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Apollo Discussions => The Hoax Theory => Topic started by: Glom on February 08, 2012, 12:13:11 PM

Title: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on February 08, 2012, 12:13:11 PM
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For all the nitpicking about things that don't exist, conspiracists fail to answer the important questions:
1) Why bother?  Just because a real moonlanding would be a triumph it doesn't automatically mean it's worth faking.
2) Why is it easier to fake it than do it for real?
3) Why do the nitpicks about shadows and crosshairs imply a hoax?  There could be a thousand explanations for those nits.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gillianren on February 09, 2012, 03:27:31 PM
I've always wondered that.  I guess logic simply isn't relevant in hoax belief.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Kiwi on February 10, 2012, 05:33:51 AM
1) Why bother?  Just because a real moonlanding would be a triumph it does automatically mean it's worth faking.

What does that mean?  It's not clear -- is there a typo in it, or something left out?
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on February 10, 2012, 10:23:22 AM
1) Why bother?  Just because a real moonlanding would be a triumph it does automatically mean it's worth faking.

What does that mean?  It's not clear -- is there a typo in it, or something left out?

What I mean is that the risk and cost of faking a moon landing requires a very good reason.  When pushed on this, HBs just point out the general reasons for wanting a moon programme.  But that's not enough.  There needs to be more to justify faking it.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gillianren on February 10, 2012, 03:21:04 PM
I think it is a typo and should say "doesn't."
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: dwight on February 10, 2012, 05:16:33 PM
I have found that recently most HBs tend to be really off-tangent and actually come across as idiots with no help but their own. There is a decided turn against following every conspiracy out there and people are starting to question the HB side's plain stupid arguments.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on February 10, 2012, 05:54:03 PM
I think it is a typo and should say "doesn't."

Oh yeah.  Sorry.  I only just noticed my dim error.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: RAF on February 15, 2012, 04:49:03 PM
I have found that recently most HBs tend to be really off-tangent and actually come across as idiots with no help but their own.


cough (Patrick) cough


Just read his latest...he now claims that JFK knew the Apollo missions were faked, 5 years after he was assasinated.


What an idiot...
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: dwight on February 15, 2012, 05:44:45 PM
It's actually funny to see even the great JW fall down the path of bizarreness. Over on YT he claims a cheeky comment by John Saxon from Honeysuckle Creek is "very telling". I don't think he quite realized that Mr Saxon is a friend of mine and I happen to know what he thinks of HBs and people like JW. I wonder if he would take every word John says as gospel truth if I were to publish those comments?
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gillianren on February 16, 2012, 03:22:17 PM
No, he'd take it as evidence that "they" got to him.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Abaddon on February 22, 2012, 10:35:05 AM
No, he'd take it as evidence that "they" got to him.
In the odd HB universe, literally any fact can be bent into a shape in favour of a hoax.

I suppose that's a skill, in a perverse kind of way.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Abaddon on February 22, 2012, 10:36:46 AM
Wait, what? How come we are all Mercurians?

And why is it so hot in here?
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: twik on February 22, 2012, 12:39:04 PM
I think that most conspiracists have developed a thinking pattern from popular media portrayals of conspiracies. While one can always find some way of rationalizing "they wanna make giant killer bats, OK?" in the script, it doesn't have to be a particularly strong reason. They're the bad guys, and they're evil. They do these things because they're evil. That's all you really need to know.

So, we see Patrick trying desperately to find reasons to justify faking the Apollo missions. Um, oh, he knows, it's to establish a space-based missile platform! When it's pointed out to him that such a setup would be inferior to systems that we do know about, he shrugs, and insists that it would work as part of such a system, so therefore it *must* be part of the system. Sort of an "if it can be done, we will do it, even if there's not much point."
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gillianren on February 22, 2012, 03:41:56 PM
Wait, what? How come we are all Mercurians?

And why is it so hot in here?

New board; we start at the beginning again.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: twik on February 22, 2012, 04:42:15 PM
Last one to Jupiter's a rotten egg!
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gillianren on February 22, 2012, 11:11:48 PM
I suspect I will not be the last one to Jupiter.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Abaddon on February 23, 2012, 03:55:02 AM
I suspect I will.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on February 23, 2012, 03:56:53 AM
Last one to Jupiter's a rotten egg!

Given the radiation levels at Jupiter I suspect the opposite.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Echnaton on February 23, 2012, 02:40:08 PM
Last one to Jupiter's a rotten egg!

Given the radiation levels at Jupiter I suspect the opposite.
One way or the other, I'll make ever effort to post trivial comments so as not to be the last one there.  All this white space make me giddy.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: raven on March 04, 2012, 03:00:46 AM
Oh well, I needed to work on my tan anyway. ;)
Back on topic, the most common reason given by conspiracy theorists for faking the moon landing was to one up the Russians. But this is equally a reason to actually go to the moon.
It's also somewhat fascinating to look at the hisotry of hoax claims. Thanks to the magic of Google Books Bill Kaysing's book is available in (almost?) its complete entirety and I have found no mention of the increasingly common claim the computers of the time were not up to the task.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: cjameshuff on March 04, 2012, 01:23:48 PM
Oh well, I needed to work on my tan anyway. ;)
Back on topic, the most common reason given by conspiracy theorists for faking the moon landing was to one up the Russians. But this is equally a reason to actually go to the moon.

And given that the Russians had no shortage of motivation to detect and expose any hoax and the sheer scale of the project, faking the trip would be a rather poor substitute for actually doing it.


It's also somewhat fascinating to look at the hisotry of hoax claims. Thanks to the magic of Google Books Bill Kaysing's book is available in (almost?) its complete entirety and I have found no mention of the increasingly common claim the computers of the time were not up to the task.

Yet they can never say exactly how they fell short...meanwhile, people are flying emulated AGCs in simulations, building replicas, etc. There is a great amount of detailed information out there about the exact construction and capabilities of the hardware and software, how heavily loaded it was, etc.

36 kilowords of ROM and 2 kilowords of RAM, with 16 bit words...I've worked on smaller systems. They fit them in single chips these days, with flash program memory and SRAM, but embedded processors are often of similar size. You can fit a lot of functionality in that memory when you don't even need to handle a text interface (the closest the AGC got was lighting up labeled displays and giving numeric readouts) or handle a bunch of user-installable hardware and software with fancy autoconfiguration.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on March 04, 2012, 02:29:37 PM
36 kilowords of ROM and 2 kilowords of RAM, with 16 bit words...I've worked on smaller systems. They fit them in single chips these days, with flash program memory and SRAM, but embedded processors are often of similar size. You can fit a lot of functionality in that memory when you don't even need to handle a text interface (the closest the AGC got was lighting up labeled displays and giving numeric readouts) or handle a bunch of user-installable hardware and software with fancy autoconfiguration.

People don't realise that the GUI is everything.

Still, I'm glad with modern computing power, we do use enhanced visuals in our avionics, EFIS etc.  Having an interface that is intuitive is really helpful.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: gwiz on March 05, 2012, 05:39:52 AM
36 kilowords of ROM and 2 kilowords of RAM, with 16 bit words...I've worked on smaller systems.
When I started work the single digital computer for our design office in a company making jet fighters (they had some analogue machines, too) was a Ferranti Pegasus.  It was the size of several fridges and filled with glowing vacuum tubes.  It had an impressive total of 64 (that's really 64, not 64k) 40-bit words of memory backed up by a magnetic drum, same principle as a hard disk, different shape.  We had the upgraded version with a 7 kword drum rather than the basic 4 kword.   
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: ineluki on March 05, 2012, 10:17:22 AM
Thanks to the magic of Google Books Bill Kaysing's book is available in (almost?) its complete entirety and I have found no mention of the increasingly common claim the computers of the time were not up to the task.

Ahh the gold old days when people were able to do something without an iPhone.

Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: ka9q on March 05, 2012, 12:52:16 PM
You can fit a lot of functionality in that memory when you don't even need to handle a text interface (the closest the AGC got was lighting up labeled displays and giving numeric readouts) or handle a bunch of user-installable hardware and software with fancy autoconfiguration.
Exactly right. As an example of the utterly primitive user interfaces of the Apollo computers, I like to quote Buzz Aldrin's technobabble immediately after Eagle landed on the moon:

"413 is in".

That refers to his manually poking a value into Abort Guidance System memory location 413 (octal) to tell it that the LM had actually landed. (The AGS was even more primitive than the Primary Guidance and Navigation System that used the Apollo Guidance Computer.) Maybe it takes a computer engineer like me to appreciate it, but this phrase beautifully illustrates the vast improvements in man/machine interfaces that have occurred just during my lifetime.

My problem is that even terms like "poking memory" require a lot of explanation, or else they whiz right past many people who weren't even born until after most personal computers had GUIs.

I like to say that the very best user interface is the one that does not need to exist at all because its function is performed automatically. That would certainly apply to telling any lunar lander designed today that it has indeed landed on the moon.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: sts60 on March 05, 2012, 03:54:09 PM
I like to say that the very best user interface is the one that does not need to exist at all because its function is performed automatically. That would certainly apply to telling any lunar lander designed today that it has indeed landed on the moon.

*cough* Mars Polar Lander *cough*
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: cjameshuff on March 05, 2012, 05:20:49 PM
When I started work the single digital computer for our design office in a company making jet fighters (they had some analogue machines, too) was a Ferranti Pegasus.  It was the size of several fridges and filled with glowing vacuum tubes.  It had an impressive total of 64 (that's really 64, not 64k) 40-bit words of memory backed up by a magnetic drum, same principle as a hard disk, different shape.  We had the upgraded version with a 7 kword drum rather than the basic 4 kword.

One of my current personal projects is a tiny Forth system intended to fit on microcontrollers as small as a few kB of flash, 128 B of RAM, and 32 8-bit working registers. I should be able to fit all the interpreter's variables in the registers, leaving the full 0.00012 MB of RAM available for the running program.

Somewhat more typical is an iPod dock I'm actually getting paid to write code for...256 kB flash, 16 kB RAM, and that much is only necessary due to the complexity of the communications protocols between the iPod and the dock and between the dock and the main system and reuse of code from larger systems because it already exists.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: ka9q on March 06, 2012, 05:45:33 AM
I like to say that the very best user interface is the one that does not need to exist at all because its function is performed automatically. That would certainly apply to telling any lunar lander designed today that it has indeed landed on the moon.

*cough* Mars Polar Lander *cough*
Ah hem, I assume you're referring to the microswitch design on the legs...well, inasmuch as there was no pilot on board, there couldn't be a pilot/machine interface, could there?

Edited to add: but this could be seen as a reasonable argument for another feature of the Apollo user interface mentioned in Aldrin's spiel: "Descent engine command override off". That's a really cool-sounding buzzphrase referring to a set of manual switches in parallel with the computer-controlled relay that fired the descent engine. They didn't totally trust the computer to not shut down the engine early, so this essentially required the astronauts to actively agree with the computer before this could happen. Since an early engine shutdown is what killed MPL, it might have made a difference -- had there been a pilot.

Nothing in my argument excuses flying untested buggy designs. There were so many problems with MPL, and so little data, that the board could not say that the microswitch problem actually killed it. They could only say that if the mission actually made it that far, then it would definitely have failed at that point.

A moderate amount of human supervision to detect and hopefully intervene when major problems appear in an otherwise automated system is a perfectly reasonable thing. But a design that requires a steady stream of highly arcane and error-prone commands -- like manually poking values into a computer memory -- before it can even work at all is a different story. It's all about having machines do what they do best, and having people do what people do best, and not forcing one to do the other's job.

Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: sts60 on March 06, 2012, 11:42:18 AM
Oh, I agree with you.  I just couldn't resist.  The MPL problem was really the same old one about sacrificing good system engineering and integrated test because of lack of $.

Of course, MPL could have used a pilot - ideally one that could hold his breath for a long time while waiting for the bus home.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: ka9q on March 07, 2012, 06:09:31 AM
And it was a clever retort, because I had forgotten that MPL's problem had specifically to do with knowing that it had landed so it could shut off the engine.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Glom on March 07, 2012, 08:09:57 AM
Regarding the Russians, it's also worth remembering that once they realised the game was up with the Moon, they switched focus to building space stations.

If the Americans were faking winning an unraceable space race, they were conceding the real space race to the Russians.

That's of course assuming the HBers don't call Salyut a hoax.
Title: Re: Why the hoax theory fails out of the starting gate
Post by: Count Zero on March 07, 2012, 04:34:20 PM
That's of course assuming the HBers don't call Salyut a hoax.

Of course they don't call it a hoax.  They're much too ignorant to have ever heard of Salyut!