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When I was your age, Pluto was a planet.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RCGT, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. RCGT

    RCGT
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    Emotionally Jaded

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    Pluto has a fourth moon. When the fuck did this happen? When I was a kid, Pluto was still a planet, and it had one moon, Charon. But apparently the Hubble Space Telescope discovered two more in 2005: Nix and Hydra. And they just discovered a fourth moon on July 20th.
    [​IMG]
    Thanks for killing my childhood, science.

    FOCUS: Name Pluto's fourth moon. Bonus points for funny or clever suggestions, or ones from Greek mythology.
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    The White

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    In honor of Nom Chompsky and the fact that it has stayed so well-hidden for so many years, I'm calling it Black Orpheus.
     
  3. Nettdata

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    Mr. Toast

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    Pluto is still a planet.
     
  4. bewildered

    bewildered
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    Deeply satisfied pooper

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    Wasn't this a cheesy facebook group (that I may or may not have at one time been a part of)?
     
  5. DrFrylock

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    A guy I know at work is really, really focused on rigor, consistency, and completeness in his work. The 98% solution is generally not good enough for him and he will work late into the night to exhaust every avenue, to chart every point in the solution space. He's an engineer, and for certain types of problems and experiments, this is exactly the attitude you need (although other times it's a liability). But he is a stand-up guy and while I do not share his attitude, I can appreciate it.

    Imagine my surprise when I heard him in our bay last week, bellowing loudly that "PLUTO IS A PLANET, OKAY?" This drew me out of my office in astonishment.

    His argument: "It was a planet for 50 years, you can't make it an un-planet. If it doesn't fit the scientific definition of a planet, put a little asterisk by it in the list of planets. But it's a planet."

    In this way, he wanted to treat Pluto like a sports record that may or may not be tarnished by performance-enhancing drugs.

    I protested that he, of all people, should be arguing for scientific rigor. Either everything like Pluto is a planet or it's not. If Pluto is a planet, then other Kuiper belt objects that are just as big (or bigger) have to be planets also. His retort:

    "Nope. Those have not been planets for 50 years, so you can call them whatever you want. Put a little asterisk by Pluto; it's a planet. My solar system has NINE planets in it."

    As my scientific coal-mine canary, this guy's statement told me one thing: this will be a divisive issue for people for years to come.

    Footnote: On my recent vacation, we were exploring a natural area with tidepools, and the curator was explaining to us that they have mussels, anemones, and "sea stars." Before we could ask, she said "now I know what you're thinking, what's the difference between a starfish and a sea star? Well, a starfish isn't a fish so we can't call it that anymore, now we have to call it a "sea star." And Pluto isn't a planet no more, neither!"
     
  6. Nettdata

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    Mr. Toast

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    PLUTO IS A PLANET*.

    DrFrylock EDIT: FTFY.
     
  7. rei

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    All this Pluto drama was all just engineered to steal Eris's thunder.
     
  8. RCGT

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    Dude, I wikipedia'd Eris, and apparently one of the proposed names was Lila, which is awesome. For reference, "lila" is the idea in Hinduism that the gods see our entire existence as an elaborate game, and they pass time by fucking with us:
    Astronomer drama aside, it's a great concept.


    Man, just going through Wikipedia, it's like I've been dropped through a rabbit hole into the wild wooly world of astronomy. Look at this - there's forty more dwarf planet candidates in our Solar System. I think it's hilarious that a ton of these things get the name of the main creator god of some obscure religion. Can you imagine the uproar if they named some rock in the asteroid belt after Yehovah? Or an asteroid named Jesus, coming down to rapture away the faithful? I gotta laugh.

    For Nettdaddy and the rest of us shmucks who still think Pluto's a planet, apparently we've got some expert support:
     
  9. hooker

    hooker
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    The Dog's Ass Hole