Did you know that Pluto’s elliptical orbit means that sometimes it’s actually closer to the sun than Neptune?  Barely 3.2 billion miles away.  At which point, 11 months from now, our little New Horizons spacecraft launched from Florida January 19, 2006, and zipping along at 56,000 miles an hour, will do some fly-by photography, like a really expensive Go Pro.  But looking at the orbits of these two celestial bodies (one, a planet, one a dwarf planet) — scroll down to the second illustration on this page to see the orbits — it appears they are bound sooner or later to collide.

Good news!  They never will!  There’s at least one big thing you don’t have to worry about.

(But if you have time, check out the New Horizons site.  Quite the acrobat, it flew close to Jupiter not just for photos but to get an extra gravitational boost en route that shortened the cruise time by about three years.  Lots to look and marvel at.  Thanks, Tom!)


John Seiffer offers this.  Please direct all hate mail to him.


Tom Martel:  “Andy, where have you been?  This story/video was originally aired on Mar 15, 2012, on the Christian Broadcast Network.  This issue is a big story all over Europe.  Those promoting Sharia Law are of the same thinking as the ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Turkey Brotherhood, etc.  Remember, the battle of Tours, where Charles Martel drove the Muslims from Europe in the battle of Tours in 732 AD?  Distant relation I hope, haha.”

Jan:  “To some people I am probably one step away from being a flaming Commie, supporting the Liberal party of Canada.  But it seems to me the ‘Christian’ right in the US is as anxious to impose their values on the general population as the nutcase in the video is to impose his version of sharia law on the rest of the world.  How else to explain the crusade to criminalize abortion, restrict access to birth control, refuse to treat LGBT citizens as equals, gerrymander electoral districts, etc. etc.?  How many people are aware that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world or that there are more non-Arabic Muslims that Arabic ones?  In my opinion the terrorism being exported from the Middle East in the name of Islam is more about tribal conflict and regional instability (which George Bush has much to answer for) than religious crusade.  The CBN has more of these ‘news reports’ about the invading hordes in France among other places, and I find them repugnant with their manipulation of facts and images.   Sorry to rant on like this but I strongly feel that these people don’t deserve any more publicity than they have already managed to garner for themselves.  Thanks for letting me vent!”

Janet: “Have you seen this?”

From: Dr. Arieh Eldad:

I was instrumental in establishing the Israeli National Skin Bank, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations.

This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza, who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

We supplied all the needed Homografts for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza. She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.

One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.

This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization & barbarism.

It’s from 2008, and largely true.  Snopes has the rundown.  The liberal in me (and in Canadian Jan, above) immediately wonders: how awful must life in the refugee camp have been to lead a woman — presumably not enticed by the prospect of 72 virgins — to blow herself up to free her people?   According to a top CIA Mideast specialist, Bin Laden’s motive was not religious zeal or a hatred of Western civilization.  “Bin Laden [was] precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world.”

None of which for an instant justifies suicide bombings or 9/11 or Arafat’s tragic rejection of the 2000 peace accord.  In my admittedly non-expert view, it’s he and Hamas that the people of Gaza have largely, most recently, to blame for their awful situation . . . which both sides should be seeking urgently to improve.



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