...In other science news, thrilled NASA astronomers, in what they describe as a "smashing, surprising" discovery, announce that they have found evidence of pockets of water beneath the surface of Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn, which strongly suggests -- as has long been suspected -- that astronomers do not get out much.
...the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has a budget of over $3 billion, predicts that the 2006 hurricane season will be worse than usual. This item will seem funnier later in the year. In related news, the voters of New Orleans re-elect Ray Nagin as mayor, proving that Hurricane Katrina killed far more brain cells than was previously believed.
...In other rocket news, the troubled U.S. space program suffers yet another setback when the launch of the shuttle Discovery is delayed for several days by Transportation Security Administration screeners, who insist that the astronauts remove their shoes before they go through the metal detector. Finally, however, Discovery blasts off and flies a flawless mission, highlighted by scientific experiments proving when you let go of things in space, they float around, same as last year.
Outer space remains in the news in...
...when the International Astronomical Union rules that Pluto will no longer be classified as a major planet, on the grounds that it is "less than half the size of James Gandolfini." A top U.S. law firm immediately files a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Pluto, as well as "anybody else who has been hurt by this ruling, or has ever experienced neck pain."
On the weather front, the until-now quiet hurricane season erupts in fearsome fury in the form of Tropical Storm Ernesto, which hurricane experts, using scientific computer models, predict could become a major storm and inflict devastation upon Texas, or possibly Florida, or Connecticut. A state of near-panic sets in as millions of coastal residents jam gas stations, hardware stores and supermarkets, while many schools and businesses close. Tension mounts for days, until finally Ernesto slams into Florida with all the fury of a diseased fruit fly. Life slowly returns to normal for everyone except the ever-vigilant hurricane experts, who immediately begin scanning their scientific computer simulations for the next potentially deadly threat.
...In other good news, with four days left in the virtually storm-free 2006 hurricane season and still no storms in sight, U.S. weather experts, citing new data, predict that the season will end up having been very mild. This forecast turns out to be right on the money, but the experts waste no time on self-congratulation, as they immediately begin making scientific predictions for next year's hurricane season, which, they warn, could be a bad one.
Like I said, he's always hilarious.