Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doom.

It makes me nervous...

... when I hear about near-earth asteroids. You know how people have developed ad-blockers so they never see advertisements on webpages? I want someone to make a similar program for my computer (or my brain!) so that I can avoid reading about asteroids. When I see a news story or a post about asteroids, meteoroids or meteors, I read it. I can't consciously let myself live in an ignorance bubble, but in short order, I regret this impulse.

Coverage of the Russian meteor event (the biggest one since 1908 when one struck near Tunguska, Russia) in February did my heart no good. Also not helping: Neil deGrasse Tyson. Since February, he has been popping up on the web and television voicing variations of this thought:
I mean, if one [meteor event] happened in the 90s and one happened now, and you fill in for the areas of the Earth where it wouldn't have been noticed if it did, for example, the North Pole or Antarctica or Northern Canada, where hardly anybody lives, you could easily sort of hide one of these from anybody's view simply because of the large swathes of area on Earth's surface where nobody inhabits it.
Why would Neil say this? Doesn't he know that I live in NORTHERN CANADA! On the same latitude line as Chelyabinsk! He and I are Trekkies, surely this bond should keep him from saying mean stuff that makes me panicky? I don't mind if he lies to me. In fact, I'd prefer it to having to deal with the very real possibility of humans being annihilated by extraterrestrial rocks.

 Then there is John Holdren, the White House's science advisor. He recently said:
The odds of a near-Earth object strike causing massive casualties and destruction of infrastructure are very small, but the potential consequences of such an event are so large it makes sense to take the risk seriously.
My brain doesn't process the "very small" comment only the terms massive, casualties, destruction and risk. It doesn't help when the head of NASA says that prayer is our only defense against meteors.

I'm agnostic.

I live in the north.

I am doomed.

Excuse me while I go and cry.

• • • • • • • • • • 


I am too anxious to use an asteroid as an illustration. 
So here's a chimpanzee wearing clothes. 
This is something else that makes me fear for the future of the human race. 

6 comments:

  1. I'm with you. The stuff falling from the sky scares me!!! I vote for the brain blocker you suggest. I'll fund that development!

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  2. Well, I had never worried about this before....

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  3. I'm a big fan of attempting to totally ignore major catastrophic things I can do nothing about. Every now and then my brain reminds me that I live someplace where we could have a major earthquake destroying nearly everything without warning. I tell that part of my brain to shut the hell up because it's impossible to predict and worrying about it will not help anything. Geologists just need to stop talking anywhere near me. Don't they care about my mental state? Rude.

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  4. I've got anxiety issues but for some reason I seem to get most agitated about little insignificant stuff. So yesterday on the way to the zoo I started getting sweaty palms and shallow breath because I had myself convinced that we'd drive all that way and find it closed, even though I'd checked their website before we left.

    But even reading this, I can't get worried about asteroids. I've got a certain "I'll be dead anyway so meh" feeling about catastrophic events that I have zero control over.

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    1. I'm the same. Can sweat the small stuff like you wouldn't believe but don't really worry about the BIG events.

      When I lived in Vancouver it was earthquakes - every time one hit anywhere we'd hear the prediction that our area "could be" due for the next big quake any time. The day after arriving in Barbados there was a tremor stronger than anything I ever felt in Vancouver - go figure.

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  5. Yeah. I get anxious about blow drying my hair. Asteroids? Meh. Except if it makes the electricity go out and then I can't blow dry my hair.

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