What I Call Global Warming.
Two scientists from the University of Sussex and Mexico's University of Guanajuato appear to have confirmed that if we're still around in 7.6 billion years, global warming will be the least of our worries, since our beloved Mother Earth will be drawn inexorably towards the Sun and snuffed from existence. Sussex Uni's Robert …
I got about 1/3 through that article and had to check the header to se weather I'd accidentally clicked on that red top nightmare's website by the same name as our mother star.
Generally I do like the style of theregister over it's crap rival /. and the over stiff silicon.com. But sometime, just sometimes, I think you go to far...
Anyway, at least in the light of Bellfields prosecution you didn't announce that this week is BLONDES WEEK...
Please avoid becoming too much like the current bun...
But please tell me what is the point of researching this? Surely there are more pressing projects that these jokers could be expending their energies on.
"It's a pretty gloomy forecast" For who exactly?
Does it really matter to anyone reading this what happens in 5 or 7 billion years time. I hope they didn't get grants or paid for this and why is it in Science and not Bootnotes where it belongs.
Information for Informations sake is UTTERLY worthless.
The planet being enveloped by the sun as it grows.
The moon wandering away from us causing the earth to wobble on it's axis.
Huge lumps of rock hitting us from space.
Global warming causing floods.
Ice ages causing the water to retreat.
A massive volcano erupting and filling the sky with ash, smoke, and noxious gasses.
Tidal waves wiping out coastal communities.
and now we have to contend with the planet doing a nose dive into the Sun!!! Great.
Part of the point of researching this is to see if we can then spot it happening to other stars "now" (or then, as it were) which then allows us to start working out other stuff. What that other stuff might be is anyone's guess, but something will come of it sooner or later. I mean, lets face it, back when Newton finalised the theory of gravity it was great... in principle, but what practical application was there for knowing how fast something would accelerate toward the earth? At that point, very little. It was information for information's sake. Now it's an absolute necessity in physics. Or if you want to be more abstract, why bother finding out that the earth moves around the sun? There was no particular reason for knowing it; seasons were already predictable, the sun rose and set like it always did, so why spend the effort when it doesn't actually make any difference?
"Information for Informations sake is UTTERLY worthless."
Well, no, curiosity is still a valuable trait.
And often something good comes out of such studying things that aren't immediately of practical importance. E.g., we only have modern mechanics at all because someone worried about such esoteric and useless (at that moment) as what rotates around what in the sky, whether the sky can change over time (it was previously thought that other than the planets, everything else is basically a texture rotating around Earth), or where does a cannonball fall after all if you drop it from the mast of a moving ship. I mean, from a pragmatic point of view, why would you want to? But it all furthered our undestanding of how things work, and had practical applications much later. Plus, as an even nicer side-effect, it brought down the edifice of Aristotelian "science" based on nothing more than thinking about how things should work in a nicely designed universe, and replaced it with the proper scientific method.
Is this calculation equally important? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows, we might eventually find out that some practical observation contradicts such a calculated result, and end up with some better science as a result. And in turn, if we ever start having interstellar travel, we might actually have a use for better understanding the forces and phenomena at those scales.
It's useless to worry about it, but that's an entirely different thing.
That said, I do find it funny that some people do worry about what will happen in 5 billion years, or indeed 100 billion years. There was for example this thread long ago on Slashdot about how in 100 billion years other galaxies will be too far away to be observed, and people were genuinely worrying about how to pass that piece of information to the people living 100 billion years in the future. 'Cause, you know, otherwise they might end up with a theocracy or something.
"After a billion years or so you've got an Earth with no atmosphere, no water and a surface temperature of hundreds of degrees, way above the boiling point of water. The Earth will become dry basically. It will become completely impossible for life of any kind to exist. It's a pretty gloomy forecast."
Don't want to get too picky, but should he not have instead said, "It will become impossible for life as we know it to exist."?
How do we know that there isn't some life form out there that we don't know about that thrives in that kind of environment.
The truth is out there ...
Could be wrong, but i reckon it's because the earth is relatively tiny compared to the sun. In the earth- moon system, the tidal bulge the moon creates on the near-side of the earth travels slightly ahead of the moon because of the rotation of the earth, so it drags the moon forward, this increase in forward energy is why the moon gets more distant every year. I doubt that the gravity of the earth would create tidal bulges on the sun in the same way. again, could be wrong though =)
We all know that the earth will survive the sun getting all big and bothered because we've seen it in Doctor Who; and when the super-duper magnetic things that stop the earth being swallowed up get turned off, there'll be a bunch of blue people watching it from a special observational hotel in space.
At least when it does go off, nobody'll mind that they spent money on a HD-DVD player.
Anyway, why can't the scientists spend more time on the things that affect us here and now, like itchy nipples?
Average lifespan of a mammalian species ~3 million years.
Contrary to what most of the geeks on here will "understand" most species die out NOT in cataclysmic events, but just cos they get out evolved.
This is an interesting piece of science, but to tie it somehow to Homo sapiens "fate" is (stupidity x sensationalism)^2 in other words the Daily Mail reporting index.
P.S. That does not make this sort of science "worthless", the spirit of scientific inquiry often will lead us to many dead ends and "useless" facts. But that does not mean that we should decide to give bat and ball back and not play anymore.
A little later (10^12 years, or a _proper_billion_ years hence), there won't be much of the rest of the universe left that we can see
since space will have expanded non-gravitationally-bound galaxies outside of the region of space that we can see ...
You will die. We all will. What we do is in the big enough picture irrelevant and a waste of time.
This research is as useful as study for priesthood, venture capitalist or basketweaver.
We are, however, curious about life and what may happen.
A priest wants to know better how God intends him to live his life.
A VC is interested in knowing how much money they can scam ( :-) )
A basketweaver is proud of displaying his expertise in a dying art.
And it probably costs less than the greenhouse cap and trade systems...
But with existing technology, some advance planning and a little orbital energy, courtesy of a redirected asteroid, Earth's distance from the Sun could be increased by 50 percent in just a few billion years.
because Mother Earth is indeed slowly suiciding itself in the simplest way it can, by doing the Death Spiral dance into the Sun, having finally got well and truly fed up with the inability of its most evolved species to distingish fantasy from "information".
The rest of the article is about how to be a jobsworth.
> The Earth actually exerts its own (modest) gravitational pull on the Sun
The gravitational pull the Earth exerts on the Sun is exactly the same (except in the opposite direction) as that the Sun exerts on the Earth. It's just that the Sun is so much more massive than the Earth (F=m.a and all that).
They seem to have forgotten that the sun rotates. The (rather small) bulge that the earth induces in the sun will rotate ahead of the earth, causing it to accelerate the earth a bit. This is exactly the same as the earth-moon system, as Alex has noted. This may still be more than cancelled out by other factors.
Ultimately, the n-body problem for n>2 is chaotic, so it's a bit of a pointless prediction to make.
I can put off packing for a few billion years at least.
I bloody HATE moving.
Rob, when can you organise to show me 'round some of your Titanian properties - just because I can afford to put off the tidying and packing doesn't mean I intend to miss out on the best sites...
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