Back And Ranting!

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I haven't put up anything on this blog for some considerable time. It's because I'm overworked......long string of excuses...moans about things.....bit of a whinge......and lazy. However I'm back and I'm ranting about a recent debate on the moon landings. Well, I say debate. Some of the people did not have the brainpower that could be supplied by one AAA battery. They're the funniest, viewed objectively.

Let the rant begin. The question was: "Is it true that man did not go to the moon?" My original answer was as below:

Ladies and gentlemen of Quora, I present to you utmost evidence that the moon landings were faked and that the films were actually made at the Disney studios. I would like you to concentrate on the reflection in this astronaut’s helmet:


I trust the matter is now settled.

However to answer the question:

No it’s not true. Twelve men walked on the freakin’ moon. In great big boots. Some of them even drove a sort of car thing. Mickey Mouse on the other hand did not. They left a freakin’ mirror up there. If you get the angle right, you can shoot a laser pulse at it and the beam will come back and you can register it.

The moon is 239,000 miles off, give or take a bit. It’s not a great distance in cosmic terms and whilst it’s not easily achievable it is achievable if you’ve got a great big rocket to help you on the first bit. The great big rocket in question was the Saturn V which was in fact three rockets in one. It was 363 ft tall. For our American friends, that’s 58ft taller than that great big green statue that you’ve got parked in the water just off New York, and for the British it’s 48ft taller than the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben). It went FWOOSH! It cost over 6.5 billion dollars back then. Honestly, would you think they are going to make a monster like this and then make the films in Hollywood?

If anybody ever tells you the moon landings were fake, you are well within your rights to look them squarely in the eye and say: “You are a total arse and I mock you.”

Which you'd think might be an end to it. Oh no, because one person came back with a theory that rockets, yep, rockets, do not work in space. Well, actually he said "vacume" (sic)  So I posted a reply which seemed to be reasonable:


".........A rocket does not need air; a jet does because it sucks it in as a combustible material, but rockets carry their own fuel. No air needed. Secondly I would acquaint you with Newton’s third law. This states that for every action in a right line there is an equal and opposite reaction in the same right line. You can see the effect if you sit in a wheeled chair and let off a CO2 fire extinguisher. You need six rockets for up/down left/right and forward backward movements (although those directions are relative in space) and a supply of some gas at high pressure to thrust out the back.

As long as you can provide thrust in one direction whatever is doing the thrusting will move in the other. In the absence of friction the moves will be equal and opposite. Space is not a perfect vacuum, but it does have large quantities of absolutely nothing there. I found this on one post:

“Free Expansion states that when a pressurized gas is exposed to a vacuum the gas expanding into the vacuum without any work being done. The gas is not “pulled” or “sucked” into the vacuum nor is it “pushed” out of the high-pressure container. In other words no work is done, no heat or energy is lost. “

True. But in a rocket it’s not exposed to the vacuum, as JJ Thompson would tell you if he were alive. It’s propelled through an aperture. Get a can of air-duster and blast for three seconds. You’ll find out how cold that can gets. Do it in a vacuum if you like, there are plenty of pumps out there that can make partial ones and a solenoid plunger can be used on the can. You’ll find the can tries to go backwards (if it doesn’t rupture as soon as the pressure goes low).  "

Back he came with some ad-hominem vitriol and accused me of not doing research, so:

" initially spelt vacuum as “vacume”. Do you think I have not studied this in depth over a number of years and not just seen it somewhere on the Internet? Do you think I haven’t done any prior research into this over the last thirty-five years and that I need to go and look at sources which you have absolutely failed to specify to back up your argument?

Your research probably constitutes a few hours clicking round conspiracy sites. Mine consists of thousands of hours of lectures, essays, calculations and practical experiments, not to mention working experience. Who is most likely to be correct? You are wrong. End of argument. You can write as many comments as you like attacking myself and my credentials, but it won’t alter the fact that you sir, are bloody well wrong. Rockets work better in space than they do in the atmosphere. That is a fact that has been looked at, tried and tested by hundreds of other people. It’s been modelled mathematically, tried practically and measured. How do you think they de-orbitted Skylab and will de-orbit the ISS?

Another tried to say the landing thrusters would have made a crater in the solid rock of the moon. Yet another tried to tell me that you can't escape gravity, and that the aforementioned gravity was an unproven theorem, and furthermore anything passing through the Van Allen Belts would be incinerated! He was absolutely certain of his convictions and expressed them in the utmost arrogant terms. How could I resist?


".........(*Sighs deeply and launches into latest tirade on this subject* - a rant is forthcoming. Restraint has been slackened. You have been warned. Read on at your own risk.)

Pioneer. Voyager. New Horizons. Galileo. Cassini-Huygens. Rosetta. The-bloody-Mars-bloody-rover. Pioneer 10 is 10,000,000,000 bleedin’ miles from the Earth at the moment, which is far, far out of its gravity and oh, didn’t get incinerated by Van Allen radiation, martians, or the great enormous green space dragon. Far from never can and never will we bloody well have and bloody well will do again.

Right. Next problem. Gravity. WHAT??? Five BIG names you might have heard of. Galileo Galilei. Tycho Brahe. Johannes Keppler. Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. All four of the first lot worked towards understanding and proving mathematically that bloody gravity bloody well does exist and that on Earth the acceleration due to this very real gravity is 9.8 m/s and furthermore that everything exerts a gravitational pull on everything else and that’s why moons go round planets, planets go round stars, stars go round galaxies and galaxies go round who-knows-what and if anybody tells me that stars and galaxies are a hoax as well I’m abandoning the remaining vestiges of restraint on this topic I’ve got left and showing no mercy and taking no prisoners.

Right. Einstein. Newton’s laws work perfectly well and have for the best part of three hundred years. They’re good for any applied purpose and they’re still used today when those rockets in which you don’t believe, are, contrary to whatever you may think, slung up past the exosphere. Einstein came along, looked, and proposed a theory that solved problems Newton’s couldn’t. Newton’s stuff has been prodded, poked and buggered-about with for nearly three hundred years by everybody from abstract physicists to aeronautical engineers and it bloody well works. Einstein’s has had the same done to it for over a hundred years now and that bloody well works too. Newton gets stuff up and down. Keppler gets it moving round. Einstein explains why. Perfectly. In all cases.

Next problem: Van Allen Radiation. No, it can’t incinerate a spacecraft. They (the belts) exist between 1000 and 60,000 kilometres above the Earth. They are caused by cosmic rays and solar winds. There are normally two of them and between them is a gap of about four radii of the Earth called the safe zone. Now the Hubble Telescope. Please do not say you do not believe in the existence of the Hubble Telescope or I will be in total meltdown. The Hubble Telescope regularly passes through radiation from it as do some other satellites. You shield with 3mm of aluminium and get 25 Sv per year. 5 Sv per year is a lethal body dose, but since rockets go “fwoosh” and scream past at over 37,000 kph then they don’t hang around long enough to get anything near a lethal dose. Curiously, passing through the Van Allen Belts may afflict astronauts’ sight earlier in life than normal. Electronic systems can be affected by charged particles in the belt. You shield them and make components hardened to space grade. You can actually buy space-grade components as a private citizen if your bank balance looks like Bill Gates’ or Roman Abromovich’s or preferably the Sultan of Brunei. When Hubble goes through intense patches of radiation, they switch the electronics off to stop rogue charge frying anything.

So, it doesn’t go quite without question. It goes with a lot of question. And many answers. And then a balancing of probabilities. And the probabilities in this case indicate:

Yes, men did land on the moon.

Scientific methods (Descartes). Aren’t they wonderful?

It's really incredible that in an age where information is available in a dozen keystrokes and a couple of mouse clicks people can be this ignorant of basic ideas. Now, I'm not saying that we should organise witch-hunts to root them out, but......wait, yes I am! Pass me my pitchfork, Jezelda, and be sure you're wearing your crucifix!

Recent debates leave me despairing about....well humanity in general actually
Posted by Ian Lang on Apr 9, 2017 7:27 PM Europe/London

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A view of life (it's hard) the Universe (it's quite big and mostly full of emptiness) science (it's just as hard as life but with more maths) and technology (the good, the bad and the ugly) from the perspective of a highly harassed technician, which admittedly might be skewed. They say the glass is half empty- experience tells me to check whether or not that glass is cracked and leaking, and check exactly what it's half full of. Prepare for strangeness.