Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Watching The Pluto Files, what struck me wasn't how upset non-scientists got about the "demotion" of Pluto, but the way astronomers, astrophysicists, etc. got all hot and bothered over it.

Whether Pluto is designated a "planet" is completely orthogonal to any practical/technical/scientific issues/research/hypotheses.  Nobody's disagreeing about any non-linguistic facts about Pluto or the "legit" planets.  This is exactly what people mean when they deride some controversy as "mere semantics" (and the opposite of what "semantics" is about).

We swim through this transparent, intangible medium all our lives, but every once in a while it hits us with a compression wave and we wonder - what the hell was that?

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