Friday, August 25, 2006
Memo to the Scientific Community
From: Dean Dad
I have been fond of you folks for a long time. I remember sitting through Cosmos, watching Carl Sagan juxtapose himself against the infinity of the universe, and wondering which was more tedious, but not holding it against you. At times, in grad school, when attempting an especially tight corner in my 1989 Tercel hatchback, I would reflect on my high school physics teacher's claim that centrifugal force was 'ficititious,' and decide that she must have been smoking some of Sagan's stash. That, too, I could forgive.
You folks have given us the internet, without which blogging would be a bit more tedious. (Anyone else out there remember 'zines?) You've given us central air, which I consider an advance on the order of a major vaccine. Hell, you've given us vaccines.
But now you go and take away an entire *(#%# PLANET?
I don't think so.
The Boy has nine (count 'em!) glow-in-the-dark planets hanging from his ceiling, arranged in order around the overhead light, which doubles as the sun. I ain't takin' Pluto down. You people can just stick that in your telescopes and smoke it, just like that Sagan guy. And look what happened to him!
That is all.
;) Just kidding . . . sorry about Pluto, folks. If it makes you feel any better, a lot of us are unhappy with the new definition (even if the definition we prefer might have also killed Pluto); also, Pluto has been recategorized as a dwarf planet. Which means it's technically still a planet. Even if the IAU wants to pretend nouns & adjectives don't work the way they do.
And that is bizarre about Pluto, I mean I finally memorized the order of the planets thanks to watching Blue's Clues with my kids, now what am I supposed to do? Just end the song after "Neptune's really windy"?
Or maybe I could sing it like this, "Neptune's really windy, and Pluto's really small...........in fact it's so small that it's now called a dwarf planet, whatever the %$@* that means."
Okay, maybe not.
Sorry- in my house, and in my classes, we'll be thanking Mom for her Nine Pizzas until they pry Pluto (now apparently small enough) from my very cold (convection?) hands.
Dean Dad, maybe you could add the other "dwarf planets" to TB's room? That would be pretty cool. If I were a kid, I would be thrilled to have more glowing in the dark celestial objects.
Wouldn't this be a great opportunity to introduce 'The Boy' to the notion that scientific concepts are, in part, social constructions? Years from now when he is reading Kuhn for some undergraduate course he'll be much better prepared.
so -- then i heard a news report referring to the remaining 8 planets as "classic planets," which immediately made me think of that failed coca-cola "new coke" campaign of some years back. i suppose the scientists could have called the smaller planetary objects "planets lite," but no -- they went for "dwarf planets" in a terrible show of insensitivity and poor marketing.
"pluto and the planet-ettes" has some rock-star potential, though. certainly, an upbeat new musical number could only improve the already stellar "play of the planets."