Mark Reads ‘The Science of Discworld’: Chapters 20 – 21

In the twentieth and twenty-first chapters of The Science of Discworld, I REALLY LOVE THE MOON. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

If you were following along during my read of Young Wizards, which is currently alternating with Discworld, you know that I possess many, many feelings about the moon. It’s hard not to have some sort of thoughts on it because IT’S RIGHT THERE, IT IS HARD TO IGNORE. I thought it was cool as a kid, and then, for some reason, Apollo 13 made it terrifying? I think that’s got less to do with the moon and more to do with the fact that I didn’t actually know if Apollo 13 made it back to Earth. That movie wasn’t a docudrama; it was a mortifying thriller. (For some context, the Challenger explosion happened on live television when I was a kid, and it kind of put the idea of space exploration death into the minds of a lot of us.) But I got over that fear quickly, and my continued love of space and all that’s out there grew and grew.

Do I want to go to the moon? FUCK YES. I don’t know if it will become a reality within our lifetime, and the way our world is going, that seems less and less possible. I briefly entertained being an astronaut when I was in junior high, but once I did the tiniest research on what the tests were like, I knew I’d never make it. (I have really bad motion sickness. Those physical exams would have MURDERED me.) So unless it becomes a viable commercial alternative that plebeians like me can participate it, I will just stare at the moon and observe it from afar, dreaming of the day when I can travel there and observe Earth from afar.

I don’t really have any personal stories about the moon that I can relate to all of you, but OH MY GOD, I learned so, so much from this chapter. I, too, remember being taught that the moon’s gravity was what was responsible for the tides, so it’s wonderful to find out that this isn’t the case at all. One thing I’m digging about this book is how the authors try to explain things in the most accessible terms. But it’s not done in a way that results in lies-to-children. Sometimes, reality is complicated, and this chapter literally prepares us for a complicated understanding of the tides. But that complexity allowed me a better knowledge of what is actually happening, and LEARNING IS REALLY GREAT. I also thought the Moon formed simultaneously with the Earth, but I’m not sure where I learned that. Regardless: has there been an update in our knowledge of what might have happened all those billions of years ago? ALSO: WHEN DO I GET TO THE DINOSAUR CHAPTER??? Oh shit, are there going to be dinosaurs in the Project??? I won’t be able to handle that.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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