Friday, 19 November 2004

A Matter of Time

Following on from a previous article, from the AFP :
London - A British schoolteacher, attempting to motivate her pupils into making the most of each day, told them a meteorite was about to smash into the Earth and that they should all return home to say goodbye to their families, a report said on Thursday.

The teacher at the high school in Manchester, northwest England, only realised her lecture was misjudged when many of the assembled teenagers started crying, the Sun newspaper said in its Friday edition.

According to the report, the unnamed female teacher made the announcement to around 250 pupils at St Matthew's Roman Catholic High School during their regular morning assembly.

Saying she had bad news, the teacher announced that a meteor would strike the Earth in 10 days' time, and that they should return home and say their "final farewells" to their parents.

After the crowd of 13 and 14-year-olds looked on in horror, and many burst into tears, the teacher swiftly explained that she was only trying to encourage them to "seize the day".

"Some of the children were 100% convinced they were going to die," the father of one child told the paper.

"God only knows what this teacher thought she was doing."
10 days? Nah. Possible, but so remote a chance that it's close enough for all intents and purposes to "impossible", unless we're really, really, really unlucky. Not much we could do about it in that timeframe, anyway.

10 thousand days? Possible, and we should be working on a plan on WTF to do in the eventuality, remote though it is. At least so we can see it coming.

10 million days? Definitely a possibility, though it's more likely that Yellowstone National Park will go Kablooie and wipe out most of the Northern Hemisphere instead. Even more likely is another Ice Age, again expunging civilisation in Europe, North America, China and so on. But we'll have reached the Singularity by then, and should have the means to deal with such minor inconveniences.

10 billion days? Now you're talking. Virtually certain, unless somebody does something about it.

10 trillion days? Well, that greatly exceeds the time left for Sol to remain on the main sequence, so the point is moot.

She wasn't wrong, just had her timescales out.

1 comment:

Call Me Grandma said...

If her comment made them think about how fragile life is, then I say bully for her.