Is It The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?

I just read a story about the decrease in the number of amphibians.  Yes, I talking about those frogs, salamanders and lizards.  Although living here in Florida, it seems like there is an over abundance of those tiny lizards that live in your garden and your lawn and sun themselves on the sidewalks until you get close when they scamper away.  In fact, I’ve noticed a lot of little baby lizards, no more than an inch long (full size can be four inches or more).

But the news article specifically pointed to only a few species that appear to have decreased in populations by 50 percent or more within the last decade.  Although scientists are still not sure of the cause of this decline, they cite factors such as disease, new preditors, the increased use of pesticides, and yes, of reason behind all negative change in the world, climate change.

If this story was an isolated report and only about a few frog species, perhaps the majority of people would take little notice of the warning.  However, could it be a part of a larger pattern?  Digging around the internet, it does not take long to find reports on the loss of honeybee colonies, bats, and the decrease in marine animals and especially the shrinking of coral reefs.  You could also look at the loss of many species of plant life especially those that grow only in tropical rainforests which are being cut down at an alarming rate.  How long will it take until the loss of these species directly effect us, our food supplies, our environment?

Of course, the other side of the argument is that species come and go all of the time.  It is called evolution.  The troubling fact is the rate of extinction may be accelerating.  Such mass die-offs of species has happened several times in the past.  Mass extinctions have occurred several times in the past and each time, the extinction seems to be related in some way to climate change, either warming or cooling.  Sometimes the climate change may be initiated by an external factor such as the meteor that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Note that I did not say that the meteor caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Most scientists today believe that other than dinosaurs living in the immediate area of the meteor strike somewhere off the Yucatan peninsula most dinosaurs died over hundreds if not thousands of years.  Scientists have modeled the effect of the dust and dirt kicked up into the atmosphere by the meteor and possibly volcanoes that erupted shortly afterward.  While the dust could have lead to cooler temperatures as the sun’s rays were blocked, gasses from the volcanoes could have led to a greenhouse effect much like the one around Venus trapping heat and raising temperatures on the surface.

In any case, most species did not survive.  While the die-out may appear instantaneous from a geological point of view, it could still have taken decades or even centuries for some of the species to die off completely and then slowly be replaced by other species who could cope with the climate changes and adapt.

So if most of the extinction events can be associated with some type of climate change, does it follow that today’s climate change and loss of dozens of species in the last century mean that we are at the start of the mass extinction?

Even if that is true, does that mean that mankind is doomed to become extinct as well?  Keep in mind that with every past mass extinction, some species did survive and even thrive in the new climate conditions.  The more adaptable, the more likely a species might survive.  Mankind, if nothing else, is adaptable.  With our increased use of technology, we may be able to survive any mass extinction even to the extent of manufacturing our own organic food in factories in petri dishes rather than farms.

However, the world could be very different in a few thousand years as more species die and perhaps new ones come to the forefront to fill in the gaps in the ecosystem.  If you could hibernate for the next thousand or perhaps five thousand years, what type of world would you wake up to?  Would you recognize anything?  Yet that new ecosystem could over time become just as vibrant as the one we have today.  In effect, the end of this era might be nothing more than the start of the new era.  The only question I would have is how mankind would fair during this transition.  While we may survive due to technologies we already have today, will mankind fall below a critical population level in which science and technology become unimportant compared to the daily needs of survival?  Will we slowly lose the ability to develop new technology?  Will we even be able to continue to maintain the old existing levels of technology?  Will mankind revert to living in caves?  Will all written record of our great society be lost as the records deteriorate?  Will the knowledge and technology lost over time become the substance of myths and legends?  Will future archeologists ponder over how their primitive ancestors were able to develop the skills to make the strange discoveries they unearth?

Could this have happened before?  Could our current society be just one of several that rose and fell in the past?  Such concerns give more validity to the arguments why we need to explore space and establish colonies elsewhere so that mankind may survive any disaster to this vulnerable planet.

But then just perhaps, this has happened before.  Perhaps the people of Atlantis really did have flying ships.  Perhaps they did explore space and leave colonies elsewhere.  And for the real conspiracy theory advocates, maybe some of the UFOs reported today are nothing more than our ancient ancestors who survived their mass extinction returning to see how the new life on planet Earth survives this one.  So could the beginning of the end of this cycle simply be part of the end of the beginning of the next cycle?

Ok, I would guess you did not expect this story to take that twist.  However, remember when a science fiction fan lives inside a writer, all bets are off.

C’ya next time.

So Area 51 Exists. Big Deal!

Last week the CIA officially announced that Area 51 exists.  Wow!  Where is the surprise?  Pictures of the area have existed for a long time.  It has been rumored to be the home of everything from advanced avionics research include spy plane and stealth technology to the home of alien spaceships and even captured or voluntarily visiting aliens.  So what did they really tell us that was new?  Nothing.  Of course they hope that everyone believes them just we all believe that the government would never spy on citizens or that universal health care will be cheaper or that they target political groups or that they allow US citizens abroad to die without at least attempting to save them or even the biggest lie, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

Of course the press made it sound like such a great revelation that Area 51 really exists.  One thing you can believe, if anything ever was beyond top secret at Area 51 it has long been moved to another location and there is nothing left to see in Area 51.  Of course they will still keep up appearances and run off anyone that comes near the area just to keep up appearances.  In all likelihood, any top secret projects (including any alien spacecraft or even aliens themselves) have been relocated to a more secure area that is not under surveillance by UFO hunters or the curiosity seekers.

Of course Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico are pretty big states with lots of open area with nothing around for miles.  Large military bases are scattered across all of these states and a ‘new’ secret area could be anywhere, maybe even those large bunkers in part of Nevada near where nuclear weapons were tested.  Or maybe those were just bunkers for the testers.  In any case, it might not even be in those three states.  It might be in Colorado, Montana, Idaho or deep in the abandoned mines of Appalachia.

Just because there is nothing to see in Area 51 now does not mean that there never was.  The only real question is whether anything that was ever there came from somewhere other than this planet.  The problem is that the government has lost so much credibility that even if they came out and said they had aliens, people would think that they were just making it up to feed the egos of the UFO hunters and believers.

All this clouds the real issue as to whether there is other life in the universe.  Growing up, anyone who believed that there was life on other planets was considered a little crazy.  One scientist even postulated that even if there was only one other advanced life form in our galaxy and if it had developed a mere million years ahead of us (which is nothing on a cosmological scale) that they would have by now spread throughout the galaxy and would have contacted us or conquered us or eaten us.

Others believe in the Star Trek based Prime Directive which prohibits the Federation from contacting civilizations that have not at least developed warp travel under the theory that until they develop warp travel, they will never get to another star system anyway much less one with life.  But more recently the real world of astronomy has been rocked by the ‘discovery’ of planets revolving around dozens of local stars.  Some of these planets are theorized to be within the star’s habitable zone.  Our abilities to determine the chemical signature of these planets is still not refined enough to tell us whether any of these newly discovered worlds have gases in their atmosphere that would indicate some type of life on them.  Still, the ability to detect those chemical signatures is not too far off.

So what happens if (or when) we discover other life in our galaxy?  What will that do to society?  Will religion collapse as we know it or will religion adapt to the fact that “my father has many rooms in his house” (John 14:2) meaning that there are many habitable planets in the universe.  In fact, the Vatican has stated that aliens do exist on other planets and they are all part of God’s greater plan.  HHhmmm, wonder how they know that?

So if aliens exist, the next big question is where are they which is quickly followed by what will they do?  Again science fiction has given us a lot of different possibilities which we do not have time to go into here.  Check out the Internet on this topic for the various possibilities.  Maybe we are not interesting enough.  Maybe we have nothing to offer the galactic confederacy.  Maybe they are waiting to see if we can get past our violent stage.  Maybe compared to them, we are as unintelligent as we think animals are compared to us.  So why aren’t we their pets?   Or is that what the alien abductions are?

As you can see, it is too easy to come up with conspiracy theories about what the government isn’t telling us when they wait years to tell us a secret that we already all know about.  So, to the CIA, thanks for nothing.  When lies are built on top of lies surrounded by lies and filled with deception, where do we go from here?  And maybe that is the real reason the aliens will not welcome us into their little group.

C’ya next time.

Going Digital

Are you ready to go all digital?  Is your workplace ready?  Over the past several years, various organizations have taken the plunge to go all digital.  The publishing industry has probably been the most successful.  I don’t think I bought more than 1 or 2 paper books in the last year or so but I have bought at least two dozen electronic books and I carry them around with me all of the time.  I also use the electronic version of best sellers from our local library which I can check out on-line rather than having to physically go down to the library.  What a fantastic resource.

Newspapers and magazines are starting to go the same way.  At first they offered both printed and digital versions of their publications, but now some of them are cutting out the printed versions.  For example, the June 24th issue of Information Week, a free magazine that many of us in the IT industry have subscribed to for years, was the last paper version of the magazine.  In fact, for the last year I have only subscribed to the electronic version of SQL Server Magazine because it is much more convenient to carry around not only the most current issue, but the complete last year of issues on a tablet.  Furthermore, there are interactive features available in the digital versions that do not and can not exist on the paper magazines.  Stories can be linked to similar stories, to further information, and to vendors of products described in the article.  Advertisements can be interactive with links to videos to demo the product.  You can even email the editors and authors sometimes directly from the digital pages of the magazine.

Many of the national newspapers have digital subscriptions available today.  Even our local newspaper started offering digital subscriptions.  For those people who like to clip coupons to save money at the store, I’m starting to see more of the coupons go digital as well so that you only have to display the barcodes on your smartphone to get money back from restaurants, department stores, and other places.

I use to do all of my writing first on paper and then type in what I created for editing and formatting.  There was always something about the feel of a smooth flowing pen on paper as you write that created a sense of enjoyment.  Ok, maybe that is a little weird for some of you, but anyone who is a writer and began their love of writing more than 10 years ago knows exactly what I mean.  However, now I’ve switch to writing all of my blogs, documentation, newsletters, etc. directly in a word processor.  It is not always Microsoft Word either.  Any word processor will do because the basic functions are the same.  I learned how to type in high school and I find that I can type much faster than I can write the same text out freehand.  Thus I save time not having to first write it down and then type it up.  I still haven’t gotten use to writing on a tablet and I much prefer a standard keyboard, but hey, who knows.  After all, I learned how to use a mouse with my left hand so that I could write with my right hand without having to keep switching what I was holding.  (Yes, I occasionally would try to navigate around the screen with my pen and write with my mouse so it was the best solution I could come up with.)

I guess the only problem I have with writing electronically is the ‘darn’ spell correction in most word processors these days.  Sometimes when I misspell a word, the program tries to correct it with what it thinks I was going to say, but while it gets a correctly spelled word, it is often the wrong word.  Therefore, I sometimes send out text with what looks like stupid mistakes.  Yes, I know you are suppose to proof read your document before sending it out, but sometimes I even miss the most obvious wrong words and then have my friends question how smart I really am.

Anyway, my point is that soon you will be able to forget about recycling paper, because paper as we know it today will become ancient history like impressing characters into a wet clay tablet.  I can hear the trees celebrating.  But equally important will be the fact that we no long have to store paper.  Physical paper takes a lot of space and it weighs quite a bit.  (Pick up two copies of War and Peace and use it for your arm exercises.  It may be cheaper than a set of barbells.)  You can easily build a large library at home with practically no required space.  You can also carry that library with you and read on the commuter train to work or while waiting in line somewhere or even during that dull staff meeting that you have to go to every week.

Yes, sometimes there is just something comforting about holding a real book with real pages.  But with the improvements in Kindles, Nooks, iPads and even most smart phones, I find that I miss real books less and less.

I’ve always been a Star Trek fan and many of the things used in Star Trek have become possible over the last several decades since the original series.  Ok, we don’t have transporters or warp drives yet (although wouldn’t that be fun), but the flip phone style communicators exist as do the pads that were used and are now called tablets or even the iPad.  Some of the medical devices for imaging a person’s body to diagnose disease exist or are on the horizon.  However, never once in all of the episodes did I see Kirk, Picard, or Janeway need to fall back on sheets of paper for information.  If you haven’t tried it, try going a week without using paper, or at least a day.  At the very least cut back on your paper usage and rely on digital versions of the information.  It is not as hard as you may think.

C’ya next time.

Getting Back Into the Groove

I first want to apologize to my regular readers for being ‘absent’ for much of the last two months or so.  The last six months have been some of the hardest, yet some of the happiest, (for very different reasons) in my life.  The hard part as those who know the situation took up most of the first half of the year, but the happiest part is seeing my daughter move from a residency program at a local VA hospital to a full staff member as of July.  Her success after going through all the same hard times as me gives me hope.  So the last month we have been spending time looking for a new apartment for her, looking for furniture, packing what she wanted to move over for now, carrying stuff over in cars every night and unpacking it into her new place and even the ‘joy’ of building IKEA furniture.

She didn’t move far.  Just across town.  Far enough to have her own life, yet close enough for visits.  I don’t know if she truly realizes how proud I am of her accomplishments, but I am.  I don’t know if we were just lucky or if Sue and I (mostly Sue probably) did something right in raising her, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what that may have been.  So don’t ask for advice.

Anyway, I suppose it is time to start over and to start writing again.  After all, the house is empty now except for my cockatiel and before her cheeps start to make sense, I think it is time I actually start typing real words.  So, over the past week I’ve picked up paper and a pen and started to write down several ideas and I’m sure some of them will eventually develop into blog entries.  For today however, I just want to leave you with some random thoughts that will probably never make it to a full blog entry.   (By the way, the bird is sitting on my shoulder right now watching everything I type so I have to be careful what I say.)

I’ve noticed in the newspaper lately that a lot more motorcycle accidents are reporting that the injured riders were not wearing helmets.  Did you ever wonder why the government was so concerned about whether we automobile drivers have a seat belt on while we are driving and will even fine us several hundred dollars if they stop us and we do not have a seat belt on yet motorcycle riders don’t have to wear any head protection?  Seems odd.  Maybe it is a Darwin thing and we just want to thin out the population of those whose heads are too thick to be injured during an accident where they lose control.

I’ve also noticed that every major storm, hurricane, tornado, dry spell, heat spell, etc. has been linked by the media to global warming.  (Some people even think that Sharknado was a real documentary and was caused by global warming.  Some of these same people also ride motorcycles without helmets.) They act as if extreme weather never occurred before they discovered global warming.  While there may be some truth to the connection, their level of conviction that they are right and that everyone who does not agree with them is wrong or perhaps stupid seems to put people off who might otherwise at least consider the possible connection.

Currently the big story is the Royal Baby in England.  I will grant you that for those people living in England or originally from England, that is probably a very important story.  But really, this baby (I don’t think he has been given a name yet or at least I have not heard it) is only something like third in line for the throne.  On the other hand, that is probably a lot closer than you or I will ever be.  Anyway, Cheers! to England.  At least they have some good news in their media for a few days making it worth watching the BBC.

I guess Earth missed getting hit by a asteroid the other day.  It was suppose to be between 200 and 400 feet long.  Let say something around the size of a football field.   Unless it totally broke up or burned up during entry into our atmosphere, I suspect it would have made quite a dent in your car if it fell onto it.  The amazing thing was that it was only discovered a few days before its closest approach.  Yet we are being told by astronomers and the government that they have mapped over 90% of the trans-Earth orbit asteroids and would know well in advance of any potential problems.  No wonder they didn’t notice Clark Kent’s spaceship during that meteor storm.  I guess that few extra percent can really make a difference, especially if the asteroids targets your local corn field.

Finally, I leave you with this thought.  I’ve noticed that average employees who leaves a company to go into consulting becomes an expert overnight in whatever field they are talking about as long as they charge more than $200 per hour and travel at least 500 miles to the client site.  Similarly, I’ve seen consultants get hired by a company for their expertise in some technical area and overnight in the new job become dumber than a door nail (whatever that is) whose opinion is not worth a wooden nickel.  I guess it just goes to show that knowledge in any area is fleeting.

This Saturday, I plan to pick back up with a technical article on Data Quality Services where I left off months ago showing how to create a matching policy to find duplicate records.

Till then, c’ya.

Black Box Recorders

I’m sure you all know about the black box records in planes that record information about how systems on the plane are performing, including the human system better known as the pilot.  When a plane has any type of malfunction ranging from minor items such as bad indicator lights to crashes, the first thing that the airline wants to recover after dealing with the passengers is the black box recorder.  (Yes, I just got done reading AirFrame by Michael Crichton.  An excellent book as always from Michael.)

But did you know you may have a black box recorder in your car?  If you bought a new car this year, you have about a 96% chance of already having a black box installed in your vehicle.  Considering the high percentage of new vehicles that already have this device installed, I have to wonder if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has nothing better to do than to draft a new ruling that would require these black box devices (which they call EDRs or Event Data Recorders) to be installed in all new vehicles by fall of 2014.  Does that extra 4% really justifies additional interference by a government agency?  Or is there something else going on?

A lot of people are afraid that these devices could be used to monitor their driving all of the time and use it as a condition to obtaining or renewing their auto insurance.  Others may be afraid that the government is requiring these devices as  a first step to track where you are and where you have been.  Still others are afraid that it will be linked to some kind of tax that will be levied on you based on the number of miles that you drive your car and perhaps when and when you drive it.  Think of it as an opportunity tax on your ability to drive.

Of course the proponents say that the device is very limited and can only record a few seconds before and during a vehicle crash.  They imply that it is not in a continuous record mode and even if it were, it could not record more than a dozen seconds or so every dozen seconds or so, it starts at the beginning of the memory range to write over it with new data.  The proponents also say that the information collected during crashes could help the manufacturers better monitor the deployment of airbags and other safety devices in cars during real crashes.  I guess test car crashes have become too expensive so we are the new crash dummies to provide them with data.  They also try to assure those lobbying against these devices that they do not record conversations or the location of the vehicle.

While some states have already moved to insure the privacy of this data making it the property of the car owner and requiring the car owner to consent to it being used, it would seem that these devices are on a slippery slope.  As with all new technology, the benefits must be weighed against the risks.  In Spiderman, there is a quote, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’  Well, maybe Stan Lee did not originate the quote and maybe it has been misquoted.  FDR had written in a speech that he never gave because he died the day before he was suppose to give it saying, ‘Today we have learned in the agony of war that great power involves great responsibility.’  There is also a quote in the Bible attributed to Jesus that said, ‘To whom much as been given, much will be expected.’

It seems that variations on that warning about power or authority goes back thousands of years.  Perhaps the reason why that is so lies in the fact that it is so often violated.  The ‘misuse of power’ or the quote that ‘power has gone to his head’ or ‘ power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ also rings through the ages.  I suppose you could even say that the Emperor in the Star Wars saga is an example of absolute power corrupting absolutely.

So what does that have to do with a black box in your car.  Perhaps nothing.  Perhaps everything.  Like the laws in this country that are changed subtly over time by individual case judgments that slowly change the original intent of the law, you could see a slow change over time to the recording capabilities of these black boxes.  Each change will be proposed as absolutely sensible and for a good cause.  However, taken as a whole, it could change our relationships with our automobiles.  Will these devices in the future take over control of the vehicle if they sense a pending crash?  Will they be able to sense then the driver is not paying attention to the road because they are falling asleep or are too busy texting and begin reducing the speed of the vehicle?  Will they act to save lives or will they simply tattle on us to some central data collection system kept in the deep vaults under Area 51 where the aliens use to be kept?  Or are the aliens the ones wanting to collect the data in the first place?  Hmmm…  Wait there may be an idea for a science fiction book here.   Got to go.

C’ya later.

Global Warming/Climate Change – Is It Real?

Every time the temperature gets too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, or too windy, or too rainy, or too whatever, someone is either pointing at global warming as the reason or alternately as proof that global warming does not exist. Of course the Earth’s climate has always been variable over long periods of time, even periods as short as a few thousand years, but that in of itself does not prove or disprove anything.  While we may be coming out of a relatively cool period, perhaps even a mini ice age, man’s polluting of this planet has been evident for decades.  At the same time, I don’t believe any one country can make a difference if so many large developing nations view any curtailment of their perceived economic development in the name of heading off climate change as nothing more than a ploy to keep them poor and underdeveloped.

On another but similar note, I just saw something on the Internet that plots what they believe to be an increase in the number of meteors streaking through the atmosphere making large booms.  Really?  Something going through the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound is making a boom?  Anyway, they claim that this is proof that an even larger object could be heading our way.  Last year it was the Mayan calendar and the planet Niburu.  When those disasters did not occur, they had to come up with something else I suppose.  Late night conspiracies are quite entertaining from one point of view with one expert saying one thing.  Another expert then says something exactly the opposite.  Each have irrefutable facts to back up their opinion.  Who and what is one to believe?  All this does is muddy up real research and blur the lines between valid skepticism and outright refusal to accept facts.

Many people find all of these predictions of disaster annoying, maybe even disturbing.  Some may even live in fear that the next global catastrophe is just around the corner.  Ultimately it makes recognizing the difference between the real pending disasters and the artificial ones difficult for many people.  It also makes it difficult to mobilize people to head off real pending disasters that they might be able to do something about from those that, if true, are not preventable.   The bottom line is that for me, I find most of them amusing.  I’ve always been a fan of science fiction.  Many of these predictions sound like the lead-in to a great science fiction story.  In fact, some of us at work sometimes take one or two of these stories or maybe even make up an entirely new one and spin our own ‘conspiracy’ theory.  I’m sure if we published some of these on the right Internet sites, more than a few people might just believe our theory was true.  Don’t believe it?  Ok let’s give it a try.

Astronomers have reported a comet, designated as Comet ISON, heading toward earth and due to arrive later this year.  They say that the comet will not get within 42 million kilometers of the earth.  Sounds like pretty far away.  After all, that is almost half the distance from the Earth to the sun.  What they did not tell you is that the orbit will be displaced twice as it rounds the sun by a close approach to first Mars and then Mercury which will deflect the orbit of the comet just enough to send it on a course right between the Earth and the Moon. The one hope is that it’s closest approach to the sun will be 1.8 million kilometers and considering that the sun’s diameter is only 1.4 million kilometers, it could simply vaporize completely.

While not considered a serious threat at first, astronomers admit that they cannot predict for sure whether these deflection will send the comet through is a window between the Earth and the Moon, a keyhole so to speak, that if the comet comes through at the right time could deflect the comet just enough for it to skim the upper atmosphere or even to crash into the Earth.

Because of the fear of mass panic by the public if they really thought that this comet could hit the earth and possibly cause an extinction event as great as the one that destroyed the dinosaurs, it was decided by all the world governments to suppress this information.  In the meantime, the governments of United States and the Soviet Union and even China have been secretly working with an alien race that has been visiting this planet ever since the late 1940’s to get all of the high government officials off the planet just before the comet’s approach.

In fact, it was only recently learned through confidential sources that the entire reason the comet is coming into the inner solar system is because a competing alien race to the one these governments have been working with deflected the comet from the outer reaches of our solar system’s Oort cloud over 10 years ago sending it on a course to destroy their enemy’s latest new friends in the galaxy, us.  Unfortunately, by the time our alien friends discovered this, it was too late for them to deflect the comet away.  Therefore, their only choice was to work with our government to evacuate as many humans as they can with their massive starships sitting on the far side of the moon.

Most people will not even know about the evacuation before it occurs because the aliens have a technology that allows them to transport people directly to their waiting space ships.  (Did you think that Star Trek came up with the transporter system on their own?)  By using implanted bio-electronic RFID chips that are custom coded to the individual and micro-miniaturized by the alien’s technology, they will be able to remotely identify and transport only the individuals on the list of those who will be saved.  Of course, to hide their plan they will make everyone get one of these RFID chips by using the claim that they will help monitor the individual’s health and make recommendations to improve their well being.  The bottom line is that when the time comes, people will disappear in the twinkle of an eye and no one will know what happened to them.  Fortunately, they will not have much time to think about before everyone realizes that the comet is really not going to miss the earth.

Making up stories is fun isn’t it?  Unfortunately as H.G. Wells found out with his famous War of the Worlds broadcast, you run the risk that some people will think the story is true and not a work of fiction.  That is why so many are confused as to whether global climate change is real or not.

C’ya next time.

By sharepointmike Posted in SciFi

The End of the World….Or Not

Someone is always coming up with a new end-of-world scenario.  For several years the most popular one has been the Mayan calendar ending on about December 21, 2012.  Supposedly this scenario was somehow tied to either the reversal of the magnetic poles which would usher in massive tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanos, and more.  Some people even tried to tie the Mayan calendar cycle to the cycle in which our solar system passes through the galactic plane.  Maybe that needs a bit of an explanation.  As the solar system revolves around the Milky Way galaxy, it oscillates between being above the galactic plane and below it.  Looked at on edge, this oscillation almost looks like a wave form.  Now if the galactic plane contains more dust and junk than the area above or below (like the rings of Saturn), going through the galactic plane could pose a greater chance for collision with some of this junk.  Not one to miss a good disaster to make some money just in case the disaster does not happen, Hollywood even came out with a movie with bigger than life special effects that pretty much destroyed the world as we know it.

Not to be outdone, the folks that believe in Planet X (is it Planet IX now that Pluto is no longer considered a planet?) and its periodic appearance in the inner solar system where it creates havoc resurrected the story about Planet Nibiru.  In the last year or so, they have published dozens of videos on YouTube to not only explain about what was going to happen, but to also show videos of the supposed second star of the Nibiru system (if not Nibiru itself).  Of course Nibiru would also create massive earthquakes, flooding, and possibly a pole reversal.  (Doesn’t every good disaster do that?)

They said that Nibiru would come from the south.  Some others said it would come from behind the sun.  Wait a minute, doesn’t that sound contradictory?  The Sun is not over the Antarctic.  Rather it appears above the equator plus or minus about 23 degrees due to the tilt of Earth’s axis.  But they had to explain why millions of amateur astronomers around the world in the Northern hemisphere did not spot something as large as a planet, but they could spot comets crashing into Jupiter a few years ago.

Nibiru is supposedly somewhere in size between the moon and a small brown star.  That’s a pretty wide range.  It is also supposed to pass close to Earth within 5 to 10 Earth diameters.  One video makes the obvious mistake of saying that the Earth’s diameter is 25,000 miles so 10 Earth diameters would be about 250,000 miles or the distance to the moon.  Well half right.  The moon is about 250,000 miles from Earth, but the Earth diameter is only a little under 8,000 miles.  Sorry.  But even if their 10 Earth diameters were correct, an object the size of the moon coming as close as a distance of 80,000 miles should be visible long before it get there.

Maybe it is cloaked?

No, that’s even more ridiculous.

Dark matter?

Anyway, so they then said that it is coming in at a terrific rate of speed.  Ok, that is possible.  After all the speed at which our solar system whips around the Milky Way is 446,400 MPH.  If Nibiru is not travelling with us, but is going in almost the opposite direction, I suppose it could approach fast.  However, at twice the speed we are travelling around the Milky Way, it would take 104 hours or 4 days to travel the distance between our sun and earth.  So taking that extreme case, it is possible to come in very quickly within a few days ‘out of nowhere’ to slam into the earth.  A little more realistic is the fact that we are travelling around the sun at about 69,000 MPH.  Something orbiting the sun in the exact opposite direction would therefore result in about twice the speed on impact.  It would cover the distance between the sun and Earth in about 675 hours or a little over 28 days.

Another video said that Nibiru is being tracked by the radio dish in Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, that seems unlikely as this radio dish is dug into a bowl shaped depression in the earth and cannot really be moved, especially not to see something coming out of the southern sky.

They also said that it would approach Earth twice as it came through the inner solar system and the exited again, once on August 17th and a second time on September 26th.  Well August 17th has passed and nothing significant happened.  September 26th is just around the corner as I post this, so I would have to ask, ‘Where is this planet?’  I want to see it!’

I suppose September 26th will come and go just like any other day.  Furthermore, December 21st will arrive and we will still wake up to December 22nd to realize that since we survived the Mayan calendar, we have only 3 days left to do last minute shopping for Christmas.  (Although I cannot wait for the going out of business permanently sales on December 20th.)

In all seriousness, there are things out there in the Universe that are bigger than us and could pose a danger to survival on this planet.  Just look at the craters on our Moon, Mars, or any of the other satellites and planets our space missions have been able to take pictures of.  The dinosaurs probably laughed at their scientists who predicted that a huge meteor was heading directly to earth.  The problem is that too many people are hoping for a planetary disaster.  These are probably the same people who like to watch videos of car crashes, building fires, reality TV, and maybe even live footage of riots in Egypt and other Middle East countries (isn’t that another form of reality TV?).

At some time in the future, something out there will take aim at Earth and I only hope that by then we have the intelligence and the will to explore other planets and maybe even nearby star systems so some of mankind will survive.  In the meantime, I expect to be publishing these blog entries for a really long time to come.

C’ya next time…..unless…wait….what is that up in the sky?

By sharepointmike Posted in SciFi