... 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 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.