Friday, June 5, 2015

Die Duftmischung

Note: I may be running out of ways to say "potpourri," but the German translation above could be inaccurate. If you have used it in a conversation based upon my citation and have been subsequently mocked as a pretentious monolingual meat-head, cheer up; it could be worse! You could be known as a reader of this blog...

-- Pluto's moons orbit it in a pretty regularized configuration called a "Laplace resonance." This means their orbital periods match up with each other. But a couple of them rotate, on the other hand, in some pretty wacky ways -- the odd shapes of Nix and Hydra mean that as they spin an observer on one might see the (very very tiny) sun rise in the east and set in the north, for example. More is being learned as the NASA probe New Horizons nears its Plutonian flyby, so more weirdness could be in the offing. Planetary scientist Mark Showalter summed up the current situation this way: "But anything I say about Pluto right now could easily be obsolete by next week. Or tomorrow.”

-- I'm on record that I think excessive noise during a high school graduation could be a sign that the excessive noisemaker's life peaked in high school. So if a school wants to tell the crowd at commencement that they need to wait and applaud after the last grad has walked, so be it. If they want to say that people who ignore that request will be asked to leave the ceremony, so be it -- although that's a step too close to Dean Wormer Land for me. But having citations issued for disturbing the peace? Humorless, vindictive and petty is no way to go through life either.

-- Even a strong man may shed a tear upon the occasion of a great joy. Today is one such occasion.

-- Some may take this news -- that a craven Pakistan justice system released eight of the ten men who tried to kill a teenage girl for wanting to go to school -- as a sign that female students in Pakistan are in danger of more attacks. Perhaps, but remember, such young women are so terrifying to their detractors that attackers need to outnumber them 10-to-1. A gang of only eight simply can't handle your average 100-pound 15-year-old female who wants to learn to read and write.

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