November 10, 2004

Horse 226 - Walls and Moons

15 years ago today, several walls were broken. Growing up I noticed that the world map had two rather strange anomalies, the first was the there was a North & South Korea, the second was that there was an East & West Germany. Now the UN may have done a lot of important things like provide peacekeepers to various parts for the world but one thing it did in the 40's 50's and 60's of last century was draw lines and snap countries in half.

"Made in W.Germany" for a while was a reminder that while the industrialsed West was prosperous, the East German economy was languishing. Businesses were held back without incentive and the state-owned companies failed in a lot of cases to provide all the needs of consumers. 1989 was a stark reminder the communism despite all the lofty ideals was as open to corruption at any other system, naturally people blamed the system.

On the 9th, all border controls bewteen the two Germanys were cancelled, and on the 10th opened up and free passage between them became possible for the first time in nearly a generation. More importantly the walls broke down in people's hearts and finally Germany as a nation was able to stand as one again. For at least 3 weeks a GDR passport gave passengers free travel in West Germany and a state of euphoria broke out.

26 years ago today, scientists who'd been noticing wobbles in the orbit of Pluto saw something through a very powerful telescope that they'd never seen before - a moon. on Nov 10 1978, the furthest known satellite at the time was found and called Charon after the mythical ferry people of the underworld who would ferry souls across the river Styx.

Charon is unique in the Solar System in that it is in captured rotation. Like our Moon, the same side always faces Pluto's surface. Unlike our moon it hangs over one spot, and therefore if you were under it, you could build a ladder bewteen the two objects in full knowledge that it would never move.

PS: For what it's worth Happy Birthday to Kymbaline. I share a birthday with you, and that's never happened before as far as I know. I hope your 21st is more joyous than my 26th which looks like by all accounts to be a non-event.


Anonymous said...

birthdays r pagan and u shouldnt celebrate them

Rollo said...

Nice to know my place then.