DOOM: Brief Reminders Of Things Way More Likely To Kill Us Than That Asteroid
So, yesterday, everyone started freaking out about an old study that posited that an asteroid called 1999 RQ36 has about a one-in-a-thousand chance of hitting Earth in 2182. Big whoop. One-in-a-thousand? I have a one in two chance of getting cancer in my lifetime. For serious. Those are the statistics: an American male has a one in two chance of getting some kind of cancer in their lifetime; an American female, one in three.
I’m not a stats guy at all, but I’m extrapolating those odds (crudely) as saying I have about a one-in-eight chance of having cancer right now.
But I get it. We’re talking about a whole species here—maybe some others?—dying off maybe. Big whoop. Maybe that’s just our expiration date, like those Ukrainian math guys are thinking any intelligent civilization has. But, yeah, a species. Intelligence. I can only imagine the drum beats for getting boots on other planets will only get louder. Because, you know: New Caprica. With a hostile atmosphere. Or maybe we’d find something more hospitable underground there, like on Io.
Maybe you’re kinda afraid of flying and someone tells you, “The odds of getting hit by lightning are better than dying in a plane crash.” You know what? The odds of someone you know getting hit by lightning are actually one-in-625. You yourself getting hit is about one-in-6,000 so, fair enough, the odds of Earth getting knocked by 1999 RQ36 are better than that.
OK, let’s back up to a larger scale to keep this fair. Remember the global warming map? Spend 20 minutes with it. That’s all. Are you, in your present location, going to get it with widespread forest fires, famine, brutal winters, tropical storms, or some combination? And that’s not odds, really, that’s just what is happening already to our planet. Like, that asteroid already hit.