Wednesday, August 26, 2020


This week, NASA has a live event which will be streaming online:

Aug. 26, Wednesday
3 p.m. - The Past, Present, and Future of Women in Space – Women’s Equality Day Panel Discussion

So let's talk science.

 LIVE SCIENCE's Wendy Weisberger notes:


A global extinction event around 359 million years ago may have been triggered by the death blast of a distant star, a new study suggests.

Toward the end of the Devonian period (416 million to 358 million years ago), there was a mass extinction known as the Hangenberg Event; it wiped out armored fish called placoderms and killed off approximately 70% of Earth's invertebrate species. But scientists have long puzzled over what caused the die-off.

 Recently, preserved plant spores offered clues about this ancient extinction. Fossil spores spanning thousands of years at the boundary of the Devonian and the Carboniferous periods showed signs of damage by ultraviolet (UV) light. This find suggested that a cataclysmic event had caused a long-lasting disruption of Earth's ozone layer, which shields the planet from harmful UV rays. Scientists proposed that a likely candidate for this blast of UV light could be one or more supernovas that exploded within 65 light-years from Earth, according to a new study.



That news might worry you after last week when we were told that an asteroid might hit the earth before election day. Those reports were apparently incorrect. Loren Grush (THE VERGE) reports:


Headlines abound this week about an asteroid heading toward Earth at perhaps the most opportune time during a terrible year: November 2nd, the day before the presidential election. It sounds too good to be true — an asteroid to wipe us all out before what will surely be a very contentious election process — and that’s because it is.

This so-called “dangerous” asteroid, dubbed 2018VP1, has a 0.41 percent chance of crossing paths with Earth on November 2nd and entering our atmosphere — incredibly low odds. And even if it did take a turn and hit us, no one would be in danger. The asteroid is a measly 2 meters, or 6.5 feet, across, making it slightly smaller than a compact Smart car. If it did hit our atmosphere, it would completely disintegrate up above us and pose no threat to anyone below. For reference, much larger satellites and space debris enter our atmosphere from time to time, burning up above us without affecting anyone on the ground.


Much scarier is the news that Carly Cassella serves up at SCIENCE TECH DAILY:


The world's oceans have turned into a veritable sponge for our emissions, and new climate models suggest we've soaked them right through.

Since the 1950s, our planet's vast bodies of water have absorbed roughly 93 percent of the energy entering the climate system, and while most of that heating has been observed near the ocean surface, rising temperatures are now permeating even the deepest parts.


Real-world data on the deep ocean is hard to come by, but a new estimate, based on recent measurements and nearly a dozen climate models, suggests climate change has already impacted up to about half (20 to 55 percent) of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean basins.

What's more, in just six decades, these human-induced changes in temperature and salinity could very well spread to 80 percent of the world's oceans.



We don't have time to play. It's too bad we don't have any duopoly candidate for president who's serious about addressing the crisis to our planet.






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