Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hip, Hip, Brahe!

This Friday is the 405 anniversary of the death of the man who invented the San Diego Freeway, but his hearse is still stuck in traffic near LAX. Only kidding, it's actual the deathiversary of Tycho Brahe, who has to be written about simply because his name is cool. Brahe was a famous astronomer whose observations set up lots of the things we know about the heavens, not including how Bush won't get in. According to Wikipedia "No one before Tycho had attempted to make so many redundant observations, and the mathematical tools to take advantage of them had not yet been developed." So you have to hand it to Brahe--he did the same thing over and over, and didn't know why. Today we'd just give him a pill for being OCD. But that would be just the beginning of our medication of this positively strange man who lost part of his nose in a duel and then wore different prosthetic schnozzes depending on the occasion (take that, you piercing people, you). Evidently he could also tell you the story of a dwarf named Jepp, his court jester, who would sit under the dinner table. (I wish I was making this up.) He also owned a tame elk that he'd loan out to friends, but, alas, during one dinner the elk had drunk a lot of beer and fell down some stairs, and died. He should have just stayed under the table with Jepp. As for Brahe's own demise, he suffered from something any frat boy would be proud of--a bladder burst. Seems it was rude to get up from a fine dinner mid-meal, even if nature called. Instead the mortician called, given it's generally a bad idea to have urine flowing in your body. I'd say more about his importance to science, but he's dead and it's pretty boring.


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