Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Question of Credentials - Post 1


Brett said...

Jim and Mike -

I'm interested in the content that Mike and RCH try to assert in their new book, "Dark Mission". That doesn't mean I believe, it just means it's interesting.

I'm also interested in Jim's work and any kind of constructively skeptical counter to Mike & RCH's book. Watching a constructively skeptical discourse is part of the scientific method and the learning process.

Here's what I don't like. There's a certain "adamancy" in Mike's responses to Jim that seem more motivated by anger than by a desire to get facts on the table and support them. It harms the message of Dark Mission by making the authors look defensive. That said, I credit Mike for putting facts on the table and trying to navigate back to his original points. I also understand clearly why he would be angry over some of Jim's actions.

Jim - I'm just another guy out there in the world/blogosphere, albeit one who has admired much of your past work, both in print and on television. However, you really cross the line all over the place in this discourse. It is certainly valid for a reporter to check facts. That makes a comment to Kay Ferrari like... "Is he still an 'ambassador' in good standing, and did you ever make any effort to verify any of his professional/educational claims as published on your website?" totally valid.

OTOH, this entire discussion is argument and conjecture...

"If he was 61 in 2007, as the data indicates, he was born in 1946, so "in the 1960's" he would have been about 20. To learn to fly jets in the Marines, and then serve out his service commitment (3 to 4 years), and then become a Grumman LM pilot instructor by 1969, he'd have had to begin flight training at about the age of 17, I figure -- which doesn't seem credible, since he's have had to have been a commissioned officer before that step."

It serves no obvious purpose other than to slant the opinion of the person to whom you are asking the question. Especially comments like, "which doesn't seem credible". In some circles that kind of logic is generalized as acting as "judge, jury and executioner." Most of the audience that reads this blog can see right through that I bet.

I also think you hurt your argument by maintaining that the overall gist of your email is innocent and not an attempt to shame JPL into acting as you would like them to act. Signing the email as a representative of a major news outlet puts the bureaucrat on notice that media consequences might be attached to their answer. You know that. I know that. Mike and RCH probably know that. Anybody with an IQ larger than a potato has probably experienced the same kind of backhanded "innocent" inquiry in their own lives.

It's ironic that an obviously intelligent and experienced journalist like yourself is hiding behind a defense that amounts to, "I didn't mean to imply" or "I didn't know how they would take it". You write the English language for a living, for crying out loud.

It's also ironic that you are managing to make Mike and RCH look credible in their claims of conspiracy. If you had omitted all of the innuendo and stuck to getting your facts straight it seems like your point would have been more impactful.

As it is now, you're managing to come off as a guy with a mission and a vendetta whose asserts facts carelessly and uses innuendo and credentials to try and silence points of view. Wierd.

MB has Mr. Johnston's Pensacola/MCRD credentials on the site. You also have someone claiming to be Farouk ElBaz taking issue with your assertions regarding facts. If that's really him then you couldn't look more wrong if you tried. The guy's a frikkin' hero. It makes one wonder if MB/RCH are paying you to make their claims of censorship and conspiracy look realistic. (That's a joke, BTW.)

Just one man's opinion, of course, but you seem to have really blurred the line between true facts/skeptical inquiry and assertions/innuendos/influence. Is that on purpose?...

PS - Mr. Johnston, I hate dating myself like this, but I had to laugh at two things in the pictures MB posted in his latest entry. First, you were in McCrud the same year I was born (!). Second, even though I went through flight school in the mid 1980's, I see you also flew the mighty T-34! Go Mentor! Heh, I guess the military really likes to stick with something that works, eh?

JimO said...

Good post, Brett, insightful and constructive. And a recipe for a remedy for pointless snarkiness all around. Let me try to deliver the behavior you call for.

JimO said...

I'm presuming these certificates are the first of many, so this question may be premature. But from the timeline I've sketched out, these documents and other Johnston comments confirms the appropriateness of my puzzlement over his claimed accomplishments on the NASA-JPL bio page that he had submitted.

It's why I asked the questions I did, for what I thought then -- and think even more strongly now -- were good reasons.

I couldn't figure how he would have had tome to accomplish all he claimed in the time period he had to do it in. But I was assuming that the talk of his being a 'Marine fighter pilot' meant that he had completed flight school and had served on active duty in that role. I may have been mistaken.

Flight school usually took about 13 months, and the pilot active service commitment was at least 3 years (maybe longer for Marines -- I was an AF officer at the time).

The certificate says that he finished "pre-flight stage of aviation training program" on 26 February 1965.

In his blog post, earlier, he reported that "while in the USMC I flew faster than twice the speed of sound in the F-4 Phantom back in 1964. I have flown at over 60,000 feet altitude."

If that flight date is correct, he did this one-off mission as part of his pre-flightschool orientation, certainly still an impressive and laudable experience. But the implication he was flying the plane, at that date, seems misplaced, especially if it was the one time in his life he was ever that fast and that high (faster and higher than I've ever been, for sure).

Now, assuming he started real flight school in February 1965 (and often there was a waiting time for slots to open, in those years, as I recall from my own military service), that puts him completing the training no earlier than March 1966.

Yet on the blog he also wrote, "“I worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX from 1966 through 1980 for several prime contractors.”" That is consistent with his work as a LM instructor at the seniority he described, which I find no reason to doubt.

But was he a 'Marine jet pilot'? I can't find the time allotment that allows that, without some mighty abbreviated duty tours -- or some mighty lower expectations -- or maybe I've misinterpreted what that phrase means.

Well, we'll probably get the rest of the certificates soon that will clear this all up, and no matter what flight status he attained, my hats off to anybody accepted into flight school and willing to face those challenges.

robert said...

JimO said...
Good post, Brett, insightful and constructive. And a recipe for a remedy for pointless snarkiness all around. Let me try to deliver the behavior you call for.

November 14, 2007 1:28 PM


And then nothing...hmmm?

Gort said...

Mike, this is off topic of the post, but is relavent to the book.

Japanese HDTV videos of "Earth rise" and "Earth Set" from near the moon.

Press release here.

note: the press release page contains links to the videos, and the stills on the press release page can be clicked and enlarged.
The earth-rise was taken from the backside of the moon near the lunar north pole, with wide angle lens.
The earth-set was taken from the backside of the moon near the lunar south pole, with telephoto lens.

After you watch the beauty of the earth-rise and earth-set, watch them again and ignore the earth and look at all the stuff on the moon's surface (hidden in plain sight!)

JimO said...

submitted Nov 28, 12:01 PM CST

Completion of USMC jet school during the Vietnam era incurred a six year 'duty commitment' to actually fly airplanes and get a payback for the expensive program. What I can't figure out is why, a year after completing the PRE-flight portion of training, Ken is suddenly a civilian, working for Grumman -- where he becomes a "test pilot" who somehow never gets off the ground again. Now, those circumstances strike me as suggestive of significant issues that are being withheld by the parties involved.

Leland said...

Mike (Bara) and Richard (Hoagland):

1. I am in Hong Kong and I just finished reading your book "Dark Mission" which I first learned about a few months ago in a popular local Chinese newspaper called Apple Daily. I was utterly astonished by the contents of your book. I therefore looked up this and Enterprise Mission's website today for the first time and showed them to some of my colleagues at work.

2. What compelled me to write to you immediately was that just as I was finishing the final pages of your book's Epilogue, I further noticed something very strange in the Figure E-12 MRO photo of the Face. I am unsure if I have noticed something you share or if I am just "seeing things" after being immersed in your book for days.

3. The amazing "holographic" effect of multiple hominid and feline images on either side of the Face was noted, especially when shown as mirror images in Figures 8.1 and 8.6 of your book. Then I noticed the feline images actually extended beyond the top of each side of the Face.

4. Those extra feline images, now extended beyond the "hair" or "head dress" at the top of the Face look striking similar to the head of a tabby cat, an image I am quite familiar with since I have a 19 year old tabby nick-named "Mio" at home who is looking on right now as I type). I marveled at what I thought, ie the additional tabby head images, were just an artistic extension of the Face's holography.

5. Not so (as you like to say in your book). I was extremely taken by surprise when I noticed that actually large, medium, small, to minute, multiple images of the tabby's head are plastered ALL OVER the Cydonian valley floor, and not just confined to the Face and the two additional tabby images at the top of the Face, literally hundreds of them, next to and overlapping with each other.

6. I then looked at some other MRO photos of the Face and found the same pattern. Is this a phenomenon you share, or (to be ever vigilant) could it be a photographic trick where you know who has "stamped" the image all over the MRO photos of the Face, at least those which are featured in your book?

7. If the former, then we have the problem with the submerged city beneath the Cydonian valley floor as shown in the IR photos of your book. How did the tabby head images get on the valley floor if there was supposed to be a big city lying underneath it possibly under a thick sheet of ice?

8. Or could the submerged city be long buried before the Face was constructed and the tabby images plastered all over the valley floor? A hint may be in Figures E-12 to 22 where close-up photos of what the Face is made up of. Even in the super close-ups (thus with less surface area to look at), one can still faintly discern a number of tabby heads with pointy ears.

9. In other words, they are everywhere we look and whatever the underlying structure of the Face on Mars may be, what seems certain (unless we are being deceived) is that virtually all the high, low, light, and dark constructions in various shapes and sizes were carefully chosen and arranged into patterns of a vast, complex, and holographic blanket of multiple feline images all over the Cydonian valley floor.

10. I do not know how to make of this, and I would very much appreciate your view in due course on this "Tabbies all over Cydonia" visual phenomenon. Again I may just be "seeing things". As reader of your enlightening book, I am certainly not an agent or plant sent by you know who.

Best regards

Leland Chu
Hong Kong

Mike Bara said...

Leland said...

1. Leland, I'm amazed you got a copy in Hong Kong. It's cool, actually.

3-6. Be careful here, print images cannot do justice to the full sized computer images.

7. I'm not convinced that the cat images are actually there.

8. We think the ice city and the surface artifacts are probably from different epochs.

10. You have to be careful of the Rorschach test aspects of looking at the Face. That's why we have always emphasized the geomorphology and alignment model of all the other anomalous objects in Cydonia.

Leland said...

Thanks Mike. Turning from the Face to the Moon, your book has conjured up memory of Apollo 15 astronaut, late US Col Jim Irwin, lecturing to a packed audience at my school chapel in northwest London around 1979 to 1981. At the time the prevailing view was (and we had all assumed that) the Moon is a desolate place with amazing geology but totally uninhabited and utterly uninhabitable.

For those of us who had asked in advance, we were treated to a very nice color photo of Col Irwin standing on the lunar surface, next to the US flag and the lunar rover with the background sky in pitch black and the autograph of the Colonel next to which he wrote "To Leland: With His love from the Moon." It took me some time afterwards to figure out the words meant "with God's love from the Moon".

During the Q & A session, I was the last to be permitted to put a question to Col Irwin, and the question was "..did the astronauts have any weapons with them for self defense in case they encountered anything totally unforeseen..?" On hearing this, most of the audience burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter.

Evidently most people in the audience agreed that such a ridiculous question could only be posed by a teenage idiot overdosed on Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, especially when one was speaking to the eighth man to ever walk (and the first? person to ever drive) on the Moon.

Anyhow, when the noise subsided, Col Irwin replied (with a grin) that Apollo astronauts did not have weapons during the mission as they did not expect any need for them. Fair enough.

Three decades later I still wonder.. having since realized what might be visible to the astronauts from the lunar surface...