A Wild Workweek

Holly Snyder

As a Developmental Editor for FREA, the stories and writing I get to read, research, and develop are on some of my favorite subjects – planetology, sci-fi, and mythology. This week has been exceptionally enjoyable.

A few days ago, I was working in the non-fiction wing of the Archive, editing an article Enzmann wrote about wind profiles and suspended dust on Mars, and how both those things affect landing protocols of descending capsules. Not easy reading, as he writes in extraordinary detail and at education levels high above my own.

I don’t pretend to understand the information I read at Dr. Enzmann’s level. I studied astronomy with him for a few years in my youth, took some college courses here and there but I don’t have the foggiest idea about particle-particle interactions or how to understand Fd = 6 π η Rv, where apparently ‘Fd’ is a frictional force known as “Stokes’ drag” that acts on the interface between a viscous fluid and a small sphere moving through it – and the only reason I know that is because I read the article! It’s not my job to comprehend everything but to format and lay the information out in a consistent, pleasing way that’s user-friendly and legible to the general public.

You’re welcome 😊

Typically, I can only work on those types of articles for a limited period of time before my brain needs a break, so the past day or two I’ve had the pleasure of working on VP Michelle Snyder’s new book called The Wheel; a My-Fi story that ties together the astronomical aspects of the Zodiac from around 450 BC and a plot against the reign and life of Queen Virgo and the Kingdom of Light. Needless to say, I’m learning A LOT, and I’m having a phenomenal time doing it.

At one point, Queen Virgo becomes concerned for her safety and I thought the addition of two guard dogs by her side within the castle would be a nice touch, so I developed a little scene in which Virgo instructs her Lady-in-Waiting, Eirene to get two dogs from the pack that had recently been trained and certified by the trainer in the Kingdom. (Eirene is a Greek name meaning ‘Peace’ – Holly Riodann Thought Catalog,  2018)

So, first I was like, “Huh. Who would train guard dogs in her Kingdom?” So obviously, I googled ‘fancy word for dog trainer’ and up popped the word Cynologist. Boom! In it goes. Then I thought, wait, where on the BC timeline am I? Were there dogs back then? What kind? How old are dogs??

The Age of the Golden Men was around 450 B.C. so I started there. Back to Google I go, and I searched ‘dogs from 450 BC’. One of the first articles was called Dogs in Ancient Greece and Rome from an obscure UChicago.edu Miscellaneous Encyclopedia website that mentioned a breed of dog that watched over the house and livestock, “canis pastoralis”. Next search in my queue! That came up with a lot of images, but mostly Instagram accounts links with very little scholarly content. I found an article talking about the Abruzzese Sheepdog, also called Abruzzese Mastiff, that guarded houses and livestock, but that breed seemed a little cumbersome for our Queen. Finally, I came across the Roman poet Ovid, best known for his 15-book long narrative on classical mythology. In this series, he specifically mentions a breed of guard and attack hounds called Laconians. After a quick image search, I knew that was the breed for us!

So, my work week so far has entailed how to calculate the suspended dust in the atmosphere and surface of Mars, then some research about what guard dogs were used in ancient Greek mythology. If someone offered me a job with that description, I’d take it 100x over.

You can find serial chapters of The Wheel in our publication The Enzmann Chronicles, available here, and for $10/m you can become a member and read all of those and Enzmann’s articles about his study of the atmosphere of Mars applied to space exploration and all the research in the digital Archive!

Till next time!

How has the Study of Astronomy Changed?