Trial run, in a way; Daughter went to camp this morning, and will be gone for five days. It’s the same place she’s gone for years - eight, I think. One of those long-standing traditions with its own stories and songs and locations and lore, and it’s all hers; I’ve no idea what it was like to go there, only memories of my own camp life. She’s knows it’s the last time, and the Great Break will forever put it on the other side of a sharp divide.

Camp weeks have always been nice breaks - some time on our own here at the house, with the knowledge that the usual traditions will follow. The family vacation, the State Fair, the resumption of school, and so on. But that’s done. So today was a trial run for the post-August times.

You just assume a vacancy and if anything intrudes on that, you push it aside: that’s not how it is anymore.

(clap clap) Jester, I wish some diversions!

Internet: yes m’lud, coming right up.

By “Internet” I mean wikipedia. The joy of wikipedia isn’t getting a specific question answered, it’s leaning things about which you never had any questions - until now.

How it works: you see a story about new photographs of Ceres, and how it may have as much water as the Earth. Then you think: where is Ceres, again? It’s a dwarf planet. Somewhere around Mars, right?

Right. Then you go to its wikipedia page to learn about its discovery.

One of the astronomers selected for the search was Giuseppe Piazzi, a Catholic priest at the Academy of Palermo, Sicily. Before receiving his invitation to join the group, Piazzi discovered Ceres on 1 January 1801.[48][49] He was searching for "the 87th [star] of the Catalogue of the Zodiacal stars of Mr la Caille", but found that "it was preceded by another". Instead of a star, Piazzi had found a moving star-like object, which he first thought was a comet. Piazzi observed Ceres a total of 24 times, the final time on 11 February 1801, when illness interrupted his observations.

I assume he was looking through a telescope - but imagine if you’d discovered some body you didn’t think anyone else had seen. How would you know, in 1801? You start to jot down your observations, and you bump the telescope - ah DAMMIT it swings and points somewhere else, and there’s no chance you’ll find that exact spot again.

This lead to an entry on the Titius-Bode theory, which posited where planets should be; later discredited, but what of this Bode fellow? Was he Venerable? No, that’s Bede.


His name became attached to the 'law' discovered by Johann Daniel Titius in 1766. Bode first makes mention of it in the Anleitung zur Kenntniss des gestirnten Himmels in a footnote, and although it is often officially called the Titius–Bode law, it is also commonly just called Bode's law. This law attempts to explain the distances of the planets from the Sun in a formula although ironically it breaks down for the planet Neptune which was later discovered in Berlin. It was the discovery of Uranus at a position predicted by the law which aroused great interest in it.

There was actually a gap (with no planet) between Mars and Jupiter, and Bode urged a search for a planet in this region which culminated in a group formed for this purpose, the so-called "Celestial Police". However before the group initiated a search, they were trumped by the discovery of the asteroid Ceres by Giuseppe Piazzi from Palermo in 1801, at Bode's predicted position.

The Celestial Police!

Bode was also responsible for giving the new planet its name. The discoverer William Herschel proposed to name it after George III which was not accepted so readily in other countries. Bode opted for Uranus, with the apparent logic that just as Saturn was the father of Jupiter, the new planet should be named after the father of Saturn.

Imagine if he’d been overruled. It was actually called Georgium, but still. C’mon. Anyway, Piazzi, who found Ceres, took notes; he was engaged in a meticulous star cataloging enterprise. He, too, was something of a chauvinist:

Piazzi named it "Ceres Ferdinandea," after the Roman and Sicilian goddess of grain and King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily. The Ferdinandea part was later dropped for political reasons.

Guys, this doesn’t fly.

It was up to a fellow named Gauss to prove Ceres existed, after Piazzi lost it in the sun. I love this:

Gauss eventually had conflicts with his sons. He did not want any of his sons to enter mathematics or science for "fear of lowering the family name", as he believed none of them would surpass his own achievements.

Thanks for the vote of confidence dad

These guys got a lot wrong, but what they were able to do with their minds, a tool or two, and sheets of paper - it’s astonishing.

So back to where it started: Ceres, and dwarf planets. I had forgotten, or more likely never knew, that there are five. When Pluto was downgraded - an infamy that will never fail to shame the name of science - news stories didn’t mention the rest of the planets in that classification. There’s Eris, which was discovered in 2005. The name refers to the goddess of strife, and it has a moon, Dysnomia, named after Eris’ daughter, who was in charge of lawlessness.

But wait! The original informal name of Eris was something else.

”Xena" was an informal name used internally by the discovery team. It was inspired by the title character of the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. The discovery team had reportedly saved the nickname "Xena" for the first body they discovered that was larger than Pluto.

The moon was named lawlessness . . . and you’re damned right that’s a reference to the actress who played Xena.

So she did better than the Kings of England and Spain.

Another dwarf: Makemake, discovered by the same team that found Eris - in fact, just a few months later. Makemake was the creator of humanity in the Easter Island mythology.

The trans-Neptunian dwarf planet Makemake is so named because both the planet and the island are connected to Easter; the planet was discovered shortly after Easter 2005, and the first European contact with Easter Island was on Easter Sunday 1722.

The dwarf planet's code name was “Easterbunny".

Here's where I know I’ve gone too far down the Wikipedia hole:

The proposal by the Ortiz team, Ataecina, did not meet IAU naming requirements, because the names of chthonic deities are reserved for plutinos bodies that resonate 3:2 with Neptune, which was not the case for this body which is in 7:12 resonance.

Seems open and shut to me.


Hmm: looks like I didn't stick with the Mumps Larson period when I was setting these aside. It's a look at what the strip will become.

Tiny's got you covered. You have no idea how many men Tiny's shot.

Solution here.



Once again, the uncollected music of a great modern composer, who did some chamber pieces for a short-lived radio show.

Four cuts: the theme, some generic dance music, a dramatic cue, and the theme repeated to finish the show.


The third one has his style, no?

Instead of the swank old sounds of Goodwill albums, this year we're going to share bad 1960s pop music. The second- and third-tier tunes.



The band was mostly known for "Swamp pop." This isn't that.




1946: Here's some hard, sharp metal to drag across your face.



How was your week? Good? Hope I added something to it. See you Monday.


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