My Novels

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Great morning for a bike ride, brisk but sunny. I am putting about 25 miles a week on the bike, and it really makes me feel better, sleep better and stay relaxed.

In the news today several items to comment on:

Earth escapes brush with killer asteroid

(CNN) -- An asteroid that could pulverize a country zipped close by the Earth on Monday, only weeks after astronomers first noticed the big space boulder heading in our direction.

The Near Earth Object brightened enough for even simple telescopes to spot just before it raced past our planet on Monday, only two times the distance of the moon, according to, a NASA-affiliated Web site.

The range might seem like enough to breath easy, about 600,000 km (375,000 miles), but many scientists classify it as a relatively close call.

The asteroid, officially known as 2001 YB5, measures between 300 and 400 meters (1,000 to 1,300 feet) in width. If such a rock were to smash into the planet, it would unleash the same amount of energy as many nuclear bombs, astronomers estimate.

"The impact would be quite tremendous. It could essentially wipe out a medium-sized country," said Benny Peiser of the Royal Astronomical Society in Great Britain. "The environmental consequences would be regional but the social and economic consequences would be global."

Close encounters with giant space rocks are not uncommon. Asteroids comparable to 2001 YB5 could strike the Earth as frequently as once every 5,000 years, Peiser said.

In the year 2027, an asteroid between one kilometer and mile in length is expected pass even closer than 2001 YB5. Having pinpointed its orbital path, scientists dismissed any potential of danger.

But later on, either asteroid could pose risks to the planet, along with countless rocks lurking in the shadows that have yet to be identified, astronomers warn.

What particularly troubles Peiser is that scientists only first spotted 2001 YB5 in early December. What if it had been heading on a collision course?

Indeed, what would have happened? Disaster. Folks, I'll say it again: life is a dangerous business and tomorrow is never promised -- not even for the planet earth!


Departing Southwest flight disrupted at LAX by man holding shoe

Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Southwest Airlines flight about to leave Los Angeles International Airport was disrupted Monday by a shoe-wielding passenger who punched a flight attendant in the head and opened the plane's rear door.

The attendant was treated for minor injuries. No one else was hurt.

More airplane madness. Of course, this is nothing new; there's been such incidents frequently in the past, although it probably wasn't reported with such intense scrutiny.


I read an article quoting Robert Redford about aging celebs, and plastic surgery in Hollywood:

Robert Redford - once the pin-up boy to a generation - has launched a withering attack on his Hollywood colleagues who try to defy the ageing process by going under the knife. He said actors and celebrities have developed a "sick obsession with plastic surgery" and labelled those who undergo it "vain and insecure".

In an interview with US magazine he says: "Everyone in Tinseltown is getting pinched, lifted and pulled. For many it's become a sick obsession. They lose some of their soul when they go under the knife and end up looking body snatched. People should preserve their time in history. I'm happy to make the best of what I've got."

Bravo to you Redford! I thoroughly agree, and I don't think that even women should be having plastic surgery to remain 'youthful looking.' Most people couldn't afford it, but there's something to be said for integrity and growing old gracefully -- NATURALLY.


At some point in aging, I hope I arrive at the wisdom in this poem by Stevie Smith:

Why do I think of Death
As a friend?
It is because he is a scatterer,
He scatters the human frame
The nerviness and the great pain,
Throws it on the fresh fresh air
And now it is nowhere
Only sweet Death does this,
Sweet Death, kind Death,
Of all the gods you are the best.


I found out that my PC upgrade is going to take longer. First off, the tech said he needs to reformat my hard-drive in order to fix the system tune-up, which has been freezing now for two months. That means all will be lost on my hard-drive, but I'd saved the important stuff anyway. I probably should have just got a new PC; it seems it's hardly worth the time/effort/price of upgrades. Oh well. Live and learn.

That's enough for today's entry.

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