Look out, look out, asteroids are about!

Discussion in 'Science' started by cerberus, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    "NASA asteroid WARNING: 2,600 foot rock bigger than GRAND CANYON to skim Earth in September. AN asteroid which could fit inside of the Grand Canyon will barrel dangerously close to planet Earth in just two weeks, NASA has gravely revealed."

    Blimey, asteroids as big as double-decker buses, football pitches, and pyramids are one thing, but asteroids bigger than the Grand Canyon 'barreling dangerously' around skimming Earth? :eekeyes: No wonder NASA is 'gravely worried' - I mean who wouldn't be? :yawn:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/scie...P118-bigger-grand-canyon-skim-Earth-September


     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  2. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    It's a report from the Daily Express, the only source of cardio exercise for a fair section of the UK population (their pulses rise as they sputter into their cornflakes of a morning). It is entirely possible that the Daily Express headline is significantly more exciting than the rather dry NASA press release that prompted it.

    For example "gravely worried" isn't a phrase used by NASA, indeed it's just the Daily Express using "gravely revealed" - possibly because the release itself (if there was one) was so dry. Indeed I cannot find a NASA press release so it may just be the Express combing through the NEO register to generate a headline.

    https://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroids/1998SD9/1998SD9_planning.2018.html
     
  3. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    On the other hand, NASA might really be gravely worried. :eekeyes: I mean, don't shoot the poor bloody messenger?? It's a load of crap ffs - anyone with an ounce of nous can see that! Jeez! :wall:
     
  4. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what bits you consider "a load of crap", that there are asteroids, that their orbits can turn them into near Earth objects or that a huge asteroid/meteor strike would be rather inconvenient, especially if it happened in or near a population centre.

    If it's any of the above, you're really pushing the envelope of argument from ignorance ;)
     
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  5. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    But read it again, then tell me it isn't condescending - as if it's aimed at 4th year students?
     
  6. fmw

    fmw Well-Known Member

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    I would say they don't understand how big the grand canyon is.
     
  7. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    If it's the Express article, yes it is aimed at the intellectually feeble.
     
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  8. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    Remember "they" in this context is the Daily Express, or more specifically Sebastian Kettley, their science reporter - a man with no tertiary science qualifications as far as I can find.

    That said " AN asteroid which could fit inside of the Grand Canyon" is just an asteroid smaller than the Grand Canyon - so a pebble would fit the bill.
     
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  9. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    As usual you misrepresent NASA and science to make your ignorant point but this time place a link to tabloid rash with paywall garbage. You should at least try to be creative and make up your own nonsense vs. posting the dribble of fellow morons.
     
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  10. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Well-Known Member

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    One of the few guaranteed extinction level events is an asteroid impact. It has happened before and a near certainty that it will happen again. But we spend more on video games than ensuring all life on earth isn't wiped out. And in many cases, we now have the technology to deflect a potential impact. But first and foremost we need to know it's coming. And close calls can result in another encounter later.

    Why are you so irrational? Are you just needy and grasping for attention? Do you spend all of your time alone? Are you void of any friends to take out your anger on NASA?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  11. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    Count your blessings, unfortunately I could access the site.....

    The Daily Express is notorious in the UK for completely misrepresenting science.
     
  12. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    No wonder he uses it.....makes sense.
     
  13. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    And where do you think the Express got the story? You're not saying they fabricated it are you? You're wrong if you are saying that, because it's reported in other publications too. What is it that makes you and others leap to the defence of NASA, no matter how ridiculous their daily outpourings are even though there's not an iota of evidence? Only someone who's intellectually feeble would do that??
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  14. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    Even if I were all of those things, at least I'm not gullible. Only children and stupid people are gullible?
     
  15. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, I cannot find a NASA press release about this object.

    Depends on what you mean by fabricated. Looking at the article it seems to contain some generic information from NASA sources (or at least they're putting things in quotes) about what happens when asteroids of various sizes hit the Earth and some general information about this particular NEO. It well known that the Express have a "go to guy" when they need one of their best/worst summer/winter in history stories they love so much. It wouldn't shock me to find that they have a similar "scary science" guy

    Is it though, or it is the same Express story recycled by other outlets ?

    I jump to the defence of NASA because a long time ago I studied the subject in some depth and understand about orbits, near Earth objects, the sheer amount of "stuff" out there.
     
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  16. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    "Asteroid 2015 FP118 {NASA has even named it? I don't think the Express newspaper would do that?} is speeding through space on a trajectory that will make a “close approach” on September 3, next month. NASA estimates the behemoth of an asteroid is anywhere between 1,148 feet (350m) and 2690 feet (820m) in diameter. At its upper size estimate, the asteroid is bigger than the US Grand Canyon is deep – about 2,600 feet (792m) from the ground up. An asteroid this big could prove immensely cataclysmic if it were to hit the Earth. The asteroid believed to have killed the dinosaurs { :rolleyes: meaning that every dinosaur on the planet was in the same impact area - they must have been at a conference? } is estimated to have been around 9.3 miles (15km) in diameter but a space rock as small as 140 feet (42.6) wide is dangerous enough to warrant NASA’s interest. Asteroids 140 feet (42.6) wide and upwards are classed by NASA as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) due to their potential destructive power. The US space agency said: “Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters, about 82 feet, will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. If a rocky meteoroid larger than 25 meters but smaller than one kilometre, a little more than 0.5 miles, were to hit Earth, it would likely cause local damage to the impact area."

    Well it looks to me as if NASA had some input in the story, not least because a newspaper wouldn't have any notion of the statistics within the article? I'll repeat the link at the end of this post to save you having to look back for it.

    I don't understand most of that, but I do understand what you say about quotation marks when not used for a quotation per se - I often use them myself in a post, either to suggest an irony, or to quote a word or phrase contained in the post I'm replying to.

    Whatever, the story wasn't invented by an Express hack, it was based upon a NASA publication.

    Well for the stupendous cost to the US taxpayer, I should hope NASA does come up with some genuinely researched information; I'm not saying that everything they publish is fake, only some of it. Or most of it? :p

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/scie...P118-bigger-grand-canyon-skim-Earth-September[/quote]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  17. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    Gullible means swallowing pablum without any question.

    Did you stop and check the source for yourself? If not then the term applies.

    Did you even wonder why no other media outlets were reporting on an alleged asteroid that large? If not then the term applies.

    Did you bother to find out that it was going to come no closer than 12 times further away than the moon? If not the term applies.

    A 400 meter asteroid coming no closer than 3 million miles from Earth is what you failed to find out for yourself prior to posting your antiscience NASA bashing drivel so when the shoe fits it appears that it is being worn.
     
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  18. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    No NASA scientist, or scientist of any type worth her/his salt would have been so sloppy as to say "The asteroid believed to have killed the dinosaurs" unless maybe they are talking to children and even then they'd likely qualify it - it's almost certain that the Express journalist came up with that phrase. A scientist would have referred to it as Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event. In the unlikely event you're interested in learning something, I've included a link which outlines the method by which the extinction took place and the evidence for it.

    Typically, the bits in quotes will have been taken directly from some NASA source, anything else is paraphrased. Words like behemoth have almost certainly been selected for effect by the Express.

    The bits in quotation marks will most likely have been taken from some NASA source but if you look carefully at them, they're generic information about asteroids/meteors in general.

    How do you know ?

    Elements are clearly sourced from NASA but there's no indication that any of the breathless prose in the Express article comes directly from a NASA source. Rather, it seems to be "inspired by information released into the public domain by NASA"

    The bits you seem so upset about, the comparison is size to the Grand Canyon and the flowery, breathless prose to exaggerate the danger are not in quotes and so are almost certainly Express inventions to spice up mundane and boring information released by NASA into the public domain.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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  19. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Well-Known Member

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    The "ignore" feature is quite useful on this forum.
     
  20. DarkDaimon

    DarkDaimon Well-Known Member

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    Breaking News: A media outlet, totally misrepresents science to gain readers/viewers/clicks. Ignorant people overreact to badly written science article instead of doing a little research to see if the article is accurate.
     
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  21. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    Believe it all then - it's your self-respect that's on the line. [​IMG]
     
  22. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    Looks like the gullibles have chosen The Don as their spokesman? :blankstare: Any tips on how I can research the accuracy of the 'news'? Just one will be enough!
     
  23. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    Again, I'm not clear why my self respect is on the line.

    - That asteroids/meteors exist
    - That a large asteroid will really spoil your day
    - That there are near Earth objects exist
    - That NASA have a good idea of the size and orbit of many of the larger, closer ones

    I'm happy with all of that.

    The bits you're not happy with are the pieces of purple prose put in there by the Daily Express to spice up some pretty dry information placed in the public domain by NASA.

    Consider the reputation of the source. Most (all) of the tabloids like to spice up stories to make them more exciting. They're not lying but they are presenting the information in the most exciting way. Papers like The Times, Telegraph, Independent and Guardian are less likely to spice up a story to the same extent, but they will put their own political editorial spin on it.

    Look carefully at the story and see what parts are direct quotes attributed to a named person and which is stuck in there by the journalist.

    Try to find the original source. If NASA really did issue a "OMFG we're nearly going to be hit by an asteroid" press release, it should be easy to find. If instead the story is cobbled together from less exciting information in the public domain then there will be no such press release but some of the "boring" information should be easy to find.

    Have a basic understanding of both the subject at hand and the way that the press works. In the former case, my Physics degree had a couple of terms of astrophysics and I've always been partial to a squint through a telescope. In the latter case, a subscription to Private Eye was an interesting eye-opener to the ways of the press.
     
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  24. cerberus

    cerberus Well-Known Member Donor

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    I know a closed mind when encountering one, and wise enough to know that I'm on a hiding to nothing by trying to reason with it. In fact I suspect that this peculiar compulsion to believe in something even though there's zero evidence is a DNA thing.
     
  25. The Don

    The Don Well-Known Member

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    I see you're adopting the 5-D's of Dodgeball here in your argument; Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Dodge.

    It seems that the thing you most issue with in the article in the OP is the purple prose adopted by the Daily Express to describe the size and shape of the asteroid and the danger (or lack thereof) that it presents to the Earth. This is all down to the Daily Express's usual substandard science reporting (though to a greater or lesser extent, all news outlets are similar) rather than the NASA release - unless of course you can find it, I cannot.

    You asked for some tips on how to research the news but instead of engaging on any of the points I've suggested, you've decided to handwave everything away and declare that I'm close-minded because I've bothered to study a subject rather than relying on ignorance and "common" sense.

    I get that you say that don't believe 90% of what NASA (and other scientists) say but you've been very reluctant to say what bits you are inclined to believe. Humour me and say which of these statements you believe to be false:

    - The Earth is an oblate spheroid, not a flat disc
    - The Earth orbits around the sun*, rather than the sun and other astronomically observable objects orbiting around the Earth
    - Asteroids and meteors exist - that is to say that there are pieces of rock in the 10m - 10km size range out there in the solar system
    - That a large asteroid 100m+ will cause a lot of damage it if collides with the Earth
    - Near Earth objects - that is to say Asteroids and meteors which get close to the Earth exist
    - That NASA have a good idea of the size and orbit of many of the larger, closer ones

    The reason I ask is that by understanding what someone believes to be true (and why) can help when trying to teach them about other things.

    * - Yes I know, the Sun and the Earth orbit around a common centre of mass **
    ** - Yes I realise it's more complicated than that when the other objects in the solar system are taken into account
     

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