Yet another reason why I no longer subscribe to National Geographic
Turned on my TV today, and this popped up, so of course I had to write about it. This is stupidity on steroids, packaged as psuedo-scientific claptrap entertainment for the gullible. Of course they had to work in the obligatory New York City flooding scene. But what’s worse is Nat Geo’s wholesale failure to even consider basic science before making this garbage.
From their website:
When The Earth Stops Spinning
If the Earth was to suddenly stop our seas and the atmosphere would change so drastically that it would no longer be able to support human life. Looking to a future where one side of the planet is dark and cold for six months at a time, and the other is bathed in deadly solar radiation, this episode explores how long human and animal life might survive in a cruel new, stationary world.
There’s the usual climate porn in this video, roasting temperatures, people fighting for resources, global sea level rise, etc…but what makes this NatGeo docu-wailer extra stupid is the simple math that tells us when the Earth will actually stop spinning. They apparently couldn’t be bothered to do that, since it blows the premise of the whole show right out of the water.
OK here’s the basic science and math relevant to the issue.
The Earth’s rotation around its own axis has been observed (thanks to atomic clocks) to be continuously slowing down. The main reason for this slowing is believed to be due to tidal friction. This is primarily caused by the moon’s gravitational actions on the oceans of the world.
According to modern calculation of ΔT, Earth’s rotation slows down at 1.7 milliseconds every 100 years. At this rate it will take ~ 1.9 trillion years to stop spinning.
The Earth will still be spinning in ~ 5 billion years when the Sun will turn into a red giant star and obliterate it. Prior to that, due to solar brightening, ~ 500 million to 2 billion years into the future, the Earth is likely to be uninhabitable anyway.
Now compare that to “…this episode explores how long human and animal life might survive in a cruel new, stationary world”
Let me just say whoever produced this garbage science drama for National Geographic could use a good whack upside the head with a solar science book. You can let them know if you feel as I do:
You can watch the whole ridiculously bad thing here: