We Hardly Knew Ye…


Every generation's defining tragedy will produce some piece of wit that helps us all cope. Last week's planetary realignment was no exception. Thanks to hipster t-shirt maker Yque, you can commemorate the day everything changed:

NEXT: Save Our Blight

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I am an impulse buyer.

  2. Tim, I will never forget Uranus.

    Do you really think that wouldn’t be said at some point? You should be thanking me for getting it out of the way.

  3. The Boskonians done it!

    Send for the Gray Lensman!

  4. So, I guess now only 8 planets have to line up for the end of the world, right?

  5. Does this mean my astrologist was wrong?

  6. Aresen, that might win the “old-skool reference of the week” award.

  7. In gradeschool, I bought an “official skylab target” poster, yet I didn’t end up with a single piece of the lousy hunk of junk. I was robbed! I guess I shouldn’t have expected much when it only cost a quarter.

  8. Aresen ,

    As much as it pains me to say it, I can’t place the Boskonians. Other than the old computer game, that is. Sounds like a Golden Age of Science Fiction race, but I can’t recall for sure.

  9. Well, I guess it was inevitable that the Vogons would eventually clear that planet out of the way.

  10. Aresen ,

    As much as it pains me to say it, I can’t place the Boskonians. Other than the old computer game, that is. Sounds like a Golden Age of Science Fiction race, but I can’t recall for sure.

  11. Hey, isn’t reason objectively pro-Zwilnick? (Well, that’s what my Visualization of the Cosmic All tells me, anyway.)


  12. It’s a neocon plot to turn back time. Not only is BusHitler trying to turn back reproductive rights to the 1800s, he’s turned back Astronomy.

    Number of planets in 1850: 8
    Number of planets in 2006: 8

    Wake up people!

  13. The Boskonians were the bad guys in E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, although I think “Buck Rogers” may have used the name too.

    [They were a less uptight about copyright in those days]

  14. Pro Libertate: Yes, the ref. is G.A.S.F. i.e. E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen series of novels. Along with Clark, Asimov, and Heinlein, Smith is probably the 4th Grandfather of modern SF. Unlike Heinlein, “Doc” Smith’s tales were never even faintly libertarian, seeing as how his greatest heros became the “master” race in fact (with a lot of extraterrestrial advice & tech). He also was a strong law & order (with the inevidable coercen that requires) themes: UN World Gov. lead by “best & brightest”, et. cetera.

    kevrob‘s reference to a Zwilnick is appropriate. Libertarians, and, by example, Reason‘s writers are generally permissive with respect to personal drug use. In the Lensmen universe a Zwilnick is a user/pusher/smuggler of the supposed single most addictive drug of all time (sounds familiar…). Hey Kev, whats the drugs name?

  15. Thionite, I think

  16. I read some of Smith’s stuff some time ago, though I don’t remember it very clearly. My favorite of the “other” guys from that era is probably Cliff Simak. Or maybe Fred Pohl, though he gets plenty of recognition compared to Simak. My favorite Simak book is Way Station. He was also a robot freak like Asimov, though his robots were a different animal altogether from Asimov’s positronic robots.

  17. So who wrote “The Weapon Shops of Isher”? deCamp??
    I remember my old man sittin me down to read it when I was about 8. The beginning of my “real education” he called it, even tho he taught me to read.
    Then I dove into decades worth of Galaxy, Astounding, & all the rest he had kept over the years. …lost them all in a flood.
    To this day, I recommend that book to younguns trying to understand why common proles should be able to possess firearms-simply as a starting point. ….dear old Pop. Now a chickenhawk radio parrot. But I daresay he has a lot of company, under the bed, wondering when Chavez’s paratroopers are gonna drop. …..

  18. MUTT,
    That would be A.E.Van Voght.

  19. Gee, that T-shirt might be clever if Pluto was a gas giant like in the picture. But then of course it would still be a planet. ARRG! why does someone making that kind of joke get it so wrong? Why do these things bother only me?

  20. Pro Libertate, I appreciate your namedropping of Pohl’s Man Plus a few months back. I didn’t like it that much, but it was definitely an interesting read.

  21. Warren – hahahah, naw, I feel you. It’d be dope if the picture of Pluto was super small, so that it almost just looked like a speck of lint or dirt.

    But I’m guessing that with the diy aspect of the t-shirt company, that it wasn’t easy to find a planet pic that didn’t look like a gas giant.

  22. Aresen has the right name for Trenco’s greatest (and only?) export.

    BTW, a little checking shows that I stuffed an unnecessary “c” into zwilnik.


  23. Pluto was rejected because it was not big enough to pull itself into shape, so to speak.
    It was ugly.
    No great loss. It had only one season in the sun since we discovered its pitiful misshapenness.
    Your anus… now there’s something able to snap itself mui pronto into a fetching shape.

    As we Irish like to say, “Some planets just need killin’.”

  24. >We Hardly Knew Ye…

    No sadness is called for. Pluto is still out there. It’s just been re-categorized, and that’s…ok.

    I’m sure many of us have fond memories of singing the charming pneumonic device for remembering the planets in order from the sun (except when Pluto is closer than Neptune):

    My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza-pies.

    With Pluto’s removal (now let’s have no tears), might I suggest:

    My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Neectooreeens…

    Serving a healthful fruit goes along with the educated mother; does it not?

  25. Maybe I’ll include it as a planet but denote it thusly:


    *The other planets formed from the same revolving disk of gas. Pluto is a Kuiper Belt Object that formed from a different outer shell of gas.

  26. Since we’re talking scifi, I’d thought I’d mention a book I bought several years ago – ‘Give Me Liberty’. It’s a compilation of some of the most libertarianish stories ever published :
    ‘Monument’ – Lloyd Biggle Jr
    ‘Gadget vs Trend’ – Christopher Anvil
    ‘The Ungoverned’ – Vernor Vinge
    ‘Historical Note’ – Murray Leinster
    ‘The Weapon Shop’ – AE von Vogt
    ‘Second Game’ – Katherine MacLean, Charles de Vet
    ‘Committee of the Whole’ – Frank Herbert
    ‘And Then There Were None’ – Eric Frank Russell

  27. The truth is, ever since it was a little planetesimal, Pluto knew that it was somehow “different.”

  28. Tim, that was my reaction, too. It’s an interesting book, but the way people interacted in it kind of put me off. I had a similar reaction to his Mining the Oort.

    I don’t know how much Pohl you’ve read, but he’s penned some good ones over the years–the Gateway series is very good (esp. the first book), for instance. I’m also quite fond of two novellas that are sometimes sold together–The Age of the Pussyfoot and Drunkard’s Walk.

    There’s a sequel to Man Plus called Mars Plus, incidentally.

  29. The latest issue of Nature has a reporter’s diary from the conference where Pluto was demoted in status. Sounds like it was a pretty controversial decision.

    If I’d been at the conference, I would have filibustered by reading Vogon poetry.

  30. thoreau,
    Don’t Panic

  31. My fourth grade students will continue to enjoy the controversy over Pluto and will be stimulated to learn more about the planets. I hope the scientific row goes on for years.

    Not to worry, though. I’m confident that our textbooks will continue to refer to Pluto as a planet until I retire.

  32. peachy,

    Good call! It’s a fine volume.

  33. This whole thing bothers me more and more each day. The term “planet” has been in English usage for centuries, and the equivalents in other languages have been around for milennia. And 400 people voting is supposed to change that? So if 400 biologists got together and voted to change the word “animal” to exclude, say, pigs, everyone in the world is supposed to stop referring to pigs as animals?

    If more precision was needed in the definition, why didn’t they just say something like, “The term planet, in general usage, refers to nine Solar System objects of varying characteristics. Because of the vagueness of this term, the IAU has deprecated it for use by professional astronomers and defined a new term XXXXX which refers to objects satisfying the following criteria: …” and then go on to formulate a precise definition for the new term, while not affecting the use of imprecise terminology by the unwashed masses.

  34. Every generation’s defining tragedy will produce some piece of wit that helps us all cope.

    I read this differently at first glance.

  35. Crimethink,

    I think that’s, with the exception of your choice of pigs for an example, an ecellant comment and proposal.

    (Pigs are more lots like like the other animales than Pluto is like the other plamets. A flighless bird not to called a bird anymore might have been been better, but it’s still not there. A metiorite not to be called a rock? I’m not helping our case, am I?)

  36. The 7:55 comment was me. That screen name was left over from fooling around on the “Catholic” H&R thread last night. Sorry.

  37. It sounds like there may be an attempt to restore Pluto’s lost planethood. I dunno, but that sounds like a bad idea. How much credibility will the IAU have if they flipflop, especially after the very surprising media circus over the whole reclassification?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.