On 19 Aug 99, at 10:51, Larry Klaes wrote:
> >Earth battered through history by comets
> >Researchers say impacts caused global crises, mass extinctions
> >BY ROBERT S. BOYD
> >San Jose Mercury News
> >August 17, 1999
> >WASHINGTON -- Recent scientific discoveries are shedding new light on why
> >great empires such as Egypt, Babylon and Rome fell apart, giving way to
> >the periodic ``dark ages'' that punctuate human history.
> >Full story here:
I didn't read the recent threads on extinction and planetary defense, now I wish I had. Definite food for thought here. However, I think a few of the connections made in the story are strained.
Boyd refers to an event in 535 AD as precipitating the dark ages:
"The last such global crisis occurred between AD 530 and 540 -- at the beginning of the Dark Ages in Europe -- when Earth was pummeled by a swarm of cosmic debris."
This is the only support offered for the "cometary hypothesis" of the fall of Rome -- but the Empire was stone dead two generations before the event.
He lists 3200 BC as the time of an event that destroyed civilizations -- I was just reading about a crisis in the middle Neolithic in Britain, which *ended* about then, with a resurgence in monument building and an increase in population and agricultural output. That is not to say that some other areas (Egypt? Babylon?) weren't more affected.
Still, the modern world is probably more vulnerable than the ancient world was to events of this magnitude, with the much greater population and urbanization. Perhaps it's time to start a Space Crud Deflection Foundation. Or I could start a company to sell extinction insurance :-)