Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas, Carl Sagan, and extraterrestrials

        At this festive season, what topic could be more appropriate for this blog than Carl Sagan's 1977 Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution in London?

        In my previous blogpost I insisted that Carl Sagan may have theorized a possible 10,000 visits to Earth by ETs in his 1962 paper, but he certainly did not hold that opinion for very long. I made reference to his Christmas lectures for support of that proposition, and I'm about to give chapter and verse on that.

        The overall title of the six-lecture series was "The Planets," and it was Carl Sagan at his best--urbane, charming, fluent and full of good information. The R.I. demonstrators were at their best too, providing excellent models and other visual aids to make this sometimes difficult subject accessible. In the last lecture, titled Planetary Systems Beyond our Sun, Sagan started by talking about techniques for detecting exoplanets. Today those techniques have been refined but the general principles are still the same. He talked about the Drake equation, as a way of estimating how many intelligent civilizations there are in the galaxy, and then embarked on an analysis of how radio contact might be established. This included an intriguing demonstration of how a three-dimensional model of a formaldehyde molecule might be transmitted as a message of 29,791 binary digits. The intent of such a message, he said, might be to direct our attention to the natural frequency of formaldehyde where a more elaborate message would be found. He then went on to say this:

47:55 One often comes upon some other ideas about extraterrestrial intelligence -- namely, why go to all this trouble with radio telescopes when the extraterrestrials are already here? We sometimes hear something like that. The ideas are often expressed in terms of unidentified flying objects, and in terms of ancient astronauts. Now there's nothing silly about being able to fly between the stars. We are already doing it although at an extremely slow pace. It's taking us about 80,000 years to go from here to the nearest star with our present space vehicles. But other civilizations more advanced than we might very well be able to do it in much shorter periods of time--so maybe we are, or have been, visited. It's not ridiculous. On the other hand, it's such an important contention that we should demand only the most rigorous standard of evidence. And my judgement is that on the ancient astronaut business what happens is people look at big buildings constructed long ago and say "My goodness, I don't know how that big building was built, probably people from somewhere else built it." Yes--maybe from Egypt, but not from some other star. These ideas often show an ignorance of archaeology--our ancestors were smart, they could build big. There's no artifact in early human history, so far as I know, which requires extraterrestrial intervention.

Likewise, on unidentified flying objects, there 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. For example, a 30-foot diameter metallic shaped object lands in a suburban garden. A seamless door opens. A metallic robot walks out, picks a flower, smells it, pets the cat, waves to a lady hiding behind her sliding glass door, turns on his heel, enters the UFO, the seamless door closes and it takes off into space. Now that I would call an exotic story--no question about it. But when we look closely into that, it turns out no-one in all of Long Island, New York City, besides the old lady noticed that this had happened. And the cat was unavailable for corroborative evidence.  And that's an example of an exotic story that isn't reliable. On the other hand there are reliable stories, lots of people see something, that are not exotic--a light in the sky. There are no cases where 200 people see something as exotic as what I just said, no cases where there's a piece of the spacecraft that someone captures and sneaks into a laboratory so they can investigate it. No-one has ever managed to steal the captain's log book. And until that sort of thing happens, it seems to me we must be very cautious and skeptical because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It would save us a lot of trouble if those fellows  would come here, instead of us having to go out and find them. I'm not opposed to it--it's just that there isn't a smidgen of good evidence to support those ideas. I wish it were otherwise. 
It's very unlikely I'll be blogging again until 2017, so best wishes to all.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Donald Zygutis doesn't know what he's talking about

        Up for two hours on Coast to Coast AM last night was author Donald Zygutis, plugging his book The Sagan Conspiracy. Since I have not actually read the book and don't intend to, I'm self-disqualified from reviewing it. However, many statements made by Zygutis last night and on his promo website were so wrong that I wish to correct them. His topic is one that I know about--it's in my wheelhouse, as they say. As a TV producer/director of science documentaries I worked closely with Sagan on three occasions.

Here's a summary of the book, in its author's own words:
"[H]ow many Carl Sagan fans know that while the renowned scientist was at Stanford University, he produced a controversial paper, funded by a NASA research grant, that concludes ancient alien intervention may have sparked human civilization?

Recently rediscovered by the author, Sagan’s lost Stanford paper is the central theme of The Sagan Conspiracy. ... I’m thrilled and honored that The Sagan Conspiracy includes the complete and unabridged text of the breakthrough scientific paper on ancient alienism that Carl wrote at Stanford University in 1962, that the United States government has gone to extreme lengths to suppress."
        The problem with that thesis is that Sagan was not at Stanford in 1962-- he was at Harvard. I don't know whether he wrote any such paper--I can find no reference to it but of course Zygutis would say that's because it's been suppressed by the PtB. Zygutis maintains that Sagan believed that extraterrestrials "may have visited Earth thousands of times in ancient history, and may have even 'terraformed' the planet to make it habitable by humans." However, I know that Sagan had no such belief. On the contrary, in the original Cosmos PBS-TV series he stated quite the opposite belief, and in his writings and lectures he firmly advocated the position that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial visitationnote 1. UFOnuts love to cite Sagan as supporting their wingnuttery, but all Sagan ever said about UFOs is that they are worth investigating.

Is Anybody There?
        Last night Zygutis and guest-host Richard Syrett spent some time discussing the Drake equationnote 2 and the Arecibo message, and revealed significant ignorance on both topics.

        Zygutis said the the Drake equation reckoned the odds of ever receiving a message from an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization, and that Frank Drake himself had solved his equation and come up with an estimate. That is not true. The equation sets out a mathematical way of estimating the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy advanced enough to potentially communicate with us. Drake only gave an extremely wide range of possible values for his term N--from 1,000 to 100,000,000. The point about the equation was not that it could be evaluated with any precision at all, but that the value of N was probably non-zero. Sagan's estimates (see note 2 below) ranged from 0.3 to 10 million.

        Syrett asked about the Arecibo message that Sagan sent from the huge radio telescope in 1974, and Zygutis made two errors in answering. First he said that radio telescopes can only receive information, not transmit it, and then he said the experiment was an obvious failure since no answer was ever received. Well, the fact is that Arecibo did transmit the 1679-digit message, and considering that it was directed toward a globular cluster at a distance of 25,000 light years, it's more than a little premature to be saying that no answer has been received. Again, fans of the paranormal cite Sagan, incorrectly, as believing in the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. In fact, to Sagan this was a question, not an answer, and he simply felt that the investigation of it should be led by science, not fantasy or religion.

         Well, speaking of religion, I see Donald Zygutis is a graduate of Corban University. Corban describes itself as "a gospel-driven community of scholars and leaders who seek to bring a biblical perspective to all areas of study and practice." OK, now we know.

        Ah, I found the 1962 paper after all. Its title is Direct contact among galactic civilizations by relativistic interstellar spaceflight, and 18 handwritten pages of it are in the Library of Congress here. Sagan had a brief postdoc appointment at Stanford, in the department of biology under the supervision of Joshua Lederberg. That would have been around 1962, so I may have to concede that point too.

        I found this through Jason Colavito, who covered Zygutis's ideas on 6th October this year. Well done Jason--meticulous as ever.

        Colavito thoroughly refutes the idea that Sagan's paper was ever suppressed, and writes that the meat of the paper was not nearly as optimistic as Zygutis claims. In fact, it was really just an attempt to evaluate the Drake equation--Sagan wrote "For purposes of the following discussion, we adopt N=106"--but that does not mean he thought planet Earth had had a million visits. Far from it.

       Colavito also points out that Sagan once said "The idea that we are being visited or were once visited by powerful benign beings who live in the sky is after a religious idea, the terminology is slightly different, we don't talk about angels, we talk about extra-terrestrials but the emotional significance is identical.” So we're back at religion after all.

======================/ \====================
[1] The Demon-Haunted World New York: Random House 1995  pp. 81–96, 99–104
See also Sagan's 1977 Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution in London, esp. lecture #6

[2] N = R* fp ne fl fi fc L

Key, with Sagan's 1962 pessimistic/optimistic estimates in parentheses:

R* is the rate of formation of stars in the galaxy (1 per year / 3 per year)
fp is the fraction of stars that have planets (1/100 / 1/10)
ne is the number of planets per star that can possibly support life (3 / 3)
fl is the fraction of such planets that actually develop life (1 / 1)
fi is the fraction of such planets supporting intelligent life (1/10 / 1)
fc is the fraction of those that actually release radio communication (1/10 / 1/10)
L is the average lifetime of such radio-communicating civilizations (from 1000 to 100,000,000 years, yielding pessimistically 0.3 < N < 3 × 104 , optimistically 100 < N < 107)

NOTE THAT much more recent results have dramatically increased the probable value of fp.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Mike Bara has his own idea of what the word "tribute" means

        Mike Bara was handed two hours to flog his latest horrible book on Coast to Coast AM last night. It was a typical George Noory interview--no challenges at all, just wall-to-wall marketing. There were some oddities, as indeed there were in the book. Somehow the topic of secret space programs expanded to include the airships of the Sonora Aero Club and the EM drive. The airships may have been secret but they had nothing to do with space, and the EM drive may connect with spaceflight but it's not secret.

        Toward the end, Bara suggested the listeners might like to go read his blog, which today contains "a tribute" to John Glenn (who kicked the bucket yesterday at the grand old age of 95--the last of the "Original Seven".) Well, it was the wee small hours in my time zone, but, hearing that, I mustered enough strength to pound my bedside radio into tiny pieces and throw it down the canyon.

         Just kidding. But my point is, Bara's blog piece, far from being a tribute, is a repeat of his totally mistaken accusation that John Glenn was a liar. This is an echo of the same Mike Bara's "tribute" to Neil Armstrong on the Book of Faces in 2012:

"RIP Neil Armstrong - a true American hero who wanted to tell the truth but was loyal to his oath.note 1"

        So much for de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicenda est. Bara doesn't understand latin (or much of anything else, come to that) so he just gives himself permission to shoot his mouth off as he pleases.

        Bara's snide blogpost wasn't even original. It was a verbatim copy of a page from Richard Hoagland's web site, written in February 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic Mercury mission. Bara only attributes it to Enterprise Mission, not to its author, although here I must allow that Bara ghost-wrote plenty of pages for Hoagland, so it's possible that the author is himself. The bottom line, as I have written before, is that Glenn's guest-spot on Frasier was A JOKE. The liars are Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara.

        Last night I noted, as I have before, how well Bara performs on the mass media as long as you judge the performance and not its content. He's articulate, and delivers interview answers of just the right length. He does have a few too many intrusive "you know"s, but not to the point of real annoyance. So it might exasperate me, but it shouldn't surprise me, that he gets these free marketing opportunities after every book. And indeed, he scooped the traditional reward--the book ranking on Amazon (Kindle edition) went from 533,780 on November 2nd to 56,489 this morningnote 2. Nowhere near good enough to sustain Bara's lifestyle for very long, but a boost nevertheless.

===================/ \===================
[1] On that occasion, Yelp Pacifica ran a thread titled What do you think of somebody calling Neil Armstrong a liar when his body isn't even cold?

[2] From 274 to 34 in Nonfiction > Science > Astronomy & Space Science > Astrophysics & Space Science.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hoagland in retirement

        It's been a while since I had any reason to check Richard Hoagland's 1990s-style web site, so when I did today, for research purposes, I was dead surprised to find something missing. That something was the principal navigation graphic, right at the head of the page. This one:

credit: Enterprise Mission

        Using the Wayback Machine, I discovered that the last date on which the graphic appeared was 19th April this year. What now heads the page is the garish announcement of The Other Side of Midnight -- a new radio show. That's "new" as in dating from July 2015. So it really does look as if Hoagland has abandoned this site, although his domain registration is paid up through next December. Removing the main way for your users to browse your site sends a pretty definitive message.

Under construction
        Not that the nav was ever well maintained anyway. The links to Bridge, Physics Lab and Stores did at least lead somewhere useful, although the Physics Lab contains such stunning material as a transcript of RCH's radio interview from 1996. Communications and Library both led to an UNDER CONSTRUCTION graphic. Conference Room was the real joke--a forum for members only, moderated by Keith Rowland and costing $3.95 a month to join. Hoagland and Rowland both walked away from that quite soon after it was established in 2002, while continuing to collect membership fees for several months.note 1

Death of a Radio show
        Say, does that remind you of anything? It should do. Hoagland has been collecting $5/month membership fees for "Club 19.5" for two months now, without providing any new content at all. A replay is billed for tonight, so that puts the kibosh on any hope of a return this week. At this point, and given his documented record, I'd be surprised if he's ever back.

========================/ \=====================
[1] Then there was the vanishing newsletter from 2010, which James Concannon blogged about.
And here's another Hoagland walk-away.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hoagland still off the air, and now it's a full-blown scandal

        So Richard Hoagland's radio chatshow The Other Side of Midnight is still in a state of chaotic hiatus, with no new shows since 13th October. (For the background on this, ref. my 20 oct blogpost.)

        The first broken promise was for election night, 8th/9th November. Guests Carl Johan Calleman & Georgia Lambert were supposed to be on hand to comment as the last results flowed in. That never happened. Twice more, on 10th and 14th, the same show was billed and replaced at the last minute by re-runs. It is now billed yet again for tonight. The comments on the web site have been almost universally scornful, although there are a few fans who'll apparently remain loyal no matter what. Like "Rob," who posted this morning:
"Just know, that many of us will wait for you to get things fixed. We know how important your work is. Thank you for all the years of service."
        The strangest thing of all was a message from Robin Falkov, Hoagland's partner, on 11th November. Falkov pleaded for patience, writing that "We have fought a long hard battle since the first airing of the show." She added that "...the solutions will be in place by next week at the soonest." So why, therefore, was the Calleman/Lambert show even billed for the 14th? If she really meant "latest" rather than "soonest," well, that's a rather serious error--one of which "Doctor" Falkov should be ashamed.


        Falkov's message was headed "To All Our Family at OSOM..." Presumably she and her paramour like to think of us as a family because within families people aren't necessarily expected to pay off their debts. Club members, who pay $5/month for acess to the archives, have seen no new shows for over a month now. Requests for refunds are apparently being stone-walled, that's why I say this is becoming quite a scandal now. "Marcus" posted this comment on 9th November:
"I assume Mr Hoagland and the radio station have adequate legal representation. Tomorrow I will contact the Postal Inspectors on behalf of my elderly aunt who has been scammed and can’t even get a response on a request for refund."
         Unfortunately, Marcus won't win, and neither will any of the other angry members of "Club 19.5." The membership guarantees access to the archives, that's all. You don't have to pay to listen live. So, just like the Foolbook fans who contributed $1,200 to Hoagland's fantasy expedition to Egypt in May 2012, or the 20-ish punters who paid $189 (inc. box lunch) to witness Hoagland "measuring" the torsion field at the Pyramid of Kukulkan on 19th December 2012 (the expedition that was aborted when Hoagland was kicked out by security men,) they won't see a cent of a refund.

Hoagland's state of mind
        Many commenters, both on the OSOM website and in Bellgab, have wondered why Hoagland, never normally at a loss for words, has made no statement about this royal fuck-up, and instead allowed Falkov to speak--erroneously--on his behalf. My take on this is that Hoagland is just beside himself with rage. His arrogance is such that he doesn't think the normal rules apply to him, and he's very likely cursing Fred Lundgren and Keith Rowland for failing to appreciate his genius. Hoagland has shown that he feels no obligation to responed to critical reviews of his writings and doings, and those who write the critical reviews--including me--are by defintion idiots. On 2nd June 2015 Hoagland said this about us:
"These people have no character. They are certainly not any people that I would possibly want to answer to because they're not in the conversation. They are deliberate disinformation artists designed to submerge the truth."
        We'll have to see whether he turns up tonight/tomorrow morning. I wouldn't bet on it.

Update 16 November:
        Replay again last night. From KIYQ Las Vegas, not KCAA.Right now the Calleman/Lambert live show and the Imaging panel replay are both billed. Bunch of amateurs!!

Update 24 November:
 This just in on the Book of Faces:
"soon very soon - I can't give a date but think next week... "

...and from Robin Falkov...
"Please understand what a monumental job this has been to repair the damage to the site. The problems gave you double, triple and more billing, inability to log in, inability to access archives and more. There is a team that has been hard at work to make sure these issues do not rear their ugly head again." another eight paragraphs of rubbish, ending with a plug for her business. They must think we were born yesterday. "Monumental job" my ass. So the back end of the web site was broken, now it's (maybe) fixed. It happens, but IT DOESN'T TAKE 40 DAYS and there's no justification for suspending radio shows while it's being fixed.

        Meanwhile on the Comments page there was an allegation that a negative comment was deleted and the commenter accused of being "a paid misinformant." That's one of RCH's fave accusations, but of course he's never produced the slightest evidence that anyone is paid to cut him down to size.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Richard Hoagland off the air, perhaps only temporarily

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reaction from the fans was swift and predictable:

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

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

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

Do you see why I use the adjective ARROGANT?

Update 10 November:


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

So here goes with 14 specific points:

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

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

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

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

 credit: Enterprise mission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another false claim from Robert Morningstar

James Concannon writes...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image credit: NASA

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

Oh look, nothing in the sky.

--James Concannon

Friday, October 7, 2016

John Brandenburg, lost in space

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Morningstar, Bara, not even wrong

James Concannon writes....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Chris L for sources

Friday, September 16, 2016

The wisdom of Robert Morningstar

James Concannon writes...

        More laughs with Morningstar. Today he posted a 1:42 excerpt of one of his lectures at the Edgar Cayce NYC Center. The audio quality was utterly appalling but after several runs I came up with the following transcript, which I believe is accurate apart from a few minor elisions.
"Remote viewing  [and]  out-of-body experiences  are the natural processes of the human mind, and soul.   Science, over the last 150 years, has... er... suppressed them, and quashed them, and repressed it, and tried to convince us--the public--that if you believe in these faculties you are superstitious. Ahhh... you are... ahhmm..ignorant. And that there's no basis in fact...[?]      Because they believe in a totally materialistic, linear, one-directional time concept of reality. Which is the real falsehood. The idea that life unfolds like a stack of dominoes--just hit one domino and inevitably all the dominoes will fall.   Well, that's not true. Ahhh.. because you're not logical. The universe is not logical.  We now know..[?]...     the last 100 years as well.  The arrival of quantum physics...    relativity...    has shown us that we live simultaneously in a matter-antimatter universe. And the matter universe is the after-effects of the antimatter universe."
        Only seven audience members are visible in the Youtubery, but we must assume that many more had paid decent money to hear this. I have a couple of comments, since I know at least as much as AM* about quantum physics--which is to say, not very much.

1. Science has made no efforts that I know of to suppress or quash remote viewing. Indeed, I don't know how it would go about such a project even if it wanted to. Science has simply said "Show me the money." In other and better words, "Let's see some consistent results from RV that are repeatable and clearly better than guesswork." A 1995 evaluationnote 1 by a blue ribbon panel did find a statistically significant RV effect under some conditions, but it cautioned  "It is unclear whether the observed effects can unambiguously be attributed to the paranormal ability of the remote viewers as opposed to characteristics of the judges or of the target or some other characteristic of the methods used." As for the usefulness of RV in formal intelligence gathering, the panel nixed that completely, and as a result the DIA's $20 million Stargate project was shut down.

A follow-up report by Wiseman and Miltonnote 2 found four methodological problems with SAIC's "Experiment One,"  which the 1995 panel had found compelling, and reported that it could not be repeated. Repeatability is, of course, a requirement for scientific acceptance.

More on the anecdotal side, the celebrity remote viewers who have turned up on the radio show Coast to Coast AM over the years have shown how wildly adrift most of this work can be.  Ed Dames can't seem to get anything right (we're still waiting for his "killshot" to wipe out the human race.) Courtney Brown remote viewed an artificial object trailing Comet Hale-Bopp and was indirectly responsible for the suicide of 39 members of the cult group Heaven's Gate. His "artificial object" was never detected.

So I don't think it's at all unreasonable for the science community to reject the claims of RV-- and rejection is not the same thing as suppression. Ray Hyman, in an article in Skeptical Inquirer, put it succinctly:
"What seems clear is that the scientific community is not going to abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles on the basis of a handful of experiments whose findings have yet to be shown to be replicable and lawful."note 3

2. Quantum physics has not shown what Morningstar says it has shown. Its essential usefulness is in explaining three of the four fundamental forces that make everything happen. It also sheds much light on the wave-particle duality of light. It has little or nothing to say about anti-matter.

Parapsychologists have fallen in love with quantum theory because of the phenomenon of entanglement, per which sub-atomic particles that are very far apart can affect each others' states instantaneously. They speak of "consciousness entanglement" as a possible or probable explanation for RV, but there isn't even a whisper of evidence that such a phenomenon exists, let alone has any practical value.

Now what?
        Well, speaking of practical value-- what, I wonder, does Morningstar think his lecture audiences are going to do with the information he supplies? Storm the gates of the National Acadamies demanding that science get more lenient with parapsychological claims? Remote-view the lottery numbers? Only if they could actually perform the latter trick would they have got value for their money, I fear.

======================/ \====================
[1]  An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications. American Institutes for Research September 29, 1995

[2]  Experiment One of the SAIC Remote Viewing Program: A critical re-examination by Dr Richard Wiseman and Dr Julie Milton. J. Parapsychology 62 (4): 297–308

[3] The Evidence for psychic functioning: Claims vs. Reality. Skeptical Inquirer March-April 1996.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Robert Morningstar: First pseudo-Science, now pseudo-Shakespeare

James Concannon writes...

        As we all know, I no longer follow Robert AM* on the book of farces because I can't stand the political hate (which reached a crescendo over the weekend after Hillary Clinton's fall--the anti-Clinton crowd screaming "media cover-up!" despite the fact that it was the lead story in every newscast I saw last night.) However, I do check in on his page now and then, and I was rewarded yesterday not only by the aforementioned example of loony hysteria, but by this:

        As a follower called Vernon Cutrere correctly pointed out, there is no character named Horatio in Julius Caesar, neither is there an authentic quote expressing the same thought.

        So what--I might even say wtf-- was AM* thinking of? His error headed a link to his favorite and most trusted source of information--the London Daily Mail. In this case it was an article about poverty in the USA. So presumably what he had in his addled mind was "There but for the grace of God go you and I."

Maybe he garbled this quote from Julius Caesar:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Or maybe he was thinking of the play that really does have a Horatio in it, Hamlet:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

        Mr. Morningstar, the  "civilian intelligence analyst," should stick to what he's good at--frisbee and chess. Come to think of it, every good chess player I've ever met has been a bit dim at everything else.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

David Wilcock gets another 2 hours to misinform and mislead

        On Coast-to-Coast AM Tuesday night, David Wilcock wasn't exhibiting very much of that adolescent rage I wrote about in connection with his stint on Other Side of Midnight a month ago. OK, he did at one point say "The cabal folks are using the power of our consciousness against us," but for most of his first hour he was about the sordid business of book marketing. It was pseudo-history rather than pseudo-science--Jason Colavito's territory par excellence. But he strayed into my territory later, when George Noory asked him about the Secret Space Program.

32:45: "We are surrounded by dozens and dozens and dozens of different extraterrestrial civilizations, that not only visit us, but this is their home. And that's a very important point. There is such a need for space--for living space--on the Moon that the back side of the Moon is just developed out as much as you can handle. There's no space left that hasn't been settled--and apparently, according to some insiders we have coming out of the Russian side of thingsnote 1, it's so busy on the night side of the Moon right now that it looks like Manhattan at night. It's just totally loaded with light, because there's so many different groups there."
        So yet again we have a fantasist with no actual knowledge of space science or astronomy telling us fairy stories about the Moon without making any reference to the ultra high definition imagery available online from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Just take a look around those images and you'll quickly see that what Wilcock was telling us is


        To make matters very much worse, Wilcock had the nerve to actually pretend he had done legitimate photo-research.
35:12: "As much as possible I'm bringing in the evidence, I'm bringing in photographic proof --such as what's called the Blair Cuspids, a group of obelisks that were photographed on the Moon. You can see the shadows coming off of 'em, they're clearly obelisks. And there's these rectangular pits in the ground around where they are. And those rectangles would represent rectangular ruins under the surface, that meteors hitting the Moon causing craters have smashed in the roofs, because they're so old that they're kind-of falling apart."
        Well, we've met the Blair Cuspids before, in the context of Ancient Aliens and my bloggery at that time. Here's the image both AA and Wilcock are relying on:

credit: Prometheus Entertainment

        So here's this buffoon, claiming to be a bona fide researcher ("a professional intuitive consultant," in his C2C profile, ha-ha) but relying on an image taken in 1966 with a resolution of a couple of meters. The original complete frame shows the scale of these shadows: they are not towering obelisks but smallish rock formations at a very low sun angle (look at top right of image h2.) "Trekker," a regular reader and commenter here, found the site at 5.0252°N, 15.583°E. Here they are, at double the resolution of the 1966 shot and a much higher sun angle:

What David Wilcock told his audience on Tuesday night is


        What a week for George Noory! Glynis McCants, David Icke, and this. I thought about blogging Icke but I don't think my blood pressure could stand another self-important nincompoop.

[1] What do the Russians have right now, capable of observing the back side of the Moon? Nothing that I'm aware of.