1. says

    Nathan J. Robinson’s article ‘Critics of “Don’t Look Up” Are Missing the Entire Point ‘

    Yes, that sounds right. I’m going to have to see the movie, now. I’m afraid that it’s going to be like Idiocracy – not depressing in and of itself, but depressing in its implications.

    I would buy a larger telescope.

    That’s a good one!
    Are you a telescoper? I’ve wondered before, if a prosumer telescope is capable of imaging some of the asteroids that whizz by. There are websites always announcing stuff like “a rock the size of new jersey is going to just miss us!” but I assume it’s outside of the moon’s orbit and going really fast, and not very well-lit. But why don’t professional astronomers have the gear and post the pictures? Are they just uninteresting?

  2. Jörg says

    Marcus @#3:

    Are you a telescoper?

    So far, I have only a very cheap one with which e.g. I can see the Galilean moons as dots wandering around Jupiter.

    asteroids that whizz by … But why don’t professional astronomers have the gear and post the pictures? Are they just uninteresting?

    Even if the rocks are inside the Moon’s orbit, they are indeed “not very well-lit”. Their pictures are at most a few pixels large and are sometimes posted online on astronomy sites, but provide excitement only for a tiny target audience.

  3. says

    Well, if it’s only a couple pixels it can’t do much damage if it hits something, right?

    I know, I know, it’s not the pixels its how fast they are moving ;)

  4. brucegee1962 says

    I watched the movie last night. I liked the Robinson article.

    One of the main points of the movie was, “When facing a civilization-ending catastrophe, the most rational reaction is to scream at the top of your lungs at the people with actual power to DO SOMETHING! PLEASE!!!!!!”

    And the movie demonstrates this by screaming itself. The critics who complain that its screaming is off-putting are very much missing the point, which is that if you have any power at all, and you are not also screaming, then you are Part Of The Problem.

  5. lurker753 says

    Without active optics, even with good-to-very-good seeing conditions, atmospheric distortions limits resolution to ~1 arcsecond, or “any object with a distance-to-size ratio of greater than ~200,000:1 is going to be a point source” . So 1km diam halfway to the moon *just* might be a slightly-larger-than-point-source. And that’s at closest approach.

    Also: professional astronomers (a) have to use their extremely limited telescope time to grab what science they can, and (b) *publishing* non-relevant images might give the wrong impression to some grant agency or telescope time allocation committee. So, yeah, anything interesting (e.g. comets) will be observed if the opportunity arises, but the images are mostly (I think) not publicised, or only long after the fact.

    (IANAA, but most of my colleagues are.)

  6. kestrel says

    Well I can tell you one thing for damn sure: the Partner would not be going to work. I’d stop worrying about whether or not the house was clean, or painted, or finished. I think the Partner would be playing a lot of music and I might just put a whopping big warp on my loom.

    I’d also spend time wondering about how things would all end. Would the atmosphere go away, so nothing could breathe? Would everything just catch on fire? etc.

  7. says

    I think I’d try to get my hands on a lot of heroin. Why not? It’s not like I’d be dying of the stuff. I hear it’s amazing except for the downside.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    My answer to the OP: I think the movie (and Epicurus) got it right. There is nothing on this green earth that is better than a good meal with good friends and/or family, good wine, good conversation, and pie. That’s the way to go.

  9. says

    Let me point folks to another article of (disaster) interest: Extreme Weather Now Plays a Big Part in Inflation.

    At least in Marcus’ question, the end would be quick. But it looks like what’s going on is just unstoppable. Much of the blame these days for inflation seems to have been towards supply chain issues, but the rapidly changing climate, and its associated disasters, is hitting the “supply” right at its sources.

    I could be (hope) I am wrong, but my latest vision of the way we are screwed is that screaming about inflation will elect more Republicans, whose steps to supposedly counter it will include their usual litany of prescriptions that will only increase CO2, exacerbating both inflation and global weirdness.

  10. rrutis1 says

    I would do a bike trip with my wife and ride to see as much family and friends as I could in that month. Then to top it off finish up someplace with a good view, maybe a mountaintop or coastline, and have a good meal and a beer together for the last time.

  11. rrutis1 says

    Sonofrogblake @6
    With a little luck some of them will commit suicide early and leave you some spare time.

  12. billseymour says

    ahcuah @14

    … screaming about inflation will elect more Republicans, …

    Yes, I too fear a positive feedback loop.  Indeed, we seem to be in it already.

  13. StevoR says

    @ 10. Kestrel : “I’d also spend time wondering about how things would all end. Would the atmosphere go away, so nothing could breathe? Would everything just catch on fire? etc.”

    It would depend on a few things – specifically the mass and velocity of the comet impact – but think KT Extinction Event:

    video form:

    starting properly from about the 50 seconds mark if you want to skip to that.

  14. astringer says

    Well, I expect society as a whole would rather collapse for that month, (who is going to go to work?) so you would have no electricity. So 1st step, get a small generator & fuel to keep the freezer going (which is already stocked in case of covid-incapacity). A very quiet generator.

    Then a month of holiday walking in the local hills, kayaking, reading, snogging (not necessarily in that order). No more worries about early-onset dementia leaving you dribbling in a care home while a faceless corporate vulture takes your house and savings and throws your ektachrome slides into landfill.

    Oh, and do more dancing, even if its to acoustic stuff with bagpipes…

  15. sonofrojblake says

    @16: none of them are that sort of person. If they were, they wouldn’t be on the list….

  16. GenghisFaun says

    A lot of cannabis and eating whatever I like without regard to health implications, provided you can even access ingredients under this scenario (if all the [fill in the blank]-denialists keep things running due to their sincerely held beliefs that sky daddy will save them).

    Also, mountain biking and taking the dogs on hikes.

    Likelier, though, we’ll all be trying to survive the looters and sociopaths who decide to have a field day living out their Grand Theft Auto/Call of Duty fantasies IRL. At least here in the US of A(rseholes).

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    GenghisFaun @21:

    Likelier, though, we’ll all be trying to survive the looters and sociopaths who decide to have a field day living out their Grand Theft Auto/Call of Duty fantasies IRL.

    My thoughts exactly. And you might be on someone’s kill list!

    The idea of enjoying the last month is certainly appealing, but I suspect I’d find Impending Doom somewhat distracting. There would be drinking.

  18. says

    I’m reminded of David Brin’s The Postman – there never was a disaster so bad that someone wasn’t eager to make it worse. That does make me wonder if we all had a month before the asteroid hit, the white supremacists would go “woo hoo the south rises again!” and have their stupid race war. You just can’t reason with some people.

    The christians would all be calm though, right? God’s will, obviously.

  19. says

    If I understand correctly, the ground shock wave would be severe; anyone on the same continental plate as the impact would probably get thrown violently through the air. When the Chixculub impact happened, the ridge of displaced material was briefly as tall as Mt Everest – anyone near anything like that would be dead instantly. People farther away would get thrown, then farther still would basically be dealing with burning hot waves of atmosphere and chunks of flying burning lava stuff.

    There is a site I wrote about here before, which appears to be (!!) an area where the Chixculub impact threw a bunch of critters into a heap. Now, I am having trouble finding that posting. But, anyhow, there are fossils of dinosaurs that are horribly shattered and have fossilized fish rammed into their bodies. It sounds as though everything hit so hard it was turned into instant scrapple.

    Ah, here [stderr]

  20. dangerousbeans says

    i wouldn’t have faith that it would kill me quickly, so find some way to die painlessly before then. also do the same for the various animals i’m responsible for.

  21. StevoR says

    @27. Marcus Ranum : Thanks but that seemed to be visible before – it was this later one .. hmm .. Take III didn’t work. Trying without the links buit adding title / author info. Let’s see if this works now..

    At 10. Kestrel : See also :

    The Day the Dinosaurs Died – Minute by Minute by
    Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

    On youtube

    Incidentally whilst the KT impactor – the asteroid or comet that wiped out the dinosaurs was probly one of the largest objects to collide with Earth in almost the worst possible case scenario; it could potentially be even worse with even larger objects hitting our planet :

    WILL MERCURY HIT EARTH SOMEDAY? by Ken Croswell on Sky& telescope dot org

    although this is extremely unlikely in any case and only happens after billions of years by which time life on our world would be probly be destroyed by our daytime star as our Sun balloons into a red giant.

    Astronomically speaking there’s also the (very remote) possibility of “rogue planets” :

    Rogue Planets, Loners of the Universe by SciShow Space channel on youtube.

    entering our solar system, disrupting our planets orbit (& the orbital stability of other planets in our solar system) and colliding with us in order of increasing unlikeliness.

  22. StevoR says

    Incidentally, feeling headachy and bit crook so tried to get a covid test this morning .. wasn’t able to since the Aldinga testing place shut down with cars lined up – and I heard about it on the radio news with no warning or sign from the people there. (Scroll down to private labs close.)

    One of four sites where this happened. Self-isolating at home now and looking to book test online but seems SA has been at least partly overwhelmed by the surge in Omicron cases already..

  23. StevoR says

    Good music I reckon.

    Why shouldn’t I get emotional? The Bush is sacred. It actually is -closest thing to it anyhow if you are in and experience it quietly Numinously. As Saga (?) put it in one of his books. You get it or something like it being in nature. I hope. Maybe? Not religious here. Nor even spiritual. Just ..awed,.

    Still blows me away this clip does :

    Please just watch.

    Then there is this magnificent fusion of audiao and viusal truths & old songs :

    Among my alltime faves & might’ve shared befiore. Still.

  24. says

    Well, if we’re going for dark music, there’s this:

    I wish the mix was a bit more balanced, but the guitar bits really hit me.

    Whale meat again under the sun
    Every twelve minutes and another one’s gone
    His meat’s in your make-up, his flesh is on your lips
    As a nuclear warhead explodes in his hips

    Scientists are saying : ‘Now we’ve got to do something soon’
    But sitting around talking about it ain’t gonna stop that harpoon
    Oh, whale meat again, when will it end ?
    Not ’til everything is dead, alright


  25. StevoR says

    Anniversary today. On this day (the 18th January) back in 1788 (234 years ago) the first ship of the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay – the brig HMS Supply whose captain was Henry Lidgbird Ball, and which was also commanded by the Master / Commander David Blackburn and carried surgeon James Callam.

    They were far from the first Europeans to set foot in Australia, many previous Dutch and other explorers having charted mainly the western and northern coasts and two mutineers from the shipwrecked horror story that was the Batavia already having been marrooned permanently on what is now the West Australian coastline.

    However, this marked the beginning of the first permanent European settlement in Australia. The following weeks, months and years would mark the founding of the penal colony of New South Wales – which then extended in concept from what is now Victoria to what we call today Queensland (where NSW was actually named following Cook’s repair job on the Endeavour after hitting the Great Barrier Reef) – and the start of the Frontier Wars and the Dispossession of hundreds of Indigenous Peoples in Australia.

    The First Fleet carried aboard vials of smallpox and soon after the Fleet’s arrival, an outbreak of that deadly disease broke out devastating the local population although there is no official – or other – known record of whether and if so how and by whom those vials were used.

    See also on youtube :

    Plus :

    As well as :

  26. StevoR says

    From that article linked above :

    “The surgeons brought smallpox in vials,” Mr Mear said. Before vaccination, doctors commonly kept jars of smallpox scabs which they would grind up so that they could be sniffed up through the nose or rubbed into scratches in the skin, in a process called variolation.

    The aim was to cause a mild case of smallpox, triggering immunity to a more serious infection.

    Watkin Tench, the great chronicler of the First Fleet, confirmed doctors brought smallpox with them.


    In April 1789, just 15 months after the arrival of the First Fleet, smallpox ripped through Sydney’s Indigenous population.

    “Every boat that went down the harbour found them laying dead on the beaches and in the caverns of rocks,” First Fleet seaman Newton Fowell wrote. “None of the people arriving in Sydney in early 1788 had smallpox.

    “The long sea voyage meant that either people would have died or got better. So they didn’t carry smallpox from Britain.”


    “When the settlers moved into the interior, they were meeting communities that were still suffering the demographic effect of the smallpox epidemic,” Mr Reynolds said.

    “So the populations were much smaller than they had been. And that undoubtedly made the push of the Europeans into the interior of South Eastern Australia, much easier.

    Mr Mear goes one step further, wondering if the First Fleet would have survived without the pandemic.

    “Aboriginal people were certainly becoming much more aggressive towards the settlers.

    “The settlement could have been wiped out without the smallpox. So in my reading of it, yes, it changed the course of history.”


    Elizabeth Warren was awesome in this interview on Colbert a few nights ago which is on youtube here :

    & part II here :

    Plus part III :

  27. StevoR says

    OTT title – don’t think Iraq is dying just yet but interesting youtube video here especially on the dams of Turkey, Syria and Iraq and Kuwaiti history references :

    Spot on article here bu=y Lucy Hamilton :

    Oh and this song seems apt for some reason on this thread now .. :

    Some nice spaceart there FWIW.

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