When you subscribe to a crapload of feeds that have overlapping subject matter, you see interesting themes emerge. In the astronomy subblogosphere, the recent news about the double galaxy 3c321 has sparked yet another competition over who can come up with the coolest headline. In case you haven’t heard about it, 3c321 consists of two galaxies, one of which is shooting a jet of particles at the other (via its black hole) which could strip the atmosphere off any planets in that galaxy. Here are the headlines I have collected in the wild:
- Bad Astronomy: Taste my death ray, 3c321!
- Space.com: Galaxy blasts neighbor with deadly jet
- NASA: ‘Death Star’ galaxy black hole fires at neighboring galaxy
- NASA Image of the Day: Black Hole Bully
- Discovery News: Galaxy zapping neighbor with deadly beam
- National Geographic: ‘Death Star’ galaxy found blasting smaller neighbor
- Celebritycraps: Black Hole ‘Owns’ Galaxy!!!
- Cumbrian Sky: ‘Death Star’ galaxy lets rip…
- BBC: Black Hole ‘bully’ blasts galaxy
- ArsGeek: I swear, some peoples galaxies…
And the list goes on with variations on the theme. Almost as shocking as the campy puns are the multitude of posts that just regurgitate titles from the major news outlets.
This phenomenon is not limited to the domestic abuse in double galaxy 3c321. I have observed it occur again and again. I suppose it comes from probably three different causes: catchy headlines attract readers, blogs are supposed to be creative outlets and so bloggers try to be creative (and I guess newspaper editors as well), and a natural desire by people to show off their wit. I decided to combine all three by going over the top and using a fake word just to make it rhyme. The result attracts readers, is creative, shows off my prodigious wit, and thumbs a cynical nose at the blagoblag for its absurdity while ironically increasing said absurdity. Insert arrogant, fake, British-gentleman laugh here.
As a side note, wouldn’t be interesting if we’re actually witnessing a galactic war between two ridiculously advanced civilizations who don’t mind taking millions of years to kill each other?