Thursday, July 18, 2019

Robert Morningstar does something disgusting again

James Concannon reports...

        In January 2016, Robert Morningstar posted on his Faceboo page a disgusting image of a decapitated woman in a lake of blood. The accompanyhing text read:
"Islam is a religion of pieces of human beings, left scattered, with many other victims maimed across the world in the Name of Allah, the merciless and despicable, a demonic deity who demands and condones subhuman barbarity and depravity such as this."
        As expat reported at the time, the image was in fact taken in an isolated village in Brazil, and depicted the crime of a frantically jealous young man who caught his girlfriend posting photos to another man on WhatsApp. Thus, it had nothing to do with Islam and was nothing but a revolting piece of propaganda.

        Today, Morningstar is at it agin, reposting what purports to be an image of the bloody remains of a woman stoned to death. The caption is "Muslims rape, stone 60-year-old Christian woman to death," and the accompanying text from The Geller Report has today's date.
"Islamic terrorists from the Jihadist organization Jabhat al-Nusra stoned to death an Armenian Christian woman living in the Syrian province of Idlib. Christian and human rights groups reported over the last week that the 60-year-old Suzan Der Kirkour was found dead outside of her village, al-Yaqoubiyeh."
        In fact, the image is a still from a Persian-language drama movie released in 2008. The title was "The Stoning of Soraya M". I have asked Morningstar to remove this offensive item and apologize.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Kerry Cassidy reports from a Greek island

"Something told me not to return to the states on July 2nd as planned so I took a week off.. flew to a lovely island...China Lake connection to CA quake indicates man-made... Series of CA quakes to destablize grid..."
        Thus Kerry Cassidy, projecting her paranoid fantasies from an Aegean beach. Do you think she'll ever provide any source citations for her outrageous statements? No, me neither. Later, she added:
"Look at this series of CA quakes to destablize grid...War underground bases, undersea ET races and more continues.. We saw LOTS of ufo traffic in clear skies over this Greek island last night... Lots going on."
        Wait a minute, though... I thought Kerry was supposed to be broke, begging for donations. I'm sure she didn't use any donation money to get her to the land of moussakà and retsina (yum-yum). That would be quite unethical.

Update 10th July
        Kerry, now back on US soil, has posted a guide which she claims enables her followers to tell the difference between real and man-made earthquakes. She seems sure that the recent pattern near Ridgecrest is the latter type, and suggests this as the motive:
"It may be they are building toward creating what people like to call "the big one” to take down the Greater Los Angeles area… I have seen this quake happen in my minds eye and in visions.  Why they want this I do not know.  It may be part of an overall desire to weaken the infrastructure and clear out California for further infiltration and takeover by an alien race.  This is no joke."
        There's a problem with this thesis. Kerry cites several precursor phenomena in a "real" quake—cloud formations, feelings in her feet (she's an "Earth Sensitive", whatever that means), headaches, nausea, and others. But since she's been guzzling retsina and scoffing moussakà for the last week, and in the UK before that, how would she know that the Ridgecrest sequence is not real?

Wrap-up of "Truth Behind the Moon Landing"

"Seeing how much time and effort was wasted to placate an idiot that is just too stupid to understand how telescopes and cameras work. This show is more or less just an indictment of the education system."
        That's one of the user reviews of Truth Behind the Moon Landing on IMDB, signed "codydwyer". There are some even less polite ones. In my humble opinion "codydwyer" is one smart man, and absolutely right. The series ended last night, with Mike Bara, Leland Melvin and Chad Jenkins all fist-bumping saying "Case closed. We went to the Moon". Earlier in S1E6 the three spent a ridiculous amount of time debating why the US flag appeared to flutter on the Moon (Mythbusters did a far better job of that and, indeed, of almost everything else this sorry excuse for a TV show touched). Chasing the theory that the film and TV record was all created in Hollywood, the trio interviewed Peter Hyams, Director/Writer of Capricorn One, and Doug Trumbull, legendary visual effcts designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey among other masterpieces. Trumbull politely said that No, Kubrick wasn't hired by NASA to create a total fake. Trumbull would know.

        Throughout the series Mike Bara has been promoted as the Big Skeptic, pushing all the well-known fallacies such as that Apollo couldn't have survived the Van Allen radiation belts, that the Lunar Module couldn't have landed, bla-bla-bla. But we know this is all total pretense. Not only did Bara co-author a long two-part essay titled Who Mourns for Apollo?, he also wrote not one but two book chapters using that same title and vehemently affirming the reality of Apollo (Ancient Aliens on the Moon ch.6, and Ancient Aliens and JFK ch.8—the two texts are virtually identical).

       Another IMDB reviewer wrote "Is Mike Bara really that stupid? Because if it's an act...he sucks at it."

        I agree.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oberg vs. Bassett

        James Oberg was recently interviewed by a journalist with the delightful name Faye Flam, for an article for Bloomberg Opinion about the recent reports of UFO sightings by US Navy pilots.

        Ms. Flam noted that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have both tentatively proposed that these sightings are evidence of alien visitation. She then wrote:
"But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called god of the gaps. The UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but the errors are undermining the effort.
The first error made in most of the news coverage was to claim that Navy pilots observed craft that accelerated, rose upwards or turned faster than was physically possible. But pilots can’t know any object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things, seen close up, or bigger things, that were farther away. It’s just one clue that the vocabulary is being blurred.
James Oberg, a former NASA engineer turned space journalist, pointed out: “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.” To start an investigation from a conclusion rather than from data is, he says, “a recipe for confusion and frustration and dead-ended detours.”
        Stephen  Bassett is one of the foremost believers in the alien invasion and a tireless advocate of official disclosure. His org, The Paradigm Research Group, proclaims that it represents "the people's right to know the truth regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race." Another slogan is "It's not just about lights in the sky, it's about lies on the ground."

        Reacting to the Bloomberg article, Bassett wrote:
"This article's argument rests on two serious errors. One is a deep ignorance of the history of the phenomena. The other is calling on James Oberg who hasn't been right about anything since the Nixon administration".
       Oberg's comment was that he took criticism from Bassett as a mark of honor.

Update:
Here's a NYT article dated 26th May this year detailing what the Navy pilots have reported. Leslie Kean, who Oberg says is clearly biased, is one of the authors.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Hoagland resurfaces, Part 2

        The "Other Side of Midnight" web page features the following hyperbolic mini-bio of the Man himself:
His vision has inspired a whole new generation of pioneers of thought and form and opened the way for Citizen Scientists around the Globe. His work is emulated by cutting edge thinkers around the world. He is a thought leader and pioneer, breaking the bonds of stagnant archaic scientific models. His willingness to challenge the accepted norm has blazed a path for thousands of citizen explorers. He has a way of drilling down to the fundamental question that provokes the unexpected revelation.
        "Stagnant archaic scientific models" — such as that the Moon is lifeless and always has been? Such as that numerology is worthless poppycock?

        Hour 2 of Hoagland's "welcome back" interview on OSOM, hosted by the fragrant but prolix Laura London, was quite a mixture. The first topic was methane on Mars, and here Hoagland gave a decent and straightforward account of what it would mean if methane were found to be abundant, and what's been discovered so far. Then it was on to an assortment of speculations about solar system civilizations and similar non-facts. Hoagland kept promising us some dramatic revelations in an Apollo 11 anniversary show he's planning. As experience shows, Hoagland's promises and Hoagland's deliveries are horses of two different colors.

Jules Bergman was hung over
         Almost all of the the second half of the hour was anecdotal, about his experiences with CBS News as a consultant/researcher with the Apollo production team. He re-told a story I've heard before, and it's seminal to an understanding of the origins of his hatred of NASA. Since he gave an over-discursive version (surprise, surprise) I'm going to paraphrase it rather than transcribe his exact words.

        He says, correctly, that the general rule during Apollo was that the only person at Mission Control who could actually speak to the astronauts was the Capcom, who was himself an active-duty astronaut. However, as a PR stunt, an exception was planned for Apollo 15 at a time when the astronauts were not particularly busy, on the way back from Moon to Earth. It was arranged that they would conduct an actual press conference from space, and senior correspondents from the major TV networks, news agencies and newspapers would be allowed to ask questions directly, just as in a normal press conference. Hoagland was with the CBS-TV group as they waited for this event to begin. There was delay after delay, and finally their producer got on to NASA public affairs asking what the problem was. The answer they got was that the spacecraft was not yet visible from Goldstone.

        Hoagland says he made a swift calculation with pencil and paper, and concluded that this could not be true because the mountains obstructing the view would have to have been 5,000 miles high. Much later he discovered that the true reason the press conference was held was that Jules Bergman, correspondent for ABC TV, was struggling with a killer hangover and was not in place. Hoagland says this was "a wake-up call" for him personally, being the first time that he realized NASA was not always honest.

         I find that story a bit suspect, for a couple of reasons. First, the calculation he claims to have done on the back of an envelope is not at all an easy one to do. You'd need a great deal of information about the spacecraft's trajectory and a very good knowledge of geography (add to that the fact that Hoagland's incompetence at math is fairly well-known). Second, perhaps more telling, every Apollo mission timeline was planned and controlled to the second. If such a press conference was planned—and I have no reason to doubt that—it would have been approved by a whole bunch of people, written into the Flight Plan, and implemented like any other planned event. It's extremely hard to imagine that the Apollo 15 astronauts' time budget had enough slop to allow a significant delay.

        So, to go back to the puffery I quoted at the top, perhaps Hoagland's "way of drilling down to the fundamental question" is better expressed as "a way of drilling down through the truth to a story that makes him look good."

Update: Hoagland's story falls apart
        Thanks to very useful research by James Oberg (thanks Jim) we can see how well Hoagland's story syncs up with the documented facts. The answer is, not at all.


        The Press conference, of course, appears in the flight plan. It shows that TV is acquired at M.E.T. 270:20 (very likely through Goldstone)note 1, and the conference is scheduled in the window 270:20-270:50. The annotated transcript shows that TV was acquired at 270:22:31, the conference actually began at 270:23:15 and ended 270:50:12. There is no extraordinary delay at all.

        Moreover, it is not true that media correspondents spoke directly to the Apollo 15 astronauts. The questions were written and Capcom Karl Henize read them in order. Henize explained:
"The questions you will be asked in this news conference have been submitted by newsmen here at the Manned Spacecraft Center who've been covering the flight. Some of the questions they raised have been answered in your communications with - with Mission Control, but the public-at-large has not necessarily heard them. The questions are being read to you exactly as submitted by the newsmen, and in an order of priority specified by them."
        The only open question is whether Jules Bergman had a hangover that day. Bergman's been dead for 32 years so we can't ask him. It's more than possible—the bar at the Nassau Bay Hotel was responsible for endless naughtiness in the Apollo years. I know whereof I speak, or write, believe me.

        I'm e-mailing this information to Hoagland, requesting his comments. Don't hold your breath.

Update 2: Wrong mission?
        Just in case Hoagland's error was simply mis-remembering which mission this story relates to, I checked the records for Apollo 16 & 17 (there was no transearth presser on earlier missions)

Apollo 16: Planned M.E.T. 243:30-50 / Actual 243:25:30 Capcom Hank Hartsfield
Apollo 17: Planned M.E.T. 284:07-37 / Actual 281:27:19 Capcom Gordo Fullerton

=====================/ \======================
[1] CORRECTION: Not Goldstone but Madrid. If TV had been coming from Goldstone the vertical dashed line indicating TV coverage would have been to the left of the MSFN solid line. So Hoagland's story is wrong in another detail.

Richard Hoagland resurfaces, Part 1

        Richard Hoagland has been in private mourning ever since his companion's death from cancer on 3rd March, and nobody could possibly fault him for that. As a 74-year-old, he surely must have expected Robin Falkov to outlive him. Sad.

        Well, he obviously thinks it's now time to emerge from his grief, because he appeared as a guest on his own blogtalk show last Saturday night. Hosting was the ineffably glam Laura London. Laura talked too much but at least they didn't interrupt each other, which was a blessing.

Laura London, from Facebook

        There was much chat about the commercialization of space, and the prospects for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin enterprise, that may be Moon-bound before you know it. Hoagland opined that Blue Origin must have been forced to sign an agreement to censor any close-up photos of the Moon, as NASA has always done, so as not to "give the game away" about the... you know, the alien ruins. He forgets that the thousands of excellent images at a resolution of half a metre per pixel from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have already blown it. The "game" is that there is no game.

19.5
        The only notable thing about the number 19.5 (19.47277 if you want to be picky) is that it's the angle whose sine is 1/3, or 0.3333333 etc. It is not some mystical, transcendental property of the Universe, as 3.141596 and 2.7182818 are. It was mere human beings who decided to divide a circle into 360 things called degrees, after all. A corollary of that trigonometric fact is that if a tetrahedron is inscribed in a sphere with one vertex at the north pole, the other three vertices will be at latitude 19.5°S (I proved this geometrically back in 2015, doing Hoagland's math for him since he has no talent for it.)

        So, let's be clear. There is no justification whatsoever for attaching significance to this number when it's a longitude, the rotation period of an asteroid, the magnitude of a comet, or the time (either 19h50 or 19h30) of some event. Hoagland has made all those associations in the past, and even once famously drew attention to the fact that shirts at Old Navy were on sale for $19.50.

        On the show last Saturday night, he excelled himself in irrational flim-flam, discussing "disclosure."
50:35 RCH "Let me tell you something else that I think is interesting [for] symbolic pathways ... This is 2019, right?"
LL: "Mmm-hmmm"
RCH "OK. So... 2019... If you ...If you multiply 19.5 by two you get 39, right? So... so the July month of this year ... actually it's June ...er, is the...is the half-way point in 2019. Scrambled all together, June is the beginning, in this model, of more and more and more overt disclosure."
        I had to run that three times before I even got a feel for what he was trying to allege. Here's what I think. First of all, forget the 19.5 x 2 = 39. That was just random neurons firing in Hoagland's tiny brain. Now, he's saying that since June is half-way through the year, we're now at the year 2019-and-a-half. Then just discard the 2000 and call that insanity a "model."

        Phew... If there's one thing more invalid than numerology, it's botched numerology.

Brookings, again
        Another perennial source of error in Hoaglandia is that damned Brookings report. Hoagland insists that the report pretty much required NASA to keep quiet if it ever found solid evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. On saturday night he was even wronger than that.
52:42 RCH "If you read Brookings, there are sections particularly in the footnotes, where it is specifically recommended to Congress that the people were not ready. [...] This is how they could be made ready. So in 1959, this document [...] they basically laid out a prescription for how to get people ready. And they recommended in this footnote, which again you can read on the Enterprise Mission website, a series of things that had to be done. Production of radio, television, commercials, movies, all acculturating people to accept the idea that we are not alone. And then you have, if you look at mainstream pop culture, you've got Startrek, you've got The Outer Limits, you've got Twilight Zone, you've got Star Wars, you've got an infinite number of movies now, Marvel Comics Universe. People are so ready."
        It's true that he's put up pictures of selected pages from the report on Enterprise Mission—check 'em out. But you aren't going to find what he says you are. The footnotes from pp.225-6 make no mention of  mass media. I can do better than that, too. Here's a searchable pdf of the entire thing. The footnotes occupy pp.218-227. Within those pages the occurrences of the strings "movies" and "television" are both ZERO. There is ONE occurrence of "radio"—in the expression "National Radio Astronomy Observatory" (p.225). Hoagland was in fantasy-land.

        Well, there are two little gems from hour 1. I hope to get back to this tomorrow, with clips from hour 2.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The flying bedstead


         Ask anyone what the acronym LLTV means, and they'll either say "Whaaaaaa??" or refer to this epic crash on 6th May 1968, when Neil Armstrong used the ejection seat from ~200ft to escape his Lunar Landing Training Vehicle which was out of fuel tank helium pressure and out of control in high winds at Ellington AFB.

        Sticklers for accuracy will quickly note that this was not actually a LLTV, but its forerunner the LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle)—Armstrong's was the last of the LLRV flights. Three LLTVs were built by Bell Aerosystems, the helicopter people. Only one survives (and is on display at Armstrong Flight Research Center adjacent to Edwards AFB) because Armstrong's was not the only crash. The chief test pilot Joe Algranti ejected from LLTV#1 in January 1968, and Stuart Present likewise survived the prang of LLTV#3 in January 1971.

        The training program sounds like a failure, when narrated like that emphasizing the prangs. But in fact, it was considered a resounding success at the time. Not only Armstrong but all the other Apollo commanders completed several very successful training flights in the bedstead. It was a requirement.  Armstrong later said his practice flights in the LLTVs gave him the confidence to override the automatic flight control system and control Eagle manually during the epic Apollo 11 descent to the Sea of Tranquility.

Apollo 12 CDR Pete Conrad hovering the LLTV

More pretense on TBTLL
        Mike Bara, the world-renowned jet aircraft designer and mendacious self-promoter, clearly does not understand the LLTV program and what it achieved. Last night's episode of Truth Behind the Lunar Landing (Science Channel) focussed on that one spectacular crash by Armstrong, and Mike Bara commented "I call bullshit on the lunar landing based on the fact that Armstrong could not control the training aircraft." 

        Not only is that portrayal of the program a complete travesty and Bara's statement untrue, but, just as in Episode 1 of this show, Bara is only pretending to be a disbeliever. In the second part of his essay Who Mourns for Apollo?, co-written with Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy in 2004, he devotes three paragraphs to explaining the sophisticated inertial control system that made soft landing of the LM possible. Bara can never resist the opportunity to insult somebody, and in this case he calls conspiracy theorist Ralph René "a complete idiot" for questioning the stability of the LM in lunar gravity. 

        Fans of this show should be aware that Bara is here functioning as a mere actor rather than any kind of expert (and astronaut Leland Melvin is, at times, so obviously delivering a memorized script that it's a joke).


source: Dryden Flight Research Center fact sheet

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sloppy compilations for the Apollo anniversary

James Oberg writes...

The recent blizzard of Apollo-11 anniversary programs was a fine tribute to that historical achievement of the American space program. The events of half a century ago came back to life in the dramatic portrayal seen on millions of television screens. But at the same time, many of the programs also displayed the sloppy errors, distortions and revisionist dramatizations which have come to characterize much of television journalism.

The wrong ship
To put the shortcomings of many of these programs into perspective, imagine the following practices for other historical documentaries or news, and ask whether they would ever be considered acceptable.

A Civil War film discusses Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but since there is no photograph of Lincoln actually giving the speech, a photograph of him at his 1865 inauguration is shown instead.

A program on the loss of the Lusitania in 1915 needs dramatic video of an ocean liner sinking, so with a voice-over describing the Lusitania, news film is shown instead of the Andrea Doria going down.

A sportscast of the World Cup is in progress, but since video difficulties prevented receipt of the views of the Colombia-Rumania game which was the subject of the report, an already-used clip of a goal from the recent Germany- Thailand game is shown instead.

Clearly, none of these hypothetical cases can be considered acceptable. Anyone trying to do so would be considered irresponsible, even unethical. And since there are legions of history buffs, ship buffs, and sports buffs out there, any such attempts would be immediately recognized and widely criticized.

"Apollo Two"
But since spaceflight has always been an esoteric subject with a relatively short "history" and usually only superficial news coverage, similar misrepresentations are easier, even if by accident. Catching them and complaining about them is harder. But an effort must be made both to discourage future historical errors and to encourage those other programs which took the extra effort and got it right.

There's no need to exaggerate the inevitable innocent "bloopers" that any human effort is prone to. A TV network had a national newscast where the announcer kept seeing "Apollo-11" on the teleprompter, misinterpreted it as "Apollo-II", and pronounced it "Apollo Two". The N.Y. Times deserves minor embarrassment for twice referring to the "Apollo-1 moon landing" in a book review a few weeks ago. That's life.

In illustrating a Mercury splashdown, the TBS special 4-hour program "Moon Shot" used views of a Gemini splashdown instead. The difference is that Mercury capsules landed vertically beneath a parachute while Gemini capsules were slung horizontally from two separate lines. On July 20, CNN showed Apollo-11 graphics of a moon-walking astronaut whose spacesuit had red leg stripes not introduced until Apollo-13. "Space buffs" gleefully spotted the errors, but viewers were unlikely to be misled by these minor slipups.

Such naive bloopers even struck the White House during the July 20 ceremony honoring the Apollo-11 astronauts. In an otherwise fine speech, President Clinton related in his folksy style how "on the third day" Armstrong and Aldrin's Eagle lunar module descended toward a dangerous boulder field and Armstrong had to take manual control. But since July 16 was the first day of the flight, the landing on July 20 actually occurred on the fifth day. But again, it was no big deal.

Some historical visual scenes are certainly "interchangeable" by even the tightest standards, since no viewer is misled by showing one Gemini launch for another, or one group of engineers in Mission Control for another (unless, say, their actions are allegedly keyed to some event being described), or one "out the window" Earth or moon view for another. The criteria is clearly whether viewers will gain an authentic impression of the event, or not.

The serious distortions of space history which characterized many -- but by no means all -- of the anniversary documentaries went beyond this allowable flexibility, and include outright historical falsifications such as the following:

To compress events, Neil Armstrong's comments about making "One small step" have often been matched with video of him dropping down from the Lunar Module ladder. Actually, he landed on one of the vehicle's footpads, made several comments, jumped back up on the ladder to make sure he could, jumped down a second time, discussed his impressions of his surroundings, and only after that did he make the "small step" onto the moondust. So the rearranged video completely misrepresents what he meant by "one small step". For similar time compression, the dozens of immediately post-landing words from the crew about their spacecraft status are usually edited out, so that viewers get the false impression that "Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed" were the FIRST words from the Moon.

To make use of a recently released Russian filmclip showing burning men running from a rocket pad fire, Ted Turner's "Moon Shot" used the shocking scenes to illustrate a 1969 Soviet moon rocket explosion, with a narrator comment about reminders of the dangers of space flight. The horrible film was actually from a military missile mishap in 1960 that killed 165 men, but really had nothing to do with the Russian space exploration program. The "Moon Shot" producers must have known this, yet evidently decided to misrepresent it for dramatic effects, even though nobody was killed in the actual 1969 Russian moon rocket explosion which was the subject of the sequence.

Flag-waving at the wrong time
To stress the "ordinary humanity" of excited space workers, they were often falsely shown behaving unprofessionally. In the prize-winning film "For All Mankind", right after the Apollo-11 landing, the Mission Control Center is shown erupting in cheering, flag-waving, and cigar-smoking. The historical truth is that the duty controllers stuck to their jobs, and the filmclips which were used really show them celebrating four days later after the successful splashdown of the crew and the end of their official responsibility.

Also, for the sake of visual impact and dramatic effects, film has often been misrepresented for what it was not. Viewers were told they were seeing authentic footage of space events which were not actually there.

Beginning with "For All Mankind", and copied by "Moon Shot", a striking view of the reentry plasma trail behind a descending Gemini capsule was presented as the rocket plume trail of an Apollo capsule heading for the Moon. The film invokes a marvelous image of speed across Earth's surface, but the Apollo's Saturn booster actually left no trail, and was never filmed since there was no view in that direction.

To stress the dangers of early manned space shots, sequences of rocket explosions are shown. Most of the explosions were identifiable as Jupiter and Titan rockets which had no connection at all with the Mercury program. But for colorful excitement and tension enhancers, they have been widely presented as unsuccessful Mercury tests.

The most egregious misrepresentation in "Moon Shot" was during the treatment of the Apollo-1 fire in 1967. As the narrator discusses the death of the three astronauts inside their burning capsule, a video is running of flames dancing behind a spacecraft window. TV critics who previewed the show called the scene "wrenching". But the video was actually a view from inside a Gemini capsule looking outward during the flames of reentry, and it had nothing to do with the Apollo fire. Instead, for emotional impact. the view was falsely described.

Some of these Apollo-11 historical video howlers have wider national implications, beyond mere questions of TV documentary ethics and practices. At the "Space Center Houston" museum developed for NASA by Disney consultants and their contractors, the feature movie "On Human Destiny" uses the false Gemini reentry plume for the Apollo lunar burn, then falsely portrays the flight control team in an orgy of irresponsible celebration immediately after the lunar touchdown, and then inaccurately overlays the view of Armstrong's descent down the ladder with his later words about "one small step". The film was reviewed and approved by NASA public affairs officials, who evidently did not recognize the errors. But if this is the level of Disney's historical reliability, it bodes ill for any similar Disney history projects elsewhere.

Accuracy sacrificed
Documentaries such as these shows have presented exciting views of the dramatic historical events, but providing entertainment was clearly their primary goal. Historical accuracy was repeatedly sacrificed to do so. These measures certainly are acceptable when the goals are well understood, such as in the delightfully entertaining Hollywood version of "The Right Stuff", where all pretence of respecting the book's historical accuracy is subordinated to clear-cut visual stereotypes and amusing oversimplifications. And deadline- driven TV news programs often use stock footage, not always carefully labeled as such, to "fill in" for unavailable authentic scenes. But when TV programs pose as "true history" and are presented as documentaries, a higher standard of authenticity should be required.

The Apollo-11 anniversary programs showed again that such standards are not universally met. Some programs, such as Discovery's "One Giant Leap", were strikingly accurate, showing signs that some producers took the extra trouble to "get it right", and knew how to do so. But the widespread misrepresentations in other shows are more reminders that people should seek truth where it can be found, and the TV screen, with its need for visual excitement and compressed action, is not an environment always conducive to historical accuracy.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Follow-up on Mike Bara's dishonesty

James Concannon writes:

        We don't need to go back 15 years to what Mike Bara wrote in Who Mourns For Apollo to understand how dishonest he was on last week's ep of Truth Behind the Moon Landing. In a book he wrote just last year, he copy/pasted the same text as this blog cited on 3rd June, and added this:
"NASA spent millions to develop the necessary technology to insure [sic] that the astronuats that went to the Moon were protected from the the physical threats of deep space and they were monitored at all times with dosimeters while travelling to and from the Moon. So the notion that the Van Allen belts would have turned the astronauts to crispy critters is simply false."
--Ancient Aliens and JFK (2018), p.183

        So his pretense to be a Van Allen skeptic for the purposes of television production exposes him as a charlatan (technically, the reverse of a charlatan—an anti-charlatan, perhaps), willing to say anything a tv producer asks just for the thrill of being seen. Pathetic.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Review of "Truth Behind the Moon Landing" S1E1

        The first of six eps of Truth Behind the Moon Landing (Science Chan) went on the air last night. It featured Mike Bara as one of three supposedly clued-up gents investigating whether the Apollo 11 landing really happened. Bara was billed as a "former aerospace consultant", which is a bit of a stretch considering that his experience in aerospace was as a contract CAD-CAM technician, with Arrowhead Products.

        The other two gents were NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (STS-122, STS-129) and former FBI agent Chad Jenkins. The three charged around the country (Portland, Seattle, Florida, Washington DC) in search of witnesses who could clear up some of the doubts that have been expressed about Apollo. This engendered far too many shots of our intrepid lads driving cars as they talked about space history.

Long-cancelled military projects
        First up was Clyde Lewis, whose dodgy opinions I wrote about last April in "Clyde Lewis: Ignorant speculator".  Lewis is a radio host in Portland OR, and Bara/Melvin interviewed him in his studio. As I wrote in the April piece, he went way out on a limb about secret military space ops. Here he re-iterated the fairly well-known facts about Project Horizon, and we saw (too briefly) all the declassified drawings and other artwork. But what in the name of all that's holy does this have to do with Apollo? Given that Horizon was cancelled in 1959 just as NASA was born, and long before any plans for a manned lunar landing were made, I'd say the answer is "nothing at all".

Paperclip Nazis
        What next? Oh, a long, long segment about Operation Paperclip—the US government scheme to swipe all the best German rocket scientists at the end of WW2 before the Russians could get them. It was a stunning success, netting around 1,600 rocket boffins, among whom Wernher Von Braun and Kurt Debus are the best known. The Science Channel investigators went off to Florida to interview Linda Hunt, who as a journalist (not to be confused with the distinguished actress) wrote extensively about Paperclip. Hunt declared "They covered up the Nazi past of these scientists", which as far as I know is not true. I think the very term "paperclip" came from the fact that a note about their service to the Third Reich was attached by paperclip to their immigration papers. The point was to waive restrictions on immigration by possible war criminals (NOTE: No paperclip scientist was ever convicted of war crimes).

        All this apparently came as fresh news to astronaut Leland Melvin, for he said "It's really hard to come to terms with that". Again, though, I have to ask what this has to do with Apollo? Chad Jenkins had a brave attempt to connect Paperclip to Apollo by stating "It shows what our government was willing to overlook in order to get to the Moon". I LOLd at that, because at that point the USA hadn't even put a satellite in Earth orbit—manned lunar landings weren't yet on anyone's To-Do list.

Van Allen radiation
        Finally, almost half way through the show, we got some material that was actually relevant to the questions about Apollo. The investigators confronted head on the question "Could Apollo astronauts have got through the Van Allen radiation belts unscathed?" They went to the Seattle Museum of Flight, where the actual Apollo 11 Command Module is on display, and measured the thickness of the shielding with a Lidar device. Then it was off to the Carnegie Institiute for Science for some experiments.

        Dr. Michael Walter took them through the science of the question, showing that even plexiglass attenuates alpha particles by about 50%, and about 3mm of aluminum is pretty good shielding against both alpha- and beta-particles. Walter also made the point that Apollo was free to select the least dangerous path though the belts, and make sure the astronauts were exposed to potentially harmful radiation for the minimum time.

        This sequence was quite good, and at the end of it, Mike Bara said "It changed my mind. It seems it was possible to go through the Van Allen belts." At that I didn't just LOL but LMFAO. Bara was completely faking skepticism about Apollo. Fifteen years ago, in an essay titled Who Mourns for Apollo, Bara wrote this:
"[T]he scientists working on the problem of Van Allen radiation considered it to be minor compared to other design hurdles to be conquered. Their solution was simple -- avoid exposure by keeping the spacecraft at low Earth orbit altitudes while in parking orbits and then send it through the belts at high speed. The eventual escape speed, some 25,000 miles per hour, would have passed them through the belts in less than an hour, keeping their dose well below 1 rad. There was a modicum of shielding from the equipment, but in the end this was not necessary as the extraordinary transition speed kept the dose below harmful limits -- both going to and returing from the Moon."
         So for Bara to now go on television and proclaim that he had doubts about the Van Allen passage should have brought on a severe case of Pants on Fire. It remains to be seen whether he'll keep up this totally fake attitude for the rest of the series.

Update 1:
        In S1E4, Mike Bara came across as a right moron as he continued his daft pretense. He faked not understanding why there are no stars visible in Apollo still photographs. In Who Mourns For Apollo?, the same Mike Bara wrote this:
"Anyone with the slightest knowledge of photography can easily put this one to rest. Any brightly lit foreground object must be photographed with a very short exposure time. Otherwise, the image will be badly overexposed. Any background pinpoint light sources -- like, say, stars that are literally trillions of miles further away -- will not show up at all."
Update 2:
        The overriding theme of S1E5 was the race between USA and USSR to see who could build the biggst moon rocket. Melvin, Jenkins & Bara visited an abandoned facility in the Florida Everglades which was once the development site of a biggie solid rocket when "Direct Ascent" was the plan. The script makes it sound as though Von Braun's competing design of the multi-stage, liquid-fuelled Saturn V was a brilliant new idea. It was brilliant all right, but new? I remind the scriptwriters that Von Braun was also the designer of the Juno rocket that launched USA's first satellite back in January 1958, long before any detailed plan for a manned Moon landing was in place. Juno was 4-stage, mixed liquid and solid motors.

        In March 1959, Juno took Pioneer 4 all the way to the Moon

"Truth Behind the Moon Landing" was produced for Big Fish Entertainment by Mick Kaczorowski, David Bruinooge and Steve Bronstein.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sean David Morton "Completely incompetent"

        That's his own self-description, taken from the apellant brief filed with the Ninth Circuit US appeals court on May 23rd.

        The 18-page affidavit that I wrote about last November was not an appeal as such, but what he called an expedited motion for summary disposition. It was denied on 12th April this year, so now he has no recourse other than a formal appeal. This document runs to 15 pages, and even a summary of the whole thing would be a trial to read. Here's the opening sentence, word-for-word:
Sean David Morton presented his own defense whilst completely incompetent and unable to properly prepare a defense due to not being informed the nature or having discovery.
        That's his badly-worded argument for appeal, in a nutshell. He writes that he was denied counsel although it was at his own request that he appeared as his own attorney. Basically he's saying the judge erred by allowing him to appear pro se because the judge ought to have recognized that he was incompetent

        This is quite an impressive climb-down for a man who boasted "I'm a legal scholar" during the 2016 Conspira-Sea cruise (YouTube link, quote  at 06:16).

Thanks again to AE for tracking this case

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mike Bara tells us about another "Secret Space Program" that never happened

        Mike Bara is just obsessed with the false idea that there's a secret US moonbase. He's totally wrong, as I pointed out in critiquing his books Hidden Agenda and Ancient Aliens and JFK. Just last month, I reviewed a long article by Clyde Lewis that repeated a couple of Bara's fantasies, namely:

  • Project Horizon may not have been cancelled but secretly built.
  • Wikileaks posted a reference to a report that the USSR destroyed a secret US moonbase (but not the report itself, or even a link to it).

Tell the truth
        In last night's vlog, titled "Tell the Truth Wednesday", Bara mentioned both those fantasies all over again, and spent quite a long time talking about what he called another US secret space program. "It was totally secret," he stated. It was something "that nobody ever told you about." He even said "we were lied to back in the 60s".

        OMG, a real secret??? What could this be??? Well, it turns out that he was talking about the USAF's dream project, the Manned Orbital Laboratory. Just like Project Horizon, the point to bear in mind about MOL is that it never flew. As for its secrecy, it might have been classified for a year or two but it became public knowledge in December 1963. It was cancelled in 1969.note 1





        Bara got all excited about this image posing 14 of the 17 MOL astronauts. This, apparently, is what he meant when he said "we were lied to"—meaning, we weren't told about these astronauts. Well, we sure were when this picture was released, weren't we?

        See that guy in naval uniform, bottom row extreme right? That's Dick Truly, who switched to NASA immediately MOL was cancelled and flew STS-2 and STS-8. He became the 8th NASA Administrator, in office 1989-1992.

        Other Shuttle astronauts in that picture are Henry Hartsfield , Bob Overmyer, Gordon Fullerton, Bob Crippen, Don Peterson and Karol Bobko.

        So if Mike Bara wants us to believe that MOL, like Horizon, may not have really been cancelled, he's going to have to explain how it could have continued when at least seven of its key crewmen had moved on to NASA.

Bait 'n' switch
        Bara obviously thinks dark hints about seekrit space programs have consumer appeal, and perhaps he's right. But his problem is, he can't deliver what he promises his consumers. In 2016 he wrote Hidden Agenda: NASA and the Secret Space Program, but he was forced by lack of honest material to pad it out with Vimanas, The EM Drive (which not only has nothing to do with space but is also notably UN-secret), Explorer 1 (which he totally mis-reported for the third time), the early unmanned moonshots, and technology transfer from the Roswell "crash." When it comes to actual space programs, all he has in his black bag is these military dreams that were cancelled before ever coming to fruition. I hope his readers are suitably annoyed with him.

==================/ \========================
[1] Personally I doubt it would ever have worked as intended. The crew would have been launched in a modified Gemini, then had to float through a hole in the heat shield into the main space. A very dangerous design.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Solution to the Spring acrostic

"As she watched him work, Andrea wondered what it would be like to be his girlfriend. She knew he had money, that much was obvious from the way he dressed and the silver-gray Maserati he always drove up in. But more than that, he was sophisticated, mysterious and interesting."

Mike Bara, Lightbringer

A. M*A*S*H Theme
B. Isleworth
C. Kvass
D. Everywhere else
E. Bathhouses
F. Adam Parfrey
G. Rat without
H. Ancient Aliens on the Moon
I. LeHigh University
J. ITtude
K. Godaddy
L. Hyperdimensional
M. Tobias Owen
N. Backwards
O. Reacted with
P. Inkwashed
Q. Netherwards
R. Ghost of Tsushima
S. Edward White
T. Rumbaed

Lightbringer is Mike Bara's first and so far only work of fiction. I chose this excerpt to mock Bara for his simplistic views about women. Feel free to roll your eyes as I did when I first read these words.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mike Bara does something useful for once

        I guess we all know by now that, whatever nonsense Mike Bara writes and talks about in his books and TV appearances, at least he's a firm advocate for the reality of the Apollo program. Many years ago, he co-wrote with Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy a 2-part essay titled "Who Mourns for Apollo?" (the title echoes the Startrek saga Who Mourns for Adonais?). It's still up, and you can have a look if you wish:

Part 1
Part 2

       Bara copied large swaths of that text into a chapter in his book Ancient Aliens and JFK. It was bizarre, I thought, because the chapter had no justification in a book that pretended to reveal the villains behind the assassination. It was just makeweight, I guess, and I wonder what Bara's co-authors thought about that.

       Well, now Bara's one of three frontmen re-hashing that material, just in time for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, in a six-ep TV series for The Science Channel, Truth Behind The Moon Landing. First ep coming up on June 2nd.

        His co-presenters are former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and former FBI agent Chad Jenkins. The online announcement continues:
Produced by MGM-owned Big Fish Entertainment, the six-episode series tests evidence and applies scientific reasoning to conspiracies.
The program will also test claims about how the Apollo 1 fire started; study one of NASA’s last existing Lunar Lander prototypes that Neil Armstrong trained on; gain access to NASA archives to uncover photos and footage never-before-seen by the general public, and more.
Dan Cesareo, Lucilla D’Agostino, Rick Hankey, Ron Bowman and Pat Twist serve as executive producers. Executive producers for Science Channel Caroline Perez and Neil Laird.
        Let's hope this six-parter gets a decent audience. Far too many people now believe the bullshit theory that the spectacular Moon landings of 50 years ago were all a spectacular hoax.

P.S. There's that dodgy "never-before-seen" claim again. It was made on behalf of the recent Apollo 11 movie. As a die-hard fan of spaceflight, I loved the movie but I didn't see any film sequences that were totally unfamiliar. The compo included higher-definition film than TV usually shows, but that's a different claim, isn't it? I'll watch Mike Bara's series but I'm not expecting to see anything new. Clavius Moon Base covered all this material very well years ago.

P.P.S. It's been pointed out that many of the shots of the spectators at the launch were original. OK, I guess I have to concede that.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mark Richards writes, and writes, and writes some more

        Mark Richards put finger to keyboard on 24th April to spew verbiage into the world-wide web, starting with this paragraph:
"My family and I found ourselves in an unenviable position this winter, as the Fake News pundits set some English cyber bully into full attack mode in our direction. He opened his attack with a series of interviews with some questionably one-sided ‘witnesses.’"
         Well, it doesn't take a genius to decode that. The "English cyber bully" is Kevin Moore, who is in production on a video documentary provisionally titled Richard Baldwin: A Murder in Camelot. We don't yet know who all the witnesses are—in fact, Moore seems to have run into a bit of production trouble and is said to be back in the USA doing some reshoots—but we do know that one of them is Richard Dolan. Dolan made a mortal enemy of Kerry Cassidy by agreeing to the interview, as I reported last October. Dolan is not a man to leap to conclusions or to speak hyperbolically just for effect. He considered the facts and came to his conclusion that Mark Richards the convicted murderer is dangerous, disturbed, and sick.

         Richards considers that a one-sided attack. But Moore also interviewed Kerry Cassidy at great length, and also shot video of a conference at which Richards' current wife Jo-Ann was speaking, last October. Now Moore has said he won't be including any of Cassidy's interview because she does not want to be on his show. As for Jo-Ann, she wrote a week ago:
"No, Kevin, I will not be in your documentary. You do not have my permission to use recordings of our phone conversations. You do not have my permission to use any video footage that you filmed of me when you showed up in CO."
        So that takes care of the only two people in the whole wide world who would speak kindly of Mark Richards. As a federal prisoner, Richards himself is not eligible for a video interview. In the circumstances I don't think Kevin Moore can be blamed for presenting a biased case. I'll leave it to him, if he reads this, to refute the idea that he was set to make his documentary by "the Fake News pundits."

On and  on and on....
        Richards did not stop with that one blogpost, which was 898 words. On the 25th, 27th and 29th April he let the keyboard rip again with Part 2 (1,600 words), Part 3 (1,767 words) and Part 4 (1.144 words). That's a bit over 5,400 words so far, and he threatens more. Even he himself describes it as a diatribe, and —God help us—Part 4 ends with the words "To be continued."

        In all that verbiage, what's missing is any sort of evidence of Mark Richards's claimed innocence, and any sort of evidence to substantiate his claims to have been heroically battling alien forces in outer space at the time he's supposed to have been masterminding the murder of Richard Baldwin. The closest we get to evidence is Jo-Ann's protestation:
"Mark graduated from high school in June 1971. I have proof of that. Mark has just sent to me additional proof as well – prison documents that verify his high school graduation and five college degrees. I will post these documents soon on my blogsite. I should also soon have their verification of his military career.
::
When the time is right, I shall point out flaws in what Kevin has been reported [sic]"
Let's see that documentary proof, Jo-Ann. The time is right RIGHT NOW.

Update 12 May:
        Part 5 (1,592 words) and Part 6 (1,461 words) are now up, and still nothing resembling evidence to support Mark Richards' tales of interplanetary heroism.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Lunar spectacular

        This year so far, all of us who try to follow spaceflight and space technology have been mightily impressed by SpaceX's incredible feats of rocket retrieval, by China's demonstration of prowess (not only soft-landing on the far side of the Moon, but providing the lunar orbiting relay station that made it possible), and by a fairly spectacular woopsie from Israel.

        I try to keep up on the private enterprises that are now seriously in the space business, but every time I read another magazine article or blog post on the subject I get humiliated by how much has been going on that has totally passed me by.

        Never more so than when I opened the current issue of New Yorker to find the 8-page article by Rivka Galchen, The Eighth Continent (sub-title The new race for the moon, for science, profit, and pride). Galchen is a Canadian author and magazine contributor, who has previously written for New Yorker on the topics of Quantum computing, weather, and earthquakes.

        Ms. Galchen has been out and about in what Tom Wolfe called the low-rent facilities of the new space pioneers. Check out what she found:

* The telerobotics lab at the NASA-funded Network for Exploration and Space Science, which is developing 3-D printing technology using lunar regolith as the print medium. "You could print the wrench you need to fix something," says Jack Burns, NESS's director.

* Celestis, a funeral service company that already launches its clients' ashes into space and plans to send them to the Moon.

* Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh company developing a lunar soft-lander.

* The Mojave Air & Space Port, where many of those new pioneers have set up shop. Masten Space Systems is developing reusable rocketry there, with plans to go to the Moon in 2021. The company's pet rocket is the Xodiac—remember that funky name, it'll be in the news soon.

* Honeybee Robotics, in Pasadena, is developing standardized lunar rovers and has its eye on asteroid mining.

* Moon Express, another lunar exploration company hoping to deliver its first lunar soft-lander in 2020. It was that company's vice-president, Alain Berinstain, who first called the Moon "The Eighth Continent".

        Experience leads me to believe that not all these projects will come to fruition. Most will be delayed, some will fail altogether. But that article convinces me that private-enterprise Moon exploration and exploitation is just a few years away.

        For the next week or so, the whole article can be read online at this link.

Update:
        More humiliation came my way when I read Bob Zimmerman's blogpost today and learned that the Japanese company Interstallar Technologies has just completed the first successful sub-orbital flight of its MOMO rocket.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Spring acrostic

Get out those pencils and erasers. It's time for another acrostic puzzle, with a theme appropriate for this blog.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jo2qbox6bj9u5au/acrostic04.pdf?dl=0

Answers will be posted after Memorial Day, 28th May.

For general instructions on how to solve acrostics, see the previous 'Emoluments' puz.

Update:
I've now started a new blog specifically for acrostics. It includes commentary as well as a monthly puzzle.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

UFO Congress backpedals on Ken Johnston

        This is a laugh. The UFO Congress, promoting its 2019 meet-up, has tacked a VERY STRONG disclaimer onto its page about Ken Johnston. Having referred to him as "Dr. Johnston" in the blurb, the following has now been added:

NOTE: Ken Johnston is not a doctor and does not have an accredited Ph.D.

        In four paragraphs, the text explains that Johnston was deceptive in claiming the Ph.D. in the first place, stating that his doctorate was conferred by the Reformed Baptist Seminary. In fact it was “The Reform Baptists Theological Seminary,”  one of several diploma mills run by tax-protester William Conklin. In other words, a worthless piece of paper.


Resolution
        I also take issue with one other factoid in the blurb. It describes Johnston's Apollo photo collection as "...of a higher resolution than what is found on-line." It's a tricky point because they are attempting to compare the resolution of a 10x8 photoprint with that of a digital image, but consider these points:

Point 1. The online NASA Apollo image library generally offers its products in two different resolutions—low and high. Take a look at a typical listing, Magazine C from Apollo 17. The hi-res images, suffixed HR, are jpgs of at least 500kb, on up to 1600kb. They are typically 2400 pixels square and the numerical resolution in metres per pixel depends, of course, on how far away the subject is. But this resolution is more than adequate for inspecting the surface, and far more convenient than peering at a photoprint through a loupe.

Point 2. Any serious researcher for whom that resolution is inadequate can, by paying a modest fee, order up extremely hi-res digital images in .tiff format that are scanned direct from the camera negatives. This is what I did when investigating Hoagland's "Data's Head" claim, and I received a version of AS17-137-21000 that was 46.1 MB, 5190 x 6175 px.

AS17-137-21000HR.jpg

Point 3. The first exposure of Ken's photo collection occurred in early 1995, when he showed a selection to Hoagland after a lecture in Seattle. That means that these prints had been in Johnston's ring binders for at least 20 years and, even in glassine envelopes, some fading and discoloration would be inevitable (More on that here).

Point 4. Hoagland has always claimed that Johnston's print-set shows things that NASA's equivalents do not. But the fact is, he's not actually comparing a print to a digital image—he's comparing his own scan of a print to NASA's scan. Hoagland's scanner glass is quite clearly contaminated.

Part of Hoagland's scan of AS10-32-4820

        Bottom line, I do not think the claim made for this collection is sustainable.

Thanks to James Oberg for monitoring this

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Clyde Lewis: Ignorant speculator

« [T]he compelling question has to be asked – has there been a head start program in space and have we been conducting space war operations since Apollo? Has this program been ongoing or was it abandoned after 1979 and then rebooted during the S.D.I proposals of Ronald Regan – the program that was eventually called the Star wars Program. »
        The answers are no, no, no and no. The questions were posed by Clyde Lewis of the "Ground Zero" website/internet radio show, in a long article titled STRATOSFEAR, THE SECRET SPACE WAR published yesterday. The article summarizes a discussion in a TV studio between Lewis, Space Shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin, and Mike Bara. That's Mike Bara the self-worshipper who, according to the Rational Wikipedia, is homophobic as well as mysogynistic. He constantly claims to be a NYT best-selling author even though IT'S NOT TRUE.

Moonbase
        Well, the "secret space war" turns out to be the not-very-secret Project Horizon, a proposal drafted in 1959 to establish a military Moon base staffed by 12 U.S.Army officers, costing $7 billion. Lewis writes:
« As cameras were rolling, we discussed the lunar objectives that were pre NASA including the military’s plan to build a space station on the moon before 1969. Back in 2016, I presented a program where I uncovered documents about Project Horizon a secret space station that was supposed to be built on the moon. »
         "Uncovered", eh Clyde? The existence of Horizon was reported by Astronautix in 2005 and was probably public knowledge well before that. Wikipedia's first page on Horizon was dated 2 July 2005, and today it's a quite detailed exposition, last edited nearly a year ago.

        One key point to understand about Horizon is that it never happened. As the wiki reports (citing John Logsden in 2010),note 1 Eisenhower nixed it as NASA was created as a civilian agency in 1959. In two of his published books,note 2 Mike Bara has suggested that Horizon may not have been cancelled but may have been secretly built, manned, and declared operational. Clyde Lewis seems to agree:
« We were told that the military was not part of the moon shot in 1969. We are told that it was NASA that sent the astronauts there. So the question is, was the military already on the moon, sent on a secret away mission and was the astronaut’ giant leap merely a show for the public to cheer on.»
        Don'cha love those rhetorical questions? They allow speculators to hint that they know more than they're allowed to say, without requiring anything resembling evidence. Again, the answers are no and no.

Noise
        Well, I headed this article "Ignorant speculator" so perhaps I'd better justify the adjective. The report that Lewis cites estimates that construction of the base would require 61 Saturn I and 88 Saturn II launches through November 1966, with another 64 launches during the first year of operation. Anyone who thinks that program could have been conducted in secret cannot have been anywhere near a Saturn rocket launch. Those things were NOISY.

        Another key point is the actual structure envisaged for Horizon. Here are two illustrations from the report that Clyde Lewis himself cited (which, by the way, is included in the 2005 Astronautix report):



        This thing is not buried out of sight— it's right there on the surface. Before it was even half built, every amateur astronomer in the world would be saying "Er... excuse me... WTF IS THAT?"

        Lewis provides documentation of three other historical moonbase projects—one of which involved Carl Sagan—but these, like Horizon, never got beyond the planning stages.

        As part of his just-published article, Clyde Lewis seeks to link his speculations to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, who has been in the news lately. He cites REPORT THAT UR DESTROYED SECRET US BASE ON MOON.  This Wikileaks link references a report that seems to have been written in January 1979 and declassified in December 2012, but since there's no content here it's impossible to assess whether the original is credible. "UR" is supposedly code for The Soviet Union. As I've written many times before, we now have such excellent high-defintion photographic coverage of the Moon that any speculations about alien activities, military operations, or vast glass domes look a bit pathetic.

        I hope I've written enough to convince any doubters that Clyde Lewis's piece is worthless speculation from two arrivistes who know a great deal less than they think they do.

===================/ \====================
[1] Logsdon, John (2010). John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-11010-6

[2] "Hidden Agenda" (2016) and "Ancient Aliens and JFK" (2018). In "Hidden Agenda", Bara wrote (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."  In "JFK" he wrote (p. 78-83) "It would have been a fairly simple thing to implement this plan over the next few decades.... My suspicion and speculation is that that is exactly what they did." [emph. added]

Sunday, April 14, 2019

UFOs and madness

        When people ask me if I "believe in UFOs", my immediate answer is "Yes, of course". I'd have to be totally crazy to deny that unidentified phenomena are fairly often seen in the sky. But of course, that's not what they mean to ask. They really mean to ask if I think some of those flashie-washies are intelligent messengers from interstellar space. This is very literally to ask if I think some UFOs are IFOs, and the answer is no. Carl Sagan would agree with me...
"[T]here are things seen in the sky which are unidentified--that's what an unidentified flying object is, it means we don't know what it is. It doesn't mean it's a space vehicle from somewhere else. And there ought to be things in the sky that we don't understand--the sky is very rich in phenomena--astronomical, meteorological, optical and man-made phenomena. And therefore only a very reliable sighting of an extremely exotic object ought to be considered in any way relevant to our problem of life elsewhere.  And to the best of my knowledge, there are lots of exotic reports, but none of those exotic reports are reliable."note 1
        Sagan was speaking 40 years before the release of military images by the five-year-long Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, that excited many people who have a fervent need to believe in extraterrestrial intelligence. But I'm absolutely sure that those images would not have changed Sagan's opinion one iota. He believed that mysterious things are seen in the skies but that there's no valid reason to jump to the conclusion that they are intelligently-guided spaceships. And I agree (of course.)

        So what should we say about those people—millions of them—who really do maintain that at least some of the woo-woo in the sky is ET observing us? Are they all crazy, or what?

The light years
        I was led to this question because on my reading list last week was Chris Rush's memoir The Light Yearsnote 2. Rush, now an aging and respected mainstream artist, abandoned his well-heeled New Jersey family while still a teenager and dropped into the drug culture of the '60s. BIG TIME. Publisher's Weekly wrote:
"Rush’s storytelling shines as he travels across the country and back again, searching for truth, love, UFOs in New Mexico, peace, something that feels like God, and a place to call home."
        I have no qualifications in psychiatry but I'm as sure as I can be that Rush really was crazy at that time. He took every recreational drug that was around, feminized himself to the point of absurdity, and wandered the Arizona mountains and deserts with no plan other than to "find God." And he really was a UFO believer in the full sense. He writes:
"I saw a flying saucer this summer. They're all over the place now. I think maybe this is also part of  the story, you know—the Space People and how they want us to change. I'm confident they'll be here soon. I hear that if we all visualize the ships, that'll encourage them to come even sooner."
        Rush was so convinced of the importance of the UFO phenomenon that he contacted, and eventually visited, the one-time write-in Presidential candidate Gabriel Green, founder of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America Inc. I have no hesitation in declaring that Green (1924-2001) was a nutcase. He declared that he had met the crew of a flying saucer, and that they came from the planet Korendor, a satellite of Alpha Centauri. A modern equivalent would be Corey Goode, who claims many such face-to-face meetings. Neither of them has any credibility whatever.

Misinformed
        The Heaven's Gate "away team" were all crazy, but what about Courtney Brown? It was he who through so-called "remote viewing" told the world that there was an alien spaceship accompanying comet Hale-Bopp, and it was precisely that IFO that the Heaven's Gate loonies believed they could get aboard by means of suicide. I doubt if Brown is really crazy, more likely just misinformed and arrogant.

        "Misinformed and arrogant" would apply also to Robert Morningstar, editor of UFO Digest, who gets castigated a lot in this blog because of his wildly erroneous declarations—a perfect example from last September would be this. He's an educated and reasonably intelligent man, but when it comes to the UFO phenomenon he loses all analytical skills, and peddles trash like this. The one thing that Morningstar will never, ever, do is admit that he was mistaken.

A business decision
        There's money to be made in the UFO business—serious money. Many people are so thirsty for updates that the market for books, magazines, videos and conferences on the topic has never been brisker. The quintessential exploiter of this market is Tom Delonge's To The Stars Academy, launched in 2014. TTSA was chosen as the conduit for the US Government's release of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification data, and Delonge recruited Luis Elizondo from that project once he retired from the Pentagon, plus several other former federal officials. I don't think any of those people are mad in the slightest—they just see a business opportunity and want to be part of it. They may be right, although a fairly recent article in Motherboard casts some doubt on TTSA's financial prospects. It's perfectly possible that Delonge and his collaborator Hal Puthoff don't themselves believe UFOs are IFOs—perhaps they're just very keen to promote themselves and their "research" to those who do.

        So in contemplating all this, I find no answer to my own question. Clearly, you don't have to be bonkers to be a believer, but it certainly helps.

========================/ \======================
[1] Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 1977

[2] Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 2, 2019) ISBN: 0374294410

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Court of Appeals to Sean David Morton: "F off"

        You might remember from a blogpost of last November, "Sean David Morton takes his best shot," that the self-described legal scholar used a very dodgy version of the doctrine of judicial estoppel to argue that his conviction on 30 counts should be set aside and that he should be released from his cell in the Tucson penitentiary. Well, the wheels of justice grind slowly but they get there in the end. Yesterday the Ninth Circuit gave him the answer, and it's a major slap-down—basically not just "fuck off" but also "If you keep this bullshit up we'll gag you". The full text:
Before: O’SCANNLAIN, W. FLETCHER, and WATFORD, Circuit Judges.
Appellant Sean David Morton’s requests for summary disposition (Docket Entry Nos. 27, 28, 29, 30) and to expedite his appeal (Docket Entry No. 32) are denied. The motion to stay briefing (Docket Entry No. 31) is denied as moot. Further filing of meritless motions may result in the court withdrawing appellant Morton’s leave to represent himself on appeal. See 9th Cir. R. 4(d).
Appellant’s opening brief is due May 20, 2019; appellee’s answering brief is due June 20, 2019; and the optional reply brief is due within 21 days after service of the answering brief. Any further motion for an extension of time to file the opening brief must demonstrate extraordinary and compelling circumstances.
        I'm obliged to The Emoluments' unofficial legal correspondent, A.E., for tracking the case.

Sovereign Citizens? No way
        I'm obliged to ufowatchdog for drawing my attention to a nicely-written piece by Ashley Powers in the 29th March New York Times. The article is headed How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 Billion From the Government They Disavow, and it slices SDM into tiny shreds and serves him up for dinner.
« When Mr. Morton reached adulthood, he sold unorthodox beliefs from behind a suburban-dad veneer: a flop of dark hair, a round, clean-shaven face, and a button-down-and-khakis wardrobe. He was charismatic but also childlike, friends said, his ego easily bruised. He branded himself an investigative reporter within the U.F.O. world, and in the 1990s, when Mr. Morton appeared on “The Montel Williams Show,” he made outrageous claims — more than 100 alien species had visited Earth! — with the certainty of a Nobel laureate. “I got close enough to one of these things that was floating around in the desert to actually get my face burned by it,” he said.
Even other U.F.O. enthusiasts considered him a kook, but Mr. Morton’s fans didn’t care. The truth was out there — and Sean David Morton had it. Branding himself a prophet, he plumbed the new-age convention circuit alongside specialists in animal telepathy, chakras, hauntings, angelic gemstone messages and the afterlife. »
        Morton has served 19 months of a six-year sentence. He may get out in another two years, perhaps (his wife Melissa is already in a half-way house). But I hope he's learned from this that his ridiculous posturing as a legal scholar is far from helpful. I'm quite sure he's been telling his fellow-crims "Just watch me, lads, I'll be outta here in next to no time". If he's told them the truth, they must be having a good laugh now.

Mini-update, 15th April
Royce Myers' ufowatchdog blog has posted more on this today: "The Kookiness continues."

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Kerry Cassidy in Vacaville again

        Not as a prisoner, but as a prison visitor, for the TENTH time. Vacaville is the site of the Solano California State prison, and it's been home to a violent murderer and spectacular liar called Mark Richards since 1983. Kerry Cassidy likes hearing Richards' extravagant yarns so much that she's schlepped to Vacaville now ten times—a journey of over 300 miles each way—to hear them and tell the world about them.

        This latest interview took place in mid-March. Cassidy's report of it is in video here, and transcribed here. I'm extremely glad for the transcript because I always struggle with the audio of her reports. It's got nothing to do with her voice—when Kevin Moore interviewed her I heard every word.

source: Project Camelot

Do your research!
On the 22nd (of 27) page of the transcript, KC writes:
"I encourage all those reading this and watching my Mark Richards interviews to ... see what resonates. Discernment is all about being able to tell truth from falsity. As with all information, do your own research."
I did quite a bit of research for my critique of Interview #9, and had no problem doing more for this article. I have to report that very little "resonates". Some comments:

Page 1: "He is an honorable officer of the Navy, who because of his rebellion against the Draco and Reptoids (Luciferian alliance) is considered a threat to their operations".

Richards is nothing of the sort. He never enlisted in the US Navy, much less attained the rank of Captain. The Luciferian alliance is a science fiction concept with no basis in reality.

Page 2: "He was framed for a murder he is accused of having masterminded while he was on a mission off-planet in service to humanity. He was Captain of a starship enterprise type vessel, fighting the war against aliens bent on the takeover of Planet Earth.

Richards was not "off-planet," or fighting wars against aliens. He was present at the murder scene although he did not strike the fatal blows. His fingerprints were on the murder weapon, and the victim's credit cards were found in his possession.

Page 5: "I believe that Richard Baldwin was selected as the victim by the team within the military and highest levels of power in Britian and the U.S. reponsible for framing Mark Richards."

Poppycock. The simple truth is that Richards' home remodelling business was failing and he needed money. There is not the slightest evidence of involvement by US military ops. As for British top-level involvement, that goes beyond fantasy into sickness.

Page 10: "Mark states that he had just returned from fighting the war in the Falklands. Which he says was a battle for control of planet Earth. .... It was a battle with alien races; Draco, Reptilians and Greys. The Raptors fought on the side of the humans."

The murder took place on 6th July 1982. Argentine forces surrendered on 14th June, so the dates are plausible. However, the belligerents were exclusively The United Kingdom and Argentina, and the motives were control of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich, not "planet Earth". Again, Reptilians etc. are figments of science fiction. It's frankly astounding that Kerry Cassidy would report this fantasy as fact, when so much about the Falklands War is a matter of easily-researched public record.

Page 13: "With regard to the trial, ... the DA relied exclusively on the information provided by Andrew Campbell. ... Campbell was highly likely to have been the undercover agent on the scene orchestrating events, while Hoover (the other perp) was the patsy."

This "does not resonate," as Kerry would say. Another way of putting it is that it's a fucking lie. Hoover was at least as important a source of information for the prosecution as Campbell. Both Campbell and Hoover were 18-year-old unskilled kids. See "From Pendragon to a Secret Space Program".

Page 16: "There are 5 key points on the planet, called LaGrange points or L5. ... Mark says those points allow one to jump off planet easily and used to be used for shuttle craft going back and forh to the larger Orion craft parked above the planet."

The five LaGrange points are not on the planet but in space, in the orbital plane of any two large gravitational bodies. L5 is just one of them. They have nothing to do with shuttle flights and there is no such thing as a parked Orion spaceship.

Page 24: "NEW NATIONAL PARK OFF VANDERBURG [sic] AF BASE. This new National Park called "Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve" has been established to hide a huge ET underwater and undergound base that stretches down to Malibu"

It's fair (or "it resonates") to call the Dangermond Preserve new, since the $165 million donation to the Nature Conservancy was made just in 2017. However, it is not a National Park and it does not conceal an alien base. Its extent is 24,000 acres.


The lunch receipt
        On pp. 13-24 of the transcript, we read that a trial witness known as "the chimney sweep" stated that he had a receipt proving that Mark Richards had bought lunch for his crew (Campbell & Hoover) prior to the murder. The account continues "But Mark claims he simply paid for the lunch and then did not eat with the crew but continued on to have lunch with his parents at their home."

        The question then is, How can a man who is supposedly off planet fighting alien wars also be having lunch with his parents??? That question obviously troubled Chad Mensan, a YouTube commenter. He wrote:
"Throughout the previous nine interviews, and the several years during which they were conducted, the story was ALWAYS "off-planet"; it was never vague and never varied. Now we're told that there is physical evidence to the contrary, and it's presented without even an acknowledgement of its contradiction.
:::
I think that there's something seriously rotten behind the scenes on this issue. Most importantly I hope that Kerry's okay."
Chad has a very good point. In my opinion, Kerry is not "okay". She's deranged.

Update: This is brilliant!
Another YouChoob commenter, "Ritalie," has now responded to Chan Mensan thuswise:
"What you are describing is not a change of a story, as much as it sounds like a timeline change. Have you ruled out the possibility that we have experienced a major time shift? I've seen it happen when Trump was elected. This is not the same Earth that we were on, prior to the 2016 election. Remember Hilary? Or Dolores Canon? Neither exist anymore."
        Of course!!!! A time shift!!!! How silly of us not to have thought of that. Mark Richards' story hasn't changed at all, it's just that the facts changed without his knowledge. Oh yes.

Update 9th April:
        Kerry has now released a statement apparently addressed to all those people who think, like me, that she's been bamboozled by a world-class liar. An extract:
"It’s not my job to convince you or anyone else.  We present the evidence and provide the interviews so you can see the witnesses speak for hours at a time under my high scrutiny and questions.  You decide.

If it resonates so be it.  If not, then no amount of truth telling will open your eyes.  If you wish to believe that Jo Ann and I are deluded.  That Mark who has written books and treatises available for a very low cost is not to be believed.  If you wish to remain in your cocoon of unknowingness do so."
        Oh dear. "Presenting the evidence" is exactly what Kerry fails to do. Letting us see Mark Richards speak for hours at a time is also what she fails to do, although I'm sure she'd love to take her camcorder into Vacaville if it was allowed. As for "high scrutiny," that's not what I've seen from her interviewing technique. Far from it.

"You decide," she says. Thanks, Kerry, I already did.