- Gautama Buddha
- Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
- Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
- Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
- Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
- Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
- But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
Every few human lifetimes, there is a bombardment event like that which occurred in Siberia in 1908, wiping out most life over an area of about 10,000 square miles… Quantitatively, the time-averaged loss-of-life is comparable to that due to large floods, earthquakes and aeroplane crashes… The advent during the last half-century of reasonably large-scale rocket propulsion has given us the technological means necessary to avert such impacts. Teller, apparently, believed that the greatest threat to humankind is not nuclear war, but asteroid or comet impact.
First, I should say your references to the (cosmically complacent) paleoclimate community and to my otherwise unread narrative report to the USAF european office strike a very considerable chord with me. After all neither Ms Victoria Cox nor your good self can be aware how very much Bill and I had reason to appreciate the timely injection of USAF funds at a time when the line of research we championed appeared to be successfully closed down by the UK scientific establishment. Thus we were both in turn obliged to relinquish our career posts at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh on account of this line of research - which gave rise to our reincarnation at a more tolerant haven namely my alma mater (Oxford).Lewis writes in Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards on a Populated Earth:
Also, whilst I broadly accept your commentary regarding the role of "national elites" in the face of near-Earth threats, I am quite certain the elites in practice currently know VERY "much LESS than they let on" and that the situation for humanity is dire. Any comfort you may draw from the opposite opinion seems to me to be entirely misplaced. Thus although the globally modest efforts to assess the NEO threat with telescopes by a few semi-enlightened national administrations (eg USA) or by a few private enterprises (eg Gates) are certainly to be commended, I look upon this aspect of the NEO threat as basically intermittent and therefore more or less symbolic so far as generally more urgent and still largely undetected low mass NEO flux (which is demonstrably climatological in its effect) is concerned. This particular threat (evidently responsible for our planet's evolving glacial/interglacial condition during the past 3 million years) is of course _fundamentally_ ignored by the current Body Scientific and hence by most of humanity as well.
Many ancient sources from many cultures treat comets as literal, physical harbingers of doom. Such phenomena as the burning of cities and the overthrow of buildings and walls by aerial events are mentioned many times in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese records, but there is no evidence of physical understanding of the nature of the bombarding objects or their effects until quite recently. [
There is indeed a language problem in understanding the ancient reports, but it is largely a matter of the lack of an appropriate technical vocabulary in the older writings. [...] In certain locations and periods, especially in medieval Europe, all unusual heavenly events were interpreted as signs sent by God. Therefore, the surviving accounts are strongly biased toward explaining the moral purpose of these events, not their physical nature. Such fundamental information as exact date and time, exact location, place of appearance of the phenomenon in the sky, its duration and physical extent, luminosity, precise nature of the damage done, and the like were generally regarded as unimportant, and therefore rarely recorded for posterity. [...] Even in 20th century newspapers, bolide explosions may be described (and indexed) as "mysterious explosions," aerial blasts, aerolites, aeroliths, bolides, earthquakes, fireballs, meteorites, meteors, shocks, thunder, and so on. [...]
"580 AD in Louraine, one morning before the dawning of the day, a great light was seen crossing the heavens, falling toward the east. A sound like that of a tree crashing down was heard over all the countryside, but it could surely not have been any tree, since it was heard more than fifty miles away... the city of Bordeaux was badly shaken by an earthquake ... a supernatural fire burned down villages about Bordeaux. It took hold so rapidly that houses and even threshing- floors with all their grain were burned to ashes. Since there was absolutely no other visible cause of the fire, it must have happened by divine will. The city of Orleans also burned with so great a fire that even the rich lost almost everything."
The mountain, and others like it, are the central uplift of an airburst impact structure that is different from anything ever described before.