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View Diary: Scientific American Gives Details on the Russian Meteor (277 comments)

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  •  Gravity of an Asteroid Smaller Than a Football (11+ / 0-)

    field which was the one that flew past yesterday afternoon couldn't hold you on the surface. If you simply stepped the reaction would shove you away at escape velocity. There's no way these things are influencing each other gravitationally unless they're well within sight and traveling the exact same orbit.

    The Russian and these other objects were tens of times smaller.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:33:03 PM PST

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    •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      I see the gravity idea doesn't hold water. How about the other idea:

      > is there something about this place in the orbit that brings it closer to asteroids?

      Again, my argument is a probability based -- it seems unlikely that the two uncommon asteroid events would happen on the same day. Someone notes below that the cosmos is a big place, and it certainly is. Still, a cluster of independent asteroid news stories like this hasn't happened in my memory. But even in a large universe if event X seldom happens for 48 units of time (my age in years), but then it happens multiple times in one unit of time, you wonder if there is a common causation, or if there is some factor that is making X more possible. It certainly could be coincidence, but being suspicious about coincidences often leads to new hypotheses about how things work.

      So what I'm noting is that this seems unlikely -- and wondering if there is something about the place in the orbit or the orbits of asteroids that makes it more likely that event X would occur in "clumps" -- not necessarily that they are part of the same asteroid but even something like "in mid-February there is a larger chance of encountering asteroids" would might explain this conjunction in my layperson's mind.

      Something else that occurs to me is that the presence of ubiquitous cameras might be magnifying what might otherwise be rather under-reported phenomena, and that these events are not that rare, but didn't get attention until now?

      "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

      by MarkC on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:31:37 AM PST

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      •  As someone else noted below (0+ / 0-)

        "randomness is clumpy."  Clumps are not indicative of non-randomness.

        Pour yourself into the future.

        by Troubadour on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:11:53 AM PST

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        •  I see what you mean (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour

          but at the same time, isn't that one of those truisms like "the exception proves the rule" that makes sense on one level, but actually goes against how we reason on another?

          Say you have two neighbors who occasionally wear formal suits, one of whom leaves his house only on Sundays in a suit, and the other who wears it the same number of times on average each day of the week.

          The distribution "clumps" around Sundays for one neighbor, and isn't the way we draw inferences to take that clump as not random and assume he goes to church?

          So I'm assuming the asteroids are going to church ;)

          "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

          by MarkC on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:36:29 PM PST

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          •  The problem is we're talking about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MarkC

            billions of objects, not just the two that we happen to be focusing on.  And it's moot because the orbital characteristics say there's no relation.

            Pour yourself into the future.

            by Troubadour on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:54:48 PM PST

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