Thursday, December 31, 2015

A shot from space

So today is one of my least favorite holidays. Going to buck up by thinking about extinction from space.

The Atlantic ran a story about "the chilling regularity of extinctions." The article opens with a rundown on that giant rock that (probably) wiped out prehistoric life. New research has shown a correlation between the cycle of comet showers and massive die offs on Earth. There is a pattern: Every 26 million years, there have been enormous impacts and then massive die-offs. 

Really shouldn't be a surprise. Space is so full of free bodies such as asteroids, comets, one will inevitably hit us.  But there is one hitch in the aforementioned correlation, at least according to The Atlantic article. The space body that wiped out the dinosaurs was something of an outlier, even by mass extinction standards. If there had been an impact of even close to that size in the last 66 million years, humanity wouldn't have even arisen. So...good, I guess?

I dunno. Just something to mull over as you guzzle champagne from clinquant finery. Billions of frozen rocks sitting in that parking lot called the Oort Cloud at the outer reaches of the solar system. Just wait for one of them to get knocked loose and play the roulette wheel.

Here's Talking Heads.

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