Here Comes the Asteroid: Will We All Die?

All the scientists are quite confident that asteroid 2012 DA14 is going to miss us when it comes by at 2:25 Eastern time. It is not all going to come burning through our atmosphere with the force of umpty many hydrogen bombs, burying whole taxa in iridium and ash, reducing human civilization to a concentrated smear of silicon and copper for far-future sentient descendants of lobsters to mull over as they drill down into old rock, seeking whatever mineral resources the industries of the lobster-people will depend on. Definitely not. It is not even big enough accomplish that, really, even if it did hit us. The appointed minute will come and 2012 DA14 will almost certainly swing harmlessly past our planet, right under our communications satellites, and back out into the interplanetary void till its next pass.

No, we will not be annihilated today, at 2:25 Eastern, in one terrible blow from above. Rather than dwelling on it, you might as well go read this New York Times story about how the psychiatric drugs we are pumping into ourselves to blunt the soul-breaking effects of our culture are passing on into the water, where they apparently could have the power to destroy the basic survival instincts of fish:

The more Oxazepam they ingested the more active the fish were, measured by the number of swimming motions in a 10-minute period. They were also less social, spending less time near a section of the tank with other fish and more time near an empty compartment. And they were quicker to grab and eat zooplankton. At the highest Oxazepam concentration, fish were also bolder, measured by how long it took them to leave a box in the tank and explore new territory.

"Basically, no one left the box before they were subjected to the drug," said Dr. Brodin, who said he saw the difference when he entered the room each day. The non-exposed fish "were hiding basically," while the others "were out there, greeting me. They were totally different fish."

Or you can just watch the NASA livestream of the asteroid's progress and imagine that doom is something transient and avoidable, capable of brushing past and leaving us safe.