Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"oops" asteroid deflection

harnessing the power of The Stray Shot
  (+9, -6)
(+9, -6)
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Looking at accident reports and forensic investigations, one notices a deadly phenomenon: "stray shots" can do some amazing things. They bounce off walls, fly through a ventilation duct in the gun club, descend in a gentle arc and kill an elderly pedestrian half a mile away. Guns held by children and guns not thought to be loaded also have an amazing ability to kill in creative ways.

I suggest using this cruel natural phenomenon in asteroid deflection. I have the feeling that if we have just one shot to hit the incoming asteroid, the rocket scientists will think, aim carefully, and miss. (Possibly thanks to the knucklehead technicians who actually do the work)

Let's place a massive mass drivers on the moon instead. Powered by the abundant solar energy up there, they fire rocks into an eliptical solar orbit intended to cross the path of the asteroid. If the mass drivers could fire about once an hour, and we get the warning some months before, thousands of rocks would be heading towards the asteroid. By letting children and drunk gun enthusiasts run the targetting software back on earth the Stray Shot factor could be maximised. (rocks won't shatter the asteroid of course, the goal is to slow it down in order to alter its course slightly) Don't think about the carnage some of the other Stray Shots will do on earth. Just don't. It ruins the beauty of the plan.

undercover_neandertal, Oct 24 2004

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       Will targeting duties be the exclusive preserve of kids and drunken gun enthusiasts? Is there room for occasional drinkers with child-like attitudes, I wonder? Either way [+] for the attempt to harness Fate's ugly sense of humour.
DocBrown, Oct 25 2004
  

       There ought to be some sort of Murphy type law for this.
Ling, Oct 25 2004
  

       Meh, you would just end up killing us all before the rock even gets past the moon... [-]   

       I would like this idea though, considering I hate this planet and everything on it.   

       Thread also needs a few breaks in the paragraph...   

       No shutup I'm working on it...
EvilPickels, Oct 25 2004
  

       I always worry when they show shots on TV of people in faraway bits of the world firing into the air in celebration. What if some Afghan wedding party takes control of this Moongun (TM)?
moomintroll, Oct 25 2004
  

       We can send Ben Affleck into space (for an "indefinite" amount of time, bwahahaha) to work on this, since he's had all that experience from his work in "Armageddon."
Machiavelli, Oct 26 2004
  

       Aw, I thougth this was going to feature giant banana skins   

       Have a bun anyway, +
scubadooper, Oct 26 2004
  

       not so 'undercover' [-]
etherman, Oct 26 2004
  

       [+], except the scientists wouldn't miss on the second shot.
yabba do yabba dabba, Oct 26 2004
  

       can anyone explain where the 'h' went in 'neandert(h)al.'   

       Apparently its got two spellings now. Did the yanks kill it like the missing 'i' in aluminum.
etherman, Oct 26 2004
  

       Ah, I have read up on it. It was originally named "aluminum" by a Brit (Davy) but 2 or 3 years later Davy agreed to the name change to "aluminium" to be like the other "ium" elements in the periodic table. 100 years later the US changed the name back to "aluminum." So, you see, the US actually uses the real original British name for the metal.
bristolz, Oct 26 2004
  

       And pronounced "aluminuminuminuminum"
bobad, Oct 26 2004
  

       ripeness of the banana squared, divided by the object's mass raised to the power of the foot's hang time
scubadooper, Oct 26 2004
  

       The truly ironic thing is that in doing so, you would be altering the orbit of the moon.   

       Murphy's law would dictate that while you are shooting moon rocks at the comet, the moon ends up crashing into the earth.   

       But then again, some theorize that the moon was created by a large comet hitting the earth, and then the moon formed by the backsplash matter recombining....
sophocles, Oct 27 2004
  

       Suicidal as we always are.
EvilPickels, Oct 27 2004
  

       Sorry about this, but i have to comment on something that's somewhat off-topic. The "h" in "Neanderthal" is in the old German spelling, and was removed because it made no contribution to the pronunciation. Neanderthals are named after the Neander Valley, where their remains were first found.   

      
For some reason, although we say "aluminium", we don't say "platinium".
nineteenthly, Oct 27 2004
  

       Give the controls to a 4-year-old child and say:   

       "Whatever you do, don't press that button! Especially if you see an asteroid. Understood? The asteroid would explode and probably send strawberry bubblegum flying everywhere. OK? I'm going to leave the room now. Just remember: NO FIRING AT ASTEROIDS. Too much bubblegum inside. Understand? Be very careful. Bye bye. I'll be gone for a few hours. Here's a copy of Business Statistics Weekly in case you get bored. No pictures, but lots of fine print and numbers. You like numbers, right?"   

       ;)
not_only_but_also, Oct 28 2004
  
      
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