The bigger picture..

That would be the solar system, which may be about to get a little bit bigger. The International Astronomical Union will meet in Prague next month to decide on how to define a planet and, subsequently, on whether Xena is to be offically recognised as a planet – it shouldn’t be, but ever since they accepted Pluto as a planet, and it’s not, there’s been a bit of a problem. ANYway.. as the Sunday Times reports, the upshot is there could soon be 10 officially recognised planets [or possibly 23 – Ed] in the solar system.. and counting.. when there are really only 8..

,

  • Are you going to take the “Sluggernauts” on an outing to the
    recently revamped Armagh Planetarium. I’d go too, I’d love to see
    Xena up close 🙂

  • Resolve

    Simple solution… Xena is not a planet, and neither is Pluto. On the other hand, i am not a member of the ‘International Astronomical Union’; come to think of it, most likely no Slugger is… why are we starting this thread, Pete? 😉

  • Pete Baker

    Hadn’t thought about it, Cybez, and I have no doubt you would love a close up look.. but Lucy Lawless might not appreciate it. ;o)

    Resolve

    Why not? ;o)

    As the earlier links indicate, it’s a story I had been following and it’s likely to be resolved soon..

    On a more philosophical level it also shows how accepted truths, such as Pluto being a planet, are sometimes not true at all.. and, as with the likely resolution in this case, sometimes that truth is ignored to avoid facing one problem.. which just brings further problems in the future.

  • Resolve

    FAO Pete Baker…

    On a more philosophical level, you have certainly convinced me. It’s a level I prefer anyway. That cynical comment was not typical of me…

    This thread (and the philosophical lessons we can draw from it) remind me of a little joke…

    Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep.
    Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
    “I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes” replies Watson.
    “And what do you deduce from that?”
    Watson ponders for a minute.
    “Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?”
    Holmes is silent for a moment. “Watson, you idiot!” he says. “Someone has stolen our tent!”

    Now i’m not normally one to advocate “analysing humour”. What an awful thing to do! but there is another important lesson that we can learn here. Sometimes we can get caught up with our own subjective interpretations, so complex and convoluted… they seem so true, and they may even be so… but yet they are not necessarily the answer to the problem at hand, as Holmes points out. If we are committed to this “jaw-jaw” approach, we’d do well to bear this in mind… 😉

  • harpo

    Maybe Irish nationalists could apply to this IAU to have the island of Ireland declared to be a country.

    They seem to ignore blazingly obvious facts and reality for political expediency, so I’d say they are exactly what Irish nationalism is looking for.

    Then nationalists would have one authoritative independent world body to back their claim that the island is one country. At the moment all they have is their own groups like the GAA saying so, and groups like the 32CSM running around trying to convince the UN that the nonsense they spout is actual reality.

  • Resolve

    You’re very harsh, Harpo… stamping on people’s dreams 🙁 No one is under any illusion that Ireland is divided.

    p.s. not only did you not reply to me on the “Green and White Army” thread, but now also on the “What Uniionists care for Ulster?” thread…

  • harpo

    I just read the article about this issue, and I think that the best thing to do would be for the International Astronomical Union to do what republicans have always done, and have a series of splits, so that everyone can believe whatever they want about the issue.

    We could then have the hard-line traditionalists (like Rory Brady and his RSF/CIRA gang), believing that there are and only ever will be 8 planets, and the modernists (like the Provos) who after years of being traditionalists have decided that things have changed and the word ‘planet’ can be taken to mean anything they decide it means.

    Splits, feuds, civil wars – all the material is there for decades of fun.

  • harpo

    ‘You’re very harsh, Harpo… stamping on people’s dreams 🙁 No one is under any illusion that Ireland is divided.’

    Some are confused about the issue and claim that there is no border.

    I must say the IAU seems to be an odd bunch – democratic votes to decide what’s what. That doesn’t seem right. Surely there are facts that a vote can’t change.

    I am most surprised that there hasn’t been a Rory Brady style walkout at the IAU yet. Maybe they have no Irish members!

    I really don’t care what they do about this issue, so long as they keep their hands off Uranus.

  • Resolve

    FAO Harpo…

    Just one more point, Harpo. I really hope you reply. Time and time again when Slugger nationalists have tried to understand the Unionist identity, you have displayed frustratiion that they couldn’t just accept that “It is not something anyone can change, or be persuaded to change. I am British. That is who i am. That’s the way i will always be” (not an actual quote, but it’s paraphrasing at its least controversial). So, let’s map out a simple sketch of your arguments.

    Presumably you would agree that, since you see identity as set in stone for Unionists, it would also be for Nationalists. Now.. considering your professed disgust for all violent attempts by nationalists to re-unite the island, would you not prefer them to accept NI whilst still enjoying their cultural identity of being part of the Irish Nation? They have the passports to prove they are a part of it. You can’t take that away from them… and, if you want to, then your politics are about coercion and control. I don’t think there is any doubt in their minds that the country is divided. Hence the “over the top” attempts to persuade that you so often complain about on here.

    And your mocking is not constructive… or maybe I gave you too much credit in thinking you might be a bridge-builder? Did I get this wrong???

  • Resolve

    FAO Harpo…

    “Surely there are facts that a vote can’t change”

    Surely, Harpo, this IAU conference has nothing to do with facts. they know very well what Pluto “is” and what Xena “is”… the debate is a linguistic one, and more specifically a definitional one. Words exist only in the human mind, not like these rocks. The meaning of a word “evolves”, as the word “planet” may do. If they decide that Xena is a planet, they will surely have to use a new working definition of “a planet”. future generations will get a slightly modified definition in Physics class. But Xena itself, the lump of rock, doesn’t change according to how we interpret or describe it.

    There certainly are facts that no one can change, but governmental demarcations of this or that jurisdiction are NOT set in stone, as are the planets. As is Ireland 😉

  • harpo

    ‘Presumably you would agree that, since you see identity as set in stone for Unionists, it would also be for Nationalists.’

    Yes.

    ‘Now.. considering your professed disgust for all violent attempts by nationalists to re-unite the island, would you not prefer them to accept NI whilst still enjoying their cultural identity of being part of the Irish Nation?’

    Yes. But they don’t accept NI, and the fact that you say ‘their cultural identity of being part of the Irish Nation’ means that it is only Irish nationalism that is accepted as being part of this Irish Nation.

    I thought simply being born on the island made on part of the Irish nation. Thus unionists are part of the Irish nation, even though they have different culture. But that doesn’t seem to be acceptable to nationalists – the Irish nation has Irish nationalist culture to them.

    I was about to say ‘how does this fit in with the theory of Irish republicanism?’ (as opposed to the paractice), but then basic Irish nationalism is all about Catholic Gaelic Irishness. True IRism is supposed to be above that and cherish all the people as they are, but basic Irish nationalism doesn’t care about that. Irish nationalists see it as their way or the highway.

    I’ve said in the past that what many people who define themselves as Irish Republicans are really proponents of a nasty, bitter form of nationalism, just as you’d find in Serbs etc. They don’t give a fcuk about the other side and true republicanism, all they want is all of the territory and the other side put in their place. That’s the sort of nationalism that puts people in mass graves, as we have seen in the Balkans within the last 20 years.

    ‘They have the passports to prove they are a part of it. You can’t take that away from them… and, if you want to, then your politics are about coercion and control.’

    I’m not asking for that to be taken away from them. They can consider themselves to be pink umbrella stands for all I care, if someone gives them a piece of paper that says so.

    ‘I don’t think there is any doubt in their minds that the country is divided. Hence the “over the top” attempts to persuade that you so often complain about on here.’

    Persuade? What persuasion are you describing? The constant needling that unionists are Irish, that we all support loyalist terrorists, that we are hated by our fellow British, and all the other guff? That the ROI is far better off economically than NI?

    None of this is reasoned persuasion. It’s the level of persuasion that I thought was over when I left primary school – it is simply ‘nah nah nah nah nah’ insults.

    Do you think any of this is in any way constructive? These nationalists can’t even bear to use the words ‘Northern Ireland’, never mind put forward a reasonable argument about anything. It’s all ’80 years of unionist oppression’ or ‘NI is a failed entity’ or constant accusations that all unionists are bigots/sectarian.

    If there is any bridge building I don’t see it. And no, I’m not a bridge builder. I like mocking the sacred cows of those IRs or ugly nationalists who revere Bobby Sands and still believe that there was no terrorism by the IR groups.

    My belief is that there is no solution to the NI problems. Nationalists will never accept anything less than a full UI, and there will be trouble until then. Lots more of that ugly nationalism.

    And if a UI never comes along, then the problems will persist and there will be eternal trouble. MOPEry from the ugly nationalists who will continue to paint NI as hell on earth or failed or whatever else they dream up. And so long as that happens you will have a defensive unionism, with all that it implies.

    The sad thing is that some people think there is a magic solution to it all. There isn’t. Nothing short of a UI will satisfy the ugly nationalists, and that isn’t on the horizon. So they will remain ugly.

  • Pete Baker

    harpo

    The point being made was general… making it specific, as you have attempted to do, dilutes it significantly.

    resolve

    I know the joke you’ve referenced well.. a particular favourite of mine I must say. 🙂

    Indeed, it calls to mind a previous post relating to both the philosophical point, and the general, but related, topic, “First of all, we should not get snookered by their rhetoric..”

  • harpo

    Resolve:

    So it is all like Irish Republicanism then. As the Provos have done, you just change the definition of the words and drive on as if nothing has happened. That’s what they did with Irish Republicanism. They decided that it doesn’t actually have to mean believing in that Irish Republic as declared in 1916. It just means whatever they say it means. And they get away with it because they declare themselves to be the mainstream.

    And being the mainstream, they get to make fun of anyone who actually retains a belief in the original meaning of the words. The Provos do that continually.

    I’d argue that the recent past has exposed the Provos as nothing more than ugly nationalists, just as you’d find in places like the Balkans. For all the appeal to leftists across the world, they don’t actually believe in socialism or Marxism or whatever else they have flirted with over the years. When it gets down to it they just want all of the territory of the island in a UI.

    I’m sure it’s the same in the IAU – just move the definition, and all that has gone before is meaningless, since the new definition is all that counts.

    ‘Surely, Harpo, this IAU conference has nothing to do with facts.’

    Exactly like the famous 1986 Provo Sinn Fein meeting where the big walkout by Rory Brady happened. ‘the debate is a linguistic one, and more specifically a definitional one’ exactly describes what happened there.

    ‘as are the planets. As is Ireland’

    Ireland the island is certainly set in stone. But just as the middle-east is too, that doesn’t stop people squabbling over territory. Borders certainly aren’t set in stone, but then they don’t have to change either, do they?

  • harpo

    ‘harpo

    The point being made was general… making it specific, as you have attempted to do, dilutes it significantly.’

    Pete:

    Sorry, I was just having a bit of fun.

    But I don’t agree with your opening line – ‘the solar system, which may be about to get a little bit bigger’.

    It isn’t getting bigger. All the things that are there have always been there. It’s just that what we call certain things within the solar system may change. It isn’t as if this supposed 10th planet has been created in the last few years, is it? It was always there, no matter what we call it.

    I’m with you – there are only 8 real planets. Pluto is a TNO.

  • Resolve

    FAO Harpo..

    Apologies in advance if this post isn’t particularly articulate. I am staying up late to leave my brother to the airport, and am more than a little exhausted. But that is where the apologies end.

    Harpo, I am not expecting you to have read Wittgenstein, or Russell, or Chomsky. I am not expecting you to be a linguistic philosopher, or a logical genius, but you are really letting yourself down here with this guff.

    1. You said:

    “The fact that you say ‘their cultural identity of being part of the Irish Nation’ means that it is only Irish nationalism that is accepted as being part of this Irish Nation”…

    You then went on an absolute spiel about these “ugly nationalists” and their fascist views. Read my words again, Harpo. Where did I mention that this “Irish Nation” was an exclusive club, capable of accommodating one cultural expression and one only? The reason I am sure that you won’t be able to find such a quotation is because I wouldn’t have said it. I don’t believe it! Now, the fact that you interpreted “my” words to mean that, the way you do with nearly all the other nationalist posters, suggests to me that it exists only in your head! Sure, you might get eejits like “P O’Neill” sprouting that guff, but have you ever heard it from Steven Copeland? Or Green Flag? Or Dread? Or Chris Donnelly? It’s very unfair, and also very insulting, if you choose to judge us to be the same as eejits like “P O’Neill”… and i am sure if I was to equate you with some loyalist ##### you wouldn’t be too appreciative either… but I wouldn’t do that, because… it is ridiculous!

    2. I think you need to seriously look at what you believe. By this, I don’t want you to think that it is your Unionist identity that I want changed. As I have said to you before, I have many Unionist friends… men of integrity; i respect their positions, while not agreeing with them. But it seems you have just swallowed the mainstream “truth” all these years, with quite little reflection. Not all things are as black and white as you might have thought, as you might have gathered from the topic of this thread (and in particular Mick’s comments in post 2 (above): “it also shows how accepted truths, such as Pluto being a planet, are sometimes not true at all”).

  • Resolve

    3. You said:

    “My belief is that there is no solution to the NI problems. Nationalists will never accept anything less than a full UI, and there will be trouble until then. Lots more of that ugly nationalism”…

    And that’s your belief? Well, my belief is that NI “is” the problem, and i’m entitled to hold that belief. But let’s no go down that road; i certainly don’t expect you to do an aul Atticus Finch and put yourself in my shoes. It might mean you’d have to come out of that hillside fort only too discover that there is no army attacking anymore! Now what’s this about nationalists and what they’d accept? Can you see into the future, Harpo??? I really am jealous. And there was lil old naïve me thinking that the nationalist community have overwhelmingly endorsed the GFA and power-sharing WITHIN Northern Ireland (note that I used the words “Northern Ireland”, like you say nationalists never do; look above and you’ll notice I said it there also, before you even made that ludicrous statement)…

    4. You said:

    “Ireland the island is certainly set in stone. But just as the Middle-East is too, that doesn’t stop people squabbling over territory. Borders certainly aren’t set in stone, but then they don’t have to change either, do they?”

    They certainly don’t, harpo.. not if they make sense. And when they do, the argument over whether they should change rarely comes up! It certainly doesn’t provoke civil war. And if the 6 counties had been made up of a distinct and homogenous majority (perhaps 90% consensus) then it certainly would have made sense. But a quick look at the figures suggests that this is not so here in NI. You can blame “ugly nationalists” and their crude terrorist sympathies all you like, but most are neither crude nor ugly. And yet they still wish to be a part of the Republic of Ireland! Go figure…

    It is interesting that you make reference to the Middle East. I am nearly always opposed to making this analogy, and never really do. But certainly you have to think it slightly artificial, this young state of Israel (comprised of the returning Jewish diaspora) smack bang in the middle of the Arab Strait… Of course, if the land had been vacant, then “why not? let the Jews return to their Zion… Ha’aretz!”. But the fact is it wasn’t. People lost their land, were forced to live in a Jewish State for the Jewish people, with which they had no connection, let alone the proper respect and equality. I actually have many more Zionist sympathies than it seems from this, but their actions since 67 have been largely despicable, and in denial about the artificiality of the whole enterprise. And, in conclusion, borders need not change if they make sense. But a border on an island this small? Look at a map, Harpo. See how tiny Ireland is on a global scale. then think of our border. It’s raving mad! And if you think that this island will ever be at peace while a significant minority think the majority are “foreigners”? lol… i’m sorry. I have to laugh at that. But maybe tears would be more appropriate?

    I must point out that the language you use is highly offensive… All this “ugly Nationalists” talk… if i was to say “ugly Unionists” that would prove to you more evidence of how awful we were. I could point out the hypocrisy, but I’d rather just forgive. I don’t get annoyed at it. Maybe you’ve had experiences that I couldn’t begin to imagine and understand. Maybe if i walked around in your shoes, I’d understand where the hatr*ed came from. So i’ll leave that one with you to ponder, and hopefully you’ll stop with the generalisations. Thank you.

    In conclusion, you said…

    “And no, I’m not a bridge builder”…

    Well, Harpo… if you ever change your mind, i’ll give you a hand. I really hope you do 😉

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a fair topic for Slugger since a fair number of people in N.I. seem to think that the universe revolves around them.

  • Resolve

    Fair point, Joe. Nevermind, even seeing things from the perspective of the universe, simply to see things from the global “bigger picture” certainly puts our divisions into perspective. An island of 6 million people, in a world of 6 billion.. if we, as a predominantly white, Christian, western-European island people cannot resolve our differences, what hope is there for the resolution of broader conflicts with real cultural divides at play, such as the developing “clash of civilisatiions” between western secularism and the Arab world?

  • Greenflag

    ‘from the perspective of the universe,’

    The ‘universe’ does’nt have a perspective . It doesn’t care . The earth (including NI it’s centre) can disappear in an instant and the universe will not breathe a sigh of audible relief even if it was tempted to.

    As people/human beings/unionists /nationalists /Irish /British whatever, we need to accept that some differences can be lived with /fudged or glossed over etc , and there are some which strike at the root of our perceived ‘identity’. And even in as much as this ‘identity’ may be largely a ‘creation’ of the politics of another era with little relevance to today’s world it nevertheless is our ‘identity’. The best we can hope for is to broaden our identity to include as many of the ‘others’ as possible but this also implies the reverse process of ‘others’ including us .

    For most people the above is academic and real life is lived at the interface in NI, or in the relative ‘safety’ of almost 100% unionist or nationalist enclaves. The ‘universe’ does not exist.

    In the end man is a political as well as a social animal and the ‘politics’ have to work.
    I just don’t ever see ‘politics’ working in a 6 county NI State well not normal politics anyway . That IMO is why an alternative to the present 6 county State is necessary .

  • Resolve

    FAO Green Flag…

    I am not a scientist, and certainly not an astronomer. I have read some wacky theories of the universe in the past (see DMT psychedelic-loving new-age guru Terence McKenna, and his work “The Invisible Landscape” – and while they were quite obviously influenced by hallucinogens, they worked quite well as working metaphors. The universe was conceived to be like a hologram. It is a reflection of our infinite minds and our potential for higher consciousness.

    To me, the Universe is everything, AND it is nothing. that is the nature of infinity. Hit the ground, and bounce to infinity, whilst remaining on the ground. This sounds wacky, i know… i know not of your religious or spiritual convictions, nor is it any of my business. But even an atheist can look to the uncharted skies and gain solitude from its vastness. It puts things in perspective. And when I said “from the perspective of the universe” I do not mean that there is some consciousness out there watching. It is omniscience I refer to, whether it exists outside our own minds or not. The conviction that, if we knew EVERYTHING, and understood everything, all our problems would become trifles. It is this metaphorical “guiding star” that, for me at least, guides me away from entrenching subjective beliefs, and constantly motivates me to broaden my outlook to take into account ever more of the infinite complexity of social and political life. As I say, a refection of our interpersonal lives, and suggestive of the potential harmony that exists before humans disturb that harmony.

    (Am I talking crap? Will my reputation on slugger be damaged by sprouting this stuff??? who cares.. lol)

  • Resolve

    p.s. just to clarify, in saying all that “hitting the ground and bouncing to infinity, whilst remaining on the ground” guff, i simply meant to point out that infinity is better described by 0 than it is by any high number… no matter how high or large…

  • Greenflag

    ‘To me, the Universe is everything, ‘

    Well yes but then as some physicist pointed out it might well be just one universe out of many -A single slice of bread in a pan of universes forever beyond our ken?

    So far they have not discovered ‘life’ elsewhere although I read that in a decade or so scientists will have developed telescopes which will be able to detect the existence or non existence of life on earth sized planets within several hundred light years of earth. We know from our own existence and evolution as ‘smart’ primates that we can thank geology (the closing of the Panama Strait and changes of climate as well as a whole random sequence of catastrophic fortuitous ‘exterminations’ of other life forms ) for our present day ‘intelligent’ life. The earth can do just as well without an ‘intelligent ‘ primate and will eventually have the opportunity IMO.

    The universe is made aware of itself perhaps only through ‘humanity’ ? In that sense we are each of us the ‘universe’ in microcosm and so we had better look after ourselves 🙂

    ‘if we knew EVERYTHING, and understood everything, all our problems would become trifles.’

    And perhaps all our trifles would become problems ? Personnally I’ve never forgiven Eve for landing us in the primordial soup outside the garden of Eden .But then I thank Eve when I realise that (from an admittedly earthly perspective ) I doubt if I would have found the blissful Garden of Eden a ‘satisfying’ life . Imagine knowing everything . I mean it would’nt be human would it ?

  • Official Website of Shri Srinivasa Ragavaswamy charitable Trust in South India working towards constructing a temple for Sri Srinivasa Perumal (balaji) with Raja Gopuram which is named as Kovai Thiruppathy.