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New Mexico Might Declare Pluto a Planet

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the dwarf-schwmarf dept.

Space 328

pease1 writes "Wired and others are reporting that for New Mexico, the fight for Pluto is not over. Seven months after the International Astronomical Union downgraded the distant heavenly body to a 'dwarf planet,' a state representative in New Mexico aims to give the snubbed world back some of its respect. State lawmakers will vote Tuesday on a bill that proposes that 'as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet.' The lawmaker who introduced the measure represents the county in which Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto's discoverer, was born. For many of us old timers, and those who had the honor of meeting Clyde, this just causes a belly laugh and is pure fun. Not to mention a bit of poking a stick in the eye."

cancel ×

328 comments

Fine (5, Funny)

Cyraan (840132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308706)

"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

Well fine, I'm gonna start my own Pluto-recognizing state, with blackjack, and hookers!
In fact, forget the state, and the blackjack.

Re:Fine (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308840)

Well fine, I'm gonna start my own Pluto-recognizing state, with blackjack, and hookers!
In fact, forget the state, and the blackjack.

So just Pluto-recognizing hookers?

Re:Fine (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308896)

Are there any other kind?

Re:Fine (5, Funny)

Krupuk (978265) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309002)

Hookers who recognize other planets, like... Uranus?

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309336)

In 2620, hookers will rename Uranus to end that stupid joke once and for all. It will be called Urectum.

Re:Fine (2, Funny)

osgeek (239988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309018)

too... many... uranus... jokes... in... mind... must... refrain...

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309064)

Ummm... Uranus recognizing hookers?

Re:Fine (2, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308844)

I never stopped considering Pluto a planet; the new definition is no more attractive than the previous hand-waving, and frankly, I like my definition better anyway:

If it orbits a star, and has characteristics such that the main mass has formed a sphere or oblate spheroid and it will remain that way barring impact with something, it's a planet. If it orbits a star but will not form a sphere, it's a comet or asteroid, depending on composition (ablative or not, respectively.) If it orbits a planet, it's a moon, regardless of other characteristics. If it is not orbiting a planet or a star, it is a free object; e.g. a free planet, a free asteroid, a free comet. If it is undergoing fusion, it is a star; if the fusion fire was lit, but is now out, we have a dead star, the rest of the usual classifications for the various types of stars apply as per usual.

Think about the known solar system in those terms. Does that not put everything in its place in a reasonable fashion, without disturbing our previous understandings?

Re:Fine (5, Insightful)

Time_Ngler (564671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308934)

Wouldn't marbles released into space far enough away from a planet to orbit a star fall under your classification as planets?

Re:Fine (2, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309156)

No, because marbles didn't (and wouldn't) naturally form themselves into spheres in space. I'd just call them "artificial debris."

There are lots more things, but most are pretty much unchanged - only the debate about what a planet is has really been stirring things up. For instance, if an object was formed by intelligent beings rather than nature, then it gets prefixed with "artificial." I also like "planetesimal" for planets too small to walk on, "planetoid" for planets that are very low mass (specifically, if you can jump off it and reach escape velocity, it's a planetoid), James Blish's "gas giant" for planets that are gaseous and transition from a gas to a solid of the same material at some depth based upon pressure, "spacecraft" for anything that was under its own power or let go inertially from something else under its own power, "satellite" for artificial moons, and "debris" for anything in space that that intelligence is responsible for, that doesn't currently perform some useful function.

Re:Fine (2, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309312)

What do you think planets are made out of, debris.

Re:Fine (3, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309400)

What do you think planets are made out of, debris

In my view, debris is the result of the actions of intelligence, so no, planets aren't made of debris. They are generally made of materials condensed out of a stellar (or proto-stellar) accretion disk, or otherwise naturally found in space.

Re:Fine (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309220)

I don't think a good definition can ever be found unless an arbitrary radius is set as the standard. It is a continuum and the laws of physics don't have any natural or obvious boundary between "planet" and "asteroid". There are big rocks, medium rocks, small rocks, and everything in between.

I was thinking that a liquid core could be a deciding factor, but that can change over time as a body cools, and hard to measure from the outside.
       

Re:Fine (1)

GuidoW (844172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309300)

Maybe that part of the definition should be changed to "it is massive enough that its own mass forces it into the form of a sphere or something close to that".

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308954)

Yes... You should run for senate representative.

Re:Fine (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309108)

I believe the main problem with that is that there could be more than 1,000 of them in the solar system. Not so useful for popular use then anymore, and that's the main use of the word.

Re:Fine (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309330)

I believe the main problem with that is that there could be more than 1,000 of them in the solar system.

I guess my first reaction is, where did you get that number? We have 11 or so major planets, collectively they have a fair number of moons; once you remove those from the count, what and where are the other naturally formed spheres or oblate spheroids? Secondly... I'm not sure I have a problem with them being planets in any case, but as I am unaware of them, and I'm kind of a space bug, I don't see that "popular use" is affected. Most people seem to think Pluto was invented by Walt Disney and orbits Mickey Mouse. :-)

Re:Fine (1)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309216)

If it orbits a planet, it's a moon, regardless of other characteristics.


So...the ISS is a moon now?

But... That's no moon. It's a space station.

Re:Fine (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309406)

Go check out Pluto's orbit. It doesnt really look much like any of the other planets.
Its at quite a big angle compared to everything else.

Thats one reason why imho its not a planet.

Is that even possible? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308718)

Doesn't making laws which define what a word means violate the first amendment or something?

Re:Is that even possible? (4, Funny)

Bluey (27101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308734)

That depends on what the meaning of the word "word" is.

Read up on "Freedom Fries" for a good example of redefinition.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308756)

First Amendment is freedom of speech not freedom of definition. If you're arguing about the word "planet" then what's the difference of people calling an SUV a SUV?

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308956)

First Amendment is freedom of speech not freedom of definition.


I know not everyone is a linguist but if you believe this you are mistaken. Freedom of speech and freedom of definition are very intimately linked.

For instance if I say George Bush is a traitor and the government changes the definition of the word such that me saying that becomes libel then they have very effectively limited my freedom of speech.

For this instance if I don't call pluto a planet in some situation that this law decrees I must call pluto a planet then I can be punished and anyone would call such a thing a violation of the first amendment I think. So the only possible thing this law can do is say "pluto is a planet so sayeth New Mexico" and IANAL but a law that doesn't do anything is not really a law.

Re:Is that even possible? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309124)

What the hell are you talking about? How did Pluto become the basis for a Bush slam? You nerds really need to stop that shit. It's been old for about 6 years already.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308802)

I don't really care about Pluto being a planet or whatever. But it's really nice seeing a state pass a law defining something as something else. They're voting a friggin' fact!!

If this is indeed legal, they could cover their asses passing laws stating Teh Internet is a Series Of Tubes, or declaring God a supreme being, nonexistent or even integer. As in Pluto's case, this is moot, since it won't make any difference whatsoever (mmm maybe on our conception of New Mexico legislators, but that's yet to be seen).

Lawmakers should make laws, scientists should make science, with any of those groups stepping as little as possible on the other's territory.

Re:Is that even possible? (4, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308884)

They're voting a friggin' fact!!

No, they're voting a friggin' name. Pluto is a big round ball of matter that orbits the sun at a mind-boggling distance, and no one's questioning that. NM just wants to call it a "planet", which is well within their prerogative. they could also pass a law whereby you would be referred to as "the one who does not understand the law", and that'd be just fine as well.

One of the basic functions of government is naming things. (Don't believe me? Go look at a street sign. And then pick up any package in the grocery store. The words on those things have meaning, essentially, only because the Government says so.)

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309164)

(Don't believe me? Go look at a street sign. And then pick up any package in the grocery store. The words on those things have meaning, essentially, only because the Government says so.)

Bzzt, wrong. The street sign thing may be right, but the package in the grocery store just isn't. The things written there are words of the English language, which is reasonably free from government intervention or definition (language is an evolutionary process). You call potato "potato" because some ancient Anglo-Saxonic tribes (influenced by French and Germanic tribes) converged to this name, not because your government said so.

Bottom line is: they may have this prerogative, but it's completely pointless and a waste of time (and time is money, and money is always tax-payer in govt case).

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309358)

The street sign thing may be right, but the package in the grocery store just isn't. The things written there are words of the English language, which is reasonably free from government intervention or definition (language is an evolutionary process). You call potato "potato" because some ancient Anglo-Saxonic tribes (influenced by French and Germanic tribes) converged to this name, not because your government said so.
Actually, government does intervene in the naming of products and foods. For example, certain kind of hams must be called "pork something" instead of ham if they are not done a certain way.

Re:Is that even possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309428)

I'd guess there is a good reason to classify "ham" and "pork" apart (I'm not native English speaker, so I don't really know why this is necessary). In Pluto's case, there is no perceived advantage in striving to keep the planet status.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309420)

Unless you are French right?

And I mean that in the 'they work hard to keep their language pure' sense, not in the 'it's fun to slam the French' sense.

Re:Is that even possible? (2, Insightful)

maccam94 (840004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308848)

This bill is a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. It is not the place of government (nor religion) to declare something a fact when it contradicts information obtained using the scientific process.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

SeaDour (704727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308924)

But Pluto's definition is not a hard fact we can determine through trial and error, it's just a name. We could call Pluto and the other small spherical objects in our solar system "cosmic peanuts" but that wouldn't change any of their properties. The International Astronomical Union VOTED on it at their last conference -- it's not something they really "discovered" by staring through their telescopes for a long time -- and the new "dwarf planet" term has received quite a bit of criticism from people all over the scientific community. For example, their choice of words is pretty vague: if a "dwarf human" is still a human, why is a "dwarf planet" not also a planet?

Re:Is that even possible? (2, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308960)

Heck, by the "as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet" definition, pretty much everything up there is a planet...the moon, the stars, some comets, satellites...the international space station...just about everything but the sun, I guess...

Actually it's time-dependent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309130)

Teacher: When is Pluto a planet today?
Student: Today from Albuquerque Pluto is overhead between 2:28am and 1:00pm. It's night before 7:23am and after 7:10pm. Answer: 2:28am-7:23am and 7:10pm-midnight.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309074)

That's really the gist of it. The name is arbitrary. The properties that Pluto posseses are not being changed by law. Granted, changing the classification of an object arbitrarily is not good, the classification of "planet" (and many other cosmic objects) isn't well defined to begin with. Frankly, this isn't really news (not that it's a surprise anymore. /. rarely reports news anymore) and proves how dumb politicians and scientists can be. Until I see a set a detailed rules on the classifications and names of celestial objects, they can call Pluto "a flying space rock that's different from the other rocks" and it wouldn't make a difference.

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309198)

This bill is a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. It is not the place of government (nor religion) to declare something a fact when it contradicts information obtained using the scientific process.

Oh no, this is exactly what you want legislators to do. Nothing. Remember the Douglas Adams' catchphrase "mostly harmless". We'd like to keep the legislators that way, thank you very much. Give them more time and then they're messing with the budget, your rights, the interns...

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308862)

I don't think it violates the first amendment, (gee teenagers coming up with lols and brbs// ./'s coming up with IANALs would have been prosecuted by now)

However I wonder if they will make sedna a planet too. Sedna is bigger than Pluto. -- Or how about the many moons of jupiter, some of them are bigger than pluto as well. Do they get planetship?

Similar & related:
Arkansas House passes resolution changing possessive of state's name to "Arkansas's" [signonsandiego.com]

Re:Is that even possible? (2, Insightful)

giminy (94188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309150)

Actually it reinforces the first ammendment in a way which the first ammendment does not need, and as such could be seen as weakening the first ammendment, yes.

The first ammendment states that noone can interfere with anyone calling Pluto anything they want, including a cartoon dog. If the state legislature decided that calling Pluto a Dwarf Planet violated the state constitution, that in turn would violate the US Constitution because as a New Mexico and a US Citizen, I would simultaneously be restricted from saying, "Pluto is a Dwarf Planet" (under NM law) and allowed to say it (under US law).

They are setting a precedent of slipperiness here. By defining Pluto in terms of what citizens are allowed to call it, they actually introduce the notion/thought/possible (mis)understanding of their state contitution that says citizens are only allowed to define objects in a way that the state legislature permits. The law is unnecessary in the same way that any anti-discrimination law (should be) unecessary -- non-discrimination is already protected as an interpretation of the consitution. The law, by leaving some groups out (e.g. hemaphroditic pagans), can actually weaken the original intent of the consitution, because the law introduces the idea that the consitution should not be interpretated to include those groups. Laws like this can provide a de facto interpretation of the intent of the constitution.

As a bizarre example, if I were to draft a contract in New Mexico now that had the words "Pluto, a dwarf planet," in it, and actually got someone to sign it, I could probably claim the contract void after the state legislator does their magic. So while a funny addition to the New Mexico lawbooks, the legislators should actually be extremely careful in how they write the law. In all honesty, they made the news and should probably just drop the law at this point, before they do something stupid (or waste hundreds of hours researching similar laws and avoiding the pitfalls that they made).

Or so a lawyer would argue, of which I am not one. Fortunately, hypothetical arguments are still protected in both the US and the sovereign state of California, so I'm okay...

okay, where is the foot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308728)

what to say more?

Pluto (1)

Chris1051 (1059580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308732)

Doesn't this idiot have anything better to do - like work on laws that benefit humans on earth? Or are apart of his realm of responsibility? Leave all the planet business to the IAU.

Re:Pluto (1)

volcanopele (537152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309076)

The NH legislature can't do any worse than the IAU. Dwarf Planet? Small Solar System Body? I'm sorry, you can't convince me that this resolution is more ridiculous than what the IAU came up with.

Re:Pluto (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309112)

Most state representatives are not professional politicians. They do their service at the statehouse for a few months out of the year, and for the rest of their time, they have a real job. It takes five minutes of this representative's time to write this bill, and another minute of their legislature's time to vote for it (most state legislatures handle their voting instantly rather than having protracted voting times like Congress does) to honor an astronomer from their state, so I don't see a problem.

Re:Pluto (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309342)

Doesn't this idiot have anything better to do?

Obviously, you've never been to New Mexico ;-)

Pfft, this move is pure self-preservation. (5, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308740)

They're just arguing on a slippery slope fallacy. First Pluto is stripped of its title, and before we know it, there will only be one Mexico again.

Hurrah for New Mexico! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308744)

Don't submit to the international fascist conspiracy! Pluto IS a planet!

Re:Hurrah for New Mexico! (2, Funny)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308792)

Xena for planet!

Petition your local representative for more planets and bigger telescopes, so all your favorite people can have a planet named after them.

What a meaningful use of taxpayer money. (0)

Molecular Mechanic (677132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308746)

Idiocy.

Great (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308754)

And I suppose that state representative is getting a salary for employing her time in such a productive way.

Well, at least it keeps her out of the streets, I guess.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308778)

Well, at least it keeps her out of the streets, I guess.

I wouldn't be so sure of that; She is a politician after all. It's in her nature to whore herself out.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308906)

Funny, I thought the same thing of the scientists who demoted Pluto in the first place.
Don't they have anything better to do with their funding than argue over silly things?
Or are they just embarassed that after years of finding extrasolar planets that they missed so many in our own solar system?

Keeps them out of the streets I guess.

Why don't they just get off their duffs and send more probes out that way? It took decades for them to send ONE. After they gave up on Voyager 2.

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309258)

A large part of science is categorization, putting together like objects and phenomona, aiding researchers in narrowing things down. With the discovery that Pluto is one among many like bodies, we either have to admit into the planetary family dozens if not hundreds of such bodies, or we have to say that, whatever emotional attachments some might have to this particular body, it isn't a planet. Science is supposed to be dispassionate, so it can't consider that some legislator in New Mexico might get pissed off at a perceived slight to his state. In science, the rule is "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck", even if the locals have been calling it a emperor penguin for years.

arrrrr? (5, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308760)

It be declared a planet.

Given the relative scarcity of larger bodies of water there, I did not realize that New Mexico had any pirates at all, let alone some in the legislature. Good work!

Also, pi = 4. Or maybe 3.2. The government has spoken, let it be written!

Re:arrrrr? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308824)

If the party says 2+2=5, then it does. Or maybe they say 2+2=3. Or sometimes it even equals 5. Or all three at the same time...

Grade School Math lesson... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309264)

Also, pi = 4. Or maybe 3.2. The government has spoken, let it be written!

3.14159... etc rounds down to 3.1416, or 3.142, or 2.14, or 3.1, or 3.... Remeber, five or more, round up... Less then five round down....

And this is goverment we are talking about here... "Pi = 3 and a bit"...

Absurd (4, Insightful)

dduardo (592868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308766)

I don't like the fact that scientists say the world is round so I'm going to petition my local government to enact legislation to make the world flat. Does that sound right?

Re:Absurd (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308818)

Not just absurd, it's crazy. They disregard what the scientific community has said and make up their own definition "just because"? They are politicians and should stick to that.. Sadly, this isn't exactly the first we've seen of blatant disregard of the scientific community by politicians..

Re:Absurd (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309104)

petition my local government to enact legislation to make the world flat. Does that sound right?

If you have enough nukes, you can bring it about.
     

Co3k (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308782)

Hobby. It was all be 'very poorly Baby take my encountered while part of GNNA if 7hey're gone Came us the courtesy volatile world of

Who cares (3, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308784)

Is it really that big of a deal that they want to pass this to honor the person that found Pluto? A link to the Memorial Text [state.nm.us] . This probably won't cost the state much money so let it be.

Re:Who cares (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308994)

honouring is not the problem.

The big issue is that he is honoured for the wrong thing.

When Pluto was found it was the first *ever* Kuiper Belt object to be observed by mankind. A serious achievement, and a notable step in the evolution of astronomy.

Alas this real achievement has been mired in argument for decades, because people want Pluto to be something it isn't.

Re:Who cares (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309056)

Actually, I don't have a problem with the bill if they were to strike the "Pluto is a planet" thing. As you point out, it's a short bill, and doesn't call for any money to be spent. Here's the bit I have a problem with (in bold):

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature.

If you remove the stuff in bold, and just let this bill be about declaring March 13 2007 as "Pluto Planet Day" then I'm okay with it. But trying to declare Pluto is a planet just because they are legislators seems excessive, and borders on the "don't talk about evolution" thing from the Kansas board of education a while back.

Stop listening to scientists! (4, Insightful)

openaddy (852404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308798)

I mean, really. Who would know more about astronomy? Astronomists? Or Representative Joni Marie Gutierrez, Landscape Architect? Let's just let her and her colleagues sort out stem cell research and evolution and global warming and blah blah.. I don't want to have to think about it. :P

Re:Stop listening to scientists! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308826)

Who would know more about astronomy? Astronomists?

No, that's not it. Professional astronomy scientists are called astrologers.

Re:Stop listening to scientists! (2, Insightful)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309190)

I hope you're joking, but in case you're not, someone who studies astronomy is an astronomer. Astrologers are people who study the pseudoscience of astrology.

Re:Stop listening to scientists! (4, Funny)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308980)

Representative Joni Marie Gutierrez, Landscape Architect

I see a possible vested interest here. Pluto = planet = greater chance of manned mission = greater chance of human colonisation = opportunities galore for landscape architects. (I hear Pluto is in a very secluded location, but could benefit from some remodelling, and possibly an ornamental pond or two).

I'm glad ro see all of New Mexico's problems.... (1, Troll)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308810)

...have been solved and they have time for important declarations such as this.

Well, if the Tomato isn't a fruit then ??? (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308832)

1) Argue with scientists
2) Pass a law declaring victory
3) ???
4) PROFIT!!!

Legally speaking, at one time tomatoes were not considered fruits.

Brilliant Idea! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308834)

Next they should outlaw disease. Just imagine the healthcare savings.

Definiton of a Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18308854)

Sometime ago I wrote http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=45872 [bautforum.com] and I will write it here again.

Planet: A small, diminutive, little, miniature, minuscule, minute, petite, tiny, wee, dwarf object compared with the Sun.

In other news. . . (4, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308876)

Illinois to vote on a bill to define pi as 22/7.

Oklahoma's legislature to say that eclipses really are dragons eating the moon.

North Carolina is considering a bill to re-instate earth, water, air, and fire as elements.

Re:In other news. . . (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308928)

What, no heart? Why does heart always get dissed?

Re:In other news. . . (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308974)

No, no, not Heart, Earth, Wind and Fire! :)

Re:In other news. . . (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309026)

And Kansas to declare that Humans were created by a divine diety.

Waitaminute...

Slow News Day... (0)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308902)

in the entire state of New Mexico?

The reason for this is obvious: (2, Insightful)

quixoticsycophant (729112) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308912)

Politics. Pandering to the idiot vote. For Astrology believers, the 'downgrading' of Pluto was a slap in the face, provoking those feelings of religious outrage which politicians love to exploit. Millions and millions of voters in New Mexico have some sort of belief in Astrology, ranging from slight interest to passionate conviction. Many of those votes have just been guaranteed to those legislators responsible for this bill.

Being enlightened slashdotters, most of us have little appreciation for how stupid people really are. I am here to say that yes, they are that stupid.

Re:The reason for this is obvious: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309196)

Tough luck finding millions of millions of voters in New Mexico, we don't even have 2 yet.

Re:The reason for this is obvious: (1)

cryocide (947909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309248)

Millions and millions of voters in New Mexico

Don't you mean million and million? The population of New Mexico is only about 1.9 million. I'm not sure what percentage of that census count included (or excluded) people who are eligible to vote.

Pluto and Astrology (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309262)

Isn't astrology a lot older than the discovery of Pluto? In fact, it old enough that the sky no longer matches the astrological symbols.

Planet or not? (3, Funny)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308938)

Can't anyone see? This whole debate was created by Pluto itself as media hype to keep Pluto in the news!

The saddest thing (5, Interesting)

jiawen (693693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18308952)

The saddest thing about all this, to me, is that the legislators probably did this because their constituents demanded it. There are way too many people out there who think that Pluto being declared not a planet is the biggest astronomy story in recent memory. Hints as to the source of gamma ray bursts? Flowing water on Mars? The Hubble's main camera having trouble? Landing a probe on the surface of Titan? More beautiful photography of Saturn than you can shake a stick at? None of those seem to get a grip on the popular consciousness. But Pluto, subject to more anthropomorphizing than any planet should be, somehow gets to be the cute underdog, fighting for its rights against nasty scientists. Blech.

Re:The saddest thing (1, Interesting)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309208)

I take it that 1) You don't live in southern New Mexico 2) Have never been to Las Cruces, NM (Clyde Tombaugh's name is all over the place). If you have or had been, then you would understand.

Tombaugh is a local hero (The "do it yourself" guy that found a planet) to people there and having his discovery "watered down" is akin to going to someone that has three purple hearts and taking them away because of an "oversight".

So, the saddest thing is your complete lack of details as to WHY they want to do this. It is to honor someone.

Sad? (0)

dankenstein355 (995487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309304)

Sad? I'd love to live in a place where legislators did what I demanded.

Oh Come On (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309332)

I know what GRBs are, and I looked at all those Saturn photos. But that doesn't mean I think these people are totally moronic. Maybe for trying to legislate it, but that aside, don't you have at least a little sentimentality for the old system? Now all those times I looked in a telescope at pluto, I have to remind myself that I was just looking at a friggin rock.





It is dumb to try and legislate it though, I suppose.

Uh, schoolbooks? (2, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309048)

Yea, funny and even cute, until you figure that as they look at new science books for state public schools, the state will be more concerned with the books promoting the official state version of the planetary population than they will be with overall quality or cost to the taxpayers.

Re:Uh, schoolbooks? (1)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309136)

I believe most schools just get the new editions of the books they have, regardless of the lack of new materials in them. I don't think this will cause a problem with textbooks other then it saying that Pluto is onlya planet to the government of New Mexico and not the rest of the world (they must feel special).

In other news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309058)

Connecticut has declared Pluto to be a social networking site.

And Ketchup is a vegetable (2, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309094)


which, by the way has more bearing on reality than the semantics of the word "planet".

this is *still* a non-story.

That... that's super. (2, Interesting)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309096)

This is what I see upon looking at the article:

"I'm right and everyone else is wrong! I'm going to believe it MY way, and that's that."

I mean cripes... I wonder how many of them still believe the world is flat? Just because you say that it's true doesn't mean that it is.

Re:That... that's super. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18309238)

No, it's not quite like that. You can't dispute that the Earth is flat because it's demonstrably false.

This is just a matter of semantics, nothing else. A bunch of scientists had a vote and decided to change Pluto's classification. This is no different. I think the time the scientists spent on reclassifying Pluto was an equally large waste of time.

Texas Two-step (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309128)

It would be fun to stand on the border between New Mexico and Texas and hop back and forth over the borderline, thinking "now it's a planet, now it's not. Planet again...."

Re:Texas Two-step (1)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309222)

Awe man, now I have to try this. Only I would say it out loud. I would also laugh histerically. I will also probably get beaten to death by New Mexicans but it would be worth it. I wonder how many people in NM believe agree with this and approve of taxes being used for this "crusade".

Re:Texas Two-step (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309398)

Or we could drive into the middle of town, roll down the windows, and shout "asteroid! asteroid! asteroid!" and then drive like a bat out of Pluto, I mean hell.

Meanwhile... (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309138)

in related "matter of semantics" stories..., Mexico might declare "New Mexico" a trademark violation.

One simple reason for this (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309162)

Clyde Tombaugh.

He found Pluto at a time when detecting planets was done with glass plate negatives and telescopes that were manually driven. He knew he was looking for a planet but where to find it was a matter of subjective debate. But he was the consummate scientist; as his wife noted after the demotion of Pluto, he would have been disappointed but he would have understood.

Thank you New Mexico (5, Interesting)

volcanopele (537152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309202)

I, for one, like this resolution. The IAU decision last year consisted of one of the most ridiculous definitions I have ever seen and it is nice to see a legitimate resolution being offered to attack it. There was a resolution last year in the California statehouse, but that read more like a joke, than something more serious like this one. I've emailed my state assemblyman this story so maybe Arizona will do the same thing. After all, this PLANET was discovered using an Arizona telescope. For those who think this is a waste of money, how much money do you think this will cost? This is a symbolic resolution, no appropriations are associated with it. The text looks like it took 10 minutes to write. As commented earlier, this will take about a minute to vote on. So certainly compared to other government wasteful spending, this ranks pretty far down there.

Other applications (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309282)

We can use this new declarative techology to "win" the Iraq war. Cheney's used something similar with his "last throws" speech.

Just wonder if this also would have happened.... (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309328)

...if Pluto was discovered by a Russian.

Re:Just wonder if this also would have happened... (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309382)

In soviet Russia, classifies you!

And in the meantime... (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18309384)

...Alabalma have redefined the value of pi to 3, and French scientists have succeeded in getting to the centre of the earth with a lawnmower!
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