Open Thread: Eye in the Sky

(h/t commentor Comrade Mary)
They’re everywhere:

The same day that a 10-ton meteor (or super-secret American weapon) slammed into Russia’s Ural mountains, injuring over 1,000 and blowing out windows for miles around, a mysterious light streaked across the sky above San Fransisco. NBC News reports that people located over a stretch of 100 miles saw the fireball yesterday evening. According to one astronomer, it was a “sporadic meteor.”…

NYMag has the video. Also, glad I’m not the only Old Person who thought “Thank FSM this didn’t happen when Alas, Babylon, The Day After and Testament were giving two generations nightmares.” Via commentor M’Quirk, Charles Stross highlights a relevant anniversary.

Apart from buying stock in tinfoil, what’s on the agenda this evening?

40 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    General Stuck says:

    Testament remains the saddest movie I ever saw, bar none.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    I was moved on a couple of levels by the Russian meteor. It’s neat to live in a time when we could share the experience of this amazing event with people who live in some isolated spot in Siberia. It also got me thinking about what it would have been like to experience physical events such as a meteor in ancient times, when you didn’t have science to provide a framework for thinking about these events.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    Apart from buying stock in tinfoil, what’s on the agenda this evening?

    I’m not volunteering, but someone’s gotta call the assisted living facility where President Stuck is a shut-in and tell them he’s off his meds again.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    As a testament to your stupidity, you must think referring to me as “President Stuck” is some kind of insult. I am but a humble fake general, but haz aspirations, aspirations, aspirations.

    Though I could never measure up to Task Force Ranger/superliberal.

  6. 6
    Phylllis says:

    Date night with the hubby; headed out to a terrific local place. Later, Ben Hur on TCM.

  7. 7
    Maude says:

    When Alverez fist came out with the meteor killed the dinosaurs statement, he was ridiculed.
    It took years for it to be accepted.
    It’s a good thing the Russians had dash cams in their cars. That’s how a lot of what happened was seen.
    The shock wave is what did the damage.
    The asteroid was lower that the GPS satellites. That’s close enough.

  8. 8
    Randy P says:

    what’s on the agenda this evening?

    Romance. We have a Valentine’s tradition of staying at a local B & B and vacationing in our own city for a weekend.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Not really an insult as much as a testimony to your valiant efforts.
    Sometimes I think you tuck into your PJ’s, grab your little purple ponicorn tightly and drift off to sleep imagining you’re the personal bodyman for President Obama. And only you, and your unending willpower and spirit can fight off the eebil that is sent his way via this blog!
    Only your delusional interpretations of reality can save the most powerful man on the planet!
    I’m sure one day you will be recognized for this tireless effort, and awarded the Congressional Pony Shovel medal. To be hung around your neck lovingly while he nibbles on your earlobes and tells you his room number.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    Doing laundry and resting my cold so I can go to Disneyland tomorrow. My best friend’s sister, who I haven’t seen in at least 8 years, is in town, so we’re meeting up at DL.

    I may need to wear shorts — they’re predicting a high of 83 tomorrow. Where she lives near Detroit, they’re hoping for a high of 23 tomorrow. Wait, was I humblebragging again?

  11. 11
    Anoniminous says:

    I’m pulling all those damn stapled and blown in advertising cards in my magazines and loading ’em up with bullets to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypso.

  12. 12
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Still flooded with the homophobic fantasies. I see.

    What kind of creepy sonofabitch declares on nomination day 2008, that Obama supporters can drink “spiny black jism”, and then hangs around a blog for 4 fucking years to hate and bash on the first black president, morning, noon and night? My money is on racist psychopath. That would be our corner stoned

  13. 13
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    It is snowing here in Jacksonville, NC. Rare event for us. It is coming down quite heavily and settling on the grass (but not the roads). DH is absolutely delighted, Flossie and the cats are bemused and I am meh.

  14. 14
    Mike E says:

    @General Stuck: I think he fathered a black baby in SC…wait, sorry. That would take having sex with somebody. Nevermind.

  15. 15
    22over7 says:

    Kung pao chicken tonight. Last night we ended up watching some show on the home improvement pron station that showed these gigantic kitchens with, I don’t know, $200 drawer knobs and such. Spouse got all excited about an ultra-modern 750-bottle wine cellar the size of a deep closet.

    I told him that, boozy as we are, I don’t think even we could keep a solid rotation with 750 wine bottles.

  16. 16
    MobiusKlein says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here, but I suspect during the cold war, they still knew enough about astronomy to distinguish a first strike nuke from an asteroid explosion – at least one like just happened.

    Had it hit a city and blowed it up, different story.

  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike E: I wish I had it to do all over again. I’d keep myself pure and virginal. Maybe then I could be worthy of understanding His word.
    Instead of the dirty tramp I’ve debased myself into.

  18. 18
    Litlebritdifrnt says:


    I love those shows, especially when it turns out that the people with the $50,000 kitchen don’t cook.

    I remember a Househunters episode when this young lawyer was looking for an apartment and kept saying she wanted stainless appliances and granite counter tops and her friend (who was helping her look) kept saying “but you don’t cook, you don’t even know how to use a microwave” and laughing her ass off at her.

  19. 19
    Raven says:

    Back from a 2 day teaching conference. Had one session on Laughing Yoga and one on The Interdisciplinarity of Transformative Learning: Merging Asian Approaches with Western Pedagogy. In Georgia!

  20. 20
    scav says:

    Marvelling at how quickly one can link dodgy horse-burgers to the illegal arms trade. (sort of the Kevin Bacon thing only neigh instead of oink). Yea capitalism and the unregulated market! That and house-cleaning if I can get productive.

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:


    I remember a Househunters episode when this young lawyer was looking for an apartment and kept saying she wanted stainless appliances and granite counter tops

    I love them too. I’ve said it before here but my favorite part is how every single person that’s on the show, their first words are, “Oh! This would be great for entertaining”.
    Yeah, honeycakes. You have friends over about nunce a year.

  22. 22
    22over7 says:


    Seriously. All I could think of was, “marble countertops, which stain like crazy, Brazilian something wood floors, which would never survive my cats, let alone my spills, four ovens? Who the hell cleans this?”

  23. 23
    Corner Stone says:


    let alone my spills, four ovens? Who the hell cleans this?

    Are you trying to tell us you don’t make Pi?

  24. 24
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Having a vanilla steamer at a coffee shop on South Street before heading to dinner. It is pretty damn cold in Philly tonight…should’ve brought gloves.

  25. 25
    Flukebucket says:

    @Raven: and in Asheville NC they are fighting for the right of everybody to go topless. The real asteroid approaches……..

  26. 26
    Anoniminous says:

    @22over7: Litlebritdifrnt:

    Those shows crack me up. I’ve done the remodeling thing. Many times. I spent as much remodeling our current house (~4,400 square feet) including the bathrooms, kitchen, new wiring, new plumbing, new tile floors, new slate floors in two bathrooms, new ceramic floor tiles in various rooms, hard maple floor in the kitchen, limestone floor tiles (3/4″ thick) in front of the main kitchen sink, & blah-blah etc. for less than those dumb clucks spent on their kitchens.

    I did it by never, ever, paying retail for anything I could weasel out of. [Note: buying used electrical stuff is a Bad Idea.] I got the cabinets for 10% of their store cost by going around to cabinet installers and asking if they had some kicking around they had pulled out of other house remodels. They did. The tiles were all bought at clearance prices by customer over buys or refusals. And so on.

    By using one’s head, doing as much as humanly possible yourself, and being willing to adapt to what you can find the costs of re-modeling are 10 to 20 percent of those given on those stupid shows.

  27. 27
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I remember a John Cole post years ago which made me LOL “I wonder how many of those house hunters who were bitching about there being no powder room on the ground floor are now in foreclosure?”

    BTW anyone else now hooked on “Ripper Street” the new BBC America show about Nipper Reid? I don’t watch it during the week but it is one of my must watches in my on demand marathon on a Saturday morning.

  28. 28
    22over7 says:


    Exactly. It’s all just for showing off.

  29. 29
    Montysano says:

    Headed back from several lovely days in Gulf Shores, AL. Ate oysters, shrimp, crawfish, gumbo, poboys and bread pudding. Now, driving through snow in north Bama.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @Montysano: Catch anything?

  31. 31
    Redshift says:

    @scav: Interesting, though I can’t say I’m surprised. It reminds me of how the rise of Somali pirates was a result not just directly from the lack of a government, but because the lack of a government allowed organized crime-linked waste-disposal companies to dump toxic and radioactive waste from European companies in Somali waters, killing the fishing trade there.

    The free market solves everything, right?

  32. 32
    Montysano says:

    @raven: Traveling on business, so all catches were (sadly) via credit card.

  33. 33
    muddy says:

    @efgoldman: Me too. On both counts.

  34. 34
    Jay C says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: @efgoldman:

    Funny, the Mrs. and I are in accord on just the opposite opinion: we both loved Copper, but thought Ripper Street was Teh Suck. Not to the point of “so awful we’ll never watch it”, but still no great shakes.

    @Corner Stone:

    Here in The City, remodellers (and their architects, designers and contractors) like to obsess over the “upscale” appliances, fittings and trim mainly wrt its “resale value”. Which of course, presumes that whoever is going to be buying your splendid pad however many years from now will be just as fixated on the granite counters, Brazilian woods, etc as you are now.

    As lawyers would say: “facts not in evidence”…..

  35. 35
    muddy says:

    We had a window of mud season today, the dog had to be bathed 3 times. Then I told them when they went out to stay clean, else they would get another bath. So far clean, not sure if they listened, or it froze back up, I have not been out.

    I have been making frames all day. The trim I am using is very thin, and won’t accept a staple or nail readily. I have a corner vise, but one at a time takes a lot of time for the glue. I wish I had 4. I am undecided at this point whether I dislike cutting mats, glass or assembling frames the most.

    I have a watercolor self-portrait that I am undecided about hanging. It only looks right to me, as I used a mirror. To everyone else it looks backwards. I looked at it in a mirror and it looked like photos. Wish I had a symmetrical face.

  36. 36
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Anoniminous: That’s pretty damn awesome. I will have to remember that approach.

    I’m probably going to have to get my (cheap, pathetic, falling apart) laminate cabinets in my kitchen re-faced. Most of them aren’t standard size, so I’ve been looking at custom work. Any recommendations for getting that done more cheaply?

  37. 37
    max says:

    The same day that a 10-ton meteor (or super-secret American weapon) slammed into Russia’s Ural mountains, injuring over 1,000 and blowing out windows for miles around

    Actually, this morning the Russians were saying that. The NASA guy was saying ~300kt (at around 12km high). I was playing with the Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer (actually a slide rule from 1962) to figure out who was right (I was seeing effects larger than 300kt) and then went back to the NYT and got this:

    NASA estimates that when the meteor entered the atmosphere over Alaska, it weighed 7,000 to 10,000 tons and was at least 50 feet in diameter, a size that strikes the Earth about once every hundred years, and that it exploded with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT.

    A typical modern warhead is supposed to be around 750kt. Hiroshima was around 15-22kt.The North Korean thing the other day was a piddly ~8kt.

    So that’s the closest you’ll get (hopefully) to seeing the urban effects of a nuclear weapon detonation from far away (minus thermal effects, x-ray pulse and fallout – which is nice).

    Charles Stross highlights a relevant anniversary.

    Going to disagree with Stross – the Russians and their sensors were looking for launches and incoming missiles, which is part of why the Russians were freaked out in 1995 about a satellite launch from Norway (the bottom of the chain of command forgot to inform the top of the chain of command about it). This kind of thing would have confused them as much as it freaked them out. (‘The Americans have undetectable missiles now???’) The lack of radiation detection would have been an instant tip-off.

    That said, there is no accounting for stupid:

    Other Russians found different meanings in the event. A hawkish deputy prime minister, Dmitri O. Rogozin, suggested that the world’s leading scientists develop a missile system to deflect asteroids from Earth. “Today neither the United States nor Russia has the capability to shoot down such an object,” he warned, according to Interfax.

    {headdesk} No, dumb ass. Nuclear warheads with sophisticated electronics mounted on incoming ICBMs are delicate little flowers compared to a reentering big rock. You could burn a hole in a warhead with a laser (don’t have big enough lasers) or hit it with an EMP (can’t make an efficient pulse without a nuke) or hit it with a kinetic energy weapon (gotta have a bunch in orbit which is expensive) or set off a conventional bomb nearby (hard to hit) or maybe set off another nuke nearby high in the atmosphere (seems kinda pointless).

    If you hit a big rock high in the atmosphere with a nuclear weapon, not only have you set off a nuclear explosion high in atmosphere with lots of lovely fallout, but now you have two big rocks.

    What you want to do is send a spaceship way out away from the earth and set off a bomb that pushes the big rock away from the previous earth-impacting trajectory.

    But we can’t do that because in 1968-72 the US and the USSR came to collective decision to avoid a ‘wasteful’ space race in favor of spending even more money to produce the awesome return on investment from a nuclear arms race, including such wonders as missile defense. Which doesn’t work well, and not at all against big rocks.

    There is no cure for stupid.

    [‘Well, I feel better.’]

  38. 38
    Anoniminous says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    First thing is measure. You’ll need the linear distance of each “run,” parallel to the floor and the height of the cabinets. Standard height is 30″ for a wall cabinet 36″ for a floor cabinet. If they are, rejoice. (If not things get a bit difficult.) Measure the doors of both.

    Go to Lowes and Home Depot and check out what they’ve got and the prices. You need to get educated so you’ll have an idea of prices to compare against.

    Now a trick. If the doors are The Problem and the doors run lip-to-lip such that you can only see the doors you can replace them and don’t worry about the cabinets. If you go this route you’ll have to go to a regular outlet such as Home Depot and order them or wait for a clearance sale and hope they’ll have enough of the right sizes. In my experience, they almost always will IF you get there at the right time. This is a good time, BTW, as they are going to start clearing out the old styles to clear their space for the new stuff coming in for the summer building season. TAKE YOUR TIME! Wait for your price. Patience is a virtue; virtues need to be practiced. ;-)

    There may be builder surplus stores around your area. These places buy returns, over-runs, and other miscellanea from factories on the cheap and turn them around on the cheap. God only knows what they have and when. Here if you see the doors that fit and you like buy them; the chance it will still be there next week aren’t good.

    OK, let’s say that isn’t possible.

    Remember, if you’re replacing the cabinets it’s the linear length that is important. 12′ of cabinets is 12′ feet, not matter how it’s broken up, I admit 9″ cabinets are useless, 12″ is as small as you want to go unless there is a compelling reason for a 9 incher. The height is secondary (within reason) as you can jigger that around a couple of inches either way. Although don’t forget you’ll need a minimum of 16″ between the base cabinets and the bottom of the wall cabinets otherwise you can kiss the area under the wall cabinets good-bye for all the use you’ll get out of that area.

    With the measurements go and talk to cabinet and remodel shops. Ask around. Be nosey. Prices vary according anything you can think of. Don’t be afraid to bargain. (Note: Cash is King. If they know you’ll be paying cash they’ll be more willing to dicker.) But do be pleasant and agreeable. Those guys know the local market and what they can sell the stuff for. You’ll get a deal, but not a steal, and even the deal will be significant compared to retail. If not, walk away.

    One thing. If you go to Lowes look for their under-the-cabinet stainless steel drawers. The heavy-duty ones, not the cheapo-shit. The price will gag a goat ($75 to $90, depending on which one you get, and IIRC) but those things are WONDERFUL. First, they increase your base cabinet storage space by 25%. Second, there’s no more of those ‘archeological expeditions’ looking the double boiler of Tutankhamen. Third they help you organize your kitchen logically, e.g., you can buy a rack with a pot lid drawer on the top and space to put the pots on the second. Fourth, you can save the deep knee bends for the Aerobics Class.

  39. 39
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Anoniminous: THANK YOU!

    Both your home renovation comments have been copied and pasted to a document now safely stored in my House folder. I have access to a variety of small and large builder supply shops in the Toronto area, but I will give a once-over of Lowe’s and Home Depot as well to see what the upper range of prices would be.

  40. 40
    Redshirt says:

    Chilling out, practicing Asteroids. I’m ready!

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