Why I moved away from San Francisco

By Phil Plait | June 10, 2009 5:59 pm

Now, don’t get me wrong: San Francisco is one of my absolute favorite cities ever. I love it there, I loved it there, and moving away from that area was a tough decision (I still miss driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, which I will always think of as my bridge). And it’s not like Boulder doesn’t have its share of New Age goofiness.

But still.

Did these scientists talk to the moon? Tell her what they were doing? Ask her permission? Show her respect?

You know what? We did ask the Moon first, but being a gigantic ball of lifeless rock, it didn’t answer back.

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to John Schroer.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Humor, Piece of mind, Space

Comments (123)

  1. Hugo

    Reminds me of whenever my boss asks a question like, “What would be acceptable for the business?” and I think of this Jagrafess-like “thing” living in some dark, secluded corner of HR.

  2. Norah Casey

    I live in San Francisco, and I just saw a woman in a Prius with a “save earth” bumper sticker throw a big mac wrapper out the window in Golden Gate park. That basically sums it up nicely. Thank you for describing perfectly what has been haunting me for years. In San Fran, its a cause that needs protection if its far away and remote, but if its something simple like… non-white people are getting shot in Oakland for no reason, there is nothing but silence.

  3. I bet you’ll feel really dumb when the Mooninites sue Earth for damages.

  4. Francesco Iacopino

    There are so many myths and false information in that page…

    Where is the evidence that women are connected to the moon by their menstrual cycles while they are fertile?

    Gaining TRUE information by crashing an orbiter on the Moon is wrong, while putting out in the world a lot of FALSE information is all nice and well?

    What kind of a job is an ‘Astrology Examiner’ anyway?

  5. That is a bit too New Age. However, I have been troubled for a long time at the amount of debris we have left in our wake. If we did have an outpost on another planet, or moon, please reassure me that I wouldn’t find a Snickers wrapper or empty bottle of Coke lying around. The solar system was pristine as I was growing up, but that can’t be said today. Just sayin.

  6. oldamateurastronomer

    Sheesh, she hasn’t been around long, has she!?!

    How many objects have already been impacted into the Moon since the early 60’s and since.

    I believe all of the upper stages of the LM’s were crashed into the Moon just to get them out of the way and some if not all of the third stages of the Saturn 5’s that got the Apollo missions there.

  7. On the plus side even the commentors over there are giving her hard time…

  8. Cindy

    My full name is Cynthia which was a Roman Moon Goddess. And my astrology sign is Cancer and the “planet” associated with Cancer is the Moon. And when I was born, my dad was working on the Apollo project. So, “logically” I have the right to give permission. I give permission to crash things into the Moon.

    Note: I really don’t believe the astrology BS. And my older sister named me because she had a friend named Cindy.

  9. Clinto

    I love living in San Francisco, but I do deal with a great excess of crazy on my morning walks through the park. It’s an interesting stew of New Age woo, astrological garbage and traditional Eastern quackery. Most of it is harmless enough but on rare occasions I find it hard to suppress my distaste when conversations take a turn for the stupid.

  10. Harry

    *FACEPALM*

    Every time the human race acomplishes something amazing like exploring a new world or inventing some new piece of technology, it makes me proud to be human. But then, someone like this woman has to come along and spoil it for me. I can not help but think that it would be a crime to unleash this level of raw stupidity on the rest of the galaxy and that it would be better for the cosmos if we DID wipe ourselves out before getting to the stars. Of course I do not WANT that to happen, it’s just in the back of my mind sometimes………

  11. John Keller

    You need to read her bio. It’s a hoot.

    Satya is a priestess, a shaman, a visionary, and a scholar focusing primarily on astrology, Earth changes, and 2012. She has been studying astrology and delving deep into the mysteries since 1994. She has a passion to discover how it all works, and to communicate her findings with others.

  12. Ibeechu

    @Molly

    I think it’s really, really cool to know that we have left our mark in some way on our solar system. Now, let’s not lease out space on the moon to advertisers, but the principle is just astonishing. We, stupid monkey humans, natural biologic machines, have done THIS. We have been able to put ourselves on the moon. ON THE FRAKKING MOON. We’ve invented stuff, and then put that on the moon, among other places. That, in its own way, is more beautiful than a pristine solar system. I definitely think it adds to the mystery, rather than soils it.

    In b4 Pepsi paints the moon red, white, and blue.

  13. Richard

    Sure, we didn’t ask permission to crash space craft onto the moon.

    But I don’t think the asteroids, comets, or other interplanetary debris asked either. I’m sure the moon would’ve been very upset at whatever caused the maras. Heck, I bet it even resents Tycho.

    But she’s an astrologer. It’s not like she knows anything about the moon anyway. Or the stars, or space, or reality. It’s safe to assume that she has no footing in reality and no bearing either. In fact, I think she was so deluded in her powers that she actually thought that the information she gave was actually facts, when in reality, they were pulled out of her….

    Venus, I hear, is pretty cloudy.

  14. Michelle

    Teh stoopid, it hurts. My menstrual cycle is fine with or without the moon missing a couple junks of rock due to a little impact.

  15. Charlie Young

    Looks like the commenters over at the Chronicle agree with you. BTW, did the lunar astronauts really bring their excrement back with them? I suppose that would be true since leaving it in space orbiting the earth or moon would be pretty unappealing.

  16. @Molly #3: It seems like a strange attitude to me, that any sign of humanity’s presence automatically spoils a place. Why is a Snickers wrapper on the ground bad, but a snail shell left lying around is okay? How is an empty Coke bottle inherently worse than a jagged rock?

    It seems to me like self-loathing, that’s all.

  17. Owen

    Whee! She’s getting the BA spillover comments now. Fun stuff.

  18. Daffy

    Naked Bunny with a Whip,

    The answer is because we have intelligence; we are free to choose. A snail is not.

  19. Mike

    You know, the sad thing is that she probably swindles people out of money regularly with that sort of nonsense. I’m assuming the majority of her income comes from performing privately. And if not, then wow, imagine that.. while most of us (I’m assuming) were slaving away in college level math and science classrooms, she was buying colorful cards at the local joke shop, and now she’s somehow qualified enough to be a professional writer.

    D:

  20. Naked Bunny: Aside from the snail shell being aesthetically pleasing and the wrapper or coke bottle isn’t? It is spoiling the beauty of a place when you leave trash lying around. We shouldn’t make beautiful places ugly just because we can.

    There is of course signs of humanity’s presence that are beautiful such as the footprints left behind on the moon. Or Phoenix up there encased in ice on Mars after doing some wonderful science.

    Space junk in orbit is a serious problem for entirely practical matters. Just look at that non-functioning Russian satellite that took out that Iridium satellite a few months ago.

  21. talk to the moon? Tell her what they were doing? Ask her permission? Show her respect?

    Buy her a nice dinner? Take her to a good movie? Get her flowers and candy?

    J/P=?

  22. The first article comment is priceless: “We are all dumber for having read this.”

    You said it, man. ;-)

  23. I’m more worried about Mars and Venus flirting with each other (see link from my name above). If they ever consummate, we’re ALL stuffed.

    (And to keep it topical, I’m hoping there’s a chapter on this in your latest book, Phil – “Death from the Skies” inDEED).

  24. Richard

    @ John Paradox….

    Only to have her think of us as “just friends” and then move on to a complicated relationship to Mars?

  25. Scott

    The Lunar Cycle/Menstrual Cycle myth is one of the biggest coincident-taken-as-fact that bothers me. Women are not synchronized to the moon, or anything else. And 28 days is just an average, not an absolute. People like this continually repeat these “science myths” that harms real science.

  26. Mentat

    Bah, who cares about the moon… I’ll tell you what the real tragedy is here. Why is there no love for poor Kaguya, who will be killed by the heartless JAXA people just to gather a few more bits of data? Did anyone ever bother to ask Kaguya what she wants? NO. Well, maybe she has dreams of her own! Dreams that she’ll never get the chance to realize. *tear*

  27. Brian

    @John Paradox: Iew, man, that’s our own satellite you’re talking about! She can flirt with Phobos or Ganymede, but there are laws about dating your own moon.

  28. Brian

    I’m relieved and encouraged that most of the comments on her page have been pointing out the stupidity of the article.

  29. Oh man, I love reading The Onion…

    …wait a minute, you mean that wasn’t The Onion?! [sigh]

  30. Satya might actually be onto something. This morning I heard bang followed by a shrill, “Sacrebleu! You put an ‘ole in mah cratère!

    Turns out the Moon has a French accent.

  31. Charlie Young

    My bad…The Examiner @ #11

  32. Nevy

    What lunacy! And she’s clearly adopted a Sanskrit Indian name (Satya) just to sound New Age-y.

  33. Reading that I feel like breaking out in a chorus of my own “California Dreaming” vs “Aquarius” remix.

    All the leaves are brown and they sky is grey. I’ve been for a walk on winter’s day when the Moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars

  34. I just… wow. The words. They fail me.

    Seppuku and its cultural variants are still considered by some people to be a respected exit strategy. Maybe she’ll consider it seriously in 2012.

  35. JimB

    Well since nobody else is doing it, I guess it’s up to me.

    Satya Harvey

    There. I mean how will she find this page if she ever does a vanity search.

  36. Phil – I just posted this on the site you linked to.

    ===========================

    The Moon is constantly impacted by objects in space that are destined to become part of the Moon.

    The Moon welcomes its visitors because it has nothing indigenous that interests the Moon.

    The Moon enjoyed it when man walked on her surface. She always welcomes company.

    The Moon is normally lonely. While she enjoys her solitude, the Moon is not a solitary being.

    Our probes don’t harm the Moon. They merely become part of it.

    The Moon welcomes the sparkly objects from her mother, Earth.

    Our probes are the Moon’s jewelry and she wears them proudly. She knows she is more important than any of the rest because we went to her first.

    The Moon will always be first to her mother, Earth.

    I’m glad we’re making her happy.

    ===========================

  37. The great thing is, imagine what fun will be had in 2013, when these clowns have to come up with an excuse for why everything didn’t go poof in 2012.

    “And will there be a great wind?”

  38. Mark

    Oh my, I can hardly even laugh at this woman

    based on the comments it looked like all of the traffic that page got came right from here –> fantastic

    Ok, so when Phil discovers Rupert, will this woman change her astrological machinations? And before she does, will she consult with Rupert to ensure it has an interest in being made a part of her system of symbols?

    I mean, honestly, how dare these astronomers make photons pass through a telescope just to get a better view of stuff; that’s crazy!! You’ve gotta ask the photons out first, wine & dine them, refract them through a nice merlot —> THEN you get out the telescope

  39. @Daffy #13: we are free to choose

    Sure, but there is a clear implication that some decisions are “bad” and others are “good”. I was asking where that distinction arises. Is anything that humans do beyond eating and pooping bad? Because those are about the only things we really have to do.

    @Noadi #14:

    Aside from the snail shell being aesthetically pleasing and the wrapper or coke bottle isn’t?

    Fair enough. Of course, the same could be said of a perfectly trimmed lawn, which is the polar opposite of “pristine”. I think ticker-tape parades are beautiful, too. I guess I was asking for some sort of objective measure of why litter is inherently bad, but I see that this is just a discussion about people’s biases.

    Space junk in orbit is a serious problem for entirely practical matters.

    Yep, but we were talking about candy wrappers on the Moon. I see now that Molly wasn’t talking about practical matters, she was making some sort of moral judgment based on her own aesthetic preferences. That’s cool. Everyone has their own ideas of what’s beautiful and what’s ugly.

    Therefore, I’m bowing out, since there is no objective foundation on which to discuss this matter further, and I won’t get sucked into a debate which amounts to “the stuff I like is better than the stuff you like”.

  40. I think it’s fair to say that Boulder has more than it’s “fair share” of nuttiness, frankly.

  41. @ Naked Bunny:

    There is a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, the title of which eludes me, in which astronauts from Earth bury their rubbish on a supposedly sterile world. Unfortunately, the one example of primitive life they missed burrows into the trash and immediately gorges itself on the waste, eating itself to death and thus ending all life on that planet.

    I don’t know if Snicker bar wrappers were included.

    But I don’t think it is entirely an aesthetic issue. Plastic waste is seriously degrading our biosphere. While it’s still a pretty long stretch to compare a single space probe smacking into the moon with garbage on Earth, it’s not really a subjective argument. At least when the sheer quantity of human trash is in question.

  42. Charlie Foxtrot

    Ironically, Kaguya becomes self-aware just a bit too late…

    “What’s that thing so big and round? Round …round…ground! Lets call it ‘ground’. I wonder if it’ll be friends with me?…”

  43. Timothy from Boulder

    “it’s not like Boulder doesn’t have its share of New Age goofiness”

    Remember, Phil, around here the correct spelling of that phrase is “newage.” Rhymes with “sewage.”

  44. Robert

    Naked Bunny, I’m with you. The original theme running through Molly’s comment seemed to be that anything we humans leave around is somehow less worthy than the way it was naturally. I mean I think most of us agree that that damaging the ecosystem isn’t smart (we need to live in it) and that litter is for the majority not very pretty and so to be avoided.

    But the general feeling that everything is worse off when humanity’s touch is laid upon it, that I don’t buy. And frankly, I can stomach much worse thoughts than that of some plastic trash in the open on some sterile planet.

    Although, given the general difficulties in getting stuff into space, I doubt we are going to be bringing much disposable waste.

  45. ccpetersen

    LOVE the comments on that article.

  46. Alien Death-Ray

    Is she somehow trying to say that billions of women felt the Kaguya impact through their uteruses? So, when a guy takes a football to the groin, is that like a volcaninc eruption on Mars? Is there a link between teenage acne outbreaks and sunspots? Planets and moons can have hurt feelings? Oh boy, the talk shows should have had a field day with Pluto. “So, Pluto, how do you feel now that they took away your planetary status?” “Well Oprah, I’m hurt, deeply hurt.”

    Please nominate her for some year end “idiot of the year award”. And if you already have someone in mind, please make up a new category just for her.

  47. Tin foil beanie’s are so 2008, these days it’s all the rage to go with the origami tinfoil samurai hat demonostrated here – http://www.twitpic.com/5tglt – and folded thanks to the iphone application Video Origami ( http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=316157135&mt=8&ei=aYIwSsDkD6iK6APfuvzHBA&usg=AFQjCNFpYkRECyHjYKhfmERDHm3vqAIvQw&sig2=VxuMpdCjI5a0Wq6b0mXJiA ) starring non other than “The One”‘s Richard Saunders.

  48. OtherRob

    Every time the human race acomplishes something amazing like exploring a new world or inventing some new piece of technology, it makes me proud to be human. But then, someone like this woman has to come along and spoil it for me.

    I feel exactly the same way, Harry.

  49. JimB

    If you looked at the comments in the linked article go look again.

    I would say she’s deleting like crazy.

    Wonder why that is?

  50. JimB

    Ignore my last. I’m tired. I’m going to bed now.

    stupid almost invisible next tag

  51. Pat

    Wait – so the moon is feminine, and now it wants special treatment? I thought with the ERA and all… now I’m confused.

  52. Actually the moon thinks of it as a massage, which any new age crackpot could get behind (or under).

    teh stoopid – it burns!

  53. As a current resident of the San Francisco bay area, i hang my head in shame.

    Again.

  54. Chayanov

    Unfortunately I know a lot of people here in the Twin Cities who would wholeheartedly agree with this “Astrology Examiner”. They think their “knowledge” about things like the Moon, cobbled together from cherry-picked ideas from popular culture, mythology, and stuff they simply made up is every bit as valid as actual scientific knowledge. These people practically wet themselves every time Mercury goes into retrograde.

  55. Flying sardines

    The Lunatics give their permission, Satya! ;-)
    Methinks you’ve been inhaling too much incense or something. :roll:

    Ole Luna copped it in the eye from Jules Verne.

    Its been hammered by meteorites (is it still a meteorite when there’s no meteor?) since it formed.

    This little pat from her old human visitors was much nicer – just ask it & it’ll tell you … well if you smoke enough strong ..something ..maybe. ;-)

    Oh & Satya according to Jewish mythology a man who collected firewood on the sabbath was chucked up to the Moon and became the “man-in-the-moon” as a horrible eternal punishment for that hideous, sacrilegious “crime.” Did the Jews patriachal genocidal war god Yahwah ask the Moon’s permission to be used like that?

    Still I suppose nasty myths like that are just “old age” dumb-osity as opposed to the fluffy, PC nEewwAge “truth” you follow… :roll:

  56. Petrolonfire

    @ #45 Chayanov :

    “These people practically wet themselves every time Mercury goes into retrograde.”

    What’s so ‘practical’ about wetting oneself? I’d have thought that urinating in your pants was very impractical and unhelpful not to mention generally smelly & gross! ;-)

    The practical thing to do would be to ignore the astrological humbug and get the telescope out to view Mercury “in retrograde.” ;-)

    Except, of course, speaking practically. Mercury can NEVER be retrograde because it is an inferior planet, ie. one *inside* Earth’s orbit and only planets outside Earth can do the retrograde loop-in-the-sky! ;-)

    (Hah! two pedantic nit picks from the one sentence for ya! Ka-Zam! :-P )

  57. Yeah, I live in San Francisco, and I always have to shake my head at all the terribly un-critical thinking there is here.

    One a bunch of people tried to get me to smoke pot to “open my mind,” because I didn’t believe in one person’s damn “orb” photographs that they were showing to everyone at a party. Every thing I pointed out (cameras are optical devices made by humans, the light is just reflecting off of dust, there’s a lot more dust than you think, etc.) got a response of “but that’s JUST YOUR OPINION.”

    Another time I was in the checkout line at the grocery store on June 20th, and the person next to me was rambling about how the day “seems to be getting longer and longer” and didn’t know why that was; I said, “well, tomorrow is the longest day of the year and it’ll only get shorter from there,” and they were gobsmacked at how I could possibly predict that.

    Meanwhile I see Scientologists with their e-meter “stress test” booths always set up at the BART stations and a long line of people waiting to get tested, because they think it’s going to be a helpful service. And they have every legal right to be there.

  58. Darren Garrison

    When she gets that feeling:

    http://www.kevinbrahenyfortune.com/healingandtantra/bio.html

    Surely “Anna (Satya) Harvey” is the same person.

    Edit: found this. Sadly, this cancer is only half-vast.

    http://oldsoulwakeups.gaia.com/

  59. MadScientist

    They must be trying to sell a faux smoking ceremony.

    I love San Francisco – it’s still one of my favorite cities. The loons don’t really bug me; Chicago and New York are much rougher places. Big cities always have their crazies and the bigger the cities the crazier the crazies. I always enjoy walking around the Exploratorium then wandering around the park and staring at the Golden Gate bridge or counting the small boats sailing around Alcatraz Island. I absolutely hate the traffic, but that’s inescapable in a crowded city; Chicago has much worse traffic.

  60. Pat Montana

    Contact Neil deGrasse Tyson! We now have proof of multiple universes…because this chick sure ain’t living in ours.

  61. Darren Garrison

    Wow, two of today’s subjects tie together! She is a chiroquacktor!

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/satya-harvey/12/153/889

  62. On the other hand, I would like to share one of the reasons that makes living in the SF Bay Area so incredibly worthwhile:

    http://www.uss-hornet.org/posters/splashdown/index.shtml

    My six year old daughter REALLY wants to be an astronaut; her goal is to go to the moon. I’ve not lived anyplace else where events like this were an option.

  63. Stone Age Scientist

    Hi Phil, you’re right, who doesn’t love San Francisco? I’d been there twice for a visit, and on each occasion, the city enchanted me more. A friend took me to walk the streets for a day, had lunch at Subway, and peered through the many shops along the way. And yes, I got to visit GGB, or should I say Phil’s Bridge, and the park beside it. It was cold that day but there were seals along the Wharf and even below the cliff, where a group of students had gathered round their teacher while he was explaining things to his class (I reckon about the seals because he was pointing at them). The next day was also marvelous, as we visited the Planetarium, the Museum and also the Botanical Garden. Gosh, I forgot their names but I remember these were situated fairly close to each other. Again, we walked a distance because as I remember it, my friend had trouble finding a parking space for the vehicle that we rented. Aah, fond memories of San Fransisco. The tour around Alcatraz. Fisherman’s Wharf and the oily fish and chips. The City Hall and the big Cathedral. The cable cars and that winding street (I forgot its name). The beach with the windmill (or was it a lighthouse?)…

    But back to business, I hope you didn’t leave SF just because of people who have strange beliefs. :) I think part of what makes SF lovely is the cultural diversity of its citizens.

  64. 45. Robert Says: “Naked Bunny, I’m with you. The original theme running through Molly’s comment seemed to be that anything we humans leave around is somehow less worthy than the way it was naturally…the general feeling that everything is worse off when humanity’s touch is laid upon it, that I don’t buy. And frankly, I can stomach much worse thoughts than that of some plastic trash in the open on some sterile planet.”

    Don’t any of these “we’re polluting outer space” types realize just how big space is? Not to quote Doug Adams or anything, but it’s really, really, big. The entire Earth could be pulverized and just result in a thin ring of debris around the sun with no substantive effect on the rest of the solar system.

    – Jack

  65. 58. Petrolonfire Says: “@ #45 Chayanov…
    (Hah! two pedantic nit picks from the one sentence for ya! Ka-Zam!)”

    How about the nit that the post you were quoting was actually #56?

    – Jack

  66. Stone Age Scientist

    I shuffled through my old album disk (scanned to disk because this was way back in 2001 when I was still using my point and click) and found this. It’s a windmill along the beach, not a lighthouse. The picture was taken (by me) along the beach in mid afternoon (I recall around 4 pm).

    beach windmill

  67. Sounds to me as though you should have stayed in San Francisco, where you were needed the most….

  68. -Jack

    If there are postings that are being ‘moderated’ (not just for links), the numbering can get thrown off…that’s why I generally repost the text….

    (#65?) nope… 66

    J/P=?

  69. Hendi

    Its so disgusting!

    The website offered the following list:
    Articles from other Examiners:

    * Evil, hatred, racism never retire
    * Homosexuals ‘On their way to hell’ says Pat Robertson
    * Making time for pastoral prayer
    * Sick: Philly abortion clinic gives ‘free’ abortions in honor of Tiller
    * The Emotional Freedom Technique — Forgive, release, let go, and move on! (Resource 2)

    I just peeked into #1 and #4, but almost spilled my milk. Great place to mess up your feelings for a day.

  70. Keith

    I was going to say something else but the comment someone left on there was too funny:

    “And did you ask the Moon if it minded having a probe crashed into it? I mean, I’d imagine a female body that’s been without human contact for almost 40 years would practically have an orgasm if poked.” – Korinna

    What she said.

  71. csrster

    There was a Native American group who objected when Gene Shoemaker’s ashes were crashed into the moon, because they considered the moon to be sacred and putting a dead body on it would defile it. I couldn’t help thinking that for a group who tend to complain about the effects of imperialism, claiming a whole world as their own sacred domain was a little hypocritical.

  72. Colin
  73. Mike

    California <– enough said! Just a tiny step further than Texas

  74. Tim G

    The moon is receiving too much attention. Venus is the hot one.

  75. DLC

    Phil, you owe me some neurons. I mean really, that woman was neuron-blasting stupid.
    At least most of the comments below the article were from rational people who don’t think the big hunk o rock is annoyed by Kaguya’s impact.
    Besides, everyone knows Luna is leaving us anyway, so who cares !
    Okay, so she’s dawdling and taking her time of it– 5cm a year or thereabouts, but eventually . . .

  76. Rick A

    Tongue in cheek, the moon’s lack of response reminds me of the Earth’s answer to the Vogons in “A Hitchhiker’s Guide” – we told you we were going to destroy the earth and you did not object. …. Oh yeah, I guess that was fiction.

    Rick

  77. Cindy

    Here’s a funny and somewhat appropriate XKCD:

    http://www.xkcd.com/594/

  78. Joe Meils

    Yes! Yes! How DARE we besmirtch the moon’s lovely surface with an impact crater? Doing so will only destroy the natural beauty of a place that is covered in… impact craters.

  79. Sarcastro

    8. Cindy Says: My full name is Cynthia which was a Roman Moon Goddess.

    Greek. It’s an epithet derived from Mt Cynthus on the island of Delos where Artemis was believed to have been born.

  80. What? We asked permission? How? When? With what instrument? Did we use an instrument? Did someone just looked up and asked? Is it documented somewhere? I’d like a link pretty please!

  81. Jeff

    Phil, I take you weren’t in the Haight during the summer of love?

    Anyone else out there remember that?? Anyone out there??

  82. I probably pays to note that the above-referenced writer is with Examiner.com. Examiner.com is a collection of unpaid bloggers (okay, they get a penny a hit: I know, since I wrote for them for about two weeks), and their writing is essentially unvetted. I’m now going off to ask my eggs if it’s okay to have them for breakfast. Oops! Too late…

  83. Dan

    That lady is a lunatic (no pun intended).

    But I do get tired of the “California is full of nothing but moonbats” (again, no pun intended) meme, a la Mike @ 71. California in general – and the Bay Area in particular – is one of the more science-and-reason-friendly places in the nation. Stanford and Cal (among others) put an awful lot of scientists and other well-educated people out into the Bay Area community. You never hear the “let’s not teach evolution” thing coming from California schools, for one thing, or at least not from Bay Area schools.

    And I’d say that, for a much smaller city and overall metro area, the New Age Dingbat ratio is probably equal or higher in Boulder than in SF.

  84. Rob

    Umm– none of this is even to mention the fact that if you do the math the relative impact of the probe hitting the moon would be equivalent to an object with mass 1.65 x 10^-15 (not sure how to do superscript here) grams impacting Ms. Satya Harvey. When you consider that the average mass of a single cell in our body is 1 nanogram, or 1 x 10^-9, you realize even more clearly how far beyond the pale this comment of hers is.

  85. Maria

    Gee, that made my relative the Astrologer sound almost sane. (We never admit to being related to him publically)

  86. Tony

    What an impressive pile of nonsense, truly impressive. I mean, you have to live in a totally different realm of existence to believe this. Problem is, the people who do believe it would say the same thing to justify it.

    Every time I come here, I either get awed by science or stupidity.

  87. PhilB

    Best comment I’ve seen in a while, “But did this author ask the internet’s permission before smacking it in the face with the publishing equivalent of a wet mackerel?”

    LOL

  88. PhilB

    Re Dan @85: Boulder can be pretty bad too. It does depend somewhat on how close you live to Naropa. Luckily it’s smaller and CU-Boulder does pretty well in the hard sciences and that helps balance it out pretty well.

  89. Chris Winter

    oldamateurastronomer wrote (in part): “I believe all of the upper stages of the LM’s were crashed into the Moon just to get them out of the way and some if not all of the third stages of the Saturn 5’s that got the Apollo missions there.”

    Not to mention the early Soviet probes — and Lunar Prospector, in 1999.

  90. owlbear1

    We certainly made enough noise that we were coming. If she had not wanted us to show up, she should have said something. It’s too late now…

    Luna, my dear! We are planning another visit soon! May we call on you? RSVP.
    Hugs!

  91. Calli Arcale

    Chris Winter:

    oldamateurastronomer wrote (in part): “I believe all of the upper stages of the LM’s were crashed into the Moon just to get them out of the way and some if not all of the third stages of the Saturn 5’s that got the Apollo missions there.”

    Not to mention the early Soviet probes — and Lunar Prospector, in 1999.

    Also Chang’e, SMART-1, the Rangers, the Suveyors….. The list is quite long.

    oldamateurastronomer, *most* of the Saturn V upper stages (S-IVBs) were deliberately aimed at the Moon. This wasn’t for disposal purposes, but rather to provide data for the seismographs left behind on earlier missions, in the ALSEPs. (ALSEP = Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package, a kick-ass set of instrumentation powered by a plutonium-based RTG.)

    I believe the first to impact the Moon was the S-IVB of Apollo 13. The preceding ones are still out there, in heliocentric orbit. The Apollo 12 S-IVB actually made a return visit to the Earth-Moon system a few years ago, passing through a Lagrange point and orbiting the Earth for a while before wandering away again. It was briefly believed to be an asteroid, which would have made it Earth’s second moon. Only when they realized that a) it had last visited Earth about the time Apollo 12’s S-IVB would’ve left, and b) it was exactly the same color as the titanium oxide paint used on most rockets, did they realize it probably wasn’t a captured natural satellite after all. But the truth was almost as cool. ;-)

  92. OtherRob

    …powered by a plutonium-based RTG.

    Oh noes! Now we’re giving the poor Moon cancer as well. ;)

  93. @artbot, I think you’re on the right track. We didn’t rudely crash a piece of junk into the moon for the sheer thrill of it. We were performing a Lunar Chiropractic Adjustment. ;-)

  94. Grisha

    Only Apollo 10’s LM ascent stage is still out there.. in heliocentric orbit, the rest crashed into the moon. If someone ever finds, it, I wonder what they will discover? Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan’s used space food containers?

    Go Snoopy!

  95. 54. artbot Says:
    Actually the moon thinks of it as a massage, which any new age crackpot could get behind (or under).

    Wouldn’t it be astropuncture?

    84. John Snider Says:

    I probably pays to note that the above-referenced writer is with Examiner.com. Examiner.com is a collection of unpaid bloggers (okay, they get a penny a hit: I know, since I wrote for them for about two weeks),

    I’ve seen them posting on Craigslist and other ‘job sites’… and figured that if I signed up for Google Adsense, I’d get 100% of the money, not the 30% they (claim?) to offer per hit.
    J/P=?

  96. Acronym Jim

    You know what? We did ask the Moon first, but being a gigantic ball of lifeless rock, it didn’t answer back.

    Doesn’t silence equal assent? Or in the case of the Orbiter, maybe “descent” would be the better term.

  97. Alien Death-Ray

    WAIT A MINUTE! We DID ask the Moon for permission!!! And I have video proof that mankind did, in fact, did ask politely.

    http://www.rathergood.com/moon_song

  98. 96. OtherRob Says: “…powered by a plutonium-based RTG.

    Oh noes! Now we’re giving the poor Moon cancer as well.”

    Yep. Well, except for Apollo 11. They didn’t have the RTG’s ready at that point so their ALSEP was solar powered (meaning, obviously, that it only ran half the time).

    The RTG for Apollo 13 was still on board the LM when it burned up in the atmosphere. I remember many years ago a commentor on sci.space (the old USENET newsgroup, not the web site), was working himself into a froth over the fact that if we hadn’t rescued the Apollo 13 crew, there would have been a NUCULAR HOLLICOST!!!!1! when that “atomic reactor” hit the atmosphere. It didn’t seem to matter when I pointed out that 1) the RTG was on the LM, not the CM, so it *did* hit the atmosphere, and 2) it was designed with that contingency in mind and probably survived reentry with the plutonium fuel intact, and 3) it’s sitting today on the floor of the Pacific somewhere, completely isolated from the biosphere.

    – Jack

  99. George N

    Just a test folks, pay no attention to the man behind the cursor.

  100. csrster

    My close study of the moon’s surface suggests that even the earliest man-made probes may not have been the first things to crash into it.

  101. mike burkhart

    I think everybody should leave San Francisco acording to the newist termanator movie San francisco will become skynet centrel in 2018 so leve now before the termators,hunterkillers (sky and ground) come and termate all humans . Besides you now have to look out for dirty hary . As for the moon I have a question do the meteors astroids and coments that have impacted the moon for billons of years get permission to craash into it? no!! well why do we need permission if they don’t ?

  102. mike burkhart

    OK before any one think Im weird Im a big scifi fan and have seen all the termanator movies I hope the events in termantor never happen . And my question is a good one the moons craters were formed form impacts so a few more for sciencetific study won’t make any difference

  103. Acronym Jim

    If you want to avoid Dirty Harry, just stay away from Folsom Street.

  104. Jason

    She posted a follow-up to the comments. It’s arguably more woo-addled nonsense than the original (but that one is hard to top)…

    “I did enjoy one comment from someone who called me a lunatic. It was a clever use of words. The connotation of words is symbolic of how we hold ideas. The very negative nature of the word shows the contempt that we as a culture hold for the moon.”

    “Many people asked how to ask a question of the moon. It is an intuitive process, requiring a quieting of the usual mind chatter. Focusing upon the breath is the simplest way to do that. Once the mind is quieted, you simply connect with the moon and ask the question.”

    http://www.examiner.com/x-12038-SF-Astrology-Examiner~y2009m6d12-Response-to-comments-about-the-lunar-orbiter-article

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go facepalm myself into a fugue state.

  105. Madame Rogue

    > Mentat Says:
    > I’ll tell you what the real tragedy is here. Why is there no love for poor
    > Kaguya, who will be killed by the heartless JAXA people just to gather
    > a few more bits of data?

    It was a Japanese probe. I’m sure the probe drank some saki, wrapped a white headband with a red circle on the front around its antenna, and beeped “BANZAI!!” as it crashed into the moon.

  106. Someone got PAID to write that drivel?

    And in the end she fails to realize Kaguya is a girl. A princess in fact. A MOON princess. From the moon. Who returns to the moon. Way to be ignorant of other cultures.

  107. IhateQ

    @Madame Rogue

    Actually, Kaguya had a speech impediment, so it actually beeped “LITTLE TREE” as it crashed.

  108. Markle

    It’s unfortunate that so many people felt the need to hurl abuse at her in the comments over there. Those people are acting like a bunch of 12-year-olds picking on the unpopular kid.

    I wonder how many of those are religiously-based bigots and how many consider themselves skeptics. Do they visit Catholic blogs and abuse them for being virtual cannibals worshiping a god with a multi-personality disorder? What’s more valid or acceptable about personifying invisible non-existent “things” as opposed to real, actual things? Or the divine being separate and corporate as opposed to suffusing all of creation?

    What happened to the Golden Rule? If you don’t like people getting in your face and mocking your world-view, why would you do it to somebody else? Because you’re surrounded by your friends?

  109. Stuart Van Onselen

    A large proportion of the people here are atheists. We do consider most Christian beliefs to be ridiculous, so your suggestions aren’t as shocking to us as you probably thought they’d be.

    (Please note, I said Christian beliefs are ridiculous, not Christians themselves.)

    And if I may generalise the board members a bit more: The reason we don’t troll Catholic boards is that trolling is just rude and counter-productive. Here, on a board full of like-minded souls, we gas off a bit. And on “other” boards, we try to make our case without being combative.

    And the Golden Rule is best served by sticking to reality. By not confronting the seriously reality-deficient, just because it might offend, we do more harm than good! Take the anti-vax and alt-med arguments for example!

    Our world view is based as closely on reality as it is humanly possible (which is what the scientific method strives for). It is this world-view that created the computer you’re using right now, not the religious/superstitious worldview.

    I’ll grant you that this doesn’t give us the right to be rude, but it is hard to stay polite in the face of flaming stupidity, blatant wishful thinking, and deliberate and obstinate ignorance.

  110. @ Jason:

    (quoting original article/comment)

    “I did enjoy one comment from someone who called me a lunatic. It was a clever use of words. The connotation of words is symbolic of how we hold ideas. The very negative nature of the word shows the contempt that we as a culture hold for the moon.”

    The “connotation of words” has nothing to do with the “symbolism” of the moon as it’s viewed in our culture. “Lunacy” is referring to the belief that the full moon caused people to go mad. It implies no “contempt” for the moon whatsoever, rather a (wrong) belief that it influences our behavior.

    Yet another example of this sort of woo-woo nonsense of redefining the world to suit someone’s own particular brand of idiocy. And as Singe pointed out above, the fact that she lumps all of human culture into one bucket, completely ignorant of the Japanese traditions behind the name of the probe, just serves to highlight her ignorance all the more.

  111. Robert Carnegie

    Not “GELONIMO!!!”? (if we’re allowed to be gratuitously offensive this month.)

  112. Robert Carnegie

    Getting a banner advert here, I guess Flash or something, for Shell’s carbon capture efforts. I am a carbon capture sceptic, but the ad is cute. I guess it uses Flash or something. Little CO2s floating around in the air, and your mouse becomes a butterfly net to catch them all. Then the ad progresses to the next frame.

    This is exactly not how carbon capture will work. Once CO2 is in the open air, you can’t get it back, unless you plant a forest or sow algae in the ocean or something. (Those methods aren’t quite working either.) Or only use biofuel. Even carbonated drinks, I think I’ve read, have the CO2 manufactured on purpose to put into them, not reclaimed from the atmosphere… maybe I need to switch to still. There’s only a very small proportion of CO2 in air even now, but it has a big effect.

    The fossil fuel industry is all about converting carbon compounds to CO2, I don’t hear about that being changed. It’s like cocaine dealers adopting ethical business practices but they still sell cocaine. (Except I hear cocaine really isn’t as bad as they say, not that I want to try it, and CO2 is.)

    CO2 being a gas, it would be nice if we could catch it in chimneys and bury it underground so it never comes out, but I do not believe it is going to happen. And if we want the Carbotastrophe not only deferred but never to happen (and let’s face it, does the human race -want- to survive in a world with no more gasoline, which is only decades away at most), then how long do we need the stuff to not leak into the atmosphere anyway? Hundreds of years? Thousands?

    Offtopic, except here is where I saw the ad.

  113. Ask the moon?

    Ask. The. Moon.
    The. Moon.

    Ask the moon?

    I give up. Wibble.

  114. Charles

    I can’t believe there are people on here seriously attempting to defend littering. It doesn’t matter if snails do it – dogs crap in parks, does that mean it’s okay to leave it there (or do the same yourself)? Part of being an adult is learning to clean up after yourself. And it doesn’t matter if “space is really big” since the parts affected are the same small parts we travel through – orbital space debris is already a serious problem and is only going to get worse. That argument is no different from the old “Easter Island is covered with trees, so it doesn’t matter how many we chop down” argument, which lead quite predictably to cannibalism and mass starvation. Minimizing your impact on the universe is just good sense.

    And as for the original post, um, she’s an *astrologer*. Astrologers are all nuts by definition. Nothing to do with San Francisco.

  115. rhmxghem

    @Dan: “New Age Dingbat Ratio” would be a great name for a rock band.

  116. tom

    It’s the Examiner. C’mon, it’s a free paper. They can’t GIVE those things away. And if they stuck with astrology or just moved Moonbeam to her beloved moon they’d be ok, but they don’t, they venture into politics too.

  117. Neony

    “Astrologers are all nuts by definition.”…

    Hey, normally I wouldn’t go around promoting generalizations, or stereotypes.

    But astrologers who anthropomorphize the emotional state of the
    inorganic moon, imposing their own personal “sexual issues” upon it,
    make me quite eager to dismiss all astronomers as nuts.

    I wish that some New Age Dingbat somewhere would say something nice about
    the masculine gender role, just for once, or get the F out of town. I have no
    tolerance for sexist bliss-ninnies who live out the helpless female script: to
    complain, blame, shame, and be so weak and fearfully sympathetic that people
    automatically support the infant-like whining girl, saving the pretty female
    from having to take real responsibility in the world.

    The more a woman blames, the less of an adult she is.
    .

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