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Fri, 09 Dec 2016
The World for People who Think



House in Indonesia hit by meteorite

© Tempo.co
A house hit by an alleged meteor.
Residents of Sungai Serut District, Bengkulu City, were surprised by a rock that is alleged to be a meteor that ripped through a house owned by Wahab (56), on Wednesday, November 24, 2016.

At the time of the incident, according to Wahab, he was having a casual conversation with his friend. Suddenly, they heard a loud thump from the inside of his house. The noise originated from his kitchen.

After a quick search, Wahab found a rounded smoky object that is as big as a basketball that had made it through his kitchen roof. "Not only did it hit the roof, the rock also destroyed the water dispenser and a water gallon, as well as a table," he said.

Wahab and a number of his friends flushed the rock with water and placed it outside the house. The locals broke the white-colored rock to pieces and gave it to a number of people as they believe that the meteorite has a certain effect.

The rest of the rock has been handed over to the police.

Fireball 3

Japanese teenager films meteor shortly after Fukushima earthquake

© Asuka/Twitter
A teenager has filmed a ' meteorite ' burning across the sky shortly after the Japanese earthquake struck.

The teen, known as Asuka, 16, from Japan, filmed the extraordinary sight trailing across the evening sky this evening.

A rough translation of her Tweet accompanying the video says: "A movie I took while preparing to die.

"Thought that it was a meteorite because there was an earthquake earlier. It is not a meteorite."

The video emerged as the country absorbed the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that has shaken Tokyo after striking off the coast of Japan.


Mathematician claims one in 500 chance of extinction next year

The calculation is based on the Doomsday Argument.
The human race faces a one in 500 chance of extinction in the next year, an expert mathematician has claimed.

Dr Fergus Simpson, a mathematician at the University of Barcelona's Institute of Cosmos Sciences, said there was a 0.2 per cent chance of a "global catastrophe" occurring in any given year over the course of the 21st Century.

The calculation is based on the Doomsday Argument, which it is claimed can predict the number of future members of the human species given an estimate of the total number of humans born so far.

"Our key conclusion is that the annual risk of global catastrophe currently exceeds 0.2 per cent," Dr Simpson wrote in an academic paper called Apocalypse Now? Reviving the Doomsday Argument, accessed through Cornell University's online library.

"In a year when Leicester City FC were crowned Premier League champions, we are reminded that events of this rarity can prove challenging to anticipate, yet they should not be ignored," he added.

According to Dr Simpson's calculations, around 100 billion people have already been born and a similar number will be born in the future before the human race expires.

He estimated there was a 13 per cent chance humanity would fail to see out the 21st Century.

This is a more optimistic conclusion than previous studies, with British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees suggesting there was a 50 per cent probability of human extinction by the year 2100 in his 2003 book Our Final Hour.

Red Flag

Your brain on aspartame

© Underground Health
Controversy continues to rage over the artificial sweetener aspartame. Since it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981, aspartame has made its way into more than 6,000 food items.

The FDA claims aspartame is safe but has set an acceptable daily intake of no more than 50 mg per kilogram of body weight. In other words, an adult weighing 165 pounds should consume no more than 3,750 mg of aspartame a day. A can of diet soda typically contains about 180 mg of the chemical. That means the FDA's "safe" limit equates to about 21 cans of diet soda per day.

But is any level of aspartame really safe?

For decades researchers have claimed aspartame is responsible for headache, memory loss, mood changes, and depression. Consumer complaints back them up. Over 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA concern aspartame. Reported problems include headaches, migraines, vision problems, tinnitus, depression, joint pain, insomnia, heart palpitations, and muscle spasms.

Recently researchers from the University of North Dakota wanted to test the safe limits of aspartame over a short period of time. They found that at just one half of the FDA's "safe" acceptable daily intake, aspartame caused serious neurobehavioral changes including cognitive impairment, irritable moods, and depression.[i]

Comment: More information about how toxic aspartame is to human health:


USGS: second magnitude 5.7 quake strikes Argentina

La Rioja, Argentina

Comment: Other interesting events of note in the last 24 hours:


Sonic boom over South Dakota remains a mystery

© Wikimedia Commons
A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.
Spearfish — The mystery of what caused Monday's loud boom remains.

Some theories have been refuted, while more mysterious references have appeared.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the boom was heard throughout the Black Hills. Some people said it shook their homes or businesses, rattling windows, and scaring them in several instances.

But the noise was heard in a much larger area than the Black Hills. Responses to Tuesday's Black Hills Pioneer story reported hearing the noise from Western Nebraska to Southeast Montana.

Kathy Griesse reported hearing the noise near the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument south of Harrison, Neb. She said it sounded like the noise came from the north and west of her. Additionally, she talked to people in Crawford, Neb., where people told her windows rattled at the sound of the boom; people in Whitney, Neb., also heard the noise.

On the northern end of reports, Lane Pilster said he heard the boom at his ranch, 14 miles west of Alzada, Mont.

This is about a 200-mile straight-line distance between the two reported locations.

Pilster reported that he and his dad both heard the noise to the south of them.

"The beginning of it was intense, but then faded off with a dull rumbling like a jet was flying by. The sound probably lasted about 8-10 seconds," Pilster said.

He also said he felt a moderate vibration around 5:30 a.m. Monday, and that it lasted 15-20 seconds.

He wasn't the only one to hear a strange noise apart from the 2 p.m. event.

Brad Scott, of Spearfish, heard a loud boom in downtown Spearfish around 7:30 a.m. Sunday

He described it as the "sound of about 8 shotguns going off at once."

So what was the noise?


Southern hemisphere recovered quicker from devastating asteroid strike

© Pic about Space
Researchers from the US and Argentina have analysed fossilised leaves and presented a new theory as to why the southern hemisphere recovered faster following the asteroid strike that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Ecosystems in North America took 9 million years to recover from the asteroid, whilst in South America, insect life bounced back only after about 4 million years. This is the conclusion of the join US-Argentine research team that has published the results of its study in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Previous evidence had suggested that the asteroid strike - which killed all non-avian dinosaurs and a large number of other species - had a less severe impact on the southern hemisphere and one theory had argued that this was because it provided a sort of refuge for species. However, this new research points to a different explanation, being that ecosystems recovered much more quickly than in the north.

'This extinction is very important - it is one of the major extinctions in the history of the Earth,' commented lead researcher Michael Donovan of Pennsylvania State University. 'The biodiversity patterns we see today, where things are living, may be related to what survived - so it is important to learn about what was happening around the world at this time.'


Comets & asteroids summary for October 2016

© Remanzacco Blogspot
During the months of October 2016, 3 new comets were discovered. "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here).

The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram) which reported the official news & designations.

Comet Discoveries

Oct 11 Discovery of C/2016 T1 (MATHENY)
Oct 13 Discovery of C/2016 T2 (MATHENY)
Oct 18 Discovery of C/2016 T3 (PANSTARRS)

Other news

Oct 14 Klim Ivanovich Churyumov (1937 - 2016), astronomer and co-discoverer (with Svetlana Gerasimenko) of comet #67P passed away on October 14, 2016

Oct 17 The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller presented at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) in Pasadena, California. The Hubble Space Telescope took the photo below of 2007 OR10 on September 18, 2010. Later analysis of the images revealed the presence of a moon (red circle).
© NASA/STScI/Wesley Fraser/Gábor Marton et al.

Fireball 3

Fireball spotted in the sky over Nova Scotia

© CTV News, Canada
Corinne Reid saw something quite spectacular in the evening sky yesterday! What was it?
Yesterday, at precisely 4:40pm, flames raced towards earth over Dominion Cape Breton. Luckily for us, Corinne Reid had a camera handy and snapped some amazing photos. She posted them on my Facebook page.

At first glance, I thought it might be a fireball; after all, this is the time for the annual Taurid Meteor shower; the peak occurs this Friday. And to add to the intrigues, a viewer reported a bright light streaming across the sky near Port Felix, at the same time the day the before!

Over the next little while, more information trickled in. Corinne tells us that the "event" lasted about 10 minutes; time enough for her to get her camera. She zoomed in with the 200X digital zoom on her camera.

The post and photos got some very interesting comments from experts in various fields. A member of an Observatory club in Toronto said it was an aircraft.

Locally, Jeff Dalton weighed in and added that it could very well have been space junk, entering our atmosphere.

Michael Boschat at the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society Canada says " 100% definitely a short aircraft contrail image. " He says that even seasoned observers occasionally have a difficult time differentiating them from fireballs.

That does make sense: we're seeing a ball of fire because the jet is moving away from the observer. It's all about the angle of the jet in in sky in relation to the photographer.

Jeff Dalton made a good point and it's something I say a lot too: "Whatever it may be, or was, it is a neat sight. I keep telling people to keep an eye on the sky because there are all kinds of things to see above, day and night! This is yet another example".


This 1492 Ensisheim 'thunderstone' impact was interpreted as an omen from god

© Schedel, Hartmann/Wolgemut, Michael/Pleydenwurff, Wilhelm: Liber chronicarum, Nürnberg
Illustration depicting the “thunderstone” at Ensisheim.
Only a few weeks after Christopher Columbus reached the New World in October 1492, another foreign explorer—this time an errant space rock—touched down on firm ground following its own protracted journey across an inhospitable expanse.

This extraterrestrial visitor came to be known the Ensisheim meteorite, named for the Alsatian town adjacent to the wheat field where it impacted on the morning of November 7, 1492 (according to the Julian calendar). It is the oldest meteorite impact with a confirmed date on record, and has become famous for its dramatic fall from the heavens, an event that was witnessed by onlookers and recorded for posterity by writers like the Italian priest Sigismondo Tizio.

"At this point there has to be mention of the immense portent which was seen this year in Germany: for on the seventh day of November [1492], near the city of Ensisheim and the village of Bauenheim above Basel, a great stone fell out of the sky, triangular in shape, charred, the color of metallic ore, and accompanied by crashing thunder and lightning," Tizio said in his History of the Sienese. "When it had fallen to earth it split into several pieces, for it had traveled at an oblique angle; to the amazement of all, indeed, it flattened the earth when it struck."

A young boy is said to have found the impact site first, attracting a crowd of awed spectators. In an age when comets, shooting stars, and other celestial phenomenon remained unexplained, the appearance of the meteorite was quickly attributed to divine intervention.

Naturally, everyone wanted a chunk of the rock that God had deemed fit to chuck at Earth. Any superstitious reservations they might have had about the "thunderstone" or "firestone" as some took to calling it, did not prevent them from breaking off pieces to take home as souvenirs. Some slices were also saved to be sent to dignitaries, like Cardinal Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius III.