Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Apocalypse, Hockey and Rain

I've been reading this book Scott lent me written by Marcelo Gleiser who is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The book is entitled: The Prophet and the Astronomer, Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World. It is quite an interesting book. His writing is rather scientific in nature of course but is a fascinating look at the history of sky\sun\star worship in religions dating back thousands of years, and the natural phenomena that people have feared since man formed an opinion on the subject a couple ten thousand years ago. He so far has specifically focused on the fear of comets which have been thought to be harbingers of bad events such as wars and the death of kings. Gleiser states that this is giving a bad reputation to celestial objects since, for all intents and purposes, Humankind itself has an asteroid to thank for our survival on this planet.

How's this you ask? Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 180 Million years, and would still be running around chomping on meat today had it not been for the impact of a 10 kilometer wide asteroid travelling at 20,000 meters per second which hit in the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago. The resulting crater, which was discovered not that long ago, is over 270 kilometers wide, so you can imagine the resulting damage to the planet. The most major change which occurred following the impact was a major shift in climate, with the massive dust and smoke from the impact blocking sunlight for months on end. Following the cooling trend, a massive greenhouse effect took over and the temperature rose sharply. Planetary climate took thousands of years to recover from this impact and roughly 40% of life on the planet was extinguished. Fortunately for us, human's predecessors were able to adapt and thrive in the new environment, and human life was eventually able to develop. So he essentially says that we have an asteroid impact to thank for our very existence, so we shouldn't be complaining to the gods about the chance of any cataclysmic events in the future... it's just part of nature's cycle. Quite an interesting read.

On the Hockey note, the NHL Playoffs are set to begin soon with the Ottawa Senators at or near the top of the Eastern Conference. While their opponent in the first round has yet to be determined, games should be starting next weekend I think? Go Sens Go! On a sad note (ya right!) the Toronto Maple Leafs look to be just about out of contending for the playoffs, five points back for the 8th playoff spot.... how sad. :-)

The weather out here this week has been very Tsuyu (Rainy season) like, with rain EVERY day since Monday. This is apparently a quite unusual amount of rain for this area in April, and has battered the lovely cherry blossoms a bit. They are nonetheless holding on for dear life and will hopefully still be there for our party on Sunday.

On a nicer note, this evening will mark the 6 month anniversary of Yoshiko and I first going out to dinner at Cafe Praktica, an occasion we will of course be celebrating together tonight.

Anywho, gotta do a tad of cleaning and get going to work.

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Anonymous Anne said...

Salut Michel! Nous voulons te souhaiter Joyeuses Pâques! Nous penserons à toi quand on fera la course au trésor dimanche matin. Tu n'as pas mentionner rien à ce sujet, est-ce que le monde là bas achète du chocolat ou est-ce que Pâques est complètement inconnu dans ton coin de pays. Je vous souhaite à toi et Yoshiko Joyeuses Pâques de nous tous.....

11:12 PM  

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