So my plan for today had been to get some serious writing done on my current short story, entitled “Death Wore Greasepaint.” Well, that’s going to have to wait because when I got out of bed and flipped open the ol’ iPad I saw that once again Facebook and Twitter had come down with a rather nasty case of pure, unadulterated stupid. So let’s talk about asteroids and meteors….
As I write this the dearth of intellect that is social media is going ape shit over the near pass of Asteroid DA14. You can not go more than a post or two without seeing words like ‘doomsday,’ ‘apocalypse,’ and ‘Bruce Willis.’ And then, of course there are mind numbing posts like this one:
“…the “DA14” hasn’t flown by us yet. The scientists say if it flew by 15 minutes later, well we’d all be scr*wed!”
Okay. I’d like to know which “scientist” supposedly said this. If I had to guess, it was probably one of the thousands of hack “experts” media outlets use to generate eye catching headlines. No legitimate scientist would EVER make a claim like this. And especially NOT in regards to an asteroid like DA14.
Time for some goddamn education, kids. Gather round. Especially you dim ones in the back who think Michael Bay films are documentaries. Asteroid DA14 is only 50 meters in size. For perspective, consider the following:
- Scientists generally don’t get concerned until an asteroid reaches the 250+ meter range, and even then, asteroids of that size don’t wreak the kind of destruction that would change climate or destroy continents.
- Prior to 2008, the international effort to track Near Earth Asteroids didn’t even bother looking for anything smaller than one kilometer. It wasn’t until 2008, when much of the sky was already scanned, that scientists began searching for these lesser threats.
- So what if DA14 did hit the Earth? Being 50 meters, the worst case scenario would be for it to fall on a highly populated area. The damage would be horrible, but contained to a localized area. What is called regional damage. But, here’s the deal. Much of the land on earth isn’t populated. And 70% of it is covered by ocean. Yeah. Not really an issue, is it?
- And for those of you out there who claim, “Oh, the government would never tell us about the threat!” Sorry, but you are as dumb as a sack of hammers. Get educated. The program to track Near Earth Asteroids is an international effort, which includes several nations, universities, private industry, and a staggeringly huge community of amateur astronomers. These people all share and double check their data. In fact, many of the major discoveries over the past decade have come from amateur astronomers. A cover-up is not feasible considering the nature of how the science is done.
So am I saying asteroids aren’t a risk? Absolutely not. I’m merely saying DA14 is nothing to lose sleep over. If we’re going to face the future and overcome the various problems awaiting us, this sort of “Let’s pretend we’re living in a Michael Bay movie” bullshit has to stop. It’s unhealthy, it spreads fear and misinformation, and we’ve got plenty of that already. So let it go and grow the fuck up.
In closing, I leave you with these words of wisdom…
“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
“Don’t be so fucking stupid.”