O how truth is stranger than fiction. I just had to relay this astronomical news from Leslie at Karmic Knowledge:

The dwarf planet formerly known as Xena received its official name today: Eris.

Eris is the Goddess of Discord, after whom an entire alternative religion has been named. If you’ve ever attended a Discordian Ritual, you will understand why I am holding my head between my hands. Eris love to make trouble. Whenever she appears, chaos and confusion ensue.

It was Eris who, with her golden apple, set into motion the events that would lead to the Trojan War. Lasting 10 years, the war’s most famous symbol, the Trojan Horse, has become a metaphor for deception and trickery.

Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, the man who discovered the dwarf planet, said the name was “too perfect to resist.” Perhaps Mr. Brown has a copy of the Principia Discordia hidden in one of his desk drawers.

Whatever his motive, by choosing a name that reflects the current state of world affairs, Mr. Brown has helped to shape the future of astrological interpretation.

O Lordy, the Discordians are gonna have a field day. And here I was thinking Xena the Princes Warrior was a troublesome enough name for a (dwarf) planet.

I thought this was a joke at first – I mean, hell, anything associated with Discordians usually is – but I tracked the source back and it turns out this is official, with the International Astronomical Union having given Eris the nod on 13 September 2006.

Makes me wonder if we should have just stuck with Xena, but of course then the companion moon would have had to have been named Gabrielle instead of Dysnomia and we would have had the fundies up in arms about a lesbian relationship being inscribed in the heavens.

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