The end of the world … continued


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog with a joke title about the end of the world because I noticed that, on 2 June, an object would come closer than the moon.

Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, it is now getting hits from people seemingly convinced the Japanese earthquake means maybe we are in the “end of days”. So here are a few facts to think about:

  • Earthquakes regularly are the “largest ever recorded” because we have not been recording them for long
  • Despite all the horrific pictures from yesterday and the individual grief, for which people have my sympathy, the truly remarkable thing is that so few people have been killed because of the quality of the engineering (nuclear engineers may have a few questions to answer though)
  • Do not worry about 2009 BD – even if the scientists have got the calculations radically wrong (extremely unlikely) and it crashes into earth, the estimated yield will be about 7 kilotons of explosives – yesterday’s quake unleashed an estimated 336 megatons (or more) and we got through that
  • Finally, if you do worry about this sort of thing (and lots of people do), maybe you should read this book (just profiled in the New Scientist) and start to relax – Paranormality: Why we see what isn’t there