The Impact of Nine er Eight Planets

The Impact of Nine er Eight Planets

As I’m sure most everyone knows by this point the IAU has officially decided based on an updated definition of “planet” that Pluto can no longer be considered part of this honorable distinction. Rather it is a dwarf planet, the first of its kind. I’m sure Lowell and Tombaugh (Clyde discovered and help name the planet in 1930) are delighted by this new distinction — regardless of what kind of planet it may be.

Scientists ( and in my business — system architects) are fine with creating a definition and sticking with it (define it and move on, perhaps so you can move on). As long as your able to define it, use it, classify it, and extend it all you want, but understand what it is you are talking about first and foremost.

So scientifically speaking - Pluto is no longer a planet — or rather a new kind. But what’s the social impact? New mneumonics (I’ve heard some good ones!) created, books changed, songs and rhymes adjusted. Waking up one morning and finding that millions of things are our of sync with something so foundational as the planets doesn’t happen very often. What’s the impact?

I did some quick searches today ( and just for reference did a little control: As of Aug 26 there are about 56,900,000 for search results on Google for “Britney Spears”. I was worried at first — how could Britney have more entries than a planet??? The world has come to this? But then I kept searching…)

Books

Pluto is mentioned in over 1,883 books on Amazon.com (not counting encyclopedias, etc)

Internet

171,000,000 entries itself plus plus 1,228,000 mentions of 9 planets (From Google.) Thats a lot of places to change! Not to mention all those pictures of planets on the wall at grade school, attached with that funny blue adhesive. And all those planet mobiles hanging around kid’s rooms and more classrooms…and…

Funny how changing a definition can effect so much.

As Al Whitaker was quoted in the NYTimes Friday: “I woke up this morning, and there was one less planet. …I understand that Pluto wants a recount.”

Maybe…but we know where that might lead us!

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Thoughts from Jason Carolan -- Distinguished Engineer @ Sun and Global Systems Engineering Director - http://twitter.com/jtcarolan - http://archmatters.wordpress.com

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