Science On Tap

NASA Galileo's Saturn Eclipse Mosaic

NASA Galileo’s Saturn Eclipse Mosaic

Tonight was another Science on Tap night and like the last one, it was another astronomy talk. The Schlafly Bottleworks hosts these monthly events in conjunction with Washington University. It makes for a nice combination of Schlafly beer and WashU brains. Joanie organized this outing for all of us and her college friend and my current colleague, Pat, made it four of us, along with Anne and I. The speaker was William B McKinnon. His talk was billed to be about our outer solar system.

This event will go on for some time, so, I won’t be able to post anything until much later, after it is over, but I’m sitting here two-hours before the event, just marking time. It is so popular an event that you have to get a seat that early. Did I mention that it is free? So, while I’m sitting here wanting to write, but not being able to write about Science on Tap, because it hasn’t happened yet, let’s change the subject.

Lake Superior or originally Lac Supérieur in French, meant not the best of the Great Lakes, as is so often claimed nowadays, but the uppermost of them. In the French or Spanish manner, lakes are referred to as Lake Something as opposed to the English manner, Something Lake. Lake Superior sounds more impressive than Superior Lake. In modern times, some people have adopted the affected Lake Something convention, because it sounds more cultured.

It’s a Small Solar System
it’s a small Solar System after all
it’s a small Solar System after all
it’s a small Solar System after all
it’s a small, small Solar System

While he was an excellent speaker, I found Bill McKinnon’s talk less than inspiring. I felt that he spent way too much time backfilling planetary astronomy’s ancient history, meanwhile scant attention was paid to what is currently going on. The New Horizons space probe is slated to make closest approach to Pluto this year on Bastille Day. This coincidental date is all that correlates most of McKinnon’s historical prologue to what is really going on now this year. I wanted to know what was happening next, not what has already occurred. I could have read all of what McKinnon said on Wiki. The contrast in quality Science on Tap talks couldn’t have been more stark, than between this talk and the previous Mars rovers Science on Tap.

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