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Posted April 15, 2014
You know you're in the hands of an author who is tragically, irretrievably, under-qualified for his material when you read this, in a work of pulp non-fiction claiming to be about planetary science: "Mars's orbit is so eccentric that its distance from Earth goes from 34 million miles at its closest to 249 million miles at its greatest" ('The Choice,' p. 34.) This crashing, howling error comes from the keyboard of an author who's fond of calling people he disagrees with "blithering idiots" (the descriptor applies to most mainstream physicists, he writes on p.67.) Mike Bara is guilty of blithering quite a bit in this slim 240-page work, but his blithers don't all reach quite that level of utter catastrophe.
(Note to Bara and to his editor, Kate Henches: Eccentricity of a planet's orbit is measured in relation to the Sun, not to another planet. In actual fact, Mars's ecentricity is a mere 0.09. Try and stay awake, Kate. I know it must be hard.)
The blitheriness of modern physics is a main theme of this book -- in fact, Bara claimed in a promo interview "I'm completely confident that I can prove there's no such thing as the laws of physics." So he rounds up the usual paranormal suspects -- Kirlian photography, plant emotions, the Princeton EGGs, eventually even Bruce DePalma's spinning ball experiment (and wouldn't we all like to see that one repeated in vacuuo?) Fine as far as it goes, but it turns out that for all Bara's enthusiasm and reasonably diligent research, he's no better at coming up with a unified theory that explains this buffet of pseudoscience than any of the thousands of guests and callers on Art Bell's all-night radio show have been over the decades. The best he can come up with is a claim that they all rely on an all-pervasive aether in a higher dimension for their magic to work. What part of "Michelson-Morley knocked that one out of the park back in 1887" doesn't Bara understand?
Unsurprisingly, Bara does believe in _hyperdimensional_ physics, and he shares this belief with maybe two other people in the entire world: one is his former co-author Richard Hoagland, and the other is Lt. Col Thomas Bearden (yes, he of the never-demonstrated free energy device and the diploma-mill doctorate.) HD physics claims that a rotating planet "pulls energy from its higher state" ('The Choice,' p.48) and that this energy appears at the latitudes 19.5 degrees north and south. The most important thing to understand about this theory is that the evidence adduced by Hoagland and Bara to support it is entirely false, with the single exception of the massive volcano Mauna Loa.
If you can make it to chapter 14, Bara has some advice for you about how you can use "physics of the mind" to avoid the apocalypse to come in 2012. But really, is anybody going to accept advice from an author who has blithered through 172 pages already?
Posted August 10, 2013
No text was provided for this review.