Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Do YOU Believe In?


On TV's PBS News Hour they spoke of an online news organization with the name ProPublica and I spent some time looking it over. And I was impressed.

ProPublica was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting and a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. And that's only the beginning of the awards this organization has won.


The newscasters are all agog at one of the latest reports from NASA, the one about the discovery of Kepler-22b, such as the believable headline at the online New York Daily News:

Newly discovered planet Kepler-22b is eerily similar to Earth, NASA finds.

Well, even though, on the surface of the average human mind, this seems to be an exciting discovery, I remain unexcited. Why? Because I am skeptical of the technology used to discern such a conclusion as Kepler being an Earth-like planet. I see this as being no more than an outright guess.

One must keep in mind that the image shown (here and in many other news pieces) is not an actual photo of Kepler-22b but is merely an artist's conception of what the planet might look like... an artist's artistic guess. That's all.

I wonder how many people think the image is an actual photo of the far away planet. After all, millions of people believe in ghosts. And millions believe that the placement of the solar system's planets and the stars as seen from Earth can foretell the future and the fortune of each individual observer. And millions of gullible people believe that nonsense.

Oh well.

Yes, I am, as always, a cranky old skeptical curmudgeon.

Believe what you wish to believe... you will anyway, with or without my permission.


The Average Salary Of A Catholic Priest is the title of an article in eHow money. In it I read the following sentence: The Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that a Roman Catholic Priests' compensation package offers a lot more than cash compensation.

Being the inveterate amateur editor, I could not help noticing the placement of the apostrophe in a Catholic Priests'... -- It seemed to me that the apostrophe indicating possession should be placed between the letters t and s instead of after the s since a Catholic Priest denotes the singular. But I'm not sure how to go about finding out which of the two is grammatically correct.

My writers group should have at least one member who will know the answer. I've asked them the question and have received two opinions, so far. Hopefully, more will soon arrive via email.


Putting the U.S. Postal Service back in the black? I have a few suggestions:

1. Cut mail delivery down to 5 days per week.
2. Cut out pensions; workers can draw Social Security.
3. Eliminate low postage rate for printed matter.
4. Raise crap-mail rates. Nobody wants it anyway.
5. Raise first class rate to one dollar per ounce.

While this list might appear to be radical, and will probably be greeted with various hoots and hollers, I believe that the suggestions comprise the only solution that will work... temporarily. Of course, I also believe that they will not be adopted.


"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is
good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
--Samuel Johnson

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