Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Speaking of Science: 5th from the sun, #1 in my heart

Speaking of Science
Talk nerdy to us

It all started with a tweet.

I'd just written a story on new research suggesting that Saturn's rings have only a few hundred million years left to live, and my editor shared it from the Post Health-Science account with this heading: "The most beautiful things in the solar system are halfway gone."

Um. I hate to argue with my boss, but here on the Washington Post science team, we believe in unbiased, reality-based, truth-telling journalism. And it's just objective fact that Saturn's rings are not the most beautiful things in the solar system.

Jupiter's clouds are.

Exhibit A:

Jupiter is viewed from 415 million miles away by the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA, ESA, and A. Simon/NASA Goddard)

And B:

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran)

And C:

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)


Unfortunately, the good folks of Twitter didn't seem to recognize this truth. When we posted a poll on the issue, Saturn beat Jupiter handily.

Democracy dies in darkness, folks.

Clearly it was my journalistic duty to enlighten the masses. So I wrote up all my most compelling, most cogent arguments for why Jupiter deserves the title of best planet.

Anyway, my editor didn't fire me for challenging her judgment and even let me publish my treatise. And because it was so powerfully persuasive, it captured the imagination of my friend Brian Cleveland, a copy editor at The Post (and champion of Earthlings everywhere).

Which is how this happened:


If you faithful readers have ideas for names for Brian's and my new band, let us know. And if you want to make the case for another planet, send your best argument to sarah.kaplan@washpost.com. We at The Post value diversity of opinion.

Even if all those other opinions are wrong.


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