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Hear me! Oh, hear me! All pay heed!
The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen…
[drops one of the tablets] Oy!
Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey!

How is it possible that people are clueless to where modern value system stems from? Didn’t anybody study history?

Now mind you, I’m a Jew talking about this, but aren’t people today aware of how societies were in Europe and Africa before the introduction of Christianity? When the savage Roman Empire adopted Christianity more than 240 years after destroying the Second Temple in an attempt to quell Judaism and its ethical teachings, the landscape of the world forever changed. The Roman society was taught that life was sacred and was neither disposable for entertainment nor convenience. I agree that there have been great atrocities made in the name of religion, but one cannot forget that it gave the foundations of modern ethics, right from wrong. If Judeo-Christian values are tossed out the window for mere convenience, ignorance, or the needless emotional self-destructive over-reaction to a circumstance, we are surely lost.

How have the atheist and humanist of today come to the conclusion that right from wrong is innately common knowledge, whereas throughout the 20th century, they were fully cognizant of its true source?

Terraforming and large permanent settlements on unearthly celestial bodies are not cost/labor/survival efficient/profitable to humans. We did not evolve to live on places other than Earth. Short of radical/fundamental genetic/DNA manipulation, to survive in space, we need to bring our home environment (gravity, atmospheric composition and pressure) with us. This means we must construct mobile counter rotating Stanford Tori/O’Neill Cylinders which would comfortably support human life and whatever else humans would need to survive long term in space. Exploration of celestial bodies is still possible and acclimation to lesser gravities prior to planetfall can be executed via residence closer to the axis of the space station. Short term Antarctic type settlements could be viable as long as there is minimal long term risk to humans.

Creating “artificial gravity” on a celestial body is possible via centrifugal force, however the cost of its creation will be compounded due to its construction within a gravity well and, if present, atmospheric pressure and weather. Alternatively, gravitational acceleration will not be perpendicular to the axis of rotation, which presents an additional unique engineering problems for differing gravity wells.

Can we create structures for providing artificial gravity on Mars?

I thought this article was super cool! “Torus-Earth” was published on 04 February 2014 by Anders Sandberg in his blog, “Andart.”

00 - torusdonut2
One question at Io9 that came up when they published my Double Earth analysis was “What about a toroidal Earth?” This is by no means a new question, and there has been some lengthy discussions online and earlier modelling. But being a do-it-yourself person I decided to try to analyze it on my own.

Can toroid planets exist?

It is not obvious that a toroid planet is stable.

For all practical purposes planets are liquid blobs with no surface tension: the strength of rock is nothing compared to the weight of a planet. Their surfaces will be equipotential surfaces of gravity plus centrifugal potential. If they were not, there would be some spots that could reduce their energy by flowing to a lower potential. Another obvious fact is that there exists an upper rotation rate beyond which the planet falls apart: the centrifugal force at the equator becomes larger than gravity and material starts to flow into space.

The equilibrium shapes of self-gravitating rotating ellipsoidal planets have been extensively analyzed. Newton started it (leading to some early heroic expeditions to ascertain the true shape of Earth), Maclaurin refined it, Jacobi discovered that for high rotation rates ellipsoids with unequal axes were more stable than the oblate ellipsoids of Maclaurin. Chandrasekar has a nice history of the field. Since then computers have become available, and analytical and numerical calculations of more complex or the relativistic case have been done.

Similarly, equilibrium states of self-gravitating toroid shapes have been examined by Poincare, Kowalewsky and Dyson (Dyson 1893, Dyson 1893b). Indeed, one can at least in theory spin up an ellipsoidal planet into a ring, although there is plenty of potential for complex wobbles that destabilizes the whole system and it looks like there is a “jump” to the ring state. The ring may itself be unstable, in particular to a “bead” instability where more and more mass accumulates at some meridians than others, leading to breakup into two or more orbiting blobs. Dyson analysed this case and found it relevant when the major radius / minor radius > 3 – thin hoops are unstable. There is also a lower rotation rate where the ring become unstable to tidal forces and implodes into a “hamburger” or ellipsoid. So the total mass and angular momentum needs to be in the right region from the start.

It looks like a toroid planet is not forbidden by the laws of physics. It is just darn unlikely to ever form naturally, and likely will go unstable over geological timescales because of outside disturbances. So if we decide to assume it just is there, perhaps due to an advanced civilization with more aesthetics than sanity, what are its properties?


I will call the two circles along the plane of rotation the equators (the inner and outer). When it does not matter which one I talk about I will just call it “the equator”. As for the poles, they are the circles furthest away from the equatorial plane.

Hubward is towards the rotation axis, rimward is away from it. Planewards is towards the equatorial plane. North is towards the closest part of the North Pole circle, south towards the closest part of the South Pole circle.

Toroid gravity

How does gravity work on a toroid planet?

The case of a very large main radius torus is essentially a cylindrical planet. In this case the gravitational force falls off as 1/r, where r is the distance from the axis. The total force on any section will be proportional to the total mass (proportional to R, the major radius) and the gravitational force (proportional to 1/R), so the overall force will be constant as we increase R. Adding some rotation will balance it. The surface gravity is 2G rho/r, where rho is the mass per unit length. So as long as the surface gravity is big enough (by having a small r) this will overcome the centrifugal acceleration and stuff will indeed stay down. But things are much harder to guess for small radius torii.

I decided to use a Monte Carlo method to estimate the equilibrium shape. Given the total planetary mass and angular momentum, I start out by distributing a number of massive but infinitely thin rings (with the potential borrowed from this physics exercise – it is a good thing electric and gravitational potentials look the same in classical physics). I calculate their joint potential and added a centrifugal potential. This allows me to approximate equipotential surfaces and “fill” the potential near the center of the torus with more and more rings until their mass correspond to the planetary mass. I recalculate the angular speed based on the new mass distribution. Then I repeat the process until the planet either flies apart, implodes into a ball or enough iterations go by. This is not the most elegant way of doing it (the literature uses series expansions in toridal harmonics), but it works for me.

The main result is that toroid planets look feasible for sufficiently large enough angular momentum and mass. The cross-section is neither circular nor elliptic but rather egg-shaped, with a slightly sharper inside curvature than on the outside.

[ Why doesn’t the planet get squashed into a plane disk? The rotational pull tries to flatten the planet, but it must act against the local gravity field which tries to turn it into a ball (or cylinder).]

While these planets are stable in my simulation, the range of feasible values is not huge: most combinations of mass and angular momentum are unstable. And I have not examined the tricky issue of bead instability.

I will look at a chubby toroid of one Earth mass and a small central hole (“Donut”), and a wider hoop-like toroid with 6 Earth masses but more earth-like gravity (“Hoop”).


Figure 1: Local gravitational acceleration (m/s2) around Donut, as experienced by a co-rotating object.

Figure 1: Local gravitational acceleration (m/s2) around Donut, as experienced by a co-rotating object.

Donut has a hubward/interior equator 1,305 km from the center, and a rimward/exterior equator 10,633 km away. The equatorial diameter is 9,328 km.

The planet extends 1,953 km from the equatorial plane, with a north-south diameter of 3,906 km. The ratio of the diameters is 2.4.

The north-south circumference is 21,587 km (0.54 times Earth), while the east-west circumference is 66,809 km (1.7 of Earth).

The total area 8.2*108 km2, 1.6 times Earth. The total volume is 1.1*1012 km3, within 1% of Earth (after all, Donut was selected as a roughly one Earth mass world). The Volume/area = 1300, 61% of Earth: there is more surface per unit of volume.

One day is 2.84 hours long.


Figure 2: Local gravitational acceleration around Hoop, as experienced by a co-rotating object.

Figure 2: Local gravitational acceleration around Hoop, as experienced by a co-rotating object.

Hoop has a hubward/interior equator 8,633 km from the center, and a rimward/exterior equator 19,937 km away. The equatorial diameter is 11,304 km.

The planet extends 4,070 km from the equatorial plane, with a north-south diameter of 8,141 km. The cross-section has roughly the 4:3 ratio of an old monitor. The center of mass circle is 14,294 km from the center.

The north-south circumference is 30,794 km (0.77 of Earth) while the east-west circumference is 125,270 km (3.1 times Earth). The total area is 2.5*109 km2, 4.9 times Earth, and the total volume 6.5*1012 km3, 6 times Earth. The volume/area = 1500, 70% of Earth.

The day is 3.53 hours.


So, what is life on these torus-Earths?


The surface gravity depends on location. It is weakest along the interior and exterior equator, while strongest slightly hubward from the “poles”. This can be a fairly major difference.


Figure 3: Surface gravity (m/s2) of Donut.

Figure 3: Surface gravity (m/s2) of Donut.

Donut has just below 0.3 G gravitation along the equators and 0.65 G along the poles. The escape velocity is not too different from Earth, 11.4 km/s.

The geosynchronous orbit of Donut is very close to the outer equator, less than 2,000 km up. A satellite orbiting there will stay over one spot, but unlike on Earth it will not be able to cover a hemisphere with transmissions, just a smaller region.

On the other hand, the circumferential velocity at the equator is 6.5 km/s, making launches easier. Launching east a rocket needs just 4.9 km/s velocity to escape.

There is a central unstable Lagrange point at the middle of the hole. A satellite will be attracted to the equatorial plane, but any deviation outwards will be amplified.


Figure 4: Surface gravity (m/s2) of Hoop.

Figure 4: Surface gravity (m/s2) of Hoop.

Hoop has 1.1 G gravity along the poles but just 0.75 G along the rimward equator. The hubward equator has slightly higher gravity, 0.81 G.

Escape velocity is 19 km/s (remember, the planet weighs in at 6 earth masses). Rimward equator velocity is 9.9 km/s – a rocket will need to provide 10 km/s to escape if it launches eastward.

Note again that having a low gravity equator and high gravity poles does not mean stuff will roll or drift towards the poles: as mentioned before, the surface is an equipotential surface, so gravity (plus the centrifugal correction) is always perpendicular to it.

But an air mass flowing towards the pole will be squeezed together. In fact, the different gravities will create horizontal pressure differences that are going to interact with temperature differences to set up jet streams in nontrivial ways.


First, the nights and days of these worlds are very short. There is not much time for the environment to cool down or heat up during the diurnal cycle. What really matters is how much light they get over longer periods like seasons. Assuming these worlds orbit at an Earth-like distance from a Sun-like star, these are long enough to matter.

[If the torus-worlds orbited closer, tidal forces would really start to bite and before long the planets would become unstable. Since luminosity grows roughly as the fourth power of star mass and the life zone radius scales as the square root of luminosity, in the life zone the experienced tidal forces scale as M/(√(M4))3=1/M5. That is, bright stars have far less tidal effect on habitable planets: maybe Donut and Hoop better orbit some blue-white F star rather than a G star like the sun to be really safe. ]

Torus-shaped worlds have an outer rim that is not too different from a normal ellipsoidal planet. Days occur with a sunrise at the eastern horizon and a sunset at the western horizon. The sun moves along a great circle that slowly shifts north and south over the year, giving seasons. However, on the interior side things are different. Here other parts of the planet can shadow the sun: to a first approximation we should expect far less solar energy.

We can look at three different cases: zero axial tilt, 23 degrees (like Earth) and 45 degrees.

Zero tilt

For zero tilt the hubward side will never get any sunlight: the sun is always hidden below the horizon or by the arc of the world. At the poles the sun is moving just along the horizon, and slightly inwards there will be a perennial dawn/dusk. The temperature difference will be big, with the interior at subarctic temperatures: this is not entirely different from a tidally locked world, and we should expect water (and maybe carbon dioxide) to condense permanently here. The end result would be an arid (but perhaps not super-hot) outer equator, possibly habitable twilight polar regions, and an iced-over interior.

23 degree tilt

Figure 5: Seasons on Donut during spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Figure 5: Seasons on Donut during spring, summer, autumn and winter.

For a terrestrial 23 degree tilt spring and autumn will be like the zero tilt case: light along the equator, dark inside the hole. But during summer and winter the sun has a chance to shine past the rim and onto the opposite side of the hole. Also, there will be large regions with midnight sun or perpetual night in summer and winter, respectively. On Earth the Polar Regions are small, but here they are at the very least long contiguous circles.

The spring dawns and autumn twilights on the hubward side would have some amazing deep colors, since the sun would be rising past the atmosphere of the other side (already pre-dawned or pre-twilighted, you could say). This would be added to the local atmospheric optics, producing some very deep reds and color gradients. Just before or after sunrise/sunset parts of the corona would also be visible.

These sights would be more impressive if they weren’t so brief. On Earth, the sun moves close to 15° per hour: at its fastest, the sun moves one diameter in 2.1 minutes. On Donut solar motion is 127° and on Hoop 102°: a sunrise takes 15 or 19 seconds, respectively. Coming in at a slanted angle and the delaying effects of atmospheric refraction would prolong things a bit, but to an Earthling it would still look very brief.

Standing on the hubward surface looking up, the other side will be about 20 degrees across on Hoop and 30 degrees on Donut – an enormous arc across the sky.

[Why is Donut not much wider? Donut is very flat, so the world is seen very foreshortened in the sky. Incidentally, this means that when sunlight refracts through the atmosphere on the other side to hit the hubward side during a dawn or twilight it will be far deeper red than on Hoop.]

On the inside, having lit parts of the other side would light things up like moonlight. But the total area could potentially be much larger, making for some very bright (if still nightly) nights. For Hoop, this is potentially 16,000 times stronger than Earth moonlight (8000 lux) when the entire opposite side is lit (assuming an Earthlike albedo), making a night as bright as an overcast day. On Donut this reaches low daylight levels (12000 lux). However, this is the “full opposing side” situation: near the equinoxes only a thin sliver is visible.

Figure 6: Averaged insolation over a day on Donut during spring, summer, autumn and winter for the 23 degree case.

Figure 6: Averaged insolation over a day on Donut during spring, summer, autumn and winter for the 23 degree case.

In the case of Donut, the rather flat surface means that the northern or southern hemisphere will also catch a lot of sunlight: the total heating on the planet is larger during these seasons than in spring and autumn, unlike on Earth where it is constant since the receiving area stays constant. There are also slightly nontrivial effects due to the angle between the surface and the sunlight, making the temperate zones get slightly less energy than the Polar Regions and tropics.

The rimward tropics have a fairly constant inflow of solar energy. As we go towards the poles seasonality becomes stronger: at the tropics there is more energy coming in during summer than ever happens at the equator. But the winters are of course equally darker. At the poles and beyond on the peak-gravity hubward side there is sun for half a year followed by polar night. Here the climate truly swings: the rimward tropics at least have brief 1.5 hour nights, but here they last 6 months. Finally, close to the hubward equator in the hole day and night return even in winter (plus extra light reflected from the other side), making it a bit more temperate

Figure 7: Averaged insolation during different seasons on Donut, as a function of latitude in the 23 degree case. 0 denotes the rimwards equator, 90 the north pole, 180 the hubward equator in the hole, 270 the south pole.

Figure 7: Averaged insolation during different seasons on Donut, as a function of latitude in the 23 degree case. 0 denotes the rimwards equator, 90 the north pole, 180 the hubward equator in the hole, 270 the south pole.

The rather big difference in energy deposited at the sunlit summer side of the hole and the dark winter side of the hole will tend to drive some strong weather – but as we will see, due to the other peculiarities of these worlds evening out the energy differences is harder than on Earth.

Overall, the total energy deposited is 2.5 times higher in the rimward equatorial area than in the temperate and polar areas, and the inside of the hole has about a fourth less energy than the surroundings.

Figure 8: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Donut.

Figure 8: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Donut.

Hoop has less self-shadowing. More importantly, it is not as flattened as Donut.

Figure 9: Average insolation during a day on Hoop, 23 degree case.

Figure 9: Average insolation during a day on Hoop, 23 degree case.

Figure 10: Averaged insolation during different seasons on Hoop, as a function of latitude in the 23 degree case. 0 denotes the rimwards equator, 90 the north pole, 180 the hubward equator in the hole, 270 the south pole.

Figure 10: Averaged insolation during different seasons on Hoop, as a function of latitude in the 23 degree case. 0 denotes the rimwards equator, 90 the north pole, 180 the hubward equator in the hole, 270 the south pole.

The seasons at first look like what one would expect. A spring and autumn where the hubward regions are in shadow, summers and winters where one polar circle gets a lot of sunlight and the other far less while the hubward regions get light. Note that this produces a seasonal cycle in the hubward area that is at double frequency of the rimward regions (this is true for Donut too): the warm weather happens in “July” and “January”.

Figure 11: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Hoop.

Figure 11: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Hoop.

Somewhat non-intuitively compared to Donut, here the hubward equator does get more sunlight across the year than the Polar Regions . We can hence expect the climate to be a bit like on Earth, with colder Polar Regions and warmer equatorial regions. The rimward equator still gets 60% more energy, though.

45 degree tilt

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that for high enough axial tilt we get four cold zones and four warm!

The easiest way of understanding this is to consider a spherical planet with 90 degree axial tilt like Uranus. For half of the year the North Pole is turned towards the sun and most of the hemisphere has constant daylight. As equinox approaches the axis points sideways, so the planet gets evenly irradiated. The end result is that the poles get more energy than the equator. On a torus world the same dynamics holds true, but now the Polar Regions are circular too.

Figure 12: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Hoop in the 45 degree case.

Figure 12: Energy received across a year for different latitudes on Hoop in the 45 degree case.

For Hoop the difference is not enormous, about 10% in total insolation. The rimward equator is mildly hotter than the Polar Regions and the hubward equator.

Donut slightly larger differences but in practice most of the surface is dominated by the mildly warm polar regions. The rimward equator is only slightly warmer than the cooler rimward temperate areas.


The surface area is larger than on Earth, and the volume/area ratio is smaller (For Donut the ratio is 1,300 km, for Hoop 1,500 km, for Earth 2,124 km). One might hence suspect that more thermal energy is leaking out, reducing volcanism and plate tectonics. However, even a small amount of tidal heating due to influences from the sun might release plenty of energy stored in angular momentum. In the case of Hoop there are also 6 times more radioisotopes inside the planet than on Earth but only 5 times more surface area.

Continental drift would be affected by the different inner and outer radii. A circle r km inwards from a circle of radius R will be just 2*pi*r km shorter, and the relative change will be r/R. So for Hoop a continental plate drifting from the outer equator across a pole to the inner equator will have to shrink to 43% of its original width to fit. On Donut the effect is much bigger: it becomes 12% of its original width! Hence continental plates moving hubwards on the inside will tend to experience folding, while plates moving rimwards on the inside will experience rifting. Expect some rugged landscape and archipelagoes near the hubward equator.

Gravity affects the height of mountains. On Hoop the difference is not enormous compared to Earth, but on Donut mountains at the poles can be 1.5 times higher (maximum around 12 km) and near the equators 3 times higher (24 km). Combined with the ruggedness near the hole this might make for some dramatic landscapes.

The fast rotation will likely produce a strong magnetic field; unlike on Earth the polar regions will not have auroras since the field lines will not intersect the surface… I think – figuring out dynamo currents in a toroid iron core sounds fun but is beyond me.


We have seen that the light levels change a lot, and that would make us suspect plenty of wind transporting heat from hot sunlit areas to cool shadowed areas. However, the high rate of rotation means that the Coriolis Effect will influence air and water flows to a large degree.

The Coriolis Effect makes air moving towards or away from the rotational axis bend away, since it has more or less velocity than the ground. A parcel of air “at rest” near the equator has a lot of actual momentum since the equator is moving fast around the rotation axis: if that air were to flow pole-wards it would now have a noticeable velocity eastwards or westwards. This is why the global airflow is not just simple convection cells from the equator towards the poles: as heat is transferred using air polewards the air flow gets twisted around, producing trade winds.

On torus worlds the rotation rate is 8 times faster than on Earth and the velocity differences are larger. Air hence tends to be twisted around far more, producing a more banded zonal climate than on Earth. Exactly how banded is hard to tell without detailed atmospheric calculations, but it is likely more like on Jupiter than on Earth. This in turn means that heat transfer is less effective: the temperature differences between the hot and cold regions will be bigger.

It is likely that there will be inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ, alias the doldrums or equatorial lows) around the rimward equator, where winds approaching from north and south will blow westwards (trade winds) while warm air rises, moves away from the equator, cools and descends at a higher or lower latitude (where we should expect major deserts). The big seasonality changes especially on Donut will make the ITCZ shift north and south, triggering monsoons in some regions. However, the rapid rotation will make the Hadley cell thinner than Earth’s 30 degree size (exactly how much thinner is slightly tricky to estimate, since it also depends on the latitude-varying gravity).

Big temperature differences over short distances are going to power plenty of weather, even if it is hard to predict exactly how it is going to look. Especially near the hole on Donut seasonal weather will be wild: warm air from the sunlit side will flow through it in a big vortex, balanced by cool winds from the dark side circulating in the opposite direction.

The scale height, how quickly pressure drops off with altitude, is proportional to gravity. Hence clouds will be 3 to 1.5 times taller on Donut, while Hoop clouds will be more Earth-like.

Like on Earth cyclones can form at the mid-latitudes. Stronger Coriolis forces would make tighter hurricanes, about four times smaller. However, they would tend to last longer on Donut (since the high scale height gives them far more air to play with). Wind speeds depend on the temperature difference between the top of the atmosphere and the ocean, which could vary a great deal across the year.


The amount of water on either world is not vastly different from Earth, although Hoop’s 6 times greater mass with merely 5 times greater area would provide it with 20% more water volume from the initial accretion (so for the same coverage the oceans would be 20% deeper). The higher mass might also accumulate more cometary infall, but it is hard to judge how much this would be.

The big seasonal temperature swings will be more pronounced far from the moderating influence of oceans: continents near the poles will be more extreme than equatorial ones. Whether they can maintain ice caps throughout polar summer depends on their layout and the background temperature; since ice reflects away sunlight effectively and the Coriolis Effect can keep air from warming them it is likely. The same for sea ice, although here there is potential for warming sea currents from hubwards or rimwards. Since the flow of water in oceans is constrained by the shape of the basins, the Coriolis Effect will merely drive gyres rather than prevent north-south flow; large oceans like the Pacific will be more east-westerly than narrow north-south oceans like the Atlantic.

The low gravity near the equator will make some tall waves on Donut: they can be expected to be three times taller than on Earth. Waves at Donut’s poles are still 150% of the ones on Earth. Hoop is closer to normal (133% taller at the equator, 90% height at the poles). The wild hubward summer-winter weather on Donut will likely drive some amazing storm waves.


From these considerations, it seems likely that one could have a fairly Earth-like biosphere on Donut and Hoop. Storms, severe weather and long winters are things species on Earth have adapted to fine. There might be interesting differences in ecosystems based on latitude, since there are more variation between different bands than on Earth (gravity, seasonality, temperatures etc.). Also, at least on Hoop each band has a much larger surface area: there is more room for species diversity within each eco-zone.


Would these worlds be able to keep moons?

A moon orbiting exactly in the equatorial plane in a circular orbit it would just feel a potential looking like it came from a spherical planet of some intermediate density. However, if it orbited in slightly eccentric orbit things would change. The potential field close to the planet falls of more slowly than 1/r (the answer for normal spherical planets): the Kepler ellipse is no longer the right solution. And as soon as the orbit becomes slightly tilted things turn even more complicated – now the moon will feel the flatness.

In many ways this is the problem facing satellite designers already: Earth is oblate enough that orbits are affected. This problem was dealt with in the earliest days of spaceflight (see Wikipedia, (Tremaine & Yavetz 2013) or (Nielsen, Goodwin,& Mersman 1958)).

Basically, the main effect is that an elliptic orbit precesses – it slowly changes direction in space, for Earth largely depending on the inclination. Eccentricity can also drift, which is a bigger deal. In any case, for a toroid world these effects are far larger: the multipole moments (measures of just how non-spherical the field is) are of course enormous. In fact, they are so big that the standard methods no longer work and we need to do computer simulations.

However, I feel confident that moons in sufficiently remote and circular orbits will be pretty stable. Most likely they will precess so that their orbit is more of a rosette than an ellipse, but they will not go crazy. Of course, moons in close orbits are another matter…

Running a simulation (where I did not use the full torus potential, but rather a ring of 30 masses) demonstrate some of the possibilities. Indeed, an equatorial elliptic orbit looks nice and stable but precesses into a rosette.

13 - equatorial

A nearly polar orbit has even more precession, not just making it rosette around in a plane but also slowly precessing the plane. The moon could appear in the sky in any constellation.

14 - polar a and b

What about orbits through the hole? As mentioned earlier, the exact center is an unstable Lagrange point. Place a moon there, and any kick will make it fall out. But there are orbits through the center that look stable (or rather, give them a kick and they turn into another similar-looking orbit rather than fall down). The simplest is just a moon bobbing up and down through the hole:

15 - linear

In fact, one can have a moon bobbing up and down over a particular longitude in a bent rectangular region.

16 - wobblelong

And given some longitudinal velocity, it will move around the hole, filling out a wobbly hyperboloid of one sheet (a “vase orbit”?).

17 - waseorbit

What about orbits that actually go through the hole in just one direction? It turns out that there are plenty of “figure 8”-like orbits that go through, precessing to form a larger torus-shaped tangle.

18 - figure8 a and b

Note that the orbit is a bit “elliptic”, with a lopsided figure 8. From “apogee” above the rimward equator it will go through the hole and turn over the opposite side, where it will have a “perigee” near the antipode of its starting point. Then it will go through the hole, coming out near where it started – but precession will make it wind along the torus. Hence the two-sheet appearance of the entire orbit.

These simulations should be taken as first sketches, since the real case requires quite a bit of computational care. My numerical precision is not good enough to tell what the long term stability truly is. Hoop and Donut have even messier gravity fields since they are flattened, and there will of course be perturbations due to the sun and other planets.

Tidal forces

Tidal forces are an issue. Imagine a moon orbiting equatorially outside a torus world. It causes a bulge of water and rock beneath it. The rapid rotation will tend to push the bulge ahead of the moon (assuming the moon orbits in the same direction the planet turns and is above geostationary orbit). The gravity of the bulge will hence drag the moon forward, imparting a slightly faster motion – which in space means the moon moves outward to a slightly higher orbit.

This is how Luna has absorbed a fair deal of Earths angular momentum, slowing Earth’s rotation and drifting further away. In the case of wild rotation like on a torus-world this effect is bigger: moons will tend to be pushed away and possibly lost.
What happens to close moons, orbiting below the geostationary orbit? They actually move faster than the bulge, and now it slows them. That means a lower orbit. Soon they spiral inwards and become giant meteors. The same happens for retrograde moons when they are too close. Of course, if the moon is big enough it might break up due to tidal forces into a ring.

The wilder orbits through the hole are likely to be destabilized by tidal forces. The bobbing orbits will tend to acquire angular momentum from the bulge, and turn faster and faster – until they crash into the planet or are lost. Some figure-8 orbits might be in the right resonance to gain and lose energy equally, but I suspect they generally have the same problem. So sadly, I suspect torus-worlds will lack the truly exotic moons. However, artificial satellites with a bit of station-keeping are still possible. Those bobbing orbits might be good for communications satellites for the hubward surface.


Torus-worlds are unlikely to exist naturally. But if they did, they would make awesome places for adventure. A large surface area. Regions with very different climate, seasons, gravity and ecosystems. Awesome skies on the interior surface. Dramatic weather. Moons in strange orbits.
We better learn how to make them outside of simulations.


Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Explained (Infographic)

by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist | February 01, 2013 09:14am ET


On Feb. 1, 2003, the shuttle Columbia was returning to Earth after a successful 16-day trip to orbit, where the crew conducted more than 80 science experiments ranging from biology to fluid physics. However, the seemingly healthy orbiter had suffered critical damage during its launch, when foam from the fuel tank’s insulation fell off and hit Columbia’s left wing, tearing a hole in it that later analysis suggested might have been as large as a dinner plate.

The damage occurred just after Columbia’s liftoff on Jan. 16, but went undetected. During re-entry, the hole in a heat-resistant reinforced carbon carbon panel on Columbia’s left wing leading edge allowed super-hot atmospheric gases into the orbiter’s wing, leading to its destruction.

Killed in the Columbia shuttle disaster were STS-107 mission commander Rick Husband and included pilot Willie McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and David Brown, payload commander Michael Anderson and payload specialist Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut.



A subsequent inquiry by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) faulted NASA’s internal culture as much as the foam strike as causes of the shuttle disaster. The Columbia accident ultimately led then-President George W. Bush to announce plans to retire NASA’s space shuttle fleet (which was more than 20 years old at the time) once construction of the International Space Station was complete. A capsule-based spacecraft was planned to replace the shuttles. [Photos: The Columbia Space Shuttle Tragedy]

NASA’s space shuttle fleet resumed launches in July 2005, after spending more than two years developing safety improvements and repair tools and techniques to avoid a repeat of the Columbia disaster. In 2011, NASA launched the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, to complete the shuttle fleet’s role in space station construction.

In 2012, NASA’s three remaining shuttles – Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour – were delivered to museums in Washington, D.C., Florida and California, while the test shuttle Enterprise was delivered to New York City. Under President Barack Obama, NASA was directed to rely on private spacecraft to launch Americans to the International Space Station and return them to Earth. NASA, meanwhile, is developing a new giant rocket – the Space Launch System – and the Orion space capsule for future deep-space missions to an asteroid, the moon and Mars.

Video: Remembering Columbia’s Crew – ‘In Their Own Words’


I came across the following graphic which made we wonder how fast are we really moving while standing still.

Tangential Speed of Earth's Surface Due to Rotational Motion

In my search, I came across this article.

How Fast Are You Moving When You Are Sitting Still?

By Andrew Fraknoi, Foothill College & the Astronomical Society of the Pacific


When, after a long day of running around, you finally find the time to relax in your favorite armchair, nothing seems easier than just sitting still. But have you ever considered how fast you are really moving when it seems you are not moving at all?

Daily Motion

earthWhen we are on a smoothly riding train, we sometimes get the illusion that the train is standing still and the trees or buildings are moving backwards. In the same way, because we “ride” with the spinning Earth, it appears to us that the Sun and the stars are the ones doing the moving as day and night alternate. But actually, it is our planet that turns on its axis once a day — and all of us who live on the Earth’s surface are moving with it. How fast do we turn?

To make one complete rotation in 24 hours, a point near the equator of the Earth must move at close to 1000 miles per hour (1600 km/hr). The speed gets less as you move north, but it’s still a good clip throughout the United States. Because gravity holds us tight to the surface of our planet, we move with the Earth and don’t notice its rotation in everyday life.

The great circular streams of water in our oceans and of air in our atmosphere give dramatic testimony to the turning of the Earth. As the Earth turns, with faster motion at the equator and slower motion near the poles, great wheels of water and air circulate in the northern and southern hemisphere. For example, the Gulf Stream, which carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Great Britain, and makes England warmer and wetter than it otherwise would be, is part of the great wheel of water in the North Atlantic Ocean. The wheel (or gyre) that the Gulf Stream is part of contains more water than all the rivers of the world put together. It is circulated by the energy of our turning planet.

Yearly Motion

sunIn addition to spinning on its axis, the Earth also revolves around the Sun. We are approximately 93 million miles (150 million km) from the Sun, and at that distance, it takes us one year (365 days) to go around once. The full path of the Earth’s orbit is close to 600 million miles (970 million km). To go around this immense circle in one year takes a speed of 66,000 miles per hour (107,000 km/hr). At this speed, you could get from San Francisco to Washington DC in 3 minutes. As they say on TV, please don’t try going this fast without serious adult supervision.

The Sun’s Motion

galaxyOur Sun is just one star among several hundred billion others that together make up the Milky Way Galaxy. This is our immense “island of stars” and within it, each star is itself moving. Any planet orbiting a star will share its motion through the Galaxy with it. Stars, as we shall see, can be moving in a random way, just “milling about” in their neighborhoods, and also in organized ways, moving around the center of the Galaxy.

If we want to describe the motion of a star like our Sun among all the other stars, we run up against a problem. We usually define motion by comparing the moving object to something at rest. A car moves at 60 miles per hour relative to a reference post attached to the Earth, such as the highway sign, for example. But if all the stars in the Galaxy are moving, what could be the “reference post” to which we can compare its motion?

Astronomers define a local standard of rest in our section of the Galaxy by the average motion of all the stars in our neighborhood. (Note that in using everyday words, such as “local” and “neighborhood”, we do a disservice to the mind-boggling distances involved. Even the nearest star is over 25 thousand billion miles (40 thousand billion km) away. It’s only that the Galaxy is so immense, that compared to its total size, the stars we use to define our Sun’s motion do seem to be in the “neighborhood.”)

Relative to the local standard of rest, our Sun and the Earth are moving at about 43,000 miles per hour (70,000 km/hr) roughly in the direction of the bright star Vega in the constellation of Lyra. This speed is not unusual for the stars around us and is our “milling around” speed in our suburban part of the Galaxy.

Orbiting the Galaxy

In addition to the individual motions of the stars within it, the entire Galaxy is in spinning motion like an enormous pinwheel. Although the details of the Galaxy’s spin are complicated (stars at different distances move at different speeds), we can focus on the speed of the Sun around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

It takes our Sun approximately 225 million years to make the trip around our Galaxy. This is sometimes called our “galactic year”. Since the Sun and the Earth first formed, about 20 galactic years have passed; we have been around the Galaxy 20 times. On the other hand, in all of recorded human history, we have barely moved in our long path around the Milky Way.

How fast do we have to move to make it around the Milky Way in one galactic year? It’s a huge circle, and the speed with which the Sun has to move is an astounding 483,000 miles per hour (792,000 km/hr)! The Earth, anchored to the Sun by gravity, follows along at the same fantastic speed. (By the way, as fast as this speed is, it is still a long way from the speed limit of the universe—the speed of light. Light travels at the unimaginably fast pace of 670 million miles per hour or 1.09 billion km/hr.)

Moving through the Universe

NationalGeographicTheUniverseMapAs we discussed the different speeds of our planet so far, we always needed to ask, “Compared to what are you measuring this motion?” In your armchair, your motion compared to the walls of your room is zero. Your motion compared to the Moon or the Sun, on the other hand, is quite large. When we talk about your speed going around the Galaxy, we measure it relative to the center of the Milky Way.

Now we want to finish up by looking at the motion of the entire Milky Way Galaxy through space. What can we compare its motion to — what is the right frame of reference? For a long time, astronomers were not sure how to answer this question. We could measure the motion of the Milky Way relative to a neighbor galaxy, but this galaxy is also moving. The universe is filled with great islands of stars (just like the Milky Way) and each of them is moving in its own way. No galaxy is sitting still! But then, a surprising discovery in the 1960s showed us a new way to think of our galaxy’s motion.

The Flash of the Big Bang

the big bangTo understand this new development, we have to think a little bit about the Big Bang, the enormous explosion that was the beginning of space, time, and the whole universe. Right after the Big Bang, the universe was full of energy and very, very hot. In fact, for the first few minutes, the entire universe was hotter than the center of our Sun. It was an unimaginable maelstrom of energy and subatomic particles, slowly cooling and sorting itself out into the universe we know today.

At that early time, the energy in the universe was in the form of gamma rays, waves of energy like the visible light we see, but composed of much shorter waves with higher energy. Today on Earth, it takes a nuclear bomb to produce significant amounts of gamma rays. But then, the whole universe was filled with them. You can think of these gamma-rays as the “flash” of the Big Bang — just like fireworks or a bomb can produce a flash of light, the Big Bang resulted in a flash of gamma rays. But these gamma rays were everywhere in the universe. They filled all of space, and as the universe grew (expanded), the gamma rays expanded with it.

When people first think about the expansion of the universe, they naturally think of other expansions they have experience with: how the American colonies eventually expanded to become the 48 states of the U.S. or how an exploding bomb might throw shrapnel in every direction. In these situations, the space into which the colonies or the shrapnel is expanding already exists. But the expansion of the universe is not like any other expansion. When the universe expands, it is space itself that is stretching. The galaxies in the universe are moving apart because space stretches and creates more distance between them.

What does this mind-stretching idea of stretching space mean for our gamma rays? The gamma rays are waves of energy moving through space. As space stretches, the waves that are in space must stretch too. Stretched gamma rays are called x-rays. So as the universe expanded, the waves of energy filling space stretched out to become less energetic (cooler) x-rays. As the universe continued to expand, the same waves became ultra-violet light. Later they became visible light, but there were no eyes in the hot compressed universe to see them yet. (When we take the lid of a hot pressure cooker, the steam will expand into the room and cool down. In the same way, we can think of the waves of energy in the expanding universe as cooling down — getting less energetic.)

Today, some 12 to 15 billion years after the Big Bang, there has been a lot of stretching. Space has expanded quite a bit. The flash of the Big Bang has stretched until it is now much longer, lower energy waves — microwaves and other radio waves. But the waves have stretched with the space they occupy, and so they still fill the universe, just the way they did at the time of creation.

Astronomers call the collection of all these stretched waves the cosmic background radiation or CBR. Physicists back in the late 1940’s predicted that there should be such a background, but since no one had the equipment to find it, the prediction was forgotten. Then, in the mid 1960s, two scientists working for Bell Laboratories, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, accidentally discovered the CBR while helping to get communications satellite technology going for the phone company. After astronomers used other telescopes and rockets in orbit to confirm that the radio waves the two scientists had discovered were really coming from all over space, Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize in physics for having found the most direct evidence for the Big Bang.

Moving through the CBR

IDL TIFF fileWhat, you might be asking yourself, does all this have to do with how fast we are moving? Well, astronomers can now measure how fast the Earth is moving compared to this radiation filling all of space. (Technically, our motion causes one kind of Doppler Shift in the radiation we observe in the direction that we are moving and another in the direction opposite.)

Put another way, the CBR provides a “frame of reference” for the universe at large, relative to which we can measure our motion. From the motion we measure compared to the CBR, we need to subtract out the motion of the Earth around the Sun and the Sun around the center of the Milky Way. The motion that’s left must be the particular motion of our Galaxy through the universe!

And how fast is the Milky Way Galaxy moving? The speed turns out to be an astounding 1.3 million miles per hour (2.1 million km/hr)! We are moving roughly in the direction on the sky that is defined by the constellations of Leo and Virgo. Although the reasons for this motion are not fully understood, astronomers believe that there is a huge concentration of matter in this direction. Some people call it The Great Attractor, although we now know that the pull is probably not due to one group of galaxies but many. Still the extra gravity in this direction pulls the Milky Way (and many neighbor galaxies) in that direction.


Can you guess who said the following and where it’s from?

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs.Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you’ve had quite enough

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the ‘milky way’

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide

We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
We go ’round every two hundred million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth

How about this?

Do you know like we were sayin’? About the Earth revolving? It’s like when you’re a kid. The first time they tell you that the world’s turning and you just can’t quite believe it ’cause everything looks like it’s standin’ still. I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinnin’ at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re fallin’ through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go… That’s who I am.

John Nelson of IDV Solutions created these awesome animated graphics which show our home as it really is.

A Breathing Earth - The Annual Pulse of Vegitation and Ice 01

A Breathing Earth - The Annual Pulse of Vegitation and Ice 02Source


king nixon

I came across a site that stated, “In 1999, Dr. Martin Luther King’s family won a civil lawsuit proving the U.S. government was responsible for his assassination. It wasn’t reported by the mainstream media.”

This totally blew my mind because I had not heard of such a thing. So I began to search. The following is from the New York Times Archives entitled, “Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King’s Killing” by By Emily Yellin (love the name :P), published on 9 December 1999:

A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided today that a retired Memphis cafe owner was part of a conspiracy in the 1968 killing of Dr. King.

The jury’s decision means it did not believe that James Earl Ray, who was convicted of the crime, fired the shot that killed Dr. King.

After four weeks of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury in the wrongful-death case found that Loyd Jowers as well as “others, including governmental agencies” had been part of a conspiracy. The jury awarded the King family the damages they had sought: $100, which the family says it will donate to charity.

The family has long questioned Mr. Ray’s conviction and hoped the suit would change the legal and historical record of the assassination.
“This is a vindication for us,” said Dexter King, the youngest son of Dr. King.

He said he hoped history books would be rewritten to reflect this version of the assassination.

Mr. Jowers, 73 and in failing health, owned Jim’s Grill in 1968, a restaurant opposite the motel where Dr. King was shot and just below the second-floor rooming house from which, according to James Earl Ray’s confession in 1969, Mr. Ray fired the single shot that killed Dr. King. Mr. Ray, who recanted his confession, hinted at a conspiracy. He died in prison last year while serving a 99-year sentence.

Mr. Jowers, in a 1993 television interview, said that he had hired a Memphis police officer to kill Dr. King from the bushes behind his restaurant. Mr. Jowers said he had been paid to do so by a Memphis grocery store owner with Mafia connections.

In an unlikely alliance, the King family was represented in the case by William Pepper, who had been Mr. Ray’s lawyer. The King family maintains that Mr. Pepper’s version of the assassination is the one that gets at the real truth behind Dr. King’s death, not the official version with Mr. Ray as the gunman.

Mr. Pepper said federal, state and Memphis governmental agencies, as well as the news media conspired in the assassination.

Mr. Jowers’s lawyer, Lewis Garrison, had said since the trial began that he agreed with 80 percent of Mr. Pepper’s conspiracy theories and disagreed only on the extent of his client’s involvement. In his closing argument today, Mr. Garrison repeated what he had said through the trial that his client participated in the conspiracy but did not know that it was a plot to kill Dr. King.

One juror, David Morphy, said after the trial, “We all thought it was a cut and dried case with the evidence that Mr. Pepper brought to us, that there were a lot of people involved, everyone from the C.I.A., military involvement, and Jowers was involved.”

John Campbell, an assistant district attorney in Memphis, who was not part of the civil proceedings but was part of the criminal case against Mr. Ray, said, “I’m not surprised by the verdict. This case overlooked so much contradictory evidence that never was presented, what other option did the jury have but to accept Mr. Pepper’s version?”

And Gerald Posner, whose recent book, “Killing the Dream” made the case that Mr. Ray was the killer, said, “It distresses me greatly that the legal system was used in such a callous and farcical manner in Memphis. If the King family wanted a rubber stamp of their own view of the facts, they got it.”


The following is from the United States Department of Justice website:


A. The King v. Jowers Trial

In November 1999, trial commenced in King v. Jowers, a wrongful death civil action filed by Dr. Pepper on behalf of Dr. King’s wife and children. Jowers was the only defendant and thus the only other party to the lawsuit. At the conclusion of the nearly four week trial, the jury adopted a verdict offered by the parties finding that Jowers and “others, including government agencies” participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.

We reviewed the trial’s evidence in connection with our ongoing investigation of the Jowers and Wilson allegations. We also conducted additional witness interviews and searched for and reviewed records as warranted by the evidence.

In Sections IV and VI of this report, we discussed the evidence presented in King v. Jowers related to the Jowers allegation, as well as the relevant, additional investigation we initiated. Much of the information we considered in those sections was not presented to the jury. For instance, the parties did not introduce Jowers’ many inconsistent claims, the inconsistent statements of several critical witnesses, or information that contradicted and undermined the trial evidence. As to the Wilson allegations, no evidence, other than newspaper articles recounting Wilson’s claims, was offered. Accordingly, after considering the trial evidence in light of all available, relevant information, we still conclude that the Jowers and Wilson allegations are not credible and that there is no Raoul. See Sections IV, V, and VI above.

We also considered evidence from King v. Jowers suggesting the existence of various conspiracies broader than the one claimed by Jowers. These conspiracies purportedly included government agents and two African American ministers who were associates of Dr. King. The evidence never linked Jowers or his alleged co-conspirators to any federal agency or the United States military, even though the plaintiffs maintained that Dr. King’s assassination was the result of a government-directed conspiracy and Jowers was the only party sued.

Nonetheless, we examined the trial evidence relating to these far-ranging conspiracy claims. We found that it was both contradictory and based on uncorroborated secondhand and thirdhand hearsay accounts. Nor did we find any credible, concrete facts to substantiate any of the conspiracy allegations. Because there was no reliable evidence presented at trial relating to a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King involving either Jowers, the government, African American ministers, or anyone else, and because we know of no information to support such allegations, we find no justification for further investigation.

To explain our conclusion, we have summarized the trial evidence relating the purported conspiracies and analyzed that evidence in view of the results of our investigation and other relevant information that was not presented in King v. Jowers.

B. Evidence Alleging The Involvement Of The Federal Government

1. Hearsay Evidence

Most of the witnesses and writings offered to support the various government-directed conspiracy claims relied exclusively on secondhand and thirdhand hearsay and speculation. Additionally, none of these allegations were ever linked together. Rather, the hearsay evidence alleged that various government agencies participated in assorted assassination plots that are actually contradictory.

One allegation came from an acquaintance of Jowers who testified regarding a double hearsay account of an alleged conversation in a barbershop in which a supposed FBI agent remarked that the CIA was responsible for the assassination. Unrelated to this allegation, other hearsay evidence presented a different conspiracy, one to silence Ray after he pled guilty. One of Ray’s former attorneys related a double hearsay account from two deceased inmates suggesting that, ten years after the assassination, Ray was the target of a government-directed murder contract. A former government official further testified that he heard an unconfirmed rumor that FBI snipers were dispatched when Ray escaped from prison.

The deposition of a person identified only as “John Doe” related yet another conspiracy claim. The unknown deponent recounted his alleged participation in a Mafia-assisted plot initiated by the President and Vice President of the United States. Finally, several authors, a newspaper article, and notes of alleged witness interviews offered various hearsay allegations that the United States military was somehow involved in the assassination. These allegations included a claim by an unidentified source that, while conducting military surveillance of Dr. King, his military team witnessed the assassination and even photographed a man with a rifle leaving the scene.

2. Eyewitness Testimony

In contrast to the several, disparate hearsay accounts presented at trial, only three witnesses provided firsthand information relating to any of the conspiracy allegations. Significantly, these witnesses did not directly support any of the hearsay claims that the government participated in the assassination, but merely recounted their observations of conduct suggesting that Dr. King may have been under government surveillance.

James Smith, formerly a Memphis police officer, testified that he understood that Dr. King was under government surveillance during the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis in March 1968, two weeks before the assassination. Smith reported that he observed a van filled with radio equipment outside the Rivermont Hotel where Dr. King was staying. Smith said that he heard from unidentified sources that the occupants of the van were federal agents conducting electronic surveillance.

Eli Arkin, a former Memphis police intelligence officer, answered questions about the presence of military personnel in Memphis. Arkin testified, consistent with what he previously related to us, that in March or April 1968, Army intelligence agents worked in his office while he was gathering information about the sanitation strike. According to Arkin, the agents never explained what they were doing and merely observed and took notes.

Finally, Carthel Weeden, then the captain of Fire Station No. 2 across from the Lorraine, testified that on the morning of the assassination, two men who identified themselves as Army personnel said they wanted to conduct photographic surveillance. He reported that he showed them to the fire station’s roof. When we spoke to him after the trial, Weeden advised that, while he was sure he took military personnel to the roof, it was possible that he did so on a day before — not on the day of — the assassination. He also told us that he did not know how long the men remained on the roof.

3. Analysis of the Evidence Alleging the Involvement of the Federal Government

When critically analyzed and considered in light of other relevant information, the trial evidence does not establish that federal agents were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King. Rather, it consists of speculation or secondhand and thirdhand hearsay accounts that remain totally unsubstantiated or contradicted. After considering all available information, including numerous facts not presented to the King v. Jowers jury, we have concluded that none of the assorted conspiracy allegations warrant any further investigation.

a. Allegations of CIA and FBI involvement in a conspiracy

William Hamblin, a former cab driver who knew both Jowers and his friend James McCraw, testified regarding a double hearsay account that the CIA was responsible for the assassination. Hamblin reported that while he was a barber in Memphis in 1968, his boss, Vernon Jones, now deceased, told him about a comment made by a long-standing customer, referred to only as “Mr. Purdy.” Hamblin testified that Jones said that in response to Jones’ question — “who do you think did it?” — Mr. Purdy answered — “the CIA.” Hamblin also maintained, without explaining the basis for his knowledge, that Mr. Purdy was an FBI agent. See Section IV.F.2. above for other allegations made by Hamblin.

Hamblin did not claim to have heard the alleged conversation between Jones and Purdy. There was no evidence presented that the conversation actually occurred or that Hamblin’s unexplained belief that Mr. Purdy was an FBI agent was correct. Nor was any evidence offered to show that Mr. Purdy’s alleged opinion was based upon fact rather than conjecture. Accordingly, Hamblin’s testimony is nothing more than an unconfirmed report of idle barbershop speculation.

A limited amount of other trial evidence was offered in an attempt to suggest that the FBI and the CIA were involved in the assassination. Several witnesses made vague accusations that the FBI failed to investigate thoroughly or suppressed evidence related to the murder and that its leadership wanted Dr. King killed. No specific trial evidence, however, supported these accusations and we found nothing to confirm the speculation.

As to the CIA, a witness testified that an undercover officer, who at the time of the assassination worked for the Memphis Police Department, was hired by that federal agency several years later. See Section IV.D.2.b.(2) above. Thus, it was implied that the CIA may have been involved in a conspiracy. Additionally, an unidentified source, who was not credited by the newspaper reporter who heard his story, alleged that his National Guard reconnaissance team was met in Memphis on the day of the murder by someone who “smelled like” a CIA agent. See Section VII.B.3.d. below. After reviewing the historical record, including CIA records, some of which were classified, we found nothing to substantiate the speculative claims that the CIA was involved in a conspiracy.

b. Allegations of a government conspiracy to silence Ray

Reverend Walter Fauntroy, former delegate to the United States House of Representatives, testified regarding a rumor. Fauntroy, who headed the HSCA probe of the King assassination, stated that at the time of Ray’s escape from prison in 1977, he “heard” that FBI snipers had been sent to Tennessee. Fauntroy emphasized, “I don’t know that. I have no evidence, but that’s what we heard and that alarmed us.”

Attorney April Ferguson, who assisted Mark Lane in representing Ray during the HSCA hearings, testified about a related, double hearsay account from two inmates regarding an alleged contract to kill Ray. According to Ferguson, in January 1979, she met a now deceased, incarcerated extortionist, William Kirk, who told her that another now deceased inmate, Arthur Baldwin, advised him of a supposed $5000 contract to murder Ray. Ferguson added that Kirk told her, without providing any specifics or sources for his information, that he “got the impression that * * * Baldwin was working as an agent or informer for the federal government.”

We did not find anything to confirm either hearsay allegation about the plots to kill Ray. Reverend Fauntroy correctly cautioned in his testimony that he knew of no evidence to support the rumor he had heard. In fact, Ray was in the custody of the government for over 30 years and died of liver disease in 1998.

We did determine that Baldwin assisted the government in federal investigations that were unrelated to the assassination in return for a reduced sentence for his own criminal activity. We are aware, however, of no information to substantiate the inference that Baldwin was thus involved in a government-directed plot to kill Ray. The former United States Attorney, who used Baldwin as an informant, advised that, because of Baldwin’s poor credibility, he relied on Baldwin’s information only when it could be independently corroborated.

We found nothing to corroborate the hearsay account of Kirk’s allegation of Baldwin’s claim. Moreover, it is not uncommon for inmates to make false accusations with some hope of personal gain.

c. Allegation of a conspiracy involving the President and Vice President

During the trial, Garrison, on behalf of Jowers, presented a “John Doe” deposition outlining a conspiracy involving the Mafia and implicating both the President and Vice President of the United States. The unidentified deponent, whose name was withheld for unexplained “security reasons,” claimed to have worked for the Houston Post in 1968. His deposition provides that he was contacted by a former treasurer of the United Auto Workers at the request of a bookmaker acquaintance and offered $400,000, allegedly to be supplied by the union, “to satisfy Mr. [Hubert] Humphrey and Mr. [Lyndon] Johnson by making Martin Luther King * * * ‘shut up’ about the Vietnam War * * * by just taking him out.” According to the deposition, the deponent accepted the offer, and along with the assistance of several others, including Raoul and Mafia figure, Carlos Marcello, assassinated Dr. King.

The deposition provides details as to how the murder was allegedly accomplished. It states that on April 4, 1968, the deponent and others flew to Memphis from a secret airstrip owned by Marcello. Upon arrival, a woman from Belize, South America, now deceased, drove them to downtown Memphis and dropped off Raoul near Mulberry Street. Raoul then went into a building and left a bag outside. Afterwards, Raoul drove to New Orleans, picked up Ray in Atlanta, and flew with him to Canada. The deposition also alleges that after “the actual shooting of King took place [from] behind * * * a brushy little wall,” the woman from Belize “c[a]me around and pick[ed] up the shooter” in a Chevrolet Corvair. The shooter, along with the deponent, flew back to the Mafia airstrip and, while passing over the Mississippi River, threw the rifle into the river.

While the “John Doe” deposition presented the most detailed evidence alleging a government-directed conspiracy, no live witness testimony or documentary or physical evidence corroborated any part of its allegations. Conveniently, Doe remained unidentified for “security reasons” and virtually all of his alleged co-conspirators are supposedly dead. Moreover, many of Doe’s claims are contradicted by otherwise established facts. For example, none of the many witnesses at the Lorraine, nor the police who immediately responded, saw a woman drive by and pick up the shooter, and Ray never claimed that he flew to Canada with Raoul. Thus, this far-fetched, anonymous story has no indicia of reliability and is not credible.

d. Allegations of military involvement in a conspiracy

The King v. Jowers trial included evidence relating allegations of United States military involvement in the assassination. Although no evidence specifically alleged that military personnel killed Dr. King, hearsay accounts and speculation suggested that military personnel were somehow connected to the assassination and actually witnessed it.

Dr. Pepper introduced redacted copies of notes purporting to document interviews with unidentified military sources who claimed to have observed the assassination.(78) One set of notes records allegations by an unidentified source, claiming that he was one of two soldiers with the 902d Military Intelligence Group who was on the rooftop of Fire Station No. 2 conducting surveillance of Dr. King at the time of the assassination. This source reported that he observed and his partner photographed the assassination and “a white man with a rifle” on the ground leaving the scene. According to the notes, the source offered to approach his partner to attempt to obtain the alleged photographs for $2,000.

Another set of notes purported to document the allegations of a different unnamed source that he was one of two guardsmen with an Alabama National Guard unit, the 20th Special Forces Group (SFG), who was watching Dr. King and Ambassador Young from another rooftop near the Lorraine and observed the assassination. That source also claimed that his team coordinated with the Memphis police and someone he assumed to be with the CIA.

In a 1993 newspaper article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which was also introduced, reporter Stephen Tompkins asserts, without citing sources for the specific claims, that in the late 1960s, the 20th SFG conducted military intelligence surveillance of Dr. King and others from the civil rights movement. The article further provides that, on the day before the assassination, the 111th Military Intelligence Group (MIG) “shadowed [Dr. King’s] movements and monitored radio traffic from a sedan crammed with electronic equipment” and that “[e]ight Green Berets from an ‘Operation Detachment Alpha 184 Team’ were also in Memphis carrying out an unknown mission.”

Douglas Valentine, who authored a book about CIA intelligence operations during the Vietnam war, presented hearsay testimony from another unidentified source. He related that while writing his book, he learned that a single unnamed source allegedly involved in the military’s anti-war surveillance “heard a rumor” that the 111th MIG was conducting surveillance of Dr. King in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and took photographs of the assassination. Valentine advised us after the trial that he could not recall the identity of the person who told him the rumor but thought it was a former military enlisted man.

Another writer, Jack Terrell, who claimed to have worked with a CIA-directed group supplying arms and military software to the Contra rebels in Honduras in the 1980s, offered a hearsay opinion of a deceased source. Terrell testified that in the 1970s, as a private businessman, one of his employees, J.D. Hill, now deceased, claimed to have been with the 20th SFG in the 1960s. According to Terrell, Hill, who was a “strange person” with a drinking problem, expressed the “view” that in 1968 he had been trained specifically to participate in a military sniper mission to assassinate Dr. King that was canceled without explanation.

(1) Allegations regarding the military that are relevant to Jowers’ claim

Although none of the King v. Jowers conspiracy allegations were directly linked to Jowers’ allegations, some of the evidence relating to claims of military involvement suggests the existence of witnesses and/or physical evidence that could support Jowers’ contention that the assassin fired from behind Jim’s Grill. As a result, we searched for witnesses from the military and physical evidence that might confirm Jowers’ allegation.

We found no evidence — no witness, document or photograph — to confirm the hearsay allegations that military personnel witnessed or photographed the assassination. Rather, we found evidence to establish that those allegations are not credible.

Initially, we obtained an un-redacted copy of the interview notes that were introduced at trial. It named the man who claimed that he and another soldier witnessed and photographed the assassination. We also learned that former Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Stephen Tompkins, who did not testify in King v. Jowers, authored the interview notes. Accordingly, we interviewed Tompkins.

Tompkins confirmed that he prepared the notes based on his interview of a source whose identity he was unable to substantiate. He emphasized that he did not believe the account related by the source and that, had he been called as a witness at the trial, he would have stated his belief to the jury.(79)

Tompkins explained that he was unable to corroborate any information provided by the source, who identified himself as Jacob Brenner, including whether that was the man’s real name. In addition, Tompkins said he found no evidence to substantiate that the 902d Military Intelligence Group (Brenner’s alleged unit) ever conducted surveillance of Dr. King or was in Memphis. Rather, he determined that the 902d MIG’s mission did not include domestic intelligence work. Tompkins also advised that he never interviewed Brenner’s alleged partner, who purportedly photographed both the assassination and the man with a rifle, because Brenner never named him. Nor did he ever speak to Colonel John Downie, the commander of the 902d MIG to whom Brenner claimed the photographs were given, because Downie was no longer alive.

Tompkins said that he was skeptical about Brenner’s story based upon more than his inability to corroborate it. Brenner asked for increasing amounts of money for the photographs that he claimed would substantiate his story. According to Tompkins, when initially meeting Brenner in Chicago, he wanted $2,000 for the photographs; later in Miami, he escalated the demand to at least $10,000. Concluding Brenner did not have any photographs, Tompkins said he advised Dr. Pepper not to pay. In the end, Tompkins described Brenner as a “slimeball” whose story was no different than numerous false stories he had heard from conspiracy buffs asking for money.

Notwithstanding Tompkins’ assessment of Brenner’s credibility and story, we investigated whether military personnel from the 902d MIG or from some other unit were on the roof of Fire Station No. 2, observed the assassination, or photographed a man with a rifle after the shooting.

Official records reflect that the 111th MIG and the Tennessee National Guard were the only military units which had personnel in Memphis on the day of the assassination. We found no record to indicate that any other military unit, including the 902d MIG, had personnel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The Department of Defense also confirmed Tompkins’ understanding that the 902d MIG did not conduct domestic intelligence work. Finally, we found no written record of any surveillance of Dr. King at the Lorraine Motel by military personnel from any unit.(80)

In addition to reviewing records, we located and interviewed five surviving members of the 111th MIG who were in Memphis on April 4, 1968. They all claimed they were not aware that military personnel from any other unit, including the 902d MIG, were in Memphis around the time of the assassination. Jimmie Locke, then a Major and the 111th MIG’s ranking officer in Memphis at the time of the assassination, advised that under the military’s standing operating procedures he would have been advised if personnel from another unit were in his area. He specifically stated that, even if the other unit’s operation was covert, he would have been advised of the personnel’s presence, if not their mission.

Additionally, no one from the 111th MIG had firsthand knowledge that any military personnel were in the vicinity of the Lorraine on the day of the assassination or that military personnel ever conducted surveillance of Dr. King. Steve McCall, then a Sergeant and investigator with the 111th MIG, did remember, however, somehow hearing that agents from his unit were being dispatched to the Lorraine on the day of the assassination to watch Dr. King and his party. McCall could not recall the source for this information or any other details, including whether anyone actually went to the Lorraine and, if they did, who they were, when they went, or what they did.

Significantly, one witness from the 111th MIG also told us that he was on the roof of Fire Station No. 2 before — but not on the day of — the assassination. James Green, then a Sergeant and investigator, recalled going to the fire station on the day that Dr. King’s advance party arrived in Memphis, perhaps March 31st . He claims he went with another agent from his unit, whom he could not now recall, to scout for locations to take photographs of persons visiting the King party at the Lorraine Motel at a later time, if necessary. According to Green, someone from the station may have shown them to the roof, where he and the other agent remained for 30 to 45 minutes before determining it was too exposed a location from which to take photographs.(81) Green stated he never returned to the roof or the vicinity of the Lorraine and never conducted surveillance of or photographed Dr. King. He also advised that he never heard that any other military personnel were in the area of the Lorraine on the day of the assassination or conducted surveillance of Dr. King.

We also interviewed all surviving firemen who worked at Fire Station No. 2 at the time of the assassination. No fireman, other than Weeden, had any knowledge about the presence of military personnel at the fire station.

While we found no reason to disbelieve Captain Weeden’s recollection that he led two Army agents to the station’s roof or Green’s account to support it, we found nothing to confirm that military personnel were in fact at that location on the day of the assassination. Further, when we interviewed Weeden after the trial, he acknowledged that his memory of an event 30 years ago might be inexact, and, thus, it was possible that he took the military personnel to the roof sometime before — not the day of — the assassination. He added that he had never spoken with anyone about his recollection until Dr. Pepper interviewed him “before [Pepper] wrote his book” in 1995. Accordingly, Green’s recollection that military personnel went to the roof on a different day than the assassination appears accurate.

We likewise found physical evidence to contradict Jacob Brenner’s story that he or anyone else was on the fire station’s roof at the time of the assassination. Attachments 4a and 4b, photographs taken by television producer Joseph Louw of the police responding to the shooting, clearly depict the fire station’s roof most probably within a minute of the shooting. The photographs were taken through the window of Louw’s balcony room, which was two doors from where Dr. King lay mortally wounded. Had Brenner or someone else been on the roof photographing the assassination when Louw was taking his photographs, they would necessarily appear in them. Louw’s photographs, however, show no one on the roof.

After examining all relevant information, we have concluded that the King v. Jowers hearsay evidence that military personnel witnessed and photographed both the assassination and a man with a rifle as he left the scene is not credible. We found no evidence to support the allegation. Rather, we discovered information to contradict it, including Louw’s photographs and the assessment of the only person who heard the story, Tompkins, that it is not worthy of belief.

(2) Other allegations regarding the military

We have also concluded that allegations in a second set of interview notes relating to military personnel also authored by Tompkins and introduced at trial are not credible. Those notes reflect the claims of two men, who alleged that they were sent to Memphis with the 20th Special Forces Group of the Alabama National Guard, met a Memphis police officer and someone appearing to be a CIA agent, and witnessed the assassination. Although Tompkins declined to provide the names of the guardsmen, asserting that they are news sources whose identities he is obliged to protect, he nonetheless advised that he was unable to corroborate their story and doubted their credibility.(82)

Tompkins recounted that, during his investigation for the Memphis Commercial Appeal in the early 1990s, he received information that the 20th SFG had been in Memphis at the time of the assassination.(83) His inquiry led to a man then living in Mexico, who claimed to have been a guardsman with that unit and on the roof of a building (not the fire station) watching Dr. King at the time of the assassination. Tompkins said that the guardsman introduced him to another man in Mexico who allegedly was the team’s observer. Tompkins emphasized that the guardsman claimed that he was only conducting “reconnaissance” and not deployed as a sniper to shoot Dr. King. (84)

Tompkins told us that he never found anything to corroborate the allegations of the guardsman and his observer and no longer believes them.(85) He stated that the guardsman, like Brenner, wanted money in exchange for documents that he claimed would substantiate his story. Because Tompkins and his newspaper did not credit the story, they did not attempt to purchase the alleged documents or publish the account. Later, according to Tompkins, he gave money from Dr. Pepper to the guardsman for the documents (he did not recall the amount), but the guardsman never provided them. Tompkins explained that he did not think the guardsman was “on the level” and that what he related may have been “just bullshit” and ” made up.” Tompkins summed up his evaluation of the guardsman by saying that he “would not testify under oath that [the guardsman] was truthful,” and, in his view, it would “be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars” to travel to Mexico to speak with him.

We found no evidence to corroborate the allegations of the guardsman or his purported observer. We could find no record or witness to confirm that the 20th SFG or any other military unit besides the 111th MIG and the Tennessee National Guard was in Memphis at the time of the assassination or anything else alleged. Moreover, according to the National Guard Bureau of the Department of Defense, the 20th SFG was never authorized to engage in surveillance or any other activities against civil rights leaders.

Additionally, one critical fact mentioned by the guardsman that was subject to verification proved to be false. According to Tompkins, the guardsman said his team leader, an officer whom he named, accompanied the team to Memphis. Tompkins’ interview notes also make several references to the team leader’s activities in Memphis on the day of the assassination. In 1997, the team leader, who was supposedly dead, came forward to contest the accusations. He denied both being in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and knowing that other personnel from the 20th SFG were there, and provided an account of his whereabouts on the day of the assassination. We are aware of nothing to contradict the team leader’s denial.(86)

We also considered both Tompkins’ claim in his 1993 article that the 111th MIG monitored Dr. King in Memphis on the day before the assassination with “a sedan crammed with electronic equipment” and police officer James Smith’s alleged March 1968 observations of a van, which he heard was involved in surveillance. Tompkins advised that, while witnesses told him they had heard electronic surveillance occurred, no one claimed to have actually observed it. Nor did we find any record or witness to support the allegation that the 111th MIG even had such electronic surveillance equipment. Additionally, 111th MIG Sergeant James Green, who admitted being on the fire station’s roof, acknowledged that approximately two weeks after the assassination he was operating a sedan in Memphis crammed with communication, not surveillance, equipment. According to Green, local law enforcement officers were aware of his presence and the radio equipment.

Finally, we assessed the testimony of both author Douglas Valentine that an unidentified source heard a rumor that the 111th MIG photographed the assassination and writer Jack Terrell that his now deceased employee talked about a canceled 20th SFG mission to kill Dr. King. We found neither witnesses’ testimony significant in view of its hearsay nature and in light of the information discussed above. According to Valentine, an unidentified source conveyed a rumor and, according to Terrell, another source, who was unreliable and is now deceased, expressed an unsubstantiated opinion. As with many hearsay accounts, after critical examination of the relevant facts, these secondhand accounts proved inaccurate.

In conclusion, we found no evidence that military personnel saw, photographed, or were even present at the time of the assassination. Neither the guardsmen’s allegation nor Jacob Brenner’s story is credible. At the same time, we were unable to determine definitively whether the military conducted surveillance of Dr. King on the day of the assassination. We found no conclusive evidence that they did. Other information, however, establishes that the military did carry out surveillance of Dr. King and many other civilians participating in civil disobedience in the 1960s. (87) Because such surveillance, which Congress later condemned, was so pervasive, the mere possibility that the military may have spied on Dr. King on the day of the assassination does not suggest its complicity in the murder. In fact, we found nothing to indicate that surveillance at any time had any connection with the assassination.

C. Evidence Alleging The Involvement Of Dr. King’s Associates

Dr. Pepper also introduced evidence during the trial to suggest that two African American ministers, who were associates of Dr. King, conspired to kill him. Testimony was presented to imply that Dr. King’s associates facilitated the assassination by luring Dr. King to the Lorraine Motel where he had never stayed, changing his room assignment from an interior to an exposed balcony room, dismissing a portion of his security, leading him to the balcony at exactly 6:00 p.m., and leaving him alone and exposed to allow the assassin an unobstructed shot.(88)

We reviewed the trial testimony relating to these claims. Based on an analysis of all relevant information, including numerous facts not presented to the jury, we have concluded that the allegation that two of Dr. King’s associates conspired to kill him is not credible and does not warrant further investigation.

1. Dr. King and the Lorraine Motel

During the trial, evidence suggested that Dr. King’s stay at the Lorraine was out of the ordinary and intentionally directed by insiders to assist the assassination. For example, Jerry Williams, a former Memphis police officer, one of the African American officers who provided security for Dr. King’s previous visits to Memphis, testified that Dr. King had never stayed overnight at the Lorraine because of security concerns. Reverend James Lawson, an associate of Dr. King’s, also testified that Dr. King “mostly stayed” at “white” motels, rather than the motels patronized by African Americans, like the Lorraine.

Supporting the theory that one of Dr. King’s associates deliberately moved him to a balcony room to facilitate the assassination, Leon Cohen testified that on the day after the assassination he heard that Dr. King’s room assignment at the Lorraine had been changed by someone within his own organization. Cohen, who claimed to be a friend of the Lorraine’s owner, Walter Bailey, testified that Bailey told him that a male member of Dr. King’s group called from Atlanta the day prior to Dr. King’s arrival to change his interior courtyard room to an exposed, balcony room. According to Cohen’s hearsay account, Bailey was adamantly against the move because of his concerns for Dr. King’s security.

The historical record contradicts the trial testimony that Dr. King’s final stay at the Lorraine was unusual. The motel owner, Walter Bailey, now deceased, told investigators on several occasions that Dr. King was a frequent overnight guest at the Lorraine. For example, on the day of the assassination, Bailey told the FBI that Dr. King had stayed at his motel on approximately 12 occasions since 1958. In 1969, Bailey similarly told investigators for James Earl Ray that Dr. King had stayed at the Lorraine on and off for the past 15 years.

Others corroborate Bailey’s official statements about Dr. King’s frequent patronage of the Lorraine. Bailey’s daughter Caroline Champion, who worked at the motel, advised our investigators that Dr. King stayed there “many times.” Dr. King’s close friend and colleague, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, told the HSCA under oath that he and Dr. King stayed in room 306 at the Lorraine so often that it was referred to as the “King-Abernathy suite.” Memphis police officer Edward Redditt, who also provided security for Dr. King during an earlier visit, corroborated the recollections of Bailey, Champion, and Abernathy that Dr. King had previously stayed at the Lorraine. Accordingly, contrary to the trial testimony, other information from several reliable sources demonstrates that Dr. King was a frequent overnight guest at the Lorraine. Thus, there is nothing suspicious about his being at the Lorraine on April 4, 1968.

The suggestion that one of Dr. King’s associates moved him to Room 306 on the balcony level to make him a target for the assassin is also contradicted by well-documented accounts. When interviewed by the FBI the day of the assassination, Bailey said that he had no knowledge that anyone had acted in a suspicious manner and absolutely no information or thoughts on the assassination. He likewise expressed no concern about Dr. King’s room assignment in statements to Ray’s investigators and specifically told them that there was no advance registration for Dr. King, who was not registered until Reverend Lawson’s arrival on April 3, 1968. Had Bailey actually received instructions, with which he disagreed, to change Dr. King’s room, it is inconceivable that he would have related that fact only to Cohen and not to any of the several investigators, including those representing Ray, who interviewed him.

Moreover, Reverend Abernathy’s testimony to the HSCA about the “King-Abernathy suite” (balcony Room 306) completely contradicts Cohen’s testimony. Reverend Abernathy further testified that during the April 3-4, 1968 visit, he and Dr. King were moved to Room 306 at their own request as soon as it was vacated by another guest. Accordingly, we found nothing to support a conclusion that some unidentified associate of Dr. King deliberately moved him to a balcony room to facilitate his assassination.

2. Dr. King’s Security

Evidence was also presented to suggest a plot to facilitate the removal of Dr. King’s security. We discussed most of this trial evidence, along with other related information not presented in the trial, when we considered general accusations that security was removed in Section IV.D.2.b.(1) above. However, two additional pieces of evidence were presented in King v. Jowers in an effort to suggest that Dr. King’s associates assisted the alleged plot to remove his security.

Philip Mellanson, a professor and author, testified that Memphis Police Inspector Sam Evans, now deceased, told him that he ordered tactical units away from the Lorraine at the request of a specific “Memphis Minister” associated with Dr. King, whom he named.(89) In addition, other witnesses testified about their belief that the eviction of the Invaders, a group of young Memphis, African American activists, from their room at the Lorraine minutes before the shooting facilitated the assassination. One former Invader, Charles Cabbage, testified that he was told that another minister, the “SCLC Minister,” a ranking member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, ordered that his group be immediately ejected.

We found nothing to support Mellanson’s hearsay account that the “Memphis Minister” was the specific source of the request to remove tactical units. When we interviewed the “Memphis Minister,” he denied ever making such a request. Moreover, the fact that TACT Unit 10 remained in the vicinity across the street at the fire station undermines the inference that the “Memphis Minister” conspired with law enforcement. See Section IV.D.2.b.(1)(a) above.

Likewise, nothing supports a conclusion that the eviction of the Invaders from the Lorraine, allegedly at the direction of the “SCLC Minister,” is related to the assassination. We found no evidence that the Invaders had anything to do with Dr. King’s security. Rather, according to associates of Dr. King and former Memphis police officers, the Invaders were young, African American activists who were attempting to associate with Dr. King. Accordingly, even if the Invaders were evicted from the Lorraine by the “SCLC Minister” or some other SCLC staff person, such action would not have diminished Dr. King’s security.

Moreover, Charles Cabbage’s recent trial testimony is inconsistent with his testimony to the HSCA. Twenty years ago, Cabbage testified that did not recollect the specific sequence of events leading to the Invaders’ departure from the Lorraine but that they decided to leave on their own because the SCLC would not pay their room bill. Cabbage told the HSCA that “one of the [SCLC] staffers,” whose name he did not provide, somehow advised him that “they [the SCLC] were no longer going to pay for the room, and we [the Invaders] were already overdue and that left no alternative but for us to check out.”

Cabbage’s recent testimony is also uncorroborated and contrary to the recollections of others. Significantly, in Cabbage’s recent testimony in King v. Jowers, he claimed that it was Reverend James Orange who evicted the Invaders, telling him that the “SCLC Minister” wanted them to leave immediately. When we spoke with Orange after the trial, he told us he did not recall receiving that instruction from the “SCLC Minister” or anyone else. Also, when we interviewed the “SCLC Minister,” a friend and associate of Dr. King’s, who has led a life of public service, he denied the accusation and claimed that he did not recall that the Invaders were even staying at the Lorraine. We are aware of nothing to contradict his denial. Accordingly, the record does not support the inference presented at trial that African American ministers associated with Dr. King facilitated the assassination by removing his security.

3. Dr. King’s Presence on the Balcony

During the trial, the “Memphis Minister” was also called as a witness and questioned so as to create the impression that he had deliberately lured Dr. King to the balcony of the Lorraine at precisely 6:00 p.m. and left him exposed and alone so that he could be shot. This claim is consistent with the view expressed to us by Dr. Pepper and Dexter King prior to trial. To support this contention, the plaintiffs’ attorney questioned the “Memphis Minister” regarding his conduct before the shooting and confronted him with words from his speech at ceremonies commemorating an anniversary of the assassination. In the speech, as he described the events of the assassination, the “Memphis Minister” recounted that just before the shot he “moved away [from Dr. King] so he [the assassin] could have a clear shot.”

According to a number of witnesses interviewed by our investigation and previous investigations, Dr. King walked out of Room 306 onto the balcony of the Lorraine just before 6:00 p.m. in the company of the “Memphis Minister.” Dr. King conversed with several of his other associates, who were assembled in the parking lot below as they all were preparing to go to dinner. When the “Memphis Minister” walked a few steps away from Dr. King, the assassin fired. As discussed in Section IV.D.1.a.(1) above, we determined that Dr. King’s appearance on the balcony at 6:00 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. dinner engagement could not have been anticipated with enough certainty to plan the time of the assassination.

The notion that the “Memphis Minister” was involved in the assassination and inadvertently revealed his participation during a public speech is far-fetched. The minister’s comment, “I moved away so he could have a clear shot,” considered in the context of his speech, appears nothing more than an inartful attempt to explain the sequence of events and the fact that Dr. King was shot when he moved away from the speaker’s side. It hardly amounts to an inadvertent confession.

In any event, we are aware of no information to support the accusation that the “Memphis Minister” led Dr. King to the balcony and moved away to allow the assassin to shoot. We confronted the “Memphis Minister” with the accusation and he denied it. We are also aware of nothing that would have motivated him to assist a conspiracy to murder a friend and associate, while his public life demonstrates his integrity and dedication to non-violence.

D. Conclusions Regarding The King v. Jowers Conspiracy Claims

The evidence introduced in King v. Jowers to support various conspiracy allegations consisted of either inaccurate and incomplete information or unsubstantiated conjecture, supplied most often by sources, many unnamed, who did not testify. Important information from the historical record and our investigation contradicts and undermines it. When considered in light of all other available relevant facts, the trial’s evidence fails to establish the existence of any conspiracy to kill Dr. King. The verdict presented by the parties and adopted by the jury is incompatible with the weight of all relevant information, much of which the jury never heard. Accordingly, the conspiracy allegations presented at the trial warrant no further investigation.


After reviewing all available materials from prior official investigations and other sources, including the evidence from King v. Jowers, and after conducting a year and a half of original investigation, we have concluded that the allegations originating with Loyd Jowers and Donald Wilson are not credible.

We found no reliable evidence to support Jowers’ allegations that he conspired with others to shoot Dr. King from behind Jim’s Grill. In fact, credible evidence contradicting his allegations, as well as material inconsistencies among his accounts and his own repudiations of them, demonstrate that Jowers has not been truthful. Rather, it appears that Jowers contrived and promoted a sensational story of a plot to kill Dr. King. See Sections IV.F. and G. above.

Likewise, we do not credit Donald Wilson’s claim that he took papers from Ray’s abandoned car. Wilson has made significant contradictory statements and otherwise behaved in a duplicitous manner, inconsistent with his professed interest in seeking the truth. Important evidence contradicting Wilson’s claims, including the failure of James Earl Ray to support Wilson’s revelation, further undermines his account. Although we were unable to determine the true origin of the Wilson documents, his inconsistent statements, his conduct, and substantial evidence refuting his claims all demonstrate that his implausible account is not worthy of belief. Accordingly, we have concluded that the documents do not constitute evidence relevant to the King assassination. See Section V.K. above.

The weight of the evidence available to our investigation also establishes that Raoul is merely the creation of James Earl Ray. We found no evidence to support the claims that a Raoul participated in the assassination. Rather, a review of 30 years of speculation about his identity presents a convincing case that no Raoul was involved in a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. See Section VI.G. above.

In accordance with our mandate, we confined our investigation to the Jowers and the Wilson allegations and logical investigative leads suggested by them, including those concerning Raoul, who is central to both allegations. We however considered other allegations, including the unsubstantiated claims made during the trial of King v. Jowers that government agencies and African American ministers associated with Dr. King conspired to kill him. Where warranted, we conducted limited additional investigation. Thus, we evaluated all additional allegations brought to our attention to determine whether any reliable substantiation exists to credit them or warrant further inquiry. We found none. See Section VII above.

Similarly, we considered the suggestion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the Shelby County District Attorney General to investigate whether James Earl Ray’s surviving brothers may have been his co-conspirators. We found insufficient evidentiary leads remaining after 30 years to justify further investigation. Finally, while we conducted no original investigation specifically directed at determining whether James Earl Ray killed Dr. King, we found no credible evidence to disturb past judicial determinations that he did.

Questions and speculation may always surround the assassination of Dr. King and other national tragedies. Our investigation of these most recent allegations, as well as several exhaustive previous official investigations, found no reliable evidence that Dr. King was killed by conspirators who framed James Earl Ray. Nor have any of the conspiracy theories advanced in the last 30 years, including the Jowers and the Wilson allegations, survived critical examination.

We recommend no further federal investigation of the Jowers allegations, the Wilson allegations, or any other allegations related to the assassination unless and until reliable substantiating facts are presented. At this time, we are aware of no information to warrant any further investigation of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This makes one wonder about other conspiracy theories. Who really killed Kennedy (and Lincoln, for that matter)? If these conspiracy theories are true, then what is area 51?

Doctor Who 50th

The BBC and Steven Moffat Blow 
Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary



Substitute “Daddy” for “Mommy” when necessary.

7 Parenting Tips for Working from Home with Young Children

[By L.R.Knost, author of  Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages now available on Amazon]

work at home momWith economies struggling all over the world, more and more moms are trying to juggle work and children. Working from home is one way to earn a living or supplement your household income while still parenting full-time, but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Here are seven tips to help you parent your little ones gently while operating a home business:

1. Think ‘routine’ instead of ‘schedule.’ Gentle parenting is very much about being in-sync with your child’s needs. Being tied to an inflexible schedule will only cause stress and conflict as your child’s needs evolve from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Children do, however, enjoy the comfort and familiarity of a regular routine, and knowing what to expect helps them to make transitions throughout the day. So, instead of making a minute to minute schedule, try working with your child to establish a routine that’s flexible enough to adjust to meet their fluctuating needs, but builds into your day the time you need to devote to your work. For example, a routine could look something like this:

    • Morning cuddles, breakfast, playtime with mommy
    • Playtime while mommy works
    • Snack and storytime with mommy
    • Play while mommy works
    • Lunch and outside playtime with mommy
    • Naptime while mommy works
    • Playtime with mommy
    • Playtime while mommy works
    • Help mommy with dinner
    • Dinnertime
    • Help mommy clean up after dinner
    • Playtime while mommy works
    • Evening snack
    • Bathtime, bedtime story, cuddles, night-night time

Notice that there are no time limits, only a loose plan for the day that you can adjust if your little one is sick or teething or just needs some extra mommy time during the day. A younger baby will need more naps during the day and can be worn in a baby carrier for naps and/or in place of playtime, and some toddlers and preschoolers will outgrow their need for naps earlier than others, and some will need more outside time, etc. so you’ll want to come up with a routine that accommodates your child’s age, sleep needs, and temperament. Also, of course, if your spouse or a trusted family member or friend is available to help, be sure to include them in your routine.

2. Children love the novelty value of new toys, so get a box for each of your working days of the week. Label each box with one day of the week and place a set of toys in them that you only bring out on that day. Remember to think outside the box (lol) and don’t only choose store-bought toys. One box could be full of paper towel and toilet paper tubes and various sizes of bouncy balls and hot wheels, etc. so your little one can make tunnels and chutes and all sorts of inventions. Another box could have kitchen utensils and bowls and pots and pans. Don’t be afraid of a little mess, either! Children are washable, and messy play can keep them happily engaged for long stretches of time, so in one box you could have a plastic tablecloth from the dollar store or even a little blow-up wading pool, some paintbrushes, and shaving cream. Just put down the tablecloth or blow up the pool and add a touch of different colors of food coloring to a few small bowls of shaving cream let your little Picasso go to town! The trick is to be creative and choose things that are out of the ordinary that will engage your child’s imagination, not just keep them busy.

3. For older preschoolers or early elementary ages, an independent project is an excellent idea to help them stay happily engaged while you’re working. During your work periods, provide your child with an ongoing project that they’re interested in and can work on independently. It can be a paint-by-number project, a jigsaw puzzle, a simple model car, a jewelry making set, or any number of other things. Since time is a hard concept for young children, setting a timer for your work periods and having a little sticker chart on the fridge for you and your child to ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ of work might be a fun, helpful part of your routine, as well.

4. Meal planning is a huge, huge help in freeing up time and mental energy. Take the time to write out a list of every meal you know how to make that your family likes, then break each of those meals down into their ingredients. Save the list on your laptop, and then twice a month simply cut and paste two weeks of meals into a Word doc. Then print it out, cross off any ingredients you already have on hand, and ‘voila’ you have a shopping list and menu for two weeks done in one shot!

5. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Be realistic about your commitments and expectations for yourself. Have fruit and cheese for breakfast most mornings instead of eggs and pancakes and sausage. It’s healthier, faster, and there’s less to cleanup! Resign from any pre-working-at-home commitments you can such as directing your church’s Vacation Bible School or doing the book work for your local food pantry. No one expects you to be able to do everything, and someone else can take on those tasks while you’re doing double duty as a work-and-stay-at-home-mom. And, once you’ve cleared up your commitments, avoid the temptation to fill up your time with playgroups and playdates and mommy-and-me classes. Your little ones need you, not activities.

6. Don’t be afraid to go mobile. Find a local park that is suitable for your child’s age and temperament (i.e. Don’t go to a park with a lake if your little one is a runner, and don’t choose a playground with only big kid slides and jungle gyms if you’ve got a toddler.). Once you’ve found a park that’s a good fit, take your laptop or iPhone and answer emails or return phone calls or do other simple tasks that you can manage while swinging your little one in a baby swing or watching your toddler dig in the sand. Make sure you take the time to play with them while you’re there, too, and don’t worry if you get a few judgmental looks from other parents. They don’t know your life, but you know you’re doing the best you can to meet your child’s needs while doing what you need to do for work, so take comfort in that knowledge.

7. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! We can get so caught up in meeting our family’s needs at times that we forget to take care of our own needs. Make sure you include a bit of downtime in your routine each day to simply be still and have a cup of coffee or read the newspaper or simply stare out the window and daydream for a few minutes. Take the time on a regular basis to do your nails, go have your hair done, and make a lunch date with a friend. Even if you bring your little one with you, you’ll still be out and about in a non-working environment for a bit and actually get to feel like an adult. If you’ve got a teething baby or a sick child and aren’t getting much sleep at night, take a nap during the day when your little one’s asleep instead of working during their nap. You may get a bit less work done, but you’ll enjoy your life and your family more, and isn’t that really the point of it all anyway?

*reprinted with permission from The Natural Parent Magazine

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 L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood , Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages , and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline the first three books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


Ethan YoungIf you haven’t already heard the name Ethan Young, get ready. The Tennessee high school student will soon be a household name thanks in no small part to a speech that’s gone viral. In just five minutes, the high school senior systematically takes apart the Common Core education initiative, which is so controversial that thousands of parents kept their kids home from school today to protest it.

Whether you agree with his argument or not, it’s nice to see a teenager taking a stand. But Young isn’t just well-spoken. He’s well-researched.

Check out some of the highlights of his impressive speech, given at a Knox County School Board meeting:

1. I stand before you because I care about education, but also because I want to support my teachers. And just as they fought for my academic achievement, so I want to fight for their ability to teach.

2. Standards-based education is ruining the way we teach and learn.

3. Much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.

4. If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.

5. Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming, and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally.


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