View Full Version : I'm going to be giving a talk - woohoo!

Peter B
2002-May-20, 12:15 AM
Yes, this weekend, I get to be the first speaker at the 2nd Canberra Science Fiction Convention.

My talk is titled "Hoaxing the Moon Landing: the Awful Truth."

Anyone got any topics they think I should cover in particular?

Ad Hominid
2002-May-20, 12:53 AM
Van Allen Radiation:
Mention the number of countries who possess and have possessed either sounding rockets or satellites that were capable of measuring these levels. Good Sources:
The Rocket by David Baker has a complete list of sounding rockets and satellite launchers circa 1977.
Also lots of info on these at<a href=http://astronautix.com> Encyclopedia Astronautica</a>
Mention also geostationary comsats that have to survive this radiation, and some details of their history. Remind audience that Fox could not have broadcast hoax show through radiation fried satellites.
Absence of crater under LM:
Compare LM's thrust (10,000 lbs. max and only 3000 at touchdown) to that of familiar jet aircraft (Boeing 777=170,000 lbs; FA-18=34,000; or best example of all, Harrier=22,000). Ask why excavating companies haven't replaced backhoes with surplus jet engines, or even rocket engines, if these are capable, as HBs claim, of digging huge craters in just a couple of seconds of contact.
Radio Monitoring:
Ham reception and tracking. If Hams could track Apollo, couldn't almost every military organization in the world? If USA couldn't persuade North Vietnam to stop shooting at our planes, how were they induced to go along with moon hoax?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ad Hominid on 2002-05-19 20:54 ]</font>

2002-May-20, 03:40 AM
Mention a few of the "softer" (and so silly that a kindergartener can see through) HB arguments. I'm thinking of the whole ridiculous flag waving bit.
For the most part, your audience will be SciFi fans, not scientists. If you get too technical, they'll go MEGO (my eyes glaze over)
What sort of age group do you think you'll be addressing? If they're people about my age, they'll remember watching this on TV and all the surrounding media hype. A younger crowd might only remember the FOX show and the surrounding media hype.

David Hall
2002-May-20, 04:22 AM
Maybe you should mention some of the main players behind the hoax, Kaysing, Rene, Sibrel, and what their various "credentials" are. In other words, show the audience just how reliable the source is.

Peter B
2002-May-20, 04:26 AM
From previous experience (last year's con) I'm expecting the bulk of the audience to be in their 20s to 30s and generally scientifically literate. This, of course, doesn't rule out the possibility that some will still be HBs.

I've been instructed by the organiser that I *must* use visual aids (she's paranoid about people droning on for half an hour and boring the pants off people) so I'll probably want to use a Powerpoint presentation of some sort to show relevant piccies.

David Hall
2002-May-20, 04:45 AM
If you want to have some visual aids, I think the photos here (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/iangoddard/moon01.htm) would be perfect. They're the best I've ever seen disputing photo anomalies.

You should ask if you can use them in your presentation. Since the BA is hosting the site I don't think it would be to hard to get. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

2002-May-20, 05:08 AM
And keep it light and easy. I've never been to a SciFi con, much to my dismay. If I could go, I'd want to be entertained.
Start with an HB statement:
"The Van Allen Belt would have fried them". Chuckle a bit, and then give the explanation. Get the audience in on the joke.
Destroy the arguments one-by-one in this way. First give the HBer's argument (use a nice low serious tone), and then rip it apart.
They're in their 20's and 30's and science literate? They'll get a kick out of it.

David Hall
2002-May-20, 05:15 AM
Are you going to be presenting alone, or as part of a panel or something? What exactly is the setup?

Peter B
2002-May-20, 05:38 AM
All on me little lonesome!

As I'm presenting this talk in my capacity as a Skeptic, I was thinking of starting out as though I was a hoax believer myself (having warned people to listen carefully). Hopefully I'll get through a reasonable catalog of HB claims before anyone explodes. Then I reveal my true colours and discuss things further.

I don't want to spend too much time on knocking over the claims, as once people have a few thought processes in their minds, I'm sure they can do the rest of the debunking themselves. Still, I'd like to take the chance to point out how some of the HB arguments contradict themselves.

I also want to spend a bit of time on the nature of the HB claimants - who they are and what they say about themselves. that can be an exercise in character creation for the speculative fiction writers who will be at the convention.

But also, I want to spend a bit of time sharing the fun and excitement of Apollo itself. I've spent quite a few lunchtimes reading transcripts and looking at pictures on the ALSJ. It's surprising how many people seem to have some vague idea that Apollo 11 was all there was. They know little about the missions before, and sort of assume it all stopped with Armstrong and Aldrin.

As an example, HBs go spare at the idea that some photos seem to show three astronauts. Can you imagine how they'd react if they knew that Conrad and Bean on Apollo 12 took an automatic timer for a camera with them and intended to take a portrait of themselves beside Surveyor. Only they misplaced the timer once they got to the Moon.

I'd also like to touch on an idea I launched a thread with here a couple of months ago. That was a challenge to design a sample return mission which could retrieve 50kg of rocks, soil and samples (compared with the 100-200 grams returned by the Soviet proves).

2002-May-20, 11:24 AM
BA’s photo work is a good place – As is the flag waving – try to use one of the actual videos from NASA to show the real actions of the flag – Very simple and straight to the point – even my 11 year old got it!

Of course Jay’s work at Clavius.org will be very useful – Not hard to get a hold of Jay either if you want to use some of his stuff.

Probably the most important thing is to point people to the many sites that discuss the issue in a rational manner, BadAstronomy, Clavius, etc. Let them know that the information is readily available for them for their own research.

Also point out that the only people trying to make a buck from the whole Apollo Hoax phenomenon are the HB’s.

2002-May-20, 01:24 PM
For more info on the convention, swing by:


Peter is listed under "Saturday 25 May"

2002-May-20, 02:10 PM

you could also take an Apollo photo with diverging shadows and then tell the audience that the HBs claim that this is caused by more than one light source - and since the Sun is the only light source on the Moon ....

Then you pause and look at the audience. A few heads will probably be nodding. "Yeah, that IS strange".

Then you continue: "But of course the HBs have forgotten one tiny, tiny detail. If there´s more than one light source, then each object (rock/astronaut) would also have more than one shadow. Now take a look at that picture. How many shadows does the rock/astronaut have ? Just one single shadow. One shadow, one light source."

It´s pure common sense and the audience will go: "AAAHHH, of course !"

You can also bring a candle to illustrate your point about the Van Allen belts.

Warren Ockrassa writes (http://www.the-indigestible.com/specials/moon.htm):

"Others point out the Van Allen radiation belt surrounding Earth, saying it should have cooked the astronauts.

It surely would have -- if they had not been traveling very fast in a metal-lined, gold-foiled ship, through the thinnest edge of these belts, rather than within them for days.

Just as passing your fingeertip quickly through a candle flame will not burn you, it is possible to pass through Earth's Van Allen belts in safety."

Present your point like this:

Tell about the HBs claim that you would be killed passing through the Van Allen Belts. "The Van Allen Belts are indeed dangerous. Do you wanna know HOW the Apollo astronauts did the trick ? I´ll show you. Right here in this room."

Then you light the candle. "Imagine that the flame is the Van Allen Belts and my finger tip is the Apollo spaceship."

And then you pass the finger tip quickly through the flame.

(Do NOT illustrate what would happen if one stayed within the Van Allen Belts for days and days ! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif ...... But after passing your finger tip quickly through the flame, you could of course leave the candle burning and then ask the audience if they want you to show what would happen if one stayed within the belts for days and days. They´d begin laughing - and they´d be even more on your side.)

What I mean with the above is ...

FIRST - present the HB claim as if it was a magic trick.

THEN - leave the audience to wonder for a few seconds.

And finally you reveal the "trick": "There´s nothing weird about this or that. THIS is how it was done."

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Look Ma, No Hands ! Oops ... on 2002-05-20 10:15 ]</font>

2002-May-20, 05:48 PM
On 2002-05-20 01:38, Peter B wrote:

But also, I want to spend a bit of time sharing the fun and excitement of Apollo itself.

I think the best way to do this, is to put your audience in the astronauts place.

* For instance, you can quote Jim Lovell (Apollo 8 and 13):

"When I was orbiting the moon and could put my thumb up to the window and completely cover the Earth, I felt a real sense of my own insignificance. Everything I'd ever known could be hidden behind my thumb.

Being in space also shows you how relative everything is. In this room, our whole universe is limited to these walls, the ceiling, and the floor. That's all we can see. You get in an airplane, and you start thinking in terms of cities. You think: "I've left Chicago, I'm over St. Louis now, and soon I'll be down to Houston." You get in an Earth-orbiting spacecraft, and your horizon broadens to include whole continents. On the way to the moon, you think in terms of the entire solar system. The moon is up ahead, the sun to your left, the Earth behind you."

Ask your audience to imagine being so far away from Earth that they can cover Earth with their thumb.

URL: http://www2.worldbook.com/features/features.asp?feature=apollo11&page=html/interview.htm&direct=yes

Peter B
2002-May-20, 11:30 PM
LMNHO, I'm impressed you found the site - I have problems finding it myself! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Anyway, the thing I'm hanging out for is another game of "Bridge Crew". You get to play the part of the crew of a starship, dealing with various, er, problems. Lotsa fun (if someone else has all the linked computers).

Thanks all for your thoughts and ideas. Trust me, I'm taking it all on board.

2002-May-21, 12:03 AM
On 2002-05-20 10:10, Look Ma, No Hands ! Oops ... wrote:

(Do NOT illustrate what would happen if one stayed within the Van Allen Belts for days and days ! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif ...... But after passing your finger tip quickly through the flame, you could of course leave the candle burning and then ask the audience if they want you to show what would happen if one stayed within the belts for days and days. They´d begin laughing - and they´d be even more on your side.)

Ah, but you will get a few who shout out, "Yes, yes, show us, show us!"

So, show them. Say something like, "Well, if you really want me to..." Smile wickedly. Then pull out a sheet of paper and hold it over the candle until it bursts out in flame.

They may cry "Cop out!" but you'll have made your point.

What I mean with the above is ...

FIRST - present the HB claim as if it was a magic trick.

THEN - leave the audience to wonder for a few seconds.

And finally you reveal the "trick": "There´s nothing weird about this or that. THIS is how it was done."

Which is not a bad tactic.

Folks usually remember best what they heard last. Make sure the last thing they hear is the truth.

<font color=000099>Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.</font>
Isaac Asimov

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jim on 2002-05-20 20:05 ]</font>

2002-May-21, 05:09 AM
I think you just ought to go the aulis.com website. There's enough stuff there that's easy to refute.

2002-May-21, 07:42 AM
I like to debunk that famous "same backgrounds" stuff, as described in

First show them the photos and claim it as a proof, then, proof that other famous mountains are also fake. Searching for "Matterhorn" or, as you are in Oz, "Ayers Rock" at
http://images.google.com should give you plent of examples showing the same mountain/rock, with
different foregrounds, thus proving they are fake. A quick example from a five minutes survey:
Ayers Rock is fake:

Matterhorn is fake:

BTW, see that whistle-blowing flag on the last picture...? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: kucharek on 2002-05-21 03:43 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: kucharek on 2002-05-21 08:16 ]</font>

Peter B
2002-May-25, 12:54 PM
Well, the talk went ahead this morning, and worked quite well. It was a shame the audience numbered only about ten, but this *is* a small convention. (Other speakers had even smaller audiences...)

Anyway, I used a few props to make demonstrations - talcum powder for how the lunar surface would hold a print; blowing the powder at the audience to show how lunar dust doesn't behave; then pulling the belt off my pants to do a flag demonstration (no, my pants didn't fall down!). These all got a bit of a laugh, which was the main objective.

No one seemed to be a hoax believer, and a couple of people came up to me afterwards to say they enjoyed the talk. So thanks to all of you for your suggestions; they helped make the talk that little bit more interesting.

Incidentally, the speaker on after me mentioned that Harrison Schmitt is coming to Australia on some sort of speaking tour. Gee, I hope I get to hear him speak!

2002-May-25, 07:43 PM
Sounds like you did a great job, Peter. Congrats.