Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dude... it's really not that big a deal.

Like I said earlier I'm not attached, but then I'm not in Prague this week settling the "is Pluto really a planet?" debate.

You know, there are other battles on the planet that we should probably be paying attention to... hell, lets pay attention to the one that might actually get resolved this decade.

Check this out, the battle is heating up - these normally stoic scientists are interrupting each other, generally getting huffy [committee member Richard Binzel of MIT told the delegates: "You can vote based on physics, or maybe you have some preconceived idea of what a planet should be."] and now they have to go into closed session to determine whether Pluto gets to stay in the club.

Please, what's the big deal? We've gone decades with this ambiguous definition of a planet, why be so exclusive? Of course, they are scientists, and we scientists do tend to be hard-core about some things. We tend to think that what we do is describe things as they really are. Oh come on, we make up this crap, just like everyone else. And although it may make no sense, physics-wise, to keep Pluto a planet, it is a sentimental thing. Oh yea, I'm a scientist, I have no sentiment.

But then, when I asked my daughter, she said it really is a big deal to ask her to memorize another two or three (maybe more) planets. Although she did come up with this... (said with a whatever attitude) My Very Excellent Mother Can't Just Serve Up Nine Crusty Pizzas...Xena.


Anonymous said...

Ah ha ha ha ha... my very excellent mother... I love it!

Anonymous said...

Oy, that was from me...


Katharine said...

I too have found the 'what is a planet' debate renewing my interest in the solar system.

Now I find myself feeling sorry for Pluto. I was really pulling for Chiron and friends, but then again it makes sense for a planet to have a LITTLE gravitational pull on something else ... at least so others would notice.

So in the end this social work academic activist (see what good credentials I have for this discussion?) votes with the winning party to boot out Pluto.

I bet we all just keep pretending it's a planet though.

Otherwise what do I tell my astrologer when she waxes poetic about Pluto in my somethingth house? "yeah, but it's not really a planet, so 'fraid NOT??!!??"