Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Extinction Event Did Not Happen Yesterday

        I'm not even going to write the name of the ignorant liar who made a few hundred dollars by telling everyone that Planet X, or Nibiru, would impact the Earth yesterday and wipe out all life. I do not wish even my microscopic influence on public opinion to add to the publicity this liar has already had. Still less am I going to name his wretched, wretched book about a non-existent planetoid. If any readers wish to read 115 pages of self-published poppycock they can surely find it for themselves.

        I understand this nincompoop is now claiming that he's been misquoted by the media and he never said September 23rd—the true date is some time next month. That's what end-of-the-world liars always do, isn't it? Keep advancing the date. It's truly pathetic.

        Last night Coast to Coast AM, with Jimmy Church as relief host, poked a bit of fun at this prediction, as the hours of September 23rd ticked away. Quite a lot of fun, actually. In my opinion they should have been poking fun at themselves, for having helped to make this nonsense credible in a show aired 19th January. The other guest that night was a numerologist—they made a nice pair of delusional con-men (con-persons, I should say.)

        C2C's bio-note tells us that this ridiculous person studied astronomy "at a mid-Western university," but it also noted:
"[This barefaced liar] has concluded that the prophetic Book of Revelation actually foretells the apocalyptic arrival of Planet X in our time period, and he added that Bible Code expert Rabbi Glazerson also backs a similar timeline."
So this is not just nonsense but biblical nonsense.

        This barefaced liar writes of his own work "This book is a must-read and a Survival Guide to the most important story of the century." Fuck You. It never happened.

Update:
        Exposing Pseudoastronomy also tackles this topic this week, being a bit kinder to the barefaced liar than I am.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jimmy Church slams Sean David Morton

        Jimmy Church is a four-days-a-week podcaster, and a fairly frequent relief host of Coast-to-Coast AM. As I've written before, I think he's pretty good. His show is called Fade To Black, and many of his guests are the standard pseudoscience mob that this blog exists to mock, and I guess that's who he means when he talks about "our community." Last Monday, he gave his audience a quick update on the fate of Sean David Morton (sentenced that very day to six years in the slammer,) and then editorialized as follows:

18:31: "No matter what you feel about the government, or the IRS—the IRS may be the most evil thing in the history of the known world—and I get that, I understand.. um, but no matter what your feelings are about the feds, and the IRS, if you have a check in your hand for half a million dollars, and you know it ain't your money, you don't cash it. We all know right from wrong. We do. We really, really... if we don't know right from wrong then we shouldn't be out in public. But, if we do know right from wrong, and we have our faculties about us, holding a check for half a million dollars in your hand that you know is not yours—don't cash it. And if you do, that is a decision that you make as an adult. Nobody is forcing you—you make the decision on your own. And he made that decision. The... the complications with the case, and how many charges were there, and... you know, the bottom line is, you don't cash the check. [..?..] Anyway, he got caught. OK? And he and his wife were found guilty. [..?..] He tried to hide the funds—they split it up, and took out $7,000 in cash, kept that, split up the rest of the money, put it in a bunch of different accounts, and [..?..] when the IRS asked for the money back, they said NO. The IRS literally said "we want the money back," and they said "No. come and get us." Well, OK. They did. [...] The bottom line is that they were officially sentenced today and that's it, they're going to prison."

"But, I have been silent on this whole thing. [...] I don't wish prison on anybody—this is a non-violent crime. It's a non-violent crime. And prison sucks. It absolutely sucks. So, I don't wish it on anybody. All I'm saying in this case, is sometimes you bring things onto yourself. You go and cash a check for $500,000 hoping to get away with it, and you don't, well you get caught [and] that's the end of the story. There's a couple of other things about Sean that... that kind of need to be said here. OK, today I went and watched a video on the ConspiraSea Cruise,note 1 actually an excellent video by the way. Ahhm... and well presented. But in this video ..ahhm, Sean is sitting there, and this is what he says publicly out of his own mouth. He says that he went to Stanford, that he went to Oxford, and that he was a doctor. [...] And then he says that he's an award-winning director, and a screen writer. And so, I stopped right there and I did just a little personal investigation on the web, just to check the record, the IMDB things. There's no "award-winning director" of anything anywhere, there's no screenwriting credits of anything. ..... So anyway, but then he said this, in this video that he has the largest internet radio station in the world. Now, hold on a minute here. He's in prison, but you can't say things like that ... Ok, fine, I can't change what people think, but me, I'm a black-and-white numbers guy. ... So it's very easy to go and check out a few things. Where is his web site ranking, for his web site? If it is the No. 1 radio show in the world that means it's quite simply that you have revenue that is God-like. You must have in your driveway seven different color Lamborghinis, one for each day of the week. ... That's what that means, and when he says something like that, that is a crazy thing. So you go and you look up... it's easy to check, go look at his web site, go look at the ranking. I don't know what it is. I don't remember—it's something like 12 million. Know what 12 million ranking world-wide is? It means you have maybe one person a day going to that web site. One. The largest internet radio broadcast in the world. Go and look—who's the network, who's the syndication? It's gotta be somebody BIG. It's got to be a household name. .... You must have 5 million,10 million ... All of the things that he has said about himself—and he's turned around and defrauded the government and then convicted of that—what do we depend on here? And what upsets me with all of this is our community is represented by a guy like that ... claiming screen credits, and the largest show in the world, and it's all B.S. And so for us, [..?..] that's what makes me upset, he's never been a guest on this show, so I have that going for me. But it's everybody else.  And it allows them to go 'Look. This is why that community is crazy, because they're represented by this. It's all ficticious, it's not true.'"

[Examples of real research done by the "alternative" community]

"You know, and I do my best every single day to make sure that we... we have fun with this show, that we're honest with this show—anybody can go and check our numbers. When we say something... Go and check, the numbers are all public, they're all there for the world to see. I am proud of what we have done here. ... And that's our community, and it just kills me that this went down. It's unfortunate that he got caught and he went to prison. Melissa got taken down for the count. I doubt that she would have done any of this if it wasn't for his influence, and now she's spending two years in the federal pen. And if they could go back and do it all differently I'm sure that they would. Now they've got time to go and quite frankly think about this, and how they represented all of us. They lied to us and the rest of the world. And that's it—I've held back from speaking about this, but our community just needs everything that it can to be represented correctly."
        It beats me how Jimmy can protest that Morton was giving his "community" a bad rep for saying things that are totally wrong, when at the same time one of his pet guests is Mike Bara. Bara gets everything wrong.

       From the report on ufowatchdog, what made me giggle was that this "Legal scholar," at his sentencing hearing, declared that he had been mistaken in representing himself at trial, and now requested legal representation. Denied. If he behaves himself (unlikely) we may be seeing SDM again in four years or so. Jimmy Church is dead right about one thing—prison sucks.

Thanks to Stuart Robbins for the audio

====================/ \======================
[1] ''One Week on a Cruise for Conspiracy Theorists - ConspiraSea'' --Youtube. Morton (at 06:16) "I'm a legal scholar.. I host the Number #1 radio show on the Internet"



Monday, September 11, 2017

Mike Bara goes the full delusion

        Yesterday Mike Bara came up with another vlog, eagerly lapped up by his admirers (all four of them), in which he attempted to connect hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the recent eclipse. He also explained that hurricanes are GOOD because they create jobs.

        For data support, he cited perhaps the most unreliable source imaginable—namely, Richard Hoagland's Accutron readingsnote 1 at Coral Castle during the Venus transit of 8th June 2004. Bara said that what was significant about Hoagland's data was that the disturbance created by the transit event continued after the event was over. So, you know, seeking to justify his link between a solar eclipse on 21 August and the formation of Harvey (17 August) and Irma (30 August).

        So is it true that the disturbance persisted? If so, you'd never know it from Hoagland's data which only continue for approximately another hour. Would-be interpreters of Hoagland's data are somewhat thwarted by the facts that (a) he got the time of the transit wrong,note 2 and (b) he has published two different and incompatible traces. First was this one:

credit: Richard Hoagland

        He said fourth contact happened at 07:21 (all times EDT), and the trace continues until approximately 08:20. His second attempt was this:

credit: Richard Hoagland

        Note that both traces show a spike to 364.474 Hz at what Hoagland (wrongly) calls the time of third contact, but then the first version shows three spikes to 360.53, 360.42 and 360.30 Hz respectively. The second version has two following spikes to 360.7 at times that are not the same as those of the first version, and does not even continue until the transit is over at fourth contact.

        So what should we say about Mike Bara's idea that the eclipse was linked to a hurricane that developed four days earlier, and that Hoagland's data support a link between the eclipse and a different hurricane nine days later? Poppycock is the word that comes to mind. Certainly not science.

The magic number
         A second thread that Bara picked up was also Hoagland-based. He told us that both Harvey and Irma developed at a latitude of 19.5°N, and that is the latitude at which "hyperdimensional energy" is permanently available on any spinning sphere such as a planet.note 3

        Well, let's see. Harvey developed from a tropical wave East of the Lesser Antilles. Those islands stretch all the way from Anguilla (18.2°N)  in the North to Grenada (12.07°N) in the South. Irma developed near the Cape Verde Islands (15.06°N). FAIL. Hurricane José is next in line, currently gathering strength at roughly 15°N. FAIL AGAIN.

        Perhaps Mikey believes that merely by passing through that latitude, hurricanes pick up power. In fact, that's the implication of the way he phrased it. Does he think meteorologists and hurricane-trackers would not notice this effect?

        At one point in the vlog, Bara held up a copy of his 2011 book The Choice, saying "I explained the significance of 19.5 in this book." What he actually wrote, in justification of the idea, is that the following planetary features are at 19.5° latitude:
  • Neptune's Great Dark Spot
  • The Great Red Spot of Jupiter
  • The erupting volcanoes of Jupiter's moon Io
  • Olympus Mons on Mars
  • Mauna Kea volcano
        Know how many of those are actually at 19.5? NONE OF THE ABOVE. If he'd written Mauna Loa instead of Mauna Kea he'd have got one right.

        None of the top ten volcanic eruptions in history, and none of the most destructive earthquakes, have been at 19.5°. The case for instantly available energy at that latitude is not merely weak but non-existent.

An actress speaks
          Jennifer Lawrence opines that Irma is nature's payback for electing a chump named Trump. In his vlog, Bara advised JL to "leave the science to the science people". I think he should do exactly that.


Further reading
         Since Mike is a doctrinaire climate change denier, and mocked climate science as "bullshit" in this vlog, here's an antidote.

Scientist Slams Climate Change Deniers In Brilliant Viral Post --Katharine Hayhoe's take-down of people just like Mike Bara who put their faith in pseudoscience.

=====================/ \================
[1] For a briefing on what "Accutron readings" are, see this.

[2] Hoagland reported third contact at 07:03:53, but this table issued by NASA Goddard says it was 07:07:33 at Miami, same longitude as Homestead.

[3] For a derivation of the 19.5 figure, see this blogpost. Simple enough geometry that neither Mike Bara nor Richard Hoagland is capable of.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mike Bara comments on a former "best pal" who's now a convicted felon and in jail

       For any readers totally unfamiliar with the world of conspiracy, here are briefings on the two personalities involved:
Mike Bara
Sean David Morton

        Mike Bara started a Youtube channel about eight years ago--a mixture of his public utteringsnote 1 and diary-type material spoken straight to camera. He really does have a gift for talking to a video camera in a natural and engaging way--such a pity that most of what he actually says is garbage. Well, lately he seems to  have moved the vlog material to the Book of Farces. Yesterday he posted a vlog of general chit-chat, including this:
"In other news, erm; Sean David Morton was picked up this week ..[??] .er,  I don't know if you guys know who Sean was, but he was a very famous...erm, psychic... guest... big star on Coast to Coast in the 90s. Er, he was a close friend of mine for a few years in the 2000s and early 2010s, and erm, kind-of went down a road I couldn't follow him, and I ended up splitting with he and his wife Melissa, and they both got arrested this week. Sean had skipped out on bail.. er, trial..um.. that he was up for... for various different charges by the Government. Ummm, I'm skeptical of the case against him, from what I understand about it--however, I do know that he invited this upon himself, that he fought everything from a very... um, unfortunate perspective, and he.. you know, he basically made things, erm... [unintelligible] ....and kind of got himself into trouble. And got himself arrested this week. As I understand it the cats are fine. um... Melissa raises Norwegian forest cats. Last time I checked, there were several people coming over to the house to take care of them, to move them to other homes. They will eventually find good homes for all of them--I don't think she'll be getting out of jail any time soon. And, um.. I will say this: I am very resentful of the people who are taking great joy in this. Sean could be a bit of a dick, and he's invited this conflict in his life, um.. and I... you know, I'm... I'm sorry that he chose this path, I think he has probably some lessons that he needs to learn, but I don't take any great joy in, erm... in this happening to him and I don't think anybody else should either. I think it's, er.. I think it's er...er... I think it's an unfortunate thing for um.. he and... and his family and Melissa, and I wish that they both could have found a way to learn their lessons in a different manner. It's really too bad. So. And I'm not going to take any joy over him going to jail, like some people are in the UFO community. Some people in the UFO community are dicks, and that's just the way they are. So. Um.. You know my other comments about that are that... that I think that, again, for me truth is more important than unity. And I don't think that there is unity in the UFO community, there's a lot of rivalry... I think it's unfortunate that some people chose this moment to take it out on Sean. Sean was, er,  probably as well known as Georgio [Tsoukalos] is today. Although he didn't really have a TV gig -- So. It's a shame. Erm..And, you know, I mean, Sean's going to have to deal with what he's going to have to deal with. When I get back to California I'll probably ..??? And I hope that.. I hope he survives. I hope he makes it through his.. er, his jail time. And I would encourage him to... to co-operate. Um.. Take his punishment, and... er, try to move on with his life after this. To me it just shows you.. it just shows me that.. that being in conflict with the world does not gain you anything. I've been in conflict.. all the time, I've been in conflict with people telling everyone how bad Mayweather was going to destroy McGregornote 2 Um, So, you know, it just doesn't ultimately in the long term [...???...]
        At least he did say that SDM brought this upon himself, and that he "could be a bit of a dick," but where, I wondered, was the acknowledgement that Morton and his wife had literally cheated their clients out of millions of dollars? Where was the sense that Morton's astounding legal incompetence and hubris had exacerbated his situation instead of alleviating it? (see prior blogging). If Bara remains, as he says, "skeptical" about the case against Morton, it's because he just doesn't want to know. The blog ufowatchdog has all the deets.

        Sentencing is now set for Sept. 18th at 11AM with an 87 month prison term requested by the prosecution. I freely admit that I'm one of those who is "taking great joy in this." Screw you, Sean, you arrogant bastard--and especially screw you Melissa, with your "I'm not in prison and never will be."note 3

Update 30 August:



        What's the betting the Feds popped a tracer on Melissa's car, that's how they found the crims at Desert Hot Springs so easily?
===================/ \==================
[1] Interestingly, the channel includes a set of four lectures jointly delivered by Bara and Morton in 2012.

[2] Refers to a boxing match dubbed "The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History" which had happened the previous day. Mayweather won by a 10th round TKO.

[3] Comment on a Youtube video, quite quickly deleted. The full text was "Screw you. I'm NOT in prison and never will be. You are a jerk just like ALL MEN!! You lie to women, cheat on them and use them. I hope YOU die a very slow and painful death."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Robert Morningstar: Another busted prediction

James Concannon writes...

        The Great American Eclipse did not disappoint. A spectacular show, happening dead on the predicted times to a fraction of a second. That, of course, is because the predictions were made by science.

So how did pseudo-science do? Abysmally, is the answer.

On April 13th the science dunce Robert Morningstar posted this prediction (edited):
"A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN & MOON CROSSING OVER THE NEW MADRID FAULT ZONE COULD CAUSE EARTHQUAKES DURING & AFTER PASSAGE on August 21st, 2017.  
This is in keeping with my theory that the growing strength of the gravitational forces of Sun and Moon at the moment of a total solar eclipse and their subsidence afterward can trigger earthquakes on both in the area of totality and on the other side of the Earth with [sic; presumably he means within] 36 hours of the event.  
My main concern is that the pinnacle point of totality will occur as the Sun and Moon line up over the New Madrid Fault lines as it passes over Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and points East as it they head toward the South Carolina coast, which is a massive coastal fault zone."
        Robert is an expert in frisbee. He's so totally inexpert in astronomy that he doesn't realize that the gravitational attractions of the Sun and Moon combine once every month, in an event known as New Moon. Do New Moons cause more earthquakes? Well, they certainly didn't this July and August. Here's the data:

10th July: Full Moon

24th July: New Moon

7th August: Full Moon


21st August: New Moon & solar eclipse

        No statistically significant changes in the general seismic pattern are attrributable to the phase of the Moon. The strongest quakes were as follows:

10th July, Full Moon: 4.7 MMS, Mexico
24th July, New Moon: 4.0 MMS, Baja California
7th August, Full Moon: 4.7 MMS, Costa Rica
21st August, New Moon: 4.3 MMS, Costa Rica

        On each of those days there was a smattering of quakes in the continental US of magnitude < 4, including the usual Magnitude ~2 array along the San Andreas fault in California. On the other side of the world, the Himalayas saw three quakes in the 4.5 MMS range. There's nothing whatsoever in this data to suggest a link between New Moons and seismic activity. And bear in mind, lunar perigee occurred on 18th August--another event that pseudoscience likes to spread fear about.

        Thanks to useful articles like this one or this one, and recent discussion on this blog, we now know that the gravitational attraction of the Sun is 160 times more powerful than that of the Moon. However, tidal forces are created by the difference between the pull of gravity on the near side of planet Earth and that on the far side. Since the Sun is 412 times further away from us than the Moon is, the differential is nowhere near as great. In fact, the tidal force generated by the Sun amounts to only 45% that of the Moon.

        The best thing that could happen to Robert Morningstar at this point is that his fans stop paying attention to him. His information is pathetically misleading.

Update: Moving the goalposts
23 August: AM* has now posted this response:
"1. Within the last 24 hours since the tansit of the eclipse, there have been 13 seaquakes (in a rising crescendo") near Puerto Rico and Hispanola..
Although most Americans stopped tracking the eclipse at South Carolina, it did dontinue its track SouthEast into the Atlantic. According to my theory, seaquakes were anticipated, there and on the opposite side of the Earth where the Ring of Fire is "tingling" with activity.
2. On our West Coast, The San Andreas Fault is also percolating with small earthquakes every few hours and the perturburances continue up the coast all the way to Washington State and Vancouver, BC.
3. The Seatle area where "America's Eclipse" began, has experienced 2 small quakes since the transit.
4. On the opposite side of the Earth, where I contend that an eclipse's tectonic effects are usually more pronounced (but delayed in time up to 72 hours), 4 earthquakes have occurred in the 24 hours since the Sun-Moon transit.
5. Earthquakes have shaken the Phillipines (1), Indonesia (2), and have struck as far East as Borneo (1), which had one seaquake off its northeast coast."
         So having specifically cited the continental USA, within 36 hours either side of the eclipse, he now wants us to consider seismic events in the  Phillipines and Indonesia delayed by 72 hours. Even more hilarious, he draws our attention to a swarm of tiny earthquakes up the San Andreas fault--as if there was ever a time when there wasn't such a swarm.

         For info, here are earthquake maps for the ten days 10-19 August--events that by Morningstar's own definition are unrelated to the eclipse. In other terms, they represent "normal conditions." First, The USA and Caribbean region:


Now, the other side of the world:


        These maps prove that ascribing events of magnitude 2,3,4 or 5 in locations like Seattle or The Phillipnes to the effect of the eclipse is ridiculous and fraudulent.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A fugitive from justice pops up on the internet

        Sean David Morton, the self-described "America's psychic," "Legal scholar," and "Ph.D theologian," is on the lam, having failed to appear for sentencing on 19 June 2017 in  Federal District Court, Los Angeles. On 4 April Morton and his wife Melissa were found guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of filing false claims against the United States, and 26 counts of passing false or fictitious financial instruments.

        In a fairly amazing display of chutzpah, Morton showed his face on the net yesterday for a two-hour live interview with Kerry Cassidy, streamed onto her web portal. The background was very different from that before which he appeared when interviewed by Cassidy on June 12th, so he almost certainly wasn't at home, but he looked well settled-in to wherever he was, with the full A-V equipment needed to chat with Cassidy via Skype. However, he didn't look at ease at all-- squirming around in his chair and putting on very false-looking grins.

        I came late to the party, so may have missed important material, but my impression was that SDM was putting on the same old show. Blabbering away at top speed, self-justifying and making outrageous claims of prediction of past events that can never be checked. I honestly couldn't follow much of it (and it was chopped up by Kerry Cassidy's usual technical faults,) but I did get that, speaking of his legal problems, he said he was working on a constitutional law angle, and "all this will be over soon." As far as I heard he didn't have much to say about Melissa, who must be quite busy this week selling up the property in Hermosa Beach. She's up for sentencing on Monday morning and will probably be wearing orange for quite a while. Unless, of course, she "does a flitting" like her husband.

        I'm no legal expert but I'm guessing that Kerry Cassidy has put herself in jeopardy by putting on this show. She may not know exactly where SDM is, but she probably has some information that the District Court would like to get its hands on. If I were the federal marshals, I'd be calling on Kerry with a few questions.

Update:
Sean and Melissa were both re-arrested at a hotel in Desert Hot Springs, California on Monday 21st August.

Update:
On 18th September Sean was sentenced to 6 years in federal jail, Melissa got just 2. In my opinion Melissa got off lightly, considering that she quite clearly had no intention of appearing for sentencing on 21st August.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another daft prediction that can easily be tested

James Concannon writes...

        I'm looking forward to the total solar eclipse later this month, not only because they're always a treat to behold, but also because I can test Robert Morningstar's prediction that the eclipse will probably trigger serious earthquakes in central USA and on the New Madrid fault. As I wrote last April, Morningstar is such a dunce at planetary astronomy that he doesn't understand that the Moon is at conjunction once every month without causing 'quakes. Lunar conjunctions do indeed create a very slight additional tidal force but there's no extra tidal force associated with a conjunction that causes an eclipse.

        Now a new prediction is making the rounds, promoted by some surprisingly mainstream publications including the London Daily Telegraph. Nibiru is coming!!!! shouts an author and statistician called David Meade. In a book (which I refuse to provide an easy link to,) Meade pinpoints the date of a catastrophic, probably humanity-destroying, collision. It's 23rd September.

        This, of course, is only the latest in a string of such predictions, and it appears to be based on biblical text as opposed to any actual... you know, observation. Meade writes that observation is problematic, since...
"This system is, of course, not aligned with our solar system's ecliptic, but is coming to us from an oblique angle and toward our South Pole. This makes observations difficult, unless you're flying at a high altitude over South America with an excellent camera."
Note: The above is pure poppycock. Observation of objects out of the ecliptic is done every day, there's nothing hard about it at all, as long as you're in the right hemisphere. According to the inventor of Nibiru, Zecharia Sitchin, it's a "giant planet." So if it is now close enough to be only six weeks from impact, it should be easily visible to the naked eye.

        I've got my calendar marked and I'll be watching the skies, on 21 August and 23 September.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Another open letter to Richard Hoagland (re: procrastination)

Dear Mr. Hoagland,

You are fond of saying--especially when you promise something and then don't deliver--"Make no wine before its time." Well, Richard, there's some wine you're supposed to be making that is now SIX MONTHS PAST its time. I refer to your book The Hidden History of Mars: A War In Heaven. Last March you characterized this book as "just recently completed," and you promised a free copy to Club 19.5 members. You also posted this on 24th March:
"Club 19.5 Members!! You've been patient, you've been faithful, and now - the GIFTS will begin! There is a broadcast coming up in the next few days that to even KNOW about you need to be in Club 19.5."
The broadcast you cited was simply another interview with Howard Hughes on talkradio.co.uk. An interview in which you said nothing new at all, but re-iterated the history of the so-called "Face" on Mars, and dropped the names of  Cronkite (3 times,) Roddenberry (twice,) and Sagan (once.) Do you seriously think that knowledge of this up-coming interview was an adequate gift for people who, at that point, had been paying you five bucks a month for NOTHING since October 2016?

It is now August. Where is this book? Where are these gifts? Are you content to be seen as dishonest?

Regards,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A question about Richard Dolan

        Richard Dolan is the egghead of Ufology. For a start, he has actual academic credentials (M.A. in history from the University of Rochester, 1995.) His books are praised by Amazon readers (unlike those of Mike Bara, for example.) He publishes other authors' books as well as his own. But most important to my way of thinking, he understands the idea that unfalsifiable propositions are not very interesting and form no part of scientific debate. Here he is on the subject of Andrew Basiago, Randy Kramer, and Corey Goode:
"These three individuals have each claimed to have gone to Mars for extended periods of time. That’s explosive enough, of course, but they have also stated that they have engaged in time travel. I met Andy back in 2012 at a conference in Santa Clara, California. I found him to be very personable and intelligent. Of course, that doesn’t mean I believe his story. I don’t believe that he went through a “jumproom” to Mars. I don’t believe that he did these things with a young Barack Obama in the 1980s. And I don’t believe that, as a child, he time travelled back to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, despite the fact that he claimed he was in a photograph depicting it. I realize there are strange things beyond the circumscribed fence of our officially sanctioned reality. But I am not obligated to believe every story that crosses my path, especially those that are obviously self-aggrandising, and particularly those that don’t provide evidence."
::
"My main issue when it comes to Corey Goode (or Andy or Randy Kramer for that matter) isn’t that I “disbelieve” them, per se. Yes, I find their stories to be unlikely. But the real problem has been that none of these people have provided the evidence that an independent investigator needs to make a determination one way or the other. There is a concept in science and philosophy called falsifiability. If something is falsifiable, it doesn’t mean it’s false.  It means you have the ability to test it, to investigate it, to determine whether it is true or false."
        That was from Dolan's blog, dated 16 July. Last Sunday night he was on Coast-to-Coast AM, interviewed by George Knapp, making the same points. The topic came to the front of his mind because he was an invited speaker at the recent MUFONnote 1 Symposium in George Knapp's stamping ground (and Mike Bara's, but restricted to the cocktail bars and strip joints), Las Vegas. He said he was somewhat taken aback to see that he was scheduled to be on a Secret Space Program panel along with Corey Goode, Andrew Basiago, William Tompkins, and Dr. Michael Salla. He said, in fact, that he considered bowing out but finally agreed to go ahead with it. Listening to the interview, my impression was that he regretted agreeing to that panel, and being connected to those posturers by association. He wrote later:
"I want to make this point as clear as I can. My opinions (and yours, for that matter) don’t mean very much. What matters is the evidence that can be brought forward for these stories. I hold it as possible that there is something in these accounts that is true. After all, I believe that radical technology is being withheld from us. I believe the ARV storynote 2 and more. But if a story gives me no chance to confirm or deny its basic claims, then it’s essentially useless to me as a researcher. This is especially so if I cannot even confirm the basics of the person’s alleged career. I’ve said this many times. You can’t be considered a whistleblower if you can’t confirm that you are who you say you are."

Spineless?
        ufowatchdog evidently noticed Dolan's discomfort with that conference gig, too; writing yesterday "Perhaps Dolan could take a lesson from [James] Clarkson and grow a spine along with some integrity." The author (unnamed, but probably Royce Myers) also expressed shock that Dolan was paid to appear.


        I think that's a little harsh, personally. For one thing, there's nothing unusual or venal about conference speakers being paid—How else could Hoagland make a living? And then, I think we should applaud Dolan's measured skepticism on the likes of Basiago and Goode. We may write them off as con-men, but Dolan's approach is more scientific.

Falling Apart
        The main topic of ufowatchdog's piece was the resignation of  former Director James Clarkson from MUFON, in protest of the acceptance of a woman called J.Z. Knight into MUFON's Inner Circle. Knight is quite a piece of work—her excesses make entertaining reading but I'm not sure I'd want to be associated with her either. Clarkson dismisses her as a channeler and cult leader.

        MUFON, and Ufology in general, seem to be fragmenting—riven by the same jealousies and doctrinal differences that notoriously plague extreme left-wing political movements (that's you, Workers Revolutionary Party and Sendera Luminosa.) Good riddance, I say. It does no good for plodders like Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center to record 100 sightings a month (and breathlessly report a selection of them on Coast-to-Coast AM monthly) without any semblance of analysis. Yes, we all know unexplained things are seen in the skies—it's been true for so fucking long that it's reached the point of boredom. As much as Richard Dolan tries to force this topic into the box labeled SCIENCE, I'm afraid that applies to his work, too.

Update:
        On 1st August, the Bad UFOs blog ran an article by Robert Sheaffer titled MUFON unravels. Sheaffer cited the resignation of not just Clarkson but also Rich Hoffman and Nick Redfern, and the removal of John Ventre as State Director for Pennsylvania after Ventre posted a bizarre racist rant on social media. I still say "good riddance."

=================/ \=================

[1] Mutual UFO Network, a  US National "investigative body."

[2] Alien Reproduction Vehicle: See this.

Friday, July 21, 2017

An irrational perfectionist

        Mike Bara, on working with Richard Hoagland as joint author of Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA:
37:55 "[chuckle] "It was exhausting. Exhausting. Richard is a... Richard is a... um, an amazing content editor, but he's also a perfectionist. To the... to the extent that I think it's not... it's not necessary. [..?..] I said he's a... he's an irrational perfectionist. He's a crazy perfectionist. And it just took a long time and it was very stressful. And I ended up with... with blood sugar in the mid- to high 300s. And I.. you know, I had to... I had to take a long break after we finished that one. But again, you know, I'm proud of the book and I'm... I'm so grateful that he gave me a... a platform upon which to build my own thing, that I'm doing here. Whatever it is I'm doing. So."
        That was a little gem from 70 minutes of chat with Chris George Zuger (whoever he is), poured onto Youchoob as a show called Den of Lore (whatever that means) last night.

        The split screen  showed both Mike and his interlocutor, giving Mike ample opportunity to hold exhibits such as his book covers up to the Skype camera, and Chris Zuger, a recent renouncer of ciggies, to show us himself taking  puffs from his vape tube. The discussion started with the Nazca mummy, and Bara reiterating the only correct opinion he's had in ten years. Then it wandered through his conversion to conspiracy theory by TWA800, to the usual artifacts on Mars and the Moon, to UFOlogy. He had a hilarious take on this thing:

photo credit: NASA

        He said it's a picture of an Arctic lemming, taken on Devon Island, which NASA is "passing off" as a picture of Mars. It does look a bit like a lemming, indeed.


        ...but by what twisted logic would the Curiosity team at JPL resort to such deception? The image dates from September 2012, nowhere close to April Fool's Day. This is just more of Mike Bara confusing "looks like" with "actually is." (see Mars rat taking Internet by storm -- space.com 31 May 2013.)

Update 27 July:
        During a brief appearance on Coast-to-Coast AM, Bara let drop that he's completed a work of fiction. He didn't say whether this was a novel or a screenplay, but either way, God help us all.My bet is that, like his brother Dave's fiction, it will feature a hero who is utterly irresistible to women.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Robert Morningstar bashes James Burke

James Concannon reports...

        Robert Morningstar, the Fordham scholar and frisbee expert, gave us his opinion of James Burke on FooBoo today.
"James Burke, the original "Mad Scientist"? Who cares what he thinks? He rants in mindless twit & twaddle, more of a poet than a scientist and not a very good one (scientist) at that. Opening scene for next show... walking on the shores of the Atlantic near N. Ireland: "Ah, how profound! Here I have a Starfish? There we have a horseshoe crab, direct descendant of the trilobite that lived in the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian era. And here in my hand (cupping hands) is a Nematode, one of the simplest life forms ever known. And there we see an ocean? ... The soup of life... :) Is there a 'connection'??? Ahaa ... Maybe! Stay tuned to find out tonight on "Coniptions"." I really liked his lily & posey-loving poesy, but science ... just a little bit. James Bure [sic] is the original inventor of that bane of modern media -> "InfoTainment," which gave birth to Fox news and CNN "Canned Science"... Hahaha ... Like Global Warming "science."  -> M*"
        Burke, as many people know, is not a scientist and has no pretension to be taken as one. His MA (Oxon) is in Middle English, and his reputation is as a historian of science. I don't think he's any good at frisbee at all, but I happen to know he plays a mean game of bridge, if that counts for anything in AM*'s mind. I don't know how Burke himself would react to being called Infotainment, but my personal reaction, as one very familiar with Burke's work, is that it's inappropriate. The portmanteau word was coined to denigrate television news shows that provide way too much soft news and feel-good magazine-style stories. Since Burke was never in the news business in the first place, his contributions to television can hardly be said to trivialize news.

        Morningstar's jealous outburst was in response to the posting on his FB timeline of two of Burke's documentaries from the 70s—"The Men Who Walked on the Moon" and "The Other Side of the Moon." The posting—initially from Jerrye Barre—was kind of an aside, since the main topic was The Brookings Report and Morningstar's misinterpretation of it (see Footnote #2). This blog was highly critical of Morningstar's use of the report in argument, back in January 2015. Quite why the frisbee expert should have such disdain for someone who generally attracts accolades is anyone's guess. Possibly AM* would prefer a commentator on spaceflight who was more open to the Hoagland-style claim that the Moon is littered with ancient technology. Burke-style documentary television doesn't cover that for the simple reason that it isn't true.

credit: BBC

        My personal opinion is that that pair of documentaries, aired on the tenth anniversary of the first Moon landing, were an important contribution to the history of spaceflight, and I can't fault Burke's final conclusion that Project Apollo did actually have something to offer the world apart from non-stick frying pans. These films (yes, films not videotape—this was 1979) are undoubtedly good information, and undoubtedly entertaining, but to categorize them as Infotainment is missing the point, I think.

JC

Disclosure: At one time James and I were colleagues in the BBC Science Department.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mike Bara is probably right for once

        Welll....  I didn't really want to get into the Nazca mummy controversy at all, but it's the pseudoscience topic du jour and everybody else in the business has commented. So here's my aggregation of what's emerged so far.

        On 20 June, Gaia TV released to Youtube what they called "SPECIAL REPORT: UNEARTHING NAZCA." The video documented an expedition to Nazca, Peru, to investigate what was claimed to be the mummified corpse of an alien. The expedition was led by Jay Weidner and Melissa Tittl of Gaia.com. Weidner is the man who insists on very flimsy evidence that all the Apollo 11 video and film was faked up by Stanley Kubrick in Area 51, so his involvement makes the whole thing problematic as far as I'm concerned. Gaia's point man in Peru was Jaime Maussan, a Mexican investigative journalist who has been responsible for fakery including a previous alien mummy that wasn't (the Roswell slides.)


         Metabunk was very quick to produce, only a day later, an admirably rigorous assessment of Gaia's claims, rating "alien mummy" as the least likely of seven possible explanations for this artifact. The most likely, per this analysis, is "A modern fake mummy, created from a combination of human and animal bones, created for the show."

        Mike Bara blogged the mummy just a day later, opining that this was "just another attempt to generate clicks and drive subscriptions." He characterized Jay Weidner thus:
"I like Jay Weidner. But if jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport, Jay Weidner would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps."
        Weidner retaliated by cancelling an appointment Bara had to appear (again) on George Noory's Gaia-sponsored TV show. Bitchery!!!!

        Jason Colavito blogged skeptically the same day. On 3rd July ufowatchdog weighed in, pouring further doubt on Jaime Maussan and also bad-mouthing Paola Harris, Don Schmitt, Clifford Stone, and Dr. Jose de Juesus Zalce Benitez—all of whom are peripherally involved. The article, headlined "Mummy, Mummy, Money," focused on the commercial aspects of the story:
"Gaia.com is clearly not hurting from any of these personalities, and they know it.  According to their own website, Gaia.com (a publicly traded company) saw a 61% increase in digital subscribers this year and this doesn't count the last few months.  It appears there is no such thing as bad publicity anymore. "
        Well, yesterday Mike Bara stood himself up in front of the flag of the Manchester City Football Club and recorded a 10-minute video giving his opinions. He said, among other zingers, that he knew the Gaia TV producer and "she is not an honest person" (was he talking about Melissa Tittl? It's not clear.)

        We should know more next week, when further medical and genetic analysis is due to be released. But for now, this blog acknowledges that Mike Bara is probably right. And Jay Weidner is a child.

Update:
        The first DNA test is in, from the  Paleo DNA Laboratory of Lakehead University, Canada.


Update 25 July:
        Bara has released a short update video today, giving two reasons why he believes the "mummy" is almost certainly a fake.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Mortons: Recriminations, lies and videotape

        Two days ago now, a video interview with SDM was released onto Youtoob. It was part of a generic called High Strangeness, and the interview was conducted by Sean Paul Ross and Caroline Hill in what looked like some kind of library. The tagline was:
"Sean David Morton gives his side of the story about his court case before disappearing after a warrant is issued for his arrest."
        There was doubt about when and where this interview was conducted, but the story is that it was somewhere in the Los Angeles area, taped before the sentencing hearing although not released until nine days later. It was a 2-camera set-up so it's credible that some post-production was required.

        I couldn't possibly summarize Morton's arguments and self-justifications—they were, I think, purposefully convoluted and the interviewers didn't seem to grasp much more than I did. I do recall that he said very emphatically that the issuance of a refund check in the amount of $480,323 was the IRS's fault, not his or Melissa's. Thus exonerating himself for having fraudulently filed the claim in the first place. There was a lot more in the same vein, just like his performance with Kerry Cassidy.

Lies
        Two things stood out for me. One was an extraordinary caption that popped up at 29:07 (the whole thing ran 31:18.) It read "Cameraman became uncomfortable with the subject matter and left." You've got to love that—the guy holding Sean's close-ups says to himself  "Fuck this, I'm not keeping this camera focused on a bunch of lies one second longer." More cameramen should have the guts to do likewise—many a political interview would be cut very short. In this case, the last few minutes of the video just held the static three-shot.

"Screw you"
        The other thing was a NSFW outburst from Melissa Morton herself in the Youtube comments. Commenter atube4view wrote "SEAN AND HIS WIFE WILL DIE IN PRISON!?" Melissa shot back with "Screw you. I'm NOT in prison and never will be. You are a jerk just like ALL MEN!! You lie to women, cheat on them and use them. I hope YOU die a very slow and painful death."

        By the way, Melissa's avatar is a cute little white pussy-cat. Time will tell whether Melissa puts on the orange jumpsuit when she goes for sentencing on 21st August—the day of the All-American solar eclipse.

Update 1st July
        Melissa's mini-rant has now been deleted, but I swear on my saintly mother's grave that I transcribed it accurately.

 Update 7th July
         Sean Paul Ross has now provided the following information about the walkabout cameraman:
"He's a professional cinematographer that was doing me a favor as a friend (we'll pay people when we have a budget for the show). We talked about it afterwards and his opinion was that SDM was either lying or starting to get into some dangerous territory that could piss the federal government off and he did not want to be associated with SDM at that point and risk any repercussions on himself. It frustrated me because it essentially ended the interview, but everything happens for a reason and I've resolved in my mind that perhaps that was the moment the interview was supposed to end. I don't know that it's right to be worried about the Feds coming after us because if SDM was right that they wanted to make an example of him, we have helped raise awareness of that example. We are not encouraging people to follow SDM's example... just look at how it turned out for him. My takeaway is to be sure to pay your taxes and use a good CPA to make sure you do them right, however most definitely do NOT use the one SDM used."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sean David Morton, sociopath?

Some of the classic symptoms of sociopathy are:
  1. Superficial charm and good intelligence
  2. Untruthfulness and insincerity
  3. Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience 
  4. Lack of conscience
  5. Pathological egocentricity
        I'm no psychiatrist, but even I can see that SDM checks all those boxes You only have to take a short look at that "interview" with Kerry Cassidy from 12th June to see more than sufficient confirmation of #1 and #2. #3 is illustrated by the fact that, having been successfully sued for civil securities fraud  by the SEC in March 2010, he nevertheless continued to attempt fraud on the US Government in the belief that he would never be caught--or, if caught, that he had a cast-iron defense. The fact that he is now on the lam having failed to appear for sentencing in US District Court yesterday makes a sad joke of that self-analysis.

        #4 is easily covered by  his willingness to invite investors to give him money which he then (allegedly) spent instead of investing. Even friends, such as Kerry Cassidy, were bled by this scam.

        As for that pathological egocentricity--how about this for a transcript of part of the video covering the 2016 Conspira-Sea cruise. Morton is sitting at a dining table being interviewed by Annie Georgia Greenberg, an attractive blonde who's pretty much the host of this video.

06:16 SDM: "Hello, I'm Dr Sean David Morton, I went to Oxford, and Stanford, and USC. My Ph.D. is in psychology--I'm a best-selling author. I've been a screen writer... I'm a legal scholar, I'm a pioneer of the system we call remote viewing.  I also host the Number One radio show on the internet--Strange Universe Radio."note 1
        At that, Annie made a gesture more eloquent than mere words. She blew out her cheeks in frank disbelief and looked away. Brilliant.

        Curiously enough, another checkbox for sociopathy is "absence of delusions." That doesn't quite jive with other excerpts from the Conspira-Sea video. Morton is with Annie again, a day later.
SDM: "They don't want you to know we have anti-gravity.
"They don't want you to know we have unlimited power.
"They don't want you to know that we have bases on the Moon and possibly bases on Mars.
"They don't want you to know they're using HAARP to control the weather.
"They don't want you to know what's in Area 51.
"They don't want you to know  that there's a small cartel of about 750 people that own everything."
AGG: "And who are 'they' in this case?"
SDM: "We're talking about an extraterrestrial species called the Nephilim--the sons of God. Somehow they inter-mate with human beings, and their sons and daughters became the kings and queens--which is the aristocracy, which is the government."
AGG: "Sooo... what does your T-shirt say?"
SDM: "It says 'To save time, let's just assume I know everything.'"
        Sean David Morton and his wife Melissa were arrested as they stepped off that cruise ship in San Pedro. Morton surrendered his passport and put up a $10,000 bond--which will now, of course, be forfeit.

The supreme court got my case, man
        To the symptoms of insincerity and delusion we should perhaps now add monumental hubris, as ufowatchdog reports that Morton actually delivered his internet radio show yesterday from his cell-phone, allegedly in a car roaming the L.A. freeways.
"Morton stated he filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court earlier in the morning and intends to get a response from the Supreme Court [today], though even an emergency appeal could take weeks for the courts to consider.  The U.S. Attorney General's office appears unaware of any appeal and prosecutors are generally notified if an appeal in their case has been filed.
        I'd say that heat Morton is feeling is not merely the summer weather that has hit Southern California this week, but the Federal Marshals breathing down his neck.

====================/ \======================
[1] I've been to Oxford too. I had a nice tea and went back to London on the 6:00 train.
If Morton means he was enrolled at the famous University, he's lying. It's also extremely hard to believe he's a "best-selling" author. His trilogy The Sands of Time is self-published, and it would be extraordinary for such books to be genuine best-sellers. As for "I'm a legal scholar," can I just say LOL?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SDM explains himself to KLC

Basic facts: On 7 April 2017, Sean David Morton and his wife Melissa were found guilty in Federal District Court of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of filing false claims against the United States, and 26 counts of passing false or fictitious financial instruments. Morton is due for sentencing on 19th June, with the prosecution recommending 87 months in federal prison plus a restitution payment to the IRS of $480,322.55.

The Mortons are alleged to have defrauded around 100 customers of $6 million between 2006 and 2007. According to the SEC, only a fraction of the investments received by them went into foreign exchange trading accounts and the rest was placed in shell companies run by them for their own benefit.note 1

========================================

        Yesterday, SDM sat down for a nearly two-hour skype chat with Kerry Cassidy. Much of it was sheer bullshit about UFO bases in Antarctica, but Kerry did want an update on the legal situation--in the circumstances, who would not? Morton, of course, said that it was all the fault of everybody except he and Melissa. "The attacks on Melissa and I are just so outrageous," he said. Here's his explanation of the missing six million spondulicks.
50:51 SDM: "Eight years ago we were working with Alexander Adams. Alexander Adams was a CPA. And what we did is, we had a ... we were dealing with foreign exchange trading, and I had a trader that didn't do what I told him to do, and basically we turned about $525,000.. almost... almost $6 million, and the trader tanked the accounts... he just did the exact opposite of everything I told him to do, and, er... lost the money."note 2
        Well, what are we to make of that strange "$525,000.. almost $6 million"? Could that be a slip of the tongue, unintentionally revealing how much of the $6 million was actually invested in the market, leaving $5,475,000 to find its way into the pockets of the Mortons? If I had been Kerry Cassidy I'd have asked about that. I'd also have asked how either sum could have completely disappeared in currency trading. I mean, if you trade on the NYSE or NASDAQ there's always the possibility that you'll back a company that literally ceases to exist--but with currency, your assets may diminish because of bad luck or bad judgement, but it's hard to see how they could vanish outright. Unless some unbelievable nincompoop bought $525,000 worth of Zimbabwe dollars, I guess.

Kerry conned
        Kerry, however, let SDM completely off the hook. And that's the more strange since according to Bill Ryan (Kerry's ex) she personally lost $116,000 invested with Morton. This was money inherited from her mother, which she had intended to use to start Project Camelot. Ryan says he himself lost about $25,000.note 3 To me, it's a bit surprising that Kerry and Sean are even on speaking terms, let alone good friends.note4

        In yesterday's interview, Morton then launched into a 15-minute self-justifying tirade, accusing the IRS of entrapment and of violating the statute of limitations for tax crime. He explained that the core of the case is a tax refund of  $480,323 which was erroneously paid to the Mortons on their 2008 tax filing. He pleaded that he submitted bonds as repayment of the sum, and acted in good faith. What he didn't say, of course, was that the IRS says $480,323 was the amount the Mortons had fraudulently claimed as rebates due on non-existent overpayments. What Morton called an "IRS computer error" did not come out of the blue sky--it had to have been the result of a claim, didn't it?

        In a news release after the Mortons' conviction in April, Sandra R. Brown, Acting U.S. attorney, Central District of California, wrote this:note 5
"On the same day the refund was deposited into the Mortons’ joint bank account, the couple took immediate steps to conceal the money, which included opening two new accounts, transferring over $360,000 to the two new accounts, and withdrawing $70,000 in cash.
"When the IRS attempted to collect the erroneous refund from the Mortons, the Mortons presented to the IRS various “coupons” and “bonds” that purported to pay off their debt with the IRS. The Mortons created and submitted these bogus documents to the IRS, instructing the agency to draw upon funds with the United States Treasury to satisfy their debt"
They're out to get you
        At the end of this tirade, Kerry showed no sign of comprehending, instead complaining of legal troubles of her own (something about Youtube enabling piracy of her 600 videos and taking a cut itself.) Then, she connected this whole thing to her well-known theory that the gubbmint is out to get you.
1:06:02 KC: "I do want to say the real reason you're being targeted is because of the work you do. Had you not written [the] Sands of Time book, I think they would leave you alone. But as it is now, umm...it  being a best-seller and all of that, and also revealing quite a bit about the Secret Space Program... ehm... you know, this is... this is their issue, I guess they're trying to shut you up, basically."
        I have to laugh when I recall that Morton, on the 2016 Conspira-sea cruise, declared "I'm a legal scholar." Next Monday we'll know how long his scholarship is going to be available to a jail full of convicts---all of whom maintain, naturally, that they're innocent.

Update 15th June
        Today ufowatchdog reports that Morton filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court claiming he had not been given a fair trial.  Morton's motion was again denied and the court also ordered all future motions filed by Morton would be considered "moot" and "No further filings will be entertained in this closed case." Looks like the technique of motion-flooding the court simply gets them pissed off.

Update 19th June
        Morton did a bunk and made himself unavailable for sentencing today. When the feds catch him--as they surely will--I imagine that'll be good for a few extra years on his jail time. I also imagine the marshals will be knocking on Kerry Cassidy's door any minute now...

Check ufowatchdog for many more deets, docs....


=======================/ \=======================
[1] Psychic Sean David Morton scammed $6M convincing people he could predict stocks' fortune, SEC claims --New York Daily News, 5 March 2010

[2] The trader was Daryl Weber, who Morton described in the prospectus for Delphi Associates as "A mathematical genius, FX trader, statistical analyst, and computer software engineer."

[3]  Project Avalon Forum, 7 February 2010

[4] In the same Project Avalon forum, Bill Ryan wrote this: "Astonishingly for me, as an aside that really does say something about Kerry, she has completely let that go and appears to bear Sean no ill-will of any kind. I don't know many people who could do that, and I have been unable to do that myself. "

[5] Hermosa Beach Couple Found Guilty in Tax Scam and Passing Fraudulent Financial Instruments to Pay Off Debts --US Attorney's Office, Central District of California, 7 April 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mike Bara confesses that he cheated

        Well, he wouldn't see it as a confession, I'm sure. Put it this way--he may not have realized he was confessing, but in fact he was.

        The occasion was his lecture at the recent Contact in the Desert conference/orgy, now available on the tube that is Google. The first 30 minutes of this  drivel was solid Trump propaganda. Mike is a staunch and uncompromising Republican of the "socialists are all wimps, nya nya neener-neener" variety. This blog tries not to get into party politics, just as it has no particular position on the question of whether Manchester United or Manchester City is the better team (Mike thinks City, and tweets the point constantly.) Right now when the world thinks "Manchester" it's thinking of graver things than footy.

Upside down
         For the next seven minutes, Mike treated his audience to his standard pareidolia schtick, showing them a tank, a flying saucer, and the famous (ahem) ziggurat, on the Moon. Then came this:

 
37:33 Bara: "This is a picture of what they say is debris running down the side of a crater. What I love to do with NASA images, is I love to flip them upside down. Because.... just because they say that UP is that way doesn't mean that up IS that way. ... What happens when you flip it upside down? When you flip it upside down it becomes this."
 

Bara: "Now, my model for NASA and other people is that there is glass structure -- crystalline structure all over the planet, some as much as 20 miles high [which] was used as a meteor shield, because glass is actually as strong or stronger than steel. It'd be a perfect thing for a meteor shield."

        Well, I have several comments on that dismal performance. Take a look at the original page this image came from, and you'll notice a few things:

Thing 1: This image was not posted by NASA, but by Arizona State University. See that URL, asu.edu? It's part of a strip from the Narrow Angle Camera of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing a landslide down the side of crater Marius. So it isn't "a NASA image" at all.

Thing 2: Scroll that page down to the entire NAC strip. Poke that |+| button a few times so you can interpret the image. If what Mike says were true, and the jaggy feature was really sticking up instead of down, the rest of the strip should show pure black sky. Instead, it shows the floor of the crater, as we expect based on ASU's captioning. I have already criticized Mike Bara for this flagrantly dishonest image manipulation, in reviewing his book Hidden Agenda.

Thing 3: In his book Ancient Aliens on the Moon, Bara cites a paper by Rowley & Neudeckernote 1 in support of that idea that, on the Moon, "glass is actually as strong or stronger than steel." As I wrote in February 2013,  Rowley & Neudecker say no such thing. On the contrary, a paper by J.D.Blacicnote 2 in the same journal tells the converse story.

Table 1 from Blacic, J.D.

        The young's modulus of lunar glass is ~100 giga-pascals cf. Earth glass 68 because of the extreme dryness of the environment. But steel is way stronger at 224 giga-pascals. So I make that three whopping inaccuracies in just that short excerpt from the lecture.  I maintain this amounts to a confession, because he's saying this wasn't a random mistake or some accident. The inversion of the image, and the publication of it alleging that it was something it patently is not, was a deliberate act. Shame on Bara and on the publisher, David Hatcher Childress.

Valve handle
        Bara next switched to Ceres, Powerpointing the famous salt deposits and claiming that they had to be evidence of internal illumination. He even showed an aerial image of Las Vegas at night, noting the similarities to the Occator crater on Ceres. Evidently he thinks a dwarf planet can contain a Vegas-like city, devoid of any context--devoid of an atmosphere and almost all gravity, as well. Cougars in micro-gravity? Could be fun, I suppose.

        Then it was on to Mars, with Bara essentially repeating the errors I reported on back in March, complete with that 20ft high cat playing air guitar. "My philosophy," he said, "is if it looks like something then it probably is." Yes, we know Mike, that's the problem.

        Then came another old favorite. After showing the Antikythera mechanism, he continued...

1:00:32 There are things like this on Mars too. Because if you look at the pictures, what you see is stuff on Mars. This is a microscopic view, it's not really super-small but it's...about that big.   This looks like a bunch of rocks..but I'll tell you what that is. That is some sort of pipe with a fitting on it  that screws into something else...  a valve handle.


        Mick West of metabunk.org explained, long ago, that this feature is actually the impression of a Phillips head screw in the casing of Opportunity's x-ray spectrometer. The head of the instrument is pressed firmly into the dirt in order to get a good reading.

        Mike Bara declared quite some time ago that he was not going to pay any attention to his critics. It's like he just wants to be wrong all the time.

Update 6 June
        With Dee's comment today, that makes  three people who have pointed out that the School of Earth & Space Exploration at ASU is NASA in all but name.  Stuart Robbins calls it the official Planetary Data System annex of JPL. I defend the distinction I make on these grounds: The walls of ASU may not be ivied exactly, but they do enclose academe. The day-to-day work of data processing is done by graduate students and post-docs, mainly. Even supposing there were some conspiracy within NASA to obfuscate certain planetary features, it's not credible that this would extend to ASU. Can you imagine NASA saying "Here's a contract to do data processing, but a condition is that you agree to falsify some of your data"? Can you imagine ASU accepting that? Can you imagine post-docs accepting that they have to withhold or "doctor" some of their output, and keep quiet about it?

====================/ \======================
[1] Rowley, J.C. and Neudecker, J.W. In situ rock melting applied to lunar base construction...etc

[2]  Blacic, J. D. Mechanical Properties of Lunar Materials Under Anhydrous, Hard Vacuum Conditions: Applications of Lunar Glass Structural Components

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Physics-babble

James Concannon writes...

        I believe it was an editor of the Rational Wikipedia who formulated the theory that, in internet argument, the first person to adduce quantum theory in support of his position automatically loses.

        If that's the case, and I find the idea attractive, Robert Morningstar is a multiple loser. Here he is, on the Book of Faeces... er, sorry, Faces, introducing a ball game he's devised together with some New York City pals.
"Thunderball training. unifies [sic] the metaphysical principles of Taoism and Tai Chi Ch'uan with Einstein's Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics to produce novel ways of moving through curved space-time.

The ancient wisdom of Taoism and Tai Chi principles are applied and fused with Relativity and Quantum Theory into a dynamic and exhilarating "Hyperdimensional Sport" practiced for self-development and self-defense."
        This was puff for a short (and very amateur) video he made showing off the Thunderball game. I suppose it's only fair to show this vid to any readers who might be interested--so here it is. I leave it to the enthusiasts to decide what this has to do with self-defense.

Double frisbee
        Robert AM* is quite a dexterous fellow. He plays double frisbee with more skill than I can bring to the single variety, and it looks as though Thunderball, with its requirement to pay attention to multiple flying objects simultaneously, would be beyond me. So there's that.

        But... quantum mechanics???? I asked for some clarification because I didn't believe that part, and I didn't believe AM* had any true understanding of the term. His reply only served to reinforce my beliefs:
"For your information, the main reason that my students and I can achieve such amazing feats of prestidigitation is our application of the Schrodinger Wave Equations and treating Einstein's idea of curved space-time as established reality in our Thunderball play to avoid "cosmic collisions," an idea that is too deep for a "Flatlander" like you to comprehend."
        He also provided a link to a .pdf about the Dirac equation, which of course is as spectacularly irrelevant to the question as is quantum theory. So far as I can determine, AM*'s pretentious claims are to physics what psychobabble is to genuine psychology. You might say they're a load of balls.

JC

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Open letter to Richard Hoagland

Dear Mr. Hoagland,

        Your recent re-iteration of a claim to have originated the idea of oceanic life on Europanote 1 prompts me to remind you, and others who may be seeing this text, that this and several other claims you have made are false.

1. Ocean on Europa
In March 2004, in a message to Rob Roy Britt of space.com, you wrote:
"Clearly, I was NOT the first (nor have I ever claimed to be) to propose an original liquid ocean for Europa."
On 4 December 1997, on Coast to Coast AM, you said this:
"[W]hen I was covering the Voyager story out at JPL in the Summer of 1980, actually the Spring of 1979 and the Winter of 1980, we flew this extraordinary spacecraft, NASA did, by Jupiter for the first time and encountered the four moons, you know, Io, Ganymede, Europa, Callisto, and Jupiter itself, and it was as part of that observation that I began work on essentially what turned out to be the first scientific paper, which ultimately appeared in Star and Sky Magazine in the beginning of 1980, which was a prognostication, pulling all the data together, that there might be a global ocean under the ice cover that Voyager had revealed and that in that global ocean there actually might be some extant living life forms." (emphasis added)
        That looks very like a prior claim to me. It is certainly not justified--Lewis (1971)note 2 and Consolmagno (1976) were ahead of you, as were Cassen, Reynolds, and Peale (1979).note 3 I think you know this.

2. Life in Europa's ocean
        This is, of course, a separate question, and there is no doubt at all that you have  repeatedly claimed to have been the first to publish on this conjecture. However, as Greenberg notes:note 4
"On June 19th and 20th, 1979, the conference  "Life in the Universe" took place at NASA's Ames Research Center. Benton Clark gave a lecture Sulfur: Fountainhead of Life in the Universe at that conference in which he discussed the biochemistry of those deep-sea vent communities discovered on Earth, pointing out that they do depend indirectly on sunlight: Photosynthesis near the surface of the oceans produces the oxygen that those communities require. Clark then explained how sulfur could play the role of oxygen, and that deep-sea volcanic emissions could potentially provide all the necessary ingredients for a self-sustained ecosystem. In the final part of his lecture, Clark raised the possibility that life might exist in undersurface oceans on the icy satellites in our Solar System, including Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto in particular." (emphasis added)
In the written version of his lecture, Clark wrote:
 "Consider H2O-rich bodies. In our Solar System, this includes not only Earth, but quite possibly Mars and Triton, and certainly Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.  Liquid water does not exist at the surface of any of these bodies, except Earth,  but we should not discount the existence of "buried" liquid water reservoirs.  ... Habitable zones include not only the surface ocean environment, but also the much more probable subsurface oceanic regions. Earth-like environments as abodes for life may be the exception rather than the rule. Occupation of the much more abundant buried zones is possible, and these should ultimately become an object of exploration. Whether such environments can support life long enough and at a sufficient level of activity to permit the evolution of highly encephalized forms (intelligent life) is conjectural." (emphasis added)
        Prof. Greenberg notes other prior work. You have characterized his comments as political, but in fact they are purely scientific. Claiming credit for other peoples' work is an unattractive trait in anybody, but for somebody who calls himself a scientist,note 5 it is particularly deplorable because of the importance of intellectual priority in that domain.

3. Creation of the Pioneer "message to the Universe"
        On your website you refer to yourself as "co-creator of the 'Pioneer plaque'." (scroll all the way to the bottom of the long page). On 13 July 1990 you said "Carl [Sagan] for many years has been taking public credit for the Pioneer plaque which, of course, Eric Burgess and I conceived." In fact you had no part in the design or creation of the plaque, which was done by Sagan, his then wife Linda, and Frank Drake. As for "conceiving" it (as distinct from "creating" it,) that was overwhelmingly to the credit of Eric Burgess.  In the epilogue to his 1982 book, By Jupiter: Odysseys to a Giant, Burgess wrote:
"I came up with the idea [that the craft carry a message from Earth]. And I mentioned it [at lunch that afternoon] to Hoagland [then a freelance writer] and Don Bane [Los Angeles Herald Examiner ]. . . . And I said that the right man to get this onboard would be Carl Sagan. So I went around to JPL [NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory] -- Hoagland was in tow with me -- and found Sagan. . . . And I said, "Hey, Carl, I've got an idea for you." All Hoagland did was support me and say it's a good idea."

4. The "hammer and feather" stunt on Apollo 15
        On 2 July 2013, on Coast to Coast AM, you claimed that this was your original idea. The truth is that it was, in fact, dreamed up by Dave Scott, Jim Irwin, and Joe Allen.note 6

5. The catchphrase "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog."
        On 11 November 2015, on your digital radio show, you claimed to have "coined" this bon mot. You repeated the claim much more recently, on Howard Hughes' radio show, 11 November last year. The original was a caption to a cartoon in New Yorker published on 5 July 1993. Credit for the phrase belongs to cartoonist Peter Steiner, not you.

         Would you kindly make an early opportunity to withdraw your claims and apologize to those whose work you have falsely taken credit for?

======================/ \=====================
[1]  The Other Side of Midnight (notice)
Partial text: Thirty-seven years ago, in December 1979 (published in January, 1980), I wrote a seminal article in “Star and Sky Magazine” — picked up and sent around the world by AP, lauded by Dr. Robert Jastrow (one of the founders of NASA), and Arthur C Clarke and (later) Ted Koppel — scientifically PREDICTING, decades BEFORE NASA: “The oceans of Europa [one of the four “Galilean Moons” of Jupiter] are the PERFECT habitat [beyond the Earth] for CURRENT non-terrestrial life! ... My article only dealt with the specifics of Europa’s habitability, but it foreshadowed the existence of an entirely new CLASS of habitable worlds, DECADES before scientists or NASA missions had discovered them — “Ice-covered moons … housing ‘world oceans’ … protected by a tens-of-miles-thick covering of ice!”

[2] Icarus, vol. 15

[3] Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 6

[4] An ocean on Europa? by Prof. Ralph Greenberg, 2002

[5] Dark Mission, 2nd edn, p. 224

[6] See this transcript, notes at 167:22:58