back to article Exploding super-prang asteroid to pepper Earth, trigger deadly ice age – no, wait, it happened 466 million years ago

A huge collision in the Solar System’s asteroid belt may have triggered an ice age on Earth that froze our planet... some 466 million years ago. Eggheads believe a 93-mile wide space rock floating between Mars and Jupiter was smashed to pieces as it crashed into something else, perhaps another cosmic boulder. The prang …

  1. seven of five

    There is a book about it: La Compagnie des glaces

    La Compagnie des glaces by Georges-Jean Arnaud. Unfortunetaly, only the first book (out of 30 or so) was translated and my french is just "good" enough to make a frenchman "volunteer" to speak english.

    Nice read, though. Fond memories about the Amiga game as well.

  2. Rich 11 Silver badge

    I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

    a 93-mile wide space rock

    Please, when you convert measurements between systems don't state a precision which didn't previously exist. I bet the paper said something like 'estimated to be 150km wide' and some journo somewhere (probably not even Katyanna) stuck this into Google and blindly copied 93 rather than the more sensible 90.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

      I'm also a member of the Campaign for Imprecise Time. If I ask you the time, don't tell me that it's 7:53. The quarter hours will do nicely.

      Obviously a bit different if you're trying to catch a train, or boil an egg. But under normal circumstances it'll be fine.

      On the other hand, "Tuesday", probably doesn't quite cut it. But points for trying.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

        Couldn't agree more. I'm happy to wait for the computers to catch up too.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

          Rich 11,

          From my downvote score above, it looks like you're the only one who couldn't agree more. Other El Registrans clearly like their time exactly thankyouverymuch!

          My brother actually bought a "cool" watch in the 1980s that was highly fashionable by being black and shiny - with glowing hands. But the only time marked on it was 12 o'clock (in watch-speak should they be called indexes?), so you could see which way up it was. For any other time, you were literally in the dark.

          He got rid of it because he complained that he couldn't tell what time it was. To which my response was, why buy a watch with no numbers in the first place? Now I campaign for imprecise time, I'm all in favour of it...

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

            Apparently those gradations on a watch face are indeed called indexes or indices, depending on your preferred spelling.

            I've had watches and clocks with no indices, or just the one at 12. Never really had a problem telling the time well enough for my purposes from the angles of the hands.

            Apropos of nothing, I've just had the idea to announce the time in radians. That would be marvelously annoying. "Hey, it's nearly three-pi-over-two to pi. What say we head out in another half-pi or so?"

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

        I'm looking for S/W that can collate dates expressed in forms such as "Thursday after the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, 8 Edw. II." or "the Morrow of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the first year of King Edward s. of King Edward".

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

          Those examples look a lot more straightforward than 'I think it might have been a few weeks before my mum died' or 'When Harold raised the Fyrd against Tostig'.

      3. stuartnz

        Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

        If it weren't already well-known as the last thing one can afford to have in this Universe, I'd say it all comes down to having a sense of perspective, nicely illustrated by this xkcd

      4. Michael Strorm

        Realistically, he probably didn't even remember whether it was a Tuesday or not

        > On the other hand, "Tuesday", probably doesn't quite cut it.

        It was accurate enough for M. Bison...

    2. Stuart21551

      Re: I'm getting a bit tired of this silliness

      Probably, originally, 100 mi -

  3. John Mangan

    Third interstellar visitor?

    "The presence of strange isotopes and rare metals signaled the dust came from the depths of the galaxy"

    or, just the asteroid belt?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Third interstellar visitor?

      I've skimmed the paper and I couldn't see anything to suggest it was extra-solar. And you think they'd make a big fuss if it was an interstellar asteroid.

      1. Bite my finger

        Re: Third interstellar visitor?

        It's poetic licentiousness.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Third interstellar visitor?

        "Galaxy" might have just been a thinko for "solar system".

  4. Cuddles Silver badge

    Units?

    Is one thousand semi trucks the same as five hundred whole trucks? This would be much easier to understand if everyone just used the standard adult badger.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Units?

      I was wondering what a semi-truck is in Wales per linguine.

      1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

        Re: Units?

        Per? Wales *by* linguine, Shirley?

        Volume = area x height therefore semi-truck = Wales x linguine

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Units?

          Good point.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Units?

        Half whatever a truck is in Wales per linguine presumably.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Alien

    This explains a lot...

    "Normally, Earth gains about 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial material every year,” said Phillip Heck,

    No wonder I have to clean the house and wash the car so much.

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: This explains a lot...

      Panspermia? Your house and car are covered in space-jizz.

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