Press Release

01 April 2011

The Spanish Government sells the IAC to Google

With a surprising and bold decision slated to spark a lot of political and scientific debate, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MCINN) has sold, for an undisclosed amount, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) to Google. The Secretary of State for Research disclosed this morning that "due to the tight budget restrictions imposed by the current economic crisis, the MCINN has run out of money and cannot afford any longer to keep the IAC alive and running." The Secretary added that "The IAC is perhaps the most prestigious research center in Spain, but when the financial situation is so compromised, even the crown's jewels must be sold." According to an anonymous inside source, "the MCINN was already on the brink of bankruptcy, and the extra funds it had to shell out to create permanent staff positions for the Ramon y Cajal fellows [a kind of tenure-track program, ndr] was the straw that broke the camel's back".

New Logo IAC
The new IAC logo

Google has announced its acquisition of the IAC with great fanfare, stating that the IAC is going to become one of its most important strategic assets, and will be fundamental in creating a new revolutionary service, Google Horoscopes, to be launched next month. Google shares at the Madrid stock exchange have gone up by 3.47%, and an even larger increase is expected in the US when the local stock markets open.

The Google spokeperson was very forthright in asserting that "IAC researchers have everything to win and nothing to lose by joining Google. First, as a good will and welcome gesture, we will raise the salary of all of the IAC staff by 10%, which will more than make up for the infamous 5% cut applied last year by the Spanish government. Second, Google is strongly committed to the advancement of science and technology, and all IAC scientists will be encouraged to keep carrying on they research activities, to attend astronomical conferences and workshops, conduct observing runs, etc. However, we expect that a nominal part of their time will be devoted to astrological duties, such as drawing planetary charts, writing personalized horoscopes, answering people queries by email, chat or phone, and a number of other related tasks. The most good-looking and smooth-talking scientists will also be invited to participate in videos and in TV programs."

The executive VP for Google Horoscopes remarked that "the outstanding supercomputing facilities managed by the IAC, and the excellent support staff, will be instrumental in developing this new service. They will be used to formulate horoscopes based not only on the position of the major planets, but also on the position of the largest asteroids and the brightest comets, thereby making our predictions far more complete, accurate and reliable than ever."

The IAC has not released yet any official statements or comments. We have however been able to contact the former IAC's Research Area Head. He said that "As a Sagittarius born with Gemini ascendant and Saturn in the fifth house, I'm skeptical by nature. Moreover, I have just lost the little faith I had in astrology: last month I called Rappel [one of the most famous Spanish astrologers, ndr] to ask about my future, and he utterly failed to predict such a dramatic change in my professional life. However" he added somberly "I still believe that seeing my respected colleagues work as part-time astrologers is much preferable to having them out on the street begging for money".