The canals of Mars, 1962

[Cross-posted at Cliopatria.]

Mars map (1962)

Via Bad Astronomy comes news of an update to the Mars component of Google Earth. Most interesting to me are the overlays of historical maps of Mars from the 19th and 20th centuries, including those made by Giovanni Schiaparelli (1890), Percival Lowell (1896) and E. M. Antoniadi (1909). Schiaparelli and Lowell's maps showed the infamous canals of Mars; Antoniadi's more detailed map did not, and is supposed to have finished off the canals as a scientific controversy, at least according to according to Steven J. Dick's brilliant history The Biological Universe: The Twentieth-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). But from some of my own work I've seen evidence that the canals and the associated question of intelligent life on Mars survived into the 1920s. And now Google Earth shows me this beautiful map made by the US Air Force in 1962. This Mars was festooned with canals, half a century after they had largely been discarded by the scientific community.

A little digging shows why. The map, known as the MEC-1 prototype, was prepared to assist with the upcoming Mariner missions to Mars. E. C. Slipher, late director of the Lowell Observatory (a major centre for planetary research), helped make it. Slipher had got his start under Lowell himself in the late 1900s, and used his mentor's old observations to compile MEC-1. So it's no surprise it has canals, then. Slipher seems to have remained an advocate of the canals right up until his death in 1964. Perhaps fortunately for him, he didn't live to witness Mariner 4's flyby of Mars in 1965, which revealed an apparently dead planet. But if it had not, the USAF would have been well placed to explore the Martian megascale hydraulic system.

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23 thoughts on “The canals of Mars, 1962

  1. Erik Lund

    There's some work --for which I've lost my bibliographic notes-- taking the canal discussion into WWI. Since the notion (as cultural phenomena) briefly held my flickering interest, I even looked at some old Areseological (Aereological? Ack, too many vowels!) stuff from the 50s. If the ice caps at the poles grow in winter and shrink in summer, and the vegetation grows at the equators every summer, there has to be a liquid transport mechanism of some kind, right?
    And, therefore, advanced, pacific Martian technocrats fight against the drying of their home planet, just as equally superior Harvard graduates will soon have to do on Earth, until it is time for us all to flee to Venus and make new homes, subjugating the inferior Venusians (for their own good, maybe?) at the same time.
    Look, don't blame me. Lowell proved it all. With Science.

  2. Post author

    Areological, I think. Yes, there was still hope for a relatively wet Mars into the 1950s, with at least accompanying vegetation. One of the Arthur C. Clarke books I read as a kid was The Sands of Mars (1951) which has all this stuff. I knew the science it was based on was 30 years out of date but I still enjoyed it. That plus Cosmos (Blues for a red planet) is probably how I got into the history of areology ...

    I'd be interested to know what the WWI-era thing was. In the 1920s and 1930s there was some buzz about radio communications to and/or from Mars, and I'd be interested to know when that died out.

  3. Chris Williams

    I've just been reading my son Arthur Ransome's _Winter Holiday_ which would have been written in 1931. 'Signalling to Mars' is one of the themes.

    As for the dying out, my money would be on c.1943, when BISers and their fellow travellers started to 'accidentally' point their dishes at heavenly objects, with results varying from "Wow, Jupiter is a radio source" to "Nothing modulated is coming from Mars".

  4. Erik Lund

    The 1916 thing comes from an editorial in a Boston paper, basically Martians prove international-liberal-Unitarian-pacifism is right, therefore America should intervene in WWI.
    Can't argue with logic like that!
    More importantly, you can start to link Martian canals to other cultural tropes from China missionaries (China has canals!) to the TVA and Wittfogel (maybe canals are bad!). I was trying to bring all this stuff together lucidly in the draft introduction to my Unsolicited Manuscript of Doom, but then I thought to myself, "maybe an introduction shouldn't be 50 pages long," and it all had to be cut.

  5. Post author

    Chris:

    Thanks, that one gets filed away!

    Hmm. The British in WWII did make some discoveries but radio astronomy didn't really take off until 1945. Radio emissions from Jupiter weren't discovered until 1955 (using the Mills Cross in Australia), so the possibility of weaker emissions from Mars couldn't be ruled out entirely. Doesn't mean anyone was still thinking about it by then, of course.

    Erik:

    No, there's no arguing with that kind of logic! It's a shame the canals weren't real; they would have simplified international relations considerably.

  6. Chris Williams

    1955? Wow. One of the great sensawunda moments of my life was when, aged about 9-12, I went to visit Jodrell Bank with my dad. There was a 20ft dish there which you could control, outputting to a classic rolling bit of paper with a pen on it. There were ephemerides (sp?) for various heavenly bodies, and we decided to point it at Jupiter, which was in the (daylight) sky at the time. Result: big blip on the page, and me wowed good. Had I known that _nobody_ had ever seen this result til 25 years previously, I'd have been wowed yet more.

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  8. j. del col

    I'm surprised that nobody mentioned Nikola Tesla's 1899 claim to have received radio signals from Mars. It could very well be the starting point for the whole notion. As late as 1931 Tesla was still talking about the possibilty of communicating with beings on other planets.

    I've visted Green Bank NRAO several times. IIRC, they've got a little scope visitors can use, as well as a replica of Karl Jansky's first radio-telescope and Frank Drake's Project Ozma scope.

  9. Post author

    You're quite right, Tesla did claim (or allow others to infer ... he could be cagey at times) that he had received radio signals from Mars. (Marconi was involved in a similar episode after WWI.) But that was well after Percival Lowell and others were making well-publicised claims for the existence of canals and hence life on Mars. (Lowell's first book on the subject, Mars, was published in 1895.)

  10. Michael Cohen

    Look up Alternative Three on google about the secret space program to colonize Mars. It may seem like science fiction, but its all true and this AF map just adds to the proof. What was the AF doing in making such a Map?

  11. Post author

    Look up Alternative Three on google about the secret space program to colonize Mars. It may seem like science fiction, but its all true and this AF map just adds to the proof.

    No, it is science fiction, it's not true and this map has no bearing on it whatsoever. Alternative 3 was a hoax, a spoof documentary broadcast on Anglia Television in 1977 using professional actors. You can watch it for yourself here as I just did. It's very clever and played absolutely straight, right up until the final credits, where you can see which actor played which role. If you've watched enough movies you'll have even seen some of them: Bob Grodin, the (non-existent Apollo astronaut) was played by Shane Rimmer who that same year appeared as the US submarine captain in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Dr Karl Gerstein, the supposed Cambridge lecturer in applied physics was played by Richard Marner, is probably best known as the bumbling German commandant in the 1980s sitcom 'Allo 'Allo, but his final role was as the Russian president in The Sum Of All Fears starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. The girlfriend of the informant who goes berserk was played by Phoebe Nicholls, only 19 at the time; she's been a very familiar face in British film and TV over the last few decades. Check out the IMDB entry for Alternative 3 and see for yourself.

    What was the AF doing in making such a Map?

    I don't know the specific circumstances as to how it was commissioned, but it was done to assist NASA in planning the upcoming Mariner Mars flybys. It was compiled by the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center in St Louis which, despite being part of the USAF, seems to have been primarily civilian in composition (according to a 1956 article). ACIC's primary function was to make maps for aircraft navigation; it seems reasonable that it would be tapped to help NASA which wouldn't have had much in the way of geographers and cartographers itself yet (and I think later on and even today this sort of thing would have been done externally by JPL and the like). ACIC also prepared lunar and Earth orbit maps; in the early 1960s it had an lunar observation outstation at Lowell Observatory (according to this article) which is where MEC-1 was prepared, which presumably was involved in the process. So it's not particularly strange. But even granted the premises of the conspiracy theory, this is not any evidence for it. If this map was compiled as part of some super-secret project to colonise Mars, why was it published? If the Americans (and Russians) had already landed on Mars in 1962, why did they bother making a map the same year based on telescopic observations? If they did base it on spacecraft observations, why does it have canals on it?

  12. Michael Cohen

    I will tell you why I believe that Alternative Three was not fiction. There were to prophecies made in the book which later comes true. The first one is that the earth is doomed because of Global Warming. To make such a prediction in1977 was incredible considering that Global cooling was more of an issue. Today. we are facing a panic situation with the hurricanes and melting of the ice caps. Most scientists today would agree that in the end global warming will be the end of us, but to state that in 1977 shows that this film and book was not fiction.
    Another prophecy which came true was the Cold War. The book states that it really did not exist and the US and Russia were friends trying to save the planet. !2 years later we learned that the Cold War was a joke with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire in a short time questioned whether the Cold War was really a 'war.'
    As for the thousands of photographs taken by NASA satellites since 1965 I claim they are all lies made in a studio. Before 1965 most scientific literature accepted the existence of canals on Mars, that the planet turned green every year and it had an atmosphere of clouds. I have a picture of the planet published in the Sept. 1955 edition of National Geographic showing half the planet with "Green Patches Splotch the Red Face of Mars"
    The caption under the picture says the green patches was vegetation according to S.L. Slipher of the Lowell Observatory. The photo also contains: "Icy-blue clouds hover about the North Polar Cap."
    As for as I am concerned, this photo alone is the 'smoking gun' that shows that all those thousands of NASA photos are made in studio. However, if you are not convinced, look up tis article on google: Photography of the Canals of Mars" by E. Pettit ,1953 Sky and Telescope. Fifty years after Lowell made his photographs of the canals, this article goes into detail on how to photograph them.
    As for the USAF map, the only reason they were involved was because of possible military action on that planet. The enemy could be Martians or ET or other humans. If I was a Martian I would be very worried about the AF mapping my planet although A-3 does not mention Martians.

  13. Post author

    I will tell you why I believe that Alternative Three was not fiction.

    Well, you might have started by responding to the evidence I gave that it was in fact fiction, instead of just ignoring them. You know, like the fact that THE SO-CALLED DOCUMENTARY LISTED THE ACTORS WHO PLAYED EACH PART. You kind of need to address that, at least to your own satisfaction, before going any further with this ridiculous conspiracy theory.

    But okay.

    The first one is that the earth is doomed because of Global Warming. To make such a prediction in1977 was incredible considering that Global cooling was more of an issue. Today. we are facing a panic situation with the hurricanes and melting of the ice caps. Most scientists today would agree that in the end global warming will be the end of us, but to state that in 1977 shows that this film and book was not fiction.

    According to the American Institute of Physics, 1977 was actually the turning point between cooling and warming in public discussions of climate change. The greenhouse effect was well-known by then, and since the 1960s scientists had been increasingly worried about the rise in CO2 emissions. At the same time there was interest in chaotic feedback effects from changes in albedo: a slight rise in the extent of ice coverage could reflect enough heat back into space to trigger the formation of more ice which reflects more heat and so on until there's a new ice age. But by the late 1970s this possibility looked less and less likely: the majority of peer-reviewed articles on future climate change now focused on warming, not cooling. So to predict global warming in 1977 was not as prescient as you make out.

    But in any case, they aren't predicting about global warming at all. While Alternative 3 (I notice you mention the book, which was based on the mockumentary and came out the following year; I haven't read it and so will continue to discuss the mockumentary) does talk about the greenhouse effect and extreme high temperatures, this is not portrayed as the prelude to global warming but rather global cooling (watch here): 'But the most frightening discovery which scientists made was that last year's unmelted snow line is the next step to a future and unavoidable ice age'. So it's actually perfectly in line with the public interest in the possibility of global cooling in the mid-1970s, the opposite of what you say and not at all 'incredible'.

    Another prophecy which came true was the Cold War. The book states that it really did not exist and the US and Russia were friends trying to save the planet. !2 years later we learned that the Cold War was a joke with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire in a short time questioned whether the Cold War was really a 'war.'

    Are you really trying to suggest that because the Cold War ended peacefully and not in a nuclear holocaust, therefore it wasn't real? Utterly absurd and not deserving of further comment.

    As for the thousands of photographs taken by NASA satellites since 1965 I claim they are all lies made in a studio.

    I'll be charitable and assume you aren't referring to orbital satellites taking images of the Earth -- the kind that are used daily by hundreds of millions of people in applications like Google Maps. That would be ridiculous, right? So presumably you are talking about the probes sent to other planets like Mars. This is almost as ridiculous; it's on a par with those who claim that global warming itself is a hoax. It would either require planetary scientists and aerospace engineers to be in on the hoax themselves, which is impossible because there are tens of thousands of people who have participated in these missions by now; not only those currently working in the field but those who have left it or who are just entering it. You just cannot get all this many people to keep a secret, to pretend to be enthusiastic about all the fake science they must be doing to keep up the illusion. Or else they are the ones being hoaxed themselves, presumably by some inner cabal who has the ability to craft terabyte after terabyte of fake data which looks real enough to fool all those PhDs into spending their working lives unknowingly providing cover for them. In order to believe this you would have to have no idea at all of how science works.

    Before 1965 most scientific literature accepted the existence of canals on Mars, that the planet turned green every year and it had an atmosphere of clouds.

    Firstly, no, it is not true that 'Before 1965 most scientific literature accepted the existence of canals on Mars'. I even addressed this point in my post, if you'd bothered to read it; it's because it is such late evidence for the idea of canals that I thought MEC-1 was interesting. In the book I cite in the post, Steven Dick argues that the scientific debate about the canals was over before the First World War, when Antoniadi published his superb Mars maps (drawn from visual observations, not photographic ones). I actually think this underestimates the persistence of the canals idea. Some astronomers did indeed continue to believe in them and it is possible to find them making confident pronouncements about them in the press between the wars -- one of these was one of Percival Lowell's disciples, the Mars specialist E. C. Slipher, who as I mentioned in the post was involved in compiling MEC-1 near the end of his life (and I assume is the S. L. Slipher you refer to, as I can find no such person). These true believers were literally dying out by the 1960s.

    But it's nevertheless true that the decade after 1900 was the last time when the canals were even close to being generally accepted as the astronomical orthodoxy. To check this, I compiled some numbers from the ADS Labs Fulltext Search, which allows searching of the contents of the majority of astronomical articles going back deep into the 19th century. I will probably do a post on this later but briefly the proportion of fully-refereed articles mentioning 'Mars' and 'canals' peaked at 15% (443 out of 3007) in the decade 1891-1900 and was about the same, 14% (347 out of 2520) in 1901-1910. But in succeeding decades this proportion steadily fell: to 8% in 1911-1920, 6% in 1921-1930, 4% in 1931-1940. It then rose slightly to 5% in 1941-1950, and stayed at 5% in 1951-1960, a decade in which you assert 'most scientific literature accepted the existence of canals on Mars'. If so, there was remarkably little interest -- whether for or against -- in them.

    As for the belief that before 1965 Mars 'turned green every year and it had an atmosphere of clouds', well, these ideas were around, though I don't think they were ever universally held. But they were discredited in the 1950s and early 1960s. The green colours seen by some observers were an optical illusion like the canals, only this time caused by an effect known as simultaneous contrast. In any case infrared observations were incompatible with the existence of chlorophyll. As for clouds, they couldn't have been water because the Martian atmosphere is incredibly dry. Astronomers had been trying to detect water spectroscopically since the 19th century but did not succeed until 1963, and then the levels were extremely low, far lower than in any desert on Earth. In this respect the Mariner and Viking missions just confirmed what was already known. There were no canals, no vegetation, no clouds.

    These observations were all made from Earth telescopically. You have to appreciate that making visual observations at the limits of perception is very difficult. The atmosphere dances and the telescope vibrates. You can think you glimpse something for a fraction of a second and then it's gone. You might only get a few seconds of good seeing after hours of peering through an eyepiece; bad luck if you were rubbing your tired eyes. Photographic observations are more reliable but also average out the seeing across a few seconds and the resolution of the emulsion. There's a reason why these mistaken ideas were held 'before 1965', because after that we could send cameras to Mars on board spacecraft and see it close up. Not because of any mythical conspiracy. I recommend reading William Sheehan, The Planet Mars: A History of Observation & Discovery (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996), for an understanding of the problems involved and how they were resolved, as well as the evolution of astronomical ideas about Mars. (You can read it for free here.)

    As for as I am concerned, this photo alone is the 'smoking gun' that shows that all those thousands of NASA photos are made in studio.

    Of course it proves nothing of the kind; see above. One photo cherry-picked out of the entire history of astronomy without regard for context, let alone history, proves absolutely nothing whatsoever.

    However, if you are not convinced, look up tis article on google: Photography of the Canals of Mars" by E. Pettit ,1953 Sky and Telescope. Fifty years after Lowell made his photographs of the canals, this article goes into detail on how to photograph them.

    So why don't astronomers photograph canals today? They have much better equipment and bigger telescopes now. Even amateur astronomers, the audience Pettit would have writing for (I can't find this particular article online, but another one by him with the same title was published in the Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific the same year), now have access to bigger telescopes, computer guidance, and CCD cameras. Where are all their canal photos?

    As for the USAF map, the only reason they were involved was because of possible military action on that planet.

    Apart from your assertion here without any evidence and your refusal, again, to engage with my explanation of what ACIC was doing making Mars maps, your understanding of what an air force does is simplistic. Not every single thing the military does is fighting, or even preparing to fight. Much of what does is justifying its budget; there's a lot of busy work. As I explained, but as you ignored, ACIC was a cartographic organisation. It made maps. It made maps of lots of places of interest to the United States government. In the early 1960s, in the context of the space race and the upcoming Mariner missions, one of those places was Mars. ACIC applied its talents to this new and interesting problem because NASA needed the best information available. It was something to do and a way to help. It doesn't imply that the USAF thought it was going to be fighting there (though I'm sure some generals might of dreamed of this in the distant future).

    Again. Alternative 3 was and is fiction. I wouldn't have thought it necessary to use 1900+ words to spell that out, but here we are.

  14. Michael Cohen

    There are a few things I would like to say about A-3 concerning the so called Cold War:
    1. The US has been shipping millions of tons of grain and corn to Russia since the 1960s. If they were the enemy, then we should have let them starve.
    2. US technology was constantly being exported to Russia since the 1960s because the Russians could not build microchips or computers. IBM was a big exporter.
    3. In 1972 Ford built the largest truck factory in the world in Russia using a billion dollar loan from the US. Russian trucks were junk and they needed US equipment.
    4. In 1975 US and Russian astronauts met in space and everybody was kissing each other on the cheeks:14 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall!
    We were told everyday there was a Cold War, but the facts were something else.
    You claim that the idea that canals existed on Mars were discredited before World War I.
    I told you about the article that appeared in Sky and Telescope in 1953 entitled PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE CANALS OF MARS by Dr. Pettit of the Mount Wilson Observatory. Look it up on google. According to this article photographing the canals was no be deal and any almost anybody with the right telescope can do it. I would like you to go through this article line by line and tell me where Dr. Pettit was smoking the wrong stuff.
    I would also like to know why the same publication in its July 2003 say that "it was suggested that in fact Lowell was an image of the blood vessels in his own eye". Why didn't it mention he TOOK PHOTOS OF THE CANALS? (See Percival Lowell, Wikipedia article.)Also why did say he did not discover Pluto, which is named after him.
    As for the secret space program, we can settle that very quickly. Allow 100 journalists to invade Area 51 and examine every hanger and cave to see if we have advanced spacecraft. Unfortunately, there are signs stating that the government will put a bullet in your head if you cross a line into the base. But those UFOs have to be coming from somewhere.

  15. Post author

    Michael:

    Firstly, what Chris said. Your continuing refusal to address this point is baffling -- well, it would be except that if you acknowledged it at all I suppose we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place.

    If they were the enemy, then we should have let them starve.

    You do realise the Cold War wasn't an actual existential fight to the death, don't you? That's why it was cold and not hot. There was as much collaboration as confrontation, especially in the 1970s from which most of your examples are drawn: look up détente (but equally look up the history of the early Reagan years when the pendulum swung back the other way). History is complicated and contradictory and has a habit of confounding simplistic narratives when you look at it closely.

    I told you about the article that appeared in Sky and Telescope in 1953 entitled PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE CANALS OF MARS by Dr. Pettit of the Mount Wilson Observatory. Look it up on google. According to this article photographing the canals was no be deal and any almost anybody with the right telescope can do it. I would like you to go through this article line by line and tell me where Dr. Pettit was smoking the wrong stuff.

    Are you for real? I already said I was unable to find this article on the web; you could at least provide a link to it instead of telling me to Google it. But even so, I explained why an article about astrophotography written nearly 60 years ago will have been completely invalidated by the advances in the technology available to amateur astronomers since then, no matter what it says. You either have not read what I wrote, or you once again have chosen to ignore it. And you have the temerity to demand that I go through this line by line and tell you what's wrong with it! Why would I do bother to do that after your nearly complete disengagement with everything I've said so far? Seriously, no. Just no.

    Why didn't it mention he TOOK PHOTOS OF THE CANALS? (See Percival Lowell, Wikipedia article.)

    To the best of my knowledge Lowell never took any photographs of the canals. Astrophotography was and is a specialised skill and it wasn't something he did. I can find no reference in the Wikipedia article you cite of him ever having taken photographs of Mars, only making drawings of it. I did find an interesting link discussing some Mars photographs which Lowell believed did show canals, but it doesn't sound like many other people could see them. It also sheds some light on the continuing canals obsession of Slipher right up to the 1960s.

    Also why did say he did not discover Pluto, which is named after him.

    1. Percival Lowell's name wasn't Pluto. (His initials did have a bearing on the choice of Pluto's name and symbol.) 2. Percival Lowell didn't discover Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh did, in 1930 when Lowell had been dead for 14 years. That might explain why the article didn't say Lowell discovered Pluto.

    As for the secret space program, we can settle that very quickly. Allow 100 journalists to invade Area 51 and examine every hanger and cave to see if we have advanced spacecraft. Unfortunately, there are signs stating that the government will put a bullet in your head if you cross a line into the base. But those UFOs have to be coming from somewhere.

    Very convenient, there is evidence but nobody can see it. In other words, there's no evidence. Next.

  16. Michael Cohen

    I gave examples of how the US saved Russia many times during the so called 'cold war'. Food, technology, trucks, cars (Fiat) were given and sold to them to prevent the system from collapsing. After Chernobyl blew up we poured billions in aid, but it did not stop the collapse of the Soviet empire, an empire which was an economic joke. I gave you the facts, but you cannot accept these facts that A-3 was correct. I use the book, not the film.
    As for the existence of the Martian canals, just google Photography of the Canals of Mars. Go down 4 articles and you will see the article by E. Pettit, 1953. If you go down a few more articles, you will see articles written by Lowell entitled "First Photographs of the canals of Mars" which he announced in 1905. E. Pettit goes into more details in his 1953 article in Sky and Telescope. E.C. Slipher of the Lowell Observatory said in 1961 that photographs of the canals do exist. When I went there a number of years ago none of Lowell's photographs were on display and when I asked the people working there they did not know what I was talking about.
    Of course the Wikipedia article which not mention Lowell took photographs of the canals, it is well known that Reporters are under orders to use Wikipedia because it is very inaccurate on any subject. But even this article had to admit that Pluto was named after Lowell;
    "In 1930 Clyde Tombaugh, working in the Lowell Observatory, discovered Pluto near the location expected for Planet X. Partly in recognition of Lowell's efforts, a stylized P-L monogram P- the first two letters of the new planet's name and also Lowell's initials-was chosen as Pluto's astronomical symbol."
    I would like to know why Lowell's name is not in every history book and required to be known in the schools? Also, Plutonium was named in his honor. Since 1965 he has been viciously attacked for his work on the Martian canals. Even that Wikipedia article said that "Lowell was observing an image of his blood vessels in his own eye." But that is not as bad as Carl Sagan's attack on him claiming he suffered from hallucinations when it came to the canals. And the ultimate insult was the reclassifying Pluto as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union 2006. I read that hundreds of astronomers voted to declare the planet a dwarf. It was a political decision and had nothing to do with science. It was a decision based on hatred for Lowell and his heritage.

  17. Post author

    I gave examples of how the US saved Russia many times during the so called 'cold war'. Food, technology, trucks, cars (Fiat) were given and sold to them to prevent the system from collapsing. After Chernobyl blew up we poured billions in aid, but it did not stop the collapse of the Soviet empire, an empire which was an economic joke.

    These examples do not show that 'the US saved Russia many times'. They're examples of trade. Australia sold wheat to the Soviet Union too -- it was to make money, not prop it up. There was trade between the West and the Soviet Union long before the 1970s too (admittedly at a lower level). This doesn't prove what you think it does, so you need to do more than simply reassert your beliefs.

    I gave you the facts, but you cannot accept these facts that A-3 was correct.

    Facts don't stand on their own but require interpretation. These 'facts' you have recounted have nothing to do with Alternative 3, they are about commercial relations between the US and the USSR which you interpret as supporting your theory that Alternative 3 is real. At best they can be only indirect evidence for Alternative 3; claiming that they are anything other than that is either dishonest or delusional.

    I use the book, not the film.

    At last! An acknowledgement that the 'film' -- actually a spoof television documentary -- at least exists. But you still haven't said how you can justify ignoring it: it came first, airing on 20 June 1977; the book was published in 1978 and was based upon the 'film'.

    As for the existence of the Martian canals, just google Photography of the Canals of Mars. Go down 4 articles and you will see the article by E. Pettit, 1953.

    So, you don't understand how Google works either. The order in which web pages are listed in Google's search results depends on where you are (and I do not live in the same country as you) and who you are (and I am not you). So you can't tell people to search in Google and go to the fourth link because more than likely it will be different for them. So what you do is you go to the site yourself and copy the URL and paste it for them. Like this:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1953PASP...65..197P

    This is the only 1953 article by E. Pettit with the title 'Photography of the Canals of Mars' I can find in Google, but it was published in Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, not Sky & Telescope. The S&T article does exist, because it's listed in S&T's own index, but it's not online anywhere I can find. While the PASP article is scientific where the S&T one will be popular, they presumably cover similar ground. I've already seen the PASP article, as I linked to it in second response to you. I've already explained why this is irrelevant and not proof of the reality of the canals: the technology has been completely superseded. Again, you show no evidence of having even tried to understand what I'm telling you.

    If you go down a few more articles, you will see articles written by Lowell entitled "First Photographs of the canals of Mars" which he announced in 1905. E. Pettit goes into more details in his 1953 article in Sky and Telescope. E.C. Slipher of the Lowell Observatory said in 1961 that photographs of the canals do exist.

    Yes! The Lowell article can be found; a good scan which includes reproductions of the photographs can be found here. They were taken by C. O. Lampland who worked for Lowell. But the photographs are not very convincing reproductions of the canals (and Lowell presumably selected them as the best ones). They are small, low resolution and poorly reproduced (which was inevitable given the printing processes of the day). As I noted in my previous comment, whether or not canals could be seen in them was contentious at the time. Astronomers who believed in the canals tended to see them, those who didn't tended not to. In other words they resolved nothing beyond the visual observations. See Michael J. Crowe, The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900 (New York: Dover, 1999), 527-8, for more on this.

    Of course the Wikipedia article which not mention Lowell took photographs of the canals, it is well known that Reporters are under orders to use Wikipedia because it is very inaccurate on any subject.

    What do you mean 'Of course'? You were the one who said to look at Wikipedia: 'Why didn't it [a 2003 S&T article] mention he TOOK PHOTOS OF THE CANALS? (See Percival Lowell, Wikipedia article.)' I'll assume you meant reporters 'are under orders not to use Wikipedia', for my own sanity as much as anything.

    But even this article had to admit that Pluto was named after Lowell

    That does not say Pluto was named after Lowell. It says (what I'd already said in my previous comment) that the name was chosen to honour him, but it's not named after him. It's named after Pluto, Roman god of the underworld. At most I guess you can say 40% of it named after him.

    I would like to know why Lowell's name is not in every history book and required to be known in the schools?

    Again, I'm going to assume you can't mean this literally -- presumably even you don't think that, for example, a book on the history of monastic orders in medieval Italy should be required to talk about Lowell. He's really not all that important in world history. But even so, there are plenty of history books that do talk about Lowell. You know, books on the history of astronomy. Try reading some, you might learn something.

    Also, Plutonium was named in his honor.

    Again, this is wrong. Even if we were to accept that Pluto was named 'after' him, plutonium was named after Pluto itself, not what Pluto was named after. Element 92 had been named uranium after Uranus, then a newly discovered planet. Element 93, neptunium, was named after the next planet out from Uranus, Neptune. Element 94, logically enough, was named plutonium after Pluto. I rather doubt plutonium's namers had Lowell in mind at all.

    And the ultimate insult was the reclassifying Pluto as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union 2006. I read that hundreds of astronomers voted to declare the planet a dwarf. It was a political decision and had nothing to do with science. It was a decision based on hatred for Lowell and his heritage.

    Once again you have things exactly backwards. The dwarf planet decision had everything to do with science; it's perfectly logical on its own terms. It's the arguments against it which are political (or more accurately, cultural). And it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with 'hatred for Lowell and his heritage'. Astronomers in general really couldn't care less about Lowell and his heritage. Really, they don't.

    Look, you probably didn't realise this if you didn't look at my About page, but I have a PhD in history as well as a master's degree in astrophysics. Based on what you've written here, I'm quite confident that I know more about both of these subjects than you do; not just the 'facts' but how these disciplines work to interpret the facts. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm right. It does mean you're pretty much on a hiding to nothing here -- I'm about the last person on the planet who would buy into your conspiracy theory. (Well, among the last few billion, anyway.) That's assuming you're serious and not trolling; your arguments are getting sillier and sillier, and you still haven't explained how Alternative 3 can be real when it was played by actors (first, before the book came along), after repeated being asked this. You have one more chance to do so or else you'll be banned.

  18. Michael Cohen

    I am happy to see that we had trade and commercial relations with Russia at the height of the so called Cold War which did not exist. We were told it existed and the taxpayers had to pay trillions for weapons and other expenses when made the 'military industrial complex' corporations rich.
    You claim that the discovery of Pluto is can be attributed to Lowell for only 40%. I agree with you, but why doesn't his name appear in all of our history books honoring him for his discovery? All the history books mention is that he was insane for claiming that there was life on Mars. So much for our heroes. Remember what they did to Tesla.
    As for A-3, the original show and the book was supposed to be fiction, but later the write said it was based on fact. Anyway, remember to the old rule that here is more fact in fiction?
    You claim that he scientist knew in the 1960s that the earth was doomed because of the build up of CO2 so the prediction made in A-3 was no big deal. However, I noticed throughout the years that the scientists kept making predictions about the buildup of this gas and every time their predictions were wrong. They are always surprised a few years after their predictions to see the buildup was greater then their prediction. That was not a problem in A-3.
    Since you have a Phd in history, look listen to my Nov. 22nd radio broadcast on the Kennedy assassination. See YouTube.com: Michael Cohen on the Kennedy Assassination. I have a completely different view of the 12,000 published on the assassination.

  19. Post author

    I am happy to see that we had trade and commercial relations with Russia at the height of the so called Cold War which did not exist. We were told it existed and the taxpayers had to pay trillions for weapons and other expenses when made the 'military industrial complex' corporations rich.

    Well, I'm happy that you're happy, but I'd be happier if you dropped the utterly misplaced sarcasm and actually tried engaging with what I've said. Trade between bitter diplomatic rivals which are not actually at war is not unusual and is not evidence of collusion. Germany traded with Britain, France and Russia in the years before 1914 and again in the years before 1939/1941, right up to the outbreak of war; Australia's first shots in both world wars were across the bows of German freighters making for international waters. The Soviet Union traded with western powers long before the 1960s, though the relationship was marked by mutual mistrust (sometimes earned, sometimes not). You seem to think this is unusual; it's really not.

    You claim that the discovery of Pluto is can be attributed to Lowell for only 40%.

    Firstly, I said Pluto's 40% of name could be attributed to Lowell, not its discovery; secondly, that was a joke. (Two letters in the initials 'PL', five letters in the word 'Pluto', 2/5 = 0.4 or 40%.)

    I agree with you, but why doesn't his name appear in all of our history books honoring him for his discovery? All the history books mention is that he was insane for claiming that there was life on Mars. So much for our heroes.

    Again with the 'all of our history books' thing -- this is just absurd rhetoric, as I already explained. And I don't know what history books you're reading (or if you've ever read any at all), but they don't generally say Lowell was insane for claiming there was life on Mars; they say he was wrong. In this post and these comments, I've cited three history books which deal substantially with Lowell's theories about Mars (by Crowe, Dick and Sheehan) and none of these say he was just crazy for thinking what he did; rather, they try to explain why he thought what he did and place his ideas in the context of their time. Please read try reading at least some of them (as I noted, Sheehan's book is online and free, so you've got no excuse.)

    Remember what they did to Tesla.

    '[T]hey' did nothing to Tesla, but whatever. (Those playing conspiracy theory bingo at home can mark off another box.)

    As for A-3, the original show and the book was supposed to be fiction, but later the write said it was based on fact.

    No, the author of the book, Leslie Watkins, admitted that the television show (which he was not involved in) was a hoax, and so was the book he wrote based upon it (see here). What he did also say was that he later came to the conclusion, based on letters received from people who had read his book, that he had accidentally stumbled on something close to the truth; but also those letters had mysteriously disappeared. Which again is, you know, not evidence of anything at all.

    Anyway, remember to the old rule that here is more fact in fiction?

    This is an incredibly weak argument: you're effectively admitting you don't care about facts, you'll believe what you want to believe. Fine, but don't expect to persuade anyone else this way.

    You claim that he scientist knew in the 1960s that the earth was doomed because of the build up of CO2 so the prediction made in A-3 was no big deal.

    Where did I say scientists 'knew in the 1960s that the earth was doomed'? I said that they were becoming 'increasingly worried' about global warming from the 1960s. A consensus that we were in trouble did not form until the mid-1980s.

    However, I noticed throughout the years that the scientists kept making predictions about the buildup of this gas and every time their predictions were wrong. They are always surprised a few years after their predictions to see the buildup was greater then their prediction. That was not a problem in A-3.

    You'll forgive me for not trusting your recollections about what scientists predicted. In any case, it doesn't appear to be true, certainly not as a general statement. One of the earliest studies, by Broecker in 1975 (which apparently coined the phrase 'global warming') got the CO2 predictions pretty much right. A 1979 National Research Council study I found, by contrast, seems to have overestimated the CO2 increase, suggesting it would probably double by 2030 (see p. 6), from about 330 ppm to about 660 ppm. Instead current projections seem to put it in the 400-450 ppm range, a much more modest increase. (This is of course distinct from the temperature rises and consequent effects caused by the CO2 rise.) I have no idea how representative either of these positions was, but the point is that clearly not everyone was underestimating CO2 rises; some were in the ballpark, some overestimated it.

    Even your recollections were true, all it means is that you've taken an extreme prediction made in the 1970s (i.e. that we're all doomed) and claimed later upwards revisions of CO2 levels validate it. How can it? Alternative 3 was admittedly based on no new evidence at all (see above) so if it got anything right then at best it was coincidence.

    Since you have a Phd in history, look listen to my Nov. 22nd radio broadcast on the Kennedy assassination.

    You're a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist too? I think we're done here. Goodbye.

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