Dec 152016

Los Alamos has used supercomputers to simulate an ocean impact. According to their results, tsunamis won’t be the major threat they’ve long been assumed to be…. but there will be an exorbitant amount of water vapor injected into the atmosphere.

Visualizing ocean asteroid impact

Interesting video at the link.


 Posted by at 2:21 am
  • se jones

    which brings to mind that the planet must not allow nations run by certain fundamentalist-death-cult religions to ever possess advanced space technology. Steering NEOs into the Great Satan would probably ruin everyone’s day, but if paradise awaits – who cares?
    A very far in the future concern to be sure, and we in the West will probably have advanced AI to guard against this contingency, but I don’t much evidence of the death cult axis going away.

    • Scottlowther

      While Surt worshippers with the ability to shove asteroids around is a distressing notion, I suspect a more immediate threat will be them getting their mitts on the ability to genetically engineer plagues. Moving NEOs will prob ably always be a task requiring considerable effort and a detectable energy release. Gengineering will sooner or later be down to a downloadable app.

      • se jones

        You’re right of course.

        While there’s been hundreds of papers on CRISPR in the last couple of years, the title of this paper in Science ‘Any idiot can do it’ gets one’s attention.

        Nobody invisions hordes of killer mutant mice attacking, but you get the idea, the new CRISPR gene editing tools are cheap and easy to use on any living thing (including bacteria of course) and well – who knows.

        This from the Nov. 3 AAAS Science:
        ‘Any idiot can do it.’ Genome editor CRISPR could put mutant mice in everyone’s reach

        “…labs making new mouse strains have long relied on a laborious multistep process that involves genetically altering mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, injecting them into an embryo, and breeding multiple generations of animals. Even JAX’s crack team took up to 2 years to engineer a mouse. CRISPR replaces all that with a molecular complex that can do targeted genetic surgery on a fertilized egg. It can produce a strain of transformed mice in 6 months. “It’s night and day,” Wiles says. “We had five or six people working with ES cells. They were close friends of mine and I said, ‘You better look for a job.’”

        “…Most investigators get their engineered mice from colleagues or by purchasing them from commercial outfits like JAX or academic-based repositories. Popular engineered mice, such as JAX’s immunodeficient NOD scid gamma strains, sell for as little as a few hundred dollars, but a custommade mutant could cost as much as $20,000. By making the engineering of mice far simpler and cheaper, CRISPR opens the way for more labs to do it themselves. “When you made knockout mice before, you needed some skills,” says Rudolf Jaenisch at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. “Now, you don’t need them anymore. Any idiot can do it.”

      • John Nowak

        Probably not.

        To date as far is publically known, any attempt to create a new, more-virulent organism has failed because the changes crippled the organism in other ways. What it comes down to is that Nature has a petri dish the size of a planet and billions of years; if a “super bug” were plausible, it would already be out there.

        • Scottlowther

          > as far is publically known

          Never a good basis upon which to project future capabilities.

          Genetic tinkering is a process that will require a lot of learning. But once it is learned and the data recorded and made available… it’s just data, easily downloaded. And while Jihad Jim might not be able to puzzle out the process… a laptop circa 2030? I wouldn’t bet against it. Contrariwise, nukes, for example, are going to require weapons grade uranium or plutonium, unless something entirely new is invented. And weapons grade fissionables aren’t something you can miracle into existence. At least not yet…

      • Herp McDerp

        Elon Musk is right.

        We someday may need to quarantine Earth, to keep its inhabitants away from the rest of humanity.

        Hey, there might be a story idea there …

        • Scottlowther

          > there might be a story idea there

          Already in process.

  • se jones

    Oh, and speaking of BLAMMO, the 2016 AGU fall meeting press conference archive is up on YouTube.

    This one “Defending the Home Planet” is sort of relevant:

  • publiusr