edward long

Association of Old Crows


This conversation is closed.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

According to the science nerds the sun is now 206,000 miles further from Earth than they told us before. Maybe some brainiac TEDster can explain why this is not a good time for all-out panic?

Closing Statement from edward long

Mostly tongue-in-cheek-- but based on an actual fact announced by scientists-- the 13 commenters seem well below the all-out-panic level on this issue of astronomical importance. It looks like the old adage that if Science says it it must be true is, yet again, borne-out. So, along with the Factorial of 1 being 1(1 X 0=1?) we can add the "scientific fact" that the distance between the Sun and the Earth is constant even though the Earth's orbit is not circular. Wait, what?--Edward Long

  • Sep 25 2012: why do people believe everything they see on TV and read in Newspaper?

    if you do, what stops from you using Virgin Galaxy or try to hitch hike maybe some aliens will give you lift.
    We don't know how to live with each other in harmony on earth, we worried about what's happening in universe.
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      Sep 25 2012: So you're saying the sun is not "officially" closer to Earth (by .206 million miles!) than it was before? Would I be more gullible to believe you, or to believe the dedicated scientists at NASA? I tell you Edwin the sky is falling! Do you know anyone at Virgin Galaxy, or how to get a lift from aliens?
      • Sep 26 2012: Sir,

        you don't have to believe me, because I haven't got PhD in Science Fiction, neither I know who is right or wrong here. I just let the Nature do its business, (we can't stop the rain). if we believe that our Planet has started at some point then we also have to accept the fact that it will end one day too., we know that everything has start and end. so are the lows of Nature, (, day starts and ends, night starts and ends, Summer starts and ends etc)

        "I tell you Edwin the sky is falling!" - Where exactly, sir? in the north or south, west or east?
        How exactly is it going to fall, piece by piece or whole?

        Sun is closer to Earth, - which side of Sun is exactly going to kiss to which side of Earth? Is there any exact point?

        PS: I haven't shaken Sir, Richard Branson's hand, when I do, I will let you know who I know from Virgin Galaxy

        Thank you
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          Sep 26 2012: Most excellent advice, sir! I never believe someone simply because they have a PhD. OK, maybe you're right, maybe the sky isn't falling. But, Edwin, can we trust anything Science tells us now that the sun is no longer 93-million miles from Earth? Thank you for your reassuring comments. (Do they really give PhD's in Science Fiction)?
      • Sep 26 2012: Mr Long,

        let's say that sun is getting closer and we are fighting against Global Warming. How we do that?
        (in Europe) they though that all these fabric produce a lot of CO2, (and God knows what) and this cause Global Warming, - They closed all the manufacturing companies (causing high unemployment) and moved to developing countries, the same company produce the same gas other side of the world, (not in Europe) - I call this "Smart Move" - when it comes to Nature what is the different whether it is in A or in B, we still use GLOBAL word with Warming

        Let's say that because of this Sun-coming-closer is causing this Global warming,
        We have suffered Global Freezing, the Ice Age, when Europe and North America with Russia were frozen. I wonder what these Scientists were saying, - that Sun is gone far?
        Evolution may happen or not?
        or maybe because of some many earthquakes and tsunamis our planet is moved, (they don't want us to panic) they say it is the sun that moves. Who knows (the truth)?

        I haven't been in Science Fiction University, sir, but they may have one.
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    Sep 25 2012: Well I hope that if the sun does move closer to the earth it happens at night so I won't be effected.
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    Sep 25 2012: that is certainly a good time for all-out panic. it will be entertaining to watch.
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      Sep 26 2012: Put down the fiddle man, Rome is burning!
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    Sep 27 2012: Thank God for fossil fuels then.
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    Sep 26 2012: Hi Edward.
    This is indeed panic-worthy news. There also seems to be some disagreement as to whether the sun is getting bigger, smaller, or staying as-is. Hopefully this 206,000 miles has not come off the radius; thereby increasing the distance; or we're in panic overload. We're safe in the UK, we don't get Fox, & Auntie Beeb would never expose us to such negative propaganda.


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      Sep 26 2012: You're not helping Peter! Now you tell me the Sun just LOOKS further away because it is shrinking? Now there is something more to panic about. Thanks for the very informative article. Maybe the sense I get from Science that we understand just about everything about the Universe is causing this urge to panic. Maybe Pearl S. Buck had it right when she wrote: QUOTE "Science and religion, religion and science, put it as I may, they are two sides of the same glass, through which we see darkly until these two, focusing together, reveal the truth."-- A Bridge for Passing, 1962
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    Sep 26 2012: Yes often feel moronic when use incompatible words. So sun is further away than before ? Maybe makes it too expensive to send probes/shuttles over to explore. Maybe it affects calculations about using sun's gravitational pull to sling shot space craft out of solar system (guess who watched too much Star Trek without the appropriate education to understand whether ideas possible). Referencing Star Trek movie where crew time-travelled by orbiting sun to return to C21st and collect some whales to answer alien probe in future looking to communicate with whales as first species. Humans and planet in danger because all whales extinct long ago due to human 'superiority'. Still don't understand why whalemeat seen as delicacy. Thinking of old lore i.e. eat the animal to ingest some of it's characteristics. Love poets for ideas and fiction for same. Television has a lot to answer for because as you said, a picture is worth a thousand words but television notorious for distortions. So all out panic because of something like sun's life-span. Was thought it would expand as it ages. If average figure now shows further away is sun possibly shrinking, hence panic ? Someone else was posting that new figures just an international effort at averaging out but missed the point you were trying to make. Having a conversation on another thread about human's desperate efforts to know and quantify and control. So your point is just enjoy the wonder of it all ? What do you think about Carl Jung ? Any relevance to this debate? Still keep thinking Chicken Litle story, someone noticed chickens bodies still move after head removed. Wobbly Earth orbit due to oceanic movements due to influence of moon ? So you focusing on ?
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      Sep 26 2012: The last time I flung myself into an all-out panic was when I realized there is no, one, individual, actual, Santa Claus (I still don't like to talk about it). Anyway, my focus on this issue of the Sun departing from our solar system is similar to that dark day in 1953, namely, who can I believe? I was never taught in Science that the Sun MIGHT BE 93-million miles away. My science teachers never spoke in terms of possibility. Everything was presented as "fact". Does Science deliberately downplay the tentative nature of their discoveries in order to create an illusion of trustworthiness. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame Science for the whole Santa Claus debacle. About Jung, he said the same set of myths and beliefs circulated from civilization to civilization. The distance between Earth and the Sun is not, at least I didn't think it was, a myth. Thanks for your many suggestions.
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    Sep 26 2012: I'm not panicing. Heck, I'm ecstatic about it. If it's 206,000 miles farther away now, I can turn down my air conditioning and reduce my utility bill.

    Wait....once the utility companies understand this, they will start a conspiracy to raise our utility bills to compensate for the lost revenues!

    I propose we organize right now and do a pre-emptive strike against the utility companies before that happens!

    (PS - Nice topic, Edwin. We all need a little tongue-in-cheek conversations around here to relieve the tension once in a while) ;-)
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      Sep 26 2012: You see it don't you, Mr. Ryan? There are multiple reasons to panic. Have you ever engaged the utility company in direct confrontation? Science had better step-up and clarify what is behind this whole orbital radius issue before rioting begins against power companies around the world. My name is Edward. Thank you!
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        Sep 27 2012: Sorry about the wrong name. My brain and typing fingers don't agree with each other at O'Dark Thirty when I'm typing sometimes.

        Oh Oh! That means I'm losing my capabilities! I think it's time for me to panic!
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          Sep 27 2012: Don't panic ... typo's that happen in Vegas stay in Vegas.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 26 2012: I was always told that the sun was 93 million miles away, but the article you referenced says, "It is now a fixed number: 149,597,870,700 meters, which is the equivalent of almost 92.956 million miles?
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      Sep 26 2012: You got it, Ms. Lover! Science is sending mixed signals! They are challenging Isaac Newton's discovery that Earth orbits the Sun in a non-circular (non-constant radius) path. How can the radius be constant? I say we panic!
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    Sep 25 2012: All-out panic is exhausting. Focused panic is highly effective at times. Ultimately if we all get fried by some massive solar radiation burst maybe it would be a good thing. Maybe a little light irradiation is good for evolution. What is reassuring about a measurement, except the idea that somehow by framing the distance with numbers, it becomes contained and manageable and knowable.
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      Sep 25 2012: I am only good for about 3-minutes of all-out panic. Now I'm settling into a number-crunching mode. It's all about averaging maximum and minimum distances resulting from the slight eccentricity (thank you Isaac) in our orbit. I may return to panic mode when I am refreshed because the average number before was 92.750 million miles. The science wizards now say the number is 92.956. Alas, I find solace in poetry: "Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect mis-shapes the beauteous form of things:-- we murder to dissect.-- William Wordsworth, The Tables "Turned," 1798.
      EDIT-- Isn't "focused panic" an oxymoron?
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    Sep 25 2012: Ed... I think you are right... a good percent of the population will read that note and believe that there was a sudden jump that shortened that distance between the earth and the sun (and i wouldn't be surprised if they actually believe that it was the sun the one that jumped closer to the earth and not the other way around)

    i was greatly impressed to see there is a whole area dedicated to science in foxnews!

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      Sep 25 2012: Can you imagine the consequences if the instantaneous distance from the Earth to the Sun ACTUALLY changed? Great Caesar's Ghost!
      And, yes sir, those Fox folks may be conservative, but they are also comprehensive.
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    Sep 25 2012: I'm sure someone will save us all. Just like in the movies.
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      Sep 25 2012: We need... Neo...
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        Sep 25 2012: Yes. The chosen one.
      • Sep 25 2012: Superman,

        you can be THE one: I got a new name for you: James Superman Neo Zhang


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          Sep 25 2012: Sure thing, I could also be Harry Potter while I'm at it too :P
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    Sep 25 2012: Could this also be another cause to Global Warming?
    • Sep 25 2012: No, the Earth didn't get closer to the Sun, the distance to the fluctuates and now astronomers have agreed upon a new definition of the average distance.
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        Sep 25 2012: So you're saying that we have more accurately defined the nominal distance, the real distance hasn't really changed.
        • Sep 25 2012: Yes, the real distance fluctuates throughout the year so an official average had to be agreed upon.
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        Sep 25 2012: Ah I see, that makes sense, since the orbit of the earth around the sun is not a perfect circle but an ellipse, and thus an average distance would be needed.
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        Sep 26 2012: Aphelion IS 94.5 million miles. Perihelion IS 91 million miles. The average IS 92.75 million miles. How did "they" come-up with an "official average" of 92.956 million miles? That is a difference of +206,000 miles. I say we should panic!
        • Sep 26 2012: Kepler's second law predicts that the Earth moves slower when it's farther away from the Sun. I haven't done the math but this law implies that the Earth spends a majority of time farther away from the Sun than (Aphelion+Perihelion)/2, increasing the time average of the distance.
  • Sep 25 2012: "Maybe some brainiac TEDster can explain why this is not a good time for all-out panic?"

    I would guess a 0.22% "error" (it's actually a redefinition) is nothing to worry about, especially seeing as the Earth's distance to the sun fluctuates by 5% throughout the year without people noticing.