Daily Archives: February 5, 2013

Santa Cruz, Solomon Island Earthquake and Tsunami UPDATE: several villages destroyed

There was an 8.0 magnitude earthquake a few minutes ago in the vicinity of Santa Cruz Islands, in the South Pacific, and it is now confirmed that this generated a potentially severe tsunami that by now would have hit nearby islands. But, no one has reports from the scene to confirm or elaborate on this. That is a very large earthquake, and apparently shallow.

Info here.

Of special note, in all caps, because that’s how meteorologists roll:

http://www.tsunami.gov/product.php?id=TSUPAC.2013

SEA LEVEL READINGS INDICATE A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED. IT MAY HAVE
BEEN DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER AND
COULD ALSO BE A THREAT TO MORE DISTANT COASTS. AUTHORITIES SHOULD
TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS POSSIBILITY. THIS
CENTER WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR SEA LEVEL DATA TO DETERMINE THE
EXTENT AND SEVERITY OF THE THREAT

UPDATE

Not much info yet, but I’m sure there will be plenty of info tomorrow.

The Kiss

Valentine’s Day is coming up, so it is time to think about kissing. Pursuant to this, Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of “The Science of Kissing,” has made the Kindle version of her excellent book available at a discounted price through February 18th. The book is here: The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us. (Sheril is also the co-author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future.)

The Science of Kissing Book Cover
The Science of Kissing
Further details as well as a video (don’t worry, it’s work safe) are here, on Sheril’s site.

Also pursuant to Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to repost my original review of Sheril’s book which comes with a story about a kiss:

The Kiss

I went out with a friend. We were both between relationships, and we both knew somehow that this was a date though it was never called a date. And we had a perfectly good time: Good food, good conversation, good drinks. She drove.

When it came time to go home, she drove me to the urban neighborhood I lived in and parked on the street near my house. As we were saying our good-byes, she enigmatically unhooked her seat belt. I wondered why. Then, I discovered that she wanted the freedom of movement to lean across the console and give me a kiss. It was a good kiss. It was actually a series of good kisses, and it went on for a while.

And suddenly, there was a loud rapping on the window of the car. We stopped kissing and that’s when we noticed that we had steamed up the windows a bit. So I cracked the window on which the rapping had occurred and there was a policeman staring in with his flashlight.
Continue reading The Kiss

The Asteroid That Is Coming Really Close To Earth

In February, Asteroid 2012 DA 14 will come so close to earth that it will be nearer to our planet than many satellites are. This asteroid, which really should get a new name, is about half the size of a football field. Its orbit is similar to that of the Earth itself, in size and shape, but at an angle to the Earth’s plane, so it’s like the asteroid and the earth are driving in circles on two oval tracks that intersect at two points but there is no red light.

Asteroid 2012 DA 14 was discovered with gear provided to an observatory with a grant from the Planetary Society. Which makes me want to join the Planetary Society.

This asteroid is not going to hit the earth now or during any of the next few decades, but eventually it may well do so. We need to keep an eye on it.

The closest approach will be on Feb 15th, when it will be a mere 27,330 kilometers from the surface of the earth. You would be able to see it with binoculars or a telescope. You’ll be able to spot it, conditions and optics permitting, in Europe, Asia and Africa.

(For reference, the International Space Station skims at about 350 kilometers; a geostationary orbit is 35,786 kilometers.)

The following video from the Interplanetary Society has all the details: