Friday, May 26, 2006

So many "weird news" items and so little time!

Here are a couple I found via Peter Gersten's newsletter:

Animations Show Global Warming's Potential Effects on Coastal Cities

The animations below show the flooding we can anticipate in major cities as global warming raises sea levels and leads to stronger hurricanes. They show that as sea levels rise, even relatively weak storms will be able to do a great deal of damage.

With memories of the ocean fresh in my mind (photos forthcoming!), I have a renewed interest in climate change and coastal inundation. And a new outlook: Bring it on! I can't wait to hit the beach in Missouri!

Who Built the Moon?

Christopher Knight:

The Moon is not only extremely odd in its construction; it also behaves in a way that is nothing less than miraculous. It is exactly four hundred times smaller than the Sun but four hundred times closer to the Earth so that both the Sun and the Moon appear to be precisely the same size in the sky -- which gives us the phenomenon we call a total eclipse. Whilst we take this for granted it has been called the biggest coincidence in the universe.

The Moon/Sun "coincidence" has interested me for a long time. I tend to invoke a weak version of the Anthropic Principle, in which if the Moon and the Sun weren't seemingly fine-tuned with each other we'd never have evolved to comment on the oddity.

But that's not to say I reject the idea that our solar system's been modified . . .

1 comment:

W.M. Bear said...

Knight also ignores the fact that the moon hasn't always been the same distance from the earth. It started out much closer and gradually, due to tidal friction, moved further and further away. So the truly amazing coi8ncidence is that it moved exactly far enough away to occupy the same angular size in the sky (about 1/2 a degree of arc) as the sun JUST AT THE POINT WHERE AN ORGANISM (THE HUMAN BEING) EVOLVED TO APPRECIATE THIS FACT.