In addition to the recent history of the earth, its animals, and mankind, the Hiawatha Crater discovery may have something else to teach us. The Tusk finds the real-time sociological implications of the crater as fascinating and instructive as the feature itself. I’m obsessed by what the new information reveals about the motivations and perspective of many so-called “science communicators.”
If you are a science geek like me, you know who I mean. The hundreds of pundits and hacks, prominent and obscure, who propound daily — often tweeting on the half-hour — regarding science and sciency subjects.
International superstars like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Michio Kaku come to mind, but so do small (but vocal) fish like bloggers John Hawks, Chris Rowan, Ethan Siegal, and a bad astronomer, Phil Plait. Included as well are current and former senior science reporters and editors for science magazines and websites, like Alexandra Witze, Alan Boyle and Emily Lakdawalla. Then there are the working political scientists Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt.
I think the Hiawatha Crater reveals that these communicators find science inconvenient when it does not fit their urgent, common narrative, and they will not communicate peer-reviewed, data-driven, highly popular science, so long as it inconveniences their narrative. None of the folks mentioned have said squat about the Hiawatha Crater. Not one word since November 14, 2018 — as of December 20, 2018.
Despite the thousands of articles reporting the discovery, and hundreds of thousands of tweets and comments from the pubic expressing intense interest, not one communicator I named — and there are a hundred more examples — has found the time to tweet of a NASA discovered, youthful, 20-mile wide cosmic crater with profound anthropological and earth science implications.
Oh, wait, prolific defender of the known Phil Plait wrote his first piece EVER mentioning the Younger Dryas Hypothesis just last week, where at the end he offers the following contradictory and elliptical paragraph:
I’ll note that there are some folks who think there was a big impact, called the Younger Dryas impact, about 13,000 years ago over North America that started huge fires, wiping out lots of megafauna in the area at the time, as well as a Paleoamerican peoples called the Clovis. I’ve never been convinced by these arguments, mostly because no good evidence of an impact has ever been shown.
So, what is the precious narrative driving these loud people to stay so quiet? It comes in two parts: 1) Anthropogenic Climate Change is the most serious common threat facing mankind. And, 2) The Younger Dryas is both proof and warning that global climate can go haywire in a moment unassisted from above.
Yep, my hypothesis is: The likelihood of a science communicator speaking of the Hiawatha Crater is inversely proportional to the frequency of his or her publicly stated anxiety with regard to Anthropogenic Global Warming. More “tweets” on AGW, less on Hiawatha or its consequences.
It would be hard to find a more inconvenient truth to disrupt the AGW narrative — right or wrong, they are not exclusive — than the Hiawatha Crater, and by extension the YDIH.
The YDIH has the dual ability to: 1) Distract the public by presenting a competing narrative concerning a common and truly horrifying global threat less subject to politicization and partisanship: Comet Impact. And, 2) Reveal the Younger Dryas climate crash was grossly misrepresented for decades by climate alarmists attributing it to forces acting today other than comet impact.
Of course, as an un-credentialed pajama blogger, I do not have the tools to empirically prove my hypothesis beyond anecdote, personal experience, and Twitter. But Twitter is plenty. Go look for yourself and see if the people who will be thrilled to inform you of all manner of AGW “Science News” say a word about Hiawatha Crater. Poke around here, here and here.
It is important to note that the radio silence of these types betrays their understanding of the importance of the discovery, which is an ironic tribute to their intelligence — but not their integrity.
This is a science story so big that a science communicator would surely share and discuss the news publicly, unless they withheld it because they realized the full implications (the intelligence part). Their silence says volumes (the integrity part).
I suspect they know that this impact demands a reassessment of the threat from space, which has been dismissed as an insignificant danger relative to human driven climate change. And they know that if a comet steals their sacred justification for public panic — the Younger Dryas — abrupt climate change is off the table as a driver for public anxiety over carbon dioxide. The central narrative of their career becomes irrelevant.
When the history of recent cosmic impacts is fully revealed in coming years, the global warming debate will seem like an argument over the radio station while your car is on the train tracks: Who the f*&% cares?
Then the people of the world will realize that Hiawatha Crater taught us as much about the dark side of our nature as the sudden horrors of earth history.
Allow me to make some personal observations regarding climate change, a subject absent from the Tusk. As a kid the late 70’s, and through college in the 80’s, I was terribly concerned and fretful about global warming. It wasn’t until the early 90’s when I discovered politics, policy, the internet, and the YDIH, that I put things into proper perspective.
Today for better or worse (more on that in a moment), you can put the Tusk in the climate change “skeptic” camp. I believe the squeeze ain’t worth the juice with regard to curbing carbon contributions, beyond the natural progression to less carbon intensive fuel sources. And despite being an impact freak, I believe 2/3rds of every dollar going to “climate mitigation” should be redirected to hardening our society from the threat of Electromagnetic Pulse, and 1/3 re-directed to mitigate the solid threats from space. Odd prioritization considering our favorite subject, huh?
But that does not mean I don’t have some personal skin in the climate game. Ironically, I have arguably more to gain financially if carbon cuts were enforced than anyone on earth — even more than Al Gore. Don’t forget, the Tusk is one of the world’s original and leading sellers of environmental off-sets credits. In fact, many companies like the one my partner and I own were formed explicitly to trade carbon credits (a market which never gained a national foothold, while our terrestrial credits for wetland, water quality and species took off — albeit with fewer dollars involved).
The failure of the Cap-and-Trade bill in 2010 may have cost me personally tens of millions in potential income and equity valuation. But I’d rather be right than rich.