Campus Life

Squid vs. Whale

I am so not going to spend the last minute of my life doing 8.01

Thoughts of an (imaginary) MIT student on US Airways flight 1549:

Ugh, the ascent always takes forever. Why can’t they hurry up and let me use my electronic devices? I really want to watch that DVD screener of “Slumdog Millionaire” on my laptop. Stupid FAA, it’s not like my laptop is actually going to interfere with the guidance systems. Black boxes don’t run on 802.11b. Gah, these guys are idiots.

I hate these Airbuses. Why don’t they have power ports? I’m gonna have to under-clock my processor so I have enough juice to last to Charlotte. Man, IAP isn’t even over yet and I could really use some caffeine. Where’s that beverage cart already?


Crap! What was that? Eerie silence. Seriously, did anyone else notice that? Smells like my 6.002 lab. Holy shit. Are the engines gone? Oh shit shit shit, we’re losing altitude, this is not good.

Why me, why me, why me? The odds of this happening are like a million-to-one. No, less. Hold on, I bet I can figure this out. Wish I could just Google it — no time to get the iPhone out. Okay. Think. Think. The odds have gotta be less than dying in a shark attack or bee sting, so that must mean it’s like 52.6 million-to-1. I wonder if that’s normalized? Do you think there are geographic dependencies? Like the fact that I’m falling onto Manhattan? What about factoring in that I’m on a shitty Airbus? God this sucks.

I can’t believe I’m actually going to die on an Airbus. This is why you never let Europeans make planes. I wonder how fast we’re going? Okay, I can totally back-of-the-envelope this. Just assume the plane is a sphere of uniform density, no sweat. Wait, wait — I am so not going to spend the last minute of my life doing 8.01.

Shouldn’t my life be flashing before my eyes? There’s so much I have left to do. I just got my Death Knight to level 80 and I’m about to get a full set of Tier 7. Crap. If I’m not here, who’s going to lead the raid tonight? I wonder what will happen to my gear if I die? I wish WOW would let you bequeath BOP items. Stupid Blizzard.

Oh man, and I’m never going to get a chance to see “Watchmen”. That trailer rocked. I hope it’s better than “The Spirit”. Although Scarlett Johansson is so hot. I should spend my last seconds of life thinking about her. Her and Summer Glau. River Tam is so awesome. I bet she could survive this plane crash.

Brace for impact? What is this captain thinking? It’s not like moving my head is going to make a difference when a 20-ton aircraft comes crashing into something. Oh man, is that the river? Okay, maybe we have a chance, despite the fact that hitting the water at 60 miles per hour is like running into concrete. But still, people survive airplane crashes all the time. I could be one of the survivors — if only I’d passed my swim test.

AHAHHAGHSGHASHGAHSHG this sucks. Okay, think positive. This plane must have a fairly decent glide ratio. Figure with all the flaps extended, our final velocity will be only about 160 miles per hour. Factor in a shallow angle of descent. We got a chance, man. We got a chance. Dude, I crash-landed my plane a thousand times on “Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat” back in the day. If I can land a P-51 without any engines and bullet holes in my chest, this guy can bring us down. If I die, I wonder if my Mac LC will be waiting for me in heaven. Playing “Sim City” during computer lab was so much fun.

I wonder what my chances of living are? They always say the back of the airplane is the safest place, and here I am in seat 15A. I wonder if that function is linear. I wonder if they have data on whether window or aisle makes a difference. These windows don’t look too sturdy.

Everyone’s all quiet and praying and stuff. Why can’t people be rational thinkers? Praying’s not going to help.

We’ve only got a few seconds left, better bone up on the safety instructions. It might help. Better than cramming for algorithms. Okay, let’s see: “put your head between your knees”, “your seat may be used as a flotation device”, “assume a brace position”... hehe, assume the position.


Owwwwwww I was not expecting that. Lame. Oh man, now we’re spinning... ugh, I feel all that Anna’s from lunch coming up. Not cool, not cool.

Okay, deep breaths, deep breaths. Hey, good news, man, you’re going to live! That’s awesome! I can still raid tonight! Tier 6 here we come!

Oh shit, water is entering the plane. Can’t swim, can’t swim, can’t swim. That’s it — next IAP I am so taking a swimming P.E. I swear I will­­ — just as long as it doesn’t interfere with Mystery Hunt.

Alright! Time to leave the plane. Gotta get out quickly. Wait — no one’s taking things with them. I need my laptop. Do I take my laptop? Uhhhhhhh. Such a hard decision. What if I die because I was trying to take my laptop with me? That would be such fail. Shit, this is so difficult. Okay. I’m gonna power the laptop on and maybe I can shell in through my iPhone if the plane doesn’t sink. This is what I get for not backing up my stuff. Okay, next IAP, I’m totally backing up all my files. I swear.

Sweet, I am out of the plane. Damn this water is really, really cold. I wonder how long until I get the hypothermia. Screw the FAA, I can check that shit right now! Okay, iPhone out. Going to Google. Wait — better update my Twitter, my guild is going to be so geeked out when they hear about this. “Crash landed plane in Hudson, gtg, being rescued. CU at Naxx tonight 7 p.m. EST k l8r.” Gotta do my Facebook status next. Oh wait. Dude, I could totally be like the first person to post this on Reddit. That’s going to be so much karma. Man, today’s like the best day ever.