August 24, 2006

The Fickle Life of a Planet: Seriously, I’m really pissed off about this
by docsmartypants

For those who missed it, the International Astronomical Union decided today to demote Pluto, leaving the solar system with only eight official planets. In related news, I decided today that the International Astronomical Union is a bunch of tools.

The new definition of a planet, according to an AP article, is “a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a…nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” This disqualifies poor old Pluto, whose oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune’s.

So what is Pluto if not a planet? A “dwarf planet” apparently, which if you ask me is just stupid. The idea that Pluto isn’t a “real” planet because it’s a “dwarf planet” makes no more sense than my saying that the dwarf rabbit we had when I was a kid wasn’t a “real” rabbit. A dwarf rabbit is still a rabbit and a dwarf planet should still be a planet.

Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology was super thrilled with Pluto’s demotion, having argued that Pluto and similar bodies didn’t deserve planet status because that would “take the magic out of the solar system.”

Yes, Michael, you are absolutely right. Pluto being a planet would have totally removed the magic and mystique from the cosmos. That’s why no one has been intrigued by space since Pluto was discovered (by a Unitarian) in 1930.

Michael Brown is a colossal wanker.

Maybe you think I’m getting worked up over nothing. I don’t think so. Pluto is my favorite planet and has been since first grade. I like that it’s little. I like that it’s different. And it isn’t just that. I can’t for the life of me fathom why, with all of the craziness going on in the world, this group of esteemed scientists chose to sit around arguing to demote a planet. What has this done to forward the cause of science? It’s just clique mentality: Ooh, if Pluto is a planet we might have to let other things be planets. So what?! So we have more planets. That’s the kind of thing these guys are supposed to be excited about, but instead they seem horrified by the very thought. More planets? Good heavens no, that would be too decadent to be borne! Harumph, bah humbug!

So here’s how this is going to play out: I’m going to keep calling Pluto a planet (because it is one) until the day I die even if everyone looks at me like I’ve said the Earth is flat.

Because Pluto deserves better than this.

Because I’m tired of being jerked around by the scientific community.

Because I’m sick of everyone picking on the little guy.

Because I just can’t believe I live in a world where people would vote to make George W. Bush a president but wouldn’t vote to keep Pluto as a planet.

And because I don’t have to define my universe based on the recommendation of a bunch of Pluto-hatin’ tools.

posted under Rants
5 Comments to

“The Fickle Life of a Planet: Seriously, I’m really pissed off about this”

  1. On August 24th, 2006 at 7:39 pm Steve Says:

    Well.. technically the ‘international community’ didn’t vote for Bush. And I doubt they would have. Although I agree, why change it now?! Besides the fact that it is a planet, think of all the text books they’ll have to fix? Think of the cost of this change? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
    scientists, just a bunch of jerks.

  2. On August 24th, 2006 at 8:37 pm A Pluto-Lovin' Ghetto Booty Says:

    I concur. Also, I don’t think it will stick. To make Pluto a non-planet, you have to:
    * change every science book
    * remove the Pluto spot on the sidewalk of the National Mall (they go through all 9 planets on the sidewalk)
    * change the saying we use to help kids remember the planets (“My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas” ??? doesn’t have the same ring as “my very educated mother just served us nine pizza pies”

    Long live Pluto! 🙂

  3. On August 25th, 2006 at 9:07 am lefty Says:

    I believe they prefer the term “little people planet”, not “dwarf planet.”

    Or, perhaps they do mean “dwarf planet.” Perhaps they’ve discovered pluto is being played by John Rhys-Davis via trick photography, & it sports a long beard, hefty axe & constantly makes quips at Orlando Bloom’s expense.

    I postulate that, if they haven’t discovered this yet, the Hubble is a dirty, dirty lie.

  4. On August 29th, 2006 at 1:41 pm docsmartypants Says:

    So the new issue of Newsweek has a cover story about the “new solar system” and on their Perspectives page (the one with all the quotes and cartoons) the top quote is this:

    “I may go down in history as the guy who killed Pluto.” –Scientist Michael Brown, who helped develop new guidelines that demoted Pluto to a “dwarf planet,” leaving eight recognized planets.

    See? Told you this guy was a wanker.

  5. On August 30th, 2006 at 1:21 pm Librarianna Says:

    You’re not alone in your vehemence! Check out this sign I saw at a shop yesterday:


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