A young alien on a distant planet peers through a high-powered telescope seeing Earth’s surface and busy Earthlings. The curious alien notices several brightly colored yellow school buses and begins to track their movement. First, the alien observes that school buses are highly clustered for much of the day, and two times each day the clusters dissipate. The young alien is quite excited by this new discovery, and, confidently, terms it sudden bus dissipation (SBD™). After a few days, the exuberant alien notices that the yellow clusters stop dissipating. Puzzled, the alien continues to observe the buses and after two long days, the bus clusters dissipate again. Phew. All was well again until SBD™ suddenly ceases for 3 long months. How could this be?
It all began on a typical academic day, when a parchment sealed in wax arrived by messenger from a top scientific journal* inviting me to write a review on an area of science my lab studies.
*not real names, might have been email. #pilife
I casually do a happy dance and reply immediately accepting the invitation. Was replying within the same minute the invitation arrived too soon, I wonder?
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says ‘Morning, boys. How's the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes ‘What the hell is water?’”