More on those horrendous Amazon forest fires

So much more awful than ever before, fueled by wood Bolsenaro’s policies and utterly cataclysmic for what’s left of the environment.

Or… er… pretty much the same as the last decade and a half.

As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years. (The Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries.) Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database, a research project that compiles and analyzes NASA data.

It’s blatant hyperbole.

Again.

Once more for those at the back, I’m not saying that the fires are a good thing, or that we shouldn’t be concerned at the damage they are doing. I’m merely saying that what the green-leaning environMENTAList media are telling us isn’t exactly the gospel truth. The fires they should be more anxious about are the ones in their pants.

Asteroid death “not certain”

Great news! This learned writer (no: this one, not me) seems to suggest that humankind might actually have the technology and ability to prevent an asteroid strike which would likely end all life on earth.

As long as we have a few decades of warning time.

But: Great news! NASA is tracking loads of these potential planet-devastating lumps of rock (when they’re at work, at least), and so we’re likely to get quite a bit of lead time before all life on earth is wiped out.

The bad news is that because we’re probably going to have a few decades of advance warning, there will almost certainly be no need for desperate measures like the inevitable big nuclear bomb. Thus any thoughts of a photo op of a massive extra-atmospheric firework display are, in all probability, wholly over optimistic.

Which is sad.

Do click through for some technologically amazing – but actually rather dull – ideas on how the-powers-that-be might protect us from certain death.

Sentences like:

We could blast it with a laser, for example.

do get the hopes up, only for them to be dashed with the follow up:

But since we don’t currently have a giant space laser, this method requires a bit more planning.

Leaving us with this riveting alternative:

In space, friction ceases to exist. Bodies move about as dictated by gravity. So, if you put something heavy near an asteroid, you can pull it off track.

This method happens slowly. It would only change the asteroid’s course at a rate of millimeters or centimeters per second per year.

BOOORRING!

It is, of course, recognised by all parties involved that any attempt to divert or blow up an incoming asteroid must be accompanied by an Aerosmith soundtrack. Understandably.

Now: DRONES ON MARS!

If there’s one thing that everyone on Earth can clearly agree on, it’s that there can never be such a thing as too many drones.

And it seems that NASA are now planning to start the drone craze on Mars as well with a new helicopter device:

The US space agency said Friday it plans to launch the first-ever helicopter to Mars in 2020, a miniature, unmanned drone-like chopper that could boost our understanding of the Red Planet.

I’m not sure how they plan to get a GPS lock, given that there are no S’s around Mars, but this is NASA, and if they faked the moon landings, well, then they can do most anything. And that likely includes coming up with a superb name for this craft, just like they did with ApolloChallengerDiscovery and Titan.

And that name is… [drum roll]…

The Mars Helicopter

[sad trombone] Oh.

And they’re starting small:

Its first flight calls for a brief vertical climb of 10 feet (three meters), followed by hovering for a half minute.

Wow. 10 feet. 30 seconds. Hold the front pages.
Don’t push yourselves, NASA.

I clearly need to get my Mavic out there, stat. I’d be buzzing Olympus Mons, shooting high quality 4K video and doing dronies on Curiosity while NASA’s rookies were still putting the paperwork and requisition forms together, wondering if they could maybe risk trying a gentle turn to the right.

If you’re reading this, NASA, I am available for this kind of thing (in between my lab antics with TB). I’ve flown over the Northern Cape: I know what desolation looks like.

But I don’t think I need to be in Texas or Florida or California or wherever you’re running your circus from at the moment. If you can control a drone on a planet 55 million kilometres away, I really don’t think it matters if I’m across a bit of sea from your place.

And I’m certainly not going to Mars.

Have drone, won’t travel.

Shrinkage

Cape Town is making the international news again. It’s not good news this time though. Even if, like me, you have a very dry sense of humour.

This gif is from some American fly-by-night organisation called NASA. I don’t know if they know what they’re talking about when it comes to science and stuff, but their informative webpage on the subject seems to suggest that we are royally screwed.

They quote from expert

Piotr Wolski, a hydrologist at the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town

who:

has analyzed rainfall records dating back to 1923 to get a sense of the severity of the current drought compared to historical norms. His conclusion is that back-to-back years of such weak rainfall (like 2016-17) typically happens about once just every 1,000 years.

That’s some pretty spectacular extrapolation there. You’d think that you’d have to analyze at least 1,000 years before you could draw this sort of conclusion. But I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. He’s an expert, after all. Sadly though, much like Dr David Olivier, Piotr’s expertise will be ignored by those Facebook warriors determined to lay the blame for the water crisis at the doorstep of the City and Provincial governing structures.
They’ll point instead to a massively inaccurate newspaper article from 1990, and shared by a man who helped tell us that the chocolate and coffee farmers downstream of Theewaterskloof are stealing all “our” water.

Yeah. Not much thought went into that.

Elsewhere, The New York Times shares news from this shithole country with their shithole country:

 

The Daily Telegraph photographer should have turned off this tap:

And there’s a typically understated response from the Daily Express:

And you know things are getting SERIOUS when someone brings out THE CAPS LOCK key twice in a headline.

From on high

Here’s a HUGE satellite image of southern Africa, taken by NASA last week as the cold front swept over us:

It looks ok at this sort of size, but you’d be foolish not to go and have a play on the original version here – merely to see if you can spot your place of residence.

If it’s in Cape Town, though, that seems unlikely. Because cloud.