Finally, a constitutional crisis we can have some fun with


This post is by Unknown from West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more)


This was originally part of our Tuesday tweets post, but I decided the ETs deserved a spot of their own.
UFO believers have been having a bad couple of weeks.  For starters, once highly respected astrophysicist Avi Loeb watched still more of his reputation go into the wood chipper. The NYT had a snarky article on the details. I’d normally be the last to criticize this sort of thing, but mockery would go down easier if the reporter would acknowledge the credulous reporting we’ve gotten recently from his paper. Fortunately, there’s a better write-up by Joel Achenbach in a paper that hasn’t been screwing up this story for years.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb scoured the Pacific seafloor last summer in search for debris from a meteor that had exploded in a fireball on Jan. 8, 2014. Loeb organized the two-week expedition because he thought the meteor might be something other than a random rock from space. Based on its astonishing speed, he suspected the object came from beyond our solar system — and might even be evidence of alien technology.

Loeb reported hitting pay dirt, retrieving hundreds of tiny blobs of molten material called “spherules” in the ocean off Papua New Guinea. Some of them, he later wrote, had such unfamiliar chemistry that they “may reflect an extraterrestrial technological origin.”

But reanalysis of seismic data now suggests Loeb may have been looking for the meteor remnants in the wrong place.

The analysis, led by seismologist Benjamin Fernando of Johns (Read more…)