It seems that Taco
is going to give everyone in the US a free taco if the Mir hits a
(40 feet by 40 feet, or 12 meters by 12 meters for the
Imperially challenged) target in the South Pacific. I even heard a rumor
that they took out insurance just in case
they have to pay out.
So what are the odds of Mir (or any piece thereof) hitting a 40'x40' area?
Well, the area of a sphere is 4πr²—to make things easier let's
just say it's 12r² and use 4,000 miles (6,437 km) as r. That's
12*(4*103 * 4*103) which is 19.2*107,
normalize it to 1.9*108 and oh, let's say 2*108 or 20
million square miles (you gotta love exponents—makes the math easier to
work with). The target is 1,600 square feet (1.6*103) and there
are 5,280 feet per mile, so that makes some 28 million square feet per mile
(2.8*107). So multiply 2*108 by 2.8*107 and
you end up with a surface area of 5.6*1015 square feet for the
Earth. Divide that by the target area and you get 3.5*1012 which
means if my math is sound, one chance in 3.5 trillion.
Well, actually, not quite. That's the entire Earth and since most objects
orbit around the equator, the likelyhood of the Mir crashing in any
arbitrary location, say, the South Pole, is not likely. So let's restrict
ourselves to an area between 30° North to 30° South. To make it
easy (again) we can treat this as a cylinder, so the surface area is
2πrh, and plugging the numbers in and rounding 2π to 6, we end up with
an area that is approximately 10 million square miles, which increases the
oods to one in 1.75 trillion.
I don't think Taco Bell has much to worry about.
You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go
ahead, I won't bite. I promise.
The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or
entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent
links to that entry only. The format for the links are
simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are
interested in, say 2000/08/01,
so that would make the final URL:
You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day
portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.
You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's
intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the
page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in
using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If
you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that
It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name,
symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a
protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its
owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.