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Sorry but NASA says this small asteroid doesn’t pose a threat to Earth before Election Day – The Verge

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Headlines abound this week about an asteroid heading toward Earth at perhaps the most opportune time during a terrible year: November 2nd, the day before the presidential election. It sounds too good to be true — an asteroid to wipe us all out before what will surely be a very contentious election process — and that’s because it is.

This so-called “dangerous” asteroid, dubbed 2018VP1, has a 0.41 percent chance of crossing paths with Earth on November 2nd and entering our atmosphere — incredibly low odds. And even if it did take a turn and hit us, no one would be in danger. The asteroid is a measly 2 meters, or 6.5 feet, across, making it slightly smaller than a compact Smart car. If it did hit our atmosphere, it would completely disintegrate up above us and pose no threat to anyone below. For reference, much larger satellites and space debris enter our atmosphere from time to time, burning up above us without affecting anyone on the ground.

I understand it’s 2020, the year of just incredibly bad odds, so it would be very poetic for an asteroid to threaten Earth before Election Day. But the thing is, asteroids whiz by Earth all the time, sometimes getting close to us and sometimes not.

In fact, another small asteroid between 10 to 20 feet across made the closest approach to Earth ever recorded by a known near-Earth asteroid on August 16th, coming within 1,830 miles, or 2,950 kilometers. That one was also small enough that it would have burned up in the atmosphere had it managed to cross Earth’s path, but astronomers didn’t spot it until six hours after it had passed by. NASA notes it’s hard to detect asteroids this small since they are moving fast, and there’s only a short window to spot them when they get close to Earth.

Rest assured that NASA is committed to spotting and tracking the asteroids that do pose potential threats to our planet. NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), located at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has a goal of cataloging more than 90 percent of all asteroids near Earth that are larger than one kilometer — or two-thirds of a mile — across, as well as finding a significant fraction of asteroids that are larger than 140 meters, or about 460 feet, wide. The Center uses a wide array of ground-based telescopes to track these objects, and it keeps an extensive catalog of everything slated to pass by Earth.

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CP Cancels Holiday Train for 2020 – CFJC Today Kamloops

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September 24, 2020 Calgary

​Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Pacific (CP) will donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert in lieu of its regular Holiday Train program. The modified program will draw attention to food security issues, while ensuring donations go to all food banks that would ordinarily receive them, including those that typically host a Holiday Train event in alternating years.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”

CP launched the Holiday Train in 1999, and every year since it has traveled across Canada and the northern U.S. raising money, collecting food and drawing attention to the important work of local food banks. In its first 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.

“We are very excited that CP has chosen a safe way to keep the spirit of the CP Holiday Train rolling in support of local food banks like ours in these challenging times,” said Calgary Food Bank President and CEO James McAra. “The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP’s concert will prompt the train’s supporters to give as generously as they’re able.”

Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced when they’re available.

“We support CP’s decision to hold a virtual concert instead of hosting events that encourage local gathering, though we’ll miss the train’s bright lights and in-person shows,” said Kristine Martin, President of East Side Neighborhood Services, a Minneapolis-based Holiday Train beneficiary food bank. “CP’s generous donations to East Side Neighborhood Services over the years have helped us provide nutritious food to people who have difficulty accessing traditional food shelves or grocery stores. This year, being able to continue providing those services has been even more important. We’re thankful to CP for their continued support and donations again this year.”

CP intends to resume operating the annual train tour in 2021.

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A clearer view of what makes glass rigid – EurekAlert

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IMAGE: A team of scientists led by the University of Tokyo uses computer simulations to study the rigidity of amorphous solids like glass
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Credit: Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan – Researchers led by The University of Tokyo employed a new computer model to simulate the networks of force-carrying particles that give amorphous solids their strength even though they lack long range order. This work may lead to new advances in high-strength glass, which can be used for cooking, industrial, and smartphone applications.

Amorphous solids such as glass–despite being brittle and having constituent particles that do not form ordered lattices–can possess surprising strength and rigidity. This is even more unexpected because amorphous systems also suffer from large anharmonic fluctuations. The secret is an internal network of force-bearing particles that span the entire solid which lends strength to the system. This branching, dynamic network acts like a skeleton that prevents the material from yielding to stress even though it makes up only a small fraction of the total particles. However, this network only forms after a “percolation transition” when the number of force-bearing particles exceeds a critical threshold. As the density of these particles increases, the probability that a percolating network that goes from one end to the other increases from zero to almost certain.

Now, scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have used computer simulations to carefully show the formation of these percolating networks as an amorphous material is cooled below its glass transition temperature. In these calculations, binary particle mixtures were modelled with finite-range repulsive potentials. The team found that the strength of amorphous materials is an emergent property caused by the self-organization of the disordered mechanical architecture.

“At zero temperature, a jammed system will show long-range correlations in stress due to its internal percolating network. This simulation showed that the same is true for glass even before it has completely cooled,” first author Hua Tong says.

The force-bearing backbone can be identified by recognizing that particles in this network are must be connected by at least two strong force bonds. Upon cooling, the number of force-bearing particles increases, until a system-spanning network links together.

“Our findings may open up a way towards a better understanding of amorphous solids from a mechanical perspective,” senior author Hajime Tanaka says. Since rigid, durable glass is highly prized for smartphones, tablets, and cookware, the work can find many practical uses.

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The work is published in Nature Communications as “Emergent solidity of amorphous materials as a consequence of mechanical self-organisation” (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18663-7).

About Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo

Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo is one of the largest university-attached research institutes in Japan.

More than 120 research laboratories, each headed by a faculty member, comprise IIS, with more than 1,000 members including approximately 300 staff and 700 students actively engaged in education and research. Our activities cover almost all the areas of engineering disciplines. Since its foundation in 1949, IIS has worked to bridge the huge gaps that exist between academic disciplines and real-world applications.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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CP Holiday Train derailed this holiday season due to the pandemic – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360

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The CP Holiday train will not be riding the rails this year to the COVID-19 outbreak.

That said, the spirit of the train will carry on.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”  

The Holiday train tour, which made a regular stop at Midhurst, was launched in 1999 and has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food items.

Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced when they’re available.

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