A) I’m not talking about the Warrior Princess getting a makeover and B) just something I found interesting, another swipe at the mythologies I grew up with.
Quick like a bunny, How many planets are there? Eight? Nine? Ten? Bigger than a breadbox?
I think and am not sure that there are eight planets. Pluto, an old and cold (but not cold-hearted) friend I grew up with has officially been dwarf-planeted. No longer a planet but neither an also-ran, Pluto is too small to be an official “planet”. Once again, humanic egotism decides the rules of the cosmos.
And not only is Pluto no longer a planet, Pluto is not even the largest dwarf-planet. That honor goes to Eris, a dwarf-planet known as “Xena” to her friends, shown here with her moon, Dysnomia, also known as Dysnomia to her friends. Eris-Xena is 27% more massive than Pluto. Not sure where to go with that one. Does he need to beef up or does she need to go on a diet?
And how does this tie into the myths of childhood?
Does anybody remember when Jupiter’s Great Red Spot of Jupiter was whacked by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9? I remember an NPR talk show (I think it was years after the fact) dealing with it and possible Armageddon (of course. I wonder if the Jovians were concerned?). I remember my earliest science readings (probably in Reader’s Digest) about the Great Red Spot; it was bigger than earth, you know.
Forget the ripples this created in the Jovian atmosphere. Forget that we (Earth) could be next and here was an example of just how devastating such impacts could be.
Such things are abstract in the extreme to most people walking the planet. The human mind really can’t understand these things except at a superficial level. We’re still pretty much stuck with a “Find food. Stay warm. Reproduce” wiring.
But in that wiring are things we decide have permanence. One of the ways this concept of permanence makes itself known is in the catchphrases “It’s not rocket science” and “It’s not brain surgery”. We as a culture have decided these are difficult tasks and have elevated them to “permanent-difficult” status. These elevations can be extremely personal and private and can be thought of as personal myths.
For me, one of the things I elevated to permanent-trust status was that the planets were, well, the planets. One reason lots of people had a challenge with Pluto being demoted to dwarf-planet status is because that permanent-trust elevation was being violated.
So when The Great Red Spot got whacked? Ohh, c’est terrible! Thank goodness that when I wikipeded The Great Red Spot I learned it was still there. I think. This was Wikipedia, after all.
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Posted in 0802, About Me, Culture, Historical Posts, Imagination
Tagged From Feb '08, History