A Little Place in the Country

The question of whether there is another planet in the Universe that can support life has always struck me as the kind of question we ask for sport because it really has an easy answer – Yes! I say that with confidence, as long as you don’t need any absolute proof.

Consider the universe. It’s pretty big and there’s lots of stuff spread around it in multitudinous combinations. So I expect that there are trillions of planets that can support life, billions that can support human life, millions that can support a human life comfortably, thousands that can support a human life as timid and finicky as my own, and at least a half dozen that already have a nice retirement bungalow set up for me and the Mrs. alongside a beautiful sea made of some fun-to-behold liquid that I can definitely watch but not go jet skiing on.

I’m sure they’re out there. I just can’t name any for you.

And now along comes the ESO (European Southern Observatory) to declare that I’m right! There is another potential home for you in the stars. Billions of them, in fact, and relatively close, too! Figure out how to get there and you can start moving your stuff, as long as you don’t mind living right next door to a Red Dwarf. And of course I don’t. I’ve thought for a long time that accepting diversity and practicing non-discrimination is a question of practical justice and also the basis of an excellent long-term survival strategy. So I’d live happily next to a cool Red Dwarf, especially if my current neighbor, (The Sun), is a hothead planning to expand and incinerate the neighborhood (as everyone says) in a few billion years.

If the ESO scientists are right, those holding upside-down mortgages will not find relief anytime soon and we’ll never have another real estate bubble on Earth. The market just got flooded. Terrain is cheap. The good news? Terrain is cheap. All you need is transport. Oh, and air.

What are your requirements for a new planet?

93 thoughts on “A Little Place in the Country”

  1. id like a planet where i could beam myself to where ever i want to be and i could do it with an internet and radio equivalent for my multi tasking tendencies. i suppose the red dwarf would take a little getting used to but if that’s my big challenge i should be ok. i think other planets would look at the global warming and pollution we have going on down here and wonder why the continued abuse is allowed to go on. i would think if you could decide what would be a good idea and have the good of all be the basis for decision making you would be a step ahead. if famine in africa were to happen in alabama we would take care of it. if the drought moved to china we would figure out a way to ship the needed grain and proteins needed to keep the country cranking out wal mart specials. earth is essed up. letterman had a guy on last night whose country in the middle of the ocean has a maximum elevation of 12 feet and when the polar ice caps melt as the are certain to continue doing, his country will be under water. makes you think.
    or maybe this is the opportunity to take a step back and realize what i need to have on my planet is the bare essence to build with. i wonder what kind of a piano player i would become if there were no internet or tv to sidetrack my intentions. me and my ambitions what could i do if i stopped sabotaging my best interests.
    dang dale. i cant touch my toes and now i need to get my personal act on the right track. cant i do anything right. if i wanted harassment i could go on the rush limbaugh blog.

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    1. I have to say, I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s all over the place in a good way. And I am thoroughly in favor of the beaming/teleportation idea. If I could get where I wanted without air travel my life would rock.

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  2. Good bike trails. Two moons might make a fun change. A 32 hour day. A 420 day year. .8 earth gravity. No earth quakes. All four seasons. Lots of seasonings. Beyond the broadcast range of The Real Housewives of anywhere, American Idol, and ESPN. No Mankato drivers.

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  3. Good morning to all. I would like to live on a planet with a good government and good citizens. I think we need to get our act together here on earth before we send anyone to another planet.

    The planet should have lots of interesting flora and fauna and plenty of lakes and streams. An ocean or two would be good. I wouldn’t mind if the winters were not too cold, but I would like to have the same seasons that we have here.

    It seems I just want another earth. It would okay to have some new things not found on earth and I wouldn’t need to have everything there that we have here. It would be really interesting to meet whatever kind of beings that might be there as long as they are not too hostile.

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      1. Back when my son and I I shared hard-core SF novels, we found many which postulated worlds which lacked various earthly and human things. He then had dreams of being a SF writer, which I wish he had tried to fulfill. we would imagine the implications of a race and planet without certain emotions, such as Spock. Greed was not one of the ones that occurred to us.

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  4. Quick answer: INTELLIGENT life.
    Flora: gingko trees (not the stinky ones), willow trees, pine trees, daffodils (and whatever fantastic flowers might be native)
    Fauna: dogs, chickens, goats plus new human-friendly creatures with big eyes
    Edibles: artichokes, lobster, chocolate
    Seasons: good, solid, snowy winters (great length and excruciating cold not necessary), springs and falls like Tristan and Isolde (going on and on and on without reaching the climax of the subsequent season), summers that don’t require greasy sunscreen

    BA – is the dislike of baobab trees an in-joke (with yourself or TB)?

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      1. Clearly it’s been waaayy too long since I’ve read Le Petit Prince. Library trip.

        I forgot to mention that there should be books on paper. And air to breathe and to carry sound waves for music.

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    1. I’m thinking that the next Blevins meeting could be a truffle exchange. Everybody bring a couple chocolate truffles and then we’d shuffle ‘em and eat ‘em. I’d go to more Blevins meetings if Anna’s notes weren’t so much better than the meetings, but I’ll try for tim’s at 5/20.

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        1. You’re right, how appropriate.
          Our new planets would be kerfuffle-free but with truffles growing on every truffliana extravaganzia bush.
          Did you hear that Latin is on the way out for plant names?

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  5. I should think of a clever “Red Dwarf” (BBC science fiction comedy series, for those not in the know) joke at this point, but I haven’t had my coffee, so just go watch the first episode on Youtube or some. Besides the basics of breathable atmosphere, drinkable water and edible native plant species, I’d like a planet without too many extremes–it can snow, but it should go easy on the bitter cold and the intense heat. Lots of forests, a wide variety of furred and feathered life and a bit less variety of the creepy multilegged kinds, interesting mountains like Huangshan, and denser water so nonswimmers like me can float. Also, at least one moon, and beautiful sunsets. I’d take the sheep for my planet if Beth-Ann doesn’t want them…which reminds me that my friend John Rezmerski has a wonderful chapbook of prose poems about (and entitled) “Counting Sheep”. Here’s a link to the first section of a bilingual Chinese-English version (translated by one of his students IIRC) if you’d like a sample:

    http://www.jxteacher.com/content.aspx?id=bfa93e5e-4274-4ef3-bcd8-ba69980daef9

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    1. I would think that a creature like Cat would be good for a bit of discourse on our lonely planet – even if he would be difficult to live with…

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      1. Heck, I’m already living with a smaller version of Cat, except that she doesn’t speak English. One of my roommate’s cats gets a look in his eye, though, like he’s figuring out what all those monkey noises mean…

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  6. Some of my best friends are red dwarves, but I’m not sure I’d want my sister to marry one. An ideal neighborhood would look a lot like northern Minnesota in the 1950s, and there would be a definite limit to the number of people running around with wedges of cheese for hats.

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  7. Dark chocolate, wine (or at least a good growing region for grapes that I could learn to turn into wine), a piano (see tim’s comment about more time to play), four seasons (all things in moderation), neighbors, dogs, shrub roses, at least one moderate sized lake nearby, a stream or creek for walking along, libraries, good cheese, space enough to finally have my own goat, and a grand shift in how we think of “work” and “employment” so that people’s personal wealth and economic stature are not tied to the whims of the marketplace.

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    1. Oh – and enough people for a good book club or two. (Which allows me to tie in the OT comment: notes are up from the last BBC meeting – someone please check that I recorded the correct book selection…)

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      1. Correct book selection noted. And, as always, I marvel at your ability to remember all our discussion details without even taking any notes. I bow to your excellence!

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    2. Sounds ideal to me, Anna. I’d bring my peapod kayak along since there might be some time in the week to enjoy it. How about slowing time down to a lazy crawl? No rat races allowed.
      “There is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” —Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows

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      1. No jet skis on my planet! Just things that mosy and meander along. Although now that I think about it, maybe we wouldn’t fully appreciate the meandering if we didn’t have an adrenaline rush once in a while. :-)

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        1. tim, that’s a slippery slope. One motorcycle and who knows what you’ll be wanting next… Remember in “Local Hero” — “Robby’s on the road!”?

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  8. Morning all… I agree with pretty much everything that everybody has already said. Except the baobob trees. If you have baobob trees, then you can have elephants and I don’t really want to think of a world without elephants.

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  9. Two moons would be a nice change. There would have to be a couple of oceans so that the tides could come in. I’d like huge, smooth-trunked trees for building screened tree-houses. I’d sleep in a hammock high up in a tree in my little house. I’d like just a little bit less gravity because it would make everything so much more interesting and you could bounce around when you walk. I’d like to be near an ocean at all times so that I could hear the sound of the waves and see the red dwarf setting over the ocean.

    There would have to be fertile soil for gardening, lots of fragrant flowers and fruit trees. It would be best if we don’t bring too many of our own species of plants and animals from earth. They could get out of control on the new planet and take over the native species. We might have to get used to some unusual plants, vegetables and herbs, pets and livestock.

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  10. Ditto to everything everyone says, with the proviso that there will be elephants and an ecosystem that would support polar bears. I would also want lotw of area with soil just like that in the Red River Valley, in which we could grow anything easily. I wouldn’t want any paper mills, by the way.

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  11. OT As we drift toward summer, I start to think of cabin time. I’m currently experiencing an inexplicable attack of good health and could enjoy a cabin visit again. Anyone who might enjoy visiting a truly awful cabin on a truly glorious spot, think about when and how you would like to go. Then contact me.

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  12. Your 32-hour day would extend our days by a fourth. That would extend our lives by that much, so that the average US citizen would live to 100. Do you want to live to 100? I could enjoy an extra 20 years, but only if they were 20 extra years from when I was in my 20s, 30s or 40s. If the extra 20 years came after 80, I’m not sure I want to get on that train.

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    1. But, Steve, it doesn’t have to extend our lives by 1/4, just our days. These are new planets of our making. I agree that adding 20 years at the end of our Earthly life would not be particularly desirable.
      We might as well eliminate disease and arthritis while we’re at it. So our 80s could be like our 20s.

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  13. I like where you’re all headed with this… but I’m not going unless I can have a Black Hole Amusement Park. I’ve always wanted to trip through a black hole but didn’t like the uncertainty of ending up someplace I might not be able to get back from. I think, if we can perfect the art of Black Holing, we’d really be on to something… and it would eliminate the need for a water park.

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      1. did anyone else see robert blake on carson sing wouldnt it be loverly?? it was fantastic thanks robin for the flash from the past

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  14. OT and the last time I will mention this on here, re my novel:
    Barbara wants it in printed from and thinks she can pass it on via the book club, but she is going on a two week vacation to the West in a day or so. I will probably send her a printed copy when she gets back, probably the one my sister has and is not going to read.
    Verily Sherilee wants the book I gather on CD. I have her on facebook and can contact her that way.
    Krista wants me to email the book to her in chapters. I will email her the books in about fourths. I have her on facebook too and will contact her that way.
    Robin wants the book. I do not know in what form, if she is in the Cities, which would matter for passing it on that way. Robin, contact me by my email cbirkholz@hickorytech.net

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  15. I love this planet so much. I love the new flowers in the state park near me. I love that our moon is the exact right size to do an eclipse of the sun now and then and that our planet is the right size to do an eclipse of the moon once in a while. I love the ornery, naughty, gifted, loving children in my school. I love my crazy friends and relatives. I love the new growth in my yard and the wildlife that visits from time to time. I hope we can stay with this planet.

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    1. Holly, thanks for planting my feet back on this not so perfect planet in my yet to be realized garden with my odd but loveable family and friends, and close to perfect granddaughters. They’re getting there — today there was no bonking or biting! Flights of fancy aside, not so perfect is plenty perfect for me, too. You said it just right :-)

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      1. my guitar teacher pointed out to me 30 years ago that april and may are the best months because of low humidity and no bugs. this year we get march and april and may and we will see if the bugs hold out or show up a couple weeks early.

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  16. I think if we are free to have whatever we want it should be a utopian world. It would be ideal if the planet was already occupied by beings that had managed to establish a utopian world and would be willing to accept us into this world. They would guide us away from making any mistakes that would spoil the upotia and we would live the rest our lives in a peaceful and satisfying manner.

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    1. no appreciation for the good times without the pain. i think you need a mix. like seasons. hawaii is boring. san diego is boring. we need -20, +100, look outside at the marvelous variety of green from the leaves popping in the spring. it is one of my favorite things. thye dont have that in sn diego . they have leaves all year. utopia would make me crazy. give me tension and drama for spice of life.

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  17. “Damn the solar system! bad light—planets too distant—pestered with comets—feeble contrivance; could make a better one with great ease.”

    -Sydney Smith

    We have a start on drawing up the specs.

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