All the Sunday talk shows were arguing yet again over budget cuts – I didn’t watch them. I was watching Russian meteor videos. Comparing them to Armageddon movies. The movies make you think it’s the impact that does the damage. They don’t tell you about the sonic boom.
Actually – the multiple booms. Can you imagine something like this over a really big city? And no one saw it coming. Not a single doomsday prophet, not a single scientist – they couldn’t even agree on how big it was.
First it was the size of a bus.
Then it was the size of a nuclear sub.
And then finally, “Weighing more than the Eiffel Tower,” reported one news anchor. “Its explosion in the atmosphere the equivalent of 30 Hiroshima bombs.”
Everyone now seems to agree it was about 50 feet wide and hit the atmosphere at 40,000 miles per hour. And yet no space agency – not ours, not Russia’s – is set up to track something that weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower, and explodes like 30 Hiroshima bombs.
It’s changed the meaning of the word meteor for me, I’ll tell you that. Meteors used to be benign flashes in the sky. We called them shooting stars; we made wishes on them. Now it turns out they’re the rogue nukes of the cosmos.
Here we are stressing about Iran’s nukes, and North Korea’s nukes; spending billions to prepare for mutual nuking, while the cosmos just laughs.
Anyway – keep your bike helmet on, and when you see the bright flash, you have a minute to get away from the windows. That, apparently, is all the warning we are going to get.