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January 23, 2005

Unintended Consequences of Experiments

Tom McLaughlin

The ultra conservative Washington Post has reported that NASA will blow a comet apart in July. The space agency will jettison an 820 pound copper projectile, composed of worthless pennies, in the path of comet Tempel 1.

The Deep Space Impact spacecraft will then back off to photograph the explosion which will be visible July 4 from Australia to the United States and is expected to light up the skies like a Roman candle. Of major importance to astronomers are the gasses being emitted and photographed by a spectroscope to determine their composition. The cost of this mission is $267 million dollars.

Here in Frederick County, gastroenterologists, formerly known as proctologists, are already making plans to see this spectacular event. Waiting rooms are already filling up as over booking becomes the norm to help finance their observations. The doctors feel the on-site research will be a major tax deduction as they watch the emissions from a beach in Hawaii.

Lawyers are booking hotels on Guam, Midway, Na nu Na nu and any other remote island which may be under the site of the impact. They already have briefs prepared in case any debris falls and hits an endangered species somewhere in the Pacific. The chances of pennies cascading to earth are 6.02 X 10-23 but they are at the ready in case a Princess Cruise Ship manages to sail directly below a possible impact site while navigating the Pacific.

Conservatives are praising the enterprise because of the July 4th date as a salute to American technology. Porpoises, whales and other threats to our way of life will be forewarned not to mess with our power and might. They are trying to encourage NASA to change the path of the comet to the skies over Iraq in hopes the display will cause all of the militants to lay down their arms. They are convinced Osama bin Laden will come running and howling in fear giving up to the nearest child with a toy pistol.

Meanwhile, liberals bemoan the fact the money could be used for the children. Always the children! They will implore NASA to forego this folly and contribute the funds to charitable organizations where most of the top echelon earns six figures plus perks. They insist pouring money down the sinkhole of social causes will soon erase all the ills of human kind, including hurricanes, in the next couple of centuries or so.

Bottled in the center of this dirty snowball orbiting the sun is the many campaigns ready to be unleashed over Frederick City. When the explosion occurs, signs will appear and the debate over good vs. evil will assault this web site. The campaign will be likened to a presidential match of George McGovern vs. Barry Goldwater.

Developers will lavish vast sums of money on the candidate they feel will best represent their interests. Using the slogan ďall development is good development,Ē plans will be unveiled to erect townhouses on that wasted space in front of city hall. The fountain will be advertised as a water saving swimming pool.

Meanwhile, the other side will try to convince the public the land fill and recycling center, a.k.a., the dump, will be a perfect place for a housing complex if the builders include an elementary school, a middle school, high school, hospital, recreation center, a bypass around some where, one church for all denominations including snake worship, a mosque, a Buddhist temple, a synagogue and a building for those who donít know what they are but are convinced they should believe in something. A structure for comet worship should also be included.

The comet, currently hurling towards the Sun, will meet its fate in the heavens and the campaign energy compacted in its center, like a dark hole, will translocate into Frederick City. May the best woman win.

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