What if we discovered an asteroid was hurtling through space, headed toward Earth? The answer is almost comforting, and made even more entertaining by Bill Nye the Science Guy!
Most of us know that the dinosaurs (and 70% of life on earth) were wiped out because of an asteroid strike 65 million years ago. But we’ve come a long way since then and the science behind detecting and the preventing an asteroid strike is really amazing and likely to keep us out of harms way.
Let’s let the famous Bill Nye the Science Guy get us up to speed so we can sleep better!
Interesting and pretty easy to understand if you had time to follow Bill’s logic. Turns out we have the capability to fire a rocket at an approaching asteroid and if the rocket influenced the speed or direction of the asteroid by only a fraction, the asteroid’s path would change significantly, thus putting it on a completely different course.
Oddly enough, that sounds do-able given how clever and collaborative we humans can be in a pinch!
And here’s another EWC Web Credibility Tip…
Today’s EWC article gives us a great opportunity to give you a useful insight.
Did you know there is a website called Snopes.com that will support, or debunk, almost any concept that you might find going viral on the web.
Take today’s topic of an asteroid hitting the Earth, for example:
Did you know that throughout much of 2016, there was a doomsday claim flying around the internet that inferred NASA was lying about the path of a newly discovered asteroid. The viral and malicious rumor predicted widespread destruction when the asteroid was calculated to hit the Earth: February 2017.
Of course, it’s April now and the scary space rock has whizzed through our neighborhood in the solar system, a full 32 million miles from Earth, without incident.
And here’s where it gets enlightening: This is a textbook example of something we all should know about. It’s called the balance fallacy, which is when two sides of an argument are given equal attention, despite the fact that only one side is credible and the other does not have the credentials or supportive evidence to even warrant notice, much less air time in the mass media.
This story is typical of so many these days. We call them “pseudo-scientific click bait.”
People in very lofty places in publishing, government, and business are getting comfortable saying just about anything in order to elevate their name recognition. (They don’t care if their name is used a million times in a negative or positive way. They just want it heard over and over.) And then they stand back to watch the news media run with it.
Essentially, Snopes.com investigates the “click bait” in our world, and tells us the backstory. Best of all, it seems to be completely without an agenda. Oh, make no mistake: you might not find answers you like there. I come away disappointed often and don’t like knowing what is true very often. But that’s the the bottom-line. They cite their sources, do their homework dispassionately, and it is what it is.
In the end, this false asteroid strike story was found to be propagated by a tabloid newspaper called the Daily Mail, and their sole “expert” was a Russian astronomer named Dr. Dyomin Damir Zakharovich”, who can not be tracked down, but whose name suddenly appears online. Yet the newspaper gave Zakharovich’s theories that same weight as the factual data from dozens of scientists who are trained to operate multi-million dollar asteroid tracking instruments for NASA.
It’s a shame there needs to be a website like Snopes.com, but if you really want to get a feel for what a good resource they are, head to their article on today’s topic. Next time you hear someone prattling on about a topic that sounds sketchy, you’ll be the smartest person in the room!
Meanwhile, be careful of your sources, and always stay open, curious and optimistic!
~ Dr. Lynda
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