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View Full Version : AAP report on Pluto's status



MG1962A
2006-Aug-24, 09:27 PM
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=125056

With one sentence we have completely re-written the book on orbital mechanics :whistle:

sarongsong
2006-Aug-25, 07:06 AM
'Elementary, Watson!'
"...we have actually expanded the number of planets in our solar system, but just spread them over two categories."...

NEOWatcher
2006-Aug-25, 12:54 PM
'Elementary, Watson!'
Although we have numerous threads on the subject, it sounds appropriate to have this thread devoted to the way the media is portraying the event.

In OP's article alone, I start to get queezy.:sick:

"With one vote, toys and models of the solar system became instantly obsolete" : aargh

"forcing teachers and publishers to scramble to update textbooks and lessons used in classrooms for decades." Scramble? Update, yes, but Scramble? If they taught it right in the first place they wouldn't have to scramble. Growing up, I have always learned that Pluto's status as a planet was questionable.


"Pluto is dead": I've heard this one repeated many times. Pluto's too cold to be anything but dead. I know this fellow was talking in the context of "Pluto [as a planet] is dead", but that's not what the media is doing.

"heated debate among 2,500 scientists": I've seen anywhere from 300 to 2500 in the articles.

And this morning I heard "a small group of scientists got together and decided..." just to make the decision sound more arbitrary.

And last night, the news lead in was that astronomers made a mistake, and there is no planet after all. Details next.

And will the media stop saying it is not a planet? It is a planet, just a different type.

pghnative
2006-Aug-25, 12:59 PM
Because it's not a planet?

I mean, the IAU's offical position is that dwarf planets aren't planets, despite the linguistic conundrum.

NEOWatcher
2006-Aug-25, 01:12 PM
Because it's not a planet?

I mean, the IAU's offical position is that dwarf planets aren't planets, despite the linguistic conundrum.
Ok; I concede that one. Maybe they should have picked a different word. Since it confused me, then there might be at least one other confused person out there.

pghnative
2006-Aug-25, 03:35 PM
Agreed --- adjectives generally modify a noun -- in this case, the adjective supposedly changes the noun's meaning. Perhaps we should sic Gillianren on them.

Gillianren
2006-Aug-25, 06:39 PM
By any reasonable standard, a dwarf planet should be expected to be a planet, yes. "Dwarf" is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns. If they modify the noun in such a way that there's a contradiction (as in dwarf planets apparently not being planets), that's generally an oxymoron and the whole thing should be rewritten. This means that, whether they intended it or not, the result is going to be a lot of teachers who understand the English language but not particularly astronomy are going to consider the dwarf planets to be planets, too, because, well, it says they are. On account of using the word "planet."

sarongsong
2006-Aug-26, 06:34 AM
...the IAU's offical position is that dwarf planets...Isn't that where Snow White's 7 were from?

MG1962A
2006-Aug-26, 01:37 PM
Isn't that where Snow White's 7 were from?


So now it is a Disney conpsiracy?

sarongsong
2006-Aug-27, 12:59 AM
Yup! With this 'demotion', they can pick it up for practically nothing now for their next theme park; PlutoWorld.

hhEb09'1
2006-Aug-27, 01:31 AM
By any reasonable standard, a dwarf planet should be expected to be a planet, yes. "Dwarf" is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns. If they modify the noun in such a way that there's a contradiction (as in dwarf planets apparently not being planets), that's generally an oxymoron and the whole thing should be rewritten. This means that, whether they intended it or not, the result is going to be a lot of teachers who understand the English language but not particularly astronomy are going to consider the dwarf planets to be planets, too, because, well, it says they are. On account of using the word "planet."For many years, Ceres has been considered a minor planet (Brian Marsden, who more or less led the charge against Pluto, has been the director of the Minor Planet Center (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/mpc.html)), without being considered a planet, so there is plenty of precedence for this sort of usage, and no teacher to my knowledge has ever really objected.

It's similar to English constructions like "squashed square" to describe a non-square rectangle or "squeezed circle" to describe a non-circular ellipse.

Kinda like how humans are sometimes described as "intelligent apes". :)

NEOWatcher
2006-Aug-28, 08:33 PM
I think some reporter at a local station just woke up. This article came out today (About 4 days late)
Bye-bye Pluto? The universe has room for change (http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=56148)
Nothing new, mostly perspective.
But I got a kick out of the picture. Someone made a shrine to Pluto.

SeanF
2006-Aug-28, 08:48 PM
I think some reporter at a local station just woke up. This article came out today (About 4 days late)
Bye-bye Pluto? The universe has room for change (http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=56148)
Nothing new, mostly perspective.
But I got a kick out of the picture. Someone made a shrine to Pluto.
From NEOWatcher's link:


Hormone therapy was once thought to protect postmenopausal women from heart disease. The latest studies suggest the opposite is true.
I had no idea that heart disease protected postmenopausal women from hormone therapy! :think: Oh, no, wait. Hormone therapy protects heart disease from postmenopausal women?

;)