Measuring the risk of A-Bomb equivalent asteroids

 

The California-based B612 Foundation has released a video displaying the distribution of 26 multi-kiloton asteroid impacts known to have struck the Earth since the year 2000. Many of the impacts – detected by a network of satellites operated by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization – exploded with a force greater than that of the city-leveling bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.

Our planet orbits the Sun alongside a swarm of asteroids. Most of these celestial wanderers pose no threat to Earth, however one need only observe the cratered face of the Moon to understand that, not only do asteroid impacts take place, but they do so with surprising regularity. In 2013 alone, one asteroid was caught on video striking the surface of the Moon, with another exploding in the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The impact caused only superficial damage, but raised alarming questions as to what precautions we have in place to counter a potential asteroid strike…

The B612 Foundation, in conjunction with Ball Aerospace, intends to implement an infrared survey mission, which will catalog 90 percent of all asteroids larger than 140 meters within the area of our solar system that may pose a realistic threat to our planet. The mission will run for six and a half years and will involve the commissioning and successful deployment of a Sentinel satellite, which will maintain a Venus-like orbit around the Sun, searching out and following up on asteroids with the potential to strike Earth…

Once the project is complete, it is hoped that the Sentinel catalog will provide decades worth of early warning for potentially hazardous asteroids, allowing organizations such as NASA to develop and execute missions to avert a potentially devastating impact.

If this project gets sufficient publicity I can sense a growing profit to be made in asteroid shelters. Poisonally, I think the stats on living or dying by asteroid aren’t even close to all the truly stupid things a small number of human beings – in uniform or holding elected office – do to the rest of us.

Thanks, Mike

Why Mohamed El-Erian left Pimco – to be a proper dad

Betty Liu, Mohamed El-Erian
Click for video [possibly after a commercial]

One of the leading political economists in the world staggered everyone when he walked away from PIMCO. Long accepted as next in line – ready to take over full countrol of the world’s largest bond investing firm when Bill Gross retires – people were shocked when Mohamed El-Erian left with no plans for his next career, no move to another investment firm.

His first interview in the four months since he departed PIMCO was this morning – with Betty Liu of Bloomberg TV. And while it’s all interesting to economics and politics geeks, the most memorable moment was him describing the interaction with his 11-year-old daughter that really provoked this change.

Copper caught touring with his heavy metal band while collecting disability checks – pleads guilty to fraud

Cop-arrested-for-collecting-disability-while-touring-with-punk-band

A former New York police officer accused of performing on tour with his heavy metal band “Cousin Sleaze” during the two years he claimed disability benefits pleaded guilty on Tuesday to mail fraud…

Christopher Inserra, 32, who served for five years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on August 5 at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn…

He claimed he was unable to perform his police duties because of a work-related injury from June 2010 until March 2012, filing for disability while continuing to collect his $90,000 annual salary…

The officer claimed he hurt his right arm in an on-the-job injury that caused excruciating pain and loss of mobility…

During the same time period, Inserra was the lead singer with the Brooklyn band “Cousin Sleaze,” whose “Sick Maniacs” album features such songs as “Infection” and “Walk of Shame,” according to court documents.

Video footage of his band performing in Northeast bars and on an East Coast “Miles of Mayhem” show the muscular lead singer in a tank top slashing the air with his well-toned right arm while gripping a microphone…

The court says he’s started paying back some of the disability checks he received. The record says nothing about the salary he received at the same time. Cousin Sleaze, eh?

Space Weather Prediction Center [Beta]

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is pleased to debut its new website. This completely redesigned site leverages the latest web technologies to reach the broadest possible audience. As a Beta release, the site incorporates the look-and-feel of the final site with major functions and content included. It is still in development and we are adding new content and capabilities nearly every week.

The most immediately visible change is a new home page with more timely information and a more dynamic set of graphics and links. The home page is aimed at the general public rather than the experienced user.

Also, users won’t have to hunt for current conditions. A scrolling bar at the top of the home page and every other page shows the past, current and future space weather conditions using the three NOAA scales.

For experienced users and interest groups, there are direct links to pages of critical interest. These include Aviation, Electric Power, Satellite Operators, Radio Communications, Satellite Navigation, Emergency Management, etc…

Finally, we are investing substantial effort to ensure that the site is mobile-friendly. Users with portable devices will always be able to get their space weather fix.

Please, take some time and wander about. Push buttons and prod scientists with questions. It’s what they respond to. 🙂

Thanks, Mike