For my Fake TJ Stories files, and for the edification of our 6 devoted readers, I offer the following Reference Question Tale:
It is claimed, by websites and other sources various and sundry, that Thomas Jefferson, upon hearing of a meteorite crash in Connecticut in 1807 and its subsequent reportage by two professors at Yale, scoffed that it "was easier to believe that two Yankee professors could lie than to admit that stones could fall from heaven."
Credible scientific evaluations can only be made on the basis of reliable data. Data collection is the time-proven starting point for all scientific inquiry. But the utility of data collection is not always evident at the time measurements and observations are entered in a record book; the payoff from a plodding exercise may be latent. That is the case with Mr. Jefferson’s routine observations of weather at Monticello. On May 17, 1816, Jefferson wrote: