As mentioned earlier, I stayed for the full astronomy course this weekend, rather than just presenting my lecture and leaving. This allowed me to hear several interesting talks on topics that I do not usually encounter.

Two of these talks were on exoplanets -- or worlds outside of our solar system. In my previous post, I mentioned the talk by Dr. Suzanne Aigrain on New Insights from Transiting Exoplanets. In her talk, she discussed how we can work out the composition and atmosphere of exoplanets, which impressed the heck out of me.

The other talk on exoplanets was more general (titled, quite simply, as Exoplanets), and given by Prof. Hugh Jones. Overall, I found it to be a less interesting -- and less organised -- talk than Dr. Aigrain's. However, he did mention -- somewhat cryptically -- that we should keep our ears pealed... as there would be an exciting announcement coming on Tuesday.

Well, it is now Tuesday. So what was Prof. Jones hinting at?

Turns out, he was not exaggerating. The news is out, and can be read about in brief here.

Or, to be even more brief, just read on: Another planet comparable in size to Earth has -- for the first time -- been discovered! How cool is that??

For those who are unimpressed, please recall that, until 1995, the prospect of finding any planets outside our solar system was considered to be more fantasy than fact. Hundreds have now been located, by a variety of methods, but they are nearly all giants -- making them far easier to detect. The discovery of a planet comparable in size to Earth -- orbiting a star twenty light years away -- is an astounding discovery, indeed!

Still not impressed? Fine. Perhaps this will entertain you instead: Following in the footsteps of the wildly successful Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sep 19) and the more amusing Talk Like A Ninja Day ([*]), the day after tomorrow -- Apr 23 -- is Talk Like A Shakespeare Day. Zounds! To celebrate the birthday of the Bard, people are being encouraged to speak like an Elizabethan playwright! Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious Springtime by this son of Chicago...

[*] The concept of Talk Like A Ninja Day evolved as a response to Talk Like A Pirate Day. It was independently proposed by multiple sources, of which yours truly is one. As such, it is difficult to find which is the best day to celebrate, though Dec 05 may have the strongest claim.

ext_28046: (Default)

From: [identity profile]

Talk Like A Shakespeare Day?! Awesome!

I liked this post & the last paragraph had me in stitches.


From: [identity profile]

Verily, methinks thou hast understood well, m'lady!

[Stoops and kisses your hand]

Hey, if Shakespeare can use stage directions, then why can't I whilst practicing for Talk Like A Shakespeare Day?
ext_28046: (Default)

From: [identity profile]


All's well that ends well


In related news, I got distracted reading about King Lear and found this essay (

"As the play progresses, a tragedy if there ever was one, Lear learns that his chatty, extroverted daughters don't love him at all. They are out to destroy him now that he is powerless. Introverted Cordelia later does everything she can to save her father's life and kingdom, but it is too late and they die in each other's arms.

How many times have you, as an introvert, been put on the spot like this?"

How many times have I found myself dying in my father's arms after his kingdom has fallen? Hmm, well...

From: [identity profile]

How many times have I found myself dying in my father's arms after his kingdom has fallen? Hmm, well...

*sticks hands up in the air* Ooooh! I know, I know!


*nods definitively*

Yes, I have died in my father's arms seven times after his kingdom has fallen. (And three more times when his kingdom was okay)

*grins* That was brilliant -- thanks for sharing! Also, I think it is awesome that you were reading an essay on King Lear! Can I hug you now?
ext_28046: (Default)

From: [identity profile]



Hugs gleefully accepted.


Your mention of Shakespeare is what inspired me to go seeking essays. I'm now reading about Japanese for similar reasons. So thank you.

*Hugs, more, hurrah*


From: [identity profile]

Nov 23

According to my Demotivator calendar, that's the date of Talk Like a Ninja Day. Hmm, typical of ninjas to set up decoy days. Which is the real one, I wonder?

From: [identity profile]

Re: Nov 23

I have it on good authority that June 31st is the actual day. The others are all fakes.

From: [identity profile]

BTW, don't think I've said yet, but Well Done! :-)
Have a Sanji hair scritch for your hard work and determination.

From: [identity profile]

*wriggles happily*

Thank you, sweetie! But be careful! I'm going to cash those hair scritchies in for real ones next time I see you! ;-D

Meanwhile, let me know if you need cheerleading and encouragement for your own academic endeavours, my dear! Pom poms and a skirt can be made available... *wink*

From: [identity profile]

Isn't talk like a Ninja day somewhat difficult? First of all, few Westerners have much Japanese (unless Ninjas only run around ordering sushi) and second, isn't the whole thing about ninjas about silent and deadly?

From: [identity profile]

isn't the whole thing about ninjas about silent and deadly?

*nods* Yes, that's the beauty of Talk Like A Ninja Day! ;-)

By the way, about the Japanese thing: When I lived in Japan, I compiled a list of Japanese words that every USian seems to know. Two lists, in fact! One for useful words, like sushi, sashimi, konnichiwa, arigato gozaimus, et cetera. The other list, which was longer, contained utterly useless Japanese words that have made it into the Western lexicon: ninja, kamikaze, hari kari, samurai, and so on. In time, it became quite impressive to see how many Japanese words people know that do you no good whatsoever when living in Japan!


So..... how's you lately, hon?

From: [identity profile]

I could totally get behind a day of people dressed in black and being quiet. It would be like being in a monastery without all the pesky poverty and celibacy bits.

I'm good. Been busy as hell. Working on stuff for work and then some stuff that I'm doing in the background means lots and lots of workyness.

From: [identity profile]

See? My blog is ejucashunal! ;-)

I love that my mentioning of Shakespeare and of Japanese inspired you to read more about them! I often learn that way, too. Like, I never really intended to memorise all the English monarchs from 802 to the present... it just sorta happened! *grin*

Interestingly enough, "so on" is also Japanese. (See above) Betcha didn't know that, either, huh? *wink*
judiff: bunny tcon that ruis made (Default)

From: [personal profile] judiff

ooooo! cool!
well the earth like planet and talk like a ninja day are very cool. I'm not like so sure about talk like Shakespeare day - most people get it wrong in annoying ways

From: [identity profile]

That is awesomely cool. Is this the "waterworld" that they are talking about in the current edition of new scientist?

From: [identity profile]

I have not seen the New Scientist issue of which you speak... so I cannot say for sure. But since this planet was just announced to the world on Tuesday, I would guess probably not...

From: [identity profile]

Methought that Gliese 581 would yield new wonders o' the heavens, sir! 'Tis a wondrous place, it seems; rife with new worlds, each a new creation offering up his secrets to our distant glassèd eyen!

From: [identity profile]

As I'm sure you know, I've been interested in observational astronomy more or less since I learned to read. This was always entwined with my interest in science fiction, and in things having to do with "outer space" in general. And back in the 1950s, most science fiction concerned itself with humans adventuring in orbital stations, on the Moon, on Venus (we still thought the clouds were water, and that the environment was probably jungle-like) and Mars, among the asteroid belt, or maybe one of Jupiter's moons. All the adventures took place within our own solar system; nobody even bothered to write seriously science-based science fiction about traveling among the stars, because it was still believed that most stars were not accompanied by planets, so why bother?

And then they detected a few giant planets by observing gravitational wobbles... and science fiction fans cheered, because we knew it was only a matter of time before they found ways to detect smaller planets. And this was good, because how can you have a United Federation of Planets without some planets to unite?


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