Monday, March 24, 2014


The measure of a great crank magnet is the force with which it attracts weird science from afar, like this offering from one of Watts more prestigeous academic fans, Jim Steele, Director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University, which in the Wattsian calculus of credential inflation means a former campground manager and lecturer on 'Bird Identification by Song'. Spreading his wings, Mr. Steele has introduced WUWT readers to the remarkable hypothesis set forth in William Thompson's blog:
The gist of the theory is that a comet killed off North America's Ice Age megafauna, and flattened the Clovis culture. Undaunted by the failure of further field studies to confirm his ideas, Thompson has upstaged Edward Cayce with a 159 page bibliography of signs in the heavens and stratigraphic layers containing nanodiamonds so small that only the catastrophically pure of heart can see them.

I confess I was utterly charmed by 
Thompson's colleague Allen West's 2007 claim that the mammoths were shot dead by a meteor shower, a bar magnet having revealed birdshot sized bits of rust embedded in the upper surfaces of  fossil tusks.

Alas for Editor Watts, this wondrous blast from the past did not survive for long. The particles of purported shrapnel seen seven years ago burned up in the heated atmosphere of peer review, the cosmic tuskers having overlooked the geological ubiquity of iron. 

With so much magnetite underfoot, the late great  mammoths rooted about at far greater risk of getting bits  stuck in their ivories than being whacked by a meteorite.