The European debt crisis has affected many countries within the content thereby putting financial strain on the citizens as well as their government. However, there are countries in Europe that are handling it better than others, while other countries decide to work together to be able to pull themselves out of the crisis. The PIGS which is an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain are the countries that have been affected by the economic crisis due to their spending habits and that of their citizens. Initially these countries were considered to have the most stable economies in the European continent.
The banks in these countries are said to have lent out a lot of money in terms of bad credit loans that have placed a lot of financial strain on the central bank which is forced to provide financial assistance. These bad credit loans are usually provided in the form of unsecured loans which usually leave the lending institution in a dilemma when the expected repayments for the loan are not made. Most of the borrowers with a poor credit rating were also allowed to borrow further complicating the situation which was meant to ease the burden in PIGS.
However, there are countries that have managed to hang on during the European debt crisis which has enabled them to keep afloat for both the citizens and the government. These countries are referred to as STARS because of their ability to maintain their economic environments especially during a financial crisis. These countries have been quite aware of the damage that the providing of unsecured loans to borrowers with poor credit rating is able to affect the economy negatively as there will be more borrowing than repayments which means the banks will need to bailed out by the central bank.
My colleagues and I do a lot of sitting around late at night, drinking coffee and chatting. We have to wait for the telescope to move into position. We input data on the computer and then we wait for the computer to do its calculations and give us a read out. All these operations take time. During this time we look at the night sky and the stars.
One of our favorite topics of conversation is what we would do if we found an asteroid heading for earth with a Torino Impact Rating of between 7 and 10. It would mean massive regional devastation, big changes in the climate, earthquakes, tsunamis and great loss of life. Many people believe it was an asteroid that hit Earth and threw up a dust cloud that blocked out the sun that caused the dinosaurs to go extent.
We often take the conversation into the realm of bucket lists. What places would we visit, what we do if there were only months left before the devastating collision? The answer is that we would man our posts and look to suggest ways of diverting the disaster.
If, however, I was allowed to go on a final sabbatical before the world changed I would head back to Thailand. I love the country. I would go to my favorite beach on Phangan Island, Haad Sadet for a week. I would enjoy the calm of the place, go swimming, chat with my Thai friends. Of course I would take my family with me and play with my children on the idyllic beach. It would be my chance to say goodbye to the beautiful things in life like natural beauty, holidays with my family, the warmth of the ocean and eating fresh sea food.
Of course, we can see the asteroids coming from far off. There is one coming in 2029 but that is only a factor 4. I might still make my way back to Haad Sadet in Koh Phangan before then anyway.
Here is an explanation of the Torino Impact Hazard Scale. This is the internationally recognized scale for talking about the risks posed by asteroids and comets hitting the earth, or coming close enough to the Earth to cause damage. This is a danger that is not simply confined to sci-fi movies and novels. It is a real danger, especially over longer periods of time. It is partly the job of the Camarilla Observatory to look out for asteroids heading to Earth and to estimate the damage they might cause.
Naturally, if we do find an asteroid in the 8 to 10 category of the Torino Scale then it becomes a matter of national (and indeed international) security.
Source for this code: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/torino_scale.html