Let’s hear from Lee Clarke, in his own words, concerning the issue of panic in a global catastrophe. This article comes from the website:




Clarke Summary:
Responding To Panic In A Global Impact Catastrophe

A common fear among high level decision makers is that people react badly to bad news (we don’t want to cry wolf ) and that they will panic if a catastrophe happens. Scientists who think and write about global catastrophes also worry that the public will panic. But our leaders are wrong, because panic in disasters, at least in the United States, is quite rare. And our scientists are often unscientific, because they’re neglecting the empirical evidence on how people behave in dire circumstances.

Fifty years of social science research on disasters and extreme situations show that panic is rare even when people feel excessive fear. Panic, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is an excessive feeling of alarm or fear leading to extravagant or injudicious efforts to secure personal safety. Panic usually refers to desperate acts of self preservation that have the contrary effect of harming self and/or others. People escaping from the destruction of the World Trade Center didn’t act like that, nor did they disregard the needs of others around them. Instead, they behaved civilly and cooperatively. We now know that almost everyone survived if they were below the floors where the airplanes struck the buildings. That is in large measure because people did not become hysterical, but instead facilitated a successful evacuation.

Hollywood’s disaster movies Armageddon and Deep Impact are obvious examples, but any disaster movie will show people running wildly from catastrophe, knocking over their own grandmothers to save themselves. That’s dead wrong. Not only will they save their grandmothers, they’ll save complete strangers, before saving themselves. This is surprising if one assumes that people are naturally self-interested. But looking at the evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that people are naturally social.

A major reason that the panic myth persists is that it provides authorities (i.e., decision-makers, politicians, and administrators) with an easy explanation for complex events. Even when panic does happen, say at soccer matches, focusing on it usually detracts attention from more important factors such as official misconduct or police over-reaction.

In addition, by using pacifying speech (e.g., “Everything is under control.”) and to allay public fear and hiding information from the public, spokespersons cultivate distrust at a time when nothing could be more important to public safety than trust of the information that authorities disseminate.

The truth is that disasters are normal. Disasters are special situations but they are still social ones, and people generally follow community expectations when things go awry, just like in less tumultuous times. Furthermore, people don’t usually lose their sense of community, even when every building has been destroyed. The more consistent pattern in disasters is that people connect in the aftermath and work to rebuild their physical and cultural environments.

The lion’s share of thinking and research concerning Near Earth Objects (NEOs) has gone into detection and deflection. It’s a mistake to neglect the social, political, and organizational aspects of the problem. Our concern is, after all, with people: saving them, helping them, educating them, working with them.

This presentation will consider these issues, and try to specify the utility, and limitations, of extant social science research for trying to predict and manage the public response to a global impact catastrophe. Some of the presentation will be built on a paper, Panic: Myth Or Reality, which appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of Contexts, the American Sociological Association’s general-interest journal.

On the question of why governments fear public panic, my hunch is that it’s just common sense, which is sometimes more common than sense. But it’s very real among high-level decision-makers. Even professional emergency managers often believe it. One quick example: a fellow who works for the NYC mayor was speaking at a conference for emergency managers last October. He made a big deal about how one of the lessons of Guiliani’s handling of risk communication after 9/11 was that he asserted a single, strong voice; had he not, this fellow claimed, New Yorkers would have panicked. Sadly, he totally dismissed me, even though I offered real evidence to the contrary.

My claim in Denver won’t be that panic never happens, or that it isn’t an issue regarding NEOs. It will be more measured than that. I will point to the research on disasters, all of which suggests panic, at least the usual conception of it, probably wouldn’t happen. But there are big limits to the validity of the extrapolations we can confidently make from present knowledge to NEO-related issues. We can predict confidently, I believe, that if policy makers act as if people can’t handle bad news, then they can help produce the very irrationalities they fear. The problem of risk communication in this venue hasn’t been discussed enough.

[end quoting]

Let’s take a closer look at the subject of Near Earth Objects. Don’t you wonder why, all of a sudden, this is such a hot topic for debate on all sides? Let’s consider an article from NASA Ames Research Center’s website page on “Asteroid And Comet Impact Hazards”:



What Is A NEO?

Near-Earth-Objects (NEOs) are small bodies in the solar system (asteroids and short-period comets) with orbits that regularly bring them close to the Earth and which, therefore, are capable someday of striking our planet.

Sometimes the term NEO is also used loosely to include all comets (not just short-period ones) that cross the Earth’s orbit. Those NEOs with orbits that actually intersect the Earth’s orbit are called Earth-Crossing Objects (ECOs).


What Size NEOs Are Dangerous?

The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from most NEOs smaller than a modest office building (50 meter diameter, or impact energy of about 5 megatons). From this size, up to about 1 km diameter, an impacting NEO can do tremendous damage on a local scale.

Above an energy of a million megatons (diameter about 2 km), an impact will produce severe environmental damage on a global scale. The probable consequence would be an “impact winter” with loss of crops worldwide and subsequent starvation and disease.

Still larger impacts can cause mass extinctions, like the one that ended the age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago (15 km diameter and about 100 million megatons).

Are Any NEOs Predicted To Hit The Earth?

As of the end of 2001, astronomers had discovered more than half of the larger Near Earth Asteroids (diameter greater than 1 km). None of the known asteroids is a threat, but we have no way of predicting the next impact from an unknown object.

How Much Warning Will We Have?

With at least half of even the larger NEOs remaining undiscovered, the most likely warning today would be zero. The first indication of a collision would be the flash of light and the shaking of the ground as it hit.

In contrast, if the current surveys actually discover a NEO on a collision course, we would expect many decades of warning. Any NEO that is going to hit the Earth will swing near our planet many times before it hits, and it should be discovered by comprehensive sky searches. This is the purpose of the Spaceguard Survey. In almost all cases, we will either have a long lead-time or none at all.

[end quoting]


Let’s look a bit closer at the Spaceguard System mentioned above, from the website:



What Is The Spaceguard System?

The Spaceguard System is a collection of observatories all around the world that are engaged in Near Earth Object (NEO) observations. At this time these observatories are all ground-based. A few of these centers are conducting “discovery” programs, while others are mainly involved in “follow-up” observations.

It is the purpose of the Spaceguard Central Node to provide these observatories with services that may result in optimizing the level of international coordination for follow-up of NEOs.

The participation of observatories to the services offered is on a voluntary basis.

[end quoting]

Now consider the following article titled How Dangerous Are Earth-Crossing Objects? by Philip R. Burns, which appears at the website:


Artist’s conception of large meteor strike.


Earth Crossing Objects

Spacewatch and other Near Earth

Object search programs demonstrate that the Earth is surrounded by a swarm of asteroids and comets that threaten us with collision and world-wide destruction. The danger from Near Earth Objects has sparked research into the probability of occurrence of damaging impacts, as well as the possibility of deflecting potential impactors before they strike the Earth.

The extent of the damage that even a small impactor can cause is exemplified by the asteroid or comet fragment which exploded in the air over Tunguska in Siberia in June of 1908, with a force equivalent to between ten and twenty megatons of TNT. (Such an explosion in the air, in which the impactor does not reach the ground intact, is called an airburst or air-blast.) The resulting blast wave leveled hundreds of square kilometers of forest. The area was sparsely inhabited, so only two people are reported to have been killed: Vasiliy, son of Okhchen, died from wounds sustained after being hurled against a tree by the blast, and the aged hunter Lyuburman of Shanyagir died from shock.

The Tunguska object was probably a stony body about 50-70 meters (around 200 feet) in diameter. An object of this size could easily destroy a large metropolitan center. This nearly happened with Tunguska; a difference in arrival time of a few hours might have seen populous St. Peterburg or another European city destroyed. In fact, at about the same time as the Tunguska object exploded, a small object struck near the city of Kiev. The coincidence in time leads some scientists to speculate that the Kiev object may be a fragment of the Tunguska impactor, or at least a fragment of the same parent object as the Tunguska impactor.

Smaller scale air-bursts over populated areas have caused minor damage. For example, an air-burst over Madrid, Spain in 1896 smashed windows and leveled a wall. There are many reports of air-bursts causing tremors and minor damage in inhabited areas.

John Lewis’s book Rain Of Iron And Ice lists a couple of dozen such incidents over the past century. A small air-burst which occurred over El Paso, Texas, USA, on October 9, 1997, caused no apparent damage but did alarm residents. Another which occurred July 7, 1999, over New Zealand was captured on videotape. Fortunately, most air-bursts occur over the oceans, so no damage to human habitations results.

What size impactor makes it through the atmosphere to the lower atmosphere or the ground with enough remaining velocity to produce a damaging air-burst or crater-forming impact? It turns out that the Earth’s atmosphere is ineffective in preventing ground impact damage for stony meteorites greater than 200 meters (about 650 feet) in diameter.


For iron meteorites that impact at greater than 20 km/sec (12.5 mi/sec), the critical diameter is about 40-60 meters (130-200 feet). Stony bodies greater than 60 meters and less than 200 meters can cause significant air-burst damage as at Tunguska.

The greatest danger from an ocean impact occurs when the incoming body does not disintegrate in the atmosphere, but instead strikes the water relatively intact. The impact raises a tsunami which, if the object is large enough, can devastate coastal areas hundreds of miles away.


Tsunamis of unknown origin are usually attributed to earthquakes and volcanos, but it is likely that some—including the largest and most damaging—result from cosmic impacts. An asteroid of sufficient size to raise a tsunami with an average height of 100 meters along the entire coast of the ocean strikes once every few thousand years on average.

Stony bodies less than 200 meters in diameter do not produce tsunamis, while those larger than 200 meters can produce catastrophic tsunamis. Water waves generated by such an impactor are two-dimensional disturbances that fall off in height only inversely with distance from the point of impact. The average run-up in height of a tsunami as it reaches the continental shelf is more than an order of magnitude. An impact anywhere in the Atlantic of a stony asteroid more than 400 meters (1,300 feet) in diameter would devastate coasts on both sides of the ocean. Tsunami run-ups would exceed 60 meters (200 feet).

Frequently it is asserted than there have been no recorded deaths caused by meteorite strikes. In fact, as John Lewis points out in his book Rain Of Iron And Ice, there have been a number of injuries and deaths attributed to meteorite impacts throughout history.

The well-known Richter scale is often used to gauge the severity of an earthquake. The recently developed Torino Scale measures the potential damage from a cosmic impact on a scale on 0 (no damage) to 10 (an impact event capable of causing a global climatic catastrophe). The Torino Scale was developed by Richard P. Binzell of MIT. The idea of deflecting impactors before they strike the Earth goes back at least to Lord Byron, who in 1822 wrote:

“Who knows whether, when a comet shall approach this globe to destroy it, as it often has been and will be destroyed, men will not tear rocks from their foundations by means of steam, and hurl mountains, as the giants are said to have done, against the flaming mass? And then we shall have traditions of Titans again, and of wars with Heaven.”

A few ideas for deflecting a threatening near-Earth comet or asteroid include:

Attach rockets to the NEO’s surface with the engines pointed away from the object. Fire the rocket engines for a sufficiently long time to nudge the NEO into a new non-threatening orbit.

Build a mass driver on the NEO’s surface. A mass drive accelerates fragments of the NEO into space. The reaction would nudge the NEO into a different non-threatening orbit.

Attach a thin solar sail several square kilometers in size to the NEO with strong cables. Solar wind pressure would eventually nudge the NEO into a new non-threatening orbit.

Detonate sizable nuclear weapons near the NEO. The energy pulse released by the bombs would vaporize part of the NEO’s surface. The vaporized material blown away from the surface would propel the NEO in the opposite direction, again moving the the NEO into a no threatening orbit.

All of these methods—and many more which have been proposed—rely on sufficiently early detection of the threat from a particular Near Earth Object. That is why the NEO search programs are so important. If we don’t know a threatening object is coming, we can’t prepare to deflect it. If we don’t deflect the NEO, the impact may destroy our civilization. A sufficiently large impactor will extinguish us and most life on Earth. We could go the way of the dinosaurs without even knowing what hit us.

[end quoting]


Go Back




James M. McCanney, M.S.


You’re correct in suspecting there’s a good reason for presenting the array of background material I’ve shared to this point. That reason is James McCanney. I first became aware of James McCanney at the International UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada, this year. Having purchased his book (and booklet) at the convention, and after hearing the “buzz” after his talk, I knew that he would factor into a story concerning Planet X and our “busy” universe.

Let’s start by examining Mr. McCanney’s unique background, prior to sharing some of his information. He has certainly had more than his share of challenges.

Professor James McCanney, M.S. is a physicist who has spent decades promoting his theoretical work showing that the solar system is ever changing and is electrically active.

These theories have been confirmed with space probe data and prove that there are definite Earth effects resulting from our Sun’s electrical activity. He has openly opposed NASA’s view that outer space is electrically neutral and has direct knowledge of NASA’s lies.

Prof. McCanney received a sound classical physics training at St. Mary’s University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in physics and mathematics in 1970. He was offered full scholarship awards to three major U.S. physics graduate schools to pursue graduate physics studies.

However, he chose instead to postpone graduate studies for a period of three years while he traveled and taught physics and mathematics in Spanish in Latin America.

During this time he spent a good deal of time traveling to ruins of ancient cities and archeological sites, studying firsthand many times as the ruins were dug from under dirt that had not been moved for thousands of years. Also during this time he developed the basis for his theoretical work that would, at a later date, deal with the celestial mechanics of
N-bodies and plasma physics. It was here also that he learned to appreciate the fact that the ruins and devastation he was witnessing had to have come from celestial events that were so devastating that they left the Earth and these stone cities in ruins, in some cases leaving no trace of the inhabitants.

With this new understanding of archeology, astronomy of the ancients, physics, and the world around him, Mr. McCanney returned to graduate school in 1973 and earned a master’s degree in nuclear and solid-state physics from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. He was again offered a full fellowship to continue on with Ph.D. studies, but once again he declined and returned to Latin America to study archeology and teach physics, mathematics, and computer science in Spanish. He continued his work to explore the mysteries of celestial mechanics and its relationship to the planets, moons, and other celestial bodies.

In 1979 he joined the faculty of Cornell University, Ithaca NY, as an introductory instructor in physics. It was during this time that he had access to NASA data returning daily from the Voyager I and II spacecraft as they traveled by the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond (as well as data from many other spacecraft).

It was here he recognized that his theoretical work regarding the electrodynamic nature of the solar system and universe had its signatures in the new data that was streaming in from the edges of the solar system.

All standard science continued to look at gravitational explanations for the working of the planets, moons, and other objects of the solar system, while Mr. McCanney was applying his electrodynamic scientific theories, and ventured to say for the first time that comets were not dirty snowballs.

His papers were published at first in the standard astrophysical journals, but soon he began to receive resistance from the standard astronomical community, and within a short period of time, the journals would no longer publish his theoretical work. Mr. McCanney was removed from his teaching position because of his beliefs regarding the electro-dynamic nature of the solar system.

Contrary to the traditional belief that the solar system formed all at one time 4.5 billion years ago and has not changed significantly since, Mr. McCanney’s theoretical work essentially stated that the solar system was dynamic and adopting new members on an ongoing basis.

He pointed to the planet Venus, the Jovian moon Io, the Saturnian moon Titan, and the small planet Pluto (which supports an atmosphere even though it is so distant from the warmth of the Sun and has insufficient gravity to hold an atmosphere for long) as being obvious new members of our solar system. He stated that all this was proof that the way this occurred was by “planetary capture”.

His theoretical work additionally stated that comets were not dirty snowballs, but were large electrical “vacuum cleaners” in outer space. The comets were drawing in vast amounts of material by way of powerful electrical forces, and there was potential for very large comets capable of disrupting the planetary structure that was already in place.

His innovative theories on plasma physics and a new model for fusion in the solar atmosphere provided the basis for the electric fields and plasma discharge phenomena that have become the core elements of his theoretical models of the true nature of the solar system in which we live.

James McCanney James McCanney was on the faculty of the Physics and Mathematics Departments of Cornell University.  His work was in theoretical celestial mechanics and plasma physics. Having presented his theories at the Los Alamos National labs, James McCanney now expands on his data on Planet X.


Upon being fired from the physics department for his radical beliefs, Mr. McCanney was rehired shortly thereafter
by the mathematics department, also at Cornell University, where he taught for another year and a half and continued to
publish his papers in astrophysical journals. Once again astronomers forced his removal and he was once again blackballed from publishing in the astrophysics journals in 1981.

During this time Mr. McCanney established himself as the originator of the theoretical work regarding the electrical nature of the cosmos, which today is being proven correct on an ongoing basis by space probes returning data from outer space.

Many of his predictions, such as:

  • x-rays to the Sunward side of comet nuclei,

  • that comet nuclei would be found to have no ice or water frozen on their surfaces,

  • and that comets interact electrically with the Sun to affect Earth weather,

have now been confirmed by direct measurements in 1986, 1996, 2001, and 2002 respectively. Many other more abstract concepts have also been verified.

There exists a rare combination of factors that makes Mr. McCanney a unique person who stands alone in the development of the scientific theories summarized in his book. Some have tried to borrow and copy this work, but when observers consider the factors involved, they too will agree that the extensive rewriting of standard scientific structures had to be accomplished by someone with a rare set of characteristics and circumstances.

He was always at the top of his classes in mathematics and physics, and was always creating his own formulas and proofs. His education was soundly based in classical and modern physics. He was able to recognize that when the basic new aspects of the functioning of the solar system were understood and then verified in space probe data, he had the ability to extend this information and take it to all its logical conclusions. This all occurred while working in and around the top-rated scientists of the day at Cornell University, who were still at least two decades behind what Mr. McCanney was discovering and writing.

Another unique condition was that Cornell University offered a rare location since it was not only a Library of Congress (if it was in print it was there), but also it was a repository of data for NASA. Armed with his existing theoretical work and this incredible source of information, and with the timing that coincided with the daily arrival of new data from the Voyager and other spacecraft from the far reaches of the solar system, he was in a totally unique position to do what he has done.


An essential requirement of anyone who attempts to alter the fundamental propositions of a subject as complex as astronomy and astrophysics is an in-depth knowledge of the history of that and all related sciences. Mr. McCanney has studied the history of science extensively and understands where the theories came from that currently make up the structures of science.

There are few people who have the tenacity to pursue and uphold their beliefs for as long as he has had to do in facing the odds pitted against him over the past decades, and to emerge intact with as full a commitment as when he started down this path long ago.

These numerous and individually rare characteristics make the record clear that the important contributions made here combine both personal traits and a situation of “being in the right place at the right time” as the spacecraft data poured into Cornell University as Mr. McCanney’s theoretical ideas were solidifying.

In 1981 the interdisciplinary journal KRONOS agreed to publish what has since become known in inner circles as the “3-Part Comet Paper”. His work today includes many new significant insights into the connection between the Sun, comets, Earth weather, the Sun-Earth connection and Earth changes.

Mr. McCanney has also remained active and well-known within the space science/astronomy community and within professional societies, and although standard astronomers still resist accepting his theoretical work, he is generally well respected amongst his peers in these communities when attending professional conferences. He is what some have called “the last of the independent scientists” who were able to work “on the inside” and still remain active to talk about it “on the outside”.


In the mid-1990s Mr. McCanney’s work was recognized by a group of high-level Russian scientists who had measured but did not understand electrodynamic effects around Earth and in the solar system. They translated all of his papers to date into Russian. These are being taught at the university level as the leading edge of research in this field.


It is only due to the ongoing and intentional efforts of NASA that his work has received such little attention in the western scientific community and press.

Radio Show:

James McCanney Science Hour: At The Crossroads airs every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time on his Internet website.



Go Back to Our Busy Solar System

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