The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Elliot: Totality is here or somewhere

The eclipse was a moneymaker, the Moon is leaving, and the Trumpster is still putting America first.
Yomiuri Shimbun/MCT
The moon begins moving away from the sun at 7:37 a.m, Monday, May 21, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan.

There was a total eclipse of the Sun (or sun; it did get eclipsed) on Monday across a swath of the United States. Perhaps you heard.

“Swath,” perhaps, is too grand a word; the path of totality across the U.S. was 70 miles wide, so maybe “ribbon” is more fitting. In any case, something on the order of 12 million people live in the “ribbon,” and FiveThirtyEight estimated that another 7 million or so would attempt to join them for the glorious event. Thus creating traffic jams and bottlenecks that will make football game-day traffic in Iowa City look like rush hour in Lonesome Prairie, Wyoming. (Population 2. And they hate each other.)

FiveThirtyEight, with typical cheeriness, also informs us that the eclipse took a mere one hour, 33 minutes, and 16.8 seconds to traverse the country from Oregon to South Carolina. That’s 1,651 mph. And the eclipse didn’t lose any luggage. Try that on for size, airlines.

RELATED: Iowa City prepares for solar eclipse

And the eclipse was a moneymaker, too. According to FiveThirtyEight, American Paper Optics sold 45 million pairs of those eclipse glasses that people look so stylish wearing. Well, not Our Great Leader. He looked at the eclipse without protective eyewear, the Washington Post reports. He must have specially augmented retinas or something. Or not care about going blind, because he already has so many blind spots.

Of course, the event was not all fun and games, but then, so few are. For instance, some places held a cloud-and-rain day instead of an eclipse. (Raise your hand, Iowa City.) If the eclipse was Christmas in August, the weather would play the role of Scrooge. Happily. Weather is so much like that.

And there is this fun little fact about the Moon: It’s leaving home.

Yes. The Moon, according to estimates, is moving away from the Earth at a rate of roughly 3.8 centimeters per year. Yes, I know; that doesn’t sound like very much. But according to some scientists, in 400 million years (give or take 100,000 here, 100,000 there), the Moon will be far enough away from Earth that it will appear too small to create another solar eclipse.

RELATED: Elliot: Peskiness abounds, time shrugs

What will we do with all the free time? Worry about the trade deficit?

Speaking of, remember when the Trumpster yanked the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying it would cost American workers their jobs? I mean, of course, when he wasn’t blaming the alt-left for causing white-nationalist violence and praising Confederate statues.

There he was, beating his chest (beating the drum, as baseball players say) like Tarzan in the movies and proclaiming America First. Made you proud to be an American. Or proud to be mashed yams. Some days, it’s hard to tell.

And how is TPP going, now that the Americans have come and gone, without very much lingering at all?

Funny you should ask. The 11 nations left in TPP are busy doing trade deals, according to a Politico report. Lots of trade deals. Lots of trade deals without America being the slightest bit involved. Who knew that trade could go on without the participation of the United States?

Apparently, most of the world.

Well, ha-ha-ha, world, we had an eclipse and you didn’t.

It does bring up an interesting question, though.

More to Discover