Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto Demoted!

The Mandarin was saddened to learn that Pluto has been demoted:

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is — and isn't — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

However, all is not lost for Mickey's pal:

[Pluto] will be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what long have been termed "minor planets."

We may have lost a planet, reducing the total in our solar system from nine to to the classical eight, but -- looking at the bright side -- Snow White has gained a dwarf.

How timely! As the Mandarin read recently, "three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Snow White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices."

So, the Mandarin proposes -- to avoid cultural confusion -- we keep the number of Snow White's dwarfs constant at seven, and improve the name recognition of Supreme Court Justices by 50% with one simple step: Pluto will join the Seven Dwarfs, replacing Dopey, at which point Clarence Thomas will officially change his name to Dopey (which the other eight Justices already call him anyway).

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