Tunguska event

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Cosmos by Carl Sagan

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Tunguska event

Each of these ideas has been proposed, some of them more or less seriously. Not one of them is strongly supported by the evidence. The key point of the Tunguska Event is that there was a tremendous explosion, a great shock wave, an enormous forest fire, and yet there is no impact crater at the site. There seems to be only one explanation consistent with all the facts: In 1908 a piece of a comet hit the Earth. In the vast spaces between the planets there are many objects, some rocky, some metallic, some icy, some composed partly of organic molecules. They range from grains of dust to irregular blocks the size of Nicaragua or Bhutan. And sometimes, by accident, there is a planet in the way. The Tunguska Event was probably caused by an icy cometary fragment about a hundred meters across—the size of a football field—weighing a million tons, moving at about 30 kilometers per second, 70,000 miles per hour.

.… As soon as the flame had disappeared, bangs louder than shots from a gun were heard, the ground could be felt to tremble, and the window panes in the cabin were shattered. … I was washing wool on the bank of the River Kan. Suddenly a noise like the fluttering of the wings of a frightened bird was heard … and a kind of swell came up the river. After this came a single sharp bang so loud that one of the workmen … fell into the water. This remarkable occurrence is called the Tunguska Event. Some scientists have suggested that it was caused by a piece of hurtling antimatter, annihilated on contact with the ordinary matter of the Earth, disappearing in a flash of gamma rays. But the absence of radioactivity at the impact site gives no support to this explanation. Others postulate that a mini black hole passed through the Earth in Siberia and out the other side. But the records of atmospheric shock waves show no hint of an object booming out of the North Atlantic later that day.

The debris spreads to fill the full cometary orbit. Where that orbit intersects the orbit of the Earth, there is a swarm of meteors waiting for us. Some part of the swarm is always at the same position in the Earth’s orbit, so the meteor shower is always observed on the same day of every year. June 30, 1908 was the day of the Beta Taurid meteor shower, connected with the orbit of Comet Encke. The Tunguska Event seems to have been caused by a chunk of Comet Encke, a piece substantially larger than the tiny fragments that cause those glittering, harmless meteor showers. Comets have always evoked fear and awe and superstition. Their occasional apparitions disturbingly challenged the notion of an unalterable and divinely ordered Cosmos. It seemed inconceivable that a spectacular streak of milk-white flame, rising and setting with the stars night after night, was not there for a reason, did not hold some portent for human affairs.


Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton

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Petersburg. Get a bus or trolleybus to Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya. 59.941568 30.304588 Completed in 1654, the Gottorb Globe was the world’s first planetarium. Tunguska Event Epicenter VANAVARA, KRASNOYARSK KRAI On June 30, 1908, at 7:14 a.m., a powerful explosion shattered windows, knocked people off their feet, and leveled 80 million trees over 830 square miles (2,150 sq. km) of forest around Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River basin. Initial speculation was that a meteorite had hit Earth, but subsequent investigations found no crater in the area. Naturally, the mysterious nature of the Tunguska Event has given rise to a wealth of conspiracy theories. Among the more far-fetched culprits: a tiny black hole passing through the Earth; a UFO crash; and the testing of Nikola Tesla’s secret “death ray.”

Among the more far-fetched culprits: a tiny black hole passing through the Earth; a UFO crash; and the testing of Nikola Tesla’s secret “death ray.” Today, the favored scientific explanation involves the midair explosion of a large meteoroid or comet. Indeed, it is the largest impact event in recent history. Split, mangled, and felled trees are all still visible around the Tunguska site. The closest village to the Tunguska Event epicenter is the town of Vanavara, located about 40 miles (65 km) southeast of the epicenter. 60.902539 101.904508 Kola Superdeep Borehole MURMANSK, MURMANSK OBLAST Until 1970, geologists could only theorize about the composition of the Earth’s crust. That was the year Soviet scientists began drilling what would become the deepest hole in the world. Engaged in a subterranean version of the Space Race, the USSR went all out to beat the US in a journey to the center of the Earth.

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Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

The good news is that he assumes a plan to acquire and deploy a nuclear bomb would require a lot of people working in concert, making it more likely that the intelligence agencies would detect them. Woo’s job requires him to think about almost every conceivable disaster. We first met a few days after a meteorite had entered the earth’s atmosphere over Russia and exploded in the air above the region of Chelyabinsk, injuring as many as fifteen hundred people. The Chelyabinsk object was the largest to have entered our atmosphere since a 1908 meteorite known as the Tunguska event, which also struck Russia and flattened an estimated 80 million trees. The chances of a meteorite striking Germany was another thing Woo considered in designing the World Cup risk model, but this was one he ended up dismissing. Some probabilities (like that of England winning the tournament) are just too low to assess properly.1 Woo works at a firm called Risk Management Solutions (RMS), one of three large companies (the others are AIR Worldwide and Eqecat) that specialize in modeling catastrophes.

., “Making Savers Winners: An Overview of Prize-Linked Savings Products” (NBER Working Paper 16433, October 2010); Melissa Schettini Kearney, “State Lotteries and Consumer Behaviour” (NBER Working Paper 9330, November 2002). 11. Robert Shiller, The New Financial Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003). 12. Anne Murphy, “Lotteries in the 1690s: Investment or Gamble?,” Financial History Review (October 2005). NOTES TO CHAPTER 9 1. Giuseppe Longo, “The Tunguska Event,” in Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach, edited by Peter Bobrowsky and Hans Rickman (Berlin: Springer, 2007). 2. To be precise, a special-purpose vehicle set up by the sponsoring insurer is the issuer of the bond. That protects investors from having their money locked up in a bankruptcy process if the issuer goes bust. 3. Goetz von Peter, Sebastian von Dahlen, and Sweta Saxena, “Unmitigated Disasters?


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The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain by Daniel Gardner

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Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Doomsday Clock, feminist movement, haute couture, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, medical residency, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Y2K, young professional

They don’t stir any particular emotion, and so they don’t engage the Good-Bad Rule and overwhelm our sense of how very unlikely they are to hurt us. The Example Rule doesn’t help, either. The only really massive asteroid impact in the modern era was the Tunguska event, which happened a century ago in a place so remote only a handful of people saw it. There have been media reports of “near misses” and a considerable amount of attention paid to astronomers’ warnings, but while these may raise conscious awareness of the issue, they’re very different from the kind of concrete experience our primal brains are wired to respond to. Many people also know of the theory that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, but that’s no more real and vivid in our memories than the Tunguska event, and so the Example Rule would steer Gut to conclude that the risk is tinier than it actually is. There is simply nothing about asteroids that could make Gut sit up and take notice.

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Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

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clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

Some of the lumps might have been dense enough to undergo gravitational collapse. They could form black holes that instead of weighing what a star weighs could be a lot smaller.” “How small?” “I don’t think there’s a lower limit. But the point is that one of them could zip through space invisibly and punch all the way through a planet and out the other side. There used to be a theory that the Tunguska event was caused by one, but it’s been disproved.” Dinah knew about that, because her dad liked to talk about it: a huge explosion in Siberia, a hundred years ago, that had knocked down millions of trees out in the middle of nowhere. “That was a big deal,” Dinah said, “but not enough to blow up the moon.” “To blow up the moon would take a bigger one, going faster,” Ivy said. “Look, it’s just a hypothesis.”