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Bob
2002-Jan-16, 10:20 PM
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20020116/sc/space_asteroids_dc_1.html

Several shots across Earth's bow will occur in January. And the phrase "continent embarrasser." What a lovely little euphemism.

The Curtmudgeon
2002-Jan-16, 11:54 PM
Funny--I'm usually only embarrassed when I'm incontinent! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

The (this space for rent) Curtmudgeon

Donnie B.
2002-Jan-17, 12:46 AM
Hmmm... okay, somebody whose grasp of statistics is fresher than mine, please comment on this line:

The chances of being killed by an asteroid are about the same as the chances of dying in a commercial plane crash, not because serious asteroid collisions are common but because their effects would be so far-reaching.

How can anyone claim the odds of dying by meteorite impact are anywhere near as big as the chance of dying in a plane crash, no matter how large the effects of such would be? It seems to me like a classic apples-and-oranges situation.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-17, 02:13 AM
Simple. Embarrassing, but simple.

Assume that the annual average of deaths in commercial airline crashes is 60. Then the rate is 60/year/6 billion people. That's 10^(-8) per year per person.

Now assume that an asteroid collision great enough to kill 600 thousand people occurs only once in ten thousand years. That's 600,000/(10,000 years)/6 billion people. That's also 10^(-8) per year per person.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-01-16 21:14 ]</font>

Donnie B.
2002-Jan-17, 01:39 PM
Well, I could quibble with your numbers a bit. You use the entire population of the planet in your airline computation. But until the statistics police start showing up to force Chinese peasants onto airliners, shouldn't the relevant population be airline passengers rather than all human beings? That makes the odds a couple orders of magnitude larger (for a passenger), or zero (for a non-passenger).

I suppose you can just adjust the likelihood of an asteroid impact (and/or its death toll) to compensate, though; I don't believe these numbers are very well known.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-17, 02:28 PM
On 2002-01-17 08:39, Donnie B. wrote:
I suppose you can just adjust the likelihood of an asteroid impact (and/or its death toll) to compensate, though; I don't believe these numbers are very well known.
My numbers were only examples, pulled out of m^hthe air. I only constructed them to make the argument seem reasonable.

You'd have to look at the original articles to see their justification, and the actual figures.

Still, saying a death by meteor impact is as likely as death by airline crash is quantifying a tricky concept--what do you do with the information that certain people don't fly airlines, like you say, or that there are no killer asteroids on the radar?

Russ
2002-Jan-18, 04:51 PM
On 2002-01-17 08:39, Donnie B. wrote:
That makes the odds a couple orders of magnitude larger (for a passenger), or zero (for a non-passenger).

Non-passengers are not at zero risk. People in the town of Lockerby Scotland were killed when Pan Am 301 crashed. People in the WTC were killed in that incident, etc. In countries with high population density, China, India, Japan, etc., the risk increases. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

jkmccrann
2005-Nov-01, 04:13 PM
Hmmm... okay, somebody whose grasp of statistics is fresher than mine, please comment on this line:

Quote:
The chances of being killed by an asteroid are about the same as the chances of dying in a commercial plane crash, not because serious asteroid collisions are common but because their effects would be so far-reaching.

How can anyone claim the odds of dying by meteorite impact are anywhere near as big as the chance of dying in a plane crash, no matter how large the effects of such would be? It seems to me like a classic apples-and-oranges situation.

Well, I thought that contention sounded a bit strange, so I found a more recent table estimating various chances of dying.

http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/050106_odds_of_dying.html#table

According to this table, for Airline accidents its 1 in 20,000 and for Asteroids its estimated to be between 1 in 200,000 to 1 in 500,000. Which sounds far more reasonable. Unsurprisingly, its Heart Disease striking down 1 in 5 and Cancer bringing down 1 in 7 that account for over 1/3 of deaths in America.

jkmccrann
2005-Nov-03, 05:08 PM
Along this vein, I wonder if anyone's ever calculated the possibility of being killed by an invading alien armada?

eburacum45
2005-Nov-05, 09:38 AM
Something like 100%, in the event.
Now all we have to do is calculate how often they occur.