Monday, July 20, 2009

Ten Questions to Infuriate an Astronomer

To celebrate today's 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, I thought it might be fun to try and infuriate an astronomer by asking the most insultingly dumb space-related questions possible. The only thing I didn't plan on? Finding an astronomer who not only can take it but dishes it right back. The results, as they say, are intriguing.

Let's see if we were able to break his spirit even a little bit, shall we?

(Please be aware: Question #10 contains spoilers for the end of Battlestar Galactica.)

1. I’m a Gemini. Can you tell if I’ll be lucky in love this month?

Great to know that you're a Gemini. Whether you'll be lucky in love this month has more to do more with how low your standards are and less to do with when you were born. However, if you were born in the 1950's and matured sexually in the 1960's, I gather your chances for love back then would have been greater.

2. Why don’t the aliens get more credit for building the pyramids?

Credit is a hard thing to come by. The hope is that President Obama's "Yes We Can" approach to the economy will cause credit to flow. And who knows, perhaps then the aliens will get their due...after they pay for health care that is.

3. Speaking of aliens, have you ever been to Area 51 and if so, do they have a cafeteria and if so, what’s the food like?

I have been to Area 9 and 3/4. Hogwarts was nice.

4. To me, the Moon looks like a sort of light cheddar but I’ve heard others refer to it as a brie. What flavor do scientists think it’s made of?

I believe the consensus is that the Moon is made of gouda.

5. Warp drive technology: what’s the big hold-up?

Budget cuts. Our warp engineers are now working at the Sunglass Hut.

6. How much money did the government save by faking the Moon landing rather than actually going there?

I believe the savings from the Moon Landing were just barely enough to fund the Watergate break ins.

7. Why do observatories always close when it rains? That doesn’t seem fair at all.

I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it might incriminate me.

8. You know that alien face on Mars? Do you think the alien monsters who made it really captured its good side?

Are you referring to Gondar? Gondar was the artist that NASA arranged to sculpt the face on Mars. Though Gondar hails from Omicron Persei 8, it is my opinion that the sculpture faithfully resembles the subject. In this case, Gondar was sculpting a dune.

9. If an asteroid ever comes close enough to the Earth to threaten our existence, will Bruce Willis – or a movie star like him – have enough time to get into space and blow it up?

Bruce Willis can do anything.

10. What the hell happened with Starbuck?

Don't get me started. My blood boils when I think of all the time and energy I invested in that show. Angels? Really? Angels? Ronald D. Moore should have his pens and pencils taken away and his fingers broken for that ending. It's damn near criminal. I'd be surprised if charges weren't being drawn up at The Hague.

THE RESULTS: Confuse him with an astrologer, insinuate his Moon landing was fake, promote the idea of a cheesy celestial body and the only thing that angers the astronomer is "Battlestar Galactica." Go figure. I wonder what it'll take to enrage a physicist?

A very special thank you to astronomer and all-around good guy Michael Narlock for taking part in this absurdity.
Listen to Mike every Friday night on "Event Horizon", an online radio show on Or check out his work at


Amey said...

I wonder what it'll take to enrage a physicist?

Big Bang Theory? ;)

That's a fitting tribute...

Sara Jo said...

I kind of want to marry him. When does he get to be Nerd Man of the Month?!

This was so hilarious. I am sending it to all my astronomer friends (er, my one astronomer friend)!

Anonymous said...

This was brillant. You are both hilarious!

crone51 said...

well done. Next time leave spoiler warnings. I just introduced a friend to BSG and this blog at the same time. Am hoping she doesn't stumble onto the Starbuck thingy...

Sara Jo said...

Oh, also, has this astronomer heard of Chuck Norris? Chuck Norris could just think the thought and the asteroid would explode.

Cara King said...

Gouda? That explains a lot!

(FWIW, Amey, I'll just say that my physicist dh loves Big Bang Theory. Though a Mars Rover driver friend refuses to watch it...) :-)

Aging Hipster said...

Very, very funny ... though I had to skip through the last question quickly as I thought there was a BSG spoiler and I am only up to season 3.

Kimberly said...

Ask the physicist about Intelligent Design. That'll get him/her going!

The Pea Picker said...

Omicron Persei 8! Yes.

Ms. Meg said...

I suggest confusing physicist and either psychic or pharmacist.

Note: the number one most annoying question to drug store pharmacists is "Do you know where the milk is?"

Anonymous said...

You just spoiled BSG for me - thanks a lot! :(

Liz said...

Okay, I've added in a spoiler warning at the beginning of the post. Sorry if I ruined it for anybody. I should note, though, that anyone who's worried they've been spoiled should know that the ending of BSG is ambiguous and nothing Mike said should be considered the be-all and end-all.

I didn't think I needed spoiler tags for this given that so many of the other BSG sites I've been on have lifted the spoiler embargo because the finale aired four months ago. So I wasn't trying to ruin anything for anyone -- I just figured enough time had passed.

Michael J. Narlock said...

BSG spoilers? Good gravy. Ok, here are some more.

1. In Titanic, the boat sinks.
2. In Ghostbusters, ghosts get busted.
3. In every Will Smith movie he says, "Aw hell nah!"
4. Bruce Willis always wins.

Just a Reader said...

All these comments about spoilers intrigues me and I think could be an important discussion that will shape how the PB writers blog in the future.

BSG aired it's last episode 4 months ago. What is the time frame of something being a spoiler to no longer being a spoiler? Personally, what was posted in this blog post doesn't come close to a spoiler for a few reasons.

One, 4 months is a long enough time. If you JUST started watching that is your problem to be honest and your going to get spoiled here and there and it is inevitable. I suspect the argument against that is that people don't always watch things when they happen. Ok, then should blogs like this one not mention movies like Star Trek The Wrath of Khan or Return of the Jedi in case a few readers never got around to watching it yet?( I have not seen Khan personally) For me, 4 months is enough time to not worry about spoilers. When I started watching Dr. Who this year I got spoiled, oh well, pretty much expected and no fault of the person who spoiled it.

Two, this post contained no actual spoilers imo. It was one person's take on it but gave no concrete info on anything. Obviously I can't get into a discussion since explaining it might give away an actual spoiler and no need to feed the flames as they say.

Three, This site has always done an outstanding job of making sure not to cross the spoiler line. When they discussed the BSG finale days after it aired there were spoiler warnings, recently they have posted stuff that turned out to be spoilers and they quickly rectified it. They clearly do not go out of their way to spoil anything like say the site Don't go to the front page there less than 12 hours after a series or season finale. One of their 4 buzz topics is always a spoiler.

Just my 2 cents on this matter.

Sparhawk2k said...

C.J.: Psychics at Cal. Tech and the Fermi National Accelerator Lab are close to announcing what...
JOSH: Physicists! Theoretical physicists at Cal Tech
C.J.: Not psychics?

Cara King said...

Here's another way to annoy certain physicists:

You: What do you do?
Phys: I'm a theoretical physicist.
You: You're a physical therapist? Cool!