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Science was exciting this week. There was stuff happening up there and stuff happening down here too.
Firstly, in astronomical terms, last Friday we came within a hair’s breadth of being struck by an asteroid. Named “DA14”, and the size of a “mere” football field, it could be seen as a dot of light with a relatively simple telescope and, from the correct vantage point, even a pair of decent binoculars; one perfect viewing spot was on a clear night Down Under.
A Near Earth Object of this size and nature only comes around every 40 years.
It’s interesting to note that the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was six miles across. So, compared to that DA14 was miniature; football field size sounds pretty tiny in comparison, doesn’t it? Despite its “minuteness”, if it had struck anything on earth, it would have caused a fair amount of damage. Some scientists speculate whether DA14 was responsible for the meteor shower in Russia.
But, who would have thought that a meteor shower could emulate the show Smallville? Large chunks of rock, in the form of fireballs, pummelled a small town in Russia causing hundreds of injuries, mainly from shards of glass from broken windows; it was like a war zone.
Scientists claim that fireballs are a daily occurrence but because most of them land in the oceans, we don’t get to see them.
I can believe the part about fireballs being a daily occurrence. A few years ago, when I lived in the UK, one winter night, something whizzed past my bedroom window. It was the size of a football and it was on fire. I saw it for only two to three seconds, it was travelling that fast. I thought perhaps I was imagining things, until the show The Sky at Night came on a few weeks later and the show’s host, Patrick Moore, asked if anyone had seen the fireball and, if so, “in which direction was it travelling?”
Thankfully, our sun isn’t going anywhere too soon: it doesn’t whizz around our galaxy like some spaceship. If it did, we’d be in heaps of trouble. But that’s not to say that there aren’t other suns out there that do not because, apparently, Nasa has spotted a sun shooting across our galaxy at the humungous speed of two million miles per hour. Almost warp speed, if you will.
And only a couple of days ago, scientists announced that they believe that dark matter probably does exists. They say “probably” because they’re not sure but despite their uncertainty surrounding its existence scientists say that the gravity exerted by this very dark matter is responsible for holding the universe together. A two-billion dollar experiment involving a spectrometer mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station may give them the answer.
In simple terms, the gravity exerted by an object is directly related to its mass; the higher the mass, the greater the gravitational pull. Therefore, scientists ask, how does gravity hold the entire universe together if the total mass of all the objects in the universe, as they believe, isn’t enough to do the job? They, therefore, surmise that the extra mass required to generate the required gravity to hold the size of our universe together must surely come from “dark matter”.
But back on terra firma, we all know what bar codes are. They’ve been around, or variations of them, since the early 70s for managing inventory of products. Again, in simple terms, they’re unique to a particular object or set of objects, a bit like fingerprints, and are used to track and monitor them. They are small, inches in size, but they are everywhere; on supermarket items, on books and on medicines and medical supplies.
But, apparently, these bar codes are not only inches across but also miles. I’ll bet you’re wondering what items are so big that it needs a bar code that’s miles across in length. Before I answer that, perhaps I should also add that there aren’t just one, or two, or three items, but several across the entire world. You know, it’s probably nothing.
Just like the crop circles, it’s probably pure coincidence. But, according to Nasa, if we look down on earth from space, dotted all over our planet there appear to be multiple giant structures that look remarkably like bar codes. The questions scientists are now asking are, who built them and why? They reckon that perhaps ancient aliens built them to keep an eye on us humans.
And finally, he goes by many names depending upon the language being spoken. Sasquatch, Yeti and Big Foot all refer to a big hairy creature that supposedly lives in the jungles of North America. Many claim to have seen him but their photos are as weak as those of the Loch Ness monster or of UFOs. But all this might change since an American vet claims that she has found DNA evidence of its existence. She’s published the results in her very own journal but access to which is $30. One way of making money, isn’t? Play on people’s curiosity.
The author specialises in subjects from health to social issues