Welcome to another episode of “Stuff Falling from the Sky,” where we bring you stories of things you should absolutely be worried about bonking you on the head as you walk down the street.
I’m not talking about benign bonking here. New Yorkers, in particular, are used to having cold water from air conditioner condensation drip on them, or plummeting pigeon poop plopping onto their pates, or random pieces of buildings falling on them. The last one might not seem benign, but the proceeds from the lawsuit can be pretty hefty, more than making up for the brick that is permanently protruding from your neck and making you look ridiculous when you wear a scarf.
But “Stuff Falling from the Sky” is about the bizarre, the gross, and the civilization-ending items that have been bombarding us lately. Bats, for instance.
Thousands of them of fell on Australia in January. Major League Baseball immediately denied that this was an ill-advised promotional stunt for the equally ill-advised Major League Baseball games that were to be played there in March, by the very ill-advised Arizona Diamondbacks (5-17 as of this writing).
And, besides, not those kind of bats.
These were the flying kinds of bats, at least the kinds that fly when they’re not dead, or, as was the case for some of these, mostly dead. Authorities blamed a heat wave that had swept the nation. “It’s a horrible, cruel way to die,” Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland President Louise Saunders told The Courier Mail. “Anything over 43 degrees and they just fall.”
Of course, Ms. Saunders was speaking in Australian, so you should know that the American term for “43 degrees” is “109 degrees.” You should also know that, evidently, you can make a nice career out of bat conservation in Australia.
“If you find a bat it is very important not to touch it,” the local government told its citizens, although, with thousands of them falling from the sky, it was probably difficult not to touch them. You may be wondering why you shouldn’t touch a dead bat, especially if one has fallen on your shoulder while you are throwing some shrimp on the barby. “Some bats may appear dead,” continued the official, “but they are not and when people have attempted to remove them they have been bitten or scratched.”
Fortunately, the folks who were bitten or scratched were already dead from the heart attacks that occurred when the apparently dead bat suddenly came to life.
And speaking of human body parts…
…that is precisely what fell to earth over Saudi Arabia, also in January, which seems to have been a bad month for dead things falling to the ground (or a good month for it, if you like that sort of thing). I know what you’re thinking: why would a heat wave cause people parts to pelt the populace of our pals in the Middle East?
Well, you’re just stupid! This incident was in no way related to the Australian heat wave or its victimized bats. In fact, the body parts all belonged to one body, some poor schmoe who had stowed away in an airplane’s landing gear. If Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland President Louise Sanders thinks dying while flying during an Australian heatwave is a “horrible, cruel” way to die, she should try dying while flying in the section of a plane you sit in when you can’t even afford coach. You don’t get so much as a single peanut, and you end up having your various parts rain down over unsuspecting Arabs. On the plus side, though, there’s more legroom.
Boy are we lucky…
A former NASA scientist named Ed Lu has stated that the occurrence of asteroids hitting our planet is “3-10 times more common than we previously thought” and that “the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”
Statements like these might explain why Mr. Lu is a former NASA scientist.
(“Blind luck,” by the way, is the only kind of luck bats have, being, as they are, as blind as themselves. And we’ve already seen where their luck got them.)
But wait, it gets even better. Since 2001, asteroids have caused 26 explosions on the scale of an atomic bomb.
And yet…we didn’t know about them.
I know the Earth is a big place with lots of unexplored nooks and crannies, but how can we miss 26 atomic bomblike explosions? And how the hell can we get hit by 3-10 times more asteroids than we thought? I mean, is NORAD too busy tracking Santa Claus to notice all these boulders falling through our airspace? Is Google Earth focused too much on finding the lost continent of Atlantis to be aware of the rocks that are going to cause the lost continent of North America? Can’t Al Roker let us know if there’s a 70% chance of space pebbles?
But not to worry. Mr. Lu works for the B612 Foundation (send your donations now and get a free tote bag), which is developing the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope, an early warning system for asteroids.
It won’t actually stop the impact, but at least we’ll be aware when we’re about to get hit with a case of asteroids.
You know, so we can go out and buy some Preparation A.
See you soon.