Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick: 60 Minutes’ Cooper nails NASA’s Yeomans and Chodas on common asteroid threat


We all know the Tusk enjoys the study of past catastrophes but is less interested in blogging on space borne threats to our future. The intellectual real estate of future apocalypse — Repent! — is too well populated on the internet for us.

But great TV is great TV and Anderson Cooper did a surprising and praise worthy job last Sunday with a couple of Tusk-worthy follow-up questions regarding future impacts.

After the always glib Yeomans delivers his misdirecting meme that 95% of potentially destructive asteroids are discovered and catalogued, Cooper digs him just a bit about the teeny, tiny ones — the city killers.

Chodas responds by unexpectedly upping the scale of destruction and reports that NASA has yet to identify even those objects that could cause “continental extinction,” which he quickly modifies to “continental destruction.”  (A notable reflex designed to fend off addressing the Younger Dryas Boundary Hypothesis).

Yet then, with heavy heart, I heard and saw what always brings me down when teaching moments appear for our subject. They all laughed, smiled, smirked and giggled.

For the sake of pete, why does this subject always become humorous just when the facts might be taken seriously? Please tell me the last time 60 Minutes or any other news magazine covering Global Warming ever had time for a laugh?

Just what the hell is so funny?

I’ll tell you what is funny. He who shall not be named — Dr. V. — was right. Dr. V. laid it all out a long time ago in Mankind in Amnesia. Our collective Id simply cannot hack this subject. It is laugh or cry as far as our true history is concerned. Those that cry move on and contribute to our understanding. Those that laugh perpetuate our ignorance.

See below.

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Yeomans and Chodras of NASA yuck it up with CBS about continent-wide extinction


Full Segment

  • Steve Garcia

    Ed –

    The beginning of the Holocene is a vague date that varies with whomever happens to be talking about it. It varies by more than the 1,000 years you talk about.

    It may begin to tighten up, but right now…


    [Britannica] Arguments can be presented for the selection of the lower boundary of the Holocene at several different times in the past. Some Russian investigators have proposed a boundary at the beginning of the Allerød, a warm interstadial age that began about 12,000 bp. Others, in Alaska, proposed a Holocene section beginning at 6000 bp. Marine geologists have recognized a worldwide change in the character of deep-sea sedimentation about 10,000–11,000 bp. In warm tropical waters, the clays show a sharp change at this time from chlorite-rich particles often associated with fresh feldspar grains (cold, dry climate indicators) to …

    And then this, up your alley:

    North American Pleistocene/Holocene Transition – Paleoindian http://tiny.cc/njbw5w

    Dramatic climatic changes at the close of the Pleistocene resulted in extinctions as well as fundamental reorganization of ecological communities some 13,000 years ago (11,000 rcybp).

    You can find assertions of everything from that 6,000 years in Britannica to 10,000ya (common), 11,000ya (common), to 11,500ya (common), to 11,700ya (common), to 12,800ya, to 14,000ya.

    TAKE YOUR PICK. What is the Ed Grondine approved year?

    If by “Holocene” you take Wikipedia’s date of 11,700ya, which is maybe the commonest single date for the Holocene Start, then the Holocene is basically the END of the Younger Dryas – which means that a HSIE would not and could not be the same 12,800ya impact that all of us are talking about.

    In that case, what exact impact are you yourself talking about? Was there an impact at 11,700ya? Have you shifted gears on all of us? If the Firestone impact at the beginning of the YD is 1,000 years off from being the Holocene Start, then your Holocene Start Impact Event MUST be different.

    So you want HSIE over YDB? You can’t, not if the HS was 11,700 and the YDB was 12,800.

  • Ed said:

    Steve – I called Dennis an immature a-hole because the limits of language permitted here do not allow me to state what I really think of him.

    I see nothing at all to be gained by going down to your level again Ed. So, since their continual use of them anytime someone says something you disagree with speaks volumes about your character, and academic integrity, in the future I’ll not be inclined to dignify your childish name calling, and personal ad hominem insults with a response.

    However, you also said:

    This torrent of his started out when I first noted that his hypothesized mechanism did not agree with the hard archaeological evidence.

    Ok, In the first place, archeology has nothing to do with it. The two applicable sciences are geology, and physics.

    Archeology does apply to your work though. Yet no professional archeologist has ever verified  claims regarding Amerindian oral traditions.

    The rest of this post is intended as background info for the new guys, and to set the record straight.

    At the time Ed began to attack my work he had already formed his opinion of it even though at that time he had no real idea what it consisted of.

    I think it’s been something like five years now since this all started. But back then, Ed began to attack my work with some of the damnedest non sequitur, confusing, and insulting comments. And I really didn’t know how to respond them. Because what he was saying in those attacks did not seem to have any real relationship at all to anything I had actually written.

    And then one day, after more than two years of those humiliating and insulting attacks, he showed up on a secondary blog of mine where I had placed, all  by itself, an article of mine called, “A Different Kind of Climate Catastrophe”. (I’ve spent the past couple of months going to the places I’ve been writing about and spending some time on the ground there so I’ll be revising that article a bit sometime in the next month)

    There was no by line at the top of the article. So he didn’t know who the author was. But there was a lively comment thread below, and I had responded to a couple of those comments. He saw my name there. And he surprised me by proving that he is capable of civilized behavior when it suits him, such as when he’s trying to make a good first impression. But it was the content of his comment that shocked me the most.

    He said, “Dennis, why haven’t you ever told us about this gentleman’s excellent work before?”

    Heck, that article was the flagship of my working hypothesis. That’s why I set it up all by itself in a blog of its own. But here’s where it gets crazy. The only way he would not have immediately recognized it as my work was if he had never really read a single word of what I had actually written. And that meant that he had been riding me like a dirty diaper for more than two years without really having the remotest clue about the work he was criticizing. His attitude went back to the same old insulting crap though when I told him that “this gentleman’s excellent work” was mine, and was the very work he had been negatively criticizing for so long

    Suddenly, all of the off the wall and non sequitur comments made perfect sense. The simple reality is that this man won’t hesitate to form very vocal opinions about things he has never really read at all, and thus can’t have any real idea what he’s talking about.

    “While his impact model is a fantasy, his insults are real.”

    I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that if my impact model was only a “fantasy” then Dr Richard Firestone would not have been willing to do a detailed PGAA analysis of the sample I sent him from a place in California. Note the 13% iron content, and the fact that the sample has many times the normal terrestrial abundance of nickel. You might also note that the overall chemistry of that specimen is similar to a urelite meteorite so Dr Firestone says that more work needs to be done to pin it down. But there’s also a couple large and exposed iron rich masses rusting out on the mountainside that specimen was taken from that might have something to say about that first specimen so I’ll be going back to up there get some of those rusty chunks for Dr Firestone to take a look at as well.

    As for the insults, if folks will take the time to Google up those old threads they’ll see that in every case the insults began with Ed, and I just responded in kind. But really, how insulting do you think it might be to have ones work continually attacked and bashed by someone who can not possibly know what they are are talking about because they have never really read a word of it?

    Anyway, if folks do take the time to read those old threads it will also become abundantly clear that Eds resentment of me stems from the fact that from the beginning, I refused to acknowledge him as the worlds foremost authority, and the final word, on all things related to impact science.

    He demands that everyone, including NASA’s top planetary scientists accept him as the unquestioned and foremost authority on impact science. But he has no academic credentials whatsoever. Not one word of anything he has ever written regarding his claims that Indian oral traditions contain accurate memories of impact events more than 12,000 years ago has ever been verified independently by a real scientist from any academic discipline. He claims to be above the need for honest to somebody-check-me-on-this peer review; says he has no peers. But unquestioned acceptance of unverifiable claims made by persons with no academic credentials whatsoever is not the way real science is done. In the real world of real science no claim made by anyone, and no matter the academic standing of the person making that claim, is accepted as fact without independent verification by often skeptical others. Yet Eds response to anyone who will have the audacity to doubt his authority and/or question his self assumed “facts”, or who expresses skepticism of his work, is always a personal ad hominem attack. He never responds by giving a link to a peer reviewed reference. And for the most part the only reference we ever hear him give is his own unverified, self published, book.

    And finally without exception, every honest to PhD planetary, and/or impact scientist I have contacted regarding him, or his work, and who has had dealings with him, has told me that they don’t consider him to be a reliable researcher at all, and that they do their best to simply ignore him.

    If someone with no academic credentials at all will claim to be an advanced expert in a field of research without proving beyond question that he knows as much as he’s convinced himself he does I’m not buying it. I am rewarded for my skepticism by being called an “immature a**hole”. But I find myself in good company. NASA’s top planetary scientists got the same treatment from him for more than 16 years.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Dennis, In my opinion you are an idiot and if there was moderation by anyone who knew the field of impact research you would be left alone with your obsessions.

    Just to set the record straight, Dennis had imaginary ablation features and an imaginary impact scenario that conflicted with the data, and has used this forum for nothing more than personal attacks.

    As Dennis puts it:

    “If someone with no academic credentials at all will claim to be an advanced expert in a field of research without proving beyond question that he knows as much as he’s convinced himself he does I’m not buying it. I am rewarded for my skepticism by being called an “immature a**hole”.”

    No Dennis, you are being called an immature a-hole because you are one, not for your “scepticism”. Your buddy Morrison is a different type of a-hole: a snake who puts his place in the bureaucracy above the public good. In my view, you can either do work or play bureaucratic games.

    What I am is an expert on recent historical impacts.
    You’re purpose here is simply to deny that, and thus you are impeding the field.

  • Dennis; I was just over on your site and was reading about your trip to Minn and viewing the great pics. you mentioned in your article about the roundish green areas having been icebergs broken off the main ice sheet when it shattered. Were you able to look around for any erractic fields in those areas. I would think if these pieces broke from the main sheet those areas should hold a noticeable amount of till and larger rock not necessarily of Minn origin. Also were there any signs of possible secondary impacts in the same area?

  • Dennis Cox

    Hi Jim,
    There really is no sustitute for going to a place, and spending time on the ground there. Now that I have been there I am more convinced than ever before that the LIS took a major multiple fragment hit there. But it’s also abundantly clear to me now that the exact mechanisms of that event were vastly differerent from what I had been thinking before, and probably more violeng too. If you can give me a couple of weeks to write up what I’ve found I think it’ll make better sense to all.

  • George Howard

    Ed, you have again gone too far. All your comments will be spam to me now. Sorry it has to be this way.

  • Barry Weathersby
  • Barry Weathersby

    Dennis… hope you are recovering OK.

  • E.P. Grondine


    Don’t wrestle with pigs, as you’ll only get covered with s***.

    Not only does Dennis not even know about scaling laws, nor the Allerod, he refuses to face up to the fact that his “features” are illusory, and exist only in his own mind.

  • E.P. Grondine


  • Steve Garcia

    I could post this comment on any one of several posts, and have chosen this one as fairly much the better one…

    A BOOK REVIEW (of sorts)…

    …I just got done reading Peter Warlow’s book “The Reversing Earth.” Han Kloosterman strongly recommended it. And I did manage to find a not terribly extortionate price on it.

    My overall take is two-fold.

    Firstly, I don’t agree with Warlow’s tippe-top theory, though some aspects of it are incisive. See http://tiny.cc/w3q3px and http://tiny.cc/v4q3px. A round tippe-top spinning on a surface and then inverting itself has as much to do with the slight friction between the tippe-top and the table as it does its spin. IMVHO, Warlow ignores the friction, which he is not allowed to do.

    Secondly, thinking in terms of forces and momentum, and in terms of a flywheel effect (the last of which Warlow doesn’t bring into the discussion at all), I recognize the ‘neck region’ of the tippe-top as mass removed in the (initially) lower hemisphere, which is VERY important to this discussion. This missing mass changes the entire dynamic of the spinning ball.

    Some tippe-tops have more mass removed on the “other’ hemisphere. This evidently makes the tippe-top inversion easier, it seems. But as in any flywheel the important material is the most extreme material. “Extreme material” here I apply in an engineering sense, and in that sense it refers to the mass farthest away from the axis of rotation.) The Extreme material has the most momentum, as defined by the math.) The greater mass of the OTHER hemisphere is slung outward centrifugally as in any flywheel, and the highest momentum mass will ALWAYS tend to be thrown out to the farthest extreme. (This is why unbalanced car tires will destroy themselves fairly quickly. It is ALSO why a beach ball’s valve screws up the rotation of the beach ball and makes it fly erratically.)

    With the ‘other’ hemisphere down, the (greater) hemispheric mass is NOT farthest from the axle’s contact point with the surface. Thus, the greater mass hemisphere wants to be farthest from the point of contact with the surface, and that hemisphere will be flung upward because that mass needs to be there, not below the mid-point.

    All of that is an attempt to turn engineering principles into lay language, and I am pretty sure I did not do it well.

    Now that word “incisive” is at least partially true of Warlow’s thinking. I don’t think he got THAT part right, but many of his observations and much of his referenced evidence were spot on.

    He discusses how the geographic poles could have remained the same if “the Earth” flipped over, either 180° or some small amount. It was very clear that Warlow did NOT make clear what he meant by “the Earth”. Mostly it sounded like he was talking about the outer layers of the Earth, but he never does make that clear.

    Han believes that the outer layers slide over the interior at the mantle. I have discussed it as happening to the crust, but his mantle will work for me, too. At this juncture it is all tentative on that point, but I do mean to nail it down some day.

    But (if I understand his use of the term “the Earth” correctly) I agree with Warlow that the outer layers flipping while the core and magnetic properties remain rotating the same direction is consistent with the observations from ancient accounts. (I am certainly not the first who has seen that all, nor was Warlow.) The shift in the direction of the rising Sun, the shift in the stars, the paleomagnetic record – all of these would be obvious observations by a person observing them.

    Warlow was (in 1982) hard-pressed to explain the mechanism of reversal (whether full or partial), and his tippe-top I simply think is incorrect physics. But the collection of observations and conclusions are in the main quite prescient, IMO.

    In the end, though, Warlow gives Velikovsky too much importance. As the genesis of that flipping movement, he falls back on Velikovsky and his “passing planet” concept – which was the very reason Velikovsky enraged the astronomers. It is also one of the great reasons I departed long ago from Velikovsky myself. Planets do not just wander in from somewhere (which is what Warlow posits), nor did Venus wander off course.

    My IMMEDIATE disagreement with Dr V was that Venus currently has the most perfectly CIRCULAR orbit of any planet. To imagine that only 4300 years ago or so Venus was roaming like a drunken comet and THEN settled into an orbit with less flaws than any other planet – THIS I could not agree with. Not in 4300 years (only about 6000 orbits of the Sun).

    Nor can I agree with Warlow that some unspecified body of unspecified size wandered in from elsewhere in our galactic arm and passed close enough to Earth to exchange a (literally) Velikovskian electric discharge with Earth.*** I won’t let it pass that the Solar system is a VERY large and very empty region of space, and for a body to wander into the solar system and take aim on an Earth revolving at 30km/sec is asking too much. People make all sorts of allegations that bodies coming in will have close encounters with (often ALL) the outer bodies before then encountering Earth, even though most of the time those planets are in other quadrants of their orbits and RARELY aligned for a fly-by by any body, artificial or natural). ALL of these wandering rogue bodies I reject out of hand. There is NO evidence of such things ever having happened, and I see their inclusion into such concepts as ad hoc and 1000% speculative and basically pulled out of someone’s anal orifice.

    (Liewise, I see the Oort Cloud as spurious and manufactured retroactively to dream up a version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to fit into Uniformitarianism.)

    Thus, while I am thrilled to have read the evidence that Warlow brings to the table, and I LOVE his thought processes (truly) in many places in the book, in the end IMVHO his overall idea is generally half-baked. Warlow discusses VERY WELL how others are led astray. I think he fell victim to such “astray-ness” himself. Primarily I see his reliance on Velikovksy (when push came to shove) as being a fatal flaw.

    No one here needs to agree with me on ANY of this, though. Apologies to Han that I can’t buy into the mechanics of Warlow. I disagree solely because I have sufficient grounding in engineering physics, and I see where Warlow went wrong. Unless one is talking about quantum physics and what happens at nuclear particle sized environments, engineering physics is GOD, being the same as Newtonian mechanics. Warlow appears to have no foundation for his thinking and is – like Velikovsky was accused of – simply out of his element.

    Did I ENJOY the book? Quite a bit, in fact. I thin it was a terrific read, once I got past the flaws in his physics and the wandering incoming body. I DO think Warlow ripped Uniformitarianism a new asshole, even if they don’t know it yet. Uni-ism has flaws bigger than Jupiter, ones that no one dares to admit to, for fear of being called Creationist. They need to grow some testicles and get on with science and getting rid of its flaws. Warlow did a nice job poking holes. I WILL use his book as a source of information, but I will also continue to use discernment regarding his evidence and be VERY skeptical of his conclusions CERTAINLY.

    Unfortunately, however, Warlow did not come up with the right answers. But I give him a B+ for trying.

    *** I will ALSO ask HOW such a body could have formed in deepest interstellar space. You all know my rag about all of that. IMHO if a solid body couldn’t have formed in deep space WITHIN the solar system, then one also couldn’t have formed beyond the solar system. That IS my story, and I AM sticking to it. Oort clouds and wandering rogue planets – to me they are 100% imaginary. So invoking them to explain the comets or Earth’s flipping are equally imaginary and arbitrary and spurious and bloody well ad hoc – like Deus ex machina, only supposedly for real.

  • Steve Garcia

    This post seems to be the place to add this comment…

    Over at http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com, Eric Worrall caught this news item – Bigger Problems than Global Warming – NASA Discovers 8 New Dangerous Near Earth Asteroids

    The post ends with

    …Its nice to know that NASA occasionally takes a break from climate bothering, long enough to do something space related, but I’m mildly horrified that a project this important appears to be so far down the list of priorities, that the project was mothballed for a year while the survey satellite stood waiting for a refuel. Granted that a major Asteroid strike is a low probability event, but the consequences are potentially catastrophic – a big ocean strike could kill millions, maybe even billions of people.

    Nothing like a little banshee screaming alarmism, but we all know and recognize exactly what Worrall is talking about – it’s a rare, RARE event, but dammit, if one comes our way and we haven’t put any thought into it at all, we are pretty much screwed. Compared to the so-far and probable future price tag to combat the 1.8°C increase in global average temps by the year 2100, the effort to put in place a READY-TO-GO mitigation plan would be a real bargain.

    I’d really rather that humans didn’t get sent back to the stone age…


    The WUWT post includes links to these: The Register – Ninety New Doom Asteroids Found in 2014

    and these useful and educational NEO links:
    NASA’s NEOWISE Program http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/programs/neowise.html

    Minor Planets Center – List Of The Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/lists/Dangerous.html

    Minor Planets Center – Conversion of Absolute Magnitude to Diameter http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/lists/Sizes.html

    NASA’s Near Earth Object Program’s NEO Groups