Astronomy 101

June 17, 2012


The Great A'Tuin - Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry PratchettBattle of Gibeon
Joshua 7:3 to 22:11

7:3 Joshua sent a detachment of only a couple of thousand troops to destroy the people in the city of Ai because for one thing they were so few of them. He also thought for sure they were wussies and would be a push over. That was a mistake. As it turned out, two thousand troops was not enough force for the job and the people of Ai routed the contingent of Israelites, sending them running for their lives. However come to find out, Yahweh himself arranged this defeat because of a certain Israelite named Achan of the tribe of Judah. Achan had taken some loot from previous spoils of war and hidden it in his tent.

Joshua was understandably upset with Achan, although Yahweh could have just said something instead getting those troops killed. Joshua needed to appease Yahweh so he took Achan and his wife, and his children, both sons and daughters, and all of his pets and livestock, and had them all stoned to death. Then he took all the dead bodies, and their family tent, and all of their furniture, and burnt them all up with a great big fire.

8:1 With Achan properly punished, Yahweh got his head back in the game. He instructed Joshua to set up a classic dodge and punch ambush for the men of Ai. Joshua enticed the men of Ai into pursuing a small army while a bigger army sneaked in behind them and destroyed their city. That left the Ai troops stranded and vulnerable and easy for Joshua to finish off. The Israelites then killed the children, and the women, even pregnant women, and everyone else in the city of Ai except for the king who was brought to grovel before Joshua. Josh had him hanged from a tree. After that, the tribes all gathered around the hanging dead king and sat listening quietly while Joshua read to them out loud from the stories about Moses. It was quite a night.

Two hobos walking along railroad tracks, after being put off a train. Unknown date, unknown photographer. Library of Congress.9:1 Word of the Israelite military campaign spread quickly. The majority of the kingdoms of Canaan got together and formed a coalition of troops to mutually defend each other against the encroaching merciless Joshua. But the Gibeonites were a kingdom that tried another tactic. They sent emissaries dressed like hobos to talk to Joshua. They said they had come from a land very far away to make peace with Joshua. They were quite convincing with the charade, especially being dressing like mere hobos and all, so Joshua signed a peace treaty with them. When it was discovered that the bums were actually wealthy local Canaanites it was too late to kill them because they already had the treaty with fine print that said no killing of the hobos allowed. So instead of killing them Joshua made the Gibeonite fake hobos into slaves which was ok because the treaty didn’t say anything about that.

10:5 Five different kingdoms of Canaan got together and attacked the city of Gibeon for sending phony hobos to make a separate peace with Joshua. The Israelites were bound by the infamous hobo treaty to come to the rescue of the Gibeonites but it was going to take a while to get there. Yahweh pelted the troops of the five kingdoms with large hail stones to keep them busy until Joshua and his troops could mobilize and deploy.

The Israelites were doing well with the routine slaughter of another victim but the day was short and Joshua was worried that they would run out of daylight before finishing the job of crushing the five army coalition attacking Gibeon. In order to have more time for battle, Joshua asked Yahweh to make the sun and moon stand still for one whole day. It seemed like such a simple solution to the problem.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. ~ Carl Sagan

Yahweh suddenly stopped our massive 6 x 1024 kg planet from rotating in space for a full 24 hours, including the atmosphere and oceans. Fortunately there were none of the earthquakes, tidal waves, or the mega-volcanoes and other geological catastrophes one might expect from the incredible shift in angular momentum. In fact no other culture on the Earth seemed to even notice any cataclysmic events at all, or even the impact on celestial measurements, such as eclipse cycles.

In order to keep the sun completely stationary in the sky for a full 24 hours, with one of the methods that trends towards the least amount of complication, Yahweh also had to stop the Earth from advancing in its orbit, and also apply the necessary force to prevent it from then accelerating directly towards the sun. Subsequent changes to the normal cyclical movement of the all-important zodiac seem to have escaped the notice of the ever vigilant astrologers of the world.

The giant impact hypothesis is the currently favoured scientific hypothesis for the formation of the Moon.Yahweh also stopped the 7.36×1022 kg moon from orbiting at a relative speed of 1,023 m/s but applied the necessary force, 1.9×1020 Newtons, to prevent the moon from suddenly plunging directly into the Earth, as well as the converse, the Earth plunging towards the moon.

Having thus invented daylight savings time, Joshua now had just what was needed for the Israelite army to carry the day, or two days depending on how you look at it. After the battle Yahweh casually accelerated the Earth spinning again, up to a speed of 463.9 m/s at the equator, or about 397.4 m/s along the 31 degree north latitude of Canaan. Then he suddenly returned the moon to its previous vector and synodic period with no appreciable effect on the oceanic tides. Some werewolves may have been slightly confused and more hairy than usual.

Solar Egg Wallpaper

The five kings of the Canaanite coalition fled for their lives and hid in some caves. Their troops had been defeated and the solar system appeared to be coming apart at the seams. The five kings were eventually caught and Joshua had them all hanged from five adjacent trees.

10:40 Joshua went from city to city killing everything that breathed just as Yahweh had commanded. The remaining Canaanites finally ganged up and met the Yahvists in pitched battle and lost. It was Yahweh himself who convinced the Canaanites to go on the attack so that he could utterly destroy them.

LUNA, photo by Brad Snowder. Imaged with a Meade 10-inch f/10 LX200 ACF telescope, 4-inch f10 autoguider, Losmandy counterweighted, evolution equatorial wedge. Nikon D40 DSLR at prime focus.13:1 Joshua divided the land amongst his tribes. He was now an old man and he and Yahweh sat around and talked about all the stuff that had happened in his lifetime. They talked about that fact that there were still a few groups of Canaanites that were able to resist the ethnic cleansing and could not be conquered.

Some cities of refuge for those guilty of negligent homicide were established, just as Yahweh had described to Moses back in the days of the desert.

22:11 After a brief argument between the tribes west of the Jordan River and the tribes east of the Jordan River, Joshua called them all together. He lectured them one last time about the blessings and curses of dealing with crazy old Yahweh, and then he died. They buried Joshua.

Aaron’s son Eleazar also died and was buried. Also, they finally buried the ancient stinking corpse of Joseph which they had been carrying with them all these many years ever since they left Egypt way back when.

Tracy Caldwell Dyson in the Cupola of the International Space Station - Sept 11, 2010

Next: Order in the Court
The Bible According to Brad

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