I don’t really mean to laugh here but, reading the latest update on the ‘space junk,’ I kind of have to. NASA estimates that the odds that somebody on Earth getting hurt from this debris at 1 in 3,200, and any one person’s odds at 1 in 22 trillion.
Okay, I admit that math wasn’t one of my better subjects in school, so I don’t have a clue how they came up with 22 trillion when there are only 7 billion people on the planet. Whatever. I don’t even care how they came up with the 1 in 3,200 guesstimate.
What I find incredibly funny is the part of the sentence that talks about the chances of someone getting ‘hurt.’
I’m fairly certain that if one were to be hit by a falling piece of space junk, they would be a little beyond hurt. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that they might even be obliterated.
This sounds suspiciously like ads for prescription medication that you see on television now. You know, the ones with the cheerful voice talking about the benefits of the drug. Along with a mile long list of side-effects. Side-effects that often mimic the very symptoms a patient would be taking it for. And many also include my favorite term, ‘a fatal event.’
Hmm. Are the manufacturers trying to make us believe that a fatal event isn’t nearly as bad as dying? After all, an event is generally something people look forward to.
Frankly I have doubts that a lot of people even understand what ‘fatal’ means. And I’m going to refer to an earlier blog of mine. The one about a prescription for my youngest daughter.
For those who haven’t read it, in a nutshell, my daughter was sick and I took her prescription to the pharmacy. The technician who entered it into the computer explained that, since she had an allergy to another medication, she could have some pretty serious reactions to this one. Not particularly comfortable with what I was hearing I asked, “Do you mean like a fatal reaction?” The woman answered, quite enthusiastically, “Oh yes! And if she does, she needs to stop taking it immediately!”
I kind of wanted to smack her on the back of the head to see if we could get the hamster moving again, but managed to restrain myself.
It probably has something to do with the way the media presents, and downplays, the information they allow us to receive. Say it in a cheerful enough tone and ‘fatal’ isn’t really a bad thing. And let’s just use the term ‘hurt’ rather than kill or obliterate when discussing falling space junk. I seriously love that phrase, but I think someone came up with it to put a humorous spin on the situation. Make it sound amusing enough and people aren’t going to panic when they think of 300 pound pieces of debris falling to the Earth.
That said, it would be nice to know the general area this junk is going to be heading for. If we might be in the 500 mile ‘swath,’ I think I might like the option of heading to a different swath.