Clicking image advised.
The two outermost planets in the Vleeptron-Hoon-Yobbo system (its sun has a name, but I've temporarily forgotten it) are the All-Female and highly xenophobic planet Mollyringwald, about which almost nothing is known, and the recently discovered Björkguðmundsdóttir, a geologically interesting hollow planet through which you can see distant stars. Here's the first image of it:
Make sure you click to enlarge the image. As the text explains, there's actually something quite unique and remarkable about it, but you have to guess or snoop around to figure out what it is.
And finally the new stamp you asked for [top of post].
We know they issue stamps, but the postal authority of Planet B is strictly for domestic use, and the few stamps we ever see are either smuggled out or mailed to Ciudad Vleeptron by accident.
Though we know so little about Planet B, hints and clues have begun to convince Vleeptron's xenoculturalanthropologists that Planet B is inhabited by members of the Pythagorean Mystery Cult, loonies who are convinced that our reality (the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the global economic meltdown, Britney Spears, Michael Vick, etc.) isn't Really Real at all, it's just a ghastly illusory shadow and distortion of The True & Ultimate Reality, which consists entirely of Positive Whole Numbers.
Well, I know it's ridiculous, but that's what the Ps believe wherever in the Universe you encounter them.
This latest stamp is the big tipoff. Everybody in the Milky Way and in Vleeptron's galaxy, Dwingeloo-2, should recognize it and its meaning and significance.
Oddly enough, about 2400 years after Pythagoras' proof, James A. Garfield (at the time a congressman) discovered an entirely original proof of the relationship.
Sagan and Schlovskii described 19th-century schemes to plant huge fields of different kinds of grain in the famous pattern so sentients seeing Earth through their telescopes would unambiguously recognize mathematically advanced intelligence lived here; I don't think anybody ever really planted such a field.
In a cab in Reykjavik, my nephew and I were making dumb tourist Björk jokes, and the cab driver lit up and yelled "Guðmundsdóttir! That is Björk's name!" (It's very possible he knows Guðmund; this is a very small community.) I personally just love to pronounce her name over and over again, I don't know why.
You should visit Iceland, and this year the poor broke Icelanders would love to see you and offer you a mega-bargain. Reykjavik is no boring backwater; it's a surprisingly rockin hard-partyin hard-drinkin music town, and quite sophisticated. (I was invited to eat whale steak at a ritzy restaurant, but politely declined.)
Outside of town, in all possible directions, is nothing but natural wonder and beauty unique on this planet. There's an entire valley that smells of rotten eggs, and a place you can stand on two colliding tectonic plates and see the calm but massive wreckage that causes. (The plate collision makes the volcanos which create Iceland.) The world's first democratic parliament, the Althing, was held in tents there each summer, starting around 950; now it's in a big permanent building in Reykjavik, and runs all year.
And Björk herself, and the Sugar Cubes -- well, that's not chopped liver. There really is a volcano, Sneffels, in the shadow of the volcano Scartaris, down which the intrepid spelunkers of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" entered, and they're very proud of it and of all their volcanos, the hot ones and the dead ones.
When you get tired of volcanos and geothermal fields and earthquake zones, you can see the glaciers. On horseback if you like. Or you can spend the day cooking yourself in a giant pool of sulfurous hot goop which, they claim, will keep your skin and complexion young forever.
It seemed that Iceland was a natural for downhill skiiing, and they developed a ski resort, but ferocious ocean winds kept blowing skiers off the mountain.
I wasn't paying attention to the calendar, and after we went to sleep at the hotel, I woke up at 4 am, and it was full daylight outside and the streets were full of revellers and pubcrawlers; we'd landed smack on the Summer Solstice. Iceland hangs about a mile south of the Arctic Circle (so the sun never rises for a few weeks six months later at the Winter Solstice).
Hope you like the stamps.
Labels: Björkguðmundsdóttir Sneffels Scartaris Jules Verne Althing Iceland Michael Vick Pythagoras James A. Garfield Sagan Schlovskii Sugar Cubes