The Middle East? Warrantless wiretapping? Lamont versus Lieberman? No, the important controversy roiling today’s blogosphere is the question: Is Pluto a planet?
The real Scott Westerfeld responds with facts and stuff, in a lengthy post entitled Cthulhu can Eat Me.
A committee of the International Astronomical Union proposes to leave Pluto with its “planet” status, while also granting planethood to Ceres, Charon, UB313, and parts of Union City, New Jersey. Kevin Drum is unimpressed.
And in the hardbitten world of astronomical taxonomy, feelings run high. Defending the proposal, Dr. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute observes, “Nature is much richer than our imagination. Life is tough, life is complicated.” “Get over it,ï¿½ adds Dr. Stern through gritted jaws.
Meanwhile, planet-hunter Geoffrey W. Marcy of UC Berkeley is dismissive: “I am not attending the I.A.U. meeting, nor do I care about the outcome of any vote about whether Pluto and Xena are ‘planets.’” Bravely said, but if I were Dr. Geoffrey C. Marcy I’d be keeping a safe distance from little girls with stuffed eldritch gods.