The Dark Side of the Moon (Landing)

Some dispute that the U.S. sent a man to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the first man to walk on the moon's surface in 1969

Some dispute that the U.S. sent a man to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the second man to walk on the moon’s surface in 1969

By Judy Berman

Over eight days during July 1969, all eyes were on Apollo 11, when it became the first manned mission to land on the moon.

More than 40 years after this historic event, about 6 percent of Americans still dispute that we ever set foot on the moon. They think it was a plot by the government to generate pride during the space race.

It fulfilled a goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, when he said that we would have a man land on the moon “before this decade is out” and return safely to Earth.

Apollo 11 made its landing on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong was the first to walk on the moon on July 21st. Who can ever forget his words as he stepped out on the surface, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”?

Yet, Bill Kaysing, considered to be the father of the moon hoax, said the whole event was staged. I interviewed Kaysing in the late 1970s about his book, “We Never Went to the Moon,” when I worked at WOLF-AM, a radio station in Syracuse, New York.

Kaysing, himself, was not an engineer. He was a technical writer for Rocketdyne, a major aerospace contractor. He left that company before Rocketdyne began work on the Apollo project.

And, yet, his story had legs. Some believe, as Kaysing did, that the film footage was taken in the Nevada desert.

I decided to pick an engineer’s brains on this subject: my Dad. He had worked in the space program in Huntsville, Alabama, and later did rocket program work in Nevada.

Dad had an analytical mind and addressed some of the claims in Kaysing’s book. Among them, Kaysing’s claim about the absence of stars when the astronauts were on the lunar surface photography.

Here’s the scoop from the web site science.howstuffworks:

“The light from the sun hitting the surface of the moon is too bright for any camera to capture something in the distance — it would wash out any light coming from distant stars in the sky. Even if you were standing on the surface of the moon yourself, you would have to block the landscape from your vision to see any notable points of light. This happens for the same reason that stars are harder to see in big cities than in wide-open fields — there’s a lot more light bouncing around from street lamps in the city, so the stars are hidden from view.”

Conspiracy theorists also question how the flag could flap with no wind on the moon, and that the photo had to be a hoax. TV’s Mythbusters blew these theories out of the water. (see videos below)

Mythbusters' Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman

Mythbusters’ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman

Between July 1969 and Dec. 14, 1972, 12 men landed on the moon. The last astronauts arrived on Apollo 17 – Jack Schmitt and Gene Cernan. Cernan was the last to step off the lunar surface and wrote a book, “The Last Man on the Moon,” about America’s race in space.

“Too many years have passed for me to still be the last man to have walked on the Moon. Somewhere on Earth today is the young girl or boy, the possessor of indomitable will and courage, who will lift that dubious honor from me and take us back where we belong,” Cernan wrote.

I just hope it’s real soon.

.—

Video  – National Geographic – NASA’s newly restored video of the very first moonwalks of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/space-technology-news/1969-moonlanding-vin/

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-13. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo: Buzz Aldrin – Apollo 11 – on the Moon – Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bb/Aldrin_Apollo_11_%28jha%29.jpg/574px-Aldrin_Apollo_11_%28jha%29.jpg

Photo: Mythbusters, TV program, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage – Skulls Unlimited Owner, Jay Villemarette and Director of Education, Joey Williams with the Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman at the Discovery Channel’s Young Scientists Challenge 2004. Photo by Skimsta. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Mythbusters2.jpg

Video Clip and story: The Faked Apollo Landings http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html

Mythbusters examine the Moon Landing photo hoax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wym04J_3Ls0

Mythbusters tackle other moon landing hoaxes http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/moon-hoax.htm

How Stuff Works – addressing the hoax claims about no stars in the photos taken on the moon http://science.howstuffworks.com/moon-landing-hoax1.htm

Area 51, UFOs and Conspiracy Theories

By Judy Berman

Flying saucers have been reported on land and in the air. Are they of our making or from outer space?

The truth is out there. But what it is depends on who and what you believe.

On a lonely stretch of highway about 100 miles north of Las Vegas lies Area 51 – the site connected to the Roswell Incident in early July 1947. Rancher W. W. “Mac” Brazel reported that the wreckage of odd tinfoil-like material was spread over a large area on his property near Corona, New Mexico – about 75 miles from the town of Roswell.  A few witnesses also reported seeing strange bodies.

“The case for Roswell actually started in 1979, when Jesse Marcel, the Army major who played a role in the recovery of the crash debris, started publicly saying how he thought it was an alien spaceship. Until then, Roswell had totally dropped out of UFO history,” states UFO expert Bruce Maccabee in a Dec. 18, 2009, interview in Popular Mechanics.

Off a lonely stretch of highway, Area 51's function is a mystery to many. But some claim to have seen UFOs and aliens near Roswell.

Off a lonely stretch of highway, Area 51′s function is a mystery to many. But some claim to have seen UFOs and aliens near Roswell.

Many believe that a “flying disk” crash-landed here, and alien bodies were removed from the wreckage and are housed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

WDTN-TV producer Darl Day, who has investigated this, reported that one “pretty good explanation” about the Roswell “incident” was the debris came from “a top-secret high-altitude spy project.”

So were there alien bodies? Day’s interview includes some intriguing details. John K. Mosgrove, a dental technician, said while he worked at a Veterans Administration hospital in Dayton, Ohio, (about a 30-minute drive from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base), “he was assigned the task of replicating a strange mandible or lower jawbone, taken from a createure of unknown identity.”

The cast was broken and tosssed into the trash, but Mosgrove retrieved it later and pieced it back together. His conclusion was that it was not human or animal.

“At this point, the weight is still toward the unknown, rather than toward the known. … A lot of these people I’ve talked to are very reliable individuals, and there is something going on. I don’t know what. There’s a lot going on at Wright-Pat. I had sources at Wright-Pat that were pretty reliable who really wanted to get to the bottom of it. Even with their clearances, they couldn’t find anything,” Day said.

What became of those “remains” and the “UFO?” The government said at the time that there were no bodies and that it actually was a weather balloon. UFO believers say it’s a government cover-up.

A couple of weeks before that crash, on June 24, 1947, airplane pilot Kenneth Arnold had a strange experience. “I observed a chain of nine peculiar-looking aircraft flying from north to south at approximately 9,500-foot elevation. … They seemed to hold a definite direction, but rather swerved in and out of the high mountain peaks.

Arnold said they approached Mount Rainier, and he saw their outline against the snow quite plainly. He could not identify what the vehicles were. Arnold compared their motion to “a saucer, if you skip it across the water,” which some later interpreted as a “flying saucer.”

“As I was flying in the direction of this particular ridge, I measured it and found it to be approximately five miles, so I could safely assume that the chain of these saucer-like objects were at least five miles long,” Arnold stated in a memo posted by PROJECT 1947. (PROJECT 1947 is a worldwide effort to document the origins of the modern UFO phenomenon.)

The pilot thought “it was very peculiar that I couldn’t find their tails, but assumed they were some type of jet plane …”

Pilot Kenneth Arnold's drawing of one of the flying disks that he saw in 1947. Officials found him credible, but thought he was mistaken.

Pilot Kenneth Arnold’s drawing of one of the flying disks that he saw in 1947. Officials found him credible, but thought he was mistaken.

Air Force investigators found Arnold to be a credible witness, but concluded that what he “had seen was a mirage, not actual flying ships,” according to history.com

Arnold said: “A number of newsmen and experts suggested that I might have been seeing reflections or even a mirage. This I know to be absolutely false, as I observed these objects not only through the glass of my airplane, but turned my airplane sideways, where I could open my window and observe them with a completely unobstructed view.”

So, what do you think?

There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories. In Part 2: The Dark Side of the Moon (Landing).

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

*Main Photo: X-Files – I Want to Believe

*Photo: Extraterrestrial Highway – Nevada Highway 375 is thus designated because of its proximity to Area 51 and its association with UFO spotting. Photo taken by Astronautilus. May 11, 1997. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Extraterrestrial_Highway.jpg/400px-Extraterrestrial_Highway.jpg

Questions for a UFO Expert: Bruce Maccabee on the Real X-Files, Roswell and His Own UFO Sighting http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/ufo/4304682

*Photo: Pilot Kenneth Arnold – drawing of flying disks – The letter with a drawing of flying saucers or flying disks submitted by pilot Kenneth Arnold to Army Air Force intelligence on July 12, 1947. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/Arnold_AAF_drawing.jpg/487px-Arnold_AAF_drawing.jpg

Pilot Kenneth Arnold – Project 1947 – who saw nine strange aircraft in the skies. http://www.project1947.com/fig/ka.htm

Article: Dental technician says “mandible” may be alien http://www.think-aboutit.com/aliens/dental_technician_says_mandible.htm

Video link: Alien Encounters: The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Connection, National Archives and Records Administration – This WDTN-TV Channel 2 Dayton, Ohio, video recording is an investigative look at the Roswell “incident.” Producer Carl Day reports. http://archive.org/details/gov.archives.341-roswell-4

Video: Coverup at Roswell? http://entertainment.msn.com/videopreview2/?channelindex=4&from=en-us_msnhp#/video/e1de114e-6e25-4263-ad1e-dcd277eb007f

The Roswell files – The Truth about Roswell may be “out there,” but it has been shrouded by faulty and conflicting memories, hoaxes – and,  sometimes, deliberate lies. http://www.roswellfiles.com/index.htm

“Unidentified Flying Objects – Project Blue Book” and “The Roswell Incident” http://www.archives.gov/foia/ufos.html

“How Area 51 Works” – Area 51 is the most famous secret military installation in the world. Learn about more Area 51 sightings next.(© HowStuffWorks) http://science.howstuffworks.com/space/aliens-ufos/area-51.htm

Vanishing Point

By Judy Berman

The bragging rights of a new car – the enviable stares, the admiring glances, the unabashed ogling. That’s now past tense.

Now the point may be not to be seen at all. Of course, that could be a problem in high-traffic areas when you want to avoid a crash.

Mercedes-Benz’ “Invisible” Mercedes F-Cell was put through its paces on the streets of Stuttgart, Germany, this week. This technology is straight out of the James Bond movie, “Die Another Day.”

Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) is driving an Aston Martin Vanquish which is being hotly pursued in a rapidly-melting ice palace by his foe (Zao). Zao (Rick Yune) aims his Jaguar XKR straight for Bond’s car, which vanishes moments before the intended impact.

“I’m looking through you. Where did you go? I’m looking through you. You’re not the same.” (The Beatles’ “I’m Looking Thru You”)

The F-Cell, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, is being manufactured in limited quantities. But the “Invisible” Mercedes F-Cell, an emission-free car, is still a car of the future.

“While the car isn’t completely invisible, you are just seeing a moving outline because the LED screen is projecting what’s behind it. The effect works best when the scenery behind is uniform, for example, while crossing the bridge in the video (link posted below), and at night when there’s more contrast between light and dark,” according to a story posted by Matthew Humphries on Geek.com.

The “invisibility” is the result of a lot of cameras and flexible LED-mats which can weigh nearly 1,100 pounds at a cost of nearly $263,000.

Is this what Taylor Swift is really singing about in “Invisible,” rather than unrequited love?

“And you just see right through me. But if you only knew me we could be a beautiful miracle, unbelievable. Instead of just invisible, yeah.”

Not to worry,Taylor. You could still be a beautiful pair. You could cruise the streets in a car that the paparazzi would not be able to detect. Perfect!

As for the rest of us who wish for a vanishing point from the maddening crowds, we’ll just have to wait for the price to come down.

—–

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

* Photos of the “Invisible” Mercedes (and a video in Motoramic. Article by Justin Hyde)

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/invisible-mercedes-brings-james-bond-technology-life-171557818.html

* Mercedes article by Matthew Humphries on Geek.com. Includes videos:

http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/mercedes-create-near-invisible-car-using-leds-2012035/

* The chase scene from James Bond’s “Die Another Day”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbAiYjovbBM

* Pierce Brosnan who played secret agent James Bond in 4 films from 1995-2002

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PierceBrosnan(CannesPhotoCall).jpg

Hitchcock’s Take on Reality

By Judy Berman

It seemed so innocent. Feeding pigeons in a park. The next I knew, a flock of birds converged on my baguette. I dropped the bread, fearing that if I didn’t, all that would be left of me was my trench coat and glasses.

I also feel uneasy around the ominous stares from birds gathered on the power lines. Birds swooping down on the beach near our home also make me edgy.

What accounts for this irrational fear? Blame Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds. Just what was the Master of Suspense’s inspiration for swarms of birds that ganged up on the public and attacked them?

The genesis for that plotline was ripped from the headlines. It was not the first time that Hitchcock chose to weave fact with fiction to keep audiences riveted in their movie seats.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Imagine Hitchcock scouring the news stories and breathing new life into ancient yarns. He did this with Rear Window (1954), by using details from two different crimes to develop characters and the story. With The Lady Vanishes, he also rewove elements in an old tale to create his suspenseful 1938 spy movie.

In 1961, Hitchcock was shooting a movie in Bodega Bay when he heard about crows attacking some young lambs “in the same locality where we were working,” according to “Hitchcock,” by Francois Truffaut, a noted film critic and filmmaker. The movie director met with the farmer whose lambs had been attacked and got the idea for some of the scenes in the 1963 suspense thriller.

Hitchcock said “these things do happen from time to time, and they’re generally due to a bird disease, a form of rabies.”

The birds are now believed to have ingested toxic algae.

“The cause of the outbreak in 1961 was not identified. Then, 30 years later, disorientation and death struck brown pelicans in the same area,” according to a recent story by LiveSciences senior writer Wynne Perry.

“It was found that the birds had eaten a toxin, domoic acid … which are diatoms, a type of algae.” This can “cause confusion, disorientation, scratching, seizures and death in birds that eat the stuff,” Perry wrote.

For Rear Window, death also occurred by an unnatural cause: murder. Here, Hitchcock took “two news stories from the British press. One was the Patrick Mahon case and the other was the case of Dr. Crippen.”

After Raymond Burr’s character, Lars Thorwald, kills his wife in Rear Window, Thorwald has the same problem as Dr. Crippen. How is he going to dispose of the body? Then, the added dilemma of how to explain her absence. Justice quickly caught up with both. (The movie also starred James Stewart, picture at left, and Grace Kelly.)

The Lady Vanishes was based on a film called So Long at the Fair. “It’s supposed to be a true story, and the key to the whole puzzle is that it took place during the great Paris exposition, in the year the Eiffel Tower was completed,” Hithcock told Truffaut.

In this film, mother and daughter are visiting Paris when the mother becomes ill. She has bubonic plague, and officials were concerned that this would scare away crowds who were coming to Paris for the exposition. This yarn fits the story line of The Lady Vanishes, where a great scheme is devised to deny the existence of Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty), who turns up missing aboard a moving train. As it turns out, Miss Froy was key in unraveling a spy mystery.

Hitchcock always did have the knack to leave me Spellbound. That the plots were strange … and often based on reality … I Confess that’s even spookier.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Still of Alfred Hitchcock from The Birds trailer

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alfred_Hitchcock%27s_The_Birds_trailer_01.png

Flock of gulls

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flock_of_gulls_-_various_species.jpg

Article: “Blame Hitchcock’s crazed birds on toxic algae”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45862619

Still of James Stewart in Rear Window

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Stewart_in_Rear_Window_trailer.jpg

Can You See Me Now?

By Judy Berman

Ever been in this situation? You’re having a quiet cup of coffee or other liquid refreshment, and the guy sitting next to you is asking questions. To be polite, you respond.

But he’s not answering any of your comments.

You talking to me? Turns out, he wasn’t. He was on his cell phone. Embarrassing. This happened to me, and I just felt invisible. If only.

But, suppose you could actually crawl into a black hole and be unobserved in the background? REALLY blend. That’d be a handy feature whether you’re trying to slink away to avoid a confrontation or to duck a creditor.

Cloaking devices could help. That’s not just the stuff of science fiction such as in “Star Trek” or “Star Wars,” or the invisibility cloak that Harry Potter used to skulk around Hogwarts.

An invisibility cloak might be in use within 10 years.Cornell University scientists have created a “time cloak” that masks an entire event, according to Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press.

Would this give criminals the edge in committing a crime? Would they be able to walk into an art museum like Pierce Brosnan’s character in “The Thomas Crown Affair” and steal a painting in broad daylight? Even if the museum is swarming with police?

That’d be a ways off yet. Right now, the time cloak lasts maybe less than a nanosecond – which is one billionth of a second, according to a study in the journal “Nature.”

Researchers at Duke University and elsewhere also are at work  to develop this technology.

It would be an asset for the military and police. They could use this to camouflage their soldiers and police officers, and tanks and planes from the enemy or track those engaged in illicit activities.

“There are practical applications … This is a way of adding a packet of information to high-speed data unseen without interrupting the flow of information,” Borenstein wrote.

The downside for us mere mortals is that same technology also could be used to spread computer viruses.

Personally, I’m just hoping it becomes available for everyday use.

A little smoke and mirrors could come in handy. Just slip the cloak on, like Harry Potter, and become invisible. Say, you’ve left the boss’s office after requesting a raise and you hear maniacal laughter. If you were to return undetected, you might discover just what people are saying when they think you’re not in the room.

Then, again … sometimes, the lack of transparency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo Credit: A dragon-shaped cloud of dust seems to fly out from a bright explosion in this infrared light image (top) from the Spitzer Space Telescope, a creature that is entirely cloaked in shadow when viewed in visible part of the spectrum (bottom).

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Star_Formation_Revealed_around_M17.jpg

Movie references and science info (ABC News)

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5560679

Military use and science info (Discovery.com)

http://science.discovery.com/videos/popscis-future-of-invisibility-cloak.html