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Makemake Becomes the Newest Dwarf Planet

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the this-one's-a-kuiper dept.

Space 191

Kligat writes "The Kuiper belt object formerly known as (136472) 2005 FY9 has been rechristened Makemake and classified as a dwarf planet and plutoid by the International Astronomical Union, according to the United States Geological Survey. The reclassification occurs just a month after the latter category was created. The object was referred to by the team of discoverers by the codename Easterbunny, and the name Makemake comes from the creation deity of Easter Island, in accordance with IAU rules on naming Kuiper belt objects."

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191 comments

I miss... (5, Funny)

sleeping123 (1109587) | about 6 years ago | (#24177793)

I miss Pluto.

Re:I miss... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24177875)

The J.V. Football team misses Uranus.

Me too... (4, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#24177891)

... but not as much as I miss Goofy.

Re:Me too... (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#24178869)

As long as it's not jarjar I don't care.

Re:Me too... (2, Insightful)

psyklopz (412711) | about 6 years ago | (#24179253)

Goofy was a dog.
Pluto was a dog.

Goofy was Mickey's friend.
Pluto was Mickey's pet.

Does anyone else see anything unusual about that little triangle?

Re:Me too... (4, Funny)

ArieKremen (733795) | about 6 years ago | (#24179401)

Nothing unusual, only goofy

Re:I miss... (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | about 6 years ago | (#24178027)

It's still there, it's just got less planety goodness.

Me three (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178111)

I also miss Pluto [wikipedia.org] . Although, I don't miss waiting 5 minutes between screens.

Well... (1)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#24178249)

Stop throwing things at it, then.

Re:I miss... (4, Funny)

Escogido (884359) | about 6 years ago | (#24178285)

I miss Pluto.

Don't worry, if you keep training, your aim will eventually improve.

Whatwhat? (5, Funny)

exley (221867) | about 6 years ago | (#24177799)

$ make dwarf_planet

make: *** No rule to make target `dwarf_planet'. Stop.

Alright, well, that doesn't help at all. Maybe this [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Whatwhat? (1)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#24178239)

Are you using BSD make or GNU make?

Re:Whatwhat? (5, Funny)

infonography (566403) | about 6 years ago | (#24178361)

it failed, there for it was the one that comes with SUN.

Re:Whatwhat? (4, Funny)

lysse (516445) | about 6 years ago | (#24178607)

I don't know, it seems an eminently sensible way to name gods. We could have Killkill for the bringer of death, or Badbad for the source of evil, or Hichic for the god of wine... this has possibilities.

Re:Whatwhat? (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 6 years ago | (#24179283)

I think it's pronounced "maki-maki".

About Venus... (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | about 6 years ago | (#24179407)

So, are you suggesting that Venus, or Aphrodite, be renamed Fuckfuck?

Re:Whatwhat? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about 6 years ago | (#24178633)

i wonder why they didn't call it make && make install.

It's DOOMED! (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 6 years ago | (#24179061)

Silly, didn't you know that MakeMaker is DOOMED [gmane.org] ?

Re:Whatwhat? (1)

Eudial (590661) | about 6 years ago | (#24179323)

Now, to spoil the fun and permute through all "make foo, not bar" jokes containing makemake, I'm assuming the other targets are one of the following: all, install, clean, distclean, dist, world, war or love.

Make make, not all.
Make make, not install.
Make make, not clean.
Make make, not distclean.
Make make, not dist.
Make make, not world.
Make make, not war.
Make make, not love.
Make all, not make.
Make install, not make.
Make clean, not make.
Make distclean, not make.
Make dist, not make.
Make world, not make.
Make war, not make.
Make love, not make.

Obligatory stupid *nix post (0, Redundant)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 6 years ago | (#24177805)

make: *** No rule to make target `make'. Stop.

Re:Obligatory stupid NIGGER post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24177853)

Yes, NIGGER. That's right. The n-word. Mmmhmm.

Re:Obligatory stupid *nix post (2, Funny)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 6 years ago | (#24178331)

Good thing, too. Otherwise it could've started a recursion that would've filled the universe with dwarf planets and they would've come crashing down on us.

Re:Obligatory stupid *nix post (2, Funny)

CptNerd (455084) | about 6 years ago | (#24178569)

That's Goofy.

Re:Obligatory stupid *nix post (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about 6 years ago | (#24178665)

You forget the Makefile.

plutoid... I like it (5, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#24177809)

I've got to say, I think the compromise struck is a pretty good one. Pluto being a planet with similar objects not being a planet was not really scientific.

Plus, plutoid has a good ring to it.

Re:plutoid... I like it (5, Funny)

Ydna (32354) | about 6 years ago | (#24177857)

Pluto does not have rings.

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

dkf (304284) | about 6 years ago | (#24179143)

Pluto does not have rings.

But he does have a green collar.

Re:plutoid... I like it (4, Insightful)

kjots (64798) | about 6 years ago | (#24177913)

I agree. Even if it was decided to keep Pluto as a 'planet', we would still have to come up with a new name for the eight large objects that orbit our Sun in a manner unlike anything else in the solar system (specifically, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune).

There is little room for sentiment in science. Things are what they are, and if it is discovered that something is being called something it shouldn't be, it has to be changed. Some people just don't get that.

The good news is that in this case, it isn't likely to happen again. Apart from the distinction between terrestrial and gaseous, the definition for planet seems pretty solid (I do expect the term 'exoplanet' to be absorbed into the definition of planet in the long term, though. Either that or we'll be extinct and it won't matter what anything is called anymore :-).

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#24178581)

I don't understand the need to sermonize what was a shabby decision here, both from a scientific and from a larger public policy point of view. Here [slashdot.org] is a fairly complete description of my complaint. I don't understand how someone can read that definition and think it is scientific despite the gaping holes both in its definition ("cleared a neighborhood" not specified) and scope (only applies to one star system out of tens of billions in the Milky Way alone). Let us recall that science textbooks are going to have to include this dubious definition. Further, because of the limitations of this definition, the IAU is going to have to redefine this again. That means more corrections and I suppose more pointless sermons on how good it is scientifically that scientists on occasion pointlessly spin their wheels.

Re:plutoid... I like it (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#24177971)

I've got to say, I think the compromise struck is a pretty good one. Pluto being a planet with similar objects not being a planet was not really scientific.

I don't really care whether there are 8 or 150 planets in the Solar System. The current compromise is not scientific. Here are the problems: a) the definition doesn't define a crucial term, b) it doesn't apply to other star systems, and c) any dynamics-based definition of planet cannot extend easily to other star systems (observation is difficult, systems can easily have different dynamics structure).

Re:plutoid... I like it (4, Interesting)

kjots (64798) | about 6 years ago | (#24178029)

The current definition of 'planet' is specifically restricted to describing objects within our solar system. Your latter two points are thus irrelevant and your first does not carry enough weight on it's own to be convincing. Hence your argument is refuted.

Once we have a better understanding of the dynamics of other star systems, we can think about a more inclusive definition. For now, we shouldn't worry about them because, as you said, observation is difficult and any conclusions we make now are subject to change.

In our own star system, the only system we can observe directly and thus the only system we can have any real knowledge of, Pluto is not, and never was, a planet. Get over it.

Re:plutoid... I like it (3, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24178227)

Our observations of the Solar System and of the bodies orbiting other suns, if we are to be quite strict about it, would lead to the following three classes.

1: Stars
2: Gas Giants
3: Rubble

Re:plutoid... I like it (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#24178539)

The current definition of 'planet' is specifically restricted to describing objects within our solar system. Your latter two points are thus irrelevant and your first does not carry enough weight on it's own to be convincing. Hence your argument is refuted.

I'm aware of the way they defined it. You apparently are not.

The IAU...resolves that planets and other bodies, except satellites, in our Solar System [my emphasis - khallow] be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

  1. A planet [1] is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
  2. A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape [2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.
  3. All other objects [3], except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".

This statement says nothing about planets about other star systems. In particular, it doesn't say that there can't be planets in other star systems. And note that the key distinction between "planet" and "dwarf planet" is an undefined characteristic, "cleared the neighborhoor around its orbit". So we have a definition that is ill-defined, works only for 1 star system out of tens of billions, and makes a distinction based on hard to observe dynamics that would only make sense for a portion of these star systems.

Pluto is not, and never was, a planet. Get over it.

I see we're revising history now. Pluto was indeed a planet from roughly the time of its discover until it was reclassified in 2006.

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 6 years ago | (#24178895)

So we have a definition that is ill-defined, works only for 1 star system out of tens of billions, and makes a distinction based on hard to observe dynamics that would only make sense for a portion of these star systems.

Gosh, we'd better abandon Linnean classification in biology then, because of problems with the definition of species boundaries, because it doesn't specify where extraterrestial species would fit in, and it depends on features of species that would be hard to observe in the case of extraterrestial species.

Well, either that or you're special pleading, and making demands of planetary classification that the scientific community would not normally make of a classification system.

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | about 6 years ago | (#24179229)

I don't really have a horse in this race, but you might like to know that Linnaean classification isn't a good example for your argument. It's been heavily modified since Linnaeus, and parts of it have in fact been abandoned for some applications, like the angiosperms (APG II is a lot more useful, generally).

Linnaeus's system in Systema Naturae [wikipedia.org] had three kingdoms; animal, plant, and "mineral".

Also amusing is that his taxonomy was not meant to reflect evolution (obviously), and that he believed he was cataloging God's creation. This is kind of similar to the way our idea of a "planet" came from a religious view of the cosmos (the really bright stars that don't follow the other stars).

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#24178121)

Plus, plutoid has a good ring to it.

I don't know, to me sounds like something you take medication for.
     

Re:plutoid... I like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178277)

Plus, plutoid has a good ring to it.

I don't know, to me sounds like something you take medication for.

To me it sounds like something you'd apply medication to. To your ring.

I think it's stupid. (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | about 6 years ago | (#24178135)

The definition has no scientific usefullness. I have no problem with creating taxonomies purely for local use, but they should at least tell you something about the objects you are classifying. Plutinos, cubiwanos, twotinos, are all usefull categorizations of objects by their orbits in the Kuiper belt, which is likely correlated to their orgins. Dwarf planet is a usefull categorization of things bigger than an asteroid, but smaller than a planet.

Plutinoid is just stupid - all the dwarf planets except Ceres. Yes, I know that Ceres has different orgins and makeup than the large KBOs, but there is an awful lot of variation between those as well. If we wanted a more specific definition than dwarf planet then we should have waited until we knew more about them so we could make one that has some meaning.

Depends. (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#24178289)

Depends on what you mean by similar, for a start. I would not define a planet according to where it happens to be in the solar system, but rather according to composition, structure and mass, as these are things which we know for a fact to distinguish planets from asteroids (eg: asteroids have no core) and planets from comets (eg: comets have multiple cores). I would define a new class for objects for which insufficient data existed to produce a firm classification, but that is it.

Why does it matter? Well, think back a few days to the recent news on the DNA analysis of birds. Turns out, the definition based on appearances is completely wrong. What was it, kestrels are genetically closer to hummingbirds than any other bird of prey? And the DNA variation between any two lineages within a species has next to zero correspondence to morphology. In other words, looking at something from the outside tells you bugger all. So, naturally, looking at the outside of an object orbiting the sun is the perfect way to tell what it is. It's only a method every other discipline has now ruled to be faulty, after all.

Re:Depends. (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#24178619)

You also have to keep in mind how hard it is to observe something on the inside. Earth is the only planemo (object massive enough to deform into a spherical shape) for which we understand the internal composition pretty well. I believe we have a good idea of a considerable number of planemos that have liquid somewhere in the interior. In addition, whatever definition we come up with in the Solar System has to be applicable to other star systems. Basing it on internal structure (especially when we don't have a good classification of said internal structure), is going to mean that many star systems will have "possible planets" for ridiculous periods of time.

Re:Depends. (2, Informative)

daemonburrito (1026186) | about 6 years ago | (#24178801)

Slighly OT, but here's a link to an google engEDU talk [google.com] on the subject of taxonomies, by the author of "Everything is Miscellaneous". True believers in "tags" (metadata) may be familiar with some of the ideas. Early (first couple of minutes) on he makes some amusing observations of the Pluto controversy. I didn't completely agree with his view, but his argument is illuminating.

I can't remember if the video touches on this specifically, but the discussion reminds me of the ascendancy of cladistics [wikipedia.org] in biology. In a sense, all taxonomies are ultimately local.

(The stuff about Melvil Dewey later on in the video is hilarious and worth a watch too)

Except these have no DNA (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#24178811)

Except:

1. Even for birds, there are classifications which are useful even if they don't reflect the DNA. E.g., a "bird of prey" or "flightless bird" are still useful categories, no matter to whom the individual species are related.

Basically a category is just a way to say "all these have property X", no matter what X is or in what other categories they also belong. Grouping them by DNA is just _one_ of the many possible groupings. It's useful, no doubt, but it's not the only useful one. It doesn't make all others faulty. No, even the ones based on looking from the outside. Sorry.

I fail to see why the same can't apply to planets. We already have such categories as being in the right band to have liquid water too, for example. It tells you bugger all about its interior, but it does tell you that the exterior _could_ support Earth-like life. It's a useful category. Even if it's based on where it happens to be.

2. These have no DNA so to speak. They're chunks of rock and ice.

And a lot of other stuff is pretty much based on how big they are and where they are. E.g., whether it has one core or no core or multiple cores, is pretty much just an issue of how big it is. If gravity was high enough, it pulled the heavy stuff towards the centre. If not, not.

Re:Depends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24179445)

and planets from comets (eg: comets have multiple cores).

And what of Quad-cores?

Re:plutoid... I like it (1)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#24178577)

Pluto being a planet with similar objects not being a planet was not really scientific.

And a dwarf planet not being a planet is scientific?

Or the fact that the use of the 'The Sun' in the definition means extra solar planets don't count if the definition is taken literally.

MakeInstall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24177813)

If there's a planet called InstallInstall, the entire universe can be recreated. From scratch. :D

Re:MakeInstall (2, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 6 years ago | (#24177923)

root@Universe# sudo make kuiper_belt_object
- Object "juiper_belt_object" not found! [damn it!]
root@Universe# sudo make Kuiper_Belt_Object_136472_2005_FY9
**Output omitted**
**FATAL ERROR! Universe OS GCC cannot make executables! [Double damn it!]
root@Universe#_

Shit! In the interest of time, I would just reload the whole universe from scratch rather than hunt down that demon!

Re:MakeInstall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178483)

Why do you 'sudo' when you are already root?

Re:MakeInstall (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 6 years ago | (#24179353)

Don't you think the Universe requires some extra protection?

Re:MakeInstall (0, Redundant)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | about 6 years ago | (#24178127)

You'd also want a Configureconfigure.

Just saying.

Re:MakeInstall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178839)

Lame.

But... (3, Funny)

doom (14564) | about 6 years ago | (#24177831)

Shouldn't it be named Module::Build?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24177947)

S:\depot\experiment> msbuild /t:Universe

Re:But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178275)

How about makemakeinstall?

Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (5, Informative)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#24177841)

Sorry I didn't include this in the submission, but Michael E. Brown [mikebrownsplanets.com] , the leader of the discovery teams of Makemake and Eris, wrote a blog entry about his experience picking a name for the object. It's supposed to be pronounced "maki-maki," Hawaiian-style as he calls it. He likes to name objects discovered around the time his wife was pregnant after fertility gods and goddesses. You might remember "lila," his child's name, being in the URL of the Eris discovery announcement web page.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 years ago | (#24177985)

Great, a flake is in charge of naming, just as I suspected. "Makemake"? Come on...what a dumb name. Oh, but you're supposed to pronounce it differently than "make" twice. Yeah right, like anyone is going to do that.

I really wish that scientists would be professional. "Easterbunny"? Let me guess, his kid loves the Easter bunny. This is the equivalent of making your own magazine so that you can be the cover model every month.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178157)

Mike Brown is an awesome professor at Caltech. He's an outstanding teacher, having won a teaching award in the past, and is very popular with the students. Hardly a flake. Way to judge on the basis of a name. You don't like it, go find your own planets.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (0, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 years ago | (#24178793)

So what? The Ph.D's at my mom's job send her email hoaxes and viruses all the time. Just because he's a professor doesn't mean he doesn't know how to create non-stupid names. Naming planets after Santa's reindeer? Ugh.

P.S. he didn't "find" the planets, they were already there.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (4, Informative)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#24178199)

It was discovered around Easter. 2003 EL61 is codenamed Santa and its moons are codenamed Rudolph and Blitzen. It was discovered three days after Christmas. Maybe an object discovered in late October would be named "Grim" after the Reaper, but Halloween doesn't have any standard commercial holiday mascot like the others do.

Maybe you're frustrated because of Mars rover operators naming minor landforms around their landing probes things like "lollipop," but these are just placeholder names until they think up better ones.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (4, Informative)

Baricom (763970) | about 6 years ago | (#24178883)

It's supposed to be pronounced "maki-maki," Hawaiian-style as he calls it.

That is definitely not Hawaiian style. (This rant is directed at him, not you.)

In Hawaiian, and many other languages in the Polynesian family, vowels have one main pronunciation. Es are pronounced with an "ay" sound, so the correct "Hawaiian-style" pronunciation would be closer to maKAY-maKAY. In fact, vowels are generally pronounced longer than English, so an even better transcription might be muhKEH-muhKEH.

Also, Hawaiian and Rapanui have common roots, but like all languages, they evolved. "Make" means death or defeat in Hawaiian; "makemake" can mean defeat or desire or wish.

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 6 years ago | (#24179055)

It's pronounced "make - make", the English way, i.e. the way that the Baby Jesus would have said it. You got the part about it being "christened", right?

Re:Leader of the discovery team wrote a blog entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24179437)

He likes to name objects discovered around the time his wife was pregnant after fertility gods and goddesses

As long as they stay away from Dragon Riders of Pern and Lord of the Rings characters, I'm fine with it. In fact, Make Make sounds like Tookie-Tookie from George of the Jungle, so they just helped me discover a new naming range to use.

Screw the IAU rules.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24177847)

I want my planet Easterbunny!!

-j2 ? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 6 years ago | (#24177855)

Can't you just use the -j2 option to run it 2x in parallel?

Please tell me... (-1, Troll)

NerveGas (168686) | about 6 years ago | (#24177865)

That "makemake" is from Japanese or some other language... and that the guy who named it wasn't really just a complete loser.

Re:Please tell me... (3, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#24177899)

Easter Island creation deity. [wikipedia.org]

Nice coincidence... (3, Interesting)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | about 6 years ago | (#24177989)

...that the name for their creation deity as written is automatically read by English speakers as make make. (even though it's pronounced makimaki)

Re:Nice coincidence... (2, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 years ago | (#24178723)

Wow, Makemake a creation deity? That explains why reading Rongorongo is so hard - it is a Polynesian dialect of Perl!

Re:Nice coincidence... (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 6 years ago | (#24178761)

Silly me, when I read the title of the article, I assumed it was about some new open source replacement for Posix make tool, which wouldn't be a bad thing too.

Re:Nice coincidence... (1)

TriggerFin (1122807) | about 6 years ago | (#24179149)

...that the name for their creation deity as written is automatically read by English speakers as make make. (even though it's pronounced makimaki)

Which English speakers? Not me. Though I thought it was some sort of food....

Geez... (3, Informative)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about 6 years ago | (#24177911)

That "makemake" is from Japanese or some other language... and that the guy who named it wasn't really just a complete loser.

Do we need to start telling people to RTFS (Read the Fucking Summary) as well as the usual RTFA now?

C/P directly from the Summary:
"The object was referred to by the team of discoverers by the codename Easterbunny, and the name Makemake comes from the creation deity of Easter Island, in accordance with IAU rules on naming Kuiper belt objects."

Re:Geez... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | about 6 years ago | (#24178263)

Alright. I'm duly shamed.

Re:Geez... (1)

glarbl_blarbl (810253) | about 6 years ago | (#24178283)

Of course, after having read something, one must also comprehend.

Re:Geez... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 6 years ago | (#24178455)

I went on a training training course, to teach people to make better use of training courses. They said the steps are

1) Read
2) Comprehend
3) Update internal stored knowledge

It was very useful. I found before I was missing step 3). Essentially I would write my learnings in a notebook and then go out and get piss drunk which caused my internal stored knowledge to go back to the previous checkpoint.

Totally Tubular (1)

wylderide (933251) | about 6 years ago | (#24177873)

Hey, it's the first dwarf planet that comes with it's own Mike Oldfield theme song -- Neat!

Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#24177905)

Two years ago, I knew how many "planets" our solar system contained. Then a change was made... then changed again... now another. I do not even know the total any more.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (2, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 6 years ago | (#24177957)

42

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

cgdiaz (1199643) | about 6 years ago | (#24177993)

No, that's the wrong question, maybe we can make the question "how many roads must a man cross" or something like that?

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (2, Interesting)

wylderide (933251) | about 6 years ago | (#24178007)

That's the beauty of this new system: Dwarf planets don't count towards the overall total. So it doesn't matter if Sedna, Orcus, Santa, Ixion, Quaoar and so on turn out to be dwarf planets, the number of planets will still be eight. So you won't have to learn anything new.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

S-100 (1295224) | about 6 years ago | (#24178055)

When we're counting humans, don't we also count dwarf humans?

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

wylderide (933251) | about 6 years ago | (#24178109)

Yep. But when we're counting planets we don't count dwarf planets. It's a funny old world. Of course when we're counting humans, we'd rather get the right number than create an artificial distinction such that we have a well known, non-changing, easily remembered number of humans. Personally, I think that as long as it's spherical and orbits the sun, it's a planet and there are however many of them that there are, and we'll discover them as we discover them. But I'm not an astronomer and I don't get a vote.

Let me get my rulebook... (1)

FilterMapReduce (1296509) | about 6 years ago | (#24178177)

When we're counting humans, don't we also count dwarf humans?

Dwarf humans? I am only familiar with elf humans [d20srd.org] and orc humans [d20srd.org] . Or are they in Fourth Edition?

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

kjots (64798) | about 6 years ago | (#24178065)

Two years ago, I knew how many "planets" our solar system contained. Then a change was made... then changed again... now another. I do not even know the total any more.

Life is change. You should probably try to get used to that idea if you have any hopes for happiness.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 6 years ago | (#24178117)

Life is change. You should probably try to get used to that idea if you have any hopes for happiness.

Happiness makes me unhappy!

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178141)

There were nine, now there are eight. If you can't keep track of that, I feel sorry for you.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (5, Insightful)

caviare (830421) | about 6 years ago | (#24178149)

If astronomers couldn't change the number of planets as new information became available, then astronomy would be dogma instead of a science. To me the pluto demotion has been a great illustration of science at work. Educators should be using it as an example of the difference between science and dogma. Mistake made, mistake corrected.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (3, Insightful)

iwein (561027) | about 6 years ago | (#24178463)

I agree with the principle of dogma vs. science, but I don't think this is the best example. It doesn't do well for credibility if you keep changing your mind based on unstable definitions and pretend it to be news each time you've tweaked one of them.

There is no particular scientific benefit in calling something either a planetoid or a dwarf planet. It's all a matter of opinion it seems to me. So I understand the annoyance.

Science instead of dogma, huh? (3, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | about 6 years ago | (#24179039)

There is no "mistake" to be made in choosing between two essentially arbitrary definitions which have no basis in external reality. Nothing has changed about Pluto. Nothing of substance has changed of our understanding of Pluto. (It is not like our understanding of biology, where new DNA evidence comes to light and two organisms we had previously assumed to be related becaused they looked similar turn out to have no recent common ancestry.)

The only thing which has changed is our arbitrary definitions.

There is a great hue and cry that one way to arbitrarily define things is not merely customary but that it is Correct and that all other forms are Unscientific. That, my friend, is dogma in its purest form.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 years ago | (#24179351)

If astronomers couldn't change the number of planets as new information became available, then astronomy would be dogma instead of a science.

This isn't dogma vs science.

To me the pluto demotion has been a great illustration of science at work. Educators should be using it as an example of the difference between science and dogma. Mistake made, mistake corrected.

What mistake? The IAU had a vague traditional definition of planet that really didn't set any hard boundaries, except that they be 'special' (vis a vis asteroids). Suddenly we went from adding a new 'planet' every few hundred years or so to having a whole bunch show up all at once, and for aesthetic reasons (AESTHETIC NOT SCIENTIFIC!!) deciding to narrow down the definition rather than add a big pile of new 'planets', that probably belonged in their own category anyway. So they come up with a defintion, and 'planet' Pluto isn't in it.

So Pluto's reclassification isn't realy a "correction"; its more like arguing how big a mountain has to be, picking a number, and then then going around the country side making a big fuss about renaming a bunch of "Mount such-and-such" as "such-and-such Hill" and vice versa.

That's not a triumph of science. That's a triumph of stupidity.

Re:Why can't they just leave shit alone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178245)

That's okay, you've just joined the masses who never knew in the first place.

All a planet is... is a rock (1)

patio11 (857072) | about 6 years ago | (#24178963)

The number of rocks in the solar system doesn't change, no matter what the scientists call them. (Well, I suppose some little rocks are flying in an out on a frequent basis, and sometimes they congeal into bigger rocks or fall into the sun, but those are mostly rocks we don't care about. As opposed to, well, rocks that we care about because they're traditionally the rocks we have cared about.)

Personally, I don't much care what they call them. At least when they're debating about what to call them they can't simultaneously spend half a billion dollars to go examine their rockness up close. (Hint: the sum toto of the results to every NASA mission ever made to another rock is "Yep, its a rock, alright. A bit different than that wet rock we spend most of our time on, but still quite rocky. We need another $500 million to probe its rockness further.")

mkay (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 6 years ago | (#24177999)

greatgreat

why the dumbification? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178023)

I prefer (136472) 2005 FY9

Poo Poo? (1)

Cur8or (1220818) | about 6 years ago | (#24178077)

This is the second worse name in the Solar system. I vote to rename Uranus to Urectum while we're at it.

The Burger King Loaded Steakhouse Burger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178243)

Did the leader of the team have a Burger King Loaded Steakhouse Burger after he found the plutoid.

Deploy the space cannon! (1)

agent (7471) | about 6 years ago | (#24178279)

"OK, so one morning, Mickey wakes up and looks outside. He sees "Mickey Sucks" written in urine. Mickey calls the police and they say they have bad news and they have worse news. The bad news is that the urine is Pluto's. The worse news is that it's Minnie's handwriting."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112056/quotes [imdb.com]

Re:Deploy the space cannon! (1)

iwein (561027) | about 6 years ago | (#24178433)

hehe, you just made me snicker sir.

Makemake and the Easterbunny?? (0, Troll)

iwein (561027) | about 6 years ago | (#24178417)

Seriously... is this a joke? What happened to the times that we named planets after gods? Oh wait.

Correct pronunciation (2, Informative)

Unfocused (723787) | about 6 years ago | (#24178467)

For those that understand IPA, the correct pronunciation is: /ma:kima:ki/

Re:Correct pronunciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178679)

And for those who don't, it's: mucky mucky

Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24178885)

Anyone else get a Church of Scientology ad with this article? It was very odd... (that it exists, the ad itself is fairly plain)
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