1916 : Crack Scientists Determined That Martians Built 1,000 Mile Canals In Just Six Weeks

ScreenHunter_110 Aug. 08 18.36

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20 Responses to 1916 : Crack Scientists Determined That Martians Built 1,000 Mile Canals In Just Six Weeks

  1. g2-9ed9acc685824c6663c51c5b093476cc says:

    Here is the circular reasoning I get from science-worshippers about things like this:

    THEM: The science is settled on (Evolution/Global Warming/God Doesn’t Exist/Etc.)

    ME: The settled science once thought (canals on Mars/Ether/Java Man/Etc)

    THEM: Yes, but the scientific method worked because it (proved it/disproved it).

    ME: But it might disprove (the other stuff) in future.

    THEM: No. The science on that is settled.


    • emsnews says:

      Thor definitely exists, he whacks me with his hammer periodically. Annoying in the extreme. As most gods are.

    • Emanuelle Goldstein says:

      “ME: The settled science once thought (canals on Mars/Ether/Java Man/Etc)”

      You can now add Homo floresiensis to that list. Our little “hobbit” is not an ancient species but H. sapiens with Down Syndrome. THEM can’t come back at you and say “but that was in the olden days.”

  2. geran says:

    Gosh, they had phony “scientists” back in those days also?

  3. craigm350 says:

    Throw in a CO2 instead of aliens and I’m sure this can be recycled – grant please!

  4. drtim12 says:

    Maybe it should have said ” Scientists on Crack”

  5. rah says:

    Ah yes, Lowell and his telescope. Those who have one and have spent hours looking through an eye piece understand what happened. When you stick your eye down there and kinda squeeze for minutes on end you begin to see the blood vessels in your own eye and their ghostly image appears to be superimposed on the brightest point your looking at. Thus Lowell’s Martian canals were in his eyes. This is one reason why there is much to be said for astrophotography. But still despite the mostly colorless or at best pastels when one looks at something like Jupiter, , there is nothing like seeing it right there with your own eye ball. There is also nothing like finding what your looking for using your own knowledge and patience to star hop instead of having a computer finding it for you. At least that is the way it is for me using my 10″ Mead Star Finder.

  6. Fat Tony says:

    I remember reading back in the 1960s that the Italian astronomer Schiaparelli discovered this network which he called “canali” – or “channels” properly translated from Italian.

    “Canali” was then misinterpreted into “canals” – which are man-made, as opposed to “channels” which usually have natural origins.

  7. TheJollyGreenMan says:

    Keep going and you will find that Prof Lowell and his canals on Mars was headline news in 1907 or 1908 and it had a very strong effect on popular culture. Even Tarzan ended up on Mars!

  8. Another Ian says:

    Not Mars but FYI
    August 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm ยท Reply
    I just did an experiment and need technical type to do some calculations:

    If a 3cc ice cube immersed in cola takes 75 minutes to melt at a room temperature of 14 degrees C. how long does it take to melt the 26,600,000 cubic kilometre Antarctic ice cap with an average air temperature of minus 30C?โ€

    From comments at http://joannenova.com.au/2014/08/emma-thompson-actress-recites-greenpeace-hymn-specially-for-australian-pm/#comments

    • Gail Combs says:


      The portions sitting over active volcanoes will melt. However you also get ‘lakes’ under the ice due to the tremendous pressure. These lakes stay put because the Antarctic is bowl shaped, again because of the tremendous weight of the ice cap.

      Air temperature has nothing to do with melting in the Antarctic except perhaps at the edges where temperature do get slightly above freezing in summer.

  9. emsnews says:

    My grandfather, Edison Pettit, worked with Lowell on this project, he drew many of the canals for him and when I was a child, he pointed to his work which were in his observatory and said, ‘This was all delusional. Fake. Remember that. Better telescopes proved these canals didn’t exist.’

    He warned me about mental fads based on tenuous data or bad optics.

  10. Brian H says:

    We live in illusion. It takes (too much) time for nerve signals from the senses to reach appropriate brain areas, so the brain compensates by anticipating what they will be based on proximate nearest time slices, memory, and other expectations, so that we can make and take appropriate and non-clumsy real-time decisions and actions. Hence the classic “double take” when the anticipation is inadequate.

    The power of expectation is what makes proof-reading your own text so difficult immediately after writing it, e.g. You see what you intended, instead of what you wrote. Scientists see the data they planned to see, not what they are faced with.

  11. rah says:

    Fact is that it was Lowell that popularized the notion of life on Mars. The hypothesis was that the planet was drying out and the canals were being built to bring water down from the polar ice caps. This probably served as the inspiration for Orson Welles ‘War of the Worlds’. And Martians and Sci Fi stories in dime novels and comic books and stories of “flying saucers” took off from there.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Oh, to be able to buy (new) books for a dime again….

    • B says:

      Indeed it did. I actually learned of this whole affair in classes on science fiction. Took them for the social science credits. They were taught by an anthropology professor who loved science fiction. The way he taught the classes is how they could be social science and all these years later I have to say they were the most valuable classes I had in that classification.

      BTW, HG Wells wrote of war of the world, Orson made it into a radio program.

      Flying saucers actually came from their own direction, starting with a sighting in the 1940s. Prior to that, there were ‘airships’. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora,_Texas,_UFO_incident )

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