the unseen university

how i saw april 3rd going tbh

Voltron fandom: stop spamming this Danny Phantom stuff on our precious Pidge’s birthday

Voltron fandom: *getting ready to fight for their pidgeon*

Dannypandom, seasoned by more than a decade of similar shit: *glances at Pidge, sees green armor, date of birth and age*

Danny Phandom: we’re adopting

When I get bummed out and convinced I’m not *actually* a writer, I think about Rincewind.

Rincewind, in case you don’t know, is a character from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. There’s only two things you really need to know about Rincewind:

1)He’s a wizard
2)He’s the worst fucking wizard on the face of the Disk

It’s true. It’s pointed out multiple times, by both Rincewind and others, that he is the sorriest excuse of a wizard to exist. He failed out of the Unseen University (a much more kid-friendly Hogwarts); he can’t remember any spells; he’s altogether awful at what he is.

And yet, he’s still a wizard.

Yes, he sucks at it. Yeah, literally anyone could do it better than him. Yeah, he’s been told that by all accounts, he shouldn’t be a wizard at all.

But he’s still a wizard. He gets very defensive about it, too. He will defend the fact that he is a wizard, however terrible, to the grave (and probably back, too, because Death’s daughter will scare you right back to life). And I think that is just amazing. He knows exactly what he is – he *knows* he’s a wizard.

When I look at my writing and I see an impassable tar pit of impossible mistakes, of contrived, boring plots, or I look at another’s work and see how far away I am from them and wonder if I have the resolve to try and catch up (and most likely fail), I think about Rincewind. I think about knowing what you are, and fighting tooth and nail for it, even when you suck at it.

So get on your Wizzard hat and keep doing the thing you love, because, let’s face it, you’d only put yourself through this kind of hell for something you love.

Discworld Politics
  • Vetinari: You have two cows. You convince them they will better off with you alive and in control than not.
  • Sam Vimes: You have two cows. They are probably guilty of something. Loitering, probably.
  • Young Sam: Where are your cows? Those goes "baah." Those are sheep. They are not your cows.
  • Moist von Lipwig: You steal two cows. You convince everyone they are made of gold and sell them for a fortune. You get arrested and become Minister of Agriculture.
  • Tiffany Aching: You have two cows. An elf tries to steal them and you hit it with a frying pan.
  • Nac Mac Feegle: Someone has two cows. You steal them, then fight them, then fight yourself. You win.
  • Rincewind: You run away from cows.
  • Unseen University: You have two cows. One is caught up in a magical accident and is now a chair. The other has become a professor.
  • Sybil Ramkin: You have many cows. They aren't dragons, so you don't care. You have 37 dragons.
  • Nanny Ogg: You have a cow and a bull. You enjoy explaining how they will make more cows.
  • Granny Weatherwax: You wish Gytha would stop explaining how you get cows.
  • King Verence: You try to create an economic plan for your country based on bovine products; your people are too busy listening to Nanny Ogg.
Palaeontology and archaeology and other skulduggery were not subjects that interested wizards. Things are buried for a reason, they considered. There’s no point in wondering what it was. Don’t go digging things up in case they won’t let you bury them again
—  Terry Pratchett - The Last Continent
Unseen University had never admitted women, muttering something about problems with the plumbing, but the real reason was an unspoken dread that if women were allowed to mess around with magic they would probably be embarrassingly good at it…
—  Terry Pratchett - The Light Fantastic 
8

Finding Darkness In The Light: How Vera Rubin Changed The Universe

“Instead, the speeds rose rapidly, but then leveled off. As you moved farther away from a galaxy’s core, the stars’ rotation speeds didn’t drop, but rather leveled off to a constant value. The rotation curves, unexpectedly, were flat. Rubin’s work began in the Andromeda galaxy, our closest large, galactic neighbor, but quickly was extended to dozens of galaxies, which all showed the same effects. Today, that number is in the thousands, and our multiwavelength, advanced surveys have shown that it can’t be missing atoms, ions, plasmas, gas, dust, planets or asteroids that account for the mass. Either something is screwy with the laws of gravity on galactic (and larger) scales, or there’s some type of unseen mass in the Universe.”

When you look at a galaxy in the night sky, it’s easy to imagine that it’s just a system of masses like our Solar System, except on a larger scale. Instead of a single, central mass, you have many stars responsible for the galaxy’s gravitational pull. The stars revolving around the galactic center feel the tug from all the other stars and orbit accordingly, with the inner stars orbiting quickly and the outermost ones – the ones most distant from the gravitational sources – orbiting more slowly, just like the planets. At least, that’s what you’d expect. But when the techniques and the technologies for measuring this finally came to fruition, the result was a colossal surprise: the stars in a galaxy didn’t determine the galaxy’s mass or rotation properties. In fact, if you went out and measured the gas, dust, plasma, planets and everything else we can observe in the galaxy, they don’t explain it either. Something unseen and invisible was influencing the way galaxies behave.

On Sunday night, Vera Rubin passed away at age 88. Here was her most titanic, Universe-changing contribution to the enterprise of science.

Little Big Cute Things

Aries: The way they become little kids again when they jump up and down, getting excited about something

Taurus: The way their eyes open and get frazzled when they remember all their responsibilities 

Gemini: The way they may stumble on their words attempting and failing at delivering a good roast

Cancer: The way they attempt to not care about anything at all, but feel emotionally fractured when accidentally stepping on a bug

Leo: The way they whine and act like a toddler when they don’t get what they want 

Virgo: The way they carry themselves in an unknown environment, drifting through the environment like a dandelion seed 

Libra: The way they dance really badly when they *think* no one is watching 

Scorpio: The way they try to hide how much of a sore loser they are by asserting their competence towards everyone

Sagittarius: The way they suddenly start singing as loud as they can when their favorite song comes on, no matter how bad they may sound

Capricorn: The way they try resisting the urge to smile when they see something pretty or funny 

Aquarius:  The way their eyes drift off to an unseen universe, letting their imagination run wild

Pisces: The way they blush and their cheeks turn red when they do something embarrassing 

A Guide to Discworld

So you have decided to read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Congratulations, you are about to enter a wonderful fictional world with some of the most hilarious and endearing characters I have ever read. However it is a daunting task with 41 books in the main series and 6 sub-series within it. Maybe you have seen a useful diagram on the reading order or something similar. Just to help even more, here is my guide to Discworld:

Keep reading