I'd like to add some input to the meteor thread. First, there's a near complete
(based on our knowledge) and growing database at: http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/ that shows the residual effects of quite a few impacts. Megaton range impacts
occur surprisingly frequently--about once a century. Tunguska level events
(that killed almost everything in 2000 sq miles) occur about every thousand
I don't like Deep Impact as a scenario, because I cannot for the life of me see 300 million Americans, not to mention the rest of the world, just accepting that a select few will go into a safe cavern, without a global riot that would likely end civilization in the process.
The original and accurate story of this type of impact, involving a comet in this case, was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "Lucifer's Hammer," which I recommend all survival minded readers check out. It covers panic reaction prior to the event and during, and coping mechanisms for a post-holocaust world, including the problems (in 1976) that many children would have without TV. Add cell phones and computers to that (This is a serious emotional issue for current military recruits denied their cell phones and Internet for a couple of months) and a great many young people who can't grasp the destruction will still be in psychological shock. Add in food, transport, disease and bandits, and it's a grim tale without being excessively emotional.
The best way to deal with Earth-grazing asteroids is not to attempt to blow them up, but to use charges to divert them--a subsurface detonation can move enough mass to act as a rocket. This causes the asteroid to divert into another orbit that doesn't intersect with Earth. Any large enough mass can't be destroyed, but will gravitationally coalesce back into an effectively solid mass in fairly short order.
Related threats include the potential of Yellowstone every 650,000 years (It's been about 650,000 years) to erupt and spew 200 cubic MILES of ejecta into the atmosphere. And a sufficient earthquake could trigger multiple Cascade Range eruptions from California's Mt. Baker all the way up into Alaska. I've been threatening to write the SF story of a 50 megaton impact in Yellowstone triggering it, the Cascades, the San Andreas and New Madrid faults...
Speaking of the New Madrid Fault, it's potentially more dangerous than San Andreas--the soil structure of the eastern US is such that ground waves are possible with a strong tremor. The effects could travel as far as the Carolinas and Pennsylvania. I'll leave everyone with those cheery thoughts of Mother Nature for now. - Michael Z. Williamson
I had the opportunity to speak to one of the Bible Code team rabbis and this is important for people planning their future to know. Bible code only works on five books of Torah. It doesn't predict the future only several possible outcomes. Its purpose is to show evidence divine inspiration by being several hundred thousand times more organized and patterned than normal text. Mayan calendar or any non -Torah based prophecy is derived either from necromancy or astrology. These two methods may appear effective but they are reading from the wrong end of the process and their purpose is to give free will to reject prayer as the real answer. [When you] rejects the Creator and worship the creation and your life will be ruled by the stars, I choose to be in the hands of G-d who moves worlds at his whim.
A comet strike story is well told in [Niven and Pournelle's novel] Lucifer's Hammer which covers many survival topics one of my favorites. If such a strike comes to pass it like all of life is just a step toward the final redemption. Happy and Kosher Pesech (Our big bug out from Egypt) - David in Israel
Rourke needs to check his facts. The Aztec calendar does not end in 2012 or any other date. It is as open ended a calendar as any other. There is a neat astronomical alignment at the end of 13-baktun/21dec2012, but that's all it is- scientifically speaking anyway.- K
Good article on asteroid impacts. But as it lead off with the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, I must comment. What no one seems to mention when they talk about the end date is that it might not mean a darn thing. The Mayan civilization ended from resource depletion. Doesn't it stand to reason maybe the guys that were making the calendar died off before they could finish the job? Sorry, I just had to comment. Take care, Great job, - Jim