Pluto is a Planet asks:

In light of the discovery of 20 new moons around Saturn, I’d like to know what is your favourite moon in the solar system and why?

Do people have favourite moons?  Is that a thing?

Actually (and this is true, I posted about it on Facebook), my immediate reaction to learning about the extra twenty moons was “well, that’s just showing off.”  You only need one, don’t you?  What is a moon even for?  It does the tides, it gives you something nice to look at during the night, and it helps you keep track of the months of the year.  I mean, think, for goodness’ sake, how complicated the calendar would be on Jupiter. How complicated horoscopes must be.  Seventy-nine moons, not one of which can give you a neat twelve-month year.  There is something to be said for Kiviuq, one of the moons of Saturn, which can give you a very nice twenty-four-month year of about a thousand Saturnian solar days (about 450 Earth days) per month.  The only problem with that is that Kiviuq is about the size of Malta and basically indistinguishable from dozens of other lumps of rock orbiting Saturn that insist on being called “moons.”  And that’s another thing, Saturn – you haven’t got “eighty-two moons,” you’ve got seven moons and seventy-something pet rocks; you’re the planetary equivalent of a crazy cat lady (and, frankly, I’m being generous by counting Mimas, but I’ll give that to you because it looks like a Death Star).  Mars we have to forgive because it hasn’t got a proper moon, but when you pull this kind of $#!t, Saturn, it’s embarrassing.

Anyway, I guess the answer to this question really depends on what you want out of a moon. Like, Europa, Titan and Enceladus are arguably the most useful because they’re the most likely to be able to support life, and Enceladus is also by some definitions the brightest moon in the solar system, but Io is made of volcanoes, which is fµ¢£ing metal, and Triton has ice volcanoes, which doesn’t even make sense. Callisto is definitely the prettiest one, Rhea might have its own rings, which is cute in a “look, I’m just like dad!” sort of way, and… well, Miranda is just super fµ¢£ed up, so if nothing else you kinda have to admire its confidence. Ariel, Oberon and Titania are “meh” at best, although I will admit that Umbriel has a nice sort of dark-and-mysterious quality. Iapetus has the whole “yin-yang” thing, which is gimmicky but okay. Ganymede is coasting on its size and should try harder. Our moon is… fine. It is a classic moon, acceptable-to-good in all relevant parameters. It is not seriously in the running for Best Moon. Phobos is a potato and Deimos is a fµ¢£ed-up potato, and while potatoes are fantastic, a potato is not a fµ¢£ing moon. Charon… well, look, I know how you feel about this because it’s in the name you used, but Charon and Pluto are, like, co-moons, if anything. They’re doing their own thing. They’re fine. They don’t need our judgement. I can respect that.

This has been my objective, fact-based and unquestionable rating of moons. You are welcome.

hoennian asks:

uh oh so [SWSH spoilers fwiw)

galarian ponyta just got Officially Announced and it’s described as having been “exposed to the overflowing life energy of the forest over many generations, and this is why their appearance became unique in this region”

it’s a psychic type

does this do anything to or for your Fairy-is-life-energy theories? or does it still also just kinda feed into “typing is nonsense”?

While we’re here, this will also serve as my answer to the question from another reader who gives their name simply as “Getting Shield!!!”:

Galarian Ponyta, thoughts?

So… I think it’s fine. Unicorns are an emblem of Scotland, so it certainly fits Galar as a Pokémon inspired by the culture and history of Great Britain. It’s quite pretty. It’s a point in favour of a prediction made by my esteemed PokéJungle colleague Jon that suggests we can guess which Pokémon are getting Galarian forms on the basis of new egg moves given out in Ultra Sun and Moon, so that’s quite nice if you’re interested in the prediction game. Psychic is a weird type to choose, in my opinion, for something as obviously “fairytale” as a unicorn – back in the X and Y era, Jim the Editor and I actually thought it was a bit weird that the base Kantonian Ponyta and Rapidash hadn’t been promoted to Fire/Fairy, because it would have made perfect sense and produced an interesting unique dual-type. But that brings us to…

Continue reading “hoennian asks:”

Herald of Opera asks:

It just occurred to me… with a name like “Great Thinker” and our primary source being the Atlantis guy talking him up, how sure are we that Socrates actually existed?

So… we’re pretty sure he existed, because Plato is our main source but not the only one who talks about him.  After his death,  we also have philosophical texts written about him by Xenophon, another of his students.  More importantly, while he was alive and long before Plato started writing philosophy (possibly even before Plato was born), Socrates was parodied by Aristophanes in his comedy, the Clouds, so it’s pretty definite that he wasn’t just completely made up in hindsight by Plato.  There are comments in some of Plato’s dialogues suggesting that he was trying to undo the play’s effect on Socrates’ reputation.  Also, although the events of the dialogues are fictionalised (with the exception of the Apology and maybe parts of the Phaedo), almost all the characters in them are real people, attested in other historical texts like Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War or Xenophon’s Hellenica, whose positions in the philosophical debates reflect their real reputations and life stories.  It would be… weird, put it that way, for Plato to construct such an elaborate fiction of a guy who never existed, tie it into the lives of so many other people, many of whom were Plato’s own friends, acquaintances and relatives (several of them dead by the time Plato started writing, most of them not peacefully), and give him a backstory deeply woven into the traumatic events of the Peloponnesian War.  If nothing else, I suspect it would have been in very bad taste.

Continue reading “Herald of Opera asks:”

Ash=Cash to GameFreak asks:

Hey, love your playthrough journals, have you ever done one on Pokemon X or Y, if so, I can’t find it here, and are you planning on making one for Sword and Shield?

I did, but it’s part of the 700-odd posts that I haven’t yet re-filed into WordPress’ category system following my relocation from Tumblr.  This link should work, though, assuming I gave all the posts the same tag at the time of writing:

I’m probably not going to do a full narrative one for Sword and Shield, just because (even though they are fun) they take longer than I honestly think they’re worth.  The one I did for Sun and Moon really started to drag and kept me from getting down to business on the Pokémon reviews, which was a pretty big contributing factor to why I’m still finishing up my generation VII articles now, and probably won’t have time for everything I still want to write.  I’ll certainly write something for Sword and Shield, but it will probably be a much more pared-down “first impressions” sort of thing in the vein of what I did for Alpha Sapphire (you can find that here; Jim the Editor has just gone through these and jazzed them up with some new graphics for my team rosters, which is nice).

Grass monkey, that funky monkey, GRASS MONKEY! asks:

What are your thoughts on Chespin, you have said you always go with the grass type, but were you happily surprised, or sadly disappointed of the spiky grass rat?

Pretty much this:  It’s not my favourite Grass-type starter (that’s probably Turtwig, followed closely by Bulbasaur), but I like it well enough.  I haven’t really thought about it in any depth beyond what I said in that original review.

Elchar asks:

How can the economy of the Pokémon world even keep itself stable when domestic cats can just produce money out of thin air? The coins that Pay Day creates have real value. You pick them up in the game and you use them as regular money. I can’t be the only one who would, upon manifesting myself in the Pokémon world, quickly set up a Meowth farm and made them use Pay Day all day. Preferably somewhere close to the Pokémon center for that delicious free PP refillment.

Simple answer: it can’t.  If any trainer with a Meowth can access an unlimited supply of money, then money can’t have a stable value.  It doesn’t make sense.

If it doesn’t make sense, then we have misunderstood something or made a bad assumption (…or the worldbuilding is just fragile enough that we’ve broken it, but let’s make that our explanation of last resort).  Either they can’t actually produce money out of thin air, or the coins don’t actually have value, or perhaps their capacity to produce money is not unlimited and has already been “priced into” the economic systems of regions where they are native.

Continue reading “Elchar asks:”

hugh_donnetono asks:

So how much of the mythological capabilities of a given legendary Pokémon DO we actually believe in, anyway? (If you can’t get into that question there, get into it here! I’m curious!)

ohhhhhhhh boy

so… what I was alluding to there is that I would eventually like to do a series on legendary Pokémon, where I look at everything we know about each of them (core games, TV show, movies, even spinoff games and the TCG) and decide “well, what actually are this Pokémon’s powers and how does it fit into the world?”  And in particular, I would like to take seriously the idea that characters in the games and anime don’t know the truth either.  Because I’m not convinced Arceus created the universe, and I’m not convinced Kyogre created the oceans, and I’m not convinced Yveltal can destroy all life on earth, and I’m certainly not convinced that Mew is the ancestor of all Pokémon.  As far as I’m concerned, all we know is that there are people who, rightly or wrongly, believe those things.  But there isn’t a simple answer to this question, because… well, that word “given” is important.  The answer’s not the same for all of them, because we don’t have the same information about all of them.  And I don’t even mean, like, some of them have appeared in a larger number of movies or episodes of the TV show; I mean in-universe the sources and reliability of the information are not the same.  Like, in Arceus and the Jewel of Life, the unreliability of history and legend is a theme of the story; in my opinion, that movie kind of invites us to disbelieve stuff the characters tell us about Arceus, in a way that isn’t really the case for, say, Manaphy’s role in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, which seems pretty clear-cut (although the nature of the titular Temple is less so).  You kinda have to look at everything we know about each one – or at least each duo/trio/quartet.  And the truth is, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that properly.  My schtick is the Pokémon reviews and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s gonna be a whole bunch of them that need doing in about two months, and I feel like more people care about those.  You can see why I might be interested in maybe coming up with a shorter format for them.