Jose Canseco Theorizes on Evolution of Gravity. Scientists Amused.
|Tell us about the dinosaurs again, Jose|
"More thoughts on gravity tomorrow," wrote the former Oakland A's Bash Brother on Sunday. It's not every day that a onetime budding Hall-of-Famer turned home run ball-off-the-head punchline turned reality TV staple promises to opine on the forces of nature. But, on Monday, he did just that.
"Ancient gravity was much weaker," he tweeted, initiating the following surreal train of thought:
"You ever wonder why nothing REALLY big exists today in nature"
"elephants today eight tons supersaurs (sic) two hundred tons a totally different world. why?"
"Animal tissue of muscles and ligaments could not support huge dinosaurs even standing up or pump blood up 60 foot necks"
"Gravity had to be weaker to make dinosaurs nimble"
"My theory is the core of the planet shifted when single continent formed to keep us in a balanced spin"
"The land was farther away from the core and had much less gravity so bigness could develop and dominate" (This one is my personal favorite)
"I may not be 100% right but think about it. How else could 30 foot leather birds fly?"
It's clear that Canseco has put a lot of thought into this -- but it's not certain he's thought very hard. "Well, this is completely crazy, but it's not my field," sums up UC Berkeley physics professor Steven Boggs. He suggested running Canseco's Theory of Bigness Domination by someone in the Earth Sciences.
"What's Jose been smoking?" replied Paul Henshaw, a visiting professor in that department. Canseco may have defied gravity when he blasted that moon shot into the rafters of the Skydome in '89, but what he's tweeting now defies a lot more.
"If you look at Earth like an apple, the continental crust on that scale is less than the skin of the apple," notes Henshaw. "Crunching that up doesn't really change where you are with relation to the center of the Earth. So, that argument doesn't hold water."
"You can measure the difference in gravity if you're at the foot of the Himalayas and if you're at the top. But relative to whether or not a dinosaur can stand, it's not gonna make a bit of difference," he continues. Your mountaineering axe is not going to float away at the summit, either.
"Once the Earth stopped forming around 4.5 billion years ago, it had all the mass. So gravity has been pretty stable since then." As for how large, leathery reptiles flew in the Mezozoic era, Henshaw notes that they had hollow bones, not unlike the birds believed to be their successors on this planet.
"Jose's thinking is creative, let's put it that way," says the professor. "I'm glad he's keeping busy."
It remains unclear if Canseco is tweeting the semicoherent thoughts of a supserstar athlete turned symbol of baseball's drug-addled era turned minor celebrity, or has engineered an utterly brilliant web parody of what such a person would tweet.
For what it's worth, after dropping off his gravity kick, Canseco's next tweet was a bit more grounded:
"Who is going to bonnaroo this year? great lineup just announced mccartney billy idol japandroids"