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There are many things around which have either hazily defined locations or have locations that are entirely unknown. Such objects range from small and insignificant items to entire islands or continents.

Atlantis

This is an old one. Basically, Atlantis was an island (although some claim that it was a continent) which was once a prosperous an enlightened nation, but which sank under the sea due to earthquakes/volcanic activity/the Wrath of the Gods.

The fact that no one has the first clue where it is, or even if it ever existed, has not stopped hordes of people dedicating their lives to finding it. However noble this may sound, these people are generally driven by the quest for the mountains of gold and riches which are fabled to lie there, but if you ask them, they will say that they are only in it for the benefit of mankind. Uh-huh, sure. The only person who means it when he says that “this belongs in a museum” is Indiana Jones.

Do not confuse the island Atlantis with the space shuttle Atlantis. The location of this is known – it is currently residing at Cape Canaveral. However, soon the exact location of the Atlantis will be a little hazier, as it is scheduled to be retired and used for spare parts for the remaining shuttles.

The Star Wars Galaxy

The location of this one is hinted at, but not very clearly. Whenever some one tells you that a galaxy is “far far away,” they are not helping. The estimate for the number of galaxies in the universe is general given as 100,000,000,000+. This is what is commonly called a big number’. “Well,” I hear you all say, “surely we can whittle that down by ignoring the near ones?” Yes, we can.

The nearest galaxy that is not the one we are in is the Large Magellanic Cloud, at a distance of just 168,000 light-years. If you could walk there, it would take you (by my calculation, given a constant speed of 4 miles per hour – so no sleeping) a bit less than 10 billion years. This is another big number. Given that the galaxies have this horrible habit of getting further away the harder you look for them, and can be as far as 14 billion light years away, which is just silly, it should be obvious that all galaxies are “far far away.”

Not quite. You have forgotten about this one. That’s right – we can now say with confidence that since a galaxy is clearly not far far away if you are in it, the Star Wars Galaxy must be one of the other 99,999,999,999+ galaxies in the universe. So it should be easy to find, shouldn’t it. Any volunteers?

Osama bin Laden

Everyone’s favourite hide-and-seek team-mate, Osama bin Laden, or Ozzie as his best friends call him, currently has a unknown location. George W. Bush did do his best to pinpoint his location by claiming that “he’s hiding.”

It is fairly likely that he was at some point in a cave. Also it is assumed that several times he has had reasonably close proximity to a video camera. Other than that, no-one really knows.

A particle with a known or partially-known momentum

One of the many manifestations of quantum weirdness is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This much bandied-about buzz-word states that:

ΔxΔp >= h-bar/2

Or in English, you can’t know both the position and momentum of a particle exactly, and the better the knowledge of one gets, the worse the other gets.

The True Leader of the Free World™

If you ask any American who this is they will probably say that it is their current president. However, since the rest of the world can usually see that this person is often a barely literate monkey, a sleazebag or a psychopath, this is a worrying concept. To alleviate their anxiety over the fact that a man with the intellectual capacity of a small child has full control of the big red button, they have invented the title of the True Leader of The Free World™.

The location or identity of this super-powerful all-controlling entity is entirely unknown, as is the way that he/she/it governs the world. There are many theories, and even more groups dedicated to exposing this Leader. Many have assumed that the Leader is necessarily evil. Given the firm location of the world in a handbasket on the arm of a courier on the Highway to Hell, this may well be true. However, it the Leader is toppled, we will probably have to face a world where the President of the United States of America really is in charge. Now that is scary.

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