Wisdom Through Humor
Seeking Constellation

by Mak Faene

I've got a like/dislike stance on planetariums.

On one hand, a planetarium is one of the most pathetic signs of our backwards, technophiliac and just plain idiotic society. To have to enter into a domed building and sit around the most elaborate slide projector you'll ever see, in order to observe the sky! What are we Mole People? Drive a half hour out of your silly light polluted city and you can leave the fancy giant projector at home!

Despite this blatant stupidity, I went along with some friends to the Montreal Planetarium the other night for the other reason. The reason my opinion of planetariums isn't completely negative: Education.

Though exploration and research of space is (again, in my humble opinion) one of western civilization's most costly wastes of time, money and environmental resources, I have to admit that I'm a sucker for learning about what they've come up with so far. Planetariums just happen to be great for that kind of thing. You've got these passionate nerds who are more than happy to go on and on about celestial phenomenons. It's just a shame it wasn't out under the real stars rather then under a dark dome where the brick and mortar outlines of it's construction are still visible. Not to mention the bus load of young teens across the way who'd really rather be somewhere else on a Friday night. Save for a couple of them who are trying to make the best of a bad educational situation by attempting to visually record their planetarium visit with the help of flash photography. And you realize that something as simple as the concept of trying to take a picture of a projection using a flash... Is somehow lost on most people. Enjoy the pictures of that white brick dome, kids.

Despite that, my friends and I did have a swell time under the fake stars, following the nerdy narrator's pointer around the fake sky. Leaving the planetarium we stood in the parking lot staring at the black cloudless sky. There wasn't a star in sight. We could make out Saturn and Jupiter for we'd just learned that they were the brightest bodies of light this time of year, but the city's wasteful coat of electric light prevented us from experiencing what human beings have been able to enjoy for thousands of years.

So there you go, check out your local planetarium, go indoors to get outdoors. Or watch the learning channel, I'm sure they've got all kinds of space programming.



Filling The Void

00/Dec/01 - Bruised, battered and free in a world bound by the hypnotic network pendulum.

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