Monday, September 05, 2011

The Right Stuff

As a postscript to my previous post about scepticism of the Official Apollo Narrative I’d like to mention the first conscious recollection I have that all was not quite right with the NAZA’s take on history

Back in the early 1980’s I went to see ‘The Right Stuff’ in a real, actual cinema

And even though I was a young slip of a thing, inexperienced in the ways of loonacy and alternative accounts of how the world works, I couldn’t help picking up on the fact that a core objective of the entire movie was to portray the second American in space, Gus Grissom, as an utter, utter loser

Gus Grissom

I’ve subsequently seen the film several more times and I personally have no doubt that it was a deliberate hatchet job. In fact, the film goes so way over the top in besmirching Grissom’s character that, even as a kid, I left the cinema with a strong sense of grievance on Grissom’s behalf. Slagging off a dead man who is incapable of defending himself, through the medium of a multi-million dollar epic movie, is pretty low behaviour

If you ever watch ‘The Right Stuff’ you’ll learn that Grissom was a coward, greedy, dishonest, a clumsy buffoon and unfaithful to his wife - a frustrated, shrew-like character who was clearly unfulfilled sexually; implying that Grissom probably had a small cock as well

The producers left absolutely nothing out

This was back in the dark days before the Internet and even though I tried to do some reading up on Grissom after seeing the film I wasn’t able to get much of handle on why Hollywood and NAZA would go out of their way to so blatantly defame a dead man

I did however, establish that...
"On January 22, 1967, Grissom made a brief stop at home before returning to the Cape. A citrus tree grew in their backyard with lemons on it as big as grapefruits. Gus yanked the largest lemon he could find off of the tree. Betty had no idea what he was up to and asked what he planned to do with the lemon. " 'I'm going to hang it on that spacecraft,' Gus said grimly and kissed her goodbye." (54) Betty knew that Gus would be unable to return home before the crew conducted the plugs out test on January 27, 1967. What she did not know was that January 22 would be "the last time he was here at the house". (55)"

  • Grissom died in a fire whilst strapped in the ‘lemon’...

  • Years later, I read that Grissom’s family were convinced that he was murdered because of his criticism of Apollo and that his son had found what he believed to be physical evidence which proved Grissom had been murdered

From the 'You couldn't make it up' photo archive - the crew of Apollo 1

It was when I started to encounter claims that Apollo was hoaxed in some way that I found a possible motive for dragging Grissom’s name through the gutter in the way it had been. Putting it briefly, I was predisposed to giving Apollo Hoax theories the time of day because I was already aware that NAZA was controlled by a bunch of devious, unscrupulous cunts

As a moderately interesting aside, at the same time as depicting Grissom as not having the ‘Right Stuff’ the movie of that title bent over backwards to eulogize someone who supposedly did...

Chuck 'The Right Stuff' Yeager

Chuck Yeager was portrayed as being a tall, good looking and fearless personification of All-American values. The beautiful, unshrew-like Mrs Yeager was clearly in receipt of a regular portion from a man as capable of controlling huge, thrusting projectiles on land as at near-space altitudes

He was so full of the right stuff he could barely walk

But what is this ‘right stuff’ exactly?

A couple of extracts from Yeager’s autobiography on the subject of his World War II exploits help fill in the blanks a little...

“Atrocities were committed by both sides. That fall our fighter group received orders from the Eighth Air Force to stage a maximum effort. Our seventy five Mustangs were assigned an area of fifty miles by fifty miles inside Germany and ordered to strafe anything that moved. The object was to demoralize the German population. Nobody asked our opinion about whether we were actually demoralizing the survivors or maybe enraging them to stage their own maximum effort in behalf of the Nazi war effort. We weren't asked how we felt zapping people. It was a miserable, dirty mission, but we all took off on time and did it. If it occurred to anyone to refuse to participate (nobody refused, as I recall) that person would have probably been court-martialed. I remember sitting next to Bochkay at the briefing and whispering to him: "If we're gonna do things like this, we sure as hell better make sure we're on the winning side." That's still my view.”

“By definition, war is immoral; there is no such thing as a clean war. Once armies are engaged, war is total. We were ordered to commit an atrocity, pure and simple, but the brass who approved this action probably felt justified because wartime Germany wasn't easily divided between "innocent civilians" and its military machine. The farmer tilling his potato field might have been feeding German troops. And because German industry was wrecked by constant bombing, munitions-making was now a cottage industry, dispersed across the country in hundreds of homes and neighbourhood factories, which was the British excuse for staging carpet bombing and fire bombing attacks on civilian targets. In war, the military will seldom hesitate to hit civilians if they are in the way, or to target them purposely for various strategic reasons. That's been true in every war that has ever been fought and will be fought. That is the savage nature of war itself. I'm certainly not proud of that particular strafing mission against civilians. But it is there, on the record and in my memory.”

Chuck 'I was only following orders' Yeager

So, it would seem that 'The Right Stuff' includes a capacity to set aside any moral concerns and machine-gun someone growing vegetables if told to do so

From what I have learned of Gus Grissom's character it is possible that in the same situation he would have told his commanding officer to go fuck himself or, more likely, he would have flown out and strafed some trees

Clearly not The Right Stuff

It’s a mystery to me why Yeager never actually became a NAZA Astronaut. Yeager would have got on with Wernher and the boys like a house on fire


And, for some reason which I may go into another time, there's a been a small flurry of Apollo-related activity in the conspirasphere of late - most notably...
  • I've started seeing postings on 'Apollo 20' pop up here there again

For the first half of my adult life I accepted, without reservation, that humans had set foot on the Moon

The list of matters of faith that I once accepted without reservation also included...
  • Life strains at the leash to spring up out of primordial sludge and evolve into complex organisms
  • All physical impediments to viable space travel can be overcome
  • The Universe is so big that it must be teeming with evolved Life forms
Nowadays I'm not so sure. In the absence of 3rd party intervention, the chances of Life just popping out of nowhere seem to me incredibly small; as small as the Universe is large. Space is a ludicrously hazardous environment and the distances between star systems are so absurdly vast as to present an all but insurmountable obstacle

Contrary to the belief system that pervades our culture, through 'popular' science and creative media, there is a distinct possibility that our existence is to all intents and purposes unique and that we live on the only inhabitable chunk of real estate that we're ever likely to have access to. There will be no Get Out of Jail Free cards and no Magic Space Friends are going to turn up and pull us out of the shit

This may come across as an abstract proposition, with no practical relevance to the here and now, but I believe that if a majority of people took on board the possibility that 'This' is It they might start to behave very differently

Imagine for a moment if, instead of whipping Apollo out of a hat, NAZA had announced that it had concluded that space represents an impassable barrier and that we are stuck on this fabulously unlikely and wonderful planet for the foreseeable future. Would our attitude to the world around us be tangibly different? I suspect yes



Hu Bris said...

wow Steff , excellent blog-post - the Grissom - Yeager stuff was a complete revelation to me.

I suspect your final conclusion is totally correct

The Krugman 'speculation' on Alien attacks, and the fact the the UN apparently appointed an 'Ambassador' to meet the mythical Aliens should they ever show up, sure is weird.

It's almost as if they want us to laugh at them. At least that way they'll have a method of separating the sheep (allies) from those that question (enemies), if they ever do try to con us with a made-up Alien Attack

StefZ said...

and let's not forget this recent Blue Beamish humdinger from The Guardian...

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

CanSpeccy said...

Re vilification of Grissom,

Perhaps you underestimate the vindictiveness of management dealing with a carping underling.

Anyway, destroying a space capsule and killing three astronauts in catastrophic space capsule fire hardly seems a reasonable response to criticism that your space capsule is a dud.

The idea that the moon landings were faked seems of relatively recent origin. At the time of the moon "landings" there were plenty of people who doubted that JFK had been killed by a lone nut, that the sinking of the Lusitania had been engineered to bring the US into WW1, etc., but no one that I am aware of questioned the belief that Neil Armstrong had set foot on the Moon.

The late development of Apollo conspiracy theories (if I am correct that they have developed only relatively recently) suggests to me that the notion is the result of a loss of faith in authority, rather than a product of the rational analysis of available evidence.

Concerning the evidence, there are the Moon rocks. Science Magazine, I recall, ran an entire issue on the analysis of the rocks. Altogether, it is likely that hundreds of geologists, geochemists, etc. examined the rocks. Is it possible that they could all have been fooled, not realizing that the rocks were either of terrestrial origin or entirely synthetic?

Also, if you dismiss the Moon landings due to the impossibility of space travel, you have to assume that the recent robot Mars missions have been faked too. And the private space vehicle developers who talk of a manned Mars mission within the next several decades are all in on the scam. I find this difficult to believe.

StefZ said...

We've covered the rocks in the comments under the previous post

- Some could have been picked up in Antarctica and WvB made a trip to that very continent in 1966-67

- At least one of the 'Moon' rocks is a bit of fossilized, terrestial wood (it took 40 years for all those 'thousands of scientists' to notice that btw)

- There are actually a lot fewer Moon rocks in circulation than you appear to assume. In fact tracking down lost and missing Moon rocks has become a bit of a hobby

StefZ said...

We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle by Bill Kaysing was published in 1974

Capricorn One was released in 1978

There's also a very peculiar scene in Diamonds are forever (1971)

I personally was trying to figure out what was up with Apollo as a teenager in 1983 but was restricted by the available sources of information

There's nothing recent about the hoax theories. Their dissemination has simply been aided by the advent of the Internet

StefZ said...

I would have hoped the implication that I was talking about manned space travel in my post was clear. If not I'll spell it out...

I'm talking about manned travel

not the capacity to lob inanimate junk across the solar system

Having said that, even if we were to make no distinction between manned vehicles and unmanned probes the sucess record of Martian probes is pretty awful

even though those probes were unencumbered by frail, organic cargos or any requirement to return

StefZ said...

as for the suggestion that private companies pontificating about manned Martian missions in decades to come is proof that such missions are possible


I'm not sure there's any way to respond without it sounding like I'm taking the piss

StefZ said...

Perhaps you underestimate the vindictiveness of management dealing with a carping underling.

Or perhaps you do in the sentence which follows immediately afterwards

Grissom was long dead by the time the book was written and the film was made. If there was anything that needed dealing with at that point it was whatever he was carping about

For clarity's sake, I am not certain that Grissom was deliberately killed. I simply point out that his family think he was, for reasons which are consistent with attempts to tarnish his credibility posthumously. An activity which I am certain did take place

KingofWelshNoir said...

Really interesting post, mate. Keep 'em coming.

Tony Mach said...

So, do I understand this correctly, you are saying that atheistic NAZA-Darwinists are creating (pun, hoho) a narrative that runs against the believes of christians - who would prefer to be alone with their god in this 'verse? Is this the tangibly different attitude to the world around us that you suspect that gets pushed? An anti-christian one?

Tony Mach said...

Anyway, destroying a space capsule and killing three astronauts in catastrophic space capsule fire hardly seems a reasonable response to criticism that your space capsule is a dud.

What? Do you want to impress us with logic? Your sad devotion to that ancient "scientific" method has not helped you conjure up everyday flights to the moon.

StefZ said...

@Tony Mach

Personally speaking, even though I do have slight deist tendencies, I have no faith whatsoever in a personal, redemptive creator

Consequently, I find the possibility that humanity is stuck on this tiny speck of inhabitable rock, to all practical intents and purposes, alone to be quite a daunting one and in no way comforting

The Vatican on the other hand (the HQ of one or two Christians) is apparently totally OK with the Alien Space Friend thing

In the first comment underneath this thread, Hu Bris has anticipated a suspicion that is rolling around the back of my head

Some very peculiar comments have been publicized and some very peculiar things have been seen in the night's sky recently

StefZ said...

Anyway, destroying a space capsule and killing three astronauts in catastrophic space capsule fire hardly seems a reasonable response to criticism that your space capsule is a dud.

What? Do you want to impress us with logic? Your sad devotion to that ancient "scientific" method has not helped you conjure up everyday flights to the moon.

As I've already mentioned, personally, I think he fucked the duck on the scientific method thing slightly by preceding that comment with the line...

Perhaps you underestimate the vindictiveness of management dealing with a carping underling.

on top of that, if the capsule were truly a dud it would have been effectively worthless and eminently expendable

As a general rule, the 'scientific method' does not work too well with statements which include internal contradictions

StefZ said...

..and not wishing to labour the point too much, one of the reasons why I included extracts from Yeager's justification for strafing defenceless farmers is to demonstrate that, unlike many people who blog or comment on blogs, there are people out there in possession of 'the right stuff' who are more than capable of performing, and rationalising acts many of us wouldn't dream of committing

Arguments based on nothing more than an assumption that 'They' would act like 'Us' consequently don't cut it for me

CanSpeccy said...

"Some (alleged Moon rocks) could have been picked up in Antarctica ..."

Well, yeah! Or in my back yard. But that wasn't exactly my point, which was that a lot geologists would have had to have been fooled or been made too scared to reveal what they know. But I agree it's possible. It just seems unlikely to me.

The trouble with Moon rocks handed out as souvenirs and then placed in museums is that they may be stolen and replaced by fakes, or mislabeled, etc. That there are fake Van Gogh's doesn't mean that Van Gogh never painted pictures.

As for lobbing inanimate junk, you think the Spirit Rover is "junk" or just a fake?

An if it's a fake, would it be your conclusion that not only the Jet Propulsion Lab that is running the mission, but also Caltech, perhaps America's most illustrious centers of scientific research, is engaged in the fraud?

There have been Mars missions that failed, but so what. The Great Eastern blew its boiler on its maiden voyage. The unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage. I never suggested that space travel would prove, in the near future, to be safe, pleasant or easy.

And about the scientific method, what exactly are you saying?

Anonymous said...

Belief that the moon landings were fake goes right back to 1970 (and presumably 69):

As Wired magazine has reported, “when Knight Newspapers polled 1,721 US residents one year after the first moon landing, it found that more than 30 percent of respondents were suspicious of NASA’s trips to the moon.

MJ said...

1967 was a dangerous year to be a NASA astronaut. In addition to the three Apollo 1 astronauts, four others met sudden, violent deaths. Ed Givens was killed in a car crash and C.C. Williams in an air crash. Robert Lawrence also died in an air crash and X-15 pilot Mike Adams was killed on a mission.

Then there is the strange case of NASA's Safety Officer, Thomas Ronald Baron. Baron produced a highly critical 500-page report outlining NASA's failings and suggesting that the Apollo Program was so far adrift of its targets it would never reach get to the Moon. One week after testifying to a Senate Committee, he - and his wife and daughter - were killed when the car he was driving was struck by a train. His report into the Apollo 1 tragedy has never since been open to public scrutiny and is presumed lost.

Hu Bris said...

OT but anyway:

Dave MacGowan, his Peak-Oil/Abiotic theory - he attacks Mike Ruppert (major Peak-Oil hysteric - ) and essentially claims Ruppert is pushing Peak-Oil for 2 reasons - 1) Because of his fondness for Eugenics (and racism since it is always the non -Whites of which we are assured there are 'too many')
2) Tied in with that, MacGowan thinks Ruppert is secretly pro-War,- Promoting Peak-Oil gives the Sheep SOME sort of rationale for the various wars. Without 'Peak-Oil' they might go looking for some other rationale.

But with a Peak-oil rationale, they will mostly accept it as they are not themselves about to give up their Oil-based lifestyle.

They might not like it but they are prepared to let OTHER people die if it means that the supply of Oil is not interrupted.

Who knows what might happen if the sheep went looking for some OTHER rationale. Where might that end? They might even conclude that we REALLY are run by Psychopaths and those Psychopaths are the real enemies of Humanity

ANYWAY:- What I really wanted to point out was that the BundesWehr (German Military) have just released a translated version of a policy document wherein Peak-Oil is used as THE explanation for all these wars we've been having in Oil-producing countries.

Which IMHO backs up MacGowan rather than anything else - One thing I notice with AGW types and Peak-Oilers (often the same people) is that though they demand I admit that there are 'too many' of us, and that 'something must be done' - so I usually ask them what they think should be done - Their usual preferred solution is to dramatically reduce the population, but usually starting with the NON-White people, though they rarely come right out and admit this - instead they make reference to '3rd world over population' - this despite the FACT that it is the White people first-Worlders who consume almost ALL the resources..

Anyhoo, I've rambled a bit and gone way off topic so here is the bit I thought you might be interested in: from the document's conclusion, page 91...

"Gaining an illustrative picture of a subject is very much a matter of habit. When considering the consequences of peak oil, no everyday experiences and only few historical
parallels are at hand. It is therefore difficult to imagine how significant the effects of being gradually deprived of one of our civilisation’s most important energy sources will be.
Psychological barriers cause indisputable facts to be blanked out and lead to almost instinctively refusing to look into this difficult subject in detail.

"Peak oil, however, is unavoidable. This study shows the existence of a very serious risk that a global transformation of economic and social structures, triggered by a long-term shortage of important raw materials, will not take place without frictions regarding security policy. The disintegration of complex economic systems and their interdependent infrastructures has immediate and in some cases profound effects on many areas of life, particularly in industrialised countries."

One thing I always found unusual is that Hubbert's Paper on Peak-Oil completely ignores the 15-20 years of Russian investigations into Oil and their conclusion that oil is Abiotic. Not a word from Hubbert about it -

Now as lead scientist for Shell(or whichever Oil CO he worked for ) I find it hard to believe Hubbard had not heard of the Russian Scientific work on this subject - Certainly SHELL heard about it, but maybe they kept it from Hubbard himself - somehow I doubt.

Any paper on Oil that claims to be comprehensive but does not at least mention the possibility that oil may be Abiotic, is IMHO, not worth a damn

I also LOVE the fact that it is all based on an imaginary number 'What is yet to be found'

Hu Bris said...

which kinda brings me back around to the title of the post - Peak-oiler and AGW hysterics do appear to have 'The Right Stuff' - despite all their pseudo-concern for 'Teh Planet' they certainly appear to be willing to sacrifice someone else's children for the future of 'Teh Planet' rather than their own.

Personally I always tell them that if they truely beleive 'there are too many of us', why not put their money where their mouth is and, instead of slyly inferring that in order to 'Save Teh Planet' some sort of MASS-extinction of a large part of the GLobal population (usually NON-White) needs to be contemplated, why not start the ball rolling by offing themsleves BEFORE anyone else gets offed

Now THAT would be real selflessness, real Christian an all, 'greater love hath no man . . .etc etc'

rob said...

NASA Unveils New Detailed Photos of Apollo Moon Landing Sites | Apollo Manned Moon Missions | Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter |

rob said...

NASA Unveils New Detailed Photos of Apollo Moon Landing Sites | Apollo Manned Moon Missions | Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter |

Anonymous said...


Some pretty convincing looking blobs I think we can all agree.

CanSpeccy said...

Peak oil is meaningless unless you specify a price for oil. At five bucks a barrel we'd already have passed it. At $100, we have two trillion barrels of tarsands oil in Canada alone. And Venezuela has about as much.

I would guess that peak oil will arrive the day an alternative energy source becomes cheaper and generally available.

We may be closer to that day than many people think. Natural gas is cheaper than oil and vastly more abundant. Fracking may make recovery of natural gas possible much closer to places of consumption -- or it may set off horrendous earthquakes, in which case oil will remain in demand for a bit longer.

Solar energy could also be a contender, but that depends on a lot of technology development -- batteries, solar cells, superconducting grids, etc.

I was interested to learn that skepticism about the moon landings originated so early. Still the evidence seems thin. Grissom said Apollo One was a lemon. LOL.

Not much to go on there. And NASA agrees that the environment system leaked like a sieve, which is not at all the same thing as saying the capsule had not been designed to carry men in space.

This is very different from the JFK assassination or 9/11 where there's a ton of evidence to refute the Warren/9-11 Commission Reports.

CanSpeccy said...

PS, I see Kevin Boyle has a plausible piece about 7/7. I know, Stef, you have expressed skepticism about Boyle. So I'm wondering what is wrong if anything with Boyle's latest on 7/7. In particular, is he correct about the early reports of military explosives, about the holes in the floor of the bombed trains and about errors in the first reported body counts?

These seem like critical points.

Stef said...

"These seem like critical points."

Yes they do

There's nothing new in KB's summary, much (most?) of which is based on material published on the J7 Inquest blog (written by an outfit KB denounced as a disinfo operation - a charge which he later retracted, sort of)

And KB also steers clear of saying that Jesus told him The Jews did it, as he is inclined to do on occcasions

You do, however, appear to be ignoring the huge turd KB pops in the proverbial swimming pool at the end of his piece. That 'turd' being Lord Muad'dib and his 'credible' alternative narrative

This is coming from someone who believes that The Bible is a credible narrative (and we've discussed that relatively recently haven't we)

Personally, I'm not interested in 'credible' or 'compelling' narratives and I believe that adhering to and promoting 'credible' alternative narratives seriously fucks up objective, sceptical inquiry

And if anyone is under the illusion that the alternative 7/7 narrative proted by KB, Muad'dib, Nick Kollerstrom, Jim Fetzer and Veteran's Today can stand up to objective criticism, and if you've got two hours to spare to endure listening to Jim Fetzer, 7/7 film maker Tom Secker takes Nick Kollerstrom apart, piece by piece, under Fetzer's nose here...

The Real Deal with Jim Fetzer podcast: Tom Secker & Nick Kollerstrom

It warms up in the 2nd hour

Fetzer is, of course, the godfather of turds in the swimming pool and his endorsement of a certain faction of 7/7 scepticism should be the kiss of death

Stef said...

"This is very different from the JFK assassination or 9/11 where there's a ton of evidence to refute the Warren/9-11 Commission Reports."

Again, for clarity's sake, personally I'm not arguing that Apollo was certainly a hoax

My position is that the 'evidence' that supports the official Apollo narrative is not as strong as some would have us believe

If I were a juror in a Scottish court I'd vote for a 'Not Proven' verdict

with you on the Peak Oil thing...

Stef said...

Some pretty convincing looking blobs I think we can all agree.

'Zoom in on that blob in the top right hand corner...'


'Um, couldn't you enhance a wee bit more...'

Stef said...

...and back to the KB thing

Here's a little contradiction that KB and an ex-commentator on this blog seem reluctant to address...

- KB is, as I understand, a Christian
- KB endorses the works of Muad'dib
- Muad'dib claims to be the Messiah
- In the New Testament Jesus specifically warns against false prophets *and* their works

which means either

- KB acknowledges that Muad'dib is not a false prophet and is therefore Jesus
- KB is endorsing the works of a false prophet

gyg3s said...

Gloria gives us some analysis of the moon landings,

"Yet, if I ask myself on which evidential basis I believe that there has been a Moon landing, I have to recognize that my evidence is quite poor, and I have never spent a second trying to debunk the counter-evidence cumulated by these people. What I know about the fact mixes confused child’s memories, black and white old TV news and deference to what my parents told me about the landing in the following years. Still, the cumulated evidence doesn’t make me hesitate about the truth of my beliefs on the matter. That is because my reasons to believe that the Moon landing has taken place go far beyond the evidence I can gather about this fact. I trust a democracy such as the United States to have certain standards of sincerity and accuracy, I have beliefs about the possible interests that US could have had in mounting a hoax (competition with USSR, display of technological superiority…), and don’t find them compelling to justify such a immensely costly operation. I can also reason about the very possibility of keeping the secret of the hoax for a program that involved more than 400 000 workers… Also, I have prejudices about a certain stereotype of information - conspiracy theories - that make me doubt about the credibility of their promulgators. In a sense, I am paying an epistemic injustice towards these people, judging them less credible not on the basis of my “epistemic superiority”, rather on the basis on an alleged superiority in values and beliefs about how a reasonable society conducts itself. My prejudices cause me to give to the conspiracy theorists less credibility that I would otherwise have given them.

Am I right or wrong in committing this injustice?

She makes lots of interesting points.

Stef said...

She does

And she might it easier to find answers to her closing question by first asking herself what have these institutions and systems in which is placing trust have done to earn her, or anyone else's, trust?

My personal experience has been that once you cross the line and decide that you're going to start questioning authority critically and checking things out for yourself a little, you start to realise just how much unwarranted trust we all place in narratives that don't stack up

Contrary to the pap psychology pushed by the BBC this isn't a very comforting experience at all, but it is possible to comes to term with it and nurture one's own 'negative capability'

Of course, there are many 'truthers' who have a problem with the negative capability thing, fall off the other side and simply embrace an alternative pile of old cock

"Well, what do YOU think really happened then?!!"

Just say no

gyg3s said...

"you start to realise just how much unwarranted trust we all place in narratives that don't stack up"

Back in the days of newsgroups a scientist called Gavin Whittacker (?, from memory) posted in a scientific newsgroup, 'how do you know that the earth is round, in the absence of pictures taken from space?'

The response was pathetic. It was all (mostly) vehemently expressed, faith based rote; rather than scientific reasoning based upon observation. Quite a shock to witness at the time: these were bona fide scientists, working in laboratories around the world; very few were wearing pseudo-identities such as I am now.

As for negative capability, my favourite example comes from physics. The deeply held contradictory belief that light consists of waves and the belief that light consists of particles.

Stef said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to grudgingly admit that the Earth is indeed an oblate spheroid

though early attempts on my part to confirm this by direction observation with a pair of binoculars went all Bedford

I must confess that I was once tempted to join The Flat Earth Society just to make a point about the nature of 'proof'

The headlines from the Flat Earth News were also very enticing...

"Whole World Deceived... Except the Very Elect" (Dec. 1977)

"Australia Not Down Under" (May 1978)

"Sun Is a Light 32 Miles Across" (Dec. 1978)

"The Earth Has No Motion" (Jun. 1979)

"Nikita Krushchev Father of NASA" (Mar. 1980)

"Galileo Was a Liar" (Dec. 1980)

"Science Insults Your Intelligence" (Sep. 1980)

"World IS Flat, and That's That" (Sep. 1980)

"The Earth Is Not a Ball; Gravity Does Not Exist" (Mar. 1981)

Stef said...

"As for negative capability, my favourite example comes from physics. The deeply held contradictory belief that light consists of waves and the belief that light consists of particles."

A mere tip of the iceberg as I'm sure you appreciate. I was recently daft enough to sit through two whole seasons of Through the Wormhole in an attempt to get up to speed with latest pop science 'answers' to all the big questions of existence

dark energy, dark matter, quantum entanglement... the mass of counter-intuitive, counter-observational, internally inconsistent bollocks that now infests high science is almost as daunting as the universe itself

it's all very much like the final act of a stage farce - with vicars hiding in wardrobes, sundry male characters dressed as women and a hapless hero engaged in a herculean, ultimtaely futile, effort to sustain a fabulously elborate and improbable tale which mushroomed up from a little white lie at the begining

It's only a matter of time before Stephen Hawking's trousers fall down

Stef said...

...hats off to theoretical physicists and mathematicians for one fantastic achievement though

they have managed to solve the eternal problem of maintaining security of income

there aren't many other fields of paid employment where you can say to your boss - 'it's going to take at least another 15-20 years of effort before I (might) find out if I'm wrong or not, maybe...'

Stef said...

...still, believing in invisible, intangible, undetectable stuff which is somehow pushing the entire universe across the sky, even though it is invisible, intangible and undetectable is a major step forward in rationality in comparison with believing in God

CanSpeccy said...

Thanks for the info on Mad Dib's credentials. Claiming to be Christ seems a fairly common symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, and a poor indication of witness reliability. I shall be wary in future of NK, particularly as you say he is associated with that preposterous 9-11 bollocks promoter, Jim Fester.

It seems to me the Earth has to be other than flat since inbound ships come up from below the horizon. And if you have a wide perspective on a calm ocean, it definitely looks curved. But, yes, the idea that down in Oz their hanging on by their toenails, is obviously a ridiculous government-inspired hoax.

KingofWelshNoir said...


'I have beliefs about the possible interests that US could have had in mounting a hoax… and don’t find them compelling to justify such a immensely costly operation.'

Yes, but it would only have been immensely costly if it really happened. If it were a hoax, it would have cost far less, and many of the billions of dollars earmarked for it could have been diverted elsewhere, couldn't they?

Stef said...

Jim Fetzer was, of course, thoughtful enough to appear on the rehashed BBC 9/11 Conspiracy Files documentary last week claiming that the nominal wreckage on the Pentagon lawn was shoved out of the back of a circling cargo plane

As for masts appearing over the horizon I do recommend a quick glance at the Bedford Level Experiment I link to above. Refraction can be a bugger sometimes

I also recommend listening to the 2nd hour of that Kollerstrom/ Fetzer/ Secker podcast if and when anyone is gripped by any strange urge to take NK at his word

Edo said...

Nice post and interesting debate.

I took a look at rob's link to the 'high resolution' pics over at NASA.con and ended up on a bit of a marathon mission reading the comments of one Neil P Baker, quite a loon if ever there was one. That said, I found his theory interesting. He's posted about it in several places, but here's the deal as he sees it:

"The photos are fake but the good news is that we don't have to go to the moon to prove they're fake. We can prove all spacewalks, including moonwalks, are fake by publicly demonstrating the spacesuits in a walk-in high vacuum chamber here on Earth. In their near fifty years of alleged use, no spacesuit has ever been demonstrated to work in a high vacuum chamber here on Earth. Spacesuit nickel porous plate sublimator cooling systems have never been seen. No thermodynamics textbook even mentions sublimators despite them representing one of the most exotic mechanical devices ever contrived.
The Kinetic Particle Theory of Pressure explains why soft cloth NASA style spacesuits are impossible. They foist the lie that the 5psi pressurized spacesuit operating in high orbital vacuum can be mimiced by demonstrating a space glove at atmospheric pressure (~15psi) within a vacuum chamber pumped down to 10psi. No university, national lab or company has accepted my challenge to test a membrane of spacesuit material with 5psi on one side and near 0psi (1e-6torr) on the other to see if it bursts. They know it will. The spacesuits are a hoax. The spacewalks are a hoax. The moonwalks are a hoax. The moonlandings were a hoax and the Hubble is a hoax. Most of the NASA manned space program is a hoax.
We're only a simple high vacuum experiment away from proving it. "

Now I'm no engineer, but I'd like to see that experiment.

I should qualify up front that Neil Baker holds some strong opinions about who is behind it all, which will piss some people off.

Stef said...

Would that be this Neil P. Baker...

Ex-UCSB Engineer Arrested in Alleged Bomb Threat Against School

Personally speaking, when I need to fill up on Space Jew Conspiracy theories I head for the original and best...

Eric Hufschmid

though, given the background of many of the senior Apollo engineers, one is obliged to pull something a little special out of the hat when theorising that The Jews did it

In that regard, Eric never fails to disappoint

Mind you, it's funny how his sister married one of Murdoch's sons...

Edo said...

Aye! That would :-)

I told you he was fruity.

Edo said...

I notice charges weren't filed.

Gregg Hibberds said...

Would that be the Neil P Baker???

Stef said...

'my brave truth'

hmmm, has a nice ring to it

gyg3s said...


"As for masts appearing over the horizon I do recommend a quick glance at the Bedford Level Experiment I link to above. Refraction can be a bugger sometimes."

This was what the newsgroup discussion was like. The detractors all found it so obvious and just knew that they were right and everyone else was an idiot and it was just so irritating that anyone would post such a stupid question. (Lack of punctuation done on purpose, btw).

I've managed to find one of Gavin's quotes (he's not a crank but a brilliant but unsung scientist),

"In uk.sci.astronomy "John Burns (NZ)" writted:
: Yes, thats right... the earth is flat - and if you didn't think that was
: enough,

Joking aside, this is actually very difficult, if not impossible, to demonstrate convincingly to a sceptic, without leaving the surface of the Earth. Certainly, all the evidence that I have is anecdotal, and taken on trust. I suspect that it is the same for most people."

I think that I read this on sci.something-other-than-astronomy; to me, it was an epiphany. Not this particular note, but the whole thread, the behaviour of the other scientists and the simplicity of the question.

gyg3s said...

^^^ aaargh. Forgot the link ... here

Stef said...


oh dear, it looks like someone fell for the refraction trap on that thread

> As you move along the coast on a clear day, it's possible to start
> making out key buildings that can help me to identify where I'm
> looking. There is a pylon/mast in Brighton (approximately 30 miles
> away) that I can clearly see as having it's bottom underwater (or
> under the horizon formed by the sea). This would be difficult to
> explain if the Earth was flat!

tsk tsk

Stef said...

Underneath the post immediately prior to this one I made a comment about me becoming more of an empiricist the older I got

The Apollo Hoax debate is a perfect illustration of why I've ended up that way

For every claim supporters of Apollo come up with the pro-Hoaxers manage to come up with a 'credible' counter-claim, and vice versa. In the absence of direct observation and hard, trustworthy data it all boils down to story telling (cf. my moan about 'credible' alternative 7/7 narratives above)

My experience is that most people, most of the time - conspiranoids and non conspiranoids alike - place much more emphasis on their a priori convictions than they do on data or the quality of an argument

Personally speaking, I quite like surprises and believe that they are missing out

B said...

talking about our potential special place in the universe, this coincidence(?) in time & space is mind blowing.

My personal experience has been that once you cross the line and decide that you're going to start questioning authority critically and checking things out for yourself a little, you start to realise just how much unwarranted trust we all place in narratives that don't stack up

This is partly why I love this blog. I wouldnt be surprised if the landings were hoaxed. The newly released photos could be hoaxed.
This video of 6 clips of the astronauts do look like they could of been filmed on the moon, from the way the objects seem to float more.

But, the camera is always a little ways away from the astronauts, and the camera appears to respond with agility to the scene, for it being remote controlled from earth, in 2 or more of the clips. Light would take approx. 1.5 secs to get to mission control, then another 1.5 secs for the signal to get back to move the camera. Thats a 3 second turnaround for the camera to respond. Though this is debatable, as the operator can guess the action of the astronaut before they do it, and prepare the scene.

The lack of blast craters under the lunar modules is very curious for me too.
If we did go, bravo! Just odd how we seem to need new technology to go again if you follow the latest blurbs on space travel. If we didnt go, no surprise there, but it is odd how no astronaut or anyone else related to the mission directly has said anything. But Stef I think answered this with his 'Right Stuff' post. Just following orders.
Just my 2 cents.

Edo said...

rob said...

Psychologist Floyd Rudmin writes that "conspiracy theory" is a powerful pejorative label, meaning paranoid, nutty, marginal, and certainly untrue. Its power is that it discounts a theory by attacking the motivations and mental competence of its advocates. By labelling an explanation of events "conspiracy theory", evidence and argument are dismissed because they come from a mentally or morally deficient personality, not because they have been shown to be incorrect. Calling an explanation of events "conspiracy theory" means, in effect, "We don't like you, and no one should listen to your explanation."

In past eras, other pejorative labels like "heresy", "witchery", and "communism" also worked like this. The charge of "conspiracy theory" is not so severe, but in its way much worse. Heresy, witchcraft, and communism at least retain a sense of potency, designating ideas to be feared. "Conspiracy theory" implies that the ideas and their advocates are simple-minded or insane. Such labels implicitly define a community of orthodox believers and try to banish or shun people who challenge orthodox beliefs. Community members sympathetic to new thoughts may shy away from them and join in the shunning in fear of being tainted by the pejorative label.

Neil Baker said...

The suits were have never been publicly demonstrated in a walk in vacuum chamber.
The spacesuit nickel porous plate ice sublimators have never been seen.
Please see my Facebook page for more on the NASA hoax.(American flag with Israeli flag in blue field)
Yes, I was arrested for thoughtcrime. I was jailed for ten days as a political prisoner. I was charged with the false trumped-up charge of "threats to bomb or injure property" but court documents reveal I was actually arrested for "theatening to accuse UCSB of crimes" and "threatening to incite a strike." I neither threatened to accuse nor incite. I DID accuse and DID incite. Both legal.
I was also committed for ten days as a political dissident but released after three shrinks extensively evaluated me and unanimously concluded I had no mental illness, no personality disorders and required no medication.
After ten months of trying to break me financially and get me to accept a plea bargain, bogus charges were pusillanimously dismissed.
Shame on those that tried to diminish me.
I realize this thread is long dead but I wanted to set the record straight at least here.