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Re: DINOSAUR CANCER
Chargeless, massless, subatomic particles, capable of traveling through
several *light-years* of lead (!) without interacting with an atom.
>may have produced a cancer pandemic among dinosaurs.
> Neutrinos colliding with the nuclei of living atoms could damage DNA,
> nature's genetic building blocks, producing cancer-causing mutations.
> Writing in the New Scientist journal, Collar suggests that a collapsing star
> within 20 light years of earth could produce about 12 malignant cells per
> kilogram (2.2 lb) of living tissue.
Countless tens of thousands of neutrinos are passing through you and me
each and every second every day of our lives, including during the brief
moments I've taken to type this and you've taken to read this (assuming you
did). We exist in a sea of neutrinos.
> Other scientists have suggested that mass extinctions could be caused by
> cosmic rays from supernova explosions, but Collar says these happen too
> infrequently to explain the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
Nine years ago this February, Supernova 1987a (in the Large Magellanic
Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way) sent an extra-large dose of
neutrinos our way. Only about eleven (out of billions and billions) (Down,
Carl!) were counted by detectors in the U.S. and Japan (*after* they'd
passed *completely through* our entire planet).
> Star collapses, when a star caves in under the weight of its own gravity,
> occur within 20 light years of earth about every 100 million years.
Is this supposed to be a description of the (theoretical) final collapse of
Red Giant into a White Dwarf? Take note: We need to prepare for such an
event close-up (well, within ninety-three million miles) ourselves within the
next five billion years, give or take a few hundred million years.
My conclusions: 1) Gary Larson's hillarious, classic cartoon scenario of
delinquent dinos sneaking cigarettes is more plausibly carcinogenic; and 2)
Collar needs a vacation, or at least a harmless hobby. (Jeff: Quick! Sell him
some neat kits and models from The Dinostore.)
-= Tuck =-