Patrick McCafferty, Irish history savant and co-author and collaborator of Mike Baillie’s, stars tonight in a Smithsonian Channel documentary concerning the mysterious history of Ireland in the 6th century AD. McCafferty with the assistance of another Tusk favorite, Dallas Abbott, decodes the available information and concludes that Halley’s comet was responsible for the island’s conversion to Christianity during this tumultuous period.
I apologize for the late notice, but perhaps the show will be available for streaming for folks who miss it. An excellent trailer for the documentary can be viewed here (unusually, it does not allow embedding here in my page). Some other info can be found here and here.
The show will replay this Friday, July 11 at 5:00 pm .
A paper this week from the University of Wisconsin announces a predictable conclusion to readers of the Tusk: The transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene is characterized by soil signatures of fire on a continental scale. The author’s geochemical analysis is helpful and welcome, but my children would have a pretty good shot at guessing what happened in olden days by simply looking at the photo above — Looks like there was a big fire, dad.
Equally obvious to me (perhaps not the kids) is the conspicuous absence of any citation to the Firestone papers. It would seem that multiple major journal publications providing much more detailed evidence of frightful temperatures and horrendous fires within the period of Marin-Spiotta et al.’s own study of the same region would merit a reference in support of their hypothesis. But alas and for shame it does not.
Long-term stabilization of deep soil carbon by ﬁre and burial during early Holocene climate change Erika Marin-Spiotta1, *, Nina T. Chaopricha , Alain F. Plante , Aaron F. Diefendorf , Carsten W. Mueller , A. Stuart Grandy and Joseph A. Mason
Sorry, been at camp in the mountains this weekend, here is the paper:
It appears from the abstract and email chatter that Meltzer and Holiday have embarrassed themselves again here. Long time deniers of an ice age American catastrophe, I suspect their tone and attention to detail will match co-author Vance Holiday’s shrill and poorly composed 2011 submission to the Tusk.
I have seen a devastating graphic conflicting their findings, and heard tell of a response paper well underway. But instead of attempting a substantive response here let me stick my neck out with a social science take.
The claim that 27 out of 29 sites were misdated and\or misinterpreted by over 50 researchers in dozens of papers and many labs is half-too-cute. Colleagues of Meltzer and Holiday, like YDB co-authors Goodyear, Bement and Daniels — not to mention Stafford — have poured over data and draft after draft of papers supportive of the YDB dates and endorsed them all as good science.
That many people can be wrong (many more are now, or this blog would not be) but that many established scientists are unlikely to put their careers at risk to make easily identified errors when providing controversial data.
The people who do put their reputations at risk are those who lose their reputations if established understandings of history are incorrect (with regard to impacts or otherwise). Holiday and Meltzer know the story of Ales Hrdlicka. Their very own field was viciously opposed by this detestable and bitter man just eighty years ago, who insisted the early data supporting the presence of Ice Age humans in North America were wrong — ALL wrong! — just like they do today.
American paleo-archeology has a tendency to produce very determined — and fearful — opponents to new data. It must have something to do with the paucity of artifacts and evidence they are forced to accept. If you spend thirty years studying evidence that could fit in a dump trunk a lot of personal id is invested in their interpretation. That makes it even more painful to accept change — and it shows by their overreach here.
Michael Davias of Cintos.org presented another astonishing Carolina Bay poster at the October, 2013, Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America. My apologies to bay fans for not posting this earlier. Here is the direct download from GSA.
The Tusk hates to see a good cosmic climate hypothesis die, but best it be at the hands of a catastrophist scientist and father of said theory. In a continuing demonstration of his intellectual integrity, true ring guru Mike Baillie has lowered the flag on the 540 AD event and recommended volcanoes as a better fit. It’s complicated as hell, but suffice to say that removing seven years from the annual layers of ice cores results in a match between known (but unidentified) volcanic eruptions and tree ring diminution.
There is already a good discussion thread with coauthor Jonny McAneney underway on a previous post. I hope the illuminating commentary there will move to this post so that comments will be available with the paper.
~~From the conclusion
Live updates and edits underway
The Tusk works mightily to avoid speculating about future cosmic impacts at the expense of reporting evidence for such events in the human past, but recent news intervenes once more. Tomorrow the wires will hopefully buzz with the B612 Foundation‘s presentation of sophisticated and occasionally secret nuclear blast detection data revealing that cosmic impacts are far more common than prevailing “models” conclude — 3 to 10 times more common.
I am of two hands here. On the one hand I appreciate the work of the B612 Foundation and hope the new data inspires public interest in their proposed Sentinel Mission. On the other hand it is frustrating to see B612 reveal the underestimation of future risk while ignoring peer-reviewed literature suggesting a similar underestimate is made of impacts in ancient human times.
Ed Lu, Rusty Schweickert and the B612 crowd are to me the boys who cry “wolf” while neglecting to point out the gnawed remains of earlier Canis attack.
Typical of people who propound on the degree of future threat while denying or ignoring published research of past events is impact guru Dr. Alan Harris. Harris, in whom earthlings place great trust, is entirely dismissive of Younger Dryas Boundary research. His presentation below, which I have meant to post for years, is typical:
In his defense, Harris is elderly, and keeping up with modern discoveries is difficult for that cohort. But that is no excuse for his misrepresentation of the YDB theory. In the 2010 presentation he refers only to the speculative and popular 2005 book by Firestone — while ignoring the peer-reviewed research by 27 scientists in 2007 and dozens more independent scientists in subsequent journal articles.
Yes, to the dismay of his co-authors, Rick Firestone (alone) is partial to a “supernova,” as reported by Harris in Slide 25. And Rick indeed penned a chapter on the subject in his book. But Harris is also aware that not a single published paper or statement from the sixty plus additional authors supporting an ice age impact claims a “supernova” as the cause. Harris 1, Strawman 0.
Further, his reference to Bill Napier’s “beloved” Taurids [Slide 26] is a condescending, unprofessional remark that reveals the animus Harris and his clique reserve for certain researchers, particularly those who suggest what the clique themselves claim might happen tomorrow — actually happened within the last 13,000 years. I could go on and on, for instance David Morrison and Clark Chapman (of B612!) share Harris’ willful ignorance. I just don’t have the stomach for other characters now.
So. Back to B612. There are two ways to obtain the data for impact estimates: Extrapolation of past events and identification of future threats. B612 is using an instant of the former to justify hundreds of years of the latter. If the Foundation were to comprehensively attack the problem of calibrating impact threat they would call for a concurrent investigation of past impacts — well beyond the 11 years the new data provides — to compliment their spacecraft plans.
Such a study would concentrate on geochemical and nano-material analysis of well-dated Holocene samples. For less than $1 million — a pittance compared to the $250 million required for their future-detecting Sentinel — soils and ice could be deliberately analyzed across the recent geological past to identify or refute anomalies published by Firestone, Courty, Mahaney, Andronikov, Paetev, Sharma, Ballard and others since 2007 — they could even vindicate Plato.
The failure of B612 to approach the study of the past with the gimlet eye they reserve for the future is as conspicuous to the Tusk as the shortcomings they will reveal tomorrow.
Ussello Horizon – not from new paper below
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