Look, up in the sky!

A giant snake is swallowing the moon! We’re all doomed – doomed, I say!

Wait! There’s a priest here who claims he can wrestle with the snake, and force it to give the moon back. It will take him some time – just enough time for us to bring all the gold we have in the village to him. Quick, quick, grab all the sacks you can and bring him the gold!

Seriously, it definitely gives you some perspective about the world. Who cares about that deadline, just how much does cleaning up after dinner tonight really mean, when you can see something as wonderous as a sky truly full of stars, and the dark side of the moon?

Archaeologist and antimatter humor

As Steve said about why it’s important to keep funding high-level physics research:

“Archaeologists can’t threaten to work abroad on antimatter weapons if their funding proposal to dig up a Roman house gets turned down.”

An excellent argument for needing to understand the whole picture when thinking about funding.

Plus I was just happy to see I was finally picked up by Planet Apache, and wanted to prove I was reading it too.

Don’t get plutoed!

2006 Word of the year, as noted by (respected? heh) http://www.americandialect.org/ organization. Although it feels topical, it’s actually quite a good candidate for a word of the year (immaterial of the actual social impact of the granting organization), since Pluto has been part of our world’s vocabularly for quite some time now. It really is a change, even if it is a technical distinction.

“To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto …”

Sorry, ol’ Pluto

We knew you well.  You’re still there, of course, out in your eccentric orbit and fellow plutonian objects, but the official astronomers no longer call you “Planet X” anymore.

I think the definition makes sense.  It just doesn’t seem to have been argued very eloquently, and it certainly wasn’t communicated to the unwashed masses as well as it could have been.  Think of it as an excuse to get astronomy back on the front page!  Get kids excited about looking up at the sky!  Think of some way to present it (and present the endless meetings they probably had) that’s exciting, instead of vaguely confusing to the average reader.

For those of you under 40, do you ever wish you were a boomer, and had been alive and old enough on that day in 1957?  That was magic.