Earth as the bullseye

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Earth as the bullseye

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:19 am

Killer Astroid?

” Friday the 13th of April 2029 could be a very unlucky day for planet Earth. At 4:36 am Greenwich Mean Time, a 25-million-ton, 820-ft.-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis will slice across the orbit of the moon and barrel toward Earth at more than 28,000 mph. The huge pockmarked rock, two-thirds the size of Devils Tower in Wyoming, will pack the energy of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs—enough to wipe out a small country or kick up an 800-ft. tsunami.

On this day, however, Apophis is not expected to live up to its namesake, the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction. Scientists are 99.7 percent certain it will pass at a distance of 18,800 to 20,800 miles. In astronomical terms, 20,000 miles is a mere stone's throw, shorter than a round-trip flight from New York to Melbourne, Australia, and well inside the orbits of Earth's many geosynchronous communications satellites. For a couple of hours after dusk, people in Europe, Africa and western Asia will see what looks like a medium-bright star creeping westward through the constellation of Cancer, making Apophis the first asteroid in human history to be clearly visible to the naked eye. And then it will be gone, having vanished into the dark vastness of space. We will have dodged a cosmic bullet.

Maybe. Scientists calculate that if Apophis passes at a distance of exactly 18,893 miles, it will go through a "gravitational keyhole." This small region in space—only about a half mile wide, or twice the diameter of the asteroid itself—is where Earth's gravity would perturb Apophis in just the wrong way, causing it to enter an orbit seven-sixths as long as Earth's. In other words, the planet will be squarely in the crosshairs for a potentially catastrophic asteroid impact precisely seven years later, on April 13, 2036.”


It seems reasonable to assume that something somewhere will smack into the Earth. Is it time to start figuring out how to deal with it?
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Postby jamiebk » Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:48 pm

Gimme a break Haggis...you're not willing to believe the scientists when they tell us about global warming, but you are willing to accept their word that an asteroid could hit us in 23 years?
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Postby Shapley » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:07 pm

The mathematics of things like Earth's orbit and asteroid trajectories is a pretty accurate science. For example, Pluto's existence was shown mathematically long before it was actually discovered by sight. One its existence was proven, it turned out to be very close to it's mathematically expected position.

The guesswork and spectulation of global warming theories which have been proven wrong much more often than they've been proven right. They rely on unproven data, which is fed into unproven mathematical models to produce unproven results.

There is a big difference between the two.
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Postby analog » Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:34 pm

There's an hour show on satellite channel UCTV called "Death of the Dinosaurs" that deals with the frequent (geologically) impacts. The lecturer is one of the comet hunters, Levy i think. A global map of meteor craters looks an awful lot like a global map of the people looking for them, which means they're pretty much everywhere on the globe. Fossil evidence supports near complete extinctions with the huge impacts, the Dinosaurs being the most recent.

Looks like the significant meteor interval is in the tens of Kyears, and much more frequent while earth is in traversing dense bands of the milky way. Every 26 million years I think that was.


A fascinating lecture. Watch for it.
Last edited by analog on Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby barfle » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:08 pm

Things are "smacking into the earth" at a high enough rate that they are useful for radio communications, at least according to a former associate of mine who wrote his Master's thesis on the topic.

There is a valid concern about something large smacking into us, but we're pretty good at predicting that, as Shap has stated. I'm certain enough that we will have ten years advance warning (Haggis's rock is still 13 years out), so we would have a chance to develop and deploy the technology necessary to deflect such a body.
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Postby analog » Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:00 pm

barfle wrote:...........There is a valid concern about something large smacking into us, but we're pretty good at predicting that, .....


Interesting list of flybys here.. http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/
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Postby jamiebk » Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:51 am

Shapley wrote:The mathematics of things like Earth's orbit and asteroid trajectories is a pretty accurate science. For example, Pluto's existence was shown mathematically long before it was actually discovered by sight. One its existence was proven, it turned out to be very close to it's mathematically expected position.

The guesswork and spectulation of global warming theories which have been proven wrong much more often than they've been proven right. They rely on unproven data, which is fed into unproven mathematical models to produce unproven results.

There is a big difference between the two.


Yeah...you're right Shap...this isn't real or measurable:
Report: Global warming killing species
Up to 200 species, including penguins and polar bears, are in big trouble
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:18 a.m. PT Nov 21, 2006
WASHINGTON - Animal and plant species have begun dying off or changing sooner than predicted because of global warming, a review of hundreds of research studies contends.

These fast-moving adaptations come as a surprise even to biologists and ecologists because they are occurring so rapidly.

At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.

“We are finally seeing species going extinct,” said University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, author of the study. “Now we’ve got the evidence. It’s here. It’s real. This is not just biologists’ intuition. It’s what’s happening.”

Her review of 866 scientific studies is summed up in the journal Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.

Parmesan reports seeing trends of animal populations moving northward if they can, of species adapting slightly because of climate change, of plants blooming earlier, and of an increase in pests and parasites.

‘A very different and frightening world’
Parmesan and others have been predicting such changes for years, but even she was surprised to find evidence that it’s already happening; she figured it would be another decade away.

Just five years ago biologists, though not complacent, figured the harmful biological effects of global warming were much farther down the road, said Douglas Futuyma, professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.


“I feel as though we are staring crisis in the face,” Futuyma said. “It’s not just down the road somewhere. It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60.”

While over the past several years studies have shown problems with certain species, animal populations or geographic areas, Parmesan’s is the first comprehensive analysis showing the big picture of global-warming induced changes, said Chris Thomas, a professor of conservation biology at the University of York in England.

While it’s impossible to prove conclusively that the changes are the result of global warming, the evidence is so strong and other supportable explanations are lacking, Thomas said, so it is “statistically virtually impossible that these are just chance observations.”

‘A lot of evolution’
The most noticeable changes in plants and animals have to do with earlier springs, Parmesan said. The best example can be seen in earlier cherry blossoms and grape harvests and in 65 British bird species that in general are laying their first eggs nearly nine days earlier than 35 years ago.

Parmesan said she worries most about the cold-adapted species, such as emperor penguins that have dropped from 300 breeding pairs to just nine in the western Antarctic Peninsula, or polar bears, which are dropping in numbers and weight in the Arctic.

The cold-dependent species on mountaintops have nowhere to go, which is why two-thirds of a certain grouping of frog species have already gone extinct, Parmesan said.

Populations of animals that adapt better to warmth or can move and live farther north are adapting better than other populations in the same species, Parmesan said.

“We are seeing a lot of evolution now,” Parmesan said. However, no new gene mutations have shown themselves, not surprising because that could take millions of years, she said.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15828892/
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Postby Shapley » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:04 am

While it’s impossible to prove conclusively that the changes are the result of global warming, the evidence is so strong and other supportable explanations are lacking, Thomas said, so it is “statistically virtually impossible that these are just chance observations.”


Unlike planetary movement, which is mathematicaly provable.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:11 am

Another interesting thing about global warming: It stopped happening eight years ago.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:30 am

Here's the official NOAA site dealing with global warming, although I may have already posted this on one of the other threads:

Global Warming

It's contains a lot less hype than the 'official' sites and opinion pages commonly posted, including the one I posted above.

V/R
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Postby BigJon » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:21 pm

Jamie, no one here disputes that we are seeing global climate change. The dispute is man's contribution. Heating of the atmosphere has happened before in earth's history. Even higher than the temperatures we measure today. Critters died off, other species adapted, some things changed permanently on the earth. This process is natural.

Ya know what? The geologic record does not show that higher average temperatures bring global disasters in the magnitudes that the catastrophe cult predicts. The effects were incremental to the many other natural changes that were taking place at the time. While the 'true believers' worry about some bogeyman made up of whole cloth, real, current problems with man and his relationship with the earth are being ignored and the solutions underfunded. IMHO, this is a sin and a sad sickness of man, to believe the wild-eyed prophets of doom and ignore the suffering around them.
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Postby analog » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:36 am

"Heating of the atmosphere has happened before in earth's history. Even higher than the temperatures we measure today. "

I think I put this chart up once before - or maybe it was the similar looking CO2 record.....
Image

Yes - I remember - Global Warming - just in the nick of time!

Anyhow, it looks like recent earth history would be four ice ages interrupted by brief warm spells. Something has prolonged the current warm spell to 10,000 years so far. Note the previous three are shorter. I don't know what stretched this one. Asimov's 1959 essay "no more ice ages" suggested it's something to do with the arctic ocean. He is often cited as the first writer to point out mankind's CO2 would likely warm the earth a bit.

Looks to me like earth was due another temperature excursion anyway, probably down. Our CO2 may forestall that, or may swing temperature up.

I'm afraid the only practical way mankind can stop producing CO2 is to reduce earth's population . That'll go over like Swift's Modest Proposal.

Climate is just gonna change. Let's enjoy the ride.
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Postby jamiebk » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:20 am

Did anyone catch NOVA Science now last night (in my viewing area, at least). There was an interesting short piece on the following:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3318/01.html

click on some of the vids once you get to the site...interesting!
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Postby Shapley » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:40 am

I thought Gary Larson solved that question:

Image
The real reason dinosaurs became extinct.

:D
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Postby jamiebk » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:48 am

The man was wise beyond his years :rofl: :rofl:
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Postby analog » Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:44 pm

Sometimes I wonder...... the law of diminishing returns is as much a law of nature as is gravitation. Dinosaurs were about as big as you could build a creature using calcium for bones. Assuming gravity has remained constant, of course. How does the law apply to intelligence?

Large brained mankind is a product of the ice ages. I think of us as Mother Nature's experiment with intelligence plus hands. Perhaps Mother Nature is happy with her creation, or perhaps she's waiting for our own industrialization to rid her of us.

I wonder what she thinks of her other large brained experiment, dolphins. Intelligence without hands. Descended from pastoral not competitive arboreal critters. They look happy enough, swimming naked, eating seafood and fooling around a lot. Why we build cruise ships. Probably they're her backup plan in case mankind just doesn't work out.

We should be sure to leave some coal and oil where it'll be easily discoverable for them.

a. feeling spacey today. :mrgreen:
Last edited by analog on Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jamiebk » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:19 pm

analog wrote: They look happy enough, swimming naked, eating seafood, and fooling around a lot.


Ha! Sounds like me on vacation in the tropics :rofl:
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