Friday, August 31, 2018

POLO HI TECH by Ralph Lauren



High above sea level and the clouds that enshroud the Himalayas, Ed Viesturs, one of America’s greatest climbers, forged a path up Mount Everest. He had summited the world’s highest peak before, but this was his first go at making it to the top alone—a historic attempt at a particularly difficult feat of mountaineering.

The Fall 2018 Polo Hi Tech collection, photographed in Yosemite National Park by Tom Gould.

It was the fall of 1993, and Viesturs cut a striking figure against the blinding white snow with his red-and-black insulated down suit, worn over technical layers and color-blocked accessories in red, blue, and black. “I was the best-dressed climber on Everest, ever,” he said at the time. Unlike the clothing worn by his contemporaries, which was supplied by traditional outdoor companies, Viesturs’ gear had an unexpected logo: “POLO SPORT.”

The Fall 2018 Polo Hi Tech collection, photographed in Yosemite National Park by Tom Gould.

Ralph Lauren’s sponsorship of Viesturs’ Everest trek represented a new direction for a brand that was built on the codes of traditional American and English style—New England prep, the American West, the romance of Old England, and, of course, the sport of polo. But while Mr. Lauren may draw inspiration from the past, he isn’t bound by it.

The Fall 2018 Polo Hi Tech collection, photographed in Yosemite National Park by Tom Gould.

“One of the most important things of our decade,” he said at the time, “is that women, men, and children are all taking up sports—biking, running, skiing, boating, and lots more. And if you’re not playing, you want to look like you are.” His response? Polo Sport, a new line with a bold new look. A line that wasn’t just inspired by sport—it was made for it, whether worn on the deck of the America, the slopes of Telluride, or, in the case of Viesturs, even Mount Everest. Over the next few years, Polo Sport would become one of Ralph Lauren’s most iconic—and most collected—creations.

The Fall 2018 Polo Hi Tech collection, photographed in Yosemite National Park by Tom Gould.

Following the athletic-inspired Stadium collection, which launched Polo Sport for Fall 1992, Ralph Lauren introduced three collections that reimagined modern activewear with a Polo sensibility: Snowboarding (which included the legendary Snow Beach jacket), Sportsman (inspired by rugged outdoor pursuits), and the sought-after winter sports collections RL2000 and Ski ’92, all of which featured the graphic sensibility and colorful motifs that would come to define the Polo Sport aesthetic. Certain pieces in these collections were emblazoned with a new logo, one reserved for items with true performance capabilities: “POLO HI TECH.”

The Fall 2018 Polo Hi Tech collection, photographed in Yosemite National Park by Tom Gould.

From 1992 through 1994, the Hi Tech patch appeared on countless pieces, from vests constructed for marathon fishing expeditions to anoraks designed to withstand the rigors of backcountry skiing. Each piece was unique in what made it Hi Tech, but all boasted some kind of technical aspect: ripstop quilted linings, ballistic or micro-coated Supplex© nylon, high-function coated cotton, Cordura©, utility pockets, specialty insulation, reinforced joints, and more. Often adorned with words like “ALPINE” or “CLIMB,” Hi Tech pieces embodied a rugged sense of action and adventure built into their design, and while the logo was phased out after 1994, the concept of technical sportswear lived on in RLX and other collections in subsequent years.

Two original Polo Hi Tech styles that directly inspired the Fall 2018 collection: A nylon fishing vest from Spring 1993, with expandable zip pockets, fabric loops, and D-rings for attaching additional gear, and a mid-length coat from 1993’s RL2000 collection, featuring one of the first examples of the Hi Tech patch.

Now, a quarter-century later, Polo Hi Tech is back for Fall 2018. Mr. Lauren has done more than revive the logo—he’s built an entirely new collection around the concept, combining design details from those original Polo Sport collections—including utility pockets, custom weather-resistant fabrics, bold graphics, and vibrant color-blocking—with entirely new styles and silhouettes. The results, we’re happy to report, pair equally well with denim, camouflage, or tweed, and look as sharp on a city sidewalk as they do hanging from a cliff in Yosemite—or a solo climb up Mount Everest. — Andrew Gould | RL Mag

Polo Revives Its 1990s Hi Tech Collection Complex

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Zion Williamson's College Basketball Debut

Zion Williamson's Debut

Coach Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils is currently being dubbed the "Dream Team" of college basketball — as it features two of the most highly-touted and fearsomely-imposing high school recruits/mixtape phenoms — Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.

Not only is the latter — the consensus No. 1 recruit in all of college basketball — he is also NBA legend: Steve Nash's godson. Not only do their opponents have to deal w/ the "all-around" worldly skills of R.J., the opposition is forced to reckon w/ an immovable & unstoppable object known as Zion "Half-Man/Half-Beast" Williamson.

Although an "official" nickname has yet to be given, it is beyond a reasonable doubt that those in Zion's way should be afraid, be very afraid.


AGE: 18
HEIGHT: 6' 7"
WEIGHT: 285 
YEAR: Freshman
HOMETOWN: Spartanburg, S.C.
HIGH SCHOOL: Spartanburg Day School

Duke vs. Ryerson University | August 15th, 2018

Zion Williamson: 29 pts, 13 rebs, 4 asts, 2 blks & 2 stls

Duke vs. University of Toronto | August 17th, 2018

Zion Williamson: 24 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blks & 2 stls

Duke vs. McGill University | August 20th, 2018

Zion Williamson: 36 pts, 13 rebs, 4 asts, 2 blks & 3 stls be continued.

Honey Badger Don't Give A Sh*t — Unless It's Trademarks

Honey Badger Don't Give A Sh*t — Unless It's Trademarks

Honey Badger May Not Care, But The ‘creative Genius’ Who Took It Viral Just Won A Big Victory

Back in 2011, a video titled ‘The Crazy Nastya** Honey Badger” was posted on YouTube. You may have heard of it.

“Ew! What’s that in its mouth? Oh, it’s got a cobra? Oh, it runs backwards?” the video’s narrator, Christopher Gordon (who sometimes goes by the name “Randall” online) says over National Geographic footage of a honey badger scampering around. “Now watch this. Look, a snake’s up in the tree. Honey Badger don’t care. It just takes what it wants.”

After his viral video racked up millions of views and turned the previously obscure mammal into a cultural icon, Gordon began cashing in. There were honey-badger-themed wall calendars, mouse pads and plush toys, not to mention the standard mugs and shirts. He got a book deal and was reported to be working with a production company to develop a TV show called “Honey Badger U,” although that never materialized.

In the meantime, however, the honey badger became the center of a long-running trademark battle centering on the video’s most memorable catchphrases: “Honey Badger Don’t Care” and “Honey Badger Don’t Give a S—.”

After Gordon lost a first round in a U.S. district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Monday reinstated his lawsuit against the companies that he says infringed on his trademark.

As the appeals court’s ruling notes, Gordon had trademarked the phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Care” and entered into licensing agreements with the Duck Company and Zazzle, which currently sells more than 9,000 honey badger products, including a pair of socks that show a honey badger dabbing.

Then, in 2012, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings, a division of American Greetings, started selling several honey badger greeting cards, including one that said “Honey Badger and me just don’t care. Happy birthday.”

Several other cards featured the phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Give a S—,” which Gordon has not trademarked.

In June 2015, Gordon filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment to the greeting card company, saying the cards were expressive works protected by the First Amendment. Gordon appealed.

On Monday, the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision, allowing his lawsuit to continue.

In an opinion published Monday, the three-judge panel said that Gordon’s lawsuit against Drape Creative and Papyrus-Recycled Greetings presents a question that should be tried before a jury: Did the greeting cards add any artistic value that would be protected by the First Amendment, or did they simply appropriate the goodwill associated with Gordon’s trademark?

In the law, “goodwill” refers to the inherent value of a trademark as a result of its recognition by consumers. A company that simply appropriates that goodwill by using the name without adding any value to it can be found to have infringed the trademark.

“A trademark owner can stop others from using its trademark in order to prevent the public from being confused about the source of the goods or services,” explains the International Trademark Association.

Drape Creative’s president testified that he had designed the cards but couldn’t remember what had inspired them, the opinion says. He also claimed that he had never heard of a video featuring a honey badger.

“It cannot be that defendants can simply copy a trademark into their greeting cards without adding their own artistic expression or elements and claim the same First Amendment protection as the original artist,” Judge Jay S. Bybee wrote in the opinion, joined by Judges Danny J. Boggs and Paul J. Watford.

Bybee drew a parallel to Andy Warhol’s famous paintings of Campbell’s soup cans. “Warhol took Campbell’s mark and added his own artistic expression. No one seeing Warhol’s work would think he was merely trying to appropriate the goodwill inhering in Campbell’s mark; no one thought Warhol was selling soup, just art.”

Daniel Reback, who represents Gordon in the trademark dispute, told the National Law Journal that his client looks forward to proceeding with the lawsuit. Attorneys for the defendants have yet to comment on Monday’s ruling.

In the post-Honey Badger era, it’s become increasingly common for large corporations to appropriate viral memes for their own marketing purposes. Critics argue that the creators of these memes, who are often teenagers and frequently people of color, rarely have the opportunity to monetize their work.

“Want to profit off your meme? Good luck if you aren’t white,” read a 2017 headline in Wired magazine after Kayla Lewis, who goes by Peaches Monroee on social media and is credited with creating the phrase “eyebrows on fleek,” launched a GoFundMe campaign asking for donations so that she could start her own cosmetics line. Before launching the campaign, the magazine noted, Lewis hadn’t made any money off the phrase, even after companies such as IHOP, Taco Bell and Forever 21 used it.
And meme creators have only a small window of time to monetize their viral fame before the Internet moves on to something new, as Reback acknowledged during his oral arguments before the appeals court.

“My client is a creative genius,” he said. “He had a bolt of lightning, 86 million views on YouTube, was basically a celebrity around the country for about three years, and he had a brief window of time to strike while the iron was hot on that. He should be the one — not the defendants in this case — to capitalize on that.” — Antonia Noori Farzan | Washington Post

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Enigmatic Case of the Stolen Plane by Richard Russell

Enigmatic Case of the Stolen Plane by Richard Russell

A 29-yr-old ground-baggage employee at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole a Bombardier Q400 twin-engine turboprop 76-seat aircraft on Friday, August 10th, 2018. He began circling the area, performing aerial stunts while engaged in an hour-long negotiation w/ air traffic control. In response, the North American Aerospace Defense Command & Defense Department unleashed two F-15 Eagle pilots from the Oregon Air National Guard‘s 142nd Fighter Wing. 

The fighters "were directed to fly supersonic to expedite the intercept," and attempt to redirect the aircraft over the Pacific Ocean but Russell had no intentions to land the stolen aircraft and eventually went down in a fiery crash on Ketron Island in North Pierce County, just south of Tacoma.

How the Airline Worker Who Stole a Plane in Seattle Exposed a Security Risk TIME

A Stolen Plane, A Devastated Family And A Nation Questioning Airport Security GapsCNN

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jerry & Rita Alter's Heist Of The Century — Willem de Kooning's $160 Million Painting

Jerry & Rita Alter's Heist Of The Century — Willem de Kooning's $160 Million "Woman-Ochre" Painting

A quiet, small-town couple may be the masterminds of a mysterious stolen painting worth approx. $160 million

Priceless oil painting was stolen in daring heist in 1985 from the University of Arizona and recovered as part of an estate sale in August 2017 in New Mexico.

Jerry and Rita Alter spent Thanksgiving Day 1985 with family in Tucson.

A newly discovered photo from the gathering shows them smiling side by side at the dinner table, plates of pumpkin pie in front of them.

Jerry was a retired music teacher and Rita a speech pathologist; a couple of New Yorkers in their 50s who had moved to rural New Mexico.

A day after the photo was taken, a valuable painting by the artist Willem de Kooning was taken from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson. Officials believed the thieves — a man and a woman — distracted a guard, cut the painting from the frame, rolled it up and carried it out of the museum under a coat. 

The thieves and the painting disappeared without a trace.

Composite sketches, in hindsight, resemble the faces in the Thanksgiving photo, down to their position side by side.

No one would have made the connection at the time. But three decades later, the painting, “Woman-Ochre,” turned up in the Alters’ New Mexico home, discovered by accident in the master bedroom following the couple's death.

No one handling the Alters' estate was aware of the background or value of the oil abstract of a nude woman. But when the home's furnishings were sold to a local antiques shop for $2,000, customers immediately recognized it as the work of de Kooning.

The painting is thought to be worth more than $100 million.

August marks the first full year since the painting's recovery. In the 12 months since, clues have emerged that might explain how an unassuming, retired couple came into possession of the artwork.

Rita Alter's nephew and executor of their estate, Ron Roseman, recently discovered the Thanksgiving Day photo while going through family photos and shared it with The Arizona Republic.

Roseman said he doesn't want to believe his beloved aunt and uncle might have been involved in a major art theft.

"We have no idea when they got it, how they got it, if they were involved, if they bought it from someone. Ultimately there’s a lot of coincidence," he told The Republic.

The Alters, it turns out, left other interesting clues, or coincidences, besides the Thanksgiving Day photo.

The FBI has declined to discuss the de Kooning case until it's resolved.

A Red Car
University police didn't find much evidence at the museum crime scene. The museum had no video cameras. Police found no traces of fingerprints.

One witness did say whoever took the painting drove off in a rust-colored sports car.

The Alters almost exclusively drove red cars, their nephew said. "All their cars over the years, but one, was red. They had one blue car," Roseman said.

A composite sketch of the thieves show the woman wearing a scarf and “granny” glasses.

The man was described as 25 to 30 years old with curly hair, an olive complexion, thick mustache and glasses.

The woman may have been a man in disguise, said UA Police Chief Brian Seastone, who was the lead detective on the case before it was turned over to the FBI.

The Alters have two adult children but they have not been able to shed light on how their parents obtained the painting, Roseman said. Neither could be reached for comment by The Republic.

The family photo taken Thanksgiving Day 1985 in Tucson shows the Alters' son, 23-year-old Joseph, at the table with his parents and other family members.

About six months ago, Roseman said he showed a photo of "Woman-Ochre" to Joseph to see if he might remember or have anything to say about the painting.

Roseman said his cousin laughed for about 30 seconds when he saw the painting.

"Why are you laughing?" Roseman asked him.

"That's one of the ugliest paintings I've ever seen," Alter told him.

The Alters Liked Art
Roseman likes to imagine his aunt and uncle acquired the stolen painting in a not-so-nefarious way.

Jerry Alter, a professional musician and a band teacher in New York City schools, left teaching at 47. Roseman said the couple decided to "get out of the rat race" and moved to rural New Mexico in 1977.

Jerry drew up blueprints and hired contractors to build a ranch-style house atop a mesa on 20 acres in Cliff, a blink-and-you-miss-it town of fewer than 300 people. Rita Alter started work as a speech pathologist for the local school district, Silver Consolidated Schools.

They frequented art museums, which leads Roseman to another possible scenario on how his aunt and uncle ended up with the de Kooning.

They could have been at an art exhibit or art gallery, he said, when someone approached them and said, "I have something better in my garage."

He surmises the Alters could have bought the painting under the belief it was either an original de Kooning or a good copy.

David Van Auker is co-owner of the antique shop that inadvertently purchased the stolen de Kooning as part of the Alters' estate sale. He has a theory about how long the painting was in the Alters' home.

Van Auker said the painting was "hidden" from guests behind a door in their master bedroom — as if the couple didn't want anyone but themselves to see it. He found cobwebs and dust when he examined the painting as he was looking over objects in the home in early August 2017.

When the painting was removed from the wall, it left an outline on the wall where the frame had hung, indicating the work had been there for some time.

"I honestly believe that it had been there since the day it was stolen," he said.

The Alters also apparently took steps to safeguard the valuable work.

A camera team from WFAA television station in Dallas was able to enter the Alters' former home for a 2017 documentary on the de Kooning theft.

They examined the area where the painting had hung. On the baseboard, they spotted a thick screw, blocking the door from opening all the way and damaging the painting.

A Veiled Confession?
The Alters were deeply in love, said Roseman, their nephew. When he was going through the contents of their estate, he found love letters they had written to each other, even into old age.

They met in 1955 or 1956 at a hotel in the Catskill Mountains, where H. Jerome "Jerry" played clarinet in a jazz band and Rita Sinofsky had gone to be a waitress. When Rita got there, however, she discovered there wasn't a job opening, so she went to a café to mull over her predicament.

That's where Jerry spotted her, decided she was the one and struck up a conversation, Roseman said. They married a year or two later.

They would fly to exotic vacations during school breaks, visiting more than 140 countries and taking some 13,000 slides.

The Alters wrote three books together, one about traveling, another about poetry and a twist on Aesop's Fables.

"The Cup and The Lip: Exotic Tales" features fictional accounts of travel adventures. In one story, "Eye of the Jaguar," a grandmother and her granddaughter case a local city museum and then return to steal its prize exhibit, a 120-carat emerald.

The thieves leave behind no clues. The jewel is kept hidden "several miles away" from the museum, behind a secret panel, "and two pairs of eyes, exclusively, are there to see!" he wrote.

The details are similar to the de Kooning theft.

Roseman said he read parts of his uncle's book five or six years ago. At the time, though, he would have had no inkling a stolen painting was behind their bedroom door, where only the Alters could see it.

It wasn't until after the famous painting was recovered, Roseman said, that a New York Times reporter, researching a story about the painting's recovery, brought to Roseman's attention the emerald-theft story's similarities to the de Kooning theft.

Painting May Not Have Changed Hands
The recovered de Kooning, now safely back at the university, holds a few clues to its travels.

UA museum officials believe the painting was reframed only once after being stolen, a possible sign the work of art hadn't passed through multiple owners.

The painting was mounted in a gold commercial frame. Someone crudely stretched the canvas and screwed it into the frame, methods inconsistent with professional framing.

Roseman, who is a high school computer teacher, said he was close to his aunt and uncle, especially during the late 1970s and early '80s when he was a student at the University of Arizona. He visited them about once a month in Cliff, which is about 225 miles east of Tucson.

After he graduated college, he visited less frequently.

Jerry Alter died in 2012. He was 81.

A few years later, Rita Alter started showing signs of dementia. She placed dozens of sticky notes inside her car to remind herself how to drive with instructions such as, "press the middle pedal to stop the car."

Roseman, who lives in Houston, and other family members made plans for round-the-clock care in January 2017, so she could remain in her home. That's when Roseman first saw the painting behind the door of the master bedroom. But like others, he didn't recognize the work as being valuable or stolen.

Roseman considered himself pretty close to his aunt and uncle. They were worldly and fascinating. And he loved hearing about their travels.

But after the events of the past year, he was "not close enough evidently," he said with a laugh.

How The de Kooning Was Recovered
Rita Alter died in June 2017 at age 81. Roseman, the estate's executor, arranged to clear out and sell the house.

Manzanita Ridge Furniture & Antiques in nearby Silver City purchased furniture, African art objects and a couple of paintings, including the as-yet-unidentified de Kooning. Silver City is known for its vibrant arts district.

David Van Auker, one of the shop's owners, found the painting striking. He thought it would be the perfect addition to a guesthouse he owns. He and the shop's co-owners, Buck Burns and Rick Johnson, brought the painting to the store in the back of a truck along with lamps and African art.

"The painting actually kind of got thrown in on top last," Van Auker said.

He leaned the painting against a coffee table in the store. The next day, the painting started attracting attention.

"I think that's a real de Kooning," one of the customers said.

Van Auker assumed it was nothing more than a copy. But then two more visitors voiced similar opinions that it was a real de Kooning.

Van Auker typed the words "de Kooning" into his internet browser. Among the results was a 2015 story about a de Kooning painting taken in a daring heist. The photo with the story looked exactly like the one in his store.

Van Auker hid the painting in the shop's bathroom, the only interior room with a lock.

He nervously placed a series of calls: to the university art museum, to the FBI and to The Republic reporter who had written the 2015 story.

The museum's curator, Olivia Miller, was, of course, immediately interested. She asked Van Auker to email photos and measurements of the painting.

With each photo that she examined, Miller grew more excited.

She and other museum staffers drove to the antique shop the next day where, after seeing the painting in person, they arranged to bring it back to the university under police escort.

"After 31 years, stolen 'Woman-Ochre' returns," UA proclaimed.

'Doing The Right Thing'
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Carpenter, who works on the bureau's Art Theft Program, said when he learned "Woman-Ochre" had been found, his first reaction was shock.

The 30-year-plus case had gone cold. When art has been missing for decades, it's only natural to wonder whether the piece has been lost or destroyed, he said.

Valuable stolen art is extraordinarily hard to sell. It's common for high-value pieces to disappear for decades.

But it's gratifying when art is recovered thanks to the actions of "good Samaritans," who call the FBI when they suspect they have come across stolen art, he said.

"I hate to be corny, but it really reinforces the notion that good people are out there and doing the right thing," Carpenter said.

When architect and businessman Edward J. Gallagher Jr. donated "Woman-Ochre" to the museum in 1958, it was appraised at $6,000.

The painting was valued at $400,000 for insurance purposes when stolen.

UA officials aren't releasing a current value on the advice of attorneys, and the museum couldn't and wouldn't sell the painting, under an agreement made with the donor.

But it's safe to say "Woman-Ochre" is worth more than $100 million. A similar de Kooning work, "Woman III," sold for $137.5 million in 2006.

When Will 'Woman-Ochre' Go On Display?
Thefts of valuable paintings in broad daylight are rare, according to the FBI.

Most museum thefts involve smaller, easier-to-fence items, such as historical documents or lower-value artifacts. It's usually museum insiders who are involved, stealing objects out of storage.

The de Kooning theft seemed to be a brazen crime that left few clues behind.

The empty frame showing where a thief ripped Willem
The empty frame showing where a thief ripped Willem de Kooning's "Woman-Ochre" painting out of its frame in November 1985. (Photo: Courtesy University of Arizona)

In their haste, the thieves damaged the painting.

A sharp blade was used to cut the painting from its frame. The de Kooning was then ripped out, creating a tear in one corner. The thief rolled the canvas tightly and stuffed it under a coat, causing horizontal creases in the paint.

UA officials are raising funds for repairs, but they don't yet know the extent or cost.

They have difficult decisions to make. Can the painting be reattached to its original frame? How much evidence of the theft should be left, if any?

Museum Curator Olivia Miller said there's a "good likelihood" repairs could start sometime in the next year so that, eventually, "Woman-Ochre" can be displayed at the museum again, more than 30 years after being taken.

The FBI isn't saying who took the de Kooning.

But it's hard to discount the clues, or coincidences, that point to a quirky couple from New Mexico with time to spare on a Thanksgiving vacation in 1985.

Roseman, their nephew, doesn't want to believe the Alters are responsible. But with all the potential clues that have emerged in the last year, "I can see that it's possible," he said.

If that's the case, the de Kooning theft turned out to be the perfect crime. — Anne Ryman | The Arizona Republic

Inside The Mind Of A Thief | Burglar Confessions

Inside The Mind Of A Thief | Burglar Confessions

The best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a home burglary is to get "Inside the Mind of a Thief." This Allen Police Department exclusive interview of career home burglar, Michael Durden, will open your eyes on what criminals look for when choosing a target.

Please share this video with friends and family to spread important crime prevention tips that can prevent you from becoming a victim.

1) What makes a neighborhood attractive to thieves? 0:45 mark
2) Does having a dog deter a burglar? 2:48 mark
3) Do Neighborhood Watch programs work? 4:28 mark
4) What makes a house attractive to a burglar? 6:12 mark
5) Once a burglar targets a house, what's next? 11:28 mark
6) Once a burglar is in the house. How much time is spent inside? 24:49 mark
7) How should homeowners hide valuables? 31:00 mark
8) What can a homeowner do to not make their house an easy target to a burglar? 35:59 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Chelyabinsk Meteorite Event: Wake-Up Call For Earth

Chelyabinsk Meteor Event

Chelyabinsk Meteor: Wake-Up Call For Earth

A small asteroid broke up over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. The shock wave it generated shattered glass and injured about 1,200 people. Some scientists think the meteor may have briefly outshone the sun. The blast was stronger than a nuclear explosion, triggering detections from monitoring stations as far away as Antarctica.

The incident was another reminder to space agencies about the importance of monitoring small bodies in space that could pose a threat to Earth. The same day Chelyabinsk happened, the U.S. House of Representative's Science, Space, and Technology Committee said it would hold a hearing to discuss asteroid threats to Earth, and how to mitigate them on top of NASA's current efforts.

Coincidentally, the explosion came on the same day that an asteroid was flying by Earth. Called 2012 DA14, it passed within 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) of Earth. NASA quickly pointed out the asteroid was travelling in the opposite direction to the small body that exploded over Chelyabinsk. 

"The asteroid will travel south to north," Don Yeomans, head of the agency's Near-Earth Object Program Office, told in 2013. "The bolide trail was not south to north and the separation in time between the fireball and 2012 DA14 close approach is significant."

Bolides and fireballs are terms to describe exceptionally bright meteors that are spectacular enough to be seen over a very wide area, according to NASA. They usually reach a visual or apparent magnitude of minus 3 or brighter. (The sun’s apparent magnitude is minus 27.) The terms are used interchangeably, although technically, bolide refers to a fireball that explodes in the atmosphere.

Other terms: Asteroids refer principally to small, rocky bodies. A meteoroid is an asteroid or comet fragment that is between 10 microns and about 1 meter in size. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, its path is called a meteor or “shooting star.” If any of the pieces reach the ground, those pieces are called meteorites. 

Piecing Together Its History
In the days after the explosion, meteorite hunters worldwide rushed to the remote area to try to find pieces of the impactor (which exploded high up in the atmosphere). Just three days after the explosion, on Feb. 18, 2013, the first reports came in that pieces had been found around Lake Chebarkul, 43 miles (70 km) north of Chelyabinsk. At that same location, scientists spotted a hole in the ice, which they also thought could be traced back to the impact.

“This is the biggest event in our lifetime," rock dealer Michael Farmer of Tucson, Ariz., told OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to, around this time. He was preparing to leave for Russia when he gave the interview. "It's very exciting scientifically and for collecting, and luckily, it looks like there will be plenty of it.”

Meanwhile, experts reviewed both the fragments and many amateur videos of the explosion. It is common in Russia for drivers to use dashboard cameras in cars in case of a collision, in which case the camera footage could be used as evidence. This provided a lucky treasure trove for scientists as many of these cameras caught the explosion while drivers were on the road.

About two weeks after the explosion, scientists were starting to pin down the bolide's size, speed and origins. The infrasound signature on the nuclear-detection network, which is operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, was the largest ever detected.

"The asteroid was about 17 meters [56 feet] in diameter and weighed approximately 10,000 metric tons [11,000 tons]," Peter Brown, a physics professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said in a statement. "It struck Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph [64,370 km/h] and broke apart about 12 to 15 miles [19 to 24 km] above Earth's surface. The energy of the resulting explosion exceeded 470 kilotons of TNT."

The explosion was pegged as 30 to 40 times stronger than the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II. Chelyabinsk, however, did not produce as much of a blast as the Tunguska meteor, another object that exploded over Siberia in 1908. The explosion a century before flattened 825 square miles (2,137 square km) of forest, a report said. Nevertheless, dust from the Chelyabinsk impactor stayed in the atmosphere for months. [Infographic: Huge Russian Meteor Blast is Biggest Since 1908]

Asteroid Fallout
In the months afterward, scientists learned more about the origins of the Chelyabinsk impactor, and also raised a coffee-table-size piece of the bolide from the lake in which it crashed. Some of the pieces inside the meteorite were formed in the first 4 million years of solar system history, David Kring of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston said in December 2013 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

In another 10 million years, the pieces (along with some dust) created an asteroid about 60 miles (100 km) wide. This parent body had a huge impact about 125 million years after the solar system was formed, with more strikes coming during the “late heavy bombardment,” a time of frequent small-body strikes between 3.8 billion and 4.3 billion years ago. Two other impacts came in the last 500 million years. Closer to the Chelyabinsk event, the parent body experienced yet another impact and was also nudged out of the main asteroid belt into an orbit that crossed near Earth's.

In February 2014, one year after the impact, several scientists said that the danger of small asteroids was now foremost in many public officials' minds, especially because it was said to be the first asteroid-related disaster. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency had already attended a planetary defense conference — a first for a meeting always dominated by scientists — and the Obama administration asked Congress for $40 million in asteroid-seeking funds for NASA, double what the agency had before. NASA also launched a “Grand Challenge” to get input from the public, industry and academia on asteroid-protection methods.

More study is still going on into the origins of the Chelyabinsk bolide. Initially it was thought to be part of 1999 NC43, a 1.24-mile (2 km) wide asteroid, but the orbit and mineral composition between the two bodies turned out to be different. In April 2015, a study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggested Chelyabinsk was a part of asteroid 2014 UR116. — Elizabeth Holwell |
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