Mike Bara

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Mike Bara is an author of unintentional fiction, and a general laughing-stock among those who actually understand physics, astronomy, and the history of spaceflight. He describes himself as "a born-again conspiracy theorist."

He has written four and a half books, whose defining feature is the total, laughable, inaccuracy of anything in the realm of science. He has appeared as a talking head on the all-bullshit TV series Ancient Aliens, again making frequent howling errors of the type that would make a 6th grade science student cringe. Bara is an evolution denier.[1]

In common with other delusional people who are fractally wrong, Bara makes debate with him impossible. His immediate response to any challenge is insult, then if pressed he will descend to the next fractal level, typically by retorting "I never said that" even when confronted with verbatim quotes from his own writings.[2]

Contents

[edit] Education, Work experience

Bara is from Seattle, and attended Chief Sealth high school[3]. He registered at Seattle Pacific University but dropped out. For several years he made a living as a CAD-CAM technician (basically a jumped-up draftsman) in the aerospace industry. After being laid off by Boeing, he met the pseudoscientist Richard C. Hoagland, who persuaded him that there was an easier living to be made publishing utter balderdash and pretending it was science. For some time Bara ghosted articles for Hoagland's appalling website, The Enterprise Mission[4], then did most of the work on a jointly-authored book, Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, while Hoagland took most of the credit.

[edit] "Literary" (ROFL) work

Dark Mission was an attack on NASA and on several other organizations and people who had failed to worship at the altar of Hoagland over the years. One critic, writing for Amazon, wrote of this work:

As a scientist ... I was sent an advance copy of Dark Mission to review for a prestigious national publication. Even though it cost me the fee I would have received for writing the review, I convinced the publication's editor that the book was worthless and not deserving of any review. ... My professional critical conclusion was that it was so false that it was not worthy of a review in a serious publication. It is bunk -- bunkity bunk bunk -- of the worst sort.

Bara's first book as sole author was an attempt to cash in on the public fear of the Mayan apocalypse in December 2012. Named The Choice, it advanced the startling idea that anyone can choose to make the world whatever he or she wishes, merely by choosing it, kind of like the law of attraction which had been popular 4 years earlier. Bara did not address the question of how seven billion people can simultaneously change the world to suit their personal tastes.

To give a flavor of the laughable inaccuracy of this work, it contained this passage in support of the discredited theory of planetary formation by solar fission:

Mars's orbit is so eccentric that its distance from Earth goes from 34 million miles at its closest to 249 million miles at its greatest" (The Choice, p. 34.) [5]

Unabashed by the failure of this book to attract any serious attention, Bara next attempted to cash in on the popularity of the rubbish TV series Ancient Aliens, writing 232 pages of garbage titled Ancient Aliens on the Moon. One of his prize exhibits, which he devoted most of a chapter to, was what he called a ziggurat on the far side of the Moon. He found the image on a video-game forum, Call of Duty Zombies. Even though at the time he had no idea where the image originally came from, he went ahead and published the "fact" that there was a one-mile square ziggurat on the Moon. After publication, critics[6] pointed out that far better imagery of that site, not only from an advanced NASA/JPL orbiter but also from the Japanese orbiter Selene, clearly showed that there was no such structure. Nevertheless Bara insisted that the teenage gaming version, whose provenance, remember, he knew nothing about, was the only trustworthy image of that site.

This belligerent author returned to the topic in his next book, even though it had nothing whatever to do with the book's subject matter. In a long foreword[7] to Ancient Aliens on Mars he launched an attack on his critics, accusing them of sending sexually harassing messages to his attractive female Facebook friends,[8] reiterating his insistence that the Call of Duty image was authentic, and utterly failing to explain why the ziggurat did not appear on the better and more recent imagery.

The body of the book was one chapter of boilerplate Mars-stuff copied from the net, followed by seven chapters of absolute rubbish copied from Richard Hoagland.

Ancient Aliens on Mars II, published in July 2014, contained nothing quite as comical as the belligerent "forward" [sic] of its antecedent, but it made up for it in other ways. Pages 139-140 contained a strongly-written denial that pareidolia is a real phenomenon.

"According to the debunker crowd, pareidolia is a supposed human tendency to recognize facial characteristics where none actually exist. This mythical, made-up tendency has no basis in fact, has never been written up or published in any scientific or medical journal, and has failed to meet even the most basic standards of a true medical or psychological disorder."

There follow approximately 100 images of martian rock formations that very precisely illustrate the power of pareidolia -- not merely pseudo-recognition of faces, but of whole animals, buildings, bits of machinery etc. Some samples[9]:

  • A roadrunner
  • A parrot
  • A portrait of Queen Nefertiti
  • A replica of the Theme restaurant at Los Angeles airport
  • A grove of palm trees (this one can only be seen correctly when viewed upside down)
  • A skull (well, several skulls)
  • A projector
  • A Hasselblad camera
  • An adjustable wrench

In an introductory passage, this comedy of an author wrote that the book was about "...the kind of truth that you can only know in your heart and in your mind." In other words, not the kind of truth that is actually... er, true.

[edit] Explorer 1

Nothing illustrates Bara's abject ignorance of technical matters better than the case of Explorer 1, the very first American satellite (launched 31 Jan 1958).

The brainchild of Wernher Von Braun, Explorer 1 was the success the nation craved after several failed attempts to match the Soviet achievement of Sputnik 1. Because of the imprecision of the rocket fuels of the 50s, and the fact that the Juno rocket had no guidance after first-stage burnout, the orbit parameters were not exactly as planned. It went into a 223 x 1592 mi orbit, cf. the planned 220 x 1000 mi. Given that the Earth's diameter is 7922 mi, that makes its semi-major axis 4868 mi, cf. the planned 4571, an excess of 6.5%.

Mike Bara, unschooled in orbital mechanics and having no flair for mathematics, totally botched this story. He compared the apogee as measured from the Earth's surface with the planned apogee and quite incorrectly deduced that the rocket had 60% excess power. In Ch. 12 of The Choice, he wrote:

I won't bore you with the details, but the fact is a miscalculation of that type simply cannot happen. (The Choice, p.144)

He should, perhaps, have bored himself with a little research on the topic. As he did not, he utterly embarrassed himself by writing an entire chapter about some imaginary "anti-gravity effect" on the basis of a fundamental error.

[edit] Talents

Judged purely as performances, Bara's TV and radio appearances are pretty good. He can deliver the stuff on cue. He's also shown himself capable of delivering book chapters on time, per contract. All this has great appeal for producers and publishers who are too ignorant to understand that what they're looking at is worthless, such as Giorgio Tsoukalos, Robert Kiviat and David Hatcher Childress.

Bara's other talents are for insulting his many critics, and also for arrogance.

He wrote in his blog "I must admit I take delight in humiliating people who think they're smarter than me". By "humiliating", he generally means just name-calling, not actual rebuttal of objections to his work. The favorite epithet is douchebag -- which is strange because it seems unlikely that Mike, the all-American boy, has ever seen a douchebag. To one female critic, he wrote:

God Sarah I just looked at you pictures [sic] on your Facebook page. Please don't reproduce. You are just too ugly to be allowed to have children.

See also his comment directed at Tara Jordan here.

To a male critic he wrote, in e-mail:

I hear John Travolta is looking for a new masseuse. I'm sure you qualify.

Bara clearly considers insinuations of homosexuality a stinging insult -- not everyone would agree about that. In the height of the controversy over the non-existent lunar ziggurat, Bara wrote:

"I am going to utterly and completly [sic] destroy you" "When I create a masterpiece such as this and smite my enemies, I love me some me [sic]...." "HAHAHAHA Haters!!!!! I have you now. I shall be merciless, and slow"

This is what the output of a third-rate author looks like when he doesn't have an editor to correct his copy.

He seems recently to have changed his preferred insult to "dingbat" and discovered calling a woman a transsexual or – gasp! – a man is almost as much fun as calling people gay. [1]

Here's a screenshot, in case he has the self-awareness to delete the comments. Image:Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 4.20.00 PM.png[10]

[edit] Sexual harassment

Bara has accused his critics, in addition to being homosexual, of sending sexually harassing messages to his attractive female Facebook friends. He has even made this accusation in a published book[11]. When challenged to provide evidence of this allegation, he has exercised his right to remain silent.

There is, however, evidence of harassment in the reverse direction. This blogpost from March 2013 transcribes a Facebook exchange between James Concannon, one of Bara's critics, and Sara Shanae, one of Mike Bara's FB friends and supporters. WARNING: NSFW.

[edit] Political opinions

On 10 September 2013, on Facebook, Mike Bara gave his opinion of President Obama: "[A] Kenyan douchebag impersonating an American speaking in phony platitudes."

Bara's FB text 9/10/13

I think that's all we need to know.

[edit] Opinions of working scientists

Responding to Neil deGrasse Tyson's dictum "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it", Bara wrote[12] "The great thing about truth is that it eventually becomes self-evident no matter what the scientific materialists believe."

He added, "Trust me, neither you nor NDGT would like to see me debate him. He'd get beat worse than the Broncos in the Super Bowl."

At other times he has expressed contempt for Stephen Hawking[13] and Michio Kaku. He described Phil Plait as "a grotesque little toad of [a] man,"[14] and Stuart Robbins as "my sworn enemy" and "A Paid Shill For NASA." He wrote "[F]rankly, taking one look at him, it’s pretty obvious he’s never even kissed a girl, or if he has, she wasn’t exactly a “Penny” in the looks department." He then posted a jpg of him cuddling Shana Eva, an attractive (but married) actress at the Conscious Life Expo.[15]

[edit] Words of wisdom

In a blog post on December 15 2012, Mike Bara wrote the nauseating cliché wise and profound thoughts on the Sandy Hook massacre saying, "out of tragedy we have at least one more proof that we are all connected, that there is a Force of love out there that binds us all together. Such proof can at least give us hope and comfort knowing that there is something beyond this crude, material existence we all inhabit." Incidentally he mentioned his recently published book three times.

[edit] Publications

  • Hoagland, Richard C.; Bara, Mike (2007). Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. Port Townsend: Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932-59526-0. 
  • Bara, Mike (2011). The Choice. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page. ISBN 978-1-60163-144-2. 
  • Bara, Mike (2012). Ancient Aliens on the Moon. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. ISBN 978-1-935487-85-2. 
  • Bara, Mike (2013). Ancient Aliens on Mars. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 286. ISBN 978-1-935487-89-0. 
  • Bara, Mike (2014). Ancient Aliens on Mars II. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 294. ISBN 978-1939149-31-2. 

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. See The "Emoluments of Mars" blog 17 March 2014
  2. See, for example, this blog post from July 2014, in which he denies ever having said that orbital eccentricity is measured from the Earth, or that centrifugal force makes you heavier. Both statements are documented. See Ancient Aliens on Mars, p.42, and The Choice, p.32. About the centrifugal force error, Bara soared to the heights of absurdity on Facebook in September 2012. To a critic who drew his attention to the error, he wrote "Show me the quote asshole. It doesn't say that. And it was a misprint anyway."
  3. Classmates.com, Chief Sealth Class of 78
  4. It has been said of that website "The 90s called. They want their HTML back"
  5. Fact: Mars' orbit is only slightly eccentric. Even if it were not eccentric at all, there would still be a very great difference between the closest and furthest approaches of Mars and Earth, because Mars and Earth both orbit the sun at different rates and are sometimes on the same side of the sun, sometimes on opposite sides. Confronted about this by a caller when Bara was guesting on Coast to Coast AM, Bara retorted "I never said that" (even though the caller was reading verbatim from the book.) More on this in Exposing Pseudoastronomy, November 2011. Bara compounded the error by repeating it almost word-for-word in a later book, Ancient Aliens on Mars.
  6. See, for example, blog posts by Astronomer Dr. Stuart Robbins and "expat" in the Emoluments of Mars blog
  7. Bara referred to this in his blog as a "forward"
  8. In April 2008, on the original Dark Mission blog, Bara posted "I live on Redondo Beach, California, I drive a 2007 BMW 5 Series, I’m a New York Times bestselling author, and I hang out with strippers and porn starlets half my age."
  9. Most of these can be seen on Mike Bara's blog
  10. The image at issue is a version of this Apollo 10 shot. A 10x8 glossy print was stored in a binder by Ken Johnston for approx. 30 years. It was then retrieved and scanned on Richard Hoagland's office scanner. The scanner was obviously contaminated -- a human hair is clearly visible -- and when Hoagland slammed the brightness up to max every scratch and smear on the scanner glass appeared in the all-black lunar sky. Hoagland & Bara triumphantly proclaimed that Johnston's print revealed glass towers that NASA had since "airbrushed out."
  11. Foreword to Ancient Aliens on Mars
  12. Facebook, 5 June 2014
  13. "He’s just a sad, broken man who has lost his way" Mike Bara's blog, May 2011
  14. Bara 2014, p.70
  15. Blog, 2 October 2013
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