Today has been what’s most-definitely called a big news-event day, from all things financial — the ongoing stimulus package finally passed Congress, bank CEOs were grilled on Capitol Hill, more fallout came from yesterday’s unveiling of Bank Bailout Two and Bernie Madoff’s old lady snatched $10 million from a brokerage firm the day before the old schemer was arrested — to horror stories from overseas, such as the series of highly-coordinated, audacious strikes by Taliban forces on government offices in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing at least 26, and reports of multiple bomb blasts throughout Baghdad, Iraq, leaving at least 18 dead.
(Illustration found here).
And this evening, the Washington Post reported: Two Huge Satellites Collide Over Siberia!
- The Pentagon and NASA are scrambling to assess the risk to spacecraft and the international space station from hundreds of pieces of debris created in the collision Tuesday of two satellites 491 miles above Siberia.
NASA’s initial estimate is that the space station faces a “very small” but “elevated” risk of being struck.
The situation is unprecedented.
Scraps of spacecraft and other orbital junk have crashed together previously, but this was the first incident involving two intact satellites.
One was an Iridium satellite launched in 1997 and used for the company’s satellite telephone network; the other, a Russian Cosmos satellite launched in 1993, had been non-operational for a decade, NASA and Pentagon officials said.
The military can track space debris as small as a baseball.
The U.S. Strategic Command monitors 18,000 distinct pieces of debris, according to Reggie Winchester, spokeswoman for the command. That number will jump by at least 600, the preliminary estimate for the number of pieces of debris from Tuesday’s collision.
Even a very small object packs tremendous kinetic energy at orbital velocities, which are on the order of 17,500 mph.
And another rarity:
- Rescuers dug their way through the remains of houses and businesses on Wednesday after a rare and deadly February tornado ripped through a small Oklahoma town on Tuesday night.
The medical examinerâ€™s office confirmed 8 people were dead, and local authorities said 46 were injured.
Tornadoes are rare in February, â€œat least for this far north and west,â€ said David Andra, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla.
The last fatalities during a February tornado occurred in 1975, with three deaths, he said.
And what’s been expecting for awhile — An indication this whole, freakin’ financial mess is even worse than straight-talking President Obama admits, that the economy is an ER trauma patient near death:
- (Treasury Secretary Tim) Geithner struck a different tone in his speech.
The patient he diagnosed is nowhere near ready for ambulatory care or physical therapy.
Rather, it’s struggling to breathe without life support.
Worse, it is still in danger of infecting the whole hospital.
The financial sector, pro-cyclical on the way up — easy money begat more easy money — is also pro-cyclical on the way down.
“Instead of catalyzing recovery, the financial system is working against recovery,” he noted.
And a terrible, nasty situation made also even worse:
- A pedestrian was struck by a sport utility vehicle on a street in Corona, Queens, on Wednesday morning, then immediately struck again by a cargo van that dragged the victim 17 miles through a web of city highways and to Coney Island in Brooklyn, the police said.
The pedestrian, apparently a male, was killed.
And now real news from Movietone.