Gamers during April quarantine: haha lovin this adorable game about living in an isolated haven with a handful of people I love and making a comfy little home :)
Gamers during September quarantine: fucking love this game about being trapped in a confined location and viciously murdering my friends while they complete meaningless, repetitive, arbitrary tasks to fill the time as a terrible feeling of dread slowly rises throughout space
I love when people intentionally typo words to get across the instinctual reaction as something similar to a feeling?
Like “i want to Tuch”
Idk i just. Feel it.
this is from fuddler’s courtship, btw https://hurry-up-snufkin.tumblr.com/post/189192883642
I was always told in math class that I wouldn’t be able to carry a calculator with me everywhere I went.
Literally thousands of artists, engineers and scientists over the years: Look at all of these awesome tools we made to help artists make more art more quickly and more easily! Now art is much more accessible to everyone!
Art snobs: If you use anything more than a pencil and ink and these specific paints and brushes you’re cheating and not a real artist. Especially if you draw digitally. That’s double cheating.
Artists, engineers and scientists:
Linguists throughout the ages: We have spent lifetimes gathering the significations of words and phrases in various language so everyone can appreciate them as well as possible.
Language teachers: Translate this text, no dictionaries allowed.
I’m writing this from my smartphone.
I did this throw blanket design for PNCA’s Everyday Design exhibit a while ago and finally got my hands on the finished product! Featuring my two cats, Silas and Suki, who have taken to sleeping on this blanket constantly though they haven’t quite matched up to it perfectly yet.
And one more. I think that this video is adorable, but I get the idea it might be less so to somebody who doesn’t like baby rats. This was their immediate reaction to me putting the plastic flowers down on the bed.
Anyone who hasn’t ever had rats has no idea how much they love things. Any things. More than possibly any other animal you can imagine.
Here’s even babier rats ALSO investigating things. Their eyes have just opened and theyre already so excited about things.
@riotbrrrd “I can’t cry but if you want I can ramble about the stat of venus in litterature for 20 minutes. If that would make you happy”
are you kidding that would make me very happy
It’s why I love reading old fashioned science-fiction, not only is it super cute to really see what they didn’t know yet, it’s also extremely cute to see what they thought would be possible soon, and what they hoped and dreamed about. And the Venus situation is one of my favourite examples of that
Because you see, in the early days of spatial exploration and science-fiction, the general idea was that Venus would be the easiest planet to colonize. It’s roughly the same size as Earth, days and years are roughly as long, so people just sort of assumed that it would have a breathable atmosphere and water and plants and everything that would be needed to sustain life. So a lot of sci-fi writers from the 1920s to the 1950s told stories happening there. Easiest example is Heinlein’s Future History which is a gigantic collection of short stories extrapolating on scientific progress, but I found out recently that Ray Bradbury also had written some shorts about it (found them in The Illustrated Man, and while it’s not quite the subject, please read The Illustrated Man, it’s so fucking good, anyway back on tracks) and even Lovecraft had a fun one about a labyrinth made of glass and lizard aliens.
And then the space program happened and the US started sending probes in the general direction of Venus and tURNS OUT VENUS IS A DEATH TRAP. Its atmosphere is almost exclusively carbon dyoxide, days are insanely hot, nights are insanely cold, volcanoes throw acid around, it has a very very weak magnetic field which means there’s no protection against cosmic radiations, also one of the last probes that was sent into its atmosphere ended up crushed by atmospheric pressure before it hit the ground. So in pretty much a decade or less, everyone went nope! not sending people there!
And what I find absolutely delightful is that every sci-fic writer out there just turned around and started writing stories about the moon and Mars instead, and nobody, ever, came back to talking about Venus ever since. And yet, as soon as the 60s and 70s, we had authors who started looking further away than Mars - sometimes way further, sending their characters to planets that don’t even exist, imagining spaceships cruising so far away in space that they were certain never to return. The question of scientific accuracy became less and less important in favour of pretending that, in the future, we’ll have the technology. And sure, in epic sagas of worlds so removed from ours they enter the realm of fantasy, Venus would become a footnote, not worth mentioning. But even in more recent sci-fi sagas that very much try to pretend like the superpowers of their characters come from transhumanism rather than magic, the stories are the same. People in Becky Chamber’s Wayfarers series live on giant space stations or on weird, hostile asteroids inhabited with dangerous insects, but not on Venus. Martha Wells sends her Murderbot on planets where people can be eaten by giant worms, but not on Venus. John Varley’s The Golden Globe suggests that the entire solar system has been colonized, and violently so - there’s an amazing section of the book where he explains how corporations are mining the entirety of Uranus’ moon to build another, entirely artificial moon on the same orbit, so like, the realistic aspects of terraforming are definitely the least of his worries, and yet? Still No Mention Of Venus.
It’s like. As soon as our eyes turned to Mars everyone felt that loneliness that Bradbury describes at the beginning of his Chronicles, and desperately tried to fill in the void that expands beyond Pluto, and never came back. And it’s absolutely fascinating to me, that Venus is right here, and we could have had our revenge on the disappointment a hundred times already, but no! We prefer it the unknown void. We prefer it the potential. If this planet can’t fit our fantasies of starting anew on another ground, we’ll just make up a million other planets, somewhere.
well first let me thank you for this gift, also your rants are very sexy.
So, in a way, we could compare the treatment of Venus in literature with the Moon conquest ? We went to the Moon, it was great, we done did it and then we just… stopped. We immediately started dreaming bigger and better and further. I feel what you mean with the potential. We know Venus is not life-friendly, or at least we think so (or maybe we hope so, how different would a creature need to be to live on Venus ? How far removed from our concept of life ?). It’s a question that has been answered, and there’s so many questions left !
Maybe it has to do with the fact that Venus is our closest neighbor ? In today’s society, where people are growing more and more isolated, trying to write about what it means to be human in a community is easier when throwing your hero so far away that number loose their meaning ? Or maybe we know enough than living on Venus is more fiction, living on Mars is more science, and everything else is in that sweet sweet spot of the Unknown.
Now I desperately want a book about living on Venus
I think both points sort of tie into each other.
There’s definitely a good amount of “not cool enough anymore” going on, the main difference with the Moon is that we did very much walk on the Moon and the possibility of a colony on the Moon has been actually considered. And in most of the examples I pointed out, it is admitted that there are or were people on the Moon, it’s just that humanity used it as a starting point towards further exploration. No other planet really had the “oops, my bad!” treatment that Venus had. Even planets that truly, for sure, absolutely could not sustain life, sometimes get the right to be the cool place where people live - Neptune in, again, John Varley’s books, Mercury in Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, and, remember Jupiter Ascending? But Venus is too old fashioned now, so it would stand out in any story. Fun fact! That’s actually how I started thinking about this - when I played Destiny and the game sent me on Venus, my firs thought was “wait, why does that surprise me?”
It is a valid point also that a lot of stories are more interested in “the clash of cultures” with aliens, and that requires settings to move further and further away because, now we have HD pictures of Pluto, so we know nobody lives on the dark side of the planets close to us. And, I think it’s in that Houellebecq biography of Lovecraft that I read it? that in general spatial exploration started getting big once we had explored all of the places on earth: Lovecraft actually placed his fallen civilizations in Antartica, which was still being explored at the time, and in archaeological sites in Egypt, which has also stayed a ~place of mystery~ longer than others, and really it’s his legacy that pushed his great old ones back in the stars where they belong, because we know now that there are no giant, abandoned cities at the mountains of madness, and that no pyramid houses the crystal skull of some otherwordly entity. So the only place left to house all our horrible nightmares and all the amazing wonders we can think of is the immensity of space - and the great thing about it is that we’re never gonna run out of it!
And so, yeah, it doesn’t matter that nobody cares about Venus because indeed, we don’t need to inhabit it, just to know enough about it to satisfy our curiosity. But that’s also still why I find its treatment amazing: it forces me to think about why, and about what really matters in the stories I read, and what they have in common or not - and also it’s just incredibly funny to me that it could be the perfect setting for horrible, horrible creatures to live extremely close to us, and we’re sleeping on it because it’s not trendy anymore! Human brains are extremely smart and also extremely dumb at the same time, and I love it
It kind of strikes me as weird the extent to which we don’t need things to be real, but do need things to be possible. There seems to be a great deal of push for whatever adventure we read to not be immediately falsifiable, as though writing a story set on a living Mars has some sort of plausibility hurdle that “it’s fiction!” doesn’t quite satisfy; that you can write all you want about aliens that you made up wholesale but don’t you dare put them on a planet that doesn’t have them.
It’s weird. Like there are plausibility levels for fiction and they’re all out of whack, with “that isn’t real” expanding as a disqualifier well beyond the realms it’s authorized to police. A Warlord of Mars becomes acceptable, under this system, in 1919 but not in 2020; all habituation of Mars by fictional elements must confine themselves to futuristic terraforming (Red Mars) or exploration (The Martian).
Meanwhile, the ridiculous thing is on the other hand? We totally could colonize Venus, just not the way we usually think of colonizing a planet, with people on the surface and such. Venus’ atmosphere is dense, its atmospheric pressure significant, which means that a balloonlike structure filled with Earth’s mix of nitrogen and oxygen at Earthlike pressures would float at about the altitude where Venus’ atmospheric pressure matches Earth’s, at which the temperature happens to be fairly reasonable; a habitation supported or suspended by such balloons (which would provide a supply of breathable air as well as buoyancy) could float in Venus’ upper atmosphere indefinitely, with the surrounding gas pressure eliminating some of the engineering constraints (because it’s not a pressurized bubble interacting with a vacuum) and eliminating the energy costs of transporting spacecraft to and from the surface.
In addition, Venus’ proximity to the sun means solar power would take a massive leap in usefulness and availability (though one may have to position the solar panels in orbit rather than directly on the balloons), and its faster revolution speed and the fact that its orbit is closer to Earth than Mars’ orbit means shorter trips and more good transit windows as Venus passes Earth more often. Oh, and information transmitted from Earth will have much less lag time than Mars.
In short, it’s an awesome place for humanity to get our space wings on and try out some colonization and space-living procedures, as well as having possibility for storing any energy-generation, scientific, or industrial activity we might not want to keep on Earth due to its potential to explode, escape, or otherwise make messes.