Friday, April 15, 2011

Raj's Post That Would Not Post on Stuart's Blog, Unedited

Mike and Laurel: Wanted to post the following w/o success.
Stuart, Mike & Laurel.. I have read all the posting about "Goofy" and how it was declassified and how the IAU voted on it etc..

Just one point: Can we all agree that in fairness to ALL the IAU members.. let us agree that the IAU should have an electronic vote on a secured website wherein the IAU members votes for "Goofy's" status. The vote should be open for 15 days and just not when less than 15% of the members of IAU are present for voting.. In America there is a phrase called "Ram-rodding it thru" and thats what it reminds me off when the decision was taken.. As we all live in a democracy.. let the pros and cons be debated online and then voted on electronically NOW rather than at a sparsely attended IAU mtg.. Results announced and the matter buried.. There can be options of Planet vs. Non-planet vs. dwarf planet options etc..And whether the voting should be open to non IAU members etc should also be considered.. But lets keep this FAIR and BALANCED and accept a REAL majority verdict then..

Laurel: Why should I call Gas planets..a planet..right?...

Finally: I applaud Laurel, Mike & Stuart for this spirited defense.. Trawling the web and posting ones comments is a passionate person and that has to be respected w/o charecterising the person's character..

Laurel, Mike and Stuart: I hope astronomers as scientists give credit to their co-workers when credit is due.. if such credits are denied then that is character flaw.. a "101 in scientific ethics" I have learnt in Graduate school, the Prof takes credit but gives credit to the co-workers (ie: students or otherwise known as grunts).. thats ethics..

I hope the IAU is a democratic group not an autocratic one..

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Open Letter to the International Astronomical Union Regarding Pluto

Dear Professor Montmerle & Other Members of the Executive Committee:

I am an American artist/writer/attorney of partial French ancestry. My French ancestors were Huguenots. It is not lost on me that the de-planetification of Pluto occurred on August 24th, 2006, 434 years later on the same date as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. A day of infamy, twice over, as a friend noted sagely.

As a child growing up in the once-French city of Detroit, I used to fantasize about being the King of Pluto--once I learned about all the planets in the Solar System. I was probably in kindergarden, or the first grade at the latest.

My mother, as a little girl, had the assignment of writing an essay about one of the planets, and picked Pluto. Serendipity?

Pluto has captured the imagination of Mankind, and its summary dismissal from the family of planets is a great galactic injustice.

Do not tell me it is still a planet in the eyes of the IAU, either. Your organization violated its own protocols in Prague and voted to diss it on the last day of the 2006 General Assembly with only 424 members voting, creating a rift within the IAU itself--a rift that you have a duty to address in an appropriate and just manner.

In Rio, in 2009, with Alan Stern of NASA's New Horizons mission conspicuously absent, you ignored the pleas of millions and did not reopen the issue. That such a well-respected member of the IAU would boycott the Rio General Assembly is a testament to your dire need to reopen the question of Pluto. Other members are also upset at the way in which you acted without regard to proper process.

It is highly egregious that after the death of Clyde Tombaugh, but with his widow still alive, you took away such a great accomplishment with one fell bureaucratic stroke.

Such an action will discourage future generations from a career in astronomy, seeing how easily one's discoveries can be disrespected and erased from History.

Voting should be allowed to all members, whether present or not. Also, anything that is voted on must be properly vetted, not furtively rushed through on the last day of a General Assembly, when most members have left, thinking nothing more of consequence will occur. Neither happened in the matter of Pluto. Shameful, backward behavior unbecoming of the scientific community.

I have seen Pluto from a large telescope in Cadillac, Michigan, have you ever seen it?

I personally petitioned President George W. Bush in July 2002 to support New Horizons when he could have cancelled the mission, like President Clinton did to the Pluto Express mission. I have done more for Pluto than the current Executive Committee of the IAU.

I was invited to a pre-launch party in Cocoa Beach by Alan Stern and saw Mrs. Tombaugh there, and saw the launch itself a few days later on a packed dock jutting into the Atlantic Ocean in Port Canaveral, Florida, taking a few photographs of the great and beautiful feat.

The American astronomer Mike Brown glibly calls himself the assassin of Pluto. I give him credit for co-discovering Eris, a dwarf planet he named after a teevy show called Xena in 2005. At first, he said Eris was a planet, and then he changed his mind. Now he has a book in which he brags about killing Pluto. I hope you do not endorse such immature behavior, and I am glad he is not a member of your esteemed organization. Should he ever apply, I hope you will deny his request. He is the Pete Rose of his profession, one might say.

Such disrespect for Clyde Tombaugh by the IAU and Mike Brown has no place in the world of planetary science. The IAU needs to review the matter of Pluto, and put it on the docket for the 2012 and/or the 2015 General Assemblies.

To allow this egregious vote to stand is an insult to true science. I hope you will heed my words. See you in Honolulu.


Mike Wrathell, Esq. & Artist
Sterling Heights, MI

PS: I have a lot of space-themed art on my art website, and was the subject of an award-winning documentary entitled "the king of pluto." I have already made art with images sent back to Earth from the New Horizons probe. I am listed on Wikipedia, as well. The chief curator of The Whitney Museum of American Art called my art "compelling."

PPS: I am sending a Cc to all Executive Committee members of the IAU, and you are all put on notice as to my thoughts and are invited to email me back with any comments you may wish to share with me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Dark Side of The Moon

Well, Folks:

I am working on a new art project now using Moon grey stills of footage of the dark side of the Moon shot by Apollo 8's crew when Mankind, for the first time ever, saw that side.

I hope you enjoy the artwork. "Moon Frog" has what seems to be a frog with wings in the lower right. All the work is unaltered, but for color and saturation. Using computers to make art from real photos is cool, and I do not want to alter the true beauty of any side of the Moon by getting too "cutezy-ootzey."

Click on the link and behold.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

The End of Obama

Dissing General Stanley McChrystal as our troops are attacked at will in Afghanistan in remote outposts because of internal pressure from the far left of his own political party shows President Obama's inability to rise to the challenge of the office he was elected to fill.

If we lose the war in Afghanistan due to his hemming and hawing, or worse, the world and America will be more unsafe. Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iran cannot be ignored.

I only hope it is not too late if he ever realizes what the job duties of his office dictate. We already know it is too late for many of our soldiers who he has deemed to be nothing better than sitting ducks for the Taliban.

He may have won the Nobel Peace Prize for his boldly naive pronouncements regarding nuclear disarmament as Iran readies itself to be able to launch missiles into Europe, Israel, and American bases, but by losing independent voters in America, he may be turning himself into a one-termer. However, given demographic trends, mass media infatuation, and Democratic manuevers, he may be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat ala George W. Bush. Time will tell.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Roman Polanski Needs To Go To California

William Faulkner, the American Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 1949, once wrote in The Sound and the Fury, "Did you ever have a sister? Did you? Did you?"

I wonder if Woody Allen asked Roman that before he signed that petition for his unconditional release.

As an artist/writer/musician/cartoonist/poet who has even had a film idea or two in my day and been in a couple of award-winning films, one as the subject and one as a bit actor, I respect Roman Polanski's directorial talent and can understand why some people in the industry are upset that he was arrested on his way to the Zurich Film Festival on 9.26.9, but it was the right move.

What kind of message does that send when a man who drugs a 13-year-old girl with quaaludes (however slight the amount) and champagne flees before sentencing and then is embraced by the international film community? I am so glad that Luc Besson of La Femme Nikita fame was not one of the directors to sign that silly petition to let a rapist go unpunished.

I think any director who signs that petition should be boycotted. Luc also directed all the Transporter movies, so put them in your Netflix queue! He also directed Taken, which stars Liam Neeson trying to rescue his daughter from a plethora of scumbags.

I guess the judge who handled the case might have mishandled it a bit, but that does not mean Polanski should be lionized for running away to France. Nor does it matter than the girl he raped is now in his camp. By raping her, he committed a crime against The United States of America. That means a crime against every American as America is by, for, and of the people. Nor does it mean that she cannot be called to the stand if need be, even though she may have signed a settlement agreement before he paid her off to avoid a civil suit for damages.

Any contractual provision or settlement provision that impedes a criminal trial, criminal investigation, or a fundamental right, e. g., the right of free speech, the right to run for office, et cetera, is prima facie unconstitutional.

That is why the Massachusetts Senate did not try to restrict the newly-installed U. S. Senator Paul Kirk from seeking to retain his office in January's special election. As The New York Times put it on 9.23.9, "legislators feared that such a condition would not pass constitutional muster......" It is on page A22.

Here in Macomb County, Michigan, the assistant prosecutors, represented by the UAW, signed away their fundamental right to run against the sitting prosecutor. It would probably not pass constitutional muster, but no one but me seems to care. The Ninth Amendment reserves to the people all unenumerated fundamental rights. If you can't run for office, you are a lackey, and not a free man or free woman. America is better than that.

And America is better than letting Roman Polanski go scot free after drugging and forcibly raping anally a 13-year-old girl. Sure, he pled to a charge that does not speak to the drugging or to the forcing, but the facts in the criminal complaint are very clear that that occured.

I was thinking, though, that since he hired a close friend of Attorney General Eric Holder to be on his legal team, and President Obama is probably looking for an easy way out of this Hollywood dilemma, why not commute his sentence after he serves a year in prison---but under one condition: he be bunkmates with Charles Manson! I bet that would make Charles's day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


When you ask someone how many kids they have, or cats, or whatever, they will say two, or three, or none, or four, maybe even nine. But they won't say "oh nine."

Why then do so many people write 2009 as "09?" Next month will be a cool day: 9.9.9 or 9-9-9. I like to use periods in between, looks much more aesthetically pleasing. If you add a zero out of some kind of fearful compulsion to conform to an unspoken, unattributed convention, surely invented by some insidious puppet master of the masses, you will destroy the beautiful numeric poetry of that day's date.

9.9.9 is fine. No one will be confused but the utterly, hopelessly conformist variety of mass men and women.

I once had a Macomb County social worker with Master's degree add a zero to a date I had written a few years ago. That is state action infringing on my freedom of speech. I could have sued her.

If you do some Googling, you will see not everyone is anal about that superfluous zero. It is okay, really. If you have an ounce of free will in your body, try it, you might like it. Save some ink, too.

This is the last year in most of our lifetimes that we can do this and 9.9.9 is the last really cool date, but for 11.10.9, I suppose.

So if you dare, join me in a little rebellion! It feels good and the number nine will love you for it on 9.9.9!

obama's kiddie address (this is a joke, or is it? *s*)

my fellow little americans,

a few weeks ago, over my blackberry (holds it up and waves it around a bit), my de facto education czar, my old hippie friend, bill ayers, told me he got a great idea the other day as he was smoking a marijuana pipe at grant park, he emailed me on his blackberry: "Barack, old buddy, Bernandine misses the good ole massah-mandingo 3-ways! How are ya, you old coot! Hey, why don't you give an address to the children over teevy the start of every school year, ostensibly innocuous, of course......"

i thought to myself: WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!!! and began to write this address to you.

as vladimir lenin once said, "kill the czar and his ministers, because it is time for a change," america voted for change when they voted for me, and you are my instruments of change. congress, as you know, is full of asshole republicans, blue dog democrats from planet pluto or neptune, and then the ugliest bitch west of the rockies and east of chicago, nancy pelosi.

i tell you, she is scary! (children laugh in unison, ready to throw nail bombs for the cause).

oh, for the sound bites to the press....stay in school, study hard, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again!

oh, and i almost forgot, if your parents or anyone else you know is against a public option, call 911 or email the whitehouse, if you know how to do that....your local police departments have been instructed to turn over such names and emails to me immediately. you are now called obamaers and obamaettes, your job is to help me beat the asshole republicans and other enemies of change. together, we are invincible!

allah akbar!