Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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I  came across this image on Facebook this morning. Got a chuckle out of it. I am hoping my typical reader is astute enough to pretty much instantly say “No way!” The last sentence in the meme is accurate though, no one alive today has ever witnessed anything like the above image. Before I explain, if the gentle reader doesn’t see the problem, no biggie. Astronomy has no practical applications to daily life, so if one has no interest in it and doesn’t see the problem with the image, perfectly understandable. I still remember reading in Sherlock Holmes that Doctor Watson was astonished to find out that Holmes didn’t know the Earth revolved around the Sun, not vice versa. Holmes was like, I can’t imagine a less useful piece of information, why would I clutter my mind with useless information? An interesting point.

The problem with the image  is that Mars never gets close enough to Earth to appear as large as the Moon. It never gets close enough to appear as anything other than a bright star in the sky. If Mars ever does get that close, at the very least there would be huge tidal surges causing massive flooding along ocean shorelines the world over. At the very least. Any event in the Solar System powerful enough to knock Mars (Or the Earth) out of their orbit would almost certainly have other terrible effects on Earth. Like changing its orbit for starters, even possibly dragging Earth away from the Sun entirely. It’s unlikely the human race would survive such. If the Sun disappeared within weeks the atmosphere would have frozen and fallen to the ground as snow, and life on Earth would be pretty much extinct. I still remember a great science fiction story about the same from my youth, it can be read here: A Pail of Air. And for those who are curious enough to want to experience the loss of the Sun, I helpfully blogged about it once: How Can I Destroy the Sun?

I try to be helpful on Doug’s Darkworld. And in that vein, nonsense aside, the Moon will indeed be very close to Mars in the sky this weekend. This fine article discusses it. And no, it doesn’t happen every two centuries, it happens every two years or so. See it for oneself: The Moon and Mars Align.

Moving right along, today was the anniversary of a significant historical event. An old friend’s father saw the predecessor to it in 1945:

In the predawn hours of July 16, 1945 my teenage father was sitting on the bed of his room putting on his shoes before going out to deliver the morning paper, he was a paperboy. Suddenly his room lit up with a white light so bright, he had to close his eyes. The shades were still drawn. A few minutes later, the room began to rumble. This sound bounced off the mountains for 2 long minutes. When it was over, he gathered himself together and went out to deliver the papers. People were standing outside their houses pondering on what had happened. The papers the next day said that a large mine shaft had blown up somewhere out in the desert. That happened occasionally. But the townsfolk speculated that it never sounded like that. There was never an intense light. The rumbling never lasted as long.*

I am of course talking about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. August 6th, 1945, 75 years ago today. The above recollection was about the Trinity Test, the world’s first nuclear explosion. I’ve written about Hiroshima before, it was an event sad beyond reckoning. A city full of civilians, of no military significance, was killed. A second city a few days later. I still don’t think it was justified, the idea that the nuclear attacks on Japan saved lives or ended the war are debatable at best. In fact the idea that killing two cities full of civilians saved lives is prima facie … absurd? I digress. Read this for an alternate view: Nuclear War or Invasion: The False Dichotomy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Rationalizing horrible crimes is a hallmark of America though. Starting from the beginning when we accepted chattel slavery as an acceptable instituion in “the land of the free.” Rationalizing mass death at Washington’s hand is a long established habit. One that continues to this day, fully ⅓ of Americans continue to pretend that Washington’s Olympic class failure to address Covid-19, 160,000 dead and rising, is acceptable.

It’s no more acceptable than the atomic bombings of two cities. Yet here we are, it is what it is. I urge my fellow Americans to work together to defeat Covid-19. Science and reason can still save us, partisanship and politics won’t. Neither will thoughts and prayers. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes and shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

PS: I still think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

*Quote Copyright © 2020 Leslie Smith.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Image: Facebook post of unknown origin, presumably it is Public Domain under US copyright law. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law in any event.)


Written by unitedcats

August 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

One Response

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  1. Doug, Have you spotted the forthcoming Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn? On Dec 23rd they will be 6′ apart – about 1/5 of the apparent diameter of the moon! One to look forward to, a month or so after Trump has gone

    Simon Woolley

    August 7, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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