Did we really go to the moon?

Yes. Yes we did.

Still, there are two big reasons to think it might have been faked. The perennial one is that it just seems crazy to imagine that humans can actually fly to the moon. It did then, and it does now. But with each passing year, it seems especially nutty that the primitive humans of the 1960s could have managed it. Years ago it occurred to me that, for some people, the moon landing will be viewed much like the Egyptian pyramids: a deeply strange and inscrutable human folly that seems somehow impossible given the available technology. Could it really have happened? I wrote an imaginary documentary on this site: Mysteries of the Ancients: Primitive Man on the Moon.

Dr. Squidhammer believes that an early explorer named Leif Armstrong not only visited, but may have even started a colony on the Moon, a colony called “Greencheese” in the hope of encouraging early settlers to come to the then-barren Moon. But how?


Steve points out of very entertaining video by a gentleman named SG Collins on the subject of a faked moon landing. Collins does something very clever here, something that we should think about more often when dealing with cranks and conspiracy theorists. The people who say it was all a hoax tend to focus on negative evidence: (spurious) reasons it couldn’t be real because of shadows and and lighting and so on. Instead, Collins looks at positive evidence that faking is hard. What would it have taken to actually pull off the hoax in 1969? As he puts it, while we did have the technology to go to the moon in 1969, we did not have the technology to fake it. Have you ever looked at the simulations they did for the news back then?

That situation is now reversed. We seem to have lost the ability to go to the moon, whereas we could fake a landing without breaking a sweat. Because we are now so used to movie magic, we are credulous about what movie magic could have done 44 years ago.

Watch it. It’s a good video.

My new Biolite stove

I went camping with my daughter this weekend. I don’t go camping very often these days, so when I do it’s fun to take the opportunity to buy a little gear from REI. This time I got myself a BioLite stove.


Most camping stoves use gasoline. You have a bottle of gasoline and there’s this little tube that runs over to an open flame. They’re designed to be safe of course, but I always feel like I’m tinkering with a bomb. Camp stoves make me nervous. Not to mention the fact that you have to carry around heavy bottles of fuel that might leak and turn your backpack into biohazard or a Hindenburg-like ball of flame. The BioLite, though admittedly on the heavy side, lets you replace the bottled white gasoline with the sticks you find around your campsite.

It has a thermo-electric element that runs an electric fan. This fan pumps air into the burn chamber the same way that the blacksmith uses bellows to superheat his coals. And VOOM! those sticks burn like mad! No problem at all to boil water or cook. You just need to keep feeding in the twigs. The fact that the fuel is so low tech does away with my immolation anxiety. It also gives you a convenient way to start a fire if you have access to a fire pit. Finally, assuming naturally occurring fuel is present, it takes away the “range anxiety” of worrying about how many nights your fuel will last.

The BioLite represents all that is great about the marriage of high-tech and common sense. I recommend it.