Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Brit Hume on Tiger Woods

Last Sunday, January 3, as a guest commentator on Fox News Sunday, Hume unsolicitedly offered advice to Tiger Woods to turn his faith to Christianity instead. Hume didn't think that Buddhism, Tiger's religion, "offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith." The outrage on talk shows and the web and blogsphere has been swift.

He said:

"Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it's a tragic situation for him. I think he's lost his family, it's not clear to me if he'll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal -- the extent to which he can recover -- seems to me to depend on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist; I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Brit Hume injected his distorted beliefs and once again stirred up yet another controversy.

James Poniewozik, in his post on said, "If you believe your religion is superior and want to stand by the argument, fine. But crying anti-Christian persecution when you're criticized for making that case on a news show? Get off the cross."

FOX News should change their slogan to: "News Only for Christian Audience."

I am definitely for free speech in this country but being a guest commentator on FOX NEWS, he should have refrained from berating Buddhism. His unsolicited advice to Tiger was also very off handed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"What do you mean you're not a member of any church? Are you Agnostic?"

Brad Pitt is 20% Atheist, 80% Agnostic.

To appease his fans, Pitt said, "Religion works." Kinda' condescending really, considering that It doesn't work for him. I don't blame him. He might lose ticket sales and fan base.

Because I am surrounded by Catholic and Christian friends and family, I am a bit guilty of keeping quiet with how I feel about Religion in front of them because I do not want to alienate them. Although they have a feeling that I am either an Agnostic or an Atheist, they are afraid to ask me pointblank because it will confirm their suspicion.

Last week, an aunt from the Philippines called and asked me to pray for ex Philippine President Cory Aquino, who is suffering from stage 4 colon cancer which had already metastesized to other parts of her organs. She said that almost all Catholic and Christians in the Philippines are being asked to pray for her to be healed, for a miracle or for her not to suffer too much. They need prayer warriors!

Damn! I thought to myself, stage 4 cancer? Metastesized to other organs? Prayer warriors hoping for a miracle? God needs a million prayer warriors so their prayers can be heard? Deaf...maybe??? WTH???

I thought to myself, lest I be labeled as having a callous attitude toward the sufferings of others, I should just keep quiet and say, "Amen!" But who am I kidding? I am an Atheist and certainly do not believe in prayers. I think it is a waste of time and energy. (...and she wants me to be a prayer warrior) Anyway, I didn't want to sound insensitive or unsympathtic by saying that, so I told her "I really hope she does not suffer too much."

I thought it would stop at that. Instead, my aunt said if I could arrange and ask MY priest if he could have a healing mass for her on Sunday.

"I don't have a priest," I said. "I am not a member of any church." I added.

"What do you mean you're not a member of any church? Are you Agnostic?" She asked.

"No, not Agnostic. Atheist." I stated matter of factly.


"Since when...?" She asked trying to find more words but somehow stopped short.

I replied, "I can't remember, a long time."

"But you are Catholic." Her voice a bit raising.

"Not since more than 20 years give and take." I informed her.

"What happened?" "How?"

"I woke up from a bad dream. You know...kinda' woke up from years of being brainwashed, auntie! And now I am free."

"Brainwashed? Free from what?" She demanded to know.

"Free from being bounded by an invisible eye in the sky, a book that is akin to Mythology, a God that is not there really."

"Ai, Susmaryosep!" She was aghast. (translation - Oh, JesusMaryJoseph)

A barage of more questions were thrown at me and I tried to answer without intimidating her but it seems that her brain is not absorbing anything at that point. I don't remember how the conversation ended up. Not that it was unpleasant or anything like that, just not...sweet. Last I heard, she told another aunt that she was concerned about my soul because I am possessed. Sometime soon, they'll call a priest to exorcise the menacing spirit in me. You know, like in "The Exorcist."

I wish I had the ability to turn my head 360 degrees. LOL.

~Oh well...~

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sex and Religion in Manila

Explore: Sex and Religion in Manila.

The Philippines is one of two countries in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region with Roman Catholic majorities. About 90% of Filipinos identify themselves as Christians (Christian denominations and spin-offs included). Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the 11th most populous metropolitan area in the world.

In a devoutly Catholic country, There is a move to introduce a reproductive health bill aiming to get everyone free access to contraception especially targeting the poor. According to the authors of this bill, this is the next best thing to control population explosion resulting in widespread poverty and government corruption. However, the Catholic Church (including the fanatics) fear(s) that a breakdown in Filipino family values will be imminent if a bill such as this passes. They have been resisting the move and have been fighting tooth and nail against this.

They say that population grows fastest in the world's poorest countries. Because of overpopulation, there would most likely be a lack of basic needs. The lack of adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, and education are basic needs of people. When a Country could not meet these needs it results in physical weakness and poor health which decreases ones ability to work and ultimately put people deeper into poverty. Poverty is a condition of chronic deprivation and reduces human beings to a low level of existence. This cycle will go on and on until corrected.

While this may not be the ultimate solution to alleviate poverty (or the many problems besieging the country), controlling population explosion may be a first step in combating poverty.

BTW, See this video and catch a glimpse of some bigotry and prejudice, religious hypocrisy and stupidity in the mindset of some as a result of strict Catholic teachings.





Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Is Winter Over yet?

Here I am complaining about our winter here in the desert.
"Alas! Is winter over yet?!? Is winter over yet?" I kept on whining. Christine said, "Gees, Mom! What are you complaining about, we don't even have snow!" I reminded her that we did have that 1 day of 3 inches of snow back in December. She laughed and said that was actually a welcome change for a day.
...Then I thought of people living in New York, Minnessota, Chicago, Maine - to name a few. Whew! They have been getting their butts kicked. I wonder how many poeple have winter depression this year?

Groundhog Day - Oh crap! That oversized rodent in Punxsutawney named Phil said it will be 6 more weeks of winter. According to German superstition, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 -- the Christian holiday of Candlemas -- winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early. Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, hasn't seen it 15 times, and there are no records for nine years, according to the club. Well now...who do we consult next? I am just about ready to give up asking Gandalf. The Hobbits are no help either. They've been dancing non stop since the Winter Solstice.

So for now, Let's all stay warm with a pellet stove, a fireplace, a heater or a blankie! I can't wait till Spring.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"We're not Going to Agree on Every Single Issue...."

During one of his speeches in his campaign President Obama said "it's not about me, it's about you," did he resort to mere flattery and chicanery to win the job? He probably didn't but he would learn in time that there is no pleasing everybody. President Obama thinks he's being just conciliatory by asking religious leaders of varying persuasions to participate in the "big day." But Paul Prather, contributing columnist at, have said it the bast, "The quickest way to tick off just about everybody is to try to be evenhanded and open-minded. Nowhere is this more evident than when governmental leaders attempt to navigate a middle course between politics and religion."

Strike One: In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama celebrated America as a "nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." Some Christians are taking issue with the approach to inclusiveness, the nonbelievers, saying the president misrepresented America's culture and heritage. By mentioning, for the first time in an inaugural address, the 16.1 percent of Americans who check "no"’ when asked about religion, Obama turned it into the most controversial line in his speech -- praised by The New York Times editorial board and cited by some Christians as evidence that he is a heretic, and in his well-spoken way, a serious threat. With that one line, the president "seems to be trying to redefine American culture, which is distinctively Christian," said’ Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va. "The overwhelming majority of Americans identify as Christians, and what disturbs me is that he seems to be trying to redefine who we are.’"

Strike Two: With his choice of the Rev. Rick Warren (Warren is the anti-gay-marriage pastor who Obama picked to lead a prayer at the presidential inauguration) to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama has found himself enmeshed in a new controversy involving a pastor, facing criticism this time from liberal and gay rights groups outraged at the idea of including the evangelical pastor at a Democratic celebration. Mr. Obama’s forceful defense of Mr. Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” has signaled an intent to continue his campaign’s effort to woo even theologically conservative Christians. As his advisers field scores of calls from Democrats angry because Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, Mr. Obama has insisted that a range of viewpoints be expressed at the inauguration festivities next month in Washington.

Strike Three: Joseph E. Lowery final passage. "And in the joy of a new beginning we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead man, and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who'll do justice and love mercy say amen.

The rhyming phrase has long been spoken in African-American community. It was commonly heard during the 1960's and 1970's. 74 - year old Richard Arrington, Birmingham's first Black mayor, told ABC33/40, he believes critics fail to understand the intent of the prayer-- that race will no longer be an issue. This final passage drew some criticism for being "divisive", or "racialist", from conservative commentators.

Prayer at Inauguration.

My Thoughts:

Conservative Christians are mad at Obama because of his inaugural speech about including non believers and called him a heretic.

Conservative Christians are also mad because he invited Robinson to deliver a prayer and because Warren is happy about Robinson.

Gays and groups like Human Rights Campaign and People for the American are mad that anti-gay Rick Warren delivered the invocation at Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Anti Gays are mad because gay bishop Gene Robinson was invited to deliver a prayer separate from the Inauguration.

Conservative commentators are mad at Joseph E. Lowery's final passage because it is regarded as "divisive & Racialist."

Conservative Muslims are mad because he has forgotten to embrace his Muslim heritage and merely mentioned in his inaugural speech, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." To them, this is plain groveling.

Have I forgotten anyone else? Other religious groups? Other non-believers? Other Conservative groups?

Ai yai yai! My goodness! Just about everything seems to tick people off. A war within. HAH!

Give our new president a break.

"We're not going to agree on every single issue," Obama said at a Thursday news conference in Chicago, "but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common."

This should all keep us at bay........for now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Such Thing As An "Atheist Politician"

The Inaugural Speech

On January 20, 2009, in his inaugural speech, President Barack Obama became the first President ever to acknowledge the existence of non-believers. He said, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.

We are growing in numbers - according to the Pew Centre study, as much as 16.1% of Americans are not affiliated to any faith and that is approximately 48 million people.

Hip hip...hooray! One step at a starts now!

My thought: All politicians are supposed to be believers. Majority of the population is stil theists. If a politician even mentions that he is a nonbeliever or an Atheist it would mean a career killer. So there's no such thing as an Atheist politician (about 0.001%? Sure!)

According to Jon Rice, as posted on Democrats and Liberal Archives, "I am most positive that there are a lot of politicians that are non-believers. But every one of the Republican and Democratic contenders for the White House is, naturally, religious – and their piety is evidently increasing daily, as exemplified by Hillary Clinton’s revelation (pun intended) that only her ‘faith’ got her through her marriage difficulties, and the almost daily proclamations of religious fervor by every major candidate. We are presented every election with a choice: the religious candidate, or the religious candidate. At the Federal level, there is one atheist to represent the views of my 15 million fellow non-believers. There are virtually no atheists at the state level, either – no great surprise, since Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all include language in their constitutions proclaiming that an official may be "excluded from holding office" if she/he does not "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being”.

However, In time, when Atheism is more understood and embraced by a lot more people, I'm sure they'd come out of the closet. This much is certian, there are "Atheist Politicians" hiding in the closet. I betcha!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

America The Beautiful

This is a beautiful rendition of "America the Beautiful" by Barbara Streisand. Hearing this, I can't think of living anywhere else in the world except in this great nation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Believe in God? Just Be Good For Goodness Sake!

Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington buses starting next week and running through December.

The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of nontheists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."

To that end, the ads and posters will include a link to a Web site that will seek to connect and organize like-minded thinkers in the D.C. area, Edwords said.

Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."

The group defines humanism as "a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity."

Last month, the British Humanist Association caused a ruckus announcing a similar campaign on London buses with the message: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Please read entire article here

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bending the Arc of History with Number 44

We have just witnessed a new era in history today. The American people just elected its 44th President - its first black president. Just 4 years ago, nobody even heard of this Senator from Illinois. Obama won this election because the American people is tired that the economy is in disarray, he won on the merits of his platform - change. He won because of his perceived ability to lead and inspire confidence in Americans who desperately needed someone fresh after a catastrophic 8-year reign of the worst president in the United States of America, eight years with Hurricane George W. Bush is too much and this decided the election long before it even started. I pity John McCain because he tried so hard to disassociate himself from the Bush legacy but the effort was futile. Obama’s overwhelming win with 334 electoral votes also came with Democratic gains in the Senate and House. I, for one, is very disappointed with George and wanted change. That change just happened to be Barack Obama. He won because Mccain is too old and he might die in office. I think Sarah Palin certainly helped him in more ways than it helped McCain. In the end, the voters favored change over experience.

Obama knew what he is getting into. The staggering list of problems he inherits - two wars and "the worst financial crisis in a century." He said, "We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we, as a people will get there."

See and Hear Obama's Speech -> here


With the first black president elected, I am compelled to write Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a Dream" speech delivered on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

"I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

"I have a dream today!

"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

"I have a dream today!

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’

"This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

"And this will be the day – this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

"My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

"Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

"From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

"And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

"And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

"Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

"Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

"Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

"Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

"But not only that:

"Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

"Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

"Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

"From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

"Free at last! Free at last!

"Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Beautiful Tug in My Heart

....the Autumn Leaves...

The season is abruptly changing as Summer clings tightly to its end. The green leaves of summer is slowly changing and clinging on to life. Soon...the air would be quiet...serene. Soon we will breathe the crisp air. We sense the beginning of fall.

All is fresh. The wind stirs the leaves and then comes the rustling of dying leaves...falling and creating a sound that sings and touches the heart. Like a crescendo building up to the hilt. Once again the burst of colors and vibrant hues surround us. A palette of wonderful orange, brown, red, yellow, purple and green. The wind begins to shake the branches. The leaves glide away with the wind, others dance to a perfect sonata while the rest plummet to the earth and rest peacefully on the ground. I am always in awe of this change. A beautiful tug in my heart....

Saturday, October 04, 2008

C in Dogmatic Theology

According to Theists, God loves all creatures big and small. A God is forgiving, just, fair and loving. This reminds me of one unfinished story my professor told us in my Dogmatic Theology class in college. We had to finish the story and that was how he would grade us.

"So here is God watching over Peter and Paul. All his life Peter was a just person, a philanthropist, and has lived his life following his religion. One day Peter's daughter died due to a car accident. Because it was an accident, the court was linient and judgement was just a slapped on the wrist. In the nadir point of his emotions, he questioned and blamed god on why this has happened. He became bitter, had an emotional breakdown, shot and killed the person that ran over his daughter's untimely death and was killed by police in the process.

On the other hand, Paul was left in an orphanage and all his life has never experienced love. He grew up to be a thief and a drug peddler in order to survive. Much later in life he got married to a wonderful woman who turned his life around, accepted god and mended his ways. One day, on his way to work Peter followed him and shot him from behind.

So here they are, in front of God. God pulls out their files and proceeds to judge Peter and Paul. So here is the question. Will god allow both of them to go to heaven or would he condemn one? Which will he favor? Peter who had been good all his life but had turned away from god at the end because of his loss? or Paul who had been bad because of upbringing but repented and mended his ways near the end?

The ending of that story per what I submitted to my professor was: Since god is all just and loving, God forgave Peter and Paul and both souls went to heaven. Simple!

Not! I got a C. The first C I ever got in any theology or religion class. According to my professor, because Peter had a bout of doubt and murdered Paul he will be sent to eternal damnation and Paul having repented from all his sins and accepted god in the end will be more favorable in the eyes of god. He stated that everyone who has sinned and accepted god in the end will have eternal life. Being good is not what gets one to Heaven. He said, "It does sound quite harsh, but this is what the Bible teaches us. In John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." In John 10:28. Jesus says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish for ever." Perishing is what happens to you if you don't have eternal life. Especially in the case of Peter, he knew but rejected him in the end, therefore, he will be sent to hell.

Give me a break! Give me a lobotomy! Give me a prozac enough to kill an elephant. But I will not be fooled into this again.

Seems like a crappy story? melodramatic? non-sense? EXACTLY!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why God Why?

News such as this firmly resolve my view that I should really assail a determined position to come out and share my views and have a louder voice in saying that the world makes perfect sense without a God. We should focus more on humanity and the pursuit of changing our lives for the better instead of wasting our time worshipping an imaginary god. I do not know how to feel when I heard about the stampede in India. Call it apathy on religion, indifference on belief or anger on fanatics, the only thing I can do is sigh....

NEW DELHI (Aug. 3) - Thousands of panicked pilgrims stampeded Sunday at a remote mountaintop temple in northern India during celebrations to honor a Hindu goddess, sending dozens of people plummeting to their deaths and trampling scores more. Police carried bodies outside the famed Naina Devi temple at Bilaspur in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on August 3, 2008. More than 145 Hindu worshippers (mostly women & children) were killed in a stampede during a religious festival, police said, most of whom died of suffocation with about 30 of the dead children. Iron railings leading to the Hindu temple broke, causing the stampede, senior police officers said. Thousands of worshippers gather at the temple in Bilaspur district every year to pray to a Hindu goddess during an annual festival. More than 3,000 people were trying to enter the temple premises at the same time when part of the railing broke, leading to panic, officials said..AFP PHOTO/ STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Rumors of a landslide apparently started the panic at the shrine in the foothills of the Himalayas, said C.P. Verma, a senior government official in the Bilaspur district. Pilgrims already at the Naina Devi Temple began running down the narrow path leading from the peak. There, they collided with devotees winding their way up. With a concrete wall on one side and a precipice on the other, there was nowhere to escape and they were crushed. At one point a guard rail broke and dozens of people fell to their deaths. The bodies of the devotees — many dressed in brightly colored holiday clothes — carpeted the path, intertwined with flattened iron railings. Many still held the flowers and food they planned to offer at the temple. Police said they used a cable car at the shrine to ferry some of the bodies down, and helicopters flew in to take the wounded to hospitals. CNN News.

It's the third deadly stampede to occur during a religious festival this year in India, though death tolls were a fraction of today's grim tally. One of the worshippers said, ""I fail to understand why God was so cruel to us."
I guess God is responsible for this tragedy, eh? Either that or they probably picked the wrong religion. I pity these fools!
By the way, that reminds me: I have to make sure that I will be very careful on my pilgrimage to Mt. Olympus to pay homage to the almighty Zeus.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pluto's Consolation Prize

I remember when I was in the 2nd grade, we each sit in a chair attached to a small desk. The desk had a photo of the sun and the nine planets that orbit it. This is possibly the first time rote memory was introduced to me. Looking at that glossy, transparent plastic covered photo everyday for 1 year, I could still see the vivid colors of crimson red, blue, yellow, black, blue, green & brown, the sun in the center with the 9 planets forming a circle.

I remember how I memorized the placement of the planets nearest to the sun.

m-v-e-m-j-sunp --------------9 planets orbiting the sun. NINE!

40 years later, it is determined that there are only 8. Pluto got sacked!

Once known as the smallest, coldest, and most distant planet from the Sun, Pluto has a dual identity, not to mention being enshrouded in controversy since its discovery in 1930. Pluto is also a member of a group of objects that orbit in a disc-like zone beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. This distant region consists of thousands of miniature icy worlds with diameters of at least 1,000 km and is also believed to be the source of some comets.

Pluto has three known moons, Hydra and Nix, besides its companion moon, Charon. Charon's diameter is a little more than half of Pluto's. The duo's gravity has locked them into a mutually synchronous orbit, which keeps each one facing the other with the same side. Many moons - including our own - keep the same hemisphere facing their planet. But this is the only case in which the planet always presents the same hemisphere to its moon. If you stood on one and watched the other, it would appear to hover in place, never moving across the sky.
Charon was discovered in 1978, while two additional moons Hydra and Nix, were discovered in 2005.

In Greek mythology, Charon was the boatman who carried the souls of the dead to the underworld - a kingdom that in Roman mythology was ruled by the god, Pluto. The U.S. Naval Observatory's James Christy suggested the name after he found the moon in 1978. Seven years later, Charon and Pluto began a five-year period of eclipsing each other from Earth's point of view. That was lucky for us, because it enabled scientists to measure the diameters and masses of both objects as each passed in front of the other.

Charon appears to be covered by water ice, which differs from Pluto's surface of frozen nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide. One theory is that the materials that formed Charon were blasted out of Pluto in a collision. That's very similar to the way in which our own moon is thought to have been created.

The ninth rock from the sun is now officially a plutoid. The official definition of Plutoid is: Any celestial bodies in orbit around the sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbit."

In short: small round things beyond Neptune that orbit the sun and have lots of rocky neighbors.
The two known and named plutoids are Pluto and Eris. Remember how Pluto was stripped off its planetary status about 2 years ago?

"Pluto has been given a consolation price. All so called dwarf planets and similar distant bodies in the solar system will be called "plutoids." That's the decision by the International Astronomical Union, which met last week in Oslo, Norway, and announced the decision Wednesday. The new policy allows Pluto to be the standard for a whole new category of dwarf planets.

Pluto is one of only two plutoids, the other being Eris. Both are objects that circle the sun and are too small to be considered planets, but big enough to have a level of gravity that keeps them in a near spherical shape. Plutoids also must be farther from the sun than

A growing number of solar-system scientists assert that Pluto's minuteness and its membership in a swarm of like objects mean that it should be classified a "minor planet," as asteroids and comets are. Others are outraged by the idea, insisting that regardless of how its identity has changed, demoting Pluto would dishonor astronomical history and confuse the public.

"Pluto has been a long-standing myth that's difficult to kill," he says.

The famous "search for Planet X," which culminated in Pluto's discovery, was the pet project of Percival Lowell, a Boston Brahmin and amateur astronomer who around the turn of the century became obsessed with two notions: that Martians had constructed canals on the surface of their planet, and that tiny, gravity-induced wiggles in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune indicated that a planet with a mass some six times that of Earth lay farther out. Lowell built and endowed an impressive observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, to prove himself right, but he died in 1916 without having succeeded on either count. The observatory's directors, aware that their institution was something of a laughingstock because of the Martian search, were determined to salvage its reputation by finding at least a marginally less improbable Planet X. They hired a young amateur astronomer by the name of Clyde Tombaugh to do the grunt work involved. Tombaugh proved to be resourceful and diligent beyond all reasonable expectations, and more or less single-handedly picked dim Pluto out of a thick field of stars—a feat that is still considered one of the most impressive in the history of observational astronomy.

In the ensuing euphoria over the apparent discovery of a new planet (elation was especially pronounced in the United States, where the public was happy to welcome the first "American" planet to the solar system), those voices that questioned Pluto's size were drowned out, and the IAU awarded Pluto official planet status. It wasn't an entirely unreasoned decision. As the observatory argued, Pluto had been found close to where Lowell had predicted Planet X ought to be if it was causing those orbital wiggles (though Tombaugh, skeptical of Lowell's predictions, hadn't focused his search on that area), so it would be quite a coincidence if this new object wasn't the enormous Planet X. Besides, if the object was small, it shouldn't have been visible at all so far away from Earth.

Unless, that is, this new object happened to have a highly reflective icy surface, like that of a comet—which eventually proved to be the case. Pluto is much too small to account for the wiggles on which Lowell had based his predictions. Not that that matters, for there were no wiggles—the observations that had implied them were erroneous. And even if there had been wiggles, they probably wouldn't have led astronomers to Planet X, because Lowell's calculations were dubious at best. It was sheer coincidence that Pluto happened to be at the predicted spot. And so it was on a staircase of mistakes, hubris, and hype that Pluto was elevated to planethood.

Later on, scientists have discovered sixty objects in what has come to be known as the
Kuiper Belt, named after the astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who suggested the existence of such a belt in the 1950s. About a third of them are in Pluto-like orbits, and all of them appear to be, like Pluto, amalgams of ice and rock. As a result, few astronomers now question that Pluto should be regarded as a member of the Kuiper Belt. However, Pluto's diameter of approximately 1,400 miles makes it tiny for a planet, it is huge for a Kuiper Belt object; the next largest known member is only about 300 miles across.

When the small, rocky body later named Ceres was discovered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in 1801, it was proclaimed a planet. A year later a second rocky body was found in a similar orbit; several other discoveries along the same lines soon followed. Even though the approximately 600-mile-wide Ceres is nearly twice the size of the next largest asteroid, it was evident that it was merely the largest member of what we now call the asteroid belt. In 1802 Ceres's planethood was summarily revoked. Ergo, Pluto should follow Ceres's trail into nonplanethood. It would help if "planet" had a formal definition against which Pluto could be measured, but none exists. Astronomy got by quite nicely for thousands of years on a we-know-one-when-we-see-one basis. But now that questions about Pluto are forcing the issue, many astronomers find themselves gravitating toward one or the other of two proposed definitions.

The first is "a non-moon, sun-orbiting body large enough to have gravitationally 'swept out' almost everything else near its orbit." Among the nine planets Pluto alone fails this test, and it does so spectacularly, owing to the Kuiper Belt. The second is "a non-moon, sun-orbiting body large enough to have gravitationally pulled itself into a roughly spherical shape." Pluto passes this test—but so do Ceres, a half dozen or so other asteroids, and possibly some other members of the Kuiper Belt.

"The International Astronomical Union has decided that
Pluto and Eris should be classified as "plutoids," alongside their 2006 classification as dwarf planets. Under the definition, the self-gravity of a plutoid is enough for it to achieve a near-spherical shape, but not enough for it to clear its orbit of its rocky neighbors, and the plutoid orbits the Sun beyond Neptune."


Imagine the imensity of the universe.....

One way to help visualize the relative sizes in the solar system is to imagine you're doing a model in which everything is reduced in size by a billion. Then model Earth would be about the size of a grape. The Moon would be about 12 inches or about a foot from the Earth. The Sun's size would be about the height of a man and its distance from the Earth is about a city block. Jupiter would be the size of a large grapefruit and 5 blocks away from the Sun. Saturn will be the size of an apple would be 10 blocks away; Uranus and Neptune would be the size of lemons 20 and 30 blocks away. A human on this scale would be the size of an atom and the nearest star would be over 40,000 km away.

I don't know how our puny minds can even begin to comprehend that enormity, that vastness.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DOOMSDAY 2012 Part 2

I just couldn't get enough of this......but....Whoa.....hold your horses...let's get things straight. I am an Atheist but I love a good mystery, too. If there is ever one! Oink!
In case you missed Part 1
- I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This is Doomsday as predicted by the Mayan calendar. This is a date that has been prophesized as the end of the world.

Short Documentary:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jailbreaking my IPhone

I spent 1 whole day trying to jailbreak my iphone. My work has taken over my life now and I think I am almost burned out. Can you just imagine why I chose to jailbreak my Iphone for 1 whole day instead of crunching work deadlines? Ahhh....the rebel in me creeps in.....

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