Monday, April 18, 2005

Wired News: Asteroid Warnings Toned Down

Article by David Cohn, 4/16/05.

I like NEO stories but this is pretty funny. It's a slow news day when newspapers publish panic headlines about NEOs that have a 1 in 45 chance of hitting the earth in the next 25 years. Wikipedia has this article on the Torino Scale.

With all of these scales, whether from DHS or the meteorologist, they're supposed to clarify the actual threat, but the number of words it takes to explain a mango warning probably out weigh the original story.

...The colors haven't changed from the old system, but the explanation of what each color means has. Asteroids in the green section used to be deemed 'events meriting careful monitoring,' but now are considered 'normal.' And a level 6 object was described as capable of causing 'global catastrophe.' Now these, too, only merit the concern of astronomers...Not all the changes paint a rosier picture. Under the old system, a level 10 warning used to be described as 'causing global climatic disaster.' The new description reads 'a certain collision capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it.'

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