Saturday, December 25, 2004

More on Mr. Asteroid

Various takes from some of the specialized media:

Space.com
Universe Today
SpaceRef

And some of the mainstream media is awake:

MSNBC (quoting odds of 1-in-45 for impact)
USA Today

And from the Horse's Mouth, NASA, the news release.

More and more interesting...

Paging Bruce Willis

OK, you're going to have to see this yourselves. There may be an asteroid on the way, impact 4/13/2029. Got to wonder if that is a Friday.

First, go here. Dr. Jerry Pournelle is a smart and well-educated fellow, and he is interpreting the data as saying there is a 1-in-63 chance of this asteroid will impact with a yield of 2200 megatons. Data is early now; this is based on 101 observations. There is a link to the actual JPL data on that page, you can see what you make of it.

One thing I see, and this might be nothing but data changes since he posted, is that the yield is down to 1570 megatons, if I'm doing the math correctly.

JPL also notes on their "Impact Probability":

The probability that the tabulated impact will occur. The probability computation is complex and depends on a number of assumptions that are difficult to verify. For these reasons the stated probability can easily be inaccurate by a factor of a few, and occasionally by a factor of ten or more.

Using one of the Internet nuclear weapon effects calculators and the 2200 megaton figure, within a radius of 21.6 miles, nearly everyone will be killed. Widespread damage will occur out to 56.9 miles. (Link to calculator here; I've converted from metric to English units.

Using the Asteroid Impact Effects Calculator and making some assumptions, we have the asteroid breaking up during its passage to earth, but not dispersing much. The final crater will be 4.5 miles across and 1/3 mile deep. At 62 miles (100 kilometers), the impact will feel like a 6.9 earthquake. The blast wave will be a wind of 72 MPH and windows will shatter.

No need to panic yet, as pleasant as this all sounds. Every time I've seen one of these, further data has shown that the initial impact probability was overstated. Then again, I've never seen the initial probability this high. This will bear watching--as far as I can see, the mainstream media has not picked up on this yet.. Let's hope that complex computation and difficult to verify assumptions work in our favor.

Merry Christmas

Here I am, blogging on a holiday again. You gotta love the way my life works....

All us Freeholders are in the "mid-morning break", as I've come to call it. The kids get us up early to see what Santa and Mom and Dad have brought. (This year, it was DVDs, Yu-Gi-Oh, Transformers and Polly Pockets, amongst other things.) Then we break, eat breakfast, bathe and dress and just generally fiddle around. That's the mid-morning break.

Then we'll lunch with my parents and exchange gifts there. After that, we head south and visit some close friends for the remainder of the afternoon.

Sound like a busy day? Maybe, but it's fun. And I'm not even telling you about the Christmas Eve festivities with my wife's family.

I hope that you have just as busy, and just as enjoyable, a Christmas as we're having.

Please take a few moments if you can and reflect on why we celebrate at this time. And if you would, spare a moment for those who are far from home, for whatever reason, but most especially our fighting men and women.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Gettin' short

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
(or A Visit from St. Nicholas)
by Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

And there's a problem here?

(Via The Register)

It would seem that the UK's Operation Ore child porn investigation has a unexpected consequence: 32 of the misbegotten so-and-sos have done themselves in.

Forgive me if I can't work up a crocodile tear for them--even at Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day By Day is back

God, I am losing it. I knew that Chris Muir was returning to Day By Day on December 1, but just let it slip away. Alzheimer's is approaching at warp speed, I guess.

Anyway, I'm all caught up now, and he's returned to the links.

Glad you're back, Chris, and I really like Sam in the bikini. :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Catching up

For no obvious reason, I really haven't felt like blogging much lately. Outside of a very select few, I haven't even been reading blogs much lately. Initial analysis indicates preholiday stress, other interests and a seasonal predisposition toward not letting things bother me. That said, I haven't been under a rock. In case you have, let me point you toward a few things of interest.

This time of year is not only Christmas, but the time where our fighting men fought one of the hardest engagements of WWII, The Battle of the Bulge. This one is of particular interest to me, since my Dad was involved in that one. Thanks to Kim du Toit for reminding me....

Next, we must feel the ACLU's pain as they are ensnared in their own self-righteousness. I would hope that this would drag them down to where they belong, but it won't. I guess living by your own rules is just for the proles. (Link via Drudge.)

From Jerry Pournelle, we have A Nation of Wimps. Interesting reading.

I don't remember where I ran across this, but Manhattenville College is running the My Soldier program. It's another way to remember those who defend our country.

(GEEK ALERT!) This one came from a coworker and fellow blogger. Jakob Nielsen is Undoing The Industrial Revolution. If you're into issues of usability, especially Web usability, Neilsen is one of the top gurus.

Then we have a rabid dog story. 23 year old mom-to-be is strangled and her baby cut from the womb. (You can get further background via Google News here.) I have a few thoughts about what we do to the perp, but I suspect they'd turn a few stomachs.

WorldNet Daily has an article on two of the hemisphere's Leftists getting together on an alternative to NAFTA. My only observation is that we really screwed up by not making the Bay of Pigs a rollicking success.

Well, that's enough for now. Perhaps another post about gunshows later today, if I can rouse the interest.