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September 09, 2005

Decline of the Rings

This week the news has been dominated by Katrina’s aftermath.  So important observations from Saturn have been ignored.  Here’s the lead courtesy of CNN (whole story here).

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- New observations by the international Cassini spacecraft reveal that Saturn's trademark shimmering rings, which have dazzled astronomers since Galileo's time, have dramatically changed over just the past 25 years.

Among the most surprising findings is that parts of Saturn's innermost ring -- the D ring -- have grown dimmer since the Voyager spacecraft flew by the planet in 1981, and a piece of the D ring has moved 125 miles inward toward Saturn.

Indubitably because of the press of events, the usual sources have not had time to comment on this important development.  I’ve taken the liberty of doing that for them:

The EPA:  A non-competitive cost-plus contract has been awarded to Halliburton for remediation.

The Sierra Club: This is one more consequence of the Bushadministration’s neglect of the environment.

TelEvangelist: God has lost patience with Saturnalian conduct.

Jesse Jackson (on Larry King): The Bushadministration is ignoring this catastrophe because it is happening on the inner ring.  If it were happening, on the outer ring where rich people live, we would see a very different response.

German Prime Minister Schroeder: The United States should immediately renounce the use of force against the Ringians. War will not resolve this crisis.

French President Chirac:  I agree with my German colleague.  This is a serious matter.  If there is no relief, we may be forced to consider thinking about asking the Security Council to gnash its gums in the direction of Saturn.  But that time has not come.

Senate Majority Leader Frist: Astronomy classes should be careful to include the information that many people consider this an Intelligent Design.  Left to chance, the outer ring might have collapsed first and collided with the inner ring.

Senator Leahy (ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee): We will want to know why this information was withheld until this late in the Supreme Court Nomination process.

Republican National Committee:  It is important to realize that this problem apparently began during the Clintonadministration. It may well have been swept under the rug by Hillary along with Whitewater.

Kofi Anan: I have asked my son to…

Tape from Al Qaeda:  We warned you…

FoxNews:  We are hoping to send Geraldo to investigate.

Martha Stewart:  I learned to live without napkin rings, myself.  There is a right way to handle this.  Stay tuned.

Lou Dobbs:  This is an inevitable consequence of outsourcing.  Now what we need is assurance that Halliburton will hire only Americans for the Ring Recovery effort.

It hasn’t been a funny week.

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