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The Sciences

Just for now

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitMay 2, 2011 2:00 PM


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The Earth spins on, the Universe ticks away, the Sun still shines, and there is and always will be science to report on. But for a little while, just a little while, there are other things to contemplate today. In the coming days, weeks, and months, we'll learn more about what happened in Pakistan yesterday. There will be claims made, stories spun, politics created, conspiracy theories woven and layered upon. But for a little while, that isn't important. In general it seems wrong to me, alien, to celebrate the death of a human. But when that human has caused so many deaths, and when he planned so many more... well, as many people tweeted last night quoting Clarence Darrow*: "I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." My own emotions are a bit complicated right now, and merit some further thought. Satisfaction is certainly playing a large role, though. And, as my friend Marian Call so wisely put it on Twitter, "Wow. No joy. Just relief." I can live with that. Those directly affected by the events of and since September 11 may feel more strongly, and I certainly understand that and sympathize. But for me, just for now, relief and great satisfaction will do just fine.

^* This has been misattributed to Mark Twain, and I'll admit I retweeted it as such myself. Just want to set the record straight here.

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