August 5, 2011
Like a dog on a leash, a tiny asteroid runs ahead of Earth on the planet's year-long strolls around the sun, scientists report. The discovery of this companion, which measures only about 300 yards across, makes Earth the fourth planet in the solar system that's known to share its orbit with an asteroid. Imagine Earth and the asteroid traveling around a clock face, with the sun in the middle. Generally, the asteroid runs about two numbers ahead. However, the asteroid sometimes ranges so far ahead that it's on the opposite side of the sun from...
February 19, 2010 |
We're the nation that put a man on the moon, so we can't be stupid. We're just pretending, right? We're not really taking seriously the "argument" that the big snowstorms that have hit the Northeast in recent weeks constitute evidence -- or even proof -- that climate change is some kind of hoax. That would be unbelievably dumb. Yet there are elected officials in Washington who apparently believe such nonsense. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) had his family build an igloo near the Capitol and label it "Al Gore's New Home.
October 20, 2011 |
Water is everywhere on Earth, but nobody has ever been able to determine conclusively how it got here. Scientists know that the early Earth was far too hot to hold water or water vapor, but then, in relatively short geological time, the oceans appeared. In a discovery that researchers say sheds important new light on that age-old question, a European team reported Thursday that it has found a very cold reservoir of water vapor in spacethat could explain where the water came from.
June 24, 2009 |
EVERYTHING MATTERS! By Ron Currie Jr. Viking. 305 pp. $25.95 Astronomers at Caltech say the Earth will last 1 billion years longer than previous estimates, which makes me wish I'd chosen the bedroom wallpaper more carefully. But Ron Currie's strange new novel raises the opposite prospect: "Everything Matters!" begins with an announcement that a comet will destroy our planet on June 15, 2010. That fast-approaching deadline raises "a question which men and women, great and not-so, of every color, creed, and sexual...
June 11, 2009
I was impressed by Kevin Morison's June 5 letter in which he said that he would travel to Montgomery County to do his food shopping rather than pay the D.C. Council's 5-cent tax on plastic bags. Not everyone is willing to shlep to another jurisdiction to maintain their choice of grocery bag. Unfortunately, Mr. Morison's letter was also an example of how people are unwilling to accept even small inconveniences or restrictions to help preserve the environment. Yet we will most likely have to make much larger sacrifices if our...
October 22, 2012 |
Two scientists are theorizing that the moon was once part of the Earth and that it formed after the Earth collided with another body. In a paper published last week in the journal Science , Sarah Stewart and Matija Cuk said their theory would explain why the Earth and the moon have similar composition and chemistry. The Earth was spinning much faster at the time the moon was formed, they said, with a day lasting only two to three hours. With the Earth spinning so quickly, a giant impact could have launched enough of the...