Monday, July 19, 2010

A Likely Scenario

I was recently asked, "if a killer asteroid was approaching Earth, how much would they actually tell us?" This is my response.

They'd tell you numbers which you wouldn't understand. Then the pundits would turn those numbers into something they can scare you with, probably overblowing the threat while they do so, and Concerned Citizens would go to their Congressmen demanding answers. NASA would provide those answers.. in a completely unintelligible way, and someone would interpret those answers as dismissing the threat. Then there'd be a big argument over whether it's a threat or isn't it.

Eventually one of the egg heads with a wife will get a lecture about talking like a normal person once in a while and a press statement would be released saying exactly how likely and excessive the threat is (after it went through a few committees to ensure it was easy enough to understand, and defend). By this time the media will be completely bored with the story and the press release will be ignored by everyone, except for the next committee which is tasked with finding a solution.

Having found the solution the funding will not be forthcoming as the whole thing has already been written off as a hoax. A few years of fighting for funding and being rebuffed later, the media will pick up on the story again.. perhaps after the threat has been renamed. This time a-solution-the-authorities-have-been-ignoring will be available and someone-better-lose-his-job-over-this.

Of course, the solution that came out of that committee was for a situation that hasn't been true for years now, so we need a new committee.. this time with the President's appointment. They'll listen to a dozen different proposals, some of which have already been discarded as worthless, and choose the one that has the best political chance of being enacted quickly.

Eventually it'll get funding but the project will stall after 2 years of development, but thankfully some of the runner up concepts also got a trickle of funding. There will be a political fight to fund the more successful project over the stalled project, but that will fail, instead more money will be directed towards the hopeless project, until finally the egos on both sides subside and come up with some "compromise" solution that will half work, averting the complete extinction of human kind but still killing a few million people in a far-off-land.

Everyone will swear that next-time-we'll-be-ready but not actually do anything to ensure that's the case.. a few years later researchers will complain that their funding for early warning systems is being cut, and the general public will not care because, hey, it didn't turn out to be as big a deal as they said it was going to be anyway.


  1. I feel like laughing. No wait, I feel like crying.

    Perfect, hideously, accurate.

    It reminds me of the SF quake of 1989. I had been listening to "Emergency Broadcast System" tests on the radio my whole life, but when this earthquake hit, all the radio stations went off the air as power failed, region wide.

    "This has been a test of the emergency alert system. In the event of a real emergency," (fill in the blank).

    Thanks Trent

  2. Victor Moraes7:30 PM

    I believe that the detection of asteroids as well as other activities in space observation can not be neglected. The fact is that there is space there, and we can not be alien to him. A man must know where you live. Its limitations are the ground where digging to find treasure, and the sky, where you can grow, but it's still a kid. Subject to what is on earth and is a subject of which is in heaven. Human limits, and in truth tridimensinal knowledge of the magnitude of the infinite cosmos, goes beyond knowing what is on your left or right, forward or backward. Today we know a world wide, but limited. The man many still dig wells to find many treasures and can never overlook an Expanding into the sky. There is space for development, an abundance of places for a diversity of life. We should not worry so much about the fourth dimension, just live it in the soul when we place a massive 3D. In this fits the idea that it is very necessary to observe asteroids now, forever and ever, not as an activity of fear, but the activity of expanded consciousness, where humanity opens his eyes to heaven, and is not limited to a level basically two-dimensional, left and right, front and back with minimal experience of the treasures of heaven and earth, three-dimensional. The fact is that there may be larger is the height. Left and right meet in a round world. The altitude rises to infinity bestowing the colossal.