What Would Happen If the Earth Stopped Its Orbit? (Nothing Good)

Illustration for article titled What Would Happen If the Earth Stopped Its Orbit? (Nothing Good)

Welcome to Reading List. Another year and another week means another roundup of great stories that might have squeaked by during the holiday. We've got some speculative doom and gloom, a look into the future of one of NASA's Mars rovers, and a profile of a man who is clickbait personified. Happy New Year and happy reading.


  • Emerson Spartz is a man in search for virality, internet virality to be exact. At 27, Spartz helms tons of websites that ebb and flow with the schadenfreude or goodwill trends of the internet, all in the eternal search for your click. [The New Yorker]
  • NASA needs to reconfigure some flash memory. Not much of a challenge for one of the most advanced scientific outfits in the world, but when that memory is stored on a rover millions of miles away, it gets a little tricky. NASA's Opportunity rover has been a champion of planetary science, going a decade beyond its planned 3-month mission. But now the rover has amnesia because of faulty hardware and is deleting all it learns everyday—but NASA may have a solution. [Discovery News]
  • What would happen if Earth suddenly stopped its orbit around the Sun? Wired takes a fun look at this "end of days" scenario that is more horrific than you'd think. How many days would humans have left to live and what would be the last organism to survive? There is no scientific evidence to suggest this would ever happen, but if it was a movie—I'd watch it. [Wired]
  • Ai Weiwei is one of the most influential artists alive, and he's also the most repressed. In some ways, he lives in the surveillance state dystopia that many believe is in our future. On Medium, Hans de Zwart analyzes the troubling technology around us, weaving pop culture references and speculative works by renowned authors, and how Ai Weiwei is just a concrete example of the surveilled lives we already lead. [Medium]

Image by ISS Expedition 7 Crew, EOL, NASA



If the earth stopped orbiting it would become the biggest comet known (yet). At least for an orbit or two (gravitational pull from Venus/Mercury and lesser-so from outer planets would perturb its "fall" enough, perhaps, to miss the Sun).