MySci Round-Up November 4: Handy-Dandy Asteroid Catastrophe Calculator

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In case you’ve been lying awake at night, wondering about what would happen if your town or city is hit by an asteroid, maybe this will help you to get some sleep. Scientists at Purdue University and Imperial College in London have updated their online Impact Earth! event calculator, just for you.

As this BBC News article details, users can choose details about the hypothetical asteroid, such as its diameter and density. The program then estimates the scale of the catastrophe would occur, including the size of the crater and the height of the tsunami if the object strikes offshore. It also will tell you how far way you need to be to avoid being buried under debris or burned to a crisp. Another interesting feature is a list of famous craters left by previous large objects that collided with Earth.

There’s also a “much more visual and user-friendly interface,” as the BBC puts it.

The original calculator, unveiled online in 2004, originally was intended for scientists and the occasional disaster junkie. But its popularity with the public prompted the creators to develop a more advanced version.

“The site is intended for a broad global audience, because an impact is an inevitable aspect of life on this planet, and literally everyone on Earth should be interested,” explained Purdue professor Jay Melosh, one of the scientists who worked on the project.

Okay, now that we’ve set your mind at ease, here are someother science and technology news of the day. Also, be sure to watch Naked Science “Man-Made Disasters” on Thursday at 10P et/pt.

Man dies reportedly after overdosing on caffeine. The victim apparently ate spoonfuls of a caffeine-laced powder at a party, and consumed the equivalent of 70 energy drinks. Please do not do this. We need readers.

Every human emits two tons of CO2 annually just by eating, study finds. That includes everything from the carbon output required to produce the food, to certain bodily functions that we will tactfully decline to detail.

Halting the world’s most lethal parasite may mean immunizing mosquitoes. Getting them to hold still for the injection is going to be tough, though.

High oxygen levels spawn monster dragonflies. Sort of like what steroids allegedly did for certain former major league baseball players. And yet nobody’s calling for a ban on oxygen. Why is there a double standard for insects?

Transparent conductive material could lead to power-generating windows. A house equipped with these and solar panels might be able to cut the owner’s electric bill dramatically.