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"What is the difference between a realist and a dreamer? The realist thinks that someday a UFO will come down and hover over the UN building, and that the aliens will come out of the UFO and offer to share their technology and solve all our world's problems.

The dreamer thinks maybe we can get our act together and do it ourselves."

Russian joke [It's a joke?] cited in William K. Hartmann, A Traveler's Guide to Mars.

30 August 2006

What Pluto Really Is

Please see my current blog (at for this post. It's filed under the same name and date in the Archives.

The material here is being stolen by a cheesy marketer as filler for a linkfarm.


Blogger quixote said...

(I had problems with Haloscan, so these comments were replaced manually. That messed the links up.)

9/20/2006 6:57 PM  
Blogger quixote said...

SeanH's comment:

This attitude is convenient in the short term, but in the long term it has a damaging effect on the language. If we never bother to update English to reflect new knowledge and wisdom, it will become even more confused and full of potholes than it already is. The short-term disruption is worth it to avoid watering down the meanings of our words.

Aug. 31, 2006

9/20/2006 6:59 PM  
Blogger quixote said...

Linda's comment:

The whole affair reminds me of the resistance to the metric system in the United States. People just don't like to be behind the times; I think they dislike losing arguments to their kids. It's pitiful. Then again, I really never learned metric measurements, so I will slink back into my corner now...

Sept. 1, 2006

9/20/2006 6:59 PM  
Blogger quixote said...

Well, yes, Sean and Linda, you've both brought up good points. Ideally, language keeps up with reality. But when there's much emotion involved, as there seems to be with Pluto--(and as there often is with orchids. You think Pluto has caused a storm, you ain't seen nothin yet. Really.)--then everyone can wind up further ahead by taking the cognitive changes more slowly. Eventually the language catches up, but the scientists don't generate resentment that does neither them nor the thing involved any good. "Eventually" sometimes means a few generations. I didn't say the language necessarily catches up fast.... (My personal preference in the Pluto debate was the definition that would have made Ceres, Vesta, and the big one in the Kuiper Belt all planets. And eventually who knows how many more would have joined the group. So what if we have to rewrite the textbooks every few years? Keeps things interesting.)

Sept 2, 2006

9/20/2006 7:01 PM  

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