Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto: Dwarf Planet

It's About Size...

So reason triumphs over the imagination once again. Pluto is demoted by near unanimous agreement of those astronomers gathered in the Czech Republic to debate its future. It's about its size. It's about its unacceptably erratic orbit around the sun. It's also, it seems, about its failure to "clear its area." Which means, insofar as I understand these things, Bush, that to qualify as a planet it needs to be able to dominate its neighborhood and prevent competitors from invading its space. Sounds a bit like your administration's foreign policy, no?

I'm sad that it all came down to size and clout. The bully boys win out again, and the little guy slinks off to the corner of the school yard while they point and laugh at his diminutive stature. A "dwarf planet". I kind of thought that term had been given the PC treatment. Little people. Isn't that the term of choice today? I do understand that there are a zillion little, round-ish celestial bodies out there in the Kuiper Beltway, busy making their circuits around our sun, and no matter how clamorous their lobbyists, we can't give every one of them the dignity of planet status. Besides, no profitable commercial ventures so many billion miles away. Still, I'm surprised they didn't have the common decency to give this little one a free pass, after seven decades of full membership in the planetary club.

My favorite comment in this whole affair comes from six year-old Jaykb Olivas (quite a handle, that!) who was quoted in today's Los Angeles Times . "It's an awesome planet," he said. "Since Pluto's the smallest planet, we could visit it and be like giants." Way to go, Jaykb! Quite a concept! Giants, eh? We could all use a little of that feeling.

Makes you wonder, though, doesn't it, Bush? Might there not be some superior galactic council out there somewhere checking into the status of the planet Earth? Size is acceptable, of course. But the behavior of its current dominant species? Way out of control. Maybe they'll haul us up before the Supreme Galactic Court, like they do in those sci-fi movies, and indict the lot of us for "disturbing the peace" or some such offense. Send us to insterstellar Coventry. (Is that concept familiar to our American readers, Bush?)

Anyway, we'll sure look like a bunch of idiots then, for presuming in the vanity of our half-assed rational belief-system to send poor Pluto into exile.

3 comments:

GringoWithoutBorders said...

But but but I was taught it was a planet and now you go and change my perception of truth. Just think how many people died thinking Pluto was a planet.

Wonder what this will do to the horoscope people. Any impact on their future??

denn said...

Cockroaches, the Movie
I would like to see a Barbarella- quasi-sci-fi-Vonnegut film in which humans would meet
superior beings in space
who would then annihilate
the human race
because humans are considered
to be aberrant lower organisms
and deemed too
detrimental
to the harmony of the Universe.

With Alex Baldwin as he appears in Saturday Nite Live skits.

PK said...

LOL;D!!! denn, what a trip that would be to see that one:D! I'd pay... Gringo, it aught to be interesting, I'm a horrorscoper:). Heaven only knows how good, or bad, it will be, or if they will leave it there just on principle. Won't be ordering my Llewellyn's just yet:D... Well Peter, it just kept Bush out of the flashlight for a few is all, wonder what he was up to for those couple of days:)?