Thursday 17 March 2016

175) “Professional photo-analysts have dissected several NASA images of the ball-Earth and found undeniable proof of computer editing. For example, images of the Earth allegedly taken from the Moon have proven to be copied and pasted in, as evidenced by rectangular cuts found in the black background around the “Earth” by adjusting brightness and contrast levels. If they were truly on the Moon and Earth was truly a ball, there would be no need to fake such pictures.”

Clear evidence of faking? Well, no.

This is a common distortion effect when processing compressed images, such as Jpgs, and it’s called macroblocking. It often give rectangular or blocky effects, like those seen in Dubay’s example. That’s because the compression algorithms work on rectangular blocks of picture data, and when things go wrong, those blocks become obviously visible.

Look at this: this is the first image of the moon in a large area of sky that I found in Google Image search:

IMG_9280 small

I just turned up the gamma setting in my image editor, and this is what I got:

Here's another example: starting with this original:

I reduced this phot's size to 20 percent (as has clearly been done with the very degraded image Dubay shows) and boosted the gamma: this is what I got:

Now, I can imagine flat earthers, angrily denouncing this destruction of yet another piece of ‘evidence’. How convenient, they’ll say. But macroblocking has been well known for as long as digital imagine and compression have been used. 

Most discussion is technical and deals with how to prevent or minimise it, or in comparison of the qualities of various cameras. Very little indeed is concerned with debates about the shape of the universe. And it clearly is not an excuse invented by “ball-earthers”. Just Google the term, and you will see that this is true.

It’s an artefact of processing jpg format images , especially when we focus on a small block of contrasty pixels. : it’s called macroblocking.

And here is the original image that Dubay's example uses:

Here is what I got when I just boosted the gamma to maximum:

It’s impossible to tell what exactly has been done to Dubay’s version, and as always he does not give the details that allow a sceptic to check his claims. It looks like the original NASA image has been tweaked, compressed, tortured until it gives the false confession Dubay’s friends wanted! 

That’s assuming that the rectangular effect has not been tweaked by hand by a flat-earther just to “add to the evidence”.

If Mr Dubay had specified the steps taken to processes the image, as a forensic expert would do in court, we could judge how trustworthy it is. A real  "professional photo-analyst", as Mr Dubay claims examined this picture, would have described the precise steps taken, with quantitative details, and shown each intermediate step. - he/she would show their workings. 

Of course, Dubay, as always, expects to be taken on trust, even though he doubts everyone else's evidence.

Here, for example, I was easily able to reproduce Dubay’s ‘evidence using the original: I put a selection marquee around the earth, feathered it by 4 pixels and applied 3.29 gamma adjustment.

Did Dubay do that, or was it just a chance artificial artefact? We will never know. Because Dubay doesn’t supply enough information to let us tell for sure.

And again, it’s strange that Dubay claims that NASA can fake a whole space program, but is not capable of using the basic, well known photoshop tools for cutting one image out accurately and pasting it into another – as used in advertising film and tv and by amateur artists like myself, every day.

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