John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Celestial Plutoids? Shoulda Used Preparation P


Scientifically, there really is no question [that Pluto should be reclassified]. Either Pluto is not a planet, or many other things are planets. Which is a better choice? I want my planets to be more special, not less special, so I favor Pluto not being a planet.”

California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown, 2004

Delisted from the pantheon of celestial bodies back in 2006 for its weaker than expected planethood, and then pronounced second best to Eris, its recently discovered neighbor, Pluto is no longer the solar system’s bastard stepchild. Yesterday, the International Astronomical Union, which struck Pluto from the planetary rolls, decreed that all “transneptunian dwarf planets similar to Pluto” will henceforth be called “Plutoids.” Pluto shares the designation with Eris, the only other … non-planet to meet the IAU’s criteria for Plutoidenism.

The IAU clearly views the new classification as an honor for the humbled Pluto, but to Plutevangelists it’s just one more insult. “It’s just some people in a smoke-filled room who dreamed it up,” Alan Stern, a former NASA space sciences chief and principal investigator on a mission to Pluto, told the Associated Press. “Plutoids or hemorrhoids, whatever they call it. This is irrelevant.”

Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik