The Electric Commentary

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Big News Today

First, an enormous earthquake hit Sumatra, Thailand, India, and everywhere else that is remotely close to these places this morning. An 8.9 on the Richter scale, which is close to total destruction. For a roundup of news, click here.

Instapundit, Althouse, and Drudge have more.

Second, apparently it's very likely we will be hit by an asteroid in the year 2029. The odds are currently about 1 in 45.

From Jay Manifold:

In any case, the projected energy of impact is 2,200 megatons. Now we turn to one of the earliest posts on Arcturus, Thinking About the Unthinkable, where I used some handy equations from Arsenal to find that the 5-psi overpressure radius (which may be regarded for the purposes of this discussion as the Bad Day radius) for a 10-kiloton explosion is just over 900 meters. These things scale inversely as the cube of yield, so ³√(2,200/0.01) × 0.9 km = 54 kilometers or thereabouts. The area thus affected, A = πr², is over 9,000 km², which at the average population density in the US of about 31 per km² (derived from this source) would contain about 280,000 people.

At the average population density of India -- which as I explained in my earlier post, is quite a bit nearer the probable impact site -- however, this works out to nearly 2.5 million people. Yikes.

(Hat tip, Marginal Revolution)

Finally, Reggie White died of a massive heart attack today, at the age of 43. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"I didn't come in here saying, 'I'm Reggie White, I've been to the Pro Bowl seven times and I'm the man.' I came here and my whole attitude was that when we realize that No. 4 is the man, that No. 4 is the one who is going to take us and that we're going to be the supporting cast, then we're going to start winning."

Four seasons into his tenure in Green Bay, White recorded a record three sacks in the Packers' Super Bowl XXXI victory over the New England Patriots. He would help lead the Packers to the Super Bowl again the next season, though Green Bay would lose to the Denver Broncos.


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