Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Did Cornell University confirm that the comet Elenin is causing earthquakes?

Someone emailed me this article this morning, from iCNN, which includes the following claim:

We have news out of Cornell University that sustains the view that Elenin is playing a direct part in causing large earthquakes.

Professor Mensur Omerbashich is saying that his “georesonatorconcept in which tidally induced magnification of Earth masses’ resonance causes seismicity.”   This trashes NASA’s assertion that the humongous earthquake we saw in   Japan and before that with the ones in Chile and New Zealand were   coincidental with alignments between Elenin, the Earth and the Sun.
It is difficult to evaluate the authenticity of these sort of online claims. A lot of digging is often required. We can start with the 'news' website it is on. iCNN is hosted by CNN, but the idea is that anyone can write an article and submit it. It is not fact-checked. It is, effectively, a blogpost from some random person on the Internet. But people see CNN there and they think that the news organization is standing behind this story.

What does it mean that "We have news out of Cornell University..." The next paragraph, about Professor Mensur Omerbashish, is the justification.

But is Dr. Mensur Omerbashich at Cornell? I searched at Cornell and I don't see him there.
In his own website, he does not mention being affiliated with Cornell University. Rather, this seems to be an error from the person who wrote the "news" article. Why would they think this?

Here is the basis for the false claim that this was Cornell University.His paper is available on http://arxiv.org/
This website is hosted by the Cornell University Library. But it is basically an "e-print server", where people with ideas can upload their articles (which I think were submitted to various journals) for people to download as PDFs.  It does not mean that the articles were published by peer reviewed journals. And so, he is not affiliated with Cornell University. And the Cornell Library does not make decisions as to fitness / truth of the uploaded articles.

To be credible, this needs to be peer-reviewed and confirmed by others, that it is not just one person's crackpot theory. This was not a peer-reviewed article, and indeed, of his many articles on this particular arxiv site, only one is published in a peer-reviewed journal. And he wants to overturn the rather accepted plate-tectonic theory of earthquakes.

What do we know about this fellow? Maybe he is a prominent professor where he works, or maybe he is an adjunct. I don't know. We can find more about him from his own website, and from what others have written about him.

You can see his blog here:

and website here:

He maintains there that Global Warming is untrue, that 9/11 was an Anglo-Zionist conspiracy. He claims to have disproven Einstein's General Relativity Theory and Planck's Quantum theory. He is either a genius of highest magnitude, who we have never heard of before, or a lunatic who happens to have a PhD. 

See more about him and his theories here:

as well as on RationalWiki:

For all I know -- this subject matter is not my field -- he might be right and the entire scientific establishment may be wrong. Maybe he is a genius; maybe he is a crackpot; or maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

But we should be forthright about who is saying things, and how accepted their ideas are. iCNN is not CNN. One random fellow, even with a PhD, who believes in Anglo-Zionist 9/11 conspiracy theories and whose general ideas are NOT the scientific consensus, who thinks he is a direct descendant of King Arthur is NOT the same of the conclusion of a scientific research team from Cornell University.

If this misrepresentation is the result of deliberate lies, then why should we believe anything else the Elenin people say? If it is the result of shoddy investigation, then we should consider similarly suspect other things they assert as true.


Anonymous said...

Although this guy is a crackpot Josh, there are other scientists and geo physicists that have reported that lunar pulls cause more than ocean tides, but seem to have an effect on the Earth's crust as well. Now I know there is a big difference between the moon and this comet, but at least there are notable scientists that support a similar theory.

Devorah said...

It's not just the earthquakes, also the dead birds/fish are being blamed on Elenin's magnetic affect, as well as the rumors of a pole shift.

The birds and fish began dying randomly all over the world, with birds dropping from the sky, soon after Comet Elenin was discovered.

No-one has come up with any other reason for all these dead birds, except for The Elenin Effect.

Anonymous said...


Maybe "haarp" or "woodpecker" effects cause birds to drop from the sky ?

joshwaxman said...

they do have explanations for isolated incidents. there is no overarching explanation given, perhaps because there is none.

see for example this news article:

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

"He is either a genius of highest magnitude, who we have never heard of before, or a lunatic who happens to have a PhD.'

He wouldn't be the first. Academia seems to be full of lunatics with PhDs...

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous and fear-mongering.

Navi said...

I knew this post was coming and wanted to warn people about it but I got too distracted trying to work out how this new claim could be true...Please back to Torah only posts, stop "dumbing" down the blog. Or at least next time start the article with:
"Did a comet cause an crazy tractor driver to predict earthquakes?"

And then some witty short response like:
"No! but the Ibn Caspi does offer a nice pashut in this weeks parsha"

joshwaxman said...


well, i have an eclectic readership, and some come for these posts.

for a nice torah post, i had one yesterday, based on an idea from Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

zach said...

The guy is a whack-job, whose incoherent ravings are blatantly obvious (just check out his patent theft claims.)

You may have an eclectic readership, but do you really think that many people come to your site for this time of post? If so, you may as well start writing about free energy, homeopathy, 9/11 conspiracies, etc etc.

Devorah said...

See this: Leonid Elenin's site

joshwaxman said...


here, surprisingly, are the top posts, in hits, for the past week:

Was Baba Elazer murdered to bring mashiach?
Jul 29, 2011, 5 comments
681 Pageviews
Did Cornell University confirm that the comet Elen...
Aug 2, 2011, 10 comments
172 Pageviews
Ladies Should Wear Overcoats
Jul 18, 2008, 4 comments
160 Pageviews
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu's support for Nir ben Artzi
Jul 28, 2011, 3 comments
138 Pageviews
Does the recent sinkhole prove the plausibility of...
Jun 11, 2010, 6 comments
133 Pageviews
A hundred tiny bugs crawling on my arm...
Jun 21, 2006, 15 comments
118 Pageviews
Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz's Rocket Ship
Oct 6, 2010, 18 comments
117 Pageviews
YU Torah on parashat Masei
Jul 27, 2011, 1 comment
61 Pageviews
Devarim sources -- 2011 edition
Jul 31, 2011
50 Pageviews
Masei sources -- 2011 edition
Jul 25, 2011
46 Pageviews

Navi said...

More Dvrei Nevius...The YU Torah on parashat Devarim will get the LEAST page views ;)


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