I started to read this and get into it until I read the references alluding to web-bot. Oh well, it was a good read up until then. Here's an excerpt from the email sent to me from a friend: and what do we know about coincidences ?? it sure takes a great deal of planning ....... and the big test of the Emergency Alert System .............. On Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the nation's first ever Emergency Alert System (EAS) test. The purpose of this test is to help determine if the national-level system will work as designed, should officials ever need to send a national alert. This test will last approximately three minutes and will be seen on all local, cable, and satellite TV stations across the country, as well as radio. OK, on the the big answer .... Barycenter Blues "OK, so what is a "barycenter" and why is it more than making a gazillion dollars or getting the Jobs Report this morning?" Simple enough question and a somewhat complicated answer but possibly significant. We begin with the diagram at the JPL site of this inbound object 2005 YU55 which is due to visit local space between us and the moon on November 8th-9th. A NASA press release (March 10, 2011) explains more detail: Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth on November 8, 2011. The upcoming close approach by this relatively large 400 meter-sized, C-type asteroid presents an excellent opportunity for synergistic ground-based observations including optical, near infrared and radar data. The attached animated illustration shows the Earth and moon flyby geometry for November 8th and 9th when the object will reach a visual brightness of 11th magnitude and should be easily visible to observers in the northern and southern hemispheres. The closest approach to Earth and the Moon will be respectively 0.00217 Au and 0.00160 Au on 2011 November 8 at 23:28 and November 9 at 07:13 UT Now, a 400 meter object is big enough to be a real pain should it hit something - since that's 1,312 feet or, because it's early, almost a quarter mile across. BUT the good news is that it will miss Earth and likely miss the moon by a comfortable distance. "OK, so why worry?" Well, there's the tiniest of chances that the Earth's barycenter may be at risk. Wikipedia offers insight as does this drawing... "The center of mass plays an important role in astronomy and astrophysics, where it is common referred to as the barycenter. The barycenter is the point between two objects where they balance each other; it is the center of mass where two or more celestial bodies orbit each other. When a moon orbits a planet, or a planet orbits a star, both bodies are actually orbiting around a point that lies outside the center of the primary (the larger body). For example, the moon does not orbit the exact center of the Earth, but a point on a line between the center of the Earth and the Moon, approximately 1,710 km below the surface of the Earth, where their respective masses balance. This is the point about which the Earth and Moon orbit as they travel around the Sun." So far, so good. Earth and Moon are in a dance - but YU55 is transient, so no biggie....right? It's here that we come into the realm of advanced math, gravity wells, impacts of gravitational fields on orbits and what have you. Our interest is piqued by a 1999 article in "The Astronomical Journal, 117:1086, 1999 February" where we find (P.3) that indeed, asteroids do have something to do with planet-sized objects, in this case Mars was being discussed, but pay attention to the highlight: "Asteroid perturbations are the largest source of incompletely modeled perturbations of the planets, especially Mars and the Earth-Moon barycenter. Williams (1984) shows no less than seven asteroids capable of making periodic perturbations of more than a kilometer in MarsÏs position. The largest asteroid, Ceres, has only 0.13% the mass of Mars and is located within the asteroid belt itself. Hence, it and the other asteroids are much more sensitive to the perturbations of the asteroids than are the planets. Thus, to achieve high accuracy, the physical model for the asteroid ephemerides must include perturbations by other asteroids." About here, if the coffee is strong, you might be thinking "So YU55 at some very, very low level, could move the Earth-Moon barycenter....which might what....set off earthquakes, or something?" Bingo! While most people would not directly connect the dots if a large quake were to occur a day or two after the passing of YU55, we find the emphasis on closing down coms and putting the voice of Fearless Leader all over the country next week, while the US Navy is offshore with Pacific Wave 11 (tsunami response drill, eh?) interestingly coincidental. So for about the past 20-hours, I've been trying to find the definitive piece of science that would at least project any change in earthquake probability based on Earth-Moon barycenter perturbations by a passing (quarter-mile sized) object. Haven't found it yet, but that doesn't mean the work hasn't been done. I'd wager a dime....heck, maybe even a quarter....that someone has run out the numbers and although the EANS Test will likely be quite routine, the timing within 24-hours of YU55's passage is at least notable. How many inches or feet of barycenter would it take to trigger a significant quake this week? We don't know that as our Cray is in the shop. Answer that and maybe we find out what the 22½ hours of predictive linguistic release language in a three or four day window which includes the passage through two or three days after, is all about. No point doing further research since the meaningful data is about a week off and we'll be going shopping...just in case. --- Yes, the spiders are out and yes, another run of the rickety time machine will be released in December (second week maybe). The good news is that the "data gap" seems to be resolving as almost a "wall" of high immediacy and short-term duration values. But, the bad news is that the release language that starts in March of 2012 just keeps going and going and going.... If you're looking for when the Big Slide into either the undeniable/totally obvious part of the Second Depression becomes visible, or we're off into the Second Dark Age, next spring seems like that will be where the big slide seems likely. Ask yourself "What would cause years of release language?" Greater Depression, World War, Aliens show up, or massive Earth changes...something worthy of Cecil B. DeMille cinematography or Irwin Allen is what we're talking. The December run will hopefully shed some light, but like YU55, the data is going to show up on it's own anyway, so no point getting too worked up over it. Besides what was going to be a 2½ minute test has been shortened to 30 seconds. Which is cool because I was wondering how long it takes to say "This is a test...." My suggested script? "This is a test of the emergency action notification system. This is only a test. In the event of a real emergency, you would be buried in rubble, drowning, or already be powdered by the big blinding flash. But your government is all safe in bunkers and we wanted to share that with you by showing off our ability to communicate with possible survivors and reassure citizens that we'll get to helping shortly when the danger is past. For now: Good luck. This concludes this test of the emergency action notification system. Have a nice day." now here are a few thoughts on just what might happen in a worst case scenario, possibly worth a cup of coffee: the entire Pacific rim goes nuts with quakes [yes, much more than is happening now], ( would we loose California ? maybe thats not so bad ?), Cumbre Vieja, volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands, slides into the Atlantic triggering a Tsunami, (in my best Arnold Horshack voice; "Ooh-ooh-ooooh! "Mr. Kotter, we loose Washington D.C. !! ) Yellowstone Caldera collapses and the ensuing eruption covers 2/3rds of the country w/ ash, possibly it could do something seemingly minor in the short term like changing ocean thermal currents, resulting in years of increasingly violent storms that would constantly wear down society, or maybe not a damn thing. Has someone, somewhere crunched the numbers, of course they have. There is money to be made somewhere in this and you can bet that we will get screwed with our pants up, somehow. Now go and take 2 Tylenol and a pitcher of Margaritas', then get 8 hours of good sleep & have a nice weekend !