Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Sky is Falling

CNN has to get the news out quickly.

In such an environment, reusing content means you don't need to reinvent the wheel everytime a story breaks.

My favorite piece of rehashed material is the artist's rendition of an asteroid striking the earth that runs alongside any story about space rocks.

Planet Killer

Source: CNN
CNN's gold standard is Planet Killer. This ominous image shows a tremendous asteroid -- large enough to clearly show the curvature of the earth -- hitting the planet hard. Even though an asteroid of this magnitude far exceeds the stone that doomed the dinosaurs, CNN shows this image alongside stories about 70-meter asteroid near misses.

Bloody Planet Killer

Source: CNN
Perhaps concerned that Planet Killer wasn't alarmist enough, they unveiled Bloody Planet Killer in 2002. This is the same terrifying image as Planet Killer, yet with a distinctly red hue, conveying an added sense of doom. CNN considers it appropriate for stories about 300 to 400 meter asteroids.

Look Out Below!

Source: CNN
2003 brought us Look Out Below! -- an image appropriate for stories about asteroids capable of an impact as powerful as "20 million Hiroshima atomic bombs." Though even 1,000 times Hiroshima is an epicly powerful blast, I find it somewhat ironic that nature's destructive power would be measured in terms of humanity's relatively puny self-destructive impulses.

Trouble Kiss

Source: CNN
Today marks the addition of Trouble Kiss to this impressive menagerie. Debuting alongside a story about all objects larger than 1 km threatening the planet, the curvature of the earth is ever-so-slightly visible on an apparently atmosphere-less Earth at the moment of first contact.

Here's hoping that NASA, et al. get their act together in time such that these images stay in the realm of paintings and never again become photographs.

(Inspired by Silbakor)

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