March 30, 2006
How to Not Write

Here's the sentence that caused the derailment:

That's how it used to look.

"That" being the night sky and "used to" being when you could reasonably figure the Norse pantheon was alive and well and sucking down mead.

Now there's the little problem of accuracy: just how much can you expect constellations to shift around in that period of time? Sure, many of you can shout, "Not enough to notice!" and be done with it. Me, I gotta check.

The real trouble starts when I switch from the word processor to the browser window...

Five minutes googling for an online planetarium simulator

Five minutes noodling around in VersionTracker for a freeware planetarium app

Five minutes downloading said app

Five minutes learning to operate said app

Five minutes cruising around Jupiter

Five minutes zooming thousands of years forward and back in time to conclude that if there was shifting, it was "Not enough to notice!"

Five minutes making the shift noticeable by zooming tens of thousands of years forward and back

Five minutes looking for Eloi on surface of the Earth ca. 40,000 A.D. (application resolution apparently not high enough)

So that's over half an hour lost. Sigh.

This is not as bad as spending ninety minutes trying (and failing) to find pinyin for "twin", but still, you can bet I will find ways to screw around in Celestia when I'm s'posed to be working.

Updating the weblog is another good way to avoid it.