News and events

Russian Space Probe

I see the Russian space program has reached new depths. For a while it looked like their rocket was going to crash in Australia. Thanks very bloody much guys, well done! Apparently now the Cold War is over we’re no longer under threat of nuclear annihilation, now it’s rockets falling out of the sky instead. Oh yeah, it only had a little bit of plutonium (a.k.a. the most toxic substance in the universe) in it. Great.

But they told us not to worry about the plutonium. It probably wouldn’t burst out of its battery packs. Oh come on, who are they kidding? Everybody knows on any piece of equipment, be it Walkman, toy car or Mars probe, the first thing that breaks or gets lost is always the cover holding the batteries in.

And even if we didn’t need to worry about the plutonium, how about the fact that twenty tonnes of rocket was about to come crashing out of the sky?

In the end, due entirely to the luck of so much of the Earth’s surface being covered in water, the rocket plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly the big Web-based news services (such as CNN and MSNBC) started reporting it as having "landed", like it glided down calmly, put out the parachutes and the landing wheels and gracefully touched down on the surface of the water. Landed?! How about "arrived" or "sploshed", or "kerplunked"? I’m sure it would have been "crashed" if it had hit something important.