Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nachos-get used to it!

Chris came up with this as a replacemet to My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles. I suppose it could be what the next generation of budding astronomers will learn in their 1st grade science unit about the solar system. My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles was of course, until recently, the mnemonic device to help remember the planets. Each letter at the beginning of each word is also the first letter of each planet in our solar system in their order from the Sun-Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. But this won't work anymore, because Pluto has been demoted.

According to the new criteria for being a planet, Pluto no longer makes the grade. Oh, Pluto is still out there-it didn't pull a Krypton or anything, it's just no longer considered a planet. According to the International Astronomical Union, being a planet by definition requires that a planet "has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

So what the hell does this mean? Pluto isn't conjoined to what had been it's moon, Charon, so isn't it then in a clear neighborhood? Whatever. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I am any sort of expert-the experts are already hotly debating this issue. Only 424 out of 10,000 astronomers around the world voted on this decision, so the validity of this vote and it's severe lack of majority are being questioned.

People are not happy about this demotion from Pluto the Planet to Pluto the Dwarf Planet. Dwarf Planet being a silly title in itself, because a dwarf planet isn't even a planet. It comes as no surprise that the September 1st protest at New Mexico State University was joined by the wife and son of Clyde Tombaugh, the man who first discovered Pluto in 1930. I'm sure I would join the picket line if less than 5% of the world's astronomers decided that my dad had actually discovered a dwarf something or other.

I too am unhappy about this demotion. I liked Pluto. I liked being served nine pickles. It seems like now, this little planet who was way out there, trying to hang on and be part of the group has just been kicked out of the treehouse like some annoying little brother. Granted, our solar system is a very exclusive clique with some very cool members (like who isn't intimidated by Saturn's coolness? And you squares can just forget about being invited to Jupiters kegger!), but is going down from 9 planets to 8 really going to make our lives better? And what message does this send to the little guy? "Sorry little dude, 5% of us decided that you just aren't good enough so scram and don't let the stars hit your ass on the way out!" Real nice attitude, International Astronomical Union. Or should I say, International Couple of Guys who Hate Pluto!

But then again, I suppose we do need rules and definitions for celestial bodies. Otherwise all of those filty asteroids would want to be planets too, stupid mynock-filled wankers that they are.

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