The Dutch hold several impressive world record that they themselves are hardly aware of. It’s a relatively humble People. One of them is that in Franeker (Frjentsjer), Friesland, the Netherlands, stands and still functions the world’s oldest planetarium. Eise Eisinga built it in 1774-1781 to show that there was no danger of the planets hitting each other ever with the Erath being lost too — as an author then has speculated. I remember as a child going there and seeing how, driven by a hidden, giant and complicated set of wooden cog wheels, the planets would move orderly along the given trajectories on his living room ceiling.
That was then and this is now. We know now that there is a danger after all, of meteorites hitting Earth. It may have ended dinosaur life and since then there for sure have been real hits with damage. Not all heavenly bodies are planets on orderly paths. There are also meteorites on orderly course and they could hit (our) home one day. Most of them are small and our atmosphere shields us: they burn up before hitting anyone. That’s why Earth doesn’t look as pockmarked as our Moon.
Scientists have convened now to discuss what we would need to do or could do if it ever came to such a thing, to limit casualties and maximize local or planetary survival. Chances of such a thing happening are small but like with considering any insurance policy, it may pay to be covered in case the unlikely does happen, Heaven forbid (pun intended).
Meanwhile, a much bigger disaster is threatening human life on Earth. Its likelihood is not small. In fact, if we deal with it, it will be the greatest survival story to tell our grandchildren; if we stay too passive, pessimistic, fatalistic or ignorant, we could all easily have no grandchildren to talk to. The Climate Change Emergency asks our active participation since yesterday.
We need to rise up collectively and demand from our politicians to demand from our governments to outlaw anything that threatens the wellbeing, health and survival of all of us. (It is possible that one of the richest people stands up against it understanding that all his money will not save him and obligates everyone to follow him, but I wouldn’t bank on such an unlikely scenario. They amassed their wealth by being shortsighted and how should they escape that now suddenly?) We could become activists or put our head in the sand. The faster people become climate activist, the lesser damage will occur until we stop the pending disaster. You rather watch football and eat stake than be an activist? Know that the end of limitless entertainment is nearing in any case, either by law or by the weather.
This is what we can do:
- Promise ourselves and our loved ones that we won’t let it happen.
- Show in our personal choices (less wasting) that we take this seriously.
- Become politically active with the sole purpose to save our lives.
- Get informed (see: here) so that you know what to fight for/against.
- Unite with others and focus on what unites rather than divides us.
- Be prepared that the rich and powerful will try to divide us.
- Think about how you want the celebration party to look like.
(We don’t need to prepare for loosing as we’ll all end up dead.)
- See you at the barricades.
Excuses for not doing this:
- We’ve always survived, so now probably too.
- If the end is near, I want to have some relaxing time.
- So many doom scenarios turned out to be false alarm.
- I’m too insignificant in the whole (but you’ll die like the big ones).
- I believe in fate/providence/spontaneity/prayer/taking it easy.
- I’m too happy/depressed/smart/stupid/young/old/poor/rich/ confident/insecure/comfortable/uncomfortable/pessimistic/ optimistic/… [fill in your own favorite private pretext for the day].
In more astronomical news:
Dark energy, dark matter and now dark time?
There is roughly a billion years missing.
First things didn’t work as they should. Dark (invisible) energy was proposed. Where did that come from? Dark (invisible) matter.
But now is found that the universe speeds up still exponentially but still less than we understood from our models. The universe should be younger by a billion years. Let’s call the difference dark time. Only, there are no dark ages in the universe; quite the opposite: there is time missing because of something that we haven’t understood or detected yet.
Who cares? There are people who are fascinated with such fundamental questions and who don’t. Can’t explain it.