Heliocentrism condemed by the Catholic Church (1616)

posted Thursday, 5 March 2015

Decree of the Index (5 March 1616)

Decree of the Holy Congregation of the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinals especially charged by his Holiness Pope Paul V and by the Holy Apostolistic See with the Index of books and their licensing, prohibition, correction, and printing in all of Christendom. To be published everywhere.

In regard to several books containing various heresies and errors, to prevent the emergence of more serious harm throughout Christendom, the Holy Congregation of the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinals in charge of the Index has decided that they should be altogether condemned and prohibited, as indeed with the present decree it condemns and prohibits them, wherever and in whatever language they are printed or about to be printed. It orders that henceforth no one, of whatever station or condition, should dare print them, or have them printed, or read them, or have them in one’s possession in any way, under penalty specified in the Holy Council of Trent and in the Index of prohibited books; and under the same penalty, whoever is now or will be in the future in possession of them is required to surrender them to ordinaries or to inquisitors, immediately after learning of the present decree. The books listed below:

  • Calvinist Theology (in three parts) …
  • Scotanus Redivivus or Erotic Commmentary in Three Parts
  • Historical Explanation of the Most Serious Question in the Christian Churches Especially in the West from the Time of the Apostles All the Way to Our Age
  • Inquiry Concerning the Pre-eminence Among European Provinces
  • Donellus’s Principles or Commentaries on Civil Law

This Holy Congregation has also learned about the spreading and acceptance by many of the false Pythagorean doctrine, altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture, that the earth moves and the sun is motionless, which is also taught by Nicholaus Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres and by Diego de Zuniga’s On Job…. Therefore, in order that this opinion may not creep any further to the prejudice of Catholic truth, the Congregation has decided that the books by Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) and Diego de Zuniga (On Job) be suspended until corrected; but that the book of the Carmelite Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini be completely prohibited and condemned; and that all other books which teach the same be likewise prohibited, according to whether with the present decree it prohibits, condemns, and suspends them respectively. In witness thereof, this decree has been signed by the hand and stamped with the seal of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord Cardinal of St. Cecilia, Bishop of Albano, on 5 March 1616.

P., Bishop of Albano, Cardinal of St. Cecilia.
Fra Franciscus Magdalenus Capiferreus, O. P., Secretary.
Rome, Press of the Apostolic Palace, 1616.

Voyager 1 reaches Jupiter (1979)

posted Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Voyager 1 space probe made its closest approach to Jupiter on 5 March 1979. The image below was taken on 5 February 1979 when Voyager 1 was still 28.4 million kilometers (17.5 million miles) away. The volcanic moon Io is in front of Jupiter just right of center on this image, ice and water covered Europa is visible to the right, and totally ice covered Callisto can be seen near the bottom.

Jupiter and Three Galilean Satellites

Final attempt to contact Pioneer 10 (2006)

posted Wednesday, 4 March 2015

On 4 March 2006, the final attempt to contact Pioneer 10 was made. No response was received. Pioneer 10 is on a trajectory that will take it out of the solar system and into interstellar space. It is never coming back.

Position of Pioneer 10 in 2010[animate]


Pioneer 10 launched (1972)

posted Tuesday, 3 March 2015

nighttime launch of Pioneer 10

On 2 March 1972, NASA launched Pioneer 10 from Cape Canaveral. Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, the first spacecraft to make direct observations of Jupiter, and the first man-made object to travel on a flight path out of the solar system into interstellar space. Until February 1998 when it was passed by Voyager 1, Pioneer 10 was the most remote object ever made by humans.


date pioneer 10 pioneer 11 voyager 1 voyager 2 new horizons
1972 03‑03 launch        
1973 04‑06 launch      
" 12‑03 jupiter      
1974 12‑04 jupiter      
1977 08‑20   launch  
" 09‑05 launch  
1979 03‑05 jupiter  
" 07‑09 jupiter  
" 09‑01 saturn  
1980 11‑12 saturn  
1981 08‑25 saturn  
1986 01‑24 uranus  
1989 08‑25 neptune  
1995 11‑30 last signal detected  
1998 02‑17 passes pioneer 10  
2002 04‑27 last message received  
2003 01‑23 last signal detected  
" 02‑07 contact attempt  
2004   termination shock (94 AU)  
2006 03‑04 last contact attempt  
2006 01‑19     launch
2007 02‑28     jupiter
"       termination shock (84 AU)
2015 07‑14     ? ? pluto
Timeline of Interstellar Space Probes NASA Mission Websites: Pioneer, Voyager, New Horizons

You’re too stupid to understand this. Let me show you some made up graphics.

posted Monday, 2 March 2015

CBS doesn’t know jack squat about mathematics or education. I’d call this the dumbest graphic ever presented on the TV news, but I haven’t seen every graphic ever made, so I won’t make a ridiculous claim.

I leave ridiculous claims to the mainstream media.

CBS Evening News today (Monday, March 2, 2015) did a quasi-serious piece about the Common Core standards in mathematics with dumb graphics and other dumb stuff in it. Everything every major news organization presents is either quasi-serious or delightfully lighthearted, so that isn’t the problem. What really bothers me are the dumb graphics and other dumb stuff.

Mainstream journalists are jack of all trades, which makes them masters of none. The photo editors (or whatever one calls the person in charge of graphics) who supply these talking heads with visuals are weakly educated (less likely) or poorly qualified (more likely) to understand the nuances of the myriad topics their overlords present to their audience as facts. I can only comment on a few topics like science, math, technology, and education. I would never claim to know any more than your average human about music, literature, or sports. These are my limitations and I acknowledge them. The worker supplying the Nightly News with graphics can’t get away with a statement like this.

Mainstream journalists and others with a billion dollar soapbox to stand upon are not required to state the limitations of their knowledge. On the contrary. If I had the occasion to speak from the pulpit of one of the old school big three US commercial broadcasters, I can say pretty much whatever I want and viewers will take it as gospel. That’s probably an old fashioned notion, but let’s just assume it’s still true.

In the US today, there is a legitimate discussion that needs mass attention. We really have to consider the notion of a national set of educational goals with a means to measure our progress. I won’t say whether or not the Common Core standards for math and English or the Next Generation Science Standards are the ones, but I will give them the opportunity to present themselves as reasonable options.

So what does the CBS Evening News have to say about the Common Core standards for mathematics? Why, they look pretty reasonable — tough, but fair.

So how do we represent these standards as a visual element in the report? Let me show you.

Ah, WTF? Excuse me. I meant to write, What the fuck? Exsqueeze me. CBS Evening News, does anyone on your staff even know what the symbols on the left represent? I barely know and I’ve been a student of mathematics for nearly 50 years. None of this has been on or ever will be on any standardized test for US K–12 students. None of it. Not ever. Not ever in the infinite and eternal past or future of the universe will a K–12 standardized exam question appear that references these equations. I guarantee it. I’d wager a bet, but if you accepted it you’d admit that you didn’t understand the meaning of infinity.

Why then? Why did you do this? Why didn’t you just do your job and report the news? It’s not that hard. There are events that have transpired in the past. All you have to do is restate them. We’re not asking for analysis here, just pure honest reporting. You don’t have to make up some crazy bullshit because it looks like the kind of hard math that would be on a hard exam. Reality is hard enough.

Look at this. Later on in the segment you showed an image of a question that might actually have appeared on the test you were describing. Why not reuse it as the iconic image of a difficult test? It actually looks pretty hard. Well, technically speaking this isn’t an exam question. If it is, where is the question mark? So what is this?

What’s so wrong about reporting things that actually are? Show a graphic of an actual Common Core problem. I’ve seen some. They are honestly challenging. Honestly. There’s a word you may not know. It means "truthful, fair, or honorable". It doesn’t mean "visually appealing" or "representative of reality". It means reality as it is in real life.

Let’s end this on a positive note — one that shows an honest representation of the facts. Let’s end with a visual of this guy.

See that plaque in front of him. It says "Superintendent of Schools". I bet that’s who he is. So why then did the voiceover use the adjective "former"? It was so quick. I bet you thought nobody’d notice. As if noticing wasn’t a Common Core standard.

Rosetta spacecraft launched (2004)

posted Monday, 2 March 2015

Rosetta is a European Space Agency spacecraft intended to orbit comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It was launched on 2 March 2004. Rosetta consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe and the Philae lander. Its orbit is highly complex, with 3 Earth and 1 Mars gravity assists. The spacecraft will also flyby and examine two asteroids along the way. Rosetta should awaken in January 2014 after a 4 year hibernation to begin the main portion of its mission, which is expected to last until the end of 2015.

STS-133 Discovery final flight (2011)

posted Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Discovery was the first US Space Shuttle to be retired.

John Glenn becomes first American to orbit earth (1962)

posted Friday, 20 February 2015

20 February 1962

Nicolaus Copernicus born (1473)

posted Thursday, 19 February 2015

Mikołaj Kopernik was born 19 February 1473 in the town of Toruń (then called Thorn), Royal Prussia, Kingdom of Poland. He is best known for correctly postulating the heliocentric model of the solar system in his book De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium (On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres).


Not the last day of analog television in the US (2009)

posted Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Digital Television Delay Act of 2009 amended the original Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 so that the final transition date was switched from 18 February to 13 June 2009. Even this law did not completely eliminate analog broadcasts. Low power, Class A, and translator stations are still allowed to broadcast analog signals.

The FCC established low-power television (LPTV) service in 1982 to provide opportunities for locally-oriented television service in small communities. These communities may be in rural areas or may be individual communities within larger urban areas. More than 2,100 licensed LPTV stations are in operation. LPTV programming can include satellite-delivered programming services, syndicated programs, movies, and a wide range of locally-produced programs.

Class A TV stations are former LPTV stations that have certain interference protection rights not available to LPTV stations. These stations are technically similar to LPTV stations, but unlike LPTV stations must air at least three hours of locally-produced programming each week and comply with most of the non-technical regulations applicable to full-power stations. Approximately 600 licensed Class A TV stations are in operation.

A TV translator station rebroadcasts the programs of a full-power TV broadcast station. TV translator stations typically serve communities that cannot receive the signals of free over-the-air TV stations because they are too far away from a full-power TV station or because of geography (such as uneven terrain or mountains). Many of the 4,700 licensed TV translator stations operate in mountainous or more remote areas of the country.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 2009