Otter things have happened, it’s a big universe

Nads is on a roll and I thought I’d share a set of my own loose associations triggered after my facebook status update netted a comment by an astronomer.

My original caption:

“See, otters. OR It otter be illegal to kayak near otters. Oh wait, it is; 50 meter restraining order on all Homo sapiens.”

Astronomer’s observation: “OR a newly discovered gas giant!”

Immediately, I wandered off on a reverie, reviewing the remarkable novel The Algebraist by the Scottish writer Iain Banks. The ten-billion-years-ancient race of Dwellers live for hundreds of millions of years individually and inhabit gas giant planets. They resemble manta rays as “youth” and jellies when mature.

What would the super-intelligent otter planet be like? In The Algebraist, set 2000 years from now, some of the humans are meddling in things they think they understand and should have control over, of course, so in dramatic ways the meddlers learn not to mess with the Ancient Ones.

As always, my Internet friends were good for a comic twist on such a random tidbit, making me think “The Algebraist of Otters” would be a much more silly novel.

Trey S: “I’m a firm advocate of leash laws for the humans, and more oysters near flat rocks that balance well on the chest.”

If we could honor the otter’s wishes, who knows what wonders could emerge with time and natural selection.

“So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

Credit:  Douglas Adams & Touchstone Pictures, 2005

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About Keith R

Science communication student Santa Cruz Sentinel intern
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