Friday Funny: If you thought Mann’s lawsuit was ridiculous, take a look at this one

Remember this before and after picture in the news recently from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity?

NASA-Discovers-Mysterious-Rock-on-Mars

Well, it appears there’s a conspiracy theory under every rock, more fodder for Lewandowsky and Cook I suppose.

pointless_nasa_lawsuit

Science doesn’t advance by lawsuits, though some people think  it does.

I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.

The explanation from NASA’s mission leader Steve Squires (al la Occams’ Razor):

“We think the most likely hypothesis is that it was dislodged by the rover wheels from a location that may currently be obscured by the solar arrays,” he said via email.

Squyres described the rock as “white around the outside, in the middle there’s low spot that is dark red. It looks like a jelly donut,” and said it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before on Mars.

And Squires has a photo to back up the claim:

Some ideas on where the ‘Jelly Donut’ rock on Mars came from

A disturbed area near the Opportunity rover that could be the spot where ‘Pinnacle Island’ came from. Credit: NASA/JPL.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-ideas-jelly-donut-mars.html#jCp

Anyone who’s ever driven a vehicle down a gravel road knows that rocks get dislodged by the tires and may move a foot or two.

The lawsuit seemed almost too ridiculous to be real, so I checked to see if the plaintiff was real. Yep, he has his own Wiki page.

Rhawn Joseph is a neuropsychologist who worked at the Veterans’ Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

He is involved with the Journal of Cosmology, and he advances eccentric views on the origin of life on Earth.[1]

Joseph is the author of Astrobiology: The Origins of Life and the Death of Darwinism, published in 2001. In the book he writes that “Contrary to Darwinism … the evidence now clearly indicates, that the evolution of life had been genetically predetermined and precoded…”

Joseph has been described by some evolutionary biologists as a crank for embracing unorthodox mechanisms of evolution. In one instance, the blogger P.Z. Myers ridiculed a claim by Joseph that a rock found on Mars is a living organism similar to a type of fungus existing on Earth.

In the lawsuit there is this language:

“Petitioner immediately recognized that bowl-shaped structure, hereafter referred to as Sol 3540, resembling a mushroom-like fungus, a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and cyanobacteria, and which on Earth is known as Apothecium.”

“When examined by Petitioner the same structure in miniature was clearly visible upon magnification and appears to have just germinated from spores.”

Strangely, and for the first time ever, I find myself in agreement with P.Z. Meyers.

h/t to reader Ed Zuiderwijk

Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/202863315/NASA-Lawsuit

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132 Responses to Friday Funny: If you thought Mann’s lawsuit was ridiculous, take a look at this one

  1. steveta_uk says:

    “conspiracy theory under every rock”

    Huh? This one is very clearly above the rock, not under it!

  2. omnologos says:

    That Mars thingy is just another of those silly Zaphod pranks…

  3. Marnof says:

    This just in:

    We’re receiving communications from the “biological organism.” It appears to be repeating the same message, over and over:

    ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER

  4. Tom G(ologist) says:

    As an Earth Scientist in Pennsylvania, I was peripherally involved in the 2005 Katzmaier v Dover School District action and, as a result, followed P.Z. Myers’ web site for a while. I had to give it up though once that furor was over and he began ranting about climate science. I have not followed his site since because his arguments on both evolution and climate were founded on the authority of the scientists – not on the sciences.

  5. Anthony Watts says:

    Marnof +1

  6. Bertram Felden says:

    I believe absolutely that this rock, sorry intelligent lifeform, could not possibly have been dislodged by the wheels of the rover. It was probably just trying to get out of the way, or rescue its babies that were in danger of being crushed by the infernal machine. Makes perfect sense.

    Marnof – your comment is excellent!

  7. David in Texas says:

    “Anyone who’s ever driven a vehicle down a gravel road knows that rocks get dislodged by the tires and may move a foot or two.”

    The rover has a top speed of 5 centimeters per second (~0.1 mph). Yes, it possible that on a steep slope the rover could dislodge something that could then roll into place, but the rover is programmed to avoid steep slopes.

    And, no, I don’t think it is biological.

  8. M Courtney says:

    How long until Steve McIntyre’s FOI requests for necessary data are lumped in with this unnecessary request.

    I mean if Homer Simpson’s littering outer space you’ld think NASA would want to know.
    He used to work there after all.

  9. RichardLH says:

    I think RationalWiki might be right here

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Rhawn_Joseph#cite_note-pub-bio-0

    “He is involved with the Journal of Cosmology, and he advances eccentric views on the origin of life on Earth.[1] “

  10. Doug Huffman says:

    I noticed the apparent coincidence of roughly collocated circular features immediately when the Pinnacle Island photos were released. I also remember the “Face on Mars” at Cydonia.

    Maximizing Entropy keeps it interesting, MaxEnt the proper Bayesian naive objective prior, according to Jaynes. “Impossible” squeezes all of the ignorance into a corner into which the squeezer may find himself painted.

  11. Coach Springer says:

    I don’t know. I saw the movie Apollo 18. And it wasn’t long after that that rocks mysteriously began appearing in my skeptical wife’s under ware drawer.

  12. wws says:

    This is actually a pretty brilliant move by Rhawn Joseph, and so far is going exactly to plan.

    How else do you think some no-name pencil pusher at the Veteran’s Affairs Bureau in Palo Alto is going to get people all across the web talking about HIM???

    A couple more shout-outs like this, and he’ll be hosting his own exobiology show on Animal Planet – either that or the Weather Channel. (Why not???)

  13. DaveF says:

    In the ‘after’ picture it looks like someone’s dropped a crumpled cigarette packet there. Who’s driving that rover?

  14. Tom G(ologist) says: January 31, 2014 at 7:47 am
    “I was peripherally involved in the 2005 Katzmaier v Dover School District action”

    I believe that case was Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District…

  15. Joe Bastardi says:

    Dr. Manns lawsuit if not ridiculous given the already harsh consequences financially to the people who are at the other end of it, and the chilling effect it has on free speech
    I dont consider it ridiculous at all. I am sure Dr Mann does not, and in fact it may have already served a purpose, intended or not. The only way out for the parties now is to go through with it and that would mean that the very challenges what should be a matter of spirited jousting in open debate will be shown in court. That is a shame. The right way to do it is in debate, as in the court of Katherine, not the court of law. But ridiculous. I beg to differ

  16. Doug Huffman says:

    G00gle Real Time coverage
    https://news.google.com/news/rtc?ncl=d57qMbErOhMClWM-E0GZ-CXNyApHM

    Also consider the Open Access aspect to the kerfuffle and cosmology.com.

  17. Berényi Péter says:

    I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.

    Why, it must be fast asleep, due to Keith Maniac form Guatemala perhaps.

  18. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Jabba:

    “I believe that case was Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District…”

    You are correct. I am currently working with a land owner with the last name I inadvertently typed rather than Tammy Kitzmiller’s correct name.

  19. Michael says:

    It’s a pet rock that went rogue, quick round it up and put it back in the pet rock corral.
    Off of the Klamath river in northern California next to interstate 101 they have areas for such rocks.
    This one needs detention, bad rock, bad rock…

  20. CaligulaJones says:

    Just re-reading Sagan’s “Demon-haunted World”, and as with “Cosmos”, he re-iterates that science has to remain science, not politics. For instance, he was castigated by a physicist for facilitating a meeting between planetary scientists and UFO “experts”. Sagan’s reasoning is that if scientists DON’T reach out to skeptics, ideas can’t be shared, which is the whole point of science.

    He also mentioned that Marsologists (my term), went from contemporary “canals” designed by intelligent beings who didn’t look much different than we were, to (after Mariner and Viking), remains of ancient cities and giant faces…I guess now we can mention “invisible Martians who move rocks around”…

  21. Duke C. says:

    A view of Pinnacle Island from another perspective , front hazcam SOL 3540:

    http://imageshack.com/a/img838/6734/alub.png

  22. dmacleo says:

    Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (Dumbest person ever…) knows.
    its from planting the flag there earlier.

  23. Col Mosby says:

    It goes without saying that Rhahn hails from California.

  24. Jeff says:

    Any chance it’s a very small impact crater formed between the two pictures? It would take a lot of
    things happeneing “just right”, e.g. trajectory of the impacting object, timing, size, etc., but it’s no
    less likely than some of the wilder theories out there.

    Kinda funny, considering some of the high-profile cases over which Whyte has presided, that he
    gets one like this….all evens out, I guess…

    Great comment about the Berliner – could tie a whole mess of conspiracy theories together there…
    Berliner doesn’t have a hole in the middle but maybe the Raspberry jelly got squashed out by
    Martians, the rover, or whoever dropped their cigarette pack out there :)

  25. Paul Murphy says:

    Dah,
    The Squyres hypothesis (““We think the most likely hypothesis is that it was dislodged by the rover wheels from a location that may currently be obscured by the solar arrays,”) is probably right – but wouldn’t it be much more exciting if the thing were a mushroom – like life form?

    And, you know, it’s quite improbable, but not actually impossible – especially because it’s unlikely a rock spun up by a wheel slip would have landed so nearly on the depression shown the before photo.

  26. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    I want to believe…

  27. old44 says:

    Could always stick him in a rocket and send him up there to find out.

  28. Russ in Houston says:

    How many differences can you spot in the photos. Hint – there are several.

  29. rogerknights says:

    In the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, a Coke bottle tossed over the side of a biplane flying above the clouds lands at the feet of a Bushman in S. Africa. He figures that the gods have tossed it there and ponders the meaning of it.

    Maybe those gods, aka the Pranksters on Olympus, or “gremlins,” have done the same thing here.

    One puzzling aspect of the rock photo, from the tiny bit I’ve read, is that the rover hadn’t moved between those two photos. But still, it could have been stuck atop a wheel and fallen after a wait.

  30. Alan Robertson says:

    “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. It lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area we call, The Twilight Zone.”

  31. rogerknights says:

    A glitch in the matrix?

  32. philjourdan says:

    It is not biological. it is the repository of Trenberth’s missing heat! They had a transporter malfunction.

  33. meltemian says:

    Martian Poltergeists? Who knew???

  34. RayG says:

    wws says:
    January 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

    This is actually a pretty brilliant move by Rhawn Joseph, and so far is going exactly to plan.

    How else do you think some no-name pencil pusher at the Veteran’s Affairs Bureau in Palo Alto is going to get people all across the web talking about HIM???

    A couple more shout-outs like this, and he’ll be hosting his own exobiology show on Animal Planet – either that or the Weather Channel. (Why not???)
    More likely this is part of his plan to have his own Reality show to air immediately after the Kardashians.

  35. For Pete’s sake don’t let that man near ANYTHING resembling a mushroom!

  36. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    And Squires has a photo to back up the claim:

    Oh please, photographic manipulation is so far advanced that you can’t trust anything but live video feeds as with local news, usually. With those mega-ultra-supercomputers of the NSA for “matters of homeland security”, a seven second “bleep as needed” delay gets questionable.

    What happened is blatantly obvious. When the rover came through the first time, some young Martian kid jumped out of hiding, picked up a rock, and chucked it at the rear of the rover when it wasn’t looking.

    Clearly you can see how easily this can be true, as it is an established universal scientific fact that, generally speaking, all young kids act the same on every planet known to have intelligent life. They rarely put back things from where they got them.

  37. Chris4692 says:

    I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.

    They killed it!

  38. Pachygrapsus says:

    The real problem is NASA’s serial use of words and phrases like “unprecedented” and “something we’ve never seen before”. Wouldn’t it have been enough to simply say “This is an unusual feature that warrants another look”?

    On the other hand, I think that the second part of the NASA quote should be immediately adopted as their motto: NASA: We are totally confused.

  39. rubberduck says:

    The moon conspiracists say that you can see telegraph wires, or maybe shadows of telegraph wires, in the footage of moonwalks. So c’mon fellas, has no-one got access to Photoshop? Where are the telegraph wires in this Mars footage?

  40. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    This suit is meritless in so many ways — another indication we are in desperate need of sensible tort reform. Dismissing the suit with prejudice and assessing the plaintiff for court costs would help. So would holding that the attorney by filing a known to be meritless action did not act in the best interests of the client, and so is not entitled to any fees (except in this case Rhawn Joseph is attorney pro se, which means his client has a fool for a lawyer).

  41. Jenn Oates says:

    Pro se, eh. You know what they say about client and counsel…

  42. John Brisbin says:

    Punishment of the continuity person on the Mars set is to continue until morale improves.

    (Adjusts fit of tinfoil hat.)

  43. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Wait a minute. If you digitize the object in the photograph the dimensions have the exact ratio of 1:4:9 — the squares of the first three integers. This cannot be a coincidence.

  44. CaligulaJones says:

    As the aphorism goes, the longer I live, the more real life resembles Monty Python:

    From “Holy Grail”:

    Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
    Peasant 1: Bread.
    Peasant 2: Apples.
    Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
    Peasant 1: Cider.
    Peasant 2: Gravy.
    Peasant 3: Cherries.
    Peasant 1: Mud.
    Peasant 2: Churches.
    Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
    King Arthur: A Duck.
    Sir Bedevere: …Exactly. So, logically…
    Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck… she’s made of wood.
    Sir Bedevere: And therefore…
    Peasant 2: …A witch!

  45. Bruce Foutch says:

    It’s not dead! It’s just resting…

  46. Stacey says:

    Dear Mr Watts
    For once I have to absolutely disagree with you Thawn Joseph’s case is absolutely rock solid it is clear to me sitting here in my orbiting space ship that the creature is a jelly fish Pac Person, sorry for being PC but it is difficult to determine its sex from an aerial view. It has clearly moved due to being disturbed by the Rover :-)
    Have a good weekend and for goodness sake don’t Google jelly fish sex :-)

  47. Doug Huffman says:

    Absence of evidence of movement is not evidence of absence of movement.

  48. zootcadillac says:

    Russ in Houston makes a good point and as a photographer it was the first thing I noticed. I would suggest that the ‘object’ is actually in both photographs. There is clearly a difference, however slight in both the elevation and angle of the two images. Evident in the number of differences pointed out by Russ. That and given the likelihood of the time of observation change means that the shadows fall differently.

    I think it’s nothing more than a matter of illumination rather than illuminati. As it always is with faces in rocks and such things.

    If there was anything at all going on here of any significance NASA would have been all over it in the press. Nothing better than a sensation to bolster your case to get your funding back. They may well be towing the party line on climate and losing face but they would jump, literally jump at the chance to shout ‘micro-organisms!’ to the world’s eager press.

    I’m not fond of the ad-hom but this gentleman, Dr Joseph ( I’ll be kind ) is clearly a Kook and deserves to spend every cent that this ludicrous suit will cost him before it’s dismissed to sounds of muffled laughter.

  49. dbstealey says:

    This rock is as inexplicable as the popularity of the Kardashians.

  50. Alan Robertson says:

    It’s the dinar. The rock is the dinar.
    Paper is the yuan, scissors are the lira
    and climate change is the real.

  51. Zeke says:

    “Mars – sometimes called the “Red Planet” because it appears, to the naked eye, to be orange – gets its name from the ancient Greek and Roman name “Mars,” meaning “Mars.” The planet has long captured the human imagination, because for many years, people thought that Martians might live there, based on the fact that there are canals, which suggests the presence of boats, and, in the words of the late Carl Sagan, “If there are boats, then there would have to be somebody to fix them.”

    Today, we are pretty sure no one lives on Mars, at least not year-round. We base this on the fact that NASA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars sending unmanned space probes up there, and they have sent back thousands of pictures, all of them showing: rocks. Granted, there was one picture where, if you magnified the background, you could just make out a sign that said, “Palm Springs 47 miles.” But a NASA spokesman quickly explained that this “an optical illusion, caused by, um, hydrogen.””
    ~Dave Barry

  52. tadchem says:

    As a neuropsychologist who has ‘cross-trained’ into astrobiology (I have to wonder what kind of lab work an ‘astrobiologist’ does), one might expect that Joseph would be aware of what psychologists call ‘set expectation’, a form of bias in perception that causes the observer to favor whatever the observer expects to see. I think of this as the ‘Seek and Ye shall find’ error, related to Confirmation bias. There is also a strong element of pareidolia in this case.
    Evidently the Dunning–Kruger effect controls this case.

  53. Bart says:

    “I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.”

    If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

  54. Paul Westhaver says:

    There is an upside to this suit.

    Maybe NASA will be forced to state that there, in fact, has been no life found on Mars, and based on their measurements, don’t expect to find any.

    Instead of walking the nebulous line of legitimate scientific inquiry and promotional activity for tax dollars, NASA may have to be real for a moment.

    It may be a breath of fresh air.

    I would love to NASA defend science at the same time they trounce an ASTRObiologist. (astrobiology is the only “science” lower than phrenology)

  55. Momknowsbest says:

    Going to have to ban jelly donuts in the NASA cafeteria.

  56. John Robertson says:

    Let’s keep the site to discussions relating to Climate Science and not give kooks any more room to grow… possibly by making the climate more hostile to them.

  57. Paul Westhaver says:

    Again I humbly submit my equation that calculates the likelihood of life in the known universe:

    Westhaver Equation:

    Proposal for a modified Drake Equation wherein the result is = 1.

    X = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL : Drake Equation

    Westhaver Equation: humbly,

    1=N*Fa Fb Fc… Fn,

    where Fa is a finely tuned attribute, Fb is yet another finely tuned attribute, Fc is yet another finely tuned attribute, and as many finely tuned attributes up to Fn such that the number of civilized planets converges to unity, because that is what the evidence shows.

    If the Drake equation yields anything > 1 then it misses important limiting attributes.

  58. Zeke says:

    Is this some kind of logic circle we are caught in? NASA and other space agencies are quick to make breathless, obligatory pronunciations on the possibility of life in the solar system (Europa), or in the Universe, in press releases that keep every one funding space exploration. Not to mention Panspermia, which may be more an integral part of evolutionary theory than many think. Then after we get to our hundred million dollar destination, only cranks think they see life forms.

    One thing I can say, there are plenty of rocks on this earth that are round, and if you crack them open, are hollow. So I hate to see people who are not very familiar with the rocks on earth making dorks out of themselves and spending money on lawyers. What about the snail shaped rock?

    I do not collect snail shaped rocks myself. But I bet there is someone who does (:

  59. Physics Major says:

    Holy Moly, look carefully at the before picture. There appears to be a face carved in the rock that is partially obscured by the “jelly donut” in the after picture. Spooky.

  60. jbird says:

    One of those dang Martians threw a rock at our rover and missed. :-)

  61. Sparks says:

    Ack ack ack ack ACK ACK! ACK ACK ACK “Ack ack” ACCKACK ACK ACK ACK AAAACK ACKAAACK! Ack ackackaaaaack ack.

    ACK ack ack /ack.

  62. Marnof says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    January 31, 2014 at 7:50 am
    Marnof +1

    I had to chime in on this sci-fi story, having spent last night watching part of the 2008 remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” I had to bail when Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) announced he was saving the planet from mankind’s imminent ecological destruction–by wiping out humanity! Too many parallels to today’s nauseating political atmosphere.

  63. Clay Marley says:

    “We’re receiving communications from the “biological organism.” It appears to be repeating the same message, over and over:
    ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER“

    Very funny! I didn’t recall much about the misconception that Kennedy had actually said “I am a jelly doughnut”, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia has some background on the misconception. It was first picked up by the New York Times, then repeated by the BBC, Guardian, MSNBC, CNN, and Time magazine.

    Why would a misconception like this be picked up by only the most left-wing publications, the same ones promoting climate alarmism? Perhaps Lewandowsky and Cook can noodle this one.

  64. JJ says:

    Well, it appears there’s a conspiracy theory under every rock, more fodder for Lewandowsky and Cook I suppose.

    &

    Rhawn Joseph is a neuropsychologist who worked at the Veterans’ Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

    He is involved with the Journal of Cosmology, and he advances eccentric views on the origin of life on Earth.

    The whackjob is a psychologist. And so is the fellow who thinks that NASA is hiding evidence of animated breakfast pastries on Mars.

    I think Brandon Schollenberger needs to take these data, apply the Lewandosky methodology, and tell us about the link between the profession of psychology and belief in wild interplanetary conspiracies.

  65. wayne says:

    It’s a booger from one of these….

    :)

  66. Sweet Old Bob says:

    Aw,come on now.It’s obvious. Rover took a dump…

  67. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    Can someone please make an ANIGIF that flashes between the two pictures so we can see if there are other pebbles out of place? It is good for separating stars and planets. If it rolled there, perhaps there is a trail of disturbance.

    REPLY: Do it yourself, I don’t think the issue is worth wasting any further time on – Anthony

  68. Tom Trevor says:

    This another example of why the US needs a loser pay rule, then we might see fewer frivolous lawsuits.

  69. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Bart on January 31, 2014 at 10:30 am:

    If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

    Just wait until the Martians send us the bill for operating unlicensed unregistered vehicles on their sovereign territory, and for doing it remotely by unlicensed operators with an unacceptable emergency response time. Those fees must be really adding up by now.

    They might let pass the numerous other traffic law violations as all surface highway “markings” use RFID-style passive transponders embedded in enclosures that arguably resemble native rocks, due to the exorbitant costs of maintaining traditional signs and painted road marks. Just imagine the hypothetical budget for dusting off the roads.

    But due to the public outcry over the egregious blatant violations of private property rights, rolling willy-nilly over people’s roofs at will, with a clear indication of further more-outrageous injustices to come, let alone the deliberate littering, the Martians may well demand satisfaction. They may come here and haul the head of the infringing organization back to Mars to face charges in a proper Martian court. And not the head of mere NASA, but go right to the very top of the management chain, to the person who could have stopped it, and yank him right from the Oval Office.

    If we ask them to, nicely. We can always hope.

  70. Brian R says:

    Maybe, if we are lucky, aliens will come down and shove a mind probe up Rhawn Joseph’s butt.

  71. u.k.(us) says:

    A classic example of “observer effect”, and fun too.

  72. Ed Fix says:

    “I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.”

    Of course it hasn’t moved; the rover it’s studying hasn’t moved.

    “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

  73. Davidg says:

    If Mann is ridiculous, what is Prince Charles? Really ridiculous? I guess so, just as portrayed on the BBC original ‘House of Cards’. A devastating portrait of this bewildered prince.

  74. Davidg says:

    Prince Charles slams climate-change deniers
    Science Video
    Buy AP Photo Reprints

    LONDON (AP) — Prince Charles has called people who deny human-made climate change a “headless chicken brigade” who are ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence.

    The heir to the British throne, a dedicated environmentalist, accused “powerful groups of deniers” of mounting “a barrage of sheer intimidation” against opponents.

    He made the comments at a Buckingham Palace awards ceremony on Thursday.

    Charles said it was “baffling … that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything – until, that is, it comes to climate science.”

    He praised finalists for the Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize for having “the far-sightedness and confidence in what they know is happening to ignore the headless chicken brigade and do something practical to help.”

    © 2014 The Associat

  75. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Brian R said on January 31, 2014 at 12:03 pm:

    Maybe, if we are lucky, aliens will come down and shove a mind probe up Rhawn Joseph’s butt.

    Hey now, watch the language. No need to go to such a dark place. Nothing worth finding there.

    Remember Nietzsche (alternate translation), And when you probe long into an abyss…

  76. It’s obvious that Rhawn Joseph has never played Tiddlywinks:

  77. Warrick says:

    Apothecium – this is not an organism but the ascocarp or fruiting body of some fungi. Since ascocarps come in different shapes, they have each been given a name – apothecium is the one with a disk or bowl shape.
    Lichens are a complex of a fungus and a bacterium (note bacterial taxonomy is shifting a lot, but generally what those of an older persuasion knew as blue green algae, now more commonly cyanobacteria), so the biology is somewhat suspect.

  78. Apoxonbothyourhouses says:

    Davidg says:
    January 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm
    Prince Charles slams climate-change deniers
    Another reason why Oz will become a republic.

    Look at the photo again; who would have thought there were pavers on Mars?

  79. TimC says:

    Physics Major says “Holy Moly, look carefully at the before picture. There appears to be a face…”.

    It’s a bird in the “before” – if you switch between superimposed widows (so before and after alternate directly over one another) you will see what looks very much like a bird – eyes, beak, chest, front legs and tail and in “after” it seems to have been superimposed (flattened?) by some form of bowl with projecting handle.

    Are the Martians having fun with us here – OMG, Horsell Common (where they first landed last century) is only about 10 miles up the road from here ….!

  80. Chuck Nolan says:

    Chris4692 says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I’ll point out the obvious: that “biological organism” hasn’t moved since.

    They killed it!
    ————————————–

    They killed Kenny.
    You bastards!

  81. kenw says:

    Curious: The square jelly donut does share a few features with the ‘dislodged’ area shown in Squires’ photo. However it appears that it is from a foot or stabilizer used during various tasks that caused the dislodged area not a rotating wheel, somewhat akin to those on Indy cars to replace separate jacks in the pit. In fact, there appears to be just such a jack/foot nearby (‘up’ and to the left in the pic).

    Obviously this means the soil is what we in the south call expansive clay, and quite organic…..I believe the same gumbo was found when we planted the flag there back in the 60s.

  82. philjourdan says:

    @Zeke – Dave Barry is still the best! LOL

  83. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Looks to me as though his evidence is “rock solid”.

  84. Zeke says:

    philjourdan says:
    January 31, 2014 at 1:30 pm “Dave Barry is still the best! LOL”

    It’s like it was written yesterday. (: The article is from 2004.

    But we should all try to be nice. That could be somebody’s mother.

  85. Hot under the collar says:

    Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the Guardian, the BBC and Tim Yeo are already busy looking at how they can incorporate the moving rock into the next IPCC report as more evidence of climate change.

  86. holts says:

    Come on guys it is obviously a chocolate raspberry donut with many legs can’t you see them!
    NASA just wants them for themselves…yummy!

  87. DougbyMany says:

    The Viking Mars landers back in the 70′s got a positive result to one of their life detecting experiments. That result was subsequently changed to “negative” and years later “indefinite”.
    It is a pet peeve of mine, that every other mission NASA has sent to Mars specifically does not look for life. Instead they have skirted around the edge of this search, only looking for evidence of water or past water. Why spend millions of dollars, traveling millions of miles, and not use the latest technology to conduct experiments to directly look for bacterial life that might still clinging to existence on that barren world?
    Paul Westhaver in his above comment has finally given me an answer I understand. The conspiracy, is not NASA covering up life on Mars. NASA is covering up the almost certain lack of life on the Red Planet. The tantalizing prospect of life keeps saps like me interested in funding their million dollar science projects…. with a large share of those dollars going to fund political global warming ‘research’…

    Of course the Martian atmosphere is 96% co2, so one should assume that Mars is much to hot to sustain life.

  88. Alan Robertson says:

    philjourdan says:
    January 31, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    @Zeke – Dave Barry is still the best! LOL
    _________________
    Dave’s not here, man.

  89. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Marnof on January 31, 2014 at 7:40 am:

    ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER

    “I am a cocktail sausage”? It doesn’t look like anything like a little wiener.

    Or have I been misinformed by a classic episode of the excellent X-Files? Shocking, I know.

    What would Mulder say about the moving Mars rock? Did the real aliens stop by to hack the rover’s data streams so it doesn’t transmit anything incriminating, and missed one little detail while covering their tracks?

  90. Kevin Kilty says:

    Marnof says:
    January 31, 2014 at 7:40 am
    This just in:

    We’re receiving communications from the “biological organism.” It appears to be repeating the same message, over and over:

    ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…ICH BIN EIN BERLINER

    How strange. The moment “jelly donut” appeared, I thought to myself—it’s JFK. Ich bin ein Berliner–I am a jelly donut.

  91. tim maguire says:

    I think we will find that this was the only life form on Mars, until the Rover ran it over.

  92. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @DougbyMany

    I am in a climate alarming projecting mood.

    If the atmosphere on Mars is 96% CO2, what would happen if we doubled it to create almost twice as much atmosphere and 98% CO2? It might go from being ‘too hot to sustain life’ to ‘just enough CO2 and warmth to sustain life’. Increasing the CO2 level increases the ability of the atmosphere to radiate heat. There might even be more forcing involved that in this explanation.

  93. Andyj says:

    I’ve known a few in the neuro industry in my time. No exception, I think they are all nutters.

  94. Tom J says:

    How did that Obamaphone ever get there?

  95. TomE says:

    @ Joe Bastardi: I always catch your Saturday forecast on Weatherbell, good stuff. So far as the Mann suit, there will some day be an end and results to the suit, ( I am a big fan of Mark Steyn) but the only winners will be the lawyers.

  96. Eric Anderson says:

    “Strangely, and for the first time ever, I find myself in agreement with P.Z. Meyers.”

    I’ll second that one.

  97. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    This shows that there is a civilization on Mars equal to our own — of people very much like ourselves. Obviously that is a Pet Rock

    Eugene WR Gallun

  98. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    PETA is already on this.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  99. I wish Curiosity had photos as good as the 2 rovers, Opportunity and Spirit. They used to have multiple high resolution photos every day, which I used to print out in full color and post on the wall of my 92 year old father who was interested in astronomy. Remember the “blueberries”?
    No body seems to agree with me that the scientific principle of tiddlywinks is responsible for the dislodging of that rock. I think I heard it first from some guy at NASA.

  100. Mac the Knife says:

    Huh – magic mushrooms on Mars… Who da thunk it?

  101. Gamecock says:

    It’s rather obvious to me that it is a candy bar wrapper, dropped by a tech in the studio where this is being produced.

  102. dmacleo says:

    I was wrong about it being Sheila Jackson Lee, I remembered hearing about this in early 90′s and the answer lay in Red Green Season 1 Episode 2 and Hap Arnolds undersea gunpowder mine accidents.
    https://www.theconservativevoices.com/media/cat/humorous/hap-arnold-explains-the-markings-on-mars-r663

  103. randall t says:

    Please try to get the basic things right — the man’s name is “Squyres,” not “Squires.”

  104. M E Wood says:

    Sorry lads it is an artefact of the lighting. Where was the sun shining from.? Left or right. What time of Martian day? It’s a matter of angles.
    Just as the Australian view of the Prince of Wales misleads by it’s angle.. perhaps you could explain to the unenlightened U.S Citizens, who have not found out for themselves , that a Monarch in a Parliamentary Democracy has no executive function. So he can spend his life collecting fossil insects so long or such like as he long as does his job. He isn’t a President for Life

  105. Q. Daniels says:

    J. Philip Peterson wrote:

    I wish Curiosity had photos as good as the 2 rovers, Opportunity and Spirit…

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/

    Lots of pictures, most every day. It’s good stuff.

  106. noaaprogrammer says:

    A lot bigger rocks than what was photographed on Mars ‘mysteriously’ roll around deserts in the U.S. Southwest. Most likely wind, if not crop-circle pranksters.

  107. Gunga Din says:

    I think we should name it “Marvin”.
    (Just keep it away from Curiosity’s the illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator!)

  108. @Q. Daniels
    Thanks for photo source. Why not from Curiosity NASA??

  109. Oh , I see why – never mind…

  110. Adam says:

    This is why we need to put people on Mars. Let’s start with the entire current US Administration and work our way down the list.

  111. Patrick says:

    “Crispin in Waterloo says:

    January 31, 2014 at 3:12 pm”

    Doubling the atmosphere on Mars will do little to change anything. Earth is at 1bar, ~15PSI at sea level. Mars is ~0.6% of that.

  112. Geoff Sherrington says:

    If you are a person such as a geologist who has looked at stereo pair photographs, you might know of the method to ‘cross the eyes’ so one eye looks at each image. This caused an overlay type of image to appear in the middle. If you do this exercise on the photos above, you will see quite a number of changes. They appear as ‘floating’ parts of the composite, or blurry parts that seems to oscillate just a little.
    In this case, quite a lot is due to shadow, presumably resulting from a different sun angle and azimuth.
    A third image would help to clarify the interpretation of the terrain.
    In the meantime, if you are not used to image interpretation, you might need to be a bit respectful and wary of making amateur interpretations. (I’m not an expert.)

  113. Kitefreak says:

    wayne says:
    January 31, 2014 at 11:20 am
    It’s a booger from one of these….
    ——————
    Man that was so funny – I’m still grinning.

    By a strange cosmic coincidence I’m about to go and press me some doughnut shaped paper and sawdust briquettes for the stove…

  114. kat says:

    I forwarded this on to an acquaintance, when I came across it in one of our national newspapers. This acquaintance states she regularly gets abducted by other life forms and taken to other planets. I asked her if she knew who or what it was. As of yet, no reply…

    Shame.

  115. wayne says:

    Kitefreak, I just had to toss that one out there. My dear friend in advertising in Germany sends me some of the most outlandish, hilarious ads regularly… as you can tell.

  116. jakee308 says:

    The truth is out there.

  117. Mr Green Genes says:

    I really don’t know what you’re all on about. They’re not even on Mars. There’s an extremely accurate documentary called Capricorn One which tells the full, true story about so-called “Missions to Mars”. Why, to add to the honesty of the whole thing, it called upon the unimpeachable O. J. Simpson to play a prominent role.

    Get a grip, please.

  118. GregM says:

    It´s a landmine. Dud, obviously.

  119. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Oh well, at least things are going better for Opportunity than they did for Spirit.

    http://xkcd.com/695/
    (Have a hanky ready before clicking on link…)

  120. I have the “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster on the wall in my basement.

    It’s a good thing that many people closely examine Martian photos. They do discover something interesting, once in a while. I feel some affinity toward Dr. Joseph’s desperate desire to find life on Mars, however whacky is his lawsuit. Besides, most of the jokers here on WUWT did not suggest any plausible explanation of the fact that two photos in question are, indeed, drastically different.

    I know, why. Anyone who spent some time as a child in early spring, walking around rocky lake banks in Siberia, would almost instantly recognize, what it is. All it takes is some amount of moisture in the crumbly ground — and a substantial change of temperature, diurnal and/or seasonal (in this particular case, the second photo was taken in much colder conditions).

    If there is some subsoil moisture or frost, pieces of rock can pop up overnight, whole patches of the ground can sink in a few days, network patterns resembling ancient Scandinavian runes can appear on the gravel. Weird things appear and strange sounds are heard on the barren rocky wastes some sunny days in early March.

  121. bruce says:

    “for embracing unorthodox mechanisms”

    Yeah that can be dangerous I hear.

  122. GregK says:

    The obvious solution is to contact John Carter and Dejah Thoris and ask them to check it

  123. richardscourtney says:

    Alexander Feht:

    Thankyou for your interesting post at February 1, 2014 at 3:31 am in which you say

    If there is some subsoil moisture or frost, pieces of rock can pop up overnight, whole patches of the ground can sink in a few days, network patterns resembling ancient Scandinavian runes can appear on the gravel.

    There certainly is “frost” on Mars: it is ‘dry ice’ (i.e. frozen CO2).

    The ‘dry ice’ freezes on the winter polar region and sublimes in the Spring. Thus, the polar ‘dry ice’ cap switches between the two poles throughout the year.

    So, freezing and sublimation of ‘dry ice’ is an (almost?) continuous process on Mars. Hence, your suggestion seems reasonable and some simple sums would check its possibility.

    CO2 sublimes at temperatures above −78.5 °C and has a density of 1562 kg/m^3 at 1 atm pressure. Its volume at 1 atm and 0 °C is 1.977 kg/m3.

    So, assuming CO2 is a perfect gas, it changes its volume by a factor of nearly 2 when it changes state between solid and gas.

    Thankyou, you have convinced me.

    Richard

  124. philjourdan says:

    @Zeke – It was indeed as if it was written yesterday. I was reminding myself to search for his entire article! Thanks for the information.

  125. David Elyk says:

    I for one welcome our new Rock Overlords…

  126. Jeff Alberts says:

    David in Texas says:
    January 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

    “Anyone who’s ever driven a vehicle down a gravel road knows that rocks get dislodged by the tires and may move a foot or two.”

    The rover has a top speed of 5 centimeters per second (~0.1 mph). Yes, it possible that on a steep slope the rover could dislodge something that could then roll into place, but the rover is programmed to avoid steep slopes.

    It didn’t have to be dislodged by speed or force of impact, it could have merely gotten stuck to a wheel and then fallen off during another rotation.

  127. Eamon Butler. says:

    Moving rocks on Mars? How much more proof do we need for CAGW?

  128. rogerknights says:

    Weird things appear and strange sounds are heard on the barren rocky wastes some sunny days in early March.

    sounds like a line cut from “The Ballad of Sam McGee.”

    It didn’t have to be dislodged by speed or force of impact, it could have merely gotten stuck to a wheel and then fallen off during another rotation.

    rogerknights says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:14 am
    One puzzling aspect of the rock photo, from the tiny bit I’ve read, is that the rover hadn’t moved between those two photos. But still, it could have been stuck atop a wheel and fallen after a wait.

  129. richardscourtney says:

    rogerknights:

    You may be right in your judgement that the stone possibly fell from the wheel, but I am convinced by the explanation provided by Alexander Feht at February 1, 2014 at 3:31 am.

    He suggests that the stone was dislodged by change of state of “frost”, and he cites an analogue of water changing state on Earth.

    On Mars the “frost” is solid CO2 and it sublimes to gas which freezes to solid all the time. The gas is bigger than the solid so compressed gas can be formed in underground near-surface pockets. If a pocket bursts then it may throw a stone (as a child’s pop-gun throws a cork).

    Importantly, such sublimation and freezing would have other effects on surface morphology, too. And – even when allowing for different illuminations – the two images do seem to show several such differences in surface morphology. But the stone falling from the wheel would not induce such differences

    Hence, the little evidence and the arguments provided in the thread lead me to the conclusion that the explanation provided by Alexander Feht is probably the right one.

    Richard

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