Friday Morning Open Thread: Fresh Guacamole


Another one of the Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short Film. I suspect most of the morning media is going to be focused on the non-political:

MOSCOW — A plunging meteor exploded with a blinding flash above central Russia, sowing panic as the hurtling space debris set off a shockwave that smashed windows and left over 400 people injured…

It was not clear if the meteor was linked to the asteroid 2012 DA 14 which is expected to pass about 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometres) above the Earth later Friday in a unusually close approach to the Earth.

The meteor “was quite a large object with a mass of several dozen tonnes,” estimated Russian astronomer Sergei Smirnov of the Pulkovo observatory in an interview with the Rossia 24 channel.

Schools were closed for the day across the region after the shock wave blew out windows of buildings amid temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius (zero degrees Fahrenheit)…

The Chelyabinsk region is Russia’s industrial heartland, filled with smoke-chugging factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the massive Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.

A spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy state corporation, said that its operations remained unaffected.

“All Rosatom enterprises located in the Urals region — including the Mayak complex — are working as normal,” an unnamed Rosatom spokesman told Interfax.

The emergencies ministry said radiation levels in the region also did not change and that 20,000 rescue workers had been dispatched to help the injured and locate those requiring help.

Washington Post‘s Joel Achenbach has a less alarmist report on asteroid 2012 DA 14

43 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    Nope, still here. Not big enough.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    So, Slate was being contrarian again?

  3. 3
    Bob h says:

    Be sure to cut NASA as part of the sequester so we get eve less warning of things like this.

  4. 4
    max says:

    What the fuck did Cole actually do with his pants? Because someone Up There seems to be gunning for him.

    [‘Apocalypse John.’]

  5. 5
    Cermet says:

    And if this appeared over Moscow, maybe their nuke anti defense system gives warnings and they go on high alert …then if it was a little bigger it explodes (with near nuclear blast energy) over/too close to Moscow. Or worse, an impact in/near Moscow. Then possble nuclear war due to a natural event … yes, lets cut NASA further; its not like they currently can detect anything that size or even a good bit bigger, so what use are they? I believe their ok with half kilometer or larger. Why waste money for detecting smaller objects and … well, nukes give more bang for the buck and we have a lot of those so to use if a war starts we are fine… .

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    Ah, that’s nothing!
    A mere fleshwound.

    You call THAT a meteorite?
    This, THIS, is a meteorite! ! !

  7. 7
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Meteor monitoring seems about as useful as volcano monitoring. It should be cut.

    /Kenneth the page(aka Bobby Jindal)

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    @c u n d gulag: Yep, that’s the first thing I thought of.

  9. 9
    Gravenstone says:

    NASA spokesman this morning pointed out that 1) this was totally unrelated to 2012 DA 14 (wrong approach vector) and 2) it was small enough that they wouldn’t have bothered tracking it anyway. He was rather giddy at the prospect of obtaining and studying some of the debris from the meteorite. He also didn’t seem terribly concerned that folks had been injured by it. Methinks NASA might want to find a bit more sociable spokesperson.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    I’m glad it didn’t crash in the U.S. John McCain would already be calling it a domestic Benghazi.

    This video (via Reddit) is pretty cool:

  11. 11
    victory says:

    I don’t know…..where I have seen there are a good amount of videos, mostly car videos, that show it going through the air, I have seen none of it actually hitting the ground, just video of the aftermath.

    NK did just have a new nuke test……[/tinfoilhat]

  12. 12
    Ash Can says:

    Maybe it’s because I haven’t had my coffee yet and am missing the nuance, but I don’t see anything “alarmist” about the news account about the Russian meteor.

  13. 13
    gene108 says:

    The meteor over Moscow’s pretty scary. We really are just clinging to life in a cosmos that’s basically able to snuff us out in a flash.

  14. 14
    Cassidy says:

    Still thinking about Jesus being my black friend.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    @Cassidy: That video probably does explain the meteoric potshot at earth, now that you mention it.

  16. 16
    bemused says:

    Wow. Meteorite videos are riveting. A Verge link in thread below had one with with explosions that scared our cats. I saw some other videos, maybe Guardian, showing door blowing into an office, glass windows shattering, scary stuff.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    Going to keep my problems terrestrial today, thank you very much.

  18. 18
    scav says:

    @Ash Can: If so, the Universe, much like certain theorized instances of the vengeful diety, has remarkably bad aim.

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    @scav: The divine is a dumb weapon. Imagine if Zues had an SF ODA laser guiding that shit!

  20. 20
    scav says:

    @Cassidy: So Zeus’s hitting the Vatican was just dumb luck? Rats. I was hoping for a diety rematch in Rome.

  21. 21
    Cassidy says:

    @scav: There seems to only be one target that Zues was precise about.

  22. 22
    General Stuck says:

    In case you were wondering.

    Republicans have used the powers accorded the Senate minority party to slow Obama’s influence on the federal bench. But recent changes to Senate rules suggest the process may begin to move faster, at least at the lower, U.S. District Court level.

    Nearly half of Obama’s nominees have waited for more than 100 days for confirmation votes, while less than 10 percent of Bush’s waited that long, according to White House figures. Most of the Bush nominees were approved in less than a month after clearing committee, the White House said.

    Modest reform is modest, but welcome.

    Under a recent bipartisan agreement, the Senate will limit debate on district court judge nominees to two hours, far below the 30 hours that used to be allowed

  23. 23
    Robin G. says:

    The vids on TPM are awesome.

    Which event in the Meteor tag triggered this warning shot of the divine, do you think?

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: That’s how I look at it. There’s no point in worrying about it, but it is scary when something like this happens to bring it to consciousness.

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:


    And now we are turning our little blue planet into a barbeque pit, to slowly roast our stupid asses into well done hominids . Mother nature is innocent in this murder suicide.

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    Might I suggest that it not be up to NASA exclusively to look for meteors? As this one proves so ably, they’re a problem for everyone everywhere, so they really ought to be dealt with by some kind of international organization. Maybe the UN isn’t the right choice, but can we at least work with other spacefaring nations to deal with it? I bet the Russians are especially motivated now.

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    @Betty Cracker: After the tsunami hit Japan I remember everyone was arguing about building nukes to withstand an 8.0 v building them to withstand a 9.0.

    I commented over at your other site that building massive structures to withstand the worst is foolish, and we need to think about how we clean up after the fact. In fact I said, “what happens when a meteor hits?” Everybody thinks about the extinction level meteor, but Tunguska are much more common. My point was that you can’t go in and clean up the rubble if it;s all radioactive.

  28. 28

    The hilariously strange story of Rep. Steve Cohen and how the Tennessee GOP tripped over itself in its eagerness to catch the progressive Memphis Democrat in a sex scandal. It’s today’s blogwhore.

    I just fucking love this story.

  29. 29
    Ash Can says:

    @Southern Beale: That Bill Hobbs tweet is the very definition of flailing helplessly. LOL!

  30. 30
    handsmile says:

    While not the impact of a meteor explosion, yesterday’s death of Ronald Dworkin was a blow to me. Dworkin was one of the most important and influential legal and moral philosophers of the past 50 years. His frequent essays for the New York Review of Books, mostly on Supreme Court decisions, were models for how to make legal issues compelling and comprehensible to those without the benefit (?) of education or training in the law.

    His final book, Justice for Hedgehogs (2011), its title a pun on Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay, is a summation of his life’s work in moral philosophy. I’ll disinter it from one of my book piles to start reading this weekend.

  31. 31
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @General Stuck: “Under a recent bipartisan agreement, the Senate will limit debate on district court judge nominees to two hours, far below the 30 hours that used to be allowed.”

    Good news and bad news. The bad news is that this debate limitation is strictly on post-cloture debate, which means they can still filibuster a nominee forever and a day if they want.

    The good news is that in 2010, using the full 30 hours of post-cloture debate was one tool that the GOP made abundant use of, to drastically reduce the number of nominees they’d approve, even when hardly anyone was voting against cloture. So this at least deprives the GOP of one slowdown technique on nominees that they can’t come up with an excuse to filibuster.

  32. 32
    General Stuck says:

    When you look up and wave at the FBI, don’t forget to smile.

    From our Droooooooooooooooooooonze files

  33. 33
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Joel Achenbach was one of my favorite columnists when WaPo was my hometown newspaper, way back when W was Purrsident. These days I rarely open the Pravda on the Potomac.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    it is modest reform. Though the wingnuts would likely not successfully filibuster District Federal Judges. But like you say, in does put a stop to calling for cloture votes for no other reason than to stretch out the final vote for 30 hours.

    What is more newsworthy on the filibuster, imo, was Reid refusing to honor holds on Brennan and Hagel. And the wingnuts for once using the filibuster to delay, but not kill a nomination. I don’t know if it will become the norm again, but I do think for executive session, the wingers know they are on shakier ground, because they themselves threatened to nuke the filibuster for nominees or judges. So maybe Reid’s threat to change rule 22 is causing some behavioral mod. If so, this is way better than dems changing the rule by breaking another rule without context of an active case of obstruction.

  35. 35
    Comrade Mary says:

    The Current on the CBC is playing an interview with Kevin Drum about lead.

    Live stream right now: go to the “Now playing” box at the top right. (Try shifting to cities further west to get re-broadcasts if you miss the EST live show now). It will also be re-broadcast tonight.

    Show will be archived here.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    It’s been called a meteor and meteorite. Take your pick.
    It landed in the Ural Mountains and it was north of Kazakhstan.
    There could be as many of 950 hurt because of the shock wave.
    It was going over 33,000 mph.
    The next time John mentions a meteor, I’m going to listen.

  37. 37
    Origuy says:

    It’s been called a meteor and meteorite

    The things in outer space are called meteoroids. When they enter Earth’s atmosphere, we see a streak of light called a meteor. The bits that fall to the ground are called meteorites.

  38. 38
    kerFuFFler says:

    As far as the video goes, there does not seem to be anything “new” since PES made another short feature, “Western Spaghetti”.

    I am glad they are getting some recognition but it does not seem like they have come up with much in five years—-Western Spaghetti is more inventive.

  39. 39
    craig says:


    PES is one guy, not a ‘they’.

  40. 40
    Bob In Portland says:

    I’m thinking if that big(ger) asteroid hits should I run across the street and make love to the skinny neighbor woman or the plump one? Or will my girlfriend be home by then? I’ll have to have another cup of coffee and contemplate.

  41. 41
    kerFuFFler says:

    “Western Spaghetti”
    Running Time: 1 min 42 sec
    Written and Directed by PES
    Animated by PES and Javan Ivey
    Edited by Sam Welch
    Produced by Sarah Phelps

    It looks like PES had some help….

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:


    PES is the writer/director’s name. It’s not the name of the studio or production company. It’s weird to refer to a person as “they” unless you’re unsure of their gender.

    Steven Spielberg doesn’t write or do all of the crew work on his films, and yet people refer to them as “Spielberg films.” Blame the French if it annoys you.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    “Explode” is a loaded term – and an explosion does not seem to have taken place, as opposed to a break-up (common occurrence) and sonic boom(s).

    Good site to check here.


    Thank you. I brought this up in a thread last night, and was pooh-poohed for trying to inject concise terminology.

    A mnemonic device (with tortured rhyming) I’ve used forever to remember the differences:

    In the void, it’s a meteoroid.

    In the sky, meteors fly.

    Whatever strikes, meteorites.

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