Feedback is our weekly column of bizarre stories, implausible advertising claims, confusing instructions and more
“Fancy buying a house on the Moon?”, an email that plops into Feedback’s inbox asks, continuing, before we have a chance to say, “Not particularly”, “It would cost you £234k a MONTH!”
“With Earth becoming increasingly populated and space technology advancing, it won’t be long before lunar living becomes the new normal,” this email, which appears to have come from a price comparison website, asserts. Yes, they were saying that back in ’69, too.
Mind you, recent revelations about lunar infrastructure developments such as kilometres-high concrete towers and fully operational sperm banks (20 March) might be enough to convince us this is an idea whose time has come.
Alas, “Living on the moon is not as simple as life on Earth” – a statement Feedback would definitely describe as the under-variety. Building and transport costs, land licences and a property markup of 27.61 per cent, plus such boondoggles as solar panels, industrial-strength heaters and meteor-proof windows, mean we are looking at a surprisingly precise £44,525,536.42 for a first-time buy. Plus £1 billion for the nuclear-powered option.
What planet are they on, we can only ask. Although, considering the pre-pandemic prices of some of the real estate we see from our London penthouse stationery cupboard, the answer might well be Earth.
Lost in the post
In that pre-pandemic spirit of peering moodily into estate agents’ windows wondering who lives in a house like that, we find ourself moved to browse the Lunar Registry. This is the virtual shop window of the International Lunar Lands Authority, a body tasked – by itself, we presume – “with administering and allocating real property located on Luna, Earth’s Moon, and registering ownership claims to properties on the Moon on behalf of individuals and business entities around the world”.
Vast lava plains are very much in this season, we note, with land parcels on the hopefully named Mare Imbrium, or Sea of Rains, commanding an impressive $130.26 per acre at our time of looking (with a 35 per cent discount on 10 acres). Meanwhile, the going rate for an acre on the Sea of Tranquillity – the historic scene of the Apollo 11 landings – is just $52.61. Anticipation of just too many darn tourists blasting in and out and parking their moon buggies on the verges, we imagine.
Sad to read, though, that shipments of titles to lunar land outside the US may be subject to delays and restrictions owing to pandemic-related postal problems. Feedback considers this an unexcitingly 20th-century technology to rely on. Those in a hurry can download a PDF, but we are holding out for delivery on one of Elon Musk’s rockets, preferably one that doesn’t explode shortly after touchdown.
On second thoughts, we’ll wait for the post. Even this pandemic will be over before it’s time to assert our lunar land rights.
Coming out in the wash
We are as mystified as Ros Hancock by an ad for washing machine cleaning tablets that keeps popping up in her Facebook feed. “According to experts, the rate of bacteria counts exceeding the standard for household washing machines is as high as 81.3%,” it states.
We think it is trying to say that our assumption that washing machines are largely self-cleaning is invalid, perhaps by as much as 81.3 per cent. Whether we need a “triple Active Oxygen Decontamination Complex” to remove 99.9 per cent of bacteria and other pathogens lurking in the drum among our errant smalls is another matter. Another of our assumptions is that the remaining 0.1 per cent will soon reoccupy the vacated space.
Pray for a vaccine
Stuart Arnold was casting around for vaccination centres with available appointments near his home in south-west France when he happened upon one in Lourdes.
The tourism authorities might have wanted to keep that one quiet, he suggests – pilgrimages to the town for healing via other means being a thing. On the other hand, Stuart, if it works for you, how are we to tell whether it was the vaccine or St Bernadette?
Full of beans
Somehow it is always Feedback’s colleagues who are pressing the latest research on how caffeinated beverages improve productivity from their jittering hands into ours. We say “research”; we actually mean a PR puff dreamed up by someone with an interest in selling coffee and related products. An easy enough mistake to make in the early-morning brain fog.
As ever, though, it raises more questions than it answers. If an espresso boosts productivity by 80 per cent (an average of five standardised tasks done in an hour before drinking a shot, nine after), we are left wondering why latte drinkers could only manage two tasks in the same time frame before a caffeine infusion. Equally, we marvel at how the tip-top productivity of drinkers of Irish coffee was improved still further by a nip of the hard stuff. Well, it has been our saviour during lockdown.
Yes, that is Carolyn Beans you see writing about vanilla on page 46. Over and out.