Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No eclipse of ethnocentrism at CNN

"Solar eclipse scares Indian mothers-to-be. While many now recognize the scientific explanation for a solar eclipse, the phenomenon is still marked with tradition and sometimes suspicion in Hindu-majority India."
That's how a story about the solar eclipse (happening right now) on the front page of CNN.com's "World News" section starts out.

What the folks over at CNN evidently don't know is that in the year 500 AD, when Europe was descending into the Dark Ages as a direct result of the "triumph" of Christianity, the Hindu astronomer Aryabhata correctly explained the causes of lunar and solar eclipses in his Sanskrit language astronomical treatise Aryabhatiya, written when he was all of 23 years old.

The article at CNN never mentions the long history of astronomy and mathematics in India, let alone the specific achievements of Aryabhata. But they do tell us all about the impact the eclipse will supposedly have on beggars

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