Tag Archives: astronomy

Meanwhile, In Space

stormI’m online, watching images of a hurricane the size of two Earths on the surface of Saturn, and I’m listening to a literal rocket scientists explain to me all of the things that are weird about it. Being on Saturn is already weird, but he doesn’t sound like he expected any hurricanes there at all.

Most hurricanes are over water, he reminds me, and yes that seems true. I kind of have the vague feeling that it’s not just because we call them something else if they’re over land, but that the water is functional. It feeds the storm system, cooling air, evaporating, affecting air pressure.

Yes, says the rocket scientist, but he doesn’t elaborate, I’m still guessing as to why. But yes, hurricanes are normally over water, and there’s no water on Saturn. Also, this storm is locked at the north pole. We’re used to storms that lumber around and then break up and are gone. This is a really weird kind of hurricane, says the rocket scientist.

Okay, and I believe him. In fact, it sounds to me like Saturn is about to implode into a new star, but the rocket scientist doesn’t seem to be worried about that, and starts talking about something else.

The whole time he sock puppets me through the information, they’re showing me images and sometimes video of Saturn, shot from the Cassini spacecraft, which has been hanging around Saturn for a while now. I was the kind of kid who could tell you all the planets and how many moons they had, sat around in my room staring at pictures of them. Now we’ve sent a robot to Saturn, and I’m watching what it saw on my lap.

solar flareThe hurricane’s been rolling for years, locked at the north pole of Saturn, the wind blasting along at three hundred miles per hour. They’re going to keep an eye on it, while they watch meteorites break up into streams, possibly forming Saturn’s rings. While they map the seasonal plasma changes in Saturn’s magnetosphere. And while they study the ancient hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

Yes, and then I’m watching a commercial for some kind of car, thinking about how we’re sitting here in the future, poking around Saturn, and then another video shows up.

This one is a three-year time-lapse of our own Sun, complete with solar eruptions and a vast solar wave. They even play nice, New Age music that makes bloggers feel all introspectively New Agey when they watch it.

Pretty soon I’m thinking about the world we live in, the rabid, barking gun control debate, the bitter, grueling election. People blowing up in Boston, Syria, London, Iraq, you name it. A strike team killing bin Laden. Little flying robots killing civilians. An arch-villain corporation poisoning our food supply while we march in the streets, or don’t.

Here we have evidence that the Universe doesn’t care that much. If we want something in the Universe to care about this stuff, we’re going to have to care about it ourselves.

DrifterI find myself feeling weirdly better about everything, looking into an improbable alien storm. Watching the Sun keep spinning along, barfing plasma, burping solar wind. You got a choice, humans, says the Sun in the only way it knows how to speak. You folks figure out how to get along and work together, move from world to world, or I’ll eat you. I’ll explode one day, and I’ll eat you all, even in a billion years while you kill each other with lasers or sticks. You work it out or don’t, squares.

Some pretty effective New Age music in that three-year Sun montage. Got my philosophical panties in a bunch, yessir. I think I’m going to go and grab a beer, take that edge off. You stay here, blogosphere, and think about how much we matter. I’ll be back in the morning.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well Look Who Wants Some Help From NASA

One thing Newt Gingrich, NASA, and I all agree on is that we need to get some guys up to the Moon and build a little city, and then we need to get some guys to Mars, get their pictures taken, and then build a little city there, too.

Yes, that’s a lot to take in, and if it makes you feel any better, that is an exhaustive list of the things Newt Gingrich and I agree upon.  But bear with me here.  I’m about one-third serious.

Sure – I know we don’t have any money to throw around turning the little pictures in my head into reality.  I do admit, that’s a giant chunk of it, for me – nothing intellectual, I just want people on Mars driving around in little bubble cars with ray guns on them, preferably fighting monsters (and preferably winning).

So don’t start lecturing me about the budget.  I’m a screaming liberal – you can jam that budget right up your ass, we’ll buy whatever I say we’re buying.  Now get out there and create some jobs you lazy millionaires, I’m running up quite a tab here for crying out loud.

Maybe there’s some indigenous Martians we can steamroll over – something for the both of us, right?

I do agree though – NASA could do a better job marketing itself.  To be blunt, they don’t blow stuff up very often, but when they do it’s big, crazy expensive stuff, there are sometimes people in the stuff, and it’s always right on camera.  They don’t get a lot of air time when they do it right, you get about five seconds of footage – There go those crazy astronauts!  Look they took a panda bear and a treadmill with ’em this time!

Sure but right when they blow something – good lord, it’s awful.  They usually have to spend most of their effort trying to sockpuppet their way through an explanation of how any of this is even possible in the first place.  Then we pick out words that stick out because we understand them, but which don’t make sense.

Tiles?  What the hell are you taking about, tiles?  Spaceship tiles?  Why does the sky burn spaceships?  It doesn’t burn me.  It doesn’t even burn the horizontal kind of airplane.  Shit, it doesn’t even burn the tiles!

So we get all mad at them, like we do at regular tech guys on Earth.  Just Old-Fashioned, Language Barrier At The Drive Thru Window frustrated and mad.  Except we need our computers, we use them every day and we realize it pretty quickly, so we tolerate the terrestrial Tech Guy.

But do we really need these smug Super Tech Guys talking crazy to us while they blow stuff up?  It’s hard not to run through it in your head – would I even notice if you guys weren’t in space, screwing around? 

Then sometimes they hold dramatic press conferences and make everybody think they’ve discovered life on some other planet or a freaking time warp or something, but instead it’s something else, something you don’t even know what the hell, and they have to explain to you why you should be so excited about it. 

Or other times one of them puts on a diaper, drives across state lines, shoots somebody.  They end up explaining that yes, they sort of wear diapers sometimes in space, and yes, you can go Space Crazy.  “We used to really keep that shit under our hat til the Internet showed up,” they tell us.

Yes, and nobody likes the price tag and nobody ever taught them how to fudge the price tag.  They just come out and tell us, yeah, we’re going to crash this robot into Venus, see what happens.  Be around eighty million dollars but it’s going to be sweet, get some whiskey.

They should just price everything they do in terms of countries.  The Moon Base, for example, will probably cost us a couple of annualized Canadas.  I mean, I know where we can get one of them, sure – but where the hell are we going to get another?

I don’t know, Republicans – that’s your problem.  Just get out your checkbooks, there’s a killer asteroid coming and I’ve been busy blogging, so I’ll have to get you back on the next one. 

You heard me.  See for yourself – here’s the article, right from one of your notorious neo-conservative websites:  Asteroid 2011 AG5 May Pose Threat To Earth In 2040.

Now, put down your hookers and your Monopoly hats and focus.  I need you to understand a few things.  1) Asteroids have hit the Earth in the past  2) Asteroids have wiped out entire species on Earth in the past and 3) There are still asteroids all over the place out there, a whole bunch of them that keep right on moving because there is so rarely anything Earth-like in their way.

But did you catch that?  Rarely.  We’ve always known a killer asteroid was a possibility, but it has always seemed so remote.  Somewhere south of lightning strike odds.  I think the last big one to hit the Earth was about seventy million years ago (and no, I’m not going to google it).  So if the odds are one in seventy million, then we are about due aren’t we?

What if the odds are 1 in 625?  Cause that’s what they are currently calculating as the odds that this 460 foot chunk of iron will strike the Earth.  Right from the article:

“Talk about the asteroid was on the agenda during the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), held earlier this month in Vienna.”

Did you even know there were peaceful uses for outer space?  I didn’t either.  Death Stars, Star Destroyers, X-Wing Fighters.  Plus don’t even get me started on the enormous hand-shaped Teeth Monsters that live inside the asteroids.  Just absolutely infested with Mynoks. 

Anywho, this is literally a Rocket Scientist Meeting in Vienna we’re talking about – a big one – and they were taking this as seriously as anything else. 

Guess what they agreed?  They said, well, we haven’t been watching it that long, so we can’t be sure yet.  We’d put that odds at oh, 1 in 625, we’ll keep an eye on it.  And anyway, we’d have until 2023 to get a deflection mission going if it’s really headed our way.

But here’s what I think.  I think they’re watching the rest of us.  I think they’re hearing us talk about how dumb it is to send people into space and how we need to keep our feet on the ground and gee, it would be nice to play Space Man but we have enough problems right here. I think they’re hearing the whole thing – who needs NASA?

And I think that if they determine the asteroid is headed our way, they’re going to smirk and turn around with their hands on their hips and go, “Wellllllll, welllllll, welllllllll – look who needs a space mission from NASA to save eeeeevvvverrrrryboddy’s assss.”

Come on NASA, just deflect the meteor.  Ohhhh, I don’t know, fellas – that’d be reeeaaaaalll expensive and there’s nooooooo money.  We have enough problems right here on the ground!

Maybe turn out their pockets and shrug theatrically at us.  Member, fellas?  We don’t have enough money to goof around in space with our space toys, so you kept cutting our funding and second-guessing every single thing we wanted to crash into something else.  Every single hundred million dollar thing we want to fly to Mars and drive around.  Sure, maybe we could help you  – if we’d HAD MORE PRACTICE!

Anyway, that’s why I think we need the Moon Base.  It’s not why Gingrich thinks that, he was just running his mouth and something true flew out of it – the sun even shines on a dog’s ass some days, yessir.  But he’s right and it’s actually very simple. 

This is what the rocket scientists want to do, and we don’t want to offend the rocket scientists cause we’re going to need them when the asteroid finally shows up, whether it’s this one or another one.  The math is done – it’s coming, it’s just a matter of whether it’s now or fifty years or ten million, but oh yes, it’s coming.  I mean, they just now started looking in the last fifty years, and there’s one!  THERE’S ONE RIGHT THERE, GONNA BE CLOSE!

Are you betting on the fifty million?  Okay, well you do that.  I’m going to stand over here with the scientists, maybe shake ’em up a few martinis, take that edge off.

And speaking of which, we’re talking about NASA, so regardless of whatever plan they’re hammering together in Vienna, there’s a good chance they’re not deflecting it.  They’ll just spend four Spains and a Portugal trying to, and then go, “Aw shit.  Now it’s on fire and it’s going faster.” 

You see, we can’t be sure it’s going to miss us, and we definitely can’t be sure this crew is going to deflect it – God bless ’em but it’s not like they never screw anything up.  The only thing we can be sure of is that the asteroid is not going to hit two places, whenever it arrives.  So therefore we have to make sure we’re not all sitting around in one place – like the President and Vice President, yes?  Human race?  Carrying on?  Into the future? How many eggs do we keep in our basket again? 

Also, do you know how to check and see if there’s already a Moon Base?  Me either – if you asked me yesterday, I’d call NASA and ask them, but do you think they’re going to tell us about it now?  Good God, man – wake up.  It’s like, if you don’t let your kid on Facebook they’ll just get on there anyway and block you, so instead you let them and friend them and then do a standard Lurk And Watch. 

So building a Moon Base and getting actual, live people over to Mars is not just about ensuring humanity’s survival, it’s about keeping an eye on NASA’s otherwise-secret Moon Base and so on.  It’s about being paranoid and creepy.  And yes, it’s about spending money we don’t have on shit, just because I think it’s cool.

But mostly it’s about us, sitting here living in the toilet we just turned the world into and we’re flipping off the only people who can get us off of it.  I can’t shake my face hard enough for that to make sense. Everybody’s moving to freaking Idaho, like that’s going to help. First we decide the Nobel Prize sucks and now we’re all like, Shut Up Rocket Scientists We’re Trying To Eat Our Chicken Wings!

Like they’re not going to have chicken wings on the Moon.  Pull your head out of your ass, America.  Look down just a little and ask yourself:  Is this the future I want for my children?  And let’s be honest, we’ll be lucky to build one Blurry Triangle Asteroid Shooty Unit by 2040.  These two are fully operational, and they have their hands full.  We need to get busy, and we need to get busy NOW.



Earlier:  2010: The Year We Find Weird Microbes In A Lake

And:  I’m Sorry Did You Just Say Supermoon?

And:  The Startling Mind Of God Coincidence

And:  Welcome To The Harmless Ice Monster Project


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m Sorry, Did You Just Say “Supermoon?”

Wait a minute, what the hell is a Supermoon? 

All of the sudden astronomers are casually talking about a Supermoon?  Is everybody bullshitting me or what?

Supermoon.  We find out post-earthquake, post-tsunami, and mid-nuclear meltdown that there’s a Supermoon?  Right freaking now?

Oh, yeah – a bunch of scientists tell us all about it in this suspiciously-titled article Supermoon Has No Connection To Japanese Earthquake, though I think a better title would have been Supermoon Was At Home Watching TV, Witnesses Certain.

According to the notoriously-biased astrophysics community, Supermoons are when the Moon is closest to the Earth, because the Moon’s orbit is a little bit elliptical.  And so yeah, that happens about every seventeen years or so (sometimes less, for some reason, like 2005) and it’s happening right now.  Don’t worry, they assure us.  It doesn’t cause earthquakes.

Oh, well that’s a relief.  It’s just a harmless Supermoon that you forgot to mention all this time.  Listen – if there have only been a half-dozen or so since the Industrial Revolution, then have we really been paying attention long enough as an enlightened culture to really know whether they cause anything or not?

Back off man, says the article.  We’re scientists.

That’s true, and that’s seriously the sneering attitude these scientists have for most of the article, kind of furrowing their brows at us the way doctors do when you start off by telling them what you think you have.  Hmmm, that’s very interesting but howza about you just pipe down while the medically trained doctor does her job, all right, Talky?

Pssshhtt.  It’s not the Supermoon, Stupid,  Duh.

Except I don’t know – if this Supermoon was a guy, and the earthquake was a crime, and I never heard of this guy until right after the crime, and he was right there in the area, and especially if he’s known to be engaged in other similar activities (like yanking oceans around all over the planet) – well, I think we should at least bring him in for some questions, don’t you? 

Nope, says Paul Walker, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather Inc.  He even avoids using the Supermoon’s scary and notorious-sounding name, instead referring to “moon events.”  These moon events are good kids, now.  I’ve never heard of any of them getting into any trouble or messing around with earthquakes.  Now why don’t you just leave them alone and let them be moon events, all right?

Then, in eager agreement, his colleague Dave Williams uses an absolutely astonishing number of words to point out that the Moon really wasn’t too close to the Earth at the actual time of the earthquake, in fact it was farther away than average.  He says it was basically another average day on Earth, because the real Supermoon errrrrr “moon event” isn’t until March 19.

So Williams doesn’t see how it could have affected the earthquake unless the Earth “knew it was coming.”

I think Williams is being a little bit frosty with us there, don’t you?  He sounds like maybe he’s getting a little tired of people who don’t know shit telling him what the Moon’s doing.

Well, that’s too bad, because I’ve watched a crapload of Star Trek, and I can tell him what’s going on using a pretty standard Star Trek analogy – the sling shot.

As you probably know, that’s the easiest way to go back in time.  You fly your spaceship really fast around the sun, using its gravitational pull as a sling shot, which then obviously causes time travel.  Now I’m sure Williams and Walker will tell you that’s not really true, but I don’t trust a couple of guys who don’t mention Supermoons until you directly ask them, do you?

Anyway, imagine a sling shot.  Now, you’ve put a pellet in the cup or whatever, and you hold it out with one hand, and you pull back on the elastic with the other, stretching it out.

Now, see how the cup is currently not very close to the slingshot?  But it’s having quite an effect on the wrist you’re holding the sling shot with, isn’t it? 

The grip you have on the slingshot is the Earth’s gravity.  The cup is the moon and your wrist is the earth and the elastic is the tension between the Earth’s gravity and the Moon’s.  And the way the slingshot’s quivering a little in your hand as you pull back the cup – that’s the earthquake.

Not proof at all, of course not – that’s just me talking out of my butt, though it sure seems like a decent model for how a Moon approaching Earth more closely than normal might cause tension on the crust of the Earth, before and possibly after its arrival. 

And it’s not that I think me and Star Trek are right, I just think the guy rules it out flatly, and that’s weird.  He sounds like the nurse in MiseryIt wasn’t the cockadoody Moon! 

Or how about this – Williams tells us:

“These moon events can cause the tides to run higher than normal, but I’ve not heard of any correlation between them and extreme weather events.”

Kind of an Oliver North way to put it, isn’t it?  I haven’t heard of anything like that on the streets.  That’s not the word over at the Observatory.  Doesn’t ring a bell.

But listen, 1)  an earthquake is a shift in the earth’s crust, 2) you just said the tides were running “higher than normal”, and 3) Doesn’t that mean an abnormal amount of ocean being shifted around?, and 4)  doesn’t the ocean weigh a lot? and 5) Isn’t the ocean sitting on the Earth’s crust? and 6) Wasn’t the earthquake in the freaking ocean?

I know, I know – the Supermoon’s next week and Star Trek’s not real and I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground.  All of those things are true.

But it sure seems like an ocean getting dragged across the Earth’s crust more than it is normally dragged across the Earth’s crust might cause the Earth’s crust to shift.  It might be, you know, a contributing factor.

Just a couple of general guidelines for you to keep in mind, scientists.  First, don’t be too cocky.  We know that you don’t really know what’s going on around here.  Maybe it was the Supermoon and maybe it wasn’t, but you don’t have to be smug pricks about it, because you don’t know and we know you don’t know.

And second, seriously, from here on out, no more secret Supermoons or Supersuns or Superanything.  You let us know when stuff is going to be weirdly close to the Earth, and then we’ll let you know if we think it’s alarming and if we want you to start turning off nuclear reactors for that week, give ’em a little time to cool off.  You guys blow stuff up all the time, just get a second set of eyes on your work once in while, all right?

What I think you guys need to do is go back into your labs or observatories or wherever you work, and double-check your scientific findings, and then go ahead and check them again.  When the Supermoon is gone, you can stop checking.  This isn’t a coffee shop and you’re not impressing anybody with your raised eyebrows.  I mean, am I the police chief and you guys are Starsky and Hutch?  If the Supermoon’s in town then get out there and keep an eye on him, all right?



Posted by on March 14, 2011 in News/Commentary, The Supermoon


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Did You Know Somebody Owns The Sun?

Well, that’s what Time Magazine says, in this article appropriately titled Spanish Woman Declares Ownership Of The Sun, and yes, she’s serious, and yes, so is Time Magazine.

Her name is Angeles Duran, and she is Spanish, and she got her idea from another dude who apparently owns the moon and several planets.  That guy is American, and for some reason, I’ve never heard of him and the article doesn’t mention him by name.

Both of them are taking advantage of a poorly-worded international agreement which bars any nation from taking ownership of a celestial body.  But since this agreement does not mention individuals, then well, no one has agreed that individuals cannot own them, so there you go.

I guess that much like the frontier days, it’s fairly easy to take ownership of something which no one owns yet at all.  You pretty much just bang a sign into the ground – Tom’s Ranch.  Then you have to deal with the local natives and whatnot, but it’s a good problem to have today, if you didn’t own anything to defend from natives yesterday.

Of course in the frontier days, I think you could argue that the natives already owned it, and you’re just a white guy who can’t speak their language and has a gun.  Our new Sun Queen doesn’t have to worry about natives in space (as far as we know), and neither does her lower-key American pal.

Now what power on Earth could possibly convey ownership of the Sun to someone?  Well, the highest authority possible, the most powerful individual known to man – my peers and colleagues the Notary Publics.

That’s right – she went before a Notary and made it official.  He said, okay, this is just a standard Sun Ownership Declaration Form – you’ll just need to initial there and there, and then sign right there.  Affixed his seal, and it was done.  Congratulations on your new Sun, seniorita.

According to the Sun Queen: 

“There was no snag. I backed my claim legally. I am not stupid. I know the law,” she said. “I did it but anyone else could have done it. It simply occurred to me first.”

Which is weird, because didn’t you just tell me that an American guy gave you the idea?  So like, why didn’t it occur to him?  Or his shiftless brother-in-law?  Or anyone else at all?

Actually, you don’t want to mouth off like that to the Sun Queen, and not just because she would then shout “SILENCE!” at you and have you destroyed.  No, she says pretty soon she’s going to start charging us all for sunlight, and I’m not sure how she plans to regulate it, but either way, I think this is someone you want to be nice to. 

Really, even if she’s just crazy.

I don’t, however, think she’s taking into account that with ownership comes liability.  Look for a class action lawsuit next year when her fission reactor in the sky gives millions of people a sunburn.  Did you put a warning label on that thing, Angeles?  I mean, did you consult an attorney at all?

I don’t think she even consulted a real estate agent, because very generally, it’s not a good idea to buy a place if you wouldn’t want to live there.  And I’ll just remind you of what William T. Sherman had to say about Texas back in the day:  “If I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent Texas out and live in Hell.”

Well, what can I say – Time Magazine has a way of being flip about things like Suns.  Here’s another article where they ask the burning (heh) question, “Will the Earth have two suns in 2012?”

I’ll save you some time:  No.

I mean, they were just asking, right?

They’re talking about Beetlejuice, which may or may not be spelled completely differently, and which is going to go nova either next year, or sometime in the next several million.  And if it does, it’s going to look like another Sun.

I think most people would agree, that’s a pretty significant last half of that sentence, the part about the next several million years.

Also significant is how far away the nova is going to be.  Betelgeuse (just so you know I can really spell it) is about 640 light years away from Earth, so if it actually goes nova next year, it seems to me that we won’t have two suns until 2651.  I’m not really sure, I’m just a country bumpkin blogger who is not schooled in astronomy, etc, etc, etc.

In general, I’m not really sure what happened to Time Magazine.  It seems like they used to be a serious magazine with serious stuff in it.  Now they’re giving us stories about Spanish grifters who own the Sun (but nobody cares, so you know she doesn’t REALLY own the Sun), and then a big story about how there might be 2 suns next year. 

Except no there won’t, really it’ll be in the next 641 to 3,000,641 years.  Somewhere in that range.

Thanks, Time Magazine.  Listen, how about going on up to your room for a little bit, okay slugger?  The grownups need to talk.


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in News/Commentary


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Startling Mind Of God Coincidence

Okay, listen, if you’ve been smoking any of the old wacky tabacky, I need you to put it down and eat something and then take a nap and get a cup of coffee before you read this, because you are in grave danger of having your mind blown.  Listen to the startling information that Shawn texted to me yesterday:

Apparently, the same crew of scientists who thought we would get excited about arsenic-thriving bacteria from California decided that we wouldn’t be too interested in their new estimates about how many stars there are in the universe, and in our galaxy, and also in the average galaxy – so they didn’t call a press conference about it.

I’d love to pretend like I understand what they’re talking about in this article right here, which seems to support Shawn’s mind-blowing text, but I’m only grasping the tail end of it.  Generally speaking, there are a lot more stars than they thought.

Now, I am going to start throwing extremely large and weird-sounding numbers at you, and I’ll tell you right now, they’re probably wrong because I was unable to read that entire article without weeping and whacking my head against the desk.  Just being gargantuan numbers is enough though – precise accuracy isn’t too important to my point here.  So you are welcome to correct me, but you’re not going to make me feel stupid because I already do.

Anyway, the new current estimate is that there are about 300 septillion stars in our galaxy.  I don’t know, the article seems like it says sextillion instead of septillion, but I’m going to have to go with Shawn on this one.  I don’t know this fella who wrote the article – he could be nuts.

So there’s nothing particularly spectacular about learning that the number of stars in our galaxy has gone from one impossible-for-the-human-mind-to-really-comprehend number to that same number times three.  All that means is it’s three times more incomprehensible.

What we’re talking about here is about seventeen million metric shitloads of stars, if that helps.

Now, you might think that a good way to get our minds around that number would be to compare it to something we can come closer to comprehending.  I remember in school they used to talk about the number of grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, but guess what – that’s impossible to comprehend, too.

See, we’re not going to find a way to express the incomprehensible in a way that makes sense.  That’s what it means to be incomprehensible.  But comprehending the number isn’t the point.  Let me just go ahead and compare it – as Shawn did in his Text Which Nearly Caused Me To Crash My Car Even Though I Was In The Drive Thru At White Castle – to another incomprehensible number.

Like the average number of cells in the human body – about 50 trillion.  Actually, that’s a little closer to being a number we can comprehend.  In order to get up to where it’s incomprehensible, you have to multiply it by the number of people on Earth (about six billion).  Then you’d be looking at the number of cells in the bodies of every human being on Earth combined.

And it’s incomprehensible, all right.  It is in fact the same incomprehensible number we started with.

Yes, that is correct – at least it is if you define “astronomical research” as “getting a text message from Shawn”, which I do.  The number of stars in our galaxy appears to be equal to the number of cells in the bodies of the entire human race combined.

Now, from this, Shawn stopped short of concluding that clearly, we’re all brain cells in the magnificent, eons-old, galactic Mind of God Himself, that our conciousnesses comprise every conceivable thought and dream of the Almighty, and that we can now halt all scientific research because nothing will ever get more interesting than that.

No, Shawn described it as “amusing.”  And also seemed to imply that, you know, since we thought there were one third that many stars yesterday, we’re probably just going to think something else later on.  Don’t go attaching too much significance to it, Shawn seems to think, cause it’s just a bunch of numbers.

But that’s not what this bottle of whiskey right here thinks.  This bottle of whiskey thinks, that’s it, we found God, and we’re his cells, and the reason we need to be good is because being bad is like cancer or infection.  Being bad makes God itch – and listen to me, I’ll bet That Guy can scratch.

Now don’t get too excited, Christians or Muslims or Jews or Scientologists or anyone else, because the astronomers who figured this out did not get a look at the Universe’s ID.  They don’t know His name, whether it’s God (seems unlikely, since that’s English and there wasn’t any English when the universe was created) or whatever that name was that Indiana Jones had to spell out in Last Crusade (seems more likely) or whether maybe it’s just a big, sleepy, Stephen King Turtle, who’s just swimming through the cosmos thinking stuff, and we’re the stuff.

All they know is, those two numbers are pretty close to equal.  And yes, the universe is expanding, and yes, so is the population of Earth.  That’s good enough for me.  I’m going to go to the library and get a copy of Starting A Cult For Dummies.  Anyone with a huge, secluded compound should give me a ringy-ding, cause I think I’m on the market for one.

Okay then, well I’m glad I could clear all that up for you.  Please proceed with your normal Saturday activities.


Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag, News/Commentary


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,