Posts tagged Science
Did you see this today on i09?? Gooooooo Science! ~Prof. Jenn
Neil deGrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and always deemed my favorite, has once again invaded our television screens as an actor on a beloved television series. Fans may know Tyson from his work on Nova ScienceNow or his numerous books that bring astrophysics to the masses. Casual viewers or readers may know him better as ‘The Man Who Demoted Pluto.’ Yes, third graders everywhere are cursing his name because they have to relearn the planetary jingle.
Despite the fact that it’s been four years since the IAU agreed with Tyson and demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status, the entertainment industry is still using it to their advantage. Tyson first took a turn as an actor on the Stargate: Atlantis episode “Brain Storm” where he played…Neil deGrasse Tyson. He became the subject of taunting by Dr. Rodney McKay over his role in the planet’s demotion, but managed to get a few good jibes in himself.
Rodney McKay: Hey, at least I didn’t declassify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil. That make you feel like a big man? (SGA, Episode 5.16, “Brain Storm”)
And now, two years later, he’s back again. This time, he’s on the hit comedy Big Bang Theory, favorite of nerds everywhere, and he’s playing…Neil deGrasse Tyson. Hey, when you’re iconic, you can be your own character! He is still defending himself as not being the sole person responsible for Pluto’s demotion, but Dr. Sheldon Cooper will have none of that.
Sheldon Cooper: I’m quite familiar with Dr. Tyson. He’s responsible for the demotion of Pluto from planetary status. I liked Pluto. Ergo, I do not like you. (BBT, Episode 4.7, “The Apology Insufficiency”)
Poor Dr. Tyson, he just can’t win. But if the television writers want to ride this joke out for however long they deem it funny, I’m happy to see Tyson return time and again. Until then, I’ll be over here geeking out over my favorite astrophysicist.
Photo Credit: Chris Cassidy, NOVA science NOW
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Earlier this morning on Geeky Pleasures, I posted the following press release. Click the clip below or you will be a wee bit lost on this topic.
Not receiving any feedback, I asked the following question on Twitter:
Do you see it as geeks/nerds choosing what they actually like without mainstream telling them what is or is not cool or do you think it is profit grab?
Do you like this idea or does it bother you?
Do you think these are awards are filled with irony due to popularity factor and as geeks and nerds we shouldn’t care about that?
What other issues do you see with this, if any?
What do you think?
I do not believe in astrology, but that is irrelevant to this conversation. This isn’t about the accuracy of astrology itself but about the inaccuracy of the zodiac being used for horoscopes and astrological signs, the forms most people think of when referring to astrology.
There are twelve astrological signs, each corresponding to a constellation from the zodiac. The word zodiac is roughly translated to mean ‘circle of animals’ which is a very accurate description. Each constellation of the zodiac falls into a ring around the earth known as the ecliptic; the paths of the Sun, Moon and planets around the earth also roughly fall in the ecliptic. People’s astrological signs are assigned by the position of the constellations when that person was born. Whatever zodiac is in the sky is that person’s sign.
The zodiac has been around, unchanging, since the Romans; and this is the heart of the problem. That is a long time; so long in fact the earth’s axis itself has shifted. Earth’s axis wobbles slightly, this means that in the 2,000 plus years since the zodiac was first created the earth has shifted its position in space ever so slightly. The stars are around 30 degrees westward in our night’s sky than they were for ancient astronomers.
This means that the constellations no longer correspond to the signs. A chart provided by Wikipedia helpfully shows when each zodiac constellations is present in the sky and when the zodiac sign is considered present. In every instance the constellation rises as the sign sets. A person who is an Aries was actually born under the constellation of Pisces and is therefore actually a Pisces.