Cool Things in Astronomy

The Cassini mission to Saturn just found something interesting. Two of the smaller moons of Saturn (approximately 30-40 km in diameter) have shapes very much like UFOs. The current explanation is that the moons are accreting material out of the rings. Saturn's rings are quite amazingly thin and the moons' orbits are basically coplanar with the rings, so the latitude range where the moon will end up accreting material is very thin. As a result, you get a moon with a built up ridge around the equator. Very very odd.
Picture courtesy of the Cassini mission.


Hockey rant

Random thoughts:

(1) I hate Gary Bettman. Maybe not everything can be blamed on him, but it has been on his watch that the league has fallen off the map.

which brings us to point #2:

(2) I hate ESPN.

whoa! hold on, you say. Why do you hate the worldwide leader?

(2a) I hate ESPN because they promote the WNBA as charity, but argue that they can't show NHL games because of public disinterest. This is made all the more poignant because the actual quality of play has never been better. Which brings us to

(3) I hate the New Jersey Devils. I hate them on principle, but I also hate them on behalf the NHL. Here's why: In the early '90s, the NHL was on fire. We were coming off the Oilers dynasty and Gretzky was still a huge name, then Mario stepped in and the Pens won two in a row, then the Yankees of the the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens, won in 1993, and then the Rangers, with Messier, won in 1994.

And then in 1995, the Devils singlehandedly destroyed the league. Not only because nobody cares about them, but because their trapping style (which was questionable but the league allowed the refs to let it go) slowed the game down to a boring, dull, crawl. This was analogous to a baseball team fielding an entire team of midgets in the top of the first (if away) or the bottom of the ninth (if at home) so that they get 13 consecutive walks and win each game without getting a hit.

Anyway, this was inspired by yesterday's Bill Simmons report podcast, where Bill's suggestion is to contract the league to 11 US games and 11 Canadian teams. For fun, and to piss off random people who might read this, here's my proposal:

Keepers (USA): Philly, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, and then two from Dallas / Colorado / Buffalo (11)

Keepers (Canada): Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary. (6)

This means that five of the following teams must be moved to Canada, and the rest contracted: New Jersey, the entire Southeast Division (Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington), Columbus, Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim, Phoenix, LA.

This is actually kinda a shame since Columbus is becoming a good franchise, and Nashville was good until their owner showed himself to be evil, but regardless, now we can open franchises in Winnipeg (Jets), Hamilton, Quebec (Nordiques), and.... actually, now I'm stuck. Maybe Kitchener/Waterloo?

This is actually a good thing the league would never give up all of the California franchises, and the the Devils just built a new rink, they're safe. So, how about 9 Canadian teams, and maybe 15 US teams, keeping Buffalo, Jersey, San Jose, Anaheim.