Friday, July 24, 2009

The biggest black swan of them all

It's a truism that once we overcome one threat, we are simply lined up for the next one. Cure cancer and more will live to experience coronary problems -- and vice versa. Most humans have moved beyond subsistence living, but (we hear all the time) they are not happy. There is, of course, a vast collection of commentary and advice on how achieve peace, wisdom, perspective. And it's always easier said than done. If our wiring was achieved over millions of years of natural selection, when just staying alive required all of our capacities, it make sense that the post-subsistence life has challenges we are not so well equipped to handle.

Today's WSJ includes Michio Kaku's "Jupiter Gets a Black Eye ... We live in the middle of a cosmic shooting gallery." Kaku notes that Jupiter received a similar hit just 15 years ago, but scientists thought that events like this will occur "once every few thousand years." In other words, there is good reason to believe that at any second, there could be a smack(!) that ends it all.

Most of us will never walk on the Moon, but spending more time peering into space may be the next best thing.