Kessler Syndrome

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Dehn0045

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As if 2020 wasn't already bad enough... My personal top four threats to humanity are: climate change, pandemic, thermonuclear war, and Kessler syndrome. (The lay person's explanation of Kessler Syndrome, as I understand it, is when space objects collide creating a chain reaction of collisions that then fills space around earth with so much junk that it is totally unusable. Also the potential for a cloud of debris so dense that you can't get anything out past it, like an impenetrable mine field surrounding the earth.) Obviously there are other threats that are potentially more catastrophic, but to me these four have combined severity and probability that make them most concerning. Anyway, we already certainly have one of the four, climate change can be argued - so i'll give it 1/2 point, the doomsday clock moved to 100 seconds to midnight, and now a Kessler Syndrome situation seems quite possible. Look to the sky tomorrow night at 8pm.


Note - the collision is currently being given a 1% to 20% chance of happening. If it does happen, I don't think anyone knows if it will cause a Kessler Syndrome scenario, or how long that might take. As a casual observer I certainly have no clue.

On the bright side, it might be good for pen sales...
 
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FGarbrecht

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I suspect that the 210,000+ people dead of COVID in the U.S. would probably think 2020 was pretty bad. As an active hospital based doc, we are seeing increasing COVID admissions and nosocomial transmission to staff, increasing hospitalizations and increasing ICU utilization. We continue to see COVID deaths.

You are entitled to your opinions and conspiracy theories, but please don't contribute to misinformation that can lead to harm.

EDIT: to clarify, I was responding to another response (not OP) which appears to have been taken down.
 
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studioseven

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I thought maybe I had the Kessler syndrome until I realized you were not referring to the whiskey. I know.. I know. People are sick and dying. Others are losing their jobs and I'm making jokes. Well when we lose our sense of humor all is truly lost.

Seven

Seven
 

sbwertz

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I suspect that the 210,000+ people dead of COVID in the U.S. would probably think 2020 was pretty bad. As an active hospital based doc, we are seeing increasing COVID admissions and nosocomial transmission to staff, increasing hospitalizations and increasing ICU utilization. We continue to see COVID deaths.

You are entitled to your opinions and conspiracy theories, but please don't contribute to misinformation that can lead to harm.

EDIT: to clarify, I was responding to another response (not OP) which appears to have been taken down.
One side effect here in AZ as we start the flu season. Between masks and social distancing, flu cases are way down this year.
 

Dehn0045

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@studioseven I had never heard of Kessler whiskey, maybe that's part of my problem. I looked it up, at $15.99 for 1.75L it sounds like it might be associated with some sort of syndrome 🤮. I agree about keeping a sense of humor, thanks for the laugh!
 
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There's a line from a very famous movie, "Everybody gotta die sometime Red". I probably should have been dead a long time ago but heck, I made it this far so have at it Russia and China and your space garbage. There's a whole lot of space in the outer-space to absorb any kind of issue... I hope.
 

Bryguy

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Having taught science for over 20 years and with a degree in Oceanography since 1983, I can assure you that there is no argument about climate change except that promoted by the oil companies and their proponents.
 

Dehn0045

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Having taught science for over 20 years and with a degree in Oceanography since 1983, I can assure you that there is no argument about climate change except that promoted by the oil companies and their proponents.
I agree, no doubt the climate is changing and the earth has been steadily warming since the late 1800s. I think we tend to get hung up on the extent to which humans have influenced this change. Events in the past show that the climate can change dramatically without human influence. The one that I find the most fascinating is the Younger Dryas, 4-10 degC drop in temp over as little as a decade. If something like this happened, whether or not caused by human activity, it would be catastrophic to modern civilization. Also, It doesn't get discussed much, but given the choice between increasing or decreasing temperatures, I'll take increasing all day long.
 
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I agree, no doubt the climate is changing and the earth has been steadily warming since the late 1800s. I think we tend to get hung up on the extent to which humans have influenced this change. Events in the past show that the climate can change dramatically without human influence. The one that I find the most fascinating is the Younger Dryas, 4-10 degC drop in temp over as little as a decade. If something like this happened, whether or not caused by human activity, it would be catastrophic to modern civilization. Also, It doesn't get discussed much, but given the choice between increasing or decreasing temperatures, I'll take increasing all day long.
I'm no scientist and don't study science, but seems to me that if you look back through history, the Earth has gone through a number of changes over the millennium... we've had warming cycles and ice age cycles... and this was before we had man on the planet... I don't doubt climate change for one second, but it may be a cycle of the Earth, nothing to do with what man does or does not do.... we just need to adapt.
 

henry1164

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I'm no scientist and don't study science, but seems to me that if you look back through history, the Earth has gone through a number of changes over the millennium... we've had warming cycles and ice age cycles... and this was before we had man on the planet... I don't doubt climate change for one second, but it may be a cycle of the Earth, nothing to do with what man does or does not do.... we just need to adapt.
These are fighting words....for some people! I'm no scientist either but I agree with your assessment. I'm all for ther logical and reasonable environmental management efforts we have in place now mostly to appease those who believe that humans have created the problem and humans have it within their power to fix it - a feel good kind of thing. However, I believe that the U.S. (pop. 330M) is doing SIGNIFICANTLY MORE than their fair share in addressing this issue. Environmentalist, scientist, politicians, etc. need to concentrate their effort on getting China (pop. 1.4B) and India (pop. 1.3B), as a minimum to contribute as much as we do. China is increasing their coal fired electrical production by 40% over the next ten years. Doesn't sound good to me. Their active participation might make some difference even with the natural 100,000 year earth cycles. And, cows and other farm animals will pass gas, but, for those of us who are meat eaters, God has given us tasty cuts of various animals for our existence.
 

magpens

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As my (mechanical engineer) daughter once said during a typically spirited dinner table conversation:
"Dad - just sit back and savor the entropy"
(She's fun)

Hmmm .... "entropy" .... that's the entity that's always increasing, isn't it .... ????

Much as I struggled with it, that was one concept that never went down with me !! 😁

Position, velocity and acceleration I could grasp quite readily, but Thermodynamics .... beyond the simplicity of hot and cold .... not so easy.

Having said that, I have no doubt that mankind is contributing significantly to the phenomenon of the current global warming.

It is very strange you know .... my now 100-year-old father (an educator) strongly encouraged me to become a physicist and I have long suspected that he merely wanted to have someone with whom to argue. . So, on the one hand he was/is touting the scientific approach, and on the other hand he likes to argue against its rational/logical conclusions.

Simplified .... can we actually pin the blame on Big Oil or is it just another one of those largely unexplained multi-millennial cycles ?

I think that this generation will never know. . But at the same time, I am grateful that Dad and I can still have constructive disagreement !!!
 

leehljp

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I was reading last week about a group of penguins that was found. they thought they found where some penguins were living/roosting in an area in which no penguins had been for hundred years or more. (forgot the timeline.) Then they discovered that it wasn't - the snow melted and revealed penguins that had been frozen for a century or more. It appeared that the penguins had just died. Next topic was the number of times over a millennia this had happened in that area.
 
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As a former "Big Oil" employee I could really get into a lively debate, however I've found that when someone makes up their minds it's pretty hard to change it so I'll keep my opinions to myself. HOWEVER, to the many points made here I would make reference to a very good book that delves into the climate cycles in the world over the millennia and the impact on differing societies.

The book is: "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. Good read and very informative and he's written many very informative books that I think some people should read, not everyone though. You can look him up on Google to see what he's all about but I did have a chance some time back to sit down and talk with him. We had a great but way to short conversation that I enjoyed very much. Just an FYI, he was, or is still, a Professor at UCLA just in case you wondered. I've read all his books, some more than once and his ideas and concepts are well founded and documented.

As much as I'd love to start a lengthy thread here debating the different ideas, I really don't think this is the proper platform to discuss climate change or any environmental issues. I just want to turn some pens and make some knives. I do what I can for the climate and our earth and I'm happy with that.
 

magpens

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@wolf creek knives @leehljp

I like the writings of Jared Diamond also, and would recommend them to any who may be interested in this or similar topics.

As for frozen penguins ... I'll leave it to Hank to defend that one !!! ;) . . He didn't actually say that frostbite was the cause of their death !!
 
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@wolf creek knives @leehljp

I like the writings of Jared Diamond also, and would recommend them to any who may be interested in this or similar topics.

As for frozen penguins ... I'll leave it to Hank to defend that one !!! ;) . . He didn't actually say that frostbite was the cause of their death !!


Thanks Mal. I think we have a lot in common for sure.
 

Dehn0045

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Preliminary data shows that the space junk didn't collide. The net velocity was something like 14 km/s so I'm no sure we'll ever know precisely how close they came to one another. Cheers!
 

magpens

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With regard to a possible collision with space junk, climate change, and other worrisome "possibilities", greater minds than mine have given them serious consideration. . One of those minds was that of Stephen Hawking according to this article that popped up on my screen:


So, perhaps it could be dangerous to be dismissive of the possibilities and the roles we as a species could play in their avoidance.

I also am sensitive to the thought that such things are unlikely to affect my life in what's left of it, and also what could I do if they did.

It's not often that I wax so philosophical !! :D
 

Bryguy

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I'm no scientist and don't study science, but seems to me that if you look back through history, the Earth has gone through a number of changes over the millennium... we've had warming cycles and ice age cycles... and this was before we had man on the planet... I don't doubt climate change for one second, but it may be a cycle of the Earth, nothing to do with what man does or does not do.... we just need to adapt.
Check out the graphs comparing human production of Carbon dioxide fron fossil fuels and average global temperature. Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas" and in the upper atmosphere acts like the glass in your greenhouse, trapping the heat in. It isn't just coincidental that the increase in carbon dioxide started with our use of coal during the industrial revolution. https://www.climate.gov/news-featur...ate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide
 

Curly

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It took the earth millions and millions of years for life to take the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and put it in the ground as coal, oil, limestone etc to cool the planet. In less that two hundred years mankind has put trillions of tons of it back into the air and at the same time taken out vast areas of forests that use up carbon to fill the needs of our ever increasing population. One has to have very limited brain capacity to believe we aren't having a detrimental effect on the planet. But it is okay because after we cause our own extinction, becoming fossils, there will still be enough bits of life left to evolve to cover the planet again. Maybe the next critter with opposable thumbs will get it right. There is hope for this overgrazed planet once we are out of the way.
 

magpens

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That graph quoted and presented by Bryguy above is very interesting.

Yes, there indeed have been cyclical increases AND decreases over the Earth's history .... BUT ....

.... compare the magnitude of the INCREASE over the last 250 years to the size of the previous cyclical changes ....

WOW !! ... WE ARE THE BAD GUYS !! . Believe the science !!!
 

Bob in SF

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Quoth Curly: "Maybe the next critter with opposable thumbs will get it right."

Since the earth is a water planet with 72% water coverage, and since some say we started off as plankton, I'm thinking the next round of critters will have get the ball rolling with opposable fins. I'm eager to see whether they develop artifishal intelligence. Apologies in advance for this turn of phrase.

Happy Sunday to all - and keep your eyes on the spinning objects.

- Bob
 
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This has turned into a good discussion about climate change. BUT, there are a host of things that have caused climate change other than fossil fuels, although they represent probably the largest portion of it. What the graphs don't show or indicate, that I could find, is human growth sizes. It also doesn't talk to the fact that as the worlds population grows how much more of the earths surface has been covered with buildings, asphalt and concrete and as cities continue to grow the reduction in forested land.

Fossil fuels aren't going away anytime soon even with the "New Green Deal" that has been talked about so much in the U.S. Let me ask a simple question. Lets say we completely do away with fossil fuels in say the next 10 or even 50 years. The alternative that I've heard the most discussion on is "clean nuclear power" 🤔. Those of us who were around in the 60's and 70's and longer will probably remember the protests against nuclear power...I sure do. I can also think of 3 nuclear "accidents" that have taken place in the last 50 years or so, two with potentially catastrophic outcomes. Lives lost, soil contamination that will last for many, many years and whole towns and cities uninhabited due to the nuclear fallout (Japan, Russia). My question. Are you ready to go toward a nuclear world with all the potential problems it could create let alone how unregulated it could become in some countries?

Battery powered cars (electric). Where's the power going to come from? California just announced that it will no longer allow internal combustion engines to be sold in the state in, I believe, 5 years. California is already energy short, how will the state offer electricity to those that use electric cars? Let alone the added cost for each vehicle. I could go on and on.

Most know I live completely off the grid, no brag, just a fact that I love where I live...for right now. I have 18 solar panels (12- 280watt and 6- 300watt). For the last two days we've had snow and zero sunshine so my batteries don't get charged by the sun. Every non-sunny day I have to run my back up 10kw diesel generator to charge the batteries. My annual diesel demand for the generator is around 120 gls. Now comes the rub. My off grid system cost just shy of $70,000.00. Not cheap and most people would not pay that price if given the opportunity to live in a city with cheaper energy bills. Oh, and tax rebates? Well President Obama did away with those for the most part, even less incentive to go solar.

So what's the answer? I'd love to hear some ideas. What are you as and individual doing to reduce carbon emissions? And please understand, I'm not arguing with anyone, I'm just interested.
 

maxwell_smart007

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I'm glad that this hasn't devolved into politics. Science tends to bring out emotions for some reason...

I remember being in kindergarten, and trying the argument 'hey, why are you picking on me - look at the bad things they're doing - why should I stop'... the adults in my life never allowed that. The problem comes when countries are the ones acting like the kindergarten kids and there are no structures with the power to compel change.

My mom's response to "Jimmy is doing way worse than I am - why are you picking on me!" was always something along the lines of "I'm talking to you, not Jimmy. Grow up, and act responsibly. I had the same response from her when I said that I'm not doing something unless my sister did it first... ("March yourself up those stairs, sonny boy, and do what needs to be done") Someone always has to go first.

Eventually I grew up and I realized that people with the means to do so should lead by example....and every good thing began with one person choosing to leave the world a little better than he/she found it.

Later history (if we leave the planet alive long enough for such a thing) will look quite poorly upon us if we just fiddle while Rome burns...

On the topic of climate, I struggle to see how anyone can deny that the climate has changed substantially in our lifetime...maybe one has to live in a moderate temperature area. Anyone who denies that the climate is changing should move to an area with more extreme weather - like the Canadian north - and see how the climate has already changed since we were kids. Talk to an Elder and discuss how things have changed....and be prepared to listen, not argue. I think that's the issue we have in our world - we all cherry pick to justify our own views (it's human nature), but have difficulty seeing the other side or the bigger picture. It's a tough thing to set aside one's preconceptions and look at data....

Luckily, the world is full of scientists who look at data for a living...and not just ones who stayed at a Holiday Inn express last night. Also luckily - or perhaps luck isn't the right word - their analysis of the data is overwhelmingly consistent - humans have caused (and more importantly are causing) significant warming of the planet through our activities. "But look at what the others are doing"...yes, we'll have to get them on board too...but it starts with leading by example before we dictate to others, or demand others change first.

Yes, the world has cooled and warmed - over millions and tens of millions of years..and not in the life cycle of our species. Substantial increases over decades should cause some alarm. Humans are the first species to completely adapt the world to meet our needs - but we do tend to focus on our individual wants over the collective needs of the planet - to our eventual demise, if we're not careful. Heck, go to any random untouched oceanic beach in any part of the world and count the pieces of plastic washed up on shore - and then try and argue that humans don't impact our planet.

I know what my mom would say.
 

Fred Bruche

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Unfortunately, the records of humans working together for the benefit of the Homo sapiens race are very very slim, and unfortunately mostly happens to fight wars or in movies. For sure we need to do a much better job if we are to stay on this planet for a while. One of my favorite cartoon to illustrate the dilemma

1_oC_nqpmMDs5_Blw8WgasRQ.jpg
 

sbwertz

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I think summer is FINALLY OVER in Phoenix. It has been under a hundred degrees for twelve days in a row....although it got up to 99 a couple of days ago. It is cooling off at night now...lows in the mid sixties. I didn't think the hot weather was ever going to end. Looks like we should be out of the 90s and into the 80s by the end of the week.
 
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