Episode 9: The CBC’s Importance & Killer Asteroids

Peasants & Emperors is a podcast presenting topics related to democracy, science, culture, women’s issues, current events and critical thinking. A new podcast is produced and available for listening/download approximately every two weeks.

In episode nine, the Hooligans discuss the importance of having publicly funded news agencies like the CBC. There are countless examples of privately owned (“for profit”) news channels and agencies who pass-off “infotainment” as news and do not fulfill their role of keeping power accountable and safe-guarding democracy.

Additionally, in the “hypothetical situation” segment the cast discusses what they’d do if the world ended due to an asteroid impact.

Episode 9: The CBC’s Importance and Killer Asteroids

Click on the hyperlink above to download and listen to the podcast. Feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments section below. One of the cast members will respond.

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Notes & Clarifications
1). During the podcast Rick observed that while watching the CBC he was exposed to the thinking of two Canadian scientists. He could not initially remember the name of the archaeologist working on Baffin Island. Her name is Dr. Pat Sutherland and her story can be accessed on this archived feed from the Fifth Estate (a CBC documentary). Rick also mentioned a second scientist who developed a model predicting the complete collapse of ocean life by 2050. He thought it was a female but it turned out to be a male named Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University. Click here to listen to the interview between David Suzuki and Dr. Worm on CBC’s One Ocean.

2). During the “Hypothetical Situation” game Rick cited a number of statistics related to the Apophis asteroid. These stats were based on older scholarship. For the sake of clarity the following stats and information are based on more current scholarship.

  • Apophis caused concern initially in 2004 (not 2003, 2005)
  • This asteroid will be passing the “key-hole” in 2029 (not 2026)
  • The odds of Apophis actually hitting the earth have been reduced significantly due to subsequent observations (on April 28, 2068 the odds are 1: 149,000)
  • An asteroid the size of Apophis is expected to hit the earth on average once every 80,000 years.
  • If an object the size of Apophis (approximately 350 meters across) struck the earth it would release about 750 megatons of energy (compared to 100,000,000 megatons released during the Chicxulub event 65,000,000 years ago).
  • The most current scholarship suggests Columbia and Venezuela are the most likely locations of an impact (not Western Canada).
  • Apophis’ impact would lead to significant fatalities but does not constitute a risk to ending all life as defined.

3). Extinction events: Rick observed about every 25,000,000 years there’s an extinction event on earth. Some context is in order. Over the past 500,000,000 years, there have been a total of five mass extinction events, e.g. Ordovician-Silurian Extinction Events (450-440 million years ago), Late Devonian Extinction (375-360 MYA), Permian-Triassic Extinction Event (252 MYA), Triassic-Jurassic Extinction Event (201 MYA), Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event (formerly known as the K-T extinction) (66 MYA).

Five extinctions over 500,000,000 years does not average out to one extinction event about every 25,000,000 years. Thus, some clarification is in order: what Rick meant to say was that in addition to these five major extinctions there were approximately 15 smaller events, e.g. The most recent was a comet exploding over North America leading to a mass dying off of large fauna and plant life around 12,900 years ago.



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