April 15, 2004

Artist Drags TV by Ear in Protest
Apr 15 2004 Reuters [Oddly Enough]
Milan British performance artist Mark McGowan dragged a television roped to his ear through Milan on Wednesday to protest against what he called excessive political control over the media in Italy and other countries.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's wealthiest man, owns Mediaset, the largest commercial broadcaster, through Fininvest. As prime minister, he also influences programing at state broadcaster RAI.
Doesn't sound odd to me.

From the How I Know There's a God Department
Moreno Valley, CA A 6-year-old girl was found in a ravine survived for 10 days on dry noodles and Gatorade while remaining near her dead mother following a car crash, relatives said.
"The angels kept her alive -- what else could you possibly say?" said Cathy Cooney, Bustamante's sister.

Astronomers spy new 'planet'
Sedna spotted far beyond Pluto
Maps of our Solar System may have to be redrawn to include a tenth planet.
The object has been named Sedna, after the Inuit goddess of the ocean. It is the largest body orbiting the Sun to be discovered since Pluto was spotted in 1930.

From the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy, and Spaceflight
The most distant large object yet found orbiting our Sun ... is currently three times further away than Pluto, the average distance of which from the Sun is 3.6 billion miles. At its most distant, Sedna is almost 93 billion miles from the Sun, or 990 times Earth's solar distance. It has an obital period, or year, of some 10,500 years. Mike Brown, astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, led the team that first saw Sedna, originally designated 2003 VB12, with the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Mount Palomar Observatory, California, in November 2003.
Its surface temperature is believed to be about -400°F. Observations show it measures less than about 1,000 miles in diameter, which is smaller than Pluto. Sedna is very red — the reddest large object in the Solar System after Mars ... Sedna rotates more slowly on its axis than expected, suggesting it may have a satellite orbiting it. This site has great images, and illustrations of distance, orbit, and size scale.

The Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes later confirmed the find. Click for images and video
Sedna lives in the Kuiper belt, a region of space beyond Pluto filled with at least 70,000 icy rocks. The new find is the biggest Kuiper-belt object ever seen and has a relatively stable orbit, making it a strong contender for the title of 'tenth planet'.
This discovery will reignite the debate about whether Pluto can really be called a planet, says Robin Catchpole, astronomer at London's Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
Some astronomers say that a planet should be roughly spherical and have a nearly circular orbit around the Sun. But this would exclude Pluto and Sedna, which have very elliptical orbits.
Astronomers have identified other Kuiper-belt objects ... such as Quaoar and Varuna. But Sedna is a more interesting planetary candidate because it is larger, further away and has a more regular orbit, says Catchpole ...
Catchpole thinks there are probably many more objects like Sedna just waiting to be discovered in the Kuiper belt.
It is now up to the International Astronomical Union to decide whether Sedna will officially be called a planet.

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