Scientists Warn against Disaster

Mass Extinction?

VANCOUVER.  Dr Suzuski, Chief Scientist at the Looming Disasters Institute based at U.B.C., warns that a 6-KM wide, trillion-ton Space Rock has a high likelihood of smashing into the world during 2001. He notes that the hurtling comet, dubbed Nemesis by astronomers, may just miss us, but on the other hand, may hit us dead on. 

But it apparently doesn't matter anyway. Dr. Suzuski, who has made a career out of predicting imminent flood, fire, fear and famine, says, "If the comet doesn't hit us we're still in deadly danger because sea levels are rising everywhere and will soon drown us all." (see next story)

The odds seem to favour Nemesis hitting us square on but concerned scientists are carefully re-checking their calculations. "It's important that we don't screw up," said Dr. Fred Hoyle, Head of the Space Debris Tracking Lab at Princeton University. "The world has a lot of money riding on this."

The problem seems to be a flaw in the huge number-crunching computers that do the billions of calculations that are needed to track orbits of meteorites, space debris, moons and planets in outer space. One of the giant calculators assigned to the task has a missing bit, a critical flaw that is very hard to track down in the gazillion-bit operating chips that are so tiny a dozen of them could fit in a teaspoon.

Nevertheless, the lab is working flat out, including weekends, and Dr. Hoyle, hopes that his team will find the missing bit and that he will have something to report, possibly as early as Thanksgiving. The work is important because under the worst case scenario, everyone on earth will die. -- Notional Pest with files from March issue of Scientific Astronomy magazine. See related story below.

Sea Levels Rising

TORONTO  Scientists are forecasting that sea levels will rise by 10 ft. per year unless people leave their automobiles at home and stop burning fossil fuels. Dr. David Suzuski the renowned environmentalist said today, "We don't have a minute to lose. People living in sea-side condominiums will be stepping onto their decks and finding they can dive right off the railing into the ocean. This could happen as early as Christmas this year."

These fears are echoed by critics of globalization and of huge corporations that are only concerned about their profits. For instance, a recent book Globalization Means We're Doomed by Maude Barlow and Maurice Strong, predicts that coastal cities will disappear under the waves and continents will shrink leaving too little land mass for the earth's 5 billion souls. 

This dismal view of overcrowding is pooh-pooed by another book that claims that all of the people on earth -- all five billion of us -- could fit into a land mass no bigger than Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

The book, Let's Move 'Em There, by Tom Creighton, says that things in Cape Breton could be a bit crowded and that the logistics problems could be daunting, nevertheless, the idea should be looked at. "Everyone would have at least a cubic metre of living space," he said. Also a lot of problems such as the Sidney Tar Ponds cleanup would likely get solved during the move. "At least one person in the billions of people moving to the island would surely know what to do about it." Notional Pest