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I, J.S. Pailly, stand accused of being a boring person.  Or at least that’s what a few well-meaning friends and acquaintences seem to think.  You see, all I ever do is write and read and do research.  Then I do more research, which is followed up with more writing.

Most people are willing to concede that all the art I do might be fun.  But otherwise my life is soooo boring.  Boring, boring, boring.  I need to get out more, travel, go to loud parties, eat at popular restaurants… or other stuff like that, I guess.

Anyway, I’ve been accused of being boring.  So in my defense, I’m going to talk about something that I find really interesting: space.  And perhaps the story I’m about to tell will serve as a nice little allegory about what it means to be boring or interesting.

In 1986, the Voyager 2 spacecraft became the first—and thus far the only—spacecraft to visit the planet Uranus.  As I’m sure you’re already aware (you may already be giggling), Uranus is a much-maligned planet, because of its name.  Voyager 2’s visit gave us yet another reason to malign our poor seventh planet.

Uranus turned out to be a featureless cyan-blue orb.  There was nothing like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot or Saturn’s polar hexagon.  There were no atmospheric zones or belts.  There was nothing interesting to look at at all! What a boring planet, scientists said.

But of course, this was only true from our limited human perspective.  Our eyes can only see a range of approximately 400 to 700 nanometers on the electromagnetic spectrum (which we perceive as the colors violet to red).

If you observe Uranus only in this 400 to 700 nm range, there’s not much to see.  Switch to ultraviolet, however, and you’ll find a complex and dynamic atmosphere that’s every bit as interesting as Jupiter or Saturn’s.

Whether we’re talking about planets or people, what is boring versus what is interesting is all a matter of perspective.  Will this little anecdote change anybody’s mind?  I’m not sure.  I suspect if you already think I’m a boring person, me talking about sciency stuff only reinforces that belief. But I hope the rest of you get what I’m trying to say.

P.S.: Fun fact!  If you’ve ever wondered why Uranus got stuck with its giggle-inducing name, it’s because the guy who picked the name was German, and he probably didn’t realize what it would sound like in English.

31 responses »

  1. K.J. says:

    From one writer to another…you are not boring. Being like Uranus is pretty awesome.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I personally find loud parties utterly boring. As well as most sporting events. And travel is mostly uncomfortable. Restaurants are all right, with the right company.

    But talking about space, science, and philosophy? Can do that all day. I think that’s why the internet is awesome. It allows people with common interests to find each other, and not be bored with the things most people find amusing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      That’s been my experience as well. The Internet has connected me with so many like-minded people, and also exposed me to people who have very interesting points of view—things I never would have thought about otherwise. Of course the Internet comes with its own problems as well, but it’s been mostly a good thing for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob Vaughn says:

    I too am in the League of Boring Writers and Loud Party Eschewers. Your writing is entertaining and the art is terrific. Bore away!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It orbits sideways. That’s not boring.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kate Rauner says:

    Do you suppose it’s too late to change to the Roman equivalent of Caelus? How do I say that? K-luss? Sounds Klingon

    I’m proudly boring. At college one evening, my date (future spouse) and I bumped into friends headed off campus. “Which bar are you going to?” they asked. We were headed to an ice cream parlor (an exceptionally nice one – wonder if it’s still there?). No one joined us – never could understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Oh, I’d definitely pick an ice cream parlor over a bar. It’s good to know I’m not the only “boring” person out there.

      I never thought about changing the planet’s name to Caelus. It probably is too late for that, but I do like the sound of it. And no one would dare question the honor of such a Klingon-sounding planet.

      Like

  6. emaginette says:

    I think all three of us are very interesting. Most of the action happens deep inside and doesn’t need to get out all that often. For me anyway. 😉

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  7. chemistken says:

    I always thought the fact that Uranus spins almost perpendicularly compared to its orbit was pretty cool.

    BTW, talking about the name brings back memories of Uranus, Missouri, which we passed every time we drove down to my mom’s house. Of course, nothing could beat the sign alongside the highway that announced the fudge factory located there. That was always good for a minute or two of laughter in the car.

    https://images.indiegogo.com/file_attachments/1316130/files/20150322171859-Fudge-Factory.png?1427069939

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Juneta says:

    Not boring at all and I enjoyed your story. Happy IWSG!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As someone whose current project involved researching bola spiders, I have now added “creepy” to “boring.” Anyway, my friends think I should get out more…. and talk about something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Oh, I’ve always been fascinated by spiders. As a kid, I used to love watching them build their webs. I think any artist or craftsperson can see something of themselves in the way spiders work. Obviously bola spiders don’t do the web thing, but I imagine they have their own fascinating set of skills.

      Like

  10. I’d say the clever analogy you made about planets and people makes you an interesting person. Many people are just too into themselves to see certain other people beyond face value. For me, those are often boring people.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. David Davis says:

    Regarding the non-visible parts of the spectrum, are photons still hitting our eyes and we just don’t see them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      That’s an interesting question. The rods and cones in our eyes are only sensitive to wavelengths between approximately 400 and 700 nm, but I’m sure other wavelengths of light get into our eyes as well. It’s just that our rods and cones don’t respond to them.

      However, there are also wavelengths of light that are too wide to pass through the pupil. As I understand it, they’d just bounce off your eye.

      Like

  12. David Davis says:

    Are they photons?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Simon says:

    The name and the featureless cloud tops are only part of it, I love that it’s link on it’s side with some cool rings and has some fun moons as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You make me laugh James. I love how you shed light on the working machinery which fires, sustains and keeps us from spinning off into space. The diversity of life and discovery on other planets sets us free from our illusions and delusions.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lidy says:

    I’ve practically been told that books and reading aren’t everything. Sacrilege! It’s sad to say that most people, whether they’re strangers or friends, think that the things we enjoy as a writer and reader, are like you’ve heard is ‘boring.’ I think it’s because it’s a mostly solitary love and profession. But if it’s something you enjoy, then keep doing it. Continue being true to you. As you said, what’s boring or interesting is all about perception.

    Liked by 1 person

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