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An Englishman In New York: Aliens, Ambassadors And Astronomers

So now Planet Earth has a person appointed to greet visitors from other planets, as David Thomasesson reveals.

Do visit David's entertaining and provocative Web site http://www.britoninnewyork.com/2010/09/poor-english.html

Aliens, Ambassadors And Astronomers

So now Planet Earth has a person appointed to greet visitors from other planets, as David Thomasesson reveals.

Do visit David's entertaining and provocative Web site


Two interesting reports concerning aliens appeared in the UK’s Telegraph online newspaper.

Apparently the UN is to appoint a space ambassador to greet alien visitors. Aliens who landed on earth and asked: 'Take me to your leader' would be directed to Mrs. Othman.

Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, expects to be tasked with co-coordinating humanity’s response if and when extraterrestrials make contact. My goodness, there are even details about this proposed role. The 58-year-old is expected to tell delegates that the proposal has been prompted by the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars, which is thought to make the discovery of extraterrestrial life more probable than before. Mrs. Othman is currently head of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). UNOOSA, as in someone has a screwa loosa! And yes, this organization actually exists.

In a recent talk to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that someday human kind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. “When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject.” Ah, so phrases in the Alien Greeting Handbook such as “what took you so long?” and “what does that do?” may not be totally appropriate.

The plan to make UNOOSA the co-coordinating body for dealing with alien encounters will be debated by UN scientific advisory committees and should eventually reach the body’s general assembly. Opinion is divided about how future extraterrestrial visitors should be greeted. Under the Outer Space Treaty on 1967, which UNOOSA oversees, UN members agreed to protect Earth against contamination by alien species by “sterilizing” them. Mrs. Othman is understood to support a more tolerant approach; perhaps an allover sponge bath and a cappuccino latte?

Moving along, it was also reported by Pope Benedict XVI's astronomer that the Catholic Church welcomes aliens. Yes, really. Highly evolved extra terrestrial life-forms may be living in space and would be welcomed into the church - "no matter how many tentacles", one of the Pope's astronomers has said. And, believe it or not, he added that the Church would be happy to baptize them. Question, how would they know which way is up, and what if they’re allergic to water? Other than spouting rubbish to reporters who ask stupid questions, presumably prepping for April 1, the Pope’s PA (personal astronomer, I kid you not), Brother Guy Consolmagno, is also the curator of the Pope’s meteorite collection. Rock on Benny!

The reporter goes onto say, that this pronouncement opens up the possibility of space missionaries, (Jesus jockeys?), heading out to the stars to convert aliens to Christianity. Yes, I know, I can hardly contain myself either, difficult to believe that a serious science reporter actually wrote this. Speaking on the eve of addressing the British Science Festival, Dr. Consolmangno said he had no problem with science and religion co-existing together. But he dismissed Creationism and claimed that the revival of “intelligent design" – the controversial theory that only God can explain gaps in the theory of evolution – was “bad theology". Dr. Consolmango, one of a team of 12 astronomers working for the Vatican, said the Catholic Church had been supporting and funding science for centuries.

Why, oh why does the Church need astronomers, and not just one but twelve? I suppose that number has a certain symmetry to it. Well, well, still trying to prove Galileo wrong after all these years. These guys really hold a grudge don’t they? The Pope’s astronomers work in a state-of-the-art Vatican Observatory, established behind St. Peter’s Basilica in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII. And they scan the heavens with the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, presumably known as the “Pope scope.”

It’s comforting to realize that whatever’s out there, the Pope’s rocks are nice and shiny. So there you have it; tentacles, pentacles and testicles.

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