Open Thread Thursday III

    I'm pretty sure I'll stop numbering these soon, and maybe choose more creative titles like MrSmith1 does, but then again, I'm not as creative as he.

    I don't have much in the way of deep thoughts today, but here are two:

    1. It seems, from our limited ability to scan the skies, that the heavens are taking a hiatus from passing rocks near us today. As you can see from this data, we typically have multiple asteroids approach us closely every day, but not today. Of course, the day is still young, at least in the US.
    2. Look twice, save a life. A friend of mine was on his motorcycle at a stop sign when he was hit by a pizza delivery man who was looking down at his map. This happened over the weekend, and my friend is still in the hospital, hoping that he will soon be able to go to the bathroom by himself. My friend was wearing his helmet and a good leather motorcycle outfit, or else the damage would've been even worse (he likely would've died). Yesterday he had a plate put on his pelvis to put bones back together there that had become separated. Additionally, he has several cracked ribs, some broken bits of spine (but not the disks, thankfully), and other related damage. The good news is that the doctors are hopeful he will make a complete recovery. So, whether you're tempted to text someone, check on your Facebook status, or even check your map – please pull to the side of the road first.


    Update to #1, near Earth asteroid 2014 UA8 was discovered today (23-51 meters in diameter), which will pass within 8.1 LD (Lunar Distances) some time today.

    In the end, this was our only (known) visitor yesterday. For those wanting a sense of how "dangerous" 8.1 LD is, multiply by ~60 to get Earth radii (passing within 1 Earth radii means not passing at all, but rather hitting us), or multiply by 56 to see how many times outside even the wispiest of wisps of our atmosphere it passes. In other words, there's no need to worry (this time) unless the object passes within 0.018 LD.

    One other comparison point: currently the Dawn spacecraft is only 7.659 LD (0.01968 AU) from Ceres, the asteroid that is next on its itinerary, but it will not arrive there until April 2015.

    Yet another data point: today we're having 3 close approaches, and one of them is actually going to pass within the orbit of the moon, missing us by only 0.4 LD. Of course, that's still 20x further away than what would be required to even graze our atmosphere, but 0.4 LD is unusually close. Also, I should point out that its estimated diameter is only 8.6m - 19m, but that's big enough to be very annoying if it happens to land in your city. That said, if it did hit the Earth, it would probably hit one of our oceans, and if it did hit land, it would probably not be near a major metropolitan area.

    You have my 'feelings' going all over the place on this one.

    I sat in a police car about eight years ago, no charges filed.

    There was this computer and the passenger cop was retrieving all the data.

    But now, cars offer drivers with all the wondrous new data drivers.

    GPS, and phones and whatever.

    Let us step back a minute.

    People are dying or else face permanent disability because of PIZZA?

    I recall sometime long ago using a scratch  off  and  hitting  some care in  front  of me. This was decades ago. No one was injured and there must have been no damage because I never heard from my insurer.

    But we have reached a new idea as far as driving.

    With the Carter Administration (which no one praises) there  were institutional changes and so instead of 55,000 deaths every year, we are now experiencing (for decades) 30,000 deaths.

    Progress for sure.

    But damn, our highways kill more folks than any other means except for guns.

    You rang a bell.

    Good blog.

    But damn, our highways kill more folks than any other means except for guns.

    Actually, it seems that motor vehicle deaths outnumber even gun deaths in the US, but not in a statistically significant manner. It's hard to find good gun death statistics, but it seems that in 2010, "guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings". By comparison, in 2010, there were 32,999 motor vehicle deaths.

    …and thank you for the kind words.


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