from December 1, 2004
We at MJTT were taken aback by the recent news that a British schoolteacher in Manchester, northwestern England announced to 250 pupils at St Matthew’s Roman Catholic High School morning assembly that a meteor would smash into Earth within ten days. She used this occasion to urge her charges to return home and say a final farewell to their loved ones.
That warning was issued more than ten days ago. In the meantime, no dog has barked—a phenomenon that might mislead the casual armchair thinker into dismissing the good lady’s warning as either a stunt or a poor way to keep the children lined up at the confession booth on their repentant toes.
In our educated opinion, the schoolmarm was correct, in principle. Her mistake was in one minor detail: the schedule.
Our opinion was confirmed by a call to a friendly competitor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He agreed that statistical probability dictates that the world will eventually be struck by a giant meteor, probably wiping out the dominant species, Homo sapiens.
“We’ll go the way of the dinosaur,” he said cheerfully.
I inquired about the timetable.
“Anywhere from tomorrow to, say, 3.4 million years on.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. But then I wondered aloud: Was he doing the math in his head?
“My computer is an extension of my brain,” he replied off the top of his head.
“Well put,” I said sincerely—so sincerely that I jotted down his flippant aphorism, boldly meaning to take it as my own.
We chatted on, exchanging info on our latest projects. He informed me that he was working on the question of the existence of mental telepathy. I informed him, inadvertently, that MJTT was working on the question of whether neo-evolutionist thought was compatible with the theory of Intelligent Design.
This was true, up to a point. We have that question on our long-term agenda.
But first things first. Our planet must be saved. Immediately after bidding our mutual adieux, I fell into deep thoughts on the problem of defending the earth from the coming Big Meteor Hit.