Everything Pluto Dissolves Into Air

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So just as I was getting used to the newish pronunciations of Himalyas, Neanderthal, and Uranus comes news that Pluto, the Eddie Gaedel of the universe that was discovered only 75 years ago, really doesn't deserve its planetary status.

Because of a hacker (praise be to them), the astronomers who have found a 10th "planet"–something that revolves around our sun and is bigger than Pluto–have gone public with their discovery. Whole story here.

Ten planets instead of nine? Or nine, but not the nine you thought you knew? Weird, wild stuff.

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  1. Jeeez, Nick. First off, why does a tenth planet necessarily mean Pluto shouldn’t count? Lilah (or whatever) is way the hell out past Pluto.

    And second, whether it’s a “planet” or not is pretty arbitrary. I’ts not going to lose its name or its moon or its orbit.

    So why the drama? There’s been a new discovery, and it’s cool.

  2. I was always suspicious of Pluto. Why couldn’t he talk? Goofy could talk.

  3. Funny how astrologers missed this. I’m awaiting the massive sham-industry backpedal.

  4. I thought both of them were being gradually classified as major installments in the outer asteroid belt and planet status was going to be reserved for 8. I’m with Thoreau, Europa and Ganymede are much more interesting.

  5. Funny how astrologers missed this. I’m awaiting the massive sham-industry backpedal.

    The nice thing about astrology is that it has no standards as a whole. I’m sure the nice hucksters will manage just fine. Hell, it could even improve sales: Now with an extra planet!

    And why don’t we have any rovers on Europa yet? Considering that the money is increasingly harder to justify to the public, I would think that a chance at some ET bacteria would be great PR.

  6. Hey t:

    Obviously you don’t know your Star Trek. Most planets are class M with a breathable atmosphere. If not, then a thin tinfoil suit does the trick.

  7. Pluto’s planetary status has always been denounced. It?s small, it has an eccentric orbit that crosses Uranus?s orbit, its orbit is inclined at an angle to the rest of the solar system. It is almost certainly a former moon of Uranus.

  8. “Funny how astrologers missed this. I’m awaiting the massive sham-industry backpedal.’

    I am wondering what numerologists will make of this. I remember Dick Gregory making an odd comment in a speech that went something like this:

    “There are nine planets in this universe and nine holes in your body. Do you think that’s just a coincidence?”

  9. “There are nine planets in this universe and nine holes in your body. Do you think that’s just a coincidence?”

    ……………………far out………

  10. I was always suspicious of Pluto. Why couldn’t he talk? Goofy could talk.

    Goofy was a more highly evolved species of dog than Pluto.

  11. That scientician’s kidding himself if he thinks Pluto will be “downgraded” in the minds of anyone outside his cohort. Let them join the ranks of the same pedantic spoil-sports who insist that the 21st century began in 2001 rather than 2000; to the rest of us Pluto will always be a planet.

  12. NINE holes? Even counting the nose as two, I seem to be coming up short.

  13. Pluto’s planetary status has always been denounced. It?s small, it has an eccentric orbit that crosses Uranus?s orbit, its orbit is inclined at an angle to the rest of the solar system.

    When I was in elementary school, we had to pick a planet and write a report about it. I chose Uranus, for the obvious reasons that any fourth grade boy would chose the planet. I discovered that the erratic orbit of Pluto causes Uranus to, from time to time, be completely cut-off from the light of the sun as the wayward Pluto crosses its path. In my report, I wrote “So when people tell you to stick it where the sun don’t shine, they mean Uranus.”

    I thought it was pretty much the funniest and greatest scientific observation ever made. I still cling to that notion.

  14. I thought Pluto crossed Neptune’s orbit.

  15. Jennifer,
    2 Nose, 1 mouth, 2 ears, 2 eyes (i think), butthole and pee hole. Boom, 9.

  16. Astrology, alas, has been able to outlast the demise of geocentrism, the discovery that the Sun was a star, and the discoveries of Uranus in 1781, the asteroids begining in 1801, Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930. It was always junk science, of course, but in the Renaissance it at least had a certain internal consistency. The explosion of the geocentric, seven-“planet” universe should have meant astrology’s demise, but humans are too stupid, apparently.

  17. Mo–

    Oh. I never thought of the eye as being a hole.

    And yes, Pluto crosses the orbit of Neptune, not uranus.

  18. If what Dick Gregory says is true, then this new planet means we’ll all develop a new hole soon…

  19. Fear not, Jeff. Getting your ears pierced doesn’t hurt that much.

  20. Mo & Jennifer,
    Son of a bitch! I fucking hate it when my contemptuous know-it-all posts are devastated by exposing rudimentary idiocies.

  21. If Pluto is not a planet, does that mean we can’t put a penguin reserve there someday?

  22. Perhaps the Diety is about to tear us all a new one.

  23. Warren–

    So I won’t exacerbate the problem by pointing out that current theory has it that Pluto (and its moon Charon) were NOT former satellites of Neptune, but Kuiper Belt objects that fell in to a closer orbit after being gravitationally disturbed by a passing star. That would explain why their orbits are so different than the orbits of the other planets.

    I would have been an astronomer if I’d had the math skills.

  24. I say call them all “wanderers” to avoid the planet controversy.

  25. By the way, if anyone wants to hear the comment by Dick Gregory, I believe it is on The Light Side / The Dark Side, recorded in early 1970s:

    http://www.footlight.com/product.cfm?product_id=18121

  26. Last year, Sedna was the tenth planet. A couple years before that, Quaoar was the tenth planet. No one will consider this new one a planet next year when something bigger is found.

    Dropping Pluto as a planet makes sense. Then the solar system looks like:

    4 inner planets … asteroid belt … 4 outer planets … kuiper belt

  27. About the ten holes, what about the vagina for women? The urethra does double duty for men.

    Also, from what I’ve heard about this new planet is that its orbit is even more eccentric than Pluto/Charon.

    As far as interesting, I think Io, Titan, and Europa are the most interesting moons in the Solar System. As far as microbes in/on Europa, I’ve also heard that it’s probable the ocean on Europa is sulfuric acid.

  28. Jennifer,
    Your post and a little googling have greatly updated my knowledge of Pluto (and other planets). Thanks. I still stand by my assertion that Pluto’s classification as a planet was called into question right from the get-go and that it is undeserved. I concede that it is historically accepted as a planet and will remain so. I don’t think we’ll bestow the title to any of the more distant orbs.

  29. Maybe the new planet is for women only. Or maybe its for both, but Venus was for women.

  30. Capt. Awesome, Thoreau:

    ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.

    Now be nice, or I’ll turn you into a couple of Star Fetuses.

  31. What about the teat holes for women (and for men, too, I suppose)?

    If planets were judged based on interest level, then you should demote Mercury; it’s a small, boring chunk of rock with no atmosphere. I favor keeping Pluto a planet and everything as big, or bigger, also being called a planet.

    There are dozens of so-called moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn that are really tiny, don’t have atmospheres, are irregular in shape, and some even orbit retro — but they still are listed as moons. Fair is fair. Call the 10th planet a planet.

    Can we all agree that calling them KBOs would be hideous?

  32. What about the teat holes for women (and for men, too, I suppose)?

    Oh my God….

  33. just as I was getting used to the newish pronunciations of Himalayas, Neanderthal, and Uranus

    What are the newish pronunciations of Himalayas, Neanderthal, and Uranus? I had not heard about this. (And is it Ken-ya or Keen-ya?)

  34. Actually, now that we’ve found several KBOs (Kuiper Belt Objects) only someone smaller than Pluto and have one that appears to be significantly larger, I think the Pluto-isn’t-a-planet idea will lose the popular resistance very quickly. Once astronomers can point at a good double-handful or so of objects that Pluto fits into, with the expectation that boatloads more are out there, Pluto will go the way of Ceres.

    We do remember Ceres, the fifth planet (oops, the first asteroid discovered), right? 🙂

  35. What’s wrong with KBO (kay-bow)?

  36. Personally I’m all for the taint recieving 10th hole status, especially in light of the dual status male urethra comment.

  37. Speaking of newish pronunciations, are there others out there who watched that miserable propaganda piece on PBS called “The Appalachians”?

    All the way through it they kept pronouncing the name of the region as Ap ah LASH yuh.

    I suppose next they’ll do a story on Spo CANE.

  38. Slainte–

    I think they got it right, though. When I grew op in Virginia, it was understood that Apple-atcha was a miserable place to live in the Apple-AY-chin mountains.

  39. The AY pronunciation was the only one I’d ever heard until a few years ago. I’m related to people, have met people, have visited, and now live in the region where everyone I’ve ever met (from PA to GA) uses the AY pronunciation.
    I always understood that the locals determine the pronunciation. So it’s ‘wuh-ster’ not wor-ses-ter, it’s ‘spo-can’ not spo-cane, it’s ‘loo-uh-vul’ not loo-ee-vil.
    And KAY-BE-OHs just sounds crappy to me. For a while some people used ‘QSO’ instead of quasar; anymore ‘QSO’ sounds idiotic, or quaint, or both.

  40. My girlfriend and I vacationed on Pluto a couple (Terran) years back, and we were kind of disappointed. Not much to do, and the restaurants there, well…you know what they say about restaurants on Pluto…

    “The food’s OK, but no atmosphere.”

  41. I dunno, Larry. I found the food to be cold and watery and the portions to be small.

  42. You may not demote Yuggoth! That’s where the wierd Fungus comes from! Gawd, you freaking mortals really grind my gears.

  43. You MAY NOT demote Yuggoth. That’s where the wierd fungus comes from! Gawd, you freaking mortals really grind my gears.

  44. I offer no apology for my double post.

  45. Do the esophagal and tracheal openings, both of which are frequently exposed to outside air, count as one or two? What about the eustachian tube? Considering all the pores in your skin, in any case, I’d think there’s way more than 9 holes.

    Crap, I see I’m too late for the Uranus joke…

  46. I differ with the conclusion of the Richard Macey link, that we now either have 8 or 10 planets. I say that we could still have 9 because Pluto isn’t and the new planet is. And, we may have a way to decide! The argument for excluding Pluto is that it did not form from the same disk of material that the other planets did, and this is evidenced by the fact that its orbit is so eccentric. Pluto appears to be an unusually large Kuiper belt object.

    Now, the new planet, let me call it “Planet Claire” or just “Claire” has an even more eccentric orbit than Pluto, being tilted 44 degrees from the orbital plane of the Earth and most other planets. However, and this is key, it has been speculated the planet’s orbit was warped by a series of encounters with Neptune.

    http://www.newscientistspace.com/channel/solar-system/dn7763

    If so, and if Claire started out in an orbit that is in the plane of the other planets, it could have been formed by the same dynamic and the worthy of the “planet” designation even though it lies out even further in the Kuiper belt than does Pluto. There are solar system simulators, which, it seems to me, could wind things backwards in time to see if encounters with Neptune really are responsible for throwing Claire off the orbital plane of the solar system.

    (I was torn between naming it “Planet Claire” or “Planet Ramone”)

  47. Goofy was a more highly evolved species of dog than Pluto.

    Goofy can’t be a dog; he wears a hat and drives a car…

  48. I suppose next they’ll do a story on Spo CANE.

    Or Bil-OX-ee, (Bil-UX-ee) Mississippi, or New-erk, Delaware (New-ark), or Nor-foke, Virginia (Nor-fick), or Louis-ville, Kentucky (Loua-vule)…

    OK, I’ll shut up…

  49. What are the newish pronunciations of Himalayas, Neanderthal, and Uranus? I had not heard about this.

    I think “him-uh-LAY-yuhz” became “him-OWL-yuhz.” And “Neanderthal” became “Neandertal” (and is increasing spelled that way). And “Your anus” became “Urine us.”

    (And is it Ken-ya or Keen-ya?)

    The way they pronounce the names of countries on National Public Radio doesn’t count. No real Americans talk like that. We don’t say “Nigga-dawgwa” for “Nicaragua” or “Hwotta-mahlah” for “Guatemala,” neither.

    And this just in: My brother the IT guy just e-mailed the following to me:

    Subject: Name the server contest

    We’re putting in a new unix box which are traditionally named after planets, moons or other celestial objects.

    Mercury thru Pluto have been used (except Uranus which our boss won’t let us use because of the obvious jokes. “Where did you run that report?” He also rejected my suggested alternate of Urectum.)

    …Any suggestions? The only thing is it has to be something spellable at 3am if we get paged. Io might be too short.

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