Monthly Archives: March 2014

Cool Discovery

Another Incredibly Distant Member of the Solar System

Astronomers have announced the discovery of an amazing object in our solar system: 2012 VP113, an icy body with an orbit so big it never gets closer than 12 billion kilometers (7.4 billion miles) from the Sun! That’s 80 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun. No other solar system object known stays so far from the Sun. And at its most distant, it reaches an incredible 70 billion kilometers (44 billion miles) from the Sun—and it takes well over 4,000 years to circle the Sun once.

EDIT: See also A second Sedna! What does it mean?

Cosmos and Giordano Bruno

I saw the first episode of the new Cosmos last week. The first and third parts were fine. The middle part, the cartoon about Giordano Bruno was the story I had heard long ago about how Bruno was a martyr for his scientific beliefs. This story is very widespread, and widely invoked by those who are hostile to religion. Back in 1971 I was in Turkey, on the walls of the formidable late medieval fortress of Rumeli Hisarı, when I saw a Soviet freighter passing through the Bosphorus named, in Cyrillic letters, Giordano Bruno.

Unfortunately, this was just cartoon history

Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers

You Just Brought Back Measles in NYC

From a pediatrician:

It is because I never want patients in my office to contract vaccine-preventable illnesses … that patients whose parents refuse to vaccinate them are not welcome in my practice. I cannot entirely eliminate the potential for disease exposure between children who come to see me, but I can do my best to mitigate it. I never want to know that a child was sickened or killed because I let the recklessness of a vaccine-refusing parent jeopardize their health.