Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's The Lede?

The data are in, and they show there are planets
Which orbits, it seems, have not captured—
But science is boring, so bury that story,
There’s people who hope to be raptured!

The Milky Way Galaxy’s filled with these wanderers
Lost, unattached, and alone
But let’s go with the cultists who think they’ve discovered
A code that the bible has shown!

Gravitational lensing shows planet-sized masses
Adrift in the vastness of space
But freak-shows sell papers, and Jesus is coming!
Who cares if it’s really the case?

There’s trivial crap, and there’s serious matters,
There’s bullshit, and then, there is news
Thank goodness the media know what they’re doing…
Cos lord knows, the public can’t choose

So, yeah. A trivial percentage of christians think the world is going to end this Saturday; thank goodness every media source on the planet has seen fit to cover this important story. I'd link to a half dozen or so, but the truth is I am sick to death of it.

In the real world, they've discovered planets that are not attached to their own solar systems. "Rogue planets", or some other word (since planets are, technically, partially defined by their orbiting around a star), have been found--as predicted--by looking for the effects of microgravitational lensing. Actually, quite a few have been found, and by extrapolation there may be more of them than attached stars!


The real world universe is so much cooler than bronze-age mythological fairy stories.

But let's not let that get in the way of a headline.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog. So. Much.

Melissa said...

I think I'm going to throw a "How cool is this universe?" party on Saturday. I can celebrate the wonderfulness of the verse and stick it to the funny cult people. Hooray!

entropy said...

Mission accomplished! Stupid Rapture news replaced by science news. Thank you so much.

R.R. Crow said...

I hear ya, exasperating day in the news. Maybe you heard the conversation on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Very upsetting story, not nearly as critical with this nonsense as they should have been. Why not another piece of news from the real universe, this one's a little more local. Chimpanzees in Unganda's Kibale National Park are hunting red colobus monkeys to extinction. It's amazing how similar chimps really are to us.

Margie said...

Robert Fulghum writes:
"I also note that the End of the World and the Great Rapture are scheduled for next Saturday at 6 p.m.
Two per cent of God’s Elect will be lifted up into Heaven.
It’s about time.People who’d rather be in Heaven than here, should go."

I'm thinking there are going to be a lot of End of the World Parties - for both the believers and the non-believers. Finally, an event they can both celebrate!

Anonymous said...

There's a wonderful scifi novel by Charles Sheffield called The McAndrew Chronicles -- 1983 --basically 5 short stories about the same characters but it definitely reads like a novel -- one of the stories involves a rogue planet and I won't spoil it but the suspense centers on a startling consequence of a planet's being "alone" in the galaxy for a few billion years.