The decision at a conference of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries was a dramatic shift from just a week ago, when the group's leaders floated a proposal that would have reaffirmed Pluto's planetary status and made planets of its largest moon and two other objects.See what I mean? Just as gay marriage has sapped the soul of marriage, so has this latest planetary renaming, an obvious plot by immoral, tree-hugging atheists.
That plan proved highly unpopular, splitting astronomers into factions and triggering days of sometimes combative debate that led to Pluto's undoing.
Now, two of the objects that at one point were cruising toward possible full-fledged planethood will join Pluto as dwarfs: the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted, and 2003 UB313, an icy object slightly larger than Pluto whose discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, has nicknamed "Xena."
Charon, the largest of Pluto's three moons, is no longer under consideration for any special designation.
Brown was pleased by the decision. He had argued that Pluto and similar bodies didn't deserve planet status, saying that would "take the magic out of the solar system."
In other redefinitional news, NCAA football changed a timing rule to shorten the game.
The Huskies spent a significant portion of the scrimmage practicing their two-minute offense, in part to get a handle on new NCAA rules mandating when the clock will start following a change of possession. Previously, the clock didn't start until the ball was snapped. Now, the clock will start when the official gives the "ready for play" signal.Blame gay marriage again, for fostering a climate of moral and chronological relativism and refericial activism.
"It changes a lot," said UW quarterback Isaiah Stanback.
It could have its most impact late in games. Say the Huskies are behind in the late going — not a far-fetched scenario — and their defense creates a turnover. Under the old rules, the offense would have a few seconds to gather itself and call a play, not having to worry about the clock. Now, the offense will have to get organized as quickly as possible since the official will start the clock at his discretion.