Typical: Boslough ignores LeCompte


 [See comments: Boslough responds!]

Boslough et al’s recent paper gives no less than nine separate citations to Todd Surovell’s 2009 publication: An independent evaluation of the Younger Dryas extra-terrestrial hypothesis. The multiple references are not surprising given that the Surovell paper has become a totem of Boslough and other’s crusade to end research into the Younger Dryas Boundary Hypothesis.

What is surprising (if you are not already consumed by cynicism:) is that Boslough finds no space in his whitewash to provide a full and truthful review of Surovell’s work. Most disturbingly, he entirely ignores LeCompte et al’s 2012 PNAS publication: Independent evaluation of conflicting microspherule results from different investigations of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis  In LeCompte’s paper — peer-reviewed and published in the one of the world’s top journals — Surovell’s 2009 work is left in tatters.

Making reference and citation to conclusions that present a challenge to your position is certainly a difficult and personal experience. Here at the Tusk, for instance, it always pains us a bit to post the work of YDB critics. But we do so because it maintains our intellectual integrity to present both sides of the story. To do less, like Boslough — a funded scientist publishing in the literature regarding a controversial subject — is simply detestable.

Mendacious presentations of his type are telling. Authors who do not have the courage to confront their critics with their critic’s words, but rather cherry pick (at best) what they care to share of the other side, are intellectually worthless — and particularly so in science. Unfortunately, once you have reached Action Figure status concern for the integrity of your argument must become secondary to the attention you can manage to bring to yourself.

From LeCompte et al, 2012:

Comparison of Protocols Used by Surovell et al. and Firestone et al.

Surovell et al. purportedly used the same protocol as Firestone et al. yet were unable to find a single spherule in YDB sediments at three previously reported sites. They concluded that the “discrepancy between the two studies is particularly troublesome.” Our investigation reveals the abundant presence of YDB spherules at all three widely separated sites, consistent with the results by Firestone et al. Because of this difference we now examine the methodology of Surovell et al. who reported their methods in detail. Comparing the methodology of each, we find Surovell et al. deviated substantially in several critical aspects, and we suggest that this departure resulted in their finding no YDB spherules at these three sites. A summary comparison of the three protocols is in SI Appendix, Table S4.


From Boslough, Surovell et al., 2013:


  • Mark Boslough

    Dear George Howard.

    Perhaps this timeline will help you understand why we didn’t cite LeCompte et al.

    April 24, 2012: Boslough et al. submitted final draft to AGU, addressing reviewers’ comments.
    May 14, 2012: Boslough et al. accepted by AGU for publication.
    May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
    July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.
    Aug. 7, 2012; LeCompte et al. approved by PNAS.
    Sept. 17, 2012: LeCompte et al. published PNAS.

    I’m sorry to keep bringing up those pesky laws of physics. They prohibit information from traveling backwards in time. We were forced to wait until after the LeCompte et al. paper had actually been written before we could read it and respond.

    Thank you for your concern,


    Mark Boslough

  • George – I so appreciate the way you’re willing to call Mark Boslough out on this BS. His failure to use his Tardis to travel ahead in time so he could cite it before it had been written is such a clear example of the way this guy operates. Thanks.

  • Looks like Mark Boslough is up to his tricks again. This time, he fails to cite a paper by LeCompte submitted eight days after his had been accepted, and approved for publication two weeks after he had returned his own corrected proofs.

    One of two things must be the case: EITHER Boslough has shamefully neglected to cite LeCompte, although he was perfectly well placed to do so, OR Boslough shows a deplorable lack of the gift of prophesy.

    I leave it to the reader to judge which, and thank cosmictusk for alerting us to this deplorable situation.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    Boy am I confused! Somehow, Boslough is supposed to have read a paper and commented on it before that paper was ever published. Apparently the author of this piece, above, credits Boslough with such supernatural powers that he can see into the future. That means Boslough knows a lot more about what is going to happen in the world than the author does. You should listen to Boslough rather than throw rocks at him. It is clear that his powers enable him to see a lot more than you can see – and a lot sooner, too!

  • George Howard

    But a “time machine” would be far too complex a way to solve the problem, guys! The more simple solution would be to drop a note to AGU sometime between LeCompte’s publication (Sept 17, 2012) and before the AGU Monograph is made “first available in January” (2013).

    It also would have been thoughtful (and far less expensive than a time machine) to make note of LeCompte’s work prior to or within the January 30 press release implying the other folks were incompetent (frauds?!) while presenting yourself as an Action Figure.

    From the January press release:
    “In a December 2012 American Geophysical Union monograph, first available in January, the researchers….”

  • George Howard

    While I have a moment, LeCompte et al. (of all places) has some helpful citations regarding the confirmation of and failure to locate spherules at the YDB by other workers. Some of these citations presented fairly, particularly Mahaney, would have been helpful to the Boslough readers, and each well preceded his submittal (he dismisses Israde on the basis of Pigati):

    From LeCompte et al. (2012):
    “Attempts to replicate the spherule abundances and peaks observed by Firestone et al. have produced mixed results. Haynes et al. (14), Mahaney et al. (15), Fayek et al. (16), Israde et al. (4), and Pigati et al. (17) confirmed the presence of YDB spherules, while studies by Surovell et al. (18) and Pinter et al. (19) did not.”

    A quick search jogs the memory too. See: http://www.amqua.org/publications/abstracts/amqua2010-abstracts.pdf

    Boslough attended 2010 AMQUA with LeCompte and both published abstracts for the conference. LeCompte’s abstract is not much different from the subsequent PNAS publication, so Boslough was aware of LeCompte’s confirmation of abundant spherules in the YDB at least two years before his paper.

    In fact, the Tusk attended the 2010 Laramie AMQUA conference — and I have a lot of photos — perhaps I snapped one of Gil, Surovell, Pinter, Mark or other Boslough author in attendance, flipping through the conference program or ambling through the small poster area!

    I’ll look. But it was a beautiful Wyoming day — perhaps they were outside…..picking cherries…

  • Settle down everybody! It’s a hypothesis. The road to hypotheses to theories is long and difficult with occasional apparent dead ends and the troubles don’t end there. With science, they never end. A similar situation has arisen with the similarly contentious issue of the eastern verses the northern routes for the Younger Dryas Glacial Lake Agassiz discharge theory. Carlson finished a long review of the subject where he favors the eastern discharge and before actual publication Condron publishes a set of simulation results that claims the arctic route is twice as efficient for AMOC slowdown, but says NOTHING about chronology, which lies at the heart of the matter. In the meantime Lowell comes up with a set of 10Be numbers that indicated a much earlier Thunder Bay recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, to be presented at a geophysics meeting in March! If you want to see continual flip flopping on relatively iffy simulations and theories I can suggest condensed matter physics in the Arxiv. The real problem I see here with these kinds of controversies is that when it devolves to a certain level nobody is willing to fund or perform any work related to the field as a whole anymore and the number of workers in the field of natural and cosmic events and catastrophes, whether they be ice dams busting, impacts, climate change or solar flares and nearby exotic matter events will continue to dwindle, when the arguments over these kinds of aperiodic events of guaranteed incidence does nothing but improve the resolution of the investigations. It’s time to call in the psychologists again.

  • Steve Garcia

    Way to Boslough bust, George.

    The man not only had the two years since the 2010 AMQUA, but he also had those five sources LeComte referenced. Obviously all of them were published prior to both the Boslough and Lecomte papers. So he couldn’t pretend to not know what was out thre in the literature that Lecomte used. If he didn’t, how could he call himself a leader in the field? When he only (evidently) reads papers he likes? For shame.

    And he also could have corrected his incorrect assertions for the press release when they came to discuss the article with him. By then he had had, what? 3 months minimum to bone up on the updated info? Tsk tsk tsk. . .

    His time machine whining is a bunch of b.s., and he knows it. It is about as lame an excuse as can be imagined. He knows his paper is incorrect and he doesn’t even offer to go to the publisher and science writers and tell them, “Guys, I was wrong.” You are right, George, his actions are detestable.

    Hell, he doesn’t even have the guts to own up to it HERE. He just hides behind the time machine defense. But in doing so he IS admitting his paper is wrong.

    Boslough has an agenda that he can’t diverge from by being a real scientist and admit his assertions are wrong. Not out loud, anyway.

    BTW, assertions are not science.

    The guy evidently doesn’t know the meaning of the word “honesty.” I will remember this when I read any of his papers in the future. And I will make sure others do so as well. He lost my respect, big time.

    Way to go, George! Especially since you DO post opposition papers. We may never see Boslough admit to even one piece of evidence he doesn’t like – otherwise how did he miss Haynes et al., Mahaney et al., Fayek et al., Israde et al., and Pigati et al.?

    Confirmation bias. The Bos has it, Marlborough Man image or not.

  • Steve Garcia

    BTW, there is nothing NOW that prevents The Bos from going to AGU and informing him of the error. And to the writer of the article.

    C’mon, Bos, do the right thing!

  • Steve Garcia

    What we really have is choosing up sides.

    “Boslough’s” paper has the following co-authors:

    M. Boslough, K. Nicoll, V. Holliday, T. L. Daulton, D. Meltzer, N. Pinter, A. C. Scott, T. Surovell, P. Claeys, J. Gill, F. Paquay, J. Marlon, P. Bartlein, C. Whitlock, D. Grayson, and A. J. T. Jull. (2012). Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event. Geophysical Monograph Series, Vol. 198, pp. 13-26

    Holliday, Pinter, Surovell and Daulton are the ones who have claimed all along that the eivdence isn’t the evidence. But they are specifically the ones whom LeComte outed about shoddy work, if I am not mistaken.

    So, the evidence DOES exist, though those four couldn’t replicate the evidence, as LeComte points out, with a dagger to the heart. Those four don’t WANT the evidence to exist, so they ignore all the papers (evidently) in which the evidence is supportive of the impact hypothesis. And now they have gotten Boslough to sign onto it and lend his name to their shoddy work.

    No the Lecomte paper wasn’t out when Boslough submitted. So the situation now is this:

    — Is Boslough going to side with the sloppy scientists?

    — Or is he going to recognize a political agenda when he sees it?

    — And is he going to go back to being neutral (if he ever was)?

    — Or is he going to actually READ those other papers, to inform himself?

    — And if he does, then what?”

  • Amazing. Beseiged by four of them in a prearranged attack.

  • George Howard


  • Steve Garcia

    Good. I see you got my point. Just like evolution back in the 1800s, there simply are people who will not accept new ideas, and they are circling the wagons.


    It is called conservatism. “What was good ’nuff fer our grandpas is good ’nuff for us and our grandkids. Don’t be a-throwin’ no new facts at us, ’cause we kin ignore wiff da best of ’em. Who needs new facts, anyway? The world moves too fast as it is. Who needs progress? Don’t confuse us. We learned all the facts we need to know in kindergarten.”

    Institutions tend to get more and more conservatives as time goes on, which is why it is good that old institutions die off when they get old. Some of those guys have NASA and such behind them, and the money that goes with it. Progress comes not from institutions but from those trying to kick the institutions to wake them up. The kicking rarely works, not with those in the institutions, but with those independent people who catch wind of the caterwauling.

    Independents like Israde and her team down on Lago de Cuitzeo. They had no beef, no bone to pick, no agenda, no stake on either side. They just saw some evidence and saw which side’s arguments it all supported – and said so.

    The agenda on our side is not, “Look, you dummies, we are gonna shove this down your throats.” Our agenda is simply that we see that SOMETHING bloody well happened, and can we all take a look to see WTF it was? If it turns out to be meteors, fine. Comets? Fine. Rutabagas fro Mars? Fine. Stuff bbuling out of the ground? Fine. But don’t tell us it was nothing.

    Somethign big caused not only the deaths of Clovis Man, but mammoths in N.A. And not just mammoths in N.A., but – and this is one of the toughest parts – mammoths on the other side of the world.

    It is already accepted all around that the climate changed in less than 100 years – and probably less than 20 years. The prime mover of the Ice Dam idea has already admitted that he was wrong – it didn’t happen. The Bos Man himself applauds him for it. So the trigger for the supposed N.Atlantic overturning didn’t happen (though you’d be surprised how many ‘climate-change-causes-everything’ folks still dont’ get it and clutch at straws with the MacKenzie River and the polar route for the fresh water to get to the N. Atlantic). Kudos to Rodney Chilton for his work in this area.

    The idea that rapid climate changes did happen OFTEN, or at least repeatedly, is brought up, saying the Heinrich events prove that the Y-D wasn’t unique. With folks here talking about impacts happening repeatedly, we are probably glad they are beginning to agree with us, even if they think they are playing an Ace in the hole. Their arguments only make our arguments that much stronger. If, indeed, the Encke progenitor broke up 30,000 years ago and threw a bunch of fragments out there along the same orbit, it is ever so much more likely that they impact Earth at somewhat regular intervals. If that was the case, why wouldn’t there be Heinrich-type events before the YDB? It is not to say they did (Bos is right to ask where the craters are – no one here disputes that), but it argues in that direction.

    When evidence points in some direction, it behooves researchers to ask what it means. When the proposed event is has evidence in so many disciplines, and when it happened at a time when not only 70% of the world was covered with water, but maybe 40% of the dry land was covered with ice a mile thick, the odds of a crater on dry land is that much less. When the proposed impactor or impactors may well have been much more friable than his meteors and asteroids – increasing the odds of an atmospheric burst (thus not making a detectable crater that would last for 13,000 years) – the odds for finding an impact site reduce even further. 10,000 years from now the evidence of Tunguska will be very long gone. Does that mean Tunguska never happened?

    If an air burst explodes over the woods and none of THEM hears it explode, will Holliday, Pinter, Boslough, and Daulton say no sound was made?


    Hey, they are RIGHT, to keep telling us to put up or shut up. But, since we are doing what we can to do just that, anyway, they are doing nothing but being an annoyance. No one on this side expects the world to just jump up and tell us we are right without us having to prove our case. We expect to have to prove it, and if that means it will take time to develop the evidence, well, fine. Our best course of action is to ignore them as they ignore the evidence they don’t like. Their hollering and creaming aren’t doing any good, anyway – independent researchers are coming up with more of the evidence than we are. Firestone just put more or less the right question out there. It is showing itself to fit the findings, more an more. That, to all sides, should come as a bit of a surprise, really. To there side it brings alarm. To our side it brings bemusement, that maybe this thing is right, after all.

    All in all, it is simply too early to tell, but events/evidence is leaning more and more in our direction.

    And they can’t deal with it. Not without misrepresenting and ignoring. And not without cherry picking evidence. And not without pretending that “disagreeable” studies don’t exist. Boslough was aware long before this paper was done being peer reviewed he even admits. And what did he do? Did he go to the publisher and say, I need to revise this paper? Duh, of course not. That would have meant pulling the entire paper and chucking it in the round file. His team members – where were they in all this? Their results were slammed by LeComte, and they sat on their hands? What kind of scientist are they, anyway? Bullies. And not even good bullies, at that. Ganging up on Firestone. Ganging up on those with little funding. Ganging up on those who don’t have the ear of science editors.

    What we need is a good debate, out in public. One we can put online so the world can see it. Where bullying tactics can be seen for what they are, and we can argue about who did bad sampling or not. And the world can see that there really IS some solid evidence, even if some claim it doesn’t exist. That was the entire purpose of tthat paper, wasn’t it? To tell the world that the evidence doesn’t really exist?

    And Boslough pops in here (far from the eyes of the public), admits that the LeComte paper exists, and then runs off, pretending that now that he has admitted it he doesn’t also have to deal with LeComte’s findings. LeComte’s findings completely savage their paper. And all Bos Man can do is come and say, “Well, mine was 8 eight days earlier, so I can’t ride my time machine.”

    What kind of defense is THAT? The facts NOW say his paper is toilet paper. What is he going to do NOW? He doesn’t need a time machine NOW to deal with it.

    C’mon, Bos, put up or shut up. Aren’t you going to respond to LeComte? If not, why not? And if not you, then Daulton? Pinter? Holliday?

    . . . Anybody? . . .

    The silence is deafening. . .

  • Pingback: Extraordinary Evidence and Inexplicable Ignorance: Bunch (2012) and The Bos (2013) « The Cosmic Tusk()

  • M. Kim Johnson

    Why didn’t Bunch and LeCompte cite Boslough’s paper if they had a legitimate (science-based) criticism of it? They both saw him present it in Laramie in 2010, so they couldn’t claim ignorance. Neither one has ever been able (or even attempted) to get any criticism of his models published. As to the timeline argument, these guys, in essence, claim that Boslough should have cited a paper that came out after his was already published has been well covered. They keep trying too talk around that, but it is gibberish. It doesn’t take a physicist to figure out the timeline, here. Maybe that is part of the problem? Howard appears to think that Boslough should have sited a flawed, unscientific paper that had not even been published yet. There were not even any preprints. It appears that Howard’s ignorance of the scientific peer review process is exceeded only by his ignorance of the laws of physics that make his unscientific theories impossible. He also appears to wish to do real physics, but he doesn’t appear to understand physics. Bugs Bunny had a saying for that: “What an ultra maroon.”

  • George Howard

    “these guys, in essence, claim that Boslough should have cited a paper that came out after his was already published has been well covered” [email protected] Kim Johnson

    Kim, both papers i have discussed, Bunch and LeCompte, were published months before Boslough. What paper are you claiming “came out after” Boslough?

  • Steve Garcia

    Looks like Kim has done one of those hit-and-run posts – jumps in and starts a fight and then doesn’t have the balls to stick around and see it through.

  • Steve Garcia

    Actually, it sounded like Kim was gophered by Bos to repeat his immature time travel excuse.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    Actually, it looks like you guys really don’t have a clue about me. I don’t have a lot of time to play with you, but according to the timeline Bos puts up, and though I could not check all personally, what I did was dead nuts on, and I repeat:

    April 24, 2012: Boslough et al. submitted final draft to AGU, addressing reviewers’ comments.
    May 14, 2012: Boslough et al. accepted by AGU for publication.
    May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
    July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.
    Aug. 7, 2012; LeCompte et al. approved by PNAS.
    Sept. 17, 2012: LeCompte et al. published PNAS.

    How on earth could he have cited anything you wrote if he didn’t have it to cite? Note that the final input from Bos was July 24, 2012. Your final public output wasn’t even until two months later. You have walked all around that, not answering your own time machine question. Of course there was no way Bos could have quoted you, and you cannot make a living acting like there was! No – this is my third post, here. And you accuse me of hit and run? I accuse you, Steve Garcia, of not knowing how to read a calendar. You, too, appear to be in the an ultra maroon classification. (Sorry, Bugs for for the association. But you nailed the term!)

    Yeah, I might quit after this. It’s hard enough speaking to average wing-nuts, but ones who cannot read a calendar? Jeesh!

    And George – the data do not back your claim. Data. Important in science, especially physics. I don’t sense a lot of real understanding of physics in any of these posts from you guys. You might work on that a bit. Then publish.

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim: “How on earth could he have cited anything you wrote if he didn’t have it to cite?”


    For the moment I am dispensing with the “you” issue. Or the calendar insult.

    I will speak slowly so I don’t confuse your time sense…

    At what point – in time or in comments – did George assert that Boslough needed to cite LeCompte?

    Please, go look at the calendar and the time logs on the comments on this site, if you need to refer to your own calendar.

    If you can find it, please do us the kindness of informing us.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    One more Thing

    Ya’ll started this with the first input, 2nd paragraph “…Most disturbingly, he entirely ignores LeCompte et al’s 2012 PNAS publication: Independent evaluation of conflicting microspherule results from different investigations of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis In LeCompte’s paper — peer-reviewed and published in the one of the world’s top journals…” I do believe that is talking about the one specific publication that came out after Boslough’s, not conference abstracts all of you seem to be using to say that Boslough had the information out there. You named a specific paper that had not been published when Boslough published his paper you are speaking of. (I feel I need to say that three or more times so that it might sink in.

    You seem to excuse this fact by saying that conference preceding abstracts of similar content were handed out two years before. There is one huge problem with this. Conference abstracts are only minimally reviewed, usually for general content and for format, and that’s it! They are not referenced by legitimate scientists in their papers, because abstracts have no pedigrees. They have no peer consensus behind them. And generally, they are things that people tend to read, say that’s interesting, and put back up on the shelf. Yet your answers about a specific paper published in 2012 by LeCompte, et. al., ignore the facts of its time of publication and instead, insist that the author (Boslough) should have included something from a non-peer reviewed, abstract? No physicist with integrity would dream of such a thing, especially considering the woo woo abstracts.

    So you ask a question, get caught on the dates, and switch to another direction chastising a real physicist for not doing something any recognized physicist would dare do. You guys really do not understand how this really works, do you? All you seem to get is bait and switch – start with a published paper, get the timing wrong, then switch to fundamentally unknown abstracts from the past. That simply doesn’t work with real scientists, or physicists as Dr. Boslough is.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    PS. The answer to your question is quoted in my comment, first paragraph, above. It is right up front in this string. Since you write together, I include you as one group. Hence the “you.” Look above for the quotation of your quotation. It seems I’ve stumbled in to a bunch of first class bumblers, to be polite. And I don’t have enough time to speak as slowly as I need to, it appears. If you cannot even look an see what has been written, here, I question your ability to scroll.

    Let’s see, you can’t scroll up to see where it was said that Boslough needed to cite LeCompte. In fact, it was the other way around, as the timeline – not to be manipulated clearly shows. Don’t screw with data. The timeline is just that.

    Then you try to change from cite the paper before it was published to cite non-peer reviewed abstracts that were iffy at best from two years ago. Now you try to deny that George ever said that. Maybe he din’t right the 2nd paragraph of this string?

    And what’s really cool is that Lecompte was completely aware of Boslough’s work and didn’t cite it! In fact, Boslough’s work demonstrated that Allen West’s “protocol” was fatally flawed and makes LeCompte’s entire paper irrelevant.

    You guys can’t even keep your own stories straight, much less compete with a real physicist when it comes to science.

    And just for you, this just out by Boslough. It’s probably above your heads, though: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-boslough/changing-seasons_b_2984885.html

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –

    Gee, I at least know who I am addressing (unless you are a nom de plume for Boslough). You keep on referring to “you”, as if George was an author of the paper.

    I assure you George is not listed as a co-author, so why do you keep on saying, “you”?

    Kim: “How on earth could he have cited anything you wrote if he didn’t have it to cite?”


    Kim: “Your final public output wasn’t even until two months later.”


    Kim: “Of course there was no way Bos could have quoted you, and you cannot make a living acting like there was!”

    “You” again???

    And what is this about George making a living at this? You are deluded if you think he is making money off this blog. Half the time we can’t get him to post new things! He has a family to support on his job. [George: Have you made a dime off the blog? If so, I want half of it!]

    Amazingly, you seem to think Malcomb LeCompte was here composing comments and using George’s user ID. Are you thinking that because you are a proxy for Boslough that LeCompte does, too? That everybody plays a game behind masks?

    As to reading a calendar,

    Kim: “May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
    July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.”

    Reading the calendar not so very incorrectly, Bos had two full months – actually NINE WEEKS. See? 63 days = 7 days/wk x 9 weeks. Do I pass muster?

    You are asserting that at no point in that nine weeks was it possible for Bos to be he aware of the LeCompte paper being in the pipeline. Really? A supposedly top scientist who doesn’t keep his ear to the ground, to keep up with developments? (I guess when he is posing as the Marlboro Man, it takes a lot of his attention away from his specialty.)

    How much is Bos promising you to be his proxy here? Can’t he manifest enough testosterone to come and fight his own fights? Now that he is a media favorite has he become too ethereal/god-like for us mere mortals? Only for hit-and-run appeals to time travel? I guess if he has ascended or has a time machine either would explain how he can hit-and-run so well. (We all are green with envy…)

    I repeat George’s question to you (or Bos, whoever you actually are),
    What paper are you claiming “came out after” Boslough?

    Admission/disclaimer: I say that without acting as George’s proxy. Speaking for myself.

    But how about answering the question? Do I have to ask it myself? Okay:

    Which paper do you assert “came out after” Boslough?

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim: “Since you write together, I include you as one group. Hence the “you.”

    What kind of b.s. is that? Because I think George is right, all of a sudden we are Siamese twins?

    And should we address you and Marc as “you” as well?

    As I am sure you claim to, I write my own stuff. What George writes comes out of his head, not mine. My name is Steve.

    YOU talked about “you” citing or not citing. Since I don’t publish, that cannot apply to me. And since you were addressing citing about this, it also doesn’t apply to George, either. Citing is in peer-reviewed papers, as the term is used here. If you want to refer to referring to papers or whatever, the term “citing” is completely wrong; much more appropriate is “sourcing”.

    Maybe you are getting overwrought. Don’t hyperventilate so much.

    Once again, the degree to which you are on the defensive SCREAMS that you are being a mouthpiece for Boslough. It would be so much better if he had the guts to come and speak for himself.

    . . . Marc? . . . Are you in there? . . .

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Kim –

    Rationalzing BS is still rationalizing BS.

    “B.” or any of the et al could have withderawn their paper from publication after the LeCompte duplication was published.

    The only place I want to see “B.”‘s name mentioned is in a notice that he is leaving Sandia and government service.

    If there is no consequence, this kind of BS is going to continue, and supercomputer time is too useful to be wasted.

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –

    Boslough is the one who authored a paper slamming others as incompetents. Thus it is his responsibility to make sure he has considered all of what evidence they have put on the table, else his slam job looks like, well, a slam job. He was the one declaring that the discussion is over. Thus the onus is on him. If he is going to try to rip their (LeCompte, Firestone, Bunch, Kennett, Schultz, Israde, etc.) work, he should at least include more than a token bow to one paper in the last 6 years, when there have been more than a score of them, covering at least four continents, if I count right.

    No, Firestone 2007 did not get it all correct. First stabs at interdisciplinary research never does. There has been a lot of work by OTHERS since 2007. Beating on Firestone 2007 is easy and is cheap shots. I personally would recommend to Firestone that he write a sequel and remove some of the stuff that has been proven to be weak and probably or certainly wrong.

    Something around 90% of Boslough’s attacks in the paper – and when you call someone else’s work crap it IS an attack – are all about Firestone 2007. MANY other people un-associated with that first paper have found a LOT of evidence supportive of an impact at the YDB. That is the way science is done. ANY paper on a new hypothesis should invite independent researchers to go out and test not only the overall concept but the individual legs upon which it stands. It’s called falsifying, as I am sure you know. If the hypothesis has legs, it will stand.

    But at the same time, especially in an interdisciplinary hypothesis, it might not have gotten all the points correct. Those independent papers that have been coming out in those 6 years have been outnumbering the Pinter/Holliday slam jobs right and left. (Calling the carbon spherules “insect poop” – nasty, nasty work that.)

    To listen to Pinter et al, which now includes Boslough, one would think that there wasn’t one iota of support for the YDB impact hypothesis. And you all know that that simply isn’t true. You – in the plural and specifically aimed at Boslough because he was the main author of this last one – go around and cherry pick evidence and then pile on the original paper as if it stood out in the wind by itself. You all KNOW that isn’t true. There is a LOT of support for it. Why don’t you (plural) go out and pick holes in the other papers?

    Why not? Because you know you can’t. It’s as simple as that.

    Going into all this I was enthused about the idea of an impact at that time. But I didn’t KNOW if it was true or not. I didn’t really have a stake in it; it just sounded cool – VERY interesting, if true. I – like everyone here – knew that sooner or later others would go out in the field and accumulate evidence – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

    Frankly, I have been surprised at how much evidence has been turning up. FAR more than I ever would have guessed. I thought it completely possible that this hypothesis would not hold water, that the evidence was a lot of flukes. Which way it would go, I had no idea. But AMAZINGLY the evidence is piling up for it.

    Now like any truly new hypothesis – and especially so for one crossing into other disciplines – this hypothesis was bound to step on toes and upset the conservatism prevalent in most sciences. It wasn’t inevitable, but it was more than likely. And the owners of those stepped on toes were likely to try to find problems with the hypothesis. Let them attack – on the evidence, on the best and latest evidence. No problem. That is the way hypotheses succeed or fail. This one I would have guessed had a less than 25% chance of succeeding. Having skeptics test it out – part of the lay of the land: You put up or shut up; you put up and they try to shut you up. It is all part of the give and take of science.

    And each side will have advocates who act like lawyers, arguing the best of what they’ve got to argue with, while hoping the jury doesn’t become aware of the weaknesses in their arguments or that the jury doesn’t pay too much attention to the inconvenient facts supporting the opposing counsel’s case.

    Boslough’s and Pinter’s and Holliday’s science by press release has a common theme: “WORLD, stop paying attention to these buffoons, we have just stomped on their case and you should all go home, because the case is over! We’ve won!”

    Such appeals are common in courtrooms around the world: A counsel moves that the case be dismissed, right in the middle of the trial. Judges are used to that ploy, and they probably roll their eyes at the transparency of the maneuver. It is far more likely to be attempted by an advocate who has a weak case than the one who is winning – because the one who wins a court decision will have the imprimatur of the court. The one with the weaker case wants to NOT let it go the jury, because he knows how little chance he has if it does. So he tries all he can to get to an out-of-court settlement. He is much more likely to take the case to the public, with some outrageous magnification of the weakest parts of the opposing counsel’s case.

    All of that has been being done by Pinter et al. The more flagrant their abuses of fact, the more obvious it is that they KNOW they have a weak case and wish to get a summary judgment.

    But, hey, folks, your case is weak, and it is getting weaker by the month. You aren’t dealing with buffoons on the other side of the debate. The bulk of evidence is coming in on THIS side of the argument. Flail away if you must – but could you at least be civil about it? Yes, Pinter and Boslough run to the press each time they paste together their cherry-picked evidence. And yes, they can pile on all over the Firestone 2007 paper.

    But realize this: The case has gone far beyond Firestone 2007, so beat on it all you want to – and rag out your insect poop silliness anytime you want. But both of those only make you look foolish. If Boslough wants to pic on evidence let him pick on the best, not the weakest. This is not a co-ed volleyball game where you keep hitting at the weakest player on the other side. The winner will be those who have the stronest evidence wrapped around the best interpretation of the facts/data.

    Yes, Kim, science is about data. It is about quantifying – attaching numbers to what you’ve got. And whether you admit it or not, there is a LOT of real and true data arguing against your (plural) case – more than supports you (plural). Like when Ted Bunch in his paper discusses the finer points about the microscopic evidence, while Bos beats on a six-year-old first draft. Really – can’t anyone of you take on the best of what we’ve got?

    Calling our evidence “insect poop” – you (plural) really stepped in it that time. People were aghast at that one. You (plural) overstepped the bounds of decent arguing, and you lost some people with that one. A LOT of raised eyebrows over the incivility of that. If you have to resort to low blows, wow, what a great case based on the evidence you must have.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    You simply sound like one person. For all I know, you are one person. (Granted – probably simply a few people who think alike.) You totally ignore what I am saying and hit the ad hominem button.

    I did not see one real attempt to answer my problems with your fundamental understanding of how this worked out, the original complaint, as stated, having to do with LeCompte’s paper, not a couple of old proceedings abstracts not considered as reviewable sources in scientific papers, and the fact that no one in this little group of multiple (but very similar personalities) seems to have a clue as to how physics really works. You people are simply digging blind tunnels. I am immune to ad hominem attacks or changing the subject as you try to do

    And I never assumed anything about George’s authorship. You put words in my mouth. You go ad hominem. You try to change the subject. But you never address my points.

    Something tells me that Boslough probably is too intelligent to get involved with people who only respond to legitimate questions with all of the above (ad hominem, etc.)

    I’m putting you down as “Like to avoid direct questions.”

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –

    You have never answered George’s question.

  • not a couple of old proceedings abstracts not considered as reviewable sources in scientific papers, and the fact that no one in this little group of multiple (but very similar personalities) seems to have a clue as to how physics really works.

    I agree, but I’m curious. Please tell me how ‘physics works’. The one true physics I assume, since you don’t appear to subscribe to various concepts of ‘evolution’, particularly in understanding, instruments, tools, methods, etc. You could also try to explain to my how any abstract is not reviewable, especially with modern communications conveniences available for your convenience. Thanks in advance.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    Steve and Thomas,

    Please. I asked a question first. And never got an answer, just a bunch of misdirection. I repeated the question. Now you want to put me on the defensive? I can only presume that is because you CANNOT answer my query.

    And, please, what does evolution have to do with this? It’s just another misdirection. Of course I think the theory of evolution is the essential explanation for how life came to be diverse. And you people want me to answer how physics works? It’s pretty clear you don’t know. But I am not going to take a day to write about how physics works. I am a retired physicist. And I know that until you answer my question, using the hard data presented, and the fact that decent scientists never use 2 year old “abstract” as a source in a legitimate, scientific, peer reviewed paper, then you people are clearly out of the mainstream league. Go ahead. Answer my initial question. I keep asking you to, and you keep on with the avoidance. (Note – I just told you something any decent scientist (physicist in particular) knows about using questionable abstracts from the past for reference.) No – you answer me. Wait – maybe you can’t!


  • And, please, what does evolution have to do with this?

    ‘Evolution’ has to do with everything, including and especially science.

    Good luck with your one true physics, only you know how ‘physics really works’. If you think science is static then your brain must be fossilized. Therefore it would be pointless and unproductive to continue attempting to educate you on modern science and its ever changing methods, tools and results, including publication methods and communications tools (cell phones, blogs, forums, and even the usenet) and those who even choose not to publish (for instance, corporate funded science and engineering, etc.). You seem really ‘old school’. Too bad.

  • And, please, what does evolution have to do with this?

    Evolution has to do with everything, including and especially science.

    Good luck with your one true physics, only you know how physics really works. If you think science is static then your brain must be fossilized. Therefore it would be pointless and unproductive to continue attempting to educate you on modern science and its ever changing methods, tools and results, including publication methods and communications tools (cell phones, blogs, forums, and even the usenet) and those who even choose not to publish (for instance, corporate funded science and engineering, etc.). You seem really old school. Too bad.

  • The forum moderation is eating my posts. Forget it then, if you think evolution only has to do with biology then I can’t help you.

  • George Howard

    Sorry, TLE. I been on family vacation (in others words it barely qualifies) in Florida for last ten days. Not sure why the back office left you hanging — should not in the future.

  • George Howard

    I’ll jump in here this weekend when I return from sunny Florida. Love the back and forth, keep it up — Kimbo!

  • M. Kim Johnson

    There you go again. Evolution can be used as you describe, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my initial question – does it? Any outsider reading this must be laughing their heads off at you two guys. The one, true physics? I never said that. You did. Misdirection.

    Can you or can’t you answer my question? If you cannot, you should simply quit typing. Even I am becoming embarrassed for you. If you can, then answer it, please. Jeesh. Bugs was right. This really is a pit of at least three ultramaroons.

    Answer my question! You cannot, can you?

  • I have no idea what your original question was and I really don’t care about it, since you have already demonstrated yourself to be an inflexible absolutist. And just FYI, I no longer believe there was a substantial impact at the YD boundary of any magnitude, certainly not enough to cause a rerouting of Lake Agassiz discharge at that time. Nor am I convinced that the Arctic route was the only source of freshwater discharge at that time. But get this, if more evidence is uncovered to refute that, I’ll be more than happy to take a look at it, and I’ll even entertain it as well. There are still some unresolved questions relating to the Younger Dryas that still interest me.

    I’m an open minded relativist. You couldn’t possibly embarrass me as everyone here already knows.

  • George Howard

    That’s right, Stevo, you have told Kimbo right. I am not you and you are not me. Which should comfort you at this moment…

    Anyway, the Tusk is indeed a purely charitable effort maintained for mankind which only takes from its pursuit of unlimited prosperity and other goods. As regards my day job, we are immensely proud of our new video: http://www.restorationsystems.com/texas/rs-video-katy-prairie-stream-mitigation-bank-restoration-systems-houston-texas-mitigation-credits/

  • George Howard

    @kimbo, I believe TLE was referring to the evolution of science not biological organisms. You are taking the low road in many ways, ma’am: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Structure_of_Scientific_Revolutions

  • M. Kim Johnson

    Sorry folks, you misread me totally. If you have no idea what the question was, I only stated it two or three times.

    It’s pretty clear that you all are clueless, are going to go ad hominem whenever possible, haven’t a real clue what you are talking about, and cannot answer my question.

    You are all failures and would be better served keeping your fingers off the typewriter keys. It seem that when you put them on the keys, you just dig deeper and deeper into your hole.

    Answer my question? I don’t think you can. I don’t think you even know how the scientific publication system works.

    Boslough clobbered the paper with his, and you can’t do anything but whine and make nonsensical remarks.

    You’re not going to answer my question, which was to the point you had thought you made until Boslough put the timeline data up. You’ve had your chance and lost.

    Unless you actually answer my question, I’m getting tired of playing with you. You’re a waste of time. Bye.

  • You are all failures and would be better served keeping your fingers off the typewriter keys.

    Failed hypotheses are a dime a dozen in science, Mr. Johnson, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable to science. On the other hand I wasn’t aware that silence was a viable scientific method.

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –
    The question you seem to be putting up as a pre-requisite for you answering George’s question is this (we will even bold it up for you):

    Why didn’t Bunch and LeCompte cite Boslough’s paper if they had a legitimate (science-based) criticism of it?

    You then pointed this out:

    They both saw him present it in Laramie in 2010, so they couldn’t claim ignorance.”

    EXACTLY! George was there at Laramie 2010 (and posted/commented here to that effect) and he saw both of them there – Boslough and LeCompte.

    First Rebuttal Point: LeCompte’s presentation was essentially the same as the 1012 paper. So, Boslough claiming he didn’t know about the study TWO YEARS LATER is pretty much bunk. Time machine refuted. Point rebutted. Time machine not needed. Boslough knew about LeCompte’s study more than a year and a half before submittal of his paper.

    Boslough did not cite LeCompte, and LeCompte did not cite Boslough. But neither one of them could claim ignorance of the other’s papers.studies.

    Kim, you are going into apoplectic fits as if you were Boslough himself. Are you over at Boslough’s web page insisting that HE go to Nature and ask for a page in which to point out the errors of LeCompte’s ways.

    Having read through the paper, I am amazed that such a non-technical science paper – one with nothing new except words – can make it into a journal. Not 2% of the paper is original.

    Just exactly WHY should LeCompte respond to “Bos’ ” “new” paper, when nothing about it is Bos’ except for old, previously published work?

    It is like an Op-Ed piece. Why should it be responded to?

    On the contrary, LeCompte’s paper is FILLED with new evidence. REAL evidence, like measurements (not models that don’t work). HARD evidence. Real spherules being measured and analyzed. That kind of thing. The kind that just happens to be completely missing in the Boslough 2012 paper.

    One of the sad things about that paper is the Nature, with their normally very tight space availability probably passed on putting a non-Op-Ed, REAL science study in that issue.

    Now, I am not George, (oh! – That is actually a funny!) in that I have not had my name on research papers, and maybe I didn’t ANSWER your question scientifically enough, Kim. But, humble moi, it is the best I can do. it was a very short question, and it took me a lot of words, some of which I hope sounded quasi-scientific. But it was only a question of WHY.

    Which was a question that I can’t even believe you posed to US, instead of to LeCompte and the other contributors on his paper. I mean, do I look like LeCompte or sound like him or write like him?

    So, have you asked HIM yet? You have had your fun badgering people here, just to get that one question asked BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE ONE WE PUT TO YOU.

    So, now, would you please answer OUR question? You will find it somewhere back there; we asked it enough time.

  • Steve Garcia

    Sorry about all the bold, George.

    Can you go in and correct the missing “/”?

    It is right after “Point rebutted.”


  • M. Kim Johnson

    Steve, at least you tried. But the paper you all wish for Boslough to site was not out yet. This is how this whole thread started. George stated Boslough should have quoted results that weren’t even published, yet. Boslough showed why that was impossible, again:

    Perhaps this timeline will help you understand why we didn’t cite LeCompte et al.

    April 24, 2012: Boslough et al. submitted final draft to AGU, addressing reviewers’ comments.
    May 14, 2012: Boslough et al. accepted by AGU for publication.
    May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
    July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.
    Aug. 7, 2012; LeCompte et al. approved by PNAS.
    Sept. 17, 2012: LeCompte et al. published PNAS.

    What was it he was supposed to cite? And if you say the abstracts from a couple of years back, then I say you cannot do that in a real scientific paper. Abstracts are not papers. They are simply statements saying what you are going to say, and are only reviewed if they are being considered for a presentation or an invited publication. Most abstracts are written before a paper is. They contain no real protocols, not data (except conclusory data), no real in-depth rational, in short, very little to judge the merit of the work on. So, basically the question about why Boslough didn’t cite LeCompte’s paper is very clear. Yet you all keep going off in different directions, telling someone who has been a practicing physicist (me) for about 45 years about hypotheses, etc., totally off topic, and now you answer the wrong question in bold and want to steer me to ask LeComte what? Why this thread gets it wrong in the beginning?

    So, I’ll ask the question one more time: How did you expect Boslough to reference LeCompte’s paper that had not been published until after Boslough’s was? (This is not a question for LeCompte; it is a question for all of you since LeComte didn’t say it. You did! I cannot make it any clearer than that. And I expect a significant number of non sequiturs coming back.

    One more thing – um, I don’t know how to tell you this nicely, so I’ll just say it. I am not having apoplectic fits. More like apoplectic gales of laughter.

  • George Howard

    Good lord I have the vapors….:)

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –

    You re misrepresenting what George said. George said that by the time Bos’ paper went to press, Bos knew that a new papers was coming out that rebuts many of the claims in his paper. George said that Bos could have – and should honorably have – asked Nature to put a hold on the paper. That would have given Bos the opportunity to revise his paper, if he so chose. He wouldn’t have had to. And in doing that – Bos putting a hold on it – his possible revisions could, of course, have included LeCompte’s papers.

    No scientific paper should ever go out unless it ON ITS OWN shows that it has challenged whatever might show it (or portions) to be wrong, and then shown WHY those possible challenges were ruled out. You and Bos – and his co-authors – maybe argue that Firestone 2007 or 2009 didn’t do this. But they did. Firestone put the idea out thre, not as a finished product, but as a tentative overall idea, and as I read it, was doing it so that others could take up the challenge and test the ideas. Pinter and Daulton and Holliday, and then Surovell, and now Bos, are entitled to do that testing. No one denies that.

    But it is also expected that disagreement would come in a civilized manner, not mocking spherules as insect poop – and then ignoring the rebuttals to such insults.

    Much of the disappointment here and with the YDB supporters is the uncivility and the ignoring of rebuttals and new confirming/supportive evidence. Their approach reeks of cherry-picking of the evidence.

    Kim, you can laugh/giggle/guffaw/ all you want – apoplectic-ly or as snickers in the closet – but the YDB folks are winning the war. The delta-P (gap in papers) is increasing with each passing year. And they seem to have drafted Bos onto the losing side.

    But he can go free agent and start talking to people other than the ones feeding off each other in denial of the trend in the evidence.

    As I’ve said before, I had no idea that others would begin finding supporting evidence for Firestone’s basic premise (which is long since not been current). It was an amazing thing these past years to see new papers finding evidence in Belgium, S America, California, and Mexico, as well as other places.

    We here see those papers. We wonder why none of them are stomped on by Pinter et al. Go read them and see if you laugh then.

    Heck, go read Bunch’s paper. Read Lecompte. If you can read the approximately 30 papers that show some supporting evidence for the YDB and then laugh, be my guest. Then look at Pinter et al, who keep having to go back 6 years to find one they can pick on. It is a lot like going back and picking on the ether – WHO CARES? The science has moved on. When will they?

  • Steve Garcia

    Above I said, “No scientific paper should ever go out unless it ON ITS OWN shows that it has challenged whatever might show it (or portions) to be wrong, and then shown WHY those possible challenges were ruled out.”

    That is not my idea. Here is what Richard Feynman had to say about that, in his famous “Cargo Cult Science” graduation address at CalTech, back in about 1974 or so:

    …But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards.

    For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked – to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    One-sided papers – that is what makes me laugh. They think they are fooling people, and I guess somehow they think they are not fooling themselves. But I don’t laugh apoplectically. I laugh in a sad way. Our scientists can do better than that.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    My last entry –

    You two think Boslough should have missed a publication deadline to site a paper that had not been written yet, and that from previous interaction he probably already knew he would disagree with?

    Answer this: Why didn’t LeCompte site Boslough’s paper? It was out first. Isn’t this a case of what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander? Do you guys see your logical error, here? You make no sense.

    I suspect that if anyone else reads this, they will immediately ask themselves that very same question.

    It’s been fun. And you just skewered yourselves on your own petard.

  • M. Kim Johnson

    One more think – thanks for the apoplectic gales of laughter that you have generated on this end. And thanks for the lessons to others on how not to be logical.

    Bye bye

  • Steve Garcia

    Kim –

    “You two think Boslough should have missed a publication deadline to site a paper that had not been written yet, and that from previous interaction he probably already knew he would disagree with?”

    You’ve simply got to be kidding. Bos is allowed to just ignore evidence he is aware he will disagree with?

    I repeat from Feynman (not a scientist to igore, btw):

    “Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it.”

    It is called scientific honesty and scientific integrity. Are you saying Bos isn’t required to be either?

    Also, no one is insisting that Bos should have “miss a publication deadline”. If he came clean NOW, we’d probably be plenty satisfied that Bos has some integrity. He could have sent a letter AT ANY TIME to the journal informing them of some evidence that had been available and that he should have included. Now requires no time machine.

    LeCompte wasn’t required to cite (not “site,” as you keep saying) Bos’ paper because there was no original science in it. Bos’ paper was an Op-Ed – a commentary – not original work. Scientists MAY comment on summary papers, but they also have no requirement to do so.

    In addition, LeCompte DID cite the papers that Bos included – and concluded that they were inadequate and sloppy science. If Bos had actually read all the papers cited in both studies, he would have seen the sloppiness in Daulton’s, Pinter’s, Surovell’s and Holliday’s work, and it would have been HIM pointing out how bad their work was. Instead, Bos took the word of the sloppy people and ignored the solid science. He chose a side, and the side he chose is the sloppy side. So it is no surprise that he also didn’t have the integrity to take a look at LeCompte’s paper (before his was accepted in its final form) and see if there was anything missing. Bos can still set matters right, if he chooses to.

    And do you not think there are hurricanes of laughter at this end?

    You’ve been beating a dead horse with your “time travel” excuse, using it as a smoke screen for ignoring the honest questions at this end. Who do you think that makes illogical and silly?

    Do you think anyone on this side considers Daulton’s laughter important? He does sloppy science, after all. He can’t even take samples properly. Sloppy scientists are the scientists that no one will know their names in about in 50 years – the nameless ones people will laugh at for having not seen the facts but tried to sweep them under the carpet. Go on down to your pub and laugh with all the sloppy thinkers. None of your names will be remembered. Firestone will get his Nobel Prize in about 2023, and he will toast Bos’ ignorance – but not by name, just as one of those who didn’t read Younger-Dryas Impact for Dummies. And we will have satisfied smiles and no reason to laugh – winners smile, we don’t laugh.

  • George Howard

    Please, Kim, stay just a moment. I’m curious, given your opinion that the Bos’ paper was a freight train which simply could not be delayed (even in the face of significant new information published months ahead of time), what if it were being written today? Do you feel LeCompete provided information that would\should result in a a more open-minded treatment of the subject than given in the Bos’ paper?

  • George Howard

    Not following you here, Kim. To which Bos paper do you refer? The Bos paper “Arguments” was published well after the LeCompte paper.

    PS. I believe one is “hoisted” on one’s own petard, rather than “skewered” by it. While both seem to be equally uncomfortable self-inflicted outcomes, skewering yourself with a bomb seems relatively unlikely.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Kim –

    B.’s positioning of the Chelyabinsk meteoroid was useless, as it had already entered the atmosphere. B.’s retrieval of samples at Chelyabinsk was a waste as well, as we already had samples.

    Given the extremely limited resources available, I do not like to see them wasted. What exactly justified B.’s trip to Chelyabinsk?

  • Probably because it was an extremely well documented and recorded large bolide entry and explosion, It doesn’t matter that the material was ordinary, it’s probably worth taking a look at.

    It looks like an inward orbiting outward looking wide area infrared telescope may be in the works. I’m not sure if they’re just going to funnel money to B612 and Sentinel or how it’s going to work out, but it would be great if they just fast tracked the observatory and held off on the retrieval, but I guess they want to appear to be prepared with the SEP (solar electric propulsion) and the capture and derotation work, which is also applicable to zombie satellite servicing and salvage.

  • Hermann Burchard

    Bad idea, capture. Could fail and crash into Earth. Also see recent comment by Barry Weathersbie.

  • Purposely crashing a meter sized asteroid might be a cheap and easy way to retrieve samples, certainly nothing much else will come of it. Bigger and heavier planes fly over you all the time, and an object that size isn’t going to connect with the surface intact unless it is made out of solid metal and moving at hypervelocity, which it won’t be if it is being dragged back from space. You could also presumably attach an inflatable heat shield and a parachute on the thing itself.

  • Steve Garcia

    Ed: “What exactly justified B.’s trip to Chelyabinsk?”

    Camera time! Time to powder up!

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE: “You could also presumably attach an inflatable heat shield and a parachute on the thing itself.”

    Or you could eject it out the back [I suggest a small rail gun(!) on board] with enough velocity that its geocentric angular velocity is low enough so that overheating doesn’t occur. It simply FALLS into the atmosphere. Its forward velocity is small. The ship/capsule gets all the reaction force/energy and jumps into a higher orbit.

    After it enters the atmosphere, deploy the parachute(s).

    But, really, take it to the ISS and examine it there – but carefully, with no irreversible hacking away at it. The moment it enters the atmosphere it is compromised/contaminated.

    IMHO, 99% of the “stuff” we ever find out there needs to be USED out there. Maybe not the first “stuff,” but outside of REEs and such, what is the point in bringing them down? But THIS ONE? This one needs to stay up there and be fully tested before it enters the atmosphere.

  • Steve Garcia

    Hermann –

    Two points. One is that there doesn’t seem to be a Barry comment recently – not on this post.

    Second, we do need to bring some back. If not now, then soon. But I disagree with bringing back a zygote-sized one. I think it would be a wasted opportunity re handling them “in the wild.” We are never going to bring/maneuver back one that small again. Bringing a microscopic one (metaphorically speaking) back again, so what do they expect to learn from this tiny little one? It’s constitution? One that small will NOT be representative of larger ones; its density will not be typical; its materials will not be agglomerated like a larger one; its chemistry will be useless, since the variations in chemistry will be all over the map. There are probably upwards of 75 different configurations of objects, just in the NEOs – and probably 5 times that in the main belt. There is little that they will learn from such a baby body, nothing they couldn’t learn by probes and sensors out there where it came from.

    Ergo, it is a publicity stunt – one so simple a child could do it. Or, perhaps NASA. Let us never forget the focus screw-up on the Hubble; such levels of incompetence have rarely, rarely been encountered in science. They need a success. And that means they can NOT try anything more complicated than 2 + 2 /= 5. Ergo, Morrison picked out the project most likely to succeed. Heck, the private guys are aiming at going more aggressive by several magnitudes.

    (It didn’t have to be like this. NASA has fallen so far from what it used to be. What happened? It can’t just be Morrison, even if he is Ed’s whipping boy of the present. Can it just be funding?)

  • Lamar Smith had a piece in a plastic bag that he took out and displayed at the committee hearing a few days ago, and he said it was given to him by the chief scientist of OSIRIS-Rex and was a gift from the Russian government.
    It would would even be cheaper to send another solar electric tug to Lunar Lagrange Point 2 to get a small piece of it from the larger spacecraft and return it to LEO for retrieval than it would be to send a bunch of astronauts out there to cut open the bag and start fooling around in a $20 billion dollar capsule launched by a $20 billion dollar expendable heavy lift launch vehicle. These missions are expensive enough already. The money should go directly to detection right now, ASAP. They’re just using this entire scenario to justify their 2017 and 2021 mission scenarios. Right now as it is they’re going to be hard pressed to launch a Sentinel mission by 2017.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    Compared to how many billions have been spent (and are intended to be spent) on global warming to prevent a 0.17°C warming by the year 2100, $40 billion is cheap, but I get your point.

    We need an advocate or two like James Hansen, who keeps claiming the oceans will boil by 2050. He’s bat shit crazy, but they keep listening to him.

    Personally, I think if any of this stuff needs being done NASA needs to step aside and let the ESA or China do it. NASA seems like a bunch of amateurs. 2017? 2021? for piddly little projects like that? Let’s DO hope that they don’t get the focus wrong again.

    I am reminded of the ramping up for WWII, when factories got new planes online and out the door in like 5 months. And warships were coming off the assembly line in nearly as short a time. Hell, the Manhattan Project was 3 years long up to Hiroshima. The can-do in America – where did it go?

    I do agree that NASA should be using the Russian object to get as much funding as they can. Get while the getting is good. But I also think NASA should have fully developed preliminary studies for scores of projects, ready to present to policymakers at the drop of a hat. If for no other reason than to show they’re on top of things, in spite of the lack of funds.

    But the Russian object went pretty near directly over Beijing, so the Chinese should be more hyper about this than we are. And the way they’ve built entire cities on top of old Mao-era ones tells me they are the ones to do this. Like Ed, I just have no faith in NASA at all, not with its current leadership.

  • E.P. Grondine

    While we know the density and friability of the components, we do not know the density and friability of their conglomerations.

    Hi TLE –

    Given the politics involved and the mess that Griffin left behind, this new plan is a complete winner.

    Steve –

    Morrison did not come up with this plan.

    While NASA’s earlier performance in response to the hazard was nauseating, there is more to NASA than NEOs.

    Bolden has been doing a great job given the mess he walked into, and I am delighted with this new plan.

    That this plan managed to make it through the bureaucracy is delightful. There is noting like a casualty free 540 kt air blast to clear things up real fast.

  • Steve Garcia

    Ed –

    I gotcha. What else NASA is doing besides NEOs and comet interventions should be second level stuff. At least as far as we are concerned.

    Hahaha – yeah, the Russian windows and lacerations were a nice kick forward.

    Does anyone know what is going forward in Russia and China and the ESA?

    (But I still maintain that the air blast seems to be calculated on the original size of the object, not what was left after ablating for 30 seconds. I’d be shocked if the big blast had half the original mass left to work with. It was probably losing close to mass equal to 5-10kt per second.)

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    In looking at SEP info, it is clear that huge amounts of work is being done on energy needs and solar capture of energy.

    I am keeping an eye on Thorium LFTR nuclear reactors, which are scalable. They need to be engineered still and put into service. I see that happening by 2020-2025. When that happens, they can scrub the solar arrays and just put up LFTRs. Even back in the 1960s, LFTRs were looked at to power atomic planes, so the potential is there to take the reactors into space. And once there, they will produce huge energy densities and fuel for them (including Xenon for ionizing) will be easily shuttled to them. But when Thorium fuel the size of a racket ball is a human’s lifetime need (and that can literally be held in the palm of ones’ hand), Thorium fuel should be a minor problem. (Yes, it will be energy expensive putting the LFTRs into space, but if they were going to be used in atomic planes that would stay in the air for months and possibly years, that should not be an unsolvable problem.)

    I suppose the solar arrays can be used as back-up power, during LFTR maintenance periods. But more likely would be just to have simple storage batteries.

    Thorium is not a pipe dream. It’s a reality 40 years in retirement (thanks to that dick-head Nixon). It worked like a champ in the 1960s. It was invented by the same man who invented LW reactors, and he had a reactor run for six years. It wasn’t his fault they were in the middle of an arms race with the Soviets and rejected it because it couldn’t be used to produce plutonium for bombs. There are a few engineering-level bugs left at this time. There should be no reason that it doesn’t pan out in the next 10-15 years. Many people are working on it around the world. It will be a reality. And when it is, one of the really good applications will be to make massive energy densities available for long term in space – a place that NEEDS such power.

    We are then nearing an end to simply thrusting for a minute or so and then coasting for weeks. THAT will change the way we do and think about everything in space. Three day journeys to the Moon may be a relic of the past – and they should be.

    10-15 years will be about the time China puts a crew on the Moon. With China being the big player in LFTRs, I am sure someone there will connect the dots. Looking at their space programs, they are certainly behind us and ESA and the Russians right now, in terms of accomplishments, but they are aggressively coming up, with several times more projects in the works than NASA.

    EP should be FAR more effective with an energy dense source of power like LFTRs. LTFRs combined with EPs will enable them to move about at will, with little concern for energy requirements. it will also make it possible to scale UP EPs, perhaps by a magnitude or more in terms of thrust – and the thrust should be able to be maintained on a constant basis, thus allowing for thrust gravity in deep sapce.

    Solar is fine, if you like to run little stuff. But what is needed is readily available MOTIVE POWER. We are talking here of the difference between a tricycle and a muscle car.

    In the SEP info online someone explains about how much less energy it takes to move stuff, once it is away from Earth’s gravity well. Duh. I would hope someone realized that back in the 1960s. So the solution is, as they are working on now, to have a long-term energy source or a renewable one. Right now the only choice is fuel cells and/or solar arrays. But those are too feeble, too little energy density. Like I said, tricycles vs muscle cars. The watt density at Lagrange points or near the Moon are essentially what is available on Earth, and that is really not much. 276.5 watts / square meter. That is about what it takes to run a desktop computer. Try running a car on that, or a space vehicle. Yes, they’ve done some feeble maneuvering, like to save that one satellite. Good for them. But it is still peeing in a cup. We will need hundreds/thousands times more energy available. They are finessing our weaknesses and trying to convince us that they have something that turns those weaknesses into strengths. Nah. Everything they do is going to be on the edge. All the improvements in batteries and fuel cells will still limit us for now to how much solar energy can be captured in the first place. All the work is being done to raise our feebleness to some less feeble level.

    They need to take the “S” out of “SEP”, but that will take some time. 10-15-20 years. Then you watch what happens in space. Right now we are comparable to 1900, when the land speed record was 65 mph.

    Once LFTRs are engineered for power plants and then adapted and scaled to space use, the sky will be the (non) limit. Until LFTRs prove to be failures, someone should be looking long term and how to fit LFTRs into their plans. I am sure it is not being done – yet – but someone before long has to see the potential uses in space. And then do it. I DO know that thought has been put into LFTRs on the Moon; that is a no-brainer.

    And when THAT time comes, THEN we can look at how to REALLY deal with threats from impacts.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Steve –

    Europe is supporting the Orion capsule, and will probably use it with their Ariane launchers. As near as I know, they are on board for the capture mission.

    Canada just launched their Neossat.

    I believe Russia was on board before Chelyabinsk, but they are certainly on board now, after Chelyabinsk.

    Japanese space leadership has long been aware of the impact hazard, as is seen from their asteroid probes.

    China’s earlier means of gathering technological information have left a bad taste in many nations’ mouths. In the US these have led to an explicit ban on visits to NASA facilities and to NASA sponsored conferences.

    I expect that in the future, everyone, not just the US, will have to loosen their restrictions on working with China as a matter of necessity, but I also expect future space engagements with them will be carefully watched by everyone involved.

    B612’s SENTINEL from Ball is designed for launch on SpaceX’s Falcon launch vehicle, and my current guess is that B612 may continue to raise funds from the private sector, so as to prevent SENTINEL from becoming a victim of the vagaries of the political process, a political football.

    As the US is not the only nation with very wealthy people, and given the personalities and events involved, it strikes me that B612’s fund raising effort may be a lot of fun.

  • Steve Garcia

    Ed –

    All really good stuff. Thanks. I am NOT surprised the Chinese have alienated many others. Politically adept they are not. It’s a wise choice at this time by NASA to be wary of them and keep them out of the loop for the time being. But, like you say, in the end people will find out they do have to work with them.

    For sociological reasons, I am not a big fan of private space companies. I see the same kind of Big Science effects as the Manhattan Project engendered – a few companies getting in on the ground floor and then monopolizing the tech from then on. I also see it as a means of “plantationizing” space. Not a good development – but maybe inevitable. I don’t know. It will depend on how power-hungry and greedy the principles are over time, I guess. But I can see a bad foundation being built. Put me down as wary.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    Wow. On the SEP front, it seems they use Xenon as the ionized gas for propulsion. I am just today finding out that Xenon is a problematic neutron absorber that is created within reactors. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenon-135.

    Of the Xenon-135 that is created, , test results have shown that either 90%, or “39%-91%, or “essentially all” of it absorbs a neutron and becomes stable Xenon-136 within the Xenon-135 half life of 9.2 hours.

    So, on first read, that does mean that the Thorium reactor creates EXACTLY the ionization fuel already being used in SEPs.

    Isn’t THAT interesting. The amount of Xenon carried on board a SEP will be significantly reduced, since it will be PRODUCED by the LFTR. I don’t know the numbers yet, but this suggests the possibility that as long as the Thorium supply lasts, the ship can go on and on and on. The numbers will tell, but this is a really cool coincidence. Almost a marriage made in heaven. No pun intended.

    It’s a bit like having a mini-gasoline-refinery right in your car. And with 6 kg of Thorium having the energy equivalence (96,000 MW-hrs electrical) of 440 million cubic feet of natural gas), that is a lot of oomph – bang for the buck.

    On the down side, I imagine that 6kg of Thorium could not have THAT much Xenon produced from it. Especially when it needs to be shot out the rear end to provide thrust. Still, the SEP isometric diagrams shown seem to show that the Xenon tanks are not all that big themselves. Like I said, the numbers will tell.