Those stupid scientists going and reclassifying Pluto to be a non-planet using things like facts and data and stuff. We’ll show ’em!

The government of Illinois, an an obvious attempt to distract America from Blagojevich’s hair, has declared that Pluto is a planet.

RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that as Pluto passes overhead through Illinois’ night skies, that it be reestablished with full planetary status, and that March 13, 2009 be declared “Pluto Day” in the State of Illinois in honor of the date its discovery was announced in 1930.

Thank heavens — so to speak — Pluto doesn’t pass over any other states. That could propagate a Constitutional crisis.

So what would drive the government of a state to go out of its way to do such a ridiculous thing?

WHEREAS, Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, was born on a farm near the Illinois community of Streator

Oh, right, misplaced local pride. They obviously didn’t planet that way. They should have nixed the whole idea.

But OK then, surely they wouldn’t say anything else that brazenly dumb in the resolution, right?

WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and only American to ever discover a planet; and

Uh, Illinois legislators. Psssst! Americans have discovered hundreds of planets.

  1. sargasso says:

    Those wacky Illinoisanians.

  2. Rob says:

    Sheesh. Let’s forget about science and do whatever we feel is right. Next thing you know some bunch of idiots will be praying to it.

  3. Pluto says:

    Well, you should be praying to me! Or I won’t be nice to you when you show up in Hades.

    I am a god!

  4. grew up in Wisconsin we had an acronym for Illinoisanians (FIBs) the last word implied there parents not married.
    Next thing you know they will say an intelligent designer made it a planet and it has its own talking snake and virgin who has babies.

    I jest we liked most of the folks from Ill.

  5. Mac Guy says:

    #4 – Damn it, you beat me to the FIB comment! I grew up in MKE. 😉

  6. Marc Perkel says:

    Nothing else to do? You mean other than going after Craigslist?

  7. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    You beer-swilling, brat eating cheeseheads have no class. Here in Michigan (the other vacation destination) we call them FIPs.

  8. BubbaRay says:

    Was there a rider that specifies pi=3.0000000?

  9. Randomized says:

    Illinois was just put on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s shit list!

  10. jescott418 says:

    As a Illinois resident I am ashamed at our political government. We have crooks and idiots running our state. But I am beginning to think that’s normal everywhere.

  11. killer duck says:

    Glad to see they are working hard on fixing the $9B state deficit.

  12. Tex says:

    Woo Hoo! Now we can get DEAD PLANETS voting for Democrats.

    Seriously, though, I suspect that this has less to do with ideology and more to do with dollars. When you say Illinois, do you think “Conservative”? They don’t want to have to buy all new science textbooks that are sans planet Pluto.

  13. newglenn says:

    Excuse me. My eyboard is actin up.
    here it is

  14. BubbaRay says:

    #13, 14, yep. Heinlein almost had the state right. Here’s the scary part:

    “Although the [Pi] bill was not acted on favorably no one who spoke against it intimated that there was anything wrong with the theories it advances. All of the Senators who spoke on the bill admitted that they were ignorant of the merits of the proposition.”

  15. Improbus says:

    Didn’t New Mexico already do this?

  16. Bob says:

    And of course, the orbit of Pluto will never actually pass directly overhead Illinois…

  17. Dallas says:

    Glad this issue is resolved.

    I’m concerned about cost of republishing thousands of books and enforcement laws.

  18. laurele says:

    Those scientists–a tiny group within the International Astronomical Union–did NOT use facts and data to make their outrageous decision about Pluto. Anyone who does some research into what went on in Prague two-and-a-half years ago will quickly find out that politics rather than science drove that decision.

    The Illinois legislature has way more sense than the International Astronomical Union has shown in two-and-a-half years. It’s the IAU who have acted like idiots, with one tiny group forcing a nonsensical planet definition on everyone. The truth is there is NO scientific consensus that Pluto is not a planet. The criterion requiring that a planet “clear the neighborhood of its orbit” is not only controversial; it’s so vague as to be meaningless. Only four percent of the IAU even voted on this, and the vote was driven by internal politics. A small group, most of whom are not planetary scientists, wanted to arbitrarily limit the number of planets to only the largest bodies in the solar system. They held their vote on the last day of a two-week conference with no absentee voting allowed. Their decision was immediately opposed by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto.

    Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader definition of planet that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star. The spherical part is key because when objects become large enough, they are shaped by gravity, which pulls them into a round shape, rather than by chemical bonds. This is true of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and comets. And yes, it does make Ceres, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake planets as well, for a total of 13 planets in our solar system.

    Even now, many astronomers and lay people are working to overturn the IAU demotion or are ignoring it altogether. Kudos to the Illinois Senate for standing up to this closed, out of touch organization whose leadership thinks they can just issue a decree and change reality.

  19. BubbaRay says:

    Soon, they’ll legislate e^(i*pi) to be +1 instead of -1, just for convenience. Minus signs? We don’ need no steenkin’ minus signs. Morans.

  20. J says:

    # 4 a planet would be warring pants

    Yeah that’s rich seeing as Wisconsinites are known as the hillbillies of the north.


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