Sunday, January 4, 2009

How I Wonder What You Are

You know how in movies and on tv, it's a big romantic gesture to give someone a star. Not literally--thanks, Neil Gaiman--but by registering it in that person's name. Now love will shine and last for eons, blah blah blah.

You can really do that at the International Star Registry. What could be more romantic, right?

Except it's total crap.

In their FAQ:

  • Am I buying the star?
  • A: No. We do not own the star, so we cannot sell it to you.
    This is like adopting the star. This star is associated with that special someone. It is something you can point at to know that there is something special out there for you.
  • Q: Will the scientific community recognize my star name?
  • A: No. We are a private company that provides Gift Packages. Astronomers will not recognize your name because your name is published only in our Star catalog. We periodically print a book called Your Place in the Cosmos © which lists the stars that we have named.
So it's kind of like saying, "You're not actually buying the diamond, you're just adopting it. You can come in the store and see it any time." And they don't actually own anything, so they can't really sell it. Except they'll give you a certificate, a star chart, and necessary info to find this little adopted star.

In the same way, can I "sell" things I don't own? Want to adopt George Clooney? I'll send you a certificate that says you are his adoptive parent/sibling/bestest friend. How about adopting China? Sure thing, a certificate (in Mandarin!) is on your way. Feel like adopting the moon? I'll even send a little "moondust" with that one.

Beware of people who give you a star. Unless it looks like Claire Danes, it's not really yours.