Thursday, August 24, 2006

Humans just got 10% more significant

Pluto Plutarsky kicked out of Faber Galaxy

BBC--Astronomers have voted to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.

About 2,500 scientists meeting in Prague have adopted historic new guidelines that see the small, distant world demoted to a secondary category. The researchers said Pluto failed to dominate its orbit around the Sun in the same way as the other planets.

The International Astronomical Union's (IAU) decision means textbooks will now have to describe a Solar System with just eight major planetary bodies.

Pluto, which was discovered in 1930 by the American Clyde Tombaugh, will be referred to as a "dwarf planet".

So there you go...they demote a planet just like that! "Well, you were a world from 1930 to 2006, but now you aren't!" Poor Clyde Tombaugh must be spinning in his grave over that one. We didn't give him even 10 years in the box before we reversed his claim to fame as the only guy in our lifetime who found a planet. Well, at least until 2003, when they found something else Pluto's size and named it after the damn year. Where's the creativity in that? The soul?

Next thing you know, they'll decide that Earth isn't a planet either. Scientists will elevate it to its own "superplanet" status; it'll be like the United States of planets. And then the Bush administration will declare war on Mars.

Considering current religio-political trends in this country, I wouldn't be surprised if this decision never catches on; after all, the basis of Pluto's planetary demotion is that it doesn't sufficiently orbit the sun. And it took the religious right long enough to accept the whole orbit-the-sun thing in the first place.

But as always, I'm mostly worried about the children. When I was in third grade, we learned the order of the planets by memorizing the following sentence:

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. Or, as was technically true between 1979 and 1999, My Very Eggheaded Mother Just Served Us Pinot Noir.

What the hell are kids going to learn now? My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nutrasweet? Given current corporate trends in education, that's not a bad guess. But I suppose that's better than the other proposal, in which three new planets--Ceres, Charon and 2003 UB313--would have been added. Can you picture that nightmare of a sentence? My Very Expansive Mother's Church's Just Served Us Nine-Piece Chicken 2night? Perhaps this was the lesser of two evils after all.

Good luck and godspeed, Pluto. Thanks for 76 years of entertaining us between Halley's Comet sightings. And you can keep your name! Probably.


tony said...

My Very Extroverted Mother Just Smoked Unfiltered Nutmeg

Adrastos said...

Glad to see someone is lookin' out for the young'uns. Pluto rocks.