Stories and News No.11: An asteroid, the conflict of interest and Berlusconi’s house



The Story:

March 2 2009 2:45 a.m.
"Yes?" God said when someone knocked at the door of his office.
"I’m Peter, Boss..."
"Come..." And once the other was inside: "Pete, how many times I have to tell you not to call me Boss?"
"Lord, why don’t you like it? The Boss, as Springsteen..."
"Who?"
"Nothing... About music you have remained at the time of creation..."
"Hey... I have a work to do. You came here to discuss my music tastes?"
"I see your work..." Peter muttered. "You’re playing with the videogames..."
"I'm not playing!" God protested. "I'm trying to understand what is so attractive in these objects. You know it’s my duty to take account of all the fetishes that are idolized by humanity..."
"And how this fetish is?"
"Cool ... Uh, that is, I have to think about..."
"I understand."
"By the way, how the launch went?"
Peter made a step forward and replied: "Sorry, it was a flop..."
"In what sense?"
"In the sense that we didn’t beat it..."
God's face suddenly assumed a purple colour: "Bring here Galileo," He said trying to stifle the anger, “Immediately!”
Few seconds and a visibly old man, with a long gray beard came into the office.
"Galileo!" the Lord exclaimed when he saw him on the threshold. "What happened?"
"And yet it moves!*"
"What?!"
"Nothing, excuse me... it’s the force of habit..."
"Yes… I repeat: what happened?"
"I'm sorry; there was a variable that I hadn’t calculated..."
"What variable?"
"Do you remember the conflict of interest of that prime minister?"
"Yes, vaguely ..."
"It still exists..."
"But there is not a law that obliges him to respect?"
"I don’t know, maybe. The problem is that the country you know, where you have that basis..."
"It is not my basis! Those who claim to represent me are the owners, not me..."
"Okay, but people that live there don’t protest anymore and the minister is still abusive. So this thing disturbed the launch, that's all!"
God stood for a moment in silence, very thoughtful.
Then He intensely watched Galileo and said: “Listen, repeat all the calculations and, most importantly, take care of all that is improper in that country, okay?"
"I think it will take a long time, Lord..."
"The time you need. Find another asteroid, and this time get the target."
Galileo went to the door and asked: "The target… it’s ever Berlusconi’s house?"
God looked at him with an almost devilish smile and replied: "And after what has happened, can you even ask?"

*In Italian "E pur si muove". The Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei muttered this phrase after being forced to recant in 1633, before the Inquisition, his belief that the Earth moves around the Sun.


The News:

CNN.com March 3, 2009: Asteroid passes close to Earth.
You had a close encounter with a 40-yard-wide asteroid this week, but the astronomer who first spotted the large rock said it's nothing to worry about.
Asteroid 2009 DD45 on Monday passed within 38,000 miles of Earth, less than twice the height of the geostationary satellites we depend on for communications, according to Robert McNaught of the Australian National University.
McNaught, who watches for asteroids with his telescope 250 miles northwest of Sydney, Australia, discovered the approaching rock last week.
"It's not something to worry about, but something to be aware of," he said.
While a direct hit on Earth could be a devastating natural disaster, McNaught said keeping track of asteroids can make a hit "potentially preventable."
"If discovered in advance and with enough lead time, there is the possibility of pushing it off course, if you have decades of advance warning," McNaught said. "If you have only a few days, you can evacuate the area of impact, but there's not a great deal [else] you can do."

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