September 21, 2011

In 1997, Lottie Williams "felt a tap on her shoulder" and looked, but no one was there.

"I think I was blessed that it doesn't weigh that much..." I mean, that was one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me."

The weirdest thing that ever happened to her?! She is unique in all of humanity: the only person to have been hit by a piece of falling space junk.

But the junk that will fall from the sky later this week is the size of a school bus. It won't hit the ground (or, more likely, the water) the size of a school bus. It will break up and burn, with the biggest piece weighing maybe 300 pounds, which won't feel like a tap on the shoulder if it hits you, but there's only a 1 in 3,200 chance that it will hit a human being, and if it hits a human being, it's terribly unlikely to be you.

28 comments:

TML said...

Aren't the theme-day themes usually more subtle?

Ann Althouse said...

I tried to keep up the tap-on-the-shoulder + school bus theme, but it was too hard!

edutcher said...

Well, if the 300 pound piece comes through the roof, you've got one Hell of a conversation piece in the living room.

Ann Althouse said...

I tried to keep up the tap-on-the-shoulder + school bus theme, but it was too hard!

You can always try for the educational metaphor, rather than the actual physical entity.

AllenS said...

That would leave a mark.

WV: billing

TML said...

There simply must be a third post in this series. I'll merely supply the link. You do the actual Althousian concatenation.

http://bit.ly/p8LvD4

Clyde said...

And yet people get their ticket punched in weird ways like that all the time. Out driving during a storm and a tree falls on their car and kills them. That sort of thing. Wrong place, wrong time, hasta la vista, baby. Sure, the odds are against it happening, but with all of the stuff floating around up there, it's probably just a matter of time until we find out who exactly is the unluckiest person in the world. Given the raincloud that seems to be permanently ensconced above the President's head, I'd advise the Secret Service to keep an eye on the sky...

Toshtu said...

You never know what's up there...

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=15c_1316552691

JAL said...

Cut it out guys.

I've got to get some work done this morning.

(TML - did you live in NC when high school kids drove buses?)

JAL said...

Then there is that youtube of the guy walking down the road and getting hit by lightning.

http://youtu.be/X14e9Fwxa8w

Twice.

What are those odds?

ndspinelli said...

I'm a craps player, horse player, and a gambler of other sorts. I like my odds on not getting hit.

But then again all gamblers are superstitious..I hope I didn't screw myself!!!!

JAL said...

I actually thought that 1 in 3200 was not very encouraging.

I *know* more people than that, not to mention adding in degrees of separation.

So somebody on this list will personally know someone who gets hit bythe things falling from the sky?

Kevlar armored umbrellas for sale on Amazon Professor?

Fred4Pres said...

Freaky.

Not exactly touched like God, although no one got hurt (so maybe God had a hand in that).

MisterBuddwing said...

"I mean, that was one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me."

I wonder what THE weirdest thing to ever happen to her was...

WV: insur

Calypso Facto said...

Rest easy, JAL: 1/3200 chance of hitting a person, but IF it does, there's only a 1/7,000,000,000 chance it'll be you.

Overall odds of you getting hit: 1/22,400,000,000.

MadisonMan said...

If a 300-pound piece of satellite comes through your roof, is it yours to keep? Or does NASA try to reclaim it?

I know several people who used data from the tumbling satellite in their thesis research. Talk about something to make you feel old!

Oligonicella said...

Toilet Seat Girl!

kimsch said...

MM If it hits your house or lands in your yard you're supposed to call in the authorities who will call in a hazmat team to take care of it.

If it hits my house, perhaps I can use the insurance money to improve the house as well as fix it. We need more room and need to add at least a half-bath. I need more than one toilet in my house. Hubby works from home out of a closet...

The Little Guy won't be at school on Friday for a "school improvement day" - teachers go, not kids - so if the satellite hits the school at least the kids will all be at home.

But if the satellite hits our house, he'll be home. But more likely he'll be roaming the neighborhood finding friends to play with.

wv: pacisest

Mary Beth said...

Toilet Seat Girl!

Exactly what I was thinking. I miss that show.

kimsch said...

Dead Like Me was terrific series. It's on Netflix streaming!

Wally Kalbacken said...

If it falls on the house the Missus and I are closing on next week, I'll be pissed!

ricpic said...

I love the way the voice of officialdom keeps telling us that not only is the earth covered 70% by water but most of the landmass is empty. I kid you not, that's what I heard on the radio concerning the odds against getting hit by space junk. This is the same officialdom that goes on endlessly about global crowding due to overpopulation. The propaganda changes on a dime to fit the paradigm. There's gotta be a better word than paradigm but I can't think of one this sec.

TML said...

JAL, nope. But I'd sure like to hear about that. Do you mean officially, with elementary school children aboard or as a lark, going to prom and the like and being oh,so different and quirky?

jimspice said...

I'd like to see how he came up with that 1 in 3,200 figure. It's WAY more unlikely than that.

Joe said...

"If a 300-pound piece of satellite comes through your roof, is it yours to keep? Or does NASA try to reclaim it?"

Space junk is owned by the launching authority. In this case NASA would own it and would owe you a new roof.

raf said...

and if it hits a human being, it's terribly unlikely to be you.

Actually, this is the kind of lottery I would almost expect to win.

wv: insiod. Insidious, right.

William said...

If it hits Rick Perry, there will be many rumours.

Spaceman said...

Gee, there are small planes flying over your head everyday, which on occasion break & fall out of the sky. Do people sit around fretting about that?

JAL said...

@ TML.

No serioiusly.

In the 70s-- maybe into the 80s -- some high shool students were *the* bus drivers for their areas. I don't know about the flat land, but it was true in the mountains, and apparently the coast. (Coastal area, too.)

They would take the buses home at night. Most started very early on their routes while covered many miles.

This is especially interesting because the roads in the mountains are not your everyday roads.

Not sure what the criteria was -- age, length of having drivers license, overall maturity.

A nurse who came to work where I did after she graduated from Chapel Hill had been a driver as a HS student.

I think it was a solution based on necessity and as they were able to pay more and the demographics changed (as well as insurance) they stopped using students.

Surprising that kids were assumed to be responsible not so long ago.