The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Today in the weird

It's day 88 of my exile from the office, but I recently found out I may get to go in for a day soon. Will this happen before the 24th (day 100)? Who's got the over/under on that?

Meanwhile, outside my bubble:

And just in case you're not scared of everything on earth, here's a list of things in the cosmos that can help you feel even more scared.

Comments (2) -

  • David Harper

    6/13/2020 6:50:19 AM +00:00 |

    Apropos the list of things in the cosmos that we should be scared of, I can't help thinking (as an ex-professional astronomer) that the inexorable rise in the luminosity of the Sun is a more realistic existential threat, albeit on a timescale of billions of years.  The Sun is getting brighter by about 10% every billion years, and a result, as some time between one and two billion years from now, the surface temperature of the Earth will have risen to the point where liquid water can no longer exist.  That's not wild speculation, it's astrophysical fact.  And no liquid water means no life.

    If you prefer your existential horror on somewhat longer timescales, there's theoretical evidence that protons undergo decay (like neutrons outside atomic nuclei) on timescales of 10^38 years or so.  Which means that on those timescales, all of the atoms in the universe will decay into a soup of pions, positrons and photons.

  • The Daily Parker

    6/13/2020 1:41:59 PM +00:00 |

    Fortunately, a billion years from now whatever lives on Earth won't look much like what we have today. Natural selection has kept life chugging along through multiple catastrophes, including a nearly-instantaneous (in evolutionary timescales) increase in surface temperatures of 4°C caused by a previously-unknown ape species.

    Besides, by the time the sun gets 10% hotter a billion years from now, our planet will have experienced 200 or so continent-rearranging (> 1km diameter) meteor impacts.

    That's the thing about life: you'll never survive it.

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