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Armageddon – For real this time March 17, 2010

Posted by psmc in America, Armageddon, astronomy, Comets, Enviroment, Evolution, Explosions, history, Mayan Prophecy, Mayans, Moon, Science, Sun.
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There has been a lot of Doomsday talk lately.  Actually there has ALWAYS been a lot of Doomsday talk. I’m pretty sure there were some early cavemen were convinced the Ice Age was the end of the world. However, it WAS for the end for Neanderthals, so they had a point back then. But ever since then, all the Doomsday talk has never seemed to have panned out. After all we are all still here, more or less. 

I am fairly certain, that on the date in question nothing will happen. Except that my godson Jacob will turn 21. Especially after a Mayan elder stated he was fed up with all those questions about 2012 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/12/ap/strange/main5378465.shtml . Apparently, present-day Mayans are unaware the world is to end in 2012. When questioned, most Mayans will have no idea what you are talking about. They have more concrete concerns like their crops and the rain. But then one should be suspicious since it is only Westerners, usually ones that have expensive books to sell or pricy workshops that need attending, that talk about it.

However new evidence has come to light there is an Apocalypse coming. But it has nothing to do with the Mayans or any prophet climbing out of a well.

The satellite Hipparcos recently identified that a star, Gliese 710, is on a collision, or near collision, with the Solar System. Current estimates state the closest approach it will be .15 light years away. This is extremely close in terms of stellar distances. It is as if you were standing on a road and a large truck sped past you and missed you by 6 inches.

An actual collision is extremely remote, however there will be the gravitational effects to deal with. Gliese 710 will pass through the hypothetical Oort cloud. The Oort cloud is a sphere of comets and other debris left over after the Solar System formed. It is thought to extend out to 2 light years. We could be talking about a lot of comets being disturbed. If they are there, then there could be hundreds, if not thousand, of comets sent hurtling towards the Sun, and by extension us. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs when something similar struck the Earth.

However there is no need to get into a panic just yet. First, the Oort Cloud is only hypothetical, it may not even exist. Second, some astronomers have models that indicate that if the Oort cloud does exist the chance of impact increases by only 5%. And third, and most importantly, this won’t occur for 1.5 million years. So we have some breathing room. This should give us some time to figure what, if anything, we should do. However if our descendents are anything like us, they probably won’t do anything at all until it is too late.

Today’s Forecast- Clear and the Occasional Downpour of Whale Blubber September 27, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Enviroment, Explosions, humor, Whales.
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This story is about 35 years old, though I just heard about it.  The Oregon Highway Department officials involved with this incident STILL refuse to talk about it.  It wasn’t their most stellar moment.  No whales were hurt in the filming of this video. it was already dead. However a car was severely damaged.  Nor were any people hurt, although I am sure a lot of dry cleaners were shocked the next day.  The sounds you hear after the explosion are indeed whale bits raining down on the bystanders.

Siberia Farts September 19, 2007

Posted by psmc in Al Gore, biology, Carbon Emissions, Enviroment, Global Warming, greenhouse gases, mammoths, methane, permafrost, Science, siberia.
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Paleontologists believe that prehistoric hunters, along with climate changes, led to the extinction of the mammoth and the mastodon. It now looks, according to one Russian scientist, that these shaggy cousins of the elephant are going to have the last laugh on us.

There is one threat to the environment that has been overlooked by Al Gore and the others, Mammoth Dung. Apparently Siberia is covered in it. Well that and other organic matter from the Ice Age.

Currently all this pachyderm poop is safely ensconced, frozen into the tundra. However, it is warming up. When it does thaw out it will start to decay. This decay could potentially release vast amounts of greenhouse gases, primarily methane, into the atmosphere. Methane is the combustible gas in flatulence. Basically, Siberia will be farting.

How much is estimated to be there? Current estimates state that the activities of man release approximately 7 billion tons of carbon annually. The amount of carbon that is locked up in the tundra is approximately 500 billion tons. That is equivalent to 71 years 5 months and 4 days of man’s activities.

We are not in immediate danger though. A recent report published by Dr. Norman Page of the British Climate Research Unit, indicates that the warming may not be as drastic as previously thought and has questioned the validity of climate models used by more alarmist members of the environmental community. Dr. Page’s report is NOT based on the fact that there was a spike in 1998 and that the warming since then has been less than the 1998 peak. Nor does Dr. Page make any claim of that global warming stopped. The study’s results question previous models and the role CO2 plays in global warming.

However, we are still warming and eventually those massive melting mounds of mammoth manure will decay. If you should happen to notice a rather pungent odor wafting in on the North Wind, you may want to rethink your trip to Vail or Aspen. Also, be careful with open flames.

http://tinyurl.com/263bsc

Star Light Star Bright….. August 11, 2007

Posted by psmc in astronomy, Enviroment, Science, Uncategorized.
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During the next three weeks, we will be treated to, hopefully, two rather impressive meteor showers.

First are the Perseids. This is one of the two most prominent and dependable meteor showers of the year. This year the peak of the Perseids, Aug 12-13, corresponds to a New Moon. This means the moon will not interfere with the observing of any meteors since it wont be in the sky. The rate at which metewros are expected tofall will build over the weekend: 30 per hour on Saturday morning; 45 per hour on Sunday morning and 80 per hour on Monday morning.

Best results are in the dark skies after midnight. Don’ t be discouraged if you can’ t stay up past midnight. They will be observable all night long. The hourly rate won’t be as high as it is before midnight as it is after midnight. But it should be higher than a typical night. If you are clouded out on these nights, the Persieds are a meteor shower that persists for a week or so so you should be able to see some decent displays for the whole week.

The second meteor shower, however is not as dependable. It is called the Alpha Aurigids an will peak on September 1. This is a rather sporadic, ie unpredictable, meteor shower that has only made an three impressive showings in the last century, in 1935, 1986 and 1994. The scientist who has studied the comet from which these meteors come from has determined this should be a good year for them, in fact the best for the next 50 years. It is expected they will appear at a rate of 200 per hour and will be green in color.

It turns out the pre-dawn skies of North America on September 1st will be the best place to see them. So if you live in a place with dark skies, like rural Alabama or some such place, then you can expect a nice show on this night, as well as on the Aug 12-14.

Is it warm here? July 19, 2007

Posted by psmc in Al Gore, America, Enviroment, humor, Politics, Science.
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Yes, another blog on the ever-changing climate. I’m not going to concentrate on who is right and whose science is valid. Rather my major concern is that the politicians aren’t doing anything other than making political hay, though this probably indicates that both sides realize their arguments are based on not-so-certain conclusions facts.

It seems certain that, at least in the short term, the climate is getting warmer. This will cause changes, if only in the short run, mainly the raising sea levels and changing weather patterns. Instead of working on plans to mitigate the inundation of major cities or where we will put populations of displaced people our illustrious political leaders would rather argue who or what is at fault and/or how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

No, they rather put on global rock concerts, tell us to use one sheet of toilet paper and have us buy carbon credits. They should be thinking of ways to protect cities like New York and Miami. Or where to put the people who now live on the coast when their homes are gone. Or how we will get water when droughts become more common. Let alone talk to other world leaders of what to do when entire countries like, Bangladesh virtually disappear.
At least the polar bears have a plan.