Friday, March 06, 2009

"In the midst of life...

...we are in death. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." says the burial service in the Book of Common Prayer. While in the "midst of life", we seldom realize how closely death brushes past us at any given moment. One such moment occurred this week as an asteroid- seen only two days before- passed within 48,800 miles of Earth. If that doesn't sound very close to you, remember that a slow meteor is traveling some 30,000 miles per hour!

The article referenced casually mentions that this asteroid was about the same size as the one that exploded over Siberia in 1908, leveling more than 800 square miles of forest. If you're unfamiliar with the Tunguska Event, the explosion was about 1,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. From the Wikipedia article: "The explosion registered on seismic stations across Eurasia. Although the Richter scale was not developed until 1935, in some places the shock wave would have been equivalent to an earthquake of 5.0 on the Richter scale. It also produced fluctuations in atmospheric pressure strong enough to be detected in Great Britain."

And for all our satellites and telescopes, we had less than 48 hours warning.

Just a thought to remember when you're getting all frazzled about projections of budgets ten years in the future, or worries about your personal future are driving you to despair... we are all living under the Sword of Damocles- you, me, the whole human race. No man knows when the stroke will fall. So do your duty for the day- including making plans for the future; that's today's duty- and then put it aside. Let it go, and enjoy the day... it's the only one you've got.

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