eris.gifFollowing hot on the heels of the recent (and to some, heretical) demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status, and the promotion of Ceres from asteroid to dwarf planet, the International Astronomical Union (via the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams!) has finally seen fit to rename the dwarf planet UB313, more commonly known as Xena:

Following near-unanimous acceptance by the Committee on Small-Body Nomenclature and the Working Group on Planetary-System Nomenclature (in consultation with the discovery team), the IAU Executive Committee has now approved the names Eris for (136199) and Dysnomia for its satellite (136199) Eris I [formerly S/2005 (2003 UB313) . . .

But hold on to your horses! A wing-nut fighting keyboarder has uncovered a liberal plot in choice of the names Eris and Dysnomia.

Naming this “new” planet Eris, and its moon Dysnomia may be a political statement — and if true, should therefore not be allowed in the realm of science.


The article quotes the discoverer of the Planet – Michael Brown – as saying the name was “an obvious choice” and “too perfect to resist”. Gee, what was Brown referring to when he said “too perfect to resist”, and to what world issue was he speaking when he said it was “obvious”?

Come on! The only obvious thing is that they were taking a cheap shot at world affairs . Why assume the anti-war vibe? Because of Michael Brown’s own statements, coupled with the fact that he is from the California Institute of Technology.. located in far west Moonbat country, the 9/11 timing, and the fact that the name had to be picked by Michael Browns team BEFORE the Pluto planet vote.

Mike Brown explains the name choice:

“We were sad that Xena went away,” says Brown, so the team held onto her in subtle ways — through the name of Eris’s moon.

The satellite, now called Dysnomia (pronounced diss-NOH-mee-uh), is named for Eris’s daughter, the goddess of lawlessness — a tribute, says Brown, to the actress who played Xena, Warrior Princess: Lucy Lawless. But Brown is quick to point out that the moon also follows another tradition for “dwarf planet” satellite names: Pluto’s moon Charon was discovered in 1978 by James W. Christy, and the first syllable in Charon matches the first syllable in Christy’s wife’s name, Charlene. Brown’s wife’s name is Diane. “We’re going to call the moon Di,” says Brown.

It seems that this little neo-con isn’t buying any of this:

I question whether they were “making a commentary ” towards the discord in the astronomical community about Pluto, or a taking a cheap shot at the discord in the world … either way the names have ulterior motives behind them… and either way, the names of planets should not be chosen based upon a current controversy.

Why not? Not only has there been a tremendous amount of strife in the astronomical community of late, but the world is rife with discord and lawlessness. He goes on . . .

I’m getting flogged left and right because I hold the opinion that a 9/11 timing, a CIT in Southern California (liberal dominated) scientist / team, picking names which mean War, Lawlessness, Strife, and the Trojan fights of old… all add up to nefarious undertones.


But then he loses me:

I must say, the Pluto planet debate wasn’t warlike, didn’t cause strife, and wasn’t lawless… other than those minor inconsistencies, the argument that Brown was referring to the Pluto issue makes total sense. What were Michael Brown and his team were referring to … well… er… maybe they were talking about WAR, STRIFE, and LAWLESSNESS in the real world, not in the astronomy world.

(Be sure to read through the comments – they are quite a hoot!)

I will say, as an unabashed liberal, I am quite pleased with the names, which are wonderfully apropos to the times, which began somehow with the Mother of All Battles.

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion, in several Homeric battle scenes, Eris is personified as the sister of Ares. In The Theogony, Hesiod describes the goddess as the daughter of Nyx (Night), and the mother of Battles, Bloodshed, Lies, Pain, Toil and Ruin. In Works and Days, we learn that there is not just one Eris, but two — a malefic Eris who fosters war and a benefic who stimulates hard work through the spirit of competition. In the Cypria, she appeared the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and perhaps miffed because she was not invited, stirred up a rivalry between Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite — which, of course, led to Paris’s fateful judgment and the subsequent Trojan War.

Hat tip to the (100% heterosexual) General.

Update: Tom (the friendly and very smart skeptic) makes an interesting catch:

I thought for sure Janitch was satirizing over-the-top far-right foolishness ala Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, but in fact he links to those two harpies in his blogroll, along with other neocon Koolaid-drinking ridiculousness, and perusing his blog and links really does indicate he’s serious. And shocker– he’s anti-evolution, too.