Three things, 8/11/06

First, a picture of the sunflower in our garden. Because it’s pretty, that’s why:

Second, a reminder that tomorrow I’ll be at the Mary Ann Mongan Branch of the Kenton County Public Library, In Covington, KY, from 2pm to 4pm. I’ll be talking about science fiction, possibly reading from one or another of my writings, and ranting about alien conspiracies. Because aliens always conspire. It’s what they do. They wouldn’t be aliens if they didn’t. Damn aliens. Anyway, it should be fun.

Third, I’m outta here for the weekend. See you on Monday.

International Astronomical Union to the Pluto Haters: Suck It

Man, this is makes me almost ridiculously happy:

An international panel has unanimously recommended that Pluto retain its title as a planet, and it may be joined by other undersized objects that revolve around the sun.

Yes! Ha! Take that, Rose Center for Earth and Space! You’re wrong! Wrong wrong wrongy wrong wrong! Also, you’re incorrect.

What it appears the IAU panel is also suggesting is something I’ve personally suggested for a while, which is to make formal some informal planet types: Gas planets, terrestrial planets, and a third category Pluto and its ilk, like “dwarf planets.” I think that’s perfectly fine, myself.

Now, the panel’s recommendation apparently has to be approved by the IAU at large, so there’s still a chance the Pluto haters could mount a last-minute attack. But come on! Unanimous recommendation, people. Pluto’s a planet. Just like I knew it would be. Now, all they need to do is give 2003 UB313 a real name and we’ll be good to go.

Update: Live Science’s Robert Roy Britt believes that Pluto will be getting a “polite demotion” if a proposed third category of planets is approved. Hey, Rob Roy! What part of the word “planet” don’t you understand? Huh? Huh? Huh?

(NB: The above was mock outrage.)

A Brief Moment of Recognition for the People Who Comment

You know what, over the last three days here at the Whatever, I’ve posted on two of the most flamey subjects around at the moment — fanfic and Joe Lieberman — and there have been hundreds of posts on these subjects from all sorts of people, who hold a full range of opinions of the subjects. All of the posts have been interesting to read, all of the commenters have been playing well with the others even when they disagree, and at no point has anything come even close to flame war status.

I’m so happy I could just about burst.

This solidifies my long-held opinion that the commenters here on the Whatever are some of the best around: smart, thoughtful people who can have a conversation on a comment thread. Look, I don’t know what I did to deserve you all — in point of fact I probably don’t deserve you — but I’m sure glad you’re all here. The Whatever is a better and complete place for your participation. Thanks.