Monday, August 01, 2005

10th Rock from the UN

Last week Caltech astronomer Michael Brown announced the discovery of a 10th planet in our solar system. Today President Bush bypassed the Senate and appointed John Bolton to be US ambassador to the UN.

The photo above shows time-lapsed images of the new planet, temporarily called 2003UB313, taken at the Palomar Observatory. The planet, circled in white, is seen moving across a field of stars.

The new planet is located about 9.7 billion miles from the sun and is a little bigger than Pluto. It orbits the sun every 560 years and is now at its farthest point from Earth. In about 280 years (around the time the Democrats next occupy the White House), the planet will be as close as Neptune. The new planet went undiscovered for so long because its orbit is tilted at a 45-degree angle to the orbital plane of the other planets. It's an oddball.

Michael Brown was apparently forced into laying his planetary cards on the table after a hacker, who had breached his servers, threatened to expose the findings.

Today President Bush installed embattled nominee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations bypassing the Senate after a testy five-month standoff with Democrats who argued that the tough-talking conservative was unfit for the job. "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform," Bush said.

Democrats called Bolton an uncompromising and hotheaded conservative and a man who "bullies, marginalizes and undermines those who do not agree with him."

Kofi Annan pointedly noted that Bolton was one of many U.N. ambassadors. "I think it is all right for one ambassador to come and push," Annan said, "but an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced for action to take place."

Last week Donald Trump testifying before Congress suggested that the UN building in Manhattan be torn down rather than renovated to reclaim the outrageously expensive land.

I think I know the perfect location for the new UN building. Build it on the planet 2003UB313 and rename it Bolton.


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