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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poor Pluto

From the excellent Sports Night, circa 1999:

"Good news." -Natalie
"What?" -Dana
"Pluto's still a planet." -Natalie
"It was touch and go there for a while?" -Sally
"Don't underestimate Pluto. Pluto doesn't know the word quit." -Natalie
-- Quotes from Ordnance Tactics

And now:

Pluto, which has been widely regarded as a planet since its discovery in 1930, has an oblong orbit that overlaps with Neptune's, so is disqualified full planet status.

The new classification means that the science textbooks will have to be ripped up, as the solar system is now made up of the eight "classical planets", plus a number of dwarf planets. The classical planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Astronomers from 75 countries were involved in today's vote of International Astronomical Union (IAU) members. The result of the vote was met with applause, but there had earlier been real disagreement over the "battle of the planets".
-- Pluto loses 'battle of the planets'

The inshow joke about Pluto was a pretty palatable one ... it was an analogy to how all of the show's mechanics - both in real life and fiction - were in jeopardy of simply being redefined out of existence. It was pertinent enough to be echoed later in Six Feet Under (also featuring Peter Krause).

So in some way, a cultural (and scientific) underdog just lost it's appeal in textbook court. Hard not to be a bit sad about that. I mean, isn't there a grandfather clause for some objects?

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