Friday, August 10, 2012

They're Stars, Moron

Just in case you haven't caught on to all of my screaming and yelling about how doomed we are, here's another example that should make it extremely clear.  Granted, this article is from about a year and a half ago, but after I tell you the content of it you're going to think that it was written a couple hundred years ago. 
It's an article from the LA Times and it's discussing how folks in rural areas around Los Angeles want to preserve their view of the night skies by having the surrounding cities have zoning ordinances that deal with lighting.  See, when there are too many lights on the ground it makes it difficult to see all of the stars in the sky.  I understand that you don't have a right to see stars in the skies, but I think stuff like this is nice and that stars would fall under a category dealing with nature.  I'm all good with preserving nature as long as things don't start getting ridiculous.  (eg, Sorry little titmouse, but we need a freeway extension over here.)  But I digress. 

The article goes on to talk about how most Los Angeles residents are not able to see the stars in the night sky because of all of the lights in the city.  That makes sense.  What did not make sense to me is this: "So foreign are the real night skies to Los Angeles that in 1994, after the Northridge earthquake jostled Angelenos awake at 4:31 a.m., the observatory received many calls asking about "the strange sky they had seen after the earthquake."  Wait.  There's more  "We finally realized what we were dealing with...The quake had knocked out most of the power, and people ran outside and they saw the stars. The stars were in fact so unfamiliar; they called us wondering what happened."  Ummm...what now? 

That's right.  Many people called the Northridge observatory wondering what in the hell those twinkling lights in the sky were!   I don't even know where to start!  How can anyone who can figure out to call an observatory to ask a question about the skies and space not know that those lights in the sky are flippin' stars?!  That's the part I don't get.  OK, that's one part I don't get.  The main part that I don't get is how anyone doesn't look up in the sky, see a bunch of lights and not know that they're stars!  They couldn't noodle that one through on their own?  More than one person called a scientific organization because they couldn't get "stars" to register in their brains?  This was 1994!  Not 1004!  1994!  The Hubble launched in 1990!  I'm pretty sure it sent back spectacular pictures of, among other things, stars!  But that's really neither here nor there because what ELSE would those things in the sky BE?! 

Doomed, I tell you.  Completely doomed. 

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