Strangely Consistent

Theory, practice, and languages, braided together

November 30 2009 — gobsmacked but still in the loop

55 years ago today, a meteorite struck a radio and then a woman).

The Sylacauga meteorite fell on November 30, 1954 at 2:46pm (18:46 U.T.) on the town of Sylacauga, Alabama.

It is often improperly called the Hodges Meteorite, which was a fragment of the meteorite. The Hodges Meteorite is the first documented extraterrestrial object to have injured a human being. It was a grapefruit-sized fragment of the Sylacauga meteorite which fell on November 30, 1954. It crashed through the roof of a frame house in Oak Grove, Alabama, bounced off a large wooden console radio, and hit Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1923-1972) who was napping on a couch. The 31 year old woman was badly bruised on one side of her body but able to walk. The event received worldwide publicity.

Whoa! Shame about the bruising, but... I don't know, there's something about being the only (documented) human having been injured by an extraterrestrial object that sounds both profoundly meaningful and slightly silly, without really being either. In a cosmos where the stars and the powers-that-be seem aloft and unconcerned, one piece of interstellar rock zones in on Alabama, Earth, burning as it rubs against the atmosphere...

The meteor made a fireball visible from three states as it streaked through the atmosphere, even though it fell early in the afternoon.

...crashing through the roof of a house, bouncing off a frackin' wooden radio, and finally colliding with aforementioned Ann Hodges. I mean, I... wow.

As if that wasn't enough, then there's the legal aftermath, and the obligatory greed.

The United States Air Force sent a helicopter to take the meteorite. Eugene Hodges, the husband of the woman who was struck, hired a lawyer to get it back. The Hodges' landlord, Bertie Guy, also claimed it, wanting to sell it to cover the damage to the house. There were offers of up to $5,000 for the meteorite. By the time it was returned to the Hodgeses, over a year later, public attention had diminished and they were unable to find a buyer willing to pay much money.

Ann Hodges was uncomfortable with the public attention and the stress of the dispute over ownership of the meteorite. Against her husband's wishes, she donated it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History where it is displayed at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Good call.

<masak> last day of November blogging, and I have no idea what to do for the Perl 6 part.
<mberends> masak, one question for you, are you still in a strange TDD loop on crack?
<masak> mberends: yes, but I haven't pushed any of the code yet.
<masak> mberends: much of GGE was developed with that TDD framework.
<masak> no wait; all of it, in fact.
<mberends> maybe blog about your progress there
<masak> hm, yes.
<masak> time is running out for actually _doing_ anything today anyway.

What mberends++ is referring to is tote. I already wrote a lengthy second post on it, but it was so tl;dr, that even I didn't read it afterwards.

So I'll just summarize that post here, in a (hopefully) more digestible form.