Plutonian Ode: The Triumph of the Apocalyptics

Oh my god, the right-wing nutballs predicting apocalypse this week were absolutely right after all!  (Say on, brother! Lord have mercy! Fire and brimstone! Ghost riders in the sky!) The planet WAS destroyed, in one great, all-obliterating, unexpected blow!

True, the planet was Pluto -- stripped of its rank in the solar system today by the Internationa
l Astronomical Union -- and yes, the prediction was off by two days...but only a godless cynic would split infinitesimal hairs like that, when God His Own Self has so ringingly confirmed the credibility, veracity and sanity of his prophets.

Let no liberal Persian-lover mock Bernard Lewis as a panicky fantasist now! Let none say CNN-touted "expert" Robert Spencer is a lunatic-fringe loon who in a civilized society would have been relegated to the cool mud under a warm rock now! They said there'd be apocalypse this week -- and now a planet is no more. What else do you want? It's obvious that we should follow the policy prescriptions of these divinely-inspired guides. Tehran delenda est! Tehran delenda est!

(Nutball links courtesy of Bob Harris, via This Modern World.)

Astronomers Decide Pluto Is Not a Planet (AP)
Excerpts: Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight. After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is -- and isn't -- a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one....

The decision by the prestigious international group spells out the basic tests that celestial objects will have to meet before they can be considered for admission to the elite cosmic club. For now, membership will be restricted to the eight ''classical'' planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: ''a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.'' Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of ''dwarf planets,'' similar to what long have been termed ''minor planets.'' The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun -- ''small solar system bodies,'' a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites.