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Cybernaut

Apple loses its shine

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The last field is for Target Density – does the meteor strike the ocean, porous rock or solid rock?

The researchers studied hundreds of known meteor craters before coming up with a formula to determine just how bad an impact can be.

The good news is that NASA and partners expect to chart about 90 per cent of the large objects in our solar system that are capable of hitting the Earth by 2008. They also don’t expect another significant impact for a thousand years, which gives us plenty of time to develop some kind of laser contraption to blast it out of our path.

The bad news is the 10 per cent that the scientists will miss, and compelling evidence to suggest that large meteor events occur every 10,000 years or so whether we like it or not.

Either way, the collision calculator is an interesting toy.

I decided to see what would happen if an iron asteroid the size of a Canadian Football Field hit Whistler Village dead-on at the usual velocity of 17 kilometres a second.

According to Impact Effects, the impact would equal about 145 MegaTons of TNT, and a MegaTon is about a hundred times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The crater diameter would be about 2.92 kilometres. We would be incinerated in the collision, with a fireball about 1.6 km across that is about 8.9 times brighter than the sun.

People in Pemberton would feel an earthquake at 6.0 on the Richter Scale, and a wind blast less than two minutes later, as well as a short burst of intense radiation lasting about two seconds.

Sounds like fun, right? You betcha.

Go drop a few rocks of your own at www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/

Gmail puts your life on the line

After announcing plans to enter the free online e-mail market a few weeks ago, Google has satisfied most critics that the unprecedented one gigabyte of storage offered to users won’t come with any strings attached – spam, ads, or invasions of privacy. Because this is several hundred times more storage than is available at Hotmail or Yahoo, it was reasonable to assume that Google would want something in return for its investment.

Yes, there will be ads. Servers will scan e-mails to generate personalized ads for Gmail users, which they hope will pay for all of this storage for potentially hundreds of millions of users. But ads are only dangerous when they’re misleading, so this isn’t much of a threat to Gmail subscribers.

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