1519: Venus

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The sudden introduction of Venusian flowers led to an explosive growth of unusual Earth pollinators, which became known as the "butterfly effect."
Title text: The sudden introduction of Venusian flowers led to an explosive growth of unusual Earth pollinators, which became known as the "butterfly effect."


Miss Lenhart is teaching a class on science about the planet Venus.

In the first panel, we see her teaching the history of Venus. Venus may have had water on its surface billions of years ago, but if that is true all hydrogen since then was eventually lost due to dissociation. However, there is no evidence that Venus ever had fields of flowers, or Venusians, or any other form of life.

The runaway greenhouse effect on the second panel is a play on words. While the term normally refers to a rapid rise in temperature caused by greenhouse gases, Miss Lenhart uses the term literally and claims the existence of sentient greenhouses that actually ran away from Venus. In reality, the effect caused Venus to develop a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, which raised its temperature above approx. 460 °C (860 °F), hotter than daytime on Mercury. This eventually destroyed all evidence of anything that had been on the surface of Venus billions of years ago.

The third panel ties the previous distortion of Miss Lenhart into the very real historic reputation of the Netherlands as flower growers, with a further fabrication by Miss Lenhart that the Dutch flower industry was in fact started by Venusians.

In the final panel we learn that she is a month away from retirement and does not care about relaying accurate information anymore. She just wants to have a laugh at the expense of the naive school children, although it is clear that Jill in the front row was not fooled.

The title text jokes about the butterfly effect, the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in the U.S. In this case the butterflies would just help pollinate the flowers. The butterfly effect, a part of chaos theory, is a term coined by Edward Norton Lorenz, who had the comic 1350: Lorenz named after him due to its chaotic nature.

Although Miss Lenhart was supposed to retire a month after this comic, she seems to return a year later for a university-level math course (1724: Proofs) and several years later for an astronomy course (2926: Doppler Effect), where she continues the trend from this class.


[Miss Lenhart is standing in front of an image depicting a section of a temperate Venus' surface, with greenhouses, grass, flowers and a river flowing into a sea.]
Miss Lenhart: Venus was once temperate. It had seas and rivers, and Venusians cultivated vast fields of beautiful flowers.
[The image now shows the entirety of Venus, with continents and oceans. The greenhouses appear to be fleeing from Venus.]
Miss Lenhart: Until their greenhouses fled the planet due to the runaway greenhouse effect.
[Miss Lenhart is shown to be standing in front of a classroom. Jill is sitting in the front row.]
Miss Lenhart: The Venusians pursued their greenhouses to Earth, settling in the Netherlands and kickstarting the Dutch floral industry. Any questions?
Off-panel student (presumably Jill): Because you're retiring in a month, do you just not care what you say anymore?
Miss Lenhart: What?! I ride the skies atop a screaming bird of truth! Also, yes, I do not.


  • It is not directly mentioned that it is Miss Lenhart teaching, but her looks and profession fits this character well enough to make this deduction.
  • Similarly, the girl knowing she is being cheated fits the description of Jill.

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The "Runaway Greenhouse Effect" refers to the continuing increase of a planet's average temperature due to an increase of gases that reflect heat from the planet back toward its surface; Venus is an example of this to the extent that its temperature is not tolerable to Earth-like organisms.

Considering that our probes are only able to work for few hours on the surface, emphasizing "Earth-like" sounds like understatement. The temperature is not the most dangerous property of Venus, though. -- Hkmaly (talk) 01:19, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
True, and the fact that the temperature is hot enough to melt lead, and it's not the worst thing there, is one of the many reasons why Venus is a terrible vacation spot. -Pennpenn 01:04, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, it might be nice to visit, even if you wouldn't want to stay there. Which sounds very much like many actual vacation spots... ;) 20:13, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

The "Butterfly Effect" refers to the hypothesis that a small action (such as a butterfly flapping its wings) in a chaotic system such as a planet's weather, can have a large effect (such as causing a storm on the other side of the planet). The Dining Logician (talk) 06:43, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

...or flip a bit on your hard drive. But then again, that's what Emacs is for, isn't it? 15:05, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Good ol' C-x M-c M-butterfly. -- 04:22, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

I added a link to Tulip Fever (and clarified the 'links' to the mistold history), which may or may not be 'inspiring' Miss's little tale, but certainly would be interesting if intended to be the so-called-historic basis in this retelling of facts. 11:19, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Two of the false statements were referred to as "puns", but that's not how I understand the word pun, so I changed the texts. --RenniePet (talk) 13:39, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Any suggestions about where the phrase "I ride the skies atop a screaming bird of ..." comes from? --RenniePet (talk) 13:40, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a lyrical/poetic reference.
Maybe we can ask Norm DeMoura? 22:31, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
It may be a reference to the tale The Bird of Truth 23:14, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

The student is Hair Bun Girl, as Hair Bun Girl is any female that has a hair bun. It says on her page that "She is distinguished by her hair that is set up in a bun.", which is the only distinguishing feature seen here.--Forrest (talk)09:41, 03 May 2015 (UTC)

Well I wrote that, when I created the category, and what I meant was that she is any woman. We do not call a child Cueball or Megan (even though they may be drawn this way. I will again delete this reference.--Kynde (talk) 11:22, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

I move that the bottom section, "Trivia," may be transferred into the main body of text, or that it shall be erased altogether. 07:34, 10 June 2018 (UTC)