Globe meteor headline: Love it or hate it

Pynchonesque headline: A screaming

People are either loving the nod to Thomas Pynchon (specifically, the first line of Gravity's Rainbow) or hating it.

One person took issue not with the Pynchon reference, but with the subhead: "But it was not a huge meteor."

Interestingly, online, the Globe went all boring, replacing the Pynchon with "Meteorite alarms residents in Russian city."

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Imagine the horror

Imgine the horror if the meteorite struck eastern Mass, with the smug, self-satisfied wankery to which Shaughnessy would subject us all.

Oh, the humanity.

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Protected by wiretap laws

The meteor cannot be videotaped unless we first tell it that we are recording, right? We don't all have corruption/spam cams on our dash boards. Only the cyclists pack go pros and that bug-eye effect wouldn't make great TV for a media-hungry meteor.

(keep in mind that school-bus sized meteors drop in to Planet Earth every year or two - just not usually over million-person cities)

Yeah

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Swirlys finally wrong once, school bus sized+ objects are a once in a hundred year events (even as one could drop in tomorrow, it's just very rare)

Basketball sized ones come in regularly though. More over ~1000 tons of dust and smaller sized particles fall to earth every year.

JPL has put this event at around 60 feet (18 wheeler) and 7-10K tons. It was traveling 40,000mph and only took 30 seconds from entry to explosion, while leaving a 200 mile vapor trail. Pretty insane stuff!

Could have been worse, Tunguska was only slightly larger, 350 feet and was measured in the megaton yield.

IMAGE(http://ut-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/tunguska2-212x250.jpg)

Thanks for the Update

The information (scienceblogs) I saw on the day of the event estimated a smaller meteor and said that they are more common than we realize (every year or two). We just don't see them so much given how much of the planet's surface is not inhabited.

Here's how the estimates changed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/russian-m...

The Tunguska meteor was likely the size of that space potato that everyone was worked up about until this guy came screaming through a metropolitan area with over a million people.

Makes sense that the online

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Makes sense that the online headline was boring -- more SEO-friendly. I've read that print headlines tend to be more creative because their target audience is people rather than Google.

A Meteor in 617?

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Okay, being the worst-read person in the world, I would never ever, have gotten the Thomas Pynchon reference (so thank you.)

I think if it had come our way, a lot of people would have been injured (as my husband pointed out, many people probably saw the flash and then ran to the window to see what might have caused it. Thus, when the shockwave hit, they were near the shattering glass.) and some whackadoodle doomsdayer would have started shooting off his shoulder-mounted missile launcher, just in case this was a "Terrstack."

I think witnessing that would have been absolutely awesome, but also absolutely and completely terrifying.

I loved the effort

I didn't know the source but researched it when the topic first popped up on Twitter and loved it.

Before social media, if you had read the original headline in the newspaper and knew where it originated, you probably would have had a good chuckle, maybe cut it out and brought to work to show someone.

Social media helps make sure everyone knows about the cleverness of the headline writer, which is great for him. Everyone knowing about though takes away a bit of the "mystery" about it, though, if you know what I mean.

So, I'd say today's headline is a close second to the best Boston Globe headline ever.

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Not even in the same

Not even in the same ballpark. A literary reference just doesn't stand up to getting caught out spitting in the President's face.

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Could we survive?

Not the meteor ... although the potential for mayhem is quite high.

Could we survive several years of Globe stories about the meteor's impact on artisan cheese and garlic scapes? A full decade of stories about how the meteor was the turning point for some bored, navel-gazing highly educated baby boomer to chuck it all to go farm artisan lamb or become the epic life coach they always wanted to be? The new post-meteor attitude and style has affected the Boston real estate market and the impact on wealthy New Yorkers?

The Globe? The merest amateurs at that sort of thing

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Creating Hipsturbia is the ne plus ultra of that sort of writing run amok.

It is so painfully bad you have to wonder if maybe it's an attempt at satire (really? Somebody calls himself a "futurism consultant" and speaks of "Wittgensteinian villages"?). If not, you have wonder how Times style writers either keep from killing themselves or their subjects.