The two faces of JE Brandenburg


Brandenburg is a physicist who submitted a paper to the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference a few years ago. It’s way outside my area of expertise, but it postulated an interesting scenario from the ratios of rare isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars: that there was evidence of a natural nuclear reactor, like Oklo on Earth, that had exploded over 180 million years ago. He makes a good case, at least to this biologist’s eyes, and it seems reasonable.

Natural Nuclear Reactors formed and operated on Earth, there is no reason this could not have happened on Mars. Conditions on Mars: lack of plate tectonics, and nearness to the asteroid belt, may have favored such occurrences in larger size and duration than on Earth. Changes in groundwater distribution, due to either climate change of loss of geothermal heat, may have triggered this event. The occurrence of such a large natural reactor may explain some puzzling aspects of Mars data, such as the superabundance of K and Th on the surface and the large inventory of radiogenic isotopes in the Mars atmosphere.

See? An interesting hypothesis backed by a rational analysis of the evidence. He also has some estimates of the size of the natural reactor, about 0.14 cubic kilometers, which sounds feasible, yet is sufficient to cause a planetary catastrophe. That’s how Brandenburg talked to his fellow physicists, I guess.

That was in 2011. Now, in 2014, his story has metastasized. In a presentation to the APS, he proposes now that the isotope ratios indicate that there was a nuclear war fought on Mars.

Analysis of recent Mars isotopic, gamma ray, and imaging data supports the hypothesis that perhaps two immense thermonuclear explosions occurred on Mars in the distant past and these explosions were targeted on sites of previously reported artifacts. Analysis rules out large unstable “natural nuclear reactors” [1], instead, data is consistent with mixed fusion-fission explosions [2]. Imagery at the radioactive centers of the explosions shows no craters, consistent with “airbursts.” Explosions appear correlated with the sites of reported artifacts at Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos [3], Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites. Taken together, the data requires that the hypothesis of Mars as the site of an ancient planetary nuclear massacre, must now be considered. Fermi’s Paradox, the unexpected silence of the stars, may be solved at Mars. Providentially, we are forewarned of this possible aspect of the cosmos. The author therefore advocates that a human mission to Mars is mounted immediately to maximize knowledge of what occurred.\\[4pt] [1] J. E. Brandenburg “Evidence for a large Natural, Paleo- Nuclear Reactor on Mars” 42$^{nd}$ LPSC (2011).\\[0pt] [2] J.E. Brandenburg, “Anomalous Nuclear Events on Mars in the Past”, Mars Society Meeting (2014)\\[0pt] [3] J.E. Brandenburg, Vincent DiPietro, and Gregory Molenaar, (1991) “The Cydonian Hypothesis” Jou. of Sci. Exp., 5, 1, p1-25.

“Artifacts”? “Archeological objects”? What “artifacts”? He’s talking about the Face on Mars. Seriously, it’s 2014, and a physicist is still accepting that bit of pareidolia. There’s no more talk of natural reactors. Instead, he’s claiming the Face on Mars was targeted by an alien galactic civilization for nuking. Just the fact that he’s still arguing that a lumpy eroded hill looks kinda facelike at low resolution (it doesn’t in any of the subsequent clearer photos) as evidence of a humanoid civilization on Mars tells you he’s a kook.

martiannuclearsites

Brandenburg did an interview for Supreme Master TV (yeah, it’s some weird cult). It just gets crazier.

His story now is based on science fiction: he thinks there is a hostile alien civilization out there with plans to kill us all.

Given the large amount of nuclear isotopes in Mars atmosphere resembling those from hydrogen bomb tests on Earth, Mars may present an example of civilization wiped out by a nuclear attack from space, he wrote.

It is possible the Fermi Paradox means that our interstellar neighborhood contains forces hostile to young, noisy, civilizations such as ourselves, he added. Such hostile forces could range from things as alien as AI (Artificial Intelligence) ‘with a grudge’ against flesh and blood, as in the movie Terminator, all the way to things as sadly familiar to us as a mindless humanoid bureaucrat like Governor Tarkin in Star Wars, eager to destroy planet Alderann as an example to other worlds.

There. You know he’s not competent because he can’t even spell “Alderaan”.

And of course, the Daily Mail is happy to promote this crap. It’s hard to sink much lower than that. But he’s going to. He has announced that he’ll be publishing his story in the Journal of Cosmology. That’s right, this Journal of Cosmology. I don’t think you can dredge any deeper into the muck.

It’s depressing. He was a smart guy, now he’s just a screwball fruitbat.

Comments

  1. blf says

    In a sense he’s correct. The returning ancient Mayans from the starship Siding Spring have now landed on Mars and are constructing their base for the reinvasion of Earth. By now they are aware their plot to paralyze the current Earth “civilization” with a collapsing calendar didn’t work, probably because — and certainly to their amazement — the Earth now lacks any recognizable civilized society.

    Anyways, they have fearsome weapons of destruction (mass, precision, and “you don’t want to be in the same galaxy”), know where Atlantis is, and have the key that will unleash the mighty Phaistos Disc. Used improperly, like, unfortunately, the last time, the terraforming of Mars won’t quite produce the intended results. (Unless you like freezing cold deserts with mysterious petrified faces, itchy robotic landers, and no cheese, that is.)

  2. numerobis says

    blf, that’s the African Mayans who have telekinetic connections with the Dalai Lama, right?

  3. David Marjanović says

    Imagery at the radioactive centers of the explosions shows no craters, consistent with “airbursts.”

    Lack of evidence used as evidence! Now that’s sad.

  4. mykroft says

    Well, he went down the rabbit hole, didn’t he?

    I imagine this is how religions are born. Someone makes an observation about the universe, attaches it to some kind of intent (somebody must have done it), and before you know it they’ve constructed a complex, interlocking and unsupported set of ideas about that somebody. Then it just grows from there.. Lots of other smart people trying to figure out the interlocking ideas, and contribute their own. Eventually you have a much larger set of interlocking ideas, and the ideas have been around long enough to become tradition. All because of some (perhaps valid) observations, that became the foundation for socially accepted intellectual fairy castles.

  5. says

    This is well outside my field, too, but…

    You’d expect a “large inventory of radiogenic isotopes in the Mars atmosphere” since Mars has very little in the way of a magnetic field and a thin atmosphere so everything from cosmic rays to solar wind particles can hit Mars pretty much unimpeded. That’ll diddle the nuclei of a lot of atoms.

    Even if radiogenic isotopes are even more common than that could account for, there are still alternate explanations besides alien nukes or a prompt ciritical natural reactor. Large coronal mass ejections have hit Earth before – most recently in 1859. A largish one of those hitting a relatively unprotected Mars would really heat the place up, radiation-wise.

  6. karmacat says

    I don’t think any alien civilizations need to annihilate us. We are doing fine on our own

  7. HappyNat says

    Clearly he is off his rocker. In other news, I’ve been missing out on Supreme Master TV, then is much quackiness I have been missing. I better get caught up.

  8. blf says

    Is this the same JE Brandenburg who wrote Cosmic Jesus: The Metaphysics of How the God of Israel Became the God of the Cosmos:

    Physicist Brandenburg gives us an explanation of the Cosmic Jesus and the metaphysics of the Bible and what it says about the cosmos. Brandenburg reveals: the relationship between GEM theory (Gravity-Electricity-Magnetism) and Gematria; the importance of Israel being on the Silk Road; the Aquarian Nazareth; The Genesis Catastrophe; and The Revelation. He introduces the idea of a One God of Law who was master of all Physics and the Cosmos. … He shows how the Bible appears to contain a sophisticated mathematical allegory centered around Jesus and the fifth dimension of Kaluza-Klein and GEM theory that runs through millennia; in this allegory Jesus is the repairer of the effects of the collapse of the fifth dimension to subatomic size. …

  9. Al Dente says

    How does the Nemesis Star theory fit into this? 180 million years (age of the possible paleo-Martian natural reactor) divided by 27 million years (orbit of Nemesis) is 6.67 which is significant in a truly significant way. Nibiriu is coming! Atlantis was destroyed the last time that something or other happened. They (they being them) are keeping the truth of the impending apocalypse from the public. Fortunately we have reliable astronomical observers like Chicken Little to warn us that the sky is falling.

  10. Saad says

    “Imagery at the radioactive centers of the explosions shows no craters, consistent with “airbursts.””

    Imagery of my arm shows no broken bones, consistent with invincibility.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    A specialist in planetary geophysics writes;

    Okay, yes, natural nuclear reactors happened, it happened in Africa on Earth a long time ago. But there is NO evidence it happened on Mars. The Gamma Ray Spectrometer was designed to search for evidence of sub-surface hydrogen that is thought to be bound in water. Not search for nuclear blast sites. John cites several lines of “evidence” for his model that, honestly, are not evidence for anything he’s suggesting, but to get the whole story, of course you need to go buy his book.

  12. says

    If aliens wanted us gone I suspect we’d never know it. If they’re patient they could go for “gentle” bioweapons, designed to make humans sterile. Doing so avoids the massive damage using nukes, dropping asteroids on the Earth, or even using quickly lethal bioweapons would. An added advantage is that you’d get us to do some of the cleaning up of things like nuclear reactors, which would end up being shut down as the population decreased and the demand for electricity dropped.

  13. David Marjanović says

    the relationship between GEM theory (Gravity-Electricity-Magnetism) and Gematria

    I give up.

  14. AndrewD says

    David Marjanović @16, I suggest a trip to TET ZOO,where the discussion is about African Pouched Rats (large cuddly beasts) and you can recover your composure among sane people.

  15. says

    He obviously discovered he had to “go big” to get more attention. Next he can hook up with Jordan at Spirit Science (who thinks Jews came from Mars) and posit a Middle East link involving ISIS.

  16. twas brillig (stevem) says

    History Channel guy: “I’m not saying it was Aliens, but it was Aliens!”

    Brandenburg has been watching too much History Channel and bought into their meme that Aliens are bouncing all over the Solar System (and ours alone; donchanoe). Not realizing the History Channel went from documentaries to FICTION in a blink of an eye.
    “airbursts” – of course airbursts to create a massive EMP to wipe out all the Martian’s elektroeniks.
    .
    .
    .
    Is he serious? Or, is he just making up a fanciful “theory” to explain some anomalous data, with fingers crossed behind his back and tongue firmly planted in cheek??? I’m just too skeptical to believe a Scientist could spout such nonsense and actually believe it. My bad.

  17. Mobius says

    Ah. Now it all makes sense why when you look more closely at the “face” image it doesn’t look like a face at all. That is because it was hit by a nuke, eroding the image.

    Gotcha!

  18. Big Boppa says

    Laugh it up while you still can Earth scum. But when our supreme leader, Barack from the planet Kenyomuslimia gives the signal to commence you will be singing a different tune.

    Bwahahahahha

  19. Gregory Greenwood says

    Taken together, the data requires that the hypothesis of Mars as the site of an ancient planetary nuclear massacre, must now be considered. Fermi’s Paradox, the unexpected silence of the stars, may be solved at Mars. Providentially, we are forewarned of this possible aspect of the cosmos. The author therefore advocates that a human mission to Mars is mounted immediately to maximize knowledge of what occurred.

    Brandenburg quotes science fiction stories in his writings, but he clearly isn’t paying attention properly. What do science fiction films teach us about supposedly unexplained events on other planetary bodies? You never send a manned mission to investigate them.

    Never.

    And why – because that way lies face-hugging, acid-bleeding, alien parasites and all other kinds of nastiness, that might just be brought back here, that’s why.

    Lets just assume that Mars was bombed in an ancient nuclear war (suspension of disbelief drives spooling up, rationality functions disengaging in 3… 2…1), the question should be why was it bombed? What if it was in an attempt to get rid of something really, really nasty? Something that can survive eons dormant on a barren world, just waiting for a johhny-come-lately astronought to wake it up in best sci fi horror movie fashion? Huh? What about that? Do you want to turn the Earth into an all you can eat alien buffet, Brandenburg?

    If you are going to quote SF films in support of your loony arguments, at least follow through the pseudo-logic all the way to its conclusion.

    Why shouldn’t investigate Mars with a manned mission (and also should never, ever trust any kind of corporate sponsorship or anyone in a suit), because Alien(s). See how easy that is?

    ————————————————————————————————————————————

    This post contains a health warning for high concentrations of sarcasm. Always read the label.

  20. komarov says

    Nuclear weapons seem to be just about the worst way to wipe out a species on another world. You’ve gone through all the trouble to journey across the galaxy using sod knows what and now you’re going to scrounge around for the right isotopes to build a fission bomb? I suppose you could get lucky if you happen to routinely carry that sort of material – maybe a waste product of whatever device you use to get around. But still, to someone so advanced fission bombs would probably be a huge step back, like your great-to-the-nth-grandfather’s bone club.

    Some fun ways to wipe out civilisations (or at least seriously inconvenience them), in no particular order:

    1) Melt the ice caps (if they haven’t beaten you to it). Do it quickly and watch hell break loose.

    2) Create hurricanes or other extreme weather events, or simply pump some extra energy into existing ones.

    3) In the same vein, just vaporise seawater. Lots of it. It’ll come down somewhere and create a lot of trouble in the process.

    4) If you like radioactivity, dump it in their oceans, their drinking water. Exploding it is a bonus. Just watch radiation spread everywhere and poison everything.

    5) Remove the ozone layer (or convince them to do it for you)

    6) Add greenhouse gases to their atmosphere or have them do it for you.

    7) Modify the planet’s albedo by adding aerosols. For budget-concious invaders we recommend poking volcanoes that are getting ready to blow their top. If you prefer cold over heat, this is the global catastrophy for you. Just don’t get too close to that volcano.

    8) Carpet-bombing with conventional explosives. If you think nukes are good enough then so is this. This might appeal to those people who enjoy the frequent and indiscriminate application of raw military power.

    9) Fusion bombs. One-upmanship is not necessarily a human trait.

    10) Anti-matter bombs. See previous.

    11) One gigantic free-for-all meelee fight, at least according to Mel Gibson and the movie Signs if memory serves.

    12) Asteroids *yawn*.

    13) De-orbit the moon, if present. Basically an asteroid for people in a rush. Good for a thorough cleansing of the surface.

    14) If you feel that throwing asteroids at people is somehow vulgar or immature, slingshot a planet past the target. The bigger the planet and the closer it gets the better. While we’re not entirely sure what will happen – no two encounters are the same – we can guarantee you that nobody likes a wobbly planet and will soon die out, either out of protest or because of a whole slew of ‘environmental problems’ squashing them.

    15) Nudge their planet into a different orbit or mess with the axial tilt. No long-established biosphere will like that, even if it’s just a small change. Life may go on but civilisation won’t. Bound to happen when implementing (14).

    16) Melt a continent. Thanks to the miracle of collateral damage you probably don’t have to melt all of it and certainly not all of the continents. Any means to continuously deposit energy should do the trick, so this is a very flexible method with excellent results. Great for kids: here’s a canvas, how about some “finger”-painting? Remember to take a picture afterwards. Most refrigerator doors don’t accomdate ruined worlds.

    17) Biological weapons have already been mentioned. May allow you to keep most of the planet intact but does require a good understanding of the local biosphere. But for all I know those might be a bit samey and are easy to figure out once you’ve done it on your own world.

    18) Introduce a new species able to push out the locals. From experience a single facehugger is usually enough to get the process started. Of course there is also the 99.5 % chance that it will get loose on your own ship, thus ending your galactic killing spree – and starting its own. Other variants include rabbit-like creatures and insects to destroy crops. [Caution: Do not apply facehugger to rabbit, the result is surprisingly vicious.]

    19) Replace their public and military key figures with imposters to steer them towards destruction.

    20) Make them think you have replaced their public and military key figures with imposters to steer them towards destruction.

    21) Make their public and military key figures think you have replaced the population with imposters that must be destroyed. Hilarious in combination with (20).

    22) Time, lots. Or not so much, as the case may be.

    23) Use your technology to encourage the founding of a few religions. Little effort is needed; the clergy will probably figure out by themselves that unbelievers and rational inquiry should be strongly discouraged.

    24) Hover over one of their larger cities and watch as panic unfolds. Repeat as necessary. For best results torch cities at random. Won’t give you complete annihilation but it’s a good and low-cost way to get started.

    25) Scramble global communications and / or mess up whatver type of economy they have. Works particularly well on species that have mastered global destruction and not much else.

    26) Stellar fusion is said to be a delicate process. Find out just how delicate – for science!

    26b) If you find yourself low on fuel after your long journey just steal all the hydrogen from their sun. Clearly they weren’t using it or they would have put locks on their sun.

    So there are plenty of options with varying degrees of destruction, to be tailored to your needs, your sadistic plesure and, most importantly, your budget and timetable. Certainly you could irradiate entire planets but why bother when there are so many ways that look entirely natural and could never be traced back to you?

  21. Gregory Greenwood says

    komarov @ 27;

    You forgot 27) By one means or another, covertly provide human power blocs with advanced technology, then simply sit back at a safe distance and wait – given the way our species behaves, that new clean source of unlimited energy/omni-effective disease defeating super drug/nano-doohickie will be weaponised in all of five minutes, and we will proceed to slaughter one another in our billions at the first opportunity. Especially useful when combined with 19, 20, 21 (because paranoia mixes so well with WMDs) and in particular with 23 – there is just no war like a holy war, afterall…

  22. Usernames! ☞ ♭ says

    What if it was in an attempt to get rid of something really, really nasty? Something that can survive eons dormant on a barren world, just waiting for a johhny-come-lately astronought to wake it up in best sci fi horror movie fashion? Huh? What about that?
    — Gregory Greenwood (#26)

    Okay, whatever you do DON’T BACK INTO THE RANSACKED LAB BY YOURSELF. You know, when half your team is dead, and you need to get the X25 serum or whatever so you can rejuvenate your cyborg pilot and blast off that rock.

    I’m gonna be screaming, “turn around, stupid!” and you’re STILL going to back into the lab and right into the whatever-it-is.

    Oh, and then you’re gonna scream—as if anyone is going to come help you. No, you are now Alien Chow™.

    That’s what you get.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    Usernames! ☞ ♭
    I sat there watching Children of the Corn muttering,
    “Don’t get out of the car. For fucksake stay in the car.”

  24. Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending says

    Zeno #19

    … posit a Middle East link involving ISIS.

    Or Isis, as the case may be.

    And I must protest this posting and the entire thread on the grounds that espresso in the sinuses is really painful. In future, I want a large WARNING! Something like, “May be deleterious to sensitive sinuses.”

  25. cubist says

    If you’ve got the tech to go joyriding between stars, you’ve got the tech to just fucking vaporize any planet.

    Step one: Mount a spare star-drive on a convenient million-ton asteroid.

    Step two: Crank that puppy up to just this side of lightspeed, along a trajectory that intersects the offending planet.

    Step three: Sit back and let the inevitable release of kinetic energy, from the inevitable impact, work its inevitable magic.

    I don’t care what planet you’re firing at; a stardrive-equipped asteroid will reduce that target to an expanding cloud of fragments, end of discussion.

  26. unclefrogy says

    #33 absofuckinglutlly!
    this thread brings up something that I can no longer follow. That is this idea of we are going to be invaded by some aliens from outer space. I mean with what we know there is nothing here saving our particular biosphere and some other inhabited world off in the mind numbing vastness of space that is not present in abundance in between here and there and probably in many cases much easier to get to. This invasion paranoia is just projection from out of our all to human and war filled past. It fulfills the function of all paranoid beliefs it makes us seem important when in fact we are insignificant (“mostly harmless”)
    uncle frogy

  27. chrislawson says

    Frankly, if an alien civilisation with interstellar travel tech decides to take over Earth, there’s not a heck of lot we’ll be able to do to stop it.

  28. Amphiox says

    If you’ve got the technology to contemplate interstellar travel on the scale of moving armies around, at least 80% of the regular, run-of-the-mill technology you’d need to just make the trip can be converted into weapons of planetary-scale mass destruction with minimal modification or effort.

    Using fission nukes would be akin to sailing to Hawaii in the USS Ronald Reagan and then engaging the local ants in battle with sewing needles.

  29. Amphiox says

    f you’ve got the tech to go joyriding between stars, you’ve got the tech to just fucking vaporize any planet.
    Step one: Mount a spare star-drive on a convenient million-ton asteroid.
    Step two: Crank that puppy up to just this side of lightspeed, along a trajectory that intersects the offending planet.
    Step three: Sit back and let the inevitable release of kinetic energy, from the inevitable impact, work its inevitable magic.
    I don’t care what planet you’re firing at; a stardrive-equipped asteroid will reduce that target to an expanding cloud of fragments, end of discussion.

    Who needs to bother with an asteroid? Just take a handful of your own older, obsolete starships, set them an autopilot, and launch.

  30. Amphiox says

    Frankly, if an alien civilisation with interstellar travel tech decides to take over Earth, there’s not a heck of lot we’ll be able to do to stop it.

    Pretty much our only hope is that they have environmentalists/conservationists among them who come to regard us as charismatic fauna…

  31. blf says

    I must protest this posting and the entire thread on the grounds that espresso in the sinuses is really painful.

    It was quite stressful and unpleasant for the espresso, too.

  32. blgmnts says

    @26 Gregory Greenwood
    The longer I look at the Mars Face, the less it looks like a face…

    It looks like…

    I think it looks like a warning…

  33. saganite says

    @k_machine
    Yeah, I’m not too worried about another mission to Cydonia, really. Unless the Deep Ones are awakened by a beam from Mars hitting our oceans, I think we’ll be fine.

  34. birgerjohansson says

    “Jews came from Mars”
    Obviously. And the Hungarians came from Alpha Centauri, judging by their language.
    — — — —

    “I think it looks like a warning…”
    Of course. Where do you thinl Ridley Scott got the idea?

  35. komarov says

    Well, I would never claim my list was in any way complete. Our little civilisation seems so brittle it’s a miracle we’re still here. A little temperature rise here, some sea water there and our carefully aggregated* little economic system goes belly up. Of course a significant proportion of the human population may well argue it has already done that and that it never swam straight in the first place.

    If the total destruction of all life is incidental, you could indeed focus on your own economic gains. Strip-mine the planet and ignore the locals. Resistance is bound to be futile and anyone foolish enough to wander into your mining site will wind up a trace impurity to be smelted out. If you encounter citybuilders that’s even better. They will have spent centuries digging up all sorts of useful elements, pre-concentrating everything for your convenience.
    Of course it probably won’t be a significant part of the total planetary resource pool but it’s a good way to quickly cover the initial cost of establishing your operation. Economists always eat their desert first.

    *Counter-creationist argument #38432: The economic system is complex enough to leave serious scholars seriously puzzled yet no-one would ever design such a crappy thing. By which I mean to say, yay capitalism.

    Re #30:
    No, I never was too happy with the nuclear option in Aliens. Too local. Given what these things do, just nuking the site would be insufficient guarantee of having killed all the aliens. Nuke the main hive, fine. But then quarantine the planet and schedule it for demolition.
    Those aliens clearly were a lot smarter than humans and didn’t take long to figure out human tools either. It’s almost surprising they didn’t start making their own tools en masse as soon as they had finished with the colonists. They’d probably have made it all the way to the atomic era themselves by the time Ripley and the marines arrived. The dropship might have been shot down by a facehugger-piloted Triplane, not least because the human pilot would have been completely stumped by what’s going on. “I did not see that coming” may not be famous but instead rather common last words.

  36. David Marjanović says

    I suggest a trip to TET ZOO

    I go there every day. :-| My composure is not in danger; I was trying to say this was the least believable case of numerology-like pattern recognition I had ever encountered.

    Brandenburg quotes science fiction stories in his writings, but he clearly isn’t paying attention properly. What do science fiction films teach us about supposedly unexplained events on other planetary bodies? You never send a manned mission to investigate them.

    Never.

    Unless maybe if you’ve got redshirts to spare.

    13) De-orbit the moon, if present. Basically an asteroid for people in a rush. Good for a thorough cleansing of the surface.

    Surface? What surface? The impact of something the size of our moon rearranges the upper mantle at minimum.

    Mars, though, only has tiny moons that are going to drop anyway, leaving nice elliptical craters on the surface.

    Step two: Crank that puppy up to just this side of lightspeed, along a trajectory that intersects the offending planet.

    A few permil of lightspeed would be enough for the effect you describe. Getting actually close to lightspeed would leave something more like a tiny black hole that promptly bathes the system in Hawking radiation.

    Obviously. And the Hungarians came from Alpha Centauri, judging by their language.

    “Where do we come from?
    And why do some of us
    speak Basque?”
    – Headline in New Scientist long, long ago.

  37. davidnangle says

    “Mad… haha! They said I was MAD!! I’ll show them… and they’ll be SORRY!!”

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    Usernames! ☞ ♭ @ 29;

    The number of movies where the plot only works because most (if not all) of the characters are consistently and awe inspiringly stupid is great indeed. They never show even the most basic awareness of their surroundings, comprehension of risk factors, or ability to properly prioritise goals and objectives. It is a bit like watching an alien killing machine/supernatural monster/*insert favoured horror movie villain* munch its way through creationists – the faculty for rational thought on display is comparable, and the monster is always the smartest entity in the room.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    blgmnts @ 42;

    The longer I look at the Mars Face, the less it looks like a face…

    It looks like…

    I think it looks like a warning…

    *Channels Ash*

    What’s the point (of warning the astronoughts)? By the time we can get a message to the landing team, they will know if it’s a warning, yes?

    */Ash*

    Seriously, was there ever a more feeble excuse not to warn someone of potential face-hugging unpleasantness?

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    David Marjanović @ 46;

    Unless maybe if you’ve got redshirts to spare.

    Good point – everyone says that Star Trek depicts a utopian, post-scarcity future civilisation, but I’m not convinced. I’m sure Kirk and the other senior officers send redshirts down to unexplored planets just so that they can place bets on exactly how, when and in what order they are going to cop it.

    It does make one wonder about Starfleet recruitment campaigns though. How exactly do you spin it to make the prospect attractive?

    “Join Starfleet, see the Alpha Quadrant! Be the best starfarer you can be! (Disclaimer:- there is a 99.5% chance that you will die horribly and pointlessly on your first away mission. Error margin is 0.5%)”

    That sounds like a hard sell, no matter how small the print is…

  39. Ichthyic says

    , but to get the whole story, of course you need to go buy his book.

    yeah, I’m thinking this is his retirement plan.

    which kind of book would sell more copies? A treatise on his work as a physicist, or “Mars Attacks”?

    crazy, or crazy like a fox?

  40. mykroft says

    Who needs to bother with an asteroid? Just take a handful of your own older, obsolete starships, set them an autopilot, and launch.

    Worked against the dinosaurs on Doctor Who.

  41. Ichthyic says

    Mars, though, only has tiny moons that are going to drop anyway, leaving nice elliptical craters on the surface.

    Oh sure, NOW it only has tiny moonlets…

  42. Ichthyic says

    …I’m announcing my new book in competition with Brandenburg’s utter nonsense:

    “Mars civilization, WIped Out: A treatise on the utilization of ancient Mars moons by invading aliens from Andromeda.”

  43. jimmyfromchicago says

    Now all Brandenburg needs are some deeply insecure actors, and he can start his own religion.

  44. says

    komarov #45

    Those aliens clearly were a lot smarter than humans and didn’t take long to figure out human tools either. It’s almost surprising they didn’t start making their own tools en masse as soon as they had finished with the colonists.

    I completely disagree. The aliens were clearly boom/bust r-strategists. Their population balloons whenever there’s viable prey around and when resources grow scarce, the adults die out and the eggs lay dormant.

    There’s no particular pressure to make them smarter or to develop tool use in anything but the most immediate sense. They can’t reproduce without other species, so there’s no room for technological society until they develop animal husbandry. They could only reach that development if they had a ready food supply that didn’t run out, despite unlimited reproduction for several generations.

    In other words, I don’t think there’s any likely scenario that would allow them to develop a tool-using civilization. There’s simply no selection pressure for them to do so. They’re doing fine as it is. I do agree that nuking one site would be useless. You never know if there’s an egg lying somewhere, ready to re-grow the species. You’d have to do a planet-wide cleanse.

  45. Amphiox says

    …I’m announcing my new book in competition with Brandenburg’s utter nonsense:
    “Mars civilization, WIped Out: A treatise on the utilization of ancient Mars moons by invading aliens from Andromeda.”

    Naturally, this explains the giant crater basin that takes up almost the entirety of Mars’ northern hemisphere….

    It does make one wonder about Starfleet recruitment campaigns though. How exactly do you spin it to make the prospect attractive?
    “Join Starfleet, see the Alpha Quadrant! Be the best starfarer you can be! (Disclaimer:- there is a 99.5% chance that you will die horribly and pointlessly on your first away mission. Error margin is 0.5%)”
    That sounds like a hard sell, no matter how small the print is…

    The only way I can see to make this work is if all the redshirts have a backup stored in the transporter buffer.

    No, I never was too happy with the nuclear option in Aliens. Too local. Given what these things do, just nuking the site would be insufficient guarantee of having killed all the aliens.

    Nuking the site from orbit pretty much guarantees that you CAN’T be sure. You scramble the local surface features in an entirely unpredictable manner, collapsing much of the subterranean infrastructure, making it nigh impossible for ground teams to properly explore and clear the area, plus you irradiate the atmosphere, interfering with orbital sensors…

  46. Ichthyic says

    Naturally, this explains the giant crater basin that takes up almost the entirety of Mars’ northern hemisphere….

    Of course!

    *makes note to add addendum to book*

  47. says

    One thing odd about threads like this is that they never seem to attract the crank squad. Post anything vaguely connected to feminism or libertarianism, and soon the apologists and true believers will show up. Yet we generally don’t see an influx of “You’re a stupid mainstream scientist helping to conceal THE TRUTH for them!” types.

  48. Ichthyic says

    One thing odd about threads like this is that they never seem to attract the crank squad.

    hmm, the thread about the Aquatic Ape hypothesis comes to mind as a counter to your observation.

  49. komarov says

    LykeX, #56:
    I gladly concede to your argument. My mistake was to subconciously assume the aliens were expecting a fresh batch of humans to arrive, and soon. Of course they would have no idea of this.
    On tool-use, they have shown a knack for sabotaging just the right systems to server their ends, going beyond simple instinct to, for example, smash the metal box that’s hurting them. They are very quick – more so than most animals – to figure out what certain pieces of human tech do and how to deal with them. So the potential is certainly there.

    I also wonder sometimes – just a little – what is to stop them from using their own as hosts. They form hives and have no compunctions about sacrificing drones to achieve their goals. Unlike your typical parasite, a mature drone is large enough to accomodate the growing offspring, so this might be a good means to replace ageing drones with younger specimen.
    There would inevitably be a slow population decline as drones are killed before they are implaneted with their replacements, not to mention food scarcity although the aliens don’t seem to require much in the way of that at all. Still, it might stretch the active period of a hive out just a little longer, buying time until foraging drones find a new supply of hosts and nourishment.* At the very least, injured drones could be dragged back to the hive and implanted.

    Of course, if they prioritise eggs over having a large active drone population, as they probably would, the queen could live off the drones to stay alive and produce more eggs. The optimum scenario would probably consist of the queen and some drones surviving by eating the others. The remaining drones serve as a food supply further down the road. In the meantime they can carry eggs off and hide them in any odd cave or crevice they can find, the further away the better. The hive thus lives on through the eggs as before but also maximises the odds of some suitable creature having a run-in with one of those eggs.

    *Assuming there is anything to find, but the aliens wouldn’t know either way, would they?

    Regarding the Redshirts:
    I believe you should simply advertise the potential for quick advancement. I think that will be what people would be looking for the most, at least the sort of people who’d willingly sign up for the Redshirts. Just a couple of missions and you’ll go right to the top, guaranteed. No matter your skills and competence, if* your superior gets killed the next senior Redshirt gets the job. No questions asked.

    *When.

    Timgueguen, #60
    Perhaps not all proverbial moths are drawn to the flame. (#notallmoths, anyone?). Alternatively this may simply be the wrong alien conspiracy based on Mars. Give it some more time to rattle around the internet and gain support and see what happens then. That’s probably more likely explanation.

  50. genotypical says

    Fruit-eating bats are delightful and sensible creatures–please do not insult them by comparing them to this fruitloop!

  51. shadow says

    @25: Big Boppa:

    …you’ll be singing a different tune

    I vote for “Who’s next?”

  52. Dark Jaguar says

    Did he take Mercury in the past few years or something? What happened to this guy?