Making sense of meteorites

A were-llama?

There’s been a couple of inter­est­ing posts on the Peru Illness Flap recently. If you haven’t been read­ing about this, some­where in the Andes near Lake Titicaca vil­la­gers saw a flash of light and heard a bang. They went to invest­ig­ate and found a crater. They say there was a strange smell and that people are get­ting ill.

I’d been plan­ning to blog about this when there was more inform­a­tion, so I was pleased to read Hysterical about hys­teria on the SciAm blog. A lot of sites have been rub­bish­ing the idea that this was an extra-terrestrial ill­ness, which is fine, but George Musser at SciAm gets it exactly right when he argues that if you want to talk about the incident’s effect on the local people simple Geology isn’t enough. Geology is great when it comes to rocks, but it’s a remark­ably poor method to invest­ig­ate people.
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