The End Is Near – Again

It’s a Jungle Out There

The apocalyptic story of the day is not global warming (heavens no! We have bigger things to worry about!) or even the Yellowstone Super Volcano that’s going to bury all of North America.  That story is so yesterday.

No, the scare story today making the rounds of the MSM, news sites, science/space sites and even Slashdot is all about the comet that wiped out the Clovis people, who populated North America until they mysteriously and suddenly disappeared some 13,000 years ago.  The current rage-of-an-explanation?  The comet did it!  And it left behind diamonds, too.

Now researchers are reporting that the abrupt cooling – which took place about 12,900 years ago, just as the planet was emerging from an ice age – may have been caused by one or more meteors that slammed into North America.

That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

The hypothesis has been regarded skeptically, but its advocates now report perhaps more convincing residue of impact: a thin layer of microscopic diamonds found in rocks across America and in Europe.

Okay, very small diamonds.  But I still blame George Bush.  Or Dick Chaney.  Or somebody.

Sorry.  Snark key was stuck.

This is not to say that the theory is well founded or universally accepted, mind you.  Early reviewers of the article by Douglas J. Kennett (University of Oregon) et. al., which appeared earlier in Science had reservations.

At least some skeptics are not convinced. “The whole thing still does not make sense, and there are lots of contradictions,” said Christian Koeberl, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Vienna in Austria.

His chief reservation is that there is no crater. “A body of this size does not just blow up without a trace in the atmosphere,” Dr. Koeberl said. “Physics won’t have it.”

Maybe I’ll invest in a hard-hat anyway.  One can never be too careful about these things.

H/T to Rand Simberg for the initial link.

Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy, Catastrophy, Global Warming, post-modernism, Science, Space

9 Comments on “The End Is Near – Again”

  1. paul hiiggandrouper Says:

    The intial response led with the brownshirts are here again. No, not the brownshirts, the animal skin shirts. And the latest threat is wr104. I think this soon to destruct star may hit the earth with some radiation, but not the most dangerous inner 1 degree beam. Just a little material gas impinging on the beams edges makes them re-radiate with bremstrallunge and reverse compton degenerate propagation to reduce the intensity. Also the speed of the collapse and the speed of angular momentum relate to radiation escape. Our future chances look good, better than the 2009 economy anyway.

  2. MarvinM Says:

    This kind of stuff does work to scare the hell out of me. I think the more we understand the universe the more we understand how fragile the livable earth really is. A huge volcano, an asteroid… these things have happened and yes, they will happen again. The question is when?

  3. Michael Says:

    So I visited the Planetarium in NYC this past week, been watching too much History channel and ‘googling’ end of time, comets, 2012, etc… With the Nostradamus 2012 prediction of the alignment of the Divine Cross and the Mundane Cross which only occurs every 13,00 years +/- and this latest discovery, the timing is very eery.

    My question is simple, do you think our government would tell us if something in space was heading for a collision with Earth?

  4. joe Says:

    Paul – Rogue (or nearby) supernovas will be tomorrow’s threat-du-jour. Count on it.
    Marvin – Yes, the world, and our existence, is fragile. Very. But our existence also happens to be more secure than it’s ever been for anyone in the entire history of civilization. Go figure. My religious perspective (Catholicism) tells me to not sweat it. It’s in the hands of God, anyway (and it’s certainly not in mine).

    Michael – You watch the Discovery Channel? That’s enough to make anyone paranoid! ;> And no, the g’ment probably wouldn’t tell us. Would you tell your wife and/or kids if you had special knowledge like that?

  5. […] live in, I suppose. The 2008 election goes on (and on, and on and…).  After blogging about all the potential disasters the press wishes us to be paranoid about aware of, it seems that the MSM is missing the biggest […]

  6. […] The last post on this was popular. It seems many people want more information. Alan Sullivan at Fresh Bilge is hereby […]

  7. Snorky2k Says:

    Look up the manson structure in Iowa. That is from an earlier massive kill-off. Impacts of that magnitude don’t leave a typical crater. If you go to Manson Iowa you will not see the big crater. It was filled in. The same probably is true for the Clovis killer.

  8. cweb Says:

    If large portions of the North American continent were still covered by glaciers when these impacts occurred, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the evidence of these impacts would have just melted away???

  9. joe Says:

    cweb – Much of it, yes. But “diamonds are forever”, to coin a phrase (not). There would be evidence that persists, regardless.

    But that’s missing the point, a bit. The main thrust of the story is that catastrophic collisions with comets/asteroids are more common than we realize, and if you believe the hoopla, will kill us all, eventually. It’s the continual drumbeat of scare stories like this and the Yellowstone Caldera that caused me to write (and complain!).

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