Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"It will be the talk of the town in Prague."

What do you think the quote that serves as this post title is referring to?

A new international agreement hashed out at the UN?

Some new art project by Christo (the one who wraps buildings in colored cloth)?

The latest runway fashions?

Well, the answer is No, N0, and No.

The REAL talk of Prague is in regards to the status of Pluto. And no, I'm not talking about Mickey Mouse's dog.

I mean the planet Pluto.

Or should I say "planet." That's right. Despite what you, I, and everyone around us has been taught for generations, astronomers are disputing the definition of planet--with regards to Pluto and other small astral bodies.

My immediate reaction is conservative--"Don't tread on my planets!" or "Not in MY solar system."

But isn't there a problem either way? If Pluto is too dinky to be a planet, then the holy meme of 9 planets in their sacred, memorized order is forever thrown into question. But if Pluto IS a planet, then maybe the number is expanded and even more dinky space objects get added, throwing off today's accepted grouping in the other direction.

Knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

What do YOU want?


Jack Thunder said...

i think science is bogus and "knowledge" is fiction. it's not Reality's fault that we were all forced to learn the names of 9 planets and that this "knowledge" became precious to us. i recently read that up to 14 objects in the solar system that might be as big or bigger than Pluto. if we're calling Pluto a planet, then i think we need to have 23 planets. if forcing kids to learn the names of 23 planets makes them cry, well so be it: astronomy builds character. it's all totally arbitrary, anyway. MOST AMERICANS CAN'T FIND IRAQ ON A MAP!, so 9 vs. 23 cold, distant rocks seems a little insignificant.

thanks for askin'!

lulu said...

I would argue along the lines of science being cumulative. It's no skin off my nose (unless the ozone hole is really getting bigger) either way. I can learn a new rhyme, and I won't marry it.