Daily Orbit – Asteroid Killed Ancient Mammals

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,403
    9-4-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, an asteroid killed off ancient large mammals in North America, understanding the common fear of holes, and the US could see fewer hurricanes.

    Why is an impact always to blame?


    Oh no!  Not the holes!!!!


    Is there a calm in the storm of climate change?


    And a whole lot of scary things on the Daily Orbit!

    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit.  I’m Emerald Robinson.


    Something bad happens in history—blame it on an asteroid.  Researchers from Dartmouth argue that an asteroid or comet impact was to blame for the disappearance of large mammals in the Younger Dryas period nearly 13,000 years ago.  The impact, which scientists believe occurred in Quebec, caused dramatic global cooling. Droplets of solidified molten rock expelled by the impact were found in Quebec and as far south as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, however scientists have yet to find the impact crater.  Not only did the event kill off North American mastodons, camels, giant ground sloths and saber-toothed cats, but it also affected humans who had to move from a hunting lifestyle to growing and gathering some of their food.  The fact that these comets took out the dinos and large mammals has me supporting NASA’s asteroid capture and relocation program.


    No, not the bubble wrap! Not the bubble wrap!  Here’s another fear I have—a fear of holes.  Okay so I really don’t but some people do.  Two psychologists from the University of Essex say the fear of holes, or trypophobia, is very common and its origins are lodged somewhere in our evolutionary history.  Trypophobes report feeling uneasy, queasy, or itchy when seeing sponges, milk foam bubbles on a latte, soap bubbles, lotus pods…anything with a cluster of holes. Researchers now believe trypophobes are subconsciously making a connection between small holes and a poisonous animal…like the highly poisonous blue-ringed octopus or King Cobra snake.  Basically, they believe they are seeing a dangerous creature.  Psychologists say we may all be a little trypophobic. (scared of sponge)


    Okay, this is a very traumatic episode for me.  We’re covering all the things I fear.  Another one—hurricanes.  But this is good news!  A new study out of Columbia and Colorado State says that climate change could push future hurricanes away from the East Coast.  They say that manmade greenhouse gases could actually redirect atmospheric winds that steer these hurricanes.  Past studies have suggested that climate change will fuel the fire of these storms but building evidence suggests the opposite.  And here’s more good news.  They said that a storm the size of Sandy shouldn’t impact the East Coast for another 700 years.  But don’t get out the party hats just yet.  There are other factors that must be accounted for like the effect of rising sea levels, which scientists admit, could have its own impact on the nature of future hurricanes.  I feel like these researchers are just teasing me.


    But storms on the ringed planet are no joke.  According to scientists, a monster storm rips across Saturn every 30 years or so.  Cassini images have allowed scientists to see deeper into the planet’s atmosphere and find that cloud particles at the top of the great 15,000 km wide storm that started back in 2010 are a mix of three substances:  water ice, ammonia ice, and a mysterious third substance that might be ammonium hydrosulfide.  This is the first time water ice has ever been observed on Saturn.  These storms bring what normally lies beneath to the top, driving cloud particles up almost like a volcano, so that they can be seen.  They say this find supports that theory that water condensation powers Saturn’s superstorms.   That’s a chilling thought…


    Now on to a cool thought!  How about this new ID watch?  Toronto-based Bionym has launched its Nymi, a wearable biometric authentication device that relies on an embedded electrocardiogram sensor for identification. So in plain English, it uses unique ECG patterns to replace your passwords and PIN numbers on mobile devices.  And it keeps you logged in til it’s removed.  The company says the watch will allow for more privacy and reduce identity theft.  Nymi is pretty affordable at $79 bucks, and it’s already available for pre-order.  They’ve sold me!  I have a hard time remembering my passwords anyway!


    And that’s your Daily Orbit!  (With latte)  This foam makes me really nervous.