Monday, February 19, 2007

Over-dramatic headline of the day

Via The New Zealand Herald - Asteroid on collision path with Earth

My sister IM'd me saying that she had heard Paul Harvey say that an asteroid was on a collision course with Earth and it was going to hit on April 13, 2036. My initial response was, "and how certain are they?"

Here's what I found:
Underscoring the peril, an asteroid named Apophis risks passing very close to Earth on 13 April, 2036.

Astronomers warn that as of now, there is a 1 in 45,000 chance of a direct hit.

Its impact would be enough to wipe out a country as large as England.
I'll admit that an asteroid big enough to wipe out England is major. There is no doubt about that. But think about it this way, if your odds of winning a million dollars was 1 in 45000 would you announce that you were winning a million dollars? Would you quit your job or buy an expensive new car banking on winning that money? I know I wouldn't.

Do I think that some serious consideration should go into a plan for dealing with such a disaster? Probably. Do I think that headline is way out of proportion? Yes.

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