Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
It seems clear at this juncture that I have devoted my entire personality to being obsessed with that giant space rocket that, uh, fell out of space yesterday. Well, actually I have two current obsessions: the 10-story, 22-ton rocket and also JLo's enormous bedazzled Bling Cups. Fun fact: if it was one of JLo's Bling Cups that came hurtling toward the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour, everyone would have cheered and JLo would be receiving the Nobel Prize right now.
Do you know about this rocket? I feel like if I were to present a hypothetical in which a gigantic rocket was plummeting to the Earth and say "do you think the average person would know about this and perhaps have some thoughts on the subject?", the answer would be yes. But amazingly, we have just lived through a news cycle in which that exact thing happened and the general consensus seemed be either 1) what rocket? or 2) meh, thems the breaks. A plot point out of a straight-to-video knockoff of Armageddon actually happened and not only did we not call Bruce Willis, but we all just kind of shrugged. I love that choice for us.
If you don't know, the gist is that the Chinese government lost control of a 100-foot rocket and the rocket was like "y'all mind if I spiral?" It comes racing back to Earth but because it's out of control and its speeding up, no one can predict where it will land. It literally could have landed anywhere. Which on one hand is terrifying but on the other hand is prop comedy.
All day long yesterday I kept thinking "surely there is a more definitive answer for where this rocket is coming down than 'probably Earth.'" But then I'd google and every article would be like "It'll either be Greece or Australia or New York or San Diego at either 9pm or 11pm or 1 am." Who designed this itinerary, Louis DeJoy?
As I do with everything in life, I kept thinking "shouldn't I be worried?" But I really couldn't muster the energy to be that concerned, which kind of disproves the central thesis of every disaster movie. Apparently I'm that person who hears the T-Rex is loose in Jurassic Park and I'm like "Okay, but this won't affect the hours of the food court, will it? Because I have a coupon that I need to use today." Really excited to try one of those shaking glasses of water!
The news was like "It's possible that a rocket the size of the office building your physical therapist is in will fall on something, possibly you. We don't know. So random! Have a great day!" Most of the articles said that it would most likely land in the ocean because the Earth is mostly water, which was actually less reassuring than one might think. Yes, the Earth is 80% water but 80% of the people an Amity Island did not get eaten by Jaws and yet there's still a few people who are like "I have a couple of notes about the shark."
As the evening wore on, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell started tweeting out minute by minute updates on the rocket's position, so one minute it's over Haiti and the next minute it's over Greece and the next minute it's over New Zealand, and that is high farce.
Yes, I understand how the rotation of the planet works (no, I do not!) but there's something hilarious about clicking on a Twitter account of a stranger scientist you've never heard of but are trusting with your life because he describes time in UTC and that sounds very fancy, and having him just throwing out names like he's the do-wop girls singing the last song in Little Shop of Horrors. You look once and he's like "it's in Italy" and then five minutes later he's like "It's only your back porch."
It's wild. Look at this map made by the Aerospace Corporation (a real place!)--the yellow and blue lines indicate places where the rocket could have come down.
They were like "we're thinking that the rocket will land Somewhere. But possibly not." Amazing. I deeply and unsarcastically love this. Go on space, give me absolutely nothing.
Also, I've never seen the day/night line on the planet represented like that and while my cotton candy brain knows that the night appears like a bell curve because the planet is round, I nevertheless still look at the horn of Africa and I think there's some neighborhood in Dijibouti where one side of the street is night time and one side of the street is day time. And, true to my nature, I refuse to ever acknowledge the existence of the truth. The next time a rocket decides to drop in unexpectedly (no mask or anything; deranged), I'm going to fly to Dijibouti, straddle the night and the day and ask the rocket to make an appointment first. We're very busy down here trying to get further information about JLo's Bling Cups and we really can't be disturbed.
Moving on to other news in this, The Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez Gazette, today in Italy, Lady Gaga emerged from a hotel carrying the vase of tulips seen in the photo above, posed for a few pictures, then pulled her mask up, picked some tulips out, and threw them into the street as an offering for her adoring fans. You can see the video of that part in this tweet (unfortch it doesn't show up in email, I think, so you'll have to click through).
This has huge "feed the birds, tuppence a bag" energy and I am both confused and delighted. Yes, this a lovely socially distant gesture but also it's literally Lady Gaga hurling flowers on to cobblestones like she's Carrie clobbering Big after he leaves her at the altar.
You know, now that I think about it, we humans sure do use throwing flowers to express a lot of different emotions. These bouquets are like "here I go flying through the air and it literally could mean anything. So congratulations or shame on you, I guess. Ooh! The wind is picking up. Y'all mind if I spiral?"
Lady Gaga's gesture is also giving me a little Palm Sunday feeling, but I don't really know who the Jesus in this scenario. What I love, however, is the person in orange is emerges from the building behind Lady Gaga and is clearly very over it right from the jump, swerving around Gaga with no small amount of annoyance. She's like "Oh, great, another Tulip Tossing. Just my luck. When I checked the Twitter account five minutes ago, it said Tulips were likely to land in Perth, Australia. What gives?"
Random Thing on the Internet
Here's the Beyoncé video for the song "Rocket" which is definitely not about space debris.
"y'all mind if I spiral?",