Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto is DEAD!!!!!

It breaks my heart, but here is the newest Pluto news:

Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when astronomers from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet," leaving just eight major planets in the solar system.

With one vote, toys and models of the solar system became instantly obsolete, forcing teachers and publishers to scramble to update textbooks and lessons used in classrooms for decades.

"Pluto is dead," Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology bluntly told reporters on a teleconference.

Discovered in 1930 by the American Clyde Tombaugh, the icy rock of Pluto has traditionally been considered the ninth planet, farthest from the sun in the solar system.

However, the definition of a planet, approved after a heated debate among 2,500 scientists from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting in Prague, drew a clear distinction between Pluto and the other eight planets.

The need to define what is a planet was driven by technological advances enabling astronomers to look further into space and measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies.

"This is all about the advancement of science changing our thinking as we get more information," said Richard Binzel, professor of Planetary Sciences at The Massachusetts of Technology and a member of the planet definition committee.

"The significance is that new discoveries and new science have told us that there is something different about Pluto from the other eight planets and as science learns more information, we get new results and new considerations."

I think that maybe this may quell the fighting in the middle east. The furor over Pluto is well-synchronized with the latest Middle East troubles. I think the Israelis were in the pro-Pluto camp, while the Hezbollah fighters were in the anti. This should settle it once and for all.

The question I have is the idea of "dwarf planets." While I don't mind dwarfs, there are a lot better mythical little-people to name planets after. Hobbits, gnomes, and sprites come to my mind as much better options. They could rename Pluto as Frodo and Xena as Pippin. I wonder if the Disney contingency wanted to push the dwarf idea since they would be losing Pluto as a planet. I bet there was some behind the scenes wrangling that came up with this compromise. We will know that for sure if the dwarf planets start being named "Sleepy" and "Doc." Then the conspiracy will be plain for all to see.

You read it here first.