Excerpts, News and Reaction

Duly Noted: Horned Toads and Light Years

Yesterday I was listening to a public radio story on The California Report. I gritted my teeth as the announcer thrice referred to horned toads as lizards. I like to think that public radio folk are reasonably bright and that they proof-read stories, and so when a friend called, I asked, “Are amphibians lizards?” Well, amphibians aren’t lizards, but then horned toads are actually misnamed short-horned lizards.

This afternoon I read the following from the June 6 issue of “The Week” with glee:

“By lucky chance, astronomers were peering at a galaxy 88 million light-years away when they witnessed the initial blast of a star exploding into a supernova–the first time that rare stellar event has been seen as it happened.”

Though, for all I know, perhaps astronomers have figured out how to observe things without being limited by light-speed, and we’ll be able to watch the supernova explode again 88 million years from now.

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