Saturday, July 27, 2013

Another problem for the "Ritual Alignment Model"

        As anybody who thinks about it for a few seconds already knows, spacecraft launch windows are tightly constrained by inescapable facts like day/night cycles, the need to get where they're going without using more than the minimum of RCS fuel, rendezvous with spacecraft already in their orbits, and so on.

        Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara are probably the only people in the entire world who take a different view. They say that NASA launches only when any of five stars are at any of five elevationsnote 1 as seen from either the Cape or Houston. They say this is an "obsessive, relentless"note 2 NASA preoccupation.

        I'd love to check that out, examining the 135 launches of the Space Shuttle to see how many of them conform to that totally batshit-insane idea. But considering that 50 possibilities would need checking for each of 135 launches, I'm not going to do that. Besides, they've never stated what tolerance they allow for the elevation. Plus or minus half a degree? Quarter of a degree? We really don't know.

        What I have done, in the past, is look at the missions they claim as "hits" -- and I've discovered that the entire exercise is steeped in mendacity and hand-wavingnote 3. I recently reviewed the Shuttle's on-time performance, and it's another problem for H & B. Launches were habitually delayed for a variety of reasons -- not just technical glitches but low temperature, approaching hurricanes, boats drifting into the danger zone, crew illness and what-have-you. STS-70 launched a month late because woodpeckers partly destroyed its Big Tank. In 1999, STS-103 claimed the dubious record by being scrubbed nine times. None of these delays could conceivably have been pre-planned by people with astrology in mind.

        In all, only 55, or 41%, got off on time. What a nightmare for the evil NASA conspirators, desperately checking their ephemerides and star charts, hoping to make it before the next magical Egyptian astrological conjunction was all over.

        The only time Hoagland ever addressed this problem, he said that it's the planned launch time -- he called it "the birthing time" -- that counts. Pity that, in his web-published Table of Coincidencenote 4, he ignores his own advice and settles for the launch times that actually happened.

        Of all the cockamamie stupid ideas Hoagland and Bara have had, I vote for this as the most moronic.

[1] The stars are Sirius, Regulus, and the belt stars of Orion. The elevations are -33°, -19.5°, 0°, +19.5°, and +33°.
[2] Caption to Fig. 5-10, Dark Mission 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mike Bara's unsuccessful pitch to the Great Art Bell

        You know how good the internet is for spreading rumors. Yeah, really good. Well, the hot one of the week is that Art Bell, original creator of Coast to Coast AM, is making yet another comeback into talk radio. The Coastgab forum is agog with it. Follow that link to read a message from Art -- and it doesn't take much reading between the lines to get the point that Art thinks Premiere Radio have let his show turn to shit.

        Personally, I hate George Noory but I'm not a Bell fan either. I guess if Art set up shop in direct opposition to C2C I'd follow him.

Oh please! Take me! MEEEEEEEEE!!!
        All this is a preface to a cute little exchange on Twitter (where the internet twits can be found) over the last few days.Our Mike saw a chance....

Art Bell @ArtBell51        21 July
Closer and closer. I may announce here or on Facebook. I am bound right now to not say more.


Mike Bara @mikebara33        24 July
@ArtBell51 @Art_Bell Gonna have me as a guest? I've got a new book coming out.

Art Bell @ArtBell51        13h
@mikebara33 Sorry but the last thing I need is another 4 hour book commercial. Call Noory. #GeorgeNoorySucks

Mike Bara @mikebara33        13h
@Art_Bell It'll be interesting to see what the content of the show is. Good luck

Hide conversation         Reply         Retweet         Favorite         More

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mike Bara celebrates the 44th anniversary of Apollo 11 with his usual inaccuracy

        Mike Bara often uses his twitter account to "relate" to celebrities. Brown-nosing icons of the extreme right like Ann Coulter, Greta Van Susteren and Donald Trump is a favorite. So is insulting any (US-style) football players who beat his idols the Seattle Seahawks. Today he's been telling people that the late Helen Thomas was notably anti-jewish (a grain of truth there, although she did apologize for saying "The Jews should get the hell out of Palestine."note 1)

        But the "tweet-of-the-day" was reserved for none other than Buzz Aldrin, who posted:

"44 years ago today Neil took this photo of me at Tranquility Base on the moon. We all miss you Neil."

photo credit: NASA

        Our Mike doesn't much like Buzz. He can't get over the fact that Buzz is a mason, who took a miniature masonic flag to the Moon as part of his personal kit. Why that should spook Bara out is anyone's guess, but apparently it does.

        Buzz also took a miniature communion kit to the Moon, and performed a personal ceremony of thanksgiving at MET 105:25:38, 2h 40m after landing. This evidently upset Mike Bara too, because he made several errors when alluding to it. On Ancient Aliens: The NASA Connection he said wrongly that the ceremony was 33 minutes (that magic number, geddit?) after landing, as the constellation Orion was exactly on the horizon (it wasn't.) He also said that Neil Armstrong took part in the ceremony, which is not true either. Then he said the Catholic mass "has it's origins" in Egyptian ritualnote 2. It does not. Its origin is, of course, the last supper of Christ.note 3

        In the first edition of Dark Mission, he wrote that the star Sirius was at the magic elevation of 19.5° as the ceremony took place. In the second edition, he referred to the communion ceremony as "infamous" (page 11) and revised the star alignment to Regulus at MINUS 19.5°. How Aldrin could have sighted Regulus below the horizon to get his timing right is not stated.

        Anyway, Mike is obviously still stewing over this, because today he took disrespect to new heights by tweeting to Buzz Aldrin:

"Did you wear the Masonic apron during the "Communion" ceremony before the EVA?"

[1] If she'd said "The Israelis should get the hell out of Palestine," I'd say many people would agree with that, whether they would stand up to be counted or not. And in that case she would not have needed to add the much more offensive "...and go back where they came from."

[2] Egyptian ritual is a Hoagland/Bara meme, especially in relation to Moon landings, because Dr. Farouk El Baz was the most influential member of the landing site selection committee, and El Baz is Egyptian by birth. Bara said on Ancient Aliens that El Baz picked the dates and times of the landings in addition to the sites, which is totally untrue. So many errors!

[3] But see the second comment below.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pseudoscience wikified

        I see where both Hoagland and Bara now have pages on the rational wiki. Appropriately enough, since the RatWiki exists to mock pseudoscience. It's "round up the usual suspects" time -- David Icke, George Tsoukalos, Graham Hancock, David Wilcock, , Linda M. Howe.... need I go on? (Hmmm, how come Sean David Morton isn't there? Surely even criminal pseuds need mocking.)

        RatWiki has the wikipedia look, but it's wikipedia without the citation nazis. So it's much, much looser and sarcasm is encouraged. Permanently upping the batshit ante is one sub-head in the Icke piece, for example.

        Coincidentally, I sent the following message to Mike Bara a few days ago:

To: Mike Bara
cc: Adrienne Loska, Mike Bara Management
Subject: Orbit of Explorer 1
Date: 13th July 2013

Know what this is, Mike?

image credit: Richard Hoagland

It's the actual vs. planned orbit of Explorer 1. It was drawn to scale by your former co-author Richard "Fraud" Hoagland.

Look at it. Does that look like an orbit that is 60% more energetic than planned, overall? If you agree that it does not, you are agreeing that an entire chapter of 'The Choice' (ch.12) is poppycock. Balderdash. Codswallop.

Think about that.



        Anybody who doesn't already know what Mikey wrote in chapter 12, and why it's so catastrophically wrong, can see a nice concise explanation on the rational wikipage.

This is what the orbit would have looked like if it had been 60% excess:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hoagland: Two travesties

Text size: 4
Text color: #ffffff
Font: Times Roman
Background: #000000, plus starfield pattern
Line width: 1540px

        Know what that's called? AN UNREADABLE WEB PAGE, that's what. And that's what Richard Hoagland gave us, as his first website update in nearly nine months, under the title It Only Takes One White Crow. At one time I wrote a couple of books about HTML, so I know a piece-of-shit web page when I see it. Any other HTML hackers reading this might like to know that the W3C validator throws 81 errors and 14 warnings when asked to rate the page markup.

        OK, getting on Hoagland's case about his markup is a bit irrelevant, I hear you say. Never mind the technicalities, what about the content? Well, actually, I was giving you the good news first. The content is WORSE.

        The page was composed as a companion to last night's three-hour Hoagathon on Coast to Coast AM. By way of a preamble, he takes us through his brilliant (and totally false) analysis of the original 'Face' on Mars, his absolutely brilliant (and absolutely false) exposition of the Brookings Report, before getting to the meat of the thing -- namely, what Curiosity has found on Mars. I can do this like a picture book for you. (Actually these images are not from the web page but from the C2C-AM archive).

This is a child's sneaker. Surrounded by toys such as a model glider. ON MARS.

This is a cylinder.

This is an engine. ON MARS.

        I'm bored already, I won't continue with the collapsed motels and apartment blocks. We did those already. But you get the idea. This is bad science. VERY, VERY BAD SCIENCE.

        Then, for heaven's sake, he goes off into a wild and utterly ridiculous fantasy about a Reuleaux tetrahedron in West Candor Chasma -- nowhere near Gale crater, nothing to do with the Curiosity rover, and just about as painful as the HTML it's written in. I could tell you what a Reuleaux tetrahedron is but then I'd have to kill myself for even taking this preposterous idea that seriously. Look it up if you must -- everything's on the net these days. The main thing to understand here is that Richard Hoagland is wrong.

Reuleaux woo-woo
        On the woo-woo radio last night, he didn't venture into Reuleaux territory (imagine having to spell that out for George Noory), settling instead for the above-mentioned fantasy of a Martian child's bedroom complete with toys, and a scamper through the Wacky-Accynote 1. At times there were awkward silences, as if neither Hoagland nor Noory could imagine what kind of bullshit to come up with next.

Here's one quote I particularly loved:

"The Accutron is a really robust portable field sensor that allows me to monitor the changes in the field strength in and around these sacred sites."

STRENGTH. Remember that word.

On 8th June, just a month ago, I wrote this in e-mail to Hoagland:

"You say you measure the torsion field, right?

So here's the simplest possible question:

What was the maximum intensity of the torsion field at Coral Castle during the Venus transit of 2004?"

I was favored with a reply, the very same day:

"I have NEVER stated that we're measuring the "amplitude" ... of ANYTHING.             :)

Frequency ... frequency ... frequency ....

Why don't you try actually READING what we've published (so far ...), before you ask (more) inane questions ..."

"Someone's living on the Moon"
        Good line. I bet the Branch Hoaglandians love it. Sad to say, it isn't true. Hoagland repeated that bit of nonsense last night, which is based on his utter misunderstanding of lunar atmospheric pressure measurements from Apollo vs. Chandrayaan. The story is here. Basically, Apollo was doing its measurement at night-time, Chandrayaan daytime. That's why the atmospheric pressure was different -- not because there are seekrit miltary bases.

Two false claims
        Around the middle of the second hour, Hoagland again claimed to have been the first to publish the hypothesis that Europa, the sixth moon of Jupiter, might have an ocean under its icy crust. This claim has been ridiculed by Phil Plait, Ralph Greenberg and Gary Posner. In response to Posner's rebuttal, Mike Bara wrote a vitriolic web page (also white size 4 Times Roman on starfield, but mercifully not 1540px line width) saying "Hoagland has never claimed any such thing".

This is not just bad science, it's disgraceful.

        Toward the end of that hour, Hoagland referred to the Apollo 15 Hammer & feather drop, in which Dave Scott proved that in the vacuum of the Moon, a hammer and feather dropped from the same height reach the ground together. A truly excellent demo. Almost as a casual throwaway, the pseudoscientist told us that the whole thing was his idea.

That is a falsehood. The demo was conceived by Dave Scott, Jim Irwin and Joe Allennote 2.

Bad science. Disgraceful claims. Unforgivable arrogance and mendacity.


1. As ever, a backgrounder on this is here.

2. Thanks to  Jourget for pointing me to this note in the Lunar Surface Journal:

[Scott - "The basic idea was Joe Allen's. It was another thing from sitting in the crew quarters at night, trying to figure out interesting things to do - that were useful, too. And I guess we had a lot of ideas. But Joe came up with the hammer and feather idea, and we decided where to get a feather. I had a friend who was a professor at the Air Force Academy. Their mascot's the Falcon. And we had the (LM) Falcon. So that was indeed, a falcon feather from an Air Force Academy bird. In fact, I had two of them. I was going to try it, first, to see if it worked - because of static charge and all that stuff it might have stuck to my glove. Didn't have time (for the trial run), so we just winged it. And it worked!"]