Guess When Mir Will Come Down
I've been irritated with Mir for a while. It's up. It's down. It's up. It's down. It's saved. It's dead. It's broken. It's fixed. It's broken again. It's fixed again. Weeks ago, I started putting notes on Mir story submissions that came in, which said, "No more Mir stories until pieces start falling!". I even promised that we wouldn't post any more about Mir's troubles. But here I am, breaking that promise. Mir needs to be put down.
Guess when Mir hits the water and win a t-shirt from yours truly. Here are the rules:
1) Use ISO format in a comment submitted to this story - don't e-mail me. ISO format is 'YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS'. Thus, a prediction for the afternoon of March 13 would be '2001-03-13 14:23:07'. All times are Eastern Standard Time in the United States, unless Mir makes it until we go on Daylight Savings Time. Your time prediction can be anywhere in a comment submitted to this story. Note that Slashdot stops allowing new comments on a story a few days after it is posted, so if you don't make your guess now, you won't get a chance later. Use ISO format so I can find it with my browser's find function later on. Closest guess wins.
2) Mir's splash time will be judged by reading the first reports submitted by the major fast-response news networks - CNN, AP and Reuters, in that order. I'm looking for a sentence like, "The first pieces of Mir hit the water at [time]." If none of them mentions a time when the first chunks of Mir hit the water (or land, as the case may be) I'll look for a time mentioned when Mir enters the atmosphere. If we still don't have a time (unlikely, I think) I'll resort to other major news sources, NASA, etc.
3) Cunning readers will note that Mir's ephemeris is publicly available and limits the likely splashdown times to various windows. You could probably substantially improve your chances of winning by doing a lot of research and calculations, not that that would be very time-efficient for a $15 t-shirt.
4) One entry per person, please. I'll contact you through the e-mail address you used when you signed up for an account.
5) Winners will be judged as soon as possible after Mir splashes. I'm the sole judge. There is no appeal. Void where prohibited. If you know me you can't win. However, if you have influence over Mir's trajectory and can influence the thing to come down at the time you picked, you win two t-shirts. No cash value. Contest prize consists of a t-shirt from Thinkgeek or Copyleft, winner's choice, provided by me and not Slashdot, VA Linux or anyone else.