Today is one of those days when the science fictional world spills over into the real world.
First of all, today is Asteroid Day, a global event dedicated to increasing the awareness of asteroids and the very real – if statistically small – possibility of one of them impacting the Earth. Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the Tunguska Event – when an object about 50 metres in diameter exploded over Siberia in 1908, releasing the destructive force of about 1,000 atomic bombs. Apparently, we can expect an asteroid about that size to hit the Earth every hundred-to-two-hundred years. So, 107 years after Tunguska, the clock’s tickin’ . . .
You can read more at The Guardian.
Secondly (if you’ll pardon the pun that isn’t completely obvious yet because there will be no context to the opening word of this sentence until we stop rabbiting on and actually get to the &%$# point), today is set aside for adding a ‘Leap Second’ (see? Told you there was a pun) to our calendar. At midnight, tonight, the atomic clocks will read 23:59:60 before ticking forward to 00.00.00. This is because the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing, owing to tidal forces – a phenomenon known as ‘moon drag’. More at The Guardian (which is really rocking the science news today) and the BBC.
It’s a mark of how thoroughly depressing the news is at the moment that an article about a possible extinction-level event and another about the world we live on gradually losing spin can be viewed as a refreshing change.
Watch out for asteroids – and spend your extra second well!