You thought what I just wrote was it, the only Harper’s March Findings making me feel unstable?
Astronomers called for Pluto and more than one hundred other celestial bodies to be granted planetary status.
Last night I told my sister this. She’d somehow missed the recent demotion of Pluto from Planetary to Space Trash status. (I now see there was only one requirement Pluto did not meet: it had failed to “clear its neighboring region of other objects.” I.e., Pluto was a sloppy housekeeper?)
My sister was pissed off. Pluto was her favorite planet, she said, maybe because of Pluto the Dog.
But back to the call to reinstate Pluto and name more than one hundred other celestial bodies as planets.
Can you name the nine (eight, give or take Pluto) planets we already know about? I probably can but I’m not going to show off here, because the Nine are not the point. The point is…well, two points. First point: how on earth (that’s a pun) will future generations of schoolchildren manage to memorize hundreds of planets?
Point two: where will these names come from? Current planet names are all (except for us, Earth) derived from Roman gods. (I just learned that Uranus was almost named Herschel, after the astronomer who discovered it. Good choice, going with Uranus.) (PS. Another thing I just learned. Herschel worked with his younger sister, Caroline, who was also an astronomer. OK, guy! But I still think Uranus was a better planet name. Unless they thought of naming the planet Caroline.)
Anyhow, are we going to have a Roman god contest to come up with more than a hundred new planet names? I’m feeling this may not be a good idea. The Roman gods have been relatively quiescent for the past, oh, two millennia, so maybe you’ve forgotten that their characters were not the best. As rotten as human beings can be when they feel like being rotten, the gods can outdo them in lousiness every time, and outdo them on a grand scale.
There is no psychopathology, no abject cruelty, no destruction, no war, no wrongdoing the Roman gods rose above. They were, to put it mildly, all criminal sick shits. Oh, and semi-omnipotent.
Moreover, a lot of Roman gods’ and godlets’ names have already been used up for the large number of moons floating around the Nine. To indicate how awkward finding new Roman planetary names could be, you should know that Pluto, the last planet discovered, has a few moons, two of which are named Nix and Styx. Methinks the people who do the naming are running out of names.
One hundred new planets? Will they name them after dry cereals?
I’m not finished with the Harper’s Findings that make me feel loopy.
Engineers created a system to differentiate between popping plastic bags and gunshots.