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Space Science

Earth Under Threat From Dark Comets 149

An anonymous reader writes "Comets could be the most significant impact hazard to Earth, with sky surveys underestimating the number that are potentially devastating by a factor of between 10 and 100, UK astrophysicists say."
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Earth Under Threat From Dark Comets

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  • by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:46AM (#26872777) Journal
    C'mon, there are hundreds of ways for me to die everyday. If I have to start worrying about the sky falling on me, I might as well pack it in now.
  • Seriously? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:49AM (#26872811) Journal

    "Comets could be the most significant impact hazard to Earth

    Just what are the "other" impact hazards? I'm very curious about this.

  • Re:Slashdotted (Score:2, Insightful)

    by needs2bfree ( 1256494 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:12PM (#26873129)
    Organic != made by life. Means nonmetals, so Carbon, Nitrogen Sulfur and related compounds.
    Disclaimer: IANAC (I Am Not A Chemist)
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:37PM (#26873455)

    My wife is a worry-wart and I use this argument against my spouse for doing things: I could walk outside and have my head replaced by a falling meteor. Does that mean that I shouldn't go out today? The chances for that are enormous to the point of why should I even worry about it? I can't let the possibility of bad things happening overshadow the probability. Probability is what we should be using in risk modeling, not possibility, because hey, anything is possible .

    I mean hey, with the crash of that airplane near Buffalo, NY, do think the occupants of that house thought to themselves, "I think I should sleep in a hotel tonight because a plane might crash on my house?" No, because if you were to enumerate all the possible ways you could die, you might as well just kill yourself and be done with it.

    But here's the real question: even if we did know when something was coming, is there really anything we could do about?

  • Re:No torch? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mengel ( 13619 ) <> on Monday February 16, 2009 @01:02PM (#26873875) Homepage Journal
    In places that speak the Queen's English, rather than American, a device with batteries and a light bulb is called a "torch", rather than a "flashlight".
  • Re:Seriously? WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @01:08PM (#26873965)

    Sounds like there's not really any reason to worry about it then if there's nothing we can do.

    If the utterly false statement that "there's nothing we can do" were true, you'd have a point there.

    Isn't that the definition of FUD?

    No. In fact, it's almost entirely unrelated to FUD in the usual sense. FUD usually involves getting you to choose one option over another due to spurious reasons, e.g. choose product A because product B is open-source so the bad guys can insert exploits into the code (they accept contributions from anyone, after all -- this was an argument my old boss made). Trying to move people from a situation where they're unprepared to deal with a real threat to a situation where they're better prepared for it is pretty much the opposite.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.