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Re: Impacts and ETs

David et al:

The was a semi-popular, somewhat mainstream fiction book published in the 1980's called "The HAB Theory" (Or something extremely similar). The person with the theory was named Herbert Allen Boardman, hence HAB. [Good character creation for me to recall his name 20 years later - 95 year old non-scientist who fakes a presidential assassination attempt (plastic bullets in a hand gun), in order to get a famous author to write about his theory].

Main thrust of the story (to me), besides the polar shift thing; was that there are too many specialities, and we need interaction between all the branches of science in order to see the big picture before it's too late.

Upshot of the story - Even though most of the world begins preparing for the supposedly overdue polar shift - they are too late! The heroes (the writer, and HAB's daughter [love interest]) are on a plane to Kenya where one of a handlful of repositories for all of man's knowledge is being built, when the shift occurs - screwing up the plane's navigation, and all communication and most of the transportation systems. Apparently, they all die, because the book ends there....


Not exactly on target, but it does involve several paleotology aspects (the mammoths are key to HAB's argument, and suggestions about dino extinction and other extinctions are made in the book).

Allan Edels

From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
Reply-To: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: Impacts and ETs
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 19:07:57 +0100

Tip over? Uranus currently has an inclination of almost 90 degrees. Do you
mean like that? Or our inclination stays the same while "tipping"?

Yes, sorry, I confused that in my last post. Polar wander is meant -- the process in which the angle between the Earth's rotation axis and the ecliptic stays the same. Rotating bodies are most stable when the mass is concentrated on the equator. Various processes (continental drift, reorganizations of mantle and core...) change the mass distribution of a planet, giving it a reason for fast and far polar wander.* The attraction of the Moon is greater than all such imbalances that the Earth can produce in itself, and therefore polar wander on Earth is either nonexistent or exceedingly slow.**

* The university library over here has an extraordinarily ignorant book from the 50s (read: before plate tectonics was discovered). The author did not accept continental drift and tried to explain all of geology and paleontology, especially the mass extinctions (including the frozen mammoths & stuff), by a series of catastrophic polar jumps.
** I don't know what has become of the idea, published last year or so, that polar wander on the scale of 16 to 20° happened in the Campanian -- taking two million years.