A calculation tool no SF writer should be without.

(Hat tip to Mark Shea) If you wish to calculate your age on other planets, go here:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/age/

Please note that the author of this website correctly stated the number of planets in this, the sane version of the solar system, is nine. I would not have linked to it had it said otherwise.

The insane version of the solar system rumored to have been created by some evil scientists, in which there are only eight planets, is one that all fans of Clyde Tombaugh must oppose until the day when the dread scourge of Plutophobia is abolished from polite society.

This website unwisely links, however, to the misnamed “Nine Planets” website, which says there are only eight planets in the solar system, and does NOT include Pluto.  I can only hope that the servants of the Mi Go who lurk in secret among us do not report this egregious (and unintentionally hilarious)  lapse of judgment to their grim masters, the Outer Powers of Yuggoth.

 

About John C Wright

John C. Wright is a practicing philosopher, a retired attorney, newspaperman, and newspaper editor, and a published author of science fiction. Once a Houyhnhnm, he was expelled from the august ranks of purely rational beings when he fell in love; but retains an honorary title.
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39 Responses to A calculation tool no SF writer should be without.

  1. joetexx says:

    Hail Tombaugh!

    It is good to see that you have not forsaken the struggle, comrade!

    May the lord of the underworld and his fair consort Persephone (Prosperine to Roman yokels) reward your endeavors with bright jewels and metals from their abysmal realm!  

  2. Robert Mitchell Jr says:

    You seem to have cause and effect confused. Pluto is not a planet because of the machinations of the Mi Go, who do not wish uncontrolled visitors……

    • I find this difficult to believe. Carson Napier of Venus visited me in a dream and assured me that Pluto had once been a moon of Neptune knocked out of orbit of the impact of a Thrint starship piloted by a being named Kzanol in order to destroy the Mi-Go capital there; but it was later discovered that the cowardly semi-fourth dimensional natives of Palain VII manipulated Kzanol into this fatal collision (you did not think a target so small could be struck by a status-field encased starship traveling Awesome Speed just by COINCIDENCE did you?); but the Palainnians were forced in the hiding beneath the all concealing atmospheric ice of the planet when the Wormfaces arrived to establish their military base. The Mi-Go (who had not been exterminated, or even annoyed, by the Kzanol impact) reacted by using the Starseed Lure to draw Galactus the planet-killer to the throneworld of the Wormfaces. Fortunately, the Wormface planet was destroyed by the Monolith Builders (working on behalf of the Three Galaxies Tribunal) who had evolved the human race to intelligence in the paleolithic; Galactus is thus not guilty of yet another geocide, but this has only drawn the attention of His Eternal Hunger toward Sol and our helpless but inexplicably often-visited solar system!

      It should be clear from the internal evidence that the reason why so many alien beings, both the malign, the very malign and the extremely malign, visit Sol so often, is that Pluto is the Grand Central Station of the Mi-Go and their many contacts and patrons and servant races scattered throughout timespace and paratimespace, flatspace and warpspace and darkspace and counterspace and the cramped King of Pointland in Nospace. Not only do all the wormholes and warpgates open up within easy jump distance from Pluto, Smade’s Tavern is a must-see tourist spot for the frozen nonhumanoid and noneuclidean beings, space vampires, dark fields of living death energy, neverborn Soul-eaters, Eeich, Jarts from beyond 2×10^9 kilometers of the Way , and random rugose hitchhikers who mooch around the Lovecraftian waystations of the universe.

      The Plutonians attempting to hide from Galactus by having Pluto declared no longer a planet (well, he is not Galactus the dwarf-eater, is he?) is both pathetic and demeaning. I demand a recount.

      • joetexx says:

        A surfeit of malignancies!

        Alas, I am on Grammar Gestapo watch tonight, though my shift ends in 20 minutes.

        ‘Both’ may only refer to two, not three or more, persons, objects or alternatives.

        One may not, for example, legitimately say,

        “Anne Hathaway, Helen Bonham Carter, and Cate Blanchett are both rabid, passionate, joetexx groupies. ”

        One may only wish it were so.

      • joetexx says:

        I scoff at this absurd tale from the psuedo ‘Carson Napier’ of the dream world who has deceived so many credulous catnappers. 

        The real Carson of Venus is gradually conveying to me the actual, aweful truth about Pluto, in coded messages left beneath granite boulders in a remote location in the Texas Hill  Country. We both agreed this was safer than a mail drop in the pleasant town of Cross Plains, sacred though it is to the memory of Robert E. Howard.  The human race is not yet prepared for this knowledge, but when the time comes, I and select others shall reveal it to the twelve righteous sages and the paladins of the  Sevagram.  I hope your dues are paid up. 

      • joetexx says:

        The King of Pointland, BTW, can have no knowledge of rugose hitchikers. 

        Unwindow’d monad, trapped in his icy egotism, he rejects my desperate attempts to warn him of the grave peril threatening all the multiverses as the fever dreams of the only consciousness that exists – his own.  

  3. Tom Simon says:

    This is neither here nor there, but I am not in a mood where I can easily bear keeping silent:—

    It pains me deeply every time I see you, Sir, mention the name of Mark Shea; as he is the man who called me a torturer, and unfit to be a Catholic, and (though I don’t think he used the actual locution) as good as damned, because I asked in the comments box of his blog what the definition of torture was. I almost left the Catholic Church, and very soon after I was baptized, too, because this man told me I was not wanted there.

    I am sorry to mention this publicly, but I don’t know of any other way. I have been bearing the anger and shame for years and have no idea how to get rid of it — or even whether I am allowed to get rid of it. But I would rather bear all the anger and shame in the world than be required to live by articles of faith whose terms I am forbidden to ask the definitions of.

    • DGDDavidson says:

      You are indeed allowed to get rid of it. Forgive Mr. Shea for his immoderate passion, his likely misunderstanding of you on this sensitive issue, and his ill-conceived response.

      • Tom Simon says:

        The thing is, he is (or was, the last time he gave it any thought) absolutely convinced that he has done nothing wrong. If he hasn’t, there is nothing to forgive and it would be presumptuous of me to try.

        His position — I remember it very exactly — is that the only possible reason why anyone would want a definition of torture is so they could either practise torture themselves, or see how close they could come to the line without crossing it. I said that I wanted to avoid giving material cooperation to torturers (this was a major theme of the blog post), but that so many accusations of torture were being flung around, I needed some way to tell the true accusations from the false; and that means defining what torture is, and more particularly, what it is not. He flat-out called me a liar — and a torturer (by indirect participation) and an ‘apologist for torture’.

        If he is right, then I am as the devils in Hell, who know God but to tremble; and my forgiveness of anyone or anything is tantamount to a curse. If he is wrong — then why have I never heard anyone say so?

        • Mr. Shea’s blog alternates passionate screeds and heartfelt apologies. (He does not apologize for the prayer requests or the whimsy otherwise on his blog, so these are outside our notice for the time being.)

          • Mary says:

            I left his blog after he threatened to ban me because I observed something he said wasn’t quite true, and indeed bordered on slanderous.

            It wasn’t. It was actually slanderous. I had toned down my complaint.

        • Suburbanbanshee says:

          “If he is wrong — then why have I never heard anyone say so?”

          Probably because nobody else was reading his blog comments by that point in the thread. I find that a lot of people just skim long comment boxes, or never bother to read comments on certain topics, or on certain topics at certain blogs.

          Mr. Shea was probably not talking to you, so much as he was talking to fifty other people who had asked the same question ingenuously instead of honestly, twenty other people who asked the question honestly but were lumped in by him with the fifty, and thirty hipsters who asked the question in the flippant manner of Pontius Pilate inquiring about truth.

          This is hard on disciples of classical “define your terms first” debate, but it makes a certain rough sense to those of us who have been exasperated by the fifty and the thirty.

          Being on the Internet means that it’s easy to be misunderstood. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to experience (bitter, bitter experience) and go on. It’s very easy to take things personally, because it’s got the appearance of an intimate medium; but it’s really not all that personal.

          It’s also very easy on the Internet to accept authoritative people as authorities; but Shea would be the first one to tell you he’s got no charism of seeing into people’s souls or infallibility. The net.ghods themselves who founded it all are just techie guys who don’t have interpersonal skills above the ordinary. We can’t take it all personally when sometimes our heroes are wrong.

          Finally, I gotta say that those torture combox discussions brought out the worst in everyone. If a toxic discussion or a flamewar is going on, you can’t expect to get much sense out of it. The best thing to do is stay out of it; and if you don’t and you get singed, the second-best thing to do is to forgive and forget about it as quickly as possible. You can’t let people’s impulsive swat from five years ago rule your life today. Table your dilemma forever about which one was wrong, or decide it quickly and go on.

          Sometimes stuff just is never going to have a feelgood resolution. Just be glad that neither you nor Shea have died horribly since that contretemps, say a little prayer of thanks to the Lord, and go on.

      • Tom Simon says:

        Thank you, Sir; I wish I deserved it. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for intruding irrelevantly.

        • I am not sure what this is in reference to. You have done nothing I need forgive. Your essays and thoughts over the last year or so have granted me such reading pleasure that I despair of repaying, and so I resign myself to humble gratitude. Intrude to your heart’s content. You are always welcome here. I wish we could meet in real life. Come to Virginia some day.

        • seebert says:

          You deserve it. So much so that I found this thread *because* Mark Shea has posted an apology for you on his blog.

          • Tom Simon says:

            I meant that I hope you will forgive me for introducing all this in a place where it is wildly off topic.

            I have received Mr. Shea’s email — most unexpectedly — and have replied to the effect that I do gladly forgive him, and rejoice that I need not count myself among his enemies. So I have you to thank, Sir, for acting (via your blog) as the intermediary that made this possible. In future, of course, I shall try to remember what I have observed about some of Mr. Shea’s other utterances: he has a sometimes excessive tendency to follow Napoleon’s dictum, On s’engage et puis on voit. Which, I think (speaking as a linguist who stopped short of his degree), is Swahili for, ‘Ready! Fire! Aim!’

            I should very much like to meet you in person when I can afford to travel. I have a dear friend who is living in South Carolina, where she has found herself a husband and gathered some of her other kin. Perhaps I shall one day have the felicity of making the trip to see you and yours as well as her and hers.

          • Tom Simon says:

            Beg pardon, Seebert: I clicked ‘Reply’ on your comment, instead of Our Host’s immediatey above. I hope I did not cause consternation or confusion.

    • If you would not mind the thoughts of someone from the outside…

      I do not know why this would pain you so. He is, after all, a man, and like any man he is fallible. Even by your own world view this is so because it is a fact.

      You know yourself and you know your intention, do you not? I know, from reading you over the last couple of years both as Simon and Superversive, that you are articulate, conscientious, and as far as one can grasp from internet discussions, just in evaluating other men.

      Do you not know this of yourself as well? Do not assume a guilt unearned.

      I loved your last sentence btw. Definitions are the means by which we differentiate concepts from other concepts. Your question was not only just, but absolutely imperative, epistemologically, but also morally.

      Two bits, from your friendly neighborhood atheist, sir.

      • Mary says:

        Because emotional reactions are not under our conscious control, perhaps?

        • Immediate emotional reactions are not under our conscious control. The ability to change over time how things affect us emotionally is one of the functions of our reason. How much time varies according to how much the emotional reaction aligned with all the facts that make up a context for a particular emotional reaction. If no facts aligned, the emotional trigger is quickly dispensed.

          Frankly I find it a tad scary that this man, Mr. Shea, wields this much unordained clout as to cause someone this much pain and guilt. I’ve been to his site on numerous occasions; I can’t find any special accomplishment of his that merits such authority. I also don’t find him to be a very impressive communicator, and I think he is callous.

          • Suburbanbanshee says:

            Someone who is sensitive is also going to suffer. It’s useful, but it’s painful.

            Heck, people I don’t know can probably still hurt me and make me doubt myself. They just have to be a little more original or skillful, these days.

            And I’m glad Mr. Shea apologized.

    • deiseach says:

      I am sorry to read this, and I hope you can disburden your soul of this wound. I would only say in defence of Mark that, at the time, there were many who were going “But what istorture, anyway?” and “Pfft, if we’re not chopping limbs off, it’s not torture!” in response to his quotation of the Catechism on what the Catholic position to be held should be.

      An honest question for information without any polemical motives behind it was easily lost in the sea of “I’d gladly damn my soul and go to Hell if I could get revenge on these evil people, and I’m a good Catholic!” verbiage being spewed.

  4. shana says:

    There is going to be an attempt at a human mission to Mars in 2023, but not via NASA.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/07/24/is-mars-one-serious-about-suicide-mission-to-red-planet/?intcmp=features

    Some folks may well get to be 25.1 years on Mars as I am supposed to be. However, it is planned at this time as a one-way trip and the folks chosen by lottery, supposedly.

    So you don’t get your flying cars, but your childen may someday get to settle on Barsoom.

    • Children we’ll never see again without a six-second delay. (Not to be flippant, because that’s super cool.)

      • shana says:

        For some children, a six-second delay may not necessarily be a bad thing! :)

        Seriously, though, some families have adult children right here on our own planet and they don’t see each other for six-seconds, let alone with a delay. At least on the Barsoom – er – Mars colony, you’d know exactly where they are for once!

    • Sean Michael says:

      Hi, shana!

      I was very pleased to read the article you linked to about the “one way” mission to Mars. I firmly believe we should have had colonies on Mars by now. And I also believe that it is possible to do so. I would recommend reading THE CASE FOR MARS, by Robert Zubrin (with Richard Wagner) for what seems a very convincing argument on how that can be done.

      Despite my advancing age (57), I’m tempted to put in my name for that lottery if it’s actually held next year. I mean the lottery for choosing the crew for the one way trip to Mars. Fat chance of me being accepted, I know!

      Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

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