Meteors, Bigfoot, and a Frog

Yesterday was a busy day for space enthusiasts.  The “big news” leading into Friday was the close approach of asteroid 2012 DA14.   It was the subject of various news reports with astronomers being interviewed to reassure everyone that no, the asteroid would not hit Earth, it was going to be close (inside geosynchronous orbit) but not a danger.   The ultimate in “dumb questions” – yes, there are dumb questions! – was when a CNN anchor asked Bill Nye if the asteroid was the result of climate change.

“We want to bring in our science guy, Bill Nye, and talk about something else that’s falling from the sky, and that is an asteroid,” said Feyerick. “What’s coming our way? Is this the effect of, perhaps, global warming? Or is this just some meteoric occasion?”

“Except it’s all science,” Nye said rescuing Feyerick. “The word meteorology and the word meteor come from the same root, so…”

OK, if anyone wonders why the media has so little respect these days …

While everyone was focused on that, on Friday morning another meteor came in from a different direction, and exploded over Russia.  Much smaller than 2012 DA14 (only about 10 tons) it caused thousands of injuries and damage to multiple buildings, mostly from the shock wave.

This is what it sounded like:

A fragment of it may have hit a lake nearby, so scientists will be able to (hopefully) recover it and get a good idea of exactly what it was made of.

The incoming rock was probably in the size range of a few meters in diameter. The split in the trail high in the air indicates the rock itself broke up as it rammed through our air at dozens of times the speed of sound, probably still (at a guess) 20 kilometers (12 miles) above the ground

This was a small one, where 2012 DA14 was around 50 meters or so.  It’s a good demonstration – albeit not intended – of the potential dangers.

Moving on, the long-awaited “Bigfoot DNA” research was finally … published.  Well, sort of:

How did she get it published?

Well, she says she bought an existing journal and renamed it (the Journal of Cosmology was on the market, and I hoped most fervently that that was it…but no, JoC is still online). So she owns the journal. It’s now called De Novo.

Then she came out with a special edition. It’s Volume 1, Issue 1. It contains precisely one paper, hers.

You should be laughing by this point.

Yes, besides not being able to make it through a peer review,  the reaction is rather scathing to the content as well:

It seems that the Ketchum Bigfoot DNA study, which was supposed to rock the world with its iron-clad scientific evidence of Bigfoot, is a bust, and tells us more about junk science than about the mysterious monster

Basically, if you’re looking for proof of Bigfoot’s existence, this isn’t it.   Sloppy methodology, failure to adequately sequence or rule out various problems, avoiding peer review, and … publishing in a journal you created, are not what one looks for in “definitive studies.”

Finally, there’s a small frog in Africa which is called the Namaqua Rainfrog.

This frog is a burrowing species that spends most of its time underground and does not inhabit water. It occurs generally in dry, low-lying areas that are predominantly sandy and well covered with scrub vegetation – but has also been recorded in hilly areas with more loamy and rocky substrates. When disturbed, these frogs have the ability to inflate their bodies dramatically as a defense mechanism to deter predators. Breeding activity has been recorded in winter, spring and summer . They spend most of their time underground surfacing after the rains to feed on insects

Oh, and they’re also cute when they call:

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