So, fresh off the “Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes,” the Maryland senator (in charge of NASA’s budget) has a supernova named after her. The name was given by researchers at the Space Science Telescope Institute at Johns Hopkins, whose funding comes from contracts with NASA, whose funding is overseen by . . . Senator Mikulski!
I’m all for spending money on space research; there are at least ten cabinet departments I’d abolish before cutting funding for space telescopes. But sucking up to living, serving politicians with control of the purse strings by naming institutions and heavenly bodies after them? As Mickey Kaus says: a new way to bribe Congress. (On the other hand, it might be a “type ia” supernova, which is caused by the explosion of a white dwarf.)