Kerr Watch

Elapsed time since Richard Kerr failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 6 years, 2 months, and 4 days

Nice Dice?: The Bos disputes Harvard


It is safe to say The Bos is becoming obsessed. Someone please count and let me know, but I believe he has four publications this year seeking to undermine the Younger Dryas Boundary Hypothesis. Over time he has published more than a dozen. Today he is back in PNAS — alone — and in the face of Harvard scientists who independently discovered to their surprise an extraordinary spike of Platinum in the Greenland ice core at precisely the point in time predicted by YDB hypothesis.

It is also fair to say The Bos has staked his professional reputation on the non-occurrence of the climate changing Younger Dryas impact. He has never hedged his bet in the least, which is an interesting position considering the nature of the purported event. Either a globe cooling cosmic encounter happened ~12,875 years ago — or it didn’t. It might take a decade or two (dammit) but the reality of the event will be determined one way or another. It has a binary quality.

If Mark Boslough has calculated wrong, he will judged one of the most damaging skeptics in the history of science. He has fought mightily, and I would argue quite spitefully, to bury an idea. Find a single example of him calling for further research into the YDB impact and I will buy you a Coke.

So as proof builds for such an impact one would certainly think he would become anxious and more hesitant. Oh, no. He publishes more! I would not be surprised if The Bos frequents Vegas. He certainly seems to have a taste for the dice.

PNAS-2013-Boslough-E5035 by George Howard

PNAS-2013-Petaev-E5036 by George Howard

  • Steve Garcia

    Thoughts on Bos’ paper:

    First of all, OHMYGOD!!! He is using that cheating, slanted, low-quality PNAS journal!!!

    Second of all, here is one more case where the Pinter-Daulton Gang don’t even do their own orginal science, but just sit on the sidelines kibitzing. Pretty pathetic.

    “Petaev et al. (1) tested the suite of hypotheses( collectively known as the “impact hypothesis”) that a swarm of impacts or airburstsfrom comets, chondritic, or stony asteroidscaused an abrupt climate change, continental-scale wildfires, mass extinctions, and collapse of the Clovis culture at or near theYounger Dryas Boundary (YDB). The authors identify a large Pt anomaly in the Green-land Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) core and suggest that it hints at an extraterrestrial source. Because there is no corresponding Ir spike, Petaev et al. challenge the impact hypothesis by proposing a highly fractionated iron meteorite. The Pt anomaly predates ammonium and nitrate peaks in the GISP2 core by decades, eliminating the possibility that the source event triggered wildfires, as proposed by the impact hypothesis. The authors rightly argue that it would not generate a wildfire-producing airburst anyway because iron meteorites do not deposit enough energy in the atmosphere for a cataclysmic airburst over a wide area.

    By assuming a global anomaly, Petaev et al.(1) calculate an iron meteorite ∼0.8 km in diameter. This is an extremely rare event, recurring on time scales of tens of millions of years based on observed asteroid populations (2) and the fraction of meteorites that are iron.

    Whose numbers does Bos lean on here? He gives no source. The impact rate numbers have fallen and fallen and fallen in the last couple of decades. Is he leaning on old numbers?

    There are at last count 1400 known NEOs that need to be tracked and “kept watch on.” It was reported that there are something like 8 million objects out there as NEOs equal to the Chelyabinsk object.

    Napier computes HOW MANY impacts in the past 20,000 years? And HOW MANY Taurids? Bos, of course, pretends this research doesn’t exist.

    An object 0.8m is less than the size of the largest 3 fragments of SL-9. Three all at once. Bos, of course, blows this off, because “things don’t hit Earth.” In spite of his own research about airbursts, etc.

    The authors also suggest that an impact of that size would be expected to form a crater of a few kilometers in diameter. However, a representative range of assumptions for velocity and entry angle yields a crater of between 15 and 20 km in diameter, unlikely to have eluded discovery.

    Almost every paper on the YDB posits an ice sheet impact, and Bos is fully aware of this. Schultz’ ice impact lab experiments show that it is likely an ice impact would not show a “normal” crater. Bos, like all uniformitarians, refuses to admit that any impact can possibly be different than “standard” craters.

    He also blows off the time it took to find the Chixculub crater (over 10 years).

    He also blows off that Chixculub was there all along and was missed by the geologists, except for an oil indiusrty geologist. Had that man not stepped up, we might STILL be arguing the KT impact of Alvarez.

    Petaev et al. (1) also suggest that the anomaly could be explained by multiple impacts of smaller iron meteorites, like Sikhote-Alin, a crater-forming cluster in 1947 with a total recovered mass of ∼23 tons (3). A global Pt anomaly would require on the order of 10^5 such impacts.

    WOW. He says this without ANY sourcing for his number here. A footnote would be nice.

    Besides which, “suggesting” an anomaly does not argue convincingly FOR a scenario, but only asserts that it might be considered. So Bos is swingin his swoard at windmills here, arguing against something that is merely “suggested”.

    Widely dispersed impact swarms of this scale have never been observed and no physical model has been proposed for their formation.

    “Never” is a long time. What he means is “not in any account he would accept.”

    As to “no physical model” is he asserting that meteors do not get impacted in heliocentric space? Or does he assert that no one has computer modeled this? Or that no scientist’s work acceptable to his conceives of this in a manner he approves? Those are three different things altogether.

    A hypothetical cluster from a highly improbable iron asteroid encounter is not the simplest explanation, and there are many other probabilistic and physical problems with a globally catastrophic cluster impact (4).

    Simplistic thinking – how many times does THAT work out in the physical sciences?

    Granted that modelers’ maths capacities are so inadequate to much in physical science, leading the modelers and their cohorts to need to make simplified assumptions and fudges to cover their inadequacies.

    Relaxing the global assumption leads to a much more likely hypothesis. Cape York is an iron meteorite from western Greenland with a total recovered weight of 58.2 tons (3). A terrestrial age of 12.9 ka cannot be ruled out (5).

    Somebody pinch me. Did Bos majorly cave in admitting that one?

    It is amazing how anyone can point at a meteor fall in an ice sheet covered land that in the last 52 years has had 22.8 tonnes (not “tons”) added to a previous 35.4 tonnes (thus 64.4% of the earlier “recovered” mass) and assume that that is all that will ever be found. He admits to “recovered” mass, so he kind of covers his butt on this. But there is every reason in the world to expect that other LARGE pieces of the Cape York meteor will be found. After all, the last one was half as large as the largest piece. And it’s not like they glow flashing neon in the dark, either.

    And to boot, it wasn’t scientists who discovered the original 3 pieces, anyway; it was Inuits. So, scientist themselves have only recovered 39% of the meteor’s recovered mass. It is entirely possible that, had it not been for the Inuits the Cape York meteorite would not even be known about at all.

    Whereas it is true that the Pt/Ir ratio in the GISP2 anomaly is inconsistent with Cape York, there are no data on heterogeneity of the pre-entry body, nor on Pt/Ir fractionation because of ablation, condensation, and precipitation.

    And this lack of data Bos interprets in the negative, even though lack of evidence is not in itself evidence, and he knows it. Or should.

    In addition, he is addressing “the pre-entry body” even though he is mainly arguing that such a body that can never be known about, other than by inference? No one got spectral evidence of the Cape York body before it fell.

    The YDB is surrounded by many other spikes, including the Laacher See eruption, an ammonium spike, and three large volcanogenic sulfate spikes. There is no reason to favor the Pt event as the trigger of the YDB climate change or its putative consequences.

    He is arguing a negative here. POOR Bos.

    The simplest explanation is to associate the anomaly with a local non cataclysmic event that is independently known to have taken place, and that would have produced Pt-rich fallout: the Cape York meteorite fall.

    Weak conclusion. He falls back on Occam’s Razor (which never applies to anything but is a favorite of sloppy thinkers the world over), then makes sure he puts in “non cataclysmic” – to make certain the editors know which side he is on?

    In other words, Bos’ paper is an Op-Ed, with barely any science in it and NONE of his own. It is HIS opinion versus Petaev’s – that is what he is arguing, that he doesn’t agree with Petaev.

  • Steve Garcia

    Petaev’s response was extremely civil.

    For those who didn’t catch it, the PNAS jab was in reference to this CT post of George’s: “In Desperate Hole, Pinter Grabs Another Shovel”

    …which was basically another dart-tossed-in-the-dark, second-hand kibitzing by the anti-YDB cult, trying to stave off their own insignificance.


    But don’t hold your breath. The last YDB skeptic to try that was Surovell, and he showed his field expertise to be at about high school level. And that has been a long time now.

    Pinter? Daulton? Anybody wanna try your hand at real science instead of rooting against a real scientist from the stands?

  • E.P. Grondine

    If that does not get you, remember we paid for this:

    This work was supported inpart by Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, aLockheed Martin Company, for the US Department ofEnergy, under Contract DE-AC04-94AL8500”

    Now if we could only get money spent to immediately send Boslough to Greenland to work on collecting samples to demonstrate his hypothesis, that would be money well spent.

    As far as swarms go, it looks like Boslough is intentionally ignoring Clube and Napier’s work, a nasty habit he picked up from Dave.

    It looks like Boslough is unfamiliar with the Llyodminster structure.

    For that matter, I would like to have 14C dates for the pool balls and piano keys manufactured from the mammoth tusks of the Fairbanks deposits, which in 2006 I finally got Paul H. to admit were all mined away.

  • Steve Garcia

    Ed – “For that matter, I would like to have 14C dates for the pool balls and piano keys manufactured from the mammoth tusks of the Fairbanks deposits, which in 2006 I finally got Paul H. to admit were all mined away.”

    Just to make sure: Wasn’t Rick Firestone able to find them for sale at various places? I recall him discussing Alaskan tusks in his book.

    That is not to say that they have any documented provenance, of course.

    Also, do you discount the ones in Siberia?

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Steve –

    Tusks are available for sale through several fossil dealers.
    You can meet most of them in Tucson at the mineral show.
    I do not know exactly who George or Firestone bought their tusks from.

    As far as the Russian tusks are concerned, it turns out that many of the carcases have been found in deposits where the mammoths were searching for food.

    What is needed is ivory pool balls and piano keys provenienced from the Fairbanks deposit.

  • E.P. Grondine

    George, you have access to the federal contract information.

    What we need to find out is who is wasting Federal tax dollars by paying this idiot,
    as the money is sorely needed for other impact research.

    Lockheed has operations close to Sunnyvale, home of NASA Ames.

  • George Howard

    I got THE Tusk from Canada Fossils in Canada after it starred in the National Geographic Explorer episode on the YDB impact, “Mammoth Mystery.” Here is another good dealer:

  • Steve Garcia

    George, did they give you any kind of certificate showing precisely where your tusk was found?

    My guess is no.

    The European ones they offer may have such. Alaskan and Siberian tusks are much more common, according to Paleo Direct, and perhaps no one thinks it is as important for those.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Steve –

    They most likely gave George a general indication instead of specifics.

    The fossils can be sold for money.

  • Steve Garcia

    To me a tusk taken out of its in situ location without documenting it is a total travesty. I don’t care HOW many there are out there; we need to know what configuration, what location, what level, what age – so we can somehow learn about the real things that happened.

    That is why finds by all sorts of people in Europe – if not much in the USA – are treated with the intensity that they are – because once lifted out of place, the evidence is gone forever.

    It should be a crime in Alaska (and Siberia) to remove tusks and sell them without proper study. It’s like poaching. And the arkies and paleos don’t seem to care about it.

  • Everyone at the tusk; Thank god for global warming!! I’d hate to think how cold it might get here without it.

  • chicken little

    Now Jimmy Darlin that is why they recently dressed up their theory and are now calling it “climate change”!
    That way they can prove they are right no matter what happens <<–{;P

  • Chicken Little; I don’t care what they call it I call it %^$#@(&^&%$%&*# Cold! Actually this more the norm so nothings changed really. I think Steve has the right idea,Viva la Mexico!

  • Steve Garcia

    Yeah,Jim. It will get up to about 75 today. Right now (10:55) it is 63.

    With the elevation (my casita is at 6800 feet) it will drop to about 45 tonight. Summer time here is not so warm, either – about 85. That is in May. June brings rains, so high then is about 75 – like now. Hey, it’s a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it!…LOL

    Any of you is welcome to come down for a visit. I have an extra room. (Direct flights from Houston, Atlanta and Dallas – in case anyone takes me seriously!)

  • Steve; I just might take you up on that. Just have to wait until it gets warm enough for the aircraft to take from Chicago. 1600 2 days age and 1200 yesterday canceled. I’m still not done digging out. Almost but not quite. Just missing it by THIS much.

  • Steve Garcia

    If you want to, come on down. Every week it gets nicer (less cool evenings). And the town is a Disney World for the eyes – very picturesque. I consider it paradise. My email is