It was the thirteenth day of the century’s thirteenth year, yesterday, and the worst I got was a cold.
Meanwhile, the Russian government is trying to stop a triskaidekaphobic panic. Russian media folk have been making much of Apophis, the near-Earth asteroid that will come within spitting distance on a Friday the 13th in 2029, and which will return for a closer, more dangerous fly-by on another Friday the 13th, April 2036.
Russian media had dubbed Apophis the “space threat of the century.” But the Russian emergency experts — government officials, charged with calming things down — have countered paranoia with statements like, “In 2013, none of the known asteroids will pass by the Earth at a dangerous distance.”
Well, nice to know. But this year had never been a worry to scientists. The crucial years were 2029 and 2036. The folks at Goldstone say they have ruled out any impact in 2036, and scientists had already determined the earlier date non-hazardous.
Good. But, if you are like me, when government officials all agree that the sky is blue, you’ll call it “cerulean.”
But maybe it’s only about budgets, taxes, and special ops that governments lie.
Take Jerry Brown, California’s governor and a most interesting fellow. He insists that his state’s deficit problems are nearly over. Great! Well, he bases his cheery picture on future growth projections, and he’s just so optimistic that he’s advocating still more spending! Now.
I once defined pessimism as the lazy stepchild of vigilance. Brown’s optimism has no vigilance in it. I don’t believe him.
I hope the government-paid scientists charting Apophis’s transits are more rigorous and trustworthy.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.