By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/20/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The meteor that hit Russia last week is now believed to be the largest object to strike Earth in over 100 years. NASA scientists now estimate it to be 1,000 times larger than previously believed, exploding with 500 kilotons of energy.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have revised their estimate of the meteor's mass upwards from 10 tons to 10,000. NASA led the effort to revise the estimates after reviewing data from stations around the world that recorded the event as shockwaves reverberated around the planet.
The key to this analysis was infrasound data. Infrasound waves are too low in frequency for humans to hear, but can be detected with special equipment. These low frequency sounds travel much farther than the sounds we hear and scientists can use them to determine direction, location, and even the power of the source.
The Russian meteorite event illustrates a common problem in news reporting. Often in the immediate wake of an event, reporters seeking out any knowledge they can, find an expert who on the basis of an initial review of the data, will make an off-the-cuff estimate. This speculative answer is then widely propagated through the media.
This was also evident when it was initially reported that the Russian military shot down the meteorite. This obviously ridiculous statement was also propagated for some time in the immediate aftermath of the event.
The good thing about science is that it is self-correcting. The work done by NASA to calculate the true mass of the meteorite is evidence of this. In science, data is repeatedly reviewed and tested to provide simple answers about real events. These answers can then be bundled into conclusions and theories.
If anything, the revision suggests that we should never be too excited when we hear news of astounding scientific discoveries. Often, months to years following an event or a major discovery, science, patiently laboring, finds that the initial conclusion was in error. A notable example was last year's revelation that neutrinos did not in fact travel faster than the speed of light as was widely reported following a European study. Instead, there was a problem with the calibration of the equipment that caused a bad result.
The new estimate of mass for the Russian meteorite now means that it ranks as the largest thing to strike the Earth in over 100 years. It's predecessor is thought to have been the Tunguska event which took place in Siberia in 1908 and flattened like matchsticks, some 80 million trees in the Siberian wilderness.
That event was also detected as far away as London.
The greatest conclusion we can draw from this event is to take initial scientific discoveries and announcements with a grain of salt. Until peer review has had an opportunity to weigh in, it's hasty to draw formal conclusions.
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
A few days after Kim Jong Un ended a stand-off with South Korea, 50 North Korean submarines were reported to have vanished from radar. A possible surprise attack from the North is expected. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The North Korean submarines ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
A newborn died of rat bites in a government-ran hospital in the city of Vajayawada, located within the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - The newborn boy was born in the government-ran hospital where he was sent to the pediatric ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The remains of a newborn that was accidentally mummified 1500 years ago has been discovered in an ancient grave in Siberia. This discovery could lead to the unraveling of several mysteries concerning ancient Siberians. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Weddings are supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a woman's lifetime. But for 15-year-old Nasoin Akhter it was nothing but loneliness. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Akhter was coerced into marriage with a 32-year-old man. In her wedding ... continue reading
By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Although the peninsula is technically still engaged in war, alarm and concern was raised in the region and other parts of the world after a report that North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un convened with the country's senior party and defense officials. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Known for its gentle ocean breezes, seafood, beaches, and fun activities, the Chinese seaside resort town of Beidaihe is very popular with tourists. Families and young people gather there in the summer months for fun in the sun. Bedidaihe is also very popular with ... continue reading
By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News
In a tiny victory for Vatican-Chinese rapprochement, China's government now recognizes seminary studies and allows seminarians to continue their education in a state university should they leave. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Bachelor of Arts diploma young ... continue reading
By Carl Bunderson, CNA EWTN News
Christianity is spreading rapidly in China, and it could be because of how well the faith fits in with modern scientific technology. Fort Worth, Texas (CNA/EWTN News) - According to the renowned sociologist Rodney Stark, the number of Christians in China is growing ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Floating fortresses are set for construction by two Chinese companies in an area of territorial dispute. Although the companies insist the plans were for a more commercialized and civilian engaging hub, but there are some that speculate the fortresses will serve for ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
At least twenty-one people were killed after a bombing attack at the outside of a Hindu shrine in the popular Ratchaprasong district of the Thai Capital. The horrific scene was described as looking "like a meat market with bodies everywhere." MUNTINLUPA CITY, ... continue reading