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The Elephant in the Room Philip Edwards (ISAS 1994-2006) (ATNF 2006-) Hirabayashi aka Hirax Secret agent? The thrash metal band Hirax was formed in California in 1984 The Language Instinct

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The elephant in the room l.jpg

The Elephant in the Room

Philip Edwards

(ISAS 1994-2006)

(ATNF 2006-)


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HirabayashiakaHirax


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Secret agent?



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The Language Instinct

“The elephant’s trunk is six feet long and one foot thick and contains sixty thousand muscles. … Elephants are the only living animals that possess this extraordinary organ. Their closest living terrestrial relative is the hyrax, a mammal that you would probably not be able to tell from a large guinea pig.”

Steven Pinker


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Hyrax inSagamihara!

Several hyrax live in

the small Zoo in

Sagamihara Park,

easily located by the

optical pulsar

visible from Hirax’s

old offices.


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The word "rabbit, or "hare" was

used instead of "hyrax" many

times in some earlier English

Bible translations.

European translators of those

times had no knowledge of the

hyrax, and therefore no name

for them.

There are references to hyraxes

in the Old Testament.


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Spain

  • Early Phoenician navigators mistook the rabbits of the Iberian Peninsula for hyraxes (Hebrew Shaphan); hence they named it I-Shapan-im, meaning "land of the hyraxes", which possibly became the Latin word "Hispania", the root of Spain's modern Spanish name España and the English name Spain.


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Blind monks examining an elephant", an 1888 ukiyo-e print by Hanabusa Itchō.


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  • The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar;

  • the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope;

  • the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch;

  • the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and

  • the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

  • and the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan;


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Kanreki pillar;



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Zou-san, zou-san pillar;

O-hana ga nagai no ne

Sou-yo kaa-san mo nagai no yo

Little elephant, little elephant

You have a long, long nose

Yes, sir, my mother has a long nose too

Zou-san

Memorably performed by the JPL space-VLBI choir in the mid-1990s





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Sumo pillar;


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Kendo pillar;



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VSOP News 115 (19 May 2000) APOD 010720

  • SAGAMIHARA

    Sagamihara city, in Kanagawa prefecture, is home to the main campus of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). The astronomical links with the city were commemorated recently with minor planet (7435) being named "Sagamihara". The minor planet was discovered by K. Endate and K. Watanabe in 1994. The official citation for the naming of the minor planet notes ISAS's presence in the city and specifically mentions HALCA as being an ISAS satellite.

    …although (6390) bears the name Hirabayashi, there is no connection to the VSOP Project Scientist!


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VSOP News no. 20 (15 Sep 1995) APOD 010720

  • A NEW CLASS OF RADIO SOURCE?

    The award for best joke of the SWG meeting goes to Esko Valtaoja. In describing the pitfalls of conducting a survey program without ground-based monitoring support, Esko gave the illustration of a new class of radio sources waiting to be ‘discovered’. These, he suggested, could be called HIghly RAdiating unknown sources -- HIRAXes!


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Conclusions APOD 010720

  • Life is a journey into the unknown


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Conclusions APOD 010720

  • Life is a journey into the unknown

  • And in trying to make sense of the unknown


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Conclusions APOD 010720

  • Life is a journey into the unknown

  • And in trying to make sense of the unknown

  • And in randomly encountering elephants


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