Friday, September 16, 2011

An Open Letter to The Company RE: Your Personal Safety

Dear Company,
     You are not going to get hit by a satellite next week.  I just wanted you to know that.  I know that you have been watching the news and they have been pegging the odds at 1 in 3200, and that those odds are better than your odds of getting struck by lightning or winning the lottery or getting wedgie from your boss, and I know that they are better than the odds that Vegas is giving the Maryland Terrepins of winning the BCS Championship, but I don't care.  I feel pretty confident that not you, I, or any of the Unpaid Interns are going to get hit by a satellite anytime soon.
     It just doesn't happen, okay?  Most of the world is covered by water - with tiny little ships floating in it - and a lot of the rest of land area is covered by uninhabited desert or ice or mountains or permafrost or whatever.  In fact, over 99.999999999999% of the surface of the Earth consists of places in which you are not standing, and so the odds of you being where that rogue satellite comes down in really pretty small.  Well, they say that there will most likely be 26 parts of the satellite that survive re-entry and that increases the odds I suppose, but I still think it is pretty unlikely that you will be standing in one of those 26 spots when that thing comes down.
Mir - none of which has ever fell on you.
     This has happened before, Company, with results that will seem awfully familiar come the end of next week.  Most of the time satellites are sent into what is called a "graveyard orbit" out somewhere where they won't get in the way, but sometimes something happens.  In 2009 two satellites collided as they were tooling around up there, and the wort that anyone experienced was sonic booms over parts of the US.  When the Russians were done with Mir they brought it down in the South Pacific, although not quite in the part of the South Pacific they wanted to bring it down in.  A Russian nuclear-powered satellite called Cosmos-954 fell to Earth uninvited in 1978 and landed in the uninhabitated Canadian north, or maybe Winnipeg...they seem too similar.  Just kidding, it was the Canadian north, and although it dropped some nuclear nastiness it didn't manage to hit a single person, or even moose.  Or even a vole.  Skylab fell to Earth uncontrolled one year later and fell on the Nullarbor Plain, which is a place that you've never ever heard of.  It is in Western Australia and while no one was injured or hit, the local government DID fine the United States $400 for littering.  Like any good American, however, they refused to pay for over 30 years.
      So as you can see, even when satellites fall to Earth and hit the land, they usually hit unoccupied land.  A piece of rocket insulation hit a lady in Tulsa once, but that is about it.  And there have been WAY fewer than 3200 pieces of space trash that have survived re-entry, so since she has been hit already, we need a lot of stuff to fall before we are due to have someone get hit again.  So settle down.  Don't let ABC, NBC, or anything with multiple capital letters to let you get all worried and hang around indoors.  Just go out.  Because you aren't going to get hit by any satellites.  Okay?

- Big Dave


BradPerala said...


local government DID fine the United States $400 for littering. Like any good American, however, they refused to pay for over 30 years.

Can't tell if you're kidding or not, but it this is true, I did not know that and that is hilarious.

BradPerala said...

I looked it up, it is true. That's extremely funny.