1519: Venus

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Venus
The sudden introduction of Venusian flowers led to an explosive growth of unusual Earth pollinators, which became known as the "butterfly effect."
Title text: The sudden introduction of Venusian flowers led to an explosive growth of unusual Earth pollinators, which became known as the "butterfly effect."

[edit] Explanation

Miss Lenhart is teaching a class on science about the planet Venus.

In the first panel we see her teaching the history of Venus. Venus may have had water on its surface billions years ago, but if that's true all hydrogen since then was eventually lost due to dissociation. However, there is no evidence that Venus ever had fields of flowers, or Venusians, or any other form of life.

The runaway greenhouse effect on the second panel is a play on words. Miss Lenhart uses the term literally and claims the existence of sentient greenhouses that actually ran away. In reality, the effect caused Venus to develop a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, which raised its temperature above to approx. 460 °C (860 °F), hotter than daytime on Mercury. This eventually destroyed all evidence of anything that had been on the surface of Venus billions of years ago.

The third panel ties the previous distortion of Miss Lenhart into the very real historic reputation of the Netherlands as flower growers and as a further fabrication by Miss Lenhart the Dutch flower industry was in fact started by the Venusians.

In the final panel we learn that she is a month away from retirement and doesn't care about relaying accurate information anymore. She just wants to have a laugh at the expense of the naive school children. Although it is clear that Science Girl in the front row was not fooled.

The title text jokes about the butterfly effect, the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can cause a Tornado in the U.S.. In this case the butterflies would just help pollinate the flowers. The butterfly effect is a term coined by Edward Norton Lorenz who had the comic 1350: Lorenz named after him due to its chaotic nature.

Although Miss Lenhart was supposed to retire a month after this comic she seems to return a year later for a math course at university level, in 1724: Proofs, where she continues the trend from this class.

[edit] Transcript

[Miss Lenhart is standing in front of an image, presumably a temperate Venus, with greenhouses, grass, flowers and a river flowing into a sea.]
Miss Lenhart: Venus once was temperate. It had seas and rivers, and Venusians cultivated vast fields of beautiful flowers.
[The image is now zoomed out to see the entirety of Venus, with continents and oceans. The greenhouses are shown fleeing ("running") away from Venus.]
Miss Lenhart: Until their greenhouses fled the planet due to the runaway greenhouse effect.
[Miss Lenhart is now standing in front of a classroom and addressing the students, we see one of these Science Girl with her hair in a bun, sitting at a desk.]
Miss Lenhart: The Venusians pursued their greenhouses to Earth, settling in the Netherlands and kickstarting the Dutch floral industry. Any questions?
Offscreen student (presumably Science Girl from previous panel): Because you're retiring in a month, do you just not care what you say anymore?
Miss Lenhart: What?! I ride the skies atop a screaming bird of truth! Also, yes, I do not.

[edit] Trivia

  • It is not directly mentioned that it is Miss Lenhart teaching, but her looks and profession fits this character well enough to make this deduction.
  • Similarly the girl knowing she is being cheated fits the description of Science Girl.


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Discussion

The "Runaway Greenhouse Effect" refers to the continuing increase of a planet's average temperature due to an increase of gases that reflect heat from the planet back toward its surface; Venus is an example of this to the extent that its temperature is not tolerable to Earth-like organisms.

Considering that our probes are only able to work for few hours on the surface, emphasizing "Earth-like" sounds like understatement. The temperature is not the most dangerous property of Venus, though. -- Hkmaly (talk) 01:19, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
True, and the fact that the temperature is hot enough to melt lead, and it's not the worst thing there, is one of the many reasons why Venus is a terrible vacation spot. -Pennpenn 108.162.250.155 01:04, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

The "Butterfly Effect" refers to the hypothesis that a small action (such as a butterfly flapping its wings) in a chaotic system such as a planet's weather, can have a large effect (such as causing a storm on the other side of the planet). The Dining Logician (talk) 06:43, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

...or flip a bit on your hard drive. But then again, that's what Emacs is for, isn't it? 173.245.50.157 15:05, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Good ol' C-x M-c M-butterfly. --108.162.222.137 04:22, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

I added a link to Tulip Fever (and clarified the 'links' to the mistold history), which may or may not be 'inspiring' Miss's little tale, but certainly would be interesting if intended to be the so-called-historic basis in this retelling of facts. 141.101.98.186 11:19, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Two of the false statements were referred to as "puns", but that's not how I understand the word pun, so I changed the texts. --RenniePet (talk) 13:39, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Any suggestions about where the phrase "I ride the skies atop a screaming bird of ..." comes from? --RenniePet (talk) 13:40, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a lyrical/poetic reference.
Maybe we can ask Norm DeMoura? 108.162.221.166 22:31, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
It may be a reference to the tale The Bird of Truth 108.162.229.232 23:14, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

The student is Hair Bun Girl, as Hair Bun Girl is any female that has a hair bun. It says on her page that "She is distinguished by her hair that is set up in a bun.", which is the only distinguishing feature seen here.--Forrest (talk)09:41, 03 May 2015 (UTC)

Well I wrote that, when I created the category, and what I meant was that she is any woman. We do not call a child Cueball or Megan (even though they may be drawn this way. I will again delete this reference.--Kynde (talk) 11:22, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
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