Life. Death. And many things in between.
If you like the idea of an erudite white-knuckle ride, then you could do worse than to pick up a copy of Martin Rees' "Our Final Century". Amongst other catastrophes, he carries out a risk assessment on asteroid impact:"If you are now, say, twenty-five years old, your future life expectancy is about fifty years. The chance of being a victim of a massive asteroid impact is therefore roughly the probability that one happens in the next fifty years. Before that time is up, there is about one chance in ten thousand that an asteroid half a kilometre across will crash in to the North Atlantic, causing giant tsunamis that would destroy the North American and European saeboard; or into the Pacific, where it would have similar consequentces for the coasts of East Asia and the Western US. The probability that we'll end our lives (along with many millions of others) in such an event is about the same as the average person's risk of dying in an air crash - somewhat higher, indeed, if we live near a coast, where we are vulnerable to smaller tsunami."BTW, I don't think much of Scott Thackeray's opinion that: "we know the position of all major meteorites and they will not be heading our way". He seems to have conveniently forgotten that comets are harder to deal with. Most, according to Professor Rees approach us "cold" from deep space, giving no more than a year's warning...Sleep tight.
Didn't. Sleep tight, I mean. The past few weeks have been a bad patch for the poor insomniac that I am -- and of course the thought that one billion years ago an asteroid might have hit Scunthorpe doesn't help. These things bother me, you know ....
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