This Would Be a Really, REALLY Bad Beat

Monday, December 27th, 2004, 2:25 pm

I try not to write about my bad beats because, of course, no one wants to hear about them. All players suffer through them, everybody hurts, and so who cares about yours? And too many people complain about bad beats that really aren’t so bad. You had top pair, and the other guy ONLY had a straight draw and a flush draw and two overcards and…you know where this is heading, right? He hits his flush! UNBELIEVABLE.

So no bad beat stories. And after reading this no one should be posting bad beat stories. Reading around the web today came across this item, linked from Glenn Reynolds’ blog InstaPundit. Seems that NASA has identified an asteroid called 2004 MN4 that, well, might hit the Earth on April 13, 2029. Hmm…maybe now would be a good time to reserve a suite at Bellagio for that weekend…be a helluva party.

Now, “might” is of course the operative word when it comes to this asteroid strike. On the Torino scale, which is used to measure the likelihood of a impact, this asteroid rates a “4”, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that no asteroid has ever rated higher than a 1 before.

No need to immediately freak, even though NASA at first rated the chances of impact as around 1 in 233, then 1 in 66, and now 1 in 42. With increased observation and calculation they may learn that 2004 MN4 is going to miss us easily. And, anyway, the impact would only be around the equivalent of a 1-megaton blast, nothing too (literally) earth-shaking. Oh, it might kill a few million people and affect climate a bit, it won’t be a civilization-zapper like the one that snuffed the dinos way back when. Tho, when you look at that new Fox show “I Think You May Be My Daddy” they promoted so much during football yesterday, perhaps saving our civilization is a bit overrated.

A 1 in 42 chance…that’s about the same odds as someone hitting a 1-outer against you on the river. How often has that happened to you? Not too often, I’ll wager. But it happens, it happens. But I hope that, in the future, if you do get skunked by that lone card you’ll think of it as less a sign that the Universe is conspiring against you and more a deposit in the Global Karmic Bank, swallowing a tiny morsel of bad luck to help the whole of Humanity get through this particular roll of the cosmic dice.

I can only wish I’d thought of this before yesterday’s earthquake and the catastropic tsunamis that rolled across the Indian Ocean. I don’t know if there’s any video out there of the waves hitting land, but reading some of the accounts on CNN…it beggars belief. This is odd, but when we went to the beach as kids I remember my dad telling me that, if I ever saw the water on shore rush out to sea, leaving like a hundred yards of exposed beach, to run as fast as I could for high ground, because that meant a tidal wave was coming. I don’t think he was concerned about a tsunami hitting Ocean City, MD, but it was an interesting scientific tidbit that stuck in my mind. And then I read this account, where the survivor was walking along the beach and suddenly saw the tide suddenly recede nearly 200 meters off the beach, and puzzled at what it meant. A surreal moment indeed–you’re standing on the beach, ready to take a dip, blue skies, nothing wrong in the world…and the water suddenly rushes away and leaves you with a quarter-mile of exposed sand. Like the biggest magic trick in the world. And a few seconds later, your little slice of the world is destroyed with an almost Biblical cataclysm. It boggles the mind.

Well, I’m sure this post helped chase away the post-holiday blues. Hopefully the next thing I write won’t be so…apocalyptic.

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8 Responses to “This Would Be a Really, REALLY Bad Beat”

  1. J.A.R Says:

    that’s one one-outer that I hope never hits 🙂 talk about a bad beat…

  2. Rob Says:

    Not to get anyone worried, but the NEO/JPL page was saying that, after last nights observations, the odds of 2004 MN4 hitting us went down to 1 in 37. I’d post the link, but it’s slashdotted right now.

    The good news is, there is plenty of time to do something about it. Space.com (http://www.space.com/) has an article today about B612, a group that has been looking into practicing moving asteroids. They seem to think that, if we get the data we need about 2004 MN4 by about 2012, we’ll be able to redirect the asteroid.

    2004 MN4 doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is knowing that if we get hit at all, it probably will be by one we never saw coming.

  3. BG Says:

    After reading this I immediately went out and bought me some asteroid insurance. If the Earth blows up, I get PAID.

  4. Lynn Says:

    Great site!

    🙂 Lynn

  5. StudioGlyphic Says:

    I went out and signed up for a platinum card that said “No payments until 2030” and “Unlimited credit!” That Bellagio suite’s on me. Oh, and if the asteroid misses or is otherwise diverted, I’m pulling a Fight Club.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting that you say they would redirect the astroid by 2012. I remember catching part of a show on Discovery about the Bible. Supposedly there are encoded hidden messages in it. One of them said the world is going to end in 2012. Cue Twilight Zone theme music……

    ChiefBigtoke

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Oops. Misread your post. You say if they get the DATA about the asteroid by 2012 they could redirect it. Still kinda weird…..

  8. Tokyo James Says:

    April 13, 2029… is that a Friday?

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