Monday, March 22, 2010

Phobos Imaged by HiRise

HiRISE acquired two dramatic views of the Martian moon, Phobos, on 23 March 2008. Observation PSP_007769_9010, acquired at a distance of 6,800 kilometers from Phobos, provides surface detail at 6.8 m/pixel scale and a object diameter of about 3,200 pixels. The second observation, PSP_007769_9015 providing a closer look at 5,800 km, views the surface at slightly more detail (5.8 m/pixel with an object diameter of about 4,000 pixels).

The two images were taken within 10 minutes of each other and show roughly the same features, but from a different angle so that they can be combined to yield a stereo view. (Watch a short clip of both observations: 204KB, QuickTime.)

The illuminated part of Phobos visible in the images is about 21 km across. Images from previous spacecraft have been of smaller pixel scale (for example, Mars Global Surveyor got data at 4 m/pixel, because this spacecraft came closer to Phobos), but the HiRISE images have greater signal-to-noise, making the new data some of the best ever for Phobos.

The most prominent feature in the images is the large impact crater Stickney, in the lower right. With a diameter of 9 km, it is the largest feature on Phobos. A series of grooves and crater chains is obvious on the other parts of the moon. Although many appear radial to Stickney in the images, previous studies show that the grooves radiate from a different point on Phobos. Hypotheses for their formation vary. Some scientists believe the grooves and crater chains are related to the formation of Stickney, whereas others think they may have formed from ejecta from impacts on Mars that later collided with Phobos. The lineated textures on the walls of Stickney and other large craters are landslides formed from materials falling into the crater interiors in the weak Phobos gravity (less than 1/1000th the gravity on Earth)

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Here (below) are the "global" coordinates and orbital vector for this ESA Phobos image -- as prepared by Enterprise Associate, Greg Ahrens ....

An extraordinary, geometric, clearly artificial, fractured 3-D surface ... lying just beneath the veneer of "battered, ancient asteroid stuff" that Phobos presents from most other viewing angles -- all now stunningly revealed (below) ... in this high-resolution Mars Express Phobos "face-on" image!

So ... what are these obvious (see below) "grooves of Phobos?"

This fascinating mystery ... evident in the Viking images (above) as "a series of obvious, long, narrow and mysteriously-straight striations ..." -- running parallel across almost the entire visible width of this ~15-mile-wide moon -- was eventually interpreted by NASA as merely "crater-chains of secondary meteor impacts ... caused by Phobos intersecting [running into] such meteor streams ... blasted-out across Phobos' orbit ... as fragments from primary asteroid or comet impacts down on Mars' surface ...."

Now, from this latest Mars Express ultra-high-resolution imaging ( below) -- the REAL cause of these mysterious "grooves on Phobos" is readily, geometrically apparent--

Phobos -- as a clearly "artificial moon"--

"Is literally ... Coming Apart at the Seams!"

Because of the increasing, shearing gravitational forces -- caused by its slow "death spiral" into Mars--

Because of the inevitable--

"Tides ... of Mars."

So yes, what you are staring at (probably, in shock at this point ...) is, in fact ... nothing less than what we've been saying all along ... since trying to educate the first Bush Administration on this data, in 1989 (see below):

That Phobos is, in fact--

An "ancient ... ex terrestrial ... very battered ... 15-mile-long"--


Exactly like ... "Yonada."

Which now (according to our European sources -- backed up by the actual Mars Express data itself, which you will see more of - below) ESA is about to officially ... publicly announce!

Possibly -- even before President Obama's up-coming ... suddenly-called ... STILL super-secret "Space Summit"--

Which is scheduled to take place, within a few days, at the Kennedy Space Center -- personally hosted by the President of the United States of America -- in the middle of an on-going shuttle mission--


Which, turns out to be ... the 33rd Space Shuttle Mission ... to the Space Station ("ISS").

Can you say "the Fix is in" ... for "something?"

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bush Monkey Portrait - Chris Savido 2004

Chris Savido (born Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania) is an American artist whose acrylic portrait of George W. Bush composed of monkeys created controversy when the managers of Chelsea Market closed down the "ANIMAL'S PARADISE" art exhibition[1] there because of it. It was later auctioned on eBay. There was debate over whether the closing of the show constituted censorship. Supporters of the managers claimed that Chelsea Market was private, and thus management had a right to exclude the painting, while supporters of Savido "[looked] into the degree to which the Chelsea Market walkways are legally definable as 'public space,' and, as such, fully protected by the First Amendment."[1] Anonymous donors later paid for a digital billboard over the Holland Tunnel to show a detail of the painting.[citation needed]

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New York Art Shuttered After Bush Monkey Portrait
by Larry Fine

NEW YORK - A portrait of President Bush using monkeys to form his image led to the closure of a New York art exhibition over the weekend and anguished protests on Monday over freedom of expression.

Twenty-three-year-old painter Christopher Savido poses with his painting 'Bush Monkeys,' a portrait of President Bush, at the Animal gallery on New York City's Lower East Side, December 13, 2004. The portrait of Bush using monkeys to form his image led to the closure of a New York art exhibition over the weekend and anguished protests on Monday over freedom of expression. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
"Bush Monkeys," a small acrylic on canvas by Chris Savido, created the stir at the Chelsea Market public space, leading the market's managers to close down the 60-piece show that was scheduled to stay up for the next month.

The show featured art from the upcoming issue of Animal Magazine, a quarterly publication featuring emerging artists.

"We had tons of people, like more than 2,000 people show up for the opening on Thursday night," said show organizer Bucky Turco. "Then this manager saw the piece and the guy just kind of flipped out. 'The show is over. Get this work down or I'm gonna arrest you,' he said. It's been kind of wild."

Turco took the show down on Saturday and moved the art work to his small downtown Animal Gallery. Calls to the management of Chelsea Market for comment were not returned.

From afar, the painting offers a likeness of Bush, but when you get closer you see the image is made up of chimpanzees or monkeys swimming in a marsh.

Savido, 23, said he was surprised by the strong reaction to his painting, listed in the catalog at $3,500.

"It seems like people got a kick out of it," Savido said. "When they really see it, they almost do a double-take. I like to get a reaction from people."

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-bred artist said he was happy for all the attention paid to his work but said the decision to shutter the exhibit was "a blatant act of censorship."

Savido plans to auction the painting and donate proceeds to an organization dedicated to freedom of expression.

"This is much deeper than art. This is fundamental American rights, freedom of speech," Savido said. "To see that something like this can happen, especially in a place like New York City is mind boggling and scary."

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Voynich manuscript

The overall impression given by the surviving leaves of the manuscript suggests that it was meant to serve as a pharmacopoeia or to address topics in medieval or early modern medicine. However, the puzzling details of illustrations have fueled many theories about the book's origins, the contents of its text, and the purpose for which it was intended. Here are only a few of them:

    Herbal - The first section of the book is almost certainly an herbal, but attempts to identify the plants, either with actual specimens or with the stylized drawings of contemporary herbals, have largely failed. Only a couple of plants (including a wild pansy and the maidenhair fern) can be identified with some certainty. Those "herbal" pictures that match "pharmacological" sketches appear to be "clean copies" of these, except that missing parts were completed with improbable-looking details. In fact, many of the plants seem to be composite: the roots of one species have been fastened to the leaves of another, with flowers from a third.

    Sunflowers - Brumbaugh believed that one illustration depicted a New World sunflower, which would help date the manuscript and open up intriguing possibilities for its origin. However, the resemblance is slight, especially when compared to the original wild species; and, since the scale of the drawing is not known, the plant could be many other members of the same family - which includes the common daisy, chamomile, and many other species from all over the world.

    Alchemy - The basins and tubes in the "biological" section may seem to indicate a connection to alchemy, which would also be relevant if the book contained instructions on the preparation of medical compounds. However, alchemical books of the period share a common pictorial language, where processes and materials are represented by specific images (eagle, toad, man in tomb, couple in bed, etc.) or standard textual symbols (circle with cross, etc.); and none of these could be convincingly identified in the Voynich manuscript.

    Astrological herbal - Astrological considerations frequently played a prominent role in herb gathering, blood-letting and other medical procedures common during the likeliest dates of the manuscript (see, for instance, Nicholas Culpeper's books). However, apart from the obvious Zodiac symbols, and one diagram possibly showing the classical planets, no one has been able to interpret the illustrations within known astrological traditions (European or otherwise).

    Microscopes and telescopes - A circular drawing in the "astronomical" section depicts an irregularly shaped object with four curved arms, which some have interpreted as a picture of a galaxy that could only be obtained with a telescope. Other drawings were interpreted as cells seen through a microscope. This would suggest an early modern, rather than a medieval, date for the manuscript's origin. However, the resemblance is rather questionable: on close inspection, the central part of the "galaxy" looks rather like a pool of water.

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The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious book thought to have been written in the 15th or 16th century and comprising about 240 vellum pages of handwritten text,[1] of which the majority have illustrations.[2] The text of the manuscript has never been deciphered, and the author, script, and language remain unknown.

Since its recorded existence, the Voynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including some top American and Britishcodebreakers of World War II fame, all of whom failed to decrypt any portion of the text. This string of failures has turned the Voynich manuscript into a famous subject of historical cryptology, but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is simply an elaborate hoax—a meaningless sequence of arbitrary symbols.

The book is named after the Polish-American book dealer Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. Currently the Voynich manuscript is stored in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University as item "MS 408". The first facsimile edition was published in 2005.[3]

The peculiar internal structure of Voynich manuscript "words" has led William F. Friedman and John Tiltman to arrive independently at the conjecture that the text could be a constructed language in the plain—specifically, a philosophical or a priori language. In languages of this class, the vocabulary is organized according to a category system, so that the general meaning of a word can be deduced from its sequence of letters. For example, in the modern constructed language Ro, bofo- is the category of colors, and any word beginning with those letters would name a color: so red is bofoc, and yellow is bofof. (This is an extreme version of the Library of Congress Classification used by many libraries—in which, say, P stands for language and literature, PA for Greek and Latin, PC for Romance languages, etc.)

This concept is quite old, as attested by John Wilkins's Philosophical Language (1668), but still postdates the generally accepted origin of the Voynich manuscript by two centuries. In most known examples, categories are subdivided by adding suffixes; as a consequence, a text in a particular subject would have many words with similar prefixes—for example, all plant names would begin with the similar letters, and likewise for all diseases, etc. This feature could then explain the repetitious nature of the Voynich text. However, no one has been able yet to assign a plausible meaning to any prefix or suffix in the Voynich manuscript.

In his book Solution of the Voynich Manuscript: A liturgical Manual for the Endura Rite of the Cathari Heresy, the Cult of Isis (1987), Leo Levitov declared the manuscript a plaintext[25] This he defined as "a literary language which would be understandable to people who did not understand Latin and to whom this language could be read." His proposed decryption has three Voynich letters making a syllable, to produce a series of syllables that form a mixture of Middle Dutch with many borrowed Old French and Old High German words. transcription of a "polyglot oral tongue".

According to Levitov, the rite of Endura was none other than the assisted suicide ritual for people already believed to be near death, famously associated with the Cathar faith (although the reality of this ritual is also in question). He explains that the chimerical plants are not meant to represent any species of flora, but are secret symbols of the faith. The women in the basins with elaborate plumbing represent the suicide ritual itself, which he believed involved venesection: the cutting of a vein to allow the blood to drain into a warm bath. The constellations with no celestial analogue are representative of the stars in Isis' mantle.

This theory is questioned on several grounds. First, the Cathar faith is widely understood to have been a Christian gnosticism, and not in any way associated with Isis. Second, this theory places the book's origins in the twelfth or thirteenth century, which is several centuries earlier than most experts believe based on internal evidence. Third, the Endura ritual involved fasting, not venesection. Levitov offered no evidence beyond his translation for this theory.

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