August 25, 2006
THE ARBITRARY IS INFINITELY ARGUABLE:
Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt (Paul Rincon, 8/25/06, BBC News)
A fierce backlash has begun against the decision by astronomers to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.
On Thursday, experts approved a definition of a planet that demoted Pluto to a lesser category of object.
But the lead scientist on Nasa's robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it "embarrassing".
And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been "hijacked".
Death to the star-belly sneeches!
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 25, 2006 9:24 AM
The "chair" is all pissy only because its agenda wasn't approved. Its committee expected a rubber stamp of their stupid 12+ planet definition, and discovered that sentimental multi-culturalism only goes so far.
As for the "robotic mission to Pluto", I saw another statement where the lead said that the mission has gone from "visiting the last of the planets" to one of "visiting the first of this new class of objects." (paraphrasing, as I'm too lazy to look it up again.) But why should anyone involved in that care what the definition is? Does it magically change the results they expect? Does it hurt these people's little feelings to be lumped in with the asteroid missions, instead of being up there with the big boys who get to play with real planets? Or are they just afraid their funding is going to get cut, even though the damn thing is already in route and nearing Jupiter?
You accidentally stumbled into an insight: yes, it does magically change the results.
The folks over at Kos have had some fun with this story. It's worth a visit, if you have your shots up to date.
Hay, Pluto/Charon is still the only double dwarfplanet system in the solar system.
Just don't call 'em Siamese Dwarf Planets, 'cause you'll be inundated by the all sorts of grievance lobby factions.
Which brings to mind some names for those new "dwarf planets": Grumpy, Bashful, Surly, Sneezy, Happy, Dopey, Queasy, Tipsy, Remorseful, Snorey, Sleepy, Doc. (I think i've got some of the 7 Duffs and an Icelandic saga mixed in there somewhere.) Names enough for a whole solar system there, anyhow.