Large meteor in Russia caught on tape – building hit

VIDEO: Large meteorite caught on dash cameras in Russia

still-youtube-potapow-614[1]Image from RT video, see below.

People are a little jumpy with news of the close flyby of the asteroid 2012 DA14 tomorrow. This meteor actually hit and destroyed a building. make you wonder is this wasn’t a piece of 2012DA14 that was a fragment that got ejected from the main asteroid by some other deep space collision but was in a similar trajectory out ahead. If so, there may be more incidents like this. It may also be simply coincidence. [UPDATE: NASA has issue a statement on this, see below]

Story from the YouTube description, video follows.

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A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteor shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones stopped working.

A bright flash was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan.

Lifenews tabloid reported that at least one piece of the fallen object caused damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk. According to preliminary reports, it crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the fiber-optic connections of internet providers and mobile operators.
Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it resembled an earthquake and thunder at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.

Photo from Twitter.com user @TimurKhorev
Photo from Twitter.com user @TimurKhorev

Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have enacted the ‘Fortress’ plan in order to protect vital infrastructure.

Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. Injuries were reported at one of the city’s secondary schools, supposedly from smashed windows. No other injuries have been reported so far.

An emergency message published on the website of the Chelyabinsk regional authority urged residents to pick up their children from school and remain at home if possible.

The video suggests it was shot down by the Air Force, that’s now proven false. Word has it that there was an air burst at about 10,000 feet.

Here is another video showing the trail plume, you can hear the sonic boom, car alarms go off, and windows blown out. It is quite something:

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UPDATE: (via NASA’s spaceweather.com)

It is natural to wonder if this event has any connection to today’s record-setting flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14. NASA has issued the following statement:

“The trajectory of the Russian meteorite was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russian meteorite and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14’s trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north.”

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157 Responses to Large meteor in Russia caught on tape – building hit

  1. Jer0me says:

    Forget CAGW, this a real threat, and we be spending those billion$ trying to prevent these!

  2. Ian Hoder says:

    In Russia meteor looks for you.

  3. John from the EU says:

    So we all we looking foor 2012DA14 but no one noticed this one coming?

  4. crosspatch says:

    RT reporting “more than 100″ injured. Likely most from flying glass. That sonic boom was massive.

  5. crosspatch says:

    Sure hope it wasn’t from an Iranian satellite with a monkey pilot.

  6. Andrewmharding says:

    Something else to blame on climate change?

    REPLY: Tune to CNN for that – Anthony

  7. james robert says:

    It find you! Carried almost live by LA news tonight; isn’t the world wide web wonderful. Maybe an outrider of tomorrow’s traveler. JR

  8. High Treason says:

    Looking forward to trying to spot the meteor from Sydney. A park near to home has a huge wide view to the south and west over the whole of Sydney harbour. Weather images for clouds look bad. Pity, a couple of nights ago I could see a decent amount of the Milky Way from Bondi!

  9. KevinK says:

    Wow, wonder where that fits in the computer models about climate change ?

    Must be something in the water over there in Russia, they seem to attract these much more often than elsewhere (didn’t they take a big hit back about 1903 or so ?) Of course it’s a huge landmass so the probability just leans their way.

    Note to self; call insurance agent tomorrow to check on my meteorite coverage, maybe I have “no-fault”. Story for the adjuster; “I tried to swerve out of the way………….”

    Cheers, Kevin.

  10. TomR,worc,ma,USA says:

    Why does all the cool sh*t happen over there??

    Kidding. All the best to anyone in the area.

    Little nervous now about the “close call” tomorrow.

  11. My husband is a little bit excited! He loves this stuff. We have a giant telescope for him for his astronomy hobby, but with two little kids it mostly just sits in a corner of our bathroom. Sad, but true.

  12. [snip - OK Michael, we get it. Now tone it down as your comments are becoming too much - Anthony]

  13. Jo Woolf says:

    What incredible footage! Thanks for the post.

  14. Larry Kirk says:

    Is there any chance that this is syn-orbital debris related to tonight’s passage of 2012DA14? (Which makes its cosest pass over Sumatra at about 2.25am local time).

    If so, we I wonder if there is any more on its way..?

    Any astrophysicists out there??

  15. Goode 'nuff says:

    Not seeing any 12-21 doomsday bunkers for sale cheap. Looks now like it’s going to take a while.

    But you’re gonna have to live in the thing all the time because it’s the undiscovered one flying in that’s particularly dangerous.

  16. You Know I love your work Anthony and am trying to behave myself. look for Marc Morano to be dropping some bombshell quotes I’ve been supplying him with, also said here on WUWT. Your discretion is good.

  17. Bill Parsons says:

    Amazing.

    Particularly amazing to me is that at least three Russian drivers caught this on a video device while they are driving. Is every driver in the Urals listening to rock-and-roll music and talking on a video-equipped cell phone as they drive? More amazing still: every one of these rock-and-rolling drivers manages to get a video camera turned toward this ufo streaking across their field of view to catch its disintegration in real time, but not one of them considers such the event unusual enough to necessitate pulling their car over.

  18. Duster says:

    John from the EU says:
    February 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    So we all we looking foor 2012DA14 but no one noticed this one coming?

    2012DA14 is bigger. This one was noticed because it came in over a region with a measureable population. Had it dropped in on the Sahara, central Australia, northern Canada, or any of the oceans, there might be a record in one of several defense databases, but the population in general would be unlikely to hear about it.

    See http://www.temehu.com/libyan-desert-glass.htm. That blast was hot enough to fuse sand into glass. It happened 10s of thousands of years ago. There was considerable concern back during the Cold War that something similar could trigger a nuclear exchange.

  19. Bill Parsons says:

    Meteorite or decaying space junk?

  20. Duster says:

    Hmmm, correction necessary. Looking at that link, it is apparently a different glass source than the one I recalled. The glass discussed in that link is tens of millions of years old. With some searching there should be an article about a region where the fused glass makes a pavement.

  21. Goode 'nuff says:

    There is no money for asteroid’s defense…
    Soon Obama will deliver another feel good speech with the usual dose of political over-promising of how great things will be in the future.

    There is no money!

  22. Jer0me says:

    Bill Parsons says:
    February 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Amazing.

    Particularly amazing to me is that at least three Russian drivers caught this on a video device while they are driving. Is every driver in the Urals listening to rock-and-roll music and talking on a video-equipped cell phone as they drive? More amazing still: every one of these rock-and-rolling drivers manages to get a video camera turned toward this ufo streaking across their field of view to catch its disintegration in real time, but not one of them considers such the event unusual enough to necessitate pulling their car over.

    Dash cameras are very common in Russia, is all.

  23. ZootCadillac says:

    There are reports still coming out of Russia that missiles were fired at the meteor in a bid to disintegrate it before impact.

    Noted above that many drivers caught this. We should be thankful that a high percentage of Russian drivers now have dash cams on account of the accident rate being so high they need the footage to settle legal disputes. I often run mine when going on a longer journey, if nothing else the scenic footage can come in handy ( I’m in the UK, not the Urals ;))

  24. Mick says:

    Bill Parsons says:
    February 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    hmmm… I’m with you on the skepticism Bill, CGI at full blast…. sorry about the pun :)

    Or may be NASA mixed metric/imp and jingled the timing of 2012DA14… just joking … lol

  25. Gary Hladik says:

    It’s one of the ships of the alien search party that came looking for their lost Tunguska ship, which crashed after it was safely abandoned by its crew. I know this because “R W Wood” performed his revolutionary and technologically-well-before-its-time experiment in 1909 only one year after the Tunguska crash! Coincidence? I think not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/06/the-r-w-wood-experiment/

    I guess the aliens still haven’t got the hang of their newfangled thiotimoline drives. :-)

  26. UK Sceptic says:

    First I head of that meteorite strike was WUWT. The leading news story du jour (again) is the Pistorious murder. What’s up with that?

  27. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    The new CEO of the Interplanetary Society missed this one? The Nye Of Sauron?

  28. ZootCadillac says:

    apologies for linking to everyone’s favourite news outlet, Russia Today ( you may spot a hint of sarcasm, I could not possibly comment ;))

    http://rt.com/news/russia-meteor-meteorite-asteroid-chelyabinsk-291/

    reports coming in now of over 400 injured and damage in 6 cities. Wow, this thing was big. If they did fire missiles at it I expect that they missed!

  29. pekke says:

    A collection of videos ( 14 ) and pictures from the event.

    http://say26.com/meteorite-in-russia-all-videos-in-one-place

    Can be heavy to load when all videos start.

  30. The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:

    Bill Parsons
    A lot of drivers in Russia use dashboard cameras, that’s why. There are a lot of false claims there (check out youtube) and drivers have resorted to filming their journeys. It’s catching on here in England too – I’ve been doing it for the past year. You have to be a little wary driving behind someone who has a dented boot (tailgate, I think it is to you Americans) as they could suddenly stop on purpose and you ram them from behind. They get their boot (tailgate) repaired AND claim for whiplash, thus getting thousands of pounds (dollars) for really nothing at all. Cash for crash.

  31. vukcevic says:

    The fireball observed above Belgium and the Netherlands on February 13 around 22h10, was the re-entry of the third stage of the Soyuz rocket (SL4-R/B) that transported the unmanned space cargo Progress (M-18M) to the international space station ISS.

    http://www.astro.oma.be/EN/hotnews/index.php

    worth looking into date RI video (38 sec in).

  32. A missile was fired at the meteor?!!!!!
    Yea…right.

  33. Lew Skannen says:

    Duster, just to add a snippet, during the 70s there was a flash detected by satellite over the southern Indian Ocean. It was deemed to be a South African nuclear test and more sanctions were applied. Only decades later did it become clear that it was a meteorite strike.

  34. Keitho says:

    Well that must have been quite discombobulating for the citizens.

    Thanks for that link pekke.

    What would have happened if the 50m item had hit I wonder. It also seems a bit coincidental if these little guys aren’t related to 2012 DA14.

  35. Lew Skannen says:

    So envious. Tungushka and now this. How cone the Russkis get all the best meteorites??

  36. Caleb says:

    The first was space junk. It triggered air defence system. All the missiles they shot at the junk had to fall back to earth somewhere, which explains the second crash.

    That’s the theory that pops into my head at 3:51 AM, EST. Now I likely should go back to bed, but this just shows you that I can’t go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without checking WUWT to see WU.

  37. Mike McMillan says:

    That was a sonic boom and then some: and they used to complain that the Concorde would be to noisy.

    Looks like it broke into two pieces flying in formation, or possibly was two chunks flying in orbit together. Saw something like that back in the last century, a Russian booster rocket that was breaking up as it re-entered, bright glowing pieces flying along together.

  38. Drontos says:

    Car insurance in Russia is a tad… unreliable. Hence the prevalence of dashcams. Google “Russian Dashcam Video” if you are ever bored and need some entertainment. Amazing stuff.

  39. Barry Sheridan says:

    Thanks for posting this Antony. I think I would have jumped at the noise, an adrenaline rush experience all around I think.

  40. Jimbo says:

    It is being reported that it has injured at least 400 people,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21468116

    Now here is something we need to worry about. It’s not if but when. No need for consensus here. Instead billions are being spent on a phantom threat when the real threat is above our heads. Imagine if the Tunguska event happened today and terminated on New York city or Washington DC.

  41. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    The South African flash was a nuke test. I know someone who was involved. The test site was located by a low altitude plane flying a grid pattern on behalf of the US embassy and they got caught doing it. Big headlines at the time.

    The day of the double flash a desert region was declared a no-fly zone to “unlimited” altitude. The double flash was spotted by a supposedly dead weather satellite controlled by an American high school class. All a matter of record. It was the only known atmospheric test of what is assumed to be Israel’s neutron weapons. They did it together.

  42. ConfusedPhoton says:

    Meteorites hitting the Earth is not inconsistent with anthropogenic global warming

    (sarc)

  43. steveta_uk says:

    UK Sceptic says:
    February 15, 2013 at 12:07 am

    First I head of that meteorite strike was WUWT. The leading news story du jour (again) is the Pistorious murder. What’s up with that

    Really? First I heard of it was BBC TV news at 6:30 followed by an interview with a scientist, who thought it unlikely that this was anything to do with tonights fly-past, and pointed out that this one was probably just a little rock so was too small to have been seen coming.

  44. Les Johnson says:

    Anthony: I doubt that the building was hit by pieces of the meteorite. Its likely it collapsed from the sonic boom. An old, sub-standard building, with snow on the roof, would be more likely.

  45. John Silver says:

    If you lookclosely at the condensation trails you will see that it was two meteors flying side by side.
    The roof of the building collapsed from the pressure wave of the sonic boom.
    The injuries came from falling glass.

  46. johnmarshall says:

    Perhaps a fellow traveler with today’s flyby. I certainly hope that the Spanish correctly calculated today’s trajectory when they reported it.

  47. Every thing in Russia bigger,bigger cars, bigger trains, bigger drones. ]”7)
    Alfred

  48. Bill Illis says:

    Sonic booms blew out many windows.

    Many vehicles in Russia have dashcams now – and high quality HD ones with sound. There will be hundreds of videos available.

  49. Jimbo says:

    Apparently this meteor in Russia is unlikely to be related to the asteroid due to pass close later this evening at 19:25 GMT. I think we have more important things to worry about Earthlings.

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/meteorite-crashes-in-russian-u/6195714

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21442863

  50. Bill Illis says:

    Liveleak.com channel covering meteorite videos (site where wierd videos are uploaded world-wide, although many news stories come from here now. warning about the site in general, anything can be on here).

    http://www.liveleak.com/c/Meteorite_falls_in_Russia

  51. Mike Spilligan says:

    This proves progress. 25 years ago none of us would have known about it – the “authorities”; east and west would have stayed silent, waiting for the other to say something first.

  52. John West says:

    Well, I guess we scratch one doomsday scenario off the list. There’s apparently no reason to be concerned about a meteorite strike on a nuclear power being mistaken for a nuclear strike and thereby initiating WWIII. Can we set the clock back a minute or two, now?

  53. I do not think it is a coincidence. Just last week, when the DA14 coverage started to ramp up, I was thinking about the orbit of this asteroid and how it has had a long time to accumulate a small cloud of nearby companions from minor collisions over the eons. I could be all wet, but I think analysis will show that the orbit of this meteorite, and that of DA14 are closely related.

  54. W*T H*L*B*T says:

    That’ll be down to global warming/climate change/climate variability

  55. MattN says:

    Am I a bad person for wishing there was video of the impact at that building?

  56. SAMURAI says:

    For people wondering why so many videos of this event were taken from vehicles, dash cams are very popular for accident insurance purposes. They’re now very inexpensive and miniaturized and can save you A LOT of money if you’re ever involved in an accident.

  57. Joe Public says:

    To ZootCadillac & the comments about missiles fired.

    The 1st lesson in Missile School is: “What goes up, must come down”.

    I don’t suppose we’ll learn of any collateral damage …………..

    Sympathy to those killed/maimed by the asteroid’s impact damage, and, by the broken flying glass shards all along the sonic-boom corridor. And also, by drivers distracted by the spectacle.

  58. Leg says:

    In the US we get all of the world’s UFO landings. In Russia they get the asteroids. Let’s keep it that way. :)

    Impressive. Sure don’t want to be on the end of an asteroid.

  59. Mike Haseler says:

    Got a new music centre yesterday … and listened to radio cameroon, and “good morning Australia” at 9pm. That blue my mind.

    But seeing not one but dozens of videos of the meteorite … as it actually happened,… WOW!

  60. Hot under the collar says:

    If this was a “global warming” issue then it would be the main item on the BBC as it is so far it has taken a backseat to the “horse burger” scandal.

    More empirical evidence that climate change is the biggest threat to life on earth? / sarc.

  61. Gene Selkov says:

    Lew Skannen says:

    > So envious. Tungushka and now this. How cone the Russkis get all the best meteorites??

    They are a very, very large target.

  62. Dell from Michigan says:

    Why wasn’t this detected by NASA and some type of warning given?

    Oh thats right, NASA was too over-occupied with their employee James Hansen being arrested outside the Whitehouse.

  63. CodeTech says:

    I’m reading that today’s asteroid flyby will come from the north, while last night’s Russia impact came from the south. If so, then either this is an interesting (or amazing) coincidence, or there are some really complex orbital mechanics at work for the Russia event to be a piece of 2012DA14.

    Either way, it is definitely fascinating to see all of the video. I was especially impressed with the city traffic camera showing normal traffic, with a sudden bright glare showing what looks like a full day of solar shadows moving within seconds. I’m not sure the average human brain could make sense of that when it happened, I’m pretty sure my first thought would be FEAR, and involve the word “nuclear”. Heck, all it took was snow and ice tumbling off my new roof for the first time to make me think “earthquake”.

    Apparently almost 300 apartment buildings had windows blown out, and that is NOT a minor thing when the temperature is -18C. No wonder they’re sending 20,000 relief workers into the area to help out. This is a serious incident, more so than seeing the first videos is revealing. Over 700 documented injuries so far, some serious, and judging by the videos of typical office interiors with people blown inward from the windows and doors slammed open, that was a complete shock! I can only imagine how serious this would have been if it had been Moscow, or New York or San Francisco that was right under the path.

    I’m impressed with the relatively calm and measured reaction I saw on many of those videos. Not sure I wouldn’t have been running blindly and screaming. People shooting videos were pretty much unable to even hold their camera/phone when the shock wave hit!

    Today I’m ordering a hidef camera for my car. For those who don’t get how ubiquitous those things are, go to youtube and search “crash compilation”. So many car “accidents” captured, first hand, in glorious high definition.

    Sorry for the long post, I’ve kinda been up all night following this…

  64. Ric Werme says:

    Canada almost got hit by a meteor in 1972, but it didn’t slow down below escape velocity and missed Earth. It remains an Apollo (Earth orbit crossing) asteroid. It was filmed as it passed over Utah, the first film of such an event, at least, the first made public.

    It would have been amazingly bright had it brushed us at night.

    See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WlCfuPrszU

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Daylight_1972_Fireball

  65. a dood says:

    I wonder what the size of the meteorite was… Walnut sized? Softball?

    Any astrophysicists want to hazard a guess?

  66. arthur4563 says:

    t certainly does seem to e too much of a coincidence. I mean, after all, how often does the Earth get hit with a meteor of this size? In a military situation, this would be called “collateral damage.”

  67. Ric Werme says:

    Oh yeah:

    Meteoroid – small object wandering around a solar system.
    Asteroid – bigger object that can/could be seen with a telescope.
    Planetoid – even bigger, like Pluto. There may be official sizes, I haven’t checked.
    Meteor – meteoroid or asteroid as it goes through an atmosphere and is heated to incandescence.
    Meteorite – meteoroid on the ground and is now a rock.

  68. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2279020/Moment-meteorite-exploded-sky-Russian-town-doctors-treat-500-people-injured-sonic-boom-shattered-windows.html

    Interesting note in blue boxed section at bottom, “Half a million kilometers away, another asteroid is coming” (bold added):


    Dr Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society told MailOnline: ‘As I understand it, the Russian meteorite(s) were travelling from east to west whereas 2012 DA14 will be travelling from north to south.

    ‘In any case with a 12 hour time difference, the objects are at least half a million km apart, so unrelated.’

    His view was backed up by Dr Phil Plait on his Bad Astronomy blog for Slate and the European Space Agency.

    So one of our favorite visiting “death by slightly elevated global warmth” prophets (posts here as “Phil.” aka “Phil-dot”) is now an authority on par with the European Space Agency.

    Was Phil. promoted or has the ESA fallen that far? Wait, Phil. got first billing. Is he now more authoritative than the ESA?

  69. It’s extremely unlikely that the building was hit. It rather collapsed due to the powerful sonic boom.

    It seems that at least one piece landed on the Chebarkul lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-82p73fTweE

  70. John Whitman says:

    It is wonderful having our modern technology to witness the traveler almost live. This is the stuff of childhood dreams about space adventure. I love it.

    How do the media know it was impact from a meteorite and not a smallesh comet? Has someone seen the meteorite material?

    John

  71. Steve Dearden says:

    “makes you wonder is this wasn’t a piece of 2012DA14 that was a fragment that got ejected from the main asteroid by some other deep space collision but was in a similar trajectory out ahead. If so, there may be more incidents like this. It may also be simply coincidence.”

    Anthony: it’s just pure coincidence. The two objects (the asteroid this wvening and the Russian meteor this morning, are coming from totally opposites parts of the sky.

  72. Old Wolf says:

    As I remember, there’s also a large amount of glass beneath a good portion of asia/polynesia from an airburst meteor. Thailand, vietnam, southern China, and Cambodia, about 800k years ago.

    There was a documentary about the desert glass in Libya, specifically Tutankhamun’s Fireball. It mentions the later Asian fireball. In effect, it’s a local major extinction event, with far wider effects from thermal bloom, shock waves, and smoke.

    Unfortunately, at this point, all of humanity’s eggs are in one basket, and there are members within that basket that want to not only keep it that way, but start breaking eggs for their own benefit, for personal power, fame, riches… and their own misanthropy.

  73. PaulH says:

    “CNN anchor suggests meteor hurtling toward Earth could be a result of global warming”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2277529/CNN-anchor-suggests-meteor-hurtling-Earth-result-global-warming.html

    That didn’t take long.

  74. RockyRoad says:

    If this were a global warming phenomena, wouldn’t it be striking China or India since they are the main “polluters”?

    /sarc

  75. Doug Jones says:

    The trail appears to be doubled, but it’s just an elongated vortex from the fireball. Just as a mushroom cloud from a nuke circulates in a torus, the long hot fireball of the meteor rose in the center, causing recirculation. You can see that the two lobes are rotating about the axis of the meteor pass. The dust is the only marker for the fireball, so as clean air is drawn up behind it, the center of the pattern becomes clear.

  76. John Whitman says:

    John Whitman on February 15, 2013 at 6:46 am

    – – – – – –

    Typo in my last comment.

    smallesh smallish

    John

  77. jorgekafkazar says:

    A number of commenters have referred to astrophysics. This has nothing to do with astrophysics. It’s celestial mechanics or, in this specific case, meteoritics.

    Don’t be too surprised if there’s another hit in the next few weeks.

  78. itronix says:

    CBS This Morning had segment “Meteor Attack” Attack?… Really?

  79. _Jim says:

    Bill Parsons says February 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Amazing.

    Particularly amazing to me is that at least three Russian drivers caught this on a video device while they are driving. Is every driver in the Urals listening to rock-and-roll music and talking on a video-equipped cell phone as they drive?

    The Police; these kinds of videos abound nowadays … just a couple years back we (the co I was with for a few years) were the contract manufacturer of units sold by a company in Richardson, Texas: “Watch Guard”; Digital in-car video (and audio of course):

    http://www.watchguardvideo.com/

    (Did you notice the video taken from the cars that the camera did not ‘wave’ all over the place like your average iPhone-based vid camera does?)

    AMAZING video BTW. Quite a sight. Shows the raw power of mother nature and quite literally ‘physics’ where e = 1/2 * (MV^2) …

    .

  80. Wamron says:

    “…shot down by the air force…”

    Most people really have no conception of how relatively puny and inconsequential Human efforts are compared to the world we live in.

  81. Dell from Michigan says:

    I’m wondering if CNN anchor Deb Feyerick, will ask if this meteor that struck Russia, was caused by Global Warming?

  82. Chris B says:

    Debris falls in lake.

  83. Wamron says:

    Couple of corrections.
    This isnt a meteor but a meteorite. The former becomes the latter if it hits us.

    Also, it wasnt large but on the scale of these thigs a minnow. Maybe an object the size of a bus.

    Russian spokes-morons have said it was a first. How do Russians not know about the one in Tunguska that obliterated 20,000Sq KM?

    There have been many others inside Human time-scales. Its even been speculated that the fire of Chicago resulted froman air-burst as well as the destruction of one or two other communities. Thats TV level rumination so not necessarily serious.

    However, there are in fact some very large craters on the face of the Earth as well as under-sea evidence of large impacts. As for the dinosaurs, the assertion a meteorite did for them is still open to dispute.

    But there is absolutely no point worrying about something nobody will ever be able to prevent (outside of the less believeable realms of science fiction). You would need the engineering capability to go far into space and change the trajectories of large objects with immense momentum. as things stand, Its StarTrek territory and in my humble opinion, basedon the feebleness of Human spaceflight efforts so far, it aint ever going to happen.

    Whatwe COULD do is apply the same principles (high velocity solid objects) to weapons technology to create some very big non-nuclear bangs.

    If states retain their preparedness for large scale nuclear war (which means Russia and China basically) then they are covering the only counter-measures possible, which is provision for what to do if there is ever destruction on such a scale, or up to that scale).

  84. rgbatduke says:

    I wonder what the size of the meteorite was… Walnut sized? Softball?

    Any astrophysicists want to hazard a guess?

    How do the media know it was impact from a meteorite and not a smallesh comet? Has someone seen the meteorite material?

    Presumably smaller than 50 m, since that’s the size of the one NASA did spot, although we’ll have to await some sort of estimate on its explosive energ in tons of TNT or Joules. Much larger and we would have been pretty likely to spot it. At 50 m it might have snuck in coming from an unusual direction, e.g. perpendicular to the ecliptic plane, as one expects rather less stuff from that direction and I’m guessing it doesn’t get covered as thoroughly either by amateurs looking for asteroids or comets or NASA ditto. Amateurs actually discover a lot of these things, because if you discover a comet you get to name it!

    Meteor/asteroid vs comet is not a particularly meaningful distinction. A comet is basically a “dirty snowball” made up of lots of rocky stuff embedded in and glued together by frozen gases. The tail of the comet is gas that vaporizes/sublimates when it gets close enough to the Sun, is ionized by sunlight (so that it glows), and that is driven backwards relative to the motion of the comet much like the solar wind by light pressure. However, a rocky or nickel-iron asteroid/meteor can easily have a covering of various kinds of “ice” (methane, solid CO_2, water ice, frozen O_2 and N_2) or be partially hollow with cavities containing these sorts of ice. It depends on the details of each asteroid’s formation — many of the nickel-iron ones actually were melted, they think by the powerful and rapidly oscillating magnetic field of the young sun, so that they have a fused look and are roughly spherical. Others simply accreted, built out of more normal “rock” with less metal that gradually swept up a lot of stuff as the solar system settled out of the birth of the Sun.

    One difference, IIRC, is that a comet would most likely split up into a complete shotgun blast of smaller chunks of stuff as it warms enough for the gases that hold it together melt or vaporize while falling. A rocky asteroid/metor might well also break up, because several distinct parts of it might be glued together weakly by some mix of gravity, some surface adhesion, and frozen stuff, but it wouldn’t break up as finely, as rapidly, as it would have a lot more solid rocky mass and less gas. A nickel-iron meteor would be the most likely to hold together all the way to the ground and actually hit (with devastating consequences where it hit). The only good thing about the air burst is that a lot of the energy of the collision of the object with the Earth went into sound and fury and heat up high, but not so much down low. A metallic meteor that hits the ground moving and 6 to 8 km/sec yields 20 to 30 million joules per kilogram of mass, all released as heat in an instant at the point of impact. This really is the equivalent of a ground burst nuclear warhead (without the fallout).

    I’m too lazy to do all the arithmetic (well, actually I have the flu and don’t feel like doing much of anything:-) but if it were (say) 20m is radius and roughly spherical, were rocky and hence had a density of roughly 6000 kg/m^3, the volume is roughly 32,000 cubic meters, call it 200,000,000 kg of total mass. Moving at escape speed (default assumption) of 11.2 km/sec, one gets 64 MJ/kg,
    or 12,800,000,000,000,000 (12.8 quadrillion Joules). This works out to be roughly 3 Mt of TNT, the size of “normal” strategic nuclear warhead. This is probably an overestimate, but an energy of ballpark 1 Mt is probably not a bad guess. This is very close to the energy release we would have had from the object that is missing the Earth today, if it had hit, so they aren’t too far from being the same size.

    From the look of the trails and the explosion at the end, assuming an airburst at 10000 feet or higher, I think 1 Mt TNT will end up being a good ballpark, but it could have been only 10m in size and 1/8 of this in energy release. We must await measurements or better fermi estimates from physicists on the scene taking into account the actual pattern of damage from the explosion at the end.

    Damn lucky it wasn’t nickel-iron and heading straight down into a city, though, regardless of its size. It would have killed a million people in a heartbeat if it hit in the wrong place, just like the one that is missing us today.

    rgb

    rgb

  85. _Jim says:

    Bill Parsons says February 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Meteorite or decaying space junk?

    We have an idea of what ‘space junk’ does (and sounds like!) when it comes in over a populated area … the ‘boom’ from the ill-fated Columbia shuttle was NOTHING compared to what was seen/heard in the second video … at the time Columbia burned-up here over Texas, I thought the neighbors next door were out banging around a little … little did I know the catastrophe that had just transpired … some minutes later, after Ed Wallace made the announcement on ‘Wheels’ (570 kHz AM) I went outside and saw the smoke trail …

    http://www.columbiassacrifice.com/$B_breakup.htm

    Debris imagery was also noticeable on WSR-88D (NEXRAD) weather RADARs from that event too.

    Pg 4/306 of this document shows the debris track::

    http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/caib/PDFS/VOL2/D10.PDF

    RADAR image from Shreveport WSR-88D of the track into Louisiana:

    .

  86. Wamron says:

    …self correction, after prompting by other comments, surely nowhere near as big as a bus. Maybe the size of a cooker. But it has to be a certain size for there to be anything left after passing through the atmosphere.

  87. Steve Oregon says:

    I’m deeply concerned that our public officials haven’t the resources to adequately plan and prepare for catastrophic meteor events.
    The Russian event demonstrates that much more should be done. Resources must be allocated to better preparedness.

    The National Meteor Advisory Council recommends all local governments develop programs to advise their citizenry.

    Learn whether Meteors have occurred in your area or could occur in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, state geological survey, National Weather Service (NWS) office, or American Red Cross chapter. Find out your area’s meteor evacuation plan.
    If you are in an area at risk from meteors, you should:

    Find out if your home, school, workplace, or other frequently visited locations are in meteor hazard areas.
    Know the distance of your street from the sky. Evacuation orders may be based on these numbers. Also find out the distance from the sky of outbuildings that house animals, as well as pastures or corrals.

    Plan evacuation routes from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you could be where meteors present a risk. Seek any location that is protected from the sky. 300 feet, or more, below ground is recommended.
    If your children’s school is under the sky, find out what the school evacuation plan is. Find out if the plan requires you to pick your children up from school or from another location. .

    Practice your evacuation routes. Practicing your plan makes the appropriate response more of a reaction, requiring less thinking during an actual emergency situation.

    Use a NOAA Weather Radio or stay tuned to a local radio or television station to keep informed of local watches and warnings.

    Talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners’ policies do not cover losses from a meteor. Ask about the National Meteor Insurance Program (NMIP). NMIP covers Meteor damage, but your community must participate in the program.

    Discuss meteors with your family. Everyone should know what to do in a meteor situation. Discussing meteors ahead of time will help reduce fear and save precious time in an emergency. Review meteor safety and preparedness measures with your family.

    If you are visiting an area at risk from meteors, check with the hotel, motel, or campground operators for meteor evacuation information and find out what the warning system is for meteors. It is important to know designated escape routes before a warning is issued.

    Always look up wherever you are. Monitor the sky at all times in order to be pro-active.
    If you see a ball of fire heading towards you run like the wind, save yourself and record it all on your cell phone.

  88. Colin Gartner says:

    Some amazing “live” video records of this event. This stuff is fascinating.

  89. agimarc says:

    Highly skeptical of any claims of anti-aircraft missiles being fired at the bolide. They have contrails of their own. None of the videos of the event I see show any contrail (smoke trail / exhaust plume) at an angle to the flight path of the inbound.

    There is also an operational difficulty with their use in this case, as it would require the local military to be on alert, ready to fire on seconds notice. Nothing militarily was going on at or near that part of Russia, so therefore no alert guys with itchy trigger fingers ready to fire in country near instantaneously.

    There are some claims of a 10 ton body, which at this point seems to be pure arm waving. Fun stuff though, as they should be able to figure out a parent body based on the inbound trajectory. Will see what the YD guys have to say and will report. Cheers -

  90. Jennifer says:

    There was another inncodent in Russia, there is a place where the radiation level in high and all the trees that were still in some sort of good shape were fallen in the same circular direction. Very interesting. This happened way before man had any sort of bombs, etc. .

    It makes one wonder what other threats are out there. Did we know about this one and just were not told. Do you suppose that if we were in threat of this one still making an appearance in about 2 hours, we would be warned if it was truly a threat? You know NASA and governments can put anything they want on here. Could it be possible this was related, and perhaps the danger is not over? How much are we never told so as not to ensue a world out of control and frantic by incoming doom.

    Just a thought!

    Course I believe in God, but His word does mention inccodents like this, near the and of time.

    For all you out there who are making jokes about global warming and the like, I understand that under circumstances such as these things that we have no control over, it is a comfort to make jokes. Yet, truth is last year and the year before we set global weather records, had horrible heat, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods. Not to mention thousands of birds falling dead out of the sky, sea animals beaching themselves and the list goes on. Even dust storms. Something is changing, are we ready for the change? Can we be ready? Pray and know He will take His people home.

  91. Jennifer says:

    Above the inncodent I was reffering to that is to happen in about 2 hours now is the DA14 meteor.

  92. David L. Hagen says:
  93. Bill Parsons says:

    Oh… Dashboard cameras.

    RE:

    We have an idea of what ‘space junk’ does (and sounds like!) when it comes in over a populated area … the ‘boom’ from the ill-fated Columbia shuttle was NOTHING compared to what was seen/heard in the second video

    Makes sense. Another (handheld) video I just saw, featured at the Washington Post (Second video frame down at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/15/stunning-amateur-videos-of-the-russian-meteorite-explosion/ ) captures a single, almost horizontal vapor trail, along with a whole series of explosions – I counted about 20, although some of these may have been echoes – reinforcing the idea that whatever this was broke apart, and its fragments each blew up separately. Something about this suggests a “lump” of something superheating at different rates, bursting open, then each of those core parts heating and bursting in turn. I guess that would be more characteristic of a solid object than a piece of fabricated steel and alloy?

  94. rgbatduke says:

    Course I believe in God, but His word does mention inccodents like this, near the and of time.

    Urk. Trying — hard — to — resist.

    Ah, screw it.

    For all you out there who are making jokes about global warming and the like, I understand that under circumstances such as these things that we have no control over, it is a comfort to make jokes. Yet, truth is last year and the year before we set global weather records, had horrible heat, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods. Not to mention thousands of birds falling dead out of the sky, sea animals beaching themselves and the list goes on. Even dust storms. Something is changing, are we ready for the change? Can we be ready? Pray and know He will take His people home.

    All of these things happen all of the time. We did not set global weather records for all time, we set them for the last few hundred years. If you visit here:

    you will see that it was literally as warm as it is now:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Warm_Period

    Note well “within a degree” of the present, which is the best one can hope to resolve in a world where the climate is always changing up or down, and then there is the weather.

    The “horrible heat” of last summer was nowhere near as destructive as the Great Dust Bowl back in the 1930s. That in turn was a cakewalk compared to the drought on the east coast that wiped out the Roanoke colony in the early 1600s — there were basically 7 years without any rain at all. Whole tribes of native americans disappeared (or moved elsewhere to where they could find water) at the same time the colony disappeared, and the Jamestown colony barely survived it a bit further north. None of this even vaguely compares with the disasters associated with the Younger Dryas, which was apparently accompanied by centuries of drought and decades long dustbowls throughout North America from what we can tell from the deposits left in the soil and dated to that time. Tornadoes always happen, and FYI last year was one of the least active years for tornadoes on record. This year continues the longest stretch in the modern record without a major (cateogory 3 or larger) hurricane making landfall in the US.

    So nothing is changing. Or rather, sure, it is changing but it is always changing, the Earth is a dynamical system. These natural events are no more a sign of God or the coming of the mythical Apocalypse than any of the other stretches of natural disasters over the past were. When Mount Tambora exploded with the power of 800 megatons of TNT back in 1815, 38 cubic miles of rock were blown to dust. The sound of the explosion was heard 2600 kilometers away (as well as on the opposite side of the Earth where the shockwave reconstructed into a loud sound once again). It affected weather/climate for years to decades. And it didn’t herald the second coming either.

    Every generation of Christian since Christianity began has thought that the bad stuff that happened in their time were the signs and portents of return of Jesus and the Apocalypse of St. John from Revelations. Every generation has been mistaken. And if you take the Bible at face value, Jesus stated, quite clearly, that he would return to usher in the kingdom of god during the lifetime of his listeners:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/end.html

    This did not happen, of course. The Bible was then rewritten to make the time a bit later — during the lifetime of the New Testament authors (who in most cases never met Jesus and were preaching to people that had never met Jesus by telling them that He’d Be Right Back — so be good!) When that didn’t happen, the time was amended again to “soon”. Any minute now. Where it has remained for 2000 years.

    I don’t know what kind of evidence it takes to falsify a prophecy, as opposed to a prediction in science. Personally, I would say very little, as prophecy has no sound basis — anybody can prophecy anything they like as long as it is comfortably in the future where they won’t be alive if and when it turns out not to be true. However, it surely is falsified thousands of years later, when none of the prophecies of apocalypse or return have been fulfilled.

    rgb

  95. vukcevic says:

    Ice crater edge looks pretty clean, the ice evaporated on the impact

  96. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    The Mighty Ming is up to his old tricks! Where is Flash Gordon?

  97. vukcevic says:

    Russian meteorite ice crater.
    Any expert comments on what is the instrument, protective white suit?

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/RusMet.htm

    taken from crater impact image

  98. John Whitman says:

    rgbatduke on February 15, 2013 at 10:50 am

    [ . . . ]

    Urk. Trying — hard — to — resist.

    Ah, screw it.

    [ . . . ]

    rgb

    – – – – – – –

    rgbatduke,

    With the bait offered up, ‘Resistance Is Futile’ ***.

    So don’t resist.

    But at the same time I think it is futile using logic and reason and reality to debate with a faith based position. My way is to point out faith’s irrelevance to a topic such as climate science and just move on.

    I suggest this quote addresses that somewhat,

    “Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.”

    ― Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

    *** apologies to Gene Roddenberry

    John

  99. A.D. Everard says:

    Jennifer says:
    February 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

    “…Not to mention thousands of birds falling dead out of the sky…”

    *

    Have I missed something? The only birds dropping out of the sky that I know of have been those flying too close to those bird-chopping wind farms.

    There have been cases of birds dropping dead because of heat. People, too. Australia 1896, for instance. I don’t know of anything like that happening recently.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/11/extreme-heat-in-1896-panic-stricken-people-fled-the-outback-on-special-trains-as-hundreds-die/

  100. Michael in Sydney says:

    RGB

    “…Jesus stated, quite clearly, that he would return to usher in the kingdom of god during the lifetime of his listeners:…”

    I believe that theologians accept that this is in reference to the transfiguration of Christ which did occur in the presence of some disciples.

    The term ‘generation’ is also defined as ‘race’ in the NIV

    My belief regarding the return of Christ is taken from his own words “…No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father…”

    But I get your drift that we as a race whether religious or secular love to predict the imminent demise of ourselves:)

  101. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Saturday, Sept. 17, 1966 – I was in the back seat of the parent’s car, driving through the Chicago suburbs, and I saw a huge, bright meteor with long tail from the rear window! Of course, I told my folks, to which my Mom said “SHUT UP, CHARLES!” My dear departed mother….anyway, in the Michigan Great Bend Daily Tribune, Sunday, Sept. 18, 1966, an article was published, in part saying:

    An object which caused Michigan Gov. George Romney to declare, “We though we were under attack” lit up the sky from New York to Illinois Saturday night. Both the U.S. Weather Bureau and the Federal Aviation Agency said the object probably was a meteorite.

    Folks, when you are right, you are right! Stick to your guns. I was 11 and knew what I saw.

  102. Gene Selkov says:

    Vukcevic, It is (with a high level of confidence) a military Geiger counter (I carried one on me when I was among the people manning the checkposts on roads leading to Moscow following the Chernobyl disaster).

    The consternated look on the man’s face tells me he is trying to make sense of isolated clicks in his earphones. If there was something to measure, I think he’d be looking at the gauge.

    The man in white is probably a random onlooker dressed in something resembling the standard-issue military skiing uniform. Russians are fond of uniforms, and they can be bought cheap at surplus stores.

  103. vukcevic says:

    Gene Selkov says:
    February 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm
    ……
    Hi Gene.
    Thanks, I thought that too, but I wouldn’t expect a meteorite to be particularly radioactive, unless it is a lump of Uranium-235, which as far as I remember has a half-life of ¾ of a billion years.
    My impression is that the ‘radioactivity inspector’ was not very pleased by the presence of the photographer, but I could be wrong (count me skeptic http://www.astro.oma.be/EN/hotnews/index.php )

  104. u.k.(us) says:

    I made my sister watch the sonic-boom video, she also linked this post to her facebook page.
    I try to get her to read you Anthony, but it is tough sledding.
    She has bigger fish to fry, keeping her kid on the right track / job security etc.

    Here was her take on the video:
    “at least they get new windows”.
    (she has leaky windows), practical as always :)

  105. A. Scott says:

    “If you see a ball of fire heading towards you ….”

    … bend over and kiss your arse goodbye …. and remember to record it on your cell phone.

  106. Chris R. says:

    Huh. Corrections offered…

    To vukevic:

    Why U-235? Here on Earth natural uranium is 0.711% U-235–why should we expect
    a meteorite to have a different composition? U-238, of course, has a half-life of
    4.2 billion years and thus is quite a bit less radioactive.

    To Jennifer:

    The spelling is “incidents”, Jennifer.

  107. alf m meling says:

    Asteroids with tiny moons have been observed. I think UnfrozenCavemanMD (see above) is correct in his assumptions that the event over Ural mountains is caused by a small “moon” of the passing asteroid 2012 DA14. I know JPL big shot Paul Chodas does not believe this, but there always has to be a first time event like this to widen our minds about these things.

  108. jorgekafkazar says:
    February 15, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Don’t be too surprised if there’s another hit in the next few weeks.

    I mentioned in the other thread I saw a very bright meteor over Perth about 3 hours ago. I estimate it was about 20 minutes after the asteroid passed and a similar direction as the asteroid path. I assume something in the weak gravitational field of the asteroid.

    What’s the basis for your prediction?

  109. Rhoda R says:

    RGB: Thank you for answering Jennifer so thoroughly and in such a measured manner.

  110. Frank Kotler says:

    This fits in nicely with the warmist plan to have us all living in caves. Of course, there will be a severe shortage of suitable caves, so many of us will have to live in trees. Should reduce injuries from flying glass, at least!

  111. rgbatduke says:

    RGB: Thank you for answering Jennifer so thoroughly and in such a measured manner.

    You are welcome, although (as has been pointed out on the list here) it is pissing into a category 5 hurricane. No negative evidence or lack of positive evidence gets to count for — oops, I almost said “religion” but correctly one’s own religion. For all other religions it counts. For science it counts. Elsewhere in reason it counts. But one can always excuse your own religion or practice “hermeneutics and exegesis” at will to heal all wounds and would all heels.

    So when Jesus says he’s coming back in his own lifetime in as direct a quote as is possible in a book that was written by people that never met him long after he (if he ever existed) was dead, that’s easily explained away. But elsewhere, where it says what you need it to say or be proven false in a specific important instance, we can be certain that that’s actually a real quote and means what it says.

    I get suckered into it because dichotomous epistemology is a source of much evil in the world today, but ultimately it is as pointless as anything I ever do.

    rgb

  112. Alexandriu Doru says:

    From YouTube I measured 141seconds between the light and the sound of the explosion (at Chelyabinsk)
    The speed of sound( at -10C) is 325m/s —>the distance was 45825m.
    At that distance,to explain the damages, I must admit a 150Kt TNT explosion(10 times Hiroshima)
    NASA estimate of the speed of the meteorite being 15000m/s,that gives me a mass of 6000 tons,
    and a ‘radius’ ~15 m.
    NASA advance a” preliminary” mass of 7000 tons.

  113. nangulu says:

    atleast we survived the real asteroid

  114. ferdberple says:

    The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:
    February 15, 2013 at 12:25 am
    You have to be a little wary driving behind someone who has a dented boot (tailgate, I think it is to you Americans) as they could suddenly stop on purpose and you ram them from behind.
    ==============
    When you are merging with traffic in rush hour, start pulling out but watch the eyes of the driver behind you. Soon as he/she looks to see if it is clear for him/her as well slam on your brakes. 9 times out of 10 they will still be looking over their shoulder as they hit you.

  115. A.D. Everard says:

    Frank Kotler says:
    February 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    This fits in nicely with the warmist plan to have us all living in caves. Of course, there will be a severe shortage of suitable caves, so many of us will have to live in trees. Should reduce injuries from flying glass, at least!

    *

    However, we can then expect injuries from falling out of trees to increase. :)

  116. jorgekafkazar says:

    jorgekafkazar says: February 15, 2013 at 7:21 am: Don’t be too surprised if there’s another hit in the next few weeks.

    Philip Bradley says: February 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm: I mentioned in the other thread I saw a very bright meteor over Perth about 3 hours ago. I estimate it was about 20 minutes after the asteroid passed and a similar direction as the asteroid path. I assume something in the weak gravitational field of the asteroid. What’s the basis for your prediction?”

    Given a long enough time, gravity may cause loose clusters of objects to form. Or a single object may break up from ice off-gassing or thermal expansion. The elliptical orbit of this cluster could be sufficiently precise to permit multiple strikes over a relatively short interval. A lot depends on the relative orbits of Earth and the cluster. Fortunately, the worst orbits have been swept clean a long time ago, and we should be in the clear in a day or two. We’re lucky to have a moon to speed the process.

    What do you think of the notion that the Russian bolide was two ojbects?

  117. Olaf Koenders says:

    If that’s what the Mayan doomsayers were on about, they’re a tad late..

  118. Michael in Sydney says:

    RGB
    “…So when Jesus says he’s coming back in his own lifetime in as direct a quote as is possible in a book that was written by people that never met him long after he (if he ever existed) was dead, that’s easily explained away….”

    I once listened to John Dixon, Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia, http://johndickson.org/, say that there is not a single mainstream secular tenured historian who does not acknowledge the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived. He was not saying they believed he was the Son of God, simply that he was a historical figure.

    Cheers

  119. Mike says:

    It is so obvious how this was definitely caused by global warming. C02 traps heat. Everyone knows that. From the videos, this thing looked very hot to me. Our collective SUV farts sucked this hot object right into the atmosphere to trap it’s heat. The science is settled!

  120. Pedric says:

    A few years ago, I attended a Conference on Humanism in LA hosted by the Center for Inquiry. In the lunch line, I found myself standing in front of John Dominic Crossan, a leading biblical scholar. Mr. Crossan later received an award from CFI for fostering blah blah dialogue blah blah, and so forth.

    But I took the lunch line opportunity to ask Mr. Crossan what the evidence was for the historical Jesus. He said, “Josephus, Tacitus, and the fact that early on people were making of Jesus something he was not.” I replied, “The first is interpolation, the second hearsay, and the third is circular.” Mr. Crossan turned away, and that was the end of the conversation.

    So, it doesn’t matter what “mainstream secular tenured historian[s]” say, Michael, the fact is there’s no available direct historical evidence that Jesus is a historical figure. There isn’t a single contemporaneous reference — no documents, no historical writings, nothing — and Paul gives no evidence of knowing anything of the purported events in the life of Jesus.

    There’s no worthy historical evidence for Muhammad, either, by the way. Or Moses. Or Abraham. Or Solomon.

  121. Michael in Sydney says:

    Pedric

    With respect you are just plain wrong. If you give me a couple of days to contact John Dixon I will provide you with I think 7 (?? – don’t hold me to this but a significantt number) independent historical references to Jesus.

    Pedric – This is a fairly forthright, checkable claim by a senior historian here in Australia – doesn’t that give you pause for thought?

    Mods where could I post these references – here on this thread even though OT?

    Cheers

  122. Lars P. says:

    Looks like it was a grazing shoot to me or did it hit ground somewhere?

  123. steveta_uk says:

    Steve Oregon (February 15, 2013 at 9:12 am)

    This is very worrying. I have been unable to find any government figures on which areas of the UK are most likely to be hit by meteorites, so clearly they are covering up the information. At a guess, this probably means that they don’t want to panic the people who live in the most likely areas.

    According to Wikipedia, the regions with the biggest sky are Montana in the USA and East Anglia in the UK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Sky) so it seems likely that these are the most dangerous areas.

    Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves? In the 1970’s we had “Protect and Survive”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_and_Survive) which explained how to survive a nuclear attack by hiding under a table with a white sheet over it.

    Why isn’t the government giving similar advice about meteor attacks? Do you think a white sheet would help?

  124. Lars P. says:

    vukcevic says:
    February 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    Russian meteorite ice crater.
    Any expert comments on what is the instrument, protective white suit?

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/RusMet.htm

    taken from crater impact image

    http://content.izvestia.ru/media/3/news/2013/02/545032/DSC00622.JPG

    vuk, the more I look at the videos, the more I think it was a grazing shoot. One does not see it dispersing, exploding, but one can see it dimming up and disappearing.
    The impact crater is either not related or maybe small pieces broken off at the moment of max luminosity when the meteorite hit the denser atmosphere and rebounced back to space.
    Of course … arm-chair theory by looking at internet videos…
    And now thinking aloud – this explains very well the Tunguska case, as being similar to this one, only a bigger grazing bullet, the max luminosity and bang (explosion) being similar to this one but the meteorite itself continued back in space – this is why almost no debris, no craters were found on the ground.

  125. I stand corrected. It is now evident from the video that the Russian meteor event is completely unrelated to the 2012DA14 close pass. The Russian meteor is seen in the video moving from left to right in front of the rising sun in the Southeast. This gives the meteor a trajectory that is roughly Northeast to Southwest, while the 2012DA14 trajectory is roughly South to North. The difference in vectors is at least several tens of thousands of kilometers per second.

    That this event would occur on the same day as the closest known asteroid passage since sky surveys began is one incredible coincidence!

  126. ferd berple says:

    UnfrozenCavemanMD says:
    February 15, 2013 at 3:27 am
    I do not think it is a coincidence.
    =============
    The odds of it being a coincidence are astronomically small. All NASA and anyone else TRUTHFULLY can say is that they APPEAR unrelated, based on very limited information.

    No one can say with certainty that the objects are unrelated unless they know the trajectory of the Russian object BEFORE it reached earth. Maybe it did a slingshot around the moon on its way to Russia, which made it appear to be coming from a different direction.

    Two identical people enter a room through different doors. Are they twins or doppelgängers? You can’t know if they are related simply based upon the door they entered through. You need to know their history before entering the room.

    This statement from NASA is typical of the problem that has taken hold of science. Scientists promoting their beliefs as facts; unwilling or unable to admit they “don’t know”. History shows that just about everything science tells us is true today will be shown in the future to be incorrect.

  127. Silver Ralph says:

    Bill Parsons says: February 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm.
    Particularly amazing to me is that at least three Russian drivers caught this on a video device while they are driving. Is every driver in the Urals listening to rock-and-roll music and talking on a video-equipped cell phone as they drive?
    _______________________________

    Dash cams are essential in Russia, to protect against:
    a. Drunks claiming you deliberately rammed them.
    b. Insurance frauds where people deliberately run in front of you.
    c. Police frauds where they say you did something you did not do.

    Regards the ‘explosion’, the dumb BBC keep mentioning this. However, this was merely a sonic boom, and yes, they can be quite violent if you go fast enough and low enough.

    .

  128. Smoking Frog says:

    A.D. Everard February 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Have I missed something? The only birds dropping out of the sky that I know of have been those flying too close to those bird-chopping wind farms.

    There have been cases of birds dropping dead because of heat. People, too. Australia 1896, for instance. I don’t know of anything like that happening recently.

    Yes, you’ve missed something. It is common for birds to drop dead and fall out of the sky because of the heat. It happened this past summer in El Centro, CA, and it has probably happened dozens of times there during the past 50 years.

  129. ferd berple says:

    Pedric says:
    February 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm
    There’s no worthy historical evidence for Muhammad, either, by the way. Or Moses. Or Abraham. Or Solomon.
    Or Pedric.

  130. Silver Ralph says:

    Jennifer says: February 15, 2013 at 9:40 am
    Course I believe in God, but His word does mention inccodents like this, near the and of time.
    ___________________________

    Jennifer, like most theists, you are misinterpreting your texts.

    The NT does not say ‘End of Time’ it actually says ‘End of an Aeon’ (the end of an age). So what ‘age’ was ending in the early 1st century?

    Actually, this era marked the end of a precessional astrological age. If you study astronomy, you will know that the Earth precesses on its axis, once every 26,500 years or so, and this causes the constellation at the Vernal Equinox to change every 2,200 years or so. Each of these ‘ages’ is known as a Great Month – and this is a real astronomical event.

    However the beginning of the 1st century marked the ‘End of an Age’ – the end of one of these Great Months. In the early 1st century, the constellation of Aries turned into Pisces; and we know that early ‘Christianity’ was following these astronomical-astrological events because the NT clearly says so.

    How so? Because it says that Jesus was born as a Lamb of God (Aries), but became a Fisher of Men (Pisces). This is a clear allusion – to those with ‘ears to hear’ as the NT says – that these Nazarene ‘Christians’ were marking the change in Great Month from Aries to Pisces. There are many other allusions to this, that proves this claim.

    This era was the End of an Age (the end of times) that the NT was discussing, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the world coming to an end. Early Judaism and Nazarene ‘Christianity’ was primarily a Sabaean cult (astronomer-priests).

    Mazel tov (meaning ‘good constellation’).

    .

  131. markx says:

    ferd berple quotes Pedric: February 16, 2013 at 6:37 am

    “…Pedric says: February 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm
    There’s no worthy historical evidence for Muhammad, either, by the way. Or Moses. Or Abraham. Or Solomon……”

    and ferd berple says
    “….Or Pedric….”

    Ahhhh, Ferd, but I BELIEVE in Pedric!!
    And that’s good enough for me.

  132. markx says:

    Silver Ralph says: February 16, 2013 at 6:55 am

    “……..a real astronomical event.

    However the beginning of the 1st century marked the ‘End of an Age’ – the end of one of these Great Months. In the early 1st century, the constellation of Aries turned into Pisces; and we know that early ‘Christianity’ was following these astronomical-astrological events because the NT clearly says so.

    How so? Because it says that Jesus was born as a Lamb of God (Aries), but became a Fisher of Men (Pisces). This is a clear allusion – to those with ‘ears to hear’ as the NT says – that these Nazarene ‘Christians’ were marking the change in Great Month from Aries to Pisces. There are many other allusions to this, that proves this claim….”

    I have developed a theory that if you only have one single text to study, it tends to get a little over-interpreted.

  133. Lillie Reyes says:

    I just watched an exclusive video footage here which has not been published anywhere else! This was unbelievable. I thought I will never see such mysterious thing in my life, ever. Thank you god.

    http://www.russianmeteorexplosion.blogspot.com

  134. Steve Oregon says:

    steveta_uk says:
    February 16, 2013 at 3:42 am
    Steve Oregon (February 15, 2013 at 9:12 am)
    “This is very worrying. I have been unable to find any government figures on which areas of the UK are most likely to be hit by meteorites, so clearly they are covering up the information…….”

    That is most troubling indeed.

    Just imagine if much of the global warming funding was diverted to Meteor research, monitoring, mapping of likely meteor strike zones, meteor preparedness and everything else the busy little bureaucrats can dream up.
    The net public benefit would be similar to all of the AGW “investments”.

  135. beng says:

    ***
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    February 15, 2013 at 6:06 am

    So one of our favorite visiting “death by slightly elevated global warmth” prophets (posts here as “Phil.” aka “Phil-dot”
    ****

    Well that’s interesting. So Phil-dot is actually the warmist Phil Plait? Ironic that one who rightly advocates skepticism in astronomy throws it away for Globull warming. I wonder if he’ll have the courage to post here again seeing that he’s now exposed…

  136. vukcevic says:

    Lars P. says:
    February 16, 2013 at 4:56 am
    the more I look at the videos, the more I think it was a grazing shoot

    I agree, crater is far too small; probably only a small fragment.
    Atmosphere enhances force of an air blast; at the optimal altitude (proportional to the magnitude of the explosion) impact pressure could be more than double.
    Apparently sonic boom was heard 2 min after the visual observation. Ignoring the atmospheric density gradient, the altitude would be 2 x 60sec x 340m/sec = 40800m = 41 km, but with density gradient taken into the account, altitude would be greater.
    Tunguska probably was near the optimal altitude.
    Idle mind speculations.

  137. Pedric says:

    Michael, post your references here. The mods have allowed our posts, so I expect they’ll be consistent and allow your proof texts. Prediction: not one of them will be contemporaneous.

    ferd, the fact that I’m posting here is proof enough that there’s someone behind the words.

  138. Lars P. says:

    Lillie Reyes says:
    February 16, 2013 at 7:57 am
    I just watched an exclusive video footage here which has not been published anywhere else! This was unbelievable. I thought I will never see such mysterious thing in my life, ever. Thank you god.
    Lillie “somebody” asks me to buy before I even see the merchandise:
    Your link says: “Please share unlock this page.” what I will not do, I hate this kind of trick.

  139. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Pedric on February 16, 2013 at 10:50 am:

    ferd, the fact that I’m posting here is proof enough that there’s someone behind the words.

    I have dreamt many times of reading things and having discussions that had no existence in waking reality. My mind is creative enough to make up such brand new, to “write scripts for” and “do improv in” my dreams.

    So something in my dreams is not proof of its existence in reality.

    I also have met several people in my life whose actions are rather predictable, they might as well be scripted or programmed.

    I’ve been told there are several billion people on this planet. But I don’t see them, I have no proof of their existence. By mere statistics, there should be a whole lot more exceptional people, more outliers. By the population increases, we should have at least 20 to 50 Einsteins, Edisons, Teslas, out there revolutionizing all of the sciences. What we have a large mass of plodders making drudging progress, who sometimes “discover” a glaringly obvious logic flaw (plot hole).

    Perhaps I have physically met or been around a few tens of thousands of people during my life. But I’d be hard pressed to name a hundred of them without prompting. Everyone else, they’re like the same pool of extras being reused for background during the shooting of a long-running TV series. You might have seen the same person 500 times playing 500 different people, but they never made enough of an impression to remember them so you don’t notice the recycling.

    I have very few senses that tell me very little of the real world around me. I don’t “see” electric or magnetic fields, only a tiny sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum. What I can sense, I also imagine sensing in dreams. I could be fooled into believing something non-real is real somewhat easily. Heck, these days, as I am led to believe, my senses of taste and smell can be deceived with chemicals. Photos and videos and sounds can be faked, ever more quickly and undetectably.

    And now they’re researching giving someone the “feel” of a material on a smartphone screen. I’ve been naturally mistaken about the feel of something before, but soon I might not be able to trust that sense either.

    I have enough trouble these days accepting my perception of “reality” as real. There are unexplained events, quirks, logic flaws that I notice but the “other people” don’t. Many instances where I’ve suggested something I thought was simple and the other person said “Huh, why didn’t I think of that?” I don’t believe in “The Matrix”, but… I know I am real because I experience myself, “I think I am, therefore I exist.” However, everything else feels like a simulation. And one that just keeps running, doesn’t crash, with the noticed flaws to be explained away by the “actors” as due to my faulty memory, mis-perceptions, etc.

    You, Pedric, are words on a computer screen. By the reality I’m supposed to accept as real, a computer could have written those words. We have never met. You have as much reality to me as a person whose unknown name I find in a phone book.

    Why the hell should I believe there is someone behind these words on a screen, that is you? All I know is I think I have experienced words found on the internet attributed to “Pedric”. Considering how many “internet dreams” I’ve had, with much more engaging and original content, why should I take those few words as “proof of Pedric”?

  140. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From beng on February 16, 2013 at 10:07 am:

    (…) So Phil-dot is actually the warmist Phil Plait? Ironic that one who rightly advocates skepticism in astronomy throws it away for Globull warming. I wonder if he’ll have the courage to post here again seeing that he’s now exposed…

    Didn’t stop him the last time it got mentioned. His identity is news to you, but not new news.

  141. Michael in Sydney says:

    Pedric

    Will do. It is Sunday morning here so check back in say 72 hours and hopefully I will have a response.

    However, contemporaneity is only one aspect of your claim which was twofold and only one aspect from which to judge the accuracy of information as being historical fact.

    “…the fact is there’s no available direct historical evidence that Jesus is a historical figure. There isn’t a single contemporaneous reference — no documents, no historical writings, nothing…”

    To get things started without being able to provide references at this stage, Dixon provides a summary of the evidence in his book ‘a spectators guide to Jesus’

    1. The pagan historian Thallos in the 3rd volume of his ‘Histories’ around 55AD describes a natural eclipse of the sun coinciding with the crucifixion of Christ.
    2. The stoic writer Mara bar Serapion shortly after 70AD refers to Jesus as a king and teacher
    3. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56 – 120) scathingly refers to Jesus’ execution under Pilate and describes the movement surrounding him as a deadly superstition
    4. The Roman administrator Pliny the Younger (AD 61 -113) mentions the early Christian worship of Jesus ‘as a god’
    5.The Roman historian Suetonius, around 120 AD, refers to disturbances among Roman Jews over the claim that Jesus was the Christ
    6. The Greek satiris, Lucian of Samosata ( AD 115 – 200) ridicules Jesus as a crucified sophist
    7. The Greek intellectual Celsus, around AD 175, insists Jesus’ conception was suspect and his miracles mere Egyptian magic.
    8. The first century historian Josephus recounts Jesus’ fame as a teacher, healer and martyr and the report of his resurrection by his followers
    9. In another text the same writer recounts the martydom of a man called James described as the ‘brother of Jesus the so-called Messiah’
    10.The Talmud, an ancient exposition of Jewish law contains a passage (AD 100-200) justifying Jesus’ execution as he ‘led Israel astray’ and ‘practiced sorcery’
    11. In a later text (post AD 200) it also insists Mary was an adulteress

    Please remember that I responded initially to RGB who was questioning the very existence of Christ as a historical figure and my statement was that secular historians do not question the fact that he existed. I made no claim as to his divinity.

    Edwin A Judge, Emeritus Professor of Ancient History and founder of the Ancient History Documentary Rese3arch Centre, Macquarie University, said:

    “…An ancient historian has no problem seeing the phenomenon of Jesus as a historical one. His many surprising aspects only help anchor him in history. Myth or legend would have created a more predictable figure. The writings that sprang up about Jesus also reveal to us a movement of thought and an experience of life so unusual that something much more substantial than the imagination is needed to explain it…”

    Finally, to paraphrase Dixon, the books of the New Testament have always presented themselves as historical texts. They are a collection of letters written to specific social settings and groups. The fact that they are of a so-called religious nature doesn’t diminish their historical context and value.

    I hope this is interesting and promotes good discussion.

    Regards

    Michael

  142. Michael in Sydney says:

    John Dickson not Dixon – sorry

  143. littlepeaks says:

    I saw one of these when I was in 6th grade. I was sitting on my grandparents’ front porch, about an hour before sunset, when a huge fireball which was brighter and larger than the sun rapidly descended, and then exploded in the sky. However, I never heard any sound from it.

  144. Pedric says:

    kadaka, fortunately, your personal mysteries have no baring on whether or not forensics allow one thing or another to be reliabily inferred.

  145. Pedric says:

    Michael, most of those I dealt with a long time back, when arguing religion, science, and creationism on early web BBS. For example, from my personal library, D.J. Shove and A. Fletcher, “Chronology of Eclipses and Comets, AD 1-1000″ (Boydell 1987), discuss the ‘crucifixion eclipse’ having occurred on November 24 of the year 29, and was total near Bithynia, now northwestern Turkey. This is the only eclipse to occur in the Eastern Mediterranean during that time.

    Since Jesus was supposedly crucified just before Passover, that event would have been March 25 in AD 29, or April 7 in AD 30, or April 3 in AD 33. If one grants the usual AD 33 as the crucifixion year, then the eclipse was ~4.5 years early. If we grant a wrong crucifixion date, and set the unknown but correct date to be AD 29 or 30, then the eclipse was 6 months early or late.

    Regardless, however, even if the Biblical authors got an eclipse correct (which they did not), that would lend no credence to their stories about Jesus.

    Notice that not one of your proofs amounts to contemporaneous testimony. They don’t count for more than hearsay. Papias, from the second century (ca. 140), is the earliest known writer to mention any of the New Testament authors, and he recounts that none of them knew Jesus.

  146. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    vukcevic says:
    February 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Gene Selkov says:
    February 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm
    ……
    Hi Gene.
    Thanks, I thought that too, but I wouldn’t expect a meteorite to be particularly radioactive, unless it is a lump of Uranium-235, which as far as I remember has a half-life of ¾ of a billion years.
    My impression is that the ‘radioactivity inspector’ was not very pleased by the presence of the photographer, but I could be wrong (count me skeptic

    Simply exercising normal emergency survey protocols. The “assumption” is that it was a meteor entry, but a few Russian officials have asserted all sorts of things like a failed military test, something that was intercepted by defensive missiles etc.
    In emergency management you often have to characterize a situation by defining what you don’t know. There is a remote but real possibility that it could have been some sort of military payload, or a satellite with a radioactive power source, such as the satellite that crashed in Canada in the 1970’s and crapped up a lot of real estate with radioactive material. Since radioactivity is not obvious to unaided senses it is just good practice and probably standard protocol for the government to ask for verification that the impact area does not display any radioactivity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosmos_954

    I agree that is a military Geiger counter. The fact that he is using an extended probe to monitor the surface indicates he is looking to detect both gamma and beta emitters, (mean free path of beta radiation is only inches in air, so you have to be close to the source to detect it.). Gamma can travel much farther so can easily be detected at several meters from the source if the contamination is significant. That style of probe is not capable of detecting alpha emitters such as plutonium but can detect the gamma and beta emitting daughter products of its decay.

    The over pressures of the sonic boom are at the low end of those studied in Nuclear weapons effects. The assumption is that to break window glass and blow out windows as shown in the video clips requires an over pressure of approximately 0.5 psi. Blowing out doors and such structural damage typically takes over pressures close to 2.0 psi. The flash and track shown on the video clips are clearly what you would expect from a meteor entry and not the nuclear flash of a weapon but the damage to buildings and reports of seeing a bright flash at great distance would probably incline the military to do some monitoring to be sure it was not due to a low yield weapon burst. Not that they think that is likely but simply as a matter of being diligent in their post even analysis.

    As i mentioned above in a disaster emergency event often you must define the problem by figuring out what cannot be the cause of the event, and narrow down the possibilities. Often officials far from the emergency area are scrambling to make sense out of a lot of confusing and flat out wrong initial information. That almost always causes them to start checking all the possible explanations regardless of how remote or unlikely they seem to be at the time.

    Larry (former emergency management planner)

  147. Gene Selkov says:

    Larry Ledwick: You gave a very accurate description of civil defence procedures — exactly the stuff we were trained to do when everybody believed a nuclear shootout was bound to happen next year or the year after that.

    I just want to add that Chelyabinsk was home to a host of nuclear weapons-related activities. It is surrounded by several “numbered towns” such as Chelyabinsk-65, all of which where either research labs or production facilities. So people in that area are almost instinctively alert for the possibility of a radioactive fallout, possibly accompanied by a loud bang, and many have memories of such events actually happening (not the least of which was a deliberate attempt of a nuclear-powered canal excavation).

    Add to that the fact that many keep a Geiger detector at home, and you have the “if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” effect.

    By the way, that Geiger detector can also detect alpha-particles. The detector tube in it has a mica window and the housing has a sliding door that opens to expose it.

  148. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Pedric on February 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm:

    kadaka, fortunately, your personal mysteries have no baring on whether or not forensics allow one thing or another to be reliabily inferred.

    Forensics?

    You have a formulaic reply pattern, and gave the expected rebuttal, which was actually very simplistic and yielded no indication you had read and contemplated my missive. A quick scan and then the output, as would be expected from a bot these days.

    This is the internet, filled with faked personalities and faked people. I have never heard of you before today. Bots that can be deployed to flood blogs and comment sections with “real responses” are in high demand.

    With these few paltry examples of “your comments”, I severely doubt forensics can reliably infer if “Pedric” is really several people, or just one, or a person at all.

    Your existence remains unproven.

  149. Michael in Sydney says:

    Hi Pedric

    I’ll pass your comments onto John and see what he has to say in reply. As soon as I have his response I’ll post it.

    Cheers

    Michael

  150. phlogiston says:

    There’s a story going round that the meteorite was shot down by a Russian missile. However this is technically impossible, the object was travelling far too fast, at several km per second.

    I think this originated from a mis-translation of a Russian news story in some countries, the word for “exploded” at 20 km height being mis-translated as “shot”. Several dutch language news stories contain this statement that the missile was shot down and people I have spoken to in Belgium believe this. Or possibly it came from some over-enthusiastic nationalism in Russia combined with paranoia such as that from ultra-nationalist Zhirinovsky who immediately claimed the object was a US missile, an equally ludicrous idea.

  151. phlogiston says:

    Correction – I meant this statement that the meteor was shot down, not the “missile”!

  152. vukcevic says:

    There’s a story going round that the meteorite was shot down by a Russian missile

  153. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    Gene Selkov says:
    February 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm
    By the way, that Geiger detector can also detect alpha-particles. The detector tube in it has a mica window and the housing has a sliding door that opens to expose it.

    Interesting !
    The only thin window probes I was ever trained with for plutonium and other alpha emitters were large diameter probes with a thin end window or these so called “pancake probes” with a detection chamber about the size of a tuna fish can and a very fragile thin window of Mylar.

    Similar to this probe which the Colorado State Patrol hazmat team used, and what we trained with out at the Mercury Nevada weapons test range when we were trained to monitor for alpha emitters on an area that was heavily contaminated with Plutonium during weapons tests in the 1950’s-60’s

    http://www.drct.com/dss/INSTRUMENTATION/Ludlum/Ludlum_Probes/Ludlum_Model_44-9_probe.htm

    You could damage the probe and puncture the window on a blade of dry grass so they were only used when there was a high likelihood of finding alpha.

    All the Geiger tubes used in the American Civil Defense monitoring system were standard metal Geiger tubes only suitable for beta and gamma monitoring (I spent 4 years repairing and calibrating those meters). Most of them manufactured by Victoreen, such as the CDV-700. There was also a thin window ionization chamber detector model CDV-720 but they were very rare in the system, at least in my part of the country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD_V-700

    Larry

  154. rgbatduke says:

    I once listened to John Dixon, Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia, http://johndickson.org/, say that there is not a single mainstream secular tenured historian who does not acknowledge the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived. He was not saying they believed he was the Son of God, simply that he was a historical figure.

    I had an extended conversation on this very point with Richard Carrier, one of the participants in The Jesus Project (who has written some really excellent stuff on e.g. the contradiction in birth dates between Matthew and Luke). We both are basically Bayesians, and Bayesians don’t “acknowledge evidence”, they weight probabilities given evidence. The fact of the matter is that there is no, none, zero contemporary evidence that Jesus in fact lived. This in and of itself is rather odd, given how supposedly influential he was supposed to be at the time. The Romans and the Jews both were meticulous record keepers, but there is simply no trace.

    The only reliable evidence actually dating to the first century that Jesus lived consists of — well, it isn’t clear if the correct answer is “none” or “a single fragment of a single gospel” that might be very late first or early second century. Nearly all of the fragments — note well, fragments — of gospels we have today are from the 3 or 4th centuries — not more than a handful of second century fragments exist. There is a single line in Josephus that for a variety of reasons is suspect. All the second century evidence (and if you are very generous, late first century evidence) really shows is that by the end of the first century, a variety of cults had sprung up concerning a legendary apocalyptic preacher called Redeemer. In three languages. Yeshua -> Jesus -> Christ all mean the same thing, and would have been a standard name among the many apocalyptic preachers of the era.

    This evidence has to be contrasted with evidence for the existence of other people that were contemporaries of Jesus (or from even earlier eras), and frankly, suffers enormously from the comparison. If it weren’t for the church itself and documents it was the sole custodian of over most of the last 2000 years, we would never have heard of Jesus at all, or he would be one of many names in e.g. the collection of Gnostic writings of the time (most of which were systematically purged by the church, a tiny handful of which were recently rediscovered and recovered at e.g. Nag Hammadi). Of the three synoptic gospels, it seems rather likely that Matthew and Luke are both derived from Mark as the original gospel, and the earliest fragments of Mark seem to be missing substantial text especially from the end. Bart Ehrman, a UNC Biblical scholar, has a truly excellent series of books he has written discussing the actual documentary New Testament texts as evidence of — well, anything, but the transmission of some mix of myth and legend by a mix of oral and written tradition that has almost completely obscured our ability to resolve truth from falsehood in what we have today.

    From a Bayesian point of view, then, it isn’t that we know Jesus did or didn’t exist. It is that we don’t know if a single person (possibly named Yeshua, possibly named something else entirely) existed who actually did, or said, any of the things attributed to him in the NT. Might have happened, sure. Or what we have today could be a syncretic combination of stories derived from several more or less contemporary apocalyptic messianic cults.

    Here is what we don’t know about Jesus. We don’t know his actual name. We have no idea when he was born (not within fifteen years). We know absolutely nothing about his early life. We don’t know where he, or his family lived (Nazareth did not exist at all at the time he was supposed to have been born — it was a burial ground and goatherder’s field that was turned into a city by second century entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on the growing Jesus trade). We don’t know what he preached, where he preached, how old he was when he preached. We don’t know the day of the week upon which he died. There are enormous inconsistencies — ones that can consistently be explained by the growth of a legend in the retelling — in the story of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

    How much Bayesian weight you want to attach to documents filled with obvious myth and legend is up to you, but I tend to consider all of this evidence in total weak. Carrier agreed, but said that the evidence that he found more reliable is that in the letters of Paul/Saul. There is relatively little doubt that Paul actually existed, and while in his writings he invariably speaks of Jesus as a sort of spiritual being rather than as a person who necessarily existed, he does refer in an offhand way to real people who supposedly did know Jesus, such as James his brother. I don’t disagree, although I would still argue that there is considerable room for these letters to be written a decade or two after the supposed events by somebody who wasn’t there and to have even his casual assumptions about relationships to be wrong, nor does it contradict the possibility of “our” modern Jesus being a synthesis of a number of figures heavily salted with myth, legend, insertion, redaction, so that the Jesus of John is not the Jesus that Paul was writing about at all.

    In the end, existence hardly matters. If Jesus really existed, we still can be certain of almost nothing about him. What we can be fairly certain of is that no actual magic was done, no miracles occurred, there was no real resurrection from being actually dead, and that if there was a claim made by the Jesus of that time that he would rise again from the dead and come back to usher in a kingdom of heaven, it has long since been falsified and would never have been taken seriously in any sane culture with a sane epistemology in the first place.

    rgb

  155. rgbatduke says:

    Your existence remains unproven.

    Then you are clearly engaged in a most strange behavior, replying to something whose existence is unproven. Of course I agree that it is is unproven, but so is the objective existence of everything outside of my own (or in your case your own) instantaneous perceptions, so that is hardly relevant. What is relevant is what the probability is that you or he or both of you exist. That is, given the sum total of your reliable knowledge about how things work, what do you think the odds are that Pedric doesn’t really exist as a unique individual human typing his words?

    My guess is, since you persist in replying to — whatever it is that you think is generating the marks on your screen that your mind interprets as remarkably meaningful words — you consider it very, very probable that somebody really does exist who is generating those words, the reasonable alternative explanations being pretty unreasonable. If you disagree, would you care to explain why you continue talking to yourself in this forum?

    That is, of course, supposing that you are really there and not a particularly complex non-player character in a world-spanning MMORPG. Or supposing that I’m not!

    rgb (who has been openly accused of being a typing ‘bot before!)

  156. rgbatduke says:

    1. The pagan historian Thallos in the 3rd volume of his ‘Histories’ around 55AD describes a natural eclipse of the sun coinciding with the crucifixion of Christ.

    From Richard Carrier of “The Jesus Project”; “This leaves us with four options: Africanus meant Phlegon, not Thallus; or Eusebius quoted Thallus verbatim, revealing that Thallus did not mention Jesus; or Thallus mentioned Jesus, but wrote in the 2nd century, when we know the gospels were already in circulation; or Thallus mentioned Jesus and wrote in the 1st century, and is the earliest witness to the gospel tradition. Although all of these are possible, it is clear that any of the first three are more likely than the last one, since there are several facts which support each of them, but none which support the last one–in other words, it is a ‘mere’ possibility, whereas the others actually have some arguments in their favor.”

    Note well, we do not know what Thallos wrote or when he wrote it, as what we have is a reference in Africanus that might or might not have been to the writings of Thallos, might or might not have been redacted, and in any event was hearsay of hearsay describing an impossible event.

    2. The stoic writer Mara bar Serapion shortly after 70AD refers to Jesus as a king and teacher

    You do know that you can read all of this stuff yourself online at this point. The letter in question does not refer to Jesus at all — somewhat curiously given that he cites Socrates and Pythagoras by name. It’s like giving as examples “Tommy, and Richy, and that guy that owns a bar on seventh street”. And the bit about “within one hour Samos was covered with sand” is pure cooked legend.

    But why speak of it when we can quote it:

    What are we to say, when the wise are dragged by force by the hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is deprived of its freedom by slander, and they are plundered for their superior intelligence, without the opportunity of making a defence? They are not wholly to be pitied. For what benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death, seeing that they received as retribution for it famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, seeing that in one hour the whole of their country was covered with sand? Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them? For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of all three of them. For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to desolation and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into every land. Nay, Socrates did “not” die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor yet the Wise King, because of the new laws which he enacted.

    The second issue with the letter when you read it yourself is the “shortly after 70 AD” dating. This is clearly absurd from the tone of this paragraph alone. The author is referring to three “exemplary” events in the fairly remote past, not “yesterday” (the fall of the temple was in 70 AD, and the Jews were hardly “expelled from their kingdom” before this). The only plausible date for his being made captive in the first century would have been 72 AD, a mere two years after the fall of the temple, and there is no possible way that this letter is referencing that event, I’m sorry. This is a man conveying to his son the mythical idea that it is OK for tyrants to wipe out the wise because God then curses said tyrants. The idea that God punished the Jews for “murdering Jesus is itself a late first century idea, and this letter is very probably from the second century event where captives where made of the people of Samosata (in Turkey).

    There are other oddities in the letter — the writer is almost certainly a monotheist, but it is by no means clear what flavor — and the letter was found with a 6th/7th century manuscript so it could have even have been the third century captivity event. Of the three possible dates, first century is clearly just plain incorrect, and either of the other two is a crap shoot thousands of years later. It isn’t even hearsay — it is simply echoing the existing lore of that time, including the “Jews murdered Jesus” meme that is most difficult to make consistent with the state of church lore of the first century if one takes the letters of Paul seriously. This is a statement that postdates both the fall of the temple and the schism of Christianity into the Gentile religion it is today at the end of the first century.

    3. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56 – 120) scathingly refers to Jesus’ execution under Pilate and describes the movement surrounding him as a deadly superstition

    Granted, an example from the second century. And by 60 AD there may well have been Christians in Rome, or “Chrestians” if one prefers. Where Josephus smacks of being an insertion as out of character for a devout Jew, this refers to Christians the way one would expect a Roman senator to refer to them and seems less likely to be a forgery/insertion. This is hardly a “contemporary record” of Jesus, and the story he tells of the Crucifixion is as likely to be a retelling of the Christian story of the event as it is anything drawn from contemporary records (why would Tacitus otherwise know anything about the execution of a single person out of the long, long line of people that Pilate, a person who was removed eventually from his position because of his brutality, executed). In the end, lacking a reference by Tacitus to his sources, it is nothing more than hearsay, rather more likely to be drawn from what the Christians claimed happened than from Roman records. And there were once again no doubt many “religious” martyrdoms in Judaea in this era — everybody hated the Roman invader, there were many small rebellions, all of those small rebellions claimed divine guidance and justice or made claims of being anointed heroes, many of them were apocalyptic, and Pilate very likely had little “patience” with any of them. And it is rather likely that there were many in those movements named Yeshua, as an assumed name if not a given name. Was one of the “the historical Jesus”, or was the Jesus Tacitus refers to an amalgam of legends nucleated around one of them (or more than one of them) who was crucified?

    We have rather direct evidence of the growth of legend and power of cognitive dissonance in our own time. It takes no more than a few years for humans to rewrite the past and turn it into what they wish it had been instead of what it was. And when the humans in question cannot write — are illiterate — and are promoting a religion as a verbal transmission, it becomes an enormous game of telephone where everybody can play. Lacking an objective contemporary record of events there is no second century hearsay that can prove how things fell out in the early first century. Or if.

    I’m rather with Carrier on this. The best one can say is that somebody corresponding to Jesus “probably” existed, but not probably like Socrates, not probably like Julius Caesar. Somewhere in between “probably” somebody corresponding to Hercules once existed and “probably” somebody corresponding to Buddha probably existed. More like strongly possible, less like nearly certain. Our knowledge of what this Jesus did, or said, goes way downhill after that. At its most generous, one has Jefferson’s New Testament, the Gospels with all of the myth and magic stripped out, presenting the words of Jesus as having a certain amount of wisdom in them regardless of the actual existence as a discrete entity or magical powers of the author.

    4. The Roman administrator Pliny the Younger (AD 61 -113) mentions the early Christian worship of Jesus ‘as a god’

    Second century evidence of Christianity, not Jesus himself. Paul refers to Jesus as a being that appears to him and to “hundreds of others” in a burst of light. This is hardly a reference to Jesus himself, it is referring to a religious “vision”, a dream, a fantasy, an experience. Humans are wired so that at least some people can cook this sort of thing up without any help, others are so suggestible that all you need to do is give them the slightest shape of the vision in words and they’ll do the rest. By the second century one had everything from exploitative priests developing the first versions of the massive world-spanning con game that Christianity became, leading it to accumulate more wealth and power than all but the twenty wealthiest countries in the world as of today to genuinely passionate but susceptible crazies. No doubt many did worship Jesus as a god. We have a handful of gnostic “gospels” that survived the purges. There were no doubt hundreds, and hundreds of variations on the hundreds. The game of telephone, spanning countries, cultures, and time.

    5.The Roman historian Suetonius, around 120 AD, refers to disturbances among Roman Jews over the claim that Jesus was the Christ
    6. The Greek satiris, Lucian of Samosata ( AD 115 – 200) ridicules Jesus as a crucified sophist
    7. The Greek intellectual Celsus, around AD 175, insists Jesus’ conception was suspect and his miracles mere Egyptian magic.
    8. The first century historian Josephus recounts Jesus’ fame as a teacher, healer and martyr and the report of his resurrection by his followers
    9. In another text the same writer recounts the martydom of a man called James described as the ‘brother of Jesus the so-called Messiah’
    10.The Talmud, an ancient exposition of Jewish law contains a passage (AD 100-200) justifying Jesus’ execution as he ‘led Israel astray’ and ‘practiced sorcery’
    11. In a later text (post AD 200) it also insists Mary was an adulteress

    All in the same category, second century hearsay that proves nothing beyond the fact that by then the Christian Mythos existed, not that the object of that myth/legend structure ever actually existed. Josephus is an important exception. Bearing in mind that we have nothing but a twelfth century copy of Josephus to work with, and that his works were in the custody of a Church that would cheerfully burn you alive, torture you, imprison you, or simply burn or edit your works if you ever stated something that was not supportive of Christianity, and that the works themselves were the manuscript copies of copies of copies made by (usually Christian) scribes, analysis of the writing strongly suggests that the first reference and the words “the so-called Messiah” were insertions. This more or less erases the first paragraph and turns the second into a neutral reference of a man called James, brother of Jesus, when both were common enough names and the latter paragraph was referring to a contemporary event, not something from the distant past. Every occurrence of the name Jesus (Romanization of Yeshua) in any text of the era is not evidence of “Jesus” (until a copyist makes it so by the equivalent of a marginal note that is then copied in turn as if it were text fifty years later.

    The fundamental problem is that manuscript transmission of information always sucks. We tend to trust it when we have many manuscripts with distinct transmission chains that can be dated back to the right period that strongly corroborate. We should trust it a lot less when we lack any chains that date back to the right period, and where our secondary chains mostly date back to a period almost a hundred years later and reference a religious phenomenon as much as they do any particular individual.

    Most historians are going to be inclined to accept the existence of a historical Jesus simply because if there wasn’t one, the whole thing gets handed off to the mythologists and the historians don’t get to have any more fun. Or grants. Or fun. Also, as I said, there is probably enough evidence to say that he “probably” existed, in a very weak form of the term probably. If one presented evidence as if it were to a court of law, however — hearsay isn’t admissible, and none of the evidence we have today would stand up for a single minute in any real court.

    rgb

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