Greg Walsh


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Those Darn Rockets

Thursday March 11, 2004

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minutes

A very interesting courtesy shuttle driver explains why the weather in Maryland is whacky and why cars aren't electric.

Thursday morning 8:40AM. At a local tire and battery shop, I dropped off my Super Hot Fiancee (TM)'s car for new tires. I wasn't feeling well, it was cold, and I needed to get to work so I asked if they had a courtesy shuttle to take me there.

"I need the van up front" the desk attendant said over the PA. I went outside and waited for the van.

It pulled around and I got in. An older guy was the driver. He didn't smile when I said Good Morning. I explained that I was going to ride my bike from the garage to work but it was so cold. He chuckled and said it wasn't summer yet.

We started talking about the weather and because it was supposed to snow that night, I mentioned I could deal with snow at Christmas but didn't like it any other time. He said "I remember when it was like that... up until they started sending rockets up. I'm old enough to remember a time like that."

Um, did he say until they started sending rockets up? Rockets? Like to space.

"Rockets?" I asked. "Yep... whenever NASA shoots off a rocket it changes the rotation of the Earth slightly," he answered.

Um, ok. "That's why the weather is weird now. The Earth's rotation has changed so dramatically over time. I learned that in science class. I didn't like school that much...but I had this one teacher who talked about stuff I was really into. They should stop sending people up and work on the problems here"

I looked at his name tag embroidered thing and it said AC. I thought it was funny that a guy at a tire and battery place was named AC. Batteries work on DC power, and a car's alternator converts DC power to AC power...this is how a wannabe physics nerd thinks.

"I mean that's why compasses don't work anymore. Compasses used to work a lot better than they do now. They really should fix some of the problems here"

"Wow I never noticed that" I said "Maybe the NASA scientists should work on fixing stuff like that. I bet if they launched rockets from the other side of the Earth they could balance it out after a while."

"Nope they don't think that way. They keep shooting those spaceships off from the same place that have been for 50 years."

We were getting near my work...

"My teacher told us that you can tell when the launched a spaceship because the weather is weird that day. If it's supposed to be a sunny day and all of a sudden it just check your'll see...they launched a rocket that day"