Sunday, July 31, 2005

24 Tammuz 5765/31 July 2005: Our planet needs a new name


Weird news: “Mystery Tree Planter Strikes Again” (I cannot make stuff like this up!”)

If you have been paying attention to the news, you will know that two sizable Kupier Belt objects, 2003 EL61 and 2003 UB313 have been discovered recently, the later of which is being pushed as a candidate for the title of the tenth planet. (Expect a big fight on this, especially since the term “planet” has no accepted definition.) Actual names for these objects have not been given yet, though intuition suggests that “Proserpine” or its Greek equivalent “Persephone” is likely, as this name has been suggested before in science-fiction. (The suggestions “Dave” and “Alvin”, from the TV show Alf, are way too silly for actual use.)

This leads me to think: our own planet needs a better name. “Earth”, which literally means “dirt”, is due purely to a historical accident: we labeled that part of the world we live on “earth”, and then before we knew it, the term was applied to the whole planet. The adjectival form, “Earthling”, is just downright silly. We really need to rethink this, because if we don’t, all the other civilizations we come into contact with are going to make fun of us. Therefore, let me make a couple of suggestions:
  • Terra, with our primary star being Sol and our natural satellite being Luna. I am well aware these are just the Latin forms, but these names have precedent and are different enough to hide the meanings from non-Latin-speaking aliens.
  • Huma or Humania. These are back-formations from the accepted English name of our species, “human”. No one will think it remarkable that humans come from Huma or Humania.
  • Human-Homeworld or Homo sapiens-Homeworld.
  • Blueworld. This grows out of the fact that Rabbinic Hebrew changed the term for the Sun from hashShemesh to haHammah (“the Hot One”) and the term for the Moon from hayYareah to halLevanah (“the White One”) to avoid residual idolatrous connotations. According to this logic, our planet should be hakKeholah, “the Blue One”, or massaged into English, Blueworld. This highlights our planet’s beautiful appearance from space. A side benefit of this would be that our planetary anthem would be a song by the Blue Man Group. It also lessens the chances that if we choose a planetary clothing style that we will all end up wearing mylar.
  • Aaron’s World. This is a long-shot, but I figure it’s worth proposing anyway.
Go ponder.

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