Monthly Archives: November 2013

Top 5 stargazing locations

1. North Korea

North Korean Army

With no industrial activity or street lighting to pollute the atmosphere with soot or light, North Korea is probably the best place on Earth to see the stars at night. However, getting into the country is difficult as the government has strict controls on tourists and any sort of outside influence, to prevent the possibility of any economic activity that would otherwise ruin their crystal clear skies. And, presumably, to give North Koreans dying of hunger something to feel superior to the rest of the world about.

2. Antarctica

Mt_Herschel,_Antarctica,_Jan_2006

If you’re not a fan of 70’s Korea or a permanent internship at one of their work camps, Antarctica is similarly untouched by human activity, if you discount the frozen human waste that is just left there and never spoken of again. As one of the driest locations in the world, not only can you see stars that would wouldn’t in the Northern Hemisphere, but get 24 hour nights to see them, and the Southern Lights to boot. This provides the ideal opportunity to one-up your friends who managed to see the Northern Lights in the comfort of their own country last year, or took a mere three-hour flight into the Arctic Circle.

3. The Moon

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For those with a more generous budget the Moon is the single best stargazing location in the Solar System: it has no atmosphere of any kind to get in the way, while boasting relatively close proximity to Earth. $1.2 billion will buy you a cramped little module on the head of a giant space dick, and potentially the interest of the US government. Constraints on baggage are high, made worse by the fact that with the temperature swinging between 130C and -170C, you’ll need to pack both summer and winter clothes.

4. Northern Chile (VLT)

The_VLT%C2%B4s_Laser_Guide_Star[1]

(Not to be confused with the Veal Lettuce Tomato sandwich) If the Moon is luxury, then Chile is a package holiday to Benidorm, about as exciting and imaginative as the telescope’s name. Hosting the planet’s largest telescope means that bringing your own will not be necessary, and is probably better than that piece of shit you bought from Argos. Enjoy the sight of stars, planets and gamma ray bursts otherwise invisible to the naked eye, with the added bonus of craning over an eyepiece while you spend more time trying to adjust the focus than seeing stars and philosophizing and how small you feel and drawing analogies to your sex life.

5. Earth before the Industrial Revolution

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

If neither money nor the laws of physics are an object, just dial the clock on your time machine back three hundred years. Travel insurance is a must: if the food doesn’t kill you outright, the doctors probably will. It’s also strongly advised not to use your phone: while you will be charged at local rates if you stay in the country (and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to leave with a passport that hasn’t even been issued yet), they will be in 1713 pounds so they’ll cost an astronomical amount in the present day, and that’s without including the late fees incurred by three centuries of non-payment.

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Conservative party to turn lead into gold

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And we didn’t even have to delete the Internet to do it.

Following the Conservative party’s complete success in erasing all traces of their broken promises, which include a freeze on VAT rates and a pledge to keep Education Maintenance Allowance, David Cameron has given the go-ahead to a plan to transmute lead into gold.

The Prime Minister explained that the difficult part is over. “We’ve successfully removed any evidence that we pledged to keep universal child benefits. After that, coaxing the 10^27 or so protons to undergo electron capture to turn lead into gold is trivial.” As of yesterday, none of the ten pledges listed in this article can be found anywhere on the Internet, and especially not archived in the British Library.

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One in five suns has habitable world capable of hosting Youtube comments

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Astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler telescope estimate that up to one in five stars could have planets where lifeforms evolve on them capable of posting on Youtube.

Currently, it is accepted that the best chance for intelligent life to arise is on planets that are of similar size to Earth and within the host star’s habitable zone – where water can exist in its liquid state. Simpler forms of life, on the other hand, have a far broader range, as they don’t require warm temperatures or the higher metabolic rate to maintain a brain that could add a semblance of coherence to posts made on the internet. They also wouldn’t be in a position to complain about whichever god-forsaken rock they evolved on if they’re too stupid to build a space program.

Dr. Walter Hurst, one of the astronomers analysing the data at NASA, explained that the information is there for the taking. “We could point our radio telescopes at these planets to see if any of them are broadcasting Youtube comments but we’re too scared of what we might find. It’s a harrowing thought when you think about the millions of inane, poorly written sentences generated by this planet alone. Now multiply that by a fifth of the stars in the entire galaxy and you can understand why we’re not bothering. We’d rather focus on finding intelligent life instead.”

His peers don’t share his isolationist views. “We need to get out there as soon as possible. We need to find as many planets capable of supporting life as we can, and nuke them from orbit before they get a chance to create organisms that can use a keyboard without the language skills to go with it.”

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