I’ve seen this story all over the place, but this is the first write-up that I’ve seen that has the observation that this is something many people have thought of before, worked out the results using basic concepts, and then not mentioned because it is a mundane idea based on semantics and not actual science.
Including me! How is this making the “news” when I worked it out in my head years ago? It came from thinking about the distance to the ISS, and how it is closer to Berlin than Munich, but only sometimes, and in average Munich is closer to Berlin than the ISS. I thought of that later when I read how Venus was the closest planet and I thought “but only sometimes, and not on average”. I didn’t even think it worth trying to prove that Mercury was closer more often, because it seemed obvious.