the 20th explain the 'Theme Restaurant in LA', the 'tank' and the 'turbo charger', to name but three items, that Bara claims to see on Mars? Would such an astronomer from those bygone years even SEE those items against the background noise? Why does Bara see only 20/21st century machines? Why does he never see a spinning jenny or a steam engine from centuries past, for example? Let's say there WAS an alien artifact lying in full view of Curiosity. Would Bara even see it? Would he recognize it as an alien artifact or pass over it because it looks just like a rock? See what I'm getting at? We're all influenced by the culture around us, Bara included.

expat said...

Eye opener: I'd like to see the reptile scales and the satkona yantra. Can you post links to jpgs? I mean the originals on Mars, not your models.

Eye opener said...

Expat: On the NASA photo found at is a carved crocodile artifact lying on its side. The belly area of the artifact has rectangular scales, whereas the exposed side of the crocodile body has more circular shaped scales (similar to a real crocodile). The lotus flower motif on the crocodile's headdress suggest this crocodile was female; perhaps a matriarchal "Sobek" prototype icon. Interestingly, in the upper right hand side of the photo is another strange artifact that can best be described as a mechanical crablike rover. There are clearly two rows of articulating appendages running parallel on the viewed underside of the artifact. The six point star relief carved into a broken in half "torana" archway can be seen lying on the ground in PIA 16702 at the far top end of the photo to right of center a bit. Download the .tiff and with a high res monitor, you can zoom in and find this artifact, and many others. Happy artifact hunting. Cheers.

expat said...

EO: Either you are George Haas or you share George Haas's delusions. Mars has never had enough oxygen for a croc to evolve or even survive. Beyond that, the context is woefully insufficient. A crocodile-carving civilization would need houses to provide shelter, roads of some kind to move around on, solar collectors to provide energy, and the infrastructure of water management. We see none of these things.

Eye opener said...

Expat: My friend, I'm a little surprised by your response. The evidence of civilization and infrastructure IS there on Mars, albeit in ruins. I believe it is a sad mistake to predispose yourself to unreasonable cynicism by assuming that everything you have been told by the established scientific community to be gospel truth. The truth about Mars is probably more bizarre and horrific than you can imagine. I find Dr. John Brandenberg's investigations into the presence of Xenon 129 in the Martian atmosphere to be highly credible. Extremely powerful nuclear detonations are most likely the reason we see so much of Mars in ruins. You are welcome to remain in your comfortable compartmentalized little box of safe mainstream "sanitized for the masses" reality. I prefer to observe evidence without prejudice, and hopefully open the eyes of those who are not afraid to say the emperor's choice of royal attire sucks.

expat said...

« The evidence of civilization and infrastructure IS there on Mars, albeit in ruins. »

Well, now it's my turn to be surprised. You surely can not take seriously Hoagland's "discoveries" of the ruins of a motel (that turn out to be a few cm between floors,) a sneaker, a child's toy, and a wonky pentagonal pyramid. This is mere childish error.

« I find Dr. John Brandenberg's investigations into the presence of Xenon 129 in the Martian atmosphere to be highly credible. »

Well I do not, as I expounded at possibly boring length last May. To save you the trouble of reading all my turgid prose, there are better explanations for the excess of 129Xe than a thermonuclear war. Chief among them is the established facts that:

* 129Xe is formed by decay of 129I.
* Iodine is a solid at Martian temperature and pressure.
* It follows that, when the planet lost most of its early atmosphere, iodine would not have been affected by whatever calamity caused the loss.

I believe it is a sad mistake to predispose yourself to unreasonable fantasy by ignoring established and peer-reviewed science.

Eye opener said...

Expat, I am no big Hoagland fan, nor do I embrace the Cydonia claims by George Haas whom I never even heard of until you mentioned his name. I am not a NASA hater, in fact I have hired former engineers from NASA as consultants and found them to be quite competent. I appreciate the hard work NASA has done to get these big Mars projects off the ground, but I do not appreciate the obfuscation by amateurish photoshopping and smudging over details in the Curiosity photos-- and I have seen quite a few. Malin's boys need a little schooling in that area. I'm sorry I don't buy into the Iodine decay hypothesis to explain the Xenon 129, as I'm sure you would rather not consider the trinitite evidence that Brandenberg also presents. Nonetheless, I read your blog on the matter, and I saw you humbly admit to not being a physicist, but in the next breath you slam Brandenberg as a pseudo-scientist. I would never throw out the I'm a nuclear physicist and you are an ex BBC producer canard, but I think John could give you a run for your money in a real debate on the subject with all due respect. As for ignoring "established and peer reviewed science" goes, I could not accomplish doing difficult engineering projects with that mentality. However, when people like Ashwin Vasavada contrive voodoo Martian geology to explain away building ruins as rock formations, I could not care less how many papers he has submitted for peer review on the subject. Peace.

expat said...

« I'm sorry I don't buy into the Iodine decay hypothesis to explain the Xenon 129, as I'm sure you would rather not consider the trinitite evidence that Brandenberg also presents. »

Iodine decay is rather more than a hypothesis, EO. The half-life is 16 million years. Per Zahnle (1993), Mars lost most of its primordial atmosphere within the first 100 million years. That means 129I has had 4.4 x 10^9 years to make its contribution. That is 275 half-lives.

129Xe is not a fission product of either 235U or 241Pu. It only appears in the atmosphere as a result of the rare process known as fast fission. Brandenberg is indeed more expert than me on these questions, but he is not justified in ignoring the 129I > 129Xe pathway.

To support his trinitite hypothesis, Brandenburg cites a paper by Horgan & Bell from Geology 2011, but the article offers no real support for his contention. Horgen & Bell report widespread volcanic glass and do not even mention trinitite. The entire Northern hemisphere of Mars shows evidence of past volcanism—there is nothing special about the two areas Brandenburg focuses on.