I Like Planets

Is it just me, or are people making too big of a deal about the definition of the word "planet" these days ? I understand the need for a formal definition, but the level of argument on the subject exceeds what could be considered reasonable or warranted.

"I'm sure this will engender a lot of heated discussion," Boss said by telephone prior to departing for the Czech Republic to cast his ballot. "This is what everyone will be talking about in the coffee shops of Prague for the next few days."

I don't plan on visiting the Czech Republic anytime in the near future, but if I do, I'll already know that the conversations in the coffee shops there are ripe for syndication on prime-time television. Tune in at 8:00 and hear arguments about space rocks first hand.

In case you haven't been paying attention, some people with big telescopes are trying to formalize what can and cannot be called a planet. The best definition they've come up with so far says that a planet is anything that's round and orbits a star. That's not bad, but now we're opening up a can of worms as we find new things we can call planets. This proposal already gives us three additional planets in our solar system, including Pluto's moon Charon, Ceres, and the creatively named 2003 UB313.

After that, you know it's only a matter of time before people with bigger telescopes find more round things orbiting the sun. Then what if someone tosses a gigantic beach ball into space and it starts orbiting ? Will all the school children have to learn about planet #2058544: Anotherdamnbeachball ?

And it's not going to be easy to come up with new acronyms to remember all the planet names. I had a hard enough time remembering "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." Kids twenty years from now will need a cheatsheet a mile long to get all of them down. Think of the children, people. This is crazy.