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NASA Counts 4,700 Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Asteroids

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the time-to-call-bruce dept.

NASA 99

coondoggie writes "NASA continues to get a better handle on the asteroids buzzing around in space saying today that there are roughly 4,700 potentially hazardous asteroids, or as NASA calls them PHAs. NASA says these PHAs are a subset of a larger group of near-Earth asteroids but have the closest orbits to Earth's – passing within five million miles (or about eight million kilometers) and are big enough to survive passing through Earth's atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale."

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In coming! (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025847)

"Here comes one now!" to which they replied: "PHA!"

Re:In coming! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025863)

Well, to begin, I'm just your average guy. But unlike your average guy, I once had everything anyone could ever want: a gorgeous wife, a beautiful two-story house, an adorable seven year old daughter, a stable job, and a nice salary. Basically, I was living the American dream. None of my needs or wants were left unfulfilled. The family always got along, and everything was perfect.

Until one day, that is. Following one of my routine doctor appointments, my doctor informed me that I had lung cancer and that I only had a few years to live at most. As you can imagine, I was shocked. Not just shocked; I could see all of my hopes and dreams being shattered right before my very eyes. Still, my doctor gave me hope by telling me that there was a chance, however slim, that Chemotherapy and various other things could help me. After speaking with my wife, I decided to receive the treatments.

All was not lost. I still had a perfect family that I could rely on and get emotional support from. I still had hope for the future. I'm a firm believer that you should make the best of things rather than wallow in depression. I had to press on: not just for my sake, but for the sake of my loved ones. But my strong resolve was soon shattered.

The family I thought I could count on betrayed me. My wife, whom I loved deeply, filed for a divorce. She said that she could not handle the emotional trauma of being with someone who had cancer. She apologized profusely, but no matter what I said, I could not change her mind. I screamed, I cried, and I begged her to rethink her decision, but it was all to no avail.

In my madness, I made all kinds of accusations. I said that she was cheating on me, that she never loved me, that she just married me for my money, and various other things. I soon learned, however, that a few of those were more than just baseless accusations. I began stalking her, going through all of her personal possessions, and trying uncover any secrets she may have been keeping. What I discovered horrified me: she had been cheating on me with another man for the past year. She must have been waiting for an opportune time to abandon me for this other man.

When confronted about her betrayal, she screamed at me, told me it was none of my business, told me that I was always a worthless husband, and told me that I was an abusive man. I soon discovered that there was absolutely nothing that I could do. My marriage was in shambles, and by this point, I was on the brink of suicide. The only thing keeping me going was my devotion to my precious daughter.

It wasn't long before I received news from my insurance company that they were getting rid of my coverage. They gave me multitudes of vague and bogus reasons, but anyone could figure out their true reason: they did not want to waste money on a dying man. Naturally, I planned to fight this with every fiber of my being, but I knew it would be a long, drawn out process.

In the span of a year, I went from a very happy man who had everything he wanted to a miserable shell of what I once was. I couldn't take it anymore. Despite the fact that I wanted to remain in this world for the sake of my daughter, I tried committing suicide four times. All four attempts failed. I needed something to take my misery, regret, and anger out on. First I began verbally abusing my daughter. It wasn't long before I began physically abusing her. Sometimes I did it with my bare hands, and other times I used various objects. Beating my daughter soon became my only pleasure. My life had spiraled out of control into a den of anguish, uncertainty, and madness.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . I downloaded it, scanned my computer, and had it fix all of my problems. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever!

My wife's response? "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could!"

My daughter was absolutely overjoyed. As soon as she heard and saw just how effective MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] was, she told everyone, "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my dad's system and increased his speed!"

If you're having computer troubles, I highly recommend you download MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] and run a free scan. It's a high-quality piece of software that will solve all of your problems. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] completely saved my life! Wow! Thanks MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I love you MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] !

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Re:In coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025877)

Wow. Make a book. I don't care if it has a QR code linking to the crapware at the back cover, or in every other page, may be worth reading the rest regardless.

Re:In coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025975)

Sometimes these epic crapware comments are far better than some of the useless nonsense posted to these stories. At least the CleanMyPC astroturfing is hilarious.

Re:In coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025985)

Even the crap-flooding and trolling on Slashdot has gone downhill. Anyone else here remember the GNAA, Adolph Hittroll, and the other greats? Get off my lawn and take your CleanPC with you!

Re:In coming! (0)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026251)

Eh, the MyFilthyPC ads are funny, if nothing else, because they make fun of that obvious scam group.

Not familiar with GNAA, but I remember the others.

MyCleanPC is Dangerous (1, Funny)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026249)

I installed MyCleanPC and it cleaned out my bank account! It also converted my great porn collection to all gay porn. My wife left me when she saw that, even though you can clearly tell all the dicks are photoshopped onto the chicks!

Re:MyCleanPC is Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027547)

However, she knows you own PhotoShop

Re:In coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025887)

Hopefully I'm not the only one that read that as "I'm coming!" ...

Re:In coming! (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026971)

Obligatory [picardfacepalm.com]

Re:In coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40030753)

"Here comes one now!"

Actually, I translate this as NASA Counts 4,700 Very Easy to fly a spaceship to Asteroids.

Say you were running a company that was out to collect some big rocks in space for local construction. Slapping a light sail, reflective shroud or a solar-powered mass driver to one of these would be high on my list. Not just because the ephemeris is already known well enough to shoot something at it, but also that these close passers are already almost aimed at an Earthly orbit (or "forcefull deorbit" in the case of a near-miss.)

"My preferred mining asteroids are PHA grade!"

PHA (5, Funny)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025849)

PHA - Pointy Haired Asteroid?

Re:PHA (3, Funny)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026181)

Probably Harmless Asteroid

Re:PHA (1, Funny)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027087)

Profitably Harnessed Asteroid

Re:PHA (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028991)

Yah, it is probably cheaper to alter it's orbit to crash into Earth than to go back and forth to mine it..

Re:PHA (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026259)

Pointy Hats Ascendant.

Basically, the Unseen University has moved into space.

(note, the ENTIRE university, not just one member, so no saying "it's already been done", and citing "The Last Hero")

Re:PHA (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026575)

We have hairy black holes already, despite people thinking they couldn't exist, so it wouldn't surprise me that much.

What I have a problem with is the word "potentially". Not a lot of people instinctively understand what it means. We also have several hundred million potential child molesters in the US, and 47 European countries who may potentially declare war on the US next year.

It must be budget time again if NASA plays the populist card.

Re:PHA (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026651)

47 European countries who may potentially declare war on the US next year.

Finally, a policy I could vote for!

Re:PHA (2)

seven of five (578993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026955)

NASA: National Association of Superfluous Acronyms

Wrong unit (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025875)

From WP: "An object is considered a PHO if its minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) with respect to Earth is less than 0.05 AU (7,500,000 km; 4,600,000 mi) and its diameter is at least 150 m (nearly 500 ft)".

Why does TFS indicate that the distance in miles is accurate when it is just as much an approximation as the one in km?

Re:Wrong unit (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026007)

I TFS they meant that 8 million kilometers is an approximation for 5 million miles.

All well and good (5, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025881)

But we are still hopeless at spotting these things for instance today Asteroid 2012KA will pass within 224000 Kilometres of earth http://www.universetoday.com/95202/asteroid-2012-ka-to-buzz-earth-on-may-17/ [universetoday.com] the scary thing is it was only discovered yesterday!!!

So what are we going to do when one the size of texas comes heading for DC I mean aside from putting marshmallows on extremely long sticks :)

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025899)

So what are we going to do when one the size of texas comes heading for DC I mean aside from putting marshmallows on extremely long sticks :)

We call Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck ofcourse.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026041)

Lordy, I could write a thesis on why that movie is a stack of babber. In fact, several people already have.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026275)

No, we call Planetary Resources [slashdot.org] to strip-mine the things into a much smaller problem.

Re:All well and good (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40030389)

So what are we going to do when one the size of texas comes heading for DC I mean aside from putting marshmallows on extremely long sticks :)

We call Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck ofcourse.

And a duck is gonna help us how?

Oh, Affleck not Aflac. Sorry, need more coffee here...

Re:All well and good (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025931)

We need a nationwide network of marshmallow repositories to be kept on permanent 24/7 standby. And long sticks.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025965)

Cross fingers and hope it hits the ocean?

Re:All well and good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026013)

Even cooler would be to build an improbability drive for the whole planet and press the button just about the last seconds before impact.

Im betting the asteroid turning into a financial document with a surprisingly small budget of just $42.

If it all fails, well, at least there will be space for a hyperspace express way.

Re:All well and good (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026093)

I was thinking the same... It all sounds very Armageddonish but...
70% of the worlds surface is water. Since there is an equal chance where space can lay a brick on the planet, there are 1410 PHAs left to worry about (30% of 4700). Then the population density is about 50 people per km2 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_density#Human_population_density ) so that you end up with only a handful PHAs. And then there is a good chance that those will not even reach the planet because they wondered off somewhere.
I am not worried at all. 4700PHAs? Pffffffffffffffft dont make me laugh!

Re:All well and good (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026193)

I am not a science major but wouldnt it be more likely to hit near the equator than the poles and thus even more likely to hit water?

Re:All well and good (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026501)

I am not a science major either, but I thought that those PHAs are not necessarily in the same orbit 'surface' some even have a 90° angle on our orbit around sol so it might hit from straight above. Bang in the middle of the north pole. (or south for that matter)

Re:All well and good (3, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026511)

I'm sure your post was meant as a redneck parody, but in case someone takes it seriously:

The damage to humans is likely to be worse if it hits water.
A majority of the major cities of the world are near an ocean - 35 of the 40 largest ones are coastal.
An estimated 700 million people live less than 10 m above sea level.

Re:All well and good (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028035)

Not to mention the weather effects of dumping that much vaporized water into the atmosphere. Obviously there'd be some minimum energy threshold, but once crossed the planet could be plunged into a "nuclear winter", minus the fallout. The resulting famines could potentially be even more damaging than the tsunamis. After all, we would probably get at least a few weeks of warning, and asteroids rarely change course or break up in flight like comets do so the impact zone could be calculated much more accurately. Plenty of time to evacuate the most tsunami-vulnerable areas.

Re:All well and good (4, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026263)

You saw what happened to Japan when there was an earthquake in the ocean? Now, imagine the tsunami that would be cause by a meteorite strike.

Re:All well and good (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026559)

Meteorite strikes are a thing of the past, now that we have Larry Page & James Cameron protecting us with their zero-G pick axes!

Re:All well and good (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027685)

that's still far better than the equivalent energy being centered on a major urban area, there would be millions of casualties rather than a few ten thousand.

Re:All well and good (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40030687)

I personally think in the middle of a desert would be the ideal situation. Preferably as far from any major fault lines as possible.

And I imagine that a meteorite strike for instance in the Gulf of Mexico would also result in millions of casualties. All the islands and coastal cities at less than 50 foot altitude would be wiped out. Never mind the chaos looters would cause in the aftermath. And that 50 foot estimate is very conservative.

Sure, an ocean strike would give you a little extra time. But how many people could you extract from Miami or NYC in 1 hour? Considering then that Florida has an average height of just 100ft...

Re:All well and good (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026447)

Well the odds are in our favor that it will hit the ocean... However. If it is a big enough one, it won't help much.
And extincion level asteroid well see the ocean as a small film of water. It would be like pouring water over your body to try to stop a bullet.

Re:All well and good (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026667)

Yes, but will they be EVER in our favor?

Re:All well and good (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40035449)

The ocean is at most 10km deep. A 40km asteroid wouldn't even get wet all over.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026537)

Nuke it from Orbit!

Re:All well and good (1, Funny)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026647)

Offer the asteroid Texas and call it Springtime in America.

Re:All well and good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027117)

I find it's best to quote from the bible:

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027833)

So sayeth the LORD.

Re:All well and good (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027203)

Develop and build underground cities around the world. Develop and build nuclear fusion plants and place them close to the underground cities. Store enough fuel for a couple of centuries. Develop and build huge mirrors and place them in orbit around the sun either thousand of miles in front of Earth or behind it. I am sure we could not save all of Earth's population but we could save enough to continue our species after the effects of the strike pass. The mirrors could be used to concentrate sun light on a path that is tangent to the Earth. This would be used to burn up all the matter that would be thrown into the atmosphere.

Re:All well and good (2)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027875)

I fear your proposed 24hr emergency response plan, has a small conceptual flaw.....

Re:All well and good (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027567)

So what are we going to do when one the size of texas comes heading for DC

Cheer for Real Change!

Re:All well and good (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027817)

So what are we going to do when one the size of texas comes heading for DC

Sheesh! Why is it people always need to be reminded of the standard emergency protocol?

Write a tweet, update facebook status, check into foursquare, write a new blog entry, start following the #fucksie hashtag, and re-tweet everything Stephan Fry says.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40031093)

We make sure Congress and the President stay in Washington....

Re:are you so hopeless at spotting bullshit? (1)

frakir (760204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40037145)

how is that insightful??
"another asteroid between 4.5 and 10 meters (14-33 feet) wide" just missed the Earth. Go look at http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/stats/ [nasa.gov] for real data. Thing is we are in estimated 95 percentile about potentially hazardous asteroids now.

Re:All well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039281)

Please correct me if I am wrong! It takes any man made object, namely any space shuttles, or cargo/astronaut carrying vehicle to hit the earths outer atmosphere at very thin angle to enter earth safely? Any alien body would have to do the same, there have been several large Asteroids that have simply bounced of the atmosphere since man has been viewing space.

The Asteroid Belt is an example of this, despite the ones that get through they are only a fraction of what could be getting through to the planets surface.

This is one thing the idiot press forgets when they report on these findings. And I am not sure if astronomers report the same, I guess they will say anything to cause panic and make a dollar, or generate unneeded funding.

Star Tram (2, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025913)

I'm going to beat the drum for Star Tram again here, we need this built to have a defence against asteroids, since Bruce Willis is a bit long in the tooth to be leading a gang of roughnecks to the rescue at this stage.

12/21? (0)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025945)

    So, which one is going to hit us on Dec 21st? :)

    I know, I know, NASA says there isn't one. Every good tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy nut knows it's coming.

    For a special limited time, I am offering tinfoil hat adjustments, should you not see the "truth". Paypal me $499.95 and your hat size, and I'll send you out a properly adjusted tinfoil hat.

Re:12/21? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026133)

Are they real tin, or are you using aluminium foil?

Re:12/21? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40029229)

    For the special low price of $499.95, the default option is a tinfoil hat of 100% real tin, certified by our own staff metallurgist.

(Note: His only real qualification is that he can read the box that says "tin foil", but we keep him on staff because he does have a Doctorate in Metallurgy from Wossamotta U.)

    For the finer tastes, we will alternatively provide foil hats in aluminum, copper, or a variety of stylish foil bonded papers.

    Gold and platinum foil hats are also available at a significantly higher price.

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More of this please (4, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025995)

It kind of disappoints me when I read an article on slashdot that is about something worthwhile that humanity really needs to get behind and fund, yet there won't be many comments. This is one of those types of articles. Normally the surefire comment magnets are trolling articles, or feature a topic that has a lot of fanbois, or better yet a technological holy war between several factions of fanbois.

However, that shouldn't be a sign that no one is interested or cares about such things. We do. This site is about Stuff That Matters. Researching and preventing low probability cataclysms now we have the technology to attempt it is a very important and noble goal. Whether the average person realizes it or not, those goals are more important than 99% of other charitable goals, because without a habitable earth or human population there is no point to any charity.

So in future while I can't usually add much more than a boring "this is great, more of this please" or a dumb joke if at all, this stuff is important and yes, we need more of it. Don't take low numbers of comments for lack of interest or perceived priority.

Re:More of this please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026071)

The market has decided that defending against asteroid impact is a waste of money.

Re:More of this please (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026285)

It always puzzles me how people invent all sorts of imaginary flaws in markets. For example, I got into this long argument [slashdot.org] with someone who was claiming that "free markets" created class structures and an exploited class on the bottom, but ignoring that both societies do that just fine on their own and markets actually help reduce such stratification. It's nonsense, but of a sort that's fairly pervasive in society.

This complaint above is however of the biggest legitimate flaw of a market. Namely, if it doesn't trade on the market, it doesn't exist in the viewpoint of traders on the market. While there are (as I gather) a few businesses which can and do legitimately offer insurance or whatnot against asteroid impacts, the cost of such insurance is way out of line with the risk.

It's much cheaper at this time to self-insure, that is, use your own resources to prepare against such low probability events.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026387)

Incidentally, how the risk of asteroid impacts compares with the risk of "an act of god" in the minds of insurance brokers?

Re:More of this please (2)

pakar (813627) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027221)

*To remember if ever filing a lawsuit against an insurance company*

In this contract they only restrict liability against 'acts of god' but i have not seen any proof that a god exists.. Judge, can you please order company X to provide evidence of:
A: That a god exists
B: That a god did indeed cause the incident
C: That the laws of physics where cancelled the day of the incident and it was all controlled by some omnipotent lifeform.

Re:More of this please (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40035663)

Maybe step one would be asking your lawyer what "acts of god" means in a legal context...

I know, I know: whoosh.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026481)

Stratification and class structures aren't very good terms to describe the wealth concentration problem. It would be more true to say that in an undirected market there is a positive feedback effect in which success gets you enough money to have a higher chance of succeeding the next time. It is a process with no upper limit to how much power you can gain with an early advantage, and partially locks out new players from the game.

Note I said "partially". There are plenty of areas in which this is not a problem, particularly fast moving sectors like tech, where a truly innovative new idea can unseat the old huge established players.

Re:More of this please (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028097)

a truly innovative new idea can unseat the old huge established players

...and that's where patent minefields come in. Make it virtually impossible to build anything within a given "solution space" without licensing dozens or hundreds of patents from the major players and you can mostly prevent any upstarts from joining the game.

Re:More of this please (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40035943)

Stratification and class structures aren't very good terms to describe the wealth concentration problem. It would be more true to say that in an undirected market there is a positive feedback effect in which success gets you enough money to have a higher chance of succeeding the next time. It is a process with no upper limit to how much power you can gain with an early advantage, and partially locks out new players from the game.

But does this dynamic exist in the real world? The King or Queen of the United Kingdom has long been the wealthiest person of that realm, yet they aren't particularly wealthy given how long their families had that wealth. Forbes, for example, currently pegs the Queen of England at $420 million [forbes.com] . That's a princely sum, but far short of what past monarchs of England used to own.

What it means is that there are mechanisms for dissipating large concentrations of wealth, mostly through inheritance in the above case. But there are other effects worth mentioning here.

A big one is simply that it's harder to earn money on big money than it is on small money. For example, having a billion dollars doesn't make you any more valuable as an employee (unless you somehow can invest it in a particularly impressive education, cyborg body/brain, or whatnot).

Your labor doesn't become more valuable just because you have a lot of money. If you're worth only $10/hour to an employer, then you're not going to be worth $20/hour to them just because you have a million dollars in the bank.

Having lots of money doesn't automatically increase your ability to earn money. And at extreme levels of wealth where are the people or companies going to get that return on investment from? At a million dollars, it might be rather easy to find investments that return 10%. But if you own $100 billion where are you going to find that 10% return?

Similarly, a single person can keep up with a million dollars easily. Not so for $100 billion. That means either you invest suboptimally as you have time and attention to pay. Or you diffuse the responsibility by hiring people to manage parts of your wealth.

As a final example, we have virtual game markets that exhibit many of these behaviors. For example, Eve Online (an internet spaceships and economic game) uses the "ISK" ("InterStellar Kredit") as its unit of currency. It's fairly easy for experienced players to earn 50-100 million ISK per hour of concentrated effort (commonly called "grind"). Some such players have well in excess of a trillion ISK, which is roughly equivalent to at least 10,000 hours of grind or five years of treating Eve as a full time job.

Obviously, they didn't play Eve that way for five years straight. It's a combination of persistence, market dominance (there are a variety of ways to dominate various parts of Eve's economy such as heading an alliance that controls parts of highly profitable space, skillful trading for enough years, humongous acts of fraud, and owning assets that provide a critical manufacture or market advantage at an extremely good time and place to have the advantage).

But a thing that is readily seen is that it's a lot easier to increase the value of small wealth than it is to increase the value of large wealth. It takes just takes less work and there's less concern about fraud (the player can cut out everyone else even and still make a good profit).

So in summary, I claim that the positive feedback exists only to a point then there are diminishing returns. People who figure out how to make money without directly grinding it (via a job) are going to get richer no matter what. But there's a size where they run into trouble managing that wealth. One either needs to deliberately limit wealth below that point or step up the game.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026797)

... claiming that "free markets" created class structures and an exploited class on the bottom, ignoring that both societies do that just fine on their own...

Wait, did you just say that it's fine to exploit poor people as long as they think they are happy? Or even just "doing fine"?

the cost of such insurance is way out of line with the risk... use your own resources to prepare against such low probability events.

Isn't that exactly the position you're trying to oppose? That the market has decided asteroid defence is a waste of money?

Re:More of this please (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027623)

Isn't that exactly the position you're trying to oppose? That the market has decided asteroid defence is a waste of money?

No? They said this is a legitimate weakness of the free market and as a result the only thing being done about asteroids are some companies offering insurance at a rate that is way out of line with the actual risk.

Re:More of this please (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40036037)

Wait, did you just say that it's fine to exploit poor people as long as they think they are happy? Or even just "doing fine"?

Why would one think I had said that? I merely pointed out that societies can oppress people nearly effortlessly. Markets don't make that job easier.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027189)

I believe that there are those that are preparing for such events.

My friend owns a farm near Scranton, PA. He has all he needs in the event of such a disaster.

Dwight promised me a spot in his shelter if I would buy 150 cases of paper. Seems like a good deal now, maybe I'll take him up on the offer.

Re:More of this please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40029691)

Just read through your argument. [slashdot.org]
You seemed to misapprehend a lot of valid points being made by your debating partner.

I think the problem stems from the notion of what a Free Market can be when used appropriately by a conscientious population, and our present reality which contains psychopaths and psychopathic thinking.

As it stands, the "Free Market" is an illusion. It's not free at all. (If one's definition of "Free" means unrestricted opportunity for everybody to exploit the market as they see fit.) I see a lot of restrictions, many of which are backed up by military and covert operations designed to reduce whole population centers into servitude.

In the psychopath's language, however, it certainly is a "Free" market. The psychopath's definition of "Free" means, "Freedom to ignore social and community responsibilities, moral obligations and rational long-term planning, in order to create and abuse slaves and pillage environments and resources for short term profit." Oppressive banana republics and puppet governments in oil producing nations are just one aspect of the legacy of these practices, all resultants from the psychopath's concept of "Freedom".

The banking system is another. Through usury, the banking controllers ensure that the money supply, by default due to its pyramid schematic nature, always lags far behind the amount of debt in existence. This results in deliberately controlled eras of widespread property foreclosure which swells the material holdings of banking entities and the wealth of the small number of people at the top of that system. The Free Market does not control for this; competitive economic models which would offer a much more level playing field have never been allowed to exist in any significant way. The recent bombing of Libya was an excellent example of this process; the first thing the CIA-appointed rebels did upon wresting power from the government was to establish a central bank modeled after the Western system to replace the more socialist system which had been in place. A true Free Market would have allowed the Libyan market to function and survive or die upon its own merits. Instead the psychopathic elements of the world governments interpreted "Freedom" according to their diseased cognitive functions and the free expression of the market was violently truncated.

Pan national corporate efforts create vast and concentrated pools of wealth and control which have the power, through a Market Free of rational oversight, to execute such maneuvers as the wholesale distribution of toxic foodstuffs (heavy in grains, sugars and vegetable oils), which create the very diseases for which they can then sell drugs. This tactic also creates a feebleness of mind which lowers the chances of people discerning reality with enough clarity to avoid such traps. Such is just one example of psychopathic exploitation of the market. There are many others.

Media similarly uses covert psychological control measures to enfeeble populations in ways they rarely even realize are happening, all so as to strip true Freedom from the markets and instill biased, restrictive systems under a caricatured rubric of "Freedom".

This is why a minimum of controls are necessary to maintain Freedom as Normal humans understand it in the Market place. Lying, cheating, stealing and bullying tactics, Normals naturally wish to be free of in a market place. Those are the ground rules which must be accepted in order for an otherwise Free Market to flourish. Of course, these basic humane rules the Psychopathic elements of the population see as a vast aggressive act against themselves and what they consider their version of "Freedom" to be.

Between these two concepts of "Freedom" people who wish to debate the issue are stuck and first need to define clearly in order to proceed.

Re:More of this please (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40035477)

I think the problem stems from the notion of what a Free Market can be when used appropriately by a conscientious population, and our present reality which contains psychopaths and psychopathic thinking.

The markets work the same no matter who's trading on them. And it strikes me that markets provide a positive way to interact with psychopaths. I imagine for example, a psychopath would rather deal with someone via informal (and pretty unaccountable) spoken word agreements than interact through an impartial market. The former leaves plenty of room for scamming and liberal reinterpretations of what was said and agreed to. The market completely filters out the tricks in the psychopath's toolbag unless he can find a way to communicate or intimidate the potential mark directly.

As it stands, the "Free Market" is an illusion. It's not free at all. (If one's definition of "Free" means unrestricted opportunity for everybody to exploit the market as they see fit.) I see a lot of restrictions, many of which are backed up by military and covert operations designed to reduce whole population centers into servitude.

A free market is an asymptotic model. Real markets can come close though. Restrictions of the sort that needs to be backed up by military and covert operations are not free markets.

The banking system is another. Through usury, the banking controllers ensure that the money supply, by default due to its pyramid schematic nature, always lags far behind the amount of debt in existence. This results in deliberately controlled eras of widespread property foreclosure which swells the material holdings of banking entities and the wealth of the small number of people at the top of that system. The Free Market does not control for this; competitive economic models which would offer a much more level playing field have never been allowed to exist in any significant way. The recent bombing of Libya was an excellent example of this process; the first thing the CIA-appointed rebels did upon wresting power from the government was to establish a central bank modeled after the Western system to replace the more socialist system which had been in place. A true Free Market would have allowed the Libyan market to function and survive or die upon its own merits. Instead the psychopathic elements of the world governments interpreted "Freedom" according to their diseased cognitive functions and the free expression of the market was violently truncated.

So we shouldn't make banking free market because? This is the kind of thing that's really annoying in the debate about free markets. You describe a market that is not close to being free market, claiming at the time that it's really a free market. Then you claim that if it were made an even freer market then most the aspects, such as central banking, that make it not free would fail hard to our collective benefit. Are you trying to disagree with me?

This is why a minimum of controls are necessary to maintain Freedom as Normal humans understand it in the Market place. Lying, cheating, stealing and bullying tactics, Normals naturally wish to be free of in a market place. Those are the ground rules which must be accepted in order for an otherwise Free Market to flourish. Of course, these basic humane rules the Psychopathic elements of the population see as a vast aggressive act against themselves and what they consider their version of "Freedom" to be.

Sure, I have no problem with basic rules against fraud and coercion. And I agree that you don't have much of a market when those problems are allowed to fester.

Between these two concepts of "Freedom" people who wish to debate the issue are stuck and first need to define clearly in order to proceed.

You already did that. So we can move on.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40036613)

I'm not disagreeing with you. I was just observing that you and your debating partner were not seeing eye to eye due to differing understandings of what a Free Market is actually composed of; you seemed to understand it as an ideal, whereas the other fellow was seeing the ways the current system has been abused through the psychopathic understanding of what "Freedom" is.

The markets work the same no matter who's trading on them. And it strikes me that markets provide a positive way to interact with psychopaths. I imagine for example, a psychopath would rather deal with someone via informal (and pretty unaccountable) spoken word agreements than interact through an impartial market. The former leaves plenty of room for scamming and liberal reinterpretations of what was said and agreed to. The market completely filters out the tricks in the psychopath's toolbag unless he can find a way to communicate or intimidate the potential mark directly.

This is an interesting concept, but again, it assumes an ideal set of circumstances; that is, an incorruptible market system which cannot be gamed, by any party.

The problem is that no such system exists in actuality. Corruption is real, there are victims, and the market is as a result not free, nor can be.

The only option available to combat this reality is to impose controls of some sort, laws which prevent corrupt activities and unfair practices, (which you clearly agree are valid courses of action). Such regulatory measures, however, are seen by many, as an attack on the Freedom of the market. "If there are rules, it means the Market is not, by definition, Free." --The problem is that the definition of "Freedom" has been re-interpreted in this instance from encompassing just the market itself to ALL of human activities, including bullying and other morally ambiguous activities. The Psychopath's v.s. the Normal's perception of what constitutes acceptable behavior.

So we shouldn't make banking free market because? This is the kind of thing that's really annoying in the debate about free markets. You describe a market that is not close to being free market, claiming at the time that it's really a free market. Then you claim that if it were made an even freer market then most the aspects, such as central banking, that make it not free would fail hard to our collective benefit. Are you trying to disagree with me?

You are misunderstanding me. Try looking again at what I wrote without aggression or fear of attack. It will be easier to grasp what I was really trying to communicate. There are many valuable threads to be discovered and followed there, if you wish.

Re:More of this please (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40037537)

I was just observing that you and your debating partner were not seeing eye to eye due to differing understandings of what a Free Market is actually composed of; you seemed to understand it as an ideal, whereas the other fellow was seeing the ways the current system has been abused through the psychopathic understanding of what "Freedom" is.

I'm pretty sure I understood him just fine. My take is that the difference in our definitions is a matter of who we take as authorities on the meaning of words? Do we take a relatively objective definition such as found in an economics textbook or do we base that definition on the current whim of psychopaths? Frankly, I think even acknowledging the psychopaths' definition means that fight is lost.

What language should I use to say that I think "free markets" (or at least close enough to the ideal) are good for something? I can't think of any such phrasing, at least in English, that can't be abused by the insincere. I'd be left unable to rhetorically defend myself, if I tried to avoid such terms. While it's unfair to me, more importantly, it's also a rather stupid vulnerability to make for oneself.

The whole thread could have been resolved simply by the other poster refusing to accept that pathology.

Re:More of this please (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026477)

Well being that we don't have any good theoretical models to stop said asteroids, it is difficult for the market to invest into a defense.
It would be like spending billions of dollars to paint a No-Asteroid sign on the United states (Europe and Asia, or Africa might make it bigger), In hope the asteroid will see the sign and decide to not hit the planet.

Re:More of this please (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027373)

Well being that we don't have any good theoretical models to stop said asteroids, it is difficult for the market to invest into a defense.

Nonsense. There are fantastic models that will definitely work to prevent asteroid strikes given enough lead time. The math has been done. E.g. Let's say Apophis looks like it's going to go through the keyhole and come around and hit earth -- a one ton spacecraft equipped with ion engines operating for 2 years as a gravity tractor bam done earth is saved let's have a parade.

What's lacking is sufficient funding for discovering and tracking asteroids to make sure we find any dangerous ones far enough ahead of time, and development of the theory into an actual capability that's ready for when we do need it.

It's not the lack of models preventing the market from investing. It's the lack of market incentive to invest in preventing something that will happen an unknown amount of time in the future -- possibly even thousands of years. In a business culture where thinking past next quarter is considered ambitious and far-seeing, the market isn't going to do anything until we know something is going to happen soon. and by then it could be too late.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027665)

I don't know; I have a "no solicitors" and a "no salespeople" sign on my door but it doesn't stop the door to door salesman, nor does it stop the "I am selling cookies" or "I am doing a walkathon". I have yet to see it stop anybody. I'd imagine your asteroid would just ignore your sign like my door to door sales people do.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027785)

Domestic = withing the usa. Foreign = from another country.

Asteroid's true are anenome BUT are neither therefore it is BY DEFINITION unconstatutionel to defend against them and any funding for that purposes is an illegal tax.

--
roman_mir - forgot my passward

Re:More of this please (5, Interesting)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026079)

Aren't we way ahead on this with asteroid mining?

I mean the first step of that company is rolling out a mass-producible telescope specifically for spotting near Earth asteroids - something with a dangerous orbit also happens to be a great candidate for resource extraction, and their long term plan (deflect the targets into stable orbits around the moon) - has the benefit of developing the exact tools and techniques we'd need to employ for any type of practical asteroid defense.

I mean, I'd say this is very much on its way to being a solved problem. Go go private sector (and potential piles of platinum).

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026403)

Personally I am all for mining Unobtainium its about time. Serious our future is up beyond our atmosphere not down here like a pack of rabid mice. I for one am all about putting a Trillion dollars a year in Space and not one more penny on War on the people who think the world is flat. Yes those are the people we are dropping bombs on.

Re:More of this please (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028359)

Who cares about unobtanium? Even gold, platinum, etc. is just icing on the cake. The real prize is megatons of virtually pure iron and nickel in high orbit, where it can be used as-is and doesn't cost thousands of dollars per pound like it would if we boosted it from Earth. That's the prize that finally gets us into space in a big way.

Re:More of this please (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40036087)

It's even simpler than that. Those things take vast refining and manufacturing operations to turn into useful stuff. The real prize is water.

Re:More of this please (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40038887)

Good point, an orbital fueling station is probably the highest priority if we want to explore the solar system, though mining water might be even more involved than iron since unbound water would likely be virtually nonexistent on a carbonaceous asteroid in a near-earth orbit, unless the asteroid was massive enough to shelter an icy core. More likely you'd need to refine water from hydrated minerals, which might not be a simple task. It might be better to mine the moon for fuel - there's potentially considerable ice deposits sheltered in some of the perpetually shadowed craters near the poles, and lunar escape velocity requires only ~5% the energy of Earth's - (2.4km/s)^2 versus (11.2km/s)^2. Might be worth sending a rover or three to the moon to prospect before we try to capture an asteroid.

On the other hand, IIRC many M-type asteroids consist primarily of pure iron and/or nickel plus a little stone and would need little if any refining, the raw ore is pure enough to manufacture directly. Heat it to a suitably ductile or molten state and then shape it as you see fit, you wouldn't even absolutely need any fancy equipment, a guy with a hammer and a heat-resistant spacesuit (and balls of steel) could actually get quite a bit done, including building the first heavy equipment for larger work. (Have you ever been in a professional metal shop? Much of the equipment, while massive, is actually quite crude.) Casting could be done centrifugally, eased by the slower cooling in vacuum. Granted cast metal lacks the tensile strength of rolled sheet, but that's nothing that massive overbuilding won't fix while building the infrastructure, you can always recycle your 8" thick pressure dome later, once you've managed to bootstrap your way to a steel mill. Yes, it'd be very expensive to launch straight into an "NASA style" manufacturing plant, but a good old crude Soviet style approach might actually be better suited to creating a somewhat autonomous off-planet base.

Re:More of this please (3, Insightful)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026397)

Oh, you know how it is... No one will bother with a proposal for this, until it hits something and kills a couple of millions. THEN we will start thinking this out seriously.
So yeah, let's just hope that the first one to hit won't cause too much damage, but enough to scare the shit out of people.

Re:More of this please (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026597)

I think it's interesting from an academic standpoint, but hardly something that needs immediate expenditure of massive resources.

"those goals are more important than 99% of other charitable goals, because without a habitable earth or human population there is no point to any charity."

From the article, NASA states that there are no asteroids that are capable of an extinction type event of the type we believe wiped out the dinosaurs.

As usual, we'll wait for a major destructive impact before closing the proverbial barn door.

If you want action now, start telling people that Iran and Muslim extremists are planning to divert an asteroid to hit America.

Re:More of this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026867)

How long have these PHAs been where they are, doing what they're doing? And you think this is a ground-shaking revelation that should change the way humanity does everything? All it means is that somebody really jumpy or with a mind for attention-whoring has set the bar for "potentially harmful" way too low.

Re:More of this please (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 2 years ago | (#40031023)

A miss is as good as a mile.

It's not really that interesting until we know when and if the big one is going to hit because nature has many other ways to cause catastrophes yet there's no way to prevent them either.

Avast Armageddon! (-1)

darkstar019 (2320432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026023)

Like I said, 2012 is here, the end is coming

Re:Avast Armageddon! (2, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026097)

"Avast Armageddon" - Sounds like a planet-scale AV product gone awry.

Thats life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026127)

...oh well.

please, just not until the Nov elections (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026271)

so Obooboo can claim to be the *last* American president

What a relief (1)

R. M. Dasheff (2598713) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026515)

I thought there were more like 470,000 PHOs. Whew!

Tracking orbits within orbits? (3, Interesting)

AttyBobDobalina (2525082) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026573)

Whenever these stories get posted, there is always a calming disclaimer that none of the asteroids threatens Earth. But does anyone know whether NASA (or anyone else) is modeling asteroid orbits with each other? I realize it's not like a set of billiard balls, but is anyone checking to see if any current non-threatening asteroids could be diverting into Earth's path from colliding with another object?

Re:Tracking orbits within orbits? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028055)

They almost certainly aren't, because it doesn't make any sense to do so.
 
For the vast majority of the bodies in question (99%+), they aren't big enough to survive a collision that generates sufficient energy to divert them. For the tiny percent that are big enough (up above the "smash a city" size) the odds against such a collision are truly enormous - in the "happens less than a handful of times in the entire life of the solar system" range. Anything else (I.E. accumulations of smaller collisions) occurs on time scales of decades to millenia and are based on collisions with bodies too small to track anyhow. Such a diversion would have to be discovered by routine monitoring of their orbits and would be pretty hard to discern anyhow due to the slow rate of change and how hard it is to precisely track the locations of such bodies. (And such routine monitoring would also detect the diversion of larger bodies.)
 
And that's not even addressing the whole "space is really big and the number of asteroids in question is very tiny" side of the matter.

dont cower in fear (0)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026973)

If I was a multi-billionaire and a huge asteroid was going to kill earth i would develop a special ship and suit to allow me to dock with and dr strangelove the asteroid to impact. Just think how great that would feel.

Asteroid Discovery from 1980 - 2011 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026989)

http://youtu.be/cKT1VGIDEd4?hd=1

Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010 (4, Informative)

chenjeru (916013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027027)

Here's a cool video showing all known asteroids with a time-lapse revealing the year they were discovered: http://youtu.be/cKT1VGIDEd4?hd=1 [youtu.be]

counter-weapon (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40028217)

We'll destroy the PHAs with our Super Energy Ray.
And that's the true origin of the PHASER !

Sheilds Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40029093)

Space Nukes! We need Space Nukes! Or maybe reinstate the Star Wars Program? ZAP!

All the more reason to start mining these suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40032883)

Although, we should try to keep the materials in orbit since they have more "value" there. Maybe build a space station twice the altitude of geosynchronous orbit that can melt it down, purify and then manufacture parts/ships/space stations.

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