Posts Tagged ‘TNT’

 

The Thirty Foot Asteroid That Headed Toward Earth Unnoticed!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

bolide3.jpgSpace is a dirty place. There’s all sorts of interstellar junk flying around at breakneck speed. In our solar system Jupiter, the largest planet with the strongest gravity, gets hit most often.

Still, in terms relative to the age of our planet, the Earth gets hit all the time. Just the random dust and specks burning out in the upper reaches of our atmosphere add a few hundred million pounds of additional mass to Earth every day!

Sometimes the incoming rocks are large.

We don’t see much evidence because water and weather gradually heal our wounds. The pock marked surface of the atmosphere free Moon gives a more realistic impression of what really happens.

I mention this because a reasonably significant rock came pretty close to hitting the Earth a few weeks ago. I’m only hearing about it now–and I’m usually pretty up on these things.

Here’s NASA’s dispassionate reporting:

On October 8, 2009 about 03:00 Greenwich time, an atmospheric fireball blast was observed and recorded over an island region of Indonesia. The blast is thought to be due to the atmospheric entry of a small asteroid about 10 meters in diameter that, due to atmospheric pressure, detonated in the atmosphere with an energy of about 50 kilotons (the equivalent of 100,000 pounds of TNT explosives).

The Jakarta Globe said the explosion was loud enough that, “Locals at first thought it was an earthquake and ran out of their homes in panic.”

Well, yeah. A hundred thousand pounds of TNT would make quite a rumble.

No one saw this bad boy coming. Not NASA. Not the Air Force. Surprise! It was the size of a small house and we had no warning at all.

What little we do know of this incident comes because we monitor atmospheric noise while searching for nuclear tests. Again, it’s a surprise to me, but there is a network of “infrasound stations” associated with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and they pinned it down.

In writing about this incident NASA scientists mention “an average impact velocity for NEAs of 20.3 km/s.” In other words, near Earth asteroids hit the Earth’s atmosphere at around 45,000 mph! That’s New York to Los Angeles in under four minutes!

Bottom line, those scary movies where asteroids plunge to Earth causing death and destruction… maybe they’re more science and less fiction than we think.

Up All Night With Law And Order

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The house is quiet. I am playing poker. The TV is on. I’ve been watching Law and Order–original cast.

This is such an excellent show. Because of my hours it was difficult to appreciate first-run.

Obviously, the ensemble cast was great but the show also calls upon the huge pool of New York actors–and these are different than the people you see in Los Angeles.

This last episode had Richard Libertini in a smaller roll. That’s a pretty good catch for episodic TV. Nancy Marchand is in this one. Same sentiment applies.

It’s witty. It’s clever. It’s good enough to motivate me to watch it on TNT.

Don LaFontaine–The Deepest Throated Guy Is Dead

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Just got this from my friend Rick:

Voiceover Master Don LaFontaine died Monday afternoon 9/1/08 at 2:10 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 68. Don’s agent, Vanessa Gilbert, tells Entertainment Tonight that he passed away following complications from Pneumothorax, the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, the result of a collapsed lung. The official cause of death has not yet been released.

Over the past 25 years, LaFontaine cemented his position as the “King of Voice-overs.” Aside from being the preeminent voice in the movie trailer industry…Don has also been the voice of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, CBS, NBC ABC, Fox and UPN, in addition to TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network. By conservative estimates, he has voiced hundreds of thousands of television and radio spots, including commercials for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Budweiser, McDonalds, Coke, and many other corporate sponsors. He recently parodied himself on a series of national television commercials for Geico. At last count, he has worked on nearly 5000 films, including appearances as the in-show announcer for the Screen Actors Guild and Academy Awards. Based on contracts signed, he has the distinction of being perhaps the single busiest actor in the history of SAG.

Don was an active supporter of AFTRA & SAG, giving of his time, opening his home, lending his experience & stature to the AFTRA Promo Announcers Caucus, as well as generously giving his advice & help to his fellow voice-over artists, in addition to the many causes & friends he helped over the years.

Don is survived by his wife Singer/Actress Nita Whitaker, and three children, Christine, Skye and Elyse.

Don was the deep throated guy on the GEICO commercials and the voice of nearly everything.

An earlier email from Don himself was ominous, because the condition that killed him was probably brought on by a medical error.

This required an exploratory surgery called a Media Stenoscopy, which was performed At Cedars Sinai Hospital in late November of ’07. The biopsy ultimately proved negative for any tumor, but there was a spot on the lung that still needed to be checked. Unfortunately, sometime during the operation, one of my lungs was nicked, and I developed Pneumothorax, which basically means that the lung collapsed, releasing all the air into my upper body, causing a condition called Subcutaneous Emphysema -

Which blew me up like a balloon from the ribs up to my eyebrows

Asteroid 2004 MN4 – Who Invited Him?

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

Forget Hubble and all the other fancy astronomical hardware. Sometimes the most interesting finds come from more pedestrian equipment. Take the case of Asteroid 2004 MN4, discovered in June at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

The find was made by astronomers from the University of Hawaii taking part in an asteroid survey. That they found it was luck. Like most other minor space discoveries, the information was dissemenated and filed away. Then, on December 18, another spotting from Australia. After that dozens of other observations were made.

Now with multiple sightings it was possible to figure out the orbit of this chunk of space rock… a flying mountain if you will. It looked like it could cross the Earth’s orbit and it was assigned a probability, a mathematical chance, it would hit the Earth.

Excuse me? Hit the Earth? No, really. In fact, it was possible to come up with a date: April 13, 2029

That’s the bad news. The good news was the probability was only one chance in 233. NASA said that’s “unusual enough to merit special monitoring by astronomers, but should not be of public concern.”

Then a day or two later, with more observations and number crunching, the probability changed. Now it was one chance in 63. Interesting, but not alarming for an event 25 years in the future¹.

It’s changed again.

On Christmas Eve a little gift from NASA scientists. Now it’s one chance in 45… a 97.8% chance of missing… or for my fellow pessimists, a 2.2% chance that April 2029 might be a really good time to run up your VISA with no intention of paying it off.

On the Torino scale of 1-10, this little gem has suddenly gone to a 4. It’s the first object to even make it to two!

A close encounter, with 1% or greater chance of a collision capable of causing regional devastation.

We’re talking about an object estimated to have a 1,250 foot diameter weighing 1.5 billion pounds». When it hits the atmosphere it will be traveling at 27,000 miles per hour. That would create an explosion equivalent to 1,400 million tons of TNT!

For comparison, the nuclear bomb “Little Boy,” dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan, had a yield of only about 0.013 megatons. The impacts which created the Barringer Meteor Crater or caused the Tunguska event in Siberia are estimated to be in the 10-20 megaton range. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was the equivalent of roughly 200 megatons.

So, we’re talking large, but this is not the magnitude of the event that took out the dinosaurs. It would still be devastating. Certainly it would reshape any land it impacted. A water impact would cause tsunamis of epic proportion.

Again, this is 25 years away and the calculations are likely to change. Still, if this is the first you’re hearing about it, aren’t you surprised there hasn’t been more play in the mainstream press?

The way this works is, someone, somewhere with the power to influence other news budgets (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.) will run it and this story will pick up some traction. Until then, you heard it here first.

¹ – I believe I have already scheduled teeth cleaning for that day.

² – My conversion from 7.5e+10 kg to pounds is shaky at best. I’ll be glad to entertain corrections. No rush – we’ve got a few decades.