Tag Archives: space

We Have to Leave Earth Anyway, So Which of Humanity’s New Planets Is Best Suited for Golf? (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Theoretical physicist and humanity-terrifier Stephen Hawking announced last week that Earth is a doomed cesspool of unstoppable ravage and decay, which is something we obviously all knew already. But the renowned scientist was good enough to put a number on his doomsday prophecy, reporting that we humans need to locate, travel to and colonize another planet within about 500 years, give or take, depending on traffic.

For the most part, this is fine — it’s getting pretty hot around here anyway, and those of us here in Indiana can fund the trip with the sale of our beachfront homes. But while “scientists” and “theoretical physicists” and “those charged with deciding who will travel to this new planet, which should include plenty of tallish gray-haired Slovaks, just saying” debate which planet we should lay waste to next, we here at The Loop have different criteria: Where the hell are we going to play golf? Before we rush into any rash planet-colonizing decisions, let’s break down our potential new homes in the solar system.

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Company seeks volunteers to live on Mars, arrive with Earth-shattering kaboom

Pictured: Basically how all this is gonna go down

Pictured: Basically how all this is gonna go down

GateHouse — Having pretty well established over the past two or three weeks that things on Earth are pretty unsalvageably jerked up, I think I’ll go ahead and cut my losses and apply for this one-way flight to Mars thing. I don’t know much about Mars, other than they have an Olympus Mons and we shot a rover there one time, but I’m pretty sure that if 90% of people support something on Mars, the Martian Congress will figure out a way to get it done.

Last week a Dutch nonprofit company called Mars One, founded by an entrepreneur named Bas Lansdorp, because his parents couldn’t think of a more Dutch name to give him apparently, announced it was looking for people to volunteer to become the first humans to live on Mars. They don’t need a lot — just four initial colonists to shoot on over, set up a colony and then, of course, never ever come back. It’s kind of like an interstellar-travel version of a Carnival cruise.

It’s a one-way permanent vacation that probably requires at least a little bit of travel insurance but according to Mars One thousands have already applied because, again, I mean, (makes “I mean really just look around” motion). But there are naturally questions about whether any company can swing the technology and financing, which is estimated to be $6 billion for the first four colonists and $4 billion for each subsequent crew of four, although the 10th crew is free and you get a free colony on your birthday.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cak1xly8oUM]

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Innocent Mars rock becomes most famous space-laser-debut victim since Alderaan

Actual footage

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GateHouse — Is there some reason the Mars Curiosity rover isn’t the lead news, the 720-point dominant headline, the screaming neon BREAKING NEWS ALERT of the day, all day, every day? Is anything else truly happening that resonates on such a primal, galactic, mysterious, steam-shooting-out-of-your-ears level? Paul Ryan? Preseason football? A guy from “Saturday Night Live” talking about tax policy? This is all you’ve got? Nothing else that can match, in pure wonder and damn-right impressiveness, a sedan-sized space car that we parked on a DIFFERENT PLANET? Oh wait, according to this Major American News Website, “Boy’s head lodged in guardrail.” Sorry, professionals! Get back to work!

Well, while the TV networks clamor to see if anyone might show up with a saw, here’s the latest news about the Mars Curiosity rover: It is shooting Martian rocks with laser guns.

To recap: Last fall, we sent a thing to Mars. Shortly after, it arrived at Mars. If this was the end of the story — Thing We Shot At Mars Actually Freaking Made It To Freaking Mars — it would be cause enough for a joyous celebration tinged with childlike wonder, the turning over of some cars, and, I don’t know, probably some half-naked frolicking in the streets of whatever place space people hang out most — I guess that would probably be New Mexico? Where do nerds hang out these days? Is GenCon still happening?

Yet you likely do not know this story, which appears currently on a Major American News Network’s Web Site next to another headline that reads “Man floats with dog to ease its pain.” Which is sweet, unless he’s floating with the dog by holding onto it, which I have to surmise would cause more pain that it would ease, what with all the thrashing and wet-dog smell.

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You have been the worst solar flare ever. GO BACK TO THE SUN, LOSER

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A NASA probe speeds away from the sun's recent solar flare, which was destroyed by the Empire.

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GateHouse — HEY, SOLAR FLARE.

YEAH, I’M TALKING TO YOU, LOSER. THE FLARE LOOKING THING, IN SPACE, THE ONE THAT’S SOLAR. You suck. You are the worst solar flare ever. You are a pink fluffy unicorn of solar flares. You are a fragile porcelain mouse of solar flares. You are a Hallmark Christmas ornament of solar flares, one of the ones with a basket full of puppies waiting for Santa with cookies or something. One time in 1999 I had to evacuate my hometown for a hurricane that ended up sputtering out over the Atlantic and arrived as the kind of autumn shower best used for frolicking and making sure one’s azaleas are sated. You are the Blooming Azalea Spring Shower of solar flares. Try to look cool in front of your black hole friends now.

Sigh. My apologies for using valuable Internet to yell at a galactic event that I do not remotely begin to understand, but I have good reasons:

  1. I find that most of my problems can be solved by yelling.
  2. It wasn’t even a galactic event, really. This big-shot solar flare that was supposed to burst forth from the sun, scorch its way across 93 million miles of cold black space and rock the Earth like a solar hurricane did what I can best describe as jack squat, given the inconsiderate confines of the average newspaper reader’s sensibilities, and apologies to my grandmother, for whom “jack squat” is probably pushing the limits of what’s acceptable discourse among respectable company. (Sorry, Grandma, I write dumb jokes and “jack squat” is kind of right in my wheelhouse.)
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NASA’s plummeting death-satellite: Cloudy with a chance of spaceballs

All of these objects will one day fall out of space onto your house, but try not to worry too much.

GateHouse — I think if we can agree on anything, it’s that none of us have ever had to worry about satellite parts raining on us from space.

Oh, sure, there’s a lot we have had to worry about this week — George Lucas adding more stupid crap to “Star Wars,” panther attacks, our ridiculous doomed “government,” that stupid ticker on the new Facebook that just keeps yapping away about what my friends are listening to on Spotify which is about 500 kinds of obnoxious and also I need to talk with my friend Aaron about what is evidently some kind of Sunday morning Phil Collins fixation — to name a few.

But if there’s anything that brings us together as a people and binds us as humans, besides football, it’s the ability of the American people to band together, join their figurative hands and say, “None of us need worry about being whumped by plummeting space satellite debris, because when our broken space junk starts raining home someone with a computer will know what town it will be-crater.”

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TAKE US WITH YOU, SPACE BACTERIA

At left: CI1 carbonaceous chondrites. At right: Just some rocks.

GateHouse — You guys might have missed this last week, as the news cycles were thick with unimaginable disaster (Japan) and unimaginable stupid (everything else, let’s just pick two random ones how about “Martha Stewart is a grandma” and “Timberlake/Biel split” whoa wait really?), but a scientist says he found life in space. This is an unprocessably big deal, the culmination of millennia of stargazing and decades of technologically wondrous exploration and hundreds of terrible, terrible movies with Will Smith in them, and yet as “confirmed alien life” does nothing for you in the page views department let me also very quickly mention that I can help you find out WHAT REALLY SPLIT UP JUSTIN AND JESSICA. (I don’t want to give it away, but Martha Stewart = totally involved.)

(It also doesn’t help that this guy has been more or less shoved given a metaphoric swirly by his colleagues, but as I’m just here to make dumb jokes, not get in the middle of a nerd-fight, let’s just press on.)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, late at night, on a corner of the Internet very few people frequent because it rarely contains information on the porny antics of a man best known for making cornball sex jokes on America’s second-dumbest means for delivering alleged comedy (you’re reading the first), it was reported that Science located evidence of extraterrestrial life. This, of course, is no great shakes, as we’ve learned that science is to be selectively ignored and distrusted, so it’s understandable that it took a little while for a story confirming the EXISTENCE OF ALIEN LIFE to find its legs, or tentacles, or amorphous bulbous glowing laser-firing appendages, whatever they have up there. (I’m hoping that at least there’s something akin to a tauntaun, but that’s just me, I get cold easily.)

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Spacehog – In The Meantime

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Orange billionaire sends Spandau Ballet into space; they did “Rock Me Amadeus,” I’m pretty sure

Pictured: Spandau Ballet, or Dexy's Midnight Runners, or possibly Taco

GateHouse — As it is the New Year and a time for rebirth, rededication, refueling, rebranding and at least three weeks of semi-consistent exercise which will gradually taper off and then eventually plummet to a zero-baseline in what will almost certainly become a fiesta of couch-sloughing and chocolate frosted donuts by early February, I would like to make several Important Proclamations for my little columns in the year 2010:

  1. No more hidden messages; reading each first letter down vertically will no longer reveal coded instructions to any of the secret societies to which I once belonged. My apologies, Order of the Sphinx Bullfinch, but you’re just going to have to figure out some other way to control Parliament.
  2. I officially retire the belief that if you say something funny to me in an email or IM, I both own and thought of it, which I am doing entirely of my own volition and not because of any threatened legal action or anything, so just stop looking at me like that, all judge-y.
  3. No more puns about cows. Nobody likes them, and they tend to put readers in a horrible moooood.
  4. No more embellishing, outlandishing, stretching, fabricating, exaggerating or embiggening things to make for “better stories” or “dramatic tension” or “because the things that actually happen to me are not remotely funny.” And this very instant by promising to you, the reader who is killing time waiting for something to load in the other tab or for the dryer to beep already, that I know this much is true:


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Attention, The Moon: Your days are numbered, jerk.

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Look at The Moon, being all smug.

GateHouse — Well, everything seems under control down here: What’shisname, the dingus politician, is off “Dancing with the Stars” because of a deviated coccyx or whatever; Jon and Kate have been quietly locked away and are, with any luck, currently being tortured; health care reform is pretty much done, except for the details about excluding the very short. There’s only one thing to do when things have reached such a state of calm, measured stability here on Earth: destroy the moon, immediately.

Luckily, NASA’s with me on this excellent plan, though they have been resistant to some of my awesome other ideas, such as the Scaffold to Jupiter and the Space Crocodile and the Buzz Aldrin Memorial Floating KFC, which was scuttled when I couldn’t secure funding from KFC and it was also revealed that Buzz Aldrin was not dead. Last Friday morning, the organization, which once actually got a bunch of federal dollars to do this kind of space stuff, catapulted a spacecraft named LCROSS into the moon’s South Pole, to kill off all of its remaining penguins.

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Space is trying to kill us (as usual)

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GateHouse – I should probably lead here with the bad news: We’re all going to die.

I know it seems like I’m saying that an awful lot these days. The thing is, I have a Google alert on the phrase “We’re All Going To Die,” and the wretched thing goes off several hundred times a day. It went off when they found the pharmaceuticals in the drinking water, it went off when the anthrax was being mailed everywhere, it went off when the White Sox won the World Series, it went off on Election Day 2004, and it still goes off every time someone older than 11 years old says “BFF.”

But at the risk of seeming redundant — and, it should be noted, wrong, since if you’re reading this there’s a better-than-average chance you are not dead — this time we really, really are going to all die. Really. No, really. I mean it. Stop looking at me like that. Start, I don’t know, flailing your arms and rioting in the streets or something.

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PLUMMETING SATELLITE IS GOING TO KILL US ALL

GateHouse – I don’t mean to alarm you, but you and everyone around you are soon going to die.

So if you haven’t recently called your Mom for a little “Five People You Meet In Heaven” emotional cleansing, if you have any particularly egregious sins that need repenting or if you have anything left on the Bucket List to tend to, now’s probably as good a time as any.

Also, if you’ve been looking at that giant plasma-screen but weren’t sure you could really afford it, well, I’m no financial adviser, but I think it’s probably OK to knock yourself out. You can’t make payments when you’re hurtling through space, so you may as well spend your precious last few hours on Earth absorbing “Celebrity Rehab” in sweet, glorious high-def.

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