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Why are they so funny? Because they're us.

We all think this...

But the author thinks this...

Perhaps J.K. Rowling is right. Hufflepuffers are lovable. They look like Robert Pattinson. Today, we are all Hufflepuff. Tomorrow we all go back to wanting to be Gryffindor. Or just ignoring the whole thing.

New research posits that Jupiter was a bit of a drunk bull in a bowling alley set in the middle of a china shop before it settled into its current orbit.

JupiterCredit: NASA/Cassini

New research posits that Jupiter was a bit of a drunk bull in a bowling alley set in the middle of a china shop before it settled into its current orbit. During that youthful period it indiscreetly powdered a smaller group of nascent planets, clearing the way for the current configuration: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars.

Many observed solar systems have gigantic inner planets, perhaps earth-like but with much greater gravity and less variety. Jupiter's wreckless careening, theoretically, sent some of the ones in our sysem crashing into the sun and the dusty remnants coalesced into our smaller, tidier planets.

What this means in practical terms is that when we encounter intelligent alien life someday they are likely to be bigger yet crushed down by the heavier gravity of their homeworlds, creating, by our earthian standards, a somewhat "squashed" or flattened appearance.

We here attempted an artist's rendering of these creatures, who would easily outnumber us, based on current estimates of the number of gigantic planets out there in the average solar systems:

Artist's rendering: Alien lifeforms from heavy exoplanets might compensate for the greater gravity by having a flattened appearance by Earth standards.
Artist's rendering: Alien lifeforms from heavy exoplanets might compensate for the greater gravity by having a flattened appearance by Earth standards.

Bear in mind, however, that part of the reason these solar systems with larger planets are estimated to far outnumber our system is because the current level of our telescopes and space exploration only allows us to see  the big ones right now; if there are other systems with a planetary system similar to ours, we would have difficulty detecting it from here, unless it were right around the corner.

"Jean Shepherd's America" ran on PBS back in the 70s. Thirty minutes on the philosophy, and culture, of American beer. Not good beer; American beer.

"Jean Shepherd's America" ran on PBS back in the 70s. It was on Wednesdays -- or was it Saturday? This was when you had to actually watch things when they were on. Wish I could hear what Jean Shepherd would have to say about that.

Thirty minutes on the philosophy, and culture, of American beer. Not good beer; American beer.