Terrific asteroid impact video

October 5, 2006 at 5:43 pm (Media, Science)

2It’s an impressive animation of what would happen if an asteroid — maybe 500 miles across or so — impacts the Earth. The visuals are stunning, and someone set it to excellent music for the action.

Odds of anything this size hitting us even in the next million years are slim to none. We know of every asteroid this size in the solar system out to terrific distances. But an impact like this would wipe out everything. Everything. As far as I can tell, the depiction there is pretty accurate.

See the amazing Video @ YouTube
Details about the video @ Bad Astronomy blog


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Difference in European and US news

October 5, 2006 at 5:37 pm (Politics)

I missed this one before but Julian Borger had an interesting observation during Lebanon crisis that is still valid even today, and I would like it share it with you. The article is beautifully entitled “Its like watching two different wars”:

The US and European media have always covered the Middle East from different perspectives, but flying back to Washington from a stay in London at the height of the Lebanese conflict made it clear to me how wide the gulf has become. Britons and Americans are watching two different wars.

The overwhelming emphasis of television and press coverage in the UK was the civilian casualties in Lebanon. Day after day, those were the “splash” stories. The smaller number of civilian casualties from Hizbullah rockets in northern Israel was also covered but rarely made the top headlines or front pages.

Back in DC, watching Lebanon through American camera lenses, the centre of the action seemed to be Haifa. This emphasis on Israeli casualties relative to Lebanese was taken to its breathtaking extreme by Charles Krauthammer, a conservative columnist on the Washington Post, who described the Hizbullah rocket attacks as “perhaps the most blatant terror campaign from the air since the London blitz.”

Read the extremely well written column @ Guardian’s Comments are free

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Google Earth for scientists

October 5, 2006 at 5:32 pm (Science)

Google Earth wasn’t really intended for scientists. The Google search engine’s extraordinary globe, which is made up of hundreds of thousands of satellite photos and aerial images, first became well-known as a game for virtual hobby pilots. But now the scientific community is discovering how useful the software is for their own work.

With a single keystroke, biologist Born superimposes colored maps over the Arctic. The maps show him where the ice sheet is getting thinner and the direction in which the pieces of floating ice on which walruses like to catch a ride are drifting. All of the ice data, which comes from satellites and measuring buoys, is available on the Internet. By loading the data into the program, Born can detect how global warming is affecting the migratory behavior of his giant walruses.

Details and more expert opinions @ Spiegel

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