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A very large explosion
April 13, 2005 5:42 AM   Subscribe

NASA scientists say that a large gamma ray explosion within our own galaxy may have triggered a mass extinction hundreds of millions of years ago.
posted by C17H19NO3 (25 comments total)

 
Sorry if this is a double post. I could not find anything like it in the archives.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 5:43 AM on April 13, 2005


Key quote "The strength of their work is their atmospheric modeling -- essentially a "what if" scenario".

I hope we aren't paying them to do this!
posted by HuronBob at 5:51 AM on April 13, 2005


Dr. Bruce Banner was unavailable for comment.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:55 AM on April 13, 2005


Great post.
posted by dfowler at 6:18 AM on April 13, 2005


I knew those microwaveable fishsticks were stale.

HuronBob - this sort of research is very important. Studies of of this variety are useful for more immediate concerns, such as climate changes brought on by sunspot activity. In other instances, researching the impact of gamma bursters can help us understand early planetary formation or help
in development of better shielding for orbital satellites.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:25 AM on April 13, 2005


Good post, thanks.
posted by travis vocino at 6:41 AM on April 13, 2005


Smart Dalek... yep, I realize the importance of this kind of research... I think my pointing that out was about our tendency to pretty easily take a theory and turn it into a fact....
posted by HuronBob at 6:51 AM on April 13, 2005


(evolution)

[de-trolls]
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:00 AM on April 13, 2005


NinjaPirate...interesting article on that in this month's National Geographic (only a portion of it is online...I won't waste a link)...

We've taken a lot of "theories" and turned them into "facts".. evolution, electricity, relativity, even the earth orbiting the sun...... not that we were wrong, just that we are prone to do that sometimes... perhaps because the "theory" just makes sense, perhaps 'cuz it serves some purpose for us..

like they say... "don't confuse me with the facts"....
posted by HuronBob at 7:31 AM on April 13, 2005


"In other instances, researching the impact of gamma bursters can help us understand early planetary formation or help in development of better shielding for orbital satellites."

Uh... and hopefully some kind of shielding for us feeble squishies down here...

HuronBob: even the earth orbiting the sun

What??! HERETIC! BURN HIM!
posted by Chunder at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2005


So is this a good post, considering it's my first?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 7:46 AM on April 13, 2005


hahaha check out c17blahblahblah seeking love...

Yes, it is a good post. *Hugs*
posted by AspectRatio at 7:57 AM on April 13, 2005


Hey morphine, good post.
posted by Jikido at 8:06 AM on April 13, 2005


"We've taken a lot of 'theories' and turned them into 'facts'.."

While I agree with you to a certain extent, it's not as if we are just thinking of interesting new concepts and calling them "theories." That's philosophy, not science.

All of the theories you mentioned in your post are science, not philosophy. They're based on experimentation and observation.
posted by travis vocino at 8:25 AM on April 13, 2005


"Ra-di-a-tion. You hear so many things about how it's baaaad for you. Pernicious nonsense! The human body can withstand 40 x-rays a year ... and it should have them!"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:37 AM on April 13, 2005


Any linkage to the original paper?
posted by stbalbach at 9:39 AM on April 13, 2005


Have anyone else read Greg Egan's Diaspora? Besides being a wonderful science fiction novel for anyone who likes very advanced Physics (and plainly unintelligible for anyone without at least some knowledge of Quantum Mechanics), gamma ray bursts caused by colliding stars play a major role in the plot development. It is actually one of the best sci-fi books I've ever read.
posted by nkyad at 11:54 AM on April 13, 2005


In about 29 minutes, I'll be taking a pass and downlinking some data from Swift. Our spacecraft is designed to look for GRBs and slew to a burst if one is detected. Provided it is more interesting than whatever the planned target might be.
posted by Fat Guy at 1:04 PM on April 13, 2005


I second the greg egan recommendation.
posted by Iax at 4:54 PM on April 13, 2005


Beginning in 1980 with the dinosaur/asteroid controversy, it has more recently become popular for geologists to consider not just local, but global catastrophes to account for the geologic evidence they see. One can be assured that for a community to have made such an incredible shift -- in spite of the strong association which exists between catastrophism and creationism -- there must be profound evidence for catastrophe throughout the geologic column. ~ Kurt Wise

Luke 17.26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all."
posted by bevets at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2005


bevets, the key word there was evidence; or is quoting scripture enough for you?
posted by travis vocino at 7:52 PM on April 13, 2005


We're all sitting ducks.
posted by troutfishing at 1:33 AM on April 14, 2005


Have anyone else read Greg Egan's Diaspora?

That's the first thing I thought of when I saw this post :)
posted by dhruva at 3:01 AM on April 14, 2005


So wait bevets, was it a flood of gamma rays? Was the ark made of solid lead? Did god create the heavens and the earth and then occasionally he uses a gamma ray burst to cleanse his creation? Come now - elaborate from your quotes with some thoughts of your own. If gamma ray bursts take hundreds of millions of years to reach our system and destroy vast swathes of life on our planet then how do you square that with your young earth theories?

The two quotes you have just posted there have little to do with the subject - perhaps you could be a bit more specific with what you are trying to tell me. Alternatively you could stick to the topic in hand.
posted by longbaugh at 3:47 AM on April 14, 2005


there must be profound evidence for catastrophe throughout the geologic column. ~ Kurt Wise

travis vocino

the key word there was evidence;

For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. ~ Charles Darwin

But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective 'scientific method,' with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

Luke 17.26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all."

or is quoting scripture enough for you?

The Word of God is an unfair and overwhelming advantage over human mythology
posted by bevets at 5:09 AM on April 14, 2005


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