Nasty Gal: In her performance “Emotional Bandwidth Solutions,” Claire L. Evans characterizes the internet as a collective hallucination. How would you describe it?
Zoe Burnett: I’m not the talented writer that Claire is… But to me the internet is this place where there will always be someone weirder than yourself. Which is comforting in some way and makes me feel very “at home”."
— Read this awesome interview with the one-and-only Dream Beam on Nasty Gal. I have no idea why they asked her this question, but for what it’s worth: I’m just quoting William Gibson myself. Endless loop, like a GIF.
Apollo 1 astronauts, trained in rudimentary celestial navigation, named useful stars after one another. And while minor planets, comets, planetary features, and asteroids have their own naming conventions, exoplanets are new territory, not something the International Astronomical Union, could have easily prophesied when it was founded in 1919. The IAU begs of us: their job is already insane. The very idea that the Universe can be portioned off and named according to sensible and consistent standards is so completely tenuous at its core that the slightest disruption could upset everything.
Astronomical objects our ancestors perceived (and named) as single stars have since turned out to be entire galaxies, containing multitudes. It’s one thing to name the handful of rocks in our neighborhood after Greek and Roman gods, but the average rate of exoplanet discovery has shot up in recent years, with new detections announced practically weekly, thanks to NASA’s Kepler space telescope. There are 998 million entries in the Guide Star Catalog–that’s almost 100 million distinct astronomical objects. Could it be that the International Astronomical Union is outpaced? Maybe, at at certain point, for a cluster of lifeforms on a rock, delegated to a cold corner of the universe, maybe, the enterprise of total galactic taxonomy becomes more than a little Sisyphean?"
— From, Sorry, But You Can’t Name That Exoplanet, on Motherboard
— Algis Budrys