Water Worlds

Water Worlds April 30, 2019

 

A sailor's paradise!
A NASA/JPL-Caltech public domain image of an artist’s visualization of an exoplanetary “water world”
(Wikimedia Commons)

 

“Water Worlds Could Have Mind-Bogglingly Deep Oceans, New Models Suggest”

 

This article reminds me of the cynical and quite faithless entry for ocean in Ambrose Bierce’s 1906 Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary:  “Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills.”

 

Of course, the question suggested by the article now becomes something like “Why isn’t the earth entirely covered with water?”

 

“Alien Water Worlds –‘Most Habitable Planets May Have Oceans Spanning 90% of Their Surface'”

 

On a less cynical note, I can’t help but be reminded of C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra, the second volume (with Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength) of his brilliant “Perelandra trilogy.”

 

Waterworld Earth
The Grand Canyon as it once was. Or Manhattan. Or the Sahara Desert. (It’s really difficult to tell them apart.)
Wikimedia Commons public domain.

 

Remarkable findings, if true:

 

“Early Earth was covered in a global ocean and had no mountains”

 

All of which puts me in mind of the “Water Song,” from the 1968 album The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by the Incredible String Band:

 

Water, water, see the water flow,
Glancing, dancing, see the water flow
O wizard of changes water water water
Dark or silvery mother of life
Water water holy mystery heavens daughter
Wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing

God made a song when the world was new
Water’s laughter sings it through
O, wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing

God made a song when the world was new
Water’s laughter sings it through
Wizard of changes water water water

 

Water Song – The Incredible String Band

 

You can’t really blame me for liking both this song and the Incredible String Band.  I was, after all, born and raised in California, where I lived through the 1960s.  These things come naturally to me.

 

But I take water very seriously.  One of these days, I intend to write an entry, perhaps even a column or even more, about the remarkable and chemically odd qualities of water that allow for the possibility of life on our planet.

 

***

 

And, speaking of oceans, here is a question for which the immediately obvious answer is, once you think about it for even a few seconds, quite obviously false:

 

“What Do Swordfish Use Their ‘Swords’ For?”

 

Posted from New York City

 

 


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