IT’S fantasy, amusing, but as technology closes in upon mimicking God, once again are we up to it? Who shall live, who shall die? We’ll save the pandas and the whales that sing prettily, but, like godlings, we’re playing with fire and water, tides and industry.
But the blunt truth is that the living world is a restless, churning enterprise in which nothing endures forever. Astonishingly, almost every life form that has ever existed on the planet has died out.
December 2 All the animals in the zoological gardens have been killed except the monkeys; these are kept alive from a vague and Darwinian notion that they are our relatives, or at least the relatives of some of the members of the government, to whom in the matter of beauty, nature has not been bountiful.
Watching this hole being torn in the planet’s crust and charting the crater’s subsequent development over hours, months and years would be a remarkable opportunity for planetary geologists. Most of the solid surfaces in the solar system are pockmarked with large craters, and much has been deduced about the processes that take place when they form. Actually seeing one created would put those deductions to the test.
If it is clear enough, you may be able to see a meteor shower on Tuesday night.
On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 4:57 PM, I wrote:
Regarding your Quadrantid meteor article of Jan. 2, where exactly in Park Slope would I be able to see that?
Some time later, Todd wrote:
Subject: Re: Patch – Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2013 Peak: When to Watch
John: The best way to see it is to find the darkest place possible. That prevents the “light pollution” from obscuring the view. Happy showering!
A little while later, I wrote back:
I apologize. You mistook my good-natured cheek for a serious inquiry.
I observe that Park Slope is snug in the middle of the largest city in the United States. On most nights, only one or two stars are visible. I have never heard of anyone’s attempting to view a meteor shower in Brooklyn, but I am sure it would be futile. The best we can hope for, nocturnal astronomical event-wise, are lunar eclipses.
Anyway, I would have let it pass, but I noticed that your article says it was published Wednesday, which appears to be the day after your recommended viewing time. It would lend credence to your Web site if you would consider some of these details the next time.
Thanks, Park Slope Patch.
- Quadrantid Meteor Shower Photos of 2013 (space.com)
“It’s unclear whether the Earth will also be swallowed up by the Sun in its red giant phase — but even if it survives, its surface will be roasted.”
Last month, when the sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003, peppering satellites with charged particles and igniting strong auroras around both poles, a group of high school students in Bishop, California, knew just what to do. They launched a rubber chicken.
- One small step for rubber chicken, one giant leap for mankind (holykaw.alltop.com)
Physicist: …At that 2.3% growth rate, we would be using energy at a rate corresponding to the total solar input striking Earth in a little over 400 years. We would consume something comparable to the entire sun in 1400 years from now…
Economist: That’s really remarkable—I appreciate the detour. You said about 1400 years to reach parity with solar output?
Physicist: Right. And you can see the thermodynamic point in this scenario as well. If we tried to generate energy at a rate commensurate with that of the Sun in 1400 years, and did this on Earth, physics demands that the surface of the Earth must be hotter than the much larger surface of the Sun.
The Congressional Research Service just issued a report on so-called fracking, the technique of using hydraulic pressures to get at hard-to-reach deposits of fossil fuels, which is not related, per se, to the excerpt above, or the excellent, readable and recommended blog post it comes from. But it made me wonder if fracking, which I had dismissed as wrong-headed and risky, isn’t a good idea, after all. I mean, let’s just get the fossil fuels out of the ground already and burn them up so we can stop talking about them. Let’s make gas prices a nonissue, let’s make it unimportant which tyrannical regimes are producing our oil, and let’s put the focus on the real problem: Not, Where will we get our energy from, but When will we stop using so much energy?
That sentiment makes my point in the wrong way, of course, because burning all those fossil fuels will only help us “cook ourselves with perpetual energy increase.” (Did you read that? Cook!) A concept like that makes “peak oil” look positively mundane.
Five years ago, a power strip or extension block was a seasonal thing to me, something that I brought out when I needed to plug in Christmas lights. Now it is a necessity; indeed, I own three, and there are not enough wall outlets in my two-bedroom apartment to satisfy my peak appetites for electricity. That appetite will only grow, I am guessing, which will have deleterious effects that will not be mitigated by my over all conscientiousness, no matter how many plastic bottles I recycle or how much public transportation I take.
- Green energy won’t save the earth without social change (climateandcapitalism.com)
A GROUP of mice have returned to Earth after the longest mission any animal has endured in space. The mice were floating around for 91 days…