They are also fantastically durable. Because they are so long lived, atoms really get around.
Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of
millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and
so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms—up to a billion for
each of us, it has been suggested—probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more
each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure
you care to name. (The personages have to be historical, apparently, as it takes the atoms
some decades to become thoroughly redistributed; however much you may wish it, you are
not yet one with Elvis Presley.) ~~ http://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/histor ... ything.pdf ~~
An asteroid or comet traveling at cosmic velocities would enter the earth's atmosphere at such a speed that the air beneath it couldn't get out of the way and would be compressed, as in a bicycle pump. As anyone who has used such a pump knows, compressed air grows swiftly hot, and temperature below it would rise to some 60,000 Kelvins or ten times the surface temperature of the Sun. In this instant of its arrival in our atmosphere , everything in the meteor's path-people, houses, factories, cars-would crinkle and vanish like cellophane in a flame.
One second after entering the atmosphere, the meteorite would slam into the earth's surface, where the people of Manson(an impact site of such a collision millions of years ago) had a moment before been going about their business. The meteorite itself would vaporize instantly, but the blast would blow out a thousand cubic kilometers of rock, earth, and superheated gases. Every living thing within 150 miles that hadn't been killed by the heat of entry would now be killed by the blast. Radiating outward at almost the speed of light would be the initial shock wave, sweeping everything before it.
For those outside the zone of immediate devastation, the first inkling of catastrophe would be a flash of blinding light-the brightest ever seen by human eyes- followed an instant to a minute or two later by an apocalyptic sight of unimaginable grandeur: a rolling wall of darkness reaching high into the heavens, filling an entire field of view and traveling at thousands of miles an hour. Its approach would be eerily silent since it would be moving far beyond the speed of sound. Anyone In a tall building in Omaha or Des Moines, say, who chanced to look into the right direction would see a bewildering veil of turmoil followed by instantaneous oblivion.
Within minutes, over an area stretching from Denver to Detroit and encompassing what had been Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, the Twin Cities-the whole of the Midwest, in short- nearly every standing thing would be flattened or on fire, and nearly every living thing would be dead. People up to a thousand miles away would be knocked off their feet and sliced or clobbered by a blizzard of flying projectiles. Beyond a thousand miles the devastation from the blast would gradually diminish.
But that's just the initial shockwave. No one can do more than guess what the associated damage would be, other than that it would be brisk and global. The impact would almost certainly set off a chain of devastating earthquakes. Volcanoes across the world would begin to rumble and spew. Tsunamis would rise up and head devastatingly for distant shores. Within an hour, a cloud of blackness would cover the planet , and burning rock and other debris would be pelting down everywhere, setting much of the planet ablaze. It has been estimated that 1.5 billion people would be dead by the end of first day. The massive disturbances to the ionosphere would knock out communications systems everywhere, so survivors would have no idea what was happening elsewhere or where to turn. It would hardly matter. As one commentator has put it, fleeing would mean, `` selecting a slow death over a quicker one. The death toll would be very little affected by any plausible relocation effort, since earth’s ability to support life would be universally diminished.”
The amount of soot and floating ash from the impact and following fires would blot out the sun, certainly for months, possibly for years, disrupting growing cycles. In 2001, researchers at the California Institute of Technology analyzed helium isotopes from sediments left from the later KT impact and concluded that it affected earth’s climate for about 10,000 years. This was actually used as evidence to support the notion that the extinction of dinosaurs was swift and emphatic- and so it was in geological terms. We can only guess how well, or whether, humanity would cope with such an event.
And in all likelihood, this would come without warning, out of a clear sky.
cooran wrote:Hello all,
According to Bill Bryson, in "A Short History of Nearly Everything", each us may have a billion of atoms from the Buddha (among others).
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 035&type=1
Does anyone have a link to the actual book?
Take a deep breath. Notice anything special? Did you catch a whiff of Shakespeare, a dash of Socrates, a trace of Cleopatra? No? They were there, just the same. You just inhaled millions of molecules which each of them once exhaled.
Let's take a look at just one historic breath: Cleopatra's last. This came, if we're to believe Shakespeare, moments after his second-most interesting stage direction, To an asp, which she applies to her breast. (The best is, of course, Exit pursued by a bear.)
You just inhaled about 20 molecules from her dying exhale.
Sovietnik wrote:Atoms are indistinguishable from one another so it does not really matter.
chownah wrote:It is indulgence in a doctrine of self......it leads people to think that a person's body is so important that any atom that was part of that body is eternally marked with that bodies existence.....this is absolutely contrary to what the Buddha taught.
On a lighter note, the shit we produce in our lives contains hundreds of times more atoms than our bodies contain at any one time so we assuredly have got lots of atoms from peoples shit in our mouths and on our faces at this very moment....isn't that great!!? And think about all those atoms which were part of the nasty parts and where they might be today!!....that could be either stimulating or horrifying depending on your aggregates.
On a more practical note, if you share a wash cloth on the shower just think of the various atoms which assuredly reside on them now..........a common way for colds to propagate is on the hand drying towel....entire viruses, not just individual atoms.
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