Pluto no longer running with the big dogs

Status change. Pluto is now considered a “dwarf planet” (part of a new class of objects).Pluto What I learned in school – wrong. Dang.

How did that happen?
Long story short. A bunch of experts met. A small percentage voted. Planets have a new definition. Pluto didn’t make the cut.

Long story longer. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting was held this week in Prague. As Ray Suarez so succinctly put it during a News Hour interview on Thursday:

A group of scientists essentially made the decision for the rest of humanity that Pluto’s not a planet.

When put like that, maybe more than a few hundred should have voted. Don’t you think? Read more from the transcript: Scientists Demote Pluto to ‘Dwarf Planet’

Why is Pluto no longer a planet?
‘Cuz the smart people say so. According to Nature.com:

In the end it was decided that to qualify as a planet in orbit around our Sun, a chunk of rock must have been made round by its own gravity; have cleared its neighbourhood of other debris; and not be a satellite of another planetary body.

This is what happens when you keep putting off the yard work. Read more from the article: Pluto loses planet status

But the debate must be over?
Of course not. Astronomers can be stubborn just like the rest of us and refuse to give up without a fight. BBC News reports:

But the lead scientist on Nasa’s robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it “embarrassing”. And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been “hijacked”.

Got to love words like embarrassing, hijacked, and revolt. Read more of this story:
Pluto vote ‘hijacked’ in revolt

So, I am torn. Sad because Pluto is no longer a major player but excited over the passion scientists display when defending a point. Despite what others may think, geeks are definitely not boring.

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Please, DON’T pass the chips

As I was tweaking the site on yesterday, I listened to “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” (my favorite news program). That’s my thing now. Basically use the television as a radio while I’m on my computer. Anyway, I was following this story about radio frequency identification (RFID). Now, I dig gizmos just as much as the next person so I was thinking this is pretty nifty. It will replace barcodes. You can even use it in ID bracelets and tags. Great. How convenient. Made complete sense up until…

You want to implant this thing under people’s skin? What? Huh? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t care that it’s only the size of a large grain of rice. Still not cool. External tagging is a definite possibility (although some disturbing privacy issues are raised). Having the chip reside inside of me – um, no.

I am such a big fan of the future. I prattle endlessly about Star Trek (the original) and the concept of transporters. Solution must be just around the corner. So, I’ll pass on this implanted chip thing and gladly tell scientists to work on giving me the ability to travel to the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. You know, important stuff.

Read the transcript of this News Hour Science & Technology story:
New Identification Technology Raises Concerns over Privacy

Posted in Eclectic, Geek, In my brain, Mind, Personal, Science, Technology. Comments Off on Please, DON’T pass the chips