3/16/2004

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Okay, time for some more information on this new world that NASA astronomers discovered. The new planet has been christened Sedna, after the Inuit goddess of the ocean. It is about three fourths the size of Pluto, and the second reddest object in the solar system. And it is way out there, with a wildly elliptical 10,500 year orbit. Sedna is well beyond the orbit of Pluto and currently approaching perihelion (an object’s closest approach the the sun). In about 72 years Sedna will start it’s long cold journey away from the sun and back towards the Oort Cloud, a region that astronomers theorize contain many of the planetoids that occassionally tumble to the sun and become comets. It boggles the mind to think that the last time this planetoid approached the sun, Earth was locked in an ice age

Here’s the relative sizes of this new planet, Pluto and the Earth.
Photo from Spaceref.com

And check out the orbit of this thing. It is absolutely huge.
Photo from Spaceref.com

Oh those crazy Californians! Calif. Officials Nearly Fall for H2O Hoax

City officials were so concerned about the potentially dangerous properties of dihydrogen monoxide that they considered banning foam cups after they learned the chemical was used in their production.

Then they learned, to their chagrin, that dihydrogen monoxide H2O for short is the scientific term for water.

“It’s embarrassing,” said City Manager David J. Norman. “We had a paralegal who did bad research.”

The paralegal apparently fell victim to one of the many official looking Web sites that have been put up by pranksters to describe dihydrogen monoxide as “an odorless, tasteless chemical” that can be deadly if accidentally inhaled.

As a result, the City Council of this Orange County suburb had been scheduled to vote next week on a proposed law that would have banned the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events. Among the reasons given for the ban were that they were made with a substance that could “threaten human health and safety.”

The measure has been pulled from the agenda, although Norman said the city may still eventually ban foam cups.

“If you get Styrofoam into the water and it breaks apart, it’s virtually impossible to clean up,” Norman said.