Monday, September 11, 2006


I don't care what they say, Pluto is a planet.

And while we're at it, tomatoes are vegetables.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Sorry, but I disagree. Science needs to be consistent. We know much more about Pluto than we once did, and it simply doesn't deserve to be called a planet.

I've heard the argument that "kids have learned about the nine planets for generations, so we can't change it." I bet William Jennings Bryan used the same argument to defend creationism.

There's an object in the solar system named Ceres. It is in a circular orbit between Mars and Jupiter. It is round, and someday our descendants might be living on it. Our moon is 3500 km in diameter; Pluto is 2300 km in diameter; Ceres is 940 km in diameter. These are all small objects. If Pluto is a "planet", why not Ceres?

The historical reason that Ceres wasn't called a planet is that it's one of many "asteroids" in the same orbit. So the scientists said, okay, let's be consistent: the term "planet" requires something big enough to have its own orbit -- to have cleared away a path around the sun. If it is just a big rock sharing its orbit with other rocks, that doesn't count.

So Pluto, Xena, and other outer "planets" are now called "dwarf planets". As is Ceres. Makes sense to me.

The fact is, our schoolkids do matter. Everyone remembers the name "Pluto" from sixth grade. Nobody learned about Ceres, Juno, Pallas, Vesta, Chiron -- even though we are much more likely to colonize these than we are to colonize Pluto. If the purpose of grade-school science is to motivate kids, then let's focus on what's important!

1:00 AM, September 11, 2006  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Yeah, what he said. LAGuy keeps this up, and soon he'll be defending intelligent design (as opposed to the dogma practiced by GM and Ford).

8:39 AM, September 11, 2006  

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