Saturday, January 09, 2016


2015 was a pretty good year for the world's various robotic space probes. All kinds of great stuff from Mars, from the dwarf planet Pluto, and all of the scientific data those various worlds have coughed up for us.

But one that was really foremost on my mind was the journey of the Dawn probe to sniff out new data on the largest asteroid between Earth and the outer planets: Ceres. I couldn't get enough of that little world and checked the news feeds daily to see what new things were cropping up as the ship sent back data to JPL.

I was, of course, dependent upon our wonderful Internet to seek out the little pieces of news that were streaming earthward each day. So I'd look at the sites I'd bookmarked and read those, and then go to Google and plug in "Ceres" to find other sources.

And here's the thing. I'd type in those five letters and more than likely what would pop up would be links to news items about killings, robberies, murders, and police shootings--lots of police shootings. What the hell was this?!

Yes, I immediately figured that I wasn't reading about some violent act outside of the JPL labs. There was obviously some place in the USA called Ceres and I was being information-blocked by news from that place instead of the space exploration information for which I was searching.

Finally, though, as the items from the dwarf planet began to fade to familiar stories, I felt that I had to at least understand what the other Ceres was. That is, where was it and why the hell were so many stories about violent acts? So...I looked it up.

Briefly, what I found is that Ceres is a city in California with a population of about 45,000 people. It's considered part of the Modesto urban area. Also, it seems to be one violent goddamned place. So violent that I will avoid anywhere within fifty miles of it the next time I journey to California. I mean, every time I would do the search for news of the JPL mission, what I'd ALWAYS see was some notice of another violent crime or a murder or a bit about the cops gunning down some low-born person on the wrong side of their bullets.

I mean, damn. What better dichotomy of the USA's good points and bad points can there be for me than the Google search for "Ceres".

The USA; inquisitive, bold, insightful.

The USA: Where guns do the talking.

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